Bangalore gated community, Jan 2009 – 14
Image by Ed Yourdon
Everyone that I saw walking along was well-dressed and groomed. No t-shirts, no bathing suits, no shorts, no scruffy denim jeans…
Note: this photo was published in an Aug 14, 2010 blog titled " Q&A: Which sign is better to put up for home security?" It was also published in an undated (mid-Oct 2010) Easy Rock Gardens blog and a Nov 25, 2010 DIY Home Alarm System blog , with the same title and notes as what I had written on this Flickr page. It was also published in an undated (mid-Feb 2011) Counseling Rehab blog, with the same title and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page.
Side-by-side with the noise and congestion and pollution of the familiar "third world" portions of Bangalore are various "gated communities" that look very much like their counterparts in Florida and Southern California in the U.S. — and which seem to cater to foreign nationals (many of whom work in Bangalore’s high-tech companies) and upper-middle-class Indian families. My hotel was located in one such community, so I had a chance to walk around and take pictures that would offer a contrast with the Bangalore photos shown in this album.
The first thing that strikes you about this compound is how quiet it is: it’s about half a mile off the old Airport Road, and you hear none of the roar of cars, buses, motorcycles, and cacaphony of high-pitched horns and bicycle bells. It’s also incredibly clean — indeed, immaculate and manicured — in contrast to the dirt and the trash and clouds of exhaust fumes on the streets of "main" Bangalore.
After a while, it starts to look surrealistic and unreal, somewhat like the neighborhood depicted in "The Truman Show" — which, according to Wikipedia, "chronicles the life of a man (played by Jim Carrey) who does not know that he is living in a constructed reality soap opera, televised 24/7 to billions across the globe."
The surrealism is exacerbated by the many bizarre signs I saw as I walked around a three-or-four block area: "sprinkler water – not for drinking", and "halt & proceed" (instead of just plain "stop").
Security was quite noticeable, beginning with a checkpoint at the entrance to the compound, where a group of 10 guards (who were not visibly armed … but who knows?) opened the trunk of my incoming taxi and walked around carefully, checking the underside of the car for bombs. As I walked through the neighborhood, I saw two guards on bicycles, and another two or three attentive private-security personnel sitting prominently in the driveways of the homes they were presumably guarding. I suppose there might be some risk of burglary or other crimes associated with the various gardeners, landscapers, and other workers who could be seen all around, but it was nonetheless fairly sobering. By contrast, I would expect to see security at the entrance gates of similar U.S. compounds, but not the plethora of visible security within the compound…