On arriving at Bengaluru

February 12, 2011

Here I am in a tiny hotel oasis amid the chaos that is the suburb of Bengaluru. There are so many people here, so much traffic and so much simplicity. Outside the hotel is a busy one way street down which flows a never ending stream of mopeds, tuck-tucks, cars, lorries and everything in between. The most used accessory on a motor vehicle is the horn. In the UK it has occasional use, I can go months without ever needing to use it. Here it is normal to sound your horn constantly, because no one trusts the attention of anyone else. There are no traffic lights here. The streets are lined with people, with stalls selling flowers, offering ironing services, shoes, or food. Across the road are three cows, lying on the pavement – tied to a lamp post. Above the heads of the passers by are three-phase electric cables, hanging perilously to what appear to be makeshift pylons. Below your feet is a concrete obstacle course, with broken slabs partially concealing shallow pits of rubbish and drainage. Everywhere is the odour of spice and stale water. The sewers must be full to capacity with the density of housing. This is a real culture shock.

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