Do you know a decent place in Bangalore to hangout during weekends? A place to find our own space, to spend time in leisure without spending our lifetime’s savings? Bangalore and peace, who am I kidding really? With all the malls, movies, pubs and restaurants, Bangalore might get offended for making this request. There is so much of buzz and glitter that my requirement even reads like a vacation request to a far far away land. How to make space for one self where there is no space on the streets for the traffic to clear? How to find time for leisure when commutation takes most of it? With sky-rocketing cost of living, I dare not speak about saving at all. But that was what Bangalore was once upon a time, wasn’t it? Garden city I mean.
It is not uncommon to hear native Bangaloreans blame IT for setting its hub house in here. I wouldn’t blame them for their blaming. My relative who had settled in Bangalore for a long long time recalls old Bangalore as a peaceful place with cool climate, fresh breeze, trees and gardens that I find hard to imagine today. The gardens that are still around have become substitute shelters for people who are unable to go elsewhere to procreate and help the cause of evolution. Definitely not a place to go with families anymore. Garden city has moved on to become a theme park or worse.
Every time Vijay and I want to go out, we spend more time deciding on where to go than the time spent outside. With limited choices, without much difference anywhere anyway, we end up narrowing down our hangouts on an ad-hoc basis. If only there was a beach in Bangalore! How I miss those endless stretches of shores and soothing waves that offer free massages to the body and mind! The same service at a parlour here costs a hell lot that you are stressed much more than being relieved from the stress for which you paid for.
Two member families own two four wheelers each. You want to make a decision on what automobile to buy and see its live performance, welcome to Bangalore. Once you learn to drive on these curvy landscapes, you can literally drive anywhere. You become one of those reckless, ruthless drivers flying and honking like they own the place. When was the last time I saw a bicycle on the streets? I’m not talking about those geared racing cycles that we ride with helmets, coolers, gloves and knee caps. I’m referring to bicycles that are just that. Hercules Caption, Hero Jet, BSA SLR and the likes of those. Now that I’ve mentioned SLR, folks here brag about SLRs all the time, SLR as in Single-Lens Reflex camera. What difference does it make to click pictures with a SLR or a point-and-shoot when the city doesn’t stand still for two seconds to pose for pictures anyway?
Staying in Bangalore is like staying in an air-conditioned bubble all the time. The climate here pampers and spoils us so much that once we cross the boundaries of Bangalore, we start complaining of heat and sweat as if we had just migrated from the temperate to the tropical regions of the world. I couldn’t help but notice the irony with climate and culture. Colder the place, shorter the skirts of the ladies. If Mumbai makes the fashion statement of India, Bangalore gives its counter. One can take a stroll along the Bangalore streets clad in a bikini and wouldn’t raise so much as an eye-brow. On that note, I should say, Bangalore is sometimes sexless.
Jokes apart. In spite of the numerous inconveniences, Bangalore is the most sought place to settle down. Rich or poor, dark or fair, they get equal share of it all. The diversity of people living here and the diversity of language they speak amazes me no end. Hard-working people, call them fast-runners if you want, spend no time on gossiping near the water pump or brawling over a beer. They’d rather laugh at their plight with peers than mop about it. Change is the only constant and Bangaloreans constantly embrace the happening changes and move towards progress. That is something to give them credit for, give them that big time!