My first week at Bengaluru was dedicated to becoming familiar with the surrounding area, and getting to know my way. The beginning of my stay at my uncle and aunt’s place was made all the more eventful by the cool showers in the evening. Sadly, there was no sign of them for the remainder of the week.
The thing about Bengaluru (apart from the comforting weather and the greenery) that has left me amazed is the empathy and the kindness of the people. In general, people are willing to go out of their way for complete strangers; they genuinely want to help others out, irrespective of whether one speaks the local language Kannada or not.
I am not really fond of the experience I have had with people working at Government offices as they just don’t seem to care about the other person’s time and urgency. In stark contrast to the previous experiences, I was completely won over by the lady at Bangalore One counter at the Office of the Commissioner of Police. She worked through her lunch hour so that the people who had been waiting for a while could go back to their routine as soon as possible (BTW Bangalore One is a one-stop solution for a variety of errands, such as paying bills, UIDAI – Aadhaar, issuing monthly transport passes, even sale of passport applications and railway ticket bookings). It was the first time I had seen someone do that.
Everyone smiles back – even the lady selling tender coconut on my way to work, when I pass by! The best part is that the kindness is not limited to the general public, it extends to the Police as well. I have never before seen police officers being so polite to people. It is these small things that really brighten my day and make me feel that I am not far from home.
Every place has its cons along with the pros, and Bengaluru is no different. Unlike Mumbai (which expands lengthwise), Bengaluru expands in all directions. It is a humongous place, and travelling within the city is slightly expensive compared to Mumbai. I find it slightly annoying that many of the rickshaw drivers are reluctant to use the meters and demand almost double the fare on occasions. In contrast, the bus network is pretty good. The BMTC app comes in handy as there are loads of buses plying on a number of routes. Travelling in buses is comfortable as the crowd is much lesser compared to Mumbai’s BEST buses.
I learnt and explored quite a bit about Bengaluru in my first week here, right from the different ways to commute to the office (yep….I am here for an internship) to the various shopping options available. I loved shopping at Marathalli – there are loads of factory outlets for branded goods. Commercial Street has a lot of options as well – there is something for everyone.
Apart from the shopping options, I really enjoyed is the vegetarian restaurants and the variety of cuisines the city has to offer. Wow Momos at Hypercity near Marathalli has really delicious momos that just melt in your mouth. Shilpa Vegetarian Restaurant near Commercial Street has the best Masala Puri I have eaten yet. And for the finale, although the Sabari Juice Junction in Jeevanbhimanagar looks modest at first sight, it packs a real punch – the dryfruit milkshake is a must try. I was rather surprised to know that a total of 11 people work there! The service was fast, the food delicious, and pricing pretty reasonable. I am actually looking forward to the coming weeks now.