Bengaluru is forever like an overflowing wine cask. It overwhelms you with a number of emotions - of friendships, of love and of roads travelled. The moment you set foot in the city, you are under its mysterious spell. For many Bengaluru holds a special place in their hearts, akin to first love. I step out into the city from the station and Bengaluru eagerly envelops me in its loving embrace. Let's see what the pleasant evenings and nights in this city have in store for me. My first tryst with the green - yellow auto rickshaws does not end too pleasantly though. The auto drivers here are known for their out-of-this world fares and demands. While I am busy haggling with the auto driver, a young couple go past me and gets into the auto. They don't want to know the fare and they don't even bother telling the driver where they are headed to. Like they say 'love has no care in the world and love is blind to fares'!
Good morning! See you in the evening! When you see the morning hustle and bustle to get to colleges or offices or the snarling rush hour traffic, you wonder when the city ever finds time for love. There is not even a minute to spare for that loving selfie or for the Watsapp love messages either. Traffic is at its peak even at 8 am in the morning, so trying to squeeze in 5 or 10 minutes for love will simply not work. 'And that's exactly why God gave us the evenings and nights,' quips a hard-core Bengaluruan. For those wanting to keep aside some precious time for love even as they brave traffic; low-floor buses are the answer. These buses are comfortable and take all the sweet time in the world to get from point A to point B. What more do lovers need? All the time in the world and a million things to say, some BG score to set the mood –and the stress of traffic cannot touch you.
Lover's Paradise The next stop is Cubbon Park. Close to 100 acres of greenery right in the heart of Bengaluru city. When the chaotic crowds throng the adjacent MG Road and Kasturba Road, Cubbon Park is a haven of peace and tranquillity. The park is a popular haunt of lovers and it's a couples' paradise in there. The park is equally welcoming to the lonesome souls as well, they have the Mynah birds or the squirrels for company. All it takes is a pack of biscuit to win their hearts. Mani, a taxi driver in Bengaluru has been coming to Cubbon for the past 20 years. According to him, the face of Cubbon is forever the same, unchanging and when you are in the park, it is so easy to completely lose track of time. Like Cubbon, there are so many parks around Bengaluru city, where the lovers go in search of some shade or quiet. Lalbagh Botanical Gardens is one such park, and so many other little nameless parks too.
Love for others The parks may be a dream world for commoners or the college going youngsters. But for the IT crowds and other white collar job holders, love takes on different, richer shades. When they work through the week like robots, it is the weekends that they look forward to, for trashing all their stress. Most of the weekend trips are in big groups, with best friends or lovers too. The destination is often a resort or crashing in at some friend's house. Cooking experiments, games, music through the night, booze and it is one big party. For some others, the craze is long night drives. If it is coffee they crave, the next stop will be the farthest café in town. Heading to Nandi Hills on bikes, early morning on Sundays, to watch the sun rise is a romantic outing that is a hit among the younger ones.
From the heart Love is everywhere, especially around the time of Valentine's Day. Brigade Road, MG Road and Commercial Street is a sight to behold with love gifts peeking out of even the tiniest store there. The day of love is a huge celebration for all the shops in Bengaluru. The entire 6 km stretch of Commercial Street turns red and youthful in anticipation of the big day. While MG Road flows like a glorious young river, you just need to stand there without budging, and it is certain that by the time you get to the end of the road, you are at least younger by 2 years! Dusk falls over the city of love and a cool breeze prevails. As Bengaluru takes on a purple hue, the pubs and the music scene take over slowly. The DJ party reaches a crescendo, and then there aren't any masks, just the intoxication of love remains. On my way back, I make a stop at the Cubbon Park once more. Fallen leaves, floral carpets, lone benches, and a pleasant breeze that stays on like memories that refuse to fade. Dreamy Bengaluru still beckons, urges me to stay on, whispering to me, there is never a dearth of love here dear friend, so stay on.