Tomoka Estates. Brompton Group LLC, of Oviedo, sold 1127 Roberts St. to Ronald and Deborah Commo, of Ormond Beach, for $215,000. Built in 1991, the

What was life like in Bengaluru in the 90s, before the IT revolution and traffic?

By the 90’s “outsiders” had started moving into Bangalore.
Let me take you back a further 20 years.
I moved into Bangalore in the early seventies.
No software firms existed. Computer science as a subject did not exist.

The Prestige companies were ITI, BEL, HMT, BHEL, NGEF, all public sector companies. It was considered a privilege to be an employee of these companies.

I started my career as the Junior most officer in the executive cadre of a public sector company on a gross salary of Rs 750 per month. Income tax deduction was around 20 to 40 Rupees depending on your declared savings.
I paid Rs 180 per month for a small upstairs portion of a bigger house
My portion of this bigger house consisted of a hall, one bedroom and kitchen, with a bathroom and toilet. with Teak wood doors and windows and a mosaic floor. An open terrace was also attached. The rent was affordable, I struggled to pay the advance of Rs 1800/-
Cost of living in Bangalore those days?
Nandini milk – Rs 1.10 per litre. Electricity bill for me was Rs 20 per month.
My budget for vegetables was Rs 60 per month.
Maidservant’s salary Rs 20 per month,
BWSSB water bills were 50 paise per month and what annoyed me was not the amount but the time I had to spend standing in queues for paying this petty amount)
Auto fare: 45 paise per km (minimum fare 75 paise)
Bus fare from Jayanagar to the City Rly station, 25 paise.
Tea/coffee/badaami haalu at an Iyengar bakery: 30 paise
Thali meal( Vegetarian) at Kamat resturants; Rs 1:50 to Rs 1.75
Ready made clothes were not customary. I would pay Rs 20 to a tailor for stitching my pant.
A balcony ticket at Nartaki Air conditioned theatre was Rs 3.50 and pop corn during interval was an exorbitant 50 paise!

Petrol for my Yezdi motor cycle was Rs 3.10 per litre.
You could buy a brand new Maruti-800 in the eighties for Rs 45000/- Till then you could see only Fiats or Ambassadors on the road with the Standard Herald making an occasional appearance. The average young Bangalorean moved around on a second hand Vespa scooter (The new one had a waiting period of 15 years), or a Lambretta scooter or a Yezdi or Rajdoot Motorcyle. The Japanese 100 cc bikes came much later.

On a salary of Rs 750, per month, my wife and I lived a royal life and had money to save at the end of the month.

Real estate Prices: you could build a spacious house for Rs 1 lakh or less in Jayanagar, Rajajinagar.
BDA prices for a 30×40′ allotted site was Rs 3000 and gradually went up to Rs 7000 (for the entire site! not per sq ft)
For Rs 350 to 400 per month you could rent a two or three bedroom independent house with a garage on a 60 x 40 feet site in Rajajingar and Jayanagar.
Hardly any house had fans. They were just not needed.
Traffic was less than 10 percent of what it is today.
I could reach the City Rly station from my house in Jayanagar 7th Block in 10 minutes flat without having to ride like the devil.. Even Kempegowda Road (from Mysore bank to Majestic) was two way.
A doctor (General Practitioner) charged between Rs 5 and 10 for a consultation.
None of these “Darshinis” or “Saagars” eating houses existed. It was either a Janata hotel, or a Kamat or a Pai restaurant.

Traditional Kannada speaking Bangalore consisted of Malleswaram, Chamarajpet, Shankarapuram, Basavanagudi, Majestic/Chickpet/Balepet areas, City Market and in contrast we had the Anglicized MG Road / Commercial street/ Brigade Road areas or Tamil speaking Shivaji Nagar and Cantonment areas and quaint “towns” like Cox town, Cooke town, Benson town etc.

Jayanagar and Rajaji Nagar and Indira Nagar were the new modern Bangalore localites and they were still developing. A 60 x 40 site was selling for Rs 45000/- in Jayanagar T block (second sale, in the open market) and like a fool, I turned down that offer as the BDA was offering sites in new far flung areas like JP Nagar, Banashankari of the same size for just Rs 12000/-)

I could go on and on! This will be never ending. But I must have some consideration for you readers.

Ah! the good old days!

GV