Archive for August, 2007|Monthly archive page

The other side of Hosur Road!

Sign board on Hosur Road near Electronic City reads: “Bangalore – 12kms” But the Electronic city campus is miles away from the rest of Bangalore. It is a place that shows What India Can Be. Acres of sprawling campuses where Multinationals and MNC Wannabes jostle for space and attention. This is where people work on the ‘cutting edge’ of technology. Most of the jobs that are ‘Bangalored’ end up in this place. Life is lovely with young people in their late twenty’s earning salaries their dad’s didn’t manage to earn by their retirement and carrying latest mobile phones and gadgets that can give their ‘developed’ counter parts a jitter.

Hosur road carries them all from Bangalore to this ‘Tomorrow’s Bangalore’. Destination is not so important as is the journey. And the journey to this tech capital can teach you a lot about India. Driving twenty kilometers one way to my office here, I go through an experience every day that makes me think. Be it the narrow roads, traffic jams or the upcoming elevated highway and US freeway style roads that are coming up all around. It is a sign of India Changing. I am not yet ready to say India Shining.

Take a right from Hosur Road into Kudlu and the scene is very different. Kudlu village as not many know is the hub of Garment exports. There are garment factories here that export to the GAP, Tommy Hilfiger and many more global brands. Here thousands of workers make their daily living earning 150 Rs per day walking upto 10 kms from home in the ‘hidden’ corners of Bangalore. Hidden from the delegates zipping to electronic city. Hidden from coming into contact with the techie crowd.

My search for faster shortcuts to office takes me into the hearts of their homes. Shabby, rain-infested houses, crowded with people reminding you of the ‘real’ India. The roads with streams of water and sewage running through, all trying to jump and peep through my sunfilmed windows and the stench trying to desperately slip into my comfortable Air Conditioned car. As I maneuver through these roads, trying to avoid a pothole here, an artificial drainage in the middle of the road there, kids running across trying to get into their falling government school building, I go deaf to the rock music on my FM Radio Indigo. My heart rocks and rants as does my car underneath.

With an unknown guilt chasing me, I want to run away! I want to drive faster and get out. I really need to breath normally again. I want to ignore that another India exists. I want to out-honk those noises of garment workers pleading to get in at 9.05 AM after the gate closed at 9 – not lose one hour pay of 20/- .

Just like the other 70,000 people taking Hosur Road like me every day, I want to blissfully believe that Hosur Road leads ONLY to Electronic city.

Video from my camera phone of Garment workers walking home at Kuldu: