Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hello from Bangalore!

Hello everyone. Yup, I am still alive. I have been very busy for the past couple of months. There have been so many changes in my life that blogging was the last thing in my mind. Well, I have relocated to Bangalore now. It's been quite a change for me. But it's also lot of fun since I am getting a chance to explore a new city and being a vagabond is just so much fun :D :D

Some of my posts henceforth would be about my impressions about the city. Bangalore is a growing city. There is lots happening here and it is interesting to chronicle its growth. However, while I scour the city, I always end up comparing the city with Mumbai. I know it's a stupid exercise, but I can't help but do it since Mumbai is the only reference point for me. Reporting in two different cities also helps me gain a perspective of how cities function. Bangalore is growing at a rapid unhealthy pace. Mumbai is a 'been-there-done-that' kind of a city. Even though they are different, there are some interesting parallels as well. I might blog about that later.

What I intend to write in this post are my impressions regarding the events that followed the verdict given by the tribunal on the Cauvery issue. Anyways,on February 6th Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal gave its verdict after 16 long years. One can read more about it here

I went out with my photographer colleague to scour the city to check out how various areas were reacting to the verdict. Most of the city remained indoors yesterday. The roads were completely empty. I could have played roller skating on the roads. Shops in many areas remained closed. I wondered why. The city had a presence of 18,000 troops to prevent any possible backlash against the Tamilians in the city. {I was advised to forget talking in Tamil for a week, he he. I think I can manage quite well with my broken Kannada, Hindi and English :D :D} And all this happened when there was no formal declaration of a bandh.

I found the reaction of the Bangaloreans to be quite precautionary. In fear of a possible violence, people themselves opted to not to leave their houses. I guess such kind of response was because of the failure of the administration in earlier occassions especially during the 1991 Cauvery riots, Rajkumar's Death etc. {Can anyone tell me how bad the situation was during 1991?}

Finally a formal bandh was declared on February 12th. The roads were EMPTY. There were no buses, no autorickshaws, no cars. There was absolutely nothing at all. For someone who is completely dependent on public transport, it was a difficult day. But thankfully, a colleague came to my rescue and I went about to various parts of the city in his motorbike. I thought the public reaction to the Bandh was quite submissive. Back home in Mumbai, we have witnessed many such instances. However, I don't remember of any particular bandh which was uniformly effective all over the city. I guess one of the main reasons why Bandhs are only effective in only certain pockets in Mumbai are the local trains which never stop completely. Though Local trains remain one of the main targets during a bandh, people don't really stop commuting. So in essence normal life does not really halt completely. Here in Bangalore, the BMTC buses (the main mode of public transport) did not ply on the roads at all. I shudder to think what would happen if local trains don't function at all. I guess in Mumbai one has many options including BEST buses, autorickshaws which complement the local train services perfectly.

Also, Mumbai hasn't had a proper Bandh for sometime due to this reason. In the past four years, I don't really remember one single Bandh paralysing the whole city. Needless to say Bangalore was completely crippled without buses, rickshaws, private cabs etc. One could have organised a skating tournament. Bangalore was completely pollution-free that day. I wonder how would the city have reacted, had something like this happened in Bangalore as well! Hmmm....

9 comments:

Divya said...

r u particularly fond of rollar skating?

Prem Paul Ninan said...

Ah, I always love such comparisons. Good stuff. I've put up something on my blog too... Just a Bangalorean's perspective. Do check it out...:)

niranjan said...

Hi...welcome to bangalore. From food street to the IT highway...hope you enjoy it all. Have fun.

Blessen said...

Shobha!!! Welcome back to blogging!!!

Would have been fun to see you try your hand (or should I say, foot) ar roller skating!!! hehe...

Interesting comparison! I guess this is just one of the reasons why I love Mumbai so much!!! Cheers...

Keep blogging!!!!

kpowerinfinity said...

Wow! welcome to bangalore (I relocated sometime last year). Just happened to check my old blogroll again after a rather long time.

'91 riots apparently were pretty bad. A lot of people died and schools were closed for a very long time. One of the reasons why everybody was extra-cautious this time around. Offices closed early with elaborate arrangements to protect buildings, schools were closed anyway I guess. Our place was shrouded in a "net" since it got stoned during the Rajkumar time with heavy damage to the glass paneling.

Let me know if you need any help in settling down in Bangalore. And keep posting experiences about bangalore. Guess I will come back more often to read different and interesting takes on the city.

Vidya said...

Empty streets in Bangalore?? I would PAY to see that!

David said...

I love the blog that you have. I was wondering if you would link my blog to yours and in return I would do the same for your blog. If you want to, my site name is American Legends and the URL is:

www.americanlegends.blogspot.com

If you want to do this just go to my blog and in one of the comments just write your blog name and the URL and I will add it to my site.

Thanks,
David

Vibhanshu Abhishek 3.1 said...

Nice blog you got here. and yeah driving in Bangalore was a bliss on the 12th. I just got back from a long trip and was in the mood for some photography. The traficless roads helped a lot :)

Anyways welcome to Bangalore and have a nice stay

India City said...

Bangalore is a friendly city. Both the metros- Bangalore and Mumbai are equally same. Both are busy, people constantly chasing their dreams. Plus shopping malls, pubs, film stars, politicians etc.

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