Category City Folk

Where There’s a Will-BK Mariappa’s Hostel

Nobody, not even those connected to his legacy really know what prompted a young man named BK Mariappa residing in Nagarthapete to suddenly write his will and testament at the age of 35. The document was completed around the 4th-5th of March, 1914 and the codicil was annexed on 8th March of the same year. Instructions were […]

Written on the Wall-Prakash Cafe

I sometimes think that the history of India was influenced not just by battles and boundary extensions but also banquets. Vintage albums of India in the making contain innumerable images of dignitaries exchanging pleasantries or negotiating the future of their people while seated at formal dining arrangements. But in those photographs dominated by star personalities were other men […]

Finding Bengal in our Uru

I was at a Dussehra Puja Pandal celebrating the beautiful martial Goddess Durga last week. It was filled with excited Bengalis and curious non-Bhadralok who eventually jostled together at the food stalls to tuck into plates of Luchi-Cholar Dal, Bhetki fish cutlets and stir fried banana flower. The growing number of Pandals each year point […]

A Fiery Spirit-Khilafatwale Hajee Osman Sait

I was standing outside the swank automobile showrooms in India Garage the other day, watching excited owners roll out onto St Marks Road in their ribbon wrapped cars. Many of them swung into the petrol bunk here, to fill up their first full tank. Ironically, the petrol bunk outside this graceful building was where around 1920, […]

Being Street Savvy-Rhenius Street

Rhenius Street begins off Richmond Road at the corner of Baldwin Girls High School (1880) and meanders past temples, the Richmond Town Park, some massive but beautiful banyan trees and the Akkithimmanahalli Tank (now a playground and Hockey Stadium amongst other things) before reaching Nanjappa Circle at the other end. Come walk down with me […]


I’m going to get you a Koshy’s special fried egg sandwich!” says P Oommen Koshy (aka Prem) and disappears into the kitchen. While I wait, I smile at familiar faces, chat with those who stop by and recognise regulars who, like me, have cut their milk teeth in Parade Café (Koshy’s Restaurant) on St.Mark’s Road. […]

A Nobel Cause

A mosquito whined past me yesterday and I remembered childhood days in Bengaluru when windows were shut as early as mid-afternoon to keep out this winged menace. Doors had wire mesh frames and the garden was fumigated regularly. The precautions were valid. Malarial fever had taken lives across India for centuries. It was also widely believed […]

Re-visiting the past

“My grandfather, Mushir –ul-Mulk Mir Humza Hussain was appointed Chairman of the Reception Committee when Gandhiji visited Bengaluru in 1927” says Mir Sajjad Hussain with quiet pride. “However, when Gandhiji alighted on the station platform, he found my grandfather missing. He enquired about his absence. He was told that my grandfather was advised bed rest […]