To Be or Not To Be

A little kingdom I possess,
Where thoughts and feelings dwell;
And very hard the task I find
Of governing it well.
-- Louisa May Alcott.
...........hmmm....that more or less describes my situation !!

~A Wise Man Said~

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
-- Aristotle

Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Back from the trip last week!

Had been to Bangalore for the first time, and I must say, I loved it so well, it will certainly not be the last time!

From all that I had heard, I was prepared to love the city. In my mind's eye I imagined a place that was not as undeveloped as Mangalore, and yet, not as overdeveloped as Bombay either. Other than that, I also expected it to have that greenery and natural advantages that Mangalore has, without the lack of, things to do and places to be that Bombay boasts of.

In one word, I found it was everything I expected it to be.

In four days I couldn't have seen a lot, am sure there was much left to be seen, but the little that I did see has left me with a sense of great pleasure.

I was surprised not to find people everywhere speaking in Kannada. This was something unexpected. Here too, it brought to mind Bombay, where no body would hear a word of Marathi, though it be in Maharashtra.

Another thing I noticed was the crowding of 2 wheelers everywhere. The traffic of course could not daunt me after having been in the busiest city, but the components thereof were different. Even whole families were paraded on two wheelers, to my surprise.

One other thing, and this I lament, was that come 10.00 p.m. and the city was as good as dead. Few people about and fewer vehicles. This kind of silence I am not accustomed to at even the midnight hour in Bombay (not that am often out at that time!), so more the surprise.

I would have liked to describe my impression of all the common and not so common sights there in great detail, but that would take up too much space, apart from the sad fact that am not a great one at such descriptions. I tend to be too factual. If you asked me to describe a peacock, I would say it's a beautiful bird, and not much help it would be to one who hasn't see one. Since I cannot do justice, I shall not make the attempt. Let me run briskly over the common, the uncommon (to me, that is), shall try to expound on a bit further.

Of an evening, we went to M.G Road and Brigade Road. It was a sight, not so much exciting to me perhaps, as I have seen bigger crowds and bigger shops (one can't help it here), with people as big and small as loitered and milled around, but it was indeed something. You could almost feel that you were in the heart of the city. Bombay, alas, has too many hearts.

Brings to mind another observation. I had the general feeling that Bangalore is full of young people. It is possible that the places I went to, were more frequented by younger people, but so I felt.

Commercial Street, in the afternoon, was not as crowded as I am told it generally is. I had intended to buy some trinkets for the folks home, but nothing that couldn't to be got here, was to be got there. In the end, I decided on some fancy key chains. One a wooden fish design and another a metal dagger one. Both seemed unusual enough, and luckily, everybody here liked them.

On my last day we went to Lalbagh (botanical) gardens. I had been expecting something like our Bombay walla parks, and so wasn't over keen for the visit, but it turned out much different.

Reminds me of another thing I forgot to mention, and perhaps the best about Bangalore, as everybody asserts to me. The weather there is not a deterrent, very far from it. Especially, in the afternoon, the sun seems to have better things to do.

Our visit to the gardens, however, ended not so nicely, with the rain descending without a warning. But it went as soon as it came, and we were none the worse for being a trifle wet.

Then there was this lovely temple, behind a great shopping mall (Kemp Fort, if I’m not mistaken?!). I found it a little strange to come upon a huge likeness of a God, with equally real likenesses of mountains surrounding, in the backyard of a commercial complex, so to speak. It took me a moment to realize what it was, I was so dumbstruck. But maybe the astonishment was what lent it its charm, positioned as it is. I rather doubt I should have liked it half as much, if I were expecting there to be a temple. The crowd again was a sight, but a different one from the M.G Road, Brigade Road crowd.

I've run on quite a bit about the common, now to the uncommon...

I had never before been to a pub in my life, though I had my own impressions of how pubs are, gathered from here and there. The 13th Floor, Barton Centre, was therefore a pleasant surprise. I was later told that it is not your regular kind of pub, which perhaps accounts for my surprise.

We sat on these high chairs (don't know what they're called), at the edge of the terrace, with virtually the whole of Bangalore spread before us. It is difficult to describe how exactly I felt then, how enchanted with everything before me and around of the best memories I carry with me, and would have been "the best" if there weren't others that contend equally. The open night sky, the lighted horizon, the soothing music, the lovely breeze ---everything only add to the magic -- and if these ingredients weren't enough, the rain too decided to bless us at that moment. An artificial roof was pulled over and we had the added delight of watching the rain sprinkle over the city.

I generally tend to forget names and features of food stuffs (strange, considering my memory is not so weak in most matters), but it will be a long time before I forget the name of the drink I had there. Flush Kleen!! Not a very appetizing name, I'll agree, but must say it is no reflection on the drink. A sweet mix of fruit juices (which fruits I forget, just like me :( )

Another remarkable experience....Infinitea.

At first entrance it resembled Barista, except that Barista's strike me as orange, and this one was sea-green. Taking my place, I had occasion to look around, and found a general aspect of elegance and quaintness that much appealed to my tastes.

I was asked to order something, and being no connoisseur in these matters, decided on something that had a nice ring to it (lest it be wondered at, let me clarify that the last drink was not ordered on the strength of its name!). It was a tea with a flavour of a certain fruit (which fruit, am again at a loss to recollect :( ).

After a few minutes, a contraption was brought to our table. In a pot of water (I presume), the tea bag was dipped in. An hour glass was laid aside and we were asked to mind it, and have the tea when the sand emptied fully into its lower portion. I had known that the preparation of tea was more complicated business than mixing water, tea leaves, sugar and milk at random, but this was seeing it! and I loved it...

A Chapel turned into a Barista. This was something else I had been asked to look forward to, and it did answer my curiosity. There was the old time charm I would have associated with such a place, with everything modern in it. The walls had a ragged stone finish, intriguing carvings gracing them. Sitting there, basking in the atmosphere, was something delightful...

I realise I have written a lot, and still there was so much more I would have written. Maybe another day, another time….as am sure it will not be very long before I shall want to say again, "Bangalore, here I come!"