It is a beautiful winter day in Bangalore. We arrive on a flight from Doha where we stopped over. Despite the fatigue, I feel exhilarated. This is our first journey to India, such an old dream of mine!
After long discussions, reading and consulting the Kamalan representative on the phone, we decided to opt for an unusual introduction to the country that I kept imagining since I was a little girl. Not the India of elephants and Maharajas, nor the roar of the tiger or the beneficial journey to the land of Ayurveda, but a bucolic crossing through timeless Karnataka. I long to be swept to an unspoiled world of ancient mythology and obvious beauty.
As soon as we step out of the airport, we see our name on the Kamalan board and we move towards our car, when an important telephone call nails Bil down just there. Caught up by the world of duty, we thought we had left behind if only for a little time.
No point in feeling discouraged, there in front of me is my first impression of India, India modern I would say.
The Bangalore airport is new and shiny, if it weren’t for the Indians moving about there, I would think I am still in the West. While the phone conversation seems to drag on forever I feel the urge to take out my camera and look at the world around me through its lens, it helps me zero in. The obvious energy of the place is contagious, I can feel the stream of people coming at me pushing their trolleys with determination, their minds filled with projects to be fulfilled in the garden city. What strikes me the most is the coexistence of incredibly distant worlds, all harmoniously passing by each other, apparently ignoring each other. The businessman and the pretty lady in a heavy silk sari, the Bollywood inspired heartthrob, the ever present mobile phones and a green turban evoking distant Arabia.
Optimistic yellows and pinks, a confidant people, happy to have entered the consumer age, all around me India modern embracing today’s world. And yet, I can tell, something is essentially different from anything I have known, something I can not define, a sort of echo of timeless India. Maybe it is in the eyes of the people, maybe it is this gorgeous light that makes even a control tower look special.
Bil finally ends his call and we move on. Our driver Ganesh’s forehead is smeared with a yellow paste and when I dare ask him why, his face lights up with an infectious smile and he answers: “I have been to the temple, Mam, to pray the Gods for your happy journey.”