BENGALURU : A friend of the no-longer-so-little one has joined a residential school on the outskirts of the city. and, like most new initiates to hostel life, is finding it tough to adjust to the change. The WhatsApp group of the 11-year-olds – created, of course, on moms’ phones – gets suddenly active on the weekends, when he comes home for one night.
When the schools reopened a few weeks back, a flurry of the usual queries about how, why and why us kept the foursome busy initially. But turns out, virtual contact isn’t fun enough for this young generation either. So fervent ‘let’s meet next Saturday’ plans were made, and the ball surreptitiously thrown in the mothers’ court. Come Friday, and the kids’ faces began looming large on the mommies’ minds. The WhatsApp group came to the rescue, and was taken over by the rightful owners of the device.
So what are the venue options in the city to arrange a meet-up of kids? The fast food chain with a clown mascot has become synonymous with children’s get-togethers. But it’s crowded, and there are parking problems to be dealt with. As our minds started panning around north Bengaluru for a spot that serves good food, is clean, has an ambience quiet enough for kids to chat, and provides nuisance-free parking facility, one particular place popped up in my mind.
It ticks all the boxes, and presents a perfect setting for playdates (brightly-coloured slides and other such toddler-friendly paraphernalia makes an attractive corner here) and business meetings alike, but for the unlikely setting. It’s a hospital, you see.
The swish set-up offers state-of-the-art medical services, and several equally chic eateries and coffee shops, including some well-known brand names of the city, serving a variety of cuisines.
It also has a big department store, ostensibly selling health products and medical accessories, but the huge range of confectionary available here is enough to keep children engaged for a good part of the evening. Though that would surely turn into a mall-like expensive affair, there is, at least, no risk of falling victim to the lure of creatively-displayed merchandise in the shop windows, unless you are a hypochondriac, in which case the hole in the purse may be a lot larger.
Not that this one is the only such hospital in the city. Just across the road is another one, whose branch a few kilometres away even has a rooftop restaurant that serves, among other delicacies, chaat – and a spectacular view of the city. Quite a temptation on a drizzle-soaked evening, winning hands-down in comparison to having a cup of coffee at the mall situated cheek by jowl.
All good, of course, if you are not visiting the place as someone who the facility is meant for in the first place. Also good, that these places have not started attracting weekend crowds who would give another twist to the term, medical tourism. As for the kids, well, they went to a mall. At the fast-food restaurant with the clown mascot.