I’ve got one foot in Fremont and the other firmly planted in Bengaluru. I’m making masale dose for our friends tonight. I’m prepping kempu (red) chutney and coconut chutney and in Preethi mixie with convertible to American plug. Alugadde palya done and batter is set. The kitchen looks presentable, filter coffee is brewing in Preethi coffee maker. I’m taking a break while sitting on couch and eating jackfruit chips from Bharat Bazaar. Kesar kulfi and mango rasmalai is being served for dessert. Depending on mood and time, I may make uddin vade! This is in our home in Fremont, USA.
I miss SRK textiles for their cotton fabrics, Icy Nicey for their swirley cone ice cream, I want to walk Jayanagar fourth block to see the pink blossoms every spring, I want to ride my Kinetic Honda past ninth block to pick up maligai saaman from Ahmad Bazaar. Ooof, That whole circuit from J.P.Nagar to Jayanagar on two wheeler is etched in my DNA. I’m getting goosebumps just mentally riding that route while writing this! The sights, sounds and smells of the various vehicles doing their dance on the streets is so clear. If I close my eyes right now, I’ll probably hear them and see them vividly! Thankfully I do not need Google StreetView, VR or any other technology to remind me!
I grew up in a 1200sft single family home in South Bangalore. It was a pink colored home with red oxide flooring. Like most of our neighbors in our side of the street, we all had a tiny strip of setback on the sides of the house itself that we would use for parking two wheelers, develop planter strip and try to make the most of being in a friendly neighborhood. It was a bloody blast growing up there. Summers were filled with innovative game creations, endless hours of badminton, cricket, lagori and hide and seek games. My school was so walkable that I came home everyday for hot lunch prepared by amma. If that is not luxuriously spoilt, I don’t know what else is!
Our current apartment is a 1100sft, 3 bedroom, bright and airy loft like space in Fremont, with views of lawns on one side and parking structure on the other. We know all the neighbors in our block in addition to the rows opposite and across the dining window. We greet them when we pass by, they stop and chit chat with my naughty toddler while catching up on their day. It seems like the best bet for home right now in the Bay Area, owing to the reasonably prices rents and proximity to the wonderful and uprising Downtown Area. HP and I were joking that it might be the future Jayanagar, sans the pink blossoms, but with a whole variety of options from healthcare, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, swimming classes, Tamil classes (yes, you read it right,) jobs and a whole lot more.
It is for real that Fremont maybe a blackhole, you get sucked into this abyss, and there is no looking back. I’m vying for this city, with its grand plans to move out of the suburban environment to building a much denser urban fabric, one that is vibrant and connected, yet connecting to the rest of the region. Culturally, it is a good place for the immigrant community, with many people from Bengaluru residing in this area for a long time. The proximity to ‘life things’ such as banking, auditors, restaurants, groceries, dry cleaners, stores, pharmacies, doctors, kids activities (including a nearby farm) makes life here packed with things only about half hour away from home, perfect for parents like us, who need to follow strict toddler schedules for meals, nap-time etc.
It seems like I’ve found my sweet spot in the Bay Area, after having explored many other regions for work-life, we like it here, we like that it promises an urban setting, much like Bengaluru, and I love the potential here for our future too. This is a happy hopeful post! 🙂