Many say that Bangalore isn’t for the weak hearted- it is for the young at heart and wild in spirit. Truth is, my Bangalore is for everybody. It adapts like the kindest mother we’d ever have. Every time, and without fail.
In the morning, the scent of new flowers in Madivala market, Vinayagar statues lined for purchase- their colours brightly catching you. During Pongal, sugarcanes on every street corner. Across is the Total Mall, bustling with activity- people buying the same vegetables in packed and over-priced cartons from freezers.
Go down further and you’ll find ‘At Home’. Facing it majestically is ‘The Forum Mall’ with its Mustard, Westside, Soch, Mochi, UCB and a train of food outlets- ‘The Transit’. Students sit waiting to catch a movie, excited about the Imax theatre. Someone refers to the Phoenix and Orion malls and says they have to visit those sometime. Moving further down, a dingy street goes down your right- Sadugunta Palya, SG Palya in short- the abode of students studying in neighbouring universities. Facebook jokes go around about how there is not a thing that one cannot find in SG Palya. I’ve shopped there for 50 Rupees leggings, bought three similar t-shirts for a party, face paints, masks, wall paint bottled in spray cans and vegetables. A friend of mine bought a cot, a mattress, a study table, two chairs and a bean bag for around three thousand rupees. Those students in Forum ultimately end up coming down this road, to their favourite Chai Point and Juicies.
Go down from there. Go to Brigade road. Your eyes will move around rapidly. There is no comfort that this lane lacks. Close by is MG Road. From rows and rows of ethnic jewellery to stuffed toys to Japanese imported products, the Tibetan plazas and malls, art work, handicrafts- these two roads can give you anything. What fascinates me all the time is that there is a UCB next to a shop selling pirated UCB, for not even half the price. The contrast is striking. Opposite Vero Moda, ten feet wide shops sell designer like dresses. Local liquor shops sit next to trying-to-be-tavern-like pubs. Picos is one of my favourite. Further down is Noon Wines, on the road leading to The Collection and then the UB City. As college students we’d walk in there, take a look at the shops and its beautiful window dressings and ask for prices. We’d laugh listening to the atrocity of those. We’d wonder how Louis Vuittons, with their recurring patterns sell. We see people dressed in pure white, rich looking clothes, sitting with a beautiful drink in hand. We are in awe. Even the richest of us feel poor there. We walk out thinking about the enormous Mantri square and the close by Garuda and Bangalore Central. We know the sale dates and we will be there on time to grab a few branded clothes. The rest we’d pick off streets.
I discovered Shivaji Nagar a year later. Russell market. Furniture rentals. The flavour of south India in every twist and turn of the street. People like us buying products that they take home to so many different types of families.
Sometimes I wonder why there aren’t any more UB cities in my Bangalore. The roads will be clean and the people so modern in thought. Then I realise that my Bangalore has something for everyone. It doesn’t need more, it doesn’t need less. For the discount seekers, the designer tailored suits, low end brand buyers, second hand sale buyers, there is something for everyone. And that is how Bangalore gives.
Location: Bangalore, Karnataka, India