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. 🙂

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And…We Meet Again!

Can you imagine what it would be like to meet one of your closest friends with whom you’ve been out of touch for ages? The happiness, excitement, rush of emotions, thoughts, things to say…and a sort of awkwardness because of all the time that has passed by, a silence because you don’t know where to begin or what to say. You realize that after all those years and the distance, you are a different person, and yet, you are still the same person. (Does that even make sense?)

Well,  that is how I feel right now. Like I’ve just come face to face with a dear friend who I had lost contact with. And, I’m kind of fumbling for words, typing out and deleting sentences, wondering if it sounds right…I don’t know what to say, or if what I say makes sense.

I don’t even want to think of how long it has been since I blogged. Of course, there were times (so many times) when I felt guilty, embarrassed, sad or plain disgusted at myself. But I suppose that wasn’t enough. Honestly, I don’t know what brought me here today. But, now that I am here, let’s just leave it at that.

So, to cut the long story short, I’m at a different point in life, a whole new phase…in a new place, around new people. I still feel surprised when I think of how fast time went by. One day, I was teaching and the next day, I find myself in a completely different place. Not a bad place, I should say, even though I miss home and teaching and the kids.

I’ve always loved new experiences, which is exactly what I know I’ll find in a new place. But there is something I constantly tend to overlook. When you start a new phase in life, initially, there is always a kind of emptiness…a void before it starts getting filled up with new experiences, people, thoughts. I think I’m somewhere in that void right now, and, perhaps, that is what brought me here. The need for something familiar and comforting to help me get through this initial vacuum.

I truly hope I don’t go disappearing again. But, for now, I’m back. And it seriously feels good!

 

 

 

Moving On Can Be Super-Scary!

I just have two more weeks left! I don’t believe this. I can’t believe almost two months have gone by so fast! I’m already going crazy, thinking of the hell lot of stuff I’ll have to do once I get back. And apart from the tension, one emotion that’s been disturbing me is the sorrow of leaving. Once I start working, I have no idea when I’ll be able to come here on a vacation like this. For now, I’m just pushing aside that thought. For later.

It might sound stupid to some and crazy to some others. Even I’m amazed at what I’m about to embark on. I have absolutely no idea about what to do or how to go about with things, once I get back to India. I’m planning to move to a city that’s completely new and strange to me. I don’t even have close friends there! And I have no plan, not even a rough idea of how I intend to make this happen. Am I scared? Hell, yes, I am. Am I tensed? Yes, very much, even though I’m keeping a large part of it for later.

I seriously don’t know how I am going to find a place to stay, live by myself, manage everything by myself in a completely new city… I did NOT tell my parents about how scared I’m. I don’t think I ever will. They are already pretty freaked out and tensed. They tried tempting me with the idea of working over here. But I stayed firm on my decision. Anyway, I don’t want them to know I’m super-clueless, too. All that worry could be injurious to their health. 🙂

I did talk about this with some friends. Some of them said they believed I could do it, that I’d be able to pull through these situations. But a couple of my closest friends (one of them being Saba) were really concerned and asked me to think well before deciding. Saba, in particular, was super-worried. She tried her best to talk me into staying here. And, to be frank, she made me think about a lot of aspects that hadn’t occurred to me. Anyhow, eventually, she supported me in my decision. Not because I convinced her or anything (I doubt I’ll ever be able to do that!). But because she knows me.

For one thing, I’m firm (read: stubborn) when it comes to my decisions. Another thing, as she rightly pointed out, is that if I fall for my parents’ suggestion and stay back, I’ll never be able to feel fully happy. I will always wonder how things would have turned out had I gone forward with my plan. And it will keep gnawing at my happiness. So, she told me that it’s better that I go ahead with my decision. Otherwise I’ll never be happy. 🙂 I love her for saying that!

I’m aware of the risk I’m taking. I know things can go wrong. Very wrong. But, let’s just be positive. And, even if something goes wrong, I know I’ll deal with it somehow. That’s what life is about, after all. That’s how you learn to live! Exactly why I want to take this risk. I want to get out of the comfort zone that I’ve been in all these years, know what it is like to live by myself, deal with problems on my own…experience life. 🙂

Lot of hopes, dreams…and yes, a tiny bit of worries. Let’s wait and see how things turn out to be! 🙂