The legend of Waverly


I return to this blog after some time, and once more it is Whitefield that beckons.This time, two friends were working on a live performance that depicted the transformation in Whitefield through a mall wall. While trying to help them with some visual documentation, I stumbled on the legend of Waverly.

With a documented history that goes back to the late 1800s, legend has it that Waverly was an inn, frequented by soldiers in British India. And it was here that the future Prime Minster of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill (then a young officer in the army) met, fell in love and courted the inn keeper’s daughter Rose Hamilton.

Today, the house is owned by Vivian D’souza and his family, who are are doing a heroic job of keeping it standing. The sense of romance remains too, steeped in nostalgia. It’s also one of the last standing testaments on the inner circle to Whitefield and Bangalore’s history.

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Maverick town no more?

When I was child we travelled for our picnics to White Field. You usually caught a train at the Bangalore East station and travelled for an hour into the countryside, always with a whiff of adventure in the air.

White Field was the place where mavericks went to live when they’d had their fill of  city life. Always unusual, forever off the beaten track.

Today, as I get my car ready for work every morning, it is destination White Field everyday, but this time with a sigh in my heart.

The Ring Road has brought it just half an hour away from my home, and yet nothing could be more conventional or on the beaten path than White Field of the glitzy malls and the glassy IT Parks. I still can’t believe that I travel to White Field to work!    

But this weekend, a group of old time residents of White Field came together to both share old memories and put forward a future vision for their neighbourhood. It does seem like a step in the right direction. (You can read my report on the event here)

Amongst the announcements that gave us something to look forward to was the one about White Field Day, scheduled for July next year. The plan for the occasion includes a series of events celebrating White Field’s history, like heritage walks.

If it seems like our old neighbourhoods are dead, what better way to bring the spark back where it belongs? I for one will definitely be there!

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The market

Colours play.
Shadows jostle with the light.
A profusion of this and that.

Coconuts in confusion.
Boxes stacked with considered precision.

The fragrance of flowers.
The freshness of fruit.
The tenderness of leaves still young.

The shrill call of a vendor
The hard bargaining,quickly striding housewife-mother.
A child’s guileless laughter.

The measured of grace a garland.
The pleasure of a morning newspaper read in the sun

Ah Malleswaram Market,
My unpredictable muse,
You never changing chimera woman of a thousand faces.

(When working on my captioning for the previous post, I suddenly realized that I had unconsciously created poetry)

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Charming Malleswaram Market

It’s true that Bangalore is full of little nooks and corners, each with a character of their own. In the old days they were so complete within themselves that they sometimes existed side by side, completely oblivious of the other.

One such little nook is the Malleswaram Market. Moments from a special morning here when I uncovered another special uniquely Bangalorean rhythm.

Colours… They were everywhere

A little bit of this and that

The softness of flowers

The tenderness of a leaf that is still young

The freshness of fruit

The measured grace of a garland

The pleasure of a morning newspaper read in the sun

Where would you find all of this in one place, but in the Malleswaram Market?

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Saturday Night Fever

Weekends in Bangalore are usually heralded by traffic jams on Church Street, as Bangaloreans flock to the city’s many eateries and watering holes. But I like this picture not because it captures a familiar nook on the street that most Bangaloreans will immediately identify.

It’s special because it documents another great Bangalore passion – bikes. Most people who’ve been either teenagers or young adults in this city would easily testify to the unadulterated pleasure of being young, penniless and riding out into the Bangalore night sky, with a bunch of friends by your side.

So this one is for Saturday Night Fever and the legendary free spirit of the Bangalore biker.

Incidentally, though it does sometimes look like there are cars and more cars on Bangalore’s roads, Bangalore still leads the country in our two-wheeler population. Also, it’s two-wheelers and not cars that still top on Bangalore’s roads.

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Great balls of fire

I was in my second job and in the midst of the dotcom boom. It was a time when Bangalore was expanding, but not yet exploding. It was the year 1999.

In an office full of twenty-somethings just out of college, we worked hard and partied harder. So even while I sat working in the office past 12 in the night to meet a deadline, I also found time for little things like catching sunsets.

Few things beat the joy of dropping everything that you were doing and rushing out onto the roof  to catch the sky slowly transforming from a balanced blue to a passionate red.

Since then, there’s always been something special about catching Bangalore sunsets. Especially on those evenings when I join our city’s many technology workers leaving their offices a little earlier than usual, and spot a huge fiery orb against the horizon or its softer avatar delicately peeping out through a canopy of trees.

But my most spectacular Bangalore sunsets yet have been from my old LogicaCMG office, off Bellendur Lake, overlooking the old HAL airport. There’s something about watching the sun break into great golden, orange and red balls of fire, with the silhouette of a plane in the background. It’s so splendidly Bangalore.

On one evening I even felt inspired to get my camera out and capture the moment for posterity. The result – the picture that is the subject of this post.

So where did you see your most unforgettable Bangalore sunset? I’d love to hear about it 🙂

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Serial blossoming and the Garden City


(Pic Source: Wikipedia)

It’s that time of the year when it is said that Bangalore is blooming. But a lesser noticed fact is that Bangalore does not bloom just for a few months of the year. While we seem to peak in March, the city has trees that flower throughout the year.

This is legacy that goes back to the times of Krishnraja IV, who appointed the German botanist Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel as a horticulturalist and urban planning specialist in the early twentieth century. He introduced the idea of planned flowering schedules or serial blossoming. This means that at any time of the year some tree, somewhere in the city breaks forth into bloom.

With all the changes that the city has seen, this is a tradition that continues. So the next time you pass Krumbeigal Road near Lal Bagh, spare a thought for this pioneering Bangalorean and his legacy.

(The pictures above depicts some of the most commonly seen flowering trees that you will see around you in March in Bangalore. They are  – from left to right  –  the Gulmohar, the Raintree, Tabebuia argentea, the Jacaranda and Tabebuia Rosea)

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