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May 19, 2006

Namma Bengaluru

The phenomenon that is Bangalore.

I have had the opportunity to spend quite some time in a few Indian cities. Each time I have gone to a new city I have done so with an open mind. To absorb the new culture, their way of life. It is very interesting how each city is different from one another. But no Indian city (apart from Kolkata) has left so much impression on me as Bangalore has done.

The first time when I came here I was bowled over by almost everything that I saw. The natural airconditioning, the youngness of the crowd, the lush greenary, the avenued roads and ofcourse the opportunities that it offerred.

All this, packed into an area which you could safely traverse on your two wheeler with your dear wifey tucked behind. There was hardly anything about this place which I did not like. Not even the admonisment I got for shouting at the nearby chicken stall owner. No one honked from behind if you were a tard late to start your engine at a traffic signal once the green lights were on and timer said 0 second.

It was a city which seemed to be sure of its place. A city in no hurry. A city which was not trying to prove anything to India and to the world outside. A city where I did not have my brush with civic corruption. A city which everybody was gaga about.

The second time I could see a drastic difference. Only 2 year hence. Rents have shot the roof. The summers are hot - the natural air conditioning almost gone. Earlier while you were waiting at a signal, no vehicle used to move till the timer showed 3-4 seconds. But now I can see an impatience when the timer is hovering around 12-13.

As the length and breadth of the city becomes more undefined there is a sense of hurry. Driving in Bangalore is like taking part in an Urban rally. You are competing with everybody else to finish first.

Suddenly you see people are more angry. And now I am admonishing people for not being patient.

On the social level, there is a perception that outsiders from the north and from neighbouring states is enjoying the pie. There is a sense of insecurity. A sense of getting lost in your own land. The recent riots post Rajkumar's were a result of that. The whole segment of the urban poor has not benefited. At best they end up servicing the outsiders who are now the king consumers.

But Bangalore was never meant for this kind of growth. Thus the growth pangs are even harsher than the other big metros have faced. They too have their own share of problems. Parallely the media's honeymoon with Bangalore is over. Once it was fashionable to slam Kolkata and its redness. Now the guns are slowly getting trained towards Bangalore. Today deriding Bangalore sells more than deriding Kolkata. And the Devegowda bumpkins have not helped thing either.

But despite all this I like Bangalore. And I dont feel the need to spell out why.


Cacti Girl said...

we're seriously thinking of moving to mysore. much better place to live in. though i don't know how long before the industrialists move there too. they have already started.

i used to like bangalore too, but i don't anymore.

kaushik said...

Will Intel allow that..

Cacti Girl said...

nyah. will have to look for something in mysore if we do move.

kaushik said...

Then your vacant position in Intel should come to me... Right..

Cacti Girl said...

completely :)