Ever since I came to Bangalore, I have lived in the south of the city, it’s cultural soul.
My first home was in Banashankari, where Gandhi Bazaar beckoned in the evenings, bustling with activity. Though a variety of goods were, and still are, available there, the 26-year-old me sought out branded items in shops that lined Brigade Road and M G Road with the Utility Building standing tall, which were the only fashion hubs then. It was also the destination to head to for Christmas and New Year - it was where the young and old flocked.
Conveniently, I loved the food at two eat-outs close to home - Vidyarthi Bhavan and MTR - the thought of which still makes mouths of all Bangaloreans water. The coffee I loved at Koshy’s is the same, though the crowd there has changed. Still, I visit sometimes for old time’s sake - for coffee of course - and to take another look at the pictures of Bangalore as and before I knew it.
A lover of theatre art and culture, I used to frequent the violin shaped Chowdiah Memorial Hall to catch performances. Now many more hubs have sprung up with Ranga Shankara, Jagriti and the like. Whitefield, where I used to struggle to get to as I had relatives living there, has become a mini-Bangalore within Bangalore now. It’s where the cream of the cultural activities happen and it’s the place to go for a relaxing weekend. Needless to say that with ITPL springing up, connectivity is barely a problem.
I recall with nostalgia much of what I had taken for granted earlier. I used to take a walk or travel by bus to most places initially and then ride my Kinetic Honda a few years later. How I wish I could course through J C Road or Double Road, which I used to favour as they were wide freeways then, the wind against my face once more.
There’s much more that has changed for the relatively small city that I moved into in ‘91 to become the huge urban space that it is. And while there’s much I miss from the days of Old Bangalore, like the abundance of greenery and gardens that used to inspire us to picnic, this is still the city that I can live most comfortably in; I can’t imagine doing so in any other.
(The writer is a resident of Banashankari)
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Theatre, art and culture scene