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A Victorian Walk down MG Road

– I have gone down MG Road several times and never once noticed that one solitary bungalow just after the Yahoo! office.

– I have driven past Nalli showroom time again and never noticed the empty space beside it.

– The bungalow apparently belongs to the only person who is not selling out to commercial developers. I mean, how many people can boast of having a residence on MG Road? The empty space is apparently the plot of the bungalow where Winston Churchill had lived in, when he was in Bangalore.

– Churchill wrote 2 books when he was stationed in Bangalore as an army officer. He also fell in love for the first time in Bangalore and the lady was from Hyderabad. She went on to marry someone else.

– Did you know that the term ‘Bangalored’ began before the whole outsourcing controversy started and has military origins.

These and other really interesting facts formed a part of the ‘Victorian’ flavoured walk that Shibs and I went on early Saturday morning. A group of about 15 of us started at Trinity Church (I had never noticed this church closely before either). The concept of Bangalore Walks was started by Arun Pai and he has been running this for a few months now. Many cities have these kind of walks so it is quite encouraging to see that Bangalore now boasts of its own walk. In fact, Arun is also trying to come up with a bike tour, a pub crawl tour etc. to spice things up a little and introduce some more variety. For those of you who are interested, watch this space.

The group in front of the impressive pillars of the East Parade Church on MG Road

You might wonder what’s the big deal in taking a walk down MG Road. To begin with, we discovered a lot of things that we were never aware of earlier. Arun has done his research well and he took special efforts in sharing with us interesting historical tidbits that we would have never known otherwise.

A group of about 15 of us walked down MG Road and Arun literally made us feel like we were transported back to Victorian times. When MG Road was one huge avenue with trees and bungalows on both sides. And there were no cars. Just horse carriages. The trees are still there (most of them anyway) but the bungalows have all been replaced by commercial high rise buildings. Another bungalow on MG Road continues to stand : the occupant is a school principal. We even sighted ducks, geese and even a turkey in his backyard! Right there on MG Road. Who on earth would have imagined?! Halfway through the walk, we sat down before the office of the Horticulture department (there is a lovely garden in front of it) and had coffee, buttermilk and biscuits that Arun had gotten along.

Interestingly, I had emailed quite a few friends for the walk, but gotten a mostly negative (or a cynical one) response. Why would we pay someone to take us for a walk down MG Road, one responded.

Well, I have been in Bangalore for about a year now and never have I walked down the road with anyone. Nor has anyone ever pointed out the interesting heritage monuments and houses in this part of town. In fact, Ms Shibs who accompanied me, was brought up in the city and said she didn’t know so many things about Bangalore’s history and heritage.

A collage of some of Bangalore’s monuments and famous places

Bangalore Walk Album

I would definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about Bangalore, wants to do something interesting instead of sleeping on a holiday morning and wants to taste the culture of the city he/she currently resides in or is just passing through. I will desist from talking too much about the walk itself, because it’s best experienced!

After the walk, retail therapy ensued and I went home happy with 3 pairs of shoes. I am not too much of a shopper. So when I do go shopping I pick up enough at one go of whatever I want, so I don’t have to go shopping for a while. In the evening, we watched a play called When there’s a Will at Rangashankara. It packed in some laughs, but did get a little repetitive at times. I think what saved it was the performances. Especially the one by the lead actor who plays the father. He’s only 25, Miztek, tells me. I couldn’t believe it! Quite an admirable performance for someone so young.

On Sunday, after French class, went to Crosswords for a book shopping binge and picked up a few:
Long Way Round: Chasing the Shadows : Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman: I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. I love Ewan McGregor and my estimation of him only went up when I found out that he had taken time off to travel around the world on his bike! Along with his friend Charles, Ewan recounts their adventures over 20,000 miles in 4 months.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle who writes about some interesting experiences and humourous tales of life in the French countryside.

– A book on cat care

– A book on French grammar (if only I’d actually read this stuff!)

This to add to my growing pile including the latest Hari puttar, The Romantics (Pankaj Mishra), and the Penguin Book of Indian Journeys. Ah, I think I will need to devote way more couch time now to complete all the books I now have on my “to read” list!

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