Archive for June, 2006

Namma Metro

The Namma Metro blog here

Since my return back to Bangalore, I have not been as excited as now. In my opinion, it is a red letter day in Bangalore’s history.

PM Manmohan Singh is to lay the foundation stone for the Namma Metro project today. [ Daily Blog here. ] This project should be dedicated to each and every citizen of Bangalore.

Once completed – target date: 2009, Namma Metro is going to change the face and nature of urban transport in Bangalore. Truly, each and every citizen will get a feel of what world class public transportation means. Traffic jams, pollution, fuel hikes, road accidents etc hopefully will be consigned to the dustbin of history. Though we are merely catching up with the developed countries of the world where such metro systems are passe, better late than never!

In Delhi, I make it a point during every official visit to travel by its Metro and my heart swells with pride when I see the disbelief on the commuters faces experiencing the system’s efficiency, punctuality and cleanliness. And, except for designer stations, the service, IMHO, is as good as Singapore’s.

A new way to see the city!

When you have just 3-4 days in a new city, what’s the best way to see it? In Paris, London, Barcelona and many other cities they have the concept of city tour buses where you can get off and get on at any place. The tickets are usually valid for 2-3 days so you can decide what to see, how long to stay at a particular location and what you want to skip. The wait for the next bus is usually not more than 20 minutes to half an hour. I remember this being a really efficient way of getting to know these cities on my trip last year.

In Paris, there were 3 routes (green, blue, yellow) and all of they intersected in such a way that you could switch routes once you finished a particular one. It would be impossible to do all the routes in a day, so I’d get on and do the selected spots on one route everyday.

This concept of city tour buses is apparently coming to Bangalore so there’s reason to cheer. Thanks to Conceptree Creations who are bringing a five fleet 64-seater open roof double decker buses to Bangalore, which will be called City Swaps. The company is headed by Avinash Kumar. Apart from live commentary, there will also be a cafĂ© on board! This, according to a new report in the Times of India, a few days ago.

I wouldn’t mind taking a ride myself. I’m sure there’s much of Bangalore that I have yet to see and besides its fun to act like a tourist in one’s own city of domicile!

Wi Fi centres in Bangalore

Is there a comprehensive list that contains the wifi outlets in bangalore? Last month, when I got my laptop I wanted to test WiFi. I ended up going to the airport and testing there. Its there in leela, but only for the guests who stay there!
I think it would be nice if we can come up with a list of wifi spots in bangalore. Good for arranging virtual meetings etc!

Bucking the trend?

2 days ago, meeting a friend at Coffee Day, 100 feet Road, Indiranagar (pic below) I had parked my bike in similar fashion:


Before you could say ‘Cheers’ cops simply lifted and towed it away. Reason: Apparently, there is/was only – what is called – ‘single line parking’ allowed there!

As there was no indication or warning sign painted by Coffee Day, I took up the issue with the Outlet Manager. After a couple of feeble attempts trying to placate the cops, he passed the buck back to me.

Learning Kannada in 60 days

Most tourists traveling in Bangalore usually travel with a group or a local escort and they can manage with Hindi or English in most touristy places. Kannada is needed only if they were to venture alone to places where the bangaloreans usually shop – like the local market or grocery shop. It is more useful for someone from another part of the country who is employed here when they have to deal on a day to day basis with the domestic help, dhobi, bus conductors, auto rickshaw drivers etc. It is also nice to be able to exchange a few pleasantries with ones neighbors or to seek help in case of real emergencies.

The need for learning the language and the urgency of the issue hit me on the face just a couple of days after we landed in Bangalore in 1980. We had found a house in Hanumantha nagar, a nice middle class locality, located at literally a stone’s throw from the famous Bull temple. Gandhi Bazaar, which I still consider the best market in Bangalore, was walking distance and it was safe and everyone was nice. The only hitch for a new comer: most people one interacted with did not speak English or Tamil. Hindi may have passed but I was handicapped there.

The nice landlady welcomed me with a warm smile and said a lot of nice things of which I understood nothing.But with uncanny feminine intuition we had established a rapport and managed to convey the message that we liked each other. Her husband translated bits of it and told me that I was to treat her like my mother and not hesitate to come to her for anything. What a wonderful way to start one’s stay in a new city!

Congratulations to Rahul Dravid

It’s been a decade since a decent debut at Lords. The Great Wall of India is still standing strong and tall.Rahul Dravid proud Bangalorean debuted today ten years back with a decent score of 95. The path has been very difficult for him.But his sheer talent, dedication and hard work have taken him to all places. Today he has the highest average for any Indian player out side India.Speaking about his debut at cricinfo

“It was very special to make my Test debut at Lord’s, walking out there and representing your country for the first time. Playing Test cricket was something I wanted to do all my life and it’s been great to fulfill so many of my dreams.”

Congradulations and thanks to you for your contibutions to Indian Test Cricket.The time has passed so fast. Today RD is the cpatain of India.We wish him all the best for todays match. I hope he will win the match and series. And make us proud.

There are many innings which I enjoy. One of them is his double century against Australia in Australia.Its a pleasure to watch him.

Of broken dreams and shattered hopes

What with the recent tamasha going on daily in the political theatre, I’m concerned to see that opinion here on the same seems non-existent. Perhaps this is a pointer to the powers-that-be. Do good…we’ll acknowledge. Do bad…well, see if we care. Here’s what I feel, though.

The inept handling of the BMIC / NICE issue by the government, in general and HDK, in particular has me seething. Just how the larger ramifications to this issue seems to escaped namma Kumaranna leaves me confused as well. Perhaps, its just good ol’ nemesis finally catching up with the novice that is him, after all. As is said, if one wants to see how incompetent is somebody, promote him! Now you can’t get higher than being CM, can you and escape media glare and public scrutiny?

Try as much as he wants, the CM is not going to win any public sympathy with any of his moves – the botched attempt at the takeover via legislation, the call for a day long (!) debate with Ashok Kheny etc etc. Nor is public memory so short as to forget the humiliating rap on the knuckles from the Supreme Court, the ‘bounced cheque’ issue and that pathetic call to slit throat(s) by Daddy if it was proved that land was indeed owned by family. Not a squeak has been heard from mannina maga Sr. once proof was published in the TOI. Certainly, it ain’t on account of a lump in the throat, baby!

Is Bangalore really the silicon valley of India?

With a lot of pride lost in Intel Whitefield fiasco, Apple mishap and Powergen switch-off, I was contemplating yesterday night about the future of Bangalore and IT in India as a whole.

I fully go by Paul Graham’s definition of Silicon Valley and by his reasoning on why startups condense in the US.

[Take your time to enjoy and digest PG’s articles :)]

The two main factors to create a great technology hub are: nerds and rich-men.

This relies on a great university system, socio-economic conditions, government policies (reservation?) and entrepreneurship attitude among individuals.

Some questions to think on:

1. How many nerds does Bangalore have?
2. How many startups do you know in Bangalore?
3. How many Venture Capital firms across the globe bet on Bangalore?
4. Is the fast economic growth of India (9.3% last quarter), a negative factor?
5. Is the whole load of technology work that is done is Bangalore – the so-called “software services” just mundane work and not leading edge technology?
6. Is the Indian IT workforce/companies too greedy, thereby making outsourcing less cost-effective?

I’m a great believer in India and bullish about its projected growth story. But, how many of the above questions are really valid and raise concerns?

I think we have great Indian brains, but how many of those Indian brains stay put in India? Will the US Govt.’s proposed SKIL program worsen India’s condition?

What say you?

Of tangled cables and sky high expectations

All you Bangaloreans fed up with cable operators and their arm-twisting tactics, hear ye, hear ye.

Tata Sky is expected to roll out its DTH services any time now. Namma Sudhish has also written about it here for Chennai. But remember, in Bangalore, you read about it here first!

Perhaps this sounds jingo-istic, but I’d safely bet on a world class DTH experience, what with the TATA’s involved!

Can’t wait, me amigos!


Football Fever #2: Tavern

Tavern was the place to be when Ghana stunned the Czechs.

The only thing I really missed were those larger-than-life screens. But the terrific crowd made up for that.

We moved in early at 5 PM and stayed till god-knows-what-time :)

The service was good and kinda dropped below standards when the crowd became over-whelming. Many people didn’t mind that they didn’t even have seats… They just wanted to be in the oxygen-deprived room just for the kicks – well, football kicks included.

DJ worked wonders to set the tempo of his music to match the tempo of the match and had some dedications to Ghana as well. But, he declined our request – Tom Petty’s “You don’t know how it feels” :(

A great place to be. Go early so that you get a seat!

Do you have any “Tavern Experiences” to share? – good or bad ;-)

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