Category Archives: Assorted

Bangalore Traffic Police


Wishes from Bangalore Traffic Police

Wishes from Bangalore Traffic Police

What a pleasant way to start 2013 –  I really felt that our police services are making genuine effort to be more people friendly….

This is what happened today evening  –  we were in the Cauvery circle near Sadhashiva nager and suddenly a traffic police pops up and gives a card  –   my first thought was it is some safety advisory …, but when i opened it  –  BINGO!!   NEW YEAR WISHES !!

I felt so thrilled about the whole experience  –   “Honge kamyab hum Honge Kamyab”

Great start for 2013!!!

 

Gas Booking


Gas booking had been always an elusive chore for me in the past.  The Gas distributor use to open his shop by 10 am and promptly shut down by 5.30 pm  –   Many a days I was so consumed at my work (ok,  u saw through the excuse!!   :) ), I will miss the time window for gas booking.  So, I use to wait for a Saturday ………..

So, when the Indane Gas announced the streamlined LPG GAS Booking through IVRS around May last year, I was one of those who was relieved.   I went through the details on the newspapers (Now Book Indane Gas any hour of the day), promptly understood the process and noted down the relevant new numbers.   I started using the Indane gas IVRS and once I got my phone number registered, all I need to do was to press few numbers on the phone pad and I was done.  I was thrilled that the technology solved my gas booking  challenge!!  Happy ……….

Having solved my gas booking challenge,  I was living ‘happily ever after’……….Suddenly, one day my maid started complaining that she is not getting her LPG cylinder on time……..As I was busy in the kitchen and with my limited mixed up local language skills, all I understood was – she needs me to book her LPG.  I did not even react as I was not sure why she is asking me to do her booking   –  especially she witnesses my daily morning crazy circus in the kitchen trying to meet my target of school bus…….and how does she think I will have time to do a gas booking?

Then over the weekend (when my mornings are not-so-crazy), she mentioned that she took help from one of her friends for gas booking, but was not successful.   I was intrigued now as I thought the IVRS is the most simple way to get the gas booking and why it is tough for my maid and her friend.  My maid is definitely a smart lady  –   she is good in using her mobile phone  –  she has even suggested me on how to download ring tones!!  So, why is this IVRS tough for her?   I told her there is also “Kannada“version of IVRS.

For a minute, she looked at me as though I am crazy and said “amma, athunalli matthaduvadhu computer amma……………(Madam, if you call that number, it is computer which is talking to you.  If you say something also, it will keep telling, please press this number, please press that number……they have put some computer which can not understand what we are talking…..and it will never take our booking)!!”……….I was completely flabbergasted and then could not control laughing……….

Gas booking  –  IVRS  –  Vagaries of it!!!

Koyambedu Bus Stop (CMBT) – Chennai


Last weekend, I was in Chennai Koyambedu Bus Stop (Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus).  It is more than a decade since I travelled long distances in buses  –   most of the time we end up in trains or air.  Obviously I never had the opportunity to see the Koyambedu Bus Stop so far, though I have heard about it many times in the past.   It was an unplanned trip to Chennai (to support my relatives in their sudden bereavement) and I was returning to Bangalore and  the state transport bus seem to be the most viable option for unplanned travel.

My first impression when I stepped into the Koyambedu bus stop was “WOW, it is huge”.  I was even more impressed when I saw a nice central welcome hall which gave lot of space for passengers and public to wait.  I was completely sold on the CMBT when I saw the excellent direction boards which clearly listed the platforms and the corresponding places where buses ply.   I saw few wandering foreigners who were looking at the direction boards and making notes.

I was thrilled that I  got easy directions from sign boards and started walking towards the platform bay where Bangalore buses start.  I was so relaxed that I spent good time on the way in a small shop getting magazines and newspapers.   When I reached the bay, I was in for a shock  –  as I saw buses travelling to some Tamilnadu cities were in the bay.   I again went and checked on the sign board which clearly said –  platform 5, bay 23.  I enquired with couple of bus drivers who were standing and chatting –  they were very helpful.  Here is the conversation

me:  sir, where is Bangalore bus?

conductor 1 : Bangalore busa?  antha pakkam sutthi ponga (Bangalore bus? go around to the other side)

me (confused!): board said 5th platform…this is 5th platform

conductor 2 (looking at me as though I am from another planet): idatha mathidanga –  board appidiye irruku!  (changed the place, but the direction board is not changed!).

Now, I just ran around to find the right platform ……..God, you made my happiness short-lived!!  And if you think that the story stops here……it continues  ………….

Having used to making advance bookings on trains and air using net (especially, I have mastered the Tatkal booking scheme of Indian railways!!),  I fell into the prey of booking the bus travel ticket over net (www.tnstc.in).  As it was a hurried trip and it was a sunday morning, I did not get a print out assuming that the handheld I carry can display the ticket to the conductor.  I also had my ID card listed in the ticket and thought it should suffice.

When I found the right place of Bangalore buses, I was into the second shock. There was no unique number for the bus which I was supposed to go (may be, I am still not very sure if I have missed it).  There were three buses waiting to start to Bangalore and all the three had the same route number.  Again, I reach out to the conductor standing near one of the buses

me: I have  booking for the bus which starts at 10.45.  which bus is that?

conductor 3 (looks very vaguely at me – again it is the look of  “which planet did you come from?”): “intha busu pathinoru manniku pogum.  eeri seatla okkarunga (this bus will go at 11. get in and sit).

me: (puzzled!): I do not have a print out of the ticket, it is in this phone and you can see it in this. is it ok?”

conductor 3 (completely convinced that I am in no way a passenger who can go by bus): “illa illa, print out venum. (no-no, need print out)”

me (not lost confidence yet!):   I have my id card –  voters card (with too much of a confidence!) also.  you can compare it with your list.

conductor 3 (irritated now!):   “print irrunthathan vandilla eeralam (only if you have print out, you can get into the bus)”

me (bit tensed now!):   Is there any office where they can print out here?

conductor 3 (totally lost interest):   poi keetu paarunga anga  – (go and ask in office)

Now, considering I have less time, I run into the office and ask them if they can print the tickets out (as there were no shops inside the entire CMBT bus stop which can print).  While there were two computers and two folks operating it, they were least interested to even hear about my problem.  I came back to the bus again and this time there was another conductor 4 who felt it was ok to get into the bus. I just got in and sat  –  yes, I did come to Bangalore.

So, if you are a first timer in CMBT,  remember two basic lessons  –  ensure you validate the platform numbers with conductors and not just go by those direction boards. And avoid net booking and get the tickets directly from the conductors  – considering there are so many buses plying it should be ok to just go and get the tickets on a normal day (may be, the reservation may help on some holidays or festival days where the crowd is too high).

Koyambedu  –   I know how to handle you now!   :) :) :)

Bangalore – the Best!


It was a pleasant surprise when I read the news about Bangalore being ranked as the best city to live in India……it actually surpassed all the four  Indian metros  –  Delhi, Kolkatta, Mumbai and Chennai!!!…….The news article can be read here

While I know the traffic and infrastructure needs more improvement, the upcoming metro train transport in Bangalore should address it is my sincere hope.  Ofcourse, it goes without saying that the state governance should be focussed and committed on this  – the live streaming of CM’s office which started with a big bang is facing technical snag and I hope the metro train plans are reviewed for any such snag….

Here is my list of top seven reasons on why I like Bangalore…………..

  1. Weather………lovely all through the year
  2. Greenery………you will be surprised by the small green patches in between densely crowded residential and commercial areas – don’t forget Cubbon park and Lal bagh
  3. People……….Bangaloreans are the best when it comes to making everyone feel at home  –  they are so polite and love peace
  4. Cosmopoliton……..the city itself is so mixed that it has its own cosmopolitan culture..From Malleshwaram to Koramangala it has the Mysore Iyengars to the MTV personalities
  5. IT companies……….gives loads of opportunities
  6. Darshinis………..the ‘stand-and-eat’ restaurants at every other street with their hot ‘idly-vada’, ‘masala dosa’, ‘chow-chow bath’, ‘rave idly’,etc with the fresh coconut ‘chutney’ and hot ‘sambar’
  7. Style……………..

No wonder, the silicon valley of India is the winner of the year!!   Bangalore, the best!!!

Japan – Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear exposure!!


There are lots and lots of news on Japan!!   But for some five minutes on the first day, I hardly watched any TV on the happenings ain Japan.  One of the reasons was that my little one was visibly upset the first day about this news  –  he had doubts about if Tsunami can come to the first floor (we live in first floor!)…… I later learnt that even AM’s Lil D was extremely upset on this…! So, i consciously avoided watching Japan on TV!

Nevertheless, I read a bit of news on the net….and these two newsitems were indeed very absorbing…….

When i saw this 10 minute video at disastar prediction net  –  http://disasterpredictions.com/japanese-earthquake-predicted-comet-elenin/, it was very spooky!!   So, someone could predict this earthquake so accurately –  if you see in youtubue, you can see that this video is uploaded on 9th March itself!!!  So, made me get that spooky feeling!!

And later, I was searching for the meaning of the word Stoicism in the net and i hit on this article  -

http://womensissues.about.com/b/2011/03/14/understanding-japanese-stoicism-in-the-face-of-japans-devastating-earthquake-and-tsunami.htm

When i finished reading it, many things about Japanese made sense to me   –  I have always wondered why they are not smiling, why they are not so very democratic, why they are not taking things easy, but then…”That is not the way Japanese people are”!!!

My heart goes to them!!  I am confident they will come out of this crisis much more stronger!!  God bless!!

Passport Seva Kendra – Proud to be an Indian!


Considering that all we hear about are the scandals rocking our Indian Government over 2G , this has been a very refreshing experience –  I am talking about the new PASSPORT SEVA KENDRA from our own Indian Government.  I witnessed a sea change  –  how things were in the past and how much the new system has turned around my perception on our Government offices.

I always wonder on how the ‘so-called’ IT manpower producer for the entire world lacks so badly in its IT infrastructure –  there is still so much opportunity to streamline many of our government processes and public utility services.  So, when I visited the Passport Seva Kendra in Bangalore, it really made me proud.

What I liked

  • Online facility to  upload our passport application
  • Online facility to get our appointment book (no more long waiting at the gates)
  • Almost 100% predictability of the start time when we reach the Passport Kendra
  • Very well-defined process and streamlined assembly line process,
  • smiling support staff  – good job!!  KEEP IT UP!!
  • Clear instructions
  • All got done in 1.30 hours!!!!

So, next time if you have any activity in the passport office in Bangalore, you can breathe easily.   Things are done in a smooth manner. I am sure the credit also goes to the service provider, Tata Consultancy Services also.

I really feel PROUD TO BE AN INDIAN!! JAI HO!!

Life – the best teacher!


When I was in my college years, I thought that IIMs in India are the best educational institutes and anyone who is graduating/studying in IIM are extraordinary.  Probably this perception (!!) was mostly the result of being parented by two profs at home!!  Education, University and all those academic related stuff was really overrated at home and was default given the highest priority!!.  I still believe they are important, but then the past twenty years have taught me that it solely depends on how an individual is utilizing the education he got in his life!

Over the last twenty years, I have slowly realized that an individual’s capability to face real life situations is not much to do with the educational institute he/she has graduated from  –  may be, this is after the careful analysis of the IIM graduates whom were my bosses,  my reports and my colleagues  – i very strongly believe now that an individual’s learning is mostly determined by how open he is for new ideas, his level of risk taking and interpersonal skills, than by who taught him/her and where he/she graduated from.

My belief was reinforced today, when i came across this article about Siddarth ” what all this IIMA grad learnt after his degree”.   A very inspiring true life story!  I am adding his book  “EAGLE SPOTTED, MESSAGE DECODED”  into my list of books to read!

Life definitely is the best teacher ever!!  And we ought to be thankful it gives us all these experiences to make us complete!

To quote Siddarth, “There were many lessons from IIM-A that might have helped me during my crisis. It teaches you to deal and live in pressure, race against time and win most times. But one thing that come to my mind when I look back at my years at IIM-A, I feel my course would have been complete if I was also taught life skills. How to deal with people and their inflated egos, how to lead and make people see the bigger picture as you see it. Education needs to  go beyond careers, placements and packages”.

Good luck, Siddarth and Nidhi!  God Bless!!

Intentions and Actions


I continue to have this challenge  –  converting my good intentions to actions!   While it can be called as procrastination, i know it is more of my habit to get carried away by my  ‘ doing bigger things in life’  and ignoring the small immediate actions.   I came across this tweet this morning  TTrangarajan says “Intentions are nothing unless backed by actions. God will judge your intention, while man will only judge your actions”

While i was mulling over it through the day, I saw this  in my inbox from Indiblogger promoting the school meal program.  My first reaction was  –  “ok, one more mass philanthropy movement and a good marketing idea!”.   I honestly did not think much when i read it  –  but then, when i saw the details that one blog post will end up feeding 50 children, it struck to me why not i also write about it… –   So here I am making my little effort by willfully getting over my “doing big things” attitude…

Akshaya Patra Foundation was inspired by one of the ISKON gurus (while I am not much of a knowledgeable person when it comes to religious organizations like ISKON, I sure know that the ISKON temple in Bangalore is a must visit for his architectural beauty).  They started ten years back as an independent movement, but later gathered momentum in 2003 with the support of Ministry of Human Resources Development, India.

Today, they feed around 1.2 million children everyday  – what is unique about the whole program is the vision of the program  –  the program is just not a simple focus on feeding hungry children, but the vision is to “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”

What is surprising is that for feeding one child for the entire school year it costs only  Rs.525 (approx $11.2)      .  You can donate online also here   –  Akshaya Patra donations.

Let me close my day with a satisfaction of doing a small deed!

Transgender


Actions become involuntary when you do it so many times – our body operates just with our subconscious brain control – like driving a car.

For me, raising the car windows when the car stops in the cross road signals, is almost an involuntary action.  Reason:  – to avoid the group of transgender who are seeking alms.  While I am not against giving some small amounts to the beggars on the road, I had valid reasons to avoid these transgender (atleast, I thought so!)

I pass through this cross road signal on my way to work, every day. Having the luxury of a chauffeur driven car, I normally start on my work the moment I get into the car. Laptop is on, connected to the network through the broadband (thanks to Reliance Netconnect) and I start clearing my mails and plan the day at work. It was one of those days where I was very intently composing a response to a critical email, unaware of the car stopping in the signal.

Suddenly a transgender puts her hand through the window and places it on my head (blessings is what I gather later!).  I was so startled with this suddenness, I almost dropped my laptop. While the person is waiting for me to give some money and here I was so startled, that I froze. After a minute, I took a 2 rupee coin and gave it – but then, it was so vehemently refused and all I could make out with my knowledge of local language is that I am being miserly and bad. Seeing that I am lost and confused – with a considerate tone, the transgender says that minimum is ten rupees.  I still continue to be in my dazed state and pick a ten rupee note, so that I can get off from this situation.   Once the money is paid (it is actually 2+10), the person is off to the next car. I felt that I was being extorted – though it was 12 rupees, the way it was requested (!) for and the suddenness of someone extending their hand into the car with such ease, made me cringe.  It registered in my mind as an unpleasant experience and next day onwards, I am so conscious that I open my laptop only after this signal and keep the windows up.

It is more than six months since I had been into this routine of being ‘careful’ in the signal.   I keep seeing them every day; they cajole/bully the vehicle drivers/passengers, confirming the fact that there are others also in the general public who are uncomfortable with this.  While there are beggars galore in the streets, these transgender are bit different – they are so well decked up (nice clothes, makeup and flowers!) and they demand the money (not beg!).

To be precise, I almost have forgotten about their existence during my growing up years, though when I was a kid – back in my hometown – we had a specific festival celebrated in the village temple which attracts all the transgender to our small sleepy village(it is actually the developing Annamalai University campus in mid 70s). It is the local temple festival (Pasupadeshwarar temple) during summer vacation every year – the transgender come there for two days from all over the state – they spend two days in and around the temple – I remember it is called ‘ARAVAN’ festival.

I vaguely remember the story goes like this (as told by locals) – In Mahabharata (one of the great Indian EPIC), Arjuna’s (one of the pandava princes) demon son –  Aravan is to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali.  This is done to please Goddess Kali so that the Pandavas can win the battle of Gurusekhthra against their cousins Kowravas (100 princes who were brothers).  The precondition is that Aravaan wanted to be married before he was offered to Kali.

As no women wanted to marry a person who is to be sacrificed to God the very next day of their marriage, Lord Krishna took the form of a lady (so, this should be the transgender connection) and married Aravan.

The festival captures this spirit – it is a ten day festival and on the last two days the transgender folks from the nearby towns throng into the temple – day 1: they all are beautifully dressed as the bride to Aravan  Day 2:  their husband is sacrificed to God and they are turned to the hindu widow attire.

With summer holidays underway and the campus so sleepy, this festival was a major timepass – almost all the kids were in and around the temple those ten days  –  watching every small happenings.

I was no exception – used to be always out with my friends………..and that is the time I have observed these transgenders when I was a kid – parents were obviously skeptical that we kids spend so much time watching them and coming up with curious questions on whether they are girls or boys?

Many parents have put in the fear with their children that these transgenders may kidnap them –  but then, I was undeterred – I always sneaked out to watch them, wondering about their way of life!  I got an image that they are nomadic – enjoying their life!  When they arrive at the temple during this festival, they are so well dressed up, laughing all the time, handling the teasing of local thugs, dancing and singing………even for a kid of my age at that time, I could clearly remember that I felt that they were enjoying their life

Over few years when I grew up, I slowly started realizing the challenges the transgenders face – how lowly they are treated by society at large  –  I also started focusing more on my other interests and my festival visits to temple were very limited  –  with family for an hour or two on the festival day.

I almost forgot about the existence of transgender in the years between, till I came across a senior in my classical dance training classes. It happened that the famous guru thanjavur kittappa pillai was our neighbor and there were no excuses resuming my classical dance training with him  –  While the Guru was a very soft and nice person, he was very strict when it came to the discipline and practice sessions  –  he never let one wrong step pass through.  During those strenuous training was when I started noticing the senior in the dance class  – very keen on the classes and was so focused  –  I figured out it was Nataraj ( I have to mention that I am so happy to see the progress Narthaki Natarj had made in these years  –  I just googled his name and was amazed to read about the acheivements! narthaki natarajl)  –   a transgender and a dedicated disciple to the Guru.  I was again inquisitive and use to observe if there is anything I need to notice – apparently, all I saw was complete dedication to the art.

   

That is when it struck me that the transgender are individuals like me, but they have an enormous challenge of establishing themselves as normal human beings – and it kind of settled on me that if not helpful, we got to be empathetic towards them!

All my noble thoughts on being empathetic towards trangender were never once tried and tested in the years in-between till the recent episode  – and I did not even remember about my past noble thoughts, but ended up being averse to the poor ‘alm seeking’ transgender in the cross road signal!

Recently, on one of those busy mornings, I am at the cross roads (Default the car windows are up) and was looking out.  There was a guy sitting in a motor bike just next to the car – I could not see his faceas he wore a helmet  –  but could make out that he should be a guy in his late twenties and probably working for a IT company (he had the Targus Dell laptop backpack).

As the routine goes, the transgender were all around asking for alms  –  one of them came to this guy and asked money  – this guy took a ten rupee note (so, he knows the minimum amount!!) and started talking –  as his demure was too cool and the transgender was smiling and responding, I became curious on what they can be conversing.  I slightly lowered the window to overhear the conversation –  the conversation went this way – this guy enquired about how they are making a livelihood  – I can hear the transgender sharing that it is a tough life as they are not accepted for regular jobs and their families do not accept them  –  the guy listened, but still closed the conversation suggesting that they should reach out to NGOs and find a decent livelihood and not beg on the streets  – he still gave the 10 rupees and said he will not give any more in the coming days –  the transgender again thanked and went away  –  this guy picked up his mobile and started coversing……

It just hit me  –  how natural this guy is  – probably he is  10-15 years younger to me –  probably he never had any so-called ‘noble’ thoughts of being empathetic towards the transgender, but then  –  he treated them as his equal –  as part of the society  – neither was he angry nor was he looking down (sympathetic) with them  –  but I felt he was empathetic!!

He was treating them ‘matter-of-fact’  with such a maturity of the mind.  I felt at that time that there are people who are human and it comes so natural to them to be a human  – they do not have to have noble thoughts and then translate them into action  – they just act!!

I  wished in that beautiful morning that this guy should protect his humanness in the years to come –  he should have a good life and I felt that somewhere in between the growing years, I have more and more noble thoughts, but not real opportunities to test whether they are implementable!

It is the feeling of being blessed to witness something so natural  –  showing me that being noble does not just end in thoughts, but live in these simple actions!

I learnt something new again that day!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 63 other followers

%d bloggers like this: