It has been a rather uneasy transition for Bangalore from “pensioner’s paradise” or “garden city” to the information technology capital of India.
Longtime residents often complain of immigrants from other parts of the country ruining their paradise. Such complaints have been common in Mumbai, which has witnessed waves of immigration since the 1950s, but Bangalore old-timers tend to blame the city’s problems on the “IT fellows”.
It’s fair to say the city’s infrastructure hasn’t kept pace with the growing population. Traffic jams, as everywhere in the world, are incredibly annoying and travelling in Bangalore makes one wonder what exactly inspired Thomas Friedman to sing praises of this city in “The World is Flat”.
The much-maligned metro rail project is blamed for turning the city into an ugly mess. Gone are many of the broad tree-lined avenues and pretty neighbourhoods that gave the city a small town feel.
But isn’t the very existence of a metro system going to help people avoid the traffic in the future? Residents of Bangkok used to complain about the construction work on the sky rail and the elevated roads. Now, the toll roads and the sky rail are the pride and joy of Thailand’s capital.