Bangalore. This word still evokes a plethora of feelings. My thoughts travel back to the day I first stepped into this city with the eyes of a resident. The year was 2009, and we had just parted ways with the pleasant Monsoon Showers of Belgaum. September had set in and I was still a child studying in the 8th grade. Bangalore was so different and huge compared to the little town I was coming from. Everyone seemed busy. There were vehicles plying to and fro, everywhere. The roads here twisted in so many directions and I was faintly getting acquainted with the concept of Flyovers. A Road that is “not on the ground”. How cool is that! The six-lane highway to Yelahanka was an extremely pleasant drive from the city. In those days, right after crossing the Hebbal Flyover, we found the six-lanes with a divider in the middle, from which grew green shrubs and saplings. The whole stretch was barricaded by yellow railings. But it’s not as if it has vanished completely. It still exists. The only difference being their significant reduction in length.
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Everything in this place was so huge and alien. Or maybe I was the alien. I remember sitting in the balcony on a call to my friends in Belgaum, “I’m living on the 7th floor of the Building. The view here is great and the kites fly below where I’m standing!” To summarise it, I was in awe. I found joy in the little things. I was happy. The city inevitably grew on me and I grew with it as well. Before I knew it, the time had passed and I drew my first breath as an Adult in the very same city. Just like with time, those six-lanes were replaced with the Airport Expressway. This growth of the city was phenomenal for me. There’s so much! So many areas, so many streets! I wanted to know more, explore more. If I am a confident, unapologetic and free-spirited woman today, huge credit goes to this city that laid the foundations for me to grow in all the right ways and showed me that there’s nothing quite like splashing your feet in puddles of various sizes. To be frank, I still haven’t seen Bangalore in its entirety and explored it completely.
But something changed when I started vagabonding and travelling. When I actually put my feet “Inside Traveller’s Shoes” I saw a different way of life. A better way of life. Maybe I had an epiphany. To my eyes that have evolved to register a bigger reality – Everyone in the city was rushing. Everyone is busy. No one “HAS TIME”. The city has changed far too much for my liking. I’ve finally grown and expanded beyond it. The once fascinated child has turned into a frustrated adult looking continually at a city gone awry.
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There’s always chaos on the streets. I hear a train pass by every hour. There’s a cacophony of vehicular noises, all the time. The infamous Bangalore’s “Traffic Jam” has tested my patience enough. There are kids shouting and playing on the streets, almost like hooligans, outside my house. Because this city is too crowded for living. There are no playgrounds. There is no space to accommodate playgrounds. They want to build gated communities and include greens and open spaces there. And “restrict my access” to my planet. The city that once prided at being the garden city is nothing more than an unplanned concrete mess. I crave to go back to that slowness that engulfed me while living in Himalayan villages. I miss it desperately. I miss that I woke up to a new adventure awaiting me every single day. I had unlimited possibilities. I could leave and go wherever my heart desired without the restrictions or boundaries. I miss walking, I miss singing, I miss smiling, and I miss my graceful and grateful heart. I miss my calm, my peace of mind, the tranquil surroundings, the smell of earth and the starry skies, oh I feel a calling. I now truly understand the soul of Scarlett O’Hara who longs for Tara. Who longs to hold her soil in her hands. For Tara can solve any problem! I’m going back to my Tara – “Shanti Vanam” as it’s so aptly named by my Grandfather. And I do hope I will find whatever it is my heart has been longing for since Hampi, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh. I know I will find solutions to my problems there.
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I don’t know how difficult it will be there. I don’t know if I will miss the so-called “luxuries” of Bangalore that people include in their “long list of excuses” to why they just can’t travel. I don’t know if I’ll lose any kind of career prospects by leaving the city of many jobs. As I type this, I realise my time in Bangalore has spanned exactly a decade. It sure must be a sign that I’m writing this post at this very moment. But I know it in my heart that it feels right and that is enough. When things feel right, there always emerges a “way”. In its greater scheme of things, the universe will help you find the path or help you carve one out for yourself. And so I must bid you Adieu, you kind city that taught me everything I know. For I’ve learnt everything I had to learn from you. For there’s a whole world waiting to be seen, acknowledged and loved. I must go back to my roots, to know in my heart again that next stop is “Everywhere”.