When I first came to Bangalore, I fell in love with the winding lanes shaded by huge trees with their branches forming a green canopy overhead, which is almost a landmark of the Hebbal area. Victorian buildings, extensive libraries, colourful bazaars and opulent malls, all left an indelible imprint of a magical city in my mind. So, after a short stint in Dubai when we decided to shift back to India, it is not to be wondered that the first city that sprang to my mind was Bangalore.
By the time I returned to the Garden City in 2015, it had been renamed as Bengaluru. Much of its tree cover had also been lost due to urbanization, but the city still had its old charm which put my mind at ease. I put down temporary roots at Electronic City, the centre of software life in Bangalore. Being an IT Engineer myself, I longed to be part of the thriving work force of the city; but truth to tell, I was not really enamoured of the IT sector. With my husband’s encouragement, I started exploring other fields. I found my calling as a Content Developer with InfoCognitio. I was over the moon with happiness and felt that this city had hand-crafted me a job from my dreams. At a time when I had long said goodbye to the creative/literature field, here was an opportunity to indulge the writer (a novice one for sure) in me. There followed days of glorious fun, filled with laughter, whacky ideas (side effects of indulging your creative side), impromptu treats (thanks to our silver-tongued boss) and general melee. I still wonder how anything creative ever got written in all that chaos, but it seemed to work somehow.
Bangalore gave me a second family, people to rely on whether I get sick, sad or mad. This bunch of writers introduced me to a side of Bangalore that I knew existed but had heretofore never come in contact with. I got introduced to almost every type of cuisine available in India, and then some. Mouth-watering momos, authentic Kolkata-style biryani, English chicken stew, Bangalorean chutney, Kerala-style beef fry and Bengali sweets were all tasted in our lunch hour. They also introduced me to a bunch of novel and modern ideas and viewpoints. Coming from Kerala, I grew up hearing that cigarette smoking in women is taboo; but here, I came to accept that women have as much of a right to indulge in a smoke or a pint of beer as men. A vibrant nightlife and a lively dating scene (those love-struck colleagues!) all managed to find a way into my life, further broadening my horizons.
Now, having settled permanently (for the foreseeable future) near my favourite area of Bangalore, Hebbal, I examine with wonder all the changes that this city has brought to me and my ways of thinking. And it seems that the city is set on giving me new gifts and surprises around every corner; I am finally able to study for a degree in literature, a dream of mine since childhood. Bengaluru will always remain my favourite city and a land of opportunities where your every dream will come true; all you need is the courage to follow it.
– Meera Meriyn Joy
PC: Wikimedia Commons