Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Talk of Gangtok

Gangtok is a place after my own heart. The weather is ideal - clear blue, sunny skies with just that right amount of chill in the air. The place is clean and the people polite and friendly. Did I say the place is clean? Well, "clean" is an understatement. The main road here, M.G.Marg is a litter and spit-free zone. Littering here invites a fine of Rs 5,000 and/or six months imprisonment. The cobbled road is a walker's road and all vehicular traffic is banned here. The road is divided by a row of flowering plants, water fountains, and ornate street lamps. There is a sense of calm, quiet and general contentment as window shoppers, locals and tourists go about doing what they do best. The buildings along the road are neat and well-maintained. You could be in any quaint European city. One feels far removed from the regular dirt, hustle and bustle of other Indian cities.

I was struck by the well-laid pavements around the city. It is neatly cobbled with a green railing all along the side, separating it from the road. One can almost get from one end of the city to the other using these well-planned walkways without having to skitter through traffic. Even better, you can walk without fear of busting an ankle on uneven stones or falling through gaping holes in the pavement - a far-cry from the sorry excuses for pavements we have back in Bangalore. Shame on IT city.

For a woman, Gangtok seems ideal - at least as far as I have experienced. I could walk through the place without fear of lecherous men with groping hands, catcalls, or lewd comments.

Although I have little information on just how effective law enforcement is in Gangtok, the appearance of the police officers of the city is something to write home about. Policemen and policewomen here are very smartly turned out and look very fit and alert. No disheveled, potbellied, paan-chewing, head-scratching, lathi-wielding types here. Note to self: Must try to sneak a picture of one or some of these police officers for my blog viewers.

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