Day 146: Back to base

I’m back home. It’s a sweltering 34 degrees. 100% humidity and that oppressive stuffiness that is peculiar to the end of summer, when everything just peaks, ready to reach tipping point right before it rains. We’re not quite at tipping point yet, so I anticipate things will get worse, the irritation will continue for a few days more.

As I exited the airport this afternoon, a wave of hot air smacked me, making me sigh and wish I could have stayed in cooler Bangalore right until it began to rain. But all it takes is driving down the tree-lined highway towards Panjim, to feel the pace of everything come back to normal. My breathing slows down, my heart calms down, my mind de-clutters itself and everything feels like home again.

But. Bangalore was so good. Despite the lack of petrichor (hawhaw – if you read this post), the weather was lovely. Hot, because its summer but several notches better than the heat in Goa. Also, it had rained really heavy the night before I arrived, significantly cooling everything down.

There were trips to Malleswaram market, breakfast had at Surya Refreshments, the customary visit to the mall, Corner House hot chocolate fudge consumed twice, and all of this, with ample time with the parentals.

For a change I strictly stayed home, hung out with the famfam, cooked meals, ate together and there was lots of chitter-chatter and laughter. I was there for my cousin’s thread ceremony that happened right in my home, and the last time my extended family hung out together at home was at my wedding. So that was nice, for a bit, considering I’m rather off-the-grid as far as family goes.

Apart from that, I stepped out only to meet S and S, who took me to shady dive bars to drink and then vegetarian meal was thulped, right off a banana leaf which must have been quite a spectacle, going by the reactions of people around us. I guess its hard to see three women step into a restaurant for a meal? I don’t know. I can’t be sure of anything in Bangalore anymore. They didn’t even try and hide the amusement in inspecting and analysing us.

Anyhow, the food was so good I didn’t care after a point, focusing all my attention on my Andhra meal, Guntur Chicken and gunpowder laced rice.

However, speaking of inspection, I got stared at and checked out more by women this time around. Like properly checked out, women staring and talking about me, while I’m standing right there, in a language I can understand perfectly. Amma says it’s the short hair, but I don’t see why that’s any reason to stare at someone so blatantly. It’s not uncommon anymore, after all.  So many people roam around with short hair. I’m still trying to figure this one out.

The traffic was insane, as it always is. But I didn’t have to brave it save for the two trips I into town, so I didn;t feel the brunt of it like I usually do. I finally figured out how to use them cab apps!It was wonderful to get through an entire trip to Bangalore with zero auto-related rage. Every cabbie I traveled with was wonderful – polite, efficient and one followed road safety, even! I have no complains except that I had the fortune of experiencing his moderation on a drive home, past midnight when I just wanted be in bed. ASAP. But he insisted on maintaining sufficient distance between the car in front of him, stayed at a steady, safe speed right through, indicated even while changing lanes and slammed his brakes to let some idiot pedestrians cross a very busy main road. As a result a trip that should have taken no more than 25 minutes at that hour, with close to no traffic, took about 40.

I have only one regret, I didn’t meet S & S a third time as planned. And I didn’t get my hands on some fine brownies I was meant to taste. I think I may have finally cracked the formula to enjoy my time in the ooru.

Usually, I come back to Goa extremely relieved to have left Bangalore far behind. But this time was different. Bangalore, you’re an easy target and you give me so much to rant about. But you’re home to some of my best people, and for that I guess I’ve learned to love you a little bit more with every trip home.

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