When you walk down DVG Road late in the evening, you are enveloped by the street culture. The lanes are brimming with flower and vegetable vendors, there is a lingering smell of masala coming from the bajji stalls, grandparents are buying their grandchildren cakes from the old Iyengar bakery around the corner and as usual, the coffee houses have their regulars coming in for filter coffee powder.
Perpendicular to this seemingly peaceful hustle bustle, Gandhi Bazaar is also alive with its shopping street and the dosa joints. Of course, Vidhyarthi Bhavan is house-full and has an ant-like line of people waiting outside.
This nostalgic air is not just Basavangudi specific. There are many other areas which have retained some of the cultural sides of Bangalore – Jayanagar, Malleshwaram, K.R Market and Chikpet to name a few.
However, walking around ITPL or Whitefield does not give us this vibe, does it? In the past decade, our city has transitioned into the IT capital of the country. We have so many tech parks and IT enabled services that sometimes, we forget the older Bangalore.
Six years ago, CN Kumar, a management consultant, realised that the city had changed and that it was transforming into something he would not be able to recognise. So he started a social group by the name ‘Bangalore photos from a bygone age.’
The group was created so that people could share pictures, videos and stories of a very young Bangalore. Soon, people responded and so many of them volunteered to share memories and this resulted in more conversations. The conversations became a space for reminiscing and soon resulted in some discoveries as well.
Now, the group has over 25,000 members. People share screenshots of glimpses of Bangalore from old movies, narrate personal stories and even share old letters they find.
In the group, we found pictures of India’s first vestibule bus which was introduced in Bangalore in 1982, pictures of an under-construction Vidhaan Soudha and an unrecognizable Avenue Road. A traffic free Bangalore surely looks peaceful, but bygone.
“I started exploring the city when I joined college. These old places have been landmarks in my head and in my vision of what the city’s past was. All of this talk about such places have is primarily spread through word of mouth. And if there are people who are using different mediums, like social media, to show that they do want to retain the heritage, or even talk about it, I think it will stay in conversation at least. Cities are are always developing and it constantly feels like the heritage will dwindle,” says Mythili S. Bhat, a student journalist in the city.
Some think that we have to move on with the city’s pace, while some shake their head in disapproval. The members of Bengaluru Bygone have opened up a very important space. From Bendakallooru to Bangalore to Bengaluru, the people have seen a lot of change. When one discusses their worries or just expresses their thoughts about this change to an audience that feels the same way, they feel more included. This group has without doubt brought together various individuals from around the city and over time, formed a community of people who share the same beliefs.
Image credits – Bangalore Bygone age
Written by Chinmay Manoj