Once upon a time there was a city called Bengaluru which was known as the Garden City with many magnificent trees dotting every road in the city. Then came along the ogre called Metro Rail (BMRCL) and took away all the splendour of the beautiful Garden City reducing it to a pathetic sight of dug roads, cranes that topple every other day and traffic jams.
Namma Bengaluru, the city I remember as I moved in here 12 years ago, was a peaceful city with beautiful boulevards all around and huge raintrees spreading their canopies over the roads providing shade to all those who passed by. I specially remember M G Road which had a wonderful boulevard of trees which was a blessing to the shoppers who could rest a while under the trees as they shopped away to glory on M G Road.
This road had some great joints for people of all ages to meet up and spend some time together. Bookstores like Gangaram’s, Higgin Bothams, movie hall like the Plaza, Cauvery emporium and Central Cottage Industries for handicrafts,Lakeview cafe for those who loved icecreams and pastries dotted the road and saw crowds of shoppers spending hours here.
But along came the metro rail project and soon M G Road became a sorry sight. Soon the road was dug up at places for the huge pillars to be constructed and it became tough for people to drive along this road. Pedestrians had no place to walk anymore. With many office complexes on this road, traffic jams became the order of the day. Many shops like the Lakeview and G K Vale (camera shop and studio) had to be shifted out from M G Road to make way for the metro.
Till a few years back, we had enjoyed many an evening at the Lakeview cafe enjoying their pastries and ice creams. We loved hanging around in Gangaram’s and loved window shopping on M G Road. Now the very thought of going to M G Road scares us and we have now stopped going there altogether. Even if we do go there, finding a parking slot is very difficult. One has to spend a lot of time just being stuck in the traffic there. M G Road also has lost the green cover of trees due to the Metro.
CMH Road, Indiranagar, another commercial area in Bangalore was a spot for people to shop, enjoy chats and generally have fun. But the metro rail project has taken away the charm from this very popular Shopping area. Once the metro rail work began, the road was dug up and there was no way one could ride or drive along this road. Even if people drove here, finding a parking place soon became difficult. The huge cranes that are used for the work pose a threat to passersby.
I have fond memories of the CMH Road too as we used to visit this road for all the things we needed, be it groceries, clothes, photos that needed to be printed, eating out in the evenings or even getting clothes stitched. But for a while now, I have not been to CMH road.
I have not been there unless it was really important. Going to CMH road now is no longer fun. People dread going there if they are invited to a party in one of the many restaurants on CMH road. Many trees have been cut on the CMH road and all we could do is to witness it with helplessness. In spite of protests from the shop owners, the metro has made its way here.
Who wants the metro in the first place is my question. Is it going to benefit us in anywhich way? I am very sure I am not going to step in the metro ever. I am happy riding my scooter. This way I don’t have to depend on the irregular public transport. So, even if the metro does come along, god knows when that will happen, I am surely not going to use it.
So, what’s the point in spoiling the once beautiful roads for a thing that no common man will ever use? Are the metro authorities going to give us back all the trees that have been ruthlessly chopped off for making way for the metro? Are they going to give us back the pleasure of just hanging around on the roads like M.G.Road and CMH Road without having to find our way through the traffic jams? Did they ask the citizens if they wanted the metro in the first place?