And then came a downpour of off-seasonal rain. I had felt it in the morning air and had scoured the sky for signs – can there really be rain in early April Karnataka?
And yes, apparently there can. When I went out for an evening walk, big drops of celestial water were leaving their imprints on the thin layer of dust covering the asphalted streets. Then, while I was paying for a new pair of shoes, the rain got serious…
In April two years ago we were visiting the huge Sree Menakshi temple complex in Madurai when the skies decided to open up. The loudspeakers were playing “Om NamaShivaya” time and time again and the courtyard looked like a water tank.
We were trying to find the East exit, but everyone we asked, including the temple Brahmins, seemed a bit unsure. Finally, we managed to find our way out, wading barefoot in the water. We crossed the small street and entered the souvenir cum jewellery shop where we had left our shoes. A clever move of the shopkeeper to give refuge to our footwear. We walked out with shopping.
Although Madurai itself is not a particularly interesting place, the thunderstorm at the majestic temple to the sound of chanting was a magic experience.
Two years later, I was caught up by the rain at a less breath-taking spot. A butterfly was fluttering over my head as I was standing on the porch of the shoe store. It looked totally confused and lost. Maybe it was desperately looking for the East exit.
At some point I decided I could start walking back home. The rain had receded. I was wrong in my judgment – I made it back under thunder, lightning and buckets of rain. But once you are wet, you cannot get any wetter, so you just end up accepting the situation and enjoying it.
And that is probably the zest of this past week. Accepting and enjoying. Accepting my body rhythm. Accepting the differences around me, enjoying everything I can enjoy.
Overall, I think that allowing oneself to get side-tracked is an important part of discovering. Usually, when I set out to explore a new place, I make lists of things I want to do – wear comfortable shoes – and then just start ticking them off.
So I chose my small missions. Visiting Malleshwaram by bus. Getting off, strolling around in the look out for a pastry shop I had read about in the newspaper. The Higher Taste, as it was called became an excuse to wonder around, discover the covered market of fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables and catch the pulse of the neighbourhood.
I like how seemingly random elements have the power of becoming pertinent.
I have also been on 20 km taxi drives to areas such as CV Ramanagar and HSR Layout to interview companies as part of my marketing thesis. I took the opportunity to make a pitch-stop in Indiranagar and had a delicious Punjabi dinner at a place I discovered by asking some friendly bypassers.
So this is it, between intention and gamble, interviews, newly establishing routines, home-cooking and eating out, tours on BMTC buses and shopping for comfortable summer gear, another week has gone by, saved in the log of time passed.