Saturday, May 13, 2006

Moving Cities...

For the longest time, I said (and believed) that I would never move out of Bombay. My arguments were logically perfect - Which other city offers you similar job oportunities, or entertainment opportunities, the late nights, the bindaas people...?

But I hadn't taken fate into account. Nor the changing face of our cities. Nor my changing priorities.

I moved to Pune last week to take up a job. This was purely a career decision, but Bombay's deteriorating roads & traffic had been frustrating me immensely for the past year. A piddly 4 lane road masquerades as the Western Express Highway, totally ill-equipped to deal with the burgeoning vehicular population. Add to that the auto-wallahs predilection for cutting in front of your car at the slightest opportunity. Driving in the city had gotten increasingly annoying, and my road rage was at it's maximum. I really believe that a city like Bombay that is the financial capital of the country, investment hub for global companies and a city that is showcased to the world should have world class facilities. Instead what it has is global prices & small city amenities! My beloved Bombay had deteriorated so much over the past few years that I was tired of it. I think the last straw was approaching the National Park Flyover in Borivili at 80 kmph and seeing the ambling backside an elephant looming up in front of my car! I really lost it that day! This kind of stuff happens in rural India not in India's Premier City!!!

I'd seen Pune earlier and didn't mind it. It's made up primarily of educated, polite, non shiv sena Maharashtrian Brahmins. It's an education centre that is happily tolerant with it's numerous beef burger outlets. I was worried about it's narrower lanes & crazy two wheeler traffic but I wasn't too worried because I'd have to take the highway to work. But nothing had prepared me for the small town mindset of it's migrant population. Every single day to work & back, I have to brake suddenly at 90 kmph because a dark shape on a poorly lit highway runs across the highway! Not to mention the motorcyclists who believe they have right of way. They'll cut in front of you without using indicators, without consulting their rearview mirrors (if they have any)! I'm really sick of rural India's flagrant disregard for Rules of all kinds!

We had to get the Aquaguard installed. The guy called to say he'll be home in an hour. When he didn't turn up, we called him up & he claimed to be extremely busy and said he couldn't come. We threatened to complain & his words were "Go complain all you like"! This is a mindset common to Pune-ites at all levels. Call Centre agents, Team Leaders, Assistant Managers. The ambition and drive that you see in Bombay is sorely lacking.

But I guess, this is another experience that I will have to learn to live with. At least until Bombay sorts it's infrastructure problem out.