BENGALURU: My three weeks of eating, talking non-stop and laughing till my jaws ache has sadly come to an end. I wind back home today both with a twinge of sadness and also with a sense of excitement to get back to my city of birth. There are lessons to be learned in these times. Either one can be very blasé, with façade of false bravado, or one can be cautious and do the ‘right’ things or one can be paranoid about the air we breathe! My husband is a mix of two and three, my fully inoculated kids are a mix of one and two and I.just wing it!
To be honest, I’m a home-body. My detractors may raise their eyebrows, but it’s true. Of course my seminars, lectures, performances and traveling keeps me out of the house including my evening shenanigans (mostly networking for me), and lunch dates with close friends.But the rest of the time I am a homebody! I can’t help the fact that I am gregarious, witty and well-liked now can I?
Things taken for granted came into sharp focus during this ongoing pandemic. The pandemonium of being with family and friends, the simple act of holding each other to show love or comfort, meeting in a ‘safe bubble’, the joy of walking through a market-place imbibing its raw ambiance...the loss is more palpable with the smaller things, the numerous little incongruous things we take for granted. I was delirious to be in Mumbai with my children, but life pretty much stopped at that. I used to love navigating the slopes of Pali Hill. There’s a particular road coming up the hill which has a gradient of 45 degrees or more, that I never failed to climb up because the slope ended at my favourite neighbourhood ‘smuggler’. This time I was just calling him incessantly placing orders for Apple accessories which he promptly home-delivered. Not the same and less enjoyable than going goggle-eyed in his shop.
Rains have lashed this city and parts of the low-lying areas were swept away with land-slides. But in all the pictures, one sees cheerful people draining flood waters from their homes and even the streets along with members of the administration. Therein lies the difference. The administration of this city is proactive, caring of its citizenry and ground-level workers.
Nothing stopped. I drove downtown to The Trident Oberoi in Cuffe Parade (the edge of Mumbai for the uninitiated) to meet up (an ex-Bangalore angel, as she likes to call herself), the lovely Dana Bhandari. Dana is a deeply spiritual soul, but she is full of life too. Quick to laugh, share a joke, participate in a madcap adventure of give you an uninterrupted ear. We became close friends when her husband was heading the ITC Hotels in Bangalore and remain friends to date. She sorely misses Bengaluru and calls it her ‘smile-land’, and even for a jaded person like me, I hear that and go ‘awww’! Lunching with her in her apartment that had an unrestricted view of the sea and catching up was blissful. She looks super content and I am happy if my friends shift here so I can get to see them in my second home.
Chef Rohan D’Souza is also a friend from Bengaluru. I remember following my nose with the delightful aromas emitting from his kitchen and I met the young Rohan, fresh out from culinary school with big ideas. Now he is a consultant chef to a slew of cafes in Mumbai, Goa and abroad. We ordered in from his Silver Beach Cafe that has an extensive high quality menu, ranging from Thai, Italian and European food. The emph0asis was dining ‘home-style’ with unpretentious but good food where a family can choose from a bouquet of cuisines.
Friday lunches have become the new ‘sun-uppers’. Viva the unstoppable!
Writer, actor and funny girl