Sunday, June 05, 2011

11 years

Yes, its been 11 years since I rolled into Bangalore - on a Sunday like this - at about 9 am in the Udyan Express from Mumbai - sleeper class. June 5th it was and I was surprised at about 12 noon, when the weather did not really feel like June in Mumbai. Mumbai was hot, Bangalore was pleasant. And what weather glorious weather it was. Yet, 11 years ago, I was not sure if this city was good. The weather was nice, but little else otherwise. Roads were sad. Electricity was not great. The city was not professional like Mumbai. There was little else to do unlike Mumbai. Public transport sucked big time.

But in 11 years, the city has come a long way. Yes, we had to live through the construction of the Silk Board flyover and the market flyover. We had to live through a million traffic jams (and continue to do so - but the difference is that there is hope now). A zillion electricity cuts - which have become a million now. But none was as great as the great attempt to drag Bangalore into a "halli"ness by the fumble harmer (deliberate spoonerism) and his family (it still continues with a certain chaprasis help). Roads were dug up, development stopped and we had to hear pontifications on poverty from those who drove SUV's and owned government allotted petrol pumps.

In the last 3 odd years, infrastructure construction has been going at a great pace, public transport (BMTC is probably Indias best or second to BEST) rocks, Metro construction has been going at a fast clip and Bangalore is developing. Rickshaws are still not professional, traffic cops can fine more motorists and surely the educated motorists of this city can have more traffic sense, but yes, the city feels like a city more and more.

Yet 11 years ago, I had no inkling of how this city would be my home...

Bangalore has advantages very few other places have. With its weather, it is a great place to create cycling tracks on roads. It is a great place to walk - even to work. There are many lakes here which are dying and can be rejuvenated. With its size, it offers a great quality of life that large cities cannot provide. Did I mention it has great food options? And yes, it has the potential to be Singapore and more. Hopefully this vision will be realized...

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