Musings on the walk to my old workplace. Sights and sounds may be familiar to those walking the smaller streets of Namma Bengaluru…

Words by me, illustrations by my brilliant mother – Asmita Ranganathan.


Schoolchildren in uniforms milling about inside the gate, waiting for the yellow school bus. Mothers carrying plastic tiffin boxes in an array of colours and designs. Creaky black iron gate. Blue-suited watchman, brown hand raised in a sharp salute. Traffic, cars and bikes and scooters and buses. 288A, B, C, D, F, H. More Stores, with melons arranged like bowling balls in crates by the front doors.

bazaar1Coconut water man, machete in one hand, coconut in the other. Pile of tender green shells, discarded. Potholes, potholes, potholes. Nidhi’s Cottonwear and luridly-coloured dresses. Five men smoking cigarettes, laughing at something on a phone. Vasudev Adiga’s and the ever-present garbage truck. Café Coffee Day. Annapoorna and the banana seller. Yellow bananas, white garlic, green cabbage, red beets. Hot, spicy gobi Manchurian and momos make my stomach growl. Monkeys eating jackfruit from trees. A baby squatting by the edge of the road. A stream of urine darkening the soil. Cozy bungalows. Bungalows made of grey slabs of stone. Gardens with flowers in deep pinks and violets and scarlets and golds. Green leaves unfurl, revealing perfect droplets of dew…and a ladybug! Cobbled streets. A dog lying underneath a lemon tree, panting. A leaf floating to the ground. Chhhhing…a bicycle careens by, the schoolboy ringing the bell gleefully. Parp-parp, goes a sleek little Maruti, veering around a stray dog. Giggling children, barefoot and uniformed, skipping down the shady lanes, school-bound. A pigeon flapping past, achieving lift-off in an ungainly fashion.


Back out onto the main road, right by the Ganesh Temple. Sari-clad ladies with long thick braids selling marigolds in hand-woven baskets. Roses peeking out from between the stunning ochre marigolds. Vegetable sellers – tall, short, men, women, children. Capsicum and tomatoes, spinach and turnips. The boy with a tikka on his forehead who sells vegetables regularly to my mother smiling at me as I pass by. A maidan where ladies in saris are learning how to drive scooters, their husbands standing by shouting impatiently in Kannada. A pile of burning garbage, crows waiting for the flames to ebb for their chance at any scraps of food. A pothole at the intersection where no one ever looks before turning. Railway crossing. Dug-up tracks are hard to navigate in heels…Steel tracks on rocks. The whistle of a train, perhaps around the bend. The signal, flashing red! Cross quickly! Don’t fall! Whooosh! It is a long train, the one from Yashwanthpur station. Faces, blurs of brown. The smoke, the hiss of wheels on metal. Crossing the road where the egg-seller sits. Passing the family of three fat puppies. There were five a week ago! Bright-eyed children in stained frocks. Toothy grins, a hand in the mouth. Tiny crooked lanes – right, then left, then left again. Three white buildings on the left, an open plot opposite. Stop. Looking at open doors, the familiar faces inside. “Wildlife-Conservation Society – India. Centre for Wildlife Studies.”


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