The Visakhapatnam of my growing-up years used to be a stark contrast to what it is today. Peaceful and blessed with greenery, trips to the azure blue waters of the sea were a joy to the heart. The coast used to provide a respite with its cool air and clean sands. The commute from one end of the city to the other would take less than ten minutes and would be something we’d boast about. Both of these things have changed now. While going to the beach used to be a preferred evening outing for me, today, the fear of jam-packed roads has made me stop going there altogether. Commute involves wading through plenty of traffic as well and has turned into a hassle now. From being called the city of retirement back then, today, it seems to be on a growth spurt.
Proposed to be the new executive capital, Visakhapatnam stands at not just the start of a new decade but a new identity as well. The city, which was known to be laid back, calm, scenic and serene, is now witnessing the fledgling signs of development everywhere. And whether we like it or not, Visakhapatnam of the past has to be left behind, and we need to set our sights on the future.
It was nice to go through the many wishes that Vizagites shared with us for the city’s developments in the New Year. So, along with them, I would like to add a few of my wishes too. Firstly, I wish for fresh air, more than ever before. I want to be able to show T the stars in the sky, rather than having the smog that obstructs the view right now. I wish for more green spaces such as beautiful parks, play areas, and sports avenues. Visakhapatnam, I feel, needs to prioritise health, and while there are many hospitals, mental health and wellness through more rehabilitation centres are much needed. Fresher food through farmers’ markets, access to local produce, and promoting eco-friendly lifestyles are also among the things I wish for.
Whether we like it or not, and as much as we hope for the quiet city of the past, mana Vizag is going to grow. The power and responsibility, of charting the growth of Visakhapatnam in a right and thoughtful manner, however, lies in our hands.
It is we who shape the destiny of our city. And this New Year, may we have the power to shape it with responsibility. Genuinely wishing that this year is happy and prosperous for all my fellow Vizagites.