11 August 2016. I doubt that anyone has ever blogged about Doddigunta—it’s that kind of place. All that is about to change now.
In 1974, when my family of mummy, father GB, and I came down from Calcutta, we stayed with my aunt, uncle, and cousins in this part of Bangalore for six months. I am not sure how the grownups felt, as they had developed their long faces by then, but for myself, this period was filled with excitement.
Even as our Ola taxi passed the Cox Town circle, entering into Doddigunta, I was aghast at the way Charles Campbell Road had changed. What was I to expect of Doddigunta then? But as it turned out, the place still looked pretty much the same.
The house had two floors, and our family had been given a large room upstairs. You could see heaps out of those windows—processions, drunk men, children playing, corpses being taken for cremation, fights, decorated cows for Maatu Pongal and so on. Although you can see these upstairs windows right away, to get to the main door, you needed to walk a short distance down a narrow lane. Not much had changed, even the smell was the same.
The first left took you straight to the front entrance. The large driveway-like square that is concreted, used to have large uneven exciting-to-a-child stone pavers, possibly made of granite. The occupants of that square used to be a few milking cows.
When my aunt and uncle’s family lived there, the house was maintained impeccably inside. It is not like that now. However, the elderly couple who were there were friendly and spoke to us. They had been living in the neighbourhood before and so recognised Premi akka and knew my Periamma as “the teacher.”
We stepped inside the front door into the little courtyard and pointed out various aspects to Hannah. We remembered the cool polished red-oxide floors and the boarder, the evangelist Caleb, who always wore saffron. When even I could remember so much about the house, I am sure Premi akka must have had many more memories coming back to her. While one can occasionally go back and look into the past in this way, one cannot dwell therein for too long.
It was time to go, we had other things to do, and Ola taxies are not meant for long waits.