At least eight years have passed since I had that memorable evening tea at Victoria Hotel. The setting definitely
reminded made you feel like some distinguished officer of the Raj sipping the evening tea sitting on the terrace, or in the garden, which greeted your eyes the moment you acknowledged the salute of the guards at the gate.
Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Victoria Hotel.
Or what now stands on the site of Victoria Hotel: Bangalore Central. The 1.25 Lakh Sq Ft shopping mall is one of the “happening places.” A symbol of “aping the West” or simply, another place to have a good time, depending on your definition in these matters. It houses all the trappings related to food, clothing, and shelter.
But parking is a different monster here.
With billboards soooo alluring, it is hard not to step in and
get yourself ripped off shop. I was talking about parking. Let me rephrase that. Parking is available. It however, is comes at a steep price: 20 rupees for two wheelers. But there’s a rider: your parking fee is reimbursed if you buy something. And that achieves two things. First, it discourages two categories of people:
- those who are scared/unwilling to park at the roadside parking lots
- visitors who simply want to hang out at the mall
Secondly, it (insidiously) forces the visitor–who finds it ridiculous to pay 20 bucks to park his bike–to shop. This second factor acts hugely in favour of the mall. I’ll explain. Bangalore Central is located right opposite this decrepit building called Mayo Hall, which houses a variety of
small-time lower courts. And shares the same fate as its cousins elsewhere in India: poorly maintained, decaying, stinking, moss-adorned….
A person who–like those desperadoes who watch a movie even by buying “black” tickets–is hell-bent on having the out-of-the-world experience which Bangalore Central promises, will certainly be jolted by the outrageous parking fee. However, the mall is so cleverly (?) located that all roads that lead to it are one-ways (there’s an imposing road divider on M.G. Road) and you need to really walk if you prefer not to park your vehicle in the mall premises.
You anyway go ahead and pay 20 Rupees and get inside to pamper yourself. But the hole in your pocket incessantly competes for your attention: if I don’t buy anything, I’ve actually burnt 20 Rupees. On something as stupid as parking. These #$** daylight robbers! And there’s nothing I can do. Maybe I should write to some paper against this unfair parking fee… As these thoughts subside, you begin to reason to yourself, after all, I don’t come here everyday… when was the last time I bought a Nike…. ho! it’s only 7th today… and there’s a 45% discount on Levis… And then, when you come away from the counter, you realize that 20 Rupees have been deducted from your bill. That certainly made the trip to Bangalore Central worthwhile.
Like I mentioned in the post on Big Bazaar, Bangalore Central has made life hell for road-users in and around Residency Road and M.G.Road. Try to cover 25 metres in your car/bike in less than 15 minutes and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
As a closing note, Mayo Hall stands out as an aberration amid the numerous clusters of high rises that have dotted this part of Bangalore. Its architectural beauty however, remains unchanged to this day. Victoria Hotel used to complement that beauty just a few years ago.
Bangalore Central is the aberration.