Bangalore. The tech city.The pride of India in the 21st Century. The place to be whether you are a youngster looking for a job or you are a multinational looking for people looking for jobs. Four years of college and all I could hope for was that when I graduated, I could get a job in this oasis of opportunities in the middle of the desert of unemployment called India. But things don't always turn out what you expect them to see. Six months I spent there. Boy did it change my perspective!

The first thing you notice when you come to Bangalore is that everyone has something hanging around their neck. What is it? Its a corporate icard. Look closely and 99.9999999% of the time, the company will be an IT firm. On my first trip however, 100% of all the cards I could see read Infosys. Every bus which was not the city transport department's (or BMTC as it is officially called) was labelled Infosys. I swear I saw at least 10 buildings which read Infosys. Hell, even the newspapers that day were running some big story on Infosys and Narayan Murthy. Made me wonder if there existed a secret Infosys army that had overrun this peaceful city, made everyone here their slaves and secretly declared Bangalore as Infosystan. The fear was dispersed when on the second day I saw badges of other software firms but one thing is for sure.... I was in ITville.

At 6:59 a.m in the morning on a weekday, Bangalore is a place like no other. Its peaceful and serene. The beautiful roads are empty. The trees and grass are the lushest of green in the morning sun. While the rest of the country starts simmering at sun rise, this city is cooler than the water inside a Delhiites fridge. Bangaloreans of all ages, sexes, sizes and complexions are out in the gardens and parks, jogging, walking and doing whatever else you can do to start your day. Come 7:00 a.m and this city is overrun by the aforementioned slave armies. Armed with laptops and sporting swipe cards (that let you know which software regiment they serve under), they launch a massive assault on peace. Their assault supported by all sorts of formidable cavalry ranging from scooters to buses, peace and tranquility have no option other than take the rest of the day off. The morning sun is blocked out in a haze of 2 stroke bike and auto LPG smoke. The lush green dies out smothered by the dark diesel fumes of the buses. Within a minute Bangalore makes a transformation from Utopia to post-apocalyptic wasteland. If there is going to be a doomsday, needless to say, Bangaloreans are made to rehearse for it everyday. It would be well after the sun has set that this wasteland returns to its Utopic self.

Since I was going to be here a while I needed to find food. It's not that finding food in India's second richest (officially anyway) city was going to be a problem, the issue was finding food I liked. North Indians have a misconception that South Indians survive only on Idli, Vada, Dosa, Sambar and Rasam. After coming here, turns out that the fact that this was a misconception was a...errrr.... misconception. Its true. Thats what every South Indian eats for every meal for every day of his/her life. What's worse is the fact food tastes the same at every restaurant. Not only that, every restaurant will have a name which ends in Sagar, they will have the same menu, the same steel tables at which you can stand and eat. Even the waiters look the same. Maybe this hi-tech city has secretly learnt how create robots (similar to Arnie's T100 in The Terminator) but instead of sending them back in time to save mankind, programmed them to destroy human taste buds by sending them to operate South Indian eating joints all over the city. Hasta La Vista, taste buds!!!! Its not that the food tastes bad. Its just that there is so little variety that it wouldn't be long before a Punjabi or a Gujrati or a Bengali would be longing for a change of taste.
Took me a while before I found food to suit me but for some time I seriously considered joining the neighborhood herd of cows for a early morning graze. Just for a bit of variety in my diet!

Getting somewhere... one of life's greatest challenges. If you are a Bangalorean that is! It probably took Neil Armstrong less effort (and time) to get to the moon than it takes a Bangalorean to get from MG Road to Jayanagar in peak hour. The buses are good and plenty but only if you can read Kannad. Still, no matter as after a while you figure out the buses. But buses don't go everywhere nor do they run at all hours. That's where the autowallah comes in. These khaki clad ghouls driving smoke spewing three wheeled contraptions are worse than your worst nightmares. They are repulsed by any prospective fare who wishes to go by the meter. If somebody ever got possessed by the ghost of a Bangalore autowallah, the sure-fire way of getting rid of the spirit would be exorcism-by-fare-meter. They reason their overcharging by claiming that whatever your destination, they will not get another fare there. Hence you must also pay for the auto to get to the next fare after you get off. So here a Bangalore top tip: GET YOUR OWN TRANSPORT. But if you have your own transport you will spend half you life waiting in traffic jams in your vehicle and will go bald trying to find parking. Moral of the story, make sure all the places you may want to go to are walking distance.

Six months and the only thing that agreed with me during this time about this city was the weather. There is no denying it, there are no cities in India that beat Bangalore when it comes to weather. When the sun roasts Delhi and has a Kolkatan holding an umbrella complaining "Ki Gorom!!", a Bangalorean can enjoy a cool breeze in the day and sleep at night without an AC or cooler. When the cold has every Delhiite dressed in four layers of clothing and has a Kolkatan wearing a monkey cap complaining "Ki Thanda!!" a Bangalorean can make do with only a light jacket in the morning and in the day not think of turning on a fan. When the monsoons have a Mumbaikar swimming to work and has a Kolkatan in a raincoat complaining "Ki Bishti!!" all a Bangalorean has to endure is a light drizzle. So even if the IT armies, auto driving ghouls and dosa cooking robots choose to thrash this city, at least mother nature decides to smile at ITville.

The ideal Indian city would have Delhi's open and clean roads, Mumbai's spirit, Kolkata's friendliness, Bangalore's weather and Chennai's .....errrr.......hmmmm.......well I'll get back to you on that one! Bangalore isn't the best compromise. At least not any more. Too many people have come too quickly to this not too big a city making it crumble under its own weight. I would love to live in Bangalore but only uptil 7:00 a.m. Too bad I'm a late riser!


It's brilliant dude ! Awesome read . And it comes straight from the horse's mouth . Really good . And of course you haven't lost your funny bone when it comes to writing . Which made it even better . And Chennai has a beautiful railway station . Trust me , any metro can do with a station like that ! Keep Blogging .

August 10, 2007 at 1:19 AM  

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