Monday, May 30, 2005

Bangalore belongs to me


With the influx into the city steadily increasing, the definition of the Bangalorean is changing as well. Laid-back pensioner in Jayanagar or slick techie zipping downtown?

The Times of India

SOCIOLOGIST GK Karanth points out that there has always been a strong desire among outsiders to settle down in Bangalore and become Bangalorean.

“Multiple identities gel well and without much conflict here,” he says. “A true Bangalorean is someone who accepts many languages and cultural diversities including gastronomical ones, quite gladly. A Bangalorean cannot be intolerant. But metros allow for a sense of rootlessness. There are many who are not Bangalorean and yet they cannot be considered outsiders. They feel comfortable living in this city. Bangalore has been projected as a glamorous place so living and working here is an aspiration for many. North Indians may be labelled as such here, but they don’t face as much discrimination as they might in other cities.”

Beauty expert Swati Gupta, whose parents are from Uttar Pradesh, has lived in the city since she was in the fifth standard. Her social circuit is cosmopolitan and diverse. “Bangalore is a city where you can adjust easily,” she says, adding that she does miss living in the north during festivals like Holi and Diwali.

Businesswoman Hema Maiya says that a typical Bangalorean has a spirit of adventure and a global outlook. “He/she is open-minded enough to absorb those aspects of others’ cultures that can be potential value additions to his/her own lifestyle.”

Funny man Ashvin A Matthew considers himself a die-hard Bangalorean. “I cannot live outside the city for long periods of time. I have to come back.” Ashvin’s lived and studied in Australia, worked in Cyprus and lived in the Middle-East. “I could have got more work and money in Australia but had to come back. I am more creative and active in this city,” he says. Ashvin finds the typical Bangalorean most non-interfering. What irks him though is that people have become pseudo and want to be seen hanging out at certain places simply because that is a hip thing to do. “People pretend to have fun. They’ve become imageconscious and have money which they need to spend in style. We have too many wannabes!”

Entrepreneur A Shujja was born in Cochin and moved here at the age of 15. Bangalore is home and he would not live anywhere else in the world. “The people are good and warm. The city grows on you. You have a better lifestyle and better quality of living here.”

Artist Yusuf Arakkal came here when he was 15 years old and has been living in Bangalore for 45 years. “Yes I am a Bangalorean, you have got to be when you’ve lived here for so long,” he says. He speaks the local lingo and feels most comfortable living here. “I vibe well with the city and it has contributed to my growth as a creative person. The city has made me what I am. Yes, it has changed a lot but that is a natural phenomenon.”


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