Reentry- coming back to my Hometown every time(MWC Reentry)
This is the chronicle of my feelings , emotions and experiences coming back to my home city- Bengaluru every time after being away for periods of time.
I am sure that many of my fellow friends who trace their roots to Bengaluru face similar experiences and emotions on setting foot in their hometown when returning after a period of time and are flooded with nostalgia and awe at the same time! Many of us who call Bengaluru our hometown have to stay away and often be residents of places thousands of miles away.
The reasons could vary from being away to pursue education, pursue a job in a different country /city and thus making it our home base. It could also be to live as an expat who is deputed in a global location for a term, to explore immigration and settlement in other countries for better prospects etc. But whatever the reason we all unequivocally agree that our first home will always be Namma Bengaluru ( The local reference for ‘Our Bengaluru/Our Bangalore — the erstwhile name of the city)!
The Bengaluru International Airport — the first sight that beholds me each time.
The Bengaluru International airport is one amongst the landmarks of the New age Bengaluru. Setting foot in Bengaluru by flying into the airport immediately brings in the warm light breeze- as the airport being away from the city makes the temperatures around the airport a few degrees lower than the city. Also the wonderful feeling to hear the local dialect “Kannada” being spoken and the radiant welcoming smiles of the local staff- makes it a very warm welcome even before meeting your family.
The other thing that often brings a smile to my face is the local taxi drivers approaching every passenger personally and asking if they would like to engage a taxi- this happens only in India and Namma Bengaluru and nowhere else across the globe.
On exiting the airport after the customary immigration and customs —meeting my family who are there to receive you- it is always such a lovely feeling beyond words to come home to your family and homeland.
The food kiosks that line the airport entrance- esp. the whiff of the south Indian filter coffee- sure to make you forget all your travel fatigue! The feeling of smelling your comfort food is insurmountable!
The drive from the airport — brings in so many observations and the contrasts :
The drive down from the airport is another exciting feeling. As generally the drive happens in the early hours of the day due to the flights mostly arriving at the time- it is a very serene drive in the cool air of Bengaluru and the serene Bengaluru roads at the time as opposed to when the day begins and the roads become choc-o-bloc as is characteristic of Bengaluru.
That's when one starts to notice the roads , the bumper to bumper and close clearance /no clearance driving and the the cacophony caused by the incessant honking . The ubiquitous phrase found on printed on the back of trucks etc. on Bangalore/roads- “Sound Horn” or Horn ok please — traces its origin to drivers in India not using the side mirrors and instead using the horn to overtake. (Source : https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-origins-of-horn-ok-please-indias-most-ubiquitous-phrase).
The changing landscape of Namma Bengaluru and its new landmarks
It is indeed a pleasure to pass by and note the historic landmarks which define Bengaluru in the different corners and also the new and upcoming landmarks which signify the evolving Bengaluru.
Be it the old monuments — the Vidhana Soudha, Lalbagh , the Karnataka High court, the Bangalore Palace, Tipu Sultans Palace, Bull Temple, Cubbon Park — to name a few (Reference : http://www.world-guides.com/asia/india/karnataka/bangalore/bangalore_landmarks.html).
But it is refreshing to note the changing landscape of Bengaluru in terms of new age developments and landmarks — the new restaurants catering International cuisine as Italian, Chinese are passe`now — as Bengaluru has the most international cuisine right from Japanese, Burmese, Viatnamese , Mediterranean, Persian and the list just adds up every passing day.
Also new age landmarks- such as UB City, the expansive Malls continue to dot the Bengaluru landscape and make it an eclectic , cosmopolitan and immersive experience.
The bustle and the colorful milieu
What stands out in Bengaluru or for that matter any Indian city/town is the colorful milieu that greets you. Be it the colorful clothes that we Indian wear- as bright colors such as reds, greens, yellow, orange, pink, blue are all part of our heritage used richly in our clothes. India even has a festival to celebrate its love for colors — the Holi festival (The Festival of Colors)!
The Indian weddings and the numerous Indian festivals are another noteworthy mention for the sheer color and opulence, not to forget the rich traditions they exude.
Even other day to day elements such as our decor, furniture , the flowers we use for worship or the flowers (such as orange firecracker flower — called as ‘Kanakambara’ in local dialect / rose in all hues/jasmine — ‘Mallige’ in local dialect ) that the women use to adorn their hair et al, the landscape in Bengaluru and all the Indian towns is such a riot of colors!
The Nostalgia of the different phases spent in the city
Every aspect of the city — old and knew brings back a flood of memories. Passing by my school and the neighborhood where we spent many a years and the sights and sounds that greets me- some the same and some completely transformed. The landmarks where I spent time with friends and family- all turned into sweet and cherished memories now!
One also feels a twinge of pain on some people and things that are no longer around- but that is slowly enveloped by the fresh new things that have sprung up- new shiny landmarks, the youth- the young blood of the city, the new culture and the new age mindset of the Gen Z!! So all's not lost!
Some Discerning epiphanies during the different visits and stays :
All said and done there are some observations that have left me totally in awe , amusement or even totally shocked!
One of those happen to be in the early 2000’s when it was the start of the new millennium and just in a couple of years when I was away from my hometown for pursuing my Masters. When I visited my hometown after a span of 2 years- it was absolutely stunning to see the proliferation of mobile phones.
Of course those were not the age of smart phones- but the basic mobile phones, but the fact that in a span of 2 years the entire population of close to billion people had taken to the use of the mobile technology was mind boggling. Even the street hawkers, vegetable vendors and maids had seamlessly adopted the mobile phones and it had become an ubiquitous instrument of daily life! It was simply mind boggling — and could be attributed to the nimble mindset of the Indian population as also the power of the Reliance Industries (Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliance_Industries) which made the mobile phones/plans affordable and accessible to the large population.
And then of course after several years in the early 2010’s is when the luxury cars started being available for the Indian drivers and the Indian households- all the brands right from Volkswagen, Audi, BMW et al became available at the disposal of the Indian consumers.
It was wonderful to see the young adults aspiring and aiming to own one of these and to see themselves achieving this milestone! These four wheel drives became the pride of the household.
Of course on my next visit I am keenly looking forward to seeing Tesla rolling out on the Bengaluru roads with Tesla announcing their Production facility in India!
Savoring every nuance of the famed and wonderful city till my next time there! So long!