Surreal is an adjective that gets overused in the company I keep. I can't think of a better word to describe my first impressions of Bangalore. I hover at the exit from the airport, looking for a face I recognize, injunctions against thieves and errant taxi drivers and lowlife predators running through my head.
Dare I run that gauntlet of people without a guide? It is not so much the people as the noise level that strikes me as I move closer. The hubbub primes me for a great many people, while my eyes tell me a different story. Thankfully, as I shift my grips on my luggage and peer out into the night from the shelter of the cordoned area, I see a familiar face and relax. My first impression of Bangalore is one I cherish. I walk out into the parking lot, and the quiet descends. At first glance, I can't decide whether everything looks the same or not. The night surrounds us, but bright yellow sodium vapor lamps cast little spills of light in the distance. Why is there a dull patina of dust on the leaves i see?
I recognize all the roads that lead home, but its like a dream. Distances seem to stretch out forever, and then disappear behind me. Occassionally a passing "motorist" drives by and recognition sparks at the shape i see. All the concerns about traffic in Bangalore fade in the wee hours of the morning. We head for the one restaurant that is open at 2.30 in the morning, "Empire" and sit down for some kerala parota and butter paneer. I stick to bottled water and a little of the gravy. I'll take on the microbes a little at a time.
-01.02.06 Sitting at home, wide awake and unable to sleep at 6 in the morning IST. Jake sleeps in the next room. I've tossed and turned, unpacked, walked around the house, taken photos and watched early morning mist across the lane that runs in front of my house. The women draw their rangoli in the street. The milkman drops off his sachets of milk. I stand on the balcony and watch life stir as a cool breeze brings the whiff of another sunny day.