In the last month and more, I’ve visited so many cities in such short time that there are many possible headlines but little to describe them. Everywhere something looks familiar and something new. If you like the roads in one city, you’d like the food in another. The only significant difference is in the language. Apart from that, there were occasions when I took a couple of seconds to remind myself the city I was in.
Much of this travel can be fun. The biggest reason for it is the knowledge that you don’t have to live in these cities for longer than a week; that Bangalore is still going to be the best place to live in. With this in mind, I thought of rating cities on what you can call the Bangalore Coefficient. If the value is less than one (which is how it will be), it is a worse city to live in than Bangalore. The parameters I choose are fairly random. It might seem at times that some cities might appear to be far, far better than Bangalore, but thanks to the last criterion, Bangalore always wins. That criterion being, “Would I want to live in that city, and not in Bangalore?” So here goes in visiting order:
Baroda: Called Vadodara by the locals, there is nothing of note to see or do. There is plenty to eat, like in all Gujarat. Traffic is not as bad as it can be elsewhere and the cricket ground is quite pretty.
A two-sentence description is a clear disadvantage as Baroda gets a Bang-Co of 0.44.
Nagpur: Orange city it might be but the many times I’ve been here, I haven’t had a proper orange to eat. One orange juice that I did have was rotten. There is a street full of old-book sellers. But that’s it.
Bang-Co = 0.39.
Delhi: The national capital it may be but its citizens are amongst the most different of the whole of India. This is a city where the bubble never bursts and being oblivious to anything other than something related to Delhi comes naturally. The Metro is brilliant, I’m told.
Bang-Co = 0.51.
Chandigarh-Mohali: Clean, neat, ordered, peaceful, small, nice. Boring, uneventful. Chandigarh starts at Rock Garden in Sector 16 and ends at the shopping mall in Sector 17. Hassle is not a word you’d use though for this really simple city. Still, where is the traffic and noise and why does each part of the city look like the one you just left?
Bang-Co = 0.70
Hyderabad: The Paradise Biryani never made friends with my taste buds. But a city that comes very close to Bangalore because of its language and IT-ness, the twin cities already have a local train service.
Bang-Co = 0.75.
Guwahati: The first time I went here, I felt utterly disgusted that I had gone there. This time, it was a lot better. Paltan Bazaar was so traffically harrowed that I felt at home. And it must have the most nutty cricket supporters you’d find. They’d cheer you if you were a cricketer’s earring.
Bang-Co = 0.27.
Mumbai: The only place that can challenge Bangalore seriously. There is nothing different in the Mumbai of today to the Bombay of 15 years ago. It still is bloody good. Always fun.
Bang-Co = 0.96
(To be continued…)