Wednesday, May 6, 2015

10 things I love about my hometown

This post has been in the pipeline for a while now. I can't believe it has taken me such a long time to express my thoughts on my beloved hometown Mysore. My hometown is where my heart is. Even after being away for more than a decade, I still have an incredibly powerful connection to Mysore. I never had to leave the city in order to appreciate it. It is where I grew up, met my best friends, spent countless summer holidays with my cousins, embarked on my career path, where I graduated, where memories of my pet dog Polo lingers on, the place I left behind when I got married and the place I keep itching to get back to whenever the opportunity arises. It is at the crux of all my childhood memories. It is an integral part of me. 

I was born in the United Kingdom where I spent my early childhood followed by a few years in the Middle East before my parents decided to settle down in India for good. At the time, almost all my relatives were flocking to Bangalore which was (at the time) considered a great place to live in. But my parents made the unconventional decision to move to neighbouring Mysore, a much smaller and quieter city located a short distance away from Bangalore. 

Although it is the third largest city in Karnataka, Mysore to me has always seemed quite compact. It is a city that is laid-back, placid, quaint and the least bit congested. The cultural and historical ambience of the city embellished with music, art, paintings and dance exhibit the influence of the Vijayanagara Empire and Wodeyar dynasty thus earning the sobriquet 'Cultural Capital of Karnataka'. Mysore is renowned for its grand palaces, majestic temples, beautiful gardens and colorful festivals which imparts an old world charm to the city. It isn't what you would describe as hip or funky in any way. The urban youth might find it a dull place to live in but I personally wouldn't have it any other way. For a long time, it didn't boast of pubs, clubs, discos or any happening nightlife places. Even good cafes were quite a rarity. The first shopping mall opened only a few years ago and the first-ever McDonalds made an appearance not too long ago! But having said that, Mysore has been changing at a rapid pace. It is becoming an active location for IT companies, BPO firms and is the first choice for a weekend getaway for people living in Bangalore. In recent times, it has been getting horribly crowded on weekends (and especially on long weekends). New apartment complexes, shopping malls, fast food chains, hotels and supermarkets seem to be springing up all over the place. The traffic has increased substantially from how it was when I left. My worst nightmare will be Mysore transforming into present-day Bangalore *shudder* I sincerely hope that unfortunate day never comes! 

Here are 10 reasons why I love my hometown: