Getting bored, grabbing my bag, my camera kit, and a bottle of water, and fleeing – this is a habit. No, ritual is the word. I run to the bus stop. The bus stands there, still, as if it has been there all day, waiting for me to board it. I get in, and it starts. ‘Ondu ticket kodi, fourth block ge’, I say. [Kannada for – Give me one ticket to fourth block, please.] He hands me the ticket and I heave a sigh.
Fourth Block is short for Jayanagar Fourth Block – located at the southern end of Bangalore. [well, almost!] Jayanagar is one of Asia’s largest residential areas. Fourth Block is the only commercial block among its ten blocks. Which is why one can always find crowds of people roaming there.
I’m frequently asked, ‘Don’t you get bored of this place?’ or ‘how do you manage to find solace in such a crowded place?’ I wish not to answer those questions, but I have to. All I can tell them is that I like the place; it’s as simple as that. Of course, there’s more to it. The place is magical. It does not fail to cast a spell on anyone who steps in. The colourful shops around continue to lure people, since they started to, approximately a century ago. The kids, the home-makers, the businessmen, the students, or the ones who just walk , who look around , and just walk – are awed by the ambiance of one of the busiest localities of Asia.
Well, none can be bored of it. In fact, most don’t seem to get enough of it. The most attractive factor has to be the Jayanagar Shopping Complex or The Complex – in short. A bird’s eye view of the complex would roughly resemble concentric squares (!) the outline of which is formed apparel stores – umpteen numbers of them. The interior of it resembles a tunnel and a maze, combined. One easily gets lost there – even when he is with his companions. It’s a plain strip of multicoloured shops – shops where almost everything can be gotten for an average Indian household. It also happens to be my favourite part of Fourth Block. May be the colour is what draws people there. One who comes here never goes back empty handed.
It feels like Jayanagar calls out to you, with arms stretched, saying, ‘why weren’t you here yesterday?’ and the guilt is instantaneous. The consequence – this is definitely not the last post on the world in the neighbourhood.