Bangalore, the megacity of ten million people welcomed us before dawn with light traffic and the quiet glow of streetlights over the mostly empty freeway from the airport. After bursting into my room and rousing my roommate Garrett with the 4:00 AM clamor of a weary traveler with backpacks on each shoulder, I was settled, but not sleeping. In the two eight hour plane rides, between 144 pages of reading, one movie, and scattered long naps on the plane, I was wide awake and ready to feel this new place.
The wait was short, as prayer announcements sounded at 5:30 AM, blaring static filled messages across the black morning silence. Garrett was spirited enough to request the key to the roof access from the front desk attendant. Barefoot, we ascended four flights of cool white marble stairs to stretch and breathe in the early morning in the city of gardens. We watched large brown raptors circle above the low urban building tops of Benson Town, and land in the tall elder tree overshadowing our vantage point, in preparation for our first full day of our new excursion.
By midday, the tranquil cool morning canvas erupts into a graffiti of honking horns and beating sun on treacherous sidewalks, sundered by massive tree roots and splattered with assortments of debris and obstacles. The chaos of crossing the street, and the errand of merely walking to retrieve Indian Rupees from an ATM electrifies our introduction to the city, energizing the first exploration, but inducing an awareness of resistances and challenges soon be experienced.
Bengaluru pulses with a frenetic tone and foreign rhythm, but encourages even my clumsy feet to wander and discover, dance through traffic crossings, and absorb the cultural lessons in every conversation