Bangalore, the once Garden City of India, Pensioners’ Paradise, home to peaceful and quiet filter coffee lovers, has now become Traffic City, polluted, expensive, unsafe and has been engulfed completely by the IT bubble , with an influx of people from all over India. I have seen Bangalore transform gradually, step by step and then rapidly, felt the pang of poignancy when I saw the once abundant CMH road with its canopy of trees which sheltered the affluent Indiranagar on a mildly warm summer day, stripped bald to make way for the Bengaluru Metro, watched with sadness as I saw the bicycles and bikes on a scantily crowded road being replaced by cars whose numbers almost equalled the population. The irony of it all is when someone complains about the traffic, sitting in his car, waiting for the traffic to slowly inch forward, blissfully unaware that he is also contributing to the cause.
While there is no use mourning the plight of this once beautiful city, I strongly urge those Bangaloreans who want to make this place the paradise that it used to be, to make some small changes, which may make a big impact in bringing our Bangalore back to what she was:
1. Tackle the traffic issue: As much as we can, let’s try and car pool and use public transport. Whitefield and ITPL seem to be the main problem areas. It will be great if people can find someone they can car pool with or use the bus atleast to these places. Even if we are using autos, if we see people waiting for an auto around us, we can try and pool with them
2. If we see garbage on the road, like wrappers or covers or paper, let us set an example by picking it up and putting it in the nearest bin. This may not have a high impact initially, but with all the movements that are happening, and the thousands of displeased Bangaloreans who are dying to make a difference but don’t know where to start, it is bound to gain momentum. Start doing it and slowly, your friends and family will follow lead
3. Learn Kannada. It is a beautiful language. Though most Bangaloreans are not Kannadigas, let us respect the accommodating Kannadigas who have welcomed us to this beautiful land. While it is obvious that one will be comfortable speaking in one’s native language to those who understand it, let us make it a point to try and speak in Kannada to the locals
4. Plant trees. Even if it is a few marigold plants around your house, plant plant and plant. Since we can’t really stop people from buying cars, we can help limit its impact at the least
5. Don’t break rules. If there is a traffic light, please abide by it even if there’s no cop. Maintain speed limits, stop at red lights and park properly. Set an example for the scores of people who come in every day, and show them that there are rules and we take them seriously. It is NOT cool or macho to break rules. In Bangalore atleast
6. Keep noise levels down. Whether you are chilling in a pub or celebrating Diwali, please ensure that pollution in the form of noise and air are kept down. Making claims like ‘What harm will bursting crackers for 4 hours on Diwali do when there’s industrial and air pollution the rest of the days anyway’ , is pathetic
7. Politely refuse paying auto drivers extra money. If you pay the driver ‘meter mele tonty rupees’ , they know there will be more people like you, and will refuse to take a passenger who may not be able to afford that extra bit. Also, I have personally experienced the ‘meter mele 10’ going to 20, 30, one and a half, double to outright atrocious quotes. Let us not fuel that
These are just a few things we can start with. They don’t need any investment, campaigning or approval.
If Modi can get off his ass and work for the entire country, I’m sure there’s nothing to stop a whole bunch of us who want to revive our old Bangalore.
So come off maga, let us, you and me, bring namma Bengaluru back to life.