I am neither Kannadiga (well actually a sliver of me is!), nor am I someone who has spent a majority of my life in Bangalore, but I never give too much weightage to all of that. But ask me where I'm from and pat comes the answer - "Bangalore". For a nomadic Air Force kid, who will usually find that question difficult to answer, home has been whereever my dad has been posted and each and every place has really great memories. Our family is originally from Punjab (though my mom shares her father's North Indian roots with her mother's part Tamilian part Kannadiga origin), but I've never lived anywhere in Punjab, don't speak the language unfortunately, and have no relatives there either. A series of my dad's postings to Bangalore over the years, the city where I was born, later started school, came home on holiday when I was in college and started work eventually is where I feel the most at home. Of course, home has nothing to do with a physical house and you can definitely have more than one - my homes are now Bangalore and with Sid - I say with Sid because Delhi has very little to do with it, Sid and I could have that feeling anywhere.
Bang-a-love is my eternal love affair with a city that has definitely changed and continues to change every minute, but always washes me in a warmth that I often crave for. Being a kid in Bangalore for me was Sponta chips and Gold Spot at the Bangalore Club; visiting Cubbon Park with Shanu; walloping down black forest pastries or chicken patties at Sweet Chariot; our house in Indira Nagar with birthday parties on the terrace; family friends who are still in the city; my nursery and junior one teachers at Baldwins and the march past captain who's baton twirling I could watch endlessly; my friend Aurelia; eating french fries and falling asleep on the green wooden benches at the Only Place - which I still go back to each time to eat some of the best steaks in Bangalore. Subsequent trips to Bangalore were mainly on short holidays and even though my dad's next posting to Bangalore only came around 12-13 years later, it just felt like we were going home - strange since we rarely spent more than a couple of years in each place. My godparents' daughter's wedding as soon as we returned at the ASTE mess, a bit of the old and the new where I started pubbing, but also going back to the old haunts like the Only Place; a whirl of parties and socializing with old family friends, shopping at Brigade Road and Commercial Street and so on. A few months or a few weeks of home at a time when I only visited when I had time off from college.
After my masters I came back for two years and started working and loved the city even more - from working at probably my happiest and most memorable job with really nice people (something which makes Bangalore love-worthy!); spending a lot of time with my parents before my dad retired and then living in Indira Nagar for a while before our gorgeous house was being built on the outskirts of the city; dancing with some really fun people; drinking tons of coffee with Ayesha and wearing Aby's clothes; enjoying all the great food from Blue Ginger to Herbs and Spices to Sunny's to RR to Opus; being dragged along for parties at the Catholic Club; sunny brunches at the KGA, finding Spratt, the salon that my family now lives in and which I go back to Bangalore just to get my hair done by them; browsing through Higgin Bothams and going crazy at the Strand Christmas sale; and finally moving into our beautiful house in this lovely coffee plantation area, waking up every morning in that house in my room with a funky bathroom I might add (my painted potty and sink!) is really divine - leaving Bangalore for a job in Delhi was heart wrenching, yet essential at the time and of course if I hadn't come back Sid wouldn't have happened, so destiny perhaps :)
I do think I will return to live there again sometime, probably not immediately, but I have to go home every few months just to get a good dose of "feel good"! Now with Shanu and her family there as well home has also come to mean my precocious 4 year old nephew and now his little sister as well. From Play zones to Leela brunches to KGA where everyone knows the kid's names to being called "Sister" by the girls who work at home to Radio Indigo...Bang-a-love is a continual affair for me...