Friday, January 29, 2010

They want to get out of their towns

They want to get out of their towns

Serene avenues, decent parks, good neighbourhoods, clean roads and modern cafes and restaurants used to be the collective USP of Pulakeshinagar area. But the quality of life provided by the facilities in the area today does not match the residents' aspirations. The global young crowd yearns for more, reports Monica Jha

Upmarket residents have taste for good things which is available elsewhere

Monica Jha



If all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, the maxim easily fits in the cases of the old city's Frazer Town, Cleveland Town and Richards Town where achievers and well-heeled want a good life but find facilities lacking.
"Fine living space, but no good life," is how a young mother sums up the situation in this part of upmarket residential area coming under the Pulakeshinagar Assembly constituency bearing seven civic wards.
This is what Katherine Winderson, a young expatriate living in Frazer Town, says: "My baby is two years old and I'm looking for a good play school. The locality is full of nice schools but no quality pre schools. The same happened when I was looking for a creche for her. I finally decided to give up my job to look after her."
Katherine reflects the general aspirations of the residents who want to live a full life, bringing up their kids in a global perspective, snatching the best moments with an ideal mix of entertainment, intellectual stimulation and wealth-earning vocation. But the area woefully lacks all these.
The forward-looking and Western-oriented residents here want their civic representative to help set up modern facilities. "Infrastructure for a comfortable living is what we want," says Pragathi Shankar, a beautician operating on Mosque Road.
Listen to Sunitha Peter, a fashion designer and a resident of Cleveland Town: "I have seen this locality change a lot over the last many years. Some old houses have been replaced by new buildings, some new department stores have come up, but this still does not match the aspirations and needs of the new young generation."
A Canadian living in Frazer Town joins the issue.
"While there are a few places on Wheelers Road, which sell international brands, there are hardly any exclusive stores selling them here," says Mary Fullerton. She has to motor up the crowded Commercial Street or Koramangala to get what she likes.
And, why not, asks Prateek Sunderraj Williams, a resident of Frazer Town. "Everybody is going global. Now that our needs and demands have changed, we must have an option of getting the things we want in our own area," says Prateek.
Complaints of lack of modern facilities are widespread. Elizabeth, a British expat residing in Cleveland Town, points out.
"No international schools around, you know. I may be going back to my country in a couple of years and that's why I prefer international curriculum for my child. The area has too many foreigners and not having an international school is disappointing," Liz says.
"I like the area but I must go to MG Road or other parts of the city for the things I want. Sadly, there may not be many options but they offer better variety than what we get here," says Mohammad Said, a native of Oman residing on Mosque Road.
Sizeable presence of expatriates is a major feature of this part of the town. "We have all changed a lot. But our locality remains the same," says Ashiya Aslam, a resident of Frazer Town.
"We want to retain the good things of the past like the grand architecture and spacious buildings but we also want the modern facilities that make life worth living," says Suma, a BSc student and resident of Richards Town.
If the nursing mothers talk of the lack of global standard schools, the youth too have their share of woes, especially when it comes to entertainment.
"We hardly have any options for a mug of beer and dance floor," says Revathi RK, a marketing professional in Frazer Town. Night life is nil, says she.
"There are a few pubs but they are no match to those on Brigade Road or MG Road. Night life is zero," laments Sameer Ramakrishana, a resident of HBR Layout.
The pathetic condition of the footpaths and irregular clearance of waste and stray dogs are other factors that worry residents. "Almost every house has a pet but it is dangerous to take them for a walk," Shankar, says.
If the facilities are lacking, how's it that properties are highly priced?
"Many areas in Pulakeshinagar assembly constituency have been a favourite of high-income class and expats," says PK Balakrishna, a bank official. But when it comes to nocturnal security, especially of women, Frazer Town takes the knock. "There is no visible police patrolling at night, making the area unsafe for women travelling alone," says Nazia Hasan, a student

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