City Zen

City Zen – Does our city need plastic surgery?

City Zen – Does our city need plastic surgery?

Until the mid-eighties, our groceries came bagged in old newspapers. We brought home rice and sugar in packages emblazoned with last week’s headlines. Fish and meat were first wrapped in banana leaves and then with brown paper. Beer bottles were surreptitiously swathed in double-rolls of weekend editions. Steel tumblers clanged at the nearby restaurant, then not yet suffixed with Darshini. Weddings were messy affairs even then but stray dogs industriously polished off discarded meals while cows champed on leaf plates. Recycling waste used to be a tradition, until we turned a new leaf.

City Zen – For the love of dog

City Zen – For the love of dog

As man and best friend clash, no one is sure who’s the underdog. Dog-haters growl genocide, arguing that there are too many mutts for comfort. On the other hand, the overzealous Assisi-tants of St Francis whimper that every dog needs a home, never mind that some of us can’t afford the nutritional equivalent of a pack of bow-wow chow. Wait, aren’t we wagging the dog here?

City Zen – Walk of Life

City Zen – Walk of Life

This is Animal Planet of a different kind. Amber traffic lights blink undecidedly as cabs race each other, ferrying early birds to work. Walkers, joggers and cyclists are under constant threat from vehicular predators. Their habitat, the fragmented footpath, has been driven (literally) to extinction. In farther reaches of the galaxy (such as Bellandur), footpaths have not even troubled the imagination of the authorities.

City Zen – Regret the incontinence or why we pee where we shouldn’t

City Zen – Regret the incontinence or why we pee where we shouldn’t

I’m curious about how a wall becomes a magnet for micturition. Back when Sulabh complexes and Nirmala Bengaluru toilets were figments of fantasy, public toilets were fortresses of glazed tiles guarded by cows and dogs and hidden behind foothills of garbage and other fragrant surprises. Forget about pay-and-use, most people wouldn’t accept payment to use them. They preferred to commit the deed at a safe distance. In time, the toilet’s circle of influence extended a good fifty feet from the inner sanctum. These communal relief zones also performed another important function – olfactory land marking.