Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to Bangalore

Moved to Bangalore one more time.

The first time I arrived in Bangalore, in 1992, it was a city where you could leave at 1:45 PM for a 2 PM Saturday movie, reach in time and with Rs.100 in your pocket, you could get a balcony ticket, a nice cup of strong coffee from India Coffee house, a book from Gangaram's and still have enough money to take an autorickshaw home. After growing up in the perpetually parched Chennai with walls lined with political movie posters, the heat and the humidity, Bangalore was the closest I got to a resort - great weather, tree-lined avenues, a company shuttle to take us to and from work and a salary.

Now, 16 years later, the city is divided into gated ghettos , which have their own power supply, water supply, playgrounds and security. None of them have, as far as I know, declared their own foreign policy yet. Going for a movie is a day-trip and drains your wallet. The roads are congested with no discipline - any attempt at following traffic discipline is looked on as an act of lunacy. It's a classic example of the Tragedy of the Commons.

The good news is the increasing environmental awareness, a willingness to take on responsibility rather than wait for the government to do "something".

However, the key question is whether these groups can attain critical mass and create policy and behavioral changes.