In the last decade, Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) has metamorphosed from a languid city of parks, bookshops and pensioners to a glittering IT capital and mecca of the upwardly mobile. The city has expanded, malls and supermarkets have mushroomed all over. Snazzy Volvos ferry IT workers to chrome-and-steel buildings and traffic gets chaotic. The ambitious Namma Metro project looms on half built pillars while gated complexes vie to attract the posh set. Pubs, nightclubs and bowling alleys make the streets more vibrant even as they try to wrestle out old-style coffee shops, second-hand bookstores and neighbourhood chaiwallas.
In between all this, in spite of all this city, retains something of its earlier flavour. Bangalows overladen with bougainvillea, the smell of filter coffee rising in the early hours, streets full of children at play, old temples, a culture of cinema, theatre and music, skies strewn with clouds, and everywhere, the slow, careful opening of flowers – golden trumpets, jacaranda, gulmohar.