My plane had departed from Frankfurt, on its way to Muscat. I flipped through the pages of the airlines magazine and came across an article about the new destinations offered by that airline. Each of these destinations had 2 or 3 pages dedicated to that place. I was pleasantly surprised to come across a destination “Bengalooru” in India! Darn! The airline tickets, boarding card etc had all read Bangalore. So it had never occurred to me that I was actually traveling to Bengalooru and not Bangalore!!
I landed in Bengalooru early next morning. It was the same old, cramped, “Bangalore International Airport” and not “Bengalooru International Airport” as I was expecting it to be. In the next few minutes I was out of the airport and we were on our way towards our home.
Nothing much has changed since the time I left, of course except that the traffic has become more pathetic. The vehicular population has doubled but the roads are still of the same width. There is nothing to indicate a lane. People create and follow their own lanes. From the peddling bicycles to huge trucks, every vehicle is precariously perched on these narrow lanes. These lanes often double as parking lots as parking places house eateries, shops, religious shanties among others. The footpaths are used as filler roads when a parked vehicle is encountered on the lane. There will be no space which will be left unused. Any available space will be occupied by a vehicle of suitable size. It doesn’t really matter which lane this occupying vehicle comes from or which lane does the outgoing vehicle move to. What really matters is proving the theories of maximum utilization of resources and survival of the fittest. Pedestrians do their part by filling the smallest space which could not be occupied by any vehicle. Here you see man and machine in perfect harmony.
Every now and then you see boards of Bangalore Metropolitan Rail Network or the Bangalore Metro for short. There is really no metro or railway system in place. They are just boards which indicate that Bangalore city might soon get a Metro. The talk about Bangalore Metro is not new. The metro concept was first mooted in the year 1982!! Yes, 24 glorious years have passed since the concept was first proposed but there is nothing at all in place even now. I think a surcharge is collected on every liter of petrol sold in the city, which makes petrol prices in Bangalore among the highest in India. Wonder what use, this surcharge has been put to.
Bangalore Railway station, Bangalore bus stand etc have all remained the same. Same shape, same size and same age old method of working. Only their names will be soon changed to Bengalooru Railway… etc. Bangalore is not alone in getting its name changed. Other major cities like Belgaum, Mangalore, and Mysore etc too are getting a name change. Belgaum will become Belgavi, Mysore will be Mysooru, and Mangalore will be Mangalooru. Nothing else will be changed in these places either. In fact nothing much has changed in these places since the British left India 59 years back. Being the capital, if the condition of Bangalore is so hopeless you can very well imagine the condition of these other cities. I think the government of Karnataka wants to purposely retain the cities in this way so that if the Queen of England or some veterans of the East India Company ever visit this place, they can recall those age old days!!
Roads too get new names every now and then. You might be at the correct address but still searching for the address. People too change their names keeping in pace with time. You can find rows of ads in newspaper of new names and the person’s picture. One of my high school friends changed his name thrice. I call him with his name which he had when he was in high school. His college friends call him with his name which he had when he was in college and his work friends call him with his most current name!! Changing city names is also not uncommon. Bombay became Mumbai, Madras became Chennai etc.
You might have come across products, in which companies would have changed the product packaging to make it look more attractive. The product will however be the same. This city name change is also something similar. The roads, buildings, people, and language nothing has changed. Only the name has become Bengalooru from Bangalore. I think, a new rule should come in place which prohibits change in names without a major change in the product. If such a thing happens, Bengalooru seems to be way ahead of our times.
~Narendra V Joshi