When one more memorable building falls to a builder's crane, or yet another tree to the contractor's axe, Bangaloreans feel a greater sense of pain. When the Metro ripped through gentle old Parade Grounds, not just Mahatma Gandhi Road, I think we went into city wide mourning. We hold on to nostalgia and memories more than any other city, in perhaps the misplaced notion that we have that much more to hold on to. But we do. We love our green, our trees, our magnificent weather, our old colonial buildings, vast cantonment and military spaces and the white coated bearers at India Coffee House.
The Bangalore Club is another such existing memory for us. The concern is that memory looks like it was shifting into the past tense, and that gets us all riled. I have hung out many times here as I was growing up, as much as I hung out in the MEG Officers' Mess, and both are beautiful. Why the powers-that-be decide to rip into anything that has aged gracefully with old world charm, lavish space and winding paths, beats me. It may be a members' only club but it is still collectively a Bangalore icon. The grounds to do so are so flimsy that it would make you laugh if it was not so tragic. The attempted take over of the Balabrooie Guesthouse was similar - another gentle, happily aging piece of heritage, peacefully minding its own business was to be felled to make way for a club for MLAs. Until the citizens stepped up and spoke out. Are Bangaloreans and its rulers on opposite sides in the preservation of its heritage and essential soul?
But then again, the city builds new icons we can be proud of - look at the magnificent National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) on Palace Road, the vibrancy around the Metro station on MG Road as a people destination, or even the luxury destination of a UB City. However, in creating a vibrant Bangalore of the future we don't need to necessarily destroy all the gentle grace of the past, instead preserving, experiencing and appreciating its evolution.
Priya Chetty-Rajagopal is a true-blue Bangalorean and has a day job as a CXO Search Consultant. She is crazy about dogs and is focussed on women's leadership.
Tags: #DontDestroyBangalore #OldBengaluru