Mangalore has always been a very special city for me. That is where I started my career, way back in early 90’s. It ‘looked’ similar to Kerala, perhaps greener. But, people were quite different. Having covered into Hassan-road, Kanhangad in Kerala and Kundapura towards Konkan on the job, I got to meet a cross section of people of all three faiths, backgrounds, culture, etc. As a management trainee, professional life was at its best. Had three great bosses in quick succession, learnt some big lessons with them. (Professional life has never been so cool since then, having got in to the rat-race and ‘trying to climb’ the proverbial corporate ladder. )
Travelling into Kerala on work, I came across many people who had gulf connections. There would be several people slogging it out in Gulf and their family having a good life, blissfully unaware of the difficulties of their bread-winner in Middle East. (My childhood chum captured the essence of the suffering in his hugely successful movie, Arabi-Katha, in Malayalam). All of them invariably spent a fortune on their dream-homes ( thankfully, the lenders had not extended their tentacles by then, thus preventing the gulf-mallus from getting stuck in debt burden – that was even before the advent of ‘blade companies’, as the not-so-popular private money lenders are popularly known!).
Even for us, a credit card was a luxury, but we were aware of the values of living within means…Then, I had to make an official travel to Mumbai, by air. As I was dropped off at airport, the scenic beauty hit me. But, the location of the airport was a bit scary… I thought, this should have been a helipad !
Last year, I was back at Mangalore. I was back to spend my vacation, in typical NRI fashion. While all youngsters go to gulf and spend a fortune on their homes, I was in Gulf partly to fulfill my dream of financial independence and pay off my mortgage loans too!!! I was there with my mom, wife and son, on a pilgrimage. We covered Katil, Kollur, Murdeshwar, etc. We enjoyed the food, and also the liberal servings at Ideal Ice Cream, one of Mangalore’s pride! Mangalore was always a veggie’s delight.
Landing @ Mangalore airport, I was shocked to find the same airport, with little cosmetic changes. I thought again, this should have been a helipad. Now, I am no engineer/aeronautical expert. But, it was sheer common sense. We need no brilliance of Malcolm Gladwel ( as he explained in OUTLIERS), to make analysis of this disaster. The mountain-top airport should have been a helipad…perhaps !
A flight from Dubai…with many passengers belonging to DK & North Kerala have met the tragic end. Leaving behind hundreds of relatives, friends, colleagues and dependents. Many would have been bread winners for their families.
In spite of our rich cultural & spiritual heritage, somehow we don't seem to value human life. So many deaths happen around us... have be become so insensitive.
Most of them would have spent all their youth in the desert, to provide a comfortable life to their near & dear ones. All this because the establishment has failed to upgrade the infrastructure… We have been tragically ‘MANGALORED’. :(