When we were children, we lived in a rented house in Gandhi Bazaar. The hot summers would heat up the asbestos roof, yet all we had to do to cool off was spread out chaape and sleep on the balcony. It was a common sight to see sparrows. They even built nests in between the asbestos beams. Where have the sparrows gone?
We had no gadgets, TVs or mobiles. Our days were spent studying or playing games like climbing trees, building sand castles in construction sites, or renting out bicycles at 20 paisa per hour. When it rained, we made paper boats.
From 281 lakes we are down to 80 lakes, from so called garden city to a bustling cosmopolitan city, from a Kannada speaking city to a multiple language city, Bangalore has changed.
Our underway bypasses and many walls are covered with kitschy paintings of animals and peeled off monuments of Karnataka. Latest I hear, BBMP wants to install statues of Disney characters in parks! I hope the renowned artists of Bangalore constitute a team and propose ways to beautify Bangalore instead of letting authorities who have no clue about art plan the city’s aesthetics.
I am also pained at the loss of theatres. In the ’70s and ’80s, some of the theatres around Gandhi Bazaar were Uma, Sanjay, Shanthi, Minerva, Swagath, Nanda, later on Putanna. Most of it is razed down. Going to the movies was a luxury. A walk to the theatre at 8 pm, and on the way back, hot badam milk and a vegetable puff at Ganesha Bakery was our extravaganza. A more pricey treat would be an outing to the Cantonment area, to catch English films such as Roman Holiday, Fiddler on the Roof, Sound of Music etc in Blue Moon, Blue Diamond, Plaza and Rex.
A visit to Plaza theatre on MG Road was a bonus as we could munch on cupcakes and sip on Gold Spot in the cafeteria, which was on a vast wooden floor ballroom apparently built by the British.
Solution: With single theatres in the neighbourhood disappearing, the cost and time to watch a movie is nothing less than `1,000 and four hours. I hope the government sets up small cinema theatres in each area because for me movies are not merely about entertainment; it is also an art form that can highlight the diversity of Indian culture, inspire, raise many pertinent issues and create awareness.