October 3, 2022

by Sayantani Nath

“The place do you reside? Are you okay with our present workplace location?” – Commonplace query in job interview (Bengaluru, 2020)

It has been over a yr since I moved to Bengaluru. And right here’s what I learnt in a short time: From small discuss with strangers on the Metro to my close to day by day battle of explaining why I’m late to my boss — visitors is the omnipresent thread connecting each Bengaluru resident, together with me.

Site visitors jams listed below are actual and horrible, however the metropolis appears to have learnt to dwell with it–like a persistent ketchup splotch in your favorite shirt. Even when you end up in the midst of a 3 kilometre-long chock-a-block, surrounded by blaring horns or foul-mouthed drivers, you’ll find methods to maintain your self occupied. The drivers strive discovering varied methods of inching ahead, the auto wallahs select to path away right into a daydream, and the confused passenger settles into a brand new net collection with a sigh.

I had by no means REALLY considered it. However as I roamed the town talking to HR heads and startup founders for this story — the picture of this extraordinarily acquainted topic sketched itself relatively in another way in my thoughts, monstrous and harrowing.

This was as a result of I used to be asking a query I had by no means requested earlier than –

“Will Bengaluru’s visitors wreck my profession?”. The reply, extra difficult than apparent, took the type of “relies upon”.

“Silk Board.”
“Sony World Sign.”
“Mekhri Circle.”
“Silk Board, fingers down.”

Notifications from the Fb submit I made once I started this story saved my cellphone buzzing frequently. The query was easy sufficient –  which is the worst junction in Bengaluru, traffic-wise?

Silk Board emerged because the clear winner on the impromptu on-line ballot. Virtually all of us dreaded crossing it at any time of the day. together with me.

Tamalika, a analysis analyst, shared her day by day trysts with the notorious Silk Board en route her college. “I bear in mind ending half the season of an online collection whereas caught at Silk Board,” she posted with a smiley.

Not everybody has nice recollections, although.

Bhagath, a expertise supervisor, misplaced his job as a result of exhausting day by day commute. Waking up at 4 a.m. each day, he would set out from his residence in Yelahanka in direction of his Koramangala workplace at 6 a.m. The space amounted to almost 40 km, worsened by the visitors bottlenecks. The tiring commute, the sleep deprivation, and the common publicity to smoke and air pollution for greater than 5 hours took a toll on his well being {and professional} life.

The workload on the startup was unforgiving, and shortly Bhagath discovered himself and not using a job. Fortunately, he’s again to being fortunately employed. Evidently, the proximity to his house is a present!

“That is how”, expertise advisor Saria Iqbal, admits, “Bengaluru visitors is limiting the job-seeking radius for the youth. I work together with candidates day by day on varied alternatives. Due to the visitors state of affairs, it has come to a degree the place skillsets or ardour apart, I’ve no alternative however to ask in the event that they’d be okay with the workplace location. This occurs within the first two minutes of my introduction name. There are plenty of professionals who’re nice for the function however have turned down the job as a result of they dread the commute.”

Conversations with others like her revealed that many younger professionals are selecting to maneuver out of their household houses to remain nearer to the workplace; whereas others are altering houses nomadically (or paying exorbitant rents in business areas) to evade visitors. Coupled with the unresolved concern of sky-high rental deposits, freshers find yourself broke each month, it doesn’t matter what.


The variety of folks has elevated, so has the variety of vehicles. However the highway capability remains to be the identical. Jams are inevitable. The town has expanded radically. Virtually each different commuter has to ply to the centre of the town, say, Hudson Circle, for reaching their vacation spot–inflicting frequent blockades at these junctions.”

M A Saleem, ADGP (Admin.) of Karnataka and the previous Site visitors Police Commissioner


There may be maybe a direct correlation between visitors violation and visitors jams, no less than within the case of Bengaluru. “Annoyed drivers violate visitors guidelines, inflicting extra inconvenience for others behind, typically resulting in main jams,” says Dr Saleem.
So are there any solutions?
First, allow us to take a look at the ‘conventional’ strategies – centered on enhancing the state of affairs on the roads. A number of main companies with their workplaces on the Outer Ring Street have come ahead to represent the Outer Ring Street Corporations Affiliation (ORRCA). The discussion board typically collaborates with the town’s municipal company, the BBMP, to design options for visitors points.
I feel this ought to be one thing like:
For example, visitors wardens have been appointed alongside the Outer Ring Street, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays, to keep up a easy move of visitors.

In 2011, ORRCA collaborated with transport authorities from the BMTC to provoke the Widespread Bus Routing System (CBRS) to supply a handy commute to all firm staff. From ORRCA 101 to ORRCA 117, a number of buses now ply alongside the Outer Ring Street for these staff.

A skywalk has additionally lately been commissioned by ORRCA close to Ecospace, Bellandur – one other location infamous for night visitors jams.

Many startup companies very often assist their staff, formally or informally, to seek out locations to remain close to the workplace. Firms additionally typically pair up with house-hunting startups to make sure that the worker doesn’t must wade by way of a sea of visitors each day to succeed in the workplace.

Except for the Site visitors division, a number of residents’ teams and volunteers are managing visitors on a person capability–a voluntary service.

In truth, the three-decade-old Site visitors Warden Organisation has over 700 visitors wardens chosen from amongst aware residents. It’s maybe a one-of-its-kind organisation within the nation.

One can argue that the actual fact {that a} metropolis wants its residents to step up and do voluntary visitors responsibility exposes the inefficacy of its visitors police. Dr Saleem, nevertheless, believes that visitors police personnel can not magically stop a jam the place roads, transport and different elements should not in compliance.

“The issue is actual and can’t be solved with out energetic intervention from all quarters,” he says.

However these are simply easy bandages on a hemorrhaging wound. You are able to do all you may, however no power can can ever make inching alongside on packed roads a nice expertise. Some KRAs are simply past us all.

Which is why we come to the ‘new’ resolution, which many hail as the perfect one.

Two months into the town and Gowri (title modified) found Google Maps was probably the most used app on her cellphone, as heading out of the house with out checking the blaring pink strains on the map was stupidity. Quickly, she realised the sanest factor to do was to seek out an residence inside strolling distance from her workplace, as the corporate was not so progressive when it got here to the choice of working from residence.
And thus, in a single day, she crammed herself right into a two-bedroom flat with a stranger in an inside locality. She needed to quickly transfer out although, owing to the owner’s whimsical harassment. A standard sufficient story. So what was Gowri’s resolution? A brand new job, this time with an organization that supplied work-from-home, no less than for just a few days a month.
This modification, by tens of hundreds of ‘Gowris’ throughout the town, has not gone unnoticed by the hundreds of startups additionally mushrooming across the place. Many companies are reconsidering worker insurance policies, accepting that visitors in Bengaluru makes punctuality a obscure skilled parameter. Many established companies have spruced up their pick-up-and-drop companies and eased their erstwhile inflexible stances on working remotely.
An internet survey on a preferred Bengaluru-based civic discussion board revealed that almost 95 per cent of staff really feel that recruiters in Bengaluru ought to be versatile and accommodating with their staff, contemplating the visitors points within the metropolis.
“I’d relatively productively full my day’s work in 4 hours at residence relatively than travelling a few hours both approach and spend 6-8 hours within the workplace (or extra) being sub-optimally productive,” says Supriya, knowledgeable companies supervisor.
She elaborates, “We’re the technology of work-life integration, gig financial system and self-improvement. With know-how taking on, we “work” past the standard 9 to five. So firms ought to be versatile and permit us to make money working from home when wanted, discover methods to productively collaborate on net/video/cellphone conferences and different collaboration instruments, and basically permit their staff sufficient freedom to no less than attempt to have a life together with work.”
Flexi-hours or versatile working hours are the quick resolution firms are providing off late. The attendance monitoring slots on the HR portals stay untouched by most companies. No worker I spoke to had to this point been formally hauled up for a delay brought on by visitors. The first focus appears to have shifted from spending a selected variety of hours at workplace to finishing the allotted assignments by the top of the day.
And it’s now not simply the small, ‘hep’ ones. The Bengaluru workplaces {of professional} community large LinkedIn have modified their day by day timings to eight a.m-6 p.m, serving to staff keep away from peak hour visitors.
“I’ve been late to conferences on account of visitors and my colleagues or shoppers perceive. Nonetheless, if somebody makes a behavior of being late “due to visitors”, that’s not acceptable. I’m completely alright with letting firms and managers resolve the context for themselves,” believes senior advisor Sriram Thiagarajan, who’s at present self-employed.
“Dwell nearer,” is his phrase of recommendation.

  • Whereas the Silk Board stays a terror, the commute to Bengaluru airport, positioned almost 50 km away from the primary metropolis, is one other nightmare. For a 9 p.m. flight, one wants to depart residence by 3 p.m. newest. Past Hebbal, the journey does smoothen out into empty roadways, however earlier than that, one wants to beat a collection of bottleneck junctions, irrespective of which aspect of the town they’re coming from.
  • The Metro connectivity within the metropolis, which plies out within the Inexperienced and Purple strains, does little to handle the visitors overload. The Section-2 of the metro challenge, connecting Whitefield to the primary metropolis by way of the Yellow Line, is well past its unique deadline. Regardless of jam-packed compartments within the workplace hours, Namma Metro doesn’t fairly cater to a lot of the ‘software program folks’–who largely commute to the off-route tech parks by non-public vehicles or cabs.
  • Jayadeva Flyover, which arguably supplied a breath of contemporary air to commuters on Bannerghatta Street, was was rubble in a single day. The elevated rail-road hall proposed in its stead is slated to come back up by the top of 2020. Until then, the exasperated driver has to take an extended detour which is able to value them just a few valuable hours of household time.

Curiously, for some folks, the jams on the roads are actually buttering their breads. And, if you’re prepared to take a look at issues slightly sideways, and maybe squint, you may see how the jam is nice (ish).
The visitors state of affairs in Bengaluru is being harnessed by a number of startups. From rental e-bikes like Yulu to carpooling amenities like Fast Journey–some startups goal to mine our determined want to cut back visitors stress on the town’s streets. After which there are those who merely take the burden on themselves, for a value.
The current financial system, sweetened with borrowed developments from the West, thrives on doorstep buyer companies for each factor beneath the solar. From pizza to groceries to a bottle of soda — supply executives will carry you every part with only a click on. And this has led to a growth in low-paying jobs that require few {qualifications}, aside from the power to drive/experience by way of the town’s visitors.
Is it any shock that companies like Dunzo have been invented amidst these choked roads? The visitors could also be throttling the careers of some, however has led to some good instances for a lot of others.
As is the case with virtually every part, there’s a darkish aspect. To fulfill clients who refuse to step out, supply apps promise unrealistic supply instances. The supply boys, most of whom are younger males from lesser privileged backgrounds, are obligated to danger their lives – rain or solar. A danger, we the paying clients in Bengaluru, appear more than pleased for them to take, realizing {that a} unhealthy assessment from us can value them a job.
It’s a ‘motorcycle-eat-motorcycle’ world on the market.

Emails answered on the highway
Convention Name
Bengaluru’s visitors issues are undeniably actual and no possible resolution is clear within the close to future. One of the best I might work out after days of loafing about within the metropolis is – we’re doing every part we will to keep away from the roads, and that’s how we dwell and earn. However exterior, there’s a entire different world looking forward to us to remain at residence, in order that they will dwell and earn.
The profitable aspect of that balancing act is likely to be the ultimate reply to what sort of profession you should have on this metropolis. For now, allow us to all simply look ahead to that silver-lining ever current round right here, a cool breeze. Change may be within the air.

Illustrations by: Vikas Gupta/Paseena Tales

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