A close friend, an impromptu trip, a city I love dearly and so much to explore in 36 hours!
My travel blogs are usually a series, where each day I chronicle in detail, instances, events, memories, the little things I remember to the people I meet.
But this time I had 36 , Yes just 36 hours to eat, explore and hangout in the city I love with all my heart.
It all started when my friend Sanghamitra was on her annual visit to India and this time we decided to make that “One” trip together however short it would be. In the end it was about being together and making memories than just about going to places.
Bangalore/ Bengaluru has given me immense memories from my childhood, to the brief stint in 1998 on a new work assignment to rediscovering it all over again in 2009. It’s also a place where some of my most cherished friendships were made.
And 36 hours were too precious. It would also mean that I would not get to meet all the people I loved. Making a promise of a longer trip later, we made our first gals trip together.
An overnight train journey, Our train compartment neighbours were a big entourage of Rajasthani Jain guys heading for a wedding. We saw a 9 course food party happening for them past midnight . It made us wonder how much can really go inside the belly 🙂
Once we were in Garden city, we dashed off for breakfast savouring that quintessential classic Bangalore crispy and thick Dosa from MTR(Mavalli Tiffin Room) followed by Commercial street shopping and haggling( a true skill!)
Thanks to Sangha, she opened my eyes to the art of haggling, selecting and patiently visiting every shop and exploring till it was time to check into our hotel!
A lunch feast awaited as I took her to SEA ROCK at Sivananda Circle. Fish Fry, Prawns Roast, Country Chicken curry, Neer Dosa, Ghee Rice – Classic Manglorean cuisine after which our bellies were about to burst.
A ride hop and skip and we were at Socials, Church Street, We had food, now it was time to drink!
I had to make my friend have the legendary Long Island Ice Tea served in Long Big TUBES with straws almost looking like Medical Catheters! We settled meekly for a 500 ML instead of 1000 ML. As we settled in, talking laughing out loud at stuff that only gals can openly confess to each other, we waited for my gal pal’s acquaintance to turn up.
The dude was one party boy, a typical Richie Rich guy whose family owned a group of institutions. Quite friendly but he also reminded me of one thing. Hyderabad or Bangalore, Bombay or Delhi, Page 3 Kinds, Rich Brats are the same everywhere 🙂
An arranged marriage in the anvil and an engagement next month, he was actually leaving for Hyderabad the next day to shop and this totally flummoxed me!
Hyderabad for shopping? Really? Not Bangalore? Until I got this Gyan (knowledge) from my friend that all the top designers set up shop in Hyderabad and people from the South visited Hyderabad for bridal/groom ‘DESIGNER’ shopping! A piece of irrelevant information noted 🙂
It was time for TOIT – the coolest beer brewery in Indiranagar and time to meet my buddies Bhim and Kamakshi. You must have heard of Bhim enough in my trekking diaries and a sporadic mention of Kamakshi in a blog. I had only one evening and no way was I gonna get out of this city without meeting them.
We got a splendid BED at TOIT (Lady Luck was favoring us!) and we quickly jumped onto it! Seeing Kamakshi and Bhim I was ecstatic! It’s so beautiful that close friendships don’t require a certain number of years for it to bloom. When it connects, it just connects.
Kamakshi being the darling she is got me Christmas gifts like Santa. Really thoughtful gifts exactly knowing what I wanted and loved and even for my girls Bella & Nora( Devils in the garb of a Saint Bernard and Labrador!) That gal is all heart, truly all heart.
We all chatted about the bane of marriage(differing opinions and swords drawn on either side) to detachment, from the pleasures of Greens to the Mountains.. Kamakshi wholeheartedly footed the bill without a blink.
Right after that we all headed to Imperial. For those late night hunger pangs, it was either Imperial or Empire. That greasy food nicely hits the spot after beers and cocktails. Coin Parathas, Kerala Parotas, Greasy chicken curry, Paneer , we were stuffed!
As we bid our goodbyes and made our way to the hotel room at 1.30 am, I asked Sangha as to how was the party boy? She had to meet him because they met at a conference last year and they were in the same field- Education.
She told me something that was simple and had wisdom. She said he is nice yet just by the way he was addressing the service staff/waiters at the pub, she observed an arrogance because of his wealth. It was tiny yet significant insight. How you treat others reflects who you are.. It was an astute observation by my friend.
I got a call from my friend Dinesh, ‘D’ as I usually call him. He was going off to his farm in Tumkur that day but he could meet me at 8 am. With a promise to call him I crashed onto the bed until I woke up with a start at 8 and rushed to meet him.
I consider my friend D and my meeting him as destiny, truly destiny. 10 years ago, wanting to start a cafe, I was looking for architects for my dream cafe, and this architect happened to be staying at D’s place. We ended up connecting big and that friendship has evolved over the years.
D’s wisdom always came to me at pivotal points in my life. Non-Judgemental, humorous, always there and even though he might not remember it, but when my mother passed away and I ran away to Bangalore wanting to get away, he was there beside me, silent and supportive understanding what I was going through.
The next morning meet up with D was fixed at Vidyarthi Bhavan , Gandhi Bazaar. D got me here almost 6 years ago and this is another thing I do always when I am in the city. Their Sagu Masala Dosa with hot filter coffee and Kesari Bath is to die for! Dinesh, myself and another friend Venky chatted from politics to the projects they were into, from a dear one’s present condition to my cafe.
I packed breakfast for my friend and took an auto and here is the thing, I am so bad at topography and suck at Navigation so much, I was just going in circles until I had enough and got into another auto who exactly knew the address of the hotel.
After relaxing for some time, it was almost 2 pm, time to check out and time for Meghana’s!
Meghana’s gives me great memories, the food and the person associated with it. 3 years ago I was lucky enough to have the yummy Chicken Biryani with Bharat and I still remember how much we hogged. Those days were about eating and drinking. Like he joked at that time, we must have eaten half the meat in the city 🙂
Meghana’s is an Andhra Restaurant and serves Biryani that is actually Pulao but hey who cares, it was too yummy. Chicken 65’s and Biryani! I remember us just hogging the Biryani and only uttering a word after we were done!
To push the food down our stomachs, we explored Brigade Road, went to the Old Blossoms book shop (my favorite) and I again bought more books as if I have already read all the 70 books I bought at an exhibition last month!
One particular book that caught my eye was Dom Moraes ‘s beautiful book on Karnataka. One of the most flamboyant poets during the 60’s, he lived in Karnataka during the 70’s and he and Mario Miranda( famous illustrator from Goa) traveled the length and breadth of the state in 1976. Dom Moraes was my mum’s favourite poet besides William Wordsworth. How could I not buy that book? I realize that as one gets older what you take for granted in your earlier years becomes precious as years pass by..
It was time to leave, time to say adieu yet how could I go without doing the last couple of things? Rosogulla at K.C Das and a Martini at Hard Rock Cafe- more for the location, in a beautiful Old Stone building previously named THE BIBLE SOCIETY. Irony Much? 🙂
I would miss visiting Koshy’s this time, or watching a play at Rangashankara or attend Deepika Dorai’s beautiful Bimba Hut where she narrated age old stories using handmade miniature dolls. Such a passionate story teller!
Not spending time with my gals Antara, Shireen or meeting the lovely Nimi Ravindran, or giving a big hug to Divya Bhat. Not catching up with Nikhil Pai(he will kill me for this!) or speaking at least on the phone to my friend Vikrant or check on how Aditya was doing, the Hyderabad boy who recently shifted to Bangalore. Not meeting up with Nag and Neha, The Agni Art for All Boys or meeting Rajaram. The list was endless..
I made a promise to myself as we were readying for take off, there is time, there will be that time when I can do all the above. Spend time with each and everyone of them. For it’s a short life, and its’ only connections that matter in the end.. Isn’t it?