A goodbye to Bangalore and lessons on living light.

Have you ever lived, even briefly, in a house with bare walls, empty bookshelves and a kitchen so stripped of its wares it looks like a riot mob just, well, ran riot? I have been living like that for a few days now and take it from me, it’s not a nice feeling. I have watched the municipal sweepers who are assigned on my street move stuff after stuff and pack it in cartons either to recycle or take it away to the dump yard. Like pond herons fishing in shallow waters, they carefully lift each item away until my house is entirely empty and all that’s left is my life’s wares neatly packed in a backpack and a suitcase. They didn’t have to work a lot because I have lived frugally.

my-empty-house

I haven’t been hoarding a lot (if you discount the huge cartons that I saved for moving). Many of my books were gifted and some of them were exchanged in Blossoms, for new, unread ones that is being carted with me. Kitchen appliances, utensils, pillows, sheets, a spare steel cot, board games, yada yada yada went away to the above mentioned personnel. A bare minimum was sold to friends.

hiking-in-the-ural-mountains

Is it cathartic? Both yes and no. The house certainly feels empty now both literally and figuratively. And I am scatterbrained with little to no head-space to work. So, in effect, I can’t feel the catharsis. But I’m a giver, not attached to a lot of possessions (according to at least, one of my friends). That makes me sound like a saint (which I’m certainly not) but if you’ve known me even briefly you’d know. If you express interest in anything I possess, I’ll offer it to you. Or offer to buy you a similar one.

the-colombo-galle-train

That brings me to the topic. I’m leaving Bangalore. I don’t believe in forever but this does feel like an irreversible move. Where am I going to? Germany. Don’t ask me how I don’t recollect this detail but another good friend tells me how I used to talk about wanting to live in Germany ten years ago when we shared a room in a barracks, bordering the arid desert of Wadi Kabir in the suburbs of Muscat. Deserts can have that effect on one, I tell ya.

Bangalore has given me so much – lovely friends who opened up their hearts and houses to me and sometimes take me on spontaneous bird watching trips, rava idlis and obattus at many upaharas, tall stouts at Toit, the wildly optimistic jacarandas on Koramangala’s streets and rambling walks in its parks – Cubbon and LalBagh. I will forever be grateful and nostalgic about all that represents Bangalore (heck, I’m even carrying a pack of MTR puliogare mix and avalakki.)

bangalore-palace

This uprooting and replanting myself, is a major move, something I haven’t done in a decade (right after Oman happened). I’m excited, thrilled and scared in equal measures. Excited about the possibilities but scared about what it takes to re-build myself from the scratch. But it also, perhaps, provides me opportunities to shape myself as a completely different individual (wishful thinking, that).

Either way, this space will exist though I’m not sure right now how it’ll evolve. I will post, if not regularly, at least once a month. Wish me luck and watch me stumble, struggle and make progress in Germany.

Most of all, keep in touch, okay?

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The sights, smells and other senses of Eid in Bangalore

Yesterday I went to Sivaji Nagar in Bangalore to experience the Eid festivities first hand. Muslims across the world culminate their month-long fasting and celebrate Eid shortly. The Beef Market area, a culinary mecca for meat-lovers, comes to life during the Eid period serving up delectable varities of chicken, beef and lamb dishes by roadside stalls. The clank of metal ladles in big, aluminum vessels containing biryani, the smoke rising up from the shashlik counters and vendors selling sweets fill the already constricted area. Locals come in hordes to break their fast, feast on the variety on offer and catch up with friends. Shops that sell clothes and other stuff are also aplenty.

Some pictures.

The mosque - all done up
The mosque – all done up
Biryani, anyone?
Biryani, anyone?
Haleem, ready to be served
Haleem, ready to be served
Haleem, in a pot
Haleem, in a pot
Meat being skewered
Meat being skewered

IMG_8025

Some chicken, anyone?
Some chicken, anyone?
Tiger bhai is ready to serve
Tiger bhai is ready to serve
Lassi, for the greasy stomach
Lassi, for the greasy stomach
Custard, lined up
Custard, lined up
Deep fried, sweet snack
Deep fried, sweet snack
Savory vermicelli
Savory vermicelli
On the rocks.
On the rocks.
Catching up.
Catching up.
Fire burning, Fire burning...
Fire burning, Fire burning…
Mosque, at a distance
Mosque, at a distance

Are you celebrating Eid in your part of the world? Leave a comment.