I have lived in a few cities during the course of my life, and I have traveled to even more. I intend to keep adding to that list, but during the past few weeks, I have been made to think a little more deeply into what makes a great city, thanks mainly to We Are Mumbai, and Arvind Kejriwal.
There are quite a few cities in India. Metropolitan, Cosmopolitan, you name it; India has got it. But just like people, not all cities are made equal. Delhi is obviously the capital to the country, whether bad or good Delhi’s (NCR) ever expanding borders have always mirrored what the world has thought of us. Mumbai on the other hands is like the more refined, educated but younger brother who is jealous of all the attention Delhi gets. Then there is Benaras, and more recently Wasseypur showcasing the nitty and gritty of India sub-urbs. Pune and Chandigarh are famous for their ahhmmm sight-seeing advantages. But what of Bangalore?
People say there is something about Mumbai that makes they stay. Ask about Delhi and people gush over this stupidly huge city (more like a region) of opportunity. And yet I have found Bangalore to be far more satisfying than either of them. I have lived in Bangalore for a little less than 3 years now. I have spent time in both Delhi and Mumbai, but the IT hub of the country will always a class apart.
I think its more to do with the people who live in Bangalore. All the fancy writers are either in Mumbai working on screen-plays or in Delhi working on the next breaking news. All Bangalore is left with are Techies proficient in talking through minimal chats and keywords. In fact when I asked one of my colleagues to tell me why he liked Bangalore, he sent me the below sms:
- Great Weather all year round
- Robust Bus/Public Transport
- Leaping Windows
- Awesome track record as far as explosions are concerned
- Meghana Biryani
See what I mean, hardly something people would read and swoon over. In contrast here is something that Yash Chopra said about Mumbai:
Mumbai’s infectious. Once you start living in Mumbai, working in Mumbai, I don’t think you can live anywhere else.
Also a lot of people look at Bangalore, as a stepping stone. A means to an end. Delhi and Mumbai are the goals, and Bangalore is just the stop in between. The city doesn’t grudge it either. It knows that you are here to work hard, and does everything to help you. The people are helpful (looking at you Mumbai’s auto waalas), the buses run on time (unlike a city known as Pune), and no-body grudges the fact that you don’t speak a vernacular (Chennai needs to calm down). Even the weather here is mild, not too hot, not too cold, never drenched and basically lets you do your thing all year round.
For me Bangalore has been special. I already had a job when I came to city, but this is where I fell in love with it. I always knew I was smart, but this is where I grew in confidence. I was already a nerd, but this is where I indulged myself. I lived alone! Expressed myself!! I devoured comic books and occasionally dressed like one of the Avengers. I watched Virat crack a century, and narrowly missed out on watching Sachin play. I watched late night movie shows and read books right through the day. I got ripped off by auto-wallas and overworked by my company. And I will be damned if I didn’t enjoy every minute of it.
A lot of my friends, who come from Mumbai or Delhi, don’t see what all the fuss is about. And the truth is there really isn’t. Bangalore has little to attract a single day visit. But then memories don’t wait for monuments and night clubs or long winding roads along the sea, they just happen. Bangalore is to me, what Mumbai is to Amitabh. That is perhaps the most unfair comparison in history, but that’s the best I could come up with. After all I am no poet or journalist.
At the end of the day, Bangalore has been nice to me, and in return I am nice to Bangalore. Do I intend to spend the rest of my life here? I don’t know, but I won’t mind.
Tell us what you think of Bangalore. And if you haven’t been to Bangalore, what is the one city that you find special.