“Sit back aa!”. And so it began. In North India, you would be hallucinating if the cabbie spoke to you in English, forget English used colloquially. From both the shock and the amusement I sat back and let Raja dictate the rules in his Indica.
“Seatbelt!!” he said, the movement of his lips hidden by his vast black moustache. Despite his formidable presence he was extremely genial. So i clicked the damn things on and we surged ahead. Raja deftly snapped his Taiwanese cellphone into its USB port and from the hellishly loud speakers poured Ilaiyaraaja’s greatest hits. The breeze was strong and cool, even though it was late morning. A noisy ambulance screamt past, but apart from that, my love affair with Bangalore’s wide roads, bordered with Gulmohars in full bloom, raged. We went from BEL circle, past Malleshwaram, via MG Road and finally stopped in Kormangala. Heaven!
And in the evening, just as the mousquitous were getting unbearable, it started raining. Peaceful, patient rain, which pauses to let you go about your business, and then resumes again. So we opened the windows, and I walked out, filling my lungs with all the red earth it could hold. And we sat, drinking kaapi & dreaming of the next days rasam, talking about truth, absolute or otherwise.
And we came unstuck in time, looking up at angel faced, violent eunuchs in the compartment, and then standing in a beautiful chapel singing psalms from the Bible, then rushed back into the thousand smells of the train, of jasmine garlands, and other flower sellers, of masala dosa and vegetable vada and chips and tanni, then back again in the cool shade of the house, lapping up rasam & steamed rice, then back at the reception, looking at a screen where our childhood friend is greeting well-wishers in a black sherwani, back to the brown dust of the volley-ball court, watching the same friend awkwardly reaching to tap the ball across the net, his glasses all awry, then back again in the train, watching a million people watch you, then back again in the breezy cab with Ilaiyaraaja and massive mousque gates passing by. And then walking in a deserted campus, learning Tam campus lingo and ending up with a da or maccha as punctuation.
I am reeling from a sensory overload and yet my mind is cleansed, cooled like the tiles of Indranagar floors.