Monday, August 3, 2009

Strong bridges?

Building bridges is the in thing in India at this point in time. One can see construction happening at the most unexpected of places. “Fly over” is a relatively over used term. Now we have more fancy words like “express fly over” , "elevated bridge” ,” mono rail bridge”, “ metro rail bridge “ and may be a few more about which I have not yet updated myself.

How a 60 year old country can keep her infrastructure projects alive and kicking even after so many years is a wonder in itself. Months after months we have new development projects being kicked off, whether they see the light of the day is a question in itself. Yet what amuses me is when can we safely pass on to “maintenance” stage and get over with development of basic necessities.

One other classic behavior of Indians is to build important transport points far apart and then wonder how to connect them. We build airports so far from the basic commutation like trains & buses and then start projects to connect each of these. Funny as it may seem, it is like getting a printed circuit board without the circuit in place.

Let me not crib more about our (wonderful) systems and talk about something which is a pleasant outcome of this exercise. As most of you may know the the Bandra- Worli sea link in Mumbai is a recent marvel which even I could marvel at close quarters. It is simply a wonderful experience to zoom across on top of the sea with the waves lashing below you. A typical travel time of almost an hour or more has been reduced to a mere fifteen minute memorable drive (of course for which you need to pay, but being the commercial capital of India, I am sure most Mumbaikar’s don’t mind it!).

After this wonderful ride and me raving about it to all my near ones, I got the jolt of my life the next day. I heard a friend had not visited his brother living across in another part of the city for a full three (YES THREE) years. And to think, just one bridge separated their homes. Really made me think what type of bridges do we need more urgently? The one connecting roads or hearts? No wonder so many pillars are coming crashing down, we need to get the basics right in any case!