The waiting was over! .. after three long years, I boarded the British Airways flight, back home to Namma Bengaluru. My thoughts now raced to the urban transformation that would welcome me home.
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Three years is not a long time to expect sea-changes in one’s neighbourhood. But, from what I had heard, I expected to view a few more concrete, ornamental, apartment blocks amidst some marvellous temple towers in modern day Malleswaram.
I began to visualise my home city as a ‘motor-driven’, ‘rock-king’ place, heralding the 21st century charm as well.
On the very second day I landed, I couldn’t wait, but go on a stroll, beginning with Malleswaram’s 8th Main Road. Wrong choice! In a second, I found myself sandwiched in the midst of roaring motorists, all of whom seemed to be dashing towards the ‘finish line’! Thankfully, I was not in the race.
A dreadful job for the pitiable traffic cop I dare say… I somehow managed to walk across to the other side of the 8th ‘Mayhem’ Road. This was not as bad three years ago, though. Must be the multiple effect of the on-going ‘mega’ metro project .
Further, however, my trek was absolutely enjoyable. The glistening glass on the new ‘Nalli’s’ caught my eye. The ad-poster on this store had a typical vanakkam look. For long now, Sridevi’s ever-popular ‘Tohfa’ displays have now been conveniently replaced by other beaming beauty queens!
The side-walks on Margosa Road, untouched by the mighty metro were all clear . I watched with admiration the rising structure of the new Hospital building, that read ‘Lakshmi Maternity Home’, opposite GIRIAS. This is where most of the kids of our family first arrived. The renowned doctors here have always been a blessing and all credit to them for their amazing success.
As I turned around, I saw my son, awestruck at the huge hoarding opposite him that read ‘STAPLES’. The American stationery shop now going global! And of course round the corner, was, Veena Stores, the small but popular eatery that dishes out sumptuous, delicious meals and crunchy, munchy idli-vadas, all day! Malleswaram always offered the best of choices.
Finally, we walked along the stretch of shop-stops along the Sampige road. Notwithstanding the ‘motoring’ vehicles, we hop-stepped ahead. The ‘Namma Malleswaram stalls’ had the best of flowers and fruits for all occasions and the crowd of buyers there, meant that the ‘mallige-sampige’ craze still survives.
We now headed to the sought-after Mantri Mall. This indeed was the shopping experience brought home from the UK/US. Not surprising that giants with the likes of Marks & Spencers, Sparr, Mother Care, from the UK, are all at home in our ‘posh’ Malleswaram.
Then we ‘auto’-ed upto the 17th cross and walked back. This was ‘vintage’ Malleswaram with original mansions with huge, garden spaces around them – Bengaluru’s heritage has been preserved with pride. The 11th cross Sri Krishna and the Sri Ganesh temples in the locality added to the splendour.
In all, a casual tour of ‘Mall-eswaram’ on foot, finally ended on the 16th cross ‘chat street’.
A blend of classy, novel and impressive innovations, downtown Malleswaram is an exciting hub for residents and shoppers alike, as has always been .. On our next visit, even with the Mega metro, we will a ‘walkathon’ along these lanes, so they remain ever-green in our memory.