August 30, 2007

4 High Street

Now a popular tourist attraction, during my days in Bangalore I lived at 4 High Street in an area called Cooke Town. The maroon coloured apartment complex was protected by a pair of vigilant security guards who were capable of being present at any time of the day or night. For an additional fee they would also wash the vehicles of the other tenants of the complex. On the second floor on the third story (as ground floor is zero) of the building was my flat. There was a large lobby with sofa and TV, a balcony, a kitchen, and 3 bedrooms. Two of the bedrooms held 3 paying guests each, while the more expensive bedroom had two occupants. Each bedroom contained an attached bathroom, TV, beds, and cabinets. There was also a washing machine, ironing board, malfunctioning water filter, and maid for all of us to share. I was in one of the three person rooms. The rooms were sparsely decorated save for a sign taped to the wall warning us of all that we could not do.

Over the 8 months that I lived there I met an interesting cast of characters. At any one time the flat could accommodate 8 paying guests. The average period of stay per person was a couple of months, so a great many guests rotated through High Street during my stay. By the time I left I was third in seniority. Unsurprisingly, most of my flatmates were Indians, with 10-12 whom I spent time with and around 5-7 souls who did not interact with anyone not related to them or working with them. They came from many different states - Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Punjab. The rest of my flatmates were either Dutch (4), Mexican (1), Brazilian (1), British (1), or French (1). There were dentists, lawyers, interns, and software engineers. There were Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Muslims, and some who did not believe in anything one way or another. Some were married, some had girlfriends, some were engaged, some were not interested, some were searching vigorously, and some were hoping for a miracle. Some were extras in Bollywood films or contestants on Indian Idol. Some were friends, some were acquaintances, some were strangers, but all were my flatmates.