Barracked in Bangalore !

‘Bangalore is very connected to the US’ said a friend. Over breakfast. And to prove his point, he quoted Barack Obama talking of Buffalo and Bangalore on an even keel.

And the discussion meandered around the floundering economy and how long its going to take for the US to wriggle out of a recession and for Bangalore to get back to the top of its bent again.

Needless to say, the cows came home. Ate. Got hitched. Delivered. Died. Had rebirth. Twice over. And yet, that discussion didn’t get over !

So much for Obama and the Bangalore connection.

But there is yet another Obama connection that towers. Right opposite to the McDonalds store on old Airport Road.

Now hoping Obama will work his ‘magic wand’ to move the economy is worth a prayer. But to use his Cairo speech (& him) as a bridge head to help understand the Quran is a height that had me letting go a chuckled gasp in surprise.

I don’t know what happens when you call these numbers. Perhaps someone should try. But Obama as a bridgehead for the Quran? I wonder why. Is it because Bangalore has a US connection and hence Obama a better presence here ? Is this opportunism ? Is this an example of what a simple speech can achieve : instilling of hope in a divided time ?

I wonder. As people from the McDonalds store dive into their burgers. I wonder what you think ?

Concrete Hope !

On a city jaunt, once, i spotted this small flat, in a middle class neighbourhood. And there was an impeccable image. Of an open window. A few clothes that were seeking to shed their water weight by seeking the sun.

Plastic cans which perhaps held something else before, holding the soil. The soil holding firm for the roots to take shape. And the roots supplying all what the leaves required to stretch and seek the world.

The makeshift window sill was thin, and obviously not designed for these. And the window pane in their shadowy soot, had a far worse tale to tell. A foot away, was an old drainage pipe. And the wall was bore tell tale signs of seepage. Or perhaps, it was leakage.

It could have been an ordinary sight in a strange neighbourhood. But for some reason, my legs refused to move. And the eyes refrained from the odd blink. The cars honks around me grew fainter.

All i saw was the leaf deftly dance to a wisp of a breeze and that lonely red bud, tease the wind. In some time, i realised i was deaf to the honk and blind to the seepage.

I dont know for how long i stood there. But long enough for friends who were with me to nudge me to check if i was expecting someone to step out and wave. Perhaps climb down the drainage pipe and run to me. Like the types they show in Bollywood movies.

But there i was. A stranger. A stranger to that window and to that green. But in that strange distance, the appalling exterior melted away and all i saw was a coat of hope, beauty and possibility.

Those green leaves, the deft move of a stem responding to the faintest of breeze, those washed clothes that were drying, the promise of the lonely bud and the thought of those simple folks who nurtured this all, brought an incredible amount of peace to me.

And that’s exactly how i feel about Obama’s inauguration tomorrow. Sitting many thousand miles away, i feel better for the world. Don’t ask me why. Call me a wishful thinker. Dub me whatever. I still feel so. I hope so. I wish so.

In the midst of seeping concrete, i found hope the other day.

Just as i will. Tomorrow.