Friday, October 28, 2005

Public - Intelligence! Private - Ignorance?

I spent seven days in bangalore in October 2005. Those were the top seven tough traffic days i had been through in bangalore, since late 1980s, from when i was a frequent visitor to the Garden City.

For those who just hear abt Bangalore traffic condition, let me give a heads up. When bangalore started growing big in IT during late 90s, an industrial estate was established by the State of Karnataka, called as Electronics City. This place is on the HosurRoad[southeast of bangalore], 17 kms from center of Bangalore and 23 Kms from Hosur[which is in Tamilnadu state].

During early 2000s, leading IT companies, who had offices scattered in rented building all over the city, started buying plots in the ECity, building campuses and moving in. Thus the traffic of the city started flowing in unison towards the ECity. Bangalore started growing towards south and south west. Real estate prices shot up around this area.

The the offshore boom started to grow exponentially. Companies started adding in 10000s per quarter. The real estate business fell into the hands of mafia, with prices rocketing artificially. More grave was the pressure put on the city's infrastructure. Lives of non-IT folks started to become miserable. The cost of living on the whole increased exponentially.

The traffic became highly unmanageable, with every IT firm impregnating the roads with hundreds of buses to ply their employees. The roads were completely blocked with the buses cars two wheelers of the employees. The 12 Km journey from a south bangalore residential colony like B.T.M layout and Koramangala to the Electronics city, which started to be 20 mins in 2000, is now 2.5 hrs.

Earlier there were traffic bottlenecks at the junctions. The administration resorted to building flyovers at some of these places, resulting in traffice reaching the bottle neck faster, thus the whole 12 Km stretch has become a 2.5hr bumper to bumper traffic zone.

The IT firms did
1. Import, hundreds of thousands of people into the city, without proper notice to the civic bodies
2. Resulting in artificial rise in real estate, making lives of non-IT people miserable
3. Putting huge pressure on the Roads and overall Infrastructure
4. Increase in cost of living of the whole city.

The IT firms are now joining hands to blame the government for not providing infrastructure. What will the government do?? Will the government plan for 100,000 professionals, which will quadruple in a years time??. Has the Industry given clear estimates of the needs??

No, i am not siding the government. The indifference it shows is highly condemnable.

What i am trying to convey is that, even an active government would not have been able to satisfy the industry demands and the pressure it puts.

Now, i compare the whole thing to the public enterprises of the early times. Simple example of BHEL in Trichy. When the company was in its peak during 80s, the sum of salary earned by BHEL employees was more than the rest of the city.

The Township had more number of cars than the rest of the city. Had the enterprise just built the huge company and let the pressure of the employees on the Civic bodies, Trichy would have crashed in a day. Thanjavur road in Trichy would have been the Hosur Road of Bangalore. Real estate prices and cost of living would have ensured that, all non bhelites would have to vacate the city.

For that matter, every public sector enterprise[Trichy itself has OFT, HAPP, Railway GoldenRock Workshop, Bangalore has BEL,......] had the vision to build Townships of its own whose benefits were not known[atleast to me], before seeing what the IT sector has done to bangalore.

Is it because the IT managers thought that their responsibilty ends where they pay taxes. Or is it the 'Core Competency' management concept, which drove them away from doing anything other than its core business, or is it sheer indifference and selfishness towards the society??

It is high time that Government proposes, owning a township as a pre requisite to according permission for any enterprise. The Fords, Hyundais, Nokias, and other IT companies will do the same thing to Chennai, what was done to Bangalore.

The govenment has to come up with a directive before approving a project, which asks for
1. the number of employees who are to be employed in the site.
2. What are the plans for the infrastructure needs for the employees?
3. Where does it plan to accomodate them?
4. Is the enterprise looking forward to the government for raising residential colonies?
5. How much is the company going to burden the existing infrastructure?
6. What are its plans to mitigate this?

Only when these questions are put up and satisfactory answers received, should a project be approved.

But i doubt, in the mad rat race to grab investment into a state/city, any government would take this seriously. But unless these are done, a city and its infrastructure will be severly strained.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Kaveri Vellam

After a long long time, cauvery is in spate, and Trichy is flooded. The last time it happened was in Nov.1977.

There was a time when trichy was flooded in 1994, but it was largely due to rain water and not cauvery. Same was the case in 1999 November, when lakes around trichy had breached and the city was flooded.

But this time, Not only trichy is flooded but so is Kaveri.After a thought, it dawns, that, water has not entered the city, but the city has entered into the river.

Yes, in the 1930s, my maternal grandfather used to bathe in cauvery north bank which is 2 kilometers further north of what it is today.

After the building of KRS and Stanley, the river was made to a trickle. All those lands that were amphibious, that is they are considered as river, during monsoon, and as land during summer, became residential colonies.

All the inundated parts of the city, mainly thillainagar, vayalur road, new nagars around srirangam are specifically classified as such reclaimed areas.

This is not a problem with Trichy alone, it is prevelant in all cities, Chennai, Bangalore, etc etc.. When the cities grow, and the demand for residential colonies are on the rise, the low-lying aspect of the locality is hardly considered for decison making. Not jus low-lying, but also, lying in the way of waterflow is equally bad.

For the sake of clearing up of these encroachments, public support has to be accorded to the municipal authorities. If it is not being provided, then the only way is to ask for the floods to come year after year, to let people know which is what.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Back To Dollar Desam!!

After a long stint in PoundPradesh, i just had 2 weeks in India, which co incidentally got me to my granny during her last moments.

And saturday 22nd was her Dasasthu, and i flew back on sunday.
Just arrived at SFO, and still jet lagged due to the lousy itinerary, thanx to 1 day notice for this assignment. This is my fourth assignment here in US over the last 5 years.

Sorry, i was not able to visit any blogs over the last two weeks, when i was in india. Need to clear up the arrears doing over time.

And yes, i too have lotsa things to share. :) Keep coming.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2005

My paatti!!

I had gone to Trichy for a 5 day vacation, after a long time. It was an eventful trip, though I was not able to cover 90% of my to-do list.

The event of the trip is the ShivaLoka prapti of my PitaMahee.
Smt. Lakshmi Ammal, W/O Shri.T.A. Swaminatha Iyer. [Born, Thai Pooradam, Pramadeecha varsham 1914A.D. Died: Purattasi, Shukla Ekadesi, Paarthiva varsham, 2005]

She had to relocate from Perungulam[one in the Navatirupati of tirunelvei], up north[that is how she calls it ] when she got married at the age of 7, to the 15 year old post master of Tiruvanaikovil.

Widowed at the age of 30, with 5 children aged 9,7,5,3,1 [Yes, my granpa was calculative ;)], and absolutely no money, equipped with just the will power and dream to build a generation, her struggle with this world had begun.

The seed she sowed then, has grown big and has reaped nice and tasty fruits, and lots of offshoots. She slept last Thursday midnight having seen her dream accomplished.

As everybody of the earlier generations, she had struggled a lot in the hands of her in-laws and even her un-understanding husband, but that made her stronger and built her will power.

After the diwali night of 1944, when my grandpa left them literally in the streets, she had no option but to struggle. Her only choice was where to struggle. She chose the familiar Tirunelveli town and moved into a small non-brahmin street there. [Yes, this was a revolutionary move she took.] Her brothers were against this, and stopped any help. The reasons, she told me was, one, the then chaps of the agraharams were all big land owners and lazy bones, associating with whom would have a corrupting influence on her children. Second, her brothers would start helping her and use her children as unpaid servants, thereby breaking their self respect. ‘Self respect is what is needed to succeed’ – is what she says.

It was not the best of times to loose a child to Typhoid, but it made her work for lesser number of stomachs. Day and Night, hard labor, continuously for years, first to get both her daughter married, then to get both her sons educated well.

Twenty years later, she moved back to Tiruvanaikovil. By then, all her in laws, wanted her back. She was their only hope.

She told me of her move - ‘from the day I got married to your thatha, TVKovil is my home. Tirunelveli is just a temporary resting place. I want to live in the house, where ur thatha lived, die at the same place as he did, and be cremated at the same ghat as he was.’

After about 61 year, she accomplished what she wanted to, at the same house, in exactly the same place, and at the same kollida karai rudra bhoomi.

She was the proponent of the Samsaram Adhu Minsaaram concept of ‘Nee sowkiyama Naa Sowkiyam’. We stayed within a couple of kilometers distance from her. But she would never come and stay with us unless there is an occasion. We used to visit her almost every alternate day, and she would visit us often. She was 91+ when she died and it was the same story. She lived independently. Having said that, she would never celebrate a festival or pooja alone, she would always join either of her children’s homes.

She is the most respected in our families. Born as the 14th child to a wealthy couple, she even had some of her nieces and nephews elder than her.
For the last 10 years, she was the only survivor of the 14. Thus the descendents of all of them, numbering hundreds looked up to her as their parental figure. All of us heeded what she used to say. The following is what she had to tell as the lessons she learnt from her experience in life.

1. Believe in yourself and only in yourself
2. Do not let down your self respect and self esteem
3. Self control is the key to driving yourself to your goal
4. Sacrifice is the only way to success. You cannot have the cake and eat it too.
5. Do not attach sentiments to life.
6. Labor always bears fruits.
7. He is all powerful.

Now, coming back to the Wednesday, 12th Oct, 2005, I had just landed in Trichy after 6 months [Even then I was on a week vacation only]. I have read lot of blogs saying ‘received a phone call saying ‘paati poitta’’ and she was this, that, yada yada. All through the last 3 years I had been thinking, it would be the same case with me. One fine day I would get a call and would shed some tears and get back to work. It was not to be.

I met her on Thursday noon sharp, in the same hall outside the swami room in our ancestral house in Tiruvanaikovil. She had grown weak since I last met her 6 months before, and was bed ridden for the last one month. It was my privilege to clean her change her clothes, pour my love, kiss her, whisper in her ears, and gently rub the bottom of her feet. She opened here eyes, I saw the same brightness in her eyes which I saw 10 years before. She tried to move her limbs, gave a big smile and went back to sleep. All the neighbors and relatives, who were around were surprised, for she had not smiled this big for last so many days. For me, it was all the same paati.

I then went around meeting my other friends, and suddenly got the call saying that, paati’s breathing has got heavy, and the panting was growing noisy. It was sometime by 9 pm in the evening. My other cousins who work in Trichy had gone out of town for official work, and me who was hundreds of miles away was just sitting near her. Gave her some milk and made her sit with support from my shoulder. The panting had then reduced maybe due to change of posture. So I let her sleep and made sure I too slept there. I about an hour, I could hear the panting slow down. Took her head on my lap started reciting bhagawan nama. And within 5 minutes, it was all over. The pulse had died down, the breathing had stopped. An era had come to an end.!!

She is the seed from where a new generation took life, and her life is a text book lesson for the art of living.

Shambo Mahadeva!!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Saraswathi Namasthubhyam!!

Today is Saraswathi poojai!!

The last 3 days of Navaratri are dedicated to worshipping Saraswati. Saraswati is worshipped chiefly at Koothanur in the Intgrated Thanjavoor district.

Akilandeshwari of Tiruvanaikovil is believed to have taken the saraswati swaroopam and spit her beetle leaves into the mouth of the lazy idler, who then became the pun-man kaalamegappulavar. Worshiping Saraswati at Tiruvanaikovil is considered to be very auspicous.

Uttamarkovil near trichy has Brahma and Saraswati sannidhis.
Sharadha devi of Sringeri, is the saraswati swaroopam, revered by Adishankaracharya himself.

And, i have landed back in Bangalore, and heading to Trichy for the Vijayadasamai. Really looking forward to bask in the beningn grace of the Best-Place-On-Earth.

Dussera wishes to one and all, and prayers for removing the darkness of ignorance.

Saraswati namasthubyam varade kamaroopini
vidyarambam karishyami, sidhir bhavathume sadha!

Yaa kundendushara haaradhavala,
Yaa shubra vasthra vratha,
yaa veena varadhanda mandhitha kara,
yaa shwetha padmasana,
yaa brahma achutha shankara prabrithibir sadha poojitha,
saa maampathu saraswati bhagawathe nissesha jadya paha!!

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Friday, October 07, 2005


This is not the kind of blog anybody would like to read, about a city where you are going to land in the early hours of day after tomorrow.

Shocking indeed!!

Meanwhile continue believing me here.

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Believe Me!!

Yes, please believe me.

1. For a change, i got really busy with work for whole of the week. Couldnt spend usual time in blogs.

2. Had lots of ideas and thoughts regarding a host of things starting from Moral policing to Navaratri, but cudnt find time to put them on the post.

3. And I met Unnal Mudiyum Thambi Kamalhassan.

The idea to meet him was there for long, mainly for boasting among the UMTK Rasigar Mandaram that, I met thalaivar. Unfortunately i couldnt make it to the UKB Maanadu over the aug long weekend.

In such a context, there was this open invitation for a meal in Chennai Dosa over the weekend. 'Aaha Sokka Sokka, aayirom porkaasu, enakke kidakkanum enakke kidaikkanum'. Went to the comments section of the post and filled up the application well on saturday morning itself.

Then kept on refreshing the comments section every 5-10 till late night and till evening of sunday :(. 'Sokka, Enakkilla Enakkilla'!!

Then came the blessing on monday morning. Later came to know that Sokkar was busy over his car MOT over the weekend, and could relax and find time only on monday morning. :P

And as you have belived in point 1, i got busy since monday morning, and was able to check the response only on tuesday morning. Immediately got in touch with Captain and got the co ordinates of UMTK and called him.

The Meeting was fixed on wednesday 5th October evening. Dint have lunch, so that i donot mistakingly insult the host by taking less food :D. And then came this nasty 'aapees velai'[based on belief 1], scheduled at 17.30 BST. X-(

As I was already fasting over the afternoon, talked with UMTK and then pushed the aapes conf call to 19.30 hrs, and planned to meet from 18.00 to 19.25 hrs. ;)

Though i have just written 'talked with UMTK', the talk itself was abt half an hour. First thing was where to meet. It was driven by the following constraints.
* I had so less balance on my mobile that, i cannot even give a missed call.
* Secondly, when u get into london underground mobile signals die out. While in the tube you are being transported to pre-mobile eras as well ;), along with ur destination.
* UMTK has seen me in fotos, i have seen him only in the UKB maanadu longshot photos.

Central Line ticket gates, Meeting point, Big train timing board, and after a looong discussion, it was decided to meet at platform 16 in the station, at 17.55 hrs.

Then it happend!!! There was this imposing personality walking towards me, with ilayaraja rerecoding. After a hand shake it was like ppl known for ages meeting. Ice breaking?? what?? There was no ice to break first of all.

We were then, wondering where to go, thinking abt some desi restaurants around. Here to go, there to go, where to go? wherever it may be, first we had to go to the cash machine, coz dubukku was running short of cash ;) [Believe me no.4, i offered to pay for the meet, samudrathula poi argyam vidradhu illaya andha maadhiri :P, apporam thalai irukkumbodhu vaal aada koodadhunu adangitein ;)].

Then decided to go to McD, the closest available place. Got the only available thing on the menu, and sat on the tables outside. That is where we started the arattai. Again the 'world is small' concept was reiterated. Among all other things that were discussed, important was the tips and a story from him, for Dubukku has set a good precedence in what i am upto :P.

It was so very interesting, taking us through one and a half hours like a minute. and it was time for me to run for work again.

And again i am running for a meeting, and this is what dubukku has to say. :) ensai.

I will be out of blog action over the weekend as well. Will catch it back on Monday.

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