“Oota…oota” the 23 year old me repeated, gesturing helplessly with my hands as the waiter stared. Rice is called Oota in Kannada, the language that many of us were not exposed to. The waiter made a face and brought me what I had wanted. He made a mental note of one thing for sure – I was one of those people.
This was 2002, the period that saw the dawn of BPO revolution in the country. A sudden ray of hope and light to both qualified and non qualified undergrads, grads and even the hopeless post grads like me with degree and no prospects. Young India rushed to the gates of the happening Garden City that showcased whole new shebang. Technology, outsourcing, training and everything that possibly can be made useful under the sun. There was one choice for prosperity that time, and that was Bangalore.
Hyderabad was fast catching up, but it was Bangalore that welcomed first of the outsourced opportunities. Most of the candidates that flocked to the busy lanes of Brigade road to get call center trained were from outside. Bangalore looked awesome, clean, fresh and magnificent. The locals, however, had a certain confusion written all over their face even back then. They were trying to adjust to the fact that change is ahead.
15 years later, Bangalore still stands tall, in the midst of wee bit more traffic. The city which once laid the red carpet to foreign investments, jobs and scope for economic diversity went on to become a role model of sorts for the other prospects in the country. Hyderabad followed suit, and thereafter Chennai, Pune and Gurgaon buckled up.
Bangalore was busy building this propitious base, a hub that attracted a concoction of non locals. The city started filling up with all kinds of strangers – some sported funky outfits and weird hairdos on the MG Road walk up. Locals continued to stare in confusion. They were lost. They continued to lose their ground as the city progressed, raining with surplus.
Bangalore went on to get busier as the locals tried to walk a parallel path. Some of them tried to be a part of the system, but truth be told – most of the real Bangaloreans did not want any part of it. They showcased their complaints in one form or the other, the most popular being their attitude towards the non locals. They loved progress, but hated the chaos. They loved the progressive confusion, but demanded clarity in several matters.
The city and the government ignored the silent whispers. Roads get clogged by the day as the traffic moves slower than before. The locals who see the city expanding to the other side often express their detest. They have tried various kinds of expression, conveying an underlying message to ‘back off’.
What has happened on the New Year eve is not as shocking as it should be. That volcano is erupting now, slowly. One simply cannot blame the majority here. Bangalore, the magnificent city of development, fashion and great history had always prevailed with an undercurrent of local frustration. These attacks on women may not be personal. Stylish crowd, flowing liquor and crackling music may have lured some of the so called ‘hooligans’ out. They may have proved their point one more time in this manner. They may or not have been drunk, these local men, but the frustration sure seems deeply seeded somewhere in their hearts.
Maybe, they should try better modes of communication to express their frustration the next time. This kind of unmanly act has pulled down the image of their own beloved city. There is an underlying issue that needs immediate looking into. Bengaluru cannot become the next Delhi, and people should take accountability for that.