Flying To Bengalur(u)

Flying back to a city I’m most comfortable in evokes memories of the first time I landed there. Atleast in my memory, I instantly recall being wheeled by a porter, because I decided to sit on top of my suitcases – a big, grey Delsey, as the Unaccompanied Minor staff allocated to me struggled to keep up with our pace, holding all documentation. I remember searching the crowd for my grandparents’ eyes, my grandmother’s eagerness, and my grandfather’s excitedness. An entire summer here, I remember thinking. Pure bliss. Only to be presented with incessant rain and unpleasant tomato juice.

Year after year, for 6 years, similar scenes play out from the B-roll that is my brain.

Each time, I recount, vividly getting into the Cream White Omni my grandfather owned and being wheeled away to the Basaveshwaranagar house. The smell of ripening yelaki bananas and Parle-G biscuits surrounds me, with the tantrum I threw – expecting a more lavish spread for my arrival. What strikes me was how uncomfortable I first was with the taste of the water – and how my grandmother packaged water in plastic Bisleri bottles, to ensure I felt protected by the RO my spoilt body was used to.

I can place the first phone calls made to home, announcing my safe arrival. What I imagine is my parents heaving a sigh of relief, considering their package had reached its’ intended destination. I can’t particularly relate to what they must’ve thought when their 5-year-old, fresh from kindergarten graduation asked to fly alone to India. But I’m so grateful for that experience. So many memories of mine involve aeroplanes.

Including puking every single time I had to leave Bengaluru. Every. Single. Time.

I never learnt. My relatives would all turn up with food I loved eating to my grandparents’ place. And I used to eat it year after year. Only to awaken and vomit it all out – either at home before leaving, or en route to the airport. Once I even puked after clearing Check-in, just before Security. I remember using the telephones in the old HAL airport to call up my grandfather and aunt and tell them I was fine.

Flying into, and out of Bengaluru has a lot of emotion connected to it. It’s the city that shaped me as a person.

As I go back for the third time this semester, all I want is to pause and remember that feeling of each wheel hitting the tarmac. I want to pause time when I hear the announcement that we’ve landed in Kempegowda International Airport. I’d like to take that extra second to smell the air from the staircase to that bus that shuttles you to the terminal.

I’m not as homesick anymore, largely because I’ve adopted my room as my home.

But God, the thought of getting rejected by an auto driver after saying “Jayanagara hogthira?” is quite beautiful.






This is just a thank you note.

Thanks to the parents for funding impulsive book buys, and for purchasing my first books – spending hours with me at Magrudy’s and BooksPlus when I didn’t know whether to buy a new Secret Seven or a Famous Five.

To my aunt & uncle, for purchasing me a Kindle, which reduced the economic strain I put on my parents with my reading.

To my grandparents, for weaving me a set of stories each night as I fell asleep on your cots during summer vacations. To my maternal grandfather in specific, for teaching me that storytelling was an art of holding your audience’s imagination in captivity, before setting it free to a faraway land of dreams. To my father, for printing out every story.

To my old school friends, who teased me for having round-framed spectacles and keeping my nose firmly between the pages of a book.

To my University friends, for allowing me to embrace this identity.

To acquaintances, for making it easier to start up any conversation by bringing in a specific frame of reference – a story.

To authors, bloggers, writers, storytellers, and creative personnel worldwide: for breaking the shackles of society to articulate your right to speech and to express in its purest, most enjoyable form.

To librarians, for doing a thankless, selfless task.

To Math: because without a numerically defined goal, I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the beauty of a sequence of letters.

To 3000, Prememe, #1 Dost, MovieMaker, and everyone who recommended titles and loaned me copies for me to ravage.

To that one week in February that drove me crazy enough to come to my room daily after classes and not get up from my bed till I was done with an entire novel.

To 52. A uniquely imperfect challenge.

A list of books I read is available upon request. Additionally, I’ll only be writing a reflective piece about this at the end of the year. There’s much that’s happened that’s shaped the books I’ve read, and the books I’ve read have shaped me greatly.




Violet eyes seek
Colours I can only dream of:
I recognize purple.


I am but certain that of everything I’ve typed on this blog, this is the most abstract I’ve gotten with colour. Haven’t been sleeping too well for the past week, owing to examinations, so a lot of my thoughts are merely sketches I’ve doodled and musings I’ve written up while listening to some music. There’s a new form of fear I’ve started to encounter with my writing – the fear of not ideating a concept fully. Something that grows every time I see my drafts counter ticking.


When people listen to what I have to say,
I feel:
Bliss, in the knowledge that someone hears my voice –
Without me calling.

I feel like:
A tomato in a pressure cooker,
Whose whistles have long gone,
Whose steam has run dry –
going soft.

With passing days of conversation,
I am an onion,
Peeling away layer,
After layer,
Showing true colours that have
been shoved inside to
prevent tears.

You will see that even a coconut,
Once peeled,
Offers the sweetest milk,
And that,
Iceberg lettuce can
sometimes go stale.

It is only once you pull layers,
Far away from the skin –
You can truly gauge what
lies within.

Manipal, Money, and Pals

While chatting with a friend this evening, I was not so subtly reminded I was more than 2 weeks without a blogpost. That’s not a feeling I want to delve into too much. Essentially, I got caught up debating and practicing for debates, while working out some stuff for examinations (which I’m in the middle of right now), and losing a whole bunch of sleep to other activities I do. A couple of updates on my personal life shall be left out of the blog for a bit. (not that you would’ve known anyway)

Today’s entire post will be devoted to the experience that was debating in Manipal, a town in Karnataka. Manipal is essentially a town built around a University, the Manipal University, with colleges affiliated to it teaching a range of disciplines. That entire concept is something I’ve never been exposed to earlier, so to get a first-hand insight into what that’s like was something I really loved.

As a direct consequence of being a University town, there are very few adults around the entire city. It’s quite likely that any adults you meet are affiliated to the University in some capacity: be it as alumni, faculty, or even administrative and allied staff. It’s ridiculously cool. Everyone there is there to study. A town full of nerds. The best kind of town.

Atleast that’s what I thought, for a bit. Student culture, however, is a beast of its own. There are enough parties to go around, enough substances, and a beach 15 minutes away from the town. Additionally, there are some mindblowing places to eat. Apart from an INOX where you can watch your favourite movies, Manipal boasts of a Onesta and a Barbeque Nation. This post would also be incomplete without talking about Manipal Fried Chicken, or MFC. Situated right outside the MIT Main Gate, MFC serves up KFC rip-offs, right to the Krushers, which, on the menu, feature original KFC images. Copyrights? Trademarks? Who cares.

So they city, in itself, has a very laid-back vibe to it. Shrek and I were speaking about this throughout. It’s so different from being on a residential campus studying with competitive individuals. The entire atmosphere here, at University, for me, adds an unnecessary layer of pressure to perform. One that I don’t agree with, but one that I’m unable to shrug off too easily. Manipal has enough competent, competitive individuals, I’m sure, but the fact that the entire city is built around the student experience, so to speak, means that everyone’s also very relaxed about how stuff works.

Several people live in hostels – which are insanely good, in comparison to the ones we live in. AC’s and all they have. What luxuries. Apart from that, however, enough individuals go out and stay in apartments of their own. Which means home food and the opportunity to order in (some amazing biryani) whenever you want. Most apartments too, really seem to care about your student experience. They come pre-furnished with most amenities, including a washing machine and geysers – so you’re rarely going to struggle.

Also, turning for a second to darker things. Considering it’s a student town and substance abuse is not something that can be checked in apartments, the builders/plot developers place stringent conditions on entry/exit & the number of guests you can host from outside of Manipal. We ended up leaving our ID cards from wherever we went, almost as collateral of some kind.

I loved every minute of being there. It’s such a princely life.

The people make it better. What a city. In 3 days I spent there, I didn’t meet a single individual who wasn’t willing to help us out. From helping out when my accommodation went to the dogs (by allowing Shrek & I to crash at their apartment), to excitedly asking about rounds at the end of each round, and to chilling with us when we could have gotten bored (and then coming for dinner with us), both Shrek and I got to meet friends of ours whom we grew up with. A massive thank you to everyone who helped us out man. Manipal isn’t the same without you guys. And I’m sure we’ll be back soon. Shrek may even take to festing just to return there.

But, more importantly, the weekend taught me so much about who friends I could rely upon were. I’m an individual who opens up slowly, but when I do open up, I place a lot of trust on people. To see people I grew up with let me down so massively sucked. I thought about this a lot, and then I wondered why I expected anything at all. When you’re friends with people, I think it’s also very important to get out of the mentality that they’ll reciprocate your exact feelings for them. Maybe this is true for all relationships. The entire let-down made me realize that I’d lose an essential part of me if I stopped trusting friends, and I’m likely to get shut down a bunch as a result. But it isn’t worth compromising on an integral part of who I am.

Damn this post got profound.

Time for some chilling. It’s exam season, which means cravings have hit their peak. Right now, I’m devouring Yellow Pure Magic sleeves, and am desirous of Cup Noodles. The multipurpose provision store that was on campus shut down, so it’s no longer a hop & a stone’s throw away.

I’m likely to use BigBasket soon. Exams aren’t the same without the smell of MSG (by which I mean Messenger of God, of course). Really need all the prayers & luck to do well on the exams.

More writing tomorrow. Genuinely. I’m going to nerd out and write about books, I think.



Can’t believe it’s been 5/6 days since I last wrote – it felt shorter in my head, I swear. Anyway, I’m back. I guess.

A quick update on what I’ve been upto in the last week. Been writing memorials for my intra-moot rounds at University, precisely what I was doing when I started blogging  – first in 2015 September, and then in 2017 January. I don’t think there’s much that comes close to the thrill of submitting something you put a lot of effort into. Specifically with memorials, that feeling for me is incomparable. It almost feels like a part of me is in every word I’ve typed out, every comma I’ve placed, and every iteration of every single sentence I’ve run through with my teammates.

It’s mindblowing.

Intras also provide this wonderful time to stay awake all night with batchmates to figure out novel arguments – sometimes even at 4AM, and then celebrate by taking a break to discuss music. Offlate I’ve found myself listening to a lot of music I used to listen to back in Grade 6 & Grade 7. Discussing the impact those songs had on me, and comparing that with the stories other people have – the first time people heard “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, for example, is a wonderful way to break the ice and connect.

It’s one of the beautiful parts of living in a hostel, I think.

What am I upto for the next couple of days?


Also trying to wake up slightly early to get to the library, because A/C + books. Most conducive environment for learning and getting things done. Getting to see some of my favourite people over the course of this week, which is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while.

Maybe I’ll get some of my projects/exam studying done as well.

Tomorrow there is dosa for breakfast, so as always, I’ll leave you with something to look forward to!

(a blogpost about dosa is cooking, methinks)