Sunday, April 18, 2010

Death of Cities

No, this is not about the whole traffic congestion, abuse of resources, water problem..basically problems caused due to ultra over population in big cities. This post is about the death of cities identity.

I happened to chance upon this article from outlook which was moderate in its approach and this absolute shocker frm CNR Rao. Both these articles got me thinking. Having spent my childhood in Hyderabad, college days in Chennai, the few working days till now in Bangalore and Pune, I feel I'm fairly qualified to comment on the state of these cities.

It is obviously an undisputed fact that the cities I've spent time in are growing , and mostly for the good. But they are also fast loosing their charm. Each city is looking more and more like a clone of the other. The individuality of each city , the charm that they have been famous for are fast being forgotten or lost.

It was in my second year I think when I went to visit good friends Sundar's house near Chitrakulam in Mylapore. The whole place reminded me of scenes from some period movie. There were age old agraharam houses , two ancient Vishnu temples , and temple Elephants on the street!! The maruti car parked on the narrow street looked soo out of place. Forgot the British raj built buildings and corridors. I felt this place deserved the tag of heritage area more than anything else.

Another place that immediately comes to mind is Laad bazaar , one of the four annexes of Charminar. The place hasn't changed in breadth or businesses done in more than 200 years, except for the fact that the road is always jammed with traffic. I've always felt the four roads leading to Charminar need to be cordoned off, atleast for buses. It has the potential to be something like Taj Mahal, but is right now no better than most of the slums in old city.

Although I havent explored Banglores or Pune streets to know enough about their respective heritage , Im sure they have enough and more to preserve. The glass facades and KFC's are all good , but they get damn boring after a point of time. Im really happy about each cities rise , but I do want to feel proud of how people before felt proud of their cities. Hyd as the Nawabi place, Chennai as best place for well preserved temples, Bangalore as the beautiful city and Pune as pensioners paradise.

Phew, a blog after really long. Need to keep this alive by posting atleast once a quarter.

P.S:1) Sundaram, you live in an amazing place with all modernity.
2) I'm not sure what the present situation is in Laad bazaar. My memory of that place is from about 10 years ago.