Monthly Archives: July 2016

BANGALORE
The city with a glorious and rich and historical past, city with many plus points like a weather many cities cannot even dream about,a greenery still not completely gone,lakes still existing though dwindling in number,many parks almost one in each locality,to provide walking and jogging tracts for the fitness conscious and older citizens,a play area for kids and friendly atmosphere and friends generally and lots of employment opportunities in the I.T.capital.
We belong to Bangalore in the sense that ancestors of both my parents were from Bangalore.All of us siblings were born here.My grand father was Professor of English,Central College and was so popular that a road is named after him and still exists in Chamarajpet.Hence my roots are deeply rooted here very firmly.

My father was posted in different parts of India and as such we had a bringing up which was cosmopolitan and we also came to know about different cultures and languages.This exposure played a great part in moulding our character.Wherever we lived,our holidays were always spent with our maternal cousins and some with our cousins in Bangalore ,where my uncle was librarian,public library,Cubbon park.
I have been visiting Bangalore since the fifties from my school days.It was according to my father,a “glorified village”.It was a different world altogether.The feel of a hill station and it was cool and cooler climate.Many houses did not have even a fan.The roads were hilly and the houses had gardens,many of them their owner’s pride and beautiful.There were no public transport worth the name.Buses started plying later,perhaps in the late fifties or early sixties.,Before that it was Jutkas which was the mode of transport.Autos were non existent.It was even a pleasure to commute by buses since the city was so beautiful that you would be enveloped by it.There were fresh flowers and vegetables available throughout the year.People travelling from Bangalore to Chennai used to bring loads of these.
Cut to the present,many things have changed.The one which is much discussed is the traffic situation.Multiplicity of vehicles ,a growth in population with migrant population entering every day,depletion of water resources,a consequence of lakes dwindling and depletion of green cover- the reasons are manifold.This post is not intended to list what is ailing this great city.It is a recall of an era gone by and some memories associated with it.

There are several green spots still.The flip side is the unpredictable weather.What is a blessing and joy to the young plays havoc with older people.Apart with breathing problems all the aches and pains increase.There are many potholes resulting in many people with back problems.There is a very unscientific development of infrastructure.In many areas there is a surfeit of malls and shopping arcades leading to more congestion of roads and more vehicular pollution Every day trees are cut to make room for wider roads.Despite all these factors there is still lot that is left.Let us hope the city will regain some of its past glory and elegance.There are various entertainment options available.Apart from films in all languages,there is a vibrant theatre and art scene.For the foodies,there are cuisines of all regions to taste.Then of course there are pubs etc for the young crowd.
I like Bangalore,though my first favourite is Calcutta,followed by Madras.I may be in a minority since the general vote seems to be in favour of Bangalore.

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Pollution of all types.
The most repeated word today,next perhaps to “terrorism” is pollution.We are enveloped by pollution from all sides.I am not an expert on the subject,nor an activist dealing with pollution.I am a citizen concerned with the world we live in.I may not be saying anything new also;just one more voice adding to the already existing ones.

There are different types of pollution.To deal with one by one.
Noise Pollution.Personally I am allergic to noise of any type.Recently I shared a very meaningful short film taken by the acclaimed short film maker,Gautam Benegal.It says a lot.In our society,be it “band,baaja,baarat” or any religious festival we make lot of noise.Medical science and research has proved that noise,too much of it affects our ear drums,heart beat and nervous system.People living near railway stations or even tracts and airports are most affected.Certain things cannot be helped like those working in factories which make lot of noise and can be classified under occupational hazards.There are some which definitely can be avoided.For ex.playing loud music or keeping the Television at high volumes.Apart from these as I have mentioned already,societal evils.
Air pollution.

I live in Bangalore,which according to experts,is one of the most polluted cities.In one of the news channels,they show the pollution levels of all the cities.Same is said about Mumbai and Delhi. Children and old people are the most affected.Bronchial problems affect most because of the smoke emitted by vehicles and the smog surrounding. Efforts are made to reduce the vehicular pollution by making people use public transport,car pooling etc.One question which is yet to be answered is whether the standard of public transport is satisfactory.
Water pollution.

This is something which affects us in our day to day life.Speaking of Bangalore,there are very few areas which get Cauvery water.All other areas have to depend on tankers at premium rates because of the high demand.About cleanliness of the tankers,the less said the better.We are not sure of the quality of water also.Water purifiers cannot be the solution since they are highly priced.Not everyone can afford them.There is water contamination reported from many years where the drinking water gets mixed with sewage water.This leads to many known and unknown diseases .
All is not.There are many public-private and resident organisations at work to rectify at least some of the problems.It is heartening to see many school children joining the awareness groups and declaring not to buy crackers thus contributing to the drive against noise pollution.They are also helping the lake preservation by immersing only clay idols of Ganeshas.I hope in Calcutta also there would be drives to make less noise during puja and go for clay idols.
Apart from there are other factors to purify the air we breath,make the world less noisy and make water more potable.This is the world we would like to leave our future generations.

An ode to the past.This is a very different type of post and largely inspired by an article by Gulnaar Mirza in yesterday’s Sunday Times.This was a nostalgic look back at the past under a section called “City Frames.”
I have in my long innings have also seen some of the sights she had quoted like the bangle seller,rangoli girls and roaming cobblers.I am not too fond of any accessories but I have seen women going into raptures over bangles.I have seen it in Delhi as well as in Ranganathan Street,Madras.I liked to watch their jubilant expressions.All over India bangles still remain a favoured item,especially during wedding and festival seasons.Bangle sellers used to roam around the streets with their load of glass and other colourful varieties.

In Madras,we were most probably woken by cries of the woman selling greens.They had a sort of musical quality about their cries.Now it may be a thing of the past with vegetable and fruit shops and malls selling them mushrooming.Next would be flower sellers with fragrant flowers.This is still very much there.Many girls may have short hair for convenience but the older ones may still need them for themselves as well as for Pooja purposes.

Next I remember is “steel for old clothes” sales person.Being gullible ,once I was cheated.Generally I liked to watch,knowing full well I was no good for all this.It was interesting to watch the haggling that went on.

The roaming cobbler was a familiar person.We used to wait for repairing our slippers and children’s shoes.Now it is the time of “use and throw “culture. We never had too many but now I see a whole cupboard of shoes and slippers of various types,each for a different purpose.

The one I miss most is the knife sharpener.I have a dozen which badly needs sharpening.Since these knife sharpening people are not seen ,I end up buying a new one.There were other vendors like the one with cartloads of clips,colourful ribbons and other fancy items.The cart ice cream which would be eagerly awaited.No Baskin Robbins at that time and the buying power was much less.

I miss the old times but also understand that in the evolution of time,things are bound to change.I am sure this post would bring back memories in many people.The article in “The Times “ended with a question whether they still exist and whether they still carry on business in some other,rural parts of the country.I wonder the same way.

Lake rejuvenation.This is the current topic among environmentalists and to anybody who cares about the world around us and want it to be unpolluted and preserved for posterity.My small contribution to this noble cause.
Lake Rejuvenation.

Once ,not long ago,I was

a beautiful lake.Surrounded by

greenery and a lake bed to boast off.

In the lake bed there were small play areas

for children ,and benches to for the old to relax.

There was boating for enjoyment of youth.

I had full water and could mirror sunshine

as well as moonlight and stars in the lovely sky.

Slowly and steadily all this is ending.

Land developers are occupying our area

promising all facilities to the space starved buyers.

No blame on them.Everybody needs a place

to stay.Care to be taken where exactly their

dwellings are going to spring up.

Garbage is thrown as well as idols are immersed

Not made of mud but plaster of Paris.

Not a care about lake pollution.
All is not lost.New talk about making me

and others like me spring back to life

Once again I will be beautiful,

a feast for the eyes.

I wait for the day when Ulsoor 

and Sampangi will return to their past glory.

The position of women in our society.

This has always been one of dubious distinction.While on the one hand,there has been a phenomenal development in the empowerment of women,the other side is bitter and sadly disturbing.Recently there has been several cases of women abuse mainly rape.Not long ago there was the Nirbhaya case which shook the nation and there were talks of providing more attention to the safety of women.There were some visible actions taken and laws formulated.Sadly the focus did not last long and shifted to other things.This was followed by several known cases and other unknown as well.The case of the Mumbai girl in the premises of a defunct mill premises and Disha and most recently Swati in Chennai.This post is a week too old perhaps but they have at last caught the killer of Swati alive.Even with the help of footage in some CCTV cameras,there was delay in nabbing him.The man who attacked a lady in an A T M enclosure in Bangalore is still at large.Police and the Government apathy are largely to be blamed but the fault lies eqally with the public.In most cases,like in Swati’s,the witnesses remain witnesses and make no effort to help the victim.They are more interested in recording the scene in their cameras.In this case no one even covered the body of the poor girl.It took the news channels quite sometime before they even to give a detailed coverage.Another thing to be noticed here is when it comes to abuse,violating the modesty and ultimately rape and mutilation of body parts,there is no distinction of age ,caste or social status.Child abuse is rampant and an aged nun was raped.It is not only Dalit girls who are raped but upper caste girls as well.Case in point,once again Swati.
Men and women have always existed.May be women were not given their due and were treated as lesser individuals.Now there is a sick mindset amongt some.I am not denying there are very noble men giving all respect to the sensitivities and sufferings of womenfolk.Boys should be groomed up giving due respect given to their female counterparts and much depends on the parenting.Blame is sometimes pointed on what a woman wears,why to talk to a boy,why go at that hour.Previously movies were held responsible for all the bad that was happening.Now it is the influx of social networks that is being blamed.Times have changed and with that everything else.Women shoulder the responsibility of running the household smoothly.Moral policing would lead us nowhere.The need of the hour is protection of women on one hand and the awareness of the duties of good citizenship.
May be I am not saying anything new.I am pained since we all have our girls going out of station and even out of country on work and work odd and long hours and we worry about their safety.Similarly,we have growing children going out to school or extra curricular activities .Our hearts miss a beat when we hear these happenings and the brutality behind it.Let us hope for more sane and responsible behaviour from everybody concerned,be it the police or government,or the public and most importantly the men who act like this.