Poornima Dasharathi helps the world discover Bangalore the Unhurried way. Here she spills the beans on her favourite haunts and experiences.
Poornima Dasharathi worked in the IT industry for a decade, travelling all over the world and soaking in the customs, culture, heterogeneous mix and liveliness of the cities she worked in. But her passion for history and archaeology was never far – the trams in Melbourne brought back memories of the ones in Kolkata.
Inspired by the conducted walks she took in London and Scotland, she set upon a mission to know her city better. That kicked off a journey of writing, and culminated in the birth of Unhurried in 2011. Now, with a roster of five walks in Bangalore and customized tours across Karnataka and parts of Tamil Nadu, she and Pushpa help locals and visitors discover Bangalore, the unhurried way.
My Big Red Bag in conversation with Poornima on her Bangalore memories and recommendations:
1. What is your first memory of Bangalore?
I was born and raised in Bangalore. My first memory..let’s see.. I used to live close to Malleswaram and I remember visiting the nearby park with cousins to play on the slides and swings. We as children used to call it ‘Anay’ park, which means elephant park since it had a elephant shaped slide. Parks in those days were pretty big and since Bangalore was a small town, the roads were wide with less traffic and there weren’t any of the huge infrastructure projects that today dwarf everything around them.
2. What are some of the other cities you’ve lived in; if not in Bangalore, where do you think you would live?
I’ve always lived in Bangalore though I’ve travelled to many other cities. If I had to live somewhere else – in India, it would be Mysore or Udupi-Padubidri, the less touristy coast of Karnataka; If abroad, hmm, Melbourne?
3. Your favourite place in Bangalore to walk around on a rainy afternoon
Anywhere in South Bangalore. Jayanagar, Basavanagudi. I like the huge Krishna Rao Park or the Netkallappa road (parallel to Gandhibazaar).
4. Your favourite building in Bangalore
Not one favourite ..all the bungalows of Bangalore that are sadly being demolished at a blink of an eye. That era has gone and with no help from the government, they will soon be extinct. However a place where I love to spend time is at Kadu Malleshwara temple – not for it’s architecture but for the trees that give the otherwise busy area, a lung space.
5. Your favourite place in Bangalore to buy books
Select Book Shop, Brigades
6. The places you’d recommend to someone who’s stayed in Bangalore all their lives and likely not seen?
Their own neighbourhood. Any city is a collection of local culture, history, customs & traditions. Know more about the tea shop that’s been there in your area for ages or the old temple with charming rural legends. Bangalore is not just about Lalbagh and Cubbon Park. Do visit them but also spend time in your local area.
7. Your favourite trail for a run in Bangalore
I stay in the North. So the nearest place is GKVK (Gandhi Krishi Vidya Kendra) campus.
8. Some of your favourite food haunts
Many. CTR (Central Tiffin Room) & Veena Stores in Malleswaram, Brahmin’s & Vidyarthi Bhavan in Basavanagudi, Sreeraj Lassi in Shivajinagar, the mobile kolkatta puchkas that have pervaded everywhere, Maggi in Mocha Koramangala, the chaat shop on CMH Road, Corner House on Residency road for ice creams, Bheema’s on Church Street, Costa coffee in any area, Secret Garden near Cunningham road for continental food.. will stop the list here.
9. Your favourite “adda”/ place to grab a cup of coffee or tea in Bangalore
Any ‘hole in the wall’ kind of shop – cheap & best. Remember to ask for ‘less sugar’ if you don’t like it too much sweet. My personal favourite – Veena Stores in Malleswaram.
10. Your favourite book with Bangalore as a back drop
I haven’t read much with Bangalore as a back drop. But amongst the books on Bangalore I like Peter Colaco’s Bangalore – A Century Of Tales From City & Cantonment.
11. Of all the various Bangalore -based artists/film makers/ writers/ poets, who is the one that you love most and in your opinion best captures your kind of Bangalore?
Paul Fernandes – he’s an illustrator who’s captured Bangalore of 70s in some 50 odd illustrations.
I enjoy theatre and Ranga Shankara is a home grown one started by Arundhati Nag in the memory of her husband. I like its mix of regional and English plays, the cultural pot pourri is completely representative of Bangalore.
12. Your favourite single screen cinema to catch a movie in Bangalore
Rex on Brigades & Lido on MGs or Tribhuvan in Gandhinagar, Cauvery on Palace road. Of course Lido has now become a mall. I like the comforts of the multiplex variety too. If only some theatre owner can give the best of both!
13. Your favourite weekend getaway from Bangalore
Coorg. We are lucky to have the hills.
14. Are you a Kannada movie fan? Is there any particular movie that you feel has captured Bangalore well ?
Used to be. There was a wave of movies with strong stories and scripts. But recently it’s been all downhill . There are spots of Bangalore captured in many Hindi and Kannada movies, but I can’t recall any that captures the city like a Barfi captures DarJeeling! No.
Bangalore Monkey Top sketch courtesy http://snehaprasad.wordpress.com/; Kadu Malleshwara Temple image courtesy http://bengaluru.cityseekr.com/