Almost 24 hours later, I still can’t believe that I am in Bangalore again! Wearing jeans indoors, not even noticing that the fan (not AC) is not switched on, scared to go to the balcony at 5:30 am (my body is still on Malaysia time, I think) because of that early morning chill, and downing cups of steaming coffee while the sun is still out. I was scared for a bit before I moved after reading everything there was to read online about the “heat wave” in Bangalore. Call it tropical conditioning Of the last four years, but I am yet to notice the heat wave. I will come back and rant when (and if) I do.
But beyond the weather, because obviously Bangalore weather gets more than its fair share of online bytes, I have been noticing a lot of things that I thought I should mention before I forget.
First off, the sheer will in people to get shit done. Two such episodes. We are in a service apartment for now, and we ordered some groceries and bottles of water from a neighbourhood mom and pop store. The total came to just under 600 and the delivery guys there didn’t quite know our location. We didn’t have landmarks for them to follow either. Two hours later, after many circles of the locality and getting lost several times, a 70 year old gentleman finally brought out stuff right to the door. I was a little irritated by the delay but one look at him, I was all wide eyed wonder at his sheer persistence to get things done, at his age. He looked tired but still stopped to chat with us about where we were from and how long we have been in Bangalore. I had forgotten this nosey warmth and persistence. It’s just one of those things I had been missing, but I was. A second’s thought about the government though – for a country with its crazy potential for taxed income, why is it that nobody is doing anything for citizens. Should the government not give that old gentleman medical care and spending money at his age instead of him having to ride a bike in circles on dusty Bangalore roads to deliver measly grocery to easily annoyed yuppies? That sucks, for the lack of a better word. And that’s a sign of everything to come over the next few years. On the one hand, you feel all warm and cushy about the people you are surrounded by, on the other all you feel is angst at the government’s complete lack of action for any citizen who is not already filthy rich.
What also struck me was the fact that I can say all this, the good and the bad, without the fear of offending anyone who either thinks that as an outsider, I shouldn’t have a point of view or those who have chosen to live the expat life and any word against their current homeland questions their life choices. Opinions were no longer just opinions. I know this is true for here too, but the fight to maintain an alernative/ borderline “dangerous” point of view was a harder battle as an outsider.
Moving on, a little perspective on “things just being more difficult here” – a phrase you read on every Quora return-to-India conversation and hear in every social conversation on the topic. First off, the Airtel folks were willing to come to our doorstep at 30 minutes notice to set up our local numbers and a temporary internet connection. Secondly, there is nothing that does not get delivered at home. So if you choose, you need to step out only for the pursuit of pleasure. Not for errands and groceries and such. There’s an app for everything – quite literally. I realise that convenience is a very subjective word. It really depends on your expectations, there are always trade offs, and what you make of the services/ technology l available to you.
And then of course, there is food. I did not know I was as selective about what goes into my system before I moved to KL. And it is very comforting to find yourself in a place where everything from food to clothes is tailor made for your palate. And you have the option to never use a rolling pin again (I hate the drudgery of roti making) if you choose to.
I like life this way – it’s simpler. Comfortable in the daily grind with a sound support system you can build in a jiffy and one that gives you enough bandwidth from unexciting errands for the singular pursuit of pleasure and adventure. THIS is what I missed.
Yes, the infrastructure needs to be sorted and I wish people would stop unnecessarily honking on the roads. But those are minor heartburns. Because I have never been more sure about this choice than I have been in the last 24 hours.
Let me go right back and get myself some good food, maybe some chai, and give in to the pleasures of nothingness that somehow only Bangalore weather can bring.
I will be around. (You bet!)