Comfortable cities

Feeling comfortable, whether one lives in a city or a village in the country, is a state of mind to some extent and also a sense of reality to another extent. We seem to have arrived at a point of urbanites at large disillusioned with city life toying with mulling about taking residence in some village or the other, although not with clarity of mind or definitiveness while the rustics in rising numbers have resolved to move to urban space hoping to live comfortably in greener pastures, however uncertain the prospects prove at the end of the day. The dynamics of the two-way trip, one by the city folk with thought of heading to villages and the other by the farming fraternity currently marching to one or the other city appears to be emerging on both scale and pace like never before in the country’s history, given the steady proliferation of towns first and cities next in the face of villages witnessing gradual attrition. Asymptotically, at a distant date from now, urban space may cause a total eclipse as it were of the rustic regions all over the country.

Chroniclers tell us about the ancient city of Pompeii (buried by eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79AD) while the land’s epics describe the glory of ancient sites such as Ayodhya and Hastinapura portrayed by scholars delivering discourses as cities, in addition to the historical city Varanasi, surviving to this day (although bearing a modern image of sorts). In contrast, the cities of the bygone era and their modern versions are as different as chalk and cheese while the villages of past centuries may have got morphed only marginally.

The reasons for residents of cities taking a peek at villages and the farming fraternity deserting their soil are not hard to seek. In the case of the first action, the residents are finding where life has drifted from the zone of comfort to one of misery. In the second case, question of livelihood has prompted the rustics to move to city spaces hoping to land jobs with steady income. Losing the charming side to life in a city with a sense of frustration is the doing of urbanites themselves, swayamkritha. First, nobody bothered about the rapid rise in the headcount of the respective city. To describe what the urbanites have done to their space over years as a disaster is an understatement. They are sliding towards a scenario which can best be described as a calamity.

While the current already unviable density of most cities is tending to become denser with the influx of rustics, hypothetically we will have only cities accounting for the entire geographical area of the country sooner or later. In that eventuality, if the residents desire for comfort at any perceptible level, they may have to get their heads examined. The just published ranking of Karnataka’s cities for their liveability may amuse some and astonish others.