Bengaluru or Bangalore is no longer a city one longs to visit for the simple reason it can hardly qualify to be a Garden City. A ‘concrete’ city that is just booming the mortar business and also the daily wager’s fortune but drawing the Bangalorean to an unforeseen doom. Of what avail! It has squashed all the meticulous planning a city needs to preserve its past history. Even the city’s scientist who has left us, Mr C V Raman, who owns a piece of land there which is being hawked upon by the government. Electric supply, is erratic and water ‘supply’ is stolen (via tankers) and supplied, Lakes keep frothing when elections are not due, Vehicular traffic is infested with App-based taxes during peak hours. Eateries are doing good business except the menu has shifted from 'Bisi-bele bath' (rice delicacy) to Biryani .
A ‘lost’ city where human interaction has virtually come to a halt. Is it because of the IT industry spreading its silent shadow over people, influx of migrant labour that outnumbers the local population? A desperate struggle to peel off corruption that is glued like a ‘nerve’ agent. The ‘colour’ of sambhar with ‘idli/vada’ has turned from a bright orange to red. Why? The pungent, preservative masala used? OR the popping eyes of the restaurateur and the sulky client do spell of a nightmare that is difficult to understand (digest).
Three-day stay: A whirlwind trot!
Night sans dinner
The night we landed at a friend’s place (who was out of station for a family function) was an experience unforgettable. No eatery could provide a night meal to be delivered at home. So we had to make do with what was left in the fridge. The next day began well with touring the city to reach a diagonally opposite location on business. A brief look at some vantage locations offered no insight. It blurred the sight with traffic jams, dust and unending stare at traffic lights leading to nowhere.
The next day we were at the mercy of a cabby who looked lost and disgusted despite a GPS about a location in the middle of the city. Imagine!! We finally arrived at the venue for a wedding where the bride and bridegroom were gleefully exchanging smiles after the exchange of garlands. Ceremony over!God Bless the couple!
Thank God the groom was not Indian but a foreigner! No wonder the smile from ear to ear. After a quick wedding lunch we hopped on to a relative’s house to measure progress and welfare. Both in doldrums!
The third day was presumably the best as it was better than planned. A visit to a Government office, where ‘work’ moved more efficiently than it would have on other days for us. The man behind the counter remarked with a ‘sly’ smile.”Elections are due here so we are ‘working’? To please our bosses”. Bravo!
The work done then we had to catch up with an appointment. A family friend who offered us an array of foreign films at the city’s Film Festival that we would have loved to watch but regretfully left with not much time but proceeded on with our duties. However, the congenial behaviour of the friend saved the day, and remains memorable.
One interesting development one noticed is the city being partially connected by metro a virtual relief for commuters who seem to have bid farewell to cars, taxis and buses. The malls look more trendy and spatial, offering more space for jay walkers and shoppers. Both these tribes look hardly distinct from each other.
P.S. The Lingayats must ponder before punching their votes between The revered Basavanna and Rahul Gandhi.
Returning from Bangalore we had to be fed with a spate of news about people kicking their respective buckets. (No offence). The deaths of Sridevi, Kanchi Shankaracharya, an uncle in the USA, a journalist in a leading newspaper (Ranjan Roy), internationally acclaimed French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy, a disabled-rights activist (Javed Abidi) , scientist Stephen Hawking, a stunning plane crash in the neighbouring country (Nepal), the wife of a veteran journalist (Thangam Unnikrishnan), did wrench my heart to a smaller size. May all these souls, rest in peace. Back to the grind of chores, tutoring, and chatting, strictly in this order.
Happy reading to all and I promise a better piece on the approaching summer, an eye-opener. Already sweating? Better gear up! Always wear some loose cotton-wear.