City Of Traffic Woes!

Recently I came across a post by a Bangalorean, exasperated with the transport issues of the city. I couldn’t agree more with everything that was written in there.
I am not from Bangalore. Several previous visits to the city, way back in the last century, had left a fond impression of the place. There was a big gap in between. Then two visits in this one year made me wonder, whether this was the same city?
I agree that these recent visits were not to the main/old city, but to the fast developing outskirts area. When new townships are erected, one would expect a better and planned development. I guess the outer ring road was meant to ease off the traffic, instead it ended up creating more bottle necks at the cross roads.
The long drive from the airport is interspersed with halts — that’s natural. But as we almost reach the destination, there are long, unmoving stretches of stranded cars. Isn’t there any signal system, one wonders – because, at the cross roads, cars just rush in from all four sides and no one is ready to back off. And then it is a stand still — for hours!
This happens on a dry, normal day. God alone knows what must be the conditions during rains!
The airport cabbie pointed out how the traffic police was coolly enjoying his tea at a roadside stall — as if the traffic was moving smoothly and there was no need to bother about it! Our destination was within walking distance, but what about luggage?
If this is the plight of the visitors, I wonder what the office-goers must be facing everyday!

 

Now, doesn’t this resemble some nice, snowy scene – possibly from some foreign land? This is Bangalore traffic – stalled, because of, mind you, foam flying in the air!
I wouldn’t have believed this, had it not been the windshield of our family’s vehicle.
Traffic itself was not bad enough, this terrible pollution adds fuel to fire. Coming from a city (in)famous for its pollution, I thought I had seen every possible type. But foam flying in the air! It seems the effluence from the surrounding chemical factories is drained in the nearby lake (I think the name is Bellandur Lake) and then it rises from the lake like some monster and hinders the traffic. The traffic jams would be comparatively okay, if you consider its other implication — the type of health hazards which these flying chemicals would cause! Somebody mentioned that this foam also catches fire. Now I haven’t seen that, but if the effluence contains inflammable chemicals, then even that is possible.
If all this was not sufficient, then the auto guys are out to fleece you. For a distance of 1.5 to 2 km, they demand no less than 70 Rs. and when a currency of 100 is handed over, they return only a ten or so, and coolly drive off, saying ‘No more change’.
Two of our family members, who were visiting Bangalore, travelled some place nearby by auto. On reaching the destination, they gave a 100 to the autowala. Just as they turned around — whoosh! within a blink of an eye, the note disappeared and the auto guy insisted that they had never given him any money. One person can make a mistake or forget, but both the ladies clearly remembered  giving him money. He was insistent and started creating a scene, finally succeeded in extracting more money.
Such blatant cheating! Never seen in the bad, bad (considered so by others, not me definitely) city of Mumbai.
On the whole, commuting in the city of Bangalore —— wouldn’t wish it even on the enemy!
Here is hoping for a change for better and hoping that the city would regain its lost aura and its lost title — City of Gardens!

Rain Splashed Diwali ……

Rain Splashed Diwali —–
This is how the sky appeared on the eve of Diwali. Unbelievable? At least for me it was a bit difficult to believe that it could pour so hard during Diwali …. It truly was a novel experience.
The festival of lights is celebrated at home every year. There would be visits to relatives and friends, but basically we would be stationed in our home-town. This year we were in another city – Bengaluru, during the festivities.
Right from the day we reached the city, the skies were perpetually clouded and gloomy. Everyone was hopeful that it would clear up by the festival time, but instead, the rains kept increasing from Dhan Teras right through Diwali.
An occasional shower during Deepavali is not absolutely unheard of, but such incessant rain? It was more like the month of July than November.
Along with the heavy rains came all its paraphernalia, too – disrupted electricity supply, mud and slush, pot-holes filled with rain water, traffic jams ……everything in minutest details.
The local newspapers ran pictures of bumper to bumper rows of cars, with all their tail-lights uniformly blazing red, on the jammed roads. It was as if the cars were rejoicing the festival of lights with only the tail-lights glowing brightly in the dark of the night.
On the Lakshmi Pooja day, the rains started receding by late afternoon – it did return the next day, but at the time of Pooja it was all clear and immediately everybody came out to celebrate and burn crackers. Within minutes the darkening skies sparkled with splendid fireworks.
Some locals said that rains during Diwali time are a usual thing in Bengaluru, while others felt that it was because of the sudden atmospheric changes. Whatever may be the reason, it was a different experience and an enjoyable one.
Another – and the true reason for the merriment was ….after almost a decade the family was enjoying the festival together.
Long time back, it was an era of joint family, then came the nuclear families. And now is the time of ‘dispersed families’. Either for education or job or for some such factor, nowadays the members of most of the families are spread over in different corners of country/world. It is not always possible to spend time together or celebrate occasions together due to some reason or the other. So, it is ‘Sone pe suhaga’ when the family is together and the occasion is the grand festival of the year.