Ground Zero

I left Bangalore abruptly about 18 months ago, and since then have never thought about going back, maybe just once, and that too just to face my fear of the city. Since I moved, the sheer name of Bangalore was enough to get me anxious. But recently, I had to go to the traffic city for a short two-day trip due to some office work. Unavoidable. On one hand, I was sort of happy that I would get to face my fear of the city but on the other, my insides were tumbling around. I clearly remember sitting at the airport waiting for my flight and trying very hard to remain calm.

I landed late at night. I exit the airport and the classic Bangalore air, enough to make anyone fall in love with the city, hit me. And for a second I did. Moving on, I was trying to recognize the airport, trying to find memories hidden behind pillars and outside coffee shops, but none came to me. It felt very unfamiliar. Also, the entire layout of the airport has changed. I mean I leave a city for some 18 odd months, and you go and change the entire airport. It was lit up with beautiful lights, famous breweries, and tiny shops. I get into my Uber, say "Kannada Gothella" and begin the journey back to the city, and I swear I couldn't recognize any of it. I mean I have traveled that highway stretch so many times, but nothing at all.

The next day, while on my way to the meeting, I saw a lot of familiar places. I was deliberately trying to put faces on locations to remind myself of people and that time and waiting for that dread to set in. But nothing did.  It didn't even feel nostalgic. It just felt normal.

Right before I was supposed to leave for the airport, I was just thinking of packing up and suddenly I just thought of packing my bag, going back to Daisy, and chilling with my two closest friends back then. It felt like the last two years did not take place and it was all a dream. Like we never fought and stopped talking. It just felt like any other random day out of the year 2017. And once reality hit me, I smiled to myself, having realized that what I remember of this place and those people is that I had a really good time here and made some great memories. I may not live there anymore and may not speak to those people, but what puts me at ease is that probably at this very moment, two friends are kidnapping and bullying the third one, to aimlessly drive around in the city, in the middle of the night. 


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