Posts Tagged ‘Bangalore’

Girish Karnad: J.P. Nagar to China via Singapore

8 May 2012

Girish Karnad in the Daily Beast:

“Only 20 years ago, when my wife and I decided to move to Bangalore from Bombay, we could visit a new suburb, buy a site of our choice, and then sit down with an architect to design the house we wanted. No more.

“As the demand for housing overran the availability of land, the estate developers took control, eating into the villages surrounding the city, occupying farms and open spaces, razing houses to the ground, and installing multistory apartment buildings in their place, with little regard to the city’s existing infrastructure.

“The current joke is that the only buildings to remain unscathed by the onslaught may be Vidhana Soudha, the building that houses the legislature, and UB City, a complex that is a hideous combination of the Empire State Building and Internet kitsch, built by a liquor baron….

“Twenty years after we built our house in a residential zone, we have now been informed that the road in front of it needs to be widened to accommodate the traffic. Any day now an entire swath could be cleared from our front garden, and the wall of our living room knocked down.

“A city planner told me: ‘Every day 400 four-wheelers and 1,200 two- and three-wheelers are added to the roads of Bangalore. We have to compete with Beijing.’

“It was not so long ago that the city was competing only with Singapore.”

Read the full article: Karnad on Bangalore


BANGALORE‘A city whose soul has been clinically removed

C.N.R. RAO: If IT takes away Bangalore’s values, burn IT

PAUL THEROUX: Bangalore’s idiots who speak an idiolect at home

CHURUMURI POLL: Who killed Bangalore?

Bharat as seen from the City of Baked Beans

Has the IT boom quelled Bangalore’s tensions?

How China changed the face of Karnataka politics

Bharat as seen from the city of baked beans?

2 June 2011

In March 1976, New Yorker magazine ran Saul Steinberg‘s tongue-in-cheek map of the world as seen by New Yorkers, more precisely as seen by New Yorkers on 9th avenue. That idea has since been copied ad nauseam by artistes across the world to show how, in the new globalised, connected world, our vision is very local, sometimes even racial.

Saulberg’s idea seems to have inspired a self-proclaimed “really cool Bangalorean” to come up with a map that drives home all the stereotypes of all the people who walk this land, or intend to, and comes with a health warning for those who can’t stomach it.

What has the really cool Bangalorean left out, ignored, forgotten, missed? Join in.

Source: unknown, will be acknowledged if notified

BANGALORE: ‘A city whose soul has been clinically removed

C.N.R. RAO: If IT takes away Bangalore’s values, burn IT

PAUL THEROUX: Bangalore’s idiots who speak an idiolect at home

CHURUMURI POLL: Who killed Bangalore?

Not everybody eats at Vidyarthi Bhavan or MTR

22 September 2009


GAUTAMADITYA SRIDHARA captures an egret taking away his breakfast at the Lalbagh Lake in Bangalore on Sunday.

Red Earth and Pouring Rain ain’t just a l’il book

21 September 2009


While reports of below-normal and deficient rainfall emanate from almost the rest of the country (and the rest of the State), blessed are those in coastal and south Karnataka where the monsoon story just doesn’t seem to end.

M.K. VIDYARANYA captures a lone Bangalorean confronting the rain-bearers at Lalbagh, as if exhorting them to go away and come another day and spare the havoc of washed away children, water-filled potholes, and crumbling houses.

Black and white or colour, no biz like showbiz

2 March 2009

KPN photo

While the stars dazzle at the 75th anniversary celebrations of Kannada cinema, a police constable relives some sepia-tinted memories at an exhibition at the Palace Grounds in Bangalore on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Is there nobody to speak for our ‘local’ worms?

21 October 2008

In the gardens of Bangalore palace, an audacious “outsider” grabs the birthright of worms of the soil and makes merry. Meanwhile, in an unrelated development, Raj Thackeray gets ready to spend a night in the cooler, a few hundred kilometres away.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Forgive them Lord for they know what they do

21 September 2008

As inter-religious animosity in Karnataka travels from the coast to the capital under a benign and benevolent government which seems to think it was sworn into office to protect and promote only one community, an old woman sends up a prayer at the St Yagappa Church at Mariyannapalya which was attacked on Sunday morning.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

And the SMS Shah Rukh Khan sent Saurav Ganguly

22 May 2008

For all the initial sizzle and high jinks, Saurav Ganguly‘s Calcutta Knight Riders have had as poor a run as Rahul Dravid‘s Royal Challengers. But unlike Dravid’s “employer” “Dr” Vijay Mallya, Ganguly’s “owner” Shah Rukh Khan has a way about dealing with failure.

In blaming CEO Charu Sharma, in blaming captain Dravid, and then blaming the media, the king of good times showed that he is just a boor of bad times, despite his “doctorate of philosophy in business administration from the University of Southern California.”

On the other hand, King Khan sent an SMS to his boys.

“Story time boys… I told you if you keep losing you have to bear with my long, boring msgs…. This is your punishment…. Many times I have made movies which don’t do well…. When I’m doing them, of course, I don’t know they won’t do well…. The story is written by somebody else and I just do my bit as an actor. But I have a way of dealing with flop stories…, I try my best to keep my character in the film at a level that it makes a failed story also special for me….

“I enjoy the work…. I make jokes about the failure…. And, of course, feel awful about it too…. So, right now, all of us have become part of a failed script… A bad IPL script…. Let’s try and keep our characters worthy of still looking back at this story and remembering it as a special story becos we all worked very hard at this….

“So, chin up and don’t spoil yr character in the next two games…. Let’s go out with a bang and not a whimper…. In films, we say u r only as good as yr last film…. So let’s make the whole world know how good we r in the last (maybe not) two games…

“Also, do ignore all this bit about Dada, me and John Buchanan having issues…. It’s a normal thing in the world…. People like to hit you when u r down…. So, we will be hit…. No stress…. It will make us stronger…. The only way to avoid this is to win…. That’s one of the reasons why everybody likes to be a winner….

“On the other hand, the beauty of failure is that it brings people together…. So, let’s stick this out together…. You know me well enuff to know I am not the kind of owner who has issues with the team ’cos of losses… I am too much of a sport myself to get beaten by defeats…. Like you guys are…. Like Dada and John….

“I am still trying to understand the code of conduct expected of me at the matches of the IPL…. ICC… Etc…. After I understand it, I will decide whether to accept it or not…. Till such time, I will be with you guys at the hotel… in the meetings etc., but won’t come for the matches…. So, please don’t ever feel it is anything to do with us as a team….

“I am as dedicated to my Knights as I am to my kids…. Only, I won’t be coming to the class room till the headmaster’s rules are understood by me…. I am a bit anti-Establishment kind of a guy, so I apologise for this quirk to u all…. So, head’s up…. Have a good match and let’s make 200 runs tomorrow…. This 150 seems to not work any more….

“We have nothing to lose now, except our character…. Let’s not lose that…. Lov… SRK.”

Also read: The SMS that Rahul Dravid sent Vijay Mallya

What Mallya’s team says about Mallya’s mind

CHURUMURI POLL: Twenty20 to promote 60-30?

One question I am dying to ask “Dr” Vijay Mallya

‘We have the thaakathu, victory is namma hakku’

9 April 2008

KAVYA SHANKARE GOWDA forwards a YouTube video of ‘The Thaakath Geethe‘, the theme song for fans of the Bangalore IPL team, Royal Challengers.

Created by Idea Labz, the Kannada-rap mix penned by Idea Naren has Sameer Kulkarni‘s music, with Rakesh Adiga, Sumanth and Alok lending their voice. The chorus comprises Anupama, Shilpa and Pallavi. The song and the lyrics can be downloaded from

Also read: What Vijay Mallya‘s team says about Vijay Mallya‘s mind

CHURUMURI POLL: Twenty20 to promote 60-30?

When the heart pines for panneer butter masala

12 March 2008

BANGALORE: A group of North Indian prisoners, most of them undertrials lodged in the central jail in Bangalore, have approached the High Court and demanded that they be served North Indian food, reports The Hindu. They claimed that South Indian meals had made them weak.

The six petitioners, two each from Delhi, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, claimed the food was prepared in unhygienic conditions. They said they could not order meals from the canteen as it had been closed since July last year, and wanted the jail authorities to either permit them to receive North Indian food or allow them to cook their food.

There are nearly 50 North Indians in the central jail in Bangalore.

Read the full story here: North Indians can’t digest jail food

Once upon a time in Bangalore (as we knew it)

24 January 2008

MADHU GOPINATH RAO writes from New York City: With an undeniable laidback charm, not so long ago, Bangalore was your quaint old south Indian city—a pensioner’s paradise and a garden city.

Misty mornings heralded the start of beautiful, often sunny days. Laden with rich aroma of filter coffee, crisp morning air soon displaced this misty blur. The tune of suprabhata would fill the neighbourhoods from someone’s old transistor radio. Close on the heels of milk and newspaper delivery, the ubiquitous darshinis (eateries) readied their fare for the morning commuters. As the suprabhatas turned to news, a steady stream of traffic would fill the roads and the eateries.

Good Morning Bangalore.

Passing the baton, the short-lived ‘peak hour’ bustle, would lead into a warm mid morning calm. As the postman did his rounds, retirees perused the newspapers on their patios, soaking in the morning’s tender sun. Ladies bartered sugar, coffee and gossip standing across the compound walls in the shade of the omnipresent coconut trees. Selling his interesting wares, a hawker or two would often lead to an emergency session of the street Parliament—cartels formed, deals negotiated, decisions made and the news of a good buy reaching the other end of the street in seconds!

Life was easy. The whistle of the pressure cooker, often the spoiler of such fun, ushered the lunch hour. Fresh cooked anna, saaru, palya would fill the noon air. Bon appetite. Lunch made way for a calmer afternoon good till the kids came running home.

Evenings were never dull either: kids playing at street corners; teenagers chatting away endlessly at the front gates; walks on Sampige or Margosa roads; idyllic meetings of seniors in Jayanagar 4th block complex; savoring pani puri at Ramakrishna Ashram or Seshadripuram; the street market bustle of Malleshwaram 8th cross or Gandhi Bazaar, evenings had their share of simplistic fun before a staple of TV and dinner.

There was much to be happy about in this predictable, chaos free simplicity.

Though a generalization, Bangaloreans have always loved simplicity. They take great pride in their simple happiness pursuits. Simple, polite, family oriented are some qualities that are a commonplace in Karnataka as the Bisi bele baath, kodu bale and akki rotti.

Do not let the unassuming simplicity fool you, for quite a few successful people hail from Bangalore—after all, the software boom did not happen by itself.

Even in the most famous of its sons, Kannadigas have a sense of obeisance to an inner discipline and simplicity. To me, a prime example is Anil Kumble: while playing, he is one of the more grittier and determined cricketers our country has seen (remember his fractured jaw strapped into place by a thick bandage, an injured Kumble, returned to claim Brian Lara‘s wicket in the Windies tour of 2002 ), while off the field, he is possibly the nicest, most unassuming person you will meet. Kannadigas bring that attitude and charm to what they do.

The non-stoic stance, the welcoming nature, beautiful weather, abundance of scientific brainpower and the cost arbitrage to outsource led to a steady flow of traffic—of MNCs and software companies, people who wanted to be in these companies, their vehicles and their baggage in tow (emotional and cultural), made a beeline for Bangalore— cumulatively changing it for ever.

This influx led to the software wave, crowning Bangalore as the numero uno of the Indian software hubs—‘The Silicon Valley of India’. This gold rush had not gone unnoticed and there was a huge stream of people trickling into Bangalore from various parts of India. Local businesses and non-local job aspirants alike benefited from this growth and wealth. Seemed like a win-win situation—till it got out of hand. With the crown and the wealth, came woes: uncontained traffic, soaring real estate prices, failing infrastructure and, last but not the least—a melange of people.

Per reliable estimates, only 30 per cent of Bangalore’s residents speak the local language, Kannada, today. The last decade of IT boom that put Bangalore on the global map, also made it a city dominated by non-localites. There is, of course, no justification for saying that any region of India be inhabited by members of one linguistic community only, in case of Bangalore, the Kannadigas (and all its flavors). But often the reality is too twisted to be framed to such idealistic frameworks.

Very many of the new entrants did not do much to help the situation either. For most parts, they chose to live in their own groups, often not blending with the locals or picking up basics of Kannada ; thanks in part to a lack of need for it and, in part due to a misguided sense of linguistic pride — picking up Kannada tantamounting to reduced allegiance to their mother tongue. When in a new city, there is hardly any bad in seeking people who hail from your hometown—it is almost second nature. The problem started when these groups became vocal and abrasive to the extent that it made the locals feel unwelcome in their localities.

Early 1990s set the stage for the future things to come when the discontentment poured into the streets during the Cauveri water disputes . The water dispute was the last straw and a reason. Violence marred the city. Madras returning the favor, just added to the fire. The tension is very much alive even today and flows in the moment water levels in Cauvery recedes.

Like I have stated, many a times: “Politicians are like diapers—almost always full of crap; if not, it’s just a matter of time.” Among these politicians, Karnataka is blessed with the worst of their ilk. Add to this, the woes of traffic congestion, rising real estate prices, bridges and flyovers built where one was not needed and eventually ending up impeding the traffic flow (after construction dragging on for years), IT czars threatening to walk out on the city and the state.

It was chaos.

Why shouldn’t old men be mad at Bangalore?

1 January 2008

M.S. Prabhakara recounts his days in Bangalore in his farewell column in The Hindu today. Areas like Chikkapete, Balepete and Mamulpete, Banaswadi, Kadugodi and Adugodi, which were linked to this or that kinsman or family have disappeared, swallowed up by the big city, surviving only as names that sound odd when they are pronounced in brashly alien accents.

“While there is little to celebrate in these changes, there is even less to regret. The city and the society of my adolescence and early youth were oppressive and bigoted beyond imagination. Being seen having a glass of beer with some friends led to abusive wall writings near the place where I was teaching and indeed persuaded me to leave Bangalore. Fellow female students in college used to nervously walk out of the classroom every hour, along with the teacher, and returned only when the next teacher came in.

“Even in the English Honours School in Central College, a friend of mine used to talk, quite earnestly and for long about literature, to a fellow female student, sheepishly standing across the doorstep of the girls’ common room. It was inconceivable for both of them to sit comfortably together in the college canteen and talk. The scandalous behaviour of a friend and classmate, who personally invited her fellow students in the same Honours School for her wedding, was excused only because she was an Anglo Indian.”

Read the full column: Coming home, going home

Also read: C.N.R RAO: ‘If IT takes away Bangalore’s values, burn IT’

SAVITHA G.R.: ‘Is Brand Bangalore all there is to our State?’

Why don’t we hear of IT men excelling in sports?

18 December 2007

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: Reading as I do Star of Mysore on the web every evening over kodu bale and filter coffee, I came across the following news item buried on its sports page today.

SPI employee represents India

Mysore, Dec. 18: R. Jayaram, working for IT major SPI’s BPO, represented India in volleyball for WOVD World Cup under the physically handicapped category. The tournament was held in Cambodia recently and ten countries participated in it. The Indian team was placed fifth in the tournament.

Jayaram had earlier represented Karnataka in volleyball six times. He also represented India in 9th Pacific Games held in Malaysia last year. Jayaram had also played for district zonal and State level tournament under normal category.

SPI, for the uninitiated is Software Paradigms International, the software services and outsourcing company set up by Atlanta-based Siddhartha Mookerji, the son of former CFTRI deputy director K.K. Mookerji.

Siddhartha, an alumnus of BITS Pilani and London School of Economics, set up SPI in the city of his birth in 1997, long before Mysore became a hot investment destination. And long before other IT companies began eyeing Mysore, if not its real estate.

The news item immediately set me thinking: why don’t the names of sportsmen and sportswomen of other IT, ITES, BPO, KPO, any other-PO companies dot the sports pages more often?


Back when our family lived in Mysore, albeit in socialist India, some of our bestknown companies and institutions were also known for things other than what they manufactured or did.

Ideal Jawa made great motorcycles, of course, but what a superb cricket team they had: a team comprising Sanjeeva Rao, S. Vijayaprakash and V. Prabhakar which I once saw thump a State Bank of India team comprising Gundappa Viswanath, Syed Kirmani and Roger Binny at Maharaja’s College grounds.

K.R. Mills made fabrics, but it had a top-notch football team. BEML moved the earth but it also had a top cricket team (thank you P. Ashok, S. Ramachandra), and a fine basketball team (Ramakanth). CFTRI itself had an excellent table tennis team (Krishna Prasad), and Mysore’s greatest fast bowler ever (sorry churumuri), K.R. Dinakar, besides fine quizzers and bridge players like K.M. Dastur.

My father, who was born and grew up in Bangalore, says it used to be the same scene with HAL and BEL and BEML, whose sports and recreation clubs were fixtures on the sports pages. Not to forget the nationalised banks like SBI, Syndicate Bank (B.S. Chandrashekhar, R. Sudhakar Rao, B. Vijayakrishna), and Canara Bank. The Railways and Services, too, have been magnificently benevolent employers.


Reading about Jayaram of SPI, Mysore, playing volleyball in Cambodia is at once heartening and depressing. Heartening, because a local employee of an IT company set up by a local boy has done well. Depressing, because we do not see more such feats from players of our much-reviled IT companies.

Don’t get me wrong: this is not, repeat not, an attack on IT. Just an honest enquiry.

Why don’t our IT employees shine in sports? I don’t mean in those friendly industry tournaments in which beer-bellied bosses realise how unfit they are but the real tournaments. Why don’t we hear of somebody from the SWITCH companies (Satyam, Wipro, Infosys, TCS, Cognizant, HCL) make it to the national hockey or football or sprint or swimming teams?

Those who have been to their campus tell me that Infosys has a top-class cricket stadium in Mysore. Why don’t we hear of a tearaway Infoscion using the facility to knock on the doors of the Indian team instead of it being used by the company to show the world what a magnanimous donor it is to allow the Karnataka State Cricket Association to hold Ranji matches?

The answers are reasonably obvious.

a) In liberalised India, these companies are mostly, if not only bothered about the bottomline. They do their brand-building and image-building (which is what the names of companies on the sports pages achieves) in other ways, like building toilets, donating computers to schools, gifting gloves to traffic constables.

b) The IT companies view each employee as a “resource”. They bill by the hour. They pay employees to work for them, not play for them. Surely, they can’t tell a client “Sorry, the man concerned is at the ground” if something goes wrong in Germany?

c) Unlike making bikes or fabrics, writing code is a cerebral job. Playing sports, especially at the competitive level, is frowned upon by peers, colleagues and co-nerds. After all, how many Microsoft chess players or Google athletes have we heard of?

d) Maybe, the working culture of IT companies and IT employees, and the long hours they keep, does not allow for them to practice or take part in tournaments. Maybe, in a culture that values individualism, the company health club is the only place to show off your skills, and only to yourself!

e) Also, perhaps, unlike the benevolent socialist employers, the strictly meritocratic IT companies (tell me another!) do not have a “sports quota” by which they give recruit ready-to-show-off sporting talent.

f) Plus, with most employees from different corners of the country, speaking different languages, there isn’t that much bonding that can take place on a sports field especially in an alien city.

But looking at some recent developments, like rising suicides and rising divorces among IT employees, and the social backlash that cities like Bangalore seem to be reserving for the IT types, it can be argued that the powerpoint pashas have missed an old socialist trick in using sport as a great cementing agent.

For one thing, playing a game for pleasure or profit will make the deskbound dudes healthier and more sportive (unlike the jerks who run away after injuring people in road accidents). And for another, it will bring the IT companies closer to the general public who so seem to hate the nose-in-the-air attitude of IT employees.

Above all, a Corporate Sports Responsibility (CSR) will show the world that the IT companies aren’t just bothered about their quarterly performances and that the employees aren’t just bothered about themselves and their fat salaries and flats and cars and pubs and girlfriends and foreign trips.

That they are in our midst for the long run, not to shoot and scoot.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Bangalore’s in trouble, but how will you help?

18 December 2007

Everybody has an opinion on why Bangalore has become what it has become, and who caused it. But does anybody have a solution?

As the City’s vehicular population explodes, the tree-lined corridors are being regularly and ruthlessly chopped to widen roads. But is this the only way out? Is it the right approach? And is it a lasting solution that takes care of the rights of pedestrians, the elderly, children, cyclists, pavement vendors and the physically challanged?

# Should public transportation be dramatically and drastically improved to discourage use of private vehicles?

# Should a congestion charge be levied like in London on vehicles entering the heart of the City?

Here’s a chance to make your voice be heard. Hasiru Usiru (HU), a network of concerned citizens that has over the years endeavored to work towards finding creative means in which to conserve the identity of the City, is organising a “Public Consultation” on the impacts and alternatives to the road widening schemes in Bangalore.

The date: Thursday, December 20. The venue: Senate Hall, Central College. The time: 5 pm.

Chief secretary P.B. Mahishi and members of the Bangalore Metropolitan Land Transport Authority are expected to participate. The meet has been organised by Environment Support Group, Citizens Voluntary Initiative for the City, and the Alternative Law Forum.

Also read: Who killed Bangalore?

‘A City whose soul has been clinically removed’

Five reasons why India’s IT cookie could crumble

16 December 2007

The Economist has a story this week on India’s “misnomer” of an industry— information technology—with Mysore figuring in the very sentence.

With revenues topping $50 billion, with annual growth rates in the 30 per cent range over the last 10 years, the sky is the limit for IT, says the paper. But it could all go horribly wrong, and not just because of clogged and insufficient infrastructure, and the rising rupee.


# Because the tax breaks that subsidise the industry, some of which expire in 2009.

# Because of a growing talent shortage. Of the 450,000 diplomas and graduates, only half are employable.

# Because competitors, like central Europe, are beginning to emerge.

# Because foreign IT firms are setting up base in India, enabling them to rival Indian firms in cost and scale.

# Because Indian firms are happy to keep systems running, and do not develop new solutions to business problems. This will be a problem as automation increases.

Read the full article here: Information Technology in India

Has any IT company said don’t listen to music?

11 December 2007

“If IT is going to take away our basic values, then you can burn Bangalore and burn IT,” thunders born-in-Basavangudi C.N.R. Rao, in his as-told-to Outlook column.

ALOK PRASANNA, also born in Basavangudi, and training to be a lawyer, picks 15 holes in the argument of the eminent scientist.


1. The greatness of Bangalore was that it allowed simplicity and enjoymenta cup of coffee and a masala dosa at Vidyarthi Bhavan kept you happy.

The cups of coffee and masala dosas are still there. People have changed. They prefer their coffees to be mochas with chocolate sprinkles, to go. And people still come from across the country to taste the MTR masala dosa. Besides, the coffee is not native to Bangalore, nor is the potato which goes into your masala dosa. People’s tastes change. Live with it.

2. There was more poetry and music here before the IT boom.

And what is the connection between poetry and music and the IT boom? There’s no diktat among IT companies forbidding their employees from indulging in poetry and music as far as I know. If patronage on the arts is on the decline, I’d like to know just who the devil keeps Ranga Shankara and Bangalore Habba alive. Or just where the hell do they find the people to attend musical concerts in Bangalore.

3. Bangalore was always a highly intellectual city. Though people called it a garden city, there was more science here than anywhere else in India. Nowadays, nobody talks about it.

To me, this is the traditional rant of a scientist about the importance given to the engineer against that of a “pure” scientist. In today’s world, science cannot be conducted separately from information technology. It is called the Internet! What have IISc and all the other science institutions done to absorb and incorporate IT expertise and remain relevant in science? If people have stopped talking about it, doesn’t it mean that nothing worthwhile has come out of it for sometime now, Mr. Ex-director of IISc?

4. When it all started, I thought it was a good thing because so many people were getting jobs. Over the years, it has created a large uppermiddleclass population who crowd the malls. There is nothing wrong in that, but what is really serious is the influence this has had on Bangalore’s intellectual content. It is wonderful to have a lot of young people getting big salaries, provided they don’t take away the essential lifeblood of other professions.

How patronizing. Without fine intellectuals like yourself, Prof Rao, who would ever tell us how stupid we the people of India really are, and how it is OK to be stupid, just so long as we don’t live in Bangalore or work in the IT industry. By your definition, 99 % of India, and possibly the rest of the world is filled with such people. So why pick on the IT industry in Bangalore for being responsible for this?

5. Bright people at a very young age, before they are even 20, think of IT as an option because they can make quick money. Lots of intelligent people are doing jobs that are much below their intellectual capabilities. They are like coolies who are working for wages and not producing great intellectual material.

“Intellectual coolies”? How original. With all your brilliance do you still not see an oxymoron when it stares you in the face? And perhaps as Chairman of Science Advisory Council, you know the precise intellectual capacity of every man, woman and child in this country, and thereby are empowered to determine exactly who should do what job based on their “intellectual capacity”?

6. Can an India of the future afford a highly skewed growth like this? All the humours should be balancedwe must also have good poets, good economists, fine historians, quality scientists and top-class engineers.

If other fields don’t give bright students the opportunity to make lots of money, why blame IT for being brave enough to do so? What spiritual obligation do “bright students” have to ignore money in order to fulfil some pre-ordained quota of engineers, doctors, poets, economists? Sounds very communist or very casteist, depending on how you look at it. Besides, all of 10 million Indians are directly employed in the IT or ITES sector, so that leaves about 490 million Indians to be economists, poets, doctors, etc. Is it the growth or your vision that is skewed, Prof. Rao?

7. An [NRI] recently asked me, if India is so great in IT, how come it produces only 25 PhDs in computer science per year? That’s a very good question.

It is stupidity to believe that the innovation in the IT sector is because of a team of PhDs cranking out papers for peer reviewed journals. Innovation in the IT sector happens faster than a journal is turned out, and it doesn’t need a research degree from a prestigious University to be at the forefront of IT innovation. In a country where computers became accessible to the middle-class only in the last ten years, it is hard to imagine that we will turn out a Shawn Fanning or a Linus Torvalds or even a Bill Gates or a Steve Jobs anytime soon.

8. Right in the beginning, the IT industry should have planned their campuses in towns like Ramanagaram (40odd km from Bangalore).

I’m pretty sure Electronics City fits that definition of 40-odd km from Bangalore if you listen to any complaining techie.

9. They should have created IT satellite towns, but they all wanted land inside the city. They not only took away that land, they also complain about not getting enough.

Oh yeah, because land acquisition in rural areas in India is so unproblematic and hassle-free as recent experience has shown. Did someone say Nandigram?

10. Why should we create roads?

Because the people who use those roads, the IT employees, are usually inhabitants of Bangalore also, and have every right as you and me, to use pothole-free and “jam-less” roads. Just because the IT industry has come out in the public in this demand, and sought citizen support for the same, it doesn’t mean that it is any less legitimate. Would we deny the roads to an exporter because all they do is just “export”?

11. IT people have a responsibility that they are yet to fulfil. If they’re making so much money, why shouldn’t they create an outstanding private university equivalent to Stanford or Harvard?

Seriously, Prof. Rao. You bring into question your credibility as an academic by a statement like that. Do you seriously think that a company that has enjoyed about 10-15 years of profits (and doesn’t figure anywhere in the Fortune 500) would be able to replicate the success and quality of a 400-year-old institution in less than 15 years? Screw Harvard, the IT industry as a whole won’t be able to fund and start an institution of the quality of the IITs in the same time. It took the Government of India years of funding to build 4-5 good IITs, and we are supposed to believe that a growing industry dependent on the Government for tax breaks (and a weak rupee) would be able to replicate it in half the time?

12. Had they done something like that they would have compensated for the other problems they have created.

I suppose the amounts given to their alma mater by IIT-alumni in the IT sector should be ignored since we are generally not dealing with much reality.

13. If IT people are making money, what do I get out of it, unless I am employed in Infosys with Narayana Murthy? The trouble is, we have given them a lot, but have got nothing in return.

Sorry Prof. Rao. Imagine pitting the benefits enjoyed by the people who are employed in the IT industry, and their families (along with the four other jobs created with every single IT job in Bangalore and their families) against the imagined injuries of a disgruntled academic. Next time, I’ll personally ensure that every paycheque contains a small “disgruntled former academic in Government position” deduction just for your benefit.

14. Our society has created a bunch of icons and role models who are distorting not just the future of this city but of all India, and of our sense of values.

Whoa… Didn’t know NRN was responsible for Nandigram and Godhra. At least that’s what you seem to be imputing. Maybe we should prosecute him instead of Buddhababu and Narendrabhai. Perhaps, if you are right, it is NRN’s fault that Deve Gowda caused the Government to fall. Bad IT industry, no cookie for you!

15. Our people have lost respect for scholarship. Money and commerce has taken over. If IT is going to take away our basic values, then you can burn Bangalore and burn IT.

Where was our respect for scholarship when we spent about 1% of our budget on education for 60 years? Where was our respect for scholarship when droves of India�s brightest left for foreign shores? Where was our respect for scholarship when no Indian Nobel Prize winner since Sir C.V. Raman can claim to have done his prize winning research in India? Money feeds and clothes the poor. Commerce gives jobs to the unemployed, educated or otherwise. I think we should offer the above mentioned, the choice between our “basic values” and “money and commerce”.

Three reasons why everybody loves to hate IT

10 December 2007

T.T. RAM MOHAN writes from Ahmedabad: What precisely are the grievances that people in Bangalore have against IT folk? The litany of complaints includes: rising property prices thanks to the IT employees’ purchasing power, grabbing of prime land by IT companies, the bar and disco culture, and IT employees being preferred in the bridal market.

There is a clear divide between other middle-class professionals, including the many in the public sector, and the IT employees. Those on the former side resent the rise to prominence of the latter.

The Outlook story set me thinking. There are other professions that pay even more—the financial services sector as well. How come we do not see a similar resentment towards investment bankers and private equity people in Bombay?

I guess that’s because partly the City is not yet identified with these professionals, they are not that numerous and, besides, in Bombay, there are other sectors that absorb people and pay well. IT dominates Bangalore in a way in which other sectors do not dominate any metropolis and, also, the disparity between a dominant sector and other sectors in any city is not as great. If the proposed International Finance City materialises in Bombay, we can expect an even greater backlash.

A second reason could be that IT does not have the same linkages with the domestic money. Finance professionals create prosperity in companies they take public, the stock market benefits thousands of shareholders. IT is seen to benefit only the people in the sector and nobody else. True, as Subroto Bagchi points out, IT creates benefits (such as declining telecom costs) but these effects are indirect and not as visible, hence the resentment.

Thirdly, to some extent, the prosperity of IT and its employees is seen as coming at the expense of the economy. IT companies have benefited from huge allotments of land at concessional prices, they benefited from an undervalued rupee for over a decade and they benefited from tax concessions as well. The charities made by some IT personalities are seen as poor compensation for the benefits earned.

So, what do we do? Throw IT out? Not at all.

Can greater philanthropy help? To some extent, maybe, for instance, a classy university run at affordable prices on IT endownments might help assuage popular sentiment.

But the biggest corrective, I reckon, will come from the very economic environment that created IT’s prosperity—no more concessional land, a decline in profitability from a rising rupee and its attendant costs (including layoffs in the IT sector) and a greater focus on the domestic economy on the part of IT firms in the face of a rising rupee.

(T.T. Ram Mohan is Professor, finance and accounting area, at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad. This piece originally appeared on his blog, The Big Picture, and is reproduced here courtesy of the author)

Read the full article: Bengalooru Bangalore-d

Why Bangalore Hates the English Media Culture

10 December 2007

RAJEEV RAO writes from Bangalore: I was bemused and bewildered to read the Outlook cover story, “Why Bangalore hates IT Culture“. The choice of topic and the headline used would have been acceptable had it been by an intern at a journalism school submitting a project report for his/her course.

But a correspondent of a national newsmagazine?

A large City never has a white or black, either-or relationship with anybody or anything. There are hundreds of shades of grey in between. It is too simplistic (even stupid) to view Old Bangalore’s relationship with the IT industry through the monocle of “hate”.

It has a love-hate relationship. Just like old and new Madras, old and new Bombay, old and new Delhi. And the myriad towns and villages of Bharat that is India.

But the premise and conclusions of the Delhi-based magazine’s article sort-of epitomises everything that is wrong with the English media’s (in specific, and the national media’s, in general) coverage of and attitude towards Bangalore, Kannada, Kannadigas, and Karnataka.

If there is one thing that Bengalooru and the rest of Karnataka hates, and I am sure I am not alone in this, it is the English (national) media’s carelessness, callousness and general indifference to all things involving our State.

Not just the print medium, but all other vehicles of mass communication—radio, television, internet, etc, not excluding churumuri.

And here are the reasons (the list is by no means exhaustive):

# Because the broadcast bozos can’t even get the name of our language or our State right. Kannada is Kannada not Kannad. And Karnataka is Karnataka, not Karnatak. Are they blind? Can’t they see the ‘a’ at the end? Or don’t they just care?

# Because even prominent Kannada/Karnataka names are wrongly pronounced/spelt. Is it really so hard to pronounce names like Deve Gowda and Yediyurappa if you can master Nordic European names? It’s not Deve Goud, darlings; and it’s not Yedi-ury-appa, Rajdeep Sardesai.

# Because despite their deep pockets, all that these English TV honchos can hire are 20-something immigrant journalists who do not know their Mysoorus from their Mangaloorus (let alone our Haassanas from our Arasikeres). With just a passing acquaintance with Kannada or the history of the State, relying on “experts” who know even less, they dish out muck on every topic under the Karnataka sun with frightening poise that it takes the breath away. What a shame.

# Because Bengalooru for our English media has become just about M.G. Road, Brigade Road, Koramangala and Indiranagara. They forget, or rather ignore, that Bengalooru is also and more about Basavanagudi, Jayanagara, Vijayanagara, Peenya, Rajajinagara, Malleshwara, Hebbala, etc. More people live in and experience Bengalooru in these localities, but shockingly they just don’t seem to count.

# Because industry for our media has just come to mean the IT industry. Because infrastructure problems for our English media has just come to mean the road to Whitefield and Electronics City. Vadi? Yadgir? Pavagada? Where’s that?

# Because a college campus in Bengalooru for them only means St. Joseph‘s and Mount Carmel never National College, MES or Vijaya College. A school means Bishop Cotton’s. And of course a restaurant always has to be Koshy‘s.

# Because the English media propagates the fallacy that Kannada is understood only by a minority in Bengalooru. Sorry. People with Kannada as their mother tongue may be fewer than 50%, but more than 75% in Bengalooru understand Kannada, i.e. they can speak, read and write the language. Kannada is the single most used language in Bengalooru. This is never highlighted. This has singlehandedly hurt Kannada and the Kannadigas as a perpetuating self-fulfilling prophecy.

# Because the Kannada/Karnataka view is never highlighted in important issues like Cauvery dispute, the renaming (right naming) of Bangalore as Bengalooru etc. On the other hand, the same media doesn’t squirm when it comes to effectively highlighting the local point of view on issues in other States.

# Because the English media fails to project and highlight legitimate demands of Kannada and Karnataka, be it the Cauvery river water dispute or demand for classical language status. Sugata Srinivasaraju (the author of the Outlook article on “Why Bangalore Hates IT Culture), himself has the following comments on the Cauvery judgement: (a) “fair judgement” …. stuns Karnataka into a sputtering funk after the din of shrill sub-nationalistic rhetoric”, (b)”Karnataka can gladly focus on the pluses”. I wonder what the Tamil Nadu representatives had to say at the same time (or at different points of time during the dispute).

# Because in every forum on Bengalooru and Karnataka on the news channels and in the morning papers, immigrant intellectuals like Ramachandra Guha, and only like-minded Bengaloorigas like T.V. Mohandas Pai of Infosys and Kiran Majumdar Shaw of Biocon are invited, U.R. Anantha Murthy being the odd exception. Do they truly represent Bengalooru? Why not leading Kannada journalists like Vishweshwar Bhat or Ravi Belagere to present a different view. Except a Girish Karnad and Anantha Murthy, don’t we have someone with enough exposure to Kannada and Karnataka talk about issues pertaining to Kannada and Karnataka?

# Because a concert of Shah Rukh Khan in the City with 20,000 people attending is given front-page coverage in the English papers while a ‘Kannadave Sathya‘ concert by C. Ashwath at the Palace Grounds on the same day where close to a 100,000 people attended is buried deep inside.

# Because our English media always find the space, time and inclination to plug third-rate Bollywood, tamilwood and teluguwood content/people than to quality, original Kannada cinema. There is more coverage for Sivaji than for Mungaaru Male, there is more wisdom on Hindi, Tamil and Malayalam stars in the Sunday magazines than about Kannada stars. Because their film critics think all Kannada movies are “remade” while failing to point out that Paheli (India’s Oscar entry) was based on Nagamandala and Swades (another Oscar entry contender) was a remake of Chigurida Kanasu.

# Because the English newspapers have all the space in the world to list out the schedules of 10 Hindi channels on the listings page while they can accommodate only a couple of Kannada channels of the ten or more around.

# Because national media houses on radio consistently ignored Kannada for five years by beaming Hindi songs on Bengalooru’s first FM channel, Radio City, 24 hours of the day. The best (or should it rather be the worst) that they did was telecast Kannada songs on Saturday and Sunday mornings (when research has shown that the listenership numbers are significantly lower than weekday mornings) thus reducing Kannada to the status of “reserved category”. Today, Big FM and Radio Mirchi, predominantly belting out Kannada music, lead audience charts. Radio City has even stopped claiming to be No.1 in the city. Thankfully one end to the self-fulfilling prophecy.

# Because they constantly undermine the achievements of Kannadigas (example: recent churumuri article about Anil Kumble‘s success being despite him being a Kannadiga a case in point). I can only remember one cover story on Outlook about Karnataka cricketers when 6/7 players from Karnataka were playing for India and Kannada was as much of a lingua franca of the team as English/Hindi.

# Because the 14th (or 15th as the case maybe) of January is Makara Sankranthi, not Pongal; the festival of lights in Karnataka is called Deepavali not Diwali. Just for the unknowing, diwali in Kannada means pauper, or bankrupt, and that we most definitely are not.


So, what’s your favourite crib about the English media’s coverage of Kannada, Kannadigas and Karnataka?


Crossposted on sans serif

‘If IT takes away Bangalore’s values, burn IT’

8 December 2007

Outlook magazine has a cover story this week titled, “Why Bangalore Hates the IT Culture”.

Why? For land-grabbing, zooming property and rental rates, the rising cost of living. For creating traffic jams, pollution, encroachments. For turning ‘garden city’ into ‘garbage city’, pensioner’s paradise to ‘suicide capital’. For devaluing other professions. For destroying the City’s intellectual and artistic culture. For introducing a culture of conspicuous consumption in malls and bars.

The former Indian Institute of Science Prof Chintamani Nagesha Ramachandra Rao director voices his thoughts, reproduced here courtesy the magazine.



I am a real Bangalorean. I was born in Basavangudi. The greatness of Bangalore was that it allowed simplicity and enjoyment—a cup of coffee and a masala dosa at Vidyarthi Bhavan kept you happy. I don’t see that Bangalore any more. It is now an awful city. There was more poetry and music here before the IT boom. The city we have created in recent years is rotten—highly polluted, garbage strewn everywhere, including the intellectual garbage dumped on this city by the IT industry.

Bangalore was always a highly intellectual city. Though people called it a garden city, there was more science here than anywhere else in India. Nowadays, nobody talks about it. They only call it an IT city. When it all started, I thought it was a good thing because so many people were getting jobs. Over the years, it has created a large upper-middle-class population who crowd the malls. There is nothing wrong in that, but what is really serious is the influence this has had on Bangalore’s intellectual content.

It is wonderful to have a lot of young people getting big salaries, provided they don’t take away the essential lifeblood of other professions. Bright people at a very young age, before they are even 20, think of IT as an option because they can make quick money. Lots of intelligent people are doing jobs that are much below their intellectual capabilities. They are like coolies who are working for wages and not producing great intellectual material.

Can an India of the future afford a highly skewed growth like this? All the humours should be balanced—we must also have good poets, good economists, fine historians, quality scientists and top-class engineers. An NRI recently asked me, if India is so great in IT, how come it produces only 25 PhDs in computer science per year? That’s a very good question.

Right in the beginning, the IT industry should have planned their campuses in towns like Ramanagaram (40-odd km from Bangalore). They should have created IT satellite towns, but they all wanted land inside the city. They not only took away that land, they also complain about not getting enough. They say they want better roads, but why should we create them?

IT people have a responsibility that they are yet to fulfil. If they’re making so much money, why shouldn’t they create an outstanding private university equivalent to Stanford or Harvard? Had they done something like that they would have compensated for the other problems they have created. If IT people are making money, what do I get out of it, unless I am employed in Infosys with Narayana Murthy? The trouble is, we have given them a lot, but have got nothing in return.

Our society has created a bunch of icons and role models who are distorting not just the future of this city but of all India, and of our sense of values. Our people have lost respect for scholarship. Money and commerce has taken over. If IT is going to take away our basic values, then you can burn Bangalore and burn IT.

As told to Sugata Srinivasaraju

Read the full story: Raiders lost the arc


Also read: ‘Indian IT doesn’t benefit its own people’

‘If IT’s so hot, why don’t want IITians want to join it?’

‘A City whose soul has been clinically removed’

CHURUMURI POLL: Who killed Bangalore?

Photograph: The Hindu Business Line

One or the other, but not all at the same time

27 November 2007

ASHWINI A. writes from Bangalore: Development is fast becoming a strange dichotomous disease in India. The three most reform-minded States in the country—Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka—also top the list of States where farmers have committed most suicides in the past ten years, according to a pathbreaking study.

And, as if to underline the point, a new survey finds that the best cities to earn a living are not the best cities to live in. According to data compiled by the economics research firm Indicus Analytics, none of the ten cities in the ‘reside-in’ list figure in the ‘earn-in’ list of places with most employment opportunities.

Surprise 1: Only one City in the entire South is in the best city to earn list: Bangalore. The others: Gurgaon, Silvassa, Noida, Faridabad, Rupnagar, Chandigarh, Surat, Gandhinagar, Pune.

Surprise 2: Only one City in the entire South is in the best city to invest list: Coimbatore. The others: Silvassa, Ludhiana, Shimla, Noida, Gurgaon, Gandhinagar, Surat, Itanagar, Chandigarh.

Surprise 3: Only one City in the entire North is in the best city to live list: Shimla. Of the the others—Cochin, Calicut, Trivandrum, Mysore, Goa, Trichur, Pondicherry, Cannanore, Thiruvalur—five are in Kerala.

So, the North and West are nice to invest and earn, the South is nice to live in, and the East is a gone case. No surprises there. But the real surprise is that none of the metros, Bombay, Delhi, Calcutta or Madras figure in any of the lists.

A cynical question to ask if such findings are genuine or nicely dressed up to satisfy organisations such as CII and FICCI. But even after factoring the synthetic nature of such surveys, the point to ponder is the kind of cities we are developing.

Nice to make some money. Or nice to invest your money to make some more money. Or nice to have a nice time. But never all the three at the same time!

In the modern India, are we as individuals destined to enjoy one or the other without the other two?

Is it really so difficult to build cities that satisfy the heart, mind, body and wallet? If Chandigarh, one of the few fully planned cities in the country, fails to find a place in the best city to live in list, what does it say of planning? If Kerala, with almost no industries, is so nice to live in, is development a problem?

More importantly, should cities like Mysore rejoice or be wary of this recognition? If such rankings propel the Bangalore “crowd” towards Mysore, will Mysore remain the same?

Long years ago, economists spoke of the North-South divide. In its own way, does it persist in India that is Bharat?

Is ‘Brand Bangalore’ all that there is to our State?

22 November 2007

SAVITHA G.R. writes from Bangalore: As the political dramayana took one embarrassing turn after another last week, NDTV 24×7 had a poser one night: ‘Is the Bangalore dream turning sour?’ The provocation was the political instability in Karnataka.

Now, I am not, by any stretch of imagination, defending the political nataka taking place in the State. However, for me, the question smacked of a certain attitude, an attitude that told me that in the eyes of the country, if not in the eyes of the Delhi-based TV channels, Bangalore is all that matters, and not the State.

Of course, the perception is that Bangalore is thriving, thanks to its huge, young, IT workforce, and this will eventually trickle down to other parts of the State. But, when an entire State is wobbling under the weight of the political games, surely it is naivette to think of only Bangalore being affected?

Also, the term ‘The Bangalore Dream’ set me thinking.

The media has been quick to latch on to the coinage. Variations include ‘Brand Bangalore’. Now, who dreamt this dream? And what is it? When they say ‘The Bangalore Dream’, is it something that every Bangalorean is part of? Or do they, by any chance, mean the dreams of the IT industry?

The infrastructure is crumbling, everyone complains. Yes, it is true. It takes hours to reach Electronic City, they say. But, the same is true of every other part of the City. There are cities within cities, and by equating ‘The Bangalore Dream’ with the dream of the IT industry and investors, aren’t we leaving out a huge percentage of Bangaloreans?

Also, are we implying that flyovers, mass transit, noveau-workplaces, big brands, maketh a city? And is it implied that as long as the head honchos of the top firms are happy, we have made sure the ‘fair name’ of the City is not tarnished?

Yes, we all want the best for our cities. We all want our politicians to be progressive, pro-active, and not indulge in the natakas that they are indulging in, right now. No one wants a polluted, bursting-at-the-seams City. But why is it that we talk of infrastructure, cleanliness, decent public transport only in terms of attracting investors, in terms of retaining an image of ‘Brand Bangalore’?

What have the people who have lived here all their lives done? Don’t they deserve anything from governments on their own?

Infrastructure means improving a city in totality. Irrespective of whether you want to retain its so-called brand name, or to draw investors. If you are going to build a city for the convenience of only a segment of its population, it’s no city at all. The soul is lost, forever.

So, if you ask me if the ‘Bangalore Dream’ is turning sour, I would like to ask, “Which dream? And what is it all about?”

Will our old Bangalore structures be retained, preserved, or will they be demolished to make place for yet another mall? Do we have a healthy respect for history at all? Will traffic be streamlined on the perenially clogged Gandhi Bazaar Main Road? Will garbage be cleared regularly on streets corners in Jayanagar? When is the Vijayanagar Main Road going to get back its old shape? And so on and so forth…

And as far as investors are concerned, Gauri Lankesh, Editor, Lankesh Patrike, made a pertinent point on the NDTV show: ”I don’t think political climate is going to change the business prospects of the MNCs, because when the Russian or the Japanese President comes to Bangalore, he is going to visit the Infosys campus before he visits the CM. Whichever government comes to power in Karnataka in future will pander to the Nandan Nilekanis and Kiran Mazumdars, so I don’t think it will be affected.”

‘A city whose soul has been clinically removed’

6 November 2007

NEW YORK CITY: Heaven knows that Bangalore has problems spilling out of its back pockets. But when the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) showcases a book titled ‘101 places not to visit‘ by Adam Russ, with Bangalore securing the pride of place in the India section, it’s time to sit up and cry.

The introduction to Bangalore reads:

“In the heart of a country of incredible sensory richness lies a town with all the life-loving vibrancy of a chicken battery farm”

And through nine short paragraphs, the 192-page “essential guide to the world’s most miserable, ugly, boring and inbred destinations” (published by Robson Books) tears into Bangalore’s food, bars, museums, and everybody’s favourite whipping boy, infrastructure.

Admittedly, its flippant tone—“tongue-in-cheek, laugh-out-loud humour (that) outlines all the not so attractive elements”—will not meet everyone’s OK, but Russ does really shows how the light has gone out in Silicon Halli. And how little we have tried to preserve our own.

HISTORY: Nicknamed the “town of boiled beans” after the staple diet of most of the town’s population until about ten years ago, Bangalore is the capital of the state of Karnataka state and has been a vital fortress town and administrative centre since the 16th century.

The Indian government’s awarding of numerous defences and telecommunications contracts to companies in the region led to a period of remarkable growth in the 1960s, until problems with the infrastructure became apparent, namely the fact that there was a limit to the number of plug adapters you culd run off a single socket.

CULTURE: As cultures go, India is as rich and diverse as they come. Tour the country and whereever you go you will be greeted by majestic vistas, earthly smells and people as rich in diversity as they are in debt to the World Bank.

Except, that is, in Bangalore, a city whose soul has been clinically removed in the name of corporate efficiency. The arrival of the major banks, telecom companies, and the other super-villains in the city drawn by the lure of first-rate graduates happy to sit for long hours in cubicles and be abused by Western consumers—has altered the city and its people irreparably.

Everything about the host culture has been watered down, westernised, or otherwise screwed up. Family life in India is dominated by conversation in India, and families do a lot of talking in Bangalore—just not to each other. This is because families don’t just get to see each other. They’re too busy explaining to you why the ATM just ate your card. To maintain family life in Bangalore, parents have to work split shifts on different time cycles. This means that someone is always home to make sure the kids get their introduction to telephone customer service homework in on time,

ATTRACTIONS: Unless you are planning a guide to the world’s largest call centres or have a fascination with theme bars so fake there are indigenous tribes in the Amazonian rainforests that wouldn’t be taken in by them, Bangalore is a city to be avoided at all costs.

The government museum is on Kasturba Gandhi road and is worthing spending a rupee on if you’re a museum curator and want to feel good about the way you display your exhibits back home.

EATING AND DRINKING: The clash of cultures has resulted in some interesting recipes appearing on Bangalore’s menus. Many of these “fusion” dishes work surprisingly well. Most, however, do not. In particular, the Dixie Fried Reclaimed Meat Thali with Kannada Chicken Bone Fries should be avoided by humands—or any other animals with fewer than six stomachs.

EAST BECOMES WEST: The arrival of American frims in Bangalore in the 1980s has had an undeniable impact on local culture, with vegetarian restaurants gradually being replaced by Pizza Hut and Baskin-Robbins. And the city authorities’ decision to host the Miss World contest in 1996 showed that they were out of touch not only with the rest of India, but probably with the rest of the world as well.


Boredom rating: 5 stars
Likelihood of fatal visit: 2 stars
Essential packing: Tele-salesworker union card
Most likely cause of death: Falling telegraph pole


Also read: Who killed Bangalore?