Sunday, February 17, 2008

A town that goes around in circles has me dizzy with the no:of things it can do

B'lore. A city with which I have a lot more than a love-hate relationship. Summer holidays from the time I knew what vacation meant was spent with a definite stop over at my uncle's place on Museum Road. I despised staying indoors - the gray cold got to me! Loved walking the few roads that I got to know way too well - Residency, St. Marks, Brigade and MG Road. Ok, and commercial street which I never cared too much for except the Grape juice at Woodys. Gulmohar's patchy carpets on the pavement, buttoned sweater, pineapples, papaya and guava's off the street vendors basket, Ice Cream at Lake View and a browse through Higginbothams, rose flavoured milk and pastry from Nilgris is about all I routinely did when I was there. What we did with the family was dinner at Bowring Club, snarling with rubbery parattas determinedly caught tween our jaws at Imperial, checkers with a nasty grandmom and to pretend to enjoy playing at Cubbon Park with random cousins.

And then I met A when I was 19 and B'lore turned out to be this city of whimsical escapes with heart on sleeve. Apart from the lovely weekends there it got me used to the groove of hopping on and off trains on short notice.

When I was a kid I wanted to go to college at St. Josephs. I loved the old building. Unfortunately I went on to study in an institute tucked away in a slum stuck midway in turning urban - 2 minutes away from Forum with murky gray frothy sluggish stream right through it. Two hellish years! It really was a hell-hole. Even the road sloped downward. Usually trips out had me leaning out of the auto and trips back had my spine glued to the seat with fingers curled under for support. Redemption came only on Sundays and that too only those of the first two weeks of a month- brunch at Koshys, a play at Rangashankara, a visit to Blossoms that never leaves me sated.

I got back to pretty old Madras and A returned to supposed garden city. While I was happy that a long hoped for status quo had been established, the possibility of a new home in the town of mixed experiences had me sighing in resignation.

The status quo didn't last for long. Estranged. The magic B'lore holds for me now is one last pending visit for reasons I can't articulate but purpose being to retrieve some of my stuff from a pretty lil apartment with a lovely old lady with the most impossible energy and zest for life, and a green thumb! The magic will linger on from books waiting to be discovered at its cozy stores, in the languid pace effused by Pecos and Corner House that caters to my mint craving.

But when it came down to the day I had to make a trip there last week, I wasn't too sure. I didn't want to stay. The magic didn't have me eager to hop on to a train and do an unreserved ride, an experience that I've quite come to love cos of the proximity of myriad personalities, and in a very weird ass way proof that love and hate quite feed off each other - as much as there's egging for space, there's that much more space created.

Getting back to the magic - it was wedged quite comfortably into a day. Padner and I got to spend time after aeons. The most annoying taxi driver had me up at 3:30 am while Padner fumed at the "unfairness of a world that would slot a flight for 6 am jus cos it would be cheaper."

On arriving, thoughtful us got into a mini squabble with coffee shop that handed over a tin of outdated cookies. Happy on being handed over pretty tins we ran over to squg a very good friend who also happens to be an awesome cook! Onion chutney and for the first time 4 Idlis!!! My mom would be proud.

Then began our day of striking of the list of things to do. A second mini breakfast at Koshys. I take bad pictures predominantly and a few nice ones by default. She snoozed a bit. A short amble away we went to the Magazine Store to find the cats missing! Vacationing at home they said. Tsk Tsk.

The prelude to page flipping over we went to heaven of hysterical browsers and well-intentioned pauper-makers - Blossoms! Horns of Dillemma! The Sword of Damocles can all be experienced here.

Though we had to make do with a know-it-all waiter at my fav pub, it turned out to be pretty relaxing with Steve Miller Band adding to the ambiance while Padner was glued to Sybil and I burrowed into Fowles' Aristos.

An even more greater reason than "few of my favourite things" was one of my best friends engagement. The liberty he took in letting us change at his girlfriend's place on the day of their engagement was quite touching. And says a lot about the girlfriend too :-)

We did look pretty in spite of having trudged all morning in a zombied state. Everything was Bam! on time till dinner. Corner House was teetering on the list of make-it. Strawberries with Fresh Cream and Mint Ice cream drowned in hot chocolate fudge was the prize for having done everything!

Cantonement station, platform 2 is a place I've had many fond memories on - weekend escapes to home, goodbye hugs with I-love-yous that once were meant, hot chocolate under tangerine lights while being nipped by chilly breeze and now a night spent in waiting for the train as Padner and I sat on a cold trolley huddled under one shawl with pretty interesting reads as harmless drunks hollered, a bored couple stared, dogs fought and two trains passed on time.

A winkless experience that has me writing again.