As I step out of my Grandmother’s house in Jaynagar, Bengaluru, and walk down the block to Adigas, a popular chain of small hotels in Bengaluru. I am going to have my favorite breakfast – Masala Dosa and a cup of strong South Indian filter coffee. While walking, I am greeted by the familiar honking and the crazy confused traffic at the crossroads. I look at my watch, it is 7:15 a.m. and as I try to cross the road a bus stops right in front of me to pick up some passengers; there is no official bus stop there mind you.
The ground is wet and slushy. Wet from the previous night’s rain and slushy due to the metro construction. I finally manage to cross the road, there is no pedestrian crossing, and I see the morning walkers walk by disinterestedly. They are more interested in the cell phone conversations they are having. There are stray dogs running about busily, and two-wheelers coming out from all directions making it most unsafe for a pedestrian like me.
I turn left and walk through the residential area to see men washing cars, which belong to their employers and housewives in their nighties gossiping away. I weave my way through the cars parked on the road, which are parked there because the house compounds themselves are too small to accommodate those vehicles. People pass by me with bhajans (devotional songs) playing loudly from their cell phones. Women walk past in their ‘salwar kameez,’ which has literally become the national dress, replacing the traditional saris. Two boys on their bikes pass by throwing newspapers into every compound; their daily morning routine.
My footsteps crackle from the dry leaves carpeting my footpath. I see auto rickshaws ply about empty, still in search of their first customer of the day. An old man further ahead is sweeping the streets to remove the dry leaves and other litter. People are swarming around the small shops, drinking their morning cup of coffee or chai, while talking about local politics and family affairs. There are some men who have not joined in on one of these groups, standing at the gates of their houses and watching the early morning happenings around them. A lady takes her dog for a walk, although it looks like it is the dog who is taking the lady for a walk! IT company buses zoom by picking up their employees, quite early, and set off for a busy day ahead. There is a lorry carrying hens in cages whizzing past, just as busily, to supply chicken to various hotels for their day. Girls drive past on two wheelers, their faces covered with colourful dupattas to protect them from the dusty roads of Bengaluru.
I reach Adigas and order my Masala Dosa and coffee at the counter. Then I walk up to the open kitchen counter where the batter is being poured onto steaming hot counters to make fresh Dosas, as the orders keep piling in. I collect my dosa and go to the next counter for my South Indian filter coffee. It is quite fascinating to see the artful way in which the man making the coffee pours the milk, from a height above his head, into the tiny steel tumbler held in his other hand, which is holding the concoction. I walk to one of the outside standing tables to enjoy my breakfast. The dosa is average while the coffee is one of the best I have had.
I finish my breakfast and start on my walk back home. I have to walk on the road since the footpaths in front of each house are being washed. I notice now that the autos and rickshaws are filled with customers on their way to the office. The school buses pause at each stop to pick up the children on their way to school. The mad rush of traffic is starting to show. Yet another day has begun in full swing!
By Aditi Mandanna
Image Courtesy of Mr ThinkTank’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License