Sunday, October 14, 2012

Tourist's dillema

IndiBlogger - The Indian Blogger Community 

More I think about it, more I am convinced. In process of globalization and all the cities in the world looking the same, the tourists are suffering gravely.
In recent times, lot of these incidences happened where I kept on thinking about what can you see in a particular city, as a tourist. Well I know you do not visit cities as tourists, you go serene landscapes like the north-eastern states, Kashmir or you might go on a temple tour in kashi and Uttarakhand. You generally do not come to visit Pune or Chennai or even Mumbai for that matter unless you are en route some different destination.
But if  you do, there remains a big question on what you wold see. Or make an effort to particularly visit, which you have not seen before. I have one-odd visitors in Chennai. I am expecting two families in November as well. When they ask me what do I see in Chennai, I am dumb. Sure, there is Marina beach. There is a museum (which I have not been yet, but heard it is decent) and there is kapalleeshwar temple. My list ends here. I can not think of anything else and drift our conversation to shopping in Nalli and Pothy's for the rich south Indian silk. Followed by a steaming hot idli or appams and filter coffee. All this generally takes up a day, and most of the people are happy about it.

Problem lies with people like me, who do not  have much of fascination with the beach, Museum might be too boring and shopping only makes me cringe. In fact, the problem is also bigger with young boys, who have no desire to visit temples, silk shops or museums. Not even crocodile bank or zoo. (yes, there is a crocodile bank in Chennai)  What do I show them, where do I take them?

And in fact, if somebody asks me about Pune, I will still be left in the same puzzle. There is agakhan palace, shaniwar wada and Museum. What after that?  All cities have a CCD, all cities have a movie screen and all cities have a mall. They all look the same. All cities have a Thai restaurant (Chinese is passe!) , a roof-top bar, a lunch buffet and a park. Where is the novelty? Where are the things those were unique to a city's life and culture and still serve as an attraction to tourists? I really really enjoy the Tekdi in Pune. But no tourist ever visits a tekdi. Apart from that, it is the same story. Movie, malls, Fancy restaurants and shopping spree. I am planning to visit Bangalore for 3-4 days next week. I searched online for sightseeing destinations, and most of the sites suggested Mantri mall, Garuda mall, and Lalbaugh.  Little more search did get me something else like Banerghatta park but else the same story continues.

I miss the days when all cities used to be different than each other. Look different, feel different, even smell different. Now with the flyovers, the malls, the multiplexes and the fancy restaurants, the uniqueness is gone. I can just go to Bangalore and say it feels like Pune, I can visit Chennai's malls and say it is like Mumbai. Well, losing it's individuality is a characteristic of city and the life in city. may be because of that people have started going to far and more far off places. You can do kayaking, long walks in mountains, hiking, water sports and bungee jumping. At least it is something you do not do in city, you feel good at the novelty value it provides, and you are content with your tourism.  Else Thai restaurants are to greet you in every city, and they will call on you till you believe that malls and food joints are the places to be.

What did a poor tourist ever do?