Bye Bye Bangalore, Bangalore Goodbye…

I’m leaving early. I’m leaving early, after one session instead of two, and it’s so bittersweet, because there are things I love about this country — the food, the constant respect I receive, the way everything lights up and twinkles at night — and things I truly despise — the sheer number of people and cars, the heat and dust, the fact that I can’t even drink the purified water without feeling sick. I’m leaving in 4 days, because it’s hard to exist far from home when your intestines are screaming and E. coli seems to have taken over your body. I’m leaving because it’s time to leave.

I’m leaving the wonderful friends I’ve made through my program, leaving the office aide Saraswati who has become my surrogate mother during this trip, leaving the temples and villages and mango carts. I’m leaving aloo gobi from my favorite “fast food” restaurant, the market on the corner that sells ice cream. The nights when we stay in and watch Bollywood music videos and laugh until we feel sick. The trips out of the city to feed elephants and see Tibetan monks and buy spices. Leaving rickshaw rides in monsoons, calls to prayer, sari fabric that must’ve come straight from god, and the most handsome boys at the cake shop down the street.


But I’m returning, too. Returning home, where I’ll hopefully rid myself of E. coli and get to hug my mother, breathe in her scent, sleep with my cat, take care of my father after his knee replacement, and drink tap water. With ice. Home, where I can actually eat fresh vegetables without worrying. Home, where people move too fast and worry too much and live with so much fear even when there’s no danger around the corner. There are downsides to every place you go.

Sometimes we forget that India isn’t some mystical land of wisdom and perfection. It’s seriously flawed; overpopulated, often undereducated, and still developing. That’s not a criticism. It’s a fact. And if I stayed here simply because I thought India was somehow going to heal me from within, to thoroughly cleanse me spiritually so I would come home a different person…well that would just be a dangerous illusion. To stay because I’m afraid to quit, because I’m “supposed” to stay, because I’m afraid of judgment…I won’t do that. I need to take care of myself, just as I would at home, and right now that means I need to be home. India has a spirit and mind of it’s own, that’s for sure, and right now our spirits are at odds.

I’ll miss this beautiful, terrible place. Truly I will. But I’ll be back, India. Tujh mein rab dikhtah hai. I see my god in you.

19 thoughts on “Bye Bye Bangalore, Bangalore Goodbye…

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  1. Hygiene in India is still far from reality. It’s better to save the expectation for clean toilets until you reach home or a decent hotel.

  2. 15 years back, you’d have found a loveable city. Not anymore. I was born here and grew up here. Lived in Aus and the US for 5 years and moved back. Can’t make sense of this city anymore. It’s not just the excess people, it’s the quality of people, the lack of civic sense, the mad rush and cut-throat competition for everything – even supermarket queues. At least you have a home to return to. Ours is somewhere in the past and we have to make do with this cramped version.

    Safe travels. Hope you’re back sometime and hopefully to a better place. :)

    1. Someone else who grew up in Bangalore said the same thing. It’s a shame it’s not what you grew up with…my dad always says the same thing about his hometown in the US. Things grow and change in negative ways, and it’s really hard to change with them :( I hope you find a way to make sense of Bangalore!

  3. Hi!
    I read all your wallposts on India. Its nice of you of taking good things to light in an optimistic way.
    As you mentioned earlier, India is overcrowded, I belong only to India and only because of overpopulation in different areas there isn’t proper management of resources.
    Previously before you were leaving to India, I was mentioning about keeping things carefully. Goodness that you are safely reaching home.
    Happy days ahead :)

  4. Hahaha the last line of a super hit bollywood movie, of my fav actor! You should definitely revisit India. Next time, why don’t you come my place Allahabad, a city of a state Uttar Pradesh, in 2015 because that time it will host The Magh (Kumbh) Mela which is one of the greatest annual religious affairs for Hindus. Hindu mythology considers the origin of the Magh Mela to be the beginning of the Universe. An important occasion, the Magh (Kumbh) Mela is held every year on
    the banks of Triveni Sangam (the confluence of the three great rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati) in Prayag near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

        1. Thank you! I always appreciate how friendly and welcoming Indian people are to me, especially when I say I want to come visit. When I plan my next trip I will definitely contact you :)

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