Sunday, July 14, 2013

The Early Years 2010: Rooftops

Originally Posted on June 25th, 2010.

     I never can truly escape the feeling I get from Bangalore.  I can never walk outside my door without feeling that awe and wonderment that I am actually in another country, so far away from home.  I've always liked watching people go about their daily lives.  I've especially enjoyed doing this when I could watch without them knowing.  Sometimes I climb the stairs and stand out on my rooftop. I can see for miles on top this building, even though it's only 4 stories.  The view is stretches of city life, building after building after building.  Some look like they could be in America, but only a few.  The rest look like a completely different place.  I see tropical tress here and there, the small places that have managed to not be developed.  There are streets but they aren't busy.  Most of the area I can see is residential, and the busy roads are only viewed in the small spaces between apartment buildings.  I look around me and I can't identify the buildings, there are so many.  I feel like I am lost in a maze, (and I still only walk the busiest street for fear of getting lost.  The smaller streets are less populated, but I feel unsafe in those areas.)

From my rooftop I can see people go about their business.  I can see inside their homes through the open windows and doors. (Everyone here opens up windows and doors throughout the day to capture the amazing breeze that always flows through Bangalore).  I watch people in the streets, I watch the Indian spotted eagles that soar through the air.  They are brown and they make the most amazing eagle call.  I hear them during the day, and they fly close enough to my building that I can get a good look at them.  I watch the rain clouds that are so often moving through Bangalore. The contrast in the dark blue color of the storm clouds to the light color of buildings is amazing.  I watch the beat of the home life here.  It is simple and quiet.  Nobody's really in a rush, and the most noise I hear from the buildings is the temper tantrums of children, the sounds of sweeping the floors or washing clothes in buckets, and cultural music.  Sometimes I hear the prayer mantras recited every morning.  One I hear almost every morning.

I've never watched people in this way before, for the most part of my life I have seen only the trees outside my doors.   When I watch them at night, it calms me to see their content.  Bangalore gets very quiet at night.  Usually the only thing that wakes me up in my sleep is the distant barking of the city dogs.  They run in packs like coyotes and their howls are much different from the dogs back home. A neighbor across the courtyard has a dog they leave out on the balcony at night.  His incessant howls are the only annoyance in the night. Compared to the noises I've encountered in America's cities, I'd take the barking any day.  How could a city so populated and ridiculously loud during the day, become so quiet in the night?  This is the peace I observe on the rooftop.  Bangalore is a city with so many sights and sounds the word "overwhelming" is an understatement.  When one can observe from the quietude of a rooftop, the air of Bangalore changes.  Instead of being trapped in the beat of the city, one can step back and watch it all happen in front of them.

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