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So, How is Bangalore?

Back to the city ruled by dust, engineers and bygone days of quiet gardens.

HP Nadig asked in a comment “how is Bangalore?”. A month after we relocated from US, here is what I feel.

Once upon a time

I came to Bangalore in September 1993. Till summer of 1996, I enjoyed my post-college years with some of my great friends there. From 1996 to February 1998, I used to shuttle between France, Bangalore and Kerala. Then, I went to USA and for six years, have not really thought about Bangalore.

Since February 2004, I am back in Bangalore. I will be a temporary bachelor -- wife is in Kerala -- for a while. It is almost like my bachelor days; wandering around on my old Suzuki Samurai. Almost every weekend, I go to Kerala to be with my family. So, my exploration of the "new" Bangalore has been limited to daily trips to office and occasional shopping trips.

Here are some notes on what I saw and heard in the last month.

First impressions

In 1998, IT was getting to be popular. Now, Bangalore might be the only city in India where engineers outnumber government employees. There is no escape from IT and BPO. Anywhere you go, you will have to hear two or more people talking about Java or .NET or whatever is the latest buzzword. Sickening! It is almost like Americans' obsession with weather.

The crowds are about 10 times more. I was taken aback seeing fly-overs everywhere. In any case, nobody follows traffic rules.

Perhaps as a result of all this traffic and construction work, it is even more of a dust bowl these days. The thick black smoke from vehicles used to be the norm 10 years ago. Now it is thicker dust that follows vehicles.

Bangalore used to be known as a charming retirement city. If you are old and want to retire to Bangalore, rest assured that you won’t enjoy your retirement here for long ;-)

Sights and sounds

Landscape

Construction, construction, construction. Apartments and houses are being built at an enormous rate. Understandably, it is an ungainly sight in most places. Bangaloreans were not very keen on preserving open spaces. They haven’t changed a bit. In most places, if you stretch your arms outside your house, you will most certainly knock your neighbour’s window.

It is still not the concrete jungle that Bombay is. Getting there fast enough.

Fashion

Six years ago, one had to go to M.G. Road to see fashionable --usually horrible to talk to-- people. Now all sorts of nutty fashion can be seen pretty much all around. I think the spread of IT/BPO outlets around the city has caused this. People so badly want to stand out (which is a good thing).

Girls seem to have created different variations of the plain old churidar. Now the cuts on the sides go all the way up to the waist. On windy days, it is such a disgusting sight to see it flapping around. Another style is thigh-high tops. These have matching pajamas, so it looks pretty neat at times. Purple lipstick seems to be popular - yuck!

Guys these days spend way too much time with their facial hair. Various styles of beard --or rather streaks of chin hair-- were seen. I saw a guy wearing trowsers of the type J.Lo wears when she is on stage!

Both ladies and gents have acquired very good taste in dressing up for work. Particularly, gents wear great ties and fantastic shoes.

Mobile phones

Telephone is one of my three sworn enemies (others are cats and indi-pop music). Imagine my shock to see everybody having mobile phones here! Anyway, I too got one yesterday. Eight years in western countries and I avoided it like plague! A month in Bangalore and I already bought my first mobile phone.

Anyway, I still can’t understand what is there to talk about so much. If you thought using mobile phone while driving was bad, you should come to Bangalore. They talk even while driving a motor cycle -- which is a very difficult thing to do.

Sensible ones have hands-free sets. This is even more annoying when you are in a public place. You might think some guy is talking to you --well, he is looking at you and talking furiously, with lots of gestures.

Mobile phone ring tones are all over the place. Movie stars' voice, songs, chimes, you name it, you will hear it.

English

Typical Bangalore English is a phenomenon. This hasn’t changed at all in the last decade. I got overwhelmed by this when I came here in 1993 and again now.

Here are some rules on how to communicate in Bangalore:

If you are in IT, conversation can be in very short sentences. I usually don’t talk too much to strangers, but here is a conversation I had with a perfect stranger in a restaurant.

him: Software?
me: Yes.
him: Me too. Electronic City?
me: No, International Technology Park.
him: Java?
me: No.
him: .NET?
me: No.
him: Then?
me: Then what?
him: Platform, platform.
me: Oracle, Zope, Python.
him: Python?
me: Never mind.
him: Oh. Ummmm... I’ve 5 years experience in Java. J2EE.
me: Good.
him: WebLogic only.
me: Good for you.
him: Now, these web services and all are popular.
me: Indeed.
him: You work in 2-tier? I work on n-tier systems only.
me: (annoyed) Does it matter?
him: What? (his mobile rings). Oh, I have to take this call.
me: Thank you.
him: Uh?

I decided to have my dinner only in Kerala restaurants.

FM Radio

Every morning and evening, during the commute in my office bus, I am subjected to 30 minutes of Radio City, a popular FM station here. Same songs, same ads and same jockeys. One jockey --Chaitanya Hegde-- who is online during evening is reasonable to listen to. The lady who comes on for the morning tranmission is sickeningly talkative; and talks about all things under the Sun (that will be Cricket, movie gossip and some poor jokes) with an accent and tone enough to feel earthworms crawling on my spine.

I was not much of an MTV fan anyway. I suppose that is why I find this kind of non-stop-non-sense irritating.

Newspapers

I read Times of India for about three weeks. It is so bad that I wonder if they have editors.

The Hindu and The Indian Express are still good.

Economy

Automobiles

I had to wait for two weeks before I saw an Ambassador car! That should give some indication on how many choices are there now. 10 years ago, we were excited about 100cc motor cycles. Now, everyone is after cars.

Real Estate

Real Estate is really booming. Many apartments are being built. I am planning to look for buying an apartment within next two months. Then, there is a chance that I will get an finished apartment by next year.

I have a nagging doubt though. I think IT will come crashing down in Bangalore in next 5 years. What will happen to the real estate market then?

Banking

Where we had few banks before, there are many now. The new age banks like HDFC, ICICI, Citi are all well established here. So far, I’ve not seen any improvement in service when compared to State Bank of India/Travancore, though these new banks have sparkling offices.

Stealth costs in banking is a bit worrisome. Banks here don’t necessarily keep you updated of the charges involved.

Stores

This is one area where there has been tremendous improvement. There are so many shops that you can get virtually anything here. Only thing that is sorely missing is parking space.

Infrastructure

Roads

Mostly good roads. But once a road is dug up, they don’t fix it up. 80ft road in Koramangala 4th block is a prominent road. It almost looks like a Range Rover ad for obstacle course.

Traffic management

Traffic police tries to control traffic in important points. But that is not enough. They keep changing two-way streets to one-way streets. It is such a hassle at times.

I will be really happy if they are bit more strict on people driving the wrong way on the wrong side of the road!

Public transport

BTS (Bangalore Transport Service) was bad. It is bad now. Now, several of their buses have route numbers in Kannada - which makes it even more difficult.

Auto-rickshaws are still the same. There are lot of citi-taxis which are a bit more expensive, but will actually follow the rate meter.

Electricity

I am staying in HSR Layout now. I was in Koramangala in February. So far, in these places, it has been pretty good.

Good voltage, no fluctuations and no power-cuts during night.

Water

Water is still bad. You get only hard water here. I believe public water supply is available during specific hours of the day. People collect it into their own tanks to maintain a steady supply.

In short...

I love my India. Unlike USA, every day here is different. Life is harder, but not monotonous at all. As a bonus, I get to visit Kerala whenever I want to.

  1. Hi Babu,

    Glad to know that you are enjoying yourself :) Thanks for the great "first impression" report - brought a smile to my face.

    I wonder, does anyone there know what Zope is too? I guess Zope and Python is one single sentence should be enough to confuse many!

    BTW, would you be able to increase the number of cols for textarea for the comment input form? It really is inconvenient to writeup a long comment inside the present textarea.

    Posted by: Srijith on March 19, 2004 10:26 AM
  2. That is a nice coincidence. My parents live in HSR Layout Sector I, opp the PWD quarters. Which sector are you in?

    I think HSR Layout for now is really nice. It is great especially in the evening for a nice long walk along 27th Main.. :)

    Just getting a bit nostalgic, given that I havent gone home in 1.5 yrs. Enjoy urself!

    Posted by: Deepak on March 19, 2004 03:41 PM
  3. I enjoyed this greatly. I thought the transcript of the conversation you had with the "n-tier only" guy was hilarious. Thanks for the great insights into your home. I'd love to visit India some day.

    -Casey

    Posted by: Casey Duncan on March 20, 2004 10:14 AM
  4. to srijith:
    guess what? Opensource technologies are also taking off here. If you did miss the story in slashdot couple of months back, I'd like to mention here one of the largest Opensource event that is held in Bangalore every year. check http://linux-bangalore.org/
    and this one should tell you everything: http://developers.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=03/12/02/2314233&mode=thread&tid=106&tid=117&tid=185&tid=99

    Posted by: hpnadig on March 20, 2004 03:34 PM
  5. Wow!! Good rounding up of things happening in bangalore. You have aptly summarized 'Rules on how to communicate in B'lore' ;-) Yes, FM radio is another thing that is buzzing too much these days!! I see that you have glimpsed every aspect of b'lore.

    Whatever be the reasons,
    bottom line here is still 'B'lore Rocks!!'

    Posted by: Chaitra on March 28, 2004 10:02 AM
  6. Hi Babu !

    I had a nice laugh reading this. I will be glad to host you when you are in Hyderabad, as long as you promise to write a similar piece about your impressions of the visit (this is no April fool joke - It so happens I found some free time today to read your blog).

    I am creating a datase of companies/organizations in India who are serious users of Python and Python-related/Python-based software. I will be thankful if you keep me posted of any you come across.

    cheers,
    jay

    Posted by: Jayasimha Makineni on April 1, 2004 01:28 PM
  7. "rules on how to communicate" is the best.

    I had experienced it last time when I was in India, but the way you have put it is very true and sounds funny.

    Posted by: pramod on April 2, 2004 02:17 AM
  8. Guess what!!! After 2 years of monotonous life in the US, it was a welcome change to see some things the same in Bangalore.

    Talk about cell phones...I saw people selling vegetables on the streets pushing their carts and talking on the phone. That was a Kodak moment...

    In short...Bangalore is the Best ONLY!!! ;-)

    Posted by: Akshob on April 4, 2004 01:32 AM
  9. hmmm.. I dunno what is the source of water supplied at your place... At least in parts of south where you get Kaveri water, it is pretty good.

    Abt people who crib abt bts route numbers being in Kannada - I do understand it is a problem for visitors. But I often wonder abt people living here - there are only 10 digits and it takes 5 minutes to learn and 15 mins to get familiar to. I wonder why ppl don't do that and crib for days and days abt it.

    You are the only person I've seen so far who has said the power supply is good. May be you spoke too soon, before the summer is over.. :)

    Nice write up.

    Posted by: Arun on April 12, 2004 07:06 PM
  10. #9: The whole reason for Bangalore getting ahead these days is because it is getting aligned with global economy. People are here to get work and make money. Unlike other places in India, there is not that much pressure to learn the local language - well, in schools, I believe Kannada is mandatory.

    India needs to change lot more when it comes to convenience ahead rather than blindly imposing local culture on visitors. It is "one India" that will get us ahead. Personally, I can't think of how having Kannada digits on buses will help advance Kannada culture.

    Posted by: Babu on April 13, 2004 09:53 AM
  11. "I can't think of how having Kannada digits on buses will help advance Kannada culture."

    Well, we are talking different threads althogether. I was suggesting a easier and better alternative to complaining. Kannada culture and such things are a different topic altogether and a discussion on it can be spared.

    Posted by: Arun on April 13, 2004 11:59 AM
  12. btw, kannada is very easy to learn. ;) tumba simple languageU

    Posted by: hpnadig on April 13, 2004 01:11 PM
  13. Nice write up

    Posted by: You know who on April 13, 2004 05:33 PM
  14. I happened to be in Bangalore on the Valentine's day (2004) and was passing thru the MG road in an Autorickshaw and I saw these huge crowds of teenagers dressed in Red. They were everywhere and lots and lots of them. I figured out this was for Valentine's. I wanted to know if the autorickshaw driver knew of it, So i asked him.
    He replied "sir, Evathu yeno lovers day anthe." (sir today is lovers day.). I was impressed.

    Wanted to share another observation I made: Gone are the days when people wanted to put money in the bank, People will spend money, Dress good, Travel, Eat out and live comfortably. This behaviour has got to all classes of the society.

    Posted by: ykumar on April 16, 2004 01:37 AM
  15. gurugaligalla namaskara,

    yen shiva tumba bambat agi baridieyalla. sakathagi tu . i really enjoyed man. it has been a long time i have not heard about bangalore. it was like a bangalore darashan.... cool man. and it is after ages i have expressed my self in kannada...bangalore is bangalore any day!!!!! i miss bangalore......any way i am back in bangalore with a bang.... soon....

    upendra narayan
    oxford
    Uk

    Posted by: upendra on April 20, 2004 07:00 AM
  16. Very interesting reading. I am from Bangalore and it has been over 6 years since I last visited. I wonder to what extent there is broadband and telecommuting in Bangalore. I think that would definitely cut the amount of traffic and consequent smog.

    Jayaram
    Scottsdale AZ

    Posted by: Bellave Jayaram on April 23, 2004 03:23 AM
  17. Hi Babu,
    Being a Bangalorean in the US now, ur description about BANGY gave a perfect update about Bangalore. I enjoyed specailly about the IT conversation, English,Transport service. But u missed something. Bangloreans are very hospitable,helpful,accept people from all parts of country without any language problem, infact they try to speak the language u speak even if it is not perfect.They are open minded and not at all fanatic. They are understanding and helpful. I mean all this for a true Banglorean. With all the drawbacks that Bangy has, after visiting other cities and other countries, I still feel Banglore is the best in the world, hey cause I am an INDIAN, and a proud Bangalorean.

    Posted by: SAS on April 24, 2004 06:17 AM
  18. Hi sas,

    You are right. I missed the hospitality and acceptance Bangaloreans provide to people from anywhere in India. They are, in general, open minded, and helpful irrespective of the language you speak. (Well, I need to be a bit reserved about being helpful part; you ask anybody on the road how to get to some place, the answer, 99% of the time is "seedha hogi right turn maadi" -- "go straight and take a right turn" :-)

    About Bangalore being the best place in the world, let us agree to disagree. Because I think Kerala is the best ;-)

    Posted by: Babu on April 25, 2004 04:24 PM
  19. Hi Babu,
    Welcome to B'lore. Don't know how I got on to your site but I loved reading about B'lore coz I also moved to this city few weeks back and after reading each line, I was remembering how was it with me...very close.
    Well I'm settling down slowly in this city...but missing my old network of friends.
    Drop me a line if you would like to meetup someday. Whats in it for me?..well I'd like to get few tips on weblogging and take a plunge. Whats in for you???Hmmm you get to meet a nice person and.. .well I'll throw in beer too..

    Posted by: Vinay on April 27, 2004 06:01 PM
  20. Hi babu,
    With regard to address guidance, no city is perfect, dont think I am defending my folks. Its just I too experienced the same thing in Gujarath...seedha jav aur turn lelo. I do agree that u agree that Kerala is best for u....after all beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder:)

    Posted by: sas(suma) on May 6, 2004 11:30 AM
  21. Good writing. On the lines of your conversation with an IT guy I can only imagine how the conversation will be inside a call center(with a western customer) and between call center employees

    Posted by: Vijay on May 6, 2004 11:55 PM
  22. hi babu,
    it was really good to know more about bangalore.

    Posted by: stalin on May 19, 2004 07:04 PM
  23. hi,
    siva bengalooor bagge swalpa i-level aag bariyo. jana nagtaavre

    Posted by: rajiv on May 20, 2004 10:17 PM
  24. NAMASKARA Friends,
    Nice to have a chat on our VERY DEAR OLD CITY
    BENGALOORU.
    Let us not forget that Bangalore is what it is today
    because of

    1. The KANNADIGA People (The most broad minded, non-fanatic,
    kool people on this planet period. (to the extent of being themselves treated as second class citizens and overlooked) and not receiving receprocal treatment in any other states/cities)

    2. The climate of Bangalore (though it is a shadow of its former self)

    3. The progressive thinking of its people , it was
    Sir M Visveswarayya who was the pioneer with a vision back in
    the 1920s & 30ies to industrialize the state and lately by
    people like sri Narayana Murthy.

    My humble ans sincere request is for people to
    appreciate and recognize these (very real) facts..

    ThankQ

    Posted by: Bangalorean on May 21, 2004 11:23 PM
  25. That is quite a discussion... We could extend it to other cities of India and I am sure we will have a broader view of how India is progressing (2 steps ahead and 1 back)... New Delhi (Gurgaon, Nodia), Amchi Mumbai, Amar Kolkata, Chennai are all undergoing a huge change. It could also reflect the changing mind frame of people.

    Will be back to check on the latest... I accidently hit this page... Cheers!! Enjoy what you are doing!!

    AB

    Posted by: AB on May 23, 2004 07:27 PM
  26. I loved your article!! It's so interesting to find out more about a country. I love travelling and I've always wanted to see India as an exotic country, and now I'm even more interested. I just wonder if the averadge population is really very poor, and if there are lots of infectious deseases so that it can be dangerous to stay there. Can you advice me something to take care about before I go to India (I'll probably go there in autumn)?
    Andy http://www.astra-design.com

    Posted by: Andy on May 28, 2004 05:25 AM
  27. Dear Babu,
    I am a Malaysian Indian and am planning to settle down in Bangalore after my retirement.How much will a good apartment,car and monthly suvival cost for a couple.If you could give me an indication in US$ it would be really helpful.Is water supply easily available for showers etc.
    What about food is it clean.Thanks

    Posted by: M.Naidu on May 31, 2004 10:04 AM
  28. Hello!
    Nice article! I am planning on travelling to some places in India and was offered to stay at a friend's friend's house in Bangalore. After reading your article I am even more interested in this city! Would you say it is a safe city to travel to as a tourist? Is Indiranagar a safe area to stay at?

    Posted by: Ana on June 2, 2004 11:36 PM
  29. Hi Babu,

    I was trying to find out y B'lore is called as a Garden city and came across ur page. well this artical is truly a miror of my feelings about Bangalore. I came here 3 months before you,from Chandigarh. From last 6 months I am not able to get the answer to my ques. Y Garden city? I am not able to locate any good Garden. If U know pls. tell me.

    I would like to travel to Karela. Heard lot about the city.

    Live Life

    Posted by: Deepika on June 9, 2004 09:09 PM
  30. When I was living in Bangalore 10 years ago, it had quite a bit of greenery. Every residential area had their own little garden - usually the main road in 2 directions has a garden+park in between. Then you've Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. I never liked Lalbagh then - I don't know how it is now. Cubbon Park used to be very quiet.

    Bangaloreans compare their city with Chennai and I guess that makes them say it is still a garden city.

    To travel to Kerala, I suggest you go with some tour operators, unless you want to take the trouble of hotel bookings on your own. My suggestion would be to take a day-time train from Mangalore to Trivandrum and enjoy the scenery. Depending on what you like to see, you can adjust your itinerary all the way back to Palakkad and then take a night train to
    Bangalore.

    Posted by: Babu on June 15, 2004 08:01 PM
  31. Hi Babu,

    It was hillarious, One thing you have missed out about the bangalore is the parks which are coming up as fast as the apartments,thats quite justifiable having regard to the fact that your geography of bangalore is restricted to office and residence yes ofcourse MG Road. I would have liked you to write more about "Bangalore after dusk" It would certainly enthuse the people.
    One comment about the public transport, I do agree that lot more is desirable from the public transport system but one thing you should appreciate is that the level of safety while travelling in a BMTC buses has increased tremendously, you could see that most of the buses have pneumatic doors which I believe no public transport system in India has been able to adopt to

    Posted by: anand on June 19, 2004 05:45 PM
  32. babu... nice article.. reflects bangalore through and through. We are like that only. and the "only" is pronounced "vonly" :) I don't know if you missed it, but bangalore lingo includes peppering your conversation with an irreverent "da". Eg: It's monday only, da... Its used in consolation, or even in mildly apologetic tones. :)
    one thing, though. the reference to women's clothing on MG Rd could've been reserved. maybe you do feel "yuck" while looking at flapping kurtas, but law of torts was made to avoid such things, da...

    Posted by: rohini on June 22, 2004 06:53 PM
  33. I think, english is a language to communicate with a people of foreign origin. English is not an indian language. So, As far as I am concerned, I don't expect indians to speak english with correct grammer. I am happy if they can communicate well enough in their native language(s).

    Posted by: Native on June 24, 2004 04:46 PM
  34. Hey, welcome to Bangalore (even though it's been three months already).

    You may be interested in the Indian Zope and Python User Group on yahoo groups: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/izpug/. Most of the members are in Bangalore. Don't look up the mailing list on the izpug.org site -- that one's a dud.

    Posted by: Kiran Jonnalagadda on June 26, 2004 12:31 PM

  35. Pls find attached the url of the good old days of bangalore.The transition of bangalore from the pensioners paradise, green city to silicon valley of India is good but remember we have paid a price for it. At the cost of the depleting water resources, at the cost of thousands of trees and parks giving rise to huge poshy looking buildings.


    http://www.children-of-bangalore.com/antony.htm

    Posted by: anand on June 28, 2004 02:21 PM
  36. Thanks for your update on Bangalore.
    I have never been but it sounds magical.

    Jenthony
    http://www.jenthony.com

    Posted by: Jenthony on July 4, 2004 08:17 AM
  37. I live in Bangalore for 25 years now i work in US but Bangalore is a great place to live.Namma Bangaluru

    Posted by: Thomson on July 5, 2004 11:33 PM
  38. Hi
    Coming from Bangalore myself, I could appreciate your article. Am away for nearly twenty eight years now but visit Bangalore almost every two years. So the shock is not so great. But your description of the city is very apt. I enjoyed the humour of it.
    Best regards

    Posted by: Gayathry Prasad on July 6, 2004 03:54 PM
  39. been here a month. you're right. where can one find a normal non geek atmosphere?

    Posted by: Aanchal on July 6, 2004 06:45 PM
  40. Hi, just bumped into your site while looking for some outing option from Bangalore, and happerned to read the nostalgic and very sarcastic comments you made about Bangalore and the IT professionals ( which actually is the major revenue for the local Kannadiga , by means of Rent and Real estate). I was also enjoying the line of hypothetical conversation that you had put in the site between two IT engineers as I also feel the same, but all my interest broke down when I found the same SQL, DATA Warehouse, Oracle word in your CV. You also eat and live with the words you sarcastically comment on.....very bad.

    Your words are a typical guy who got bouyed in the IT boom and went to US and look down on India as Bloody Indions. Felt pity.
    Tarak Nath Gorai
    Consultant

    Posted by: Tarak on July 7, 2004 01:45 PM
  41. #40:

    The conversation is not hypothetical - the lines above say that I had that conversation (and I am not a hypothetical person - I do have a physical presence). Yes, I am an IT professional and I make no bones about it. IT earns my bread. Note that the observations are just that - nothing more. As far as I can see, there is no sarcasm about what you consider as "IT words". Bangalore had changed a lot since I last visited it. What I wrote is what I saw, experienced and perceived.

    May be you know of typical guys who look down on India and "bloody Indians" -- I can only suggest you to reconsider your social circle. I am proud to be an Indian. The way I look at it, US is nothing but another place to work, whereas India is my homeland.

    It is your choice to read between the lines and announce ill-conceived judgement.

    Posted by: Babu on July 7, 2004 02:38 PM
  42. hey,
    i jus stumbled on ur article when i was doing some research on bangalore,i completely agree that life in india is hard but not monotonous and its so much fun.
    i personally being from mumbai and then been in la roche for ten yrs and after doing a lot of volleying around europe and the oriental east, i had the pleasure of visiting bangalore through an invitation extended by my childhood buddy.
    trust me, i loved every moment of it and i really have fond memories to cherish and i really look forward of settling down there with all locks and barrels, though i m not 29ish and at the peak of my career.
    bangalore, is a true cosmopolaton city with liberal attitudes,with people having good attitude 2wards education,have a lot of civic sense and are down 2 earth.
    unlike, the west where its freezing cold, lonely and so time bound or like mumbai which has lost its essence and the mumbai culture is being buried with people s mind being constantly taxed with dispropotionate increase in cost of living and people getting more materialistic,even to go for a peaceful walk down the lane is luxury,as the pavements have been invaded by slums and hawkers.
    bangalore is a welcome change , hope to be there soon.

    Posted by: rohit khanna on July 7, 2004 07:10 PM
  43. hi babu,
    nice to read about bengalooru.Sitting in scotland on chilly morning ijust remembered how beatiful my homeland is.I miss bangalore.Reading your article has brought a smile to my face.

    Posted by: prabhu on July 12, 2004 05:00 PM
  44. Babu,I miss Bangalore even more after reading your welll written article.

    I remember how Bangalore was like back in the 80's. The thought of visiting MG road was like a trip to some city in US.

    There were times when we had to wear a sweater thoughout the year to school. Everyone at school looked forward to a holiday. It usually meant going down to a local library and picking up a few comic books and if you could really afford it, pick up a new movie. And in the evening, everyone in the neighbourhood gathers at the local cricket ground with their bats and cork or rubber balls.

    There is something you missed out in your article. Television shows. When I was in school, the only entertainment we had was DD-1 and DD-2. I used to look forward to "Giant Robot", "Chitrahaar", "Chitramanjari","Spiderman" and ofcourse the the good old rajkumar movies.

    You are right. Banking in Bangalore has changed too over the years.In the old days, everyone at the bank knew you. Life was so uncomplicated.Service was much better those days. You do still find that kind of a personal touch at certain branches of bank of india, state bank in older neighbourhoods like jayanagar and jp nagar.

    Stores too were so personalised. Grocery shopping was simple. You wrote down a shopping list and dropped it off at your local store and picked it up once all your vegetable shopping was done.

    Bus service was good in the 80's. It was frequent and regular.Not the same anymore.Its been ages since I took a bus in Bangalore. When I was in school, I used to take the bus to go to majestic to watch a movie with friends.It was very convenient.

    There was value for money. My pocket money was around 20 bucks for a month. That was a lot of money for a school kid.Places to splurge the money were the local bakery, bhel puri vendor, or to buy a rubber ball at the convenient store.

    Those were the best days...Bangalore has changed over the years ..for the good and bad..but it has and will always have a special place in my heart...whichever part of the world I am in. One day I see myself leading a retired life in Bangalore, no matter how congested or polluted it is. I hope to do something constructive for my "Bengaluru" someday soon.I agree that life in north america is monotonous..here it is all about earning $$$.I love my India too.

    Posted by: Rajesh on July 12, 2004 10:45 PM
  45. Dear Babu,
    Excellent article! It sums up what most of us feel about present day Bangalore. It would have been a good idea to spell-check your piece; I am an English teacher, and correcting errors (typo or otherwise) comes naturally to me!

    I have been living in Bangalore since 1985; we came in for a 2-year stay, and decided to retire and settle down here! We have changed our plan for retirement now. It breaks our heart to see the sea-change that has taken place; and not all the changes are for the better. I travel around the city a lot. Let me inform you that most roads are in deplorable condition, the civic sense of most of the people has gone for a toss, and moving from point A to point B has taken on nightmarish proportions! I quit driving about 3 years ago - couldn't take on the suicidal traffic rules of road maniacs any longer. The saying goes that, if you can drive in Paris, you can drive anywhere else in the world; I would change the city to Bangalore!

    As you rightly remarked, thank God for His own country - Kerala!

    P.S. I am an old fuddy-duddy. So,what are Zope and Python?!

    Posted by: Shobhana Nair on July 15, 2004 10:35 AM
  46. Hi Babu,

    I am shifting to Bangalore, probably around 30 July 2004. I work for a large software org who wants to try me out and am planning to spend some time at their office at Airport Road - i believe it is somewhere near Dumlur. This is my first visit to Bangalore and I was searching for some perspective into what to expect. This article is beautiful in terms of the fact that - it almost seems like I have experienced the things I read here. cool...

    Meanwhile, I request all those who visit this place to pray for me - My biggest challenge is getting an apartment for 3 months - i know people prefer to sign lease agreements for at least 11 months. I am only hoping that I can land up on a good deal in the 10 days that the company is going to sponsor me at the hotel :S

    All ye who lay their eyes upon this message - care ye to be kind enough to heed the cravings of this humble soul...

    yo..

    Posted by: Charanjeev on July 17, 2004 05:29 PM
  47. Hi Babu!
    I read the whole of your article. I think the "first impression" is really good.
    But the "English" section is really bad,its annoying. You know what, Every Indian knows what the Mallus English accent is, so you better write about that english which they speak in kerala.
    If according to you Bangalore is such an place then what the hell on the earth makes you stay here for these many days.

    Posted by: Kiran on July 22, 2004 12:47 AM
  48. #47 - Please note that I've not commented on the accent! Well, every section in India has their own accent. As far as mallu's accent goes, I believe the most popular one is 'simbly' :-) What I found very amusing is the unnecessary fillers that are very popular in Bangalore, like, "no, only, actually, basically, generally". In US, the youngsters these days use "like, ummm, err, I mean" as fillers quite liberally. That is amusing as well!

    Where have I mentioned Bangalore is a bad place? I would like you to point out. What makes me stay here, or pretty much anywhere other than my native village is the simple reason of earning a living.

    Posted by: Babu on July 22, 2004 09:50 AM
  49. Hi Babu,
    I think u know very little about whats happenning in Bangalore, i dont blame u for that because u must be most of the times infornt of ur pc or bussy with office work, i rarely find that kind of english with a lot of my friends or people whom i know. I think if u wouldnt have been to US even u would have been simbly "TOLKING ONLY, NO". MI influence is a common problem to anybody whose MT is not English dude and when u speak to people from Europe u would realize. So grow up and stop making sarcastic comments about english in India.

    Posted by: Manjunath on July 24, 2004 03:27 AM
  50. Hallo friends! Really nice place here. I found a lot of interesting stuff all around. Just what I was looking for. Great joy!

    Posted by: Alyssa Joel on September 1, 2004 03:50 PM
  51. Dear Babu,
    I appricite your last words loving India and wish to live there.

    We younger generation shall enrich our nation with our wisdom and wealth and health, day by day, person person, h0use by house, community by community, town by town, city by city, state by state and country.

    Imagine the progress in a system is very slow and permanent. I hope soon India will be a fully developed nation.

    Thanks
    PLK

    Posted by: lakshmi kantham on September 3, 2004 07:21 PM
  52. Hi babu

    U have not written anything bad about bangalore but u have not written anything good also . I am a full fledged bangalorean and i really felt bad and that u have played with sentiments.

    I really dont understand view points such as yours and ms shobana nair , Why dont you understand that you come to bangalore , u earn ur bread here , u make families , have children , children go to bangalore schools -learn kannada .. and still .. kerala is the best bet.

    dont get me wrong , i have nothing against kerala- it is a very lovely state , and i have always loved the greenery and visited it upteen no of times. but that does not mean i come back and write .. u know kerala is good but .. blah
    blah blah ..and then end the sentence with bangalore is the best.

    i am sure lot of u must have irked , i guess instead of writing such derrogatory articles , u must first analyse what is the reason for bangalores state . Basically the state was made to be a relaxed venue for ppl looking towards settling down ..suddenly the IT boom happened ..and then there was a influx of ppl from all around .. and bangalore was not prepared for it..and hence the confusion ..but it is trying to cope with it ..with the help of more apartments , fly overs ..etc

    And ppl who are searching for Gardens , bangalore is still a garden city ..bangalore is not only mg road , electronic city , btm layout , indranagar ..come to the inside bylanes of bangalore u will find 100s of gardens ......and the BMP has made really barren sites into sprawling gardens of late.

    For a change why dont u write an article which says 10 or even 100 best things about being in bangalore .. and then attach this one..that is good ..but only this article will not suffice .

    I dunno how some ppl found humour in this article ... :(((

    Also as ppl have pointed out , u left out ..bangaloreans are very courteous --we dont implement strict language rules , or even in IT industry ..we dont form individual same language speaking groups... we mix and match..and that is a beauty which none can get or understand.

    just a view
    AN BANGALOREAN

    Posted by: bangalorean on September 15, 2004 07:22 PM
  53. Excellent read.

    Having spent 5 weeks in Koramangala, everything you mentioned in the article rings true and brings a smile to my face. I'll be flying back to the U.S. shortly, and the one thing that will forever remain in my mind is the friendliness of the people.

    With the sincerety, friendship, and motivation of these people, their future promises to shine brightly.

    Mike
    Hewlett Packard

    Posted by: mike on September 22, 2004 06:40 PM
  54. why do malayalee's always think that kerla's only place which is good.i mean what's wrong with girls wearing skimpy clothes?? it's their personal choice.
    it's like the how malayalee's keep bringing their own people to work in other places.believe me i've seen it.my uncle owns a small scale industry and he hired a malayalee and the next time i went to his factory there were about 10 of them already(that was within 6 months!!!)
    and the cheapos(typical bangalore slang like u mention) want full pay for the lousy work they do and they dont even come all the working days!!!(talk about communist attitudes)....
    i dont even think ur gonna post this because it hurts ur sentiments....but if u do,u'l know how many bangaloreans agree with me....

    /* Babu -- I am not sure how brax got the Idea that I think Kerala is much better than Bangalore. I go there because my family is there! Also because I am attached to that place since I grew up there. I don't care much for politics; I am sure you will find quite a bit of disgusting politics in Bangalore too. On a side note, this post doesn't hurt my sentiments, but it rather convolutes my comprehension of how English is to be read.*/

    Posted by: brax on October 12, 2004 09:40 PM
  55. hey dude!!
    on the other side women in bangalore atleast know how to wear a saree properly.
    women in kerala wrap themself around with a peticot and a blouse.what have you got to say bout it?people in kerala think the back waters are a blessing to them but its more like a curse as the mosquitos are as big as a rat's shit!!and if you think kerala's a better place, why dont you get back to kerala and catch fishes like how 90% of the keralites do!!

    /* Babu -- Agricultural employees in Kerala wear their clothes like you've described. Backwaters have their influence on economy and daily life -- like coir industry and water transportation.

    Yes, mosquitos are there in Kerala; and in Bangalore. Or pretty much everywhere in the tropical world.

    90% of Keralites catch fish? That sure is news to me. Even if that is true, I suppose that is a little better vocation than doing size comparison between rat's shit and mosquitos.
    */

    Posted by: apps on October 12, 2004 10:16 PM
  56. if brax and apps are bangaloreans, they have just contradicted one thing bangaloreans are proud of - their openness and welcoming attitude to people. i just hope they are a minority.

    Posted by: Bangalorean on October 13, 2004 09:09 AM