“All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey.” I was born in Los Angeles, California and whenever I hear the first words from The Mamas & The Papas classic hippie-movement song California Dreaming it always warms my heart just a bit. Yet today these words actually sum up what all of us in Bangalore are experiencing on this windy and dreary winter day.
Over recent months I’ve really started to grow accustomed to the grey sky and overcast conditions that remind me so much of London. Although it was tough at first, being born and bred in California and then living the better part of my adult life on the sea just south of sunny Barcelona in Sitges. I miss days-on-end of clear blue sky. It’s rare when we have a cloud-free day or several days at a time in Bangalore but I do appreciate the micro-climate that protects us from the extreme heat and humidity that plague so many other cities in India.
The fact is that I used to moan about the weather when I first moved to Bangalore back in April. It was damn hot and the sun rarely peeked out to say hello. But that was until I went on my first business trip to Chennai and Goa. I departed Bangalore in the wee hours of the morning for Chennai and there it was bloody hot and pretty humid, much more so than Bangalore. Then after a 10am meeting I hopped a plane to Goa for another round of meetings the next day and there it was even hotter, but even more difficult to handle was the humidity. It actually made the air dense! I was immediately looking for the best dehumidifiers I could buy because my hotel room didn’t have one! It was awful. Let me tell you what I ended up feeling like while I was in Goa! You know those little sponge balls for kids that are tight and compact when purchased, but when dunked into water they magically grow, expand and turn into the shape of a dinosaur or Hello Kitty? Well, from the moment I stepped off the plane I gained about 4 inches of volume in my hair, which isn’t a BAD thing but I felt like one of those sponges the whole time I was there (or maybe a Chia Pet cuz my hair went all frizzy…hmmm!). But on a positive note, that trip did make me appreciate Bangalore weather for the first time.
Today I am sat on my terrace looking out onto the park and I’ve only now realised that the normally lush trees and foliage are quite bare. I guess because it’s so warm in Bangalore and I’ve never needed to throw on more than a jean jacket or Pashmina that it never dawned on me that we would experience autumn here during winter, complete with the trees changing colours and losing their leaves. Call it dumb blonde syndrome or just ignorance but I just didn’t expect a traditional change of seasons, especially so late in the year. But expect it or not, it is indeed here. The families of birds and squirrels at our park can’t be happy about it, especially as it is raining for the first time in ages and there is little to protect them from the elements now. And I know my housekeeper has to hate it because the balconies are now constantly receiving a steady flow of visiting leaves as they fall from the trees.
Nothing lasts forever. This is life…a roller coaster full of exciting twists and turns for some and probably altogether too mundane and unfulfilling for others. Generally speaking, I fall into the roller coaster category and have always loved it. I love the thrill of not having planted solid roots, moving from country to country, meeting new people and discovering life’s new adventures. Even my work falls into the roller coaster category because I have specialised in working with high-tech start-ups so I’ve changed jobs quite a bit given the fact that the majority of start-ups don’t make it big.
Yet today I am in a strange mood, caught up in introspection, wondering if maybe it’s time for a change. Not a shift in city to live or my job but a change from within. It started last night as a friend shared something with me that now has me thinking a little too much for my own good. I’m sure I’ll snap out of it in a day or two but all of a sudden I’m wondering if I should expand my world and embark on a spiritual journey while living my Adventure in Bangalore?
Spirituality is a constantly present force that I’ve witnessed in at least some way with every Indian who I’ve crossed paths with since moving to Bangalore and this enthralls me. Southern California ‘roots’ are much more superficial than spiritual so it has been a true joy to see the flip side of that life here in India. But the truth is that I didn’t come to India to find myself or explore temples, I moved here because it’s Asia’s tech hub and for its booming economy. In fact, I don’t have a single photo yet of a temple – which maybe I should be embarrassed about but honestly the thought just hadn’t crossed my mind. Until today.
In some respects, it all seems a bit cliché to me though to all of a sudden decide to be on a mission – like the throngs of westerners who come to India – in search of self and holistic enlightenment. Or am I closing off a world that I should have been opened to ages ago? Does embarking on a path to knowledge lead us to our dreams and ambitions faster? Obviously I have no clue and no answers and too many questions to sort out on my own so some further research and counsel are in my near future I see.
For now, maybe I should baby-step the epiphany that there’s more to life and start with something simple like yoga classes here in Frazer Town. I mean, Rome wasn’t built in a day and I wonder if I might short-circuit or implode if I dive head deep into too much self-development! With the New Year just 36 hours away, delivering an invisible but very real time-stamp on our lives, I’m sure that a well thought out and handwritten list of Resolutions might also be a good idea. Something to post on the refrigerator as a constant reminder of the goals I wish to achieve in 2012, like eat more vegetables and stop ordering a full kebab from Empire so frequently! I’m definitely considering taking up that yoga class here, as I’ve heard from a lot of people that it is meant to be beneficial to your health. I bet it also depends on the yoga instructors that are leading the class, as if they haven’t had the relevant training, then they won’t be able to teach you the proper techniques and poses. I wish my friend would start her own yoga class as she took part in yoga teacher training in rishikesh india and really enjoyed it. She said she learnt a lot from it so she would definitely benefit from starting her own class soon. But in the meantime, I’m definitely going to try and become healthier in 2012, and the best place for me to start could be from taking part in yoga classes.
I do wish everyone a very happy New Year ahead and I hope your goals and dreams are fulfilled to the smallest detail. Reflection will definitely play a huge part in my day to come… and as The Mamas & The Papas sing…I know that “I’d be safe and warm if I was in L.A.” but I still wouldn’t change my new home in Bangalore for anywhere else today.
Watch a video compilation for California Dreaming here. And be sure to check out the fancy footwork by Mama Cass (I think the dance move was called the Mashed Potato)! Fantastic!!!
© 2011 Angela Carson