Off Race Course road. Thats what the hotel address read. Very uniquely banglorean, or bengalooruren, as some would have it. I idly racked my brains and tried to come up with another city in India which had a similar convention in naming addresses. I could not. Maybe it was a convention widely followed in the US and had made its way here. Possible, i thought, in this city which had a whole locality very subtly named 'Dollar's Colony'. Or it could have been an old bangalorean pensioner's way of remembering street locations. Crescent Road, Off- Race course road. A more prominent road serving as an aide-to-memory for a more non-decrepit one. I hoped it was the latter reason.
They called it a 'boutique hotel'. The phrase to me had come to mean, we're small-but-we-will still-charge-you-a-bomb. A tall, single, white building with a granite facade and a mustachioed doorman. The receptionist made some polite enquires about my mode of payment. I insisted on carrying my own luggage into the lifts, where i was joined in by a stylishly dressed male guest. Wavy black hair, red shirt with the top button off, and tight jeans on on ebony and atrociously hairy skin gave him a Lokhandwalla meets MG Road chic. Or LA meets MG, possibly. In my travel-rumpled half sleeved shirt and jeans on that Friday evening I felt terribly out of place.
I got up early next morning for a run. 'Go straight sir- there's a golf course on the right, it makes for a good walk', said the front desk person. Even at 5 am there were sizable number of cars on the corners. A short walk along narrow, tree lined, shady roads in the morning fresh smog led me to the beginnings of an expanse of greenery on my right. But it was not only the grass that was green, there were tall L-shaped nets around the course which rose into the morning air like some giant's mosquito net. Inside, as though it were a border built to keep out trees, was a vast expanse of undulating, even grass, stretching unrealistically into the horizon. I entered through the arched gates reading 'Bangalore Golf Club' and a watchman standing perpendicular to me raised a red triangular flag. The surreality of the event didnot take away from the fact that he had indicated me to halt.
I looked to my left, and there was a gentleman out on the greens, getting ready for his swing. Whiskers, khaki shorts, sun glasses, sun hat, and the golf iron all swung together in a motion resembling a staccato animation formed by a child flicking the edges of note-pad and thwacked! the ball. He, however had only managed to catch the ball's edges and the white meteor shot off in front of my eyes in a tall and angled arch, forming a slight but magnificent contrast to the green of the grass and (as it gained altitude) the net. High in the air, and completely off-course, it sort of plunged into the vast green-ness of the nets, making the web bulge outward in a slow and languid manner. The whole fabric rocked back and for a moment seemed in danger of toppling over. It soon however, recovered by gaining enough elastic strength and flung the projectile back, which landed and rolled to near my shoes.
Whisker's walked up to me and cheerfully said, in a deep Texan drawl, 'It's a flyer'. Something about that moment made me deeply feel, yes- i am definitely in Bangalore.