Friday, February 05, 2010

Right choices score over development

Right choices score over development

Basavanagudi's youth, instead of chasing lifestyle, stick to the old world charm

Being close to their basic needs, residents do not complain too much about the lack of some facilities here but available elsewhere. Instead of whining over superficial things, the people in this old Bangalore area seem to have developed their own philosophy of life, feels Vaishalli Chandra

Vaishalli Chandra

Youngsters happy with their locality is a rare thing. But those residing in Basavanagudi assembly constituency seem to be so. The young and educated are clear about what they want: Their area should epitomise the old world charm. They do not want to chase lifestyle. There is rich culture here and the young want to retain it. That sentiment is strong in core Basavanagudi and Banashankari. Instead of inducing more hangouts in their area, the youth brigade have too many options in near-by areas like Jayanagar and JP Nagar
Some are happy to keep their party zones away in the city, "For one, I'm not sure the kind of crowd we will get in this part of town," says Niraja. Most feel it is better to keep a safe distance between home and lounge bars.
"No problem," says 19-year-old Ankitha Rao, a resident of Srinivasanagar in Girinagar. For this youngster, the college is close by and even her tutorial centre is just 10 minutes by walk. And the market is not far. The lanes packed with homes give her a sense of familiarity. Her friends Niraja and Sumalatha stay in the same neighbourhoood. "Maybe, power cuts," says Niraja, after much thought on what plagues the area. But her friends are quick to point out that it's the same scene anywhere in the city.
This urban constituency has very few slums and is well off in the quality of civic amenities available. However, the residents should be worried about the gradual neglect in the overall maintenance of public utilities.
Spoilt for choice, college-goers say they have lots of options to socialise. "After college, we either have juice or chat," says Sumalatha, a first year commerce student of Jain College. "We have enough choice for food. There are juice centres, dharshinis, and cafes."
What is a convenience for youngsters is a nuisance for elders. These so-called "hang outs" are spilling on to the roads leaving no room for pedestrians to walk.
There are some fitness centres that have come up in the wards, but many youngsters prefer to join gyms or fitness centres near their college. "My friend stays near 4th block market and there is this nice gym. We have enrolled there," says Anushree, a Banashankari resident who says it helps her spend more time with her friend.
"With the new mall near 4th 'T' block Jayanagar, we also catch up on movies," she adds. Her only concern, however, is the traffic. "In the morning I leave as early as 7 am to avoid getting held up as after 8 am, traffic slows down invariably."
Banasankari 3rd stage is fast gearing up to meet the demands of youngsters with most branded stores making a presence through their factory outlets or swanky showrooms. "These stores are usually dishing out a better deal than the ones on Brigade or MG. So I go window-shopping on MG Road but buy from these outlets in Banashankari," says 28-year-old Ritesh Shah, assistant manager at a call centre.
However, not all youngsters are happy with the area, especially those in Hanumanth Nagar ward. They feel that the narrow roads in the area are unable to take the heavy vehicular load which creates traffic snarls, especially in the evening.
Interestingly, according to the BBMP delimitation the heart of Basavanagudi, Gandhi Bazaar falls under Chickpet assembly constituency. Most youngsters are not aware of this and many in and around Gandhi Bazaar area think that they are part of the Basavanagudi constituency.
In fact, Basavanagudi residents are worked up at the manner their constituency has been mauled in the name of delimitation. They are still confused about the logic and purpose of such official acts.
Most youngsters in this area are vocal about the "unnecessary underpass" that is under construction at Tagore Circle. They feel their "super cool" area is now becoming a work-in-progress zone because of this project.
Youngsters are aware of their changing demographics and they are ready to take on candidates with tough questions. "I don't want the area to be a concrete zone and walk with an oxygen mask," said one youth.
The civic elections may be postponed but issues are staring these youngsters in the face. They want a responsible corporator who makes the right choices for them.


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