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Namma Bengaluru

I went to India almost 6 years ago for a visit, and ended up living there for almost two years. The city I lived in is called Bangalore or Bengaluru in the local pronunciation. It is a beautiful city high up on a plateau. It is known for lovely weather and the many gardens and trees that keep it shady and cool even as the IT boom clogs the roads. It is a city I love, not least because I fell in love and got married there.

One thing I could never get over in India was the near total absence of maps. Whenever I suggested consulting a map, people looked at me askance. Everyone carried their own map in their head and relied on each others' mental maps to get around with. You'd land up in a place (no one ever arrives anywhere, you always land somewhere) and then you'd ask the inevitable one to one hundred peope on the street for more detailed directions. Addresses were nearly useless and landmarks were essential. Two roads over from 14th Cross should be 12th Cross, but it is just as likely to be 7th Main, so you had the know that it was three streets down from the market and on the corner with the juice stand to really know where something was. 

I come from the Wild West of America where you can still drive for hours and never see a single soul, so maps and reading maps had been an essential part of my upbringing. My father was the king of the road trip, and a paper map could show you the smaller side road that might offer a more scenic view, or indicate a mysterious hot spring that was worth hiking to. You can find equally marvelous things in India - tiny locked temples inhabited only by monkeys and delicious amazing food in the basement of an old house - but you have to rely more on your own sightings and tips from friendly natives.

It has been a few years since I have the joy of being in Bangalore and I cannot wait to go back again. I want to get out and spend as much time in the streets and markets there when I return, so I thought why not make a map of all the places I loved going to while I lived there and want to revisit when I return. Since I will be travelling with my husband I know we will go to most of these places together, so I thought it should be our map. Namma nakse. Our B ngalore. Namma Bengaluru.

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