Mumbai Chi Mulgi in Bengaluru

So it’s been a little over a week since I have been in this city, and it has been welcoming so far.

Fate brought me here to experience a new land, a new workplace and new people. It’s scary when there is nothing, absolutely nothing familiar to hold onto but I am finding ‘home’ in unusual places — maybe in the unconditionally helpful nature of people here, in their everyday, ritualistic traditions, or in those people in who my spontaneous ‘Bambaiyya’ nature often brings out smiles and laughter. People aren’t used to spontaneous expression, I noticed after I got here.

So this weekend was my first weekend out in Bengaluru. I was quite fortunate to get a long weekend off — courtesy, Ugadi / Gudi Padva / New Year.

Ugadi was quite simply spent. The day was spent in trying to recover from a sleepless night. Visited a temple in the evening in an area called BTM Layout, followed by a visit to my colleague at her PG that happened to be nearby and finally shopped for a new pair of shoes at the mall in the same area.

The next day, however, I could explore the city a little bit more as I met a friend, @apnerve.

Ever since I got here, I’ve wanted to buy a plant so we spent quite some time searching for a nursery till we landed at a big and beautiful one at the end of the Forum Mall lane in Koramangala. They were selling both flowering and non flowering plants, pots, planters — even the fancy hanging ones and in multiple colours! I picked out a lovely plant that bore a whole lot of yellow flowers, I don’t know what this is called but it instantly beautified the window outside my room:

After settling the plant there, we set out to explore an art cafe called Koffee on Kanvas. The good thing about Bangalore is that it has a lot of space for artists or even hobbyists for that matter. Big and small art workshops keep happening all the time and this particular place offered a wall / platform for anyone to sell their creations. I wish Bombay had more to offer to artists to display their work and earn recognition, other than uber expensive “flea markets” and KGAF.

A lot of such talk happened over his watermelon iced tea and my Kulhad chai, and we got on to the subject of how we need maps to survive in Bengaluru. Everyone uses Google Maps, even the auto driver asked me if I had Maps on my phone when we got lost instead of stopping by for a paan-waala or just a passerby. Comparisons happened almost naturally and I realised that each place in Bombay carries a vibe of its own. There, I mostly rely on people, landmarks, intuition and vibe of the place. I’ve never learnt the city on a map. When you’re in Goregaon / Malad, you feel differently than when you’re in Bandra or Worli or Colaba. Every place carries its own, unique spirit and this is when he said that if you take the people out of Bangalore, it will be dead but you take out the people out of Mumbai and it won’t matter — the city will still go on — it has a spirit of its own in that sense.

Next we just took long walks in the city, capturing beautiful lanes. Bangalore has a lot of green in it, and a friend mentioned today that it’s no wonder it’s called the Garden City. True to its given name, every home has a beautiful balcony — with creepers hanging out and pots full of flowers and plants. Even the entrances are naturally and beautifully designed. Bungalows have well kept gardens and there are very few barren streets.

I’ve had my share of struggles with travel here and by principle, I refuse to enter an auto that doesn’t follow the meter. I prefer an Ola or an Uber any day. Thankfully, my workplace is just 8 mins away on foot from where I stay so I conveniently manage to avoid the infamous Bangalore traffic and the hassling for a metered auto.

A funny and annoying thing I discovered was that here, they don’t accept a driver’s license from Maharashtra as an address proof claiming it isn’t always authentic.

Other things that give me a chance to complain include the hard water here that makes my hair so brittle and sticky. I also miss the variety in food back home. Bombay being a strong cosmopolitan city, I am used to having Maharashtrian, Gujarati, North Indian and South Indian food and snacks, at home and outside. I realise that even though a lot of migration has happened here, the basic culture is still intact. It’s good in a way but personally unfortunate for someone like me who is used to variety in everything — people, food, mannerisms. A unique Bombay streak usually binds this all together.

I’m yet to explore the place well and eager to visit Old Bangalore, meet people born and raised here and get acquainted with raw tradition, besides visiting some contemporary cafes that I’ve heard of. Also looking forward to weekend trips out of the city — to Mysore, Coorg, Pondicherry et al.

I’m hoping my health stays supportive of my plans so that I can have a pleasant time, for the short time that I am here.. Signing off for now.

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