Why shouldn’t old men be mad at Bangalore?

M.S. Prabhakara recounts his days in Bangalore in his farewell column in The Hindu today. Areas like Chikkapete, Balepete and Mamulpete, Banaswadi, Kadugodi and Adugodi, which were linked to this or that kinsman or family have disappeared, swallowed up by the big city, surviving only as names that sound odd when they are pronounced in brashly alien accents.

“While there is little to celebrate in these changes, there is even less to regret. The city and the society of my adolescence and early youth were oppressive and bigoted beyond imagination. Being seen having a glass of beer with some friends led to abusive wall writings near the place where I was teaching and indeed persuaded me to leave Bangalore. Fellow female students in college used to nervously walk out of the classroom every hour, along with the teacher, and returned only when the next teacher came in.

“Even in the English Honours School in Central College, a friend of mine used to talk, quite earnestly and for long about literature, to a fellow female student, sheepishly standing across the doorstep of the girls’ common room. It was inconceivable for both of them to sit comfortably together in the college canteen and talk. The scandalous behaviour of a friend and classmate, who personally invited her fellow students in the same Honours School for her wedding, was excused only because she was an Anglo Indian.”

Read the full column: Coming home, going home

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