Sunday, January 1, 2012

Glad to be back!

Honestly, I've been thinking about my India trip for a while now. Not because of anything specific, but because I wanted to see how things might have changed; especially with the whole Lokpal bill and Anna working to remove corruption. I was eager to come to this 'new India' which appealed to everyone, and obviously I was very excited. My flight landed in Delhi (my point of entry into India), and as I was just getting out of the customs area, the customs officer there asked me weird questions about what I had in my bags, just an excuse for a bribe. Not because I was carrying anything expensive, or carrying a ton of electronics items, but just because he was used to asking people for the extra bucks. It then got me thinking into a deeper problem : We are trying to pass this bill to track and remove corruption, but corruption at the lowest level has and will always exist. Is it really possible to eliminate that out completely? Will the customs officers in airports stop asking every other guy who lands in the country to put an 'X' amount of money into his passport while he acts like he's checking it and takes the money instead?

I really, really doubt that. I wasn't the only one who was asked to do that. Most people of my age are. They all do as told so they can avoid the unnecessary hassles at the airport. This being said, I obviously was very eager to get home, eat my mom's food after 18 months. I had even asked her to prepare a few of my favourite dishes and even bring it to the airport. India, obviously has changed. So have I. When I first went to do my masters, I used to find everything so expensive in the United States. I would see something, convert its price back into INR, and say "Hell No!". I still do this when I'm there. Now, I'm doing the opposite. I convert back everything to USD, and I'm like, "Wow, that auto ride cost me 50 cents! Awesome!".

Bangalore, needless to say is still the same. Crazy traffic, all roads blocked due to the Metro construction, and dust flying everywhere. Its great to be back at home. I remember once over the summer when I was in southern California, the fragrance of a particular flower (I really don't know its name). I just stood there for a while. Just stood still. That used to be the way my entire street in Bangalore smelt. The purity and the sweetness in it. Perfect. I haven't got the chance to smell that fragrance in Bangalore over the past several years : The flowers usually bloom during the monsoon, and I was usually away in Ranchi at that time.
Bangalore has its own charm. I just have two more weeks here, before I get back to Raleigh. Hope I have the time of my life! :)