Not Bangalore this Christmas
Bangalore is not a city that celebrates any festival with that mad gusto that so characterizes festivals in the North of the country, particularly Delhi. I happened to be there for a short span of eight months, and Delhi sweeps you into a mood when it’s Holi, Diwali, Lori, Christmas, New Year etc. I remember shops putting out huge boxes of chocolates to be bought, the markets, festive with bunting that were strung across the roads, school kids coloring themselves and bursting crackers.
But then Delhi is a city with a history that runs into a few hundred years. There you have people and communities rooted in the city, very unlike in Bangalore. Here, everywhere you go you can see its newness. New malls and stores, bungalows being demolished and buildings going up, the city is growing and in the throes of reinventing itself constantly into a maturing place.
Having traveled a little around the various districts of Karnataka, sometimes I feel that Bangalore is so devoid of its mooring in Karnataka that this State should have another capital. Bangalore is more of a confluence for the three neighboring states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh. You can survive here with any language, unlike the North, there is no single language that binds Bangalore together. There is not even a single culture, thought its only a matter of time before it gets homogenized, and so I think Bangalore with IT as its claim to fame, is cosmopolitan enough, in a very Indian sort of way be the capital for the South of India, perhaps in an emergent way, to ‘developing India’.
To get back to the point about festivals, come a festival and Bangalore empties itself out. People from all States, crawl out from every nook and cranny and jam the tiny gateways out of the city. The trains, the buses, the cars, the two wheelers and probably the planes too are crowded, with people heading home, to where they belong. After two and a half years in Bangalore, I have found myself caught in these little jams more than a few times. Impatiently lying on the bare hard bunk of the bus waiting for it to rush me away to my where my heart is, 500 kilometers North West of India.
And when ever I’m stuck in Bangalore for a festival, like Christmas or Holi, me and a few unfortunate others can’t help but stand around and crib, about the empty and hollow feeling that surrounds us.
There are Bangalorians of course, who have no where to go but be home, but I find that for most of them this phenomena of the ‘outsiders’ is still new and so while they celebrate their festivals in their own little caste based enclaves or homes, the ‘outsider’ is well, out. When its festival time I find North Indians, whom I don’t take too much, due to the cultural differences that separate us, much warmer and welcoming.
Why have I suddenly got nostalgic about festivals? Well, as a content writer I’m doing some writing, and obviously reading, about Christmas and gifting, and with the live radio belting out the latest carols, its not hard to create that little island, just me, the music and your computer!! And I’m glad it’s a festival once more and even glad I’ll be going home this time.