Bangalore’s what we call a city-village. Or an upstart town. Something very small that became very big, without any planning, forecasting, dreaming or deserving. We definitely didn’t deserve to become the city that hacked off most of its trees and replaced them with smoke, dust, hoardings and rage.
So, let’s leave the big problems like pollution-control and the odd-even rules to the big cities. Let’s resolve little things, like how to get home without losing all the zen calm we picked up in our morning yoga sessions.
Let’s start with breathing. Invest in a filter mask. Never mind that you’re worried you might look like a Japanese tourist in Bodhgaya. Remember, your lungs are your friends. They’ve got to stick around for at least a few more decades (depending on how old you are).
Peak hour is not an hour. It’s about half a day. Forget the whole 8-9am, 6-7pm rule. That was in the nineties. These days, it’s 8am to 10pm. So, if you’re trying to avoid peak hours, your best bet is 7am – 8.00 am and post midnight (not applicable on weekends).
Give up. Surrender. You turn out of your office lane, head towards the main road, you see gridlocked traffic. Don’t fight it. Park your car or bike, and take a walk to the nearest café. Give it about an hour to clear up. It’s better to sit in front of a well-stocked table and a book than to sit and stew.
Stop avoiding the centre. Koramangala, Malleshwaram, Jayanagar, Indiranagar – forget about the days when you were strolling through tree-lined streets out here. It might be a better bet to actually go towards what most Bangaloreans still call ‘town’ – you might even find yourself in ‘normal’ traffic.
Start enjoying the walk from the parking spot. Stop trolling the roads for parking space and go the other direction. Park as far away from that busy road as you can. Tell yourself it’s free exercise, if that’s what you need to get yourself to do it. Special shout out to all the idiots who routinely confuse Commercial Street for a parking lot.
You’ve probably seen ‘Keep Calm’, in endless permutations on your Facebook wall already. If that hasn’t helped, then try this mantra instead: Stay Home.