I am nostalgic about Bangalore in the 1980s. I would frequent the city on tours from Delhi, and each trip would last four to five days.
The Bangalore I knew was full of greenery, roads were less crowded and you could crisscross the city with ease. The first thing that attracted me to this city was its cosmopolitan culture, good weather that lasts a good ten months and general ambience.
The trees in Jayanagar and on many other roads used be an absolute treat for sore eyes. When I moved to Bangalore for good in 1993, I felt I had taken the best decision of my life. My family was thrilled to land in Bangalore and we settled down fast, without any hassle. Brigade Road and MG Road were only a stone’s throw away from our house on Norris Road, Richmond Town.
Our area had a lot of trees and so a lot of shade to offer. One didn’t see many apartments in those days, instead you could spot plenty of beautiful bungalows, all shrouded in greenery. To take a drive down Bangalore’s roads, with cool breeze blowing, was a pleasure.
It would rain if the temperature crossed 33 or 34 degree Celsius, as if a thermostat had been attached to the clouds. Torrential rains would lash the city just when most would be winding up work at 6 pm. It would take hardly five-10 mins to reach home.
The lakes were many and used to be full whether it was Sankey, Ulsoor or Madiwala. A lot of exotic birds would nestle in Bangalore and lot of bird watchers would be taking photographs of these birds flying over the lake, skimming the surface as if kissing the waters.
Cubbon Park was a good walking strip along with Lalbagh. The flower show, the greenery, the lakes and the sober culture of its people made Bangalore an ideal destination for us and we loved being part of this beautiful city.
The city’s population used to be around 15 lakh which has unfortunately increased to about 1.05 crore. Bangalore is now bursting at its seams. Traffic has increased multifold, leading to traffic snarls. The number cars and vehicles have increased and there is hardly any parking space. The Metro brought with it many perils, top most being the cutting of big trees - the beauty of Bangalore. Pedestrians hardly have any footpaths to walk on as many have vanished or have been occupied by traders. Bangalore which had about 465 lakes has lost more than one third of them to the real estate mafia. Lakes are now polluted with sewage water. The garden city of yesteryears has been reduced to a garbage city and a pensioner’s paradise has become a concrete jungle. Once, a city of pubs has become a city of eateries now. The exotic birds have started vanishing. Water supply is a problem and the water tanker mafia has taken over.
I would like my city to return to its old glory by saving the lakes and footpaths, bettering transportation, ensuring wide roads, regulating traffic, maintaining gardens and parks, and by planting trees.
We should enforce rain water harvesting systems and, above all, keep the city free from garbage and instill civic senses in those who spit on roads.
(The reader is a resident of BTM 2nd stage.)