Life Travel

Time to become a tourist at home

26th July 2015

Last evening, I discovered Aliyeh Rizvi’s delightful talk titled “The Past in the Present”. Here’s a description of the talk from the Creative Mornings website:

Finding ourselves in between spaces

Why is engaging with the past so important? – of course there are lessons to learn (which we normally never do), engaging with the past enhances our cultural pride; a sense of legacy which forms a powerful connect to the present – our collective identity as Bangaloreans, and it also creates a link from the past to the present to the future. Much of who we are depends on the peculiar ways that we embed ourselves in time.

I immediately identified with the target audience for this talk: I am one of those people Aliyeh describes. I’ve lived in Bangalore all my life, but I’ve managed to engage ONLY with a handful of spaces in the city. Malleshwaram, Yelahanka, Sanjaynagar – it’s all mostly North Bangalore. In a few weeks, I will move to another part of the city (East Bangalore) that I have until now only floated through briefly.

My father used to joke that the family needed visas to travel to South Bangalore. Jokes apart, I honestly feel that  pockets of the city — the older parts especially — have a completely different air to them. A different pace, a different “look”. I am uncomfortable moving out of my comfort zone to understand them better. Why do I find it easier to convince myself to walk through the lanes of White Town in Pondicherry, for example, than exploring the Bangalore Fort? I often revel in that feeling of ‘discovery’ attached to exploring a place that I am ‘visiting’ – the rolling green hills of Munnar, the mysterious air of Valparai, the warmth and laidback sense of ‘holidaying’ in Goa. But I’ve never really explored the city that has given me so much, that has infused its cosmopolitan outlook into my blood.

Yes, I feel protective of the spaces of ‘my Bangalore’ that have expanded to accommodate migrants and Bangaloreans alike. My hackles rise when the city is found ‘lacking’ the pace of Mumbai, the ‘chaats’ of Delhi or the ‘culture’ of Kolkata. I defend the city’s open, accepting nature but now I feel like I don’t really have the right to do that because I myself know only a part of it.

If you’ve ever lived in Bangalore, please do watch this video. It really challenges your understanding of the place you may have once, or still, call home.

 

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