BENGALURU : It’s high time the warning, ‘Graphic scenes: Viewer discretion is advised’, was posted offline too – on every road, beneath the flyovers, on footpaths, in front of empty plots, beside under-construction buildings. It’s not just the hidden nooks and corners, after all, that show stomach-churning images of rotting garbage lying around. Or, for that matter, overflowing sewers, or slushy potholes.
These are problems that, until a few months back, I would have associated with the more congested ‘IT crowd’-inhabited nerve centres of the city, my nonchalance when friends went on a rant about the dismal civic facilities betraying the smugness that I felt. North Bengaluru – I gloated as soon as someone’s eyes popped out on hearing Yelahanka or Jakkur – was all about traffic zipping fast, and lung spaces like GKVK that gave us cleaner air to breathe than other parts of the town.
Now, as it’s always said to do, karma has caught up. I nod reluctantly when fellow Bengalureans from HSR and Whitefield complain about craters or black spots on roads. The glow on my face has got worn off, quite like the layer of tarmac on the Allalasandra flyover that connects Bellary Road to the newest destination of pride in the area – a shopping mall (what else!). Since it was opened about four years ago, the flyover has been following a kind of annual ritual of shedding its skin.
But its bowels are getting heavier, stuffed as they are continuously with trash, that overflows all the way across the railway line to the main that leads to the airport. Bellary Road, on both sides, is just a trail of rubbish for almost a kilometre as it runs parallel to the Allalasandra flyover.
Seriously, what good is the much-hyped weather if you cannot take a stroll down the footpath without turning up your nose, or averting your gaze constantly? The beautifully kept Allalasandra lake is literally full of life – I even spotted a 6-foot long snake whiling away time on the banks once – but the visuals behind the premises tell another story, with mounds of trash, and construction debris lined up on roadside.
Though it’s easy to blame the mess on insouciant civic authorities, I think it also says a lot about the citizens themselves. Call me elitist (or is it reverse-elitist?), but that includes even the educated, earning-in-lakhs-per-month, living-in-amenities-ridden-condos people, who have made even a, pristine, tree-lined avenue like Jakkur Plantation Road a nightmare to walk on, or simply, gaze at.
The quiet cul-de-sac is a haven for their pets, since they relieve themselves wherever they – or their owners – please, with the footpath being the most preferred place. It’s surely not for lack of knowledge that they don’t clean up after the dog. It’s plain apathy, since they – as they zoom down the road in their swish sedans – don’t spare a thought for those who walk on the stretch, not because their smart watch tells them to, but because they just have to. And as the indifference shows no signs of diminishing anywhere, it’s really the city that’s going to the dogs.