Bangalore: Trail and Beyond

I have wanted to write about Bangalore for a long time now. But the handful of people who read my posts, know how little I write; often once a month and twice in a few lucky months. Once every two months, my best friend complains how spaced out are the chapters in the story I started writing in April 2016– which I was meant to complete in that month but still remains incomplete. I am not going make any excuses here, I am lazy, undisciplined and I allow life and people to affect me. That’s how, the post that I wanted to write on the Christmas weekend is being written right now.

Bangalore happened in my life at a time when things were not only not looking up lately but in fact were looking grimmer and grimmer by the day. My mother often remarks that I complain a lot. Partly, I agree; I had seen better days at a time when I barely valued them. But this time in early 2016, when I decided that I had to move, move anywhere on the map, I had a solid ground and more solid sense of desperation. In 2015, I worked on an assignment that required me to move in and out of the many plants of a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit in 45 degree Celsius when the person I was reporting to constantly reminded me that somehow my gender makes me unfit for the assignment. I ended up having a knee injury, a doctor ringing a threat of an approaching arthritis and branded inefficient for denying doing something that did not fall within the purview of the engagement. I walked with a swollen knee for 6 months and resentment that I have carried far beyond those 6 months.

For the latter part of 2015, I worked on a lot of things that required me to manipulate, the kind of manipulation that challenged the value education lessons I had imbibed deeply. The more I worked, the more I felt that the concept of ‘choice’ is being forfeited from my life. No matter what work was assigned to me, I was expected to do that without any qualms. I was expected to travel 50 kms a day for a month even when I complained of motion sickness, I was expected to work for 11 hours a day for August and September including Sundays for 1500 rupees a month, I was expected to sit through midnight on the last date of every return filing in a year, I was expected to put up that farce of sitting in office for 7-8 hours even when there was no work and ultimately I was expected to fold my hands and ‘beg’ for a small termination letter- essential to make the move official- and put up with a couple of malicious remarks. Now you see why I hate my career so much? My work took a lot of my confidence and a lot of my zeal away. In case you are regular a here, you can see why I sing no praises about my choice of career. I was desperate for change. I was desperate to make a move out of that place. So I moved to Bangalore, for professional reasons and in search of ‘mann ki shanti’ (mental peace) that an astrologer once told me I will never find. So I moved to Bangalore violating a strongly held notion that I cannot function anywhere beyond 300 kms from my family. Surprisingly, I did and so here I am putting pen to paper about my little adventure in Bangalore.


Since the story so far have stretched beyond the original estimated number of words, I have split this post into two parts. The second part which I will be posting tomorrow details on my stay in Bangalore.

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Definition

I was trying to make it to a thousand. A thousand steps, that is. It was nine in the morning and I was walking outside an accounts class that I attend every morning. I had landed myself in a 10,000 step duel against a friend and being the high headed snob that I am, there was no chance that I lose it. So, while the friend was sleeping and while the teacher was sipping on to tea as the class had broken for a ten minute break, I was pacing in the corridor to make it to a thousand. That is when my path crossed with a guy from my class who – unaware of the target I’d set for myself- initiated a conversation. A conversation that culminated in the inevitable question for any Chartered Accountancy student in this country- ‘When are you due to attempt the final examinations?’

Inside work and outside work, inside class and outside class, while acquainting with new faces or while watching old ones resurface, I am always greeted with questions about the exam, about the classes that I have taken, am taking or will be taking, about the teachers I am taking the classes from and their knowledge market branding. Once we are past the questions, the other half of the conversation is centered on the critique offered on my modus operandi to study and advice that I did not solicit or that is of no relevance to me. This is the conversation that I have to put myself through on a standard day. Without any intention or effort of my own, in the past fifteen months, this conversation has become the nucleus of my existence and an invisible centripetal force keeps on pulling me towards it.

What everyone looks at is the nucleus and what all of them ignore are the many orbs of electrons that complete the atom of my existence. I have an individuality that goes far beyond my education and my career. I am the person who sits down occasionally to spell out her perceptions on paper and manages to do a decent job at it. I am the person who reads to lose hold of reality and emerges with an improved grasp on reality. I am the person who can read people, their words and the aperture between what they vocalize and what they withhold. I am the person who has grown to develop a funny bone or two in her body and the heart to laugh along when a joke is being made on her. I am the person who finds a strange sense of liberation in road trips and in singing every lyric to every song that plays throughout the journey. I am the person who will begin reading an answer on the biggest conspiracies on Quora and ends being so fascinated with the Nayirah testimony that she spends the entire night learning every fact that there is on the Gulf War. I am the person who attaches great value in family and believes the best nights are the ones spent eating and talking and laughing with family. I am the person who will come across an interesting image of mocha muffins on Pinterest and be found trying to reproduce them- on sheer whim because cooking does  not interest her much- in her kitchen the next day. I am the person who diligently solves every question in the class and tries to do it before the allotted time, even though it is 6:30 in the morning, even though she struggled to open her eyes minutes before, even though it is a satellite class and the teacher will never even witness her exultation on having done it correctly. But being this person does not deny me of being the many other persons that are housed within me.

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You may wonder, why am I so bugged with my education beginning to define my life. But this is not about my education rather about one exam, the paparazzi that surrounds it, what people believe that ought to be done to survive it and how I have come to be identified with it. This fellow who does not know me outside the class, who I have never even looked at in class, charted out a timeline for the next two years of my life, told me what according to him I was doing wrong, raised an eye on my relaxed stance on the much dreaded exam and left even without asking my name. I don’t know about anybody else, but I find that rude of him to have completely neglected my identity and to have branded me as another one of the many people in this country who are attempting to become a Chartered Accountant. And what I would not give to simply move past this conversation in a blur where people attempt to shrink my personality into this definition of being a CA Final student.