I could not help thinking that we, in India, perhaps have better and more scenic places. But the ease of access is just not there. The drives we did to Binsar and Munnar last year were, quite literally, back-breaking. Tourism done right can be a huge revenue generator and jobs creator for India.
On the last day in Sydney, as Bhavana and Abhishek walked around Paddy’s Market, I took the opportunity to walk through some of the streets of Sydney and spend some quiet time in Hyde Park. As I sat on a bench, I could not help thinking that we could have built Mumbai so differently.
There was no logic to having an FSI of 1.33 which stunted our buildings, limited real estate, and created for astronomically high pricing. The spread of short low-rise buildings eliminated public spaces that should have been used for parks and gardens. We did not use the water around to build bridges and eliminate congestion on the roads. We did not use the underground to create subways to speed up transportation.
We didn’t have to look far – just imitate some of the best cities in the world. We didn’t, and the result is all around for us to see in our Indian cities. We should have picked the best practices and learnings from the world when we built India post Independence, but we did not. The sad part is that, for the most part, we are still not learning our lessons.