Once upon a time when I used to visit Bangalore, I was told that Bangalore consists of 2 roads and one street (MG Road, Brigade Road, and Commercial Street). If you know these places well, you more or less have explored Bangalore. Well, anyone who lives in this city for a few years cannot escape going to these places. And might carry the impression that he or she knows these places. Like I did for all these years. The last couple of months, I had certain requirements for which I was directed to the lanes that run perpendicular to this better-known street in the city. I was amazed to discover a whole new Bangalore that I was never aware of. This is an area which is dominated by skilled workmen or Karigars as we call them. And you can get virtually anything done there.
Commercial Street, Bangalore – Skilled Manpower
There is a lane off the main street called Laxman Mudaliar Street.
Which is full of tailors, who promise to stitch anything for you within an hour. They all operate from small shops. But do a wonderful job of stitching and that too at the fraction of price, compared to their savvy counterparts in boutiques in upmarket areas. They more or less stick to the time they give you, more often than not you need no re-work. But there are no facilities for you to do a trial as they do not have any mirrors or even proper space for you to change and try the clothes. You can get all kinds of embroideries done for your attire. Just give them the pattern or choose from the patterns that are available with them.
There are cloth shops that sell dress materials. Plain fabric or just about anything that you may need and at far less price than the street that leads you to this street. You must get some of your clothes stitched here and explore this area.
Then there is Jewelers street, where you get amazing silverware and jewelry. You get almost anything available in silver here. You can get any of your old ones repaired, polished, amended or simply replaced. And you can get your jewelry made to order as per your design. Besides this, you also get other silver items like utensils, pens, and a lot of other interesting things that you can use as gift items. If you go further down the street, after a few crosses, you would get small shops. Almost on the roadside, where you can even get your imitation jewelry repaired, and that too at a very small cost.
If you are looking for a Mehandiwali to put Henna on your hands, all roads will lead you to this street. The only mother-daughter duo who claim to put Rajasthani Mehandi is found here. But unlike their counterparts in other cities, they have a proper office. You have to book them in advance. They come in their own car and charge like anything. I would not recommend them either for quality or attitude. But I guess that’s what monopoly does that to you.
Just a small rider, on Fridays the commercial street suddenly goes silent, so probably that is not a good day to visit this area. You can enjoy the little eateries which are spread here and there and serve the basic food.
Sometimes try and sit in a corner and try to enjoy the place. You would see all kinds of people interacting, with no artificially trained expressions put in. No efforts made to convey something that is not meant and just simple plain interactions. Even when they lie, they let you know with a smile that they are lying. They are the people who have been doing business for their survival and are not being paid, just to stand there. You can see that every interaction impacts them and hence they try to make an impact. They know what they can deliver and what they can not. They know who their neighbors are. And would gladly direct you to them if required.
One can enjoy shopping with personalized interactions. Rather than talking to robotic salespersons who hardly know anything about the products that they are selling leave apart the general dynamics of the space they are in.
One more facet of the city discovered before I take a break from the city for some time.