Tom’s Tales: My last walk home

This weekend, Melissa and I are taking a huge step toward improving our day-to-day lives in Bengaluru. We are moving from Yelahanka, almost as far north as you can get and still call yourself in Bangalore, to Malleshwaram, nearer downtown, right on the Metro, and past a notorious bottleneck. More on that later, after the move. Yesterday, I took my last walk home, which is, along with our friends we made at NCC, one of only two things I will miss about the move.

I wrote about the walk to and from work earlier in our stay. The walk has changed many times since then. Most significantly, I quit walking to work in the morning. The hole in the fence was closed and reopened and closed again and a new hole opened up. The little farm stopped being part of the walk, first thanks to monsoon inspired mud and then construction. The end result was that it went from a 20 minute bit of bliss to an hour and fifteen minute, at times contentious little slice of India.

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A random celebration just outside the park in one of the villages. Note the god in truck in the background.

What I appreciated most about what my walk turned in to was how purely it represented India as we’ve experienced it. It was beautiful, with the lake and its birds, the trees, the greenery, and everything. It was also stinky, with occasional toxic spills in the lake and the constant sewage-filled stream that feeds it. The people along the way could be stubborn and unreasonable, especially the guards, whose sole duty it seemed was to stop the very reasonable act of cutting through the fence to the village near our place, but most of the people were kind and wonderful.

The longest route I was forced to take took me through two little neighborhoods with adorable children, with smiles and eyes that simply lit up their faces. People along the walk were always friendly, making small talk, showing off as much English as they could muster, and asking how my vacation was when they noticed I hadn’t been through in a while.

I didn’t see most of the regulars on my last walk yesterday, which is probably for the better. I probably would have done something weird on what was just an average day for them.

I’m also going to miss the occasional times I got to walk home with some of my colleagues. Ashi and Elsa tried to make a point of walk-in gone fairly regularly, though I usually walked later than them. One time I walked home with Craig and Ivana. It was always such a nice way to catch up with some really great people.

It has been fun to watch the workers beautify the lake. It is one of several that the city has built to try to fix some of the paving over of so many of the green areas. Since I’ve been making the walk, all kinds of trees and flowers have been planted and the lake shore has been cleaned up. On the other hand, since this is the land of contradictions, just over the fence in a couple of places there is some pretty major development happening.

The longest version of the walk also sent me on that stereotypically Indian thing of

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Baby Donkey!

waking down the train tracks. While doing so I also came across baby animals of all kinds: baby goats, baby donkeys, puppies, chicks, calves, and probably cutest of all, little baby piglets.

If you want to see more photos of my walk home, I frequently posted them on our Instagram page, wellserton_wanderings.

I’m going to miss my little walk every day. I’m trading it in for a bus ride with cute little sleeping kinders because so so much of our lives are about to get better.