“Bangalore was a strange city, a potpourri of beggars and billionaires and determinedly laid-back ways.” The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories, Lavanya Sankaran.
A prominent Bangalore entrepreneur says that the biggest problem for Bangalore has been its growth, which has exceeded everyone’s wildest expectations. In the 1970s and 80s, Bangalore was a city of gardens and pubs and much less crowded and chaotic than Delhi or Mumbai. Bangalore at this time also benefitted from a particularly cosmopolitan, laid-back culture and almost hill-station-like weather all year round.
The Bangalore of today is the result of decades of explosive expansion, turning the once-sleepy hill-station into bustling megalopolis. The city is especially famous for its burgeoning information technology (IT) sector, and for being the cradle of India’s outsourcing operations. In fact, being ‘Bangalored’ has come to mean having your job made redundant by cheaper offshore contractors. In this sense Bangalore is the poster child of globalization. The Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist Thomas Friedman says that he was in Bangalore when he realized that ‘the world is flat.’ This sudden burst of growth has been accompanied by the rise of skyscrapers and luxury malls. Bangalore is no longer a calm, relaxed refuge from the big, bad world; rather, it is very much a major player in that world and beyond, now that the nascent Indian space program is headquartered there.
Bangaloreans still dress down, but dress up more often than they used to. Bangaloreans still like to do “cool” things because they can; they still like to “chill.” What’s new is that they’re also chasing down their dreams faster than ever before.