Monday, April 19, 2010

Where do we go from here?

Where do we go from here?
By: Peter Colaco Date: 2010-04-19 Place: Mumbai

The British colonial rulers loved the weather in Bangalore. As they described it, it was 'Europe without its freezing winters; India minus its scorching summers.' They gave it all sorts of affectionate sobriquets. Like the 'air-conditioned Indian city', 'the poor man's Ooty'. And with it's beautifully balanced seasons of temperate warm months, mildly-bracing winters and seasons of gentle showers, this was the month of April showers which brought the May flowers.

A decade ago, Bangalore (now Bengalooru) led the large cities with the onslaught of summer ” hot, dry and dusty; in February, Bangalore was the hottest big city in India, while Delhi and the north were shaking off the cold winds of winter blowing in from the Himalaya. After Independence, those colonials 'stayed on' settled in the hills. They made a lovely little township on the fringes of Ooty and the military settlement of Conoor.

Our friend, Old Tom D'Aguiar was among the early settlers of Bangalore. After years of service in Madras (Chennai), his parents who had braved the scorching summers of Tamil Nadu, decided to settle in Conoor near Ooty which had been the summer resort of the Governor of Madras and his entourage.

But, Ooty in summer was a rather different proposition from Coonor in the winter and the north-eastern monsoon.

After a year of hilly 'English' summers they fled the arthritic rainy months in Coonoor and settled in equable, pleasant Bangalore.

When our family came to settle in Bangalore (in the 1950s), on an occasional summer day the mercury would apologetically touch a maximum of 33 or 34 degrees, before a sudden April shower would douse the flames.

I wonder what she and her descendants would have done in today's Bangalore summer with a maximum heat of 38 and 39 degrees, water shortages and deforested parks and roads. I wonder where they would have gone next?


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