Today I have been to Bharati Nagar (BN), a part of Bangalore which – for sure- is not the famous part of a modern Indian city and rarely part of an offered sightseeing tour. It takes you to the heart of poverty and back to past centuries.
It’s raining today and very muddy – , not really the “green and clean Bangalore” as a cab driver described his city yesterday when I came back from electronic city. Electronic city – that’s a completely different world. Huge IT companies, exclusive shops, people with money and a lot of business atmosphere around… interesting to see, too.
Here in Bharati Nagar people are busy, too. But in a different way. A lot of small textile shops, men sewing on the streets, entire and often shop owners offer everything in a kind of space/room, however on a few square meters: fruit and vegetables, bangles and jewelry, shoes, plastic bags and other containers … and chicken, still alive and ready for the next meal. Also mutton butchers, cooking men and cows cross your way. Headloaders carry sand and large bags, rikshas are often loaded with all kind of stuff, often put up in adventureous ways: The impossible becomes possible.
Different merchants in different parts of Bharati Nagar
A highlight is the car (piece) market where thousands of car parts and bike pieces are sold. In tents, on booth-like formations, it just accumulated on the ground: many front shields, wheels, motor tubes, mirrors, seats, oil, helmets, lights and much more. The market space? At least a 1 square km.
In between, there are the different religious places, site by site. An old man swipes a small hinduistic holy place with a tiny broom – a glass container with several gods, fixed on the wall of a building.
In front there is a huge Christian church with a lot of flowers. “Do you want to buy a raffle ticket?”, a woman asks when I enter the church. “You can win a LVD TV”.
I smile and buy a ticket for her.
With all the textiles I have bought before I won’t be able to carry a TV on my flight back. I’m sure.
This walk is a challenge … and a learning session.
I see cows eating plastic bags, dirty channels full of waste, rats looking for food, hidden under a piece of metal.
Muddy ways, partly roads are
full of huge gaps, now filled with water. Broken pathways, craftsmen climbing up on dangerous structures. Many chickens in small cages, some goats are tied to shops.
But I have seen also smiles on the faces, I had friendly talks with some shop owners. This place is full of life, full of energy, full of crazy solutions to daily problems.
The comb story
A Muslim woman dressed in Burka asks me about my hair comb. I’m skeptical, distrustful. But I stop. She is very friendly. Curious. She likes fancy things and wants to find out how this special comb is made she gas seen walking behind. We have a short, but good talk.
These things never happen to me elsewhere in the rich world.
No, this part of Bangalore is not a nice place. Electronic city is much better. But if you look for real life and opportunities to talk to locals, you should have a look at Bharati Nagar.