Just Emkaying: The one with Internet, Rickshaw Economics and Bangalore

Mar 1, 2016

The one with Internet, Rickshaw Economics and Bangalore

Hello! And welcome back to your favorite weekly commentary on the most inane things that go on in my life. You may have missed the last 2 posts, but that’s because the last two posts are yet to materialise and yours truly has been gallivanting about Bangalore and the other town I call home. Technically, I’m still at home, but this time around I have mobile – internet connectivity, a cause for celebration in itself. Hence, I’m posting this blog post from my home – the first time ever, and probably the first ever from this town even.

Cue - Collective cheer and applause.

I am bit disappointed though that the charm of saying that oh-my-village-so-rural is gone now, what with 24 hour electricity (Ha Ha Ha Bangalore!) and network connectivity (Ha Ha Ha Bangalore Airtel users!), but yay for development! (Ha Ha Ha Bangalore roads!)

And of course, while we travel there is always scope for an interesting story. Sometimes I feel like I’m a complication story magnet, what with Taxi drivers and Auto drivers giving me regular fodder for thought. And Bangalore did not disappoint. 

Driver has Mobile - TV enabled on his Rickshaw. Welcome to Bangalore, people. 
My Auto driver (in Bangalore they are called 'Auto’s' unlike 'Rickshaw’s' in Mumbai) had a very interesting analogy to describe why the Bangalore Metro’s completion would still not solve the burgeoning traffic problem disaster. I shall try my best to give you the same flavour as he did in Kannada.

* * *
“Saaar, when there is some food which is very spicy placed outside, there will be ten flies. Those ten flies will go and tell ten other flies that this the food is spicy, don’t go there. So no flies go there eventually, only the new ones who no one has informed about the spicy food. You understand Saar?”

*I nod my head solemnly. Flies and food – very solemn stuff. How can you not like spicy food? Preposterous.*

“But Saar, think of sweet food. What happens? When there are ten flies, they will enjoy the sweet food. Then they will go and tell ten other flies that the food is sweet, and they’ll come with more flies. Eventually every fly goes and tells other flies, and soon there are too many flies. And they keep coming Saar. You understand Saar?”

*OMG. It's a fly-armageddon*

“Saar Bangalore is like the Sweet saar. It is capital of state, everyone comes here and it is better than any other place. So whatever you do, people will still keep coming here. People will stay here because it is sweet. How metro will help, you tell me?”

I don’t think anyone has explained the complexities of rural-urban migration and its impact on infrastructure & development as this guy just did. He should be at a TEDx event, I think to myself.

If you've noticed, Auto drivers in Bangalore use only one foot for driving, while the other is neatly tucked into the seat. They're almost facing the door and leaning on to the right, in terms of posture. 

“So where are you from?” I ask him.

He ignores my question. Either he gets the drift, or he thinks am not “Kannadiga” enough to deserve an answer. A lot of time people are taken back when I speak Kannada.

Or Konkani. Or Tulu. Or even Hindi for that matter.

But he wasn’t done yet.

“Just look at America saar. What kind of sweet that must be? Whoever goes to America, they don’t come back only. I imagine as to what kind of standard they must have brought the country to, for people to not want to leave. Even once in my life I want to go to America, and see the place”

“But that’s a factor of population and education as well, don’t you think?” – I offer.

“Saar, that’s not the only thing saar. Here people don’t care about anyone. Today everyone is out to dupe everyone – and you can’t blame them also. They are filled with hate and anger, they have been duped and are filled with negativity. They do the same as was done to them. Sister can’t see Brother’s success, brother want’s all of parent’s property and Parents want to pull down their own children. When families are rotting, how will society develop?”

“I understand, but there must be a solution?” – I quiz him.

“Humanity saar. We need Humanity. Without it, there is no development. Today if a man is dying by the road because no one will help. If someone does help, the police will harass him. The hospital will harass him. No one will support him. If it is like this why will anyone help? But if instead of one person, 10 go and support him, they will all individually start helping.”

My stop has come by now, so as I get off, he charges me Rs. 40. That’s 200% more than the base fare – in all fairness something I had agreed to before I got in.

“Good luck Saar, have safe journey” he says as he shakes my hand.

Caught off guard, I reply “to you too” and then quickly add on, reminding him to stay calm in this traffic and not get his Blood Pressure up.

“This is daily thing Saar” he says grinning as he rides off.

Moral of the story – Flies doesn't like spicy food?!! 
 * * *

Bangalore hasn't changed much apart from a city being a city - expanding in all directions, getting more traffic, and filling up with smoke. However, this does not feel like the city I left 4 years ago. Am not sure if it I wasn't paying enough attention when I was around, or if the city really did witness a shift of some sorts. Guess I'll never know. That being said though, I did not find enough time to visit all the favorite haunts and say Hi to everyone in Bangalore - perhaps soon enough. 

I did visit the old HQ and meet some of the old gang, and had completely smashed a lunch at one of the best places for Punjabi cuisine in Bangalore ever - Punjabi Rasoi. 

UB towers - 7th Floor Represent! (PS - VJM quitting had nothing to do with me arriving the next day)
Tomato Chicken - Highly Recommended at Punjabi Rasoi. 
And finally, February has come to an end, and with that some other things as well. However, for the first time in many years, I feel a completeness that so much has been accomplished and experienced in just the start of the year. And we're racing ahead for more. 

I also cooked up this piece - When you dig a hole in the ground and scoop out all the dirt, you've changed that space forever.You can put all the dirt and mud back meticulously, but it will never, ever be what it was. Isn't this so with the matters of the heart? Once there's a hole, it will fill up but never be what it was before. Something to ponder if you're on either side - digging or filling. Of course, no one is saying things won't be better off for it :) 

Meanwhile, need some spicy food. 


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