My first face_to_face with this city was in 2005. Like many others who join Software companies after their B.E., I too went to this city for my first ever job. Within a couple of weeks, I was wandering on its streets, crossing hallis_and_pallis, walking through n-th mains and m-th crosses, passing juice centers and all_in_one restaurants ending with "sagara". Yeah, that's Bengaluru for me! The way I see it and the way I like it! Kannadigas might still be calling it Bangalore but I love calling it Bengaluru only!
The first thing I liked the moment I entered the city was its climate. It was all good, can't explain or compare it with my native, but it was pleasant and it is always! The next striking thing was - this place is not crowded, like say Mumbai! You can easily walk on streets and get into buses! Next I loved these juice centers at almost every corner of each road! I remember, during my stay there I had continued my fast on Chaturthi every month by relying on these Juice_walas. We used to have 2 fruit juices and a fruit plate on fast_day! :) It's not just that the quality of juice is good at these places but the way they keep the juice center clean and neat, all racks filled with fresh fruits, professional way of handling customer orders, ones in a while the workers wearing uniform as well.. anyone would feel like entering it just like that! And not just juices, one gets all varieties of sandwiches and sometimes pizza also at these junctions. I recently saw an advertisement in front of one such juice center in Koramangala, with a mcDonald's style "Combo meal" that contained sandwich, fruit plate or juice and chips! :)
Our initial stay in Bengaluru was quite pleasant as we were provided with Company accommodation. Real thing started when we had to search for house. I still remember my friend and I going on C.M.H road and 100 ft. road and other areas around Indira Nagar in search of so_called Paying Guest accommodation! We were taking down contacts of agents and calling them at the same time we were trying to find n-th main and m-th cross near some xyz showroom! It was all fun! The houses - all of them - had kind of a similar shape and structure in general. On ground floor, mostly the owner would stay and on first (and sometimes second) floor would be given to the PG girls on sharing. We always wondered the way these houses were almost touching each other and one could easily peek into say the hall of another house and tell which channel they are watching! Initially I was kind of scared by this, seeing it's very easy for thieves for enter the house as they have all connected terraces and balconies! :D Looks like, IT was the main reason that such PGs came into existence. As this was probably not anticipated, all the houses were kind of given extension after years of their construction! We also wondered like how could one shift the luggage in or out of the house where even walking up or down those tiny_width stairs was a tricky thing!?!
I stayed in Bengaluru for almost an year but always felt sad that I missed an opportunity to learn another language! I could not learn kannada partially because I met very few kannadigas (like Mumbai, there are many non-kannadigas here - probably more than the number of kannadigas?!?) and partially because I already had many acquaintances so that I hardly needed to interact with native people. The motivation behind learning kannada definitely came from the fact that BMTC buses would have the route / destination written in kannada script and only numbers mentioned in English. But the sad part is - bus 201 and bus 201D might go in totally different directions! :( So, one has to remember not just the number but also digits after that. So, finally I made some attempts at learning at least the script and ended up learning only "k", "g", and "r' ;) Sometimes, one may luckily get route details put up nicely near the bus stop, but I have found it rarely!
BMTC journey in Bengaluru is fun as I've already stated because it is comparatively easy for one to get into the bus :D I have been traveling by bus in Pune for almost 10 years of my life and have seen people complaining that it's tough to get into the crowded buses in Pune, but I always felt more than tough, it was tricky. But this trick, I never got to use in Bengaluru! :D This was some 5 years back! But, now given that the airport has shifted 40+_km away from the center of city, Vayu vajra shuttles from and to airport is a real pleasant surprise for someone like me who makes plans to visit Pune for GaNapati just 5 days in advance!!
Each encounter that I had with the native people, be they bus drivers / conductors or juice_walas, I felt that they all are dedicated to their job and they do it to their best. Sometimes, I feel motivated looking at them! Specially when I see "vayu vajra" bus conductor giving a royal treatment to someone new to Bengaluru and giving him almost a virtual map of how should he go to his destination! This "Aaha!" feeling is hard to get these days.
Okay, let me stop now and probably share an experience which I had. I got into 201D from domlur to get down at Sony world and gave Rs. 10 to the conductor. She (yes, she!) kept the note inside her pocket (and not the usual money_bag conductor carries) and did not give me the ticket either! Being my first trip to Sony world, I did not know the fare either! After waiting for a couple of minutes, I asked her again for the ticket and she gave me one worth Rs. 6. I again waited for some time to get Rs. 4 back and she did not! I then said - "ticket diya hai, chaar rupaye baaki hai" - to this not she but the driver replied - "ticket diya hai na, bas ho gaya!" Later while discussing with a group of friends, I realized that many had some such similar experience. Then onwards I decided to give Rs. 6 change and get the ticket worth that (to save my money!!) But, one day this funny thing happened! Unfortunately I did not have change and I again gave the conductor a note of 10 on my way back to Dumlur. I told him I wanted to get down at "Dell". He said something in kanaada. Assuming he did not get the stop name (as it is probably not a standard name, Dell company is around so we call the stop "Dell") - thus I tried to explain to him which stop I want to get down at - in Hindi. Then he again said some (other) sentence in kannada. I said - "kya?" to which he replied - "how much?" (:)) I said - 6 and to my surprise, he replied "very good!" and returned Rs. 4! :) It was really a funny experience as he kind of took my test!
Here comes another weekend and I start my journey in this beautiful city! Be it army area near HAL airport or be it residential area like Indiraganar / Koramangala or be it some IT park like EGL or even shopping area like Forum / Garuda - Bengaluru is all the same and special in its own way!! This feeling I somehow (and unfortunately) do not get in my Pune, as I feel it totally different in say Sadashiv Peth against Koregaon Park or Senapati Bapat Road. I like roaming in the city.. just like that!!
I'm sure I'm going to miss Bengaluru when I'm about to leave!