Paradise lost or regained?

The election fever has settled and everybody and their grandfathers have an expert opinion on anything remotely connected to politics.
Brand consultant, Estee Lauder, Manjusha Maheshwari (left) and art curator and gallerist Gitanjali Maini
Brand consultant, Estee Lauder, Manjusha Maheshwari (left) and art curator and gallerist Gitanjali Maini

BENGALURU: Good morning, Bangalore!

The election fever has settled and everybody and their grandfathers have an expert opinion on anything remotely connected to politics. Naturally, the doomsday pundits and the sycophants among us are out in full force, and honestly, I find this chatter quite amusing! The same people, who took an opportunity to take a wee holiday instead of casting their valuable votes, are among the loudest cribbers! We love the sound of our own voices and we are not shy to expatiate at length! Though the cacophony has reached its zenith, I like to retire to my cave of serendipity once in a while to refresh and invigorate myself.

Ah, Bangalore! The beautiful city, once enveloped in gentle breeze, Gulmohar trees and soft-spoken folk. The populace of yore mainly comprised retired people, armed forces and those who knew how to circumvent a roundabout properly! The Bangalore, where we played and swam at ‘members only’ clubs and the staff fondly referred to us as ‘missy baba’.

A place abounding with great educational institutions and research centres, where one could never have an innocuous boy or girlfriend because all the ‘aunties’ knew your parents! The hotspots for all the ‘action’ were in and around Brigade Road, with steamy bars and naughty night clubs. Then Bangalore became Bengaluru! The veritable hoards descended on our city and turned it from a defence hub to an IT hub. The only thing that remained steadfast is that it was and still is a city where people enjoy their liquor! The Pub Capital!

Both the lovelies, Gitanjali Maini and Deepa Subramanian, are home-grown girls. They both epitomise what Bangalore women have long stood for. They are strong and confidant entrepreneurs with varied interests. They are deeply invested in curating Indian art and their forte is promoting highly talented artists from ‘namma city’. We have had the pleasure of viewing the work of maestros like S G Vasudev, Paresh Hazra and Gurudas Shenoy, just to name a few from a very large list, at their respective art galleries. I, for one, have always been awestruck by their diligence and hard work over the years.

Geetanjal invited a small group of art aficionados to The Four Seasons Hotel for a beautiful and informative ‘Art Walk’ spanning over two floors of the hotel. An art curator was on hand to painstakingly explain the finer nuances to an awed audience of mostly women. (No surprises there! We are the ones who listen and have good taste!) It was a gracious and informative walkabout, and the Champagne and lunch that followed just added to the elegance of the afternoon. Just my cup of tea, or flute of Champagne, I might add!

Deepa has moved to the sunny shores of Los Angeles and is doing a great job of straddling both her home city and her newly adopted home admirably! She threw a small soiree at Taj West End among the gigantic trees and heritage architecture of our beloved Bangalore, for her friends. It was a balmy Sunday afternoon with guests comprising fellow artists, musicians, dancers and writers. The atmosphere was nostalgic and edgy. I had a great time flipping from different pockets of discussions ranging from political editorials to art, music and drama.

With the ambrosia flowing generously, the afternoon turned slightly raucous, but civility and grace was never forgotten. I have mixed feelings of what are city has become. Where, on one hand, I embrace the progress, but many of us still rue the depletion of our quintessential culture and value systems. How long can we not take responsibility for this sudden and abrupt ‘neon’ culture? How long can we effectively play this ‘insider-outsider’ card? On one hand, there are visible signs of prosperity and freedom but we must always ask ourselves this question: At what cost?

Till next week. Ciao!

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