The changing face of my city
I came to live in a sleepy mid-sized town, which was not known to anyone abroad ( “you know Bombay? We live to the south-east…”) I have been in love with this city ever since I can remember and was delighted at the idea of coming to live here …and we have been lucky enough to make this our permanent home.
Over the past two decades, Bangalore has changed, with the pace of change accelerating steeply as the IT boom happened. Infrastructure didn’t keep up with development though.
I moved to South Bangalore from central Bangalore and thought that it was lacking in character compared to the beauty of central Bangalore. But central Bangalore changed, almost before my eyes. However, it still does have charm and character, however congested it may have become. The army areas in the Cantonment contribute largely to keeping Bangalore looking somewhat similar to the way it used to look, years ago.
And a couple of days ago, I took a long drive on the Outer Ring Road. I am trying to accept this new look of Bangalore….large wide highways, a totally featureless landscape where the large, anonymous buildings are set back, away from the road, and commerce seems to be the mainstay….the huge building structures give anonymity and distance. The area is so reminiscent of cities like Dubai, or the downtown areas of American cities…there are a few trees, here and there, but nothing that can be classified as significant greenery. It is…bleak, and drab, and money-driven.
I suppose I am dating myself with the nostalgia for the days when I used to love the fact that every Indian city had its own look and character. Now, all cities all over the world are beginning to look the same…and it is a faceless, homogenous, uninteresting, steel-glass-and-chrome-masked appearance. People are part of the anthill; they no longer figure prominently in the city’s life; there are too many to count, and keep track.
I don’t know if I am being articulate enough or making sense…but you just have to see the difference between a street in Basavanagudi, and then go to the Outer Ring Road near Banaswadi, to understand what I am talking about.