Bangalore in a nutshell!

It’s been a week since I got back from home-sweet-home aka Bangalore. Now, as my stockpile of food from home starts to come down, the blues steadily rise. So of course, there’s a rant about Bangalore waiting to happen. Let there be no doubt that I do think Bangalore is the most awesome place in the world to live in, Bangalore traffic and pollution included. Now when you make statements like this people are always tempted to argue otherwise or expect you to prove the same. A friend of mine who happened to visit Bangalore for three days, especially had a bone to pick with me over this issue. And ever since then I’ve thought long and hard about how to explain to him the awesomeness that is Bangalore. It wasn’t until this time that it finally dawned on me what was going on.

You see, every big and famous city in the world is associated with something that makes it famous. New York has Times square, Agra the Taj Mahal, Vegas it’s casinos, Venice the canals. These places have come to symbolise these cities and are what you look forward to most when you travel there. Then there’s Bangalore. Now, we have Lalbagh, Cubbon park, Vidhan Soudha, the Bangalore palace and many other places but in the end none of these places individually or even collectively symbolise or stand for Bangalore. Bangalore doesn’t have the fast paced life of New York/Mumbai. At the same time it isn’t quiet and slow like a small village tucked away in the Himalayas/Alps. Bangalore is like a river, with ebbs and flows and you would do well to let the flow take you where it will.

Bangalore is not a traveller’s city. You will never be able to “see” Bangalore. Not because there’s nothing to see but because Bangalore is not just meant to be seen. Bangalore needs to be heard, savoured, felt, and above all, lived! You can’t put Bangalore in any mould. It will not fit. It’s not a rebellious teenager or an experimental twenty-something, a mid-life crisis waiting to happen or even a pensioner who’s seen and done it all. You can’t go looking for Bangalore in just one street, building or corner. It is all around you. It is as much UB city and Phoenix market city as it is Malleshwaram 8th cross and K R market. It is as much ITPL and Manyatha tech park as it is Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. It is as much 100 feet road Indiranagar as it is the food street in VV Puram. It is Chitra santhe, soul santhe, Kadalekai parishe and Bengaluru habba.

Bangalore is the silence and stillness in Lalbagh/Sankey tank within the chaos and traffic that surround it. It is the Benne dosa at CTR, the fish and chips at Koshys, the beer in Pecos and the Hamburger in The Only Place. It is the misty chill mornings in December and the hot sunny afternoons in May. It’s the random 5-10 minute long showers in July and the cool breeze in October.

You will be hard pressed to try to figure out Bangalore if you come as a traveller. I go back home every year for a month and I still find it hard to visit all my favourite hang outs, let alone try the new ones. Bangalore is always changing. Just as you are. And yet, it’s also the same. It finds a way to take the new and make it a part of itself without getting rid of the old. Bangalore is limitless. It cannot be confined. Believe me, they’ve tried. The first road around the city is now called the inner ring road while the city continues to expand beyond the newer outer ring road.

The truth is, you can’t put Bangalore in a nutshell. It is not the place you go to for 3 days and 2 nights and come away with a fridge magnet or a scaled model of a monument as a souvenir. You don’t come to Bangalore for a vacation, you come for life.



It’s been almost 3 weeks since I returned from home. Now with all the goodies from home finished and the empty packets in the bin, homesickness is slowly starting to creep it’s way back in. Little everyday things are all that are needed to trigger off a string of memories and start the waterworks!

They say you can take a person out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the person. I’m a city girl through and through; I revel in the chaos, the noise and everything else that comes with a city. Having been brought up in Bangalore I’ve seen the city go from the Garden city with a pleasant climate to the IT capital of India with a serious traffic problem. I’ve done more than just watch Bangalore evolve, I’ve lived the evolution. As a kid, Bangalore was just the city I lived in. I saw the city through my parent’s eyes. I hated leaving the city during the holidays but I always thought the hatred stemmed from my dislike of port of destination rather than the sadness of leaving the city behind. I never gave more thought to the city or what it meant to me.

But as I got older, the vision started to shift and suddenly there was so much more to see. Or may be it was always there but I could only see what was pointed out to me. But as I grew, so did the city around me. It was changing just the way I was and somehow it provided a sense of comfort. There was nothing said nor done but a strong bond was forged. One of understanding, security and mostly the sense of belonging – the feeling of home. The city stopped being just the place I lived in and became so much more. A friend, confidant and refuge. I was dead tired from the long journey home this time, but the moment I stepped out of the plane, all the fatigue just vanished! Just the Bangalore International Airport board was enough to make my heart swell up like a giant balloon! Nothing beats that feeling of homecoming, the sense of belonging and home that you experience.


My mum grew up in a small town and moved to Bangalore once she was married. She could never understand the appeal the city held for me. For her, the city was big, crowded and chaotic. She couldn’t understand how you could live without knowing everyone around you. She found the pace of the city rapid and the people too weird. It was almost a weekend ritual for her and I to debate about which was better. Needless to say Bangalore always won! I don’t know why but I always have this inexplicable urge to prove the city is amazing. I can’t stand the thought of hearing something bad being said about it. You’d get a stronger reaction from me for insulting the city than you would from insulting me. And then there’s the fact that I mindlessly hate anyone who doesn’t like the city.

For me, being Bangalorean is a big part of who I am. It’s one of the things that defines me. The city has the same contribution in making me who I am today as my family and school. For a long time after I moved to Aachen I pondered over the deep sense of homesickness I felt. I would speak with my family everyday, most days over Skype. Talk to almost all my friends but the sense of loneliness never left me. I felt strangely displaced and out of my element. Like a fish out of water. Only once I went back for vacation did I realise that it was the city that I missed. No one understands why I’m so attached to the city. Frankly I don’t either. But I just adore it!

When you miss your friends and family, you call them, email them or skype with them. And once you’ve spoken to them you always feel much better. But what do you do when you miss the city? Now I know most people will wonder what I miss about Bangalore. The traffic? the pollution? When I lived in Bangalore I constantly grumbled about the traffic and the amount of time it took me to get somewhere, about how I had to plan my day around my travel time. But now, I actually miss it. The time I spent in traffic usually let me catch up with my friends. On the off day that I was traveling alone I got to think, some much needed time for myself.  Everyone complains about the noise and chaos but to me it’s comforting. Maybe it because I’m loud and the noise around drowns me out but I would give anything to hear the noise than the constant silence. The truth is, once you get past the traffic, you will actually find yourself falling in love with the city.

Bangalore does not have much to offer in terms of sightseeing the way cities like Delhi or Mumbai. You have to live here and you will fall in love with it. The city has so much to offer no matter who you are, where you come from or what you want. It doesn’t require you to learn a different language or change your ways, it’ll accept you the way you are and welcome you with open arms the way no one else could. That’s the most amazing part of the city. You will always fit in. You can never be too weird or too ordinary. You won’t be judged in any way. The city will always find a place for you and some for itself in your heart.

Now when I go back, I find that I can never fall asleep. I feel too alive. Like I’ll miss out on something when I sleep. I can never get enough of the city. Any amount of time spent seems short. No matter where I go or what I see, Bangalore continues to hold a special place in my heart. No matter where life takes me, I’ll always make the time to go back. No matter where I move, what the place holds or who I meet, Bangalore shall always remain home.