Book Review: Bangalore – Swinging in the 70s

Through his illustration-laden coffee table book “Bangalore – Swinging in the 70s”, artist Paul Fernandes has paid a very colourful  and apt tribute to the 70s’ laid-back life in one of India’s finest cities. Complementing the delightful illustrations is the eloquent text with lots of humour thrown in for good measure.

The book vividly describes how life was in Bangalore’s Cantonment area as seen through the author’s eyes from his large bungalow on Pottery Road where he spent his childhood, his daily commutes to school and college, visits to the market place, theatre and more. A highlight is the page of contents. The author has deviated from the usual list style and instead laid out the titles across an illustrated map of the Cantonment area.


Picture courtesy: E-bay

The 70s in Bangalore was when bell bottoms were in vogue, TV was not heard of, visits to a theatre a celebration of sorts, riding through the roads on a cycle was a pleasure, and cops wore parachute shorts and extremely tall hats that would be dislodged by mischievous school boys. The city then had a sizeable Anglo-Indian population. Those were the days when policemen were paid to grow handle-bar moustaches. Sparrows were in plenty and had nests in almost all homes. The majority of the roads in the city were lined with trees. Throughout the year, trees were in bloom at some part of the city thanks to the efforts of botanist extraordinaire Gustav Krumbiegel.

Chapters on Victoria Hotel fondly referred to by the author as Old Vic, Dewar’s Bar near Bamboo Bazaar and Hotel Udyavan on MG Road will make one feel very sad and wonder why these popular age-old edifices had to go. The references to the oil-bodied mango thieves of the 70s is very cute. It goes without saying that Paul Fernandes has a flashbulb memory.

Being a 70s’ child, the book made me feel nostalgic of the Bangalore of my childhood and flooded my mind with lovely memories.

“Bangalore – Swinging in the 70s” makes for wonderful reading. A must-buy if not a must-read for all Bangaloreans especially the ones who have been here since the 70s!

The best place to buy the book would be at Paul Fernandes’ gallery Apaulogy in Richards Town, one of the few localities in Bangalore which still has an old-world charm. If lucky you could get to meet the man behind the book. And of course you could spend time looking at the amazing illustrations on view. The book is priced at INR 2600 and I must say worth every rupee.

Also read:

A walk down Richards Town




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