[A break from story-telling and getting as honest as one can.]
Six years ago, when I clambered down a bus that brought me from an industrious town in Tamil Nadu to this city of gardens, it was with a slight trepidation I then confused for excitement that I looked around the busy Madiwala morning. I had come to intern at a company which now cease to exist, possibly eaten up by the newly constructed Namma Metro. I had stayed in Kasturinagar with my sister and her husband while we all waited for life; my sister and her husband waiting for the construction of their house in K.R. Puram, I waited for my appointment letter from an Indian IT giant.
In six months time, I had moved to the prospering Koramangala, knowing fully well that my father had turned down a property deal from a broker ten years back, writing the place off as a dead locality. My aunt who has been residing in Bangalore for the past twenty something years had told my father that the place where he stood was formerly a lake bed. As I slowly discovered the city on foot, rickshaws and buses, I figured the way of Bangalore life, popular cafés and why there was so much angst deep-set within the locals. I saw that idlis and dosas the Sagars serve were differently made from what my palette was so used to in Tamil Nadu. I understood why the city of gardens didn’t have as many garden frequenters as much as it had shopping mall regulars. I also found out why people from the bigger metros came over and complained that this city wasn’t like theirs – because this city just wasn’t like theirs!
I was told the real expansion of the city had started in 1956 when they had decided to change the capital of the Mysore state to Bangalore. Some days when my weekends are free, I climb into the first city bus that comes my way, packed with a bottle of water and a day’s pass ticket to roam around the city to places the pass allows me. When I walk down roads in the older parts of the city, I see why it had once been known as the pensioner’s paradise. I can see how pleasant it must have been to live in a quiet town with its salubrious climate. Whenever I pass by the cultural remains of the city, I am at awe seeing the undying spirit of those patrons who try hard to retain parts of the city remain untouched by industries, commerce and housing complexes.
On the day of my induction, I remember thinking that the road that led to the office headquarters was beautiful with the canopy of trees on either side. It was a long, deserted road, notorious for the recurring thieving incidents. I was warned never to leave from work alone after sunset. Today for a quick commute of five kilometers, I take a vexing, dusty ride that lasts almost an hour during the rush hour times. The deserted road I was warned about is dotted with cafés and beautifully themed high-rise apartments and for a good long time I had considered moving to this part of the city till I came to know that the regions that had once been considered the outskirts have become expensive in the few years it had been left to develop.
Bangalore with its changing landscape needed residents who could adapt with its transformation in its pace. However, the city is packed with mainly two types of people – the old residents who hate seeing the city change faster than their lifestyle could and a floating population that is getting frustrated that it can’t change soon enough.