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In Bangalore, there are malls big enough to put many in the US to shame, with European, Australian and American stores. There are banks that will give you credit cards and loans and financing options tailored to your needs, whether you`re looking to buy a Rs. 1 crore penthouse or a Rs. 1 lakh wrist watch.
There are multiplexes where on weekends, the lowest price for a movie ticket is Rs. 150, and one Gold Class movie ticket will set you back Rs. 500 (it includes dinner while you watch a movie). On weekends, it`s impossible to get a ticket for the Hindi or English movies, even the Gold class ones, unless you`ve booked days in advance. And forget about walking in and hoping for a ticket. If you`re lucky to find parking for your vehicle in the parking lot, you still may not be able to set foot in the mall itself. The stores are overflowing with people who spill out on to the walkways, escalators, stairs and some even just hang out at the entrances. The malls are so jam-packed, you can easily justify having a separate temperature gauge for mall interiors on weekends.
If you`re in the market to buy a house, there are floor plans and options to match your quirkiest requirements and even some you haven`t even thought about (servant`s rooms). For a price you can pretend there are no power cuts or water shortages (many new apartmens and communities come with 24 hour water supply and electricity). These houses are not filled with old retired couples who have worked all their lives (they had the misfortune of working in and retiring from the old economy and so cannot afford them), but with young, double-income couples working in the IT sector.
The rest of Bangalore lives on as if nothing had changed. Activist groups estimate that 40% of the population would be classified as poor, without access to basic amenities such as water and sanitation. Income figures from the 1991 census data indicate that 24% of the population shares 8% of the income whereas 4% of the population shares 19% of total income. There is no reason to think that this disparity has not widened in the intervening decade.
There are days when you look around and see how much the city has changed in the last 15 years - the city has grown; the pace of construction is nothing less than crazy; traffic is near-impossible to navigate in rush hour (which is pretty much all day except for may be an hour here or there in between) there are homes, shops, and buildings the likes of which I never thought I would see in Bangalore; there are a lot more people, and people from all over the world; there are more slums; and everything is at least 10 times more expensive.