We’re dreamy-eyed and gooey-hearted. This is more than the love we feel when we sink into the butteriness of a benne dosa from CTR or rediscover a forgotten bylane in Koramangala. Our home city is suffused with love, or at the very least some invigorating lust. Taking off from our friends in Delhi (who took inspiration from the very seat of our democracy), we went looking for stories of love, and have been told of everything from stolen kisses under the sweet spell of the neighbourhood frangipani to the going rate for a bribe to a nosy maama astride a Cheetah. Presenting a heat map of Bangalore’s longings.
At 17, we discovered that it isn’t just San Francisco that’s for lovers. We’d stormed off for an evening walk a bit earlier than was usual (okay, it was a very sunny afternoon) in fuddy duddy Defence Colony, Indiranagar (home to Various Vir Chakra awardees), only to stumble upon cooing couples taking temporary possession of every available park bench for a kiss and a cuddle. They weren’t deterred by our gawping presence - a flick of a dupatta and a makeshift tent was pitched.
Cubbon Park is the obvious favourite for old-school behind the tree romance. But city parks in Jayanagar, Koramangala, Indiranagar, and the “caves” of Lalbagh host the amorous of all ages, sizes, persuasions, and orientations. The state has tried to crack down by shutting down these parks between 10 am and 4 pm (can we live?!), but nothing can keep Bangaloreans down - we (and you) have jumped gates, loitered at its borders, found a sheltering shrub to hide everything from the shoulders up, just to exchange some sweet nothings.
PSA: Avoid syringe filled park near the superbly named B Mona School in Koramangala and - duh - Doper’s park.
Timing is everything - an afternoon siesta, the post rush-hour quiet, the velvety cover of twilight have enabled stolen glances, shy first kisses, and hesitant affection. Indiranagar is a hot favourite (so many bylanes, so many freelancers with flexible dating hours), but staid Jayanagar! We’re impressed by all the stories we’ve heard of shenanigans taking place under the flinty eyed glare of its censorious paatis.
Loafer’s lane across from MCC, the incredibly posh Dollars colony, flyovers and highways in Hosur, Domlur, and Richmond Circle - this concrete jungle can get a bit grey and gloomy, but our desires? Never.
We have no urban forests or handy seashore to boast of; so mannena magas and makkulus make do and make out at lakesides. Dodge earnest power walkers at Ulsoor Lake; hire a pedal boat to pay a visit to the migratory birds roosting in the islands in the middle of the Madiwala lake to indulge in some heavy petting on the way (you can blame your nervous sweats on the exercise); find yourselves blissfully alone (except for curious strays and the odd vehicle) at the kissable Sankey Tank, court arrest at Agara Lake. Your only obstacles will be laughter clubs and fitness freaks.
Shoutout to every cool server who has indulged a girl on a date and looked the other way: this, we’ll say, is a highlight of Bangalore’s vaunted “pub” culture, something that’s all our own. Our local bar turned club is perfect for heady, handsy escapades in between vigorous booty shaking in the Indiranagar (pop into Loft 38, Black Rabbit, Vapour, The Humming Tree to get lucky), a sticky table in a grimy pub (Hoppipola, Church Street Social at the end of a bender, Alibi, and more) in the Central Business District hides all manner of sins, and if all else fails - head to old-favourite Pecos. The uncles at the other tables frankly don’t give a you-know-what. If this sounds too old school, linger after hours on the pavements of Church Street. Crowds of drunken revellers waiting for their Ubers know to look away from exciting entanglements. Like the street’s patron saint, Calvin Harris, suggested - one kiss is all it takes.
A certain local secondhand bookstore (Blossoms, we’re talking about Blossoms) is such a favourite for geeky goobes that we almost didn’t have to tell you about it: this is why nerds always get kissed in Bangalore. You guys have had A Moment between the DH Lawrences and Anaïs Nins, sneaked off to the deserted third floor for humping and handies, and ensured the human race will not die out despite how unsexy literary one-upmanship is.
Other Locations of Note:
Humans of IIsc: A hotbed of hot nerds crossing boundaries - sexual, gendered, and otherwise. We hear rumours of a patch of fireflies making for an excellent first date post a D-canteen dinner. Long, lonely stretches are not scary, for once, but instead home to discoveries of the most bodacious kind.
Blasphemy in Padmanabhanagar: There lies a pasture in Padmanabhanagar, overlooked by a temple, that witnesses acts of a most amorous nature. Hedonists, make a pilgrimage. We’ll say a little prayer for you.
Rising Passions: Forgive the dad joke, but you lot have sneaked off to the rooftop at NGMA, fondled in the open air at Indira Gandhi Musical Fountains, flirted in dark corners of the topmost floor at Vapour in Indiranagar. Affections have been exchanged in corridors, staircases, and rooftops across the city.
Bus stops and petrol bunks: Deve Gowda petrol bunk, Shivajinagar bus stand, deserted bus shelters in Kammanhalli, crowded Indiranagar Metro stations frequently bear witness to more than just criminal traffic issues. Carry me away!
Run To Love: Or ride to it. A final word of thanks and love to the pure professionals (no rearview romeos here) who ignore our quiet moments of romance in buses, autos, Ubers, and Olas snaking their way across this city.
Thanks to a dozen local experts and serial daters who told us their stories of love and longing in our city, all of whom remain anonymous on request.
This story was contributed by Sushmita Sundaram. Follow her on Twitter at @sushmitas.
Photo Credit: Instagram.com/megseenyeah
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