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.