Bored of the restaurants near the apartment, on Monday night I took an auto out towards one of Bangalore’s best hotels, the Leela Palace, in the search of some nice food that hopefully wouldn’t poison me.
On reflection, it’s entirely likely that the probability of being killed in a road accident during the 20 minute auto-rickshaw ride out to the Leela Palace is greater than the probability of dying from food poisoning: the trip involved dodging buses, impatient SUV drivers, and some unfinished roads, making my short daily ride the to office look like a carousel compared to this roller-coaster. On the other hand, the auto also took me to through some parts of Bangalore I hadn’t seen yet. There was more of the dense and maze-like zig-zagging streets, but unlike the similar streets near where I live, these actually looked like they might make a pleasant area to wander through and explore—there were no piles of rotting rubbish and fewer roads that looked like abandoned building projects and open sewers.
Along the main road, there were a variety of modern looking bars, restaurants and other amenities. I remember thinking that this must be where Bangalore’s young and affluent middle class, of which I had read so much about, come to hang out—the area looked like the up-and-coming city Bangalore is supposed to be, as opposed to where I live which is like an oasis in the middle of a building site.
A further facet to Bangalore was revealed on Tuesday, which was Independence Day. I attended a traditional pre-breakfast flag hoisting ceremony in the grounds of the development where I am living, although the guest of honour (a high up in the company who owns the development) was very late and deeply unimpressive—he mumbled his speech so inaudibly that I don’t think anyone except his aide heard him. There was some nice singing of “patriotic songs” from the children, and all-in-all a lovely atmosphere of neighbours gathered for a day of celebration.