And we got what we had wanted -- the Bangalore of yester-years; cool, quiet, calm and comparatively cleaner. We walked down the MG Road promenade and finally settled down on one of the cold concrete benches. Traffic was just waking up, sweepers were still cleaning pavements. We got to discussing the old photographs of Bangalore, now framed and hung in ice cream parlours, jewellery stores, and any other self respecting store claiming anything over a 20-year history. We spoke about how much the city had changed, how those old pictures were like capsules of nostalgia, how the city would change further, how future generations would look at pictures taken today and wonder at how the city used to be. Efficient photojournalist that San has become these days, he snapped these:
Little did we know then that drastic change awaited the promenade in less than a year. I don't have most recent pictures, and I'd rather not. The promenade is gone, so of course are the benches, so are the ancient trees. In place of the bougainvillea bushes and cool walk way, there are ugly, muddy and huge contraptions, digging, grinding, piling. Dirty blue tents dot the fringes of the activity, sheltering machinery and the labourers. A green fencing attempts to hide away the slush.
These are only the first steps of the much awaited Metro Rail. When we swap heritage for swanky new facilities, we'll have to wait and watch how many more landmarks will be lost. There are promises that the promenade will be rebuilt and made even more beautiful than it was. I am just glad we got to spend a few minutes walking down it.