Humans: Colorful Compass at the Heart of Bangalore
Church Street’s spirits, warmth, and melancholy
One place in Bangalore that never fails to intrigue me no matter how many times I walk its streets is at its heart. The Church Street.
With Cubbon Park, UB City, and other well-recognized patches of the city by its sides, sure it boasts to be one of Bangalore’s nightlife spirits.
It comes to life on Friday evenings and the weekends, so do the far ends like UB City and Lavelle Road.
The evident music booming from bars and terrace hookah restaurants, the niche spots that people flock into like the Blossom bookhouse(s), pet shops, and the Entertainment Store.
Now the beauty lies not in the permanent shops and restaurants standing and the old money businesses for decades. It’s the people.
The non-immortal street shops and artists trying to sell their first books, paintings, handmade crafts and soaps while others singing and playing guitar on the breezy stone curbs.
Beggars with arms stretched out by places valued at tens of crores, escorts, and little children desperately trying to sell red roses to whomever they assume to be out on dates.
Teens just over the drinking age buckled to go wild for the pinch of freedom they get for the weekends and occasional orthodox familes doing their best to keep their eyes off the short dresses around.
A boy with Roses
A little boy no older than my own brother of 8 years sat beside us on a curb one evening. The rest of the curb munched off on the shawarmas bought out from the Empire restaurant in front.
This kid sat with his hands full of red roses, his head and hands pressed to a bollard in front of him. One could sense his uneasiness by the way he moved restlessly.
My friend took a stroll around asking for a change of cash as we didn’t carry anything apart from phones with online payment apps, something the boy didn’t have. He returned with no luck.
The kid neither looked for sympathy nor sold his flowers. He simply was lost. And no matter how we hard we tried, he didn’t speak.
I lost my appetite for the evening.
Bookmarks and bottled paintings
An enthusiastic couple sat with colorful candles and varieties of aromatic soaps layed out on a table. As I picked one soap up for its fragrance, the sweet lady delightedly told of how she had handmade them.
I smiled and kept the aromatic soap back. Not this time, I thought. What catched my eye more was a guy about my age selling his handicrafts — paintings inside tiny glass bottles.
The bottles were no more bigger than a finger of mine! And this dude had painted cozy marvellous designs with his microscopic paintbrushes on the inside.
Bottled glass paintings on the streets isn’t something you’d be aware of if you didn’t walk by that evening. Again, it’s the people.
With his pricing around Rs. 500 for a finger-sized bottle, I didn’t have that kind of money. However, I did buy some attractive printed bookmarks that he sold apart from the bottles.
Some come here with a purpose. Be it leisure, shopping, or business.
Most visit on occassions, the middle-class, finding an escape from their work lifecycles. The creative ones among them find solace in exhibiting their talents in their free time here.
And pretty rose vendors simply wish to have food on their table at the end of the day.
A few fortunate ones among these people, few who take a moment to stop and look at the big picture, realize that these streets depict every shade of the city. What it’s made of and how far it has come.
The compass of colors from the richest of the rich till the helpless arms on the pavements. Vibrant pubs gleaming with spirits and montonous lives of waiters, shop-keepers, and management staff.
Regardless of what someone does for a living, there’s an air of ambition and creativity to be witnessed. Sure there are the best of places to check out here.
But ‘people’ is also something I always look forward to. Something I’ll never be jaded of :)