Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The perils of urban living

I have been living in a city for more than 10 years now. Before that, I have lived in a village in Goa, India. The total population of my village was less than five thousand. Whereas, since 2004, I have lived in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune & now Hyderabad. Being raised in a village, I have always had difficulty liking a city. In fact, the first time I visited a house on 14th Floor in Mumbai, I got a very weird feeling. It is a perspective I had never had in my village! Since then, I have tried to blend in, albeit forcefully.
Over the last decade, having lived across cities, with all the constraints of a family man, I have zeroed in on 3 main issues that stare us in the face. And these issues have remediation (if not to resolve, at least ease it) at individual level. We need not wait for the government to do anything. I have already started doing my bit.
This post is only for setting the context on each of these issues. I will dedicate another post individually to how I am trying to handle each of these by doing my bit.  

  1. Waste Disposal - if you feel you are not being creative or not able to 'make' something as an urban dweller, here is the good news! Our life styles create one thing in abundance - garbage. garbage of all types, textures, weight and colour. And we know nothing about where and how to put it. We think that a garbage fairy picks it up from our doorstep where we put it every morning. 
  2. Commuting - we all commute within the city in private cars and hate the traffic. If you do not commute in a private car, please leave a comment and then we have a lot to catch up on. Traffic (which is basically us!) causes delays, pollution of all sorts and unnecessary fuel expense. All this can be avoided.
  3. Water - I rest my case!

Just 5 minutes into discussion on any of the above topics, you will know that the root cause of all these is us - the people. So it is upto us now to solve these issues.
Another issue that is at the root of these three problems is the social divide (urban / rural, rich / poor, them / us etc.) For instance, we keep generating waste till it is not disposed in our own backyard. We do not mind if it gets disposed in a nearby village (from where our water also comes). Unless we take responsibility for these problems and accept that we are creating them. We will never (yes, NEVER!) be able to solve them.