It was a crazy week, I caught a fever on Monday and I didn’t make it to college on Tuesday. So I played the film “Clockwork Orange” and finished two projects due two days later. Thus on Wednesday I felt like a boss and completely in control of my life, but then I started dying of fever and cold. I spent that night writing my Psychology record and dreaming.
Thursday was different, because I wore three layers of clothing to college and came home as early as I could. That evening as I cosied under a blanket, my friend called me to get out of the house to go watch the sunset with him. It was probably one of the smartest moves I made this week.
It’s been a crazy week, the random holidays and breaks have made it a slow but things cleared up as it came to an end. But the semester, now got extended by another week. This happened exactly when I was looking forward to a going out on a little vacation/ travelling, maybe.
The heartbreak of lost traveling plan got to me and I may have taken refugee in my bed for all of that week, almost. So I may not have been on time with a few assignment or may have decided to not submitted others. But I did have a pleasant time by taking pictures and screwing my future in the ass.
I also went shopping and retail therapy has always worked wonders on me, it did and exactly why I’m smiling at my impending doom.
But I spent most of this time in my room, writing, watching Digimon Season 2 (word of advice, don’t watch it), reading Fb posts and tweets, or just staring into oblivion while nothing happened.
The pretty flowers to stare at is a good distraction and sometimes inspiring. But in the end like my blog my mind gets whiney and sad. Dramatic and mostly depressing or just plain annoying.
But the fairy lights, almost, always, manage to cheer me.
I feel like a stranger again. I thought this was something from the past, a fear from the past or of loneliness that enveloped me while in a classroom full of people. People who’ve been around for the last two and a half years, there is a zoom out and each one looks so familiar but only the face. A complete stranger in front, next to, across and beside me staring into their laptop screens and I was slowly dissolving into molecules that would disappear with time and forgotten. My fear is of being forgotten and people forgetting me or vice-versa.
The fear of being lonely is so strong sometimes in room full of people, amidt laughter, conversation and life I’m sinking in my own pit of self-pity. It’s so easy to slip inside and getting lost and getting back up is…
It was no different today, I felt everything slipping and the world annoying. But as I stepped outside of the class there were people who came up to and said “hello” or “Hi” and others who avoided my face. I have friends and then there are people I used to be friends with. It’s not over, I can love and have loved. I will be able to love again, it’s just not today but it will happen and I will be able to fly again, soar like a bird in the deep blue sky.
With a coffee glass in my hand, a friend listening and conversations flying, life seemed nice again. Under the blue sky, beneath a green trees and around noisy people I got a lot of things said now I’m sure it’s not easy but I will be moving.
The mixed vegetable chitranna (seasoned rice) was pleasantly nice, not a fan when it’s breakfast but today it was carrying all the zest my mum’s been beaming off all week. It was the Varamahalakshmi (the Hindu Goddess of good fortune) vratha, the ceremony where women in silk sarees and super heavy gold jewelry offer special prayers to the goddess Lakshmi and in return she gives you good luck and fortune.
So my Mum likes the festival, but not the preparation for it; which makes sense because more things to do and no extra hands to help. So she’s a little cranky but also happy, these are states she’d be alternating between in the week before the festival. But this year she was less cranky, she got help in the cleaning up and didn’t cook extravagant meals and it was just every other day without meals and a lot of seasoned sprouts. She was wearing a red chiffon saree with a golden mango print (paisley), and her new favourite pair of golden jhumka (bell like ear-ring) and almost noiseless anklets.
So women are invited home to take offering made to Lakshmi, whom they embody or some such thing. I was giving these offerings because my sister wasn’t “supposed” to give them. This is sometimes fun and most of these women would ask for mum, I’d say she’s out and offer them the plate with flowers, turmeric and kukuma. They’d apply the powders take the string of jasmine to stick it in their heads with the same grace you’d use to strangle a baby. Then it was to give the plate with glass bangles and then I’d then offer them a coconut inside a little bag that had beetle leaves and nuts. Done, that’s it, go home.
So mum came back after going to someone’s house that was three kilometres away, I made green tea for the three of us. Over tea mum told me about the houses she’d been to and how they were doing. First was aunty S, whom mum met along with aunty R when they would go to Banashankari temple by bus. S had lost her husband sometime early 2016, so she’s not supposed to go to these vratha. Her older daughter is married, younger is engaged and to be married in November or so; the son quit his job at Dell and started his own company or something.
As mum finished tea, Mrs C came home and I was still sipping on tea and my sister was in her room sipping tea and watching a movie. C is the older women who lives down the road and I see her with her husband on walks in the morning before I leave to college and in the night when I’m getting home. I used to say hello to them till they got creepy, with their questions and staring. “You should cut your hair, I’m saying it for your dad. We live with dignity, growing hair and such things defeat our class. We shouldn’t certain things, boys should carry themselves like boys. Are you angry with me?” I smiled but didn’t say anything; she enquired about our other neighbours and left.
Mum now spoke about Mrs R, our Brahmin neighbour from across the road. “Are you Reddy’s?” “That’s the first question she asked me the minute I entered their house. I said we were Rajus.” People like her wouldn’t come home if they knew it meant we were from a lower caste, I guess.
Then Mrs B a Marwari woman from the building next door, we’ve been living next door for a year now but hardly ever spoke but we know a lot about them from our G aunty, our domestic help who also works at their house. B is from Kolkata, has been living in Bangalore for the last 26 years and knows six languages. She just got back from her sister’s house in Jaipur and we spoke for a good twenty-five minutes before she left.
The first day of summer started with an all nighter of binge watching “How to get away with murder” and ritualistically poking Shivani on Facebook at odd hours of the night.
I was pretty disappointed with the way the show ended, but I still can’t stop watching. She makes some beautiful shows, Grey’s anatomy, and Scandal were some of my biggest obsessions.
I finished season 2 of HTGAM and 15 mins into episode 6 of Lucifer my mom walks into my room with a pink toothbrush sticking out of her mouth.
“Get ready we need to leave” stares at me for 30 seconds before walking away.
I didn’t realise we were leaving so early, so I continued watching Lucifer for another 15 mins, skimmed through the rest of the episode and got into the shower. Obviously I’ll finish it when I get back and I did.
We locked up the windows, doors, turned off the gas, checked it twice and once more before leaving, because Paranoia.
We started from home at 7:15 am and I started to doze off on Hosur main road and when I woke up next we were nearing Salem. It was a little over 10 when we made a stop for breakfast, it was a pretty clean and not darshini like, but trying hard to be a fancy, Tamil breakfast hotel.
I scanned the menu on the white board at the entrance and had already decided to eat mini idly and sambar. We sat down, my brother-in-law Manju was in the wash room, so I told the others what I want and went to wash my hands. I like washing my hands a lot, it makes me happy. So when I got back with Manju the order was placed and what the others had ordered was a mystery.
The first to arrive was a plate of Idly, sambar, chutney, and a spoon of Kaseribath. It was clearly my younger sister Renu’s order, she always plays it safe with food in places like this. Of course it backfires sometimes and it did in Mahabalipurum when the idly was sour. The kaseribath was a mystery. Two plate’s of pongal arrived, one was for my dad who turns into a Tamil man (he’s not) for breakfasts in Tamil Nadu and the other was for my cousin Kavitha (my dad’s older brothers daughter). Then a bowl of sambar idly arrived that was passed to Manju (Kavitha’s husband), a second bowl arrived that my mum hijacked from me, and finally mine showed up. FORTY GOD-DAMN seconds later. They all ordered the same because it sounded nice or something like that and there was Kesaribath that came with all of these, like annoying relatives who randomly show up at your house on the day before your most important exam, that very same one you were procrastinating over because it was too hard.
We got back onto the road and made our next stop at some arid area around a windmill farm, 20 kms before Palani. It was a pee break, since I’d sweat most of the water, didn’t have to pee. Got around to picking tamarind from the tree we were parked under.
Then we spent another 45 mins driving till Palani where we stopped to visit the famous muruga temple and to ride a weird contraption that took us to the top of the hill. It was a weird rail of sort that dragged the two compartments from the base of the hill to the top, using a giant motor. Simplified, it was a roller coaster compartment that took you up the hill while you are stuck between three or four people, sweating it out in the Tamil Nadu (TN) heat.
We paid a middle-woman Thangam akka to get us to the top of the temple and back faster than the regular crowd. We paid six hundred (600) rupees per person and we were six people in all. The middle lady was an adorable woman in a pretty, flashy red-yellow cotton silk saree with matching blouse and wearing a string of jasmines in her hair, that was plaited into a braid. The most striking features of hers was a pretty smile, and the kukum bottu.
The temple was a long, never ending journey that came to a halt very slowly. My favourite part of the entire temple visit was the wait for the train to take us down hill. I took pictures of a lot of people who were waiting for the train just like us.
From here we headed to Kodi and as we got closer to Kodi the weather changed faster than my Dad’s mood swings. We reached the beginning of the ghat section, Kavitha and I were staring outside the window. Windows rolled down, face sticking out, mouth slightly ajar and trying our best to not let the motion sickness get to us. I managed to not throw up but Kavitha didn’t last very long. My dad finally stopped after missing half of the scenic view spots and stood at the most boring of the lot to take pictures that looked awful and Kavitha finally puked in peace.
We got back into the car and drove to the city only to spend three hours looking for a room. The room we found in the end when we’d given up all hopes in finding a descent place and just wanted to take any room that was worth the money. We struck gold. We settled in, after my dad downed 2 quats of 100 pipers, we are out looking for dinner. We ate in a North Indian restaurant, we ate chapati, aloo mutter curry, dal fry, paneer paratha, jeera rice, and pulav. All the chapathi’s were hot and it tasted like home made food, couldn’t have been luckier with the food. We went back to the fancy Emperor family suit with three beds and passed out on the unnecessarily bouncy beds.
The next day was a drive to see the tourist spots that weren’t inside the city. We started at the upper lake view and headed to pillar rock. On the way stopped at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics to walk through a museum. It was a beautiful walk inside the campus, my sister and I got out of the museum pretty quickly, I came out first though. We were walking around the museum when this dark, balding man in a yellow grey striped shirt and grey trousers chased me out and we got out of the gate and sat on a concrete stone. The man walked towards us but stood on the other side of the road and was watching both us and the gate. He was there only till he saw an Auntie trying to pluck a rose and was now after her, yelling and barking. The walk down was just as pleasant and the trees looked like they were older than a century, maybe even two.
Then we went to a view point where we watched people take selfies on a pillar in the garden at the entrance to the exotic Berijam lake, to visit which one needs to get permission from the forest department and only 30 cars or vehicles get it everyday.We were late and missed it, so we went ahead to see the pine tree forest but my dad didn’t want to go now, he said we’ll check it out on our way back and made us skip one more spot on the way up. So we kept going and stopped at pillar rock.
It was 11 am in the morning and the rocks were still hidden behind fog, we waited and saw an animal that looked like a red-panda. Kavitha and Manju were bored, were done taking selfies but my parents weren’t so they went out to chill in the car. The fog decided to momentarily clear up to show us two bits of the pillar rock and it looked like the mountain range from Avatar where the flying creatures lived. It was a majestic view of natures grandeur, like a queen in a fabulous crown or head gear. Kavitha and Manju missed the view but we were around the area for an hour shopping flowering plant bulbs and seeds.
My dad wanted see what was above and we went uphill but didn’t stop at dolphin’s nose, golf course, and few places because dad wanted to check them out on the way back. We kept going up and then we started going down and landed back upper lake view. Everybody was pissed but didn’t say anything because they couldn’t dare to, then we got back to the city ate lunch at a Malyali hotel, the biryani was pretty descent, the parota, chetinad chicken gravy were great only the chicken was rubber and the chilly chicken was tender chicken floating in tomato sauce along with onion and capsicum. Lunch was a near disaster.
We headed to Chettiar park that had recently been placed under the townships care, opposite to it is a bungalow that I’d do anything to own, but it’s owned by Vodafone. The park was small, pleasant and not crowded like the rest of Kodi.
We went back to the room spent around an hour resting and then headed to coakers walk for a walk. From coakers walk we headed to the crowded likes of Bryant park. We bought more plant stems and bulbs here, after a walk through the park. My phone started buzzing it was the pedometer app on my phone and it buzzing that it was my latest record of over 12K steps. We headed back to the room, again. Manju and my dad were having another drink before dinner which went on for another two hours, I went to the far end of the room where a bed was separated from the rest of the room by a beautifully thick and dark curtains, while everybody watched King Kong in a hotel room 400kms from home where we had a 4k tv and better food, I passed out in depression in the super squishy and soft bed.
I woke up an hour later and they were still drinking and like all family vacations it ended in an argument that set the tone for a fight arena for the rest of the trip.We went out for dinner to restaurant that was next to Kodi’s only Baskin Robins. I was pretty angry and didn’t eat anything, then they tried to cool me off with ice cream but I still didn’t eat. We headed back to the room it was 10:30 I went out to buy a bottle of water and then headed for a walk around the beautiful Kodi lake.
After the boat house there was a broken fence at the footpath, I saw that sat there for a bit. There was a boat drifting and it was tied with a yellow rope to the broken fence. I was texting this pretty girl I want to date and telling me about the mushrooms there but I didn’t have the time and texting her always seems to help.
I was trying to take pictures of the boat when my phone started hang and the battery was about to die. I put it aside and just sat there and took it all in, but I couldn’t enjoy, the pleasure of being alone was getting killed. The fight, walking away and their anxiety got to me. I switched my phone on and there were a few missed calls, told them I’m walking back and I did. It was my last night in the city and the next morning we were heading to Valpari after breakfast, which was going to be the worst decision we’d made in the entire trip.
It was a hot afternoon and nausea seemed to be the theme of the week, had to skip lunch to keep myself from throwing up in the three hour drive to the farm. But there was blue cloth bag (because plastic is banned in Bangalore) with mountain dew, loads of wafers, potato chips, cookies, oreos, and a few packets of maggie.
There was wedding, a distant relatives sons. They were the ones who helped us find the farm and along the process created a lot of drama. They had suggested and tried to propose a wedding between their unemployed 25 year old son and my 20 year old sister, an engineering student.
Well it was nipped in the bud, they weren’t happy, a lot of mean things were said and my parents kept them at a distance after that. Neither my sister nor I wanted to go to the wedding and for once my parent’s didn’t seem to mind. So we had decided to stay back in the farm house and watch a Telugu film ‘Loafer‘ on TV.
So I took a bunch of pictures, because it was a week ago during the study holidays and obviously nobody studies during these holidays. So pictures of snoopy were taken, and then it was movie time. That night I slept on the terrace alone, staring at the sky; while the boulder on the adjacent hill looked like they’d roll down and crush me. The cold night passed and later the next day I caught a cold that lasted two good days. The next morning was all about chilling.
Since mum was at the farm she decided to clean and pick vegetables to take back home. We took back a lot of carrots, tomatoes, and chillies. The carrots weren’t great because this was the wrong soil and climate, yet mum made halwa out of it that Tuesday which was pretty good. The tomatoes were the tangiest things I’ve ever eaten and for breakfast on Sunday dosa was served with Tomato chutney. The chillies were red and green, I guess.
Then it was time to get the drum sticks from the tree, they were juicy like a chicken leg and tender like chicken breast. Now I want Chicken.
Then I decided to take a walk through the mango orchid to see if there were any green mangoes for this pretty girl. it was too early to harvest any of the green, so I just took pictures of them. And then we headed home later that evening, obviously after a nap under the mango trees.
It was really hard to make myself not take a U turn, come back home, and rot on my bed. Told myself that there will be no forced conversations, so the extrovert won’t be fed, again. Sometimes I think he either left or died. He probably couldn’t deal with all the voices in his head, so stabbed himself in the face with a black pen, because he only likes them, black pens.
Like the traffic my anxiety only got worse, but I managed to get there on time, parked my scooter, tied my hair up and walked in to Koshy’s chill out. An enthusiastic young woman came up to me, gave a white tee shirt, asked me to change into it, I did. Listened to Neeta Shanker give basic photography tips and the fun in doing a photo walk in Cubbon Park, during the golden hour. Then we all ate and headed to the photo walk’s first meeting point.
The entrance to Cubbon Park was the meeting point at 5 pm, we were waiting for a good 15 minutes only to find out the end location. Once the location was announced everybody, that is a group of 20-30 people, mostly men and a few women scattered like dust into the park.
I walked passed the dead tree, so many people everywhere. Picnics, families from different social classes spread out and enjoying their biryani, chicken or finger sandwiches on blankets and or carpets. I didn’t want to be a creep and take their pictures on my phone as they ate, played with their children or just chilled on the grass, under the tree. I just walked around and watched the trees and plants, because just made me anxious.
I walked around Cubbon Park thinking about my last three visits here. I might have come here on school picnic in kindergarten, but the memories aren’t clear enough. My other fist time was with my family when I was in school, 7/8 standard. Then years later (6/7) I went there twice, once with a date and another time with the same person and the person’s best friend who I was previously interested in, and wasn’t awkward (seriously).
I then headed out of the park and ran into another photographer who was also a part of the walk, pretty nice guy.
We chatted and walked till the end point the State Central Library.
There we parted our way, he was went to take pictures of Vidhan Souda and I wanted to take pictures of the library.
Only we met later, again for the last meet. Took a few pictures, he was talking to the photographer while I helped a lady get her car out of a tight parking spot.
A photo essay of interesting places in St Joseph’s College (Autonomous) Bangalore
“Baby, I know places we won’t be found And they’ll be chasing their tails tryin’ to track us down Cause I, I know places we can hide I know places, I know places”
A walk to the science block from the humanities block is an adventurous one and full of portals to other worlds. The main entrance of the humanities block is under renovation and reconstruction, so parts of this is out-of-bounds for students, and therefore has led to the displacement of chucks of students to other parts of the college. Some of these students are found sitting on and around the library, which is away from direct sunlight and there is also a water dispenser and a wash basin here, an ideal place to be on campus.
As you walk from the humanities block there is more than one way to get to the science block, the walk through the parking lot helps you find a narrow path that leads to the banyan tree and the science block. This walk includes very little space to move about because of all the haphazardly parked scooter and bikes.
The science block is built around the banyan tree and therefore a number of corridors are around the tree and during any of the breaks you can see bunch of students loitering around the tree or staring at it from the three floors, or sitting or standing under it.
You can walk from the science block to the hostel block where a bunch of student council, Mass com department, and association offices are present. The walk to the hostel is through a series of stairs with giant windows that are very well ventilated spaces.
And you can continue to walk either to the chapel or the auditorium block; the chapel is a cool and comfortable space. The auditorium block on the other hand is horribly hot walk to three floors of air-conditioned rooms.