My father moved into the house, which we still own in Kammanahalli, about 25 years ago. In those years, as its name suggests, Kammanhalli was literally a “halli” or a village. It was the back of beyond.
A mud road connected our house – one of only four houses on the lane – to the main road. The Bangalore municipal corporation did not provide water to the locality, so my father actually bought his own water, and this from a man on a bullock cart. Our sewage collected in a septic tank, somewhere deep in the ground, and was cleaned annually – once again, by another man in a bullock cart.
In 25 years, much has changed. Street lights, sewage lines and tarred roads came first. Then, I also remember the day when our road got its first bore well, and the municipal corporation began to supply the area with water soon after (even if it was just two times a week!).
There were other signs of change as well. New houses, new shops and new people. Now, our lane has 10 houses – some of them double storied, and home to at least six families (each!).
Our family was the first to bring a computer and a car into our lane, but now every other family has one of them too. Our neighbours come all the way from remote districts in North India to Afghanistan.
And here’s the clincher – garbage actually gets cleaned every day, and it’s hard to find an open garbage dump anymore!
Four years ago, I remember blogging here about how prosperity had come to Bangalore, but had bypassed the “halli”. I can’t say that anymore.
As the line of swanky new shops on the main road continues to advance one step at a time, the lines that link the richer residential localities and the “halli” is finally blurring. Development has indeed trickled down.
But for that to happen, it’s needed many little steps on the ground. A series of good Congress and BJP corporators, who’ve built on each others successes. The Congress brought lighting, sewage systems and water. Then, the BJP maintained it and also added garbage collection. Funds were actually utilised to benefit residents, till each of us can finally see a difference.
So, if successive administrations work together, there’s nothing that they we cannot achieve.
But most importantly, we need citizens to step forward to both build and maintain these localities. Every time when a city corporation fails us, we must have vigilant citizens, who pick up the phone and demand action from their local corporator. Like my mum does!
So yes, change is slow, but if you persist, it does finally arrive.