Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bus shelters - the ugly

If you are convinced in your head that the people who read the Times of India most carefully and most completely are retired folks with all day to kill in a comfortable chair with a extendable foot support, you are wrong.

The correct answer is the Indian in a foreign land, mostly America, probably a software engineer, who misses home like crazy. He hunts the online edition for any news of his city, his locality, the street where his first girlfriend lived, the darshini where he hung out in his college days.

Such a person would know that the BBMP had awarded the contract for setting up Bus Shelters on the Outer Ring Road to Outdoor News India, the local avatar of Outdoor News International, a Murdoch owned global player in the outdoor advertisement space. Think hoardings, bus stops, metro station ads, telephone booth ads - everywhere except your underwear could be their motto. So I was excited. Bangalore already has the most beautiful bus shelters in India (topic for a future post), one of the many legacies of SM Krishna and his Bangalore Agenda Task Force.

So an international player which does the street furniture in Paris and Amsterdam will have no choice but to one up this. You think ?

They weren't having any of the "World Class Quality" nonsense, preferring the horses for courses approach. Hence the lame, washerman's donkey with an outsize bundle on it's back which made it look like a miracle it could stand up straight, leave alone move along steadily.

So this weird creature has a plastic painted metal colours look, with a huge neon lit sign on the roof for the sponsor's message. Grace, elagance, proportion, design sense. No, no, no and no. The only saving grace is that it makes no pretension to them either. Which is nice - imagine how well you would love Amar Singh if he admitted that he was a short, ugly man, with a squeeky voice and slimy eyes. Or not. Depends on whether your name ends in Bachchan.

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