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Return of the native

Leela Rao returns to Bangalore after 29 years and is touched by the city's enduring, humane spirit



Leela Rao: 'I longed to return to Bangalore.'

HAVING LIVED abroad for 29 years, I longed to return to Bangalore, my hometown and a city I have loved all of my Life.

Coming to this city after several years, I marvel at what IT has done. People's aspirations have helped bring in this boom. The middle class is moving up in life. There are malls not unlike the ones we see in the U.S.

Pizza Hut and Baskin Robins please the child in all of us. Cellphones have become a necessity. All these are upgrades that the world calls "a good life".

But what I have come to look for is the beauty that is Bangalore, kindness and warmth that is Bangalore, and a way of life that is Bangalore.

And I find these intrinsic qualities in the wayside dosa hut, the homely vegetable vendor, and the many little temples built for the ever-favourite deity, Ganesha.

What really touched my heart was the care and concern of one particular autorickshaw driver who volunteered to fetch some packets of milk for me, even as I wondered how I could cross the sea of traffic to get to the shop on the other side of the road.

I was overwhelmed. This was the Bangalore I was looking for — this unique heartbeat that is Bangalore. I felt that I had indeed returned to my roots.

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