So it was decided that I was to meet The Raj in front on Vidyarthi Bhavan. I left home at 3:50 after he assured me he’d be there in 20 minutes. Cutting into the brand new ‘expressway’ from Magadi road to Mysore Road-Nayandahalli ensured that I managed to reach Vidyarthi Bhavan in 25 minutes flat. Calling up he said he was near Basappa circle. I decided to walk around and run some errands. Near the start of Shankar Mutt Road on Gandhi Bazaar as I started to turn back I noticed him walking along. I crept up on him and tried to snatch his phone out of his hand, eliciting a startled look which turned into a smile.
We walked back to Vidyarthi Bhavan which was reasonably empty. Just enough chairs empty to get seated without waiting in the corridors trying to guess which table’s going to be empty soon. The order was taken within a minute and the dosas turned up within a few minutes, all hot and crispy. The liquidy chutney was as good as ever and soon the dosa was melting in it, in perfect ‘harmony’ forming the world’s best Masala Dosa(with due respect to the ones at CTR, Malleswaram). The Masala in it was a pretty tiny helping though and the cost of onions was definitely the culprit there. The dosas themselves cost Rs. 27 each! After finishing them off, we decided not to do the coffee there.
Priyank wanted to take my bike over to the next destination, but I convinced him to walk. So walk we did, along DVG road with its swanky new buildings and glass-walled shops for shoes, mobiles and what not, a far cry from what it used to be, towards my alma mater – National College. On reaching ‘North’ road, we found that we couldn’t cross it as they had medianed it out for the flyover nearby. Am still not convinced that flyover was necessary in any way!
We walked along the road and crossed over to enter Karnik road, a path suggested by me. Karnik road was were my grandma and uncle used to live when I was studying in NCB and have a lot of memories of that place. Walking along the road, there was almost nothing that looked like what used to be 14 years back. The old vataaras and 70s style bungalows were gone, replaced by 5-10 years old apartment complexes or apartment complexes under construction. I barely made out the plot where my grandma’s house used to be based on the house opposite.
After the shock of Karnik road, we braced ourselves for Shankar Mutt Road. But this road stood tall with huge mansions on both sides standing side by side with old 50-60s type houses with huge garden spaces in front and some newer apartment complexes – built in the 90s probably. The traffic was heavier, but the road still looked its old self with huge trees on both sides.
We cut across in front of Shankarpuram police station walking over to the old BHS (now Jnanodaya) before we encountered a huge crowd in front of a shop. Our destination – Brahmin’s coffee bar. This place used to be one tiny shop which served only coffee/tea, idly, vada and chowchow bath. Now it has expanded into a two-shop space adjacent to it, serving just the same as before. The coffee is served in glass cups with another glass cup to hold the hotter one. Being crowded we took the coffees and came out onto the street where huge cars jostled with coffee drinking people making them honk their asses out. Wondered why so many cars were trying to pass through there! The coffee itself was still as good as before and I took my time finishing it. Definitely worth the walk!
The return was along Ranga Rao road, which for some reason ranks as one of my most favourite roads in the city. This road was in similar shape to Shankar Mutt Road. Old houses – really old houses – standing along newer mansions and some apartment complexes closer to Vani vilas road which used to be there in the 90s itself. The walk was still as good as before and the road as silent as it used to be before. Keeping a place purely residential and narrow has its advantages.
At the very end of the road we saw an old majestic house, nestled in a huge garden, full of old trees with a a huge porch supported by pillars. Both our eyes were on the house taking the whole thing in as we passed and then looked across and saw a KFC right opposite on Vani Vilas road. Having grown up in and around Basavanagudi, it just struck me how unimaginable it would have been just 10 years back to have a KFC there – 2 streets away from Vidyarthi Bhavan, a few blocks down NCB, right opposite Ramakrishna Ashrama, somehow it just did not belong there!