A friday in Bangalore…( Bangalore bytes Part 4 )

A pleasure to be back in Bangalore. Currently warm, currently more chaotic on the roads, currently more power cuts yet currently the place to be. A drive on MG road last evening has revealed that the metro rail project is bearing semblances of being a bit more finished than what it was earlier during the year. The road under the overhead metro rail has been tarred and the vehicles now make progress in a straight line rather than zigzagging around pot holes. The metro above the heads has been shaping up like a jig saw puzzle, inching its way from one column to another and the pace it has been moving towards one another is symbolic of the fact that the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Mr Yeddy is the child putting the pieces together in his own sweet time. Bangloreans are crossing their fingers and hoping that the Metro is no child’s play and pieces of it don’t crash on the commuters head who risk their lives traveling under the metro lines.

Chinnaswamy stadium, home to the Bangalore royal challengers looked rather upbeat despite the BRC game not being held there last night. A MRF inflatable hoarding sits pretty near one of the gates. I was quite impressed with one particular hoarding that had Kumble’s image etched in a crowd formation, quite impressive. All around the stadium was a flurry of red. There is without a doubt festivity in the air, and one can almost hear ” ohh la la la le lo” as you drive past the stadium. Well done Mr Mallya for converting Bangalore into a city that parties even more than what it previously did.

Christians gathered at the St Francis Xavier’s church yesterday for the Easter prayers. After the service, a wonderful sight to see people dressed in white after and make their way out to the sprawling grounds like a wave of white lilies. In the nearby vicinity, friday afternoon prayers had also concluded at the Jama Masjid mosque and people from the mosque make their way out. Opposite the mosque, is a Devi temple, friday again being an auspicious day for the Devi and worshippers have concluded the ceremonial friday prayers. Worshippers from three different faiths spill on to the same road. It now becomes virtually impossible to differentiate one faith from the other. They all spill on to the same road, they buy their snacks and lunch from the same shop, they buy the weekend groceries from the same store, they shop for vegetables at the same market. The senses are satiated with the sea of humanity that converges together.

The plants and shrubs that have been planted along the dividers on the main roads wear a parched look. There is dust sitting on the dull green leaves and  the plants yearn for the much-needed droplets of water. I think about Hong Kong in summer where the council takes care in watering all these plants every other day, what the councils plant, they maintain and do not let the weather gods play havoc with the green plan for the city. Sadly, that is never the case in our part of the world here. Greenery and flowers tend to bloom around the time an important dignitary is visiting the city or an important event or meet is conducted in the city. On conclusion of the event, nobody tends to worry about any thing that is aesthetic.

I enjoy having the much cherished south indian filter coffee in the Udupi hotels in Bangalore. Wonderful to drive into one of these restaurants, order a piping hot cup of coffee whilst sitting in the car. The coffee is manna to a dead brain, what an invigorating effect it has on me. Nowhere in this world do I get the same kick that I get by slurping on to this heady mix of well roasted coffee beans from the fertile, rich valley of Koorg finely ground to produce an aromatic decant that is laced with steaming hot frothy milk and with the right amount of sucrose. Nothing short of fabulous. These restaurants are the best, far better than the Starbucks and the Pacific coffees and the Uncle Russ. I let my south indian taste buds make this decision and the best coffee-making award goes to the south indian joints! I would give the mushrooming Coffee days the second spot. People sip over one cup of coffee for a few hours, an economical place with a bit of flair for conducting social and business activities. A wonderful hangout for students, marketing and sales gurus, uncles and aunties alike.

Construction is happening everywhere, a good sign for the real estate market in and around the city. Abandoned projects when recession partly hit the city are now rekindled. More labourers cross the border into Karnataka from Hosur in Tamil Nadu. Concrete mixers that stood still at sites are once again churning and mixing cement and sand. Construction workers sit on the road outside the project sites and open up their aluminium boxes and have starchy rice, covering their heads with their cotton saris to get some respite from the hot blazing sun over them. A site co-ordinator yells at them in kannada and asks them to finish up quickly and get back to work. Some reluctantly do, some don’t and continue slurping their meal.

The lakes within the city limits if one could call them have begun to dry up. There is a foul smell of rotting vegetation around the vicinity of these lakes. The perimeter around the lakes are swampy and reveal along with the slush, plastic bottles, bags and cans. A rag picker has gotten into one of these lakes and sifts through the mud and with dedication collects the rubbish. There is a lake called Ulsoor lake in Bangalore which is maintained by the Army and is in an extremely good condition. The Madras Engineering Group ( MEG ) looks after the affairs of the lake and its surrounding area in a pristine manner. They do a far better job than the local council in maintaining the areas around cantonment.

I continue to enjoy my few days in Bangalore. The days are warm, the mood is lazy.

Links for Bangalore Bytes 1,2 and 3

https://sharmilasays.wordpress.com/2009/12/21/bangalore-bytes-part-1-the-ever-changing-facade/
https://sharmilasays.wordpress.com/2009/12/30/bangalore-bytes-part-2/

https://sharmilasays.wordpress.com/2010/03/15/cosmo-city/

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9 Responses to “A friday in Bangalore…( Bangalore bytes Part 4 )”

  1. Aishwarya Says:

    Sharmila,

    There’s road widening going on at Trivandrum now, which means we dont have roads – just huge dug-up holes and heavy machinery, so walking or driving is at one’s own risk and in this heat…need I say more?!:(

    What you say about religions in India is so true and so moving. Indians enjoy the diversity, and every day is a festival and a reason to get together and celebrate.

    Wish they had more sprinklers in the boulevards. And I just had to get myself a cuppa coffee after reading about urs!:)

  2. Anand Khare Says:

    Sharmila,

    I had pleasure of spending one year (1991) in Bangalore.IT revolution was just taking off then. Bangalore was at its best.I stayed at Indira Nagar. Shanti Sagar was our favorite hang out for coffee and tiffin.

    We used to take our lunch at roof garden restaurant on a movie hall on MG Road or at Kamath(?),Utility building. Dinners mostly in pubs on MG Road and Brigade Road, that was unique to Bangalore that time in India.We were young that time and had lot of money in hand so moving around Bangalore was regular during weekends. Had several trips of White field,Nandi hills, Mysore,Sri Rangpatnam and Ooty.Once visited Tirupatiji.

    Watched several Hollywood and Hindi movies. Maine pyar kiya was shown in Liberty Ulsoor and was seen many times.

    ‘Miss India’ contest happened in some hall in Malleshwaram that year. And we gate crashed as we had no passes.

    Pleasant memories.

    Regards,

    Anand

    • Anand – Lovely reminiscing on BLR!Thanks a lot for this, yes,indiranagar has changed beyond recognition with the metro project cutting through 100 ft road and CMH road. The Miss world was AB’s project. Loved reading your memories!

  3. Anand Khare Says:

    The Miss world happened much later. It was 1990 and Miss India organised by Femina and other TOI publications.Aish and Shush did not happen till that time and it was a rather low key affair. Many girls from armed forces background participated that time also.

    Anand

  4. Hmmmmm…….I didn’t know much about Bangalore prior to reading your blog.Now it seems I know more about your city than Delhi…

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