Wednesday, March 21, 2007


My second trip to Karnataka was on the famed 1 Rupee Spice Jet flight from Hyderabad to Bangalore. This was my first trip to the capital to the south of Andhra Pradesh, and I was pretty stoked to arrive in the IT hub about which I'd heard and read so much. I was impressed with Bangalore. While the IT mecca is undoubtedly still India, and Indian in its frenetic energy, traffic, polution, smells, character, and feel, its tree-lined streets with large banks and corporate giants were perhaps even reminiscent of the Bay Area, California.

I spent my Wednesday stint in Bangalore with two friends with whom I'd traveled to Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttaranchal a month or so back. We had a wonderful evening near Bangalore's MG Road (Mahatma Ghandi Roads are in every city in India). Flanked by international chains such as Lacoste and TGI Fridays, we ate atop a building at a lounge called the 13th Floor. With Australian cricket on the tele, a cold Kingfisher in hand, and a vista over the skyscape of Bangalore and its Ministry building, we could have been anywhere. It was a glamorous setting fit for New York or any cosmopolitan setting, with the prices a good bit lower than our vista.

After riding motorcycles into the night, slowing only gradually to cross major intersections, I was struck as we pulled into the parking lot of an HSBC. Nine months ago I stood at the base of the HSBC tower in Hong Kong. Tonight I was sitting on the back of a speeding bike through the balmy Bangalore night, pulling out midnight Indian Rupees at a local HSBC, en route to surf in the Maldives. Life is fast, and the opportunities afforded are both fleeting and enriching, and those simple moments of contrast, reflection, and appreciation really bring to life the exceptional.

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