7.19.2005

Trip down Memory Lane – Bangalore Revisited
We paraded down the MG road, it is arguably the best known road in Bangalore barring, maybe the brigade road. Then there is the infantry road, the Rest house road, Levelle road, Richmond road, Residency road.

Interestingly, the MG road hasn't kept its original British given name. The Mahatma Gandhi road was originally called the South Parade road because it wound down the south-side of the Military Parade ground. Today, there is no bungalow of Victorian vintage that a century ago, almost certainly adorned South Parade, only a space age, steel and glass offices situated on MG road. The real estate boom has well and truly engulfed Bangalore, and if you listen in close enough you can almost hear real estate developers go Yahoo!

This is just a little taste of something I did a couple of Sundays back. Arun Pai, runs tours called Bangalore walks. He selects places of historical significance in Bangalore and walks inquisitive travelers like me down many a lane. For this walk he had selected, MG road, brigade road and rest house road. The not so arduous 3 km journey, took us a little over 3 hrs, and just as well; there was a whole lot of history that we needed to absorb.

We saw the Mayo hall and its complete contrast in the shape of the Horticulture building. We saw some exquisite Victorian bungalows that still stand on MG road. They take a little bit of finding, but the good part is that we felt like true treasure hunters. We saw the first KFC outlet in India and it was fascinating to see that this was the same restaurant that anti globalization demonstrators broke down some 8 years ago. They off-course hadn’t heard of Thomas Friedman and were foolish enough to think that the world was round. We then passed the building where only a couple of decades ago an Indian company started out flattening this world. The original Wipro building still stands tall just off MG road, and just looking at it made me feel a few feet taller.

Arun was quick to point out that he had a theory that Bangalore was bound to become the silicon valley of the East, according to him it could have been predicted a few decades back. Some of the facts he narrated made me a believer too. From then on the only thing I could think of was why I didn't know Arun then, more importantly, why didn't I know of this theory then. Real estate must have literally been dirt cheap then. I quickly but quietly asked him if he had similar theories about Mysore, Mangalore, Hyderabad or maybe Chandigarh. I think I’ll just keep to myself what he told me that fateful Sunday morning.

We were headed for breakfast, and I couldn't think of a better way to top off a wonderfully enjoyable Sunday morning. I for one, and I am sure all my fellow explorers, would take away a lot of memories from the lanes we traversed that morning.

That day we were yet another bunch of guys who were truly and surely Bangalored!

2 Comments:

At 2:30 AM, Blogger Sayan said...

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At 2:34 AM, Blogger Sayan said...

This post is really nice. Bangalore walk is something I would definitely do when I am again in the city.

BTW, there was amazingly elegant victorian-period hotel called Victoria Hotel on the crossing of MG and Residency Road, right opposite Mayo Hall. It had nice laid-back old world charm but was pulled down 2 years back to make way for an ugly shopping complex/mall.

That reminds me maybe you can ask Mr. Pai about the origin of the name Residency Road- any connection to the British Resident in the erstwhile Mysore state?
(some info here and here. )
Bangalore has changed dramatically in the last few years for the worse... heritage walks are one way to savour the last remnants of the peaceful days gone by.

 

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