What a day! It was a treat to see people pouring out of streets and alleys to join the human chain, merge in seamlessly, bringing their own posters, chanting their own slogans, and through small acts of kindness, reinforcing each others’ faith in the compassion that is at the core of all of us.
One protestor brought biscuits and drinks for the rest of the gang. Another stepped off the bus unaware of the protest but joined in spontaneously and started coordinating the walk towards Vydehi. Buses gave free rides to the protestors gathered at Marathahalli and Kundanahalli. Men, women and children brought in handmade banners. Seniors made the trek to make their voices heard. And all gave way for traffic, and left the protest arena clean – free of any discarded banners or bottles.
Marathahalli Bridge was flanked by families who spanned the entire stretch. And most piled into buses to head to ITPL. Graphite was abuzz with activity at 8:00. Almost 2,000 people gathered there and trekked 4 km to the destination. KTPO saw people thrilled to find that their managers had joined in too! Nallurahalli protestors danced to the beat of the dhol and had a hi-fiving merger with the Graphite crowd at Vydehi. Two streams converged from Hoodi on one end and Forum Value at the other. All our traffic wardens were out there managing the crowds but aching to be part of them, one of them blowing his whistle to the chant of the slogans. Hospitals supported the protest wholeheartedly. Brookefield had a stall with water and first aid. RxDx was festooned with posters and Sakra ambulances as well. Thumbs up to you! A school bus passing by had students shouting out “Save Whitefield”. Auto drivers joined us wholeheartedly – they are closer to the ground reality than many of us.
Our anchors had a humungous charge to carry out and they came away with flying colours. Their teams had supporters who came from across the city just to help manage the protest. So although it may seem that way, this was not just of/for/by Whitefield. This was for all of Bangalore. A city we love for its weather and gardens and a gentle elegance that drew us in. Yes, many of us are outsiders and perhaps incapable of imagining what Bangalore used to be, or restoring it to the past glory that many yearn for. But we are trying very hard to make it the best we can, given where we are and what we have to work with. So while we said #savewhitefield, perhaps this is where the mission begins for all of Bangalore. And if it spreads, it may help us to execute the long term vision that is sitting in oft-discussed but un-implemented plans. The euphoria of the protest settles down and one is left with a feeling of…we did all this, and what happened? It will not be an easy path. There is push and shove and struggle involved in dealing with the elaborate machinery of government. It will be small steps forward, some steps back. Things may work, or they may not. But maybe some will stick, and we will believe that yes, we made a mark.
It took us so long to reach boiling point and take to the streets. Much like the Varthur lake froth has taken to the roads…to tell us that it is hurting. Now, lets keep at it. Lets not go back to our cubicles and codes. Lets keep a watch out for each other, and our roads. Lets do our part, and ensure others do theirs. Thank you to all those who joined…not just for making the event a success but for giving us renewed hope that we can, together, make change happen.

—  Nidhi Pratapneni, Whitefield Rising#savewhitefield