Tucked away in the southern parts of this magnificent country was a city like no other. The lush green trees, with the amazing weather was a haven made by the gods themselves. I distinctly remember waking up fascinated early in the morning by the thick fog that surrounded my house even though it was summer. Air conditioners were owned only by the delusional. Sparrows in the veranda and squirrels frolicking about the streets were everyday sights to see. 30 degrees was an angle that could be drawn using a protractor, never did I associate it with the temperature.
Bendakaluru, as it was called during inception has for the longest time been a rendezvous for cultures across the country and now the world. In this commotion of cultures I find myself, I find my home, I find my ooru.
Growing up in this beautiful city has had its own share of bittersweet moments. Where there were lakes, now lie high rise residential complexes and resourceful malls; where there was a green arboreal cover with exotic birds perched on every tree has now become meandering roads sprawling with automobiles for miles on end. The only signs of the previously boastful fauna are the droppings left by annoying birds on expensive cars. What were once monopolies of family run restaurants serving hot plates of dosas with numbers running into the thousands for a single meal are now facing stiff competition from pubs with themes and multi-cuisine restaurants that serve delicacies from across the world.
All of these changes begs important questions – Was it worth it? Are the losses justified ? Is this the cost of development?
I don’t have the “correct” answers to these questions because I am ambivalent to what has happened. I have played my part in ensuring that this city has become what it is now. I like dosas but I also like the occasional lasagna. I miss the sparrows but the communication links that keep them away have become such an integral part of my life. I miss the green canopy that surrounded the roads but I do save time because of the extended roads and fly-overs that have replaced them. As a Bangalorean I cannot be surprised by what has happened, because all of us saw it coming like an inevitable apocalypse, yet very little to nothing was done to protect what we had.
Now as I sit at the edge of a new beginning, I need to bid farewell to this city for a couple of years. I am overwhelmed with emotions. I am happy and hopeful for the future but I am sad and hurt that I need to leave this haven behind in its present state of deterioration/development. The Bangalore that I grew up in is a different city from the Bengaluru I am leaving. Nevertheless, Bangalore will always be where the heart is.
I like what Bengaluru is, but I loved the Bangalore that was.