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.


Hanu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hanu said...

For a blog with such a wanna be title, this post was too much! hehee :P :P
Great work PAM.. and i must say i agree with you TOTALLY on this one..
P.S. I would love to go to a place like Mylapore.. good description :)

Swathi said...


Dude I like this post!

jibbu said...

Awesome post dude. Ya I second that Mylaopre is a totally special area in chennai. And I dont think you know about the really beautiful girls who throng my street during the utsavs. But sadly in my street also they ve started demolishing the old houses and building huge apartments. Even the temple doesnt seem to mind sacrificing heritage for utilization of the space above these small houses. Ya keep posting once in a couple of months atleast dude.

K@MaL said...

good to c u blogging again :)

Anupam Chakilam said...

thanks all:)

@hanu: yep, we shall go explore all the non standard areas in Pune and Chennai.

@Sundar: Sad to hear about Mylapore. And nice to hear about utsav babes;)

Deepthi said...

Yes Hani, I agree. These cities are turning into each others clones... and not in a good way! I wish we could preserve our old city charm... Charminar stands today as nothing more than a traffic island in Old City. No one even remembers what historic event it represented in past. Sad only!!

Raj the Chu boy! said...

senti max .. making jibbu cry :P

good senti though!!
yeah bangalore has Tippu Sultan's forts n stuff most ppl dont know .. garden city has become one overcrowded chundae place now ...

Nik said...

Good to c u blog again AN

but why all of a sudden you thinkin about individuality of cities?????

fa2 said...

Just stumbled upon your write up. Insightful writing :). Never thought that it would come from you :D

Pratik Gupta said...

Fundoo post Mate....Make this quarterly affair to at least weekly :)

dps said...

Nice post macha..putting hajaar senti these days about everything!Longing for the good old days i suppose.
Btw..i was half expecting a jibbu response of that type as i was reading your post.

Anupam Chakilam said...

@chu: ya, the next im in blore, i'll only spend half my time in purple haze. we'll spend the rest in exploring the unexplored.

@niks: thanks babai. Had these thoughts for quite sometime now.

@fa2: ermm..thanks. will take the insight part and ability to surprise part as a compliment:)

@puncture: sure thing mate. u too keep up the good work at your blog:).

@dps: ya..not longing, more like a regret. This feeling of not doing enough when in each of those cities.

Assman said...

Okay cities are dying, people who come to live in cities have no sense of the city's culture. Majority of us have arrived in the hustle bustle of our careers and are wanting to make a buck, savor the little pleasures and move on. We have little time to learn the nuances of history of a place and even lesser to appreciate it. I too am a part of the problem, chances are you are too.
The core issue IMHO is not my apathy towards the culture of these cities. It is the fact that development needs to be centered around cities and large towns because of uncertainties of safety, security, transportation etc. in other smaller places. The other places are much cheaper to set up factories in, have cheaper labour costs, lower overheads and everything.. but we stick to cities as centers for development.. that is a major point of concern.. and a overhaul or trashing of industrial policy might be called for..
Second problem is the nature of careers we are in, the nature of the fast growing market which requires you to be updated, quite hard working and cut-throat.. giving us little time to pay attention to where we are.. most of us create a little world of our own and it would make superficial difference to us if we were in Bangalore or in Surat.. we have no connection or interest in the local aspects and do not feel like making it worth the while to travel all the way to Bangalore or Hyderabad or Ahmedabad by learning a bit about the place and the people.. I will leave this one to individual introspection as the reasons could be them or their careers..
Btw pensioners paradise is Bangalore, Pune is just another nice city now home to half of India's pubs.. :P

Sri said...

nice one :)...but u dont sound like old pam :P

Anupam Chakilam said...

@Bhatta: I explained what is happening. You tried y its happening. Good tag team we make.
and Pune has traditionally been called the pensioners paradise. Following is just one of the many links when you google penioners paradise , pages from india

@sri: yep. This blog is about "A new Pam":) (word pun intended)