Autorickshaw green and yellow blog Akshata Shanbhag

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AIn recent times, Bangalore, India, has witnessed a proliferation of malls in almost every neighbourhood, irrespective of their size. However, around two decades ago, the presence of malls was a rare occurrence, and the emergence of this trend was a significant development. Unlike the current situation where visiting a mall for shopping is routine, in the past, going to a mall was a special occasion. It was a source of excitement and joy, even if one didn’t make a purchase. The act of visiting a mall itself was an experience to cherish, and sharing this experience with others brought a sense of satisfaction.


In 2004, the Nexus Mall (previously called The Forum Mall)   made its debut as the largest mall in Bangalore at the time. Additionally, McDonald’s marked its entry into the Bangalore market by opening its very first outlet at the Nexus Mall.A few years before my visit to the Nexus Mall, I had the opportunity to travel to Mumbai to reunite with my cousins and relatives. This trip marked my return to the “New York of India” after a significant hiatus. The city holds a special place in my heart, as it is intertwined with cherished childhood memories that I will always hold dear.


I have a vivid memory of my cousin taking my dad and me to Crossroads Mall in Mumbai. It was not only the first mall in Mumbai but also my inaugural experience at a mall. My excitement knew no bounds when I discovered that McDonald’s had an outlet inside the mall. I relished a burger there, and it was just like the ones they showcase in advertisements. I couldn’t contain my enthusiasm and proudly shared with everyone that I had been to a mall and dined at McDonald’s. Looking back, it seems a bit amusing to me now.


When I discovered that there was a McDonald’s outlet here in Bangalore, it brought back memories of my time in Mumbai, and I felt a strong desire to relive those experiences. Additionally, I was eager to visit the largest mall in Bangalore to see how the experience would compare and also to indulge in some shopping.My family and I rarely ventured to the Koramangala area (where the mall is located) since we lived in the northern part of the city, where our everyday needs were easily fulfilled within our locality.

When one of our acquaintances from Pune visited us and expressed a desire to go shopping, I enthusiastically recommended a trip to The Nexus Mall. Everyone was on board with the idea, which filled me with immense joy. I meticulously selected my outfit for the occasion, which I fondly referred to as my “mall attire.” It consisted of olive green six-pocket cotton trousers paired with a full-sleeve top. I can still vividly recall how I looked on that day, and it’s amusing to think about how naive I was back then.

Our trip to the mall was a delightful experience. We began by shopping at Westside and then leisurely strolled around the mall, taking in the surroundings. The perfect conclusion to our outing was a meal at McDonald’s, where we savoured our food while chatting and sharing laughs. Looking back, the only thing I regret is not having a camera cell phone at the time. It would have allowed me to capture those precious memories in photographs because, as they say, a picture speaks a thousand words. Nevertheless, these joyful moments are securely stored in my mind, safe and treasured.


After our enjoyable mall excursion, it was time to bid farewell. Since it had become quite late, our relatives decided to head straight to their hotel, while we opted for an auto ride back home. During the journey, we engaged in some light-hearted gossip (poking fun at a few things that probably should have been discussed at home) and had wide-ranging conversations on various topics. It was a memorable end to a wonderful day.


Those moments in the auto were filled with laughter to the point where our stomachs hurt. I can still recall the specific topics we discussed vividly. It’s true, certain memories, words, expressions, and the associated feelings, whether they’re joyful or melancholic, have a lasting impact on us. When we reminisce about them, they can evoke either tears of happiness or sadness, or in our case, uncontrollable laughter. The mall episode remains a cherished memory that can bring a smile to my face whenever I recall it.


Upon arriving home, we were surprised to find that we hadn’t noticed how quickly time had passed during our engaging conversation in the auto. As we disembarked and handed the fare to the auto-rickshaw driver, he wore a peculiar expression, almost as if he had uncovered our little secret. With a polite smile, he mentioned that he also spoke the same language, Konkani, as we did. He inquired about our hometown and shared that his hometown was just a few hours away from ours. We exchanged grins and headed inside our house, leaving behind a memorable encounter with a fellow Konkani speaker.


It was during our post-ride discussion that we realised the auto-rickshaw driver had silently listened to our entire conversation without saying a word. This discovery led to another hearty round of laughter among us. While we initially believed that visiting the mall, shopping, and dining there was the highlight of our day, the unexpected and amusing ride back home ended up taking the top spot in our list of memorable moments.


Even to this day, whenever we find ourselves in an auto and need to discuss something personal or gossip, we fondly reminisce about that episode. It never fails to bring a smile to our faces, and we share a hearty laugh every time we recall it.



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