About the Book
I was born in Bangalore in 1945, the sixth of a family of seven. In my childhood, Father would be transferred every other year and we would move to a new town, a new school, a new second language.
Two facts gave me a sense of identity. Mother was the eldest of a family of seventeen children. And we had a hometown called Bangalore.
From this prosaic starting point `Peter Colaco’s Bangalore sweeps back to the turn of the 20th century and forward to dawn of the new millennium. He discovers that between his mother’s ancestral home on Grant Road, where he was born; and his father’s house in Fraser Town, where he lived for many years, his experiences represent a century of Bangalore’s eventful history. They cover, among other things:
The book is a sequence of loosely connected essays and anecdotes. It often borders on serious comment, might even pass as pop-sociology, but is even more enjoyable simply for its humour, superbly complemented by Paul Fernandes’ water colour sketches.
A rare and rather unique addition to the Bangalore reader’s bookshelf. In fact, to any reader’s bookshelf.
A passing comment would lead would lead to a new column which would lead to reader reactions. In a way this is a book, written by Peter Colaco, which was co-researched by the city of Bangalore.
Foreword - Once Upon a Slow Time
It sounds like a cliché but I always knew Peter had a couple of wonderful books lurking behind his slow laid back exterior. This book validates it. Part history, part reminiscence it chronicles the annals of a Bangalore that has gone forever, swirling away in the sighing dust of crumbling old bungalows and a lifestyle lost in the rat race.
I think its always more difficult to write about things as they were, than to write fiction because for fiction there are no witnesses. Peter’s warm humane eye picks up foibles and eccentricities of people he has known and somehow collectively they makeup the ethos of a whole city.
These are real people in a real time. People I am sure I have known. As I am sure I have seen Oorgaum House. The rickshaw expeditions of Granny Rose of the brood of seventeen, to a car called Genevieve and a dog called Brownie and Salim and Fatima and Jayadev’s mother… this is the Bangalore we have known and experienced.
Along with Paul Fernandes’ evocative sketches this is a warm wonderful heart warming tribute to a city. For history is not just the great events of great cities but also the small stories, small feelings and small occasions, of small people in small places, once upon a small slow time.
In a style reminscent of early R.K Narayan, Peter gives Bangalore the status of a Malgudi, just much more real. And perpetuates and refurbishes the memories of generations of Bangaloreans.
This is an intensely personal book. The wonder of it is that it will become intensely personal for everyone who reads it.
Sadiqa Peerbhoy, is a long time friend of Peter Colaco's. One of the earliest ad persons and column writers in Bangalore, she is Creative Controller on the Board of Directors of the MAA Communication Group and is also the Director of the Wigan & Leigh School of Design in Bangalore.