Sipping a glass of Mango Fool in the tranquil company of squirrels and birds, in a house that dates back to the early 1900s, can give you a natural high. The house, ‘Perfect Peace', owned by Merlyn D'Souza, is the quintessence of Inner Circle, Whitefield. It has withstood the test of time amid the onslaught of rapid commercialisation.
The Inner Circle is part of the Anglo-Indian settlement which was set up in 1882 on land granted by the Mysore maharaja. Remnants of the colonial era are reflected in the architectural style of the beautiful garden, high-tiled roof and wooden decor and the antique curios in the house (on cover). Merlyn's son, Paul Gerard D'Souza, explains that very few houses in the area retain the charm and history of the bygone days.
Paul reminisced about the days when Whitefield was a small community of Anglo-Indians and a trunk call away from Bangalore. “Everybody knew each other in the community,” he recalls. “We often got together in the Whitefield Club and at the Memorial Church.” He fondly remembers the days when there was no traffic in Whitefield and the roadsides were perfect venues for long conversations. He recalls that the Whitefield Club, which was then an exclusive Anglo-Indian body, was a place where one could feel the richness of their culture. “Young and old, from toddlers to grannies, were called for parties and gatherings at the club. There was no age distinction. We always got together as a community,” he says.
With the advent of the IT industry in Bangalore, tech parks have spilled all over the town, changing not just the landscape of the area but also the lives of the old Anglo-Indian settlers. Paul lamented that the Anglo-Indian community in the neighbourhood is nearly nonexistent today. “Whitefield today is associated with the rich and the IT industry. A lot of land is being grabbed for big projects,” he rues. The Inner Circle today has very few houses owned by Anglo- Indians. As Paul says, “There is no other place like this in Bangalore, and I intend to preserve the perfect peace of the Inner Circle.”
& Sandra Fernandes
The D'Souzas recall the days when Whitefield's roadsides were venues for long conversations