Dr. Anjan K Das
Calcutta is known worldwide as a terrible place. The infrastructure is crumbling, there are no proper roads, and the transport system is in a mess and so on. And how has this impression been carried all over the country and the world? Mainly by the efforts of the Calcutta newspapers, media and the self disparaging denizens of Bengal.
I was recently in Bangalore for a short one day visit. I flew in on a Sunday and out at midnight on Monday. I now often have to visit the city mainly for business purposes. I have always been of the opinion that this most favoured of Indian cities (in the media) is actually one of India’s worst. And this visit firmly confirmed these impressions.
It was raining heavily as we disembarked at the airport, admittedly a nice place, though not really nice enough to be voted the best in Asia or something as was heavily reported in the newspapers recently. The rain poured down as my car took me towards the city and the nightmares began. The roads: even Patna would be ashamed of such roads, potholed, lacking proper lighting, all the markings faded and because of the monsoons, small flood s everywhere. The driving is atrocious, all the cars horns blaring trying to literally push everybody else out of the way and totally oblivious to the plight of the pedestrians.
Near the Manipal hospital where our Bangalore office is, is one of Bangalore’s biggest refuse dumps. There are many close competitors, but I think this one is if not the biggest, definitely the smelliest of them all. A couple of buffalos grazed, having a light supper on the rubbish and the high tech city was shown to be actually an overgrown village.
The current went off twice at night , and the hotel generator came to life, the nise penetrating deeply even into the hermetically sealed room in which I was staying, I wondered what the denizens of neighboring flats thought of it.
I wonder why then, does Calcutta get such a bad press. When we first had load shedding in the seventies, the press from all of India went to town over it. There were special articles in newspapers and magazines, our probashi friends used to condescendingly smile at our plight. Now it turns out that, as usual, we were only doing yesterday what the whole of India is doing today. Delhi’s power hassles are legend; Mumbai starves the entire countryside and even then is unable to provide power to itself and Bangalore, Ha!
I think that The Telegraph in particular owes an apology to all of us. It led us to believe that we inhabit the boondocks of India while everybody forges ahead. That Calcutta is a better place to live in if you do not feel that Malls are the measure of Human evolution., we always knew, but even infrastructure wise, I think it is time that somebody assured us, that the so called bright lights of Bangalore are not so bright after all.
It is time that the capital of the Old Empire strikes back! My vote for Calcutta!
Originally posted on: Reflections