Tuesday, 26 March 2013

IndiChange-TOI meet at Bangalore, 23rd March, 2013

.. The theme was 'Bangalore for Women'

I could find a place for parking, may be because the meet was arranged at an odd time - 12.30 pm!

I walk into the TOI mini hall at 12.35, after signing as 21st visitor for the meet, and hear loud giggling sounds amid what looked to be a very happy environment. Birds with the similar feathers were flocking together. Men were in minority, and rarely one heard their voices. The trend continued, of giggling, of silence from men, of unequal ratio, till 1.10 pm when the build up to about 80 bloggers looked sufficient to start the proceedings.

The trend was set by informing us that Bangalore stood no. 2 in the country as an unsafe city for women, after Delhi, perhaps. The happy environment melted away, and the serious business began. Many voices were heard, of complaints, of uneasiness, of disturbances.

  • Bangalore is ruthless to the handicapped, physically and mentally challenged people.One does not leave the indefensible alone any where, and the other uses aggression to protect himself.
  • Bangalore is unfriendly to outsiders, those who do not speak local language. One decides to depend on technology for directions rather than ask people.
  • Bangalore is unkind to single women. Evicting a lady at the past mid night time, at 2.00 am, and terminating her 2 year old  tenancy, just because she had the guts to complain about some lurid advances made by a two months old male tenant, by all means is inhuman.
Many more voices either reinforced the above, or presented different hues of the similar problems. There were also some statements of resentment, to the connotation of, ' ..because of us the economy has boomed here.., and we get such treatment..'

Perhaps the occasion was designed to draw out what was coming out of us. For the media, misery sells. And  the inhabitants of the blog-world were pouring out to the media.

For a moment I slipped into reverie. i came to this great city of Bangalore way back in mid '70s. Was Bangalore always like this?  Not to my mind, though, my hunch is that if you pick up news papers of the past 40 years, you will find them replete with the stories of misery.

To me, Bangalore has always been changing. It was an air conditioned city in '50s, a pensioner's paradise in '60s and a peaceful abode for the retirees in '70s. It was this benign weather that prompted the powers that be in the earstwhile era to set up educational institution like IISc, and later the five major public sector undertakings, viz, HAL, BEL, ITI, BEML, and HMT. Umpteen number of research institutions came up, and then many engineering colleges. All these organisations, on the back of great weather attracted people to come to Bangalore.

The '80s showed rapid changes of the face of Bangalore. The city of theaters gave way to shopping complexes, and then to the city of beer bars giving Bangalore a distinction of highest beer guzzling city in India.

Come '90s, and the city was abuzz with automobiles, one ways, and IT enthusiasts. A garden city was slowly turning into a concrete jungle. The weather, still with its relative superiority, was the reason, coupled with availability of good number of engineers through many engineering colleges here, for IT industry to take roots.The sky line has been changing rapidly ever since.

The first decade of the new Millenium started seeing Bangalore grow vertically. More techies from all over the world started pouring in. Gated abodes, mall cultures and superior material life styles have created two Bangalores. One lives in digital world, and the other is off line. One is blaming the other for their shares of problems.

Let me come back to the meet. A working lunch was served between 2.10 pm and 3.00pm.

Back in the hall. Three members of the TOI editorial team were introduced ( Sorry I failed to register their names) to us. We were told that they were  not 'public speakers', but, they were fine, and they did speak in public :-).

The stream of conversations started again  Just as I was starting to get uneasy with a one sided 'complaints only', discussions, a couple of posers brought back my comfort level.

One, a lady questioned the dress sense of the present day young women with a specific instant in public place, and mooted if women should get sensitised to it, The dress issue is not important to me, but this lady's ability, and sensibility to look within for root causes of the strife in the society impressed me.

Another whiff of cool breeze came when the young lady of the TOI editorial team offered a public apology to the blogger barely 3 months in Bangalore receiving 'unfriendly' treatment on road.

These two random events give me hope. Yes, there is an urgent need to do introspection, and create a congenial environment for acceptance of our faults.

And at the end, I would like to present my perceptions of the root causes, and perhaps remedies. I believe the problems are not unique to Bangalore alone. All over the country, and perhaps the rest of the world has caught the virus of greed, selfishness and consumerism. All the social strife and ugly phenomena are linked to this virus. Check this out and make correction at personal level.

India I Care is a movement ( www.indiaicare.org) is our effort in this direction. How I wish all the bloggers subscribe to this movement and help us bring back the great character of this country we would like to be proud of .Please explore this blog for more info.

Thanks IndiChange for this opportunity.

Dilip Patel
National Coordinator,
India I Care


  1. I think what was lacking in that meet was the absence of people who can help give solutions to the problems expressed by the participants. I agree with you on the statement that for the media, the misery sells. I was not so happy with the outcome of the meet, it was incomplete.

    1. Thanks Deartz for your response. I think the blogging community can fill in the gap through this alliance between IndiChange (Indiblogg)and TOI. Hope something meaningful happens.