It’s just rained here in Chicago; the sweltering heat has been replaced by a cool sigh from mom earth, her thirst quenched. The green looks greener and the horizon mystic. The sidewalk has been washed for me to stroll on. I think of Mangalore yet again.
Mangalore, a city so romantic that it gives you a heart break even before you fall in love. A city so fresh and green and wet that every time I walk down the produce aisle of the grocery stores, I get reminded of my St.Aloysius college where I spent a staggering 3 months doing MicroBiology before I bid adieu to take up Engineering, Ideal ice-cream parlor where the mouth-watering ‘Gadbad’ and 'Parfait' fought for consideration- bigger decision than MicroBio or Engineering, Saibeen complex where good looking guys just hung out on the railings teasing the girls passing by (I hung out for the shopping experience of course), Shangri-la (my dad’s company guesthouse which reminded me of that Monastery in ‘Lost Horizon’- beautiful, pristine, secluded and a welcome retreat. The cook, Kalthappa or Padayappa or something Coorgi was an amazing old man who’d feed you till you threw up.), Hampankatta- where I spent countless hours looking and bargaining for the platform shoes that went out of fashion the minute I bought them. I used them as step ladders to reach and turn the antenna in our terrace for better TV reception. Hotel Srinivas where the masala dosa would drool at the Hotel Management guys that served us, Kasturba Medical College hostel where I spent shameless nights and days at Nerdy Neelu’s room eating off in the mess while home cooked food was a couple of miles away (something about a rancid room in the basement smelling of formaldehyde and bones did it for me), Ashoka Travels, the bus that managed to deposit me safely in college (in spite of the driver's death wish) and taught me the lyrics to ‘Tan tana tan tan tan tara’ and not to mention a conductor who wore Nikes and Swatch. Of course the place had the beaches, back waters, narrow winding roads, hills, moss, fern and lots of rain. Mangalore rains were funny. Your left hand could be soaking while your right hand would stay dry. One day, I remember outrunning the rain all the way from the bus-stop to my house. Then, I would run outside and get wet anyway.
No wonder I love the gloom before the rain.