Thursday, May 19, 2005

Back in Bangalore

Back in Bangalore. Tried to post some blog entries while in Bhopal. But couldn't as either I didn't get the time, or when did have time there wasn't electricity because of power-cut, or the connectivity was bad.

North India is nothing short of a furnace. On 15th, Bhopal recorded its highest temperature till then: 42 deg C. It was to go up further. But evening and night were fine.

One of the main objectives of the trip in peak summer was to call on a bed-ridden ailing aunt. For her, it all began with unbearable back pain. A series of x-rays revealed shrinking of the fourth vertebra. Bone-marrow cancer was suspected and for biopsy 1 to 4 vertebrae were operated. After biopsy cancer was ruled out. Doctors have so far not been able to say what exactly is wrong with her. Diagnosis is on, so too loads of medicines.

Bhopal is the city where I began my journalism career, in 1988. So I travelled down the memory lane with a visit to my former newspaper office: Central Chronicle, which used to be called Madhya Pradesh Chroncle. It is a sister publication of Nav Bharat. So much has changed in 17 years. Obviously. There are just a few of my ex-colleagues still working there.

Checked out the roadside teashop. I used to always order two cups of tea, as one cup was just a two gulps. Keralites are used to having a full cup of tea, some 200 ml. In the North, it is usually litres of water and just two small gulps of tea. But I still needed my full glass of tea. The shopkeeper always used to find my two cups funny, and wondered how I could have that much. Actually, even two cups wasn't enough for me. But ordering three cups would have earned me the sobriquet of extra-terrestrial. Already that shopkeeper didn't know what Kerala was, or where it was! I wanted to meet him. But someone else was running the shop, and they had no clue to where my ex-teashop owner-friend was.

I also had food at the Indian Coffee House from where I used to regularly have my lunch and dinner. They used to have monthly coupon system which was very economical. The city itself has changed. But not to the extent Bangalore has. Mahrana Pratap Nagar, when the newspaper office is located, had only about a dozen other buildings then. Now all the vast stretches of land are filled with multi-storey offices buildings. But unlike Bangalore, roads new Bhopal are all quite broad. Since there aren't so many road junctions, there aren't so many traffic lights either.

The cost of living is so low. Some ten km from the city centre, a single bedroom you can rent for Rs 300 or 400. A two-bedroom house you can buy for some Rs 3 lakh or 4 lakh. Food too is cheap. It could change soon. Bhopal will soon have an IT park. It's airport is getting upgraded to international level. ISRO (India's space agency) has opened a master-control facility there.

Ten days away from Bangalore was a good break; even if it was in a heat belt. Catching up with old friends and relatives; shopping and eating out; and just doing nothing serious.

On arrival back here in Bangalore, I found newspapers screaming that the city and state was experiencing a heat wave. I found it funny. Bangalore to me was perfectly air-conditioned!


  1. Hey good to hear u r back. I came in today after a well deserved brak from namma banguluru. It's like pressing the inner refresh button.

  2. Hey too from Bhopal....lived there has changed a lot....there used to be a single engineering college back a decade and now you can count more than 20...they are churning out engineers like nothing.....

    I have stayed in Namma Bengalooroo for 1.5 yrs now...still I miss bhopal a lot....You can smell the seasons in the air in bhopal...something I have missed altogether in B' stays the same ever....and while bhopal isd baking is still so cool here.....