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June 28, 2009

The 1K dinner

Filed under: bangalore, social change — neosurya @ 22:49

Wife and I had dinner at a great restaurant last week. Nice ambiance. Great food. Awesome service. 1K bill.  One week later, lots of guilt.

She sees this guy eating an omelet at a roadside stall, and recognizes that the guy is wearing the same uniform from that restaurant. She wonders how we could get the 1K food while several go hungry.

I dont have an answer.

June 27, 2009

Will I beg for food? Bhavati Bhikshaam dehi…

Filed under: NGO, social change — neosurya @ 20:56

Excerpt from a blog with a very pragmatic look at several issues, including education for all:

The problem is that people in India don’t realize the economic costs of teaching everyone, we were brainwashed into thinking that if we study only then we will be able to make a future, so we presume if everyone studies then it will make their future. Unfortunately it’s not true. Just studying does not secure your future. You have to be really good. For that bottom 1/3rd, its better that nobody waste their money on them, and let them do blue collar jobs.

I had been trying to articulate for several months that education for all is not a good thing, it is not sustainable, and it does not make sense. The author, Shanu Athiparambath Gargi Dixit presents a host of other discussions, some of which have quite deep repercussions.

A related question I request my reader to ask him/herself is (I assume all readers of this blog will at the least have high school education) – Will I consider working for a very low salary, or Will I agree to beg for sustenance? At one point of time our culture ruled that student should subsist by begging from house to house. Work of any stature was not considered beneath education. But now, we have evolved.

I will take the example of Taarein Zameen Par, the movie which has opened the eyes of many parents towards the proper rearing of children. But even in this movie, the boy Ishaan had to become a “winner”.

The movie did a good job. The masala has to be there for it to get the message across, and it did get a good message across. But fact remains that kids have to “win” to prove themselves. The path is lost amidst the goal.

Land developer stories

Filed under: bangalore, market — neosurya @ 11:16

I had posted an ad on craigslist and sulekha for residential plots. I was intending on finding a small corner of Bangalore to possibly build a little house, get a couple of dogs, a few trees, and possibly even a cow if I get too lucky. Just kidding. Such madness is not possible in nearby Chikballapur these days, forget Bangalore. While one does see an occasional urban tabela in BLR, it would be foolish thinking on the part of mere mortals to live amidst nature.

Anyhow, a few folks responded. Most were brokers, quite ok chaps, but several brokers who advertized properties at an industrial estate really stood out.

Guy: “Sir, calling from XYZ [ cosmos / elegance / greens / some other space age term]. We have nice properties near Electronic city”

Me: “How far from Hosur road?”

Guy: “Just 12 km, centrally located in Jigani indl estate.”

Me: “Industrial estate… Jigani… It is too far, I am not interested…”. (I kind of knew the location, and did not want to move there.)

Guy (Calls back next day): “Sir, I should let you know we have a special offer on this property and will give you deep discounts if you purchase before XYZ date.”

Me: “Sorry, the place is too far and is more for investment. I am looking for something to move immidiately.”

Guy: “There is excellent development potential sir, several new companies coming up. Very close to major companies. HCL has a unit there, Biocon phase 2 is coming up and several pharma companies have offices there.”

Me (Thinking): “Did you say pharma companies??? Nice. Do you know where they dump their garbage??? Ever heard of Bhopal?”

Me: “Sorry, I am looking for residential property and closer to clinics, gas company, schools or other such facilities. I am concerned that it is close to an industrial estate.”

Guy: “Sir, it is just 16 Kms from Narayan Hrudayalaya, 8 Kms from Spice hospital. You can easily get gas connection from electronic city. I must also let you know that I just spoke with my boss, he also says that there will be a clinic inside the layout itself.”

As the discussion proceeded with some of these folks, real cakes were coming out. For everything I would ask them, they would have yes as an answer. People are routinely mis-representing facts, right at the first meeting. I wonder what I would have said if I were in similar circumstances and had to sell that piece of land to satisfy my wants.

June 6, 2009

Trip to Coorg, Mysore palace, and Bylakuppe golden temple

Took the family for a trip to Coorg for three days. A few pictures:

We were six people; and we went by my indigo marina. We stayed at an estate stay; the price was Rs 1,500 per room per night assuming double occupancy. Unlimited coffee and breakfast is included. Dinner was Rs 100 per head. They do not provide lunch. Some other folks [1] have written about less expensive accommodation, but I believe this money was worth it. The cost at this estate stay also changes with number of people and rooms occupied; a colleague was offered very different pricing. The place has a very large coffee estate and Indu Pooviah, the owner took us all around, introducing the local flora and fauna. A trek on a small part of the estate engaged us for over 2 hours. My wife and mom got introduced to a snake during the trek; a rat snake crossed their path as they were walking. I was recording them just a few seconds prior to the incident, and could have nearly had it on camera. We were not very keen on touristy stuff, and wanted to spend the day in a relaxed fashion. The only touristy place we went was the Tala Cauvery, the source of the Cauvery river which was very peaceful and quite. An interesting claim that Tala Caveri is not supported by geographic proof [1].

We were there for two nights; left on Wed morning, visited golden temple along the way, reached the estate at 6:00 PM. Relaxed for the night. We took a 2-3 hour trek around the estate the next day in the morning. At afternoon, we left for Tala Caveri and returnd at 6:00. The next day, we started off for Bangalore at around 10:00 AM, stopping by the Mysore palace and reacing Bangalore at 6:00 PM. Lucky for us, it did not rain much when we were there.

There is much to be done around coorg, and several bloggers have written about exciting treks in the brahmagiris [1, 2, 3]. The place is slowly getting spoiled by plastic and other issues related to tourists; we saw mounds of garbage dumped along the road to madikerri. Had a long talk with Indu Pooviah about how local people had petitioned that plastic be banned in the area. Plastic is now banned there, but you can still see garbage dumps along the road with plastic.

Luggage rack on the Indigo Marina, and six people in one car.

Filed under: vehicles — Tags: , , — neosurya @ 17:10

The Marina can take a luggage rack on the top; I was looking for information on this and very few of the dealers around Bangalore happened to know compatible models. The concorde dealer went as far to say that the marina does not take a luggage rack, and the roof rails are not load-bearing. The manual mentioned (I believe page 51) that the rails could take a load of 75 kilos, and a couple of dealers from Koramangala gave quotes from 4 to 5 K.

I installed an aluminium luggage carrier manufactured by Century from “Auto Planet”, address: 703/4, 6th B Crs, Behind BDA Complex Koramangala, phone:  25521266. Spoke with the proprietor Kumar who priced it at 4.6K.The luggage rack was installed on roof rails using standard u-shaped clamps. Some other dealers gave quotes for the “hiker” brand. An authorized rep from hiker happened to be at Auto planet, delivering a set of fittings for an Innova. He explained that hiker would not officially support a clamp for a Marina. Some dealers may install after market fittings, but they may not work, he insisted.

The first trip with it was good; however, the rack vibrates at low rpms when it does not have luggage on it. I believe the clamps need to have rubber bushes.

BTW, I was able to fit in 6 adults into my marina. We padded the trunk of our marina with pillows and one of us took turns on the 600 Kms trip. Pretty soon, the trunk became the most sought-after spot as it allowed one to sleep comfortably. The extra load makes the mudflaps touch the road when you go over bumps, but it is not all that bad. Need to examine if it has some serious side effects.

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