Bangalore Ways

This is a rant. Beware!

Vidhan Soudha, Bangalore (Pic: Mittermaniac)

Mumbai really spoils you. Once you’ve lived here, you cannot live anywhere else in India.

I’ve heard this so many times that I’ve actually started believing it… and living it perhaps.

After 12 years of inhabiting this city, I can safely call it home. Because t-w-e-l-v-e years is supposed to be a really l-o-n-g time. And in this really long time, Mumbai has spoilt me for both good and bad. But I only seem to realise this when — and whenever — I travel outside the city.

Just a day outside Mumbai makes me want to go back to its sprawling mess. I develop newfound respect — almost reverence — for its roads and railways. I can trade all the empty streets in the world for its suffocating traffic. I can be at ease in its matchbox-sized apartments, which I might otherwise ridicule. I can bow down to its cabbies and autowalas, who are usually quite infuriating. But at least, they exist. And in hordes. Unlike in Bangalore, for instance. A joke of a city with a non-existent public transport system.

Train hai? Nahi. 
Auto hai? Haan, par autowale harami hai. 
Bus hai? Haan, par kabhi-kabhi late aati hai. 
Ola/Uber toh hai na? Haan, par Ola Auto kaam nahi karta. 
Metro hai? HAHAHAHA.

Even its frigging airport is situated outside the city.

I often wonder how Bangalore managed to become one of India’s nerve-centres with such a laughable commute system? It has less than half of Mumbai’s population, and possibly one-third of its road traffic, but Bangaloreans crib about their traffic more than Virat Kohli swears. And sometimes, they’d even crib about the rain and the mess it leads to on the roads. TO A MUMBAIKAR, A BANGALOREAN EXPLAINS WHAT RAIN DOES TO THE ROADS! TO A MUMBAIKAR!!! Should we laugh or cry?

You talk to a Bangalorean about anything that is not right in Bangalore, and they would have the lamest possible defence up their sleeves. “This isn’t Mumbai. Aisa nahi hota hai yahaan par.” Well, of course it isn’t Mumbai. THIS MORONIC PLACE CANNOT BE MUMBAI. And THAT is evident all over. You needn’t reiterate it, Dear Exalted Bangalorean!

But what you NEED to know is the difference between aisa nahi hota hai yahaan par AND kuch bhi dhang ka nahi hota hai yahaan par. Instead of patronising Mumbaikars for being used to a quality life, Bangaloreans could do with some acceptance of that reality. But no! “Dunzo hai na? It’ll carry our shit to our grave.”

Also, Bangaloreans are busy people. V-e-r-y b-u-s-y. If only they could get their collective heads out of the bottom of that thing called “Bangalore Weather”. The whole of Bangalore is so obnoxiously fixated on its weather that it’ll soon start trading in Celsius and Fahrenheit instead of the Rupee. We’ll call it the Degree Economy. And get it acknowledged by elder brother Silicon Valley, okay?

“Oh! I am dying. No autos are ready to go to the hospital.”
But, Bangalore weather…
“Oh! I paid 1,000 bucks traveling from my home to the airport.”
But, Bangalore weather…
“Oh, the lakes are gaseous, I can’t effing breathe.”
But, Bangalore weather…

Of course, these could be dismissed as surface observations even though they are based on my frequent (sometimes elaborate) visits to the city. But whenever I bring them up, Bangaloreans (some friends included) would be up in arms. And their collective defence, “You’ll know when you start living here. It’s a great city.”

Well, that’s precisely the difference between Bangalore and Mumbai. If you tell a Mumbaikar that the BMC sucks and the monsoons are a mess, they’ll repeat after you. If you tell a Mumbaikar that rent in Mumbai is a joke, they’ll tell you more about it. If you tell a Mumbaikar that the cost of living is very high in Mumbai, they’ll acknowledge it.

You will NEVER hear a Mumbaikar tell you something as lame as, “Nahi re, it’s not like that. Start living here, you’ll know how awesome Mumbai is.” BECAUSE THEY DON’T NEED TO! MUMBAI DOESN’T NEED A LAME DEFENCE.

This may not be an opportune moment to sing paeans of Mumbai given a footbridge fell apart, some restaurants caught fire, and monsoons wreaked havoc more than once — all within a year. Similarly, not all is terrible about Bangalore. There are several things to appreciate about the city. Its beautiful public parks, for instance. Given a chance, I’d export Cubbon Park to Mumbai.

But Bangalore people, OMG! They are so pig-headed! If only they realised that their “weather” is not forever. If only they knew that global warming is on its way. And… if only they accepted that their city effing lacks a basic transport system!

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