City opens up on car-free, carefree MG Road

City opens up on car-free, carefree MG Road

It's carnival time in CBD as massive crowds unwind with music, food, games and art

City opens up on car-free, carefree MG Road

For a moment it seemed as if the entire Namma Bengaluru had gathered at MG Road at the same time. A road that is mostly known for clogged traffic, was choc-a-bloc with hundreds of revellers, out to participate in and enjoy the first ever 'Open Streets' initiative on the stretch between Brigade Road junction and Anil Kumble Circle on Sunday.

People did not seem to mind the sweltering temperatures at noon, as numbers only swelled with vehicles barred between 9 am and 9 pm on this stretch. People ate, drank, danced and made merry at this venue unhindered.

A group of young mothers started off the celebratory mood far away from the venue as they hurriedly made their way into the Indiranagar Metro station. The words “open streets” were combined with a lot of mirth and laughter.   

Belting out the classic Bollywood song, “Jeena usi ka naam hai”, Prasad, a life insurance agent doubled up as a karaoke singer. Although he did not have much of an audience, he sang his heart out. “I wish the stage had more shade. I was sweating a lot while singing. The loud music from the other stage was also quite a disturbance,” he said.

Whether it was arts and crafts stalls, stalls selling sumptuous food or games stalls, people thronged in hordes. Apart from these, there were a few stalls with a difference. A stall selling cakes and pastries donated by dog lovers is not something you find on any street. “The proceeds from the sale will be used to take care of street dogs. We never expected such a huge crowd and wished we were better prepared. A second batch of cakes is on its way. The event has been just phenomenal,” said Helena Shukla from the Voice of Stray Dogs (VOSD).     

Among the sea of humanity inside the Rangoli Metro Art Centre, two people stood out – Jacintha, a social worker who wore a feathered war bonnet of an American Indian and her nephew, Lochland with his Zorro costume. “Right now, it does not even feel like I am in Bengaluru. This is one of the best initiatives taken by government and it should happen more often,” she said.  

Another group of middle-aged women, also spoke in the same vein. “There was a similar event at HSR Layout and many places but an event like this on MG Road that is located at the heart of the city has a different feel,” said Prasanna Satish, a teacher and an old-time Bengalurean.