Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crossing Roads in Bengaluru....

" Is there any way of crossing the road at Madivala market without losing your life?" I often feel like tapping the traffic policeman there and asking him that. This police guy does not lift a finger to help us poor pedestrians. Still, miraculously, I find that I have survived to tell the tale. The Madivala market is the weekly vegetable/fruit/fish buying destination of most people in my area. It occupies a long stretch of the road with one side selling fruits, flowers, fish and the other side almost entirely dedicated to vagetables. Now, if you want to cross to the vegetable side, after buying fish and fruit (as I am in the habit of doing) then chances are that you will be mowed to the ground by a thousand buses, tempos, cars, autos, trucks, scooters and motorbikes that stream continuously down the road, without the policemen at the bus stop caring to stop the flow of the traffic to let us hapless pedestrians cross! Most of the time I employ the procedure of 'taking a dada', that I had perfected in Calcutta. This process involves the searching out of a fellow crosser, mostly male, who has that 'devil may care' look about him who is hell bent on crossing the road. Thereafter, you have to position yourself so that if this character has an error in judgement then he will be hit first by the crazy bus/car/ etc and you will have enough time to scurry back and pretend nothing happened! Some people have perfected the art of slipping in between the flow if the traffic as soon as it slows and somehow meandering in the flow and reaching the other side amidst relentlessly flowing traffic! I have a lot of respect for these people but somehow I cannot make myself do the same. I can wind through the vehicles if they have stopped at a redlight. I have to cross the busy Hosur road 4times every week day twice alone and twice with the mite as I take him to and from his school. When the larger vehicles stop at the light the two wheelers come rushing out from every crack and crevice so timing is very important if you want to escape alive! Then there is the peril of getting run over by a two wheeler on the footpath as they use it freely as the extension of the road. I have seen two wheelers going full speed on the footpath, and one even dared to blow its horn on me as I was walking towards mite's school! I mean, where are the pedestrians supposed to go?
I am a confirmed pedestrian, I love walking the streets of Bangalore. There is so much life there. The trees of bangalore are the best, large with branches outstretched....It is a pity that so many of them have to be cut for one purpose or the other. The road widening process has lead to the loss of several is heart breaking to see trees cut and lying about in pieces! I know that it is imperative to cut trees for the purpose of construction in a city like this, but is it not possible to be a bit humane about it. It will not harm anyone if the authorities pledge to plant ten trees for every tree they have to fell? Is it possible to not let the uprooted trees lie on the road? Their wood may be used by the needy...if they lie around in the rain then they will rot. I encountered these rotting trees on Hosur road where a pipe laying expedition is in progress. On the other hand I also discovered on my walking expeditions beautiful trees at the most unlikeliest of places giving shade and a certain tranquility to all who stand beneath them and watch the hectic city life go by.

Trees left rotting at the roadside (below). Two beautiful trees, one at a market place and another at a busy bus stop (above)

I found a film poster on a side street wall...Jack Sparrow, anyone??? Albeit a little well fed! heh heh! The other day I was visiting a friendly neighbourhood market and there was a crowd outside the cinema hall there. The hero, whose film was running was visiting the hall. The hero was greeted by loud crackers and the young shop assistant at the shop I was going to was standing outside on the sidewalk railing. When I asked him to give me some cashew etc he came into his shop, smiling.
"Is the hero here", I asked , "yes", said he. "I have never seen any hero from such close quarters" he added, his grin widening. " Ekdum Black hai" (he is dark complexioned), "aur poster mein fair dikhata hai" ( in the film posters he looks fair). I added a few lines about how all of them are just ordinary and look wonderful on screen etc and the both of us smiled knowingly at each other. I could not help lamenting the plight of us poor Indians, spending sooo much money to watch a make believe world. The stars paid sooo much and put on a pedestal to boot and the public, struggling to make ends meet, yet spending their hard earned cash to watch strange copies of others' films. The least film makers can do is show us some originality so that our money is not entirely wasted!

I took pictures of some other disturbing scenes in this beautiful city wich is a result of callous urbanization. Tell me, is it necessary for urban development to be this ugly? Can it not be planned and organized and systematic where it does not have to bring filthy exposed drains into being. Surely there is someone goofing up around here!
I have included also the phtos of some flowers in my balcony which bloomed in August to make the post less of an eyesore!

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