The entire neighbourhoud in this part of old Bangalore has a certain charm to it. One of the prominent locations for visitors including International visitors who can afford to have a little time and interest on a historical temple is the Bull temple. I remember, literally over a decade ago when I was a trainee PR executive in a firm, my role on a particular assignment was to take a few international media personnel from Thailand to this temple as part of their sight-seeing tour of Bangalore. The guide who was taking the personnel had a lot of unwanted information to share and if anything was exaggerate, I would be smiling to myself as to why do generally guides presented a kind of distorted image of Bangalore. But then that was years ago and I too had fun taking those journalists around the city. Cut to 2014, thanks to internet, reviews, traveller feedback, one can no longer present a different picture of tourist spots than what it is in reality. This particular temple Dodda Basavanna devasthana or Bull temple has a lot of visitors, right through the year. There is an open air path that leads to the Nandi statue and is allowed to be photographed. This temple is adjoining to the other temples in the complex that has the famous Ganesha temple and Lord Shiva temple too. But it is the Nandi statue that attracts a lot of tourists. The idol of Nandi is supposed to be carved out of a single rock. A mythological tale says that the bull temple was built to appease a bull that would consume and destroy all the groundnuts and peanuts cultivated in this area. It is also said that after the temple was built, the bull stopped damaging the crop. As a celebration of this incident, the farmers of Basavanagudi organized a Groundnut fair (Kadalekai Parase), near the temple. This festival is continued even to this date and is organized in Bangalore every year. Most Bangaloreans who live near South Bangalore find this an opportunity to just visit once this festival as part of celebrations of Bangalore’s festivals. Will be soon sharing a few pictures taken at the Bull temple a fortnight ago.
International Women’s Day is round the corner, in fact this Saturday on March 8th 2014. Obviously there are going to be several publicized events and talk shows on the telly and in cities.
While the celebration perhaps is to appreciate womanhood, I have realized that freedom to do what you want in life and be what you want to be, means a lot for a woman like me. And that can be any day.
Since the last few months I have been noticing in Bangalore, that there are many women who are attending theatre performances, going to movie halls and having a good time. What’s the big deal, you ask? It’s just that they are perfectly fine going to these shows all alone. No company, no problem. Being alone is fun too when you have to watch the show at peace.
When there is a time constraint and multiple movies or theatre performances being showcased for a limited time, women have now resorted to going to watch performances all alone as one cannot wait for the right company every time. (read husband/boyfriend/friend).
Thankfully unlike a few years ago, the sympathy stares and gossip puddles too have come down. Earlier when a woman went to a theatre or at a restaurant all alone, there would be endless speculations on why she was there all alone (all from strangers). Had written too a piece on this years ago when the stares were deeply ingrained. Literally I could feel every stare and assumption made on me if I ever went to a food joint alone.
Nevertheless happy to say that women are getting used to the unwanted stares or gossip or perhaps the speculations of a woman going to watch a movie or theatrical show or have a meal is seen as a normal thing.
Happy Women’s Day, everyday. This year the theme apart from the UN theme is Inspiring change. Let me hope women can actually inspire others to change for good and for a better world in a male dominating society.
Bangalore is the capital city of the Karnataka state in South India. Kannada is the local language spoken in the city though in the current times, most are well versed in English, and Hindi. There are a huge number who speak and converse in Tamil, Telugu and other Indian languages even though it is not their native language.
The city has established itself undoubtedly as a cosmopolitan city that offers the glimpse of the country and its ability to welcome and live with members from any part of the globe.
The following are the ten things that I can put down as a first-hand guide for a visitor who is new to the city.
1. Bangalore is also known as Bengaluru. Make sure you eat a masala dosa at a darshini in the city. Darshinis are the hotspots of breakfast eat outs that almost run through the day. The ones that have people swarming at the eatery will surely have a good masala dosa. Popular ones are Vidyarthi Bhavan, Adigas, MTR and Maiyyas.
2. Bangalore has a unique climate. The season though is divided between summer, winter, spring and rains; it is not uncommon to find cool and pleasant weather in the mornings and scorching heat in the afternoons. It is again not a rare sight to find a heavy rainy shower in some streets during the rainy season of July-September to have some streets which may be just few yards away a bare dry weather.
When in Bangalore, make sure you visit a good saree store to buy a saree for a loved one. A reasonable good saree ranges between Rs, 1000/- to 10,000. The range can go higher too if you want to buy. A few popular stores are Vijaylakshmi, Prasiddhi, Deepam, Nalli, Soch. Alternatively you can buy a khadi kurta at Desi, Fab India stores and Grameen Angadi at JP Nagar.
3. Bangalore has quite a few scenic temples. If you can make time then do visit Bull Temple at Basavanagudi, Rajrajeshwari temple (for its intricate work), Iskon temple (a temple that has a modern touch to it) and Venkateshwara temple at Banashankari.
4. It is recommended that you dress conservatively when visiting a temple. You can wear trousers and tops but shorts and short skirts are not welcomed at the holy shrines in Bangalore. And yes dressing full covered clothes would save you unwanted stares.
4. Bangalore is home to a few gardens. For a stroll you can visit Lalbagh. Wouldn’t really recommend CubbonPark as it does not appear safe for a visitor and is a scattered space.
5. When it comes to eateries and cuisines then Bangalore has welcomed various cuisines to its city. If you are fine trying a rice dish, then try out a Puliogere or a Bisibelebath. Also if possible take time to have an authentic and grand Karnataka lunch. Good options are at MTR, Pai comforts at JP nagar to name a few. And last but not the least while you may otherwise enjoy cappuccinos and black teas; try a filter coffee –light at any darshini
6. Bangalore has quite a few malls in various parts of the city. The ones that are worth a visit are Phoenix Market city at Whitefield, Mantri Mall at Malleshwaram and Forum at Koramangala.
7. The city has a great patronage for Indian art forms. Almost every single week there are Bharatnatyam performances to classical Indian music shows. Some are conducted at temples, others at specific venues for performing arts. Look in an English daily supplement to find out on the performances in the city. You can attend a few for free too.
8. Bangalore though has a midnight deadline in restaurants and pubs are relatively safe for visitors. However be a little careful about auto rickshaw drivers. It is advisable that you book a cab or have a friend who knows the local language/any Indian language when travelling in the city. Yet most auto rickshaw drivers will understand English. You can also take a pre-booked auto if you inevitably have to travel alone in an auto. You will be cheated on a lesser range! Refrain if possible to travel late evenings if you are a woman.
Bangalore is known for being home to good pubs. A few good ones are Hard Rock café, a few at UB city and around MG road.
9. Bangalore due to its mixed population is home to various inter-state and international cuisines. So if you are missing your home food then you can be assured of finding one restaurant at least that will offer Bengali, Gujrathi, Punjabi, Rajasthani, Andhra, Kerala, Mexican, Thai, Chinese and the Pizza chains. Oh yes there are scores of KFC chains, Subways and McDonalds in the city.
10. Bangalore has a vibrant theatre scene. So right from English plays to French and German and Kannada performances, the city has numerous shows every single day. You will have to plan a bit in advance if you want to attend a theatre perofmance. Good plays are regularly staged at Jagriti at Whitefield, Rangashankara at JP Nagar and Chowdiah Memorial hall near Sankey tank.
Hope you have a good time in Bangalore. Do remember that is there much more to explore in Bangalore but hoping this would be of use to people who want to get a taste of the city when they are here for a brief visit.
Blame it on hype and the mood set in by marketers. Since the last decade and gradually increasing, Valentine’s Day has become such an important discussion topic in cities. If I am not mistaken, the subject is of great importance that needs to be discussed, planned and implemented even in smaller towns in India.
Buying a bunch of red roses tomorrow is going to cost huge. But there are many teenagers and just married couples who want to indulge in this fun celebration. Well who am I to generalize. Maybe there are lot of them over 30 too who feel Valentine’s to be celebrated with great excitement.
However like every year, this year too we may have a few fanatic organizations who try to disrupt any kind of celebrations in Bangalore and other cities in the country when it comes to Valentines’.
I was at a mall recently when I overheard a sales assistant asking her colleague, if she has already bought a gift for her beau. The young lady replied quite sternly “Shouldn’t men give women for Valentine’s day?” The one who posed the question initially said it is a good occasion even for women to woo their partners. So came the fitting reply, “ I’ll wear a red outfit that day before changing to the mall uniform. I think it’s up to my husband to gift me something good, let’s leave it at that” Guess women still want men to woo them on any occasion at least on a marketed celebrated day.
I read in the dailies a few days ago that restaurants are marketing unforgettable dinners and experience for couples even at the range of Rs.1,500 to 50,000/-. Exorbitant..oh yes but those who love to celebrate this day will have reasons to justify them.
It is not that I haven’t gushed on receiving a rose or bunch of them when in college. But today I find it nice.. but not for me. Maybe I am older, maybe I am cynical, maybe I am wary…nevertheless that’s me.
Sent this for a column in a daily. it has not yet seen the virtue of being published in a publication.
Thought, nevertheless will share it on my blog.
An evening with my child at the famed flower show at Lalbagh, Bengaluru recently offered me an insight to human psychology. This was of immense significance when I reviewed on Indian behavior broadly at public spaces. It was supposed to be just an evening where my four-year-old and me, would get to admire the flower bloom at the glass house in the spectacular garden.
As anticipated there was a huge beeline of people who had made time to view the flower spectacle; parents with tiny tots, honeymooners, school-going-students, bunch of friends, women returning from work with colleagues, senior citizens and virtually every category had their representatives.
But what caught my eye distinctly and I also happened to dwell upon it every moment, I spent in the cordoned area. Amazingly every single person from each family or friend’s group was flashing out his or her swanky mobile to capture the flower spectacle.
If not, they were busy focusing their camera lenses on their loved ones with the flower spread at the background.
There were several who had bought along fancy cameras and mobiles to capture individual flowers at close-up shots. Several parents were interested to feature their kids in front of the carved flower designs that resembled angry birds to faintly resembling vegetables like chillies and mushrooms.
It really didn’t matter if these people were amateur ones or seasoned photographers. It was also hilarious and understand people that they were trying hard to not to be in each other’ family’s photo frames even amidst the rush and continuous piling of people.
Even the khaki clad security force after blowing their whistles in a routine tune and uttering constantly, “ Mundhe hogi, jasthi hotthu ninthkobedi” (Move forward, do not stand in one place for too long) understood the sentiments of the visitors. People had paid Rs.40/- to capture the flower show, more importantly their moments of being at the show on digital gadgets than preserve it through naked eyes. They allowed each family to get one picture at least before being asked to move forward.
Perhaps we humans, specifically Indians love to capture our outdoor visits in photographs and videos. Be it any holiday destination, a picnic spot, a fancy restaurant or even an off-the-beat event like a flower show – we just cannot get enough of our digital obsession.
Bangalore or Bengaluru has unnecessarily achieved itself a name of being a laid back city. It may seem so when you see groups of the elderly chatting and sharing their experiences at parks, cafes and at cultural hubs. The city has tried to retain its park culture in recent times and the general mood at least in South Bangalore in the evenings among lanes fills the passerby with laughter of children who are having just fun.
Again, the local resident has realized he or she has welcomed people across states (since the last few decades) and countries and now it is the time to be upbeat and fast-paced lest, the city will be left with very few Kannadigas. I am not at all against non-kannadigas living in the city.
If you ask me it is in fact the openness that has made the city vibrant, fast-paced but restless. Scores of students, office-goers, the hyped IT community, everyone is here to fulfill their dreams. Never ending traffic woes, constant build of public infrastructure like flyovers and the metro train work, new plush buildings coming up at every last space left in the city is making one feel the city has a lot of work to be done.
Among these I find myself sometimes a little lost, sometimes a little over-enthusiastic and sometimes a dreamer to fulfill my little aspirations. Thankfully I also find myself an achiever too when I am able to meet some of my dreams in reality.
However the city has also made me feel over-cautious with people, places and even if I want to trust, a voice tells me to be careful. Blame it on the incidents that have shaken women, mothers and people. Rapes, child-abuse, robbery, unethical standards followed at offices, deplorable politics at work-places and our leaders-there are far too many reasons why we have started avoiding trusting others.
Well if I sound pessimistic, it is not that but yes we are a city who are trying to match our experiences of living various countries, places and retain our own Bangalore culture. We are also a city where we love to chat, gulp enormous coffee cups at city darshinis, talk our heart out and solve our identity crisis as to who is the real Bangalorean?
I do hope Bangalore; my city fills the gaps in the coming years where every woman, every child, every teenager, every man and endowed with bagful of being content, safe and happy. Oh yes, also hope we get away from being restless as though we care constantly trying to gain something.
As a mother living in Bangalore, I like to take my child out on as many variety filled outings. I truly believe it is experiences and exposure to a lot of things in the world that make a person.
So last week after many months of delay, I thought of taking my child to a group outdoor picnic by the Honeybees club. (This was in spite of criticism from my partner that I take my child out to commercial activities, when I can handle them alone better).
As expected it was a one woman show(I had nothing against it, infact thought I should encourage her) but the content of the outing was way to below expectations than it should have been.
We were a bunch of 15 moms (complete strangers), some who had come again (guess they found it beneficial than me), others were first-timers like me.
We were asked to assemble at Lalbagh and given a sheet to do sound mapping as part of sounds of nature -the first activity with the kids. Little D( my child) found it interesting to hear the sounds of nature and stick pictures on the sheet, but later to that there was no other explanation of nature, detailed activities for kids to understand what they need to do after sound mapping etc.
Like me, I found two to three other moms who were disappointed as their kids were not finding it amusing to do the activities with moms (just two of them) and were informed to go back home. They didn’t say anything but their expressions gave out their jaded and bored feelings of being there on a saturday outing. One kid even gave back the sheet to Puja (organizer)as there was nothing else explained.
Those who love dancing, (kids), their moms were lucky as some found it good to dance to some tunes played by a guitarist and singer (the third and final activity).
Ideally outdoor picnics about nature should have included more understanding of nature -given as an explanation from the organizers.
Also I felt it should have had more fun activities.
We had to carry our own snacks and were asked to go to corners (moms and kids) and eat the boxes. It was supposed to be group activity to facilitate better interaction not better understanding in living me time.
The only good thing D has learnt now is -he wants me to hear everything around me, draw them and allow him to paste it on a sheet of paper. Art of mapping sounds..
At the end of the outing, just was content that henceforth, I will be able to draw better outdoor picnics for my kid and others than this which seemed so promising.
Oh yes we were also given a sticker too of honeybees…there was nothing more though the club meant to teach kids to be nature lovers can go miles in teaching this.
Hopefully they will learn soon enough.
It’s been raining discounts since the last few months. Have actually written a piece on this..let’s see when it gets published. For one, discounts seem to be going on forever making people spend all their savings.
So getting tempted to see one of the advertisements of furniture, I went out to a shopping outlet adjoining a bus station in Bangalore.
Intended to go to Reliance Living, but right from the parking space where there was no light (quite literally) in the basement and I had second thoughts if I need to be alert as a woman or at the entrance of the Reliance stores that seemed so very uninviting.
Everything was wrong. Nevertheless I thought if I do find something good of my interest and well within my budget, I might book it. But this place at Banashankari had everything that would definitely keep shoppers especially far away from them.
There is no proper accessibility to the entrance. I understand that the mall is yet being built up but it cannot afford to ignore whatever minimum visitors who are brave enough to visit the store.
I have found this trait of myself, when I am moving around the city for a planned or unplanned purchase, I like to visit stores or malls that does not hassle me for parking, lighting, safety. I hardly visit stores that have stairs and are on the first floor or above. It hardly tempts me to climb it up and get my essentials.
Hope the Reliance retail too does something quickly to make their BSK outlets look more inviting in terms of accessibility and make women feel safe when they come to park their vehicles in the basement. There was no natural light and there was not a single bulb. I thought this would be the last time I will be visiting such a store/mall.
I have been thinking about this question for sometime now and trying to figure out what has the Internet given me in my life.
So let me get the Advantages listed:
- It has made me connected to the world. As simple as it may sound, but I do find myself browsing through various news websites as a regular routine.
- I find looking up for answers is an easy task; thanks to search engines availability.
- Has definitely improved my command on English language, I know there are miles to go further, but I also by now, that I am able to connect with readers and that’s a good feeling being a writer.
- It has made me exposed to the world as a writer who can be reached out to write on healthcare, parenting, pregnancy and society. Of course I have to pinpoint that I do like to write on India’s growing trends, lifestyles, changes that I see around me and the digital world has expanded my views when I want to write on a subject.
- Truly made me feel blessed as a woman who loves her personal freedom, find out on what other women are doing in various parts of the world, sometimes I do feel sad and at times admire women who are doing well in life -depending on what I read upon.
- Being able to access the digital world has made me more confident to put up articles, blogs, and writings. The medium has such vast content, some worthy to be read, most that can be ignored and that makes writers and others who want to get their opinion out being confident in publishing their writings.
- It has made cooking easier for me (thank god)! Love to browse various recipes and make them based on ingredients availability, time taken and variety.
- It has got me closer to friends and a few people whom I like to keep in touch on and off.
- It has given me access to world views, not necessarily I agree or like all of them but nevertheless, it has broadened to some extent my perspective of life.
- Given me company when there are no friends, no relatives no one to talk to, all I do is browse on various websites, check news, topics that I like to read, read about celebrities, see where my articles are read etc. Moreover this is a huge factor when I think of why I like browsing the Internet
- Know what’s happening in my city-Bangalore in a faster mode and think and sometimes act on issues that matter to me. Also helps me in indulging in entertainment activities for the week and weekend as the net gives the information about the city.
- Has helped me to know what other moms go through in life and at times helped me to formulate new topics that I need to write.
- Know what’s happening in the lives of a few people I admire, some from the film industry, a few writers, and a few ex-colleagues. This helps me to unwind –yes I can really unwind reading about my favourite movie stars and quite about anything about movies and actors. If I ever get to live in Mumbai, will try to begin working on film journalism. I remember when I was a RJ at FM Rainbow, I would love to browse books on films, even now can’t take my eyes off when I see a film magazine and that’s the same on the net too. Moreover, the Internet gives my regular dose of update on past and current movies, actors, actresses, music and everything related to film world.
- Helps me to get to know the works of other writers and other people who I have admired in the past through the net. It also makes me introspect whether I need to move a bit fast forward in my career or feel happy at times at my own pace. Sometimes it’s just nice to read of what others are doing, need not envy them.
- Makes me interested to browse various travel destinations and incite a hope that I will be able to travel to these places one day if I save enough and more importantly earn enough(now that’s a million dollar dream!)
- Gives me access to the new careers that are now emerging, makes me feel if I need to re-visit and do some of my past career choices like PR for one-off events again. Or try a new career altogether –all my life I have tried various career options and now settled for the moment being a writer.
A few Disadvantages to be listed: (hard to ignore them)
- Can make me forget my personal life quite literally, when I get immersed in the digital world and do not have time for other things listed out for the day.
- Sometimes I do get swayed when I find myself ignoring my child at home as I am looking on the net for something or just browsing. Even now I can hear my little one vying for my attention with his toy, but all that I strongly feel at the moment is that firstly I need to put this content on my blog..
- Makes me feel at times that I am addicted to my world of checking news websites, emails and other stuff.
There must be more disadvantages, guess not able to admit it right now…Actually those around me will be able to comment on this better.
There is also the question of what do I expect from the Internet in the future? Will leave it open ended for the moment. When I do figure out answers for that too, will list them.
It’s Christmas and Bangaloreans are celebrating the festive season in great spirit. The number of local stores that have started stocking Christmas decorations is amazingly surprising.
Right from the good old Santa caps, this year -2013’s Christmas decorations in Bangalore have started selling attractive bells, candles, candle holders, reindeer caps at select stores like Itsy Bitsy (BTW this store has some of the most spectacular collections and in all ranges) and decor items that are enticing customers to celebrate Christmas at homes, decorating trees and buying cakes too.
Bangalore population is not a major Christian community but then I am amused as to how come many want to decorate trees, throw parties at home, have brightly lit stars (fake ones) outside their home?
I had earlier noticed that local markets and local stores stacked up diwali decorations like diyas, colorful rangolis that can be placed anywhere (convenient you see and non messy!). I thought to myself two months ago seeing a number of homes light diyas and artificial lights outside their homes, bungalows and apartments that the major festival of Indian, Deepavali or Diwali brings in cheer, smiles and reasons to be happy. It is the openness of the religion too -Hinduism particularly for Diwali, where people want to celebrate with diyas, fire crackers(though kids have started discouraging the trend of using firecrackers-awareness you see on not to use non polluted crackers and sound pollution). So was happy people celebrating Diwali in great style, it didn’t bother people if they had saved up or not, received the bonus or not, but occasions like Diwali brings hope for people of the year to come.
Anyways it was good to see Bangalore streets being lit up during Diwali. Streets, malls, stores, homes were lit up with diyas. And now I can see the similar or greater enthusiasm in celebrating Christmas. Even two years ago, I remember looking out online and asking friends where to find a fake Christmas tree. Now every kirana store has it and each of them have stocked several items for decorations. They have been lighting at least 8-10 stars (fakes ones used for Christmas) and alluring customers. It is the mall culture where they use a string of lights to decorate the ambiance and invite customers to spend, feel good and spend more. Yes this time even I have put up a little X’mas tree at home.
Guess it is our way to hope that lights, snowman and Santa of course brings us happiness, helps us to forget little or major worries and feel blessed to be on Mother Earth.
Another reason which I think is because we as Indians are gradually without realizing accepting global cultures, we speak English in schools, work spaces and we are also following some traditions of celebrations. We are also open to visiting churches like we do visit temples.
Think we are increasingly becoming Indian-English rather than just Indians.
Merry Christmas and Happy 2014
Note- Those in italics mean specific Indian words regarding life and festivals of lights-Diwali.
Image Courtesy- Phoenix Market City mall -an earlier snap found on the net.