Archive for April, 2007

New TV Channel…

A new Kannada TV Channel, Suvarna, (that could mean, either “good colour” or “gold”)is being, or aired, or whatever the right verb is. I have been asked to do a recording of a one-hour Carnatic music concert (with a couple of Devarnamas thrown in), day after tomorrow. Being insatiably curious, I am planning to go for the recording a little earlier, with my camera, and make a nice post about the recording of music for a TV channel..

So…watch this space!

Now, I must go and confirm the venue and time of the recording to Mr Rajesh, who will be accompanying me on the violin; Mr B N Ramesh, a senior mridangam player, will be on the percussion. I have always found him very supportive when I sing.

Another Gem of Bangalore

There are some beautiful buildings of Bangalore which, I hope, will never disappear…..

I would like to share with you the sight of one of the most beautiful police stations I have seen anywhere in the world.

Here it is, Basavanagudi Police Station:

Basavanagudi Police Station

The curve of the dome, the beauty of its proportions, the greenery of the majestic trees all around it, its elevation…not even the wonky board can take away from the loveliness of this scene, which is a peep into the past…this is what all of Bangalore must have looked like, a few decades ago!

Basavanagudi is still one of Bangalore’s most beautiful areas, and one where old Bangalore survives.

So, can we smell the sampige again?

I hate to say this, but Bangalore does have the ‘Garbage City‘ tag attached to it. So, I was quite happy to read on that the BBMP (Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike) is starting a ”Suvarna Bengalooru Swachha Bengalooru” project, worth Rs. 79 crore to keep the roads of Bangalore clean and tidy. Thankfully, the BBMP has offloaded the work to 30 private agencies as a service contract. I have a feeling the offloading will help the BBMP tremendously.

An often seen sight in any vacant land in the city

Please call the BBMP helpline number (080-64530153) if you have any issues with garbage anywhere in the city. They are promising to act immediately. I am going to be calling this number in a day or two.

Can someone explain what was going on?

While on my way to breakfast today, I noticed a little ritual that I’d never seen before. A woman was carrying a small slightly shabby ornately decorated chair on her head. It had carvings and peacock feathers and was maybe upholstered in red velvet. She was carrying what at first I thought was a single-tail whip, that she cracked on the stairs of the hotel/restaurant we were going to visit, then stood there expectantly. As I passed her I noticed that it wasn’t a whip, but looked like a very long gray plait! After a little bit a manager (or some other officialish looking person) came out and gave her a few coins and she walked down the street. I caught his eye as he was doing it and he just sort of grinned at me.

Can someone please explain what I just witnessed?

Commercial Street

On a recent saunter around Commercial Street, I snapped these images of a bustling, vigorous area which is so pithily described in the street’s name!

Many of the old buildings that were on Commercial Street have been pulled down to make way for larger, modern buildings; but this gem remains:

Aruna Silk House Building, Comml St

Imagine, 76 years old! Note the beautiful detail of the sunshades on the side of the building…well, Aruna Silks has also been around in this building since I came to live in Bangalore; a narrow-fronted shop that sells an unimaginable variety of fabrics!

Here are more images from this thriving thoroughfare….

Restaurent Review : Karavali, Taj Gateway…

Friday evening’s when most of the ‘wine and dine’ places are flooded, few gateways like Taj Gateway offers a ‘true’ gateway to unwind yourself from busy week schedule,we tried ‘Karavali’ restuarent offering authentic Kerala food along the candle lit ambience…


Two beautiful things on Brigade Road

On Brigade Road, recently, I realized that I take a lot for granted…it hit home when the Boulevard on M G Road, which has been a feature of my life in Bangalore as long as I have been here, went under the excavator last week. So I decided to photograph some of the gems that still remain….

Here’s the building that houses the State Clinic. I am unaware of the date of its construction, but I have seen it since 1988 (the road divider at the front of the picture didn’t exist then!), and it must have been there much longer than that. How long will it survive?

State Clinic building, Brigade Road

Another beautiful little oasis is the War Memorial:

the War Memorial, Brigade Road-Residency Road junction

The inscription refers to those “who gave their lives ” in “The Great War”, 1913 to 1916…it was not known, then, that there would be another World War!

I do hope the War Memorial will be there for a long time to come….it teaches us the futility…and yet, the inevitability, of war.

The ‘carcinogenic’ asbestos sightings

If you take a moment and notice around you, you will see how much of asbestos is still in use here. You would think that since the carcinogenic factor of the asbestos is widely known, people would stop using it. But, wait a minute, if they are using it, it must mean that asbestos is still available for sale. So, I dug around a little only to find this.

The Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers’ Association wants to clear the air and establish that the industry, providing low-cost roofing and plumbing solutions for low-income households (80 per cent of asbestos cement is used in rural areas), is “safe.” Association chairman S.A. Bhimaraja says the Indian industry uses only imported Chrysotile (white) fibre as raw material for asbestos cement sheets. “White” asbestos, he says, is different in chemical composition from the “blue” and “brown” varieties, which are banned in India.

Usage of asbestos in a typical Bangalore neighborhood

Environmentalists contend that asbestos, irrespective of the variety, is a carcinogen. Research has proved the many health defects that the very fine asbestos fibres can cause – mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, and gastrointestinal cancer to name a few. My grandfather died of lung cancer, and I know that he worked for many years in an office that had asbestos roofing. Now, I don’t know if that’s what caused his cancer. All I can say is we sure missed out on some precious years with him.

Yeh dil mango more?

While on a trip to Coorg earlier this week, I came across a terrific sight on the state highway, near Hunsur, I think: Loads of pushcart vendors selling mangoes. For mango lovers, it would be nothing but the proverbial nirvana.

Having savoured the sight – pics below, folks – I read today this news:

The first export consignment of 150 boxes of delicious Indian mangoes was shipped out to the U.S. shores on Thursday

Apparently, this development has come about as sometime last year, U.S. President George Bush said, at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, “….I look forward to eating Indian mangoes…..”

Late evening’s 11th Auto rule…

Just about 9 pm (an hour and half earlier), we were at the junction of brigade road (outside opera house) trying to hire an auto for Indira Nagar… the road was full of auto’s but most of them refused to come as if ‘Indira nagar’ relocates beyond Hosur, after sunset every evening!!

Few others asked anywhere from 70-90 rupees and once we protested started asking for 1 ½ fare … even when it was just 9.30pm.

With no RTO in sight, patiently we waited and kept asking one by one till the eleventh auto agreed with 10 rupees more than meter… we paid him Rs.38/- upon reaching home.

So next time ‘you’ are taken on ride by these autonomous creatures try till the 11th one. It might work!!

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