Rethinking Bengaluru

Rethinking Bengaluru

The Karnataka government is looking at the so-called problems of Bengaluru in a needlessly negative manner. Instead of considering them as liabilities, the infirmities should be treated as assets. Yes, there is a potential gold mine for the metropolis in its chronic headaches, provided we use a bit of imagination.

The world over, several countries and cities have turned to disaster tourism to rake in dollars by exploiting their past and present miseries. Nazi extermination camps in Western Europe, the old slave marts of southern US, the infamous "killing fields" of Cambodia, live volcanoes of Indonesia, the hordes sifting through the garbage mountains of Manila are prime examples. Mumbai has converted its biggest slum into a sightseeing spot for eager beaver Western tourists wanting to see misery first hand.

Now think what we can do with Bengaluru's hot spots. Once upon a time, the city was known for its numerous lakes. Now we can offer the unique sight of flaming lakes. This can compete head-on in awesomeness with the sight of the molten lava stream exploding into the roiling sea on Hawaii's Big Island or a hot geyser gushing out at Yellowstone National Park in the US or steam shooting out of the ground at volcanic Roto Rua in New Zealand.

A bit of clever online advertising and marketing and we should have hordes of the curious from all over the world coming to see this phenomenon of water on fire. The city administration can earn additional huge revenues through merchandise, such as marketing T-shirts with a flaming Lake Bellandur emblazoned on the front or small, decorative flasks filled with the fumes from the lake. The National Geographic could be enticed to do one of its fabulous photo essays on the lake which would attract the attention of tourist agencies all over the world. In addition to nerds and geeks, the leitmotif for Bengaluru can now boast of fire-breathing lakes.  

Flaming lakes are not the only oddity Bengaluru can offer the thrill-seeker. What about shooting the rapids of the heavily frothing "once-river-now-drain" Vrishabhavati? Can any tourist experience anywhere else in the world such a malodorous experience? Why, this can even rival the hair-raising thrill of bungee jumping, especially if the tourist happens to fall into the slimy waters during the boat trip.

Talking about adventure tourism, Bengaluru has a lot to offer the bold tourist by way of treks along its footpaths. No Himalayan mountain trail can offer the type of obstacles the city's sidewalks can boast of. In fact, instead of the boring "On-Off" tourist bus ride, an "Along the Footpath" walk could make a better attraction.

Come to think of it, Bengaluru can soon rival Agra or Jaipur as a tourist hot-spot. All Mr George has to do is consider the possibilities of his portfolio in an innovative way.