5 Things I Love about Bengaluru

Having been in the city for over a year now, I’ve come to understand that the IT industry is not the only thing Bengaluru (still Bangalore for many) is popular for. For those who might not be aware of it, Bengaluru was once known as the Garden City. Probably because it used to be all beautiful, clean and everything else you’d expect a garden to be. Unfortunately, I don’t know much about that phase of the city. The Bengaluru I’ve seen since last year is one that’s infamous for being overcrowded and highly polluted with traffic jams congesting its pothole-ridden roads.

I constantly hear many of my friends complaining about these aspects. Even though I always lend a patient ear to them all, I am quite defensive about Bengaluru. Inspite of the fact that I’m an outsider here, I feel a sense of belonging. I fell in love with it right from the first day! Of course, I do get irritated with the seemingly endless traffic blocks, the teeming buses and the garbage-strewn corners. But at the end of the day, I love the city, just the same.

Just as you would love a best friend with all his/her quirks, I love Bengaluru with all its flaws. I think I’ve grown used to the crowd that I have to wade through in busy market areas…and the hours of travel it takes to go from one place to another, sometimes barely few kilometers apart! I have begun to refer to my PG (Paying Guest accommodation) as ‘home’, which itself reveals how attached I already am!

So, I thought I’d put together a list of five things I love about Bengaluru. I suppose this is one way of celebrating my first year here and showing my love for this awesome city! Well, here goes!

Disclaimer: The opinions below are based on my experience in Bengaluru and not a generalized view. 

1) The crowd – Yes, that’s right. I actually love the crowd here. It’s (mostly) young, multicultural and varied beyond words. You get to meet people from all walks of life, holding different perceptions, pursuing different interests. I’ve often felt this place is very much a melting pot of cultures, ideas and aspirations. While there maybe quite a few who are from Bengaluru or other parts of Karnataka, a major chunk of the crowd would be from other states/countries. Perhaps, this is why the city has a very special vibe. Or, maybe, it’s just me and my fascination with this place!

2) Welcoming newbies – I know this is purely based on my personal experience. I don’t know how it has been for others but I felt very warmly welcomed right from my first day here. The locals are quite accommodating; I never felt alienated. From my one-year-old perspective, I found them friendly and ready to help. Most people are able to communicate in Hindi or basic English, so, it’s not mandatory to know Kannada, the local language.

3)  The restaurants/cafes – I love (read: love love love) the myriad restaurants and cafes that dot the city! From quaint coffee shops to elaborate restaurants, there’s every kind and cuisine to choose from. Being someone who enjoys restaurant-hopping, I take pleasure in the fact that I could stay here for years and still not run out of options!

4) The climate – I know this is a commonly quoted positive aspect about Bengaluru. But then, this list really wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention about the pleasant and favourable climate the city enjoys throughout the year. Yes, it can get hot in the summer but not as much as in some of the neighbouring states. Guess what? This summer has been pretty much a mixture of rainy, cool days and bearable, hot days! I don’t always enjoy rain (unless I’m in..uhh..a mood for it). Cloudy, dull days and messy, dirty streets just aren’t my thing. On the contrary, I completely love the rain in Bengaluru. The sky clears up almost instantly after a downpour,  even the cloudy instances are kinda nice. Although the rain can be a nuisance sometimes, I can’t help feeling a sort of liking for it.

5) Kannada – This might sound slightly weird. But I’ve grown to love the language. And, trust me, that’s not usual. I’m actually very eager, not to mention determined, to learn Kannada. I love the way it sounds. I have noticed that the locals have a sense of pride when it comes to their language and customs. But then, it’s a not a pride that imposes itself on or looks down upon others. They love their land, language and traditions but are open enough to let others follow their own. Which is really mature and broad-minded, I feel.

So, that’s just a few things I love about Bengaluru. To be honest, I could really ramble on. But I’m sure I’ve said enough for one super-long post!

If you’re at Bengaluru, do let me know what you think! Or you could just tell me what you love about your current city. 🙂

Advertisements

Physics, English & Roots

As time moves on, we tend to forget the causes and reasons which made us what we are today – experiences that taught us valuable lessons, people who influenced us in significant or trivial ways. Of course, we may not completely forget them. But as we move from one phase to another, we leave behind a considerable lot. And we don’t always look back to think of what made us what we are now. They become fond but distant memories…

A couple of days ago, I met a handful of people who played a remarkable role in having molded me into the person I am. Even without being personally close to me, they have had a very deep impact on my thoughts, likes, dislikes and perceptions.

Kiran is here in RAK. We met up on Saturday. I had a great time with her…talking nonsense, joking around and catching up with each other. She is one person with whom I can (comfortably) alternate between being stupid and sensible…and utterly stupid, again. And know I will never be judged. That day, we made plans to go to school the next morning.

🙂

As decided, we reached school sometime in the afternoon. I had gone there last month with Saba and some other friends. But this was a different experience. I did have to face some probing (and irritating)  questions about what I’m going to do next. Nothing new there, of course. Atleast it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Anyway, Kiran and I met only a select few teachers – those we really like and share a good relationship with (ruling out a couple of exceptions whom we had to meet). All the teachers we met were genuinely happy to see us and we spent some ‘quality’ time with them. While each teacher asked Kiran about her course, college and stuff, I was lost in some thoughts.

It’s been 3 years since we passed out of school. We have changed to a certain extent, be it physically or otherwise. But the teachers we met looked the same, and spoke to us with the same intimacy as before. It was almost as if time hadn’t passed, as far as our bond with these teachers was concerned. Looking at them, seeing their love and happiness, I realized how I grew into the person I am.

I love Science, Physics in particular. I wouldn’t say I know a lot about it, but I love it like hell, and try to learn more about the subject. I met the teacher who is the reason for this love (I hated Physics until 9th grade). She taught us Physics in 9th and 11th grades. She is an amazing teacher, takes a lot of effort to make sure the students have understood the portion taught… The way she explains the concepts, laws, theories and stuff led me to see that Physics could explain a lot of things in life, things that I had overlooked as normal or having/needing no explanation. And then, there was another teacher who taught us Physics in 10th and during the first few months of 11th grade. I admit his classes could get super-boring. But I adored him, absolutely ADORED him! And that just led me to love the subject with added fervour. I met him also, while at school. He is still the same…almost made me wish I could sit in his class, once more. Seeing both of them made me realize how and why I began loving what I love… It was something like going back to  my roots.

I also met the English teacher who taught us in 10th and 12th (and took some

Note the pun! 😛 This was a poster put up in one of the classes; found it while checking for some school photos.

random classes in 11th, I think). I wouldn’t say she is my favourite English teacher, but yes, she is someone I really like. She isn’t the one who made me fall in love with language (English, specifically), writing, poetry, imagery and words. But I did enjoy her classes a lot; they were fun (= some yawning, crazy jokes, lots of mimicking)! 😛 And she did teach me English…which means atleast a part of what I know right now is due to her efforts. But what highlights her in my memory is something else. She taught us Ode To The West Wind in 10th grade. Since then, it has been a favourite poem of mine. Even after so many more having been added to the list.

Seeing those teachers was like going back in time (especially since they didn’t look very different). So…what I’m trying to say is…sometimes, we forget how we began liking something, who/what influenced a certain habit of ours or basically, how we grew to be what we are right now. Going back in time helps reconnect with those reasons, those roots. And why that is necessary? No, I guess it isn’t necessary. But there could be times when you lose touch with who you are, how you got so far… The roots will keep you alive, and help you grow into who you want to be. 🙂

 

Spelling Write

Sometimes, in life, you come across some people who can really spread happiness around them, who can make you feel happy in an instant. Just talking to them makes you smile; you find that you laugh a hell lot when you’re around such a person. They are hard to find. But once you find them, it’s super-hard to let go of them!! I spoke to someone like that, yesterday. I met him around a month ago. And I LOVE talking to him. I feel so happy talking to him and I don’t know how he does it…but he makes me laugh so much during our few minutes of conversation. Talking to him has almost become something like a routine for me…I hate routines but this is one that I look forward to. Every time we talk, I laugh a lot. A lot more than I might have laughed during the rest of the day. I have told him about how happy he makes me feel, but he just waves it off. So, this is just to tell him how much I enjoy talking to him…and to thank him for the abundance of joy he gifts me each day, through mere words!!

Talking about words… Just now, I read this post on a blog I follow – The Obsolescence of Spelling. Last day, I was talking to a friend of mine. I have this habit of asking a lot of questions. Some might find it interesting while some others get so bugged by it. Anyway, I continue with my crazy questions. So, while I was talking to her, I asked her why we have silent letters (like w in wrong, p in pneumonia, s in island, n in damn, etc.). I mean, why bother having those letters if we are not meant to pronounce them in the first place? It doesn’t make any sense at all! The post I read was about spelling, how it is important to get it right, so on. When I read it, I remembered the thoughts I had had during the conversation with my friend. There was this forwarded e-mail I got, long back, which consisted of a paragraph with words all wrongly spelt but with the correct first and last letters (smoehintg leik tihs). The mail claimed that if a word was written with the correct first and last letters, we could read it right, even if it was wrongly spelt. And I found that it was true. I could actually read that gibberish!!

So, that made me wonder. Why do we bother about spellings, then? If we can read words just by using the correct first and last letters, then why put so much effort into writing the correct spelling? And again, if you get the idea of what I’m trying to say, do spellings really count? I don’t know. English is such a messed up language. It has its roots in so many other languages from all over the globe…with variations, in some cases and so many complicated stuff like silent letters, grammatical details, so on. There’s this line I read in a magazine once: ‘English is the only language in which [you say that] noses run and feet smell’. So true! It kinda makes you think what you have been learning English for, right?

Anyway, I’m not trying to trash the language. Not at all. I’m just putting into words some thoughts that have been on my mind lately. Personally, I love English. My mother tongue is not English but I feel most comfortable in this language. I find that I can express myself best through English. I love words, learning more of them, putting them into use. And I’m a person who gives a lot of importance to spellings and pronunciation. I always try to spell and pronounce words correctly. I like it when people correct me because I don’t want to go wrong with words. I love them too much to use them wrongly! Yet, why do I ponder over the peculiarities of the language? Well, I think a lot! I hope that explains it all! 🙂

By the way, today is Charles Dickens’s 200th birthday! I have always loved his books. My favourite Dickens book of all times is A Christmas Carol. Which is yours? I love his style of writing and the depth of his characters. His books were among the first classics I read while growing up. So, naturally, his books are special, for me. Anyway, here’s wishing a Happy Birthday to Charles Dickens!! (Thank you, sir, for the wonderful books you gave the world!) 🙂