Monday, April 17, 2017

Leave to Live!

Purna Chandra Tejasvi, a noted writer had said in a casual conversation that Bangaloreans, when they die, directly go to heaven as there would be no hell worse than Bangalore in which they had spent their life time. Well, he had said that a long time ago, and it was a dark humor with a warning then. Now that has become reality.

Ask any resident who has stayed in Bangalore for long about how it is transforming, you will realize how a paradise gradually turned into a hell. Ponds and lake beds became space for public utilities and residential townships. Green cover had to be sacrificed for roads and highways. Natural resources got depleted at an alarming space. Now how and why do you expect Bangalore to remain cooler?

Around 15 years ago, it was possible go around Bangalore in a bike like how one would do in any other town. But if you attempt it now, you would return home not just exhausted but with extreme rage and uneasiness. It won’t be a surprise if you woke up next day coughing which won’t leave you for days.

Bangalore is one of the fastest growing cities in this world. It kept growing for its ingredients. In the post-independence era, Bangalore became home to many public sector companies like, BHEL, HAL, BEL, BEML and many more. Industry got developed. There was Indian Institute of Science and good number of Engineering colleges attracting and growing the talent feeding the developing industry. Then came the IT wave which changed the geography of Bangalore completely. Sleeping farm estates of Whitefield turned into a silicon valley of India. People came to Bangalore and they never returned as they built there home here.

It was difficult for Govt. machinery to cope as they had not anticipated this kind of growth. Coupled with their inefficiency, temporary measures adopted by the residents such as improper disposing of waste, drilling deep bore-wells along with unscientific ways adopted by the construction industry including sand mafia helped accelerate Bangalore reach the present state. All of us living in Bangalore, directly or indirectly have contributed to this mess. There are many videos being circulated in social media and numerous articles being published on newspapers and magazines on how Bangalore would become unlivable soon. As we just keep talking and not do what is necessary, we would consciously walk into the reality of unlivable Bangalore.

Then what? Many of us would be forced to leave Bangalore and build home elsewhere. Our employers would change their base. Government may move out some of its offices too. Before that happens, lots of residents would be losing their health for the ill-effects of pollution of every kind – water, air and noise primarily.

So why not leave early? Don’t we deserve a better a life? Of course, there are practical issues like job opportunities are not there outside Bangalore. But for those of us who can find an alternative, it would be worth considering. Cities are harsh on daily life leading. Higher the time spent in commute, lower the time available to do anything else. Higher is the exposure to pollution, lower is the life expectation. Higher earning in Bangalore would also mean higher costs with health deteriorating and reduced ability to earn or remain in job over a long period. Considering the opportunity costs, it would become economically viable to leave the high-paying job in Bangalore to lower earning but a simple life of a small town.

To me (and to some like-minded) this discussion is making sense. I hope I would be able to leave Bangalore before I am forced to.