By Madhura in Daily Musings
Updated 22:04 IST Apr 07, 2017

Views » 707 | 4 min read

I married a decade ago and came to Bangalore. I had pictured the city very differently than what had materialised in front of me. I quickly started missing my Pune and realised that it is going to take a lot out of me to "like" Bangalore as I love Pune. The food, the people and the culture seemed so much different. I remember asking my sister-in-law "Why is everyone staring at me like that? Do they know I don't understand Kannada?" She said "That's okay. You can stare right back at them". Obviously I did not. I found out and I can say it with my experience that fair skinned people are often stared at in Bangalore. Go ahead, judge me and call me rascist. But it's true. I started working and out popped a series of experiences that are very typical to a city in South India. Questions like "Are you a Brahmin?" ; (touching and sometimes even holding my Mangalasutra)"How many grams is that?"; (literally touching my cheeks) "Are you sure you don't have any foundation on?"; "How come you eat non veg in spite of being a Brahmin?" became so commonplace. After the first few times, I started answering wihtout having to think. The first few times I was so shocked(and also offended) that I really didn't know if I should answer the question or pretend that it was never asked and just walk away. Once my son was born, I changed my profession to one more friendly to my newly acquired promoted designation of a "mother". I started teaching German at an institute. This enabled me to work and at the same time not die of guilt of leaving my offspring at home for too long. I started meeting wonderful young people in the form of my students and their infectious energy enabled me to tap into the pulse of this beautiful city. It's truly my students that showed me what real Bangalore is. Food being the center of my universe, I explored Bangalore orienting myself with food. And I discovered this city anew! I uncovered the different layers of the people and with it the culture of course! Different types of rice, Idlys, Vadas, Dosas and Biryanis welcomed me with open arms! I realised food is the most harmless, neutral and interesting topic of discussion for anyone(well, almost anyone). Namma Bengaluru is an emotion. With the Rickshaw drivers highly skilled to fly their vehicles and Bus drivers behaving like invincible bull dozers, I started driving around like I was born and brought up in Bangalore. I might be horrible at Mathematics but my sense of orientation can put Google Maps to shame. I now know the streets of Bangalore like the back of my hand. Dramas at Ranga Shankara followed by Kheema Pav in the canteen, music shows at Chowdiah Memorial hall driving to and back from deadly narrow streets of Malleshwaram and long refreshing walks in the green spot of the city Lal Baugh, Bangalore's rich culture has become a part of me. I have not only learnt the language, I use the Kannada jargon specific to Bengaluru like it were my own. I belt out a "yen saaaar" or "Houddaaaaa" just like "Vattel te" or "Arrre kiti balach". Born on the banks of Mula-Mutha, I have settled in comfortably along the banks of the (currently dry) Cauvery with a big heart. Both these cities deserve an equal share of my love and adulation. I feel immense pride in being a part of both these cities and defend them both fiercely in any discussion and I will continue doing so untiringly!

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Kalamwali 07-Apr-2017 21:33

Well expressed! I know how that feels. Hate to admit but a part of me will always be the the SoBo-ite!

Ramanathan Shankara 18-Apr-2017 12:20


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