When I moved to Bangalore, it was called a paradise for retired people. Now when I’m retired, it isn’t called a Paradise City anymore. Not that it has changed for the worse, there have been so many improvements over the years. It is now better known as a city of opportunities for young kids, much like the reason I moved here when I was a youngster.
That hasn’t changed, Bangalore’s ability to encourage people to find their feet professionally. The information technology sector is making great headway here but Bangalore is no longer as beautiful as it was in the early 70s. It is much more cosmopolitan now and the good thing is that it is a city with mixed culture, much like a mini India. However, the civic amenities in the city need to catch up. The sewage near our area hasn’t been repaired for the last five years and two people have died because of the same. A lot of scientists and old people live here, and it is a health concern.
The roads were ignored but if in one day they can make it for Siddaramiah to travel, that shows they are capable of doing things. A ray of hope is our MLA, who has done a lot for this area. Back then, we stayed near city market and shopping there was good fun. Visiting Kempegowda was a big deal. That’s where all the petty shops and theatres were. Lalbagh, Cubbon Park and MG Road were other landmark locations for us. The LIC and Canara bank building were the biggest in the city. Good old hotels like Kohinoor and Old Malabar was where we used to go for our weekend meals. Before I joined IISc in 1966, I worked in many other places, one of which was as a teacher, in a way, for many Malayalis around the area.
They didn’t know how to write and I helped them with basic things that would get them jobs. I continued to do so even after I joined IISc. Some of them grew up to be millionaires, with huge restaurants in the city. The best thing that happened to us though was IISc, which was a small institute then. Because we stayed on campus, health and education for our children were very good, and that is very important. I would cycle to work back then and the satisfaction I got from my job was like nothing else. I have a car now but it isn’t the same. (The reader is a resident of Tata Nagar)