Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Banglorean Appeals!

                                                The Banglorean Appeals!

Dear Fellow Banglorean
Hope you still exist.I tried finding you today,so that I could introduce you to my friend from Neverland.He went back disappointed.But so was I. Where are you when your streets are being littered and walls are being dirtied by all and sundry? Where are you when the traffic bursts at its seams and travelling becomes a war fought each day?Where are you when trees are being chopped off to make way for the ever growing city?Don't the roads and the trees and everything else that this once beautiful city offers belong to you?
Do you hear me when I shout and are yet passive?Or do you hear at all?The streets were all so crowded today...yet I felt so lonely.I miss your presence.Or are you scared to raise your voice too?Our Bangalore needs you...and all your friends too.....
Yours faithfully
A Lone Banglorean

My friend Never from Neverland always wanted to explore Bangalore.He wanted to see the real Bangalore.I wanted to discover it again too...it has been a long time see.So we step out.One fine Monday morning it is....

We go out jogging.Both of us are upbeat.Only for so long.I see cows excreting on the footpath in front of my house.I shouldn't have brought my friend out at this early hour."Cows are always tethered and taken care of by owners in Neverland.."Never says."We worship them here.So no tying business"I reply feebly.
We move on.A couple of hundred yards later,we find an elderly citizen urinating against the wall.He has a leading daily tucked under his arm."So...what is this?"Never asks.I break into a small sweat.
"Even illiterate people in Neverland use public urinals"He offers."I guess he was a little desperate"I defend my Banlgorean again.

We break into a jog.Suddenly a bag of  house-waste whizzes past us onto the street.It's full of rot.
"Isn't it their street?"Never asks me in sarcasm."No.."I reply.Equally bland."The street belongs to the public.It does not belong to them."
"But who is the public?" Never asks.
"Well...."Yeah..I had to cook up a reply for that.Where exactly did a public exist?Or when? The day had already started sliding.

We come back home and finish breakfast.Never wants to experience Bangalore traffic.We start off.
Being a usual commuter,the traffic hardly bothers me.But there Never is.He can barely sit as a pillion as I drive my bike through the chaos that Bangalore traffic is these days.My bike wriggles out at angles,sticks out
at right angles to other vehicles.Horns blare,good old BMTC spews out smoke.Never almost chokes.Then I
 break a couple of signals and drive him up the wrong way.Through all the choking he still manages to shout "You are breaking traffic rules!!! "
I laugh out "We break hundreds each day.We are in a hurry...our MNC jobs are at stake!!!"  
"In Neverland..."he reels off.But the rest is drowned in the pandemonium on Outer Ring Road.We are stuck again.
During the wait,Never manages to spot the Metro construction.
"So when will all this mess get cleared up?"he asks.
"Oh..no.It's hard work Never.Bangalore is getting a Metro see..the whole city will be on it someday.."I say enthusiastically.
"But wasn't this work going on last time I came here too..?"I am actually stumped.I wish I had never called him here.

I treat him at a trendy restaurant with his favorite cuisine.He is apparently satisfied. "You Bangloreans are great foodies man!"He says dreamily.Finally a compliment!I am relieved.

The relaxed afternoon gives way to an evening full of promise.I take him shopping hoping to give him a good parting impression about Bangalore.It goes on quite well.I hire an auto to drop him at the railway station.
We make it 10 minutes early.But then trouble starts.The driver demands one-and-a-half ,the local terminology.Haggling ensues.It develops into an argument.Then a heated exchange.No one in the crowded station even bothers.They are all used to it.My friend Never tries to interject,but  in vain.It almost comes to blows.Then Never calms me and pays the fare himself-excess and all.I see him off and head back...a picture of anger and embarrassment.My plan is made up.I buy a sheet and pen and write that write that letter at the top of this page. I crumple it and throw it on the street. A crumpled sheet attracts attention.I hide at a corner and watch.A fellow picks it up...my plan is working!

I congratulate myself and head back home.Only,one thing that Never said when leaving haunts me
"You guys speak a beautiful language called Kannada right? How is it I never heard anyone speaking it?"