Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Crossing Roads.

I came back to Bombay yesterday after an official trip to Bangalore for a week. When I came to Bombay 10 days ago, I was too scared to cross roads but after visiting Bangalore, I think I can cross roads in Bombay with my eyes closed :). Yes the traffic in Bangalore is so bad that it has to be seen to be believed. Every day that I was there I saw one kind of accident or the other. Even the car that I was travelling in got hit on the side one day. If the favourite topic of conversation in Minnesota is about the weather then it's all about traffic in Bangalore, everybody has a story to share or know someone who have been in an accident. If I start to compare Bombay and Bangalore, the first thing that comes to my mind is the number of 2 wheelers that I saw on the road and the number of cars with single occupancy in Bangalore compared to Bombay where most people prefer to travel in buses or trains. The public transportation in Bangalore is not that developed from what I have heard from the locals there. The city still seems to be coming to terms with the rapid influx of people into the city and I must say people with lot of spending power who can buy bikes/cars and would rather travel in rickshaws/taxis rather than use the buses. The state government is trying to fix it by launching a metro rail and coming up with various ways to resolve the traffic issue but it seems there are in a catch-up mode, the moment they complete some new roads/flyovers, its already saturated by the growing number of vehicles. Bombay had the same issue about 3-4 years ago, but they got a huge grant from the World Bank and a wise dude from the World Bank imposed a condition to not furnish any more funds unless they showed substantial improvement triggering the development of wide roads. On a side note I have heard people say Bangalore has a fantastic night-life, unless I missed something and not if you consider the period from 7 to 10 pm as night-life, there's nothing else to do after 10. The whole city seems dead after 10.30 whereas in Bombay everything seems to start after that.
I am off to my native place Tirunelveli tomorrow, not sure how long I can stay there without getting bored. Am loading up on a couple of books 'The World is Flat' by Thomas Friedman, the book that everybody in business school is supposed to have read and 'Freakonomics' which is considered to be an interesting read.