Sunday, March 18, 2012

That awful airport

People are ever ready to scream about the traffic problems in the city. And they are not entirely unjustified. Whichever way you look at it, our Bombay is a tiny, tiny city. The entire area of the city stands at a mere 450 odd square kilometres; as opposed to London and New York, both three times the size; both containing fewer people.
Furthermore the city is shaped all wrong - it resembles a pear or I daresay even a banana to the poor souls that need to travel from Churchgate to Dahisar daily. And to make matters worse, half of the city's area is occupied by :
Lakes (Vihar, Powai, Tulsi )
A National Park teeming with vicious leopards.

Of the three, I can't say I object much to the first two. Since I'm griping about transport alone I will not venture into the criticism of our municipality for being unable to transport water from the lakes to the nearby, yet waterless suburbs of Bhandup and Mulund. I like the lakes. However much area they occupy, however many crocodiles they contain and however many pesky school children go thither for picnics , I would never dispense with them. Use them properly instead, says I.
National parks teaming with vicious leopards are the sort of constructs that merit a hearty pat on the back. Vicious leopards often snack on the nasty pariah dogs India is home to, occasionally bumping off the nasty pariah humans that caninely co-exist. Altogether, behaviour to be highly encouraged.

And now, to put it proverbially, I come to the point. Airports.
In the plural. Already , dear reader , if thou art not from Bombay, thou hast sensed something wrong. Why should a city of 400 million square kilometres, lakes and national parks contain within its city limits this Wright brother creation in its plural form?

Yes, Bombay has two airports. The main one occupies the area that would have been Vile Parle East and serves as the office for glorified waitresses and glorified taxi-drivers. Also, aeroplanes directed at the rest of India and the rest of the big ballsy world are fired every two or so seconds from this region. The necessity of this expanse of land that was never named after a dead British Queen (whose name we are making our business to eradicate but whose sexual code of conduct we obstinately refuse to part with) is debatable; I myself would have it just outside the city but smartly connected to all parts. But as I said, it is debatable, what would have been Vile Parle East is any way a nasty place and I am never one to deny the non-thinker his point of view.

What is not debatable is the presence of another, wretched, dysfunctional airport on the other side of the Highway and railway line. One that erodes into the life within a precious haven of residential beauty - I refer to the grand western side of the suburbs of Bandra and Santa Cruz, the conceptual suburb  of Khar and the beach blessed neighbourhood of Juhu.
While this stretch of paradise is undoubtedly the best place in Bombay to live in, commuting from one end (Juhu) to the other end (Bandra) is rendered virtually impossible by the presence of this monstrously repugnant bit of marshland called Juhu Airport.

As a result of this overgrown toy airport, we, the south suburb commuters have to make do with two roads. Travelling on SV Road is always a tortuous business; travelling on the Juhu Tara road used to be all right but has ceased to be so since Amitabh Bachhan acted in his first chick flick. And the only thing that separates these two hellpaths is the subject of this rant - the pointless Juhu Airport.

Imagine there were no Juhu airport. We'd have a lovely five-lane highway right in the centre of this region flanked by beautiful parks on either side: vast open spaces of land for the elderly to reminisce about their naughty old days, the little ones to run amok and the name of God to be praised. And our suburban paradise would then be complete.

To sign my petition for the removal of Juhu Airport, please continue to visit here, I am unpredictable and may take a few years to make a complete draft in flawless Marathi.

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