Life in cities is often described in terms of traffic and safety, but not often enough about what to do for fun apart from going out for a meal or watching a movie in a mall. While there is no doubt that safety and convenience are absolutely crucial to daily living, avenues for fun and relaxation are also essentials. A friend often argues that people would prefer to go to parks instead of malls, if only there were more of them around, which leads to endlessly silly debates, for Delhi and Bengaluru have plenty of both and malls seem infinitely more popular than parks. An endlessly silly debate that no one will win satisfactorily is what we are opening up this week at Lounge. Asking whether Bengaluru—the city of tech bros and pubs—is the new culture capital is enough to set everyone’s teeth on edge.
Bengaluru has always been able to hype up the ordinary but to be fair, there has been an explosion of activity in the city, funded by its many new billionaires and fuelled by the energy of its young(ish) population. This time, some of the hype might be justified as a number of new, free-to-all institutions open their doors, though many of these spaces and activities are still not inclusive or easy for everyone to access.
We also have a story that takes the contrary view: that no city in India is anywhere near being a “culture capital”. For any city to truly be such a hub, culture has to be central to its economy and the efforts to develop tourism, museums, performing arts, gastronomy, visual arts and crafts, or a combination of these, have to be sustained. India has no dearth of places with such combinations but we rarely hear about or explore them.
We are not all about starting arguments this week. We have calming reading too—reviews of a wonderful collection of essays by modern Tibetan writers and an old-school crime thriller, a story on new trends of creating “wow” moments during fashion shows, some adventures with tea and palate cleansers, and suggestions on what to watch, do, eat and read this weekend.
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