a room on hosa road

for the next two months my home away from home is a small room on hosa road, 23km outside of bangalore.  the room is approximately 10ft square and sleeps 4 in narrow twin beds with hard mattresses.   my bed is in the middle.  the room belongs to a 2-bedroom apartment on the second floor of a 2-storey building and is inhabited by a family of three who sleep in the bedroom beside ours.  there is auntie, an always smiling, spectacular cook, her small quiet white-haired husband who keeps to himself, and her rosy cheery daughter lakshmi. (i will try to get pictures to introduce you properly!)  thanks to auntie’s wonderful talents in the kitchen we are fed delicious (and spicy) south indian food three meals a day.  breakfast might be dhosas or biriyani, idli or puri with various vegetable dishes or chutney.  we eat with our hands seated on our beds with plates in laps.  auntie then brings piping hot chai in tin cups on a little platter and places it at the end of my bed to cool.  lunch is often more of the same, packed in little tupperware bowls to go.  we bring it to work with us and eat on the back patio at the office watching lizards in the sun.

every morning after four women cycle through one bathroom, after breakfast and tea dishes are cleared and washed, keerthi, liz and i leave for work, picking up abhishek on the way. (note: our fourth roommate is a woman called rupa, who enjoys music and is learning electronics. abhishek stays in a rooming house for young men down the street).  we make our way to the end of hosa road (literally ‘new’ road in kannada, the local language), past all manner of little shops – sweet shops, soda bars, bakeries, stationary shops, tailors, pharmacies, clothing and furniture shops, internet cafes, phone card outlets, an aquarium (!), corner stores with everything from soap to batteries – there must be hundreds of shops.  on the dirt sidewalks are vegetable and fruit stands, stray cows and dogs, parked motorcycles and bits of trash.  people are everywhere, dodging cars autos motos trucks.  this might be dowtown kigali, but actually we are in the city outskirts, bangalore rural district, where the city is expanding and urbanization spreads daily.

the trip to work is a bus then an auto, both equally loud and smelly.  today we ran into the monsoon on our auto ride home.  by the time we got back to hosa road, we were drenched and the sidewalks were a mud pit, but the rain had abated.

in the evenings, auntie makes tea again and we have some downtime during which to chat, read, wash laundry (in a bucket, just as i used to in rwanda), go to the internet cafe or the gym (hosa road has a gym! we just discovered this and today was our first expedition – full of sweaty men of course but good equipment and friendly staff).  at 8:30 dinner is served: usually chapatis and rice with two or three spicy vegetable dishes or dal or soup.   we eat again with our hands on our beds with our plates in our laps, often chatting about nonsense telling stories from home or travel, talking poltiics or compariring cultures (as many cultures in the room as there are beds).  we take turns washing up, read write or listen to music, then one by one dirft off to sleep in our little room on hosa road.

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~ by aliciawolcott on June 11, 2010.

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