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Travel to Peninsular India: Bangalore

Bangalore has been famous for a century or more as the only major Indian city where the hot season isn't almost unbearably hot. Lately, it's become famous also as India's wormhole into the New Millennium, India's first step into digital paradise. There's some basis for this reputation, but a visitor would have to be wrapped in limos and bodyguards to miss the fact that Bangalore remains an Indian city, with a full complement of squalor and crowding.

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There's plenty of colonial Bangalore still standing. Here, it's been recycled into a night club.

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The royal seal, upstaged by an American multinational.

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Downtown office space, leased to Hewlett-Packard.

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A couple of miles farther out: a new apartment building. The "Residency" of the title is a curious reference to the "residencies" established by the British during their rule of India, when princes would have a none-too-loved British "resident" watching their every move. Hated as the British were, their once-upon-a-time status still sells real estate--and a lot more. 

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A developer with overseas experience.

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Out past the airport, something really unusual. Tata rents office space here; so do a lot of Tata wannabes.

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The entrance to those buildings: the development is partly funded and owned by Singapore investors.

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Come closer.

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Architecturally, it's nothing special. Culturally, it's spectacular.

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You have to get into lavatories and basement hallways to discover that maintenance isn't up to Singapore standards.

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Adjoining apartments.

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A mile away, a research organization that pays more attention to Indian esthetic traditions.

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The institute.

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A water-tower no worse than some back home.

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Indians are famously prudish, but this British ad was imported and used as-is. 

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The advertising load is heavy, and it appears on some strange places, like these massive granite fenceposts, a South Indian specialty.

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Let's shop! Here's a new appliance store.

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All the usual suspects.

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Around the corner, a grocery store with wrapped-produce and frozen-food sections that nobody who knew India 20 years ago ever thought they'd live to see.

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Twenty years ago, fruit juice in India was something you made for yourself--or watched somebody make with an old crusher, from which the juice was poured into a glass last washed when Clive was a lad.

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Good or bad? Whatever you think, you'd better get out of the way.

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India's pushing into the modern world, after all.

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The Fifth Avenue Shopping Mall.

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Anything unchanged from the past? How about these apartments alongside a truly foul stream.

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And who's building this fine new city? Why, the same semi-nomadic groups that have been building India for decades. They themselves live in puptents, of course.


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