Haphazard views : A snooping psyche dissected

An e-space full of ramblings and mumblings

A pathetic city : BANGALORE

Corruption is everywhere throughout the world but more so in Asia.
Corruption is everywhere throughout Asia but more so in India.
Corruption is everywhere throughout India but more so in the big cities.
Corruption is in every Indian city but more so in Bangalore.

The den of corruption? Bangalore it has to be !!!

After spending about five years at a stretch in India’s so-called Silicon Valley, I feel it’s high time I shared some information about our beloved city with my fellow countrymen coming from other places and also ones who are planning to land up here in near future.

Much has been talked and written about each of the issues I’m about to cover. Still, I’m trying to make a collective list of precautions one needs to take in this wonderful city.

BMTC Buses
Other than the route number, everything including the source and destination of the bus would be written in Kannada and in most cases the Driver/Conductor won’t understand a single word in Hindi/English. So it is advisable that any newcomer to Bangalore who has to travel in the BMTC buses learns to speak and read Kannada before boarding the buses.

Sometimes, the Conductor won’t have change in his pocket so he will give you a ticket for 3 rupees, write balance 7/- at its back and keep the 10 rupee note that you’ve given him in his pocket. In case you forget to ask for the change, especially when you are in a hurry, he will never give it back to you. And, if you ask for the change, he will give you the change, take the ticket back from you and re-issue the same ticket to some other passenger after you get down.

Sometimes, despite understanding Hindi/English they would ask you questions in Kannada and if you answer in Hindi/English, be ready for abuses/taunts from the conductor and even a few fellow passengers, especially so if you are wearing the tag of an IT-Company. You are just another outsider who has eaten up yet another local son’s job, after all. So you deserve such treatment.

Things are much better though, in the red Volvo buses, probably because the whole ticketing system is computerized and mostly educated and cultured people travel by those buses.

Auto rickshaws, Taxis and the Cops
The moment you land up at the Railway Station or Airport, the first person to welcome you to the city would be an auto-driver or a taxi-driver. He will show you a rate-chart for different destinations in the city. If you are new to Bangalore, chances are there that you’ll be screwed brutally. The rate-chart usually contains rates at least 2 times, some times even 3 times what the actual fare should be. So you better not take an auto/ a taxi from the Railway Station or the Airport unless, of course, you take it from the Government prepaid taxi/auto counters.

The khaki-clad dacoits (auto drivers) would have faulty meters installed in their vehicles which actually would run much faster. If you cover exactly the same distance twice in two different autos, you’ll be amazed to see the significant difference in meter-readings of the two.
On top of that, they would charge you one-and-a-half and double whenever they want to. If they realize that you badly need an auto, they would take undue advantage of your helplessness and charge exorbitant fares.
Sometimes, even after you have agreed to pay them what they have demanded, they would ask for more when you get down and if you don’t want to pay, verbal abuses will be thrown at you.

There is a complain-cell in the Police department for auto-drivers. You can call up these numbers and lodge a complain whenever an auto driver misbehaves charges extra or refuses to go.
Indiranagar – 080 25253726
Jayanagar – 080 26630989
Koramangala – 080 25533525
Rajajinagar – 080 23324388
Yashwanthpur – 080 23376039
Call the number of the nearest office to the place of incident.
However, by the time you have finished complaining, chances are there that the auto-driver would have fled. Then the Police would arrive and take you to the Police Station, ask you a few questions in Kannada and if you don’t answer in the same language, they would ask you to lodge a formal complain mentioning name, address, license details and several other information about the auto-driver most of which you wouldn’t know so the complain won’t be lodged and for wasting precious time of the dedicated policemen, you would be asked to pay some bribe. If you refuse to bribe them, they would forcibly make you speak in Kannada and take every single penny that you have with you. If you don’t have much money, they would keep your Driver’s License, PAN card, Mobile, Wrist Watch or any other valuable possession and would ask you to go to an ATM and withdraw money for them. If you still refuse, you might end up getting a few slaps/punches and some vocal tonic as well.

Although the Cops, auto-wallahs and bus-conductors may not speak Hindi/English at all, they always have a readily available large vocabulary of Hindi abuses (gaalis).

If you go to a Police Station to lodge a complaint or to report something, even if it is for something as meagre as a cell phone being stolen, they won't take your complaint unless you bribe them. Things become different to some extent if there is a woman with you becuse for some unknown reason the cops pretend to be very honest in front of women. So, whenever you are dealing with the Bangalore cops, try to take a lady with you.

Traffic Police: Special Mention
If you are driving, it doesn’t really matter whether you have committed a traffic violation or not, if the Bangalore traffic cops are in the mood of screwing you, they would do it anyway.
All they would do is they would stop you in the middle of the road and ask a question in Kannada. If you don’t answer in Kannada, only God can save you from becoming penniless at the point of time. Even your not committing a traffic violation as well as having all the papers with you can't save you.

A simple non-furnished 2 bedroom flat in a not-so-good locality, situated between a stinking dumping ground and a slum would cost you a good 7000-8000 rupees per month.There would be some concessions if you are not an IT-professional because IT-Professionals are all millionaires, after all. Anyone can rob them. They are the reason why the local children are unemployed. They are the ones who flock into pubs and discs in the weekends, roam around with pretty girls hand in hand on M.G.Road and brigade Road, wear branded clothes and eat in posh joints. It is because of them that the Kannadigas' children are not getting their jobs. So no mercy should be shown to them.

Besides, you have to pay a sum of 10 times the monthly rent to the landlord before occupying the flat. When you decide to vacate the flat, he would deduct repairing and repainting charges; one month’s rent (in case you couldn’t give him a month’s notice before leaving) from it and give the remaining amount back.
Most of them (not all) usually invest your money in some business like real-estate or stocks so they won’t be able to give you your money back at once. Therefore, you have to come back to their places again and again asking for your own money. The best way to deal with these morons is putting a strong new lock on the apartment door and not handing over the keys to them until and unless you’ve got your money back.

RTO / Sub Registrars’ Office / Other Govt. Offices

1. If you are coming to Bangalore from some other part of India and you don’t have a Passport or a Driver’s License, please get these made before you come to Bangalore.
Fortunately enough, I had my Passport made before coming here but I have seen people going through hell to get their passports. Getting a Passport issued is not as much a problem as getting it in your hand from the Officials and cops is. There are two ways of getting your passport in your hand. One, bribe them. And two, bribe them.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a Driver’s License when I had come to Bangalore. I needed to get one so following the standard set of procedures that are followed in all other states I approached the RTO and was told I needed to shell out 2000 rupees to get my DL issued. And, after the DL is issued, I would have to give something to the Inspector for his children so that I get it in my hand. A very close friend of mine had lost 2000 rupees but still didn’t get his DL following this set of procedures. He asked me to get it done through a Driving School. I went to get admitted to a reputed Driving School and they charged me an exorbitant amount (almost 4000 rupees) for 10 hours of driving classes, learner’s license and final Driver’s License. When I asked why they were charging me so much, they said, it was actually not that much because 1500-2000 rupees will go in bribing the RTO officials only.

2. I and my wife wanted to get our marriage registered. The solemnization was done before only. We had the certificate and all other legal documents ready. Our families, including our parents, were present. As always, we yet again were asked questions in Kannada which we couldn’t answer and therefore, we were asked to purchase a 5-rupee form for 350 rupees . We were also asked to come back after a month and were told we would get the certificate only after paying about 3000 rupees more.
This time I was so irritated and furious that I simply refused to pay the bribe.
Finally, with some friends’ advices, we approached a non-Kannadiga advocate who helped us get the marriage certificate. He took quite a hefty fee but we didn’t have to undergo the pain again.

Traffic : New Addition
If you are not aware of the traffic situations in Bangalore and you are planning to drive a car or ride a motorcycle here, there are a few things you must keep in mind.

---No matter how careful a driver you are, always remain extra-cautious on the road. 90% of the people driving (including auto-drivers, BMTC bus drivers, Company bus drivers, call-centre cab drivers and even some private car drivers) do not have any road-ethics. They just refuse to use brakes and indicators, forget hand-signals. Especially the auto-drivers, BMTC bus drivers and call-centre cab drivers drive as if the roads are owned by their dads. So please be extra-extra-extra-cautious on Bangalore roads.

---If a traffic cop asks you to stop even though you know you haven't done anything wrong, make it a point to take out the keys of your vehicle and put them in the pocket before the cop does the same because once he gets hold of the keys he just won't let you go without making you shell-out a large sum of money. Never ever let them have the keys. They keep robbing people like this, more so at festive times like Deepavali, Ugadi, Onam, Christmas, Eid , New Year etc when they need extra money for shopping.

---Never carry the originals of your DL, Vehicle insurance papers, RC Book etc because, if they don't get the keys they would keep these originals and unless and until you bribe them, you won't get them back. Just carry photocopies (preferably attested ones) of everything so that they just don't get anything to focefully extract bribe from you.

---Never ever try to jump a signal or drive into a no-entry even if you can't see any cops around. Firstly, these actually are traffic violations so you should never do these. Secondly, the cops know if people don't see them they would be tempted to do these and instead of stopping people from violating the traffic rules they just hide somewhere nearby and the moment someone breaks the rules, they suddenly emerge from nowhere and rob him. Therefore, even if you see red-light at an empty signal, never jump the signal. And, never drive into a no-entry however hurry you are in, however late it is in the night, however empty the street is.

These were my experiences in Bangalore. If anyone can add any other point(s), please do so. I am so fed up of this place that I desperately want to get out of it. But, unfortunately, because of some professional as well as personal obligations, I have no option but to stay here for some more time.

It is very easy for high-profile citizens, elite localites and celebrities to repeatedly say that there is no corruption in Bangalore and that it is a nice city.
Unless they come down to the grass-root level from their elevated postitions , outside their media-backed lifestyles, and try walking in an 'outsider's' shoes, they would never know what many people like me have to go through here.

From whatever I have seen, the general public (mainly consisting of middle and upper-middle class) of Bangalore seems to be like any other city's. They are nice, calm and co-operative but in our day-to-day lives we hardly come across people like them.
The major problem lies with uneducated, semi-educated and Government-employed people. Everyone has to deal with these kinds of people. There is no other option.

Five years back, like many, I too had a notion that Bangalore was a great city. When I came here, I had dreamt of so many nice things but all my dreams got shattered after staying here. Even if it was a great place before, it isn't anywhere near that status these days. If I somehow can manage to get out of this place, I would try my best not to come back here in my entire life.

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