The second innings

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It has been over two weeks since I moved in to this city. I was initially anxious about how my mind would perceive my second innings in this city, but as the days go by, I can see my mind growing happier…

New leaves sprouting off a plant that had almost withered away. I can finally sense new life sprouting within me.

I started out with simple things to keep me going. Getting into a routine. Cooking and cleaning. I am surprised by the motivation I derive from these simple things. My apartment is small, comfortable, sunny and airy. I don’t have much furniture. So it is easy to maintain. I only have to cross the street to get my daily supply of grocery and vegetables. I buy small quantities and use them up. And thanks to the dry and cold climate, things stay fresh here for a longer time. So I have not really felt the need for a refrigerator. Cooking my own food has been fun, especially since I never feel lazy or tired here. I am surprised that I haven’t eaten out at all, except for the day I had moved in. That is quite something!

Though I have many friends here and I do want to visit all of them, I don’t want to do it at this stage. I want to give myself time to get used to being on my own. My main network at this point is the bunch of friends I have in class. I am glad I took up this course because it gives me a platform to engage with the city and integrate into its scheme. I can’t help celebrating the women I meet here, because most of them are true to their nature. It comes from being comfortable with their own selves. And that in turn, comes from being raised in a society where there is no gender bias. Here, I often forget I am a woman. I feel like a human being, without being gender conscious. In Kerala, it used to be very difficult to interact with women because their personalities were largely shaped by their insecurities- the outcome of having been raised in a society with gender bias. I celebrate my interactions with people here, much like I celebrate the climate- the two greatest highs in Bangalore.

 

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Stories of livelihood. While the lady was deeply absorbed in her work, the child found ample sources of entertainment. On the streets, are the real stories. Of rugged hands and tanned faces. But something still throbs within. Sometimes, appearing as a gleam in the eyes. Sometimes, breaking out as a smile. 

The other achievement is that I am slowly learning the bus routes and locations. Bangalore is a maze for someone like me because it is full of Mains and Crosses, flyovers and underpasses. And I find all the cross roads similar! Google has been of great help.

I take the bus to my institute. I like losing myself into a sea of people- that is where one feels the pulse of the city. Today, as I boarded the bus, I couldn’t help feeling the joy of this anonymity- this feeling of going about my life quietly, with the simplest dreams. This dream of being able to manage a house without the luxury of my mother’s care and attention, this dream of being able to find my way about the city, this dream of travelling with the ordinary dwellers of this city, without the luxury of my own car or Uber, this dream of making a livelihood. This whole dream of finding my niche in this city. I enjoy this kind of struggle- struggle that is not damaging, but rewarding. In Kerala, my struggle was characterized by physical limitations and health issues imposed by the climate, and of course, the chronic oppression that was taking its toll on my ability to endure. Here, I walk a lot. I take every opportunity to walk. It feels good because the weather is cold. Besides, it is when I walk that I see the beauty of the city- the beautiful houses, gardens, pavements, trees, vendors, and all the street stories that catch my eye. The optimism and its mellow beauty just seeps into me. This always keeps me in high spirits. In Bangalore, a walk is my solution to gloom.

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Old, magnanimous trees stand by the road and quietly watch the city pass by. The pedestrians, the motorists, the vendors. The changing scenes through the passage of time. Their overpowering presence makes me pause in my footsteps, marvel at their magnanimity, and wonder what has caused them to survive the odds in a fast paced city.

 

You see, anonymity is beautiful. It is bliss. When I watch a Lohithadas movie or read a short story by O. Henry, it is not Lohithadas or O. Henry that I aspire to be. I aspire to be those soulful characters that these great artists portrayed in their art. I don’t wish to be the Creator; I would rather be the creation. A little firefly that finds bliss in its tiny halo of light. Life quietly throbbing within me as I allow myself to be enchanted by the aura, mystery and deep darkness of a melancholic night.

 

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