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July 21, 2009

Palm meadows in a desert.

Filed under: bangalore, personal — Tags: , — neosurya @ 15:07

Several gated communities exist, but probably one stands out…Palm Meadows. See this blog post describing the same. I saw an absolutely amazing comment in the above blog by Gan Sharma. The full thing can be read here, it makes for amazing reading, and resonates well with my thoughts. A few excerpts:

….

I have always wondered and asked people in India – what makes them laugh and smile so much sitting where they are! You can enjoy India if you go with a sensitive mind. Imagine this – you live in a 30 apartment building, all 30 have cars, children, friends, outing, et all of best life; you laugh and return boisterously every night at 12 o clock – and the security man has to watch all of you 12 hours a day, with not an Indian dime in his pocket, does not know when his next tea will come from, his total take home of $ 72 a month vanishing in 7 days flat; he cannot touch with his money, what you can afford to throw, he has an orbit of rice and sambhar day in and day out. Can you be sensitive to him or do you habitually sermonize on how these incompetent security people sleep in duty? You will enjoy India if you are able to sensitive to lives. Otherwise, my advise will be, don’t go. Enjoy South of France. Remember one thing, no one is waiting with bated breath in India, they have their little lives to battle with.

….It will help your psychology very much if you remember simply this fact – India is not living there to make your life comfortable. India has 1 billion people and majority is poor. India is trying hard to make lives of that majority better and is striving for the same. Every year there is improvement there. India is busy with itself, making its life better, its life tolerable; your comforts and Palm Meadows are immaterial to India. The main point is, can you make yourselves comfortable in what is India? It is a place where abject poverty interacts with Palm Meadows residents; the poverty goes back to T.V. and sees serials where people laugh and eat and do things which seems out of reach eternally for them. In an aggressive country, probably Palm Meadows residents routinely will get their throats cut; in India maids short change them for 2 dollars. I was amazed when a Palm Meadows resident was passionately out pouring about how a patch of grass has not grown properly due to bad maintenance and the unfairness of the same.

This is a good place to address the issue of a maid cheating; firstly, I have not been exposed to blatant theft; yes they try to make little money here and there – they have to survive. Mostly maids cheat, because we have no long term commitment to their lives; because we will pay a Rs. 2000/- bill at Pizza Hut or Baskin Robins, but negotiate the salary with the maid. If I approach a maid with a mentality that I am here to make one Indian family live well, you will see a long term relationship. None of us would have survived their lives, believe me and kept up the ethical and moral standards they have kept. The beauty of India is that moral and ethical standards are indirectly proportional to the social status. Why does a driver change jobs with no commitment? Because there is no commitment from the employer; what they pay is an immaterial small sum to the driver; his downsides of losing the job are not enormous. If he get a 40% raise with the neighbor, what is wrong in shifting? You did it in your career, didn’t you?

In India you will live happily and comfortably, if you treat all your servants and maids as you treat them in New York. We expatriate Indians want to have the cake and eat it too. We want the service and commitment levels of the advanced societies at the costs of ‘old’ India. A driver gets Rs. 6000/- – exorbitant and prohibitive? It is US$ 120 for the whole month of 12 hour duty for God’s sake!

I have a home in India and my maid has a key. Trust them; also give them long term solutions to their miserable lives, see how comfortable you are! It makes perfect business sense for you to pay the school fees for one year for your drivers’ child. Do it and see how loyal he is. Saying I am there for a short time is an excuse. You get committed to the country; the country gets committed to you. Otherwise, please you are there as an extravagant attachment, India is busy with its life. Approach your trip from this mental get up and I guarantee you a comfortable and lovely stay. What these small people need is not even what your money w ill do in their unsafe lives; the reality – a generous person like you is such an enormous comfort; such a lovable safety net. Like belief in God, it is not important whether you live up to that belief or not – you are a great psychological comfort; remember this, you will enjoy India.

….Food is the best part of India; you have food and food and food at unbelievable prices. You can go to any level you want, idli dosa camps to vegetarian authentic Italian joints – bars, wow, you can’t get enough. But what is lacking again? There is no great entertainment and places to go to daily inside the city, like what you have in each city in the West; you have to go to eating joints and bars with company, you can go to movies, some malls. Having said that, this is not entirely true too; do you have interest in traditional visiting places, culture, history, temples, and authentic food, you have enough to do. You can go short distances to great places. Socializing in India can occupy your whole life time.

….

Cheers friends. Finally, this issue of whether I will be happy in India is not an external question, it is an internal one. I have to be happy where ever I am. If I am completely happy in where I am now, why should I be asking questions about returning to India? Go to India from a happy position of being happy where you are and go to India to be happy. Happiness is in the mind. Really!

Found a very relevant post in the blog by “BIOME environmental solutions pvt ltd“; the whole post is here, excerpt below:

What if you and I came from a village with no education and had to live on the streets for 15 days before even some one gave us a job to wash vessels ? And what if you and I couldn’t open a bank account because there is no document to evidence your and my existence – Proof of residence and Ration card and what not ?

And what do they do for us ? They build our walls, the roof above our heads, they ensure we get our water and our shit is taken away from our toilets. They clean our houses everyday, cook for us and throw our garbage out. They do all the “little” things without which our lives would be an insanitary mess, out on the streets……and then would our abstractions mean anything? I mean to us, would they mean anything to us?

Yeah, that supreme abstraction that we pride ourselves with, our work ethic, our “professionalism”. So we haggle with plumbers, masons, well diggers, maids, the works – to be cheap. We often trouble them for their payments because we think they are “cheats”. We pay less because they were not professional, they didn’t use the right tools. We are absolutely pissed off if while a project is ongoing the plumber suddenly has to go home to Chittoor for an emergency or when he suddenly has lost control of his labourers – “Hey that’s not professional!!. My garden will get flooded !”

When will we ever come out of the cosy shell of our abstractions – abstractions such as values, ethics, merit – that we define and define only in our own social context – Never asking ourselves what they would mean to us if we were different.

You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks
You’ve been through all of
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books
You’re very well read
It’s well known
You know Something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?

– Bob Dylan

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July 17, 2009

Water in the market – bottled water

If there were ever futures trading with water, I would be a millionaire. Several others would be too. I would have a lot of money, and I would be very thirsty too.

I read an article in the TOI, page 14, July 17 2009, Bangalore edition title: “Stamping a new mark for bottled water“. The full article can be accessed at this URL, excerpts are below:

Though the consumption of packaged drinking water in India is just 1.7 litres per month, the packaged drinking water industry sees India as the most booming sector, growing at a rate of 25%. Jeffrey B Smith, general manager, global water business of Underwriters Laboratories (UL), tells TOI about UL’s venture to set up a water certification programme that will supplement the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in India.

…..

We are currently analysing the challenges but according to our studies so far, fluoride and arsenic are huge contaminants here. Pesticide residues also. The issues are different in the West. For instance, in the US, iron levels are very high and there are concerns about aesthetics: the water should not smell, it has to look good…. We are here to add value to the issues of water scarcity and safety. Even though buying power is a problem with the poor here, most of the middle class prefers safer options, and that is huge for us.

Now they see packaged drinking water as a market, and an opportunity. Am I the only one who sees a problem in water, or am I just dumb….

Reminds me of the story “Welcome to the town of Allopath“, by Mike Adams. This was sent by my colleague, Shekhar who has a farm outside BLR. Gist of the article is that Allopath is a city with the problem of accidents. A doctor “Dr West” examines the accidents and concludes that they are linked to “skid marks”. If the skid marks are removed/prevented he concludes, there will not be any accidents. He recommends that the roads be lined with teflon that will prevent all skid marks. The accidents increase exponentially. A hermit comes along and recommends that the teflon be removed and that stop signs be installed to prevent the accidents. He is chided since he is not “qualified” enough to advise. Accidents continue, almost all of the city dies off. Several years later, the hermit is still living on, painting stop signs so that a new generation could use them.

Anyhow, I am also part of the middle class who walks the often trudged path. BTW, folks who got till here would like to read my other post on dry borewells in hyderabad.

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

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.

May 15, 2009

Newspaper summary May 15 2009

Filed under: bangalore, India, indian elections, news, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 06:56

I do not think I would be consistent with the summaries; they take way too much time. But anyhow, it is an honest revival.

SC awards techie Rs 1 cr damages for medical negligence

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 1

A story about one Prashant S Dhananka, 39, in whose case the supreme court ruled in favor of a compensation of Rs 1 Cr. for gross negligence during chest tumor removal. He was paralyzed waist down after a surgeon damaged his spinal chord during an operation. He was initially ruled to get Rs 15 lakh amount awarded by the Andhra Pradesh high court.

II PU students can change college: HC

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 2

A Pre-University Education department circular prohibits a student who joined PUC in 2009-2010 academic year from shifting from one college to another when they move into second year in 2010-2011. The Karnataka high court stayed the application of this circular for students who have joined I PUC in 2008-09.

This could be closely related to the dismal PUC-2 results recently seen. Apparently, many NRIs are also moving back to India due to recession and other factors, especially from the middle east.

Traffic curbs on Saturday

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 3

Interesting to note that traffic would be diverted in view of “Lok Sabha election counting”. Wow. Rule for the people really wants people to make sacrifices.

BDA’s Arkavathy Layout is in no man’s land. While landless farmers will soon lose health cover under the Yeshasvini scheme as they do not have documents, it is an endless wait for those allotted plots

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

Once lush fields and farms were bulldozed and so was the livelihood of nearly 15,000 farmers. This month-end, their Yeshasvini health insurance cover will end. This means they cannot get free medical facilities anymore. Reason: they’ll no longer be farmers as their ‘paani’ (land document) will cease to exist.

The once-rich landlords’ wives who would look after the labourers and the cattle, are now forced to do menial jobs. “One blessing in disguise is that there are many apartments around the villages. Our women do household chores, eat leftovers. It’s very painful,’’ says Patalappa.
The plight of Appaiahanna is pathetic. He owned 12 guntas where he grew jasmine and reared a cow. His family, wife and two children, led a contented life by selling flowers and milk. Today, he has no land and goes for construction work at an apartment site. He pulled out his children from school unable to support their education and they are doing barbending work at the site.

Wednesday, I was having a discussion with folks from office who insisted that urbanization was solving the caste problem. I wanted to say that Urbanization is likely to create other problems; caste has to be solved organically within a rural setting. Could not express the thoughts then, this article explains a few problems that urbanization could cause.

They own plots but cannot build a house on it

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

The other end of the story:

H G Prakash, 76, an ex-serviceman and son of a freedom fighter from Subramanyanagar, made at least four attempts for a 30 ft x 40 ft plot there. His first attempt under the ex-serviceman quota was not even considered. He finally succeeded in getting a plot allotted and it took him another two years to register it, after countless visits to the BDA office. His struggle still continues, and as time goes by, his hopes of building a house are slowly fading. He paid Rs 2.3 lakh for it and Rs 2,000 more for the little piece of additional land around it. Little did he realize the long struggle ahead until he submitted his building plan for approval on October 10, 2008. He still can’t do anything with the land because of the reserved Supreme Court judgment.

There are nearly 8,800 such people who own land but can’t build houses on it. Some are paying a steep interest on money borrowed from banks and other financial institutions. The BDA scaled down the allotment from the initial 20,000 sites to 8,800, but the disturbing wait continues for allottees. “Our money is locked. My father availed of a loan for the plot and with no progress on the layout, what are we to tell the bank?,’’ says Sanjay.

HC: police need common sense, if not intelligence

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

SC frees Varun of NSA charges

TOI, Bangalore Edition, page 4

They say that the BSP Govt. was vindictive. Going by earlier comments that Varun had gained sympathy, this whole NSA thing would have been a “favor”.

Times of India special pages on LOk Sabha Elections May 16 2009.

Times of India special pages on LOk Sabha Elections May 16 2009.

A Cursed Partnership

TOI, Bangalore Edition, Editorial page 14

Nice article on why Indian and US policies on terrorism are different. The article gives eight reasons, but the last one sums it up nicely:

Eighth, the US has exerted undue pressure on victim India. Secretary of state Hillary Clinton has disclosed the reason why New Delhi did not take the mildest diplomatic action against Pakistan after Mumbai: “We worked very hard, as did the prior administration, to prevent India from reacting”. She indeed wants India to suffer more Mumbais silently, saying America has “a lot of work to do with the Indian government, to make sure they continue to exercise the kind of restraint they showed after Mumbai…” Doing deals with militants and paying growing amounts of ransom money to Pakistan are no way to fight terror.

Mountains need legs

Business Line – Life – Page 3, by Shyam G. Menon

Shyam Menon has written a very humorous article, highlighting an interesting aspect of our society. It is not just about ecology, it also relates to  how human endeavors are concentrating on titillation more than anything else. Excerpts:

Several Englishmen had walked up to Everest Base Camp (EBC) and played a match of cricket on a nearby plateau resembling London’s Oval, 17,045 ft high in altitude. Their reward — potential entry into the record books for the highest altitude at which a field sport has been played.

….

It is harder still to accept that no field sport was ever played when EBC is said to resemble a small tent city in peak season. Nevertheless a record is a record; this was the first time anyone went specifically to play a proper cricket match and not climb the mountain. The team had a Guinness Book official along to ratify the proceedings, reports said.

….

If I were Everest and looking down after all this at a full-fledged game of cricket at EBC, I would strain every sinew in my mountainous body to heave my bulk off the ground and flee further into Tibet. Perhaps relocate far beyond, to the middle of the Taklamakan.

In an age when people play chess underwater, all it takes is one businessman to vault what those Englishmen did for publicity and record, into the stuff of a regular media circus. It may not be at EBC but somewhere else, equally picturesque and hospitable to showcasing a saga of athleticism for the cameras. Gnarled landscape, snow-capped peaks, television and plenty to gloat about low oxygen. Imagine the wealth of statistics for commentary!

Richard Kirtley, who organised the T20 match on the Queen’s birthday, said chasing the altitude record was “a quintessentially British thing to do”. There was no mention of owning up the consequence of examples set on a fragile environment rimmed by the most populous and freshly rich countries on the planet.

Doordarshan plans to offer Mobile TV services

Business line, Front page

We will now have motorists not just speaking into their phones, but even looking into their latest gizoms as they speed on our roads…

May 10, 2009

Education in Bangalore – Number of students passing in 12th standard is 43%.

Filed under: bangalore, class 12 exam results, social change — neosurya @ 18:42

The image below says it all:

Pass percentage in class 12 all over Karnataka

Pass percentage in class 12 all over Karnataka. Image from the front page of the TOI Bangalore edition May 10th 2009.

The lowest pass percentage is in Raichur (28.05%), and the highest is in Dakshin Kannada (80.92%). Bangalore – 61%… Wonderful I say. 56.11% girls  and 45.57% boys passed, and there were 74 colleges where the pass percentage was zero.

Our visit to Nandhini Dairy Farm near Mandya, Bangalore and a small skirmish in the temple

Filed under: bangalore, bangalore sight seeing, travel, Uncategorized — neosurya @ 10:37

Took the ladies to Melukote today and during the return trip, took an interesting detour to the Nandhini dairy farm near Mandya. Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple (CST) first, and then theYoga-Narasimha Swamy Temple. The temples were not very crowded, well – by Indian standards. The concept of a crowd is very relative. The crowd was in some sort of a frenzy, somehow feeling that if they do not rush fast enough, they would lose something. I wonder what prompts crowds to behave in such manners. The crowd could be large, but if it is organized things get done quickly. Guess it is too difficult to explain such a problem. I was carrying a baby, and apart from a couple of people not many were concerned that they could end up hurting someone with all the pushing and shoving. This typical mindset is getting into too many people. The loss of patience has assumed epidemic proportions.

While returning towards Bangalore on the Bangalore-Mysore road, we saw several signs advertising Nandhini dairy’s ice-cream flavors a few kilometers after crossing Mandya.  It looked very appealing and made us stop after our recent (not-so-great) lunch. The badam milk and Pista icecream was divine. So was the burfi that we bought. I thought it would be a good idea to see how the ice-cream was made. Sheepishly, I and the two ladies approaced security, half expecting that we would be turned down. He had a couple of looks at me, the mother, and the daughter; guess it was the six month old lady who did the trick and he let us into the processing center after calling the office. We walked over to what looked like the admin building. How did we figure it was the admin building you say? Well, it had the quintessential white Amby, and little else of productive value. Most other building had chimneys, large freezer doors, and trucks of myriad sizes parked alongside. We were sure to find a babu who could grasp our broken Kannada and find a way to let us in.

Sure enough, we found one person who talked to us very nicely, but informed that the concerned person was not in and most of the people could only speak in Kannada. I rarely kept my arms down for fear of language; we insisted that “Swalpa Kannada maatlaadido, understand hogi”. He smiled, relented and was helpful enough to call one “Chandru” to take us around. Chandru took us to the processing center. At the first location, we saw milk trucks being weighed on a trucking scale. Milk is apparently measured multiple times from the trucks; first by weighing them and then measuring the flow of milk. The milk from each truck is sent for random testing, and immidiately put through a pasteurization unit. The pasturization system removes different percentages of fat from the milk, giving us the red, blue, and green packet milk. The fat separated at this stage is sent to generate ghee and butter.

The whole place smelled of milk. And me being the cow loving homo sapien, took all the lovely smells in. Imagine a machine processing 4,00,000 liters of milk each day, and a cow lover standing next to it!!!  The look in my eyes was that of a mesmerized kid. Wife was also equally pleased, but not as excited as she would be when we went to the next stop; the butter processing center. They had large wheelbarrows, each containing about 5-600 kilos of yellow, butter. The scent was overpowering, and my better half’s excitement knew no bounds. This was it, we felt – there was nothing more to be seen. Till we entered the ghee processing center :). Lovely place, it had a system that can process 10,000 liters of ghee every couple of hours. Apparently, the system is run non-stop and can just manage to meet the demand. There were vats that could take 2-3 wheelbarrows of butter and process it into ghee. Pure ghee was flowing through taps as large as a water hydrant. We next stopped by the skimmed milk powder unit, and the peda unit. The unit combined 80 liters of milk with 60 KG of sugar to get 18 KG of pedas, and the process took about 1 hour. We did some other simpler things like walking through huge cold storage units which were kept at 0 degrees centigrade, and the automatic milk packaging machines.The supervisor at the lab that tested milk was very friendly and explained some of the basic aspects of testing milk.

All in all, it was a wonderful detour. Some of the nicest things happen when we do not plan for them. The marketing manger can be reached here:08232-274074. Maybe some day I would take a few kids with me for an industrial tour.

May 6, 2009

The metro war with Lalbaugh park in Bengaluru.

Many years ago, there was a plan to destroy cubbon park and build a freedom fighter’s memorial called the veera soudha. People protested, and there was a move to shift it “somewhere else”, the Govt. circular from that time says. Excerpt about the struggle at that time:

About two decades ago a large portion of Lalbagh was marked out for a massive Veera Soudha. Five thousand people gathered and protested. The Government breathed fire and the then Chief Minister made statements that they would implement the project come what may. But people persisted, and the Government had to back down. Which is why you now see no Veera Soudha in Bangalore, and Lalbagh is intact.
A decade ago, 32 acres of Cubbon Park were marked out for building a large hotel complex. Several of us protested. Dharma, Chandra and many others from Sanmathi stood there and protested for close to 40 days.  Not only the Government, but the entire Legislature was against us. They even made many insulting remarks against women, so lewd that the statements had to be expunged from the record. Eventually the plans to build a large hotel complex for the legislators were abandoned, which is why you now see the Indira Gandhi fountains.
The point is clear. It is people’s protests that stopped such disastrous destruction of parks then. It is only people’s protests that will stop the destruction of Lalbagh and Lakshman Rao Park, and give us a Metro that we truly deserve. Something that will last a hundred years, and something for which Mr. Yeddyurappa’s great grandchildren will also praise him and his wisdom in stopping the current alignment, his wisdom in re-aligning the Metro to save Lalbagh, Lakshman Rao Park and half of Bangalore.

We, the citizen wonder why the Metro needs to destroy Lalbaugh park and LR Park. As per a mail being circulated by Hasiru Usiru:

The Government passed an Ordinance on 22 November 2008 to avoid bringing the issue to the Assembly and Council for debate. This Ordinance is illegal because it has taken out a portion of Lal Bagh and Cubbon Park without seeking the permission of the Karnataka High Court as required by its judgements.

What’s more, the Government has directed the Horticulture Department to sell a piece of Lalbagh to the Metro at a price fixed by the Bangalore District Commissioner! A terrible precedent is being established.

The Karnataka Parks (Preservation) Act requires special permission to be taken before altering Lalbaugh or Cubbon Parks. This has not been done.

April 30, 2009

Bangalore metro plan and BIAL high speed rail link

Bangalore metro plans to link different parts of BLR with a partly underground, partly over the ground rail network. In the process, it has lead to significant removal of greenery. The metro by itself seems to have a simple route, and has been thought out with current congestion patterns. But it has ignored the airport- an important transit point in any major city. Oh well, the powers-that-be (In this case, the KSIIDC) have planned a high-speed rail link (HSRL) for that section. Some key figures for HSRL:

  • HSRL connects M G Road to BIA and traverses Cubbon Road, Chowdaiah Road, Ramana Maharshi Road, Bellary Road and corridor after Hebbal
  • Final cost estimated at Rs 5,767 crore
  • The 34-km rail link will cover distance from city to BIA in 25 minutes
  • HSRL will be integrated with Metro at Minsk Square; with Metro Phase II at Yelahanka and proposed mono-rail at Hebbal

HSRL conveniently forgets a few pertinent aspects (Other blogs: [1][2]):

  • Its nodal point is planned to be MG road, which is already chock-blocked with traffic; even Hebbal is not any better. And if I have to travel to Hebbal from South Bangalore to catch the HSRL, I might as well travel the extra few kilometers to get to Devanhalli.
  • Does an average traveler want to reach BIAL within 23 minutes as compared to 1 hour?
  • Connectivity to metro will be through a 200 meter walkway from the proposed Minsk Square Station. 200 meter walkway; with luggage. Nice. (Article on how HSRL can affect other transport)
  • Cheaper cost of HSRL was initially waved as a plus point. Cost escalations have now made this claim empty. Initial cost of HSRL was estimated at Rs 3,700 crore, revised to Rs 4,313 crore (excluding cost of government/BBMP lands), final completion cost: Rs 5,767 crore.

A travel system has to grow organically, providing for other transit options and allowing for area around the airport to grow steadily. What if they do the HSRL and the area around Devanhalli develops completely, needing more connectivity to the airport along stations between Hebbal and BIAL. HSRL is apparently not designed to have more than 3-4 stations. Would we need to develop another rail link or the metro? Map showing how the transit options could be:

My guess is that this is a mix of both bureaucratic confusion and petty politics; one guy comes along and implements the metro. Another guy needs a pet peeve and implements the HSRL. Both have something to say to their vote bank.

April 25, 2009

Shiva temple??

Had been to the Shiva temple behind Total on old airport road. The temple also has a website, and you can see a few pictures at these blogs: [1] [2]. This was also known as the Shiva temple at Kemp fort. It features several unique offerings: One can see the 12 Jyotirlingas for Rs 10 (The lady stressed in no mean terms that one has to buy a ticket, and that this was a steal), a live bhajan troupe, a miracle spot *1, a special havan seva *2. The nava grahas are placed in a globe like structure.

Readers can draw their own conclusions about how the temple is. I will probably take my parents there once; they have to see this.

*1 You can get wishes granted if you pay about Re 10 or so, say Om Namah Shivaya 7 times and drop a coin into a pond.

*2 For a small donation the pujari will give you some wood, oil, and pre-prepared bowl of navadhanyas to put in a pre-burning flame.

A different blog seems to indicate that the temple was not always like this.

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