Archive for May, 2006

Crime and the City

I’ve been hearing a lot of stories from my relatives, friends and colleagues about increasing crime rate in the city for quite sometime.

They range from simple pick-pockets to auto driver assaults, from highway robbery to planned ransacking of locked apartments.

This article in IndiaTimes prompted me to post this entry.

The usual reasons for such acts are attributed to

1. Lack of opportunities (read employment) for all people, especially youth.

(AND/OR)

2. Huge disparity in income which tempts the “low income group” to get a little adventurous.

Which of them is true in an economically booming city like Bangalore or do you know any other reasons?

Do you have any experiences to share?

Paving the way

Pavement shopping is intrinsic to many of the Indian towns and cities – vegetables,fruits, hairpins, safety pins, combs, second hand books, sugarcane juice, ganeshas, flowers, handkerchiefs. One does not ever think of going into a shop to pick up some of these things. There are roadside food stalls which save a lot of workers from hunger by supplying hot food and very low prices. One of the joys of being young in Bangalore used to be the masala puri from the roadside carts. Sometimes it is interesting to see people buying items of clothing, towels, and cheap cosmetics and jewellery from these improvised shops on the roadside. A lot of enterprise thrives on these on a zero investment on real estate or rental – some have their appointed places and some keep shifting their areas of operation. Jayanagar, Malleshwaram, Gandhi Bazar, Commercial street, M.G.Road, outside hotels and temples – they are everywhere. One goes into a super bazaar to buy goods worth thousands and while on the way out one picks up safety pins or handkerchiefs on the roadside. And then there are the cobbler and the keymaker who are always to be sought on the pavement and never inside a shop.
Here is a very interesting article and photos by the centre for the study of culture and society on some of the pavements in Bangalore:
There is another side to the story
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Chikungunya Alert

India’s southern states are on an alert for Chikungunya, a viral disease transmitted by mosquitoes, of which Bangalore has no dearth. According to reports, an estimated 1.5 Lakh people are already infected by it. Maharashtra’s southern districts, Andhra Pradesh’s eastern districts and many parts of Karnataka are already under the grip of this disease. Now, the epidemic is showing up in new places in Orissa and Tamil Nadu. Infact, since early 2006, the disease has been affecting many islands in the Indian Ocean.

What is chikungunya afterall?
Chikungunya is a rare viral disease caused by “aedes aegypti” mosquito. This mosquito bites only during the daytime (Interesting!). The name comes from a Makonde description to mean “cause to bend down”. A person infected with this disease would experience crippling pain in the joints that would cause them to bend down to feel more comfortable. This disease is also characterised by high fever, development of rash in the limb areas and in the upper torso. Occasionally, it is also acccompanied by photophobia (which is fear of light, here it means sensitivity to light), conjunctival infection and bad headaches. This disease lasts for about a week or so, and complete treatment takes about 2 to 2.5 weeks.

It is advisable for you to take precautionary measures against contracting the disease. The disease is not contagious. You need to follow the symptoms carefully and immediately get it to your nearest physician’s attention. Medication and rest are the most commonly advocated treatment prescribed.

How “spirited” is Bangalore?

Two beverages that Bangalore really loves. 1. Coffee. 2. Alcohol. The former has spawned off the nouveau caffeine drinking culture of the Baristas and Cafe Coffee Days. The latter has been associated with Bangalore since the days of the Cantonment. But no prizes for guessing which of these two has been responsible in getting Bangalore it’s *most spirited* tag of being the pub capital of India.

Coffee.jpg

And if you are wondering just how spirited is Bangalore, then you should refer a survey result that proves that Bangalore is indeed the guzzling capital of the nation.

Consider this…
// nearly 25 per cent of the respondents said they consume beer or whiskey more than any other drink. Those who consumed wine constituted a mere 7 per cent. On an average, a Bangalorean spent around Rs 200 for his drink during the weekends. A sample of 350 persons from a cross section of the workforce was taken for the survey whose average annual income was Rs 3 lakh each. //

For more, check this report that showed on Hindu Business Line. The most surprising part of the survey was this…
// Productivity loss because of hangovers from drinking alcohol costs corporates in Bangalore as much as Rs 47 crore every year. Nearly 33 per cent go to work two hours late, 6 per cent take half-a-day off, while 23 per cent take the entire day off. //

I always used to wonder, why a lot of Bangaloreans appear so de-spirited on Mondays. Now I know!

Return of the prodigal son

The title might sound very melodramatic but don’t go too much into its literal meaning, folks.

Suffice to say, this blogger is back to his native city – Bangalore! Ok, its Bengalooru now. So?

Its party time.

;)

real estate-unreal prices

“Only” 56 lakhs – announces a property developer for duplex apartments on the outer ring road in Bangalore. The offering boasts of a home that “befits your style.” One can imagine that style demands of anyone who can calmly accept the adjective “only” with a whopping sum of 56 lakhs.
Another developer justifies the cost by listing out the high quality material used in construction and spells out what the “facilities” include:
> Swimming pool with toddler’s pool
> Well equipped gym with steam and Jacuzzi
> Wi-fi connectivity
> 24 hour hi-tech security system.
There are some that promise Thai and Italian styles of housing. Close to the cricket Stadium are some apartments that cost over 1 crore and there were hordes of disappointed prospects who could not get an apartment in the building! Such is the purchasing power among the residents of Bangalore today ( or perhaps it is “non-resident” money power)
A 30 year old argues that 40 or 50 lakhs is not a huge sum when you look at the facilities on offer.
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Bangalore’s Internet Presence

So much is talked about Bangalore’s contribution to information technology.

I wondered how much of Internet presence does Bangalore have and how good it is. I did a little bit of “Google” and here are some observations.

1. A very well written article on Wikipedia – result of a good community effort!

2. Google returns about 47,500,000 results for the search term “Bangalore“. But, I’m not so happy with Google’s links on selecting the “Refine results” option.

3. Google trends has some interesting results:

* We are the number one city for the search term “Software“.
* It is number three though for terms “Stock market” and “Kannada

(Edited to add: I want to underscore the fact that these are normalized data and not absolute! Thanks to Ambar!)

BTW, we were the 45th city to be included in Metro Blogging.

What is your interesting observation on Bangalore’s Internet presence?

Kukke Subrahmanya and Kumara Parvata

Well, to be honest, I was writing this piece as a guide for my friend who intends to travel to Kukke Subrahmanya shortly. And then I realised that I could write this for Bangalore Metroblog and anyone who wants info about Kukke Subrahmanya can use it as a reference. I have been to Kukke Subrahmanya just once. And it left a lasting impression. I have not been to Kumara Parvata though. I would love to, someday!

Kukke Subrahmanya was recently in the news when Sachin Tendulkar visited the sacred temple to perform some “sarpa dosha nivarana” pooja. Media coverage for the temple suddenly got a boost because a national celebrity like Tendulkar had visited the place. The temple, for the immense religious value that it commands, receives much less media attention usually.
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Renewing interest in Kannada

There is always a lot of debate on Kannada not being spoken in Karnataka – and especially Bangalore – and the panacea, as usual, is on enforcing Kannada usage (and denunciation of folks using English – especially).

And that, in a free country is ridiculous, and not going to work. Kannada signboards make sense only if people can ‘read’ Kannada. A large percentage of students do not have Kannada as a language in their syllabus, so they might not even know kannada much less read/write in the language.

But even then forcing Kannada on every student does not make sense unless the curriculum can hold the student’s interest.

The thing I have observed is that in general the Kannada syllabus is 2nd rate – and boring to the point that student only focuses on getting through the exam. Funnily enough, the English syllabus has been the exact opposite.
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Kafka-esque?

The adjective “kafkaesque” has come into common use to denote mundane yet absurd and surreal circumstances of the kind commonly found in Kafka’s work, including emphasis/themes of alienation and persecution.

One can’t help but feel that this phrase has reached its zenith reading about the move of Bangalore University to segregate the sexes within its campus. SP had also posted yesterday on the issue.

That the certificate(s) issued by the University is not worth the paper it is printed on has been common knowledge as is the experience of many a prospective certificate holder (& job-seeker) on being sidelined by employers. This move only cuts further and is going to make them an object of ridicule, nationwide. If nothing else, its enough for anybody to experience apoplexy!
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