Life in metros: little tips on Bangalore

February 16, 2007 at 5:28 pm 5 comments

Moving across the cities and taking abodes in different environment as your job handles you like a pin, pulling out and in of the map at whims, is something that one cant avoid thesedays as the corporate world is crushing all the geographical travesties. so, being a part of the caravan you too sail along. it has its charms. knowing different people, different culture makes you much richer intellectually and enhances one’s adaptiveness to different situations. but it’s not really easy to get adjusted though. you face an uphill task to tune yourself to the local attitude, which is like totally alien to you. it’s important that you know these little tid-bits of the place that you’re moving to. so, i thought of sharing these little pieces out of my living experiences in some of the indian cities. In this write-up, i will discuss Bengalooru (formerly Bangalore), since this is the city that is so close to my heart though i dont live there anymore. In the following series, i will try to zoom-in onto the other cities like hyderabad, kolkata, pune, mumbai, and delhi.

Bangalore, the silicon valley of India has changed so much from the time i first landed there. not going into these much known facts, let’s start with the basic things that one needs to know to make a start; things you must know:

Dont trust the Auto-rickshaws if you are yet to be familiar with the place; most of the guys know hindi/eng but may pretend to communicate in local language to make a killing, if you give an impression that you’re a newcomer. if in doubt, ask people on the road, who speak english. dont let the auto guy converse. you may be tricked. police, in general, is to be avoided except officer ranking personnels, since most of the bottom layers are yet to come in terms with modernisation 🙂

Dont panic if you’re told that the city is too expensive. it is actually not, in comparison with the other projected IT cities like Pune, Gurgaon, Noida, or Mumbai. the basic amenities like vegetables and other daily commodities etc are moderately priced unlike mumbai/pune; if you manage to go to the whole sale markets like HAL market, Russell market or Yeshwanthpur for atleast once in a week, you will be able to have a good savings for sure. But yes, the real estate is overtly priced in some parts of the city. but you can still find a decent deal if you’re patient and dont have a necessity to stay nearer to the IT parks or at the heart of the city. the brokerage is managable in most of the places with a maximum of one month rental. but you can save a little more with some hard bargains, since it’s the tenants’ market and the landlord pays the other half of the commission to the broker. the deposit, however, is a big concern with 10-12 months rent in advance. this is not something you can do away, so figure your way out. may be, you can make a HR deal with your company for the deposit. atleast try to avail a handloan from the company to avoid flushing out your savings at one go.

It may be useful to find your community, which i am sure is there, and they may help you out to find a good house. Ask some outstation students in the area, since they will tell you the nitty-gritties of the place and the challenges. for any transaction, insist on paper-works, even though it’s a headache. or else, you may get cheated. check out if the residence has a proper cauvery-water connection. find out about the landlord and his family and their history with previous tenants. the problem usually starts when you try to vaccate the house – the deposit is not properly refunded, delays happen, undue charges are imposed upon etc. Also, you may not want to experience daily alcoholic brawls at your premise. this problem is quite prevalent in the city. make sure the potential residence is not near to a local bar by any chance.

Transport is a big minus for the city. buses are rare instruments and so, most of them are over-crowded during peak hours. there are some private shuttlers, which commute within certain distance, but not highly reliable or recommnded. the best option is to have a personal vehicle – atleast a two-wheeler. autos are too expensive for day-to-day travel. if you’re not ready yet to shell out a big fat amount on buying a new one, then try out places like VV Puram, JC Road, which are the hubs of secondhand vehicles. rely heavily on your judgement there and take out a known mechanic from your area with you if possible. cross-check the documents. and yes, dont be in a hurry. the best way to buy a 2nd hand bike there is to have a watch on your local bakeries. the outgoing students or residents do put up sales notes at these joints. many a times, you’ll find good deals lying there on the wall…

for outsiders, food is not a problem anymore. With plenty of messes and small restaurants offering different regional food, you can have a decent budget for food even if you plan to have food outside. for occasional outings, there are good budget restaurants like Lazeez at commercial street/ koramangla, Siraz in Indiranagar, BabuMoshai in Majestic, which are noteworthy for people looking for eastern flavors. for good quality south-indian food, you’ll find a Kamat, or SukhSagar, ShantiSagar every here and there apart from numerous local joints. if you’re on a high budget and lavish mood, Ricebowl on Lavelle road, SamarKand (Infantry Road), Koshys (St Marks road), Le Meridien (midnight buffets) are only a few among many to choose from. there are few good but expensive Bengali restaurants like Bangaliana, 36 chowringhee lane, Sonar Bangla. for freaking out, check out the little ones but hugely popular joints – try burgers at Indiana (MG Road), mumbo-jumbo rolls at Fanoos, Kachuris at KC Das, golgappas at Calcutta chat near Ramaiah Hospital, good italian courses at Casa Picola, biriyani at Lazeez, chicken tandoori at Hilal (ShivajiNagar), or Empire to start with…

the nightlife in the city is a little drab though. with most pubs closing well before midnight, there are little options for you as a night hopper. there are some excellent hang outs like Havana for cuban cigars, purple haze for rock lovers, and some lounge bars. you’ll find most of the popular pubs around MG Road, the commercial heart-throb of the city. hanging out on MG road in the evening is one of the most popular practices for the city youth. Reach to the place, and you’ll know where to go for window shopping too. with lots of shpopping malls around, you have enough destinations to kill the time. 🙂

For shopping, the city has far too many giant malls all across. if you’re not in the show-off category and value money, go to the local market around majestic. for fun, try out the famous chor bazar at Avenue road on Sunday morning. you may even find your stolen shoes on sale!! Sampige road in Malleswaram, marathahalli factory outlets are also MUST for a good shopping schedule.

Bangalore is touted as the city of 3 Ws – Wine, Women and Weather. that’s actually true. A former CM was even heard of saying openly about his love for the first two Ws. so, while you may be stunned with the presence of so many wine shops (one in every half-km is not an exaggerated fig), the presence of high-flying fashion-crazy girls will soothe your eyes (if not frustrate!!) and the weather may play a little dirty. not surprisingly, weather is the most unpredictable among these three. it still rains sporadically in bangalore though the weather has deteriorated in the recent years due to indiscriminated removal of greeneries and an unprecedented rise in population. the evening is usually soothing with chilly wind brnging down the temperature. the rainy seasons do see some heavy downpour and the city comes to a standstill due to water clogging couple with a poor drainage system. sometimes, it’s too bad; like the year 2005, when the city went on a high alert for some non-stop thunder showers. keep an umbrella or a raincoat whenever you travel, you never know when it will keep coming. But if you’re at home, no matter what, it’s too lovely and romantic when the rain pours in…

for the movie buffs, bangalore has a relatively unknown but well stocked film club located at Cubbon park. they run some good quality, rare movies at the weekend for the members. Anyone can register. the city also has built a tremendous reputation over the years for hosting big rock concerts. you can see many big names from the world of rock music dropping in to perform. Bryan Adams, Floyd, Scorpions, Eagles – all have descended upon the city a few times already to rock the crowd. one of the biggest attraction in the city, however, is its spectacular Airshow (recently concluded) held at yehlanka airbase. dont miss it if you’re around. you wont forget the experience!

though the city is now truly cosmopolitan thanks to the growing IT, bioTech, BPO and other industries, there are occasional rifts and turbulence created by the politically motivated local outfits. Dr rajkumar’s death last year (2006) marked such a black day for the city. As an outsider, you may be at the recieving end sometimes, as there are growing glitches due to native intolerance. outsiders are often blamed for pushing the natives out of bangalore, who are thought to be the reasons behind the price surges and stiff competitions. however, these are more or less politically motivated and in general the kannada people are very gentle and helpful. though they sound a bit rough as you may find it harsh and bullish on ears, but that’s the way it’s spoken.

Finally, make sure you know illa (NO), Gotillaa (don’t know), eekrey (this side), aakre (that side), hogi (go/ing), utaa (food), eshtu (how much), Aaita (do verb), and swami (popular addressal like bhaiya, dada), the moment you arrive. you can fend off the evils with these little ones as a beginner! 🙂

check out this for travel aids for places around bangalore, and this and this for more info on bangalore. For city related news and resources, this blog is worth the reading.

[Photo courtesy:]


Entry filed under: cities, india, Life, people, travel. Tags: , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Hiren  |  February 16, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    So your blog has acquired a new look. The flying birds look very elegant. Among all the cities, I have read mazimum on Bangalore. Very comprehensive.

  • 2. surfryder  |  February 16, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    @ HIren: thanks. you dont seem to post for a long time. what’s the matter?

  • 3. shanky  |  March 6, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Good one, but I don’t agree with the fact that “Public transport is big minus here”.
    I agree the roads are awesomely crowded but still the public transport is good, that to when compared with city like Pune.. U can find good no. of BMTC busses all over the city!

  • 4. surfryder  |  March 7, 2007 at 11:34 am

    @ shanky: 🙂 how right u are! pune is much worse. but that doesnt mean that bangalore’s is any good. compare with cities like mumbai, chennai, delhi or kolkata; you’ll know why! thanx for dropping IN.

  • 5. Saurabh  |  July 23, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    It is OK if you wish to use that cartoon here for non-profit use, but please host the image on your server. Thanks.


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