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For the purpose of a descriptive essay about a street I’ve decided to write about three streets at once.
I have always been someone who craves for the soothing effect of the ordinary. People bustling down the streets, traffic stopping and starting once again, the condition of the roads, the branded stores, the buildings with interesting and beautiful structures and few of the street vendors selling a variety of goods: these are few of the things I notice everyday during my walk back to the bus station from college. Ever since I was a child growing up in Calcutta, I loved walking down the streets with my mother, noticing all the nitty-gritty details about the life around me. It was particularly interesting watching the people that walk past some looking busy, some walking leisurely, but everyone going somewhere. So, the streets in any city serve as its lifelines. Walking through them one realizes the culture of the city in a better way. It gives me a sense of connection to the city. I pass by few of the streets in Bangalore every day and I have always wondered about the lives of these few people that I see and the places that look like they have a history to them. This one fine day, I set out with my friends to talk around and to quench this curiosity that I have been having for a while. We decide to walk around Brigade Road, Church Street and M.G Road. These are one of the most busy and iconic roads of Bangalore. Whenever people come to Bangalore, these three roads are the must visit places and serve as a cultural and commercial hot-spots of the city. These are connected by a well efficient transport system consisting of buses, autos, cabs as well as a good metro system. We got to know so many people and talked to them about their lives, experiences and their views on a large variety of things.
Brigade Road is a road connecting Brigade Road and Residency Road. It has many buildings which have old structures and give off a fancy vibe. This is something peculiar about this road. For every Bangalorean, old and young, Brigade Road carries a very special place. From the New Year Celebrations to the shopping escapades, many memories are linked to this iconic road. But things are slowly changing in the form of the opening of new big brand outlets, the closing of old establishments and the change in the entire shopping experience as a whole. The flourishing IT industry has changed Bangalore from a quiet pensioner’s paradise in the 80s to a bustling metropolitan commercial hub. In order to cater to the population influx, many new areas developed and the needs of the crowd also started changing, fast forward to few years later, one of the biggest changes to the Bangalore shopping experience came in the form of online shopping. This brought with it the decline of smaller shops and destroyed them. While talking to many people, we found this to be problematic and many lives have been impacted through this.
Another very important development was the coming up of malls throughout Bangalore, these malls offer a one stop destination with movies, shops, and food courts. Another element of the Old World is the humble single screen halls in Bangalore. So, we felt Rex Theatre would be a good place to start as it is one of the surviving remnants of the past. The manager took out some time from his schedule and answered the questions we asked patiently. We started off by asking him about the past of Rex Theatre. It has been there since the British Raj. He says that this is one of the few theaters that have been running from a long period of time. There used to be a theatre called Blue Diamond in MG Road which has been removed. The owner of Rex Theatre is Mr. Kapoor. He talks about the various languages in which movies are released. He went into a lot of technical details and demonstrated the process of cinema screening. He also told us the possibility of Rex Theatre closing down due to some contract issues. We also went to Stars N Stripes, a restaurant perfect for a quick meal with decent pricing. The owner greeted us enthusiastically and spoke to us in great length about the menu, his business and the type of diners who come there. This joint has been there for the past 20-30 years. He talked about how the restaurant had to downsize and become smaller than it used to be in the past. Brigade Road apparently had lesser restaurants, and They were one of the only few at that time, along with another joint called Indiana Burgers. He was positive about his business growth and was happy with the current scenario. Indiana Burgers closed down due to the fall in their profits. It used to be a burger place which sold delicious burgers and was inside St. Patrick’s Complex. Mota Royal Arcade, being a shopping complex, We were able to visit many shops and establishments, but most of them gave a negative response and were not willing to talk. However, a handicrafts shop staff member gave us a brief interview. In that he spoke about how the incoming of big brands affected his business, and how their main clientele consisted of foreign tourists. However, this number is declining due to Visa constrains and other issues. Other issues, they were facing were increasing rental costs and decreasing footfall.
Church Street is one of the busiest streets in Bangalore. It connects Brigade Road and St. Mark’s Road and runs parallel to M.G Road. It used to have broken pavements with a lot of potholes. Starbucks, Amoeba and Mast Kalandar are some of the flagship establishments prevalent there. It is an integral part of the Bangalore Night life and is home to various clubs and restaurants. A very striking feature of this road is that it is one of Bangalore’s very few pedestrian friendly streets. The 100-year-old road was completed in the early part of this year and was inaugurated by CM Siddaramiah. Church Street was completely overhauled, and new LED streetlights were added with speakers playing music. The cobblestones paving the street also give it a rustic feel and is an extreme delight to walk on. And the lifespan of the cobblestones is supposed to be a hundred years, at least according to the City Mayor. Church Street has free Wifi and the network is called “ChurchStreetWifi,” Thus, people can use it in restaurants and shop. This is a great step towards Bangalore becoming a smart city.
We went to Blossoms Book House. It is one of the best places to buy, sell and rent books. It is full of books of all genres. This is a book lover’s paradise. It helps you remember why we still need bookshops and your current electronics can never replace the nostalgic smell associated with real books. Here’s a bookshop that acts as a space of possibility, a place to silently imagine new worlds, fantasize and gain knowledge in almost all the spheres of life. We met the manager and spoke to him in great detail. He was telling us about how flipkart, amazon and other e-commerce sites were affecting his business and were resulting in lower footfalls and lesser people coming into his store. But on the brighter side, He also told us about how he was a reseller on these same websites, and a lot of sales also came through there. But then, when We went, the shop was very crowded and that made us happy, that people were still into the joy of reading books. A few of my friends and I were scouring around the place and skimming through books. The manager suggested few books to us and then we left. In the footpath, we decide to ask people about Church Street. Most of them use it for daily commuting to go to the M.G Road Metro Station and find it an awesome place to hang out.
A standout amongst the most mainstream shopping and diversion center points of Bangalore, MG Road is an unquestionable required visit when you’re in the city. What’s more, once you become weary of shopping and are searching for a brisk chomp to eat, a plenty of bistros and eateries here are at your administration. Evenings at MG Road call for celebrating and moving till you drop and it is known for its nightlife.
In conclusion, taking a walk down the streets of any city can be an enriching experience. It allows one to connect with the culture of the city in a way that cannot be achieved by simply visiting tourist hotspots. The streets are the lifelines of a city, bustling with people going about their lives, and it is fascinating to observe their different walks of life. Walking around Brigade Road, Church Street, and M.G Road in Bangalore gave the author and their friends the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their experiences and views. It is moments like these that remind us of the beauty of the ordinary and the connections we can make with the world around us.
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