Have you come across questions from random people visiting Belagavi, like ‘How do you tolerate this mad traffic?’ ‘Why don’t you guys protest that water is available barely once a week?’ ‘Do you wait like this every day at the closed railway gate?’
If you do, then like me, you must have shrugged them off saying ‘we are like that only’. But this damp weather is making us dull, lethargic, sleepy and a thought comes to mind.
Belagavi is not just a city. It’s an adjective. It’s a state of mind. A state of acceptance of situations and things around us without protesting or demanding.
Packs of stray dogs roam the streets and run after your life when you ride at night. But that’s alright. We take the safe routes and make home safely. I know how to race my bike over dumps and bumps early mornings, to duck these dogs who have followed me many times when I attended law college.
The authorities have simply banished the dustbins from every street and then the garbage collectors rarely visit. It’s alright. We take our garbage on our bikes and search for bins to dispose it. It’s alright. Two reservoirs supply us water and yet we get it barely once a week. We’ve bought extra vessels and pots and store it anyway. It’s alright. We’ve learned to use water judiciously.
The PB Road bridge is ready but trucks are parked on both sides and a dozen cement poles just lie unused blocking the road and creating traffic jams. Now the entire stretch is wonderfully dug at several places in the middle to build manholes. We take detours; wait again at the traffic jams. We’re used to it. It’s alright.
When other cities are dreaming of bullet trains and monorails, we’re sheepishly looking at our non-entity of buses plying on the roads. I can’t remember the last time I took one. Have you heard anyone saying ‘Oh! The bus is very convenient for me, so I ditch my bike and take the bus’?
Our city has a great culture and heritage of art, architecture, music, and artists. A similar city elsewhere in the world would have boasted of as many museums. What do we have for a museum? A museum is a community’s Instagram page, something to show and flaunt about. It’s alright.
If you wake up early, you’ll come across hundreds of morning walkers banging across each other on narrow walking tracks in tiny gardens. Those who shudder to walk round and round, take to the potholed roads. Why don’t we have dedicated jogging tracks and walking spaces in huge parks? So we take our vehicles and go outside the city to walk- to Racecourse road and double roads on the outskirts. What a paradox in the name of health and environment sensitivity.
Don’t lose heart. Even if we’ve faced these situations, we’ve never complained. We never demand anything vehemently. We never protest. We accept things for as they are. The world speaks of learning mindfulness, wakefulness, a state of constant calm. We live it every day. From as long as we remember.
Should we try to get a Geographical Indication tag for this collective state of mind? Don’t worry. We’re fine, thank you!
Didn’t I say, Belagavi is not just a city. It’s a state of mind.