Today, during a casual chat with a friend/neighbour, discussion went around mushroom growth of PG accommodations in Brookfield area. Being in Brookfield area for more than 11 years, conversation took us to changes that happened from time we came here. He shared his travel experience from JayaNagar to Wipro office in ITPL area every day (28 kms) in his bike and cannot even think of doing the same every day.
On coming back home, my memories were filled with experience 20 years back of arriving in Bangalore and how things were those days and how many things have changed in these 20 years. Blog my own IT fresher life in Bangalore in end of 1990s.
My first job was campus placement in listed company(TIL) located at George Thangiah Complex, Indiranagar, started July 1998. 5 work colleagues(different streams of same college) stayed in ground floor of residential house in B.M.Kaval, Michael Palya(close to 80 feet road) and shared paying advance of Rs 45000(10 months deposit) & rent of Rs 4500 per month. [ Still in touch with one of my housemates on monthly basis]
The rented place consists of a 2 bedroom house with kitchen, large living room and a front room. The house owner lived upstairs. We were little older than eldest son of the house owner who studied in college. The house owner was addressed as “uncle” and “aunty” and they really took care of us.
While 5 stayed in the house, our experience in that house was not PG experience. Some of our juniors and family friends(students) doing their final semester internships stayed at our home and shared the facility available at our homes. Blessed with landlord who did not ask more rent for additional persons staying and we also did not them to share rent and electricity charges.
Phone and Power: No one will believe that our families could call the house owner’s phone and they would call us to take the call. Yes, we did not have mobiles and neither phone connection at home. Some of us called our homes from STD booth. STD booth is where there were be phones to make national calls(STD) and international calls(ISD). When you start phone call, call meter starts tracking the number of minutes of your using the connection to talk and also show the cost of call till that moment, based on the rates of the day.
No online payment facility. We have to pay electricity bill in-person by visiting BESCOM counters. You go in the morning before 10th of the month to have smaller queues.
Washing and Cleaning. No washing machine and we have to engage a maid to take care of cleaning house and washing clothes. Initially we cooked our dinner and asked the maid to clean utensils ourself and kitchen also.
Transport As we lived closer to work place, none of use had vehicle for long time. We walked to work and back. Autos were cheap, auto from work place to reach M.G.Road costed Rs 25(min Rs 8 for 2 kms, Rs 4 per km)
To go to our home towns, there was RedBus or online KSRTC portal option to make reservations. There were 3 options available to make reservations.
- Railways reservation counter at IndiraNagar RTO: Start early in morning, stand in queue and purchase ticket. The counter opened at 8AM. This was convenience and comfort living in Indira Nagar, closer to our home.
- State transport Bus counters: You have to go to majestic bus-stand to make reservations in state transport buses. The reservation opened 60 days prior to travel. To make reservation, one took local transport to majestic, made booking, eat there, see a movie and took a bus back home.
- Premium Bus Counters : KPN travel, Sharma travel buses has counters in Indira Nagar, where we can purchase tickets. While tickets were costlier compared to state transport, the charge included free pick-up from Indira Nagar in tempo traveller and drop at Madiwala, where we waited and climbed bus.
Interestingly, buses to Neyveli township had no reservation provision. I made reservation to travel to Panruti and take a local bus to Neyveli. On return, I or my sister used to stand for reservation(daily reservation available for night bus, early in morning) to reserve place.
Old HAL airport. While I did not travel much by air, it used to be seamless travel, less than 10 minutes from home to reach airport. Remember, being in Indira Nagar avoided the biggest traffic jam intersection on (Old airport road- 100 Feet Road)junction where i first time experienced traffic light changes once in 5 minutes(even those days).
Food. In 1998, Indira Nagar had plenty of restaurants and food eateries in CMH road. They were both far from our home and work place. My company had amazing cafeteria in basement, where we can purchase breakfast, lunch. You can find my work place building still in 80 Feet Road, Indira Nagar.
On weekends, cafeteria did not work and closed for whole day on Sunday, we walked a lot of distance to eat good food. In addition, it rained heavily in evenings in Bangalore(5 pm to 7:30pm) and wanted comfort of having food at home. While housemates took turns to make dinners, it was not seamless experience.
We asked our maid whether she can cook for us, which she agreed. She used to cook 3 times a day, morning breakfast, afternoon lunch and evening dinner. It was a happy experience with the maid who offered us more support than we expected.
- Home -made food. Specify what preferred food at every time of meals
- She was nice to purchase groceries and vegetables for us
- In addition, she with help of house owner auntie made dosa-idly flour.
- Bring colleagues from work for lunch at home. The only thing is to inform maid in the morning how many of us would come for lunch.
As she helped us a lot, .we asked her to make more food, so that she can take for her children every day. On weekends, some of us asked her to make non-veg food.
Entertainment & Purchase: No Youtube or amazon Prime those days. My housemates read a lot of books. Compared to clothes, books were more in number. While few new books were purchased, lot of books were brought from road-side second-hand book sellers. In addition, house had a tape-recorder after first month and a TV at start of the second year. We had cards. Not sure whether we had chess board and carrom board
This is really true. We can walk towards C.V Raman Nagar and sit on the road next to bust of CV.Raman statue and chat for hours enjoying a good breeze. No tech parks in those time, means the entire areas would be empty post 9 pm. Today this bust continue to be located on the way to Bagamane Tech park. When I go to Bagamane Tech park, this experience comes in to my mind and observe how much change has happened.
As M.G Road was close, we used to go to theatres to see movies. Remember, Plaza, Lido and other theatres which have become malls.
Online payments: For first 2 years till 2000, I neither has debit card or credit card. (some banks offered). Salary got credited in Andhra bank , where we need to present in-person to withdraw money. Citbank had setup their large ATM counter in CMH road and stated using their facility with my first debit card in my second job.
Technical Learning and Startups
No Google to search for technical content. Tata Infotech hosted a good library room at work place and used to purchase magazines and technical books. Every employee can rent 2 books. Still remember fresh of follow-up with librarian to purchase books “Essential COM- Don Box”, took book to Malleswaram 18th cross Xerox shop to create multiple copies. Tata Infotech hosted monthly knowledge meetings, where external speakers used to address the audience.
No laptops those days ( till 2002 for sure). Computers or PCs at office came with hard drives of capacity 2GB or 4GB, slot for inserting floppy disk and associated with 128 MB RAM or 256 MB RAM. Special project teams were gifted to have PCs of 512 MB RAM
All employees had email access. Internet access was limited and unlimited internet was available to special project teams.
No awareness of startups till early 200s. Lot of my ex-colleagues got their H1 visa processed and went to USA( i did not process too). The first startup initiative that I became aware was when my colleague(still in touch) quit job to join as early member of GE Credit division(startup of those days). Sure a new phenomenon in opening 2000s