House hunting in Bangalore is a painstaking affair. It’s a test of your temper. The sky rocketing prices will intimidate you, just like the way it did when we went looking for houses in Electronic City. There is absolutely no room for negotiation and you will have to shell out lakhs as security deposit. Yes, Lakhs. I might as well, invest that amount on a chunk of land in Kerala. Plus, if I were to rent a house in their apartment complex, I would have to pay 3000 for some maintenance shit on top of the inhuman monthly rent. This is when I realized, probably for the first time, that I really need to reconsider my earlier decision to settle down in the city permanently. I might earn more here than in my hometown but what’s the use of it, if a large portion of that ends up in some filthy rich multi crore apartment owner’s pockets. I went about thinking about all these for the next 2 days when I realized that it’s been 3 years, since I made this beautiful city of Bangalore, my home.
May 1st 2013. Jet Airways flight touches down at the Bengaluru International Airport.
Bangalore has always been the city of our dreams. When people chose hill stations for picnics and college tours, we chose Bangalore. Back in 2010. Colorful showrooms of the international brands, the tag as the country’s only naturally air-conditioned city, glitzy malls and multiple cafe outlets where people of our age hung out with their hoodies and shades, were all the images that made us fall in love with the city. Every street looked picturesque. The lakes looked beautiful. There was so much greenery. The parks looked like paradises. That’s why I was so thrilled when I landed in the city to pursue my professional career. And I was also meeting the love of my life here.
The ride from the airport to my friend’s PG in the dust bowl of Bangalore, Marathahalli was not so impressive. There were multiple traffic jams at Manyata Tech Park, Tin Factory and Krishnarajapuram (KR Puram) and they were of the levels that I had never seen before. It wasn’t even slow-moving, it was simply still. I walked around Marathahalli, between the dusty and congested streets that housed hundreds of paying guest facilities, predominantly occupied by the IT fellows. The construction work and non-tarred roads let out dust particles in huge amounts that clouded the entire area. The roadside eateries and bakeries looked unhygienic but everyone of them were crowded. Surely, this was not what I had dreamt about the garden city.
The next day though, was blissfully different. I got into the 335-E Volvo from Marathahalli, got down at Mayo Hall and walked all the way through Brigade Road to the MG Road. The pictures around were so impressive. The swanky Metro entering the MG Road Metro Station from Trinity, was quite a sight. So were, the tree lined boulevards. So were, the green and yellow auto rickshaws that buzzed past. And she got down from one of those.
It’s been 3 years here. I’ve done a hell lot of things here. I’ve cycled around Ulsoor lake in the early hours of the day, when most of the city conveniently stays put on the bed. I’ve walked around the streets in Kalyan Nagar in the midnight with my drunk friends. I’ve partied. I’ve stood in awe staring at the symbol of luxury that UB City is. I turned a true Bangalorean when I polished off Karnataka-styled Masala Dosas from MTR. I tried my luck with all almost all the cuisines- French, English, Mexican, Arabian. I’ve boarded buses from Majestic and Shantinagar. I’ve laughed my ‘ass’ out with over “Doddanekundi“. I’ve travelled through the picturesque, serene and tree-filled streets of Malleshwaram and ended up envying the residents. The early mornings at Cubbon Park were always special. So, were the evenings in Domlur where we played cricket in the floodlights.
I’ve gatecrashed Chinnaswamy stadium to cheer the RCB, whose jersey is all what Bangalore stands for- colorful, grand, flamboyant and eye-catching.
I don’t know how long will I continue to stay in Bangalore. House rents are already digging holes in my pockets. Traffic has always been a nightmare. An efficient public transport system has only remained a dream. And with the kind of administrators, you wonder how long would it take for the Namma Metro works to get completed. Trees are cut and lakes are encroached to house IT parks and posh apartment societies. Pollution is on the rise. The summers have become terrible. Hours of unscheduled power cuts are a day-to-day affair. There are rumors about possible drinking water shortage. Indian Institute of Science (IISC) has just conducted a study which reveals that the city would become unlivable in 5 years. These are disturbing developments. These are not how you want your dream city to be. I’ll have to take a call sometime, may be within the next 2 years, but till then, I will go and explore the unexplored parts of the city.