We arrived in the massive city of Bangalore in the late afternoon and although we were prepared for the onslaught of the traffic we had heard so much about, we were surprised at the extent of the greenery in the city and the large number of parks. The traffic was heavy but seemed to move in an organized fashion and soon we arrived at Mahatma Gandhi Road, which is the epicenter of the shopping malls, eating joints and high-end lounges in the city. We were planning on visiting the sister of of our good friend Dilip Kembhavi, Keerti Ramachandra and her husband Ramesh. Ramesh has recently retired and the two of them decided to live within walking distance of Bishop Cotton School where Ramesh had his formative education as a boy.
Dilip and Keerti's mother, Chaba Kembhavi and Dilip's daughter Gayatri are living with the Ramachandras at the present time - Gayatri is in Bangalore doing research for a PhD in Physiotherapy. We were not aware that Dilip's wife Alaka was also in town, visiting from Pune, in order to celebrate Keerti's 60th birthday. The festivites were already over when we arrived on March 16th, but it was great to meet up with old friends from Edmonton, the first since we left town on September 24th.
We were well aware that Bangalore is the center of the IT industry in India, and the signs of the prosperity that this booming industry has brought to the region is everywhere. Bangalore doesn't really have the historic relics that we have found in so many other cities. However, we came with the intention to visit friends and restock ourselves with some basic clothes and then head to Goa for a few days before joining family once more in Mumbai, so we weren't really disappointed to take a few days off from sight-seeing. We had a couple of meals at the Ramachandra's and spent a wonderful afternoon with Gayatri poking around the many bookstores just off the MG road. She showed us the delightful Premier Bookshop with its aisles of books stacked every which way. The proprietor was a warm gentleman who readily suggested books for us to read. Sadly, we learned that the store is slated for closure in the near future.
The other unusual place that Gayatri showed us was a magazine shop which seems to carry every possible magazine anyone could ever want. The amazing thing was that they had stacks of back issues of hundreds of magazines, each for only Rs 99. This is something I have never come across back home.
Our quick visit over, we said farewell to all our Bangalore friends and booked a flight to Goa. We knew we didn't have much time to relax on the beach, but we plan on coming for an extended stay next winter and we wanted to check out the beaches for just the perfect place to "hang".