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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

driving on outer ring road


For the past couple of months, almost every other day, I have been driving on the new Outer Ring Road circling Hyderabad, and watching the city eat into the rocky wilderness of the Deccan Plateau. I've grown to recognise and in a strange way commune with the large boulders along the road, and each time I notice a new pile of rubble I realise it's one more rock that's found its way into the building materials of the real estate developers. I am amazed at the speed at which the rocks are disappearing into hills of rough gravel, first, and then flattened to make way for the large steel and concrete buildings that will house commerce of various kinds. Profitable, no doubt, and with a logic difficult to argue with.

There's one rock that I've named the Wise Old Man. He has a large forehead and exposed teeth; sometimes it is like he has bared them in a permanent grin, mocking, or just sad. I wonder how much longer he will stand in the way of Cyberabad's expansion. After all, many young families are awaiting plush homes in gated communities, many international schools are awaiting land for spacious new campuses, and of course, there are businesses waiting to be realised.

The Wise Old Man looks on, but he doesn't have too long, I'm afraid. The blasts will sound, the huge cranes will swing, and that smile will soon be wiped off....

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