Sunday, February 12, 2012

Reminiscing on Bangalore of the 1960-70s

Reading this news item on Egypt's lakes, Egypt's lakes: 'a truly tragic environmental tale', one cannot but reminisce about the way Bangalore used to be during the childhood of the 1960-70s generation.

PNLIT Trustee Prasanna K. Vynatheya, writes:

It is tragic indeed. I thought India was the worst, but all over too (especially surprised that even in places where the water and greenery is so important to ward off the advancing desert) such blatant things continue to happen.

I am, I guess, one of the only generation that has seen what was before, and how quickly things changed.

We moved to Jayanagar 4th 'T' block in 1964, and our house on 19th Main was the end of the concrete buildings. Beyond and towards North, East and South it was all orchards and farm lands. There was no connection by road from Jayanagar to Bannerghatta Road and the only way to go on towards Bannerghatta (if at all anybody did), was from the Bangalore Diary Circle. Right from Bangalore Diary the road cut through wetlands with birds, and paddy and sugarcane fields to the left and right of the road, all along, and interspersed by water bodies (free of weeds). Today all those wetlands are converted into shanty spaces or high rises as Mantri, Apollo & Fortis Hospital and so on and on. Unfortunately the best of the agricultural lands have been converted into cities or towns, not only in India, but all over the world.

I am from the only generation who saw the Old and the New world extensively, because our fathers neither had the roads to travel nor the vehicles. Hence we were just the lot that got active on the roads when our Bangalore and surroundings were still not discovered by the Realtor.

People may not believe if I say that in 1976 when a group of us managed to find our way to a remote village beyond Bannerghatta (called Choodanahalli, infamous in recent times due to elephant trampling a man), our's were the first bikes that had entered that hutment, and many of the people there were seeing a motorbike for the very first time in their lives. Here's the surprise - that place is not more than about 10 km from Bannerghatta, as the crow flies. Today, that place, well, I have not bothered to go to though there is a good road. I want to preserve that bit of memory...

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