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


nikhimenon said...

nicely written..had been to bengalore a cpl of tyms....btw me too likes traffic blocks....

btw i have written a reply to yur comment in dasavatharam review page..

Anonymous said...

blocked nose is seriously a big problem . Bangalore is a city planned and built for taht busy life style . i think all that rushing and gushing brings revenue to the state someway . half of the city is made to work for foreign companies , its best to avoid that life .
we have to watch "china town " by Roman polanski to know how the businessmen and politicians made the city california . its absolutely for their money . i suspect coimbatore is also getting changed like that .
nice writing .

~Ms. A~ said...

@nikhi- thanks again for reading.. and another person who likes traffic blocks.. u dunt drive either do ya? i dunt suppose anyone who drives wud like blocks.

@mathi-thanks for the comment. its best to avoid that life if ur not looking for money i guess..
i was hoping cbe wud still stay the same so i cud sumday retire there. oh well.. thanks for reading!

nikhimenon said...

i used to drive close to 30-35 kms a day...(during the final years of college i used to go to college from my house everyday by a maruthy 800 )

but still i love traffic blocka..the reason s simple ,i can hear a cpl of more songs if i am stuck in a traffic block..ofcourse unless i have an exam,submission or sumthng i absolutely love a traffic block...

btw this s my reply to what u have posted in my blog...sorry for pasting t here(if yu find t irritating)

//Ms A,

you should look for things like this..i am very much open to criticism and i am someone who believes that criticism helps one to grow....

you are free to point out the mistakes,grammatical errors, that yu come across in this blog.but i assure yu that yu wont see any copied stuff anywhere else in this blog....

thanks for reading this blog..//

nikhimenon said...

everytym i rite a reply to yu,yu keep on asking more and more questions....since i dont know whether yu have the habit f coming back to that particular page,just wanted to remind that i have answered yur query in that particular page in my blog...

ps- i so love answering questions ....! alla nammal malayalikalude oru swabhavam anallo chodyam chodikkuka ennathu....!!!!

Tejtara said...

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yojitA said...

hoooolllaaaaaaaaaaaa missy!!!
:P you know i always manage to land on time here :) somehow!
i felt kinda like this when i was in bombay!!!
hustler bombay!!


ohhhwwheh and i miss friends without branded clothes!!

ohh shiznattttttttleeee burrrrr

i dont know what im talking!!
i miss writing like i miss coffee/!screwed up f'ing shit!
i always seen half of ur face in that pic!!:D geeee
and the spammers to get a life!!

~Ms. A~ said...

@nikhi- okay..
@tejtara - yes, i shall keep u in mind when i am in dire need of a table trolley.
@yojita - up until the word "branded clothes" in ur comment, u were fine.. then u went n got all high and wrote the rest of it.. didnya? :)
n y dyu miss coffee n writing?r u stuck in the outskirts of middle of nowhere?
n my pic, its time i changed it..

Ana_treek said...

Hey..landed up here after ur friend mads left a link on my page..My god, you talk about Bangalore like its New York..:D..Bangalore is not that big a deal, I stay here..come with me, ill show you all the uncool places reading all ur posts, better yet, m goin to follow u :)

~Ms. A~ said...

@ana- YAY new follower!Party!
bangalore is the las vegas of most south indians.

Ramakant Pradhan said...

Interesting to get an outsider's viewpoint of the city. Well, they way I see it, most Bangaloreans are outsiders who have moved to the city for some reason or the other and then made its own. Me included.

I have loved the city from day 1 and still do. The city has changed a lot in the past 7 years that I have known it. It's a small city, or maybe a big town, which was thrown into national limelight with the IT boom. And it has been struggling to cope up infrastructure wise to meet the needs of the sudden influx in its population.

You may find it surprising to know, most new comers to the city loved the weather here. It used to be much better a few years back. These days the temperatures are higher, more dust in the air, lesser trees. Sadly, an ill effect of the much needed development efforts in the city.

And its not that fast paced as you have mentioned. Maybe pseudo fast paced. And not all are uptight either :D

~Ms. A~ said...

@ramnath - That wat i meant in the last para... If i actually lived in Blore, i'd probably love it too.. the city would probably grow on to me. or vice versa.
Also, I luved the weather too. Until it started hating me :(