The term road, any stretch that connects two points, thanks to the various parameters reckoned to describe its profile in our times, has acquired many avatars over time, beginning with its primordial identity lane (a narrow road, often in villages, still to be seen in Mysuru city’s old residential parts). A public way, with buildings on both sides, threatening to spill into the walkway, falls into the class of roads called street. A road with trees and buildings on its either sides is described by the term avenue. A wide street in a city with trees or greenery on both sides, often with a median in the middle, is a boulevard. A winding road that has its route shaped by natural features such as a lake or hillock is called a driveway.
Mysuru region has stretches of all the aforementioned avatars of roads while the credit for creating avenues and boulevards in city that have endured for more than hundred years goes to the erstwhile kings and their chief administrators. Squares too have a long history in Mysuru while plazas are of recent origin. The dismal upkeep of virtually all types of stretches in Mysuru, mentioned above, leaving much to be desired, is hogging column-space of readers’ views in this daily with the administration looking the other way.
While another exclusive space for commuting, namely footpath, is steadily losing its importance, all other kinds of stretches are thirsting for bigger width, every such project costing a bomb to the exchequer. The era of single-storeyed houses on sprawling sites and narrow roads and streets has become history, yielding place to times of high rise buildings and wide roads, lanes getting the axe of authorities.
Given the compulsions of life all over the globe, namely a) Network of roads connecting places near and far apart, b) Wider roads both within inhabited spaces such as towns and cities as well as between cities and villages, c) Highways, Expressways, Freeways (such as in the West) for speedy commutes, d) Large area parking lots for automobiles, e) Jumbo-sized airports to facilitate steadily rising number of air travellers, f) Expanding space needs for urban infrastructure (offices, schools, hospitals, dwellings, playgrounds, parks, community halls, malls and so on), successive governments are clueless on arresting the steadily and rapidly shrinking land area for growing food and establishing industries, the two limbs of country’s economy.
Urbanites, having taken to commuting both within city limits and between cities using personal vehicles in preference to public transport to the point of choking all the streets and roads, can now be found blocking the space for walkers even in the lanes, as in Mysuru. We seem to be heading to the idiomatic expression All at seas in foreseeable future.