Life in Bengaluru- Nostalgic memories of Namma Bengaluru by Dr. Karishma Kulkarni from down under
There are a million reasons to love our city Bengaluru. Known for its pleasant weather throughout the year, our garden city claimed world recognition as an IT hub. Our city is best known for its culture, ethnicity, and unity in diversity. Bengaluru has the best dine-in places and chats streets. Those who lived in Bengaluru or visited cant forget the experiences they had here. Despite its heavy traffic which is a major limitation, Bengaluru continues to be the most loved place by Indians and tourists across the world.
Dr. Karishma Kulkarni is an energetic, smart, and talented psychiatrist, who has a long list of following degrees MD, DNB, MRCPsych (UK)PGDMLE (National Law School of India University), Post Doctoral Fellowship in Psychiatry (NIMHANS). Currently working as Psychiatry Registrar, NWAMHS, The Royal Melbourne Hospital & NorthWestern Mental Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She is an inspiration to early-career psychiatrists. Apart from her academic interest she is an avid reader, traveler, music lover, and loves to play Ukulele, swimmer, and cuisine enthusiast. I know her as a genuine, humble person source of inspiration and a mentor. Thank you, Dr. Karishma, for graciously accepting my invitation to share her memories
This post is really a trip down memory lane with me wearing my rose-tinted goggles of nostalgia. I left Bangalore to move to Melbourne two years ago and not a week goes by when I don’t find myself reminiscing about my Bangalore days when I was younger, more idealistic, footloose and fancy-free.
In the summer of 2013, I’d moved from the megapolis of Bombay with its fast-paced life, manic monsoons, vada pav and local train to the more laidback, sprawling, green city of Bengaluru with its decidedly more temperate climes and chilled out cosmopolitan vibe. I knew not a word of Kannada – to which all my sweet-natured Kannadiga friends replied – ‘Kannada gothilla? Parvagilla!’
I had started studying at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences – it was the first time I’d lived away from home in a hostel and the first time, I felt truly independent in life. This was my first taste of adulthood and I was surrounded by people who became my lifelong friends and support networks.
I did so much for the first time in Bengaluru – learned a new language which all the gentle, sweet people of Karnataka appreciated, despite me making millions of mistakes; I learned how to drive in the crazy traffic jams of Bengaluru mostly spending my evenings on the way to Forum Mall from Dairy Circle, I learned swimming at the Basavanagudi Aquatic Centre and I learned how to appreciate the truly cosmopolitan food culture of Bangalore.
I have never been exposed to food from every part of the country and one of the biggest things I miss is the food – particularly, the delicious Andhra-style chicken biryani from Meghana, the benne dose at MTR in Lalbagh, the amazing Death by Chocolate from Cornerhouse, the simple Uttar Karnataka meals at the little mess in Jayanagara, the steaming hot holige from Holige Mane in Jayanagar, the amazing little cafes and restaurants in Koramangala, the delicious Haleem and kebabs during the Ramzan festival outside Empire hotel, the simple Malayalee mess just one lane away from the Punjabi and Bengali mess food places. The diversity of Bangalore was in the diversity of its food culture.
Another thing which I miss is the weather – the lovely gardens of Bangalore always looked lush and inviting due to the amazing mild and cool weather. I spent many evenings walking in Lalbagh Botanical Gardens – even my mum who visited from Mumbai thought it was lovely here. The flower shows and the mango shows were my favourite. A morning walk was always followed by dosa and filter coffee at MTR.
The other amazing thing about Bangalore was its nearness to my other favourite city in Karnataka – Mysuru. The drive on the Bangalore-Mysore highway was one of my favourite long drives. Nandi Hills was a favourite place to stop.
Most of all, what I miss about Bangalore are my friends from NIMHANS, my teachers, my patients – all who were so respectful and tolerant. It’s in the nature of Kannadigas to be welcoming and accepting – especially the Bangalore culture which is amazingly ‘live and let live’ – ‘swalpa adjust madkoli’ is the unofficial city motto. Even today, on a particularly cold winter’s night – as I sip coffee with chilli bajji and listen to Raghu Dixit songs, my heart takes flight and goes back to my first home away from home – Namma Bengaluru. This city will always have a special place in my life.