Wednesday, May 3, 2006

playing hooky

One of my favourite moments in all the movies I've seen is the one in Sabrina (the version with the exquisite Julia Ormond and the heartbreaking Harrison Ford) -

"There are 43 bridges in Paris. You find one that you love, and you come everyday with your coffee and your journal, and you listen to the river."
"And what does the river tell you?"
"That's between you and the river."

I've always loved that scene. I've always loved that movie.
*heap big sigh*

I played truant yesterday. I drove aimlessly around Bangalore and ended up at the Barista outside Barton Center. I sat there for an hour, every moment expecting someone to walk up to me and ask me to order or get out. I sat there for an hour watching MG Road slowly come to life (it was eight in the morning) and tried to write in my journal; and all I could think of was all the work I wasn't doing.
It's gone past addiction. Now it's an emotional crutch.
Let's see how long I can hold up.

While I was driving aimlessly around, I fell in love with my city all over again.
I've always loved Bangalore. I only knew my part of it, and I loved that. When we did our study of Bangalore culture we discovered what makes this city so unique - her ability to absorb whoever lands up here. They say that of Mumbai too, and it's true; but where Mumbai is like a big brother who grabs you into his wild world of frenetic activity with one aggressive sweep, Bangalore is the kindly grandmother, who welcomes you with open arms and never judges anything you do; she gives you your space, and lets you find your place.

What went wrong, then?
People. The booming IT industry has had so many problems laid at its feet, and one of the biggest has been the people it brought in. People for whom this city meant nothing more than a workplace.
And with the people came money. And as far as I'm concerned, this was the bigger crime.
As a student of architecture, I have seen what the so-called progress of our city has led to. A multitude of mindless monstrosities that call themselves "paradise homes"; devoid of character and charm. Meaningless glass-, steel- and aluminium-clad faceless structures that pepper the city-scape. This rash of building is a direct consequence of the money that is pouring into the city from all over the world. As one of my classmates once put it, "If the client is willing to pay, why should we object?"
Insensitivity characterizes our government. The narrow minded view of the quick buck. I don't pretend to know much about politics - frankly, I don't know much about anything - but I cannot respect an administration that seems to have no scruples and less foresight.
"Long term" is a phrase that doesn't seem to mean anything to Indians anymore.

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