Why Bangalore still rocks

Last year, I wrote this piece and some people were angry. So, this year, I thought I’d anger some more people. Just kidding–this is about some things that I love about Bangalore.

Weather: Climate change is a reality and you do find warm days, not-so-rainy monsoons, and really hot days, but Bangalore is still a cool place compared to other cities. Yes, we need to control the climate change but Bangalore is crisp on most mornings. Don’t believe me? Drive down Cubbon road at 6.30 in the morning or late at night.

Music: Almost every big band that comes to India makes a stop at Bangalore. There’s live music in spite of the ban on live bands. (Live bands, for those who don’t know, is a euphemism for bars that feature women who dance in various stages of undress.) There’s concerts to satisfy most of your music cravings and some more.

Restaurants/Food: Okay, so this is not Mumbai, but it’s not bad either. Corner House is a must visit if you love ice-cream. Koshy’s has an old-world ambience that can’t be captured. Die-hard coffee lovers will swear by India Coffee House. And, there’s MTR, which shamefully I’ve never been to, and a lot more.

Bars/Pubs: From budget bars to snob-value, Bangalore has everything. Some people swear by Peco’s, others like their Geoffrey’s, and if you’re into budget drinking, stand in at your local liquor store and gulp down a whiskey or ten.

Bookstores: Forget the chains like Crossword, Oxford, Landmark. We’ve got Premier bookshop, Strand book stall, Gangarams, and we’re just getting started. Blossom’s house of used books is a place where you can find second-hand books that you wouldn’t normally find elsewhere. And, there’s Select bookshop, Bookworm, and a few other places. Really, if books are your thing, then Bangalore is the place to be.

Trees and parks: Yes, the city is becoming a concrete jungle but there are still areas where you find a lot of trees. And parks too. There’s Lalbagh, a botanical garden in the city. And Cubbon park at the end (or beginning) of MG road. Then, there are small parks around the city where you’ll find people taking a stroll in the morning or kids playing in the evening. There are areas in Koramangala and Indiranagar that are simply beautiful, you feel like you’re in another place. It’s not what it used to be though and that makes me sad.

IT: The revolution started here and it continues, despite all the complaints about the traffic and the infrastructure. Yes, other cities have caught on, but Bangalore is still the leader in the IT industry.

There are other areas too–the theatre scene is much more visible, the film scene (for foreign and non-mainstream cinema)–that are getting better, but the ones I mentioned above stand out.

Some not-so-great things do remain, but this post is about the good stuff. Here’s hoping that 2007 will see Bangalore get better in areas like traffic and pollution.


15 thoughts on “Why Bangalore still rocks

  1. -PAM,
    really surprising that people prefer not to look at this one! Does nobody appreciate a nice little pat on the back, though the hand now needs some dusting? :D

  2. Yeah, it’s the nature of things I guess. If you point out negatives, they’ll excoriate you (or try), point out the positives and nothing. At least now there’s *one* comment. ;-)

  3. You could write about worst of Bangalore and live a year to write about best of Bangalore. May be, that is the best and worst about Bangalore and Kannadigas. If you had written badly about Chennai or Mumbai, they (Tamils/Shiv Sainiks) would not have let you live for a year, to see if you change your mind. We feel sorry about ourselves because, we Kannadigas take all the shit and still let you live happily, ever after.

    You or any other outsiders are in Bangalore, because of jobs or any other opportunities available in B’lore. You should be complaining about lack of opportunities in your home place, than finding issues with the place you choose to adapt.

    Things in B’lore have not changed any better in last one year. You are talking nice about it, just to justify your stay in B’lore.

    We do not need you. Thanks for coming. Good Bye.

  4. Good post. I read the other one too, and I have to agree with this one even as I agree with some points from that one. I am struggling with liking Bangalore, so these posts are fun to read.

    The bookshops, the greenery, the food options I will miss if I ever leave. The glorious days of going to Blossom and Select, the fun of trying out new places to eat, the trees by the roadsides, the gardens in every area, the music scene… Bangalore wins in a major way on those counts.

    At the same time, I will not for a second miss the public transport (I know it’s supposed to be good, but I’m from Bombay, and nothing in India compares to the efficiency and coverage of that system of public transport), the constant haggling with rickshaw drivers who will just not listen, the insane way in which people drive, the sheer greed that is visible in the way people constantly try to overcharge or just not return change. It makes it hard to enjoy the good points — especially if you have to drive or get a ride to all the good things.

    I don’t, also, appreciate the attitude of people who dismiss in a blanket the “outsiders” who are supposedly the cause of all problems; I can feel the resentment and it makes me very sad. Yes, the outsiders who don’t care to become a part of the city are a problem, but there is arguably a small but critical subset that takes an interest in Bangalore and not just in making money. I know several such, who like the city but might just be driven away by the chip old Bangalore seems to wear on its shoulder.

    Who’s to blame? Well, people make a city. I’d blame us all, right from the politicians and government that didn’t regulate growth and provide the necessary infrastructure before allowing growth to happen; the outsiders who came in and didn’t care; the insiders who built up resentment and managed to make things worse for outsiders; myself, for griping about it!

  5. @SD

    Yeah, public transport needs a serious improvement as does figuring out how to deal with auto drivers. Right now, we’re almost resigned to asking three or four auto drivers to come to a place before getting a Yes from one.

    Regarding attitude towards “outsiders”, that’s something that’s changed over the last few years. If we’re all part of one country, then we should be allowed to live anywhere we want, no matter what language we speak or where we’re from.

    Also, the whole outsider issue has the familiar ring of blaming problems in a place on “outsiders”, whether they’re from a different state or from a different ethnic background or of a different skin colour.

  6. Hi everybody…I am new here and it was interesting to read everybodys comments on Bangalore. By the way I am from Delhi and have been living in Bangalore since last 2 years.
    Ravi….thank you for your hospitality. You words were really kind!!!! Let me also point it out that we are not outsiders here in Bangalore. Bangalore is a part of India & people of all caste and religions are free to stay & live where they want. Democracy also gives us a right to voice our opinions …so it would be nice if you dont take it so personally.

    I agree with P.A.Monteiro. When you come from some other city you realise how rude and unwelcoming Bangalore can be.
    I have given up on the autowalas. Atleast in Delhi they overcharge but agree to take you.
    I swear…there have been times when they have been extremely rude to me. They simply hate you for being a North Indian and say that we are taking up all their good jobs!! Can you imagine!!
    I mean really, where is this coming from????
    The companies hire us because of our qualifications, dont they????

    I cant shop here. Things are so limited.People are not fashion conscious at all. Look at the average Bangalorean…he/she is so shabbily dressed. Maybe for this reason…you get limited stocks of goods in the shops. There are no export surplus markets like the one we have in Delhi, Sarojini Market. I miss that place!!! Sob!
    I mean isnt Bangalore supposed to be the hub of knitwear and bottomwear goods, then why not have a surplus market???

    Again…no personal issues…just commenting on a place…so people please dont take it personally.

    Bye…and please let me know if you know about some good shopping places…

  7. Hi again…

    Forgot to ask something…I dont know if you guys have noticed but I have…why are the autos here so noisy???? I think they dont have silencers????
    We have serious noise pollution here because of them and I see that nobody is complaining or the traffic police!!

  8. Sonia: I am not sure about the export surplus markets part but there are factory outlet places that you can shop at, Marathahalli for one. Safina Plaza has regular sales every week. Chickpet is supposed to be a good place to shop for clothing material but I’ve never been there. Anyone else with more “shopping experience” feel free to jump in.

    I don’t think people will be happy about you saying that the average Bangalorean is “so shabbily dressed”.

    About North Indians being treated differently, I have heard this from a couple of other people as well and it’s sad.

    Autos and silencers, I am not really sure. Maybe it’s because the engines are placed differently in autos here. I am sure that they can’t run without silencers.

  9. Hi P.A. Monteiro,

    Thanks for the info on shopping. Yes, I have been to all the places and unfortunately they are not what I am looking for. Chickpet is full of sarees,salwar kameez and fabrics, Safina Plaza has the regular staff and I am not really into factory outlets coz they sell all local stufff. What I meant was brands like Zara, Banana Republic, Monsoon,Miss Sixty etc u know the kinds which are exported out and some are sold in the local market for maybe minor defects or late shipments.
    Girls….please help me out….anybody who loves shopping and wear these brands will know what I am talking about.

    I am sorry if I sounded rude when I said that about being shabbily dressed. I didnt mean to be but just my personal view on people dressing but I would love to see smartly dressed people here. Infact, I am doing something about it and started my own line of clothing. The response has been so far good but again all my clients have been the expats. :-(

    Yes, very sad on how North Indians are spoken about. Why?? I am still figuring it out. Maybe some of us are crude and rude but Bangalore please dont generalise us all because of just a few.

    Ya, funny about the autos….hope something is done about it soon…its maddening to venture out and terribly annoying to sit on a one which is so noisy, not to mention the rude autowalas. I have been to MG road at night and when the auto pre paid booth is closed and no traffic policemen nearby.Had it not been for the taxis I am sure people would be stranded here. The Buses do not have english signposts. So I dont know which bus is going where?? Poeple standing nearby have not been helpful…I have been now reduced to taking taxis which are not always affordable.
    I cant drive here coz its so chaotic….and there are no traffic rules. I have hardly seen people giving side dippers….

    Please can something be done about this??? Where do citizens complain and who listens???

    If you know…please let me know…

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