I just bid another goodbye to my homecity after a month-long vacation. I'm not complaining. It was a wonderful 30 days spent with family and friends. I got to visit all the places I missed so much in the past four months, eat a wider range of food as compared to a pretty much staple diet that I have as a graduate student and enjoyed endless late-moring snoozes and late-night conversations that lasted until 6 a.m. Two of my cousins got engaged which meant that I was right in the middle of all the action of zardosi clothes, trips to the beauty parlour, heaps of biryani and all the fanfare that goes into the the big fat Indian wedding. Or the pre-wedding celebrations in this case. After the lazy sabbatical, the verdict:
UB City gets two thumbs up. It's unlike any building/destination in the city. I love it for the oppportunity and feel it gives Bangalore. It gets extra points for the way it looks at night, lit up in soft yellow. Vijay Mallya is undoubtedly a maverick. And not in the way you-know-who says it! Nearby property shaped like the Burj in Dubai which belongs to Siddarth Hegde also looks interesting. Next time, I'll have to check out the Coffee Day Lounge on the ground floor.
There's so much fluff floating around in Bollywood. I diligently fed myself a number of Hindi movies that I don't have as much access to as I would like in a foreign country. Ghajini was alright, worth a watch, but definitely not worth the hype it generated. Honestly, after Taare Zameen Par, it's a disaapointment. It's an unfair standard, but an audience expects Aamir Khan to shine radinatly in every performance. Dostana was okay if you wanted to see Miami. But we all know that whoever liked it did so for very different reasons - Priyanka Chopra who was covered only for the sake of decency and getting past the censor board with the same applying to John Abraham. Was Abhishek Bachchan even in the film? The highlight: the song Bounce baby bounce with Shilpa Shetty. Corny yes, but an addictive tune. Don't even get me started on Chandini Chowk to China. Why oh why did I decide to advance book and subject myslef to three hours of pure agony? Some answers will eternally evade me. Singh is King which I managed to catch in between alternating bouts of slumber on the flight back, much better. Upcoming Delhi 6 looks interesting. I will publicly admit I'm waiting for Billo Barber, although the title makes it sound like a B grade flick about the local tress tamer, complete with sleazy men with thickly gelled back hair, combs in their back pokets, goggles covering their eye sockets and upturned collars in jazzy hues. It's hard to quash the die-hard Shah Rukh Khan fan in me.
The traffic doesn't seem as bad somehow. Either plenty of people were away during the holidays or they suddenly decided to be more courteous on the road. But it's still plain havoc when the police decide to get emperimental, turn the signals off and take matters into their own hands, quite literally. When will they understand it's a failing proposition?
Bangalore doesn't disappoint on the culinary front. In keeping with it's trend of new restraunts opening every couple of days, there's plenty for the foodie to sink their teeth into. One place in need of a serious fixer-upper- Frescoes. The place looks just the same, but the new menu is dismal. The harsh reaction could stem from the fact that they've removed my all time fave Spanish omelette from the offerings. Nah, that's just banter. Almost everything is fried, oily and tasteless. Service is sordid too. It was only the company that saved the trip from turning into a complete disaster. Infintea continues to be wonderful. Give me Kashmiri almond chai, steamed chicken momos and the delicious mozarella fritters that I mooched off of my friend's plate any day!
Bangalore hasn't changed drastically. Perhaps it was my naivete to think that it would in four moths. I didn't get teary eyed when I drove past MG Road, I could still drive my black hatchback on all the roads and knew all the directions. I even remebered the one ways. I could actually cross Cunningham Road too :) I guess that's what makes a place home. You're never a stranger. It's like it's been waiting for you, to welcome you.
Back on foreign soil, winter has firmly set in and snow covers everything for miles. It's been years since I saw actual snow. I'm reminded of when I last saw it as a ten-year old, skiing down a gentle Californian slopes and being thrilled beyond belief after being flung off a man-made hill on a tyre. The wind in my hair, the snowflakes on my eyelashes. This morning, I stepped out of my apartment and ran my finger along snow that had collected outside. It felt wonderful. There's so much snow everywhere, untouched. Looks almost good enough to eat! And the moment you touch it, it's like it was never there at all. Fascinating.
I'm told this is the coldest it gets. Not too bad for what I imagined. I think I'll survive my first New England winter.
Hello Spring '09! Bye bye Bangalore until we meet again, real soon.