Along the Away

travel, dream, create, inspire, appreciate

MG Rd, Bangalore

Chaotic MG Rd, Bangalore

My first Indian post comes at the close of my first full week in this crazy beautiful country, which is pretty appropriate as a week is probably required to absorb and adjust and find my Indian groove. Not to mention sort out the intensely complicated tasks of getting a SIM card for phone and net access and crack those 500 rupee notes down to denominations actually accepted by the everyday Indian trader.

So, one week in and I can happily report how much I love Bangalore; living here, working here, eating here, making friends here, negotiating traffic here. It’s weird how at home I have felt pretty much from day one. Bangalore is a pretty cosmopolitan city as far as India goes, and Bangaloreans are certainly very blasé about Westerners and our ways. We’ve barely warranted a second glance in fact. English is widely spoken; jeans worn by much of the population, and the Indian Gloria Jeans/Starbucks equivalent, “Coffee Days” cafes, are aplenty.

I arrived midnight last Friday night and had the two day weekend to orientate myself before starting my internship on Monday. I’m staying in a self contained apartment, above the garage at the house of Mrs Singh. I’m sharing the room and the internship experience with Alicia, who is an urban planner from Melbourne.

Home Sweet Home in Bangalore

Home Sweet Home in Bangalore; Fifi watches the gate, but she'll let you right in without a glance. We live in the self contained room above the garage.

Our first weekend was spent settling in and checking out the town. Our first stop was to have tea with Mrs. Singh and her Grandson Varun at the main house where we are staying. Mrs Singh is a lovely lady who gave us a warm welcome. She has lived in Bangalore her whole life, having built the house she lives in with her husband before the area had even been developed. She was a professor of Botany at the university and worked there her entire career before she retired. She knows all there is to know about Bangalore and is an excellent host, pointing us in all directions to enjoy our stay here.

We checked out two of the main roads in Bangalore. Cunningham Rd is the area near the organisation we’re working at. It’s busy with a constant flow of weaving vehicles and requires a certain rhythmic dash across the road in stages to make it to the other side. MG Road is a pretty crazy place, lined with shops and clogged with traffic, usually not moving as much making it easier to cross the road here. There are some great places to eat around both and I can admit our first two days revolved mostly around food, and sussing where we could get it, what was on the menu, how much for, and was it safe to eat. Happy to report that one week in, India has been kind to my health!

We checked out Cubbon Park on Sunday, after finally finding our way in. The streets were crazy congested, and after we were asked again and again ‘Australian? Australian?’ by the Indians on the sidewalks, cheeks gleaming with painted Indian flags, we realised the masses were heading to the cricket stadium for a friendly match between India and Australia (they won). We enjoyed the peace in Cubbon Park, expansive parkland in the heart of Bangalore (India’s ‘City of Gardens’) along with lots of families, couples and groups of friends.

That evening we took a drive with Varun and Kartini, the grandchildren of Mrs. Singh. We went for a walk around Lake Ulsoor, one of the remaining lakes in Bangalore (many have been filled in and developed on).

Lake Ulsoor, Bangalore

Lake Ulsoor, Bangalore

It’s pretty amazing how only a few days were enough for my inner Indian to come forth and feel right at home. I’m negotiating with auto drivers and sauntering across peak hour traffic chaos like any self respecting Indian, and I am already feeling the instinct to head wobble with the best of them. Hoping that’s one habit I’ll lose before returning to Australia! All in all, loving Bangalore, loving India!

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Sydney based, coastal dwelling. When I'm not at work I'm somewhere outdoors, or in the yoga studio, or at my local cafe, or pottering at home.

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