17th-18th December, 2015
The day started with a breakfast at a nearby underground restaurant, Sai Bhavan. Rahul and I walked down to the restaurant. According to Rahul, this place served the best food in the neighborhood. Even though it was underground, half of the ceiling had a open view of the street and allowed the sunlight to illuminate the place. The place was small but clean and tidy. We bought our coupons and handed it over to the staff at the delivery bay. The entire staff was in black uniform. While I waited for the delivery, Rahul got the tea for us. I glanced at the menu hanging on the nearby wall. In the lunch and dinner items there were many items ending with ‘Bath’. Usually in Hindi rice is called ‘Bhaat’, but here in Bangalore it was commonly called, ‘Bath’. Usually when we hear or read ‘Bath’, the first thing that pops up in our head is a closed room, soap, shampoo, tooth-brush etc. But here the story was different. I read a dish called ‘Masala Bath’, which in English translates to, ‘Spicy Bath’. I laughed at funny thoughts in my head and took the delivery of the served breakfast items.
We grabbed the nearby table and stuffed ourselves with delicious breakfast. I had ordered ‘Medu wada’. And it was so crispy and delicious that I ordered a second round. We returned to the apartment and Rahul left for office. He suggested me to visit ITPL, which is one of the biggest IT Park in Bangalore. This IT park had many animation and vfx studios where many of my friends including Rahul were working. At one point of time in the past, we all worked in the same company. But now as the CG and VFX industry grew in India, everyone scattered around. It was a good idea to catch up with them after so many years.
In the afternoon, I rode again in the crazy traffic of Bangalore. ITPL was merely 14 kms from Rahul’s apartment but it took me more than an hour to get there. I crossed the heavy security at the entrance, filled up the visitor pass form, deposited my pan card at the security which I was to get back while leaving, found a good parking spot for my bike and called up my friends one by one. While I was walking towards the mess hall I bumped into Pankaj, my ex-collegue. He was surprised to see me and when he learnt that I’m on a solo road-trip he was astonished and wished me good luck for the rest of the trip.
I met my friends at the mess hall. It was great to see them. For a while we just stood there chitchatting. Then we realized they have a limited time. They had to finish their lunch and get back to work. While I was ordering my food, the guy standing next to me quickly turned around, he found my voice familiar. It was Rajrajan, my ex team lead. We both were shocked and surprised to see each other after almost 10 years. After talking to him for a while, I joined my friends for lunch.
We were shortly joined by Naren during lunch, another friend of mine. I had no idea how many of my friends worked in ITPL and how many of them I would bump into that day. An hour went by without us realizing it. I decided to take a group photo before they all head back to work. We came out, stood in the sun. One of my friend handed over my camera to his friend to take a photo. While he was clicking a photo, we heard loud voice, “Oye Pranay”. I saw one more friend of mine. I asked him get in the group for the photo. Then the guy clicked another photo. Again we heard it, “Oye Pranay”. One more friend, one more click and one more shout. And it reapeated again several times. It was four of us in the beginning and now it was eight. We all laughed whenever we heard the same shout again and again. It was a great coincidence. I was delighted to bump into so many of my friends that day. My visit to ITPL paid off. While I was leaving, I bumped into two more friends of mine. Took photos with them and spent some time talking with them. Everyone went back to work, except Manmath, my old friend. He invited me for dinner on coming weekend.
In the evening I met Dilip, who happens to by my close friend Avinash’s elder brother. He had shifted to Bangalore few years ago. I called him up and we decided to meet up. We went to a nearby restaurant. He explained me the differences that he observed in the lifestyles of Mumbai and Bangalore. He liked it here more than Mumbai. He was going to go leave for Mumbai the next day for spending holidays with family, otherwise he was eager to show me around in Bangalore. After delicious dinner we strolled around, observing the night life of the city. As he was just mentioning that the owner of a furniture shop on the street has a big and fluffy cat, we just happened to get a glimpse of it right then. The cat really was big and fluffy but was very lazy. It didn’t even move while I was taking photographs. It was getting late and Dilip had to pack his bags for his departure to Mumbai. We called it a day.
I spent the next day just lazing around and planning my next course of action for the trip. I had planned to leave for Coorg but since Waynad was so close by, I decided to take a detour to Waynad in Kerala, visit ‘Edekkal Caves’ and then go to Coorg. I also had planned to see the famous sunrise of Nandi hills which was a suggestion from Dibbu and her husband. Rahul had been there several times but he wanted to come there again with me. So we decided to go to Nandi Hills on coming Saturday.