My in laws live in Bangalore. Going back for about 10 days was a little like a middle class prosaic Jason Bourne experience. Everything felt familiar, some roads and left turns came to me out of reflex, but I was still lost. From the moment I land to the minute I arrive home, we are bombarded by advertisements promising hours of relaxation, safety and joy in residential complexes that span acres, have the greenest of greens, the bluest of skies and every amenity I can think of. There is precious little space left inside Bangalore city, so the city is gently moving outwards. The traffic in Bangalore is horrendous. People call India’s traffic chaotic. I wouldn’t agree with that. It’s co-operative disorder. Essentially, follow the laws to some extent and look after yourself. Pedestrians, drivers, and animals all understand this and work together. But, soon your friends or the ones you socialize with will be the ones who live close by for a few kilometer drive will take an hour or so at least. I have much hope for the fledgling metro system. Clean and rapid transport that desperately needs more links that span the city.

I also realized that 10 years in the US has taken its toll. I had tremendous trouble breathing and requested closed windows for the first few days. It took me 10 days to acclimatize to the weather. Fab India now advertises to every segment not just the intellectual left wing consumer (it is owned by some exclusive French brand). And the city has breweries, active theater scene and slowly becoming very costly for the average Bangalorean to live in. This as told to me by a driver. It is unfortunately when the locals cant live in their own city. Similar sentiments heard in San Francisco.

I don’t have a comfort with the city to take pictures, so I didn’t take many. Actually time was spent looking for another home for Sheetal’s mum. Her mum spent many years in a lush sylvan nook in Kerala. Days of fresh clean air overlooking backwaters and green groves and above all, the sound of silence. Welcome Bangalore and the train, the dogs that bark at night which simultaneously keep the neighborhood safe and deny you your sleep, and the crows!. Yes, there is a lot of noise to tackle in Bangalore. All of which conspire to deny peace and sleep to the uninitiated. So days were spent visiting new properties. With what eye do we see these empty nascent spaces? With the architects? the prospective owner? the girl who sweeps the space? We all want a home, a home with swathes of well maintained green, fountains, running water, electricity, a guard to keep us safe, and yet these new ivory towers are at the same time symbols of such inequity.