Applauding Vizag’s fortitude in the past ten years

Sonal Sarda

A software techie, Sonal Sarda moved on to set up children-centric language courses like WhizB and VocaBOOM. A Director in Sarda Metals and Alloys, she’s also the Charter President for the Women’s Wing, VCCI. We present her take on Vizag in the last decade.

Once upon a placid city

“I came to Vizag almost 10 years ago from another town quite like Vizag. It was an easy and pleasant transition. My eyes were strangers to Vizag; back then it was a town with ample greenery and endless blue. It was a cosy, welcoming city with the promise of a charming future. A lot has changed since then. Our roads, which were once expansive and empty have become more clogged than the drains of a derelict house. The markets that were simple and indigenous have been overshadowed by run-of-the-mill malls and booming retail culture. However, not all changes have been jarring. The last decade has seen a growth in industries, port, as well as medical facilities. The municipality has done a great job keeping the city ranked in the national clean and green list.”

Resilience amid change

“Even though the city has undergone a sea change and parts of our lives have become more urban, deep within, where it really matters, the city remains true to itself. It is still a place where we know our neighbours and possibly most of our neighbours’ families. The city still allows us the luxury of visiting several places on opposite sides of the town, without spending the entire day cursing the traffic, (and most importantly) it is still a place that remains safe – for children, youth and elderly alike.

To the extent of the above changes, the city has had a relatively predictable decade. However, something else happened that would go down in the annals of not just the decade but also possibly the century. HudHud: a storm that wrecked unimaginable havoc. It was an event that highlighted the character of the city. Hours after the cyclone subsided, the city dazzled everyone with its resilience and camaraderie. From the government, to the Navy, to the homeless person – everyone took to the streets and put other’s needs above their own. It is probably the nature of disasters to unite us, however, nothing prepared me for the strength of overwhelming love such disasters beget. Cyclone HudHud proved we could emerge from any deluge unscathed and firmly demonstrated that even as we evolve to higher living standards and amenities, at heart we remain a town grounded by responsibility, love and warmth.”

The road ahead

“Does all this talk of endearing memories mean that we are an ideal city? No! In fact, we are far from it. There is a lot of work to be done. We have an arduous path ahead. We need to work on expanding our infrastructure, improving education standards, generating employment opportunities as well as enhancing the quality of life. But isn’t that the best thing ever? To know that we aren’t done yet. To accept that we are still a city in the developing world and realise that we have the potential to be a truly green, scalable ’SMART’ city. There are very few things that inspire more than the promise of a better tomorrow. And, what better setting for it than in the ‘city of destiny?”

Here’s to the last ten years and the many more tens that will come – may the journey never end!”

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