Post 1995, koramangala slowly started picking up to being one of the favourite haunts of many an IT company. This is also rougly the timeframe when Electronics city was parallely contemplated and put into place. EC was a natural extended version of Koramangala itself. Those companies who could not afford the would-be-slowly-posh neighbourhood, had to think of EC as their next choice. EC brought about expanding Koramangala southwards towards madiwala. Another popular destination chosen by some famous software companies including Texas instruments, HP were Wind tunnel road, nearby ISRO and old airport, and this expanded Koramangala eastwards to bring out what is currently the Intermediate Ring road. the west and north were already bustling entries and exits to Koramangala.
The next most important turning point for the locality was the Forum Mall. Businesses, apartments, paying guests, eateries, offices, everything mushroomed around Forum making 7th and 8th blocks most wanted. The 1st and 2nd blocks maintained their charm due to the rather famous Raheja Residency and a few other apartments around the place. Today it serves as an important link to outer ring road, HSR Layout, and madiwala for thousands of people. What were once huge (120×80, 120×120) residences in 3rd and 4th blocks, are now serviced homes, and/or costly restaurants which lend themselves rather well to the decor of the entire locality. With peaceful surroundings, they make the best spots to be in for visitors from both within and outside the country. 5th and 6th blocks were mostly middle class who were typically from the public sector companies and at best these are now influenced by the 80′ road running through 6th block, and the two 60′ roads binding 5th blocks in a deadly business grip !!
The 80′ road itself has proved a lifeline for the esrtwhile lakebeds of National Games village, and ST bed, to become jam packed with apartments offering paying guest options and business conference rooms who make hay even when the sun won’t shine. Of course this kind of development also presents tens of thousands of employment opportunities to a wide variety of people who naturally then become the floating population of the place. This means they also use their vehicle to criss cross the locality which is already congested with some serious traffic. Every single IT company has a bus running through this place during peak hours and this only adds to the chaos. An area which starts off its calm mornings by 6am turns into a traffic nightmare by 8am. Same holds good during the evenings. The residential tag of Koramangala is slowly and steadily reaching its logical end. So much that people are unmindful that them causing noise pollution and vehicular disturbance would harm the peace and tranquility enjoyed by erstwhile residents.
Pubs and shops have only added to the chaos which brings about scores of boys and girls who occupy every park bench everyday bunking their daily routines denying residents a chance to enjoy anything around. Paying guest accomodation only means vehicular disturbance beyond the acceptable night hours. Call centre mania is no less glorified as well here. And with so many people for the 12 hours in a day and their palates to satisfy, have only meant literally hundreds of restaurants mushroom on every street possible – the shanti sagars, the sukh sagars, the amritsars, the delhi’s, the paratas, the andhra messes, the kerala food joints, why only indian, even all the way upto chinese, korean, american and even europians have invaded the place lapping up every piece and parcel of real estate available. There are no less than about 200+ restaurants dotting the locality making it a logistical nightmare.
Without proper infrastructure plans, without proper connectivity which was faster, safer and more effecient, Koramangala has silently suffered through the changes in times. What I enjoyed in terms of my schooling, my friends’ circle, my games sessions, and the tranquility around during my youth are things which I cannot provide for my children at this stage. The evolving change Koramangala has brought about has forced even a few of the hardcore Koramangalites who have known the localities’ roots to look out for other options. There can be hundreds of good things to enjoy nearby but all that becomes meaningless if one cannot get one nights’ worth of sound sleep at the end of it.
It is at this juncture that I take a deep bow to salute and respect a locality that has meant so much to me and my childhood, a locality that has gained so much respect for globalization and its cosmopolitan nature, a place whose great things will forever be etched in the minds of its original residents. The years spent in the locality Koramangala originally was are something no one in future can understand, and no one in the past can forget. This is the true phenomenon I was part of and will never forget. Goodbye Koramangala. Goodbye forever.