We moved into (what was then) this village in (what was then) the southern suburbs of Bangalore twenty two years ago. There was only one other house on our road, and parrots and butterflies used to frequent my parents? carefully tended flower garden. The nearest bus stop was ten minutes? walk away, and was served by one bus an hour to the city market. And there were only a few village shops nearby, as a result of which my parents would fetch most of our groceries all the way from Jayangar. How they used to carry all that (as well as me) on that faithful Bajaj scooter is still a mystery.
Life for the first few years was largely quiet, and we used to run to Jayanagar or Gandhi Bazaar for every little need. Our house was broken into once, and steel grill doors duly installed. The place was being connected by the newly built ring road (a 100-foot wide road to our area, such joy ? we had observed). and soon our road had few empty sites. However, autos would still loathe to ply to that area around the time we moved out (1996).
It seemed like a whole new city that we moved back into four years later. Anant Nag (the actor) had purchased two adjacent sites and built commercial property. First to occupy the complex was a Food World and the retail revolution had begun. A Madura garments factory outlet followed soon and Kathriguppa has never looked back.
People soon started selling out their houses for commercial property. Land use laws were put aside and residential sites shamelessly used for commercial purposes. A number of people who lived on the ring road built a commercial complex in the front part of their sites and continued to live behind that. From 2000 to now perhaps there hasn?t been a single day when there hasn?t been at least 2-3 construction projects on within 200 meters of my house.
Upendra, probably currently the best-known Kannada actor has constructed a house right opposite mine, and a Big Bazaar right next to his house has completed the ?development? of Kathriguppa. Or so we thought, until we were told that a PVR is coming up in the site next to the Big Bazaar.
There is a factory outlet of every conceivable clothing and footwear brand in the area, and three different pizza outlets have opened up within 100 meters of my house. Add to that the two mega retailers (and a Fabmall a little down the ring road), and restaurants of every possible cuisine. I first saw the impact of IT on the common man at small vegetable shop near my house ? the guy had installed an electronic weighing-cum-billing machine way back in 2002.
Living in this retail haven has completely spoilt me. Despite living in what is supposed to be one of the better localities of Bombay, I find several shortcomings. There aren?t enough restaurants around, I have to walk at least 10 minutes to find a medical shop, all shops close at 9, I have to go a little distance if I?ve to buy clothes? the list goes on.
There might not be parking space outside my house thanks to Upendra and Big Bazaar. We may find it tough to take out our car on Saturday evenings. There might be too much traffic on the roads leading to the place. The roads might be bad. Still, two months after moving out, I still miss Kathriguppa. Though I?m not sure I?ll want to settle down there in the long run ? I think I?d prefer Jayanagar for that.