Bengaluru South. The old, fun-loving uncle/grandpa of Bengaluru city. The same uncle who you love, but he tells you to not eat “non-veg”. South Bengaluru is one of the oldest areas in the city and has always held a soft corner in the hearts of the city’s janta. The janta’s hubs such as Lal Bagh, Rangashankra, and the Bull Temple all belong to the south. Iconic districts like Jayanagar, Baswanagudi, and Banashankari have defined the map of the city. The pensioners' paradise in the beating heart of the city. But has it had a cosmetic surgery gone wrong?
During my 7 years of college (yes, I flunk a few) I was in-and-around Jayanagar and I saw it modernize. Jayanagar and I adapted pop-culture together. SB has a reputation for being more orthodox than the other parts of the city. Renting an apartment here means being rejected for eating meat, talking with the other gender and wearing shorts (this one regardless of gender). However, it is still one of the most planned parts of the city. One of the first areas of Bengaluru to have dedicated cycle lanes, open landscaping, and playgrounds, South Bengaluru has a lot of green lungs peppered everywhere
The food joints here have always been bestowed by a “legendary” tag. Dosa and fitter coffee runs in the veins of the residents here. MTR and Vidyarthi Bhavan have long queues every weekend , everyone standing patiently in line for their perfect dosa. A large huddle at any filter coffee stand in Jayanagar is a common sight. When it comes to local food, Jayanagar refuses to change and the people refuse to let it. Even today, places that surround theJayanagar BDA complex and 4thblock have no new places that sell non-vegetarian food. Just a lot of simple South Indian snacks on a piece of newspaper.
I would be remiss to not mention “Cool Joint”, a car-sized eatery in Jayanagar 4th Block. A popular college hangout spot for over 17 years now, ‘Cool Joint’ never loses their customers, and now some of those college students are over 40 years. They serve light food like sandwiches, chaats, and ice-creams. And they’re extremely light on the pocket. The costs have literally gone up from Rs.5 to Rs.15 over a decade-and-a-half.
As time progresses parts of SB are trying to accommodate the change. With a rising metropolitan population in the city, franchises such as McDonald, Burger King, KFC have made their way there on each block. Talking to Sushmita Singh, a resident of Jayanagar for almost all her life, she said: “There are CCDs that face other CCDs, but the best coffee is still at the filter coffee stands.”
The orthodox South Bangalore also jumped on the alcohol bandwagon very late. But when it did, they left the rest of Bengaluru behind. Home to more than 10 microbreweries and innumerable pubs, South Bangalore is morphing into a fun-uncle. This was never the case before.
For the longest time, SB just had retail alcohol shops, some with a few tall tables for the labor class to down a drink. Pubs were an alien concept here. Chakna was consumed with tea. Conversations were around a Banyan tree. All this was just a couple years ago!
Jcubez being the only memorable pub here. A small pub that played good rock music. It felt out of place in the abyss of dosa joints. It mostly drew a college crowd and sold cheap beer (both cost and quality).
The biggest question is… has SB grown? If so, how has it grown?
Yes, it has grown! But not like a spoiled kid, rather like a responsible one that remembers its roots. Right now, South Bengaluru is a perfect blend of everything you need for a comfortable life. Regardless of what age bracket you come in. Organized public transportation, clean surroundings, tons of public spaces and an overdose of everything you can ever feel like eating or drinking; all the while, still serving the best filter coffee and dosas in the city.