This week I made a visit to the IT hub of India, Bengaluru, or as people in Kerala call it, God’s own Cyber Cafe. The city mesmerised me in every sense right from the start, including the trip from the airport to the main city, which is a journey of 40km though it may seem like light years depending on the traffic. Yes, the traffic was horrible, and I am saying this even though I have seen peak hours in Shahdara and Mumbai. The only thing better about roads in Bengaluru is that there are trees on the sides of the road, unlike Mumbai where there are people on the footpath with a car parked on their chest jo ki, we all know, Salman Khan nahi uska driver chala raha tha.
The trip started with a 6:20AM flight, for which my parents woke me up at 3AM, even though the airport is 25 minutes away from my place, because if you’ve paid a few thousand rupees for a ticket, middle-class parents will even make you camp overnight outside the airport if needed, just to ensure that you do not miss the flight. Compared to more practical sentences like “Don’t have that expensive airport lounge food, Main Parathe pack kar du?”, the getting up early didn’t seem so bad. I ended up eating a Subway sandwich, because Costa Coffee menu doesn’t make sense to me. Seriously, I don’t think I can learn the difference between an Espresso, a Ristretto and a Cappuccino in this life time. Also, what the fuck is a Machhiato?
The flight was on time, and lack of fog had a minor role to play in this, because the most important reason was that it was not a SpiceJet flight. That was the only silver lining for the 150+ early-morning-cranky people on the Airbus. I decided to play Sherlock on the plane to pass time, trying to guess if passengers were from Delhi or Bengaluru. It turned out easier than I thought, because anyone working on a laptop at 7AM inside a plane is settled in Bengaluru, and any girl who uses lip-gloss just when the announcement for landing is made is a hardcore Delhiite.
Bengaluru city looked pleasant enough in the afternoon, with its clean roads, Oracle company offices, huge parks, more Oracle offices, beautiful residential apartments, and more Oracle offices next to those buildings. My initial plan was to go to Electronic city or UB city, and then come back and write how Tilak Nagar market is better than those places because #GolGappeIsLife, instead I ended up going to Gopalan Innovation Mall, which is probably named that because Bengaluru wanted its own Kannada equivalent of Rajinder da dhaba. Then I met an old friend at a place called Linto Coffe, where I had the most bitter jaljeera of my life disguised as Iced Tea, and peri-peri chicken so spicy it made me wish for easier death the next morning on the toilet seat, a phrase usually reserved for my mother’s recipe for Baigan ka Bharta.
I am not giving my judgement on the city just yet, because I spent a total of less than 13 hours in the city, and I spent almost 11 of those in traffic. I took a late night flight back to Delhi, because I am a government doctor, and do not believe in mythological things like casual leave and tiredness. Hopefully next time I’ll get to live and see the real Bengaluru, which is mostly eating Banana chips on a bench in the park outside an Oracle office. Either there, or in an Ola while stuck in a traffic jam.