You don’t need a Batman to save Gotham city. I mean – you don’t need a Super hero to save our beloved Bangalore. All we need is ‘us’ – the normal everyday heroes and we can do it! Since the day I’ve arrived in Bangalore, everyone has been asking me, what’s next. I think saving Bangalore will be my next. What’s yours?
Sanjay Koppikar’s book Bangalored is the dystopian story of a city that has long lived beyond its means and is now pathetically crying out for its survival in the year 2020.
The book is very timely and appropriate as the silicon hub of India is already on the verge of collapse witnessing chaotic, unplanned urbanisation, unbridled expansion of the IT industry, haphazard construction of office and apartment complexes and shopping malls. This must be the only city in the world unbelievably without its own water source as it has to get drinking water from a source that is 90 kilometres away.
The past two decades, it has sent its ground water level to such depths that no potable water is available today. The less said the better about rain water harvesting while the real estate mafia has been destroying the green cover of the city systematically. Over the years, the real estate in its greed for more and more money, has encroached and destroyed its carbon sinks, the hills and dales, lakes and tanks and the surrounding forests.
The author in this regard, realistically portrays the ‘water wars’ in 2020 and the ensuing fight for water between the haves and have-nots and how it results in the criminalisation of a city which grew without any checks and balances.
“Water problems are glaring pushing people to fights and even deaths; language related wars have become common on the street and numerous well known IT companies are on their way out of the city. He keeps rattling about the rapid increase in crime rate which he attributes to lack of opportunities for the youth coming to the city. And this catastrophe has only highlighted that the city which was once the pride of India, the city which the world depended upon for IT services has indeed died,” writes the author in the first chapter itself.
The storyline is simple and straight. It is 2020 and Bengaluru is dead. Yash Deshpande, a 22-year-old NRI, returns to the city to seek answers to the mystery behind his father’s sudden death. The son is desperately looking for answers and he feels somebody is responsible for his father’s death as it is unbelievable that he could have committed suicide.
In fact, Sid Deshpande, his father, is a dynamic man with great morals who had always been Yash’s role model and his superhero. His father was a successful software entrepreneur who set up his company in Bangalore in 2004 before moving to the Bay Area in 2015. Coming across his father’s digital diary which he manages to open, Yash gets a glimpse into his father’s struggles and how he managed to set up a successful company.
The author has juxtaposed the past and the present moving from the son to the father when he was alive. He also describes the role of many of Sid’s colleagues and friends who deny any knowledge or any clues behind his death. However, all this unfolds as Yash goes through the journal.
After going through a video containing his father’s last recording of an interview and analyzing the journal entries followed by his meetings with many of his father’s associates, Yash manages to unravel the story behind his father’s death as well as his mysterious actions. But what he discovers will change him, and force him to see the city he could not wait to leave, with new eyes. And thus, Yash gets Bangalored.
A city based entrepreneur and author, Sanjay Koppikar is the co-founder and CEO of Quadwave. He started his career as a 18-year-old in the IT industry from Dharwad, Karnataka, before moving down to Bengaluru. Bangalored is his first novel and it is a very interesting, fictional account of a city that saw its meteoric rise and grew beyond everybody’s imagination but eventually faces its doom.