Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Bangalore
Bangalore has been famous for a century or more as the only major Indian city with a comfortable climate. 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.
There's plenty of colonial Bangalore still standing. Here, it's been recycled into a night club.
The royal seal, upstaged by an American multinational.
Downtown office space, leased to Hewlett-Packard.
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.
A developer with overseas experience.
Out past the old airport, something really unusual. Tata rents office space here; so do a lot of Tata wannabes.
The development is partly funded and owned by Singapore investors.
Architecturally, it's nothing special. Culturally, it's spectacular.
You have to get into lavatories and basement hallways to discover that maintenance isn't up to Singapore standards.
A mile away, a research organization that pays more attention to Indian esthetic traditions.
A water-tower that strives to retain the elements of traditional Hindu architecture.
Indians are not always prudes.
A granite-slab fence becomes a billboard.
Let's shop! Here's a new appliance store.
All the usual suspects.
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.
Twenty years ago, fruit juice in India was something you made for yourself--or watched somebody make with an old street-side crusher, from which the juice was poured into a glass rinsed in a bucket of water.
Good or bad? Whatever you think, you'd better get out of the way.
Like China, India's pushing hard.
The Fifth Avenue Shopping Mall.
Anything unchanged from the past? How about these apartments alongside a truly foul stream.
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 pup tents, of course.
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