BANGALORE: A newcomer to Bangalore who asks for directions to BTM Layout, is asked to traverse the entire length of Nanda Theatre Road and turn left. As he drives on the nearly three-km stretch, he looks around to catch a glimpse of the theatre. All he sees are the once graceful rain trees brutally mutilated by the metro’s piers on the undulating road, lined by gardens on either side. He doesn’t spot any cinema. But he is not to be blamed, for there is no Nanda Theatre. The old cinema, that used to screen the latest hits, is now rubble.
Bus conductors still issue tickets to Shanthi and Minerva Theatres though the two screened their last shows ages ago and have made way for office buildings and shopping centres. The Majestic Cinema, after which the Subhashnagar and Gandhinagar areas near the railway station and city bus stand are popularly named, doesn’t exist. Similarly, there is no Madras anymore but Bangalore has an Old Madras Road, probably leading to Old Madras.
As the city grows, landmarks seem to disappear and new ones emerge. But old timers continue to use the original names like names of cinemas or restaurants. With old bus conductors retiring, hard core Bangaloreans today will encounter puzzled looks on buses if they ask for a ticket to either Gandhi Bazaar Taxi Stand or Cash Pharmacy.
The old Mayo Hall Circle is now better known as Bangalore Central and likewise, the old Check Post stop is more popularly known as Forum Mall. In fact, Siddalingaiah Circle was never called by its name even when it existed. People used to identify it earlier as Tiffany’s Circle which once stood there and now as the Coffee Day Square.
The BBMP changes street names every now and then, but the names seldom stick and are confined to the official records of the city corporation. Hence, if someone says his office is on either Kalinga Rao Road or Field Marshall Cariappa Road or Bhagwan Mahaveer Road, one can’t be blamed for thinking he is referring to one of the new localities that have sprung up around the burgeoning city. But in actual fact, they are the official names for Mission Road, Residency Road and Infantry Road respectively.
And as you board an autorickshaw or bus, make sure you know both the old and new names of the road, so that you can use the other if the first one doesn’t strike chord with the auto driver or the conductor.