For the past few days in Bangalore I come home and at about 10 PM I’m taken by the urge. So one day, at about 10:30, I sneaked out of home with my ipod to go for my walk. Why sneak? Because I have parents and grandparents who would disapprove intensely and much discussion would ensue – “Where did you develop such strange habits. You have no routine and no discipline. And ultimately it would lead to a discussion on all that is wrong with you.” To be avoided at all cost.
So there I was at 10:30, on a street I had walked for much of my life and I set off as usual to dear Micheal Hutchence and Bono encouraging me to Slide Away. 2 minutes later my every city instinct was screaming at me to go back home. Most streetlights were off, there were strange people on cycles lurking in the dimmer corners and yours truly was out there with ipod on and pony tail swinging. Fully slasher movie – though of course, I would not have been a very 'cute' victim. So I was back home by 10:35 and verrry frustrated.
A couple of days into a week that went downhill from there I found myself in a city I admire for the convenience it offers though I find it a little difficult to reconcile myself to its artificially created prosperity. Singapore is nice if you want a break from the wear and tear of routine – there is much routine but no wear and tear!
Anyway, at the very reasonable hour of 7 PM on a weekday evening I decided to avail self of the services of hotel gym only to find that it works 9 to 5. Wow! Great logic! It then occured to me that I was in the 'safest city' – so I could muffle the 'running in strange place instincts' and wander with the pod into any odd corner. Hit the road instamatically.
All the old colonial houses on Scotts Road have become pretentious looking art galleries or salons or restaurants. The pedestrian path is neatly cemented and separated from the road by broad herb borders. At regimented intervals there are trees planted – far enough away from each other that their branches do not touch. But I felt happy and on my way to adrenaline heaven.
About 400 metres along if one takes the right uphill at the traffic signal, there is a turnoff to a Y leading into the jungle paradise locality. All the houses are set well back from the road. A couple have big manicured lawns, affording a clear view of old style houses with huge wrap-around verandas but most have left the trees alone. So apart from the occasional glimpse of a drive through the trees or a balcony here or there, one has the feeling of being alone in the jungle. Unlike on Scotts Road where all flora has been tamed to human sizes, the plants here grow to their native size. Everything is supersize, very very green and the slightly bitter smell of wet vegetation is thick in the air. It was a little past twilight and I had only the occassional bat flying overhead to keep me company. Looks like all the natives were sticking close to the air-conditioning, leaving the world outside to me.
Now I want to move to regions equatorial for a while so I can have more time with the trees. Me Mowgli?