Let’s face it: Bangalore has changed. It is no longer the city where work was only a way to keep busy until the pubs opened, and walking in the middle of the road was a genuine option. Dyed-in-the-wool Bangaloreans look around this new, bustling metropolis with bemusement: when did this change take place and why weren’t we consulted? And also: how can we go back?
Luckily, there are still places where you can turn back time and return to the city that was. Foremost amongst them is the grand old lady of Bangalore eateries, Koshy’s. Established in 1940, Koshy’s is an ineradicable part of the St. Marks Road landscape, having fed and libated generations of the city’s intelligentsia. The old fans still rattle, monsoon breeze still comes through the slatted windows. The lopsided pictures fade a little more each summer, and the faces of its regulars grow grizzled, but apart from that, everything remains constant. C.N. Krishna Reddy has been a regular for 43 years, since his student days, when he drank coffee and argued politics with the likes of S.M. Krishna. “It is always the same,” he says. “That’s why we like it.”
Another old Bangalore haunt is Pecos, on Brigade Road, where the light is low, the walls are barely visible for the graffiti, the music and drinks are dependable as the sunrise. It is a place where a person can close her eyes for a song, knowing that when she opens them, it will be as though no time has passed. And there are a handful of others: Purple Haze on Residency Road, that paean to rock legends; and Tavern at the Inn, on Museum Road, where you remember exactly why Bangalore used to be called Pub City. Sadly, many others cult venues, like NASA and Underground, have shut down.
Change is inevitable, for cities, as for people. But once in a while, it’s nice to settle down at a well-worn table, surrounded by familiar faces, listening to the music you love, and to remember, for a while, just what life used to be.
Photo Credit: Explocity, Blogspot
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