Thursday, September 16, 2004

Back in Bangalore

Ironically, the last blog before I left the US was in Kannada. In a similar way, my first blog from namma bengaluru is in English.

Yep, I relocated to Bangalore after seven not-so-long-years in the US. I now see Bangalore to be a completely different city from the one I left 7 years ago. There are flashes of the old Bangalore, but that is how I would describe it - fleeting flashes here and there of the paradise that Bangalore was once. Don't get me wrong. I am not writing this to complain. I am sure this happens to any city that has been subjected to the level of industrialization as Bangalore. (Notice the 'z' in words like organization - I never liked 's' there anyway and it is now a habit difficult to get rid of)

I see Bangalore to be a kid who has grown up overnight. Since the kid doesn't have new clothes fitting his new larger physical frame, the kid continues to wear old tatters and they still serve to give some basic clothing to the kid. Bangalore is the same. The roads are like the clothes and they are bursting at the seams - unable to contain all that growth in traffic. Add to it some irresponsible road repairs scheduled with absolutely no thought for the commuters and voila! You have pandemonium and a constantly irritating high-decibel cacophony that is sure to drill high-duty headaches into the heads of the people.

Believe it or not, in less than a week of commuting to work (Thank God I have a driver who patiently ferries me from home to work) I have been in 3 traffic jams. Indisciplined motorbike riders, the pushy rickshaw drivers and the now-not-so-occasional car cause enough trouble that I marvel at peoples' steely resolve to continue commuting and not throw up their hands in despair. The smoke generated each day puts the entire acid-cloud-atmosphere of Venus to shame.

But there is something good in all this. When I left the US, I figured I would get nostalgic about the long walks in Sunnyvale (where I lived), the good times we had there and so on. But surprisingly that is not happening. Bangalore is such a busy place that you don't have time for anything else. I am spending 10 hour work days in my first week itself. I can't imagine how it will be when I start meetings with my team in the US. Add to this my people who are all around me. It is nice to be back among my own people.

I've been trying to get on a BTS (or BMTC, as they call it now) bus for a while now, but simply haven't found the time for that. That way, I haven't connected well with the people of my city. I've also found that a lot of people who like me are engineers are surprisingly elitist in their attitudes. Am I rambling ? Yep!

I still have to check out the book fair at the Bangalore Palace grounds. I love books and how can I not go to a big BOOK FAIR!! Oh yeah, I went to the much talked about Strand bookstall and found that it was worth the hype as far as the selection of books goes. The books are not all that well arranged due to the lack of space. But the books themselves are great and the people don;t mind browsers like me at all - especially if they buy 2000Rs worth books on their first visit to the store ;-)

I still have to do some buying like one smitten by the consumerist bug. I think I am recovering from that bug but let's see!

I haven't installed Baraha yet. Otherwise I'd have loved to blog in Kannada.

But I did visit a couple of nice places. I visited the Swamiji at the old maTha of Hebbur (which also has a very nice temple) and my village. Bangalore and Karnataka have been blessed with a lot of rain this year and it has made the countryside really green and beautiful (verdant was the word, I suppose). I was longing for a nice outing in the countryside and while I don't call a small day trip spent riding a car an outing, there were some very nice moments in the fields of my village with farmers seriously engaged in agriculture.

Anyway more of my musings later. I am at work and have to do something to continue working.

Adios! (bEDa chennAgilla. matte sigONa)

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