Some facts about Bangalore that might have been forgotten

Almost before one knows it, the face of the city changes, and many things belong to the past, and then to history. Here are a few facts that I remember from the late 80s and early 90s; it was still pre-IT Bangalore, a sleepy town, rather than a city (in fact, two towns, the “English” Cantonment and the “Kannada” areas like Basavanagudi, Malleswaram and Jayanagar)… the quality of life was excellent.

  • In Langford Town, there used to be an auction house, it was run by a Mr Pacheco. It closed down by 1988 or 1989… probably because the owner emigrated to Australia.

  • There was a heavily-mustachioed police constable called Thimmiah, who gave his life trying to save a child in a car accident, near the General Post Office. The junction, I think, still bears his name. 

  • There used to be public fireworks in Kanteerava Stadium (the Indoor Stadium did not exist then).

  • Bal Bhavan in Cubbon Park used to have summer courses for children; there were differential fees for “ordinary” people and people from “backward castes”.

  • Indian Council for Cultural Relations was a robust, thriving unit which brought excellent cultural events from all over the world to the city. I remember going to Chowdiah Miemorial Hall  (which was easy to get to) to watch programs like Mummenschantz (you can find a video here) and the Kive Ballet performing Swan Lake. 

  • Bread at All Saints (wonderfully soft) was Rs 3 a loaf.

  • The bus system was abysmal. I’ve waited an hour in Indira Nagar for a bus to Jayanagar, and gone back to my friend’s place, disappointed. The bus services have improved phenomenally since then.

  • An internet connection came down in 1997 from Rs 25,000 to Rs 14,000.  And one had to dial up the connection, on a phone that would work… sometimes.

  • In JP Nagar, in 1997, the way to get one’s electricty problems sorted out was to go to a local bakery, where the lineman would come and just might help you out… for a consideration.

  • Similarly, at the Koramangala Regional Transport Office (RTO), one had to approach a stationery store in the Complex to get one’s driving licence… for a consideration.

  • During S M Krishna’s tenure, corruption was getting rooted out. One could get a “khata” without having to pay a bribe.

  • The Annual Cake Exhibition by Nilgiris had slack times when it was held in St. Joseph’s School, and one could just walk in and out!

  • There were no malls. Brigade Road, Jayanagar Shopping Complex, and Commercial Street were thae wonderful places to shop and “hang out” (the phrase had not been coined) in the Cantonment area.  

  • Shops in different localities would shut on different days, and it was easy to visit another area to find what one wanted.

  • The airport was in Indira Nagar, and it was possible, if one lived in the Cantonment area, to drop off a passenger about half an hour before a flight… and be home within twenty minutes of a flight landing.

  • There was a burst of “opening up the skies” with several airlines starting operations.  ModiLuft was excellent, I recall. 

  • The bungalows with big gardens were everywhere, but they began vanishing… one here, one there, and we did not think much about it. 

  • BRV Theatre and Cubbon Road had ceased to exist… but they were still given as landmarks.

  • People pitied those who had to live in “far-flung” areas like Indira Nagar and Koramangala. Whitefield was a different town. We’d not even heard of Bellandur!

Any reminiscences that you can add? I’m sure there are plenty! 

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Deepa Mohan
About Deepa Mohan 710 Articles
Deepa Mohan is a freelance writer and avid naturalist.

2 Comments

  1. NIMHANS used to so deserted and Madiwala used to be like in the outskirts. Travel from Bangalore to Hosur was more than an hour but had huge trees besides the highway.

  2. Nice collection. Couple more :

    There were also fireworks at KSCA by TTK and prior to that Vatal Nagaraj & Co used to organise for fireworks at Yeshwantpur as part of Rajyotsava celebrations

    Janatha Bazaar in GandhiNagar was the mall of those days.

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