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Sunday
Dec042005

India moves: I see a traffic jam with Toyotas, cows, and elephants in Old-New Delhi

highway.large.jpgThe New York Times is doing a series of articles, India Accelerating. They have already done three of them, here, here, and here. In last five-six years, I go to India very often, and I see tremendous changes that are far more than they have ever been in past. Yet I feel changes are slow even though the Indian landscape is definitely changing in all sense of the word. But then successful changes are always slow - a change too fast fails and that is the way even evolution works in nature. One way to sum change in India is the chaos one sees on the road in Delhi or Hyderabad or Roorkee with modern cars, elephants, bullock-carts, cycles, and pedestrians all on the same crowded road surging forward in different directions, and jostling for space resulting in quite an exhilarating spectacle. There is a new optimism that is very palatable.

In other ways, India is frozen in time but then Jet Airway (little more than 10 years old) has better food and service than any airlines I have been in different parts of the world. India is still a developing country with unsurmountable challenges ahead but the new VJs on MTV India are prettierand barristas more hip than their counterparts elsewhere. Inspite of a bullish and remarkable  economic growth seen recently, the country is still littered with incomplete and abandoned construction projects, and shoddy infrastructure all over. Are the public restrooms cleaner yet? Nevertheless, people from all walk of life in India are raising and asserting their expectations. Recently, I have not been to Indian villages to see how much the sense of change is osmosing through there. I am going to do this on my blog.

I am inviting people to write on "India moves: I see a traffic jam with Toyotas, cows, and elephants in Old-New Delhi". You can only write  about mega-changes that are going on  in India (any aspect of the change - economic, social, political - you choose) but can only cover changes during  years 2004-2005 in no greater than 1 page length. You should have lived or visited India for at least two weeks in the years 2004-2005 and before (to use as a reference point) to qualify. You have to emphasize the changes or lack of in India. The write-up can be deeply personal to anecdotal to general commentary to something in between. There are no prizes and need not be a formal write-up. The reason is to think about the changes in India - are they enough or the ones you want. You pour your heart out but try to write in a way that even somebody who does not know much or anything about India appreciates and understand your viewpoint. You do not have to be an Indian or Indian origin.

There are three ways we can do this: a) You write on your blog, inform me, and I will put up the hotlink here, b) If you do not have a blog, yet you want to write about the topic seriously, I can give you a guest account here, c) You can leave your write-up as a comment here. This is all to gain insights, think, and most importantly have fun doing it. I want to see brilliance and creativity. I will ignore and delete shoddiness and unimaginative thoughts.

Chai Garam Chai (Tea Hot Tea)

Something that has not changed in India is sipping chai (tea) on a foggy, cold morning in a dhaba (a tea stall or a small restaurant with indoor-outdoor cafe like ambience - very characteristic of India).

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  • Response
    Response: in depth research
    Have you ever thought about including a little bit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is valuable and everything. But just imagine if you added some great pictures or videos to give your posts more, "pop"! Your content is excellent but with pics and video clips, this ...

Reader Comments (10)

Interesting that you mentioned Hyderabad, Delhi and Roorkee in the same sentence. You must belong to Roorkee. I do too, and I'm sure we'll find a linkage somewhere. I grew up in the university and did my BE there too.

Now to the topic of discussion. I somehow feel more comfortable about India's slow but consistent pace of change than about China's relentless and fast pace of change. India's is a more inclusive and therefore more "natural" and sustainable process. China on the other hand seems to be roadrolling through to growth and that by its very nature to me seems to be unnatural and one that will have repurcussions that might undo it all.

In the short term, the frustrations will abound. As someone mentioned in a letter to the editor in the latest edition of Fortune - "on my last trip we drove to Mysore on one of the 'new' four-lane highways, only to find that farmers had closed two full lanes for miles and miles to use the road for drying their rice crops". !! I can totally believe that.
December 5, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAmit Varshneya
I am sick and tired of foreigners refering to Cows when they talk about India. For Thor's sake, can't we just forget about cows on streets please?!!!

The BBC and every other dumb TV channel or journalist out there from the west will surely capture the stay cow on the road while doing a video story no matter what the story is about.

Please, I plead you. Remove this cow from your topic and let them get some peace. Thank you for your kindest and sensible consideration.

Jagan.
December 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJagan
I agree with Jagan... get rid of the cows in the topic... elephants causing traffic jams is an exaggeration..
December 6, 2005 | Unregistered Commentershiju
My response to your, 'India moves: I see a traffic jam with Toyotas, cows, and elephants in Old-New Delhi' call for essays is here:

http://jagan.biz
http://jagan.biz/modules/news/article.php?storyid=176

Regards.
December 6, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJagan
I reach here through Evenstar's article. And so it happens, I blogged my experiences about my recent trip to Bombay and North-India. And seems like I qualify to submit an article to your collection. Here is the link:
http://miteshvasa.blogspot.com/2005/11/peek-on-past.html
December 7, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMitesh Vasa
Belated Happy Birthday Kush! Will link up soon!
December 9, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteraranyi
This invitation was too tempting to forgo.. here's my take

http://stylestation.typepad.com/home/2005/12/an_ode_to_the_b.html#comments
December 12, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterJinal Shah

Your article is too interesting, I was deeply attracted to your work, let people indulge in pleasures without stop I enjoy your articles bcfpug bcfpug - mulberry bags.

November 13, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteraijhps aijhps

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