Sunday, June 22, 2014

What (I Think) Bangalore Needs To Make It A Global City - 1 Of Many

I came across this amazing e-mag site this morning "Toronto Life" and spent quite a bit of time browsing through and getting infused with how life in the city of Toronto flows. I've always heard a lot about Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver through a significant portion of my family who had boarded the Canada Immigration bandwagon eons ago and have very happily nestled into the high life of their respected micro geographies and what always amazed me was that these places are a bustling cauldron of ethnicities, cultures, customs and ways of life which have blended and flavoured in with the original demography and thrown out a brilliant infusion of arts and culture and music and movies and design and food and just a wonderful collage of a big city experience.

So, why can't we have the same thing in Bangalore?

Our city is a mash up of all kinds of peoples. We're 10 million and growing and we have immigrants rushing in for our way of life by the hour. I can walk around and apart from bumping into (quite literally when you think of our traffic woes) a person from every nook and corner of our beautiful country, I can see Americans from both sides of the hemisphere; Europeans from both the new and the old - Italians, French, Danes, Czechs, Bosnians; Africans - Nigerians, Kenyans, Ethiopians, and our continental bretheren - Japs, Chinese, Koreans, Thais, etc. etc. etc. etc. - you get the picture but yet we are no where on the global city map. Nor do we make it into the list of rapidly growing cities. We may just about be listed amongst the top 40 global cities by 2000 and twenty/ thirty something.

You and I will be 40 something then, brother. Forty something and unless your going to eternally young and kicking it, we need to step out now and make a grasp in calling this city our own and moulding it to what we think it should become - a global destination - a place where dreams can metamorphose into reality - something like how New York was in the late 20th/ early 21st century (am I too much of a dreamer?) .

Yes - our roads and all other related and supporting infrastructure are under various stages of development (finally!) and apart from the IT/ ITeS and its tertiary rooted off shoots which is driving our economic engine on a world scale, we need something more. Bangalore has a model IT growth footprint which other countries like Australia, England and China want to replicate and if they can be inspired by our IT business model and its economic benefits, why can't we reach out and look at their culture and how they bring everything together. It's not just economic growth which makes a city an envy of our boundary neighbours, its the people and their way of life - now that's what makes it truly and wholly wanting. Looking through the lenses of a global city trotter, we have up and coming (sub) culture - music across all genres; dance forms; a flummox of restaurants, pubs, bars and clubs; theatre and now movies; arts; architecture and design to a certain extent; photography; spirituality; (fill in whatever I've missed).

But. What am I getting at or trying to get at here?

What I want to state is that, all these little beautiful pieces of Bangalore's art and culture are strewn all across the city and place; and like one of those beautiful silk and wool patchwork quilts, some form of medium has to be the thread that brings all these pieces together and make it an enviable masterpiece.

How can we do that?

Something on the lines of Toronto Life. Check it out and let's create a mastermind group to make something like this happen - a platform to put out what Bangalore has to offer to its inhabitants and an experience for its tourists.             

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