The Quiet City
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
Normally, an angry snarl of traffic, the southern Indian city of Bangalore, once known as the "Garden City of India," resembles a ghost town as a nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus, goes into effect.
By this stage, the number of positive cases in the city was over 20 and rising. There had been one official death in the state so far, although members of the posh Bangalore Club could be heard muttering about the death of a 65-year-old member to the virus, after she had recently returned from Dubai.
I drove around the deserted city with a friend and colleague from work. The petulant mobs of motorists which are now emblematic of this city (reflecting increased migration from the north, in part due to the draw of the local IT industry), were absent. A 10-kilometre jaunt across Bangalore which on normal day before the crisis would take an hour, was covered in 15 minutes. The birds and urban animal life were out in strength again.
The city felt once again like a garden city, a city of thirty years ago, in quiet repose. The coronavirus can be lethal, yes, but its effect on traffic is something that I can live with.