Have been there a couple of times.

The first time when I was in the second grade. I was seven then. It was as part of a south India tour. I was with achchan, amma, ammamma, muthachan, mema, cheriachchan, Manikutty and probably others like Vimal mama. We do have a few photographs in our album at home. We had been to Ooty, Mysore, Bangalore and I don't remember where else. Don't remember anything regarding this trip due to 2 reasons, firstly, I was a kid then, secondly, my memory power is damn good. :)

Then after a long time, when I was in eleventh grade, the school trip was to Bangalore, Mysore, Brindavan, Black Thunder. Then I remember visiting the Science Museum and then the glass house in Lal Bagh, the rocky part behind it. I remember our accompanying teacher helping us in mouth looking! Then we went shopping in MG road and Brigade road. I got a Barbie for my sister and a chapel for myself! We had a nice time in Bangalore then. I was quite impressed by the city.

In the second semester of my undergrad I had to do my NCC camp at Bangalore. It was arranged at MEG- Madras Engineers Group, Ulsoor, Bangalore. We had to be there for 15 days. It was named as "Army Attachment Camp".
We boarded the Durgamba travels from our college campus one fine night and the next day morning we were in Bangalore, alighted in front of one of the MEG gates. Then our Army senior (one Hawaldar Major) did all the formalities of getting us guys inside the high security premises. We din't get any accommodation as nothing was arranged as such and anyways there was no facilities to arrange for. We had the shock of our life when we were asked to brush and get "fresh" in a bathroom. I felt the bathrooms portrayed (in the jails) in movies like Mahanadi were far better. I was just wondering how we will live here for 15 days. Then I made a phone call home telling that all is "well" here with me and answering all my mothers curiosity with nice nice words.
An army attachment camp meant that we have to live for a few days with the Indian Army Jawans, eating the kind of food that they eat, staying in the barracks they stay and undergoing the training that they do. These 15 days really thought me a lot about life. I really changed my outlook about life. I understood how ignorant I was about life. The other things that I learnt were

  1. If you are in the defense services your life has no value.
  2. You are a slave of your senior. You have to clean their toilets, polish their shoes, and do whatever they ask you to.
  3. Appearance is very important, even if you don't take bath never go without shaving. If a Jawan reports to his senior without shaving, the punishment is that, a stone is rubbed on his cheek till it bleeds.
  4. By undergoing an army training a person will develop a great concentration power. This is because if a Jawan makes a small mistake he might have to suffer a lot of pain and torture. So he would' t make mistakes.
The rules were relaxed a lot for us as we were considered "civil". The first day we had food in the जवान's mess. The food was very pathetic. The rotis are made and thrown on the ground and the जवंस come running to grab it up. And food is all steam cooked in the army fashion. This makes the food so tasteless that you won't even have one handful of rice.I wondered on the first day how the Jawan trainees here eat this food for 2.5 years. I got the answer in two days. I felt the food to be quite tasty! How? When you are tortured throughout the day and you are given only shit to eat then even shit will be tasty. The जवान who is sleeping for 6 hours and is tortured for the rest of the 18 hours will feel this food to be very tasty. By torture I mean running, crawling, kneeling, jumping, shouting, running carrying heavy stuff, cleaning toilets, painting trees white(no idea why they are made to do so), exercise, and lots of other strenuous activities continuously throughout the day. They don't get a break. They have no kind of recreation except for a bottle of Beer on Friday evenings. Wonder why army is patronizing drinking so much.
During this 2 .5 years of training they get a monthly pay of Rs7500. After this training they are taken into the भार्तीय सेना as जवान.
I always hated the Parle G biscuits. I used to consider them to be of low quality. they never tasted good, even now they don't. But once in my life they did!
Out of our 15 days there, 3 were holidays। So you can actually stay back in your barrack and sleep or go to a movie (They do have a theatre inside MEG) or play cricket with the JCOs (Joint Commissioned Officers) there। I saw two bad movies in that egg shaped theatre, one Malayalam and another Tamil. What more can you ask for, they just cost you Rs 8 ( front rows ) or Rs 10 ( balcony ).
But I was not content with that. I wanted to see Bangalore that's one reason I was there. And getting a permission is like a crow flying upside down.
But then I got it.
How ?
Thats one lesson that I had learn t right from my days at Madras.
You want to get something done from a Tamil, talk to him in Tamil.
And the Hawaldar Major was a Tamil.
Thus I was illegally out of MEG.
There was this senior of mine with me and he knew the city pretty well. He took me to many arbit places in the city. This was enough enjoyment for me when compared to the closed confines of MEG.
While I was loitering around my friend Sandeep stayed in MEG and went to play cricket. He played with a group of Malayali JCOs. Ultimately he learn t a lot of new bad words in Malayalam. The army officers are really bad-mouthed.
The last of the holidays I went out with Sandeep not even asking our Hawaldar Major. We went sight-seeing to Lal Bagh etc.
Training there was quite torturous for us sophisticated engineering students. We were made to run around 10 kms everyday. But a minutes thought about those guys who stay here for 2.5 years used to give us that push to run that extra mile.
I talked with a few Jawan trainees there
"Isn't it torturous ?"
"Yes it is"
"Are you educated ?"
"Yes, B.Sc."
"Then why are you here? Cant you do something else ?"
"There is nothing that I can do at homeland, my family is very poor and I am not able to find any job with my qualification"
The jawans have a recreation room with TV, Internet, magazines, Chess and Carroms. And I could see that the jawans are making good use of it as well.
The last day at the camp we got the Army Attachment Camp certificate.
Till date I don't have a more hard earned certificate than that.

Then it was in the final semester of my undergrad. I had got placed in National Instruments. The company's International Relationship Managers were coming down to Bangalore, so they had invited us for a lunch with those guys. They had booked us on Jet Airways.
I was at the Mangalore airport. This was the first time I was at a airport. It was a small airport. Got the luggage checked and boarded. Amma called after I boarded.
It was the first time that I was flying. It indeed was a good experience. The flight accelerating, the polite air-hostess, the food, the roads which seemed like thin lines on a map, the vegetation below like a cauliflower.
I was lucky to get of window seats to and fro.
The guys with me were very particular in taking a cab to our future office building. So we got a prepaid cab to Koramangala. I was curiously looking out the widow pane to catch glimpses of my future home city.
I felt it be bland.
I saw a few corporate buildings - Yahoo, IBM, Microsoft etc etc..
On the cab we changed our plans to go to the MG Road instead as we were getting late for lunch and we asked the guys in office to go ahead and that we will meet at the hotel instead.
So we were at Barton's Center. The buffet was on the 13th floor. It was fun. It was on a terrace and you can have a good view of the city from here.
After the lunch we went back to the office and met our future colleagues. We were given T- shirts and LabVIEW DVDs ( Its still hiding somewhere in my Suitcase, never touched it ).
Then my uncle came to pick me up. I planned to stay with him tonight. We went to CV Raman Nagar.
I learnt that his is a completely satisfied and settled life, unlike my other uncles. My aunty is the reason behind the same.
Two cute children - Krithiga and Mridul, both are obedient and smart. I love this family a lot.
I caught the flight back to Mangalore the next morning.
I felt Bangalore to be bland!

And now comes the final time to Bangalore. This time it is not a visit. I am here in Bangalore to live and work.
I have seen that many of uncles and elder cousins are not as lucky as I. I mean, landing in a good job when you are 21. Many of them had to do a lot of unsatisfying jobs, were jobless for long durations etc. I mean many around me were not settled. Some of them dint know what to do. Some of them went into business which tumbled down into losses.
And off late I started reading "Atlas Shrugged". There is this very nice explanation of what money is by Francisco d'Anconia. I was totally impressed. I have started spending one-fourth of my salary. My only expenditures are good food and bad movies. I saw about 2 dozen movies after coming to Bangalore. None of them impressed me, except for one Aamir Khan flick. And of course Bangalore has been a great place for my tongue. Food, of all major Cuisines, yes I have tried most of them. Sometimes I feel I have lived my life. Lets see whats in store.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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