Friday, 16 January 2009

I'm Off

Off on a 10 day trip to Bangalore, Mangalore and Cochin from Saturday. These are places I've wanted to see for a long time, and I'm finally getting to chance to do just that.

I have been to Bangalore before, but well over 10 years ago when I was too young to enjoy travelling. It was a family trip to 3 places - Bangalore, Mysore and Ooty - that we did during the summer just before heading to Bombay and Goa for our usual once-in-every-two years holiday there from Muscat.

The whole trip seems to be a blur now. I remember us signing up with a tour group in Bangalore. They took us around the city in a bus, showing us the sights, and I remember visiting a museum first, and then the Nehru Science Center, where we spent an especially long time. That was only the second science museum I'd been to (the first one being in Muscat which we frequented often), and I remember being overwhelmed by it's size and buzzing crowds. It was a lot larger and busier than the one in Muscat, stretching across multiple floors, with each floor dedicated to one theme like space, biology, etc.

I then remember going by bus to Mysore and seeing a huge palace there, with paintings of the royal family and the thrones that they sat on. All very luxurious. I also remember going to a park with dancing fountains and a huge cathedral with underground graves, and visiting a wildlife sanctuary at some point, though it might have been in Bangalore. I also remember eating south Indian food like Sada Dosa everywhere we went.

We travelled by bus a lot, and I hated it. I was continuously falling sick and feeling like throwing up all the time, and actually throwing up occasionally. I remember the journey to Ooty as being exceptionally long and tiresome along this continuous, winding, never ending road going up and around a mountain, and when we arrived there it was cold, very cold, and dark and depressing.

I had never felt this cold in my life, for I had spent my entire life until that point (I was around twelve at the time I think) in Muscat with visits to Bombay and Goa every alternate summer, so I had never experienced cold in my life, just heat. And as a child, you don't notice the heat. You don't care about how hot it is outside and whether it's morning or afternoon and how high the temperature is and how high it's going to get. All you want to do is play.

But the cold was an entirely new experience for me. It forced me to halt in my tracks, numbed me, demanded that I take notice of it, show it some respect. I don't even remember how long we were in Ooty, but the fact that I have such few memories of the place indicates that it couldn't have been longer than a day.

The story today is quite opposite. I hate the heat and love the cold. I guess as you grow up your priorities change. You tend to look for cool and comfortable settings in which you can spend your lifetime, instead of sweaty, humid surroundings.


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