Summer was slowly coming to an end for 12th grader me, and to spice it up I was going to Bangalore. I had already planned each and every detail of my imaginary trip to Bangalore, which I’d take with my friends. The change in this trip being that instead of my friends I would be going with my parents.
Armed with memories of immense fun I had on previous trips, I landed in Bangalore with a grandiose itinerary planned. My Aunt greeted us with a meal that left us resembling beached whales, and nursing bloated tummies. The rest of the day passed with us acclimatizing ourselves with the new home environment. This involved me curling up on the couch after changing into shorts, accompanied by my best friend, food. Later for dinner we went to this brilliant Vietnamese restaurant called Hanoi. The food was light, delicately flavoured and so delicious that I even tried the salad. For someone like me it is a great feat, as I avoid eating salads like the plague. The food got me raring to explore Bangalore.
The next day we went to Biere Street. The place was literally pulsating with life. Everywhere there were smiling faces, laughter, music and a general buzz of energy. It was apparently a flea market, but the only thing I could have afforded were the fleas. Through all this, at the back of my mind I was anticipating our visit to Commercial Street.
Commercial Street is to street-shopping lovers what honey is to bees, what food is to me, what a mirror is to Reggie Mantle. I was looking forward to the shopping, the hustle and bustle, the noise of people bantering with vendors over the price of their wares and the various types of hagglers one gets to see in such a place. But something must have been amiss, because I didn’t exactly experience the fun I thought I would. It felt as though the Bangalore I remember had completely disappeared and had been replaced by this strange place.
I felt quite empty and disheartened. The next day we went to meet someone dear, in the heart of Bangalore. We were just walking around, and that’s where I rediscovered the place and fell in love with it all over again. While strolling in the streets at night I was sure that I could faintly hear the city’s heartbeat. It made me feel alive, and at that moment I felt I could achieve anything.
When reminiscing about the remaining days, the things that stand out are the food and our trip to Blossoms.
We visited a Maharashtrian food joint, and calling their food tasty is an understatement. Each bite was a surprise for my taste buds, as the food was so flavourful, truly an epicurean delight. As I was returning home, I was immensely jealous of Maharashtrians as they got to eat all these more often than I could.
The afternoon spent in Blossoms- a second hand bookstore- is a memory I’ll cherish forever. Standing in that hot, dusty store with books stacked to the ceiling in a haphazard manner, I was sure history would have been influenced in some way by this magical place that contained more words than I could count on about almost everything known to man. Put quite plainly, it was awesome. My mom and I resembled kids left loose in a candy store. I was moving around piles of books with as much grace as I could muster, which for me wasn’t much. One would have mistaken my careful maneuvering as some sort of weird worship dance to the God of haphazard stacks. As I was browsing, scrutinizing each book as thoroughly as a woman buying vegetables, I saw a very interesting book and the last thing I remember was taking it out of the pile. The next instant I find myself on the floor crouching, trying to save the book I was holding, only to have disturbed the peace of the other books in the pile. My mother witnessed the entire incident, where her poor daughter was caught under an avalanche of books, and being the ever-helpful person that she is, she came to me. I was touched by her concern, and was about to ask her to help me up when I heard a very restrained noise coming from somewhere. My eyes landed on my mom who was trying very hard to control her laughter, but she wasn’t successful and ended up guffawing at my plight. I must say that my heart was far from being warmed. After that small incident, we browsed quietly and with no more accidents. . I’m a person highly allergic to dust, so going to a place such as this would be suicide for my nose. But my allergies must have also been in awe at the sheer number and variety of the books there, as I didn’t sneeze even once. I felt like we were there for maybe 2 hours, but time must not flow the same in the store, because it turned out to be way more than that
After some very detailed perusing, and reluctant good-byes to the store, we returned home slightly dehydrated, but our inner bookworms were more than satisfied.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this trip, I really did. But I didn’t get to meet the Bangalore that I wanted to. A bit of introspection led me to the conclusion that the Bangalore I enjoyed previously was different than the one I would have enjoyed this time, so maybe I was looking at the wrong places, places that I used to enjoy now weren’t as colourful to me anymore. In the past, going to shops and buying things was fun, and was what I wanted. But now I would rather walk in the streets at night and feel the life of Bangalore, and eat good food with good company. I know now that it wasn’t the city that changed, but me. My priorities had changed and so had what I enjoy. This is definitely a sign of me growing up, and maybe the next time I visit, my heart would recognize something else that gives me joy. To discover that, I should probably start planning my next trip.