Defence Colony, Indiranagar of the 90’s was famous for its large number of “Beware of Dog” signs. Each house had a retired defence force personnel, and apparently, a dog. Some signs were more affectionate. “Watch out for my darlings”. I grew up cycling those streets and a lot has changed since then.
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No more do you see afternoon tea breaks on the lawn or friendly open streets that just invited the daring cyclist to go ‘hands free’ on steep slopes downhill. Defence Colony had a charm that emanated from its overflowing gardens. That was why it was a garden city. The charm was also seen in the afternoon tea sessions I witnessed on the gardens when I used to return from school. Something about the colony said “Life is good, take it slow”.
The residents were warm and friendly and did not mind the noise we children brought into their colony. My friends and I had a simple tool to judge the status of various residents. If the car parked outside was an Ambassador, it was some slightly senior retired person. If the car was a Premier Padmini, it was an average status person. If the car outside was a Contessa, this guy was on top of the food chain! These were the simplicities that characterized life in the 90’s.
Defence Colony is no more what it used to be. The small houses with silent gardens have given way to flats. The open roads with wild flowers growing uninhibited on the sides now have cars parked over them. No more is it possible to cycle the small lanes without crashing into ever increasing traffic. Shops on 100 feet road force residents to put up with thoroughfare traffic and haphazard parking. There will always be a price to pay for development. But the loss of a neighborhood one has grown up in is a bitter pill to swallow.
You know something fundamental has changed when the sign “Beware of Dogs” is replaced by “No Parking in front of Gate”.