For the past couple of days I’ve had friends and well-wishers enquiring about me. Where have you been? What news? Why no funny FB updates? Yada yada yada.
Well… you see… I’ve been Bangalored. I’m going to explain that to you. So don’t rush. Ps: this post is going to be random because I’m just in the flow.
On April 21st I landed in this city. I got down somewhere near Forum mall (the landmarks are all malls in this city) and rang up my great friend Mr. U. It’s 7 in the morning. And I’m in the middle of the road with all my life’s belonging packed up from Cochin (3 small trolley bags and one air bag if you’re wondering what I’m worth). And I call U and he doesn’t pick up. I’m stranded in the middle of the road for half an hour and U doesn’t pick up. That brings me to one of the most important rules in Bangalore- No one wakes up early. If you expect someone to meet you early in the morning 9 times out of 10 it is not happening. The one time it may happen is when he/she has been drinking the whole night and hasn’t slept a wink. That’s the only time Bangaloreans see early morning!
But, I don’t blame them. I empathize with them. You see for a morning guy I used to get irritated that you don’t get a hot cuppa at 6 in the morning. But, now I understand that it’s nearly impossible to wake up in the morning in this city. The climate is just so frigging awesome that you just want to cuddle up under your blanket and snooze away to glory. It’s a pain trying to wake up, it really is. Ah… the climate!
Well, in life you always have to have a plan B. So Randi way my plan B. Randi will be up in the morning. Randi is not Bangalorean (and you will never be!), he’s Mangalorean! And off I went to Randi’s place. Randi cooked for me, cleaned up after me, spent money on me, took care of me so well. The only problem is that he has a girl friend. Sigh! (Ps: girl friend thinks she might lose him to me sometime.)
Office was simple enough. Day one I was told what to do and ten minutes later I was expected to be doing it. Work’s more fun in Bangalore I have to admit. It helps that I have a boss who explains things to me in a language that I understand. “Wealth management is a function of knowledge skills”, he says. “You need to constantly update yourself or”, he pauses for emphasis; “you need a good pair of tits. So what would you like to develop?” See, simple choices.
There’s money in the city. Insane amounts of it. It’s mind boggling for a guy who’s fascinated about numbers and money (I am both). And the best part is most people don’t have a frigging clue what to be doing with it (and that’s where I as a professional money manager come in!).
Office is a crazy place. The 3 of us in my team are obsessed with money and we spend all our talking about it. Asset allocation, planning, taxation, fund selection and most importantly- numbers. The kind of stuff we’ve been discussing and researching could fill up a couple of volumes on Wealth Management. I’m loving every moment of it. It’s also the first time I’ve worked in a place where most of the women come to office in skirts. I love it.
When you land down in Bangalore you get the feel that you’re in the middle of one giant party. Bangalore is all about having a good time. And everything is done in excess. Everyone’s always talking about booze and food. There’s a million restaurants and pubs in the city dishing out every conceivable type of cuisine. This is the booze capital of India. It’s a pleasure to walk in to a beverage outlet with the fancy lights and designer set-up and find variety of alcohol available for you to choose from. No wonder Vijay Mallya is from this city. It’s the culture here.
And it’s almost a sin to be vegetarian here. Even Brahmins here are beef-addicts. The only vegetarians here are the ones imported from outside. And even they (have to in order to be ‘cool’ enough) compromise with egg. One day at this pub after taking our order (beef, chicken, mutton and some more beef) my vegetarian roomie orders something veg. And the waiter goes like- “Saar athu vegetarian saar!” It is not expected that you will eat veg.
And so let me move on to my PG. I stay off Brigade road. Those in the know will have questions like- How? What? Really? Yes, I stay just off Brigade road, bang in the heart of the city. It took me a week to find this place. I walk to office (which is every Bangalorean’s dream never going to be realized). There’s 8 of us here in the PG. And I’m proud to say that each one is a character (I always end up in places like this!). We’ve already had long nights with guys playing the guitar, random chatting, ranting about the land-lord and his assistant. It’s good fun. Almost like a college hostel.
What I don’t like about B’lore is that it makes you feel like you need a car and you need a girl-friend(girl-friend and not wife, pls note the distinction). It hits you. So much that you could almost punch a guy with either and murder the guy with both. I don’t know why it is exactly but it a sentiment that many guys have shared with me. Must be the climate- ideal for romantic long-drives. (I’m getting old!)
This place is also a smoker’s paradise. You can light up wherever and whenever you want. Every small shop will have every brand of cigarette. It’s crazy. One thing I don’t get is why the quantities of food and drink are so small in this city. You order for a tea and they give it to you in one small plastic cup. Two sips and it’s over. You order a masala dosa and it fills half a small plate. However, you go to a pub and order a pitcher and it’s one massive one. I just don’t get it!
Initially the pace of life in the city was something I needed to adjust to. Cochin is dead at 8 P.M. Here I’m in office till 9:30. But it’s something I’ve slowly got accustomed to. And actually the pace of life is not hectic at all. People just stay out longer. You see the concept of “just chilling” must have been invented in B’lore. You call up a guy/girl and ask what he/she’s doing and the reply will be “just chilling”. And you can picture in your mind what exactly the other person is doing. It fits. People from other places/ from a previous generation would think that it’s just a waste of time. No it’s not. It’s just chilling!
So I’ll leave you with that. Chill madi- enjoy madi! (Ps: picking up a smattering of Kannada and will be using it more often in my posts.)