A thought generates an idea. An idea becomes a dream. I am at the Nizammuddin Station, New Delhi waiting for my Rajdhani train to Bengaluru, Karnataka. A new black coloured backpack filled to the edge, a handbag hanging to the side, ticket in hand and with a lot of excitement and hope, travelling solo begins.
Just a fortnight ago, boring schedules, family tensions and lack of vacations’ feel did not sound right. Also, lurching in the Delhi summers became a no-no. Travelling was anytime welcome. Only problem after checking availability of tickets: convincing hyper and conventional parents to let me go alone. Why Bengaluru? That is so because all cousins from Singapore, Chennai and other ones were on their way to the city. “I need a break. I really want to go and meet all of them (cousins)”, I persisted. My dad gave it a thought for days together and my mom was unaware of it till a week before.
The scene: Less of expectations. More of apprehensions. Surprisingly, a green signal from dad meant a go-ahead for an eight day trip.
As the announcement sounds for the train arrival, I come back to the present. Train journeys always fascinate me. Entering the air-conditioned train, I breathe a sigh of relief not only because of the heat. It is good to know my co-passengers are not crying kids, bookworms and snoring uncles. A 33 hour journey is long but interesting conversations about politics, long-distance travelling, North v/s South Indian debates between an IT guy, army personnel, a hardcore Delhi- Punjabi family and an elderly Bihari couple makes the time pass quickly.
The train enters the platform at Bangalore City Junction. The smell of filter coffee brewing in the distance gives me a caffeine urge. A coffee cup in hand at my cousin brother’s place in Maratahalli, in the east of the city with a lovely breeze in the balcony is a memorable start to the day. But, I haven’t set a plan. I am ready to go with the flow.
Shopping and window shopping in Total mall in Doddanekundi during the day and Phoenix mall in Krishna Raja Puram (K.R Puram) in the evening is a treat. A game of bowling is a surprise at the Phoenix mall. Squaring a perfect 7 is my first ever win and it’s beyond thrilling. A Subway cheese, veggies and olive dinner follows.
The next day, I meet two cousins each from Singapore and Bengaluru. They take me to a game of Lazer tag at Lazer Castle at 80 Feet Road. Wearing soldier jackets, we need to shoot the other team members with lazer guns, and we have three family members in the age group of 70. They enjoy as much as we do. Shopping in Lifestyle showroom, Mocha Coffee in StarBucks and I am already spoilt for choice. What a day! A lot of chit-chat, amazing fun and smiles complete the day.
The next visit is to my aunt’s place in Bannerghatta located in the outskirts of the city. As much as I want to take the public transport, relatives have their way. A lot of “ghar ka khaana”, different kinds of rice from lemon to curd, from ‘murukku’ to ‘mavaladoo’ as munchies are a treat for the couple of days of my stay. It pours in the evening and the rains lend the night sky, an exceptional romantic feel. That probably is the only time, I want a company! A game of cards on a lazy Sunday. An inspiring cooking class on Monday. Enjoyment at its height.
My Chennai cousin is on her way to Bengaluru. Reaching Malleshpalya to meet her, another extreme location in the city through instinct and Google maps is a crazy bet. Kudos to that bet. It did work. A fresh shopping spree at Brigade Road near M.G Road Metro station and Commercial Street which are the busiest markets in the city gives ample time for us, the three cousins to shop, talk and hangout after a gap of nearly three years.
Travelling by buses, recently started ‘Namma Metro’ (Our metro), finding out the routes add to the fun. Another stop over at Sarjapur where big bungalows are simply breathtaking. A plan to watch a 3D movie at INOX cinemas, Forum Mall fizzles out but sharing stories over doughnuts doesn't.
Playing with my niece, exploring the city, admiring the rains in a pleasing weather, an extra bag of gifts filled with home-made mango pickles, filter coffee powder packets are perks of the trip. Indeed, this journey is all about Independence. Individuality. Insights.