Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bangalore Metro and some more

A growing city has many needs and many aspirations. To fulfil them every stakeholder has to be a willing participant in the growth story. Generally the populaces are somewhat reticent in taking a proactive approach but the government has to be proactive and ensure none of the stakeholders fall behind in this race for a better future.
In Bangalore the public transport scenario is much better than what is to be seen in other part of the country and now the metro is all set to get its name added to the plan of things. The metro scene has been the proverbial, “bit too little bit too late”. But we hope it really catches up. 3 years and a dismal 6 kilometres is all there to show, that is a bad harbinger. In addition the route coverage is something that can be a great topic of debate. The areas being covered are by no means the crowded section of the city. In the words of Mr. K. R. Srinivasa, MD (BMTC), “If Metro is to take vehicles off the roads Phase II needs to be completed. Not many people will use the Metro at this stage as it doesn’t make sense to get on at Baiyappanahalli and get off at MG Road, unless you live or work along these lines or close by”.

Metro at Lalbagh Flower Show-2011
So currently the metro does not solve any problem. It just allures to a better mode of transport in the future. Globally it has been seen that metros by themselves are not the best solution to traffic woes or congestions. They need many tertiary arrangements like feeder services that add to the ridership. A good feeder service in the form of buses, trains, mono rails etc can only leverage the full potential of an extensive metro network.
In Delhi also the government provides commuters with park and pay like facility where they can park their private vehicles at the metro stations and take the metro to destination. In addition many dedicated metro feeder buses are there to connect distant locations to metro stations. That is the way going forward. Metro per se is not the be all and end all of all the commuting woes in the silicon valley of the east. Though it is being marketed as one but by itself it cannot solve even a miniscule part of the issues. A multipronged strategy is needed to tackle that. The same should be kept in mind by the Bangalore city planners; the more the cohesion the optimal the utilization.
Multi-pronged MRTS options like Suburban trains, EMU, monorails, buses and bicycles should go hand in hand with an expensive alternative like metro.
On the eastern corner of the city lies Whitefield railway station. Railways can definitely try to augment its local train service to connect that corner to Yeshwantpur, Cantonment and City Central stations. Like the ring roads we can have ring rails too. The Kengeri satellite town has not seen any concerted growth. NICE corridor is still mired in political controversies. Most of these are based on greed of the political class. Mysore has a great potential to become the twin city of Bangalore. A spurt in growth of Mysore will automatically open up a corridor 180Kms in length between Bangalore and Mysore which can be used as infrastructure corridor.
Monorails, metro rails and other conventional commuting options have one limitation though. And with such a wonderful weather that Bangalore has, another option that should be extensively explored is safe cycling options for the dwellers. Almost 40% of the 8 million Bangaloreans are residing in the core of the city. Even if modest 1% of these core urban population shifts to using bicycles this will mean 30 thousand people following a better lifestyle, generating less carbon footprint and above all giving some reprieve to the already bursting at the seam civic amenities.
The government should try to spread the growth horizontally. The future to a decongested city lies in a well spread out yet well connected city. These 6 kms are just a beginning. Let’s hope in times to come we have a world class transport system that syncs with the perception of the Silicon Valley of the east.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Tango To Tangle

We are a nation of couplets. This by no means allude that we are very poetic. Au contraire, we are bit off note in most of the things we do. Yet everything that happens, or is happening lately to this great country of ours is happening in pair as if everyone is in a mood to do the tango. The “one is lonely two is company” adage is being pronounced and highlighted in a never before brazenness through sheer coincidences or malintentions.

When it was about corruption, we were being inundated with double whammies; CWG Vs. 2G, Reliance Vs Tata, Petroleum vs. Coal. Even the politicians are coming in pairs, be it quintessential Pranab babu or the archetypal Sibbal ji; or King and queen pair of Raja and Kani. Even our saviors have come in pair, though disparate, in the form of Anna and Baba. The list is endless, but the pattern is for all to see; we are being swamped by pairs.

Now we are coming to terms with two train accidents in a span of mere few hours. The twin tragedy was preceded by a not so welcome comment by none lesser than the captain of the law and order brigade in the capital of India, Commissioner Mr B. K. Gupta. This followed by the captain of India cricket team making a losing statement even at the podium of victory in the recently concluded Caribbean cricket cruise.

Sadly, both comments when seen in the deglamorized world of pure logic or reasoning sound correct and reasonable too. Yet both incidents left a bad taste in the mouth.

"If you travel alone after 2 am and become victim of a crime, the police alone can't be blamed. It is advisable that a relative or friend is with you at odd hours," said Gupta. This coming from the top cop is a telling comment on the failure of the law and order enforcing agency in one hand and the judiciary on the other. This is the same mindset that propagates the belief that when a girl is sexually exploited she is as much or much more to blame than the perpetrator of crime.

Why can’t a democracy that takes pride in being the holy grail of everything humane and epitome of righteousness provide its masses with at least a sense of security. We the people, long back stopped expecting much from the government but at least in its words can’t it show some degree of maturity and restraint? We all know that police can’t be everywhere all the time but it is the lack of will on their part to be a strong and able police force that bodes ill for the country. By asking girls to avoid going out at night or if really necessary, to go escorted is a negative step and is a nasty way to shirk responsibility. A society that has to force its female populace into the confines of the walls to ensure their safety cannot call itself a civilized society.

Now coming to the field of cricket, aren’t we at times too timid and careful. When we are trying to show our supremacy in every field how can we expect our timidity and over cautiousness to hold us in good stead? Whatever happened to our long held belief of, “In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail”. Of course looking at the batting lineup and the required runs to get, it would have been foolhardy to compare the target to something great. Yet by calling for a draw they have somehow let us all down.

When the coach and the captain repeatedly say that they did not want to risk the series, is it that that are trying to convince themselves or us? Don’t they realize that pusillanimity can never be passed as cautiousness be it the field of cricket or any other sphere of life.

Aspersions may be cast regarding why instead of basking in the glory of a series victory we are lamenting about the tame draw. The reason may well be that world cup win has raised our expectations sky high or may be we want to see our cricketers do the brave act and show us some killer instincts that we so much lack in our life but the answer lies somewhere in the middle. For all the inaptitude and shirking of responsibilities to be seen all around we feel our cricketers as the upholders of all our dreams and hopes. We want to see in them everything that we lack as a nation, a will to win, strength of character and the power of conviction to show the world that we too count as a nation.

For the common man on the road the police force are a sign of strength and the cricketers are the sign of success, or at least this is what we want them to be. Any sign of fallibility or doubt worries us.

Whether cricketer or policeman, everyone strives for success and glory but actions like these can put a blemish to that yearning. Yet, the question remains; do they care. Because if they don’t then there is definitely something wrong with the way we strive for glory. Let not success be covered by the halo of fear for it makes the victory facile and fake.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Waiting for her

She came in unannounced and stood behind me. I know every step of her; I know every breath of her. After spending so many beautiful moments together, even today my whole body tingles whenever she is around. I know why she has come here today. She has come to show me what she has worn.

I deliberately take a long time to turn around; I know this annoys her.  And when I look at her I can't believe my eyes. She is looking like an angel who has just stepped in front of me. I spend a long time gazing at her. I want to hold on to this moment for eternity. Time, space, and place everything seems to lose itself into oblivion in this moment of beauty.

With a mocking voice I tell her, "you came long back ago and now you get the time to meet me. Don't you think I have the right to see you before anyone does." She looks at me with those "I am only yours" looks and I forget everything else.

It's almost two minutes and she has not uttered a single word; so unlike of her. In her presence I lose my words or should I say, I pass on my verbal abilities to her. But today even she knows that she is dressed to kill and even a million words can’t match her beauty.

I stretch my hand to touch her. How I have spent my last 12 hours, every moment just thinking of her.

Suddenly a drop of water falls on my face and I come out of my day dream. No, she has not come today. I am missing her. The dream is lost. The moment will stretch to minutes and minutes to hours but she won’t come. It’s time for me to go. The rain has started falling hard.

I slowly pick the wilted rose from her grave and replace it with a fresh one i carried with me. She loved red roses. I will come here again tomorrow. One day she will come to meet me, and if she does not, then I’ll join her in the other world.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Accidents happen

Accidents happen but more than that, they cascade to create a catastrophe.

When I feel sleepy I take a loo break. But the one I took just now was a drenching experience.

After lunch I sat meditating in front of my monitor for half an hour. I was swooning just like Sridevi did in Bollywood movie Nagina.

Finally I got bored and decided to take a trip to the loo. It generally takes my sleep away, even today it did but in a hyperbole.

Being the hyperactive type I generally don’t stand peacefully when in action. I keep on playing with the automatic flush faucet (no pun intended). Today I did one better; I loaded my whole bodyweight on the automatic flush faucet and lo and behold the whole thing just jumped out of the wall into my hand.

The water started gushing out at a tremendous speed. Just imagine, am stuck at a point where I can’t move till am done and the water drenching me like mad.

After what seemed like eternity I went running to the main control valve to close it. Thankfully it closed without any drama and then only the water fountain stopped. By that time the washroom was overflowing though.

Now what to do? I immediately went inside one of the loos and closed the door. My shirt was soaking wet so was my vest. I wiped myself with the tissue paper and tried to come out of the loo but if I thought my problems were over I was so wrong. The lever that connects to the door lock ripped and came into my hand.

I immediately tried to seek help in the form of Stanzin. But then I realized I left my phone at the desk only. So now I’m soaking wet and trapped in the loo. But it’s in times like this that a boy becomes a man, and am a seasoned campaigner at that, creating mess and coming out somehow. I used my engineering theatrics and somehow opened the bolt of the door.

Standing under the hand drier drying my shirt I was thinking what else! I came out and saw a whole group standing outside the washroom inspecting the printer kept just few steps away from the washroom door. It was throwing out black ink. And the half printed page, looking like a petty thief caught in the act, well that was my sheet.

Epilogue: I see the housekeeping staff going helter-skelter. Surely they are busy with the faucet. Till now they don’t know about the door though. There is a big board outside the washroom proclaiming “Wet Floor”. Wish I could put such a thing on my shirt too, “Wet Shirt”. The black ink is still there on the floor but I have removed the culprit sheet.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Hen n Tiger Story

“I hate girls. They smell so much like girls.”

Suddenly one day like a bolt from the blue you start liking the smell. Not smell, say scent. Smell sounds so demeaning. The contempt that you had for Annie for being a gal changes to a desire for Fannie. You don’t know what it is but you need to have it but how? Everyone seems to be getting the pie or should I say the kitten but only your tiger is deprived. Every day the problem seems to grow; the MMS trickles and then it pours. Everywhere it is going on, the car, the cafĂ©, the pub and the rooms too. But you are always at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Maybe the school you are in is wrong. Everyone in there is a saint, and the kittens, nuns. Then suddenly you hear your best chum landed up with something and all hell breaks loose. The saint has suddenly become the talk of the class. He is conducting classes for his brethren. You are crazy to know what’s down there. The guy seems to have all the answers of carefree whispering life. But something is fishy somewhere in the story your friend is passing on to you. From the moment the light turns off till morning, that part is hidden. Why, you seem to question; is it the Hindi movie effect where the censor board has diligently edited the dusk to dawn moan? The fireplace, the rain, the song and the next day the heroine is behaving silly.

Then you join college. The torture does not end there. Everyone seems to have undertaken the pilgrimage. Most of the tigers have conquered the kittens and most of the Bs have their Gs. Those kittens left behind remind you of your trip to Haridwar when you were ten years old only. The pilgrims have left for their homes but have left their broken kamandal behind. You had asked your father why the pilgrims leave the mess behind when they leave and your father had answered that after a pilgrimage you take only the good things and leave behind the bad, the ugly and the unnecessary. The rag pickers collect it and sell it to the junk yard. The broken kamandals are symbolic.

Father was so right, he always is. But slowly you realise you have no other option but to become the rag picker. Every year you set yourself a target of losing it but somehow the ignominy of V’ity sticks to you like a pasted mosquito on a white shirt. Now even the broken kamandals have got an aura. And why should not they? When there is famine the vegetable peels also become much sought after. Sadly the creepy boy with thousand pimples on his ‘everywhere’ has also got a kitten to feed the tiger. The MMS are now coming in droves, the flood is on, yet you remain the beggar. How you wish you had a kamandal, deformed, broken, and shapeless; you give a damn as long as it has a kitten

Initially you blamed your high scores in the class. How you had to force yourself to sit in the last bench just to look cool but yet your tiger is hungry. Where are the hens? You have already earned a reputation of looking like a proverbial beggar. Your friend tells you one day in a hushed tone, “man what’s it with you, my kitten was telling me you stare at the B of every G”? He is not done yet. He shoves it some more, “Now the gals call you the tharki baba”.

You feel like crying but you don’t give up. After all you have learned in your convent school, never give up. Then one day you join the work-force. Your hands are now overstretched with all those years of unnecessary exercise and the office place is teeming with what else. Then one day an extremely hot, beautiful W walks up to you. She has liked your sense of humor and fallen for it. Then one fine day the night arrives. The tiger is growling to devour the kitten. Its pitch dark and you grope to know what’s where. The movies were all shot in broad daylight. But they never said how to do it when it’s pitch dark. You beg your babe to turn the light on and she says in her typical scathing tone, “you are sick man”. Then her rock solid heart melts for you and she guides you. The 15 years of second hand experience comes pouring out, everything is going as per the script. The babe is moaning or is it that she is repenting her selection. You wait, a wait amidst all the shaking to know if you are enjoying. Man, you are supposed to enjoy it, everyone told you so but the script waivers here. You suddenly realize the one and half a decade of self-help has made you a very egoistic self- sufficient creature.  It’s like how you longed to eat a doughnut. The Yankees like it; right. But when you ate it you promised yourself “never again”. Yet when it comes to doing it, you do it again, because you strongly believe beggars are not choosers. What if you don’t get it tomorrow? Remember someone said “Kal Ho Na Ho”. Thrice the tiger is tamed by the holy kitten. Now it’s time to sleep.

Then starts the wait, wait for the dawn. How you long to get ready and run to office. You have never looked forward to going to office like now. The tiger has been tamed.

The long wait of so many years is over and the beggar is back on the street. The only positive is you have become wiser about why the “dusk to dawn” section is all beeped out. Your friend got to realize it at teen and you in your midlife. Both of you are saints again; now enlightened.

Doughnuts! Never again…

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Lalbag in January 2011

Flower show was on at Lalbag a month back. Took many pics with my mobile and my roll SLR. The roll is yet to be developed.

This was the central figure, the minaret.

Some of the exhibits

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What a match sirjee

So many times the phrase "David and Goliath" has been used to indicate the fall of the mighty in the hands of the under-dog that now it sounds like a cliche. But the things happening lately in and around the world brings the phrase to the fore again.

This blog is not about how Gaddafi, Mubarak have been brought to their knees by the unarmed, unvoiced and uncared for masses. I am not a political commentator or a black swan analyst but a mere spectator (mook darshak). But something happened tonight in Bangalore that was nothing short of David felling Goliath.

When England beat Aussies in the ashes, the word was finally the inventors of cricket are staking claim to their invention. But more than the experts being proved wrong, cricket proved itself and how.

Just two days back when India snatched a tie from the jaws of, first victory, and then defeat against England, every Indian had a piece of advice for the India team. Mind you, every Indian means every Indian because if you don't talk cricket then you are not an Indian.

India touted as the favourites to win the cup had a pedestrian bowling and horrendous fielding in the match against Eng (and BD too). The tie was called a defeat for the Indian team by many; and I agreed too.

But now on hindsight, that was better than a defeat in the hands of Ireland. Just imagine, you score 326 against a team like Ireland and then you take a wicket in the first ball of the match. Lo and behold you lose the match from that point that too when the opposition is reeling at 111 for 5.

An aside to the main subject; Ireland is the same team (in the league with Holland, Kenya) about whom ICC some big shot Haroon Logat commented something not too decent sometime ago, something really unexpected from him. According to this creature these minnows make some of the matches irrelevant and uninteresting. I hope Mr Logat eats few humble pie for saying these. Proves, big designation does not translate into great foresight or greater grey matter.

If the defeat of Eng does not bring DnG story into picture then what does. The match can not be described in words, not by me at least. It was really a stupendous performance and needs a standing ovation. I felt as if suddenly Lord Shiva has himself come down to bless the Irish team. The victory was so unexpected that no other explanation comes to mind.

Last couple of words; India beware, you may be next and what a match sir jee, what a match.