Whitefield, you half expect this vast, technology outpost of Bangalore to shimmer in the distance, all its buildings of glass and concrete standing tall and standing proud in the sun. Because, in the former decade, this formerly-quaint settlement has morphed into IT megapolis, with international tech parks that house the biggest corporates in the world. From GE, IBM, Dell and TCS, to telecom majors, Tesco, GM and more. Chances are if you are in big business, you are in Whitefield.
Not surprisingly, Whitefield lures hordes of talented, hard working professionals from the world over. They are driven to achieve the best of everything that Whitefield has to offer. And Whitefield does offer a lot to those who can afford it. Malls dedicated to only the most upscale, luxury brands, beautifully laid out villaments in exclusive gated communities, apartments by the best builders, man made lakes, international schools and access to world-class healthcare is guaranteed with super speciality hospitals like Columbia Asia and Sathya Sai Hospital.
Whitefield is home to a network of Urban Heros...
However, appearances can sometimes be deceptive. Look closer and you will find that Whitefield is not without its own problems. New entrants to the area are grappling with infrastructural issues. What with rapidly depleting groundwater levels, lakes foaming with untreated sewage, endless traffic snarls, a rapidly disappearing green cover and encroachment by developers - Whitefield is beset by growing pains.
Today, it is hard to imagine this urban settlement not overrun by vehicles of every shape and size, but there was a time, long ago, when Whitefield was virgin territory. It was the late 1800s, when the erstwhile Maharaja of Mysore bequeathed 3900 acres of land to the Eurasian and Anglo-Indian Association. Its members decided to name the area in honour of their founder, D S White. Some vintage buildings and bungalows survive the onslaught of the years...but much has changed. Speak to an old timer, or go on a Whitefield heritage walk and you will be surprised by the stories they have to tell.
A favourite tale is about Winston Churchill who was a regular at the Waverly Inn, that stands to this day. Churchill would ride into the wilds of Whitefield from Richmond Town, to court the innkeeper’s daughter, Rose Hamilton. Other stories abound about kitchen gardeners and farmers who would cart their produce to nearby Kolar Gold Fields or KGF a quick rail journey away to make a pretty penny.
The fields of old may have disappeared, but Whitefield is home to a network of urban heroes even today. Through communities like Whitefield Rising, tree-huggers, kitchen gardeners, civic activists and neighbourhood champions, are all coming together to make Whitefield what it truly can be - a shinier, happier part of the city’s growing skyline.
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