The Standard of Living Problem

This was sent on the Bangalore Bikers’ Club group. Someone also noticed the mention that in the 70s, 71% of passenger trips were made on bicycles! He also commented that “It was better than Copenhagen.”

So Bangalore, and in fact most of the country, did have a bike culture – ? Except it was hardly a culture – but more of a lack of choice. Our species is so governed by defined and accepted “standards” that we soon got hit by technology, and all that. And as affordability/incomes improved, there was only one path that spelled “progress” and we took to our Vespas and Lambrettas like there was no tomorrow, licence raj notwithstanding.

And so on and so forth. The used Ambys, Padminis, the landscape changing 800 and Gypsy for the braver souls, and in more recent part the plethora of options with more and more features becoming ‘standard’ and airconditioning becoming the only visible way to battle the noxiousness this progress brought into our lives.

The argument given, usually, is that this is the “price” of development and economic progress.

Really ? Are we so dumb that there’s only the whole of one of two or three models to be picked from ? Nah, we just never bothered to define our own report card and terms of progress.

So its someone else’s “standards” we’re trying to catch up with – consumption of electricity, fuel, goods leading the march. Upsizing, a “standby” mode for everything at home, western WCs, zippy long expressways to merely get to work – all are symptoms of this affliction.

These “standards” have started to interfere with the “living” in a big way. Gotta evolve beyond the aping we’ve gotten into. Gotta be smarter than the species has been in the last 30-40 years or so.

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