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5 March 2007

A tale of two cities

There was this chartered luxury bus trip we took to a nearby resort. A German colleague on his first day, first visit to India was gazing intently at a neat little plate with a list of rules fixed at the entryway to the bus near the driver. It said, Do not spit, Do not litter, Do not put head out of the window etc. Do people need to be told /reminded of such things, turning to me, he enquired in a very puzzled manner. Of all the memories of shame in the lack of civic sense in India, this one refuses to go away. Then there was this other friend new to Mumbai, driving on Mumbai roads for the first time many years ago and later every time, someone broke a traffic rule, he'd mutter, and there goes, "Main Dilli hoon" which for some reason would send me into a fit of giggles. If I am honest, the reason for my mirth was nothing but the pride of being in the "better city". It is not funny at all anymore. In a recent survey, Delhi emerged as the city most favoured for driving. It has more green cover than it did a decade ago and Delhi Municipal Corporation recently won an award for being part of the growing network of local governments that are committed to building sustainable communities.

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