This morning, we depart early to beat the traffic and make it to the airport in time for our 9 am flight from Chennai to Bangalore. Ciao, Chennai!
And hello Bangalore! I last came to Bangalore ten years ago, so my memory of the city is a little shaky. However, the enduring traffic in the city is all too familiar, exactly like what we encountered in Hyderabad and Chennai. We head to a beautiful, big house in Bangalore, which is a house that my dad and my uncle Nani Mama jointly bought and constructed (most of the on site work was done by Nani Mama, as he lives in Bangalore). My dad has christened the home ‘Amaravati’ named for both the historic Indian site of Amaravati and the new riverfront capital city of Andhra Pradesh that’s still under construction). Two of the floors are owned by my dad (they’re mostly finished, but still need to be furnished), another is owned by my uncle, Krishna Mama, in New Jersey, and the ground floor is owned by Nani Mama.
[Photos from top to bottom include shots of the interior of the new home in Bangalore, and photos from the rooftop, including one of my mother]
We’re greeted with boisterous aplumb by Zach, my cousin Zinny’s new dog. Zach is a lovely Labrador, but a little wild, having not been fully housebroken yet. Afterwards, we commence a full house tour, remarking on the beautiful finishings like white marble for the floor and shrine, a funny ‘rain shower’ of sorts that sprays water 90 degrees down right on top of your head, a sunlight, rooftop, balconies, and wide teak wooden doors.
I intend to go for a walk around a nearby lake, but I peremptorily pass out before I even have a chance. When I awake in the evening, I check my email to find that another cousin, Pooja, has emailed me videos of the dance number (known as the ‘sangeeth’ or song/dance portion that precedes the wedding) that we’re supposed to perform at my cousin Sandesh’s wedding in two weeks. I open up the video of the first song with my cousin Zinny, and while the steps are fairly routine, neither of us is a professional dancer, to say the least. Even the simplest hip rotation in the video leaves us flustered. Still, practice makes perfect…right? One can hope.
The next morning, I go for a stroll at the nearby lake with my cousin Zinny and my parents. It’s truly gorgeous, with a wide diversity of lush plant life like elm trees and lotus flowers, as well as numerous species of birds. I could get used to daily morning walks like these.
Afterwards, my childhood friend, Gowtham, showed up for a quick visit and lunch. Gowtham and I know each other from Kavuluru, the village where my dad grew up, and the village where I spent summers as a kid, often playing cricket and board games on hot summer days with friends like Gowtham and others. Catching up with old friends after such a long time is fun, especially when you get a chance to see where everyone has ended up after all this time.
And with that, our short stay in Bangalore comes to an end. We set off for the 2+ hour journey to the airport (not even kidding…traffic is that bad in this city), and return to my grandparent’s place in Hyderabad for a brief sojourn before the next stop in our trip. But as we head to the airport, I start to feel rather queasy…oh no. Instead of Bombay Belly, I think I’ve developed a case of Bangalore Belly! So long to my hopes of going this entire trip without getting sick.
Sidenote: security checkpoints at Indian airports are now segregated by sex. I’m not sure if this intended to be for ‘the protection of women (and if so, as a woman, I feel more offended than protected),’ but if the goal is to make airport processing quicker, then it has sorely failed. It takes bar none twice as long for the women to pass through their designated security checkpoint line than the men. In my opinion, this is a BS move, but eh, what can you do?