I Remember This City

I remember this city, when I first visited it as a wide-eyed child. I remember the gardens, I remember the flowers, I remember the Vidhana Soudha, I remember the bull temple. I remember the saree my mother purchased from Deepam sarees. And I remember the refreshments the shop owners happily served my family of four. What I simply cannot remember is how I made my way through all of this.

I remember this city, when as a new teen, I visited it the second time, for my cousin’s wedding. Koramangala, they called the place where she was getting married. A largely vacant quaint place it felt, much like the rest of the city. I remember the gorgeous decorations in her wedding hall. I remember the fantastic amount of fresh roses they used to deck up the stage with. I remember my brother-in-law’s charming friend, who made everyone in the wedding hall fall in love with him. I remember the gorgeous, Udupi style food we ate for the duration of the wedding ceremonies. What I simply cannot remember is how I made my way through all of this.

I remember this city, when as a fresh graduate, I visited it for the third and fourth times, to find a job. I remember a couple of entrance tests. I remember staying in my friend’s pad and experiencing the first taste of an independent existence. I remember being a little overwhelmed with having to travel all alone in a new city. I remember eating chow chow for the first time. I remember getting lost somewhere in J.P. Nagar, trying to find the address of my friend’s cousin. What I simply cannot remember is how I made my way through all of this.

I remember this city, when I visited it for the fifth time, to meet up with friends. I remember the joyousness. I remember the vibrancy. I remember the city’s quaint-coupled-with-cosmopolitan vibe. I remember the open spaces. I remember the lovely weather. I remember the generous sprinkling of green. I remember wanting to come back again. I remember thinking, this would be a good place to live, and work, and travel. I remember thinking, I will come back. What I simply cannot remember is how I made my way through all of this.

I remember the dread now. I remember the terror. I remember the fear. I remember missed flights and late meetings and unending journeys. I remember thinking I would die and end up a ghost inside the vehicle I am in, never being able to make through it. I remember crying a little every time I see a chopped tree making way for an extra ‘lane’ on a two-lane highway. I remember the savageness of my bad moods displayed to family. I remember, the standard conversation starter at work. “Traffic was so bad today”. I remember the heat, the stunning repression of it. I remember the glass covered buildings, mushrooming on every piece of open space there might be. I remember the thinning covers of jacaranda. I remember wondering if this is Bangalore’s way of telling me that I should have left it alone, others like me should have left it alone. I remember feeling terrified that the city of my first visit is forever gone. I remember every day, how I make my way through all of this. I remember feeling that Bangalore probably hates me as much as I hate what has become of it.

Author Bio: Prashila Naik is a writer, technologist from Goa, based out of Bangalore.

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