Church Street, Bangalore

We bought music at Planet-M and walked back on Church Street. It is a pub n’ restaurant street, with one or two colonial bungalows that have resigned themselves to exploding commerce and retired behind high walls and closed gates. Young people dominated the street. At four on Sunday, Western men sat in the pubs; by six, young locals outnumbered them. I noticed coco-grove, a new pub whose awning, tables, chairs, aprons, are all white. It is an open pub with a white canvas roof, next to the pavement—a first in Bangalore. Its parent, the Coconut-Grove, sits over the wall behind and tugs at noses of passers-by with strong smells of coastal spices. Stylish restaurants mix with dark dank aged eateries. The air-space on the street is taken by scents from the kitchens: Chinese and Andhra, American and North-Indian, pub-food and fast-food. They are a pleasant invasion on the nostrils, distinguishable, arriving one at a time, shaken-not-stirred. Over the length of the street, another smell obtrudes from below–through patterns of holes drilled through concrete lids covering a foul drain. Some sections have no covers at all, and there the smell of the drain is triumphant. Through these smells we walked, now breathing in pleasure, now fighting nausea.