Thursday, July 14, 2005

Life in Bangalore: Garbage Crisis (Warning: not pleasant reading)

The one thing I hate the most about living in Bangalore is - there is no other way to say this - the piles of shit I have to jiggy around everytime I decide to walk to my destination.

The reason we live where we live (meaning our area of Bangalore, not Bangalore itself) is that everything we need - grocery stores, medical stores, other convenience stores, even my son's school, are all within walking distance. Given Bangalore's terrible traffic situation, I thought it was best this way. Unfortunately, I failed to account for the absolutely horrific amounts of garbage strewn everywhere and the piles of feces, new ones of which unfailingly appear everyday.

My son's school is literally within 500 steps of our apartment in a very busy residential/commercial locality (i.e., we don't live out in the boonies) and I'm not exaggerating when I say that we have to gingerly navigate the streets for everyone of those steps for fear of our feet landing in one of those piles.

I don't know if my memory of my earlier life in Bangalore has taken on a rosy hue (granted it was more than 10 years ago) or if Bangalore was just a cleaner place then. I just don't remember seeing so much of the filth I am seeing now.

Or may be, I am seeing Bangalore with new eyes. May be Bangalore was just as filthy then, but I was not bothered because I did not know any better.

I loath to blame lack of infrastructure for a shortage of civic sense, but a recent trip to the interior of Karnataka was an eye-opener. We drove through many villages and the lack of infrastructure is glaring. More on this in another post.

Sometimes as I'm walking or riding around Bangalore, I look at the people - on the streets, on bikes, in buses, in carts - and I think where does one start if a sizeable portion of them is to be educated on how to properly dispose garbage or not to defecate on the streets. When people are worried about basic things like where their next meal is going to come from, safe drinking water, and a roof over their heads, proper garbage disposal, I'm sure, does not even figure on their lists.


Sourin Rao said...

I live in Rochester Hills, MI and sometimes there are head hunters from India who reach out and almost entice me to head back again. My wife is a definite "no", though I am decidedly on the fence.
Posts like this definately helps me with my decision. Keep em coming. But you must be missing all the pot luck dinners from the life here, now aren'nt you ?

Sujatha Bagal said...

Hi Sourin,

The best way to do the "coming back to India" thing is, if you can get away with it, try it for a couple of years as an expat first. Then you have the benefit of having something to go back to if you decide you don't like it here.

We've been here for about 9 months now, and the funny thing is, we're so embroiled in our daily lives here (including the personal life of our house maid, for better or for worse) that you forget you haven't been here all your life.

But, sometimes, the memories come flooding back and I long for some quiet, for less stimulation, fewer relatives, long stretches of properly paved roads, just fewer crowds, and yes, for the pot lucks, where all our kids eat pizza and chicken nuggets and the adults stick to Americanized Indian fare.

There are a lot of things to consider in a move of course, and I intend to write on each aspect of life here. So stay tuned!

And a very happy birthday to Siddarth!

Sujatha Bagal said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hi Sujatha,

i read your last topic here , i tought you are one of those contonement crib, good to see a meaningful discussions.
Problem with bangalorians is that in some areas they are not bangalorians, beleave me a lot has changed here in last 5 years. People are learing to live wiht all the shit n traffic around in the city.
Problem is no one knows where to ask for help, who is responsible for clearing the shit.

Apart from this what you are going thru is US jet lag which will last for longer that what ppl say. Knowing more on your maids personal life, this is not new in bangalore where a maid works for longer periods (like 22 years at my place) and grows to be a part of extended family.

see for your self , how many reponsible bangalorians are here on this blog, that insider/outsider had 100 atleast asking for equality. as if they were denied of it :) funny ppl and their attitudes