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14 Jan 2007

The Bengalooru Story

Posted by Oblivion in General | 8:12pm

Average number of auto drivers you have to try before finding one to take you from A to B:
Bangalore: 2.3
Hyderabad: 1.1
Calcutta: 1.04

No. of autos with tampered meters (out of 10):
Bangalore: 8
Hyderabad: 5
Calcutta: N/A

No. of auto drivers who demand excess fare (out of 10):
Bangalore: 7
Hyderabad: 3
Calcutta: N/A

I haven't lived in other cities for a long enough time to compile similar data, but I'm certain one's experiences with autos in those cities cannot be worse than that in Bangalore. Auto drivers in Bangalore behave as if they are offering you a lift for gratis. I don't like to believe that police in Bangalore are not aware of these problems. If they are, then I don't see any use of having such an ineffective and dumb force in place. If they are aware but don't know how to address the situation, it again means the force is utterly incapable and stupid. If they are aware but don't want to do anything (which is, to my mind, likely the case), well... let me not get into slang.

Bangalore doesn't have many alternatives for transport. Calcutta has metro, one of the best in the world, trams, taxis and adequate bus services. Moving around in city isn't difficult for an outsider. Mumbai has local trains and taxis. Hyderabad has basic suburban train services, but buses and autos help commuting absolutely fine. You don't need to be familiar with Telugu to find out where a bus is going to, or what the name of a shop or a street is. Hindi, the official national language followed by majority, is prominently used so you don't feel out of place no matter which corner of the country you are from. In Bangalore, the regional language (although Kannada is one of the national languages, yet it is geographically regional) is overly prominent. Regional language has its place, but when you brag of being a cosmopolitan city, you should be more welcoming and tolerant of the outsiders. If you think it's too much and look at it as a threat to your security and culture, then drop the epithet and assert that you are a rigid city.

Cosmopolitan doesn't mean iPod crowd, more malls, bare midriffs, hybrid accents, international airport and foreign crowd; it means you are easy with the rest of the world, being mature and free of local bias. Mumbai is perhaps the only city in India than can be called cosmopolitan. I don't know about Delhi, but it might be on the list too. Calcutta wouldn't be far; infrastructure is below par, but its attitude is quite cosmopolitan even though it's strongly attached to its culture.

Bangalore, the most hyped city, has a long long way to go. It's just the Silicon Valley's loo, done with attractive interiors and appealing ad campaign. That's about it. The only good thing about Bangalore is its weather. Else, the city, vain and hypocritical, sucks! In more ways than hundred.

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