Women in burkas, nuns in belly tops, cows, stray dogs and the infamous Sleeping Beauties – just another day in Bangalore!
On any given day, at any given time, you’re guaranteed to walk past women wearing burkas, cute chubby-cheeked girls in frilly frocks, groups of women in stunning sari’s, and guys in hip jeans and a nice dress shirt. There are cool looking groups of young guys pulled over on their motos chilled out talking, little grammas out doing the shopping, and tiny little boys walking home from school with backpacks that are bigger than they are. One of the coolest things I ever saw just outside my door was a group of 10 nuns in training walking around Richard’s Park in matching pink saris with belly tops, which to me was very Madonna sexy but here is no big deal.
My number one favourite guilty pleasure people-watching subjects around Bangalore I tenderly referred to as Sleeping Beauties. It’s fun catching a glimpse of the guys who are either completely zonked out taking a cat-nap on the street or who are just sooo damn drunk that they have literally passed out on the street or a sidewalk. I say guys because I never saw a woman asleep on the street so I assume that, like buying wine, this is an all-male sport. These guys are the Bangalore Sleeping Beauties and the best Sleeping Beauty ever – well, maybe best is the wrong word. Maybe I should say INSANE. The guy was so drunk that he was laying a third of the way onto a tremendously busy high street. He had fashioned a pillow out of a half filled sandbag, and was happy as a clam asleep there on the road trying to catch up on his beauty sleep. It is beyond all comprehension how he decided to snuggle up in that exact spot and not have a heart attack within the first minute!
Life on the streets can be wonderful. Sure it’s dirty and loud and it can be dangerous for women after dark (I had my first run-in with a groper only a few blocks away when I was walking around at 6pm and it turned dark) but it is a kind city too. From the warm and gracious Muslim and Hindi next door neighbours we had or the friendly shop keepers who give amazing customer service…to the neighbourhood cow and stray dogs that the security guys adopt. The sights and sounds of Bangalore are unforgettable.