What coming home feels like: Sometimes, like a giant cauldron of regret
Yesterday was a super frustrating day. And it came on the back of a rather tiresome few weeks. Work has been testing our limits, our patience, resilience and everything in between. It’s the kind of situation where we’re having to work really, really hard (not just at the work-work itself, but the driving around town, the hustling to schedule meetings, the constant pimping, the follow-ups to get people to fucking respond that adds to the work) for the smallest wins. At this point, I’ll take it. And I’m grateful for every little bit of movement. But, on some days like today, it takes a toll.
Yesterday was one of those days where I fully and completely regretted moving to Bangalore. The reality of it hit me when we were out to run a single, really simple errand, not too far away from home. But after wading through impossible traffic for over two hours, we had to return home errand unfinished. This completely unnecessary wild goose chase included obstacles such as one HDFC ATM with a dead server, three HDFC ATMs in the vicinity that only existed on Google Maps, but not in reality, and a mindbogglingly circuitous route home. There are few things worse than having to brave evening traffic in Bangalore when you’re all set to get shit done, and you have to inevitable return without accomplishing the only thing you set out to do.
This, at the end of a hard few weeks where I’ve kept my head down and patiently tolerated everything this city has thrown my way, broke me a little. This month, I’ve seen the worst of Bangalore’s traffic, road rage, Metro construction, white topping, the beginnings of flyovers and steel bridges we know won’t do jack, road rage, traffic jams, aggression and road rage. Did I say road rage already? I’ve been to Whitefield (twice!), Jayanagar, Koramangala (thrice!), Hosur Road, Kengeri. And I’m pretty sure I’m leaving something out.
These past three weeks, I’ve witnessed the extent to which this city has exploded physically, at very close quarters. I’ve seen how the semblance of order that is not visible in the CBD area, fades as one move outwards, and is non existent in the external, ever-expanding limits of the city. Basically, Bangalore feels like one gigantic construction site, with no sense of logic or planning in sight.
From the moment I entered Whitefield, we were in gnarling traffic jams of the worst, worst kind, and for the most part, we were squeezed into single lane traffic. The temperatures are definitely a few degrees higher there than everywhere else, owning to the rampant and thoughtless construction. Clouds of dust, people zipping around either angrily, or with vacant expressions, zombified and totally sapped of energy. It was nothing short of a dystopic image. For a newcomer, it feels like Whitefield has no more space to give. No more space, no semblance of order, no peace, no air, no energy. I kept asking VC, who would want to live in a place like this? The energy was just reeking of negativity. Also, where’s the space? But the irony of it all was we were headed to a meeting with a property developer at a property fair in Whitefield. Evidently the big Bangalore property dream is still alive and kicking. The idea that you can build yourself a fancy home, high up in the skies, walled in to a self-contained layout, is a great way to keep the festering shitfest of a city out. It doesn’t matter that the minute one leaves ones multiple-crore home in said fancy self-contained enclave, you hit areas with no roads to speak of.
How is this appealing? Are people sleep-walking through their life here? How is this the “quality” of life is being sold to hapless citizens of this city? And how are they buying into it? When will it stop?
But that’s not all. I also had a deep, deep sense of regret because it was the kind of day that makes it seem like nothing is really working in my favour. The kind of day where you feel responsible for making it all work, yet want to just throw your hands up and resign. The kind of day where you want a shoulder to cry on, but the only shoulder you have wants none of it. The kind of day where you want to poke holes in your castles in the air, and let those demons out, but your cohabitant wants none of it.
By far the worst feeling of it all, was to realise that my life is once again down to this — getting around this maddening city, trying to do work that doesn’t want to get done easily, and feeling very, very tired every single day. I’m so frustrated that I get so little done, and yet I’m busy all the time, and it just makes me so very, very tired, with nothing to show for it. It’s not that content, satisfied kind of fatigue, but the exhausted, empty sort of tiredness.
This, in a nutshell, was why I left Bangalore in 2010. And somehow, I’ve signed up for it all over again.
Yesterday, I felt trapped, backed into a corner, with no options or way out.
Yesterday, my frustration with Bangalore peaked, and I longed for the simplicity that was life in Goa.
Yesterday, I realised once again, what I am and am not wired for.
I know this too will pass, and I’ll go back to focusing on the silver linings, with the surety and confidence that I came with, that has currently left the building. But until then, let it be known that February has been rather brutal, and it is taking it all out of me to try and focus on the good bits.
Meanwhile, the trees on my street have shed their leaves overnight.
I woke up one morning to find the streets laden with brown, dead leaves. It’s a sign of new beginnings. Of summer. Of the end of a cycle. And I hope some of that freshness translates into my life too.
One year ago: Ten reasons why I love the girls I’m in long distance relationships with
Two years ago: Day 54: Working better