Bengaluru was popularly known as the Pensioners Paradise, the Air Conditioned City or the Garden City. Although I like the change from Pensioners Paradise to the I.T. City or Start-up City, I miss the fact that it is no longer an air conditioned city and also its slowly losing its garden feel.
Instead of looking at the obvious, let’s look at a deeper issue. What has also changed is the ATTITUDE of people. Yes, I know that the city that is progressing at warp speed will also need to make attitudinal changes. But do we really have to lose our goodness and sensitivity in the process? Are we not intrinsically the same people underneath? When I see people throw garbage on the road, I feel bad. When I see people use the footpath, or worse still, move into the oncoming lane, to move forward from a long line of traffic, I feel sad. When we are quick to argue or put someone else down, I wonder where is that sense of goodness that was the birthright of every Bangalorean? Just because the name has changed in an effort to retain some of our local flavour, did we in the bargain lose a lot of our inner treasure of kindness and respect?
What I would really like to see
A POSITIVE city. I approached two of the city’s famous Radio Stations, and one of the city’s leading TV channels to brainstorm how we could make our city more POSITIVE. And they very gently told me that they wanted some masala. They felt that if I could talk about problems, then people would listen. They even suggested that I share how people are getting divorced or why suicide rates are climbing. They seemed to feel like our media channels normally think that sleaze and blood and gore will sell. However, they could not even imagine how someone would even listen to chats and interviews about goodness or altruism or a positive attitude.
We as Bengaluru citizens need to see what we need for ourselves. Each of you who care for the city need to do something positive consciously every day. I like the expression Random Act of Kindness. Can we commit ourselves to do one positive thing for each person we meet?
What I like is mentors who are ready to do their bit to help startups find their feet, or to do more. I like the terms Incubation and Acceleration, and I love those who are doing pro bono work to enable and empower others.
Like Martin Luther King, I too dream. I dream of a Bengaluru in which people of all colours and affiliations can consider themselves friends. I wish for a city where everyone feels safe and cared for. I also hope for a corruption-free environment. Since transparency is a virtue that we all wish for, I look forward to our leaders specially our politicians who can be more transparent and do more for the people than for themselves. Can more straightforward people join the parties or other independents who are clean and wanting to do more for the city? Can we also campaign for them and vote for them?
We are at a tough time in history. We have options and yet we have to strive hard to get them. If we could only collaborate more, help others more, be just and fair, it would go a long way towards building the city that we all love. Let’s think about how we can honour upright officers of the law or clean and dedicated bureaucrats and public servants. There are many around, but because the others are in majority they too sometimes join the pack. Let’s give them incentives to be model citizens. They need our help to do so.
We need to make minor changes that we as citizens can do more consistently. Let’s all think about it. I am already doing what I can to move people forward or to add value to the city. However, this is not enough. I feel a little helpless that I cannot do more. I am willing to offer my services to those willing to collaborate for a Better Bengaluru. We need to do this for our children, we need to do this for ourselves. Let’s build the best city on the planet. Are you READY?
We at SocialStory are running a campaign to help citizens come together and save the city of Bengaluru from dying. Bring out those mobile phones and laptops and share with us the problems you see. Start participating with those who are working for change and share your experiences with us. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will share your experiences and ideas with our readers.