#‎SaveWhitefield‬ musings…

#‎SaveWhitefield‬ (from traffic)
‪#‎SaveBengaluru‬ (from garbage and power woes)
‪#‎SaveKarnataka‬ (from plummeting governance)

This is probably a conspiracy by the Karnataka Government and BBMP to prevent more outsiders from coming and settling in Bengaluru.
‪#‎SaveWhitefield‬ ‪#‎Garbage‬ ‪#‎Power‬ ‪#‎Traffic‬

With the way population is increasing, most Indian cities don’t require infrastructure but infrasuperstructure.

Pappu fails to climb Mount Carmel.
Bengaluru fails to climb Mount Garbage.
Whitefield fails to climb Mount Traffic.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

Has anyone heard of Windsor Manor?

I went to Windsor Manor (now ITC Windsor) after years.

Most of the autowallahs looked at me as if I was talking about a foreign country.

Old Airport Road? JP Nagar? They queried. I think only the 10th or 12th autowallah had heard of it.

Sigh!

When I came to Bangalore in 1988, there were only 3-4 5-stars including Windsor Manor which was a landmark and every autowallah knew it very well.

Windsor Manor was also the famous setting for Kamal Haasan’s Pushpaka Vimana film in 1987 (The Windsor Manor bridge scene with the dead beggar is iconic) and was once the hub of the high and mighty.

New Bangalore has slowly been crushing Old Bangalore out of existence and at least people like me have been denying it for years.

Bengaluru: The city of a thousand multiplex screens?

seating-2240032_640In India, PVR’s first 11-screen multiplex was in Bengaluru. (Forum)

PVR’s second 11-screen multiplex was in Bengaluru. (Orion)

Now PVR’s third 11-screen multiplex is also coming up in Bengaluru. (Vega)

Bengaluru will also become the first city in India to have two 9-screen multiplexes. (A lot of cities have only one.)

We already have Marketcity even as Xander is coming up.

As if that’s not enough, then they’re also planning another 7-screen multiplex (Elements).

This is not even counting the other multiplexes of other brands.

When I first came to Bengaluru, someone said it was “The city of a 100 cinema halls”.

With the way it’s going it will soon be known as…

“The city of a 1000 multiplex screens”.

Bangalore Theme Song: Here Comes The Rain…

100_3542

Please read to the tune of the Beatles song Here Comes The Sun

Here comes the rain, here comes the rain,
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, it’s been a long hot lonely summer
Little darling, it feels like years since it’s been here
Here comes the rain, here comes the rain
and I say it’s all right

Little darling, the smiles returning to the faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
Here comes the rain, here comes the rain
and I say it’s all right

Rain, rain, rain, here it comes…
Rain, rain, rain, here it comes…
Rain, rain, rain, here it comes…
Rain, rain, rain, here it comes…
Rain, rain, rain, here it comes…

Little darling, I feel the cool breeze slowly coming
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been cloudy
Here comes the rain, here comes the rain,
and I say it’s all right
It’s all right…

(Spoof By Sunil Rajguru)

(Original Song: Here Comes the Sun
Group: Beatles
Year: 1969)

Bangalore Rain Facts:
The moment the temperature touches a vague tangible high, it rains.
Thanks to this, the highest ever temperature recorded in Bangalore is 38.9°C. The average temperature is just 17°C.
Bangalore is blessed with two monsoons: Northeast & Southwest. Then there are those regular thunderstorms totally unrelated to the monsoons.
Bangalore averages atleast 100mm of rainfall for as many as 10 months in a year (from March to December), pretty rare for any Indian city.

Get a (night) life!

It was another get-together dinner (“night party” as the kids fondly call it) with our neighbours. To end a perfect evening, everyone demanded a round of paan. The three of us headed straight for our favourite paanwallah. The guy took our order and then surprisingly requested us to park the car a few dozen feet away, as the police was on patrol. It was an unearthly 10.55 pm and he had to shut shop at sharp 11.

Strange, we thought, but followed his instructions all the same. While we were waiting, there was a suddenly a flurry of activity. All the crates and stuff were pulled in and the shutters slammed down. It was as if some attack had just begun somewhere. We waited and waited and waited.

Meanwhile a police patrol van came and stared at us as if we were all known rowdies. The paanwallah got a few glares too. He came running towards us and requested us to take a round and come in five minutes. We all stared at each other and shrugged our shoulders. I generally wondered in silence why nightlife in Bangalore sucked.

When we came back, just avoiding the patrol van, the paanwallah signaled us to be on the other side of the road at a distance. The shutters surreptitiously came up and a hand gave a plastic packet. The paanwallah came running across the road, turned his back to us looking left and right and handed the packet. We tendered exact change and he ran off without even looking at it. Anyone watching at a distance would have been sure that the packet had drugs or atleast illicit liquor. But we were just having paan, for crying out loud!

The same old story…

Reminded me of the time when, as students, we reached the liquor shop in Viveknagar in Bangalore at exactly 10 pm to find the shop closing. My friend dived and we saw his shoe soles disappearing just as the shutters came down. That was a very dangerous thing to do. A fraction of a second late or a fraction of a centimeter wide and he might have had a few broken bones. (Later, however, we always remembered it as a glorious Mission Impossible type moment.) Minutes later, my friend triumphantly emerged from another door with a bottle. It was as if he had broken some great odds and was really proud of it.

Reminded me of the time when, in Noida with the very same friend, we decided to go and search for dinner at the “unearthly” hour of 10pm. Suddenly in pitch darkness we heard shrill whistling and before we knew it cops surrounded us. “Who are you?” “What are you doing?” “Are you new to this area?” It was a scene straight out of a Bollywood movie where the cops were on the verge of catching some known gangsters.

When we stated our intent, a cop laughed and told us to go home and sleep. There was a daily curfew. Nothing stayed open beyond 930-10pm for safety reasons. Not even dinner. Then I think he relaxed his hand on what looked like a gun. It was difficult to tell as they were wearing shawls to escape the Delhi winters. I guess it was truly a crime for a bachelor to be hungry beyond 10 in this zone. We were too stunned to even play our Hindustan Times press cards, which works so well in the NCR region. The absurdity of it all!

Reminded me of my night shifts at the Hindustan Times in Connaught Place, the heart of Delhi. Bustling with shops and people from all over throughout a day, after 7pm they all started closing one by one. Beyond 8, the centre used to be a circle of darkness and a haven for criminals. When I used to walk from the bus stop to the office, I used to wonder whether this blackness was actually the capital of modern India. At this time, most world cities would just start waking up with their nightlives.

While some cities do have it, why does nightlife in India generally have to be so non-existent?

Once upon a time…

…in socialist India, there were few cars and scooters, few nightclubs and few ways for one to get around even after 9 in the night. No matter how badly he wanted it, the common man couldn’t get a nightlife. Authorities, probably in order to avoid complications and crime, clamped down and enforced all sorts of curfews. It may have made sense at that time. Going by Bollywood movies, everything that operated late was associated with either smuggling or gambling or with criminals or seedy red-light areas. But that era seems more than a lifetime away, even for me who grew up in it.

Today…

…people work late, do night shifts, catch flights at odd hours and have enough means of transportation for the night. Satellite TV and the Internet both have given rise to a 24-hour lifestyle. There’s no point in restricting this outside the home. A lot of Indian conservatives still frown upon the “nightlife” concept of discos, pubs, nightclubs, bars and the like. But what logic is there in not allowing shops, restaurants, coffee shops and thelas for 24 hours? Why can’t all multiplexes and movie halls screen movies from midnight to early morning? In the cities, there will always be takers for it.

If anything, it might also prevent crime thanks to the presence of late night crowds. In our country, everything has moved forward except the governments and their sets of archaic rules. This is such an elementary thing and doesn’t even require legislation. Cities can start easing things on their own. But the authorities are still quite comfortable imposing curfews for 7pm, 9pm, 10pm… depending on which area you are in. For what joy? Do they all go home and sleep early?

We have such hectic lifestyles and want to do so much in the day. By imposing deadlines on the things we can do outside at night and hence squeezing the already limited amount of time… just doesn’t make sense.

I wish the authorities got a life and gave us one too.

© Sunil Rajguru