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Tech Savvy and Earth Friendly in Southern India

December 2012

By Reshma Bachwani, Bangalore

Bangalore is living up to its moniker as India’s Silicon Valley in more ways than one. What started as a trend amongst the techies, inspired by their West Coast counterparts, is now gaining momentum amongst mainstream Bangaloreans. 

No one here finds it odd to sling a backpack on his shoulders, brave the traffic (since there are no dedicated cycle tracks yet) and peddle his way to work. Cycling has caught on in this young city of eco-conscious citizens. The salubrious weather only gives them further incentive. From starting off as a poor man’s mode of transport, to being considered passé, with the influx of motorized two-wheelers, biking has resurged locally, complete with gel seats and swanky headgear. The wheels of the bicycle in Bangalore have surely turned a full circle.

The Indian appetite for technology is by now known to the world, and so are some of the strange ways in which we use it. With smartphones available for about $100 US, and no sign of human shortages in the code-writing clan, usage of apps is on the rise. I recently was amused when I walked in to a friend’s house only to find her using an app on her Android to ward off mosquitoes, instead of a regular repellent. From strange apps that help people start conversations and pick ripe watermelons, to useful sports trackers and chat software, Bangaloreans are moving to more app-ropriate ways of going about their daily lives.  

Until five years ago, coffee consumption in India was largely an in-home habit cultivated by discerning, educated South Indians. This changed when the ubiquitous and affordable Café Coffee Day ushered in a trend, making coffee the new, Indian social lubricant. Their stores were places to conduct business meetings, complete college assignments, or even a place where love-struck teens met. Coffee shops became the social leveler in Bangalore, but they have now become lifestyle hubs. Track and Trail, for instance, encompasses a cafe and shop for bicycle enthusiasts. Yoga House Cafe is a café attached to a yoga studio that also serves wholesome food.  Claytopia allows people to paint their own ceramic pottery while they eat.

Retail & Dining
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Consumer Electronics
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