Goodbye Bangalore: Driving the trees away!

Its saddening to see so many (some 375-400!) trees being felled in Bangalore and innumerous others being pruned. There were lots of people from NGOs protesting in vain against this act of stupidity last month. I'm surprised as to how the authorities, who take such decisions, got to such an authoritative position with their empty heads in the first place! The reason given for all these foolish acts was to ease traffic woes.

Imagine this: most of these trees are age old huge trees that have spread their branches half way across the road giving shade & solace to everyone who walk/ride/drive by. These trees are *not* in the middle of the roads but mostly at the side. If some of these trees are on the road, they still are not obstructing traffic. This particular tree on Residency Road, that was felled recently, had left enough space at the bus stop for a bus to easily drive on its left and park. But what has been happening and will, undoubtedly, continue to happen is the irresponsible, rude & unorganised BMTC bus drivers will park the bus bang in the middle of the road, while another one will park next to it! Tree or no tree, bus drivers' mentality will remain the same. Next, the poor bus commuters will continue to bring their bus stops to the centre of the road! The other frustrated riders/drivers will continue to rip by the standing passengers in whatever space is left on any side! I do not want to even mention the horrible auto rickshaws. The adjacent school's children & their parents/guardians will remain in misery taking deep breaths while they run across the road maneuvering themselves to dodge vehicles that almost bump into them! These days, its hard to say where one's safer: in the vehicle or outside it. Ah, Bangalore.

People are buying vehicles like crazy, not knowing how to drive or caring to learn how to. A bunch of them know the direction, at most, where they're headed. Rest all is left to acceleration. Rules do not exist for people to know. No one bothers, no one even knows what a white line or a yellow line means; lane discipline is not even dreamt of. Driving licenses are being handed with tests hardly taken. As they say, when money talks, morals walk! Such is the case even at the motoring schools and licensing authorities. While "bad roads" is just an excuse, people make no effort to follow the rules themselves. Honking, to them, seems like some sort of music or a melodious song! The regular traffic policeman is just another crook, who is more interested in the moolah than enforcing discipline. Of course, there is some good policing too that keeps the city breathing while it ticks away to slow death.

The trees that gave shelter are now shouldered away and auctioned off. The repercussions are perhaps unknown to many. The nature is bound to react, sooner than later. We see this not only as global warming from scientific discoveries, but it is felt as mercury rising day in day out. A little less than a decade back (I've lived here since only five years), Bangalore was true to its identity as a garden city. Its no longer so. Just having a Lalbagh botanical garden in the centre does not make up for loss of greenary all around the city. Bangalore was famous also for its timely rain, as soon as the temperatures hit 33 degrees, be it any month of the year. Weather has reduced to not even worth a mention as the city's plus point. All that remains now is a whole lot of over- and under-qualified software engineers, fresh graduates from all walks drawing call centre salaries, pubs that run through the midnight that bathe customers in beer whilst taps await droplets of ground water, Brigade road culture even at work & school, vehicles parked on the roads and running on footpaths, candle-light cooking at home, day-light loots in the open & of course, sleepy government!!!

I'm counting my days left here; then it will thankfully be "Goodbye, namma Bangaluru".
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