Now, there was a 10-hour gap between the two trains and among the multitude of options I had of places to visit and people to meet in Hyderabad, I chose to spend the time in Secunderabad station itself. Bad decision! To start off, I kept all my luggage (except my laptop) in the cloak room there. I was lucky as apparently five minutes later it was filled to the brim and they did not accept any more luggage. After this, I had decided to hav some food and had a Onion Uttapam. Next on the list was the need to take a bath. They had dormitories for Rs.50 upstairs but they were all filled and anything else was too expensive for my liking. So, I was left with no choice but to use the bathrooms at the station. The problem was i had a laptop with me and nowhere to keep it at. This was when I did one of the boldest things anyone with a laptop would do. I kept it at the table of the guy who was taking the money for using the bathroom and went in to have a bath. Call me a carefree person or what. Thankfully, when Ireturned the bag and the laptop was still there and I was no longer sticky with sweat. The next 5 hours were full of boredome. I got so bored that I endeed up opening my laptop and watched 3 episodes of the “Big Bang Theory”, just another audacious little thing to do in a fairly crowded station. Finally, the time came for me to board my train, which was a relief. Reached Bangalore safe and sound.
Alwar's dad , who is working here, had very kindly agreed to let me stay with him till I found a PG for myself. The challenge was finding his home which apparently was in some obscure location in Bangalore.. I scouted around for a bus at the 'Majestic' bus-stop and finally got one whose conductor said that the bus indeed went to “Whitefield” (where I had to go). Here I must mention something about the buses of Bangalore. The air-conditioned 'Vajra' buses are a class apart and better than any I had ever seen anywhere in India. However, the other ones are pretty awesome too and are pretty regular. The conductors have a unique whistle to signal to the drivers when to stop and start the bus. This means if you can’t whistle with your lips then you can’t become a Bangalore bus conductor. Anyway, getting back to the point, I was asked to debus at Sathya Sai Hospital which I had told the conductor as the landmark for my destination. Ironically, this was not the hospital I was looking for and was much much larger than the Sathya Sai General Hospital which I had to go to. Reaching there took me another 45 minutes and two bus rides.
Having freshened up, I then took a bus to National Aerospace Labs (NAL) for some paperwork I had to complete. Man, this place is a fortress. No mobiles allowed inside, security checks everywhere. You would imagine there is some national treasure or some ground-breaking technology being developed somewhere here. All formalities done, I went to the security office for having my ID card issued. I was most impressed by this procedure. I was asked to sit at a chair and was told to smile. I did not know why but I smiled anyway. There was a flash somewhere and 10 seconds later emerged a yellow coloured piece of paper not larger than a visiting card. It had my photo on it, my name, my college’s name, the division I was assigned to and the date till which it was valid. It was my ID card here. If only all government institutions worked with this efficiency, we would save millions in money and time.
It took me all of four days to find a suitable PG accomodation and in the process I used to walk as much as 8-9 kilometres a day. One particular day, I simply went through the roof (or if i may say, through the wall) with my walking. I walked more than 15 kilometres at one go, at least i assume i must have walked that much given that I walked for over 2 hours. Finally, I bid Alwar’s dad goodbye. I must have caused him some amount of inconvenience and for that I am really thankful to him for bearing with me for 5 whole days and taking care of me during that period. The last weekend was spent lying around getting accustomed to the surroundings. Hims dropped in on Sunday before he moved to a senior’s home during his stay here. We ran into a senior from college who had graduated a year ago at a mall and hence were assured of a free dinner. SJ too came over on Monday. We will be room-mates for the rest of our stay here.
Since then I have sort of fallen into a schedule. Leave for NAL at around 9, do whatever work I can do over there, return at 5 or maybe later. I hope working life would be more interesting than this. I’ll be free for the weekend which starts in a few hours. Plans to visit a few seniors and Nilu is also coming. There is also this conference lined up at NAL, which I might attend, but in all probability leisure will gain precedence over work.
P.S. I have really loved the bit of Bangalore that I have seen. Really well-organized, awesome weather, great transport system, lots of malls and lots of pretty girls. If I am given a choice as to where I want to be three years from now, Bangalore would be somewhere near the top of that list.
P.P.S. I have drafted a plan of all foreseeable expenses during my stay here. I have also allotted a certain amount for unforeseen expenditures such as splurging on enjoyable activities. Hope what I have allotted suffices.