Sunday, December 11, 2011

The City of Brands, Buses and Blocked Noses

The other day, I was walking down a crowded street and I saw this beggar woman. Or alteast I think it was a beggar woman. Her clothes looked murky and old but then that could've been just some sorta fashion statement. She had a wrap around her that looked really tattered and worn out from the hundreds of nights she had to spend wrapped around in it during the chilling weather of this city. Or maybe its the hundreds of bucks she spend at a brand outlet to get a tattered looking wrap. I forgot to look if she was wearing shoes. That would've given me some sorta benefit to my doubt. She was just standing there leaning on a railing looking like she belonged there. I couldn't see her face so I couldn't tell if she had make-up on but her hairstyle was the one they give you in mental institutions (well atleast in movies). The horrible buzz cut that makes you hair stick up like porcupine spikes. Again, this could've been a fashion statement thing. She was eating something like it was the only meal she's had in days or the only meal she's had since she got out of office. I couldn't stand at stare at this woman too long to figure her out because I was in the middle of Brigade Road in Bangalore. The crowd just sorta takes you along with you. Or maybe I just haven't learned how to work against the crowd.

 I don't live in Bangalore. I just come here on random days. And it never ceases to intrigue me. A few years ago, before I had ever set foot on Bangalore, it was this mystical place that I had only read about. I'd heard about its shops and the people and the awesome coolness of it all. And I was just dying to get there. When finally I did land up here on a one-month stint, well, it wasn't quite what I expected. I'm not saying it was bad. Maybe I built it up too much in my head. Anyway, here are a few findings of mine about this city. Do not take it personally. Its just my opinion.

Bangalore weather hates my nose. The moment I cross over from Hosur to Bangalore, my nose gets a mind of its own and has its own little sneeze fest. Then apart from frequent sneeze attacks, it remains blocked during  the rest of my stay. I miss breathing when I'm in Bangalore.

Everyone is sooooo busy. Sure, they're all working and I'm just playing tourist but c'mon!Everyone acts like they work in the ER. Its all frantic and stress and panic attack. Geez, its not the end of the world! I have never worked in Bangalore or in a big important MNC sorta office, so I wouldn't know what the fuss is all about. Do your bosses cut your fingers off if you miss a deadline? I don't know why people put up with this sorta stressful likfe? (for the big fat paycheck, you dope! Oh...right...I've never had one of those either.. ahem.. so I wouldn't know. :-( )

Everyone is so clean! I don't if its just because of the way they all dress so well. But they look like they wash themselves every couple of hours. There is no greasiness or frizziness. And poor or rich, everyone looks like they stepped out of some sorta ad. (I'm just talking about the proper city city part not the outskirts.)

No matter how many times I've been here, I turn into a country bumpkin. I can't help gawking at girls in short dresses or people with tattoos or stifle a giggle when I see a person shopping in what looks like their underwear. I squeal when those laser activated water facet things work. I save up tissues from every restaurant to use later. I spend a few minutes staring in awe at gleaming toilets. I swoon over 100 bucks slippers and carry back as many as I can. I steal glances around at everyone else in the room and then proceed to try and appear all relaxed and laidback like them except my insides are in knots.

Everyone has a Bangalore accent. I didn't know there was one. But there is. Its just not widely popular like the other accents.

The traffic. I generally like traffic jams because it gives me time to study the surroundings and the people around me. But in Bangalore, when I end up staring at the delivery van guy for some 30 minutes and I begin bordering at creepy.

The climate again. I could never work in a place with a climate like this. Not just because of my allergies. But this is the kinda climate that makes me want to snuggle under a quilt and hibernate till its summer again.

I hate how everything is so far away. Back in college, I could find everything I needed at each places that the bus stops. Thats like 5 minutes. Here travelling the distance between two friends I want to visit could cost me an entire day in the bus or an entire fortune in an auto.

I love the buses. They are the most ultra coolest things they have here. They don't make them like that back where I live. There its a box with four wheels. And the box leaks more often that not, when it rains. In Bangalore, its like a whole new technology. With the automatic doors and everything. Whoosh. Open. Its like magic...Umm.. okay, that was the country bumkiness I was talking about.

Everyone seems rich here. I want to meet a poor person here. I'll have a lotta people coming up now saying that they're poor cos they spend all their salary before the end of the month and because they live in a studio apartment and eat out only every fortnight. I sympathize with you, I do. I'm just talking about dirt-poor. Who lives pretty much like most of the people back in my hometown.

This city changes people. It turns the relaxed into uptight and harried and turns the stick-up-their-ass types into chill-maadi types. I had many a slow-moving, song-humming, non-branded clothes friends once. But Bangalore has transformed them. A few for the better too. And I've had friends who were ready to burn people who drink and smoke at stakes. Now its all "Meh" to them. Its a crazy world, this city. I've read a lotta books about people based in this city. I know if I stay here long enough, I 'd get swirled into the big cup of surprises this city brings. I'd get street-smart and sassy. I wouldn't go home and cry about the amount of money I was "tricked" into paying. I'd look clean all the time too!

But for now, its back to slo-mo living at my good ol' home town in my non-cool clothes and de-congested lungs. I'm not saying my hometown is the best thing ever. It's got its billion flaws too.. But its just like.. you're a piece of cloth that has been floating about in a bucket of water all life long and suddenly someone takes you and puts you in a big techy washing machine and you're tossing and turning and beating against the sides. I'm still in my bucket of water. In fact I'm like the frog in the bucket of water. Whoa wait thats a whole other metaphor. I'm getting my metaphors mixed up. Maybe I should stop for now. Until next time, you guys chill maadi! :-P