I speak Kannada, but I have a face that looks North Indian. So, most people who meet me for the first time find it hard to place me on the cultural grid. Well, I tell them that I’m a Bangalorean through and through.
My father is a horticultural scientist and his work demanded that he come down south. When he moved here, he felt that the educational opportunities were great, so the rest of my family followed him here.
Though we actually hail from Delhi, I feel that this is my city as I was just a 12-year-old when we moved here. Bangalore is the place that I came to as a little girl, the place where I spent my formative years, got married and entered motherhood. I have a special connection with the city I grew up in, and I must say that it has given me many memories that I cherish and much more.
In fact, when I was going to get married, my husband came here to see me from Bombay, where he lived. Then, he fell in love with the city so much that he moved here after we got married.
I have never felt out of place here, and the people have always been very warm and welcoming to anyone moving in. The best part is, the natives here are not only Kannadigas: I have friends who are Tamilians, Malayalees and Telguites who belong here, not to mention others from the north like me. The beauty of Bangalore is that it accommodates people from cultures. This was great for me as I travel a lot, meeting people from all walks of life, and I’ve never had any trouble getting along with them.
Bangalore has the distinction of being a big city, yet it stands out from my experiences of other big cities. It has the best of pubs and restaurants, but it is surprisingly peaceful despite its party culture. People here are stylish without being show-offs, and since I’m from the fashion industry, this too makes Bangalore dear to me.
Nevertheless, the city is not what it used to be 20 years ago. Jayanagar and RT Nagar used to mark the end of the city and Whitefield was considered to be outside Bangalore. With the city becoming the IT capital, hordes of people moved in. The quality of life rose, and as the newcomers were willing to pay more, the prices also shot up. The number of cars also increased. Now, navigating through the traffic is madness; I think ten times before going out somewhere for the fear of spending hours on the crowded roads. And because of the pollution and global warming, even the weather has changed. Earlier, the whole world used to come here for the weather, but the climate here is still great when compared to other cities.
With increased traffic, the number of accidents has also gone up, and as the city has grown so has the crime rate. Earlier, we rarely heard of crimes. Now, it is not safe for you to stay out late. But, even now, I feel relatively safe here as this home.
(The reader is a resident of Indiranagar)