CLICK FOR A LARGER VERSION
I noticed this article from the times of india, which captured the essence of Koramangala through the mind of Balbir Singh, the owner of Koramangala.com.
Around 17 years ago, Koramangala was nothing short of a pocket of villages. For every small purchase, we had to drive down to Brigade Road. Instances where a Koramangalite would go outdoors after 7 pm were sparse. It was unsafe and autorickshaw drivers always refused to come to Koramangala. This place was dead," says Balbir Singh, who quit his job in the printing & packaging industry to launch the portal koramangala.com along with his wife Amrit Sethi.
Way back in 1984, if someone went out after 7pm, there was no guarantee of him returning home be it a kid or an adult. The biggest set of marshy land regions included what is now the National Games Village, and ST Bed (behind the Maharaja hotel). Everything beyond that were just groves and groves of cocount trees which could trap an unassuming individual if he trespassed into an unending maze of no-return. From our home, we could see the Mantons crane factory (today otherwise called Raheja Arcade), and St.John’s hospital. While the first five years of my stay did not see anyone owning a television set in Koramangala, after that stage the first few black and white sets started arriving on the scene. Chitrahaar, Chitramanjari, Vartegalu, Blockbuster movies, and the famous moon mission by Rakesh Sharma – were some of the things that raked in crowds. Hordes of children descended on the only house(s) that had TVs and settled down like we were one family, with one goal – watch TV.
Open spaces, tall grasses, St John’s Hospital, service roads and, yes, cows. Nobody thought this quiet suburb would be transformed so much. It was more like a brick & mortar village with the typical ration shops around it," recollects Santhosh Kumar, an HR professional, who has been residing in Koramangala since 1984
The Koramangala club membership was a near miss for my father. To keep up the socializing habit, the membership was offered at a mere 500 bucks which those days amounted to a monthly salary of people living there. The founder members had to pitch in about 2000 bucks each with which they would build what is otherwise today called the Koramangala Club with a mind boggling membership amount running into lakhs of rupees.
The entire set of people living in Koramangala 6th Block used to play badminton, shuttle, ring, kho-kho and what not and this included all the adults in each family. Boy, it was such a pleasure to be living here. After my dad, I was the next undisputed badminton champ out here. The next ten years was sheer bliss upto 1995. The locality slowly gained ground in terms of development, and infrastructure to support the growing population was slowly being put in place. Post offices, schools, bus stops, banks, water tanks, electricity board offices, small shops to meet the grocery needs.
Some of the famous names to do business with were Krishna medicals, Vaishnavi stores for stationery (and those new famous pens and pencils), fashion center (for your clothing needs), modern stores and balaji stores (for groceries). The only good hotels years down the line were Sukh sagar, and Utsav Veg. Bethany and Neena schools were the only schools that have withstood the test of time for over 25 years now. So much so was the nostalgia that I can say I could reach my school as the crow flies (diagonally) from my home.
1995 was ushering in the software era, into india, into bangalore, into koramangala in full swing. This was the turning point for the poshness of the locality to start exposing itself. In full glory. for the next ten years. Few of the earliest names to move into Koramangala were Wipro and Infosys.
The phenomenon was now being created.
My wife was back from office early on Saturday (its been two decades since I believed others work on saturdays ) and asked me to come along to the Society collection exhibition in the indoor stadium at NGV. Her hopes of having a free entry was shortlived when the counter guys charged us 100 bucks to enter the place. Its advertised as india’s biggest handicrafts exhibition, so you have to expect such nuisances as entry fees and the likes. I would like to call it Indias biggest exhibition in India’s smallest enclosure Thats perhaps more fitting.
The exhbition did have good amount of fashion fabrics, paintings, knicknacks, all ladies fashion accessories, bathroom items, wooden furtniture and antiques, a lot of jewelry, and some interesting stuff which I ll talk about later. For now here are some snaps of the place
There were only two things that impressed me in this exhibition, one was the hose pipe that had innumerable amount of fittings with different threadings for fitting different taps, different spray types, easy portability – this costed 1900 and though I was very much inclined to buy it for my dad, I decided not to go for it right now (yes the recession bug has bitten me too ).
So then what was the other thing that impressed me: – an electromagnetic induction based gas stove based on Eddy currents. It had no heat, no shocks, no smoke, no fire principle. Awesome. Just to prove the point, the guy there put a 10-buck note inbetween the pan and the stove. And nothing happened to it even though the water in the pan was boiling and steaming. Just to cross check I even put my hand on the stove and nothing happened as promised!
The stove comes in different varieties and typically based on weight that be loaded onto it, 30kg, 20kg, 10kg, 5kg, etc. The prices varied between 3,500 bucks to 9000 bucks for a double stove. And there was another caveat. He would sell only to corporates or to those who had orders of three and above units. No single units except when booked at the exhibition. Having said that, I was not in the mood to buy, (recession!), so I took down their contact details and walked out of the place. I am leaving it here in case you are interested.
If you need the numbers, here they are:
Bilwaa marketing inc, 2334 6440/1, 99164 24880, 99866 22106, 99803 68612, & 99028 77075. Their address is 133, 11 cross, sampige road, malleshwaram, bangalore 03.
Finally to sum up on the exhibition: It had some good food stalls at the end much better than what I have seen before in the same stadium. But for paying 50 bucks, I ended up buying some earrings for my wife, if not anything costiler (again the recession ). My suggestion : if you really want to see the two items I mentioned by paying 50 bucks, go there, else go only if you want to seriously end up buying something. The entry cost is pretty exhorbidant and is in other terms called daylight robbery!
I was doing YOGA yesterday evening on my terrace when it started raining. I continued doing yoga and the skies got really dark and looked omnious. It was at this time I was wondering that we humans are mere mortals and are too little compared to the elements around us. We might have used our intelligence to achieve many heights. But that still doesnt make us immortal would it?
At one point the skies were so overcast that it prompted me to rush back inside my home, get my new Canon DSLR and take a picture of what looked so inviting. The shopping complexes are just a stone’s throw away from my house and I can see a couple of them from my terrace. I climbed atop the rear parappet wall of my house, putting my life in risk. One wrong move and I would come crashing down three floors and would be dead. All just to capture the rainy moment in this photograph.
It is only then did the irony struck me. LG – yes the famous korean consumer electronics giant stands for LIFE’s GOOD. But a good life comes with a rider, the hoarding below that read "MAX NEW YORK LIFE" which is an insurance company insuring people’s lives! Even Strangerirony is that this is an indian insurance company with new york in their name!
So Life may be good, but you still need insurance is the caption for this photograph! Oh how true .
Technorati Tags: Life in Bengaluru, LG, Max new york life, Insurance, Consumer electronics, Bangalore, Bengaluru, Blog, Canon rebel xti, Ramdev, Swamiji, Yoga, Divya yog mandir, Koramangala, Shopping complexes, Next showroom, Pizza hut, 6th block, 80 feet road, Sony world signal, Rains, Cyclonic effect, Weather, Water