Think of places synonymous with Bangalore. Go ahead, take a minute and make a mental list. We’ll wait.
Done? In listing those landmarks, we’ll wager a bet that one of your top three picks was Cubbon Park.
Yeah, yeah, Lalbagh too, but that’s for the flevvers and Cubbon Park is for the lovestruck levvers.
It’s really a lone standing bastion representing ‘old Bangalore’, retaining a surprising amount of gorgeous greenery in the heart of what has now largely become a construction ridden, dusty city. Sigh.
Cubbon Park is so pretty, it just makes you want to be nice to others. And it also fills you with an inexplicable urge to become an eco warrior. (Albeit for about an hour post-visit, after which you’re back to your city slicker ways.)
But there is no better place to see all the elements of the city come together, and oh the variety you'll see!
If you land up there during this time, you’ll find the new year resolution types, dressed up in workout gear, complete with wireless earphones and protein shake, who will only eat the diced cucumber from the stalls, or masala peanuts because nuts are good for you and masala is for touchings.
Chances are if you return in a couple of weeks, you won’t see them around.
There’s also the salwaar/sari and sneakers aunties, who diligently show up for their daily walks and end up doing mostly talk. Because neighbourhood gossip is irresistible, fitness be damned, especially when combined with some samosa and chai on the side.
And between all this, you’ll find the serious marathoners, trying to make their way past the ever-crowded food stalls and also the yoga types trying their best to pretend that all these people don’t exist. Tough stuff.
If you shift focus from the fitness side of things, you’ll find the cozy couples who are out of places to canoodle in, and must resort to the shady tree corners and benches of Cubbon Park, which come with complimentary judgmental stares by same salwaar/sari sneakers aunties. But all the stoic stares are lost in the fluffy pink haze of cotton candy, that these local lovers feed each other while whispering sweet nothings.
And while you’re on the topic of love, you’ll definitely see fur daddies and mommies throwing a frisbee around or taking a walk or just rolling around with their furry babies. (That’s dogs we’re talking about, just in case. Not babies covered in fur.)
Overwhelming as all this might be, look a little further. Past this fascinating collision of worlds, you’ll see the food carts. (And William the Balloon Guy also.) The source of all cravings that seem to peak while sitting around in the park.
These food carts have been around since the park itself, and while some have stayed simple with the newspaper cone bhelpuri and roasted peanuts and cucumber-with-lime assorted snacks, the others have upgraded to samosa chaat and cotton candy slickness.
In either case, they’re as synonymous with Cubbon Park as the massive boulder things on which awkward wedding shoots happen.
It’s the simple snack guys that our Cubbon Park Salad derives inspiration from, though.
Our’s is a crushed cucumber salad, with some baby corn, lots of peanuts and a classic chilli-lime dressing, served to you in a special Permit Room-style deconstructed way.
Apart from being a rather healthy snack option, it’s really just an ode to the glorious park and everything it stands for.
And all those amazing feelings of being nice and environment friendly and jumping around in parks with dogs come rushing back with every crunchy bite. Promisss*. Just come and try it.
*Nothing. That asterisk is our legal loophole in case those feelings don’t happen because of bad fellow attitudes.