A city of modern frontiersmen

Originally published in Finnish on 19th January, 2017

You may have heard stories about gold rush to Klondike during late 19th century. My knowledge about those events is mostly based on Donald Duck cartoons – quite simplified view, for sure. Even some of my forefathers travelled to America, to search for treasures and gold. Many of them stayed years and decenniums, finally arriving back to their native country with very empty pockets, still boasting with their wild stories. Those lucky ones who became rich were rare and likely to remain in the new home continent.

I remembered those stories about Klondike when reading today´s news: Bangalore was named to most dynamic city in the world in a study by independent property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). In JLL evaluation the cities are ranked according to some socio-economic factors, especially growth of population, educational institutes, international connections, technology industries, investments and commercial properties. In Bangalore, there is promising opportunities to find a career: startups, highly appreciated hotel and hospital chains, internationally listed software companies all needing skilled labour. Bangalore is a world famous “Mecca of engineering”. Population growth and rise of average income level create more business and services. When looking around you can spot frantic construction work ongoing: new glamorous skyscrapers rise everywhere, luxury shopping malls with international brands are here to stay and grow.

Bangalore is a city of hope and dreams – international, even tolerant. For a hard-working and educated person it is possible to shake up centuries-old systems and outbrave the given-by-birth social status here. Many marvellous successful business ideas really have become true. Sad indeed – as it happened in Klondike – not all the people reach the gold. Benefits of growing economy and all the prosperity are certainly not shared equally. Existing opportunities to reach richness unfortunately bring side-effects: cheating, usury, subjugation of the weaker. The impact of trade unions is minimal: huge crowd of people are doing hard and dangerous work with shocking conditions and nominal daily wages.

In this still developing country government has no structure to carry the individual people and make their life safe, hence the role of supporting relatives is highly valued. Generally, elder people are respected here, but the conditions of everyday life can be extremely hard for example Dalits, vulnerable women, handicapped or terminally ill. Many people live without even the most basic health care or education. The growth of this city is practically uncontrolled, community planning halting badly. Corruption is still to be rooted from the politics, administration and police authorities. Traffic is more or less horror, constantly jammed.  The Crown Jewel of the public transport, Namma Metro currently covers only six stations for all Bangalore with more than 10, 000 000 inhabitants. Air pollution gauges show alarming numbers. All the hundreds of small lakes and ponds are more or less contaminated. Water resources are meagre, power cuts very common. Despite all these troubles this city still is very attractive.

Our family, too has joined to these modern frontiersmen who move to Bangalore. We did not expect to discover gold, never found it either, but we achieved a lot: my husband has been satisfied with his work, children happy with their school and I have been able to advance my studies due to good internet.  We have a network with nice neighbours and local friends. We have hobbies and meaningful freetime activites. Our language skills have improved. We have learned a lot about the Indian culture and way of living. I believe that we all have now new global understanding and even slightly developed with our moral and values.

When in due time returning back to home country, my stories about all the experiences in India will be endless. I can imagine myself still after decades sitting in a rocking chair, entertaining everyone who only have patience to listen my Klondike stories of 2000s.