This is not my first visit to Bangalore.
Actually I have special affection for Bangalore!
Hmm.. I know I can say the same about almost all the places I have visited and stayed. It might be Saint Louis or Dagadpada (a tribal village in Gujarat); it might be Ottawa or Shiv (a small place in Rajasthan). I love places and I develop special relationship with the places I come across.
However, Bangalore is special amongst specials. I came here long back in 1981 or so. It was my first visit to another state. It was my first overnight train journey. Till then I could never imagine how people could sleep ‘in the train’. It was my first exposure to another regional language. It was my first experience of being amongst the strangers. It was my first acquaintance of social organization. And so on...
Over the years, I kept visiting Bangalore – for different reasons; by different means; to different places within the city and the state; with different purposes; with different people. I have different stories about the city. I have different memories of Bangalore.
Presently I am here for a reason. I am going to visit different places within the city and the state. I am going to meet different people – I have not met anyone of them before and I am going to spend next four days with them. That excites me, that create interest in me; that makes me wonder; that makes me smile, that awakens me to uncertainty and that ignites spirit of adventure in me.
And last week I met many different people. I stayed at a different place. I had my morning walks on different streets. I interacted with different people. I ate different food (when one lives in North India – Karnataka food makes a difference!!). I learnt few more Kannada words.
This experience makes me think – I am not sure whether the thinking is different or I am thinking the same way all these years.
My purpose has changed. My teams have changed. My means too have changed. My contacts and connections in the city have changed. Those who are friends today were not there few years ago; and those who were the people whom I met in the city are no more in my life. The old connections are lost and new connections replace them.
The city has changed. I have changed. But the relationship does not seem to have changed. I am still the same person who wants to know more about the city. Bangalore is still the same place who keeps on surprising me and entertains me. It is still the same place which makes me feel comfortable and which gives me moments of solitude. This is still the city which triggers me; motivates me to make on an inward journey.
What is that thread which still connects me and Bangalore?
What is that about Bangalore that still amuses me?
What is that which makes this connection meaningful for me?
What is there that remains intact throughout these changes?
What has remained constant in all the apparent change in me and in Bangalore?
Is it me? Or is it Bangalore? Or is it both?