Down and Out In Paris and Bangalore

I’m in Bangalore after two days in Paris, sipping my mother’s strong coffee and sort of gazing off into the horizon from our balcony. And OK, I’m not as impecunious as George Orwell was when he wrote the book that influences the title of this blog post. I’m just taking some artistic license.

I spent two days in Paris, traveling with Vice Vik, also on his way to Bangalore. Paris was awash in a constant drizzle, but I stayed in Le Marais in a quirky little hotel and still walked around a great deal. This whole trip has been a wonderful geographically staggered homecoming. And I’m awash in sentiment.

In Paris I dropped in on my old school in the 16’eme arrondissement. Going back to your old high school is always a protracted exercise in private nostalgia, and I don’t know how Vice Vik put up with being dragged there by me. When I lapsed into a little self-indulgent amour propre, likening myself to the prodigal son returned, Vice Vik brought me down to earth really rapidly.

“Just WHO do you think you ARE exactly?” he snapped. It was priceless.

Later, we met up for dinner with R and Glazou at a Moroccan restaurant near Le Marais, and I tried hard not to lapse into work conversations with Glazou about some interesting W3C stuff and bore the heck out of our other guests. We couldn’t resist reminiscing about old times at Netscape, however.

I composed a photographic paean to Paris that I’ll upload on a [photo sharing Website] sooner or later.

It feels great to be back in Bangalore. There’s this indescribable reservoir of mirth that everyone seems capable of tapping into (but that could be because I spend a lot of time hanging out with the St. Joseph’s boys, who relentlessly seek the ridiculous in the moist underbelly of Bangalore).

There’s always coffee at Koshy’s and transportation noises and a quixotic nightlife that I love and yet more nostalgia still. My problem is nostalgia, writ large, over two or more cities.

See, there’s Bangalore as I know it, and then there’s Bangalore as Ryan Lobo knows it. Ryan helps me tap into the aforementioned collective pool of mirth. He’s just about the only person I know that can simultaneously convince me that I’m absolutely neurotic as well as make me laugh hysterically about it. He recently exhibited some of his photos (“The Wedding Season”) at Bangalore’s Sua House Gallery. With a sort of uncanny and serendipitous astuteness (Ryan writes like he takes pictures) he finds all these moments that just take place and captures them with a digital photo. I guess I can’t review photographs with words. They’re mostly somewhat dark photographs, touching and funny and a little weird. They’re all great.

So I’m doing a lot of laughing while I’m here. Which is good, because 2007 promises to be a real hog of a year. I’m tapping into the reservoir of mirth that I think you need to find in order to be sane around here sometimes. Which is why I love reading the Bangalore Torpedo, which sort of exemplifies what I mean when I talk about this city’s reservoir of mirth.

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