Monday, November 30, 2015

The City is Slowly destroying itself


But maybe I should say we are destroying the city, because the city was always here. We are new. I am talking of Bangalore of course. It known the "Silicon Valley of India", which is ironical because there is huge different between the work done here and in Silicon Valley. No innovation has ever come out of Indian IT companies , ever. The focus on every company here is cost, cost,cost. That is the whole point of outsourcing, to reduce expenditure by giving the job to cheap labour. But still , Bangalore is one of those few cities in India were new-age engineers can practise their craft. For decades the cool & breezy weather here has attracted young engineers in hoards. But it seems that we are approaching a limit , the city is packed full and is about to break at the seams.

It has been two weeks now since that last heavy downpour battered the city. Well, this happens every year, but this year was particularly bad. One might think that two weeks is enough to be on the mend. Hardly. Even now the traffic everywhere crawls at a snails pace, and there is water  logged throughout. The roads have really taken a hit, even the two ring roads which were designed to handle the bulk of the traffic,  now has gaping holes. Running out of words to describe these dangerous potholes, the media is now using the word "craters" !




Employees of IT companies are now "working from traffic", if that's even possible. The collective opinion is that Bangalore is no longer the best place to work at any more.

And its not just the traffic and the roads. The city has had a drinking water problem for years. In summer months, water dries up, and companies and apartments order water in (often illegal) tankers. But then , during the rains, all the water received in on the roads, and not properly used. Even during peak rains, the city was experiencing power cuts due to load shedding,  upto 5 hours a day.  Garbage management is another problem. There is filth everywhere, and again often dumped illegally.

I first came to the city 10 years ago, because that's where the company that hired me wanted to me join and work from. Then I was transferred elsewhere, but then returned to Bangalore about 5 years ago ,and have been living here since. All my life I have been a stickler for public transport. I have always travelled by bus or train (Chennai trains were fun.), and started using the bus systems here from day one.  I used to look out the window and laugh at those who had to drive their own vehicles, while I enjoyed the comfort and safety of BMTC buses.


I used to wonder why people bought cars when there was a excellent bus system. And then after 2 years of bus travel,I found the answer. I used to get on the morning bus at the same place and time for 2 years, and reached office in 1 hour before 9:30. But I noticed that everyday it took more time to cover the exact same distance. The 1 hour to travel to office soon became 2 hours, and I was pushed to become a latecomer. One fine day I got an earful for being hours late, consistently. It was then that I decided I had to get my own vehicle. Two weeks later I got myself a motorcycle. Navigating the terrible traffic was a totally different matter which took me months to master. But at least now I am on time , every time.


People are getting their own vehicles because the public transportation system is broken. In the service industry, time is everything. There is no point in fixing a problem hours late, it was to be fixed within time. And getting their own vehicle is the sure shot way of being in control. Some have suggested that vehicle registration be regulated. The people are doing whatever they can to reduce traffic, carpooling, walking, biking..but without a reliable public transportation system in place, they cannot throw away their vehicles.

I hope things get better soon. Its too early to see this city crumble under the weight of its citizens.

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