Sunday, June 16, 2013

Parking Woes - City Centre Mall Shines Bright

I am a bit worried about driving anywhere these days. That's because I can get to my destination but I cannot get out of my car. (It's a bit like Hotel California - you can check out but cannot leave.) Not that I have some unmentionable problems or that I am smitten by a sudden case of shyness - it's simply that there is no place to park. I drive around in circles and come back home without even getting off the car many times.

That's true. I spend a lot of my time circling the place where I want to go to, looking at it longingly, as I would any object of my affection, looking for some opportunity to get close to it. Sometimes I pick up some courage and park in a place that seems safe to park - normally a fifteen minute walk away from my destination - my heart beating in fear at what might happen to my car.

I find out soon enough that no place is safe. Sometimes the car gets locked up, sometimes it is towed away, sometimes I have scratches on it left by some jealous competitors. It's not that I have parked in a No Parking zone - merely that I have parked in a zone that has not been declared safe to park. The penalties, legal and illegal, cost a few hundreds of rupees for me. It would have been cheaper for me to stay at home.

Why, I wonder, do all these commercial establishments not have places to park? How come there are miles and miles of roads with no parking places? Who conjured up such designs where they did not envisage parking spaces at all? How come so many illegal structures park themselves on the road but there's no space for parking?

But let's move to the safe to park places. These are places that come with a price tag. All malls in Hyderabad charge upwards of Rs. 30 to park, some charge by the hour, roads that have paid parking charge Rs. 20 and more, and so on and so forth. So much so that I have stopped going to certain places because they are exorbitantly pricey. (I sometimes think they price themselves so they can keep people like me out. You see I like places where we can park free of cost. Like the good old days.)

Just when I was thinking that I'd probably be better off getting into my car, parked securely in my own compound free of cost, and getting out of it after a while, so it saves me the trouble of circling around like a hungry eagle, I saw hope the other day. Like a huge breath of fresh air I came across a shopping mall in Hyderabad that does not charge for parking. City Centre mall, on Road number 1 Banjara Hills advertises the fact proudly and rightly so. In a muddy pool of malls and multiplexes that do not offer parking facilities that are half as decent, City Centre mall shines bright. It did the right thing and offers free parking space. No wonder it tops my list of favorite destinations these days. Good job fellows, there's hope for the world. And my car also gets to go out once in a while.


Rajendra said...

The auto unions must have conspired with shopping malls.

Dr. Seven said...

I take public transport (the subway system called MARTA in Atlanta)and have done so for 15 years to go to work, so I can avoid the hassle of driving and parking. Of course, that requires good, clean, safe, efficient public transportation. Hyderabad (or other Indian cities) are perhaps OK for young college students willing to hang outside the bus by a fingernail, but tough for others!