There, I did it. I took a picture of a flower. Truthfully, the greenery here is amazing. Bangalore is known to be “the garden city,” and India in general has unbelievable plantlife: flowers that look like they came from outer space, trees that have bats and sausages hanging from them, and shrubs that have shades of green we have never ever seen before.
The problem in B’lore is that you can’t really be looking at these things as you walk through the city. You will either get hit by a taxi or fall into a sewer if you are not gauging your every step. And even if you were to notice, the city itself has a desaturating effect: the dust everywhere takes the green off things, making it all rather dull and brownish; and the huge IT corporate buidings fill the periphery with dullness of another kind.
But if you get out of town, or off the main drags, or even stop and plant yourself squarely on some safe patch of city ground, look around, and use your imagination, the mind reels at how gorgeous it all is.
We wake to the shrill grinding sound of rebar being cut, in the construction site just outside the window. That sound is soon overtaken by the cacophonous grind of a cement mixer, which is again overtaken by the crashing gush of a truckload of rocks being emptied onto the construction site. A cloud of white rock dust presses up against the windows. This is not my beautiful world.
The construction site next door is active from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. Thirty sari-draped women balance trays of wet cement on their heads while a dozen half-naked children play in the mountain of sand. Another twenty or so barefoot men scoop rocks and bend rebar and are digging six giant pits in the red earth. They are building a three-story shopping center. From my dining room window this looks like an archeological dig. I have just found out that the construction will take one year. Huge buzz kill.
We chose this place because be could live like Columbian drug lords for what a one bedroom apartments costs at home, and because it was a quiet sanctuary away from the Bangalore choking traffic and relentless noise. Now, we may as well be living in the middle of the road. Every surface of our house is coated with grit. I’m beginning to suspect that this is why the owners have chosen not to live in their dream home.
Pack your earplugs and dust masks and come for a visit!!!