Archive for February, 2005

Border Roads Organization

February 27, 2005

Throughout our travels in the Darjeeling/Gangtok/Kalimpong areas we were on roads built and maintained by the Border Roads Organization. This is probably an army or a partially-army organization..clearly, the discipline was visible everywhere. Most of the roads were in good condition, and where the condition was bad, because of landslips, it was easy to see how much effort goes into keeping up the roads in such adverse climactic conditions….earth movers and bulldozers were hard at work even as we made our way through.

The BRO also has put up various signboards everywhere, reminding users of the roads to whom they are indebted for the roads they travel over. The only thing they do not tell users of the roads is…how and where to contact them to thank them for their efforts!

Some of the signs are also funny pieces of rhyming verse…”after whisky, driving is risky”….”you want to last, then why go so fast?”…we amused ourselves by making up others, like, “don’t fall asleep and take an involuntary leap”!

If only we had such efficient organization in charge of our roads here at Bangalore! The flyover supposed to be finished by April 2003 is l;yet languishing,and todays’ papers carry the news item that the contracto, UP State Bridge Coropration,is not even thinking of finishing the work contracted for….crores have been poured into the construction (or lack of it) so far….and we continue to suffer….by the time the flyover is finished, traffic volumes would have long since overtaken the planning and the bad traffic conditions will continue….

I wish we could shoot corrupt officials…at least I wish we could Identify them and publish their photographs in the paper!

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Sikkim and the Himalayas

February 25, 2005

The Himalayas…any Indian who has not seen this awesome sight MUST try to see it sometime….every time it awes and humbles one completely. How can one be petty after seeing the sight of the beautiful, majestic peaks?

I also find that any place which has only recently (comparitively speaking) become a part of India is much cleaner and more disciplined than the rest of the country…Goa and Sikkim are what I base this observation on. Sikkim is so lovely….waterfalls everywhere, greenery, people who are genuinely friendly…..we had a fabulous trip.

Another factor is the presence of the Army everywhere in the hill areas…the roads are maintained by them, and perhaps they contribute to the feeling of overall discipline…the work being done on the landslide sites shows how much of effort goes into maintaining the hill roads in motorable condition. I am very impressed.

In Kolkata today….enjoying nostalgia, as I visit scenes from the past…amazing, the buildings which were ramshackle and ready to break down 30 years ago, are there in the same condition today! However, orbital roads are excellent, as is the Metro. My spouse would like to live here, he says!

Resolving to travel as much in India as possible as long as both of us are in good health!

Trip to the NorthEast

February 16, 2005

Looking forward very much to the trip to Kolkata, scene of my childhood, and then Darjeeling and Gangtok…will write in my impressions of how things have changed in the last 28 years since I traversed that path last!

Summer has set in in Bangalore…the jacaranda and the tabebuia trees are in full bloom and the roads (or what passes for them) are carpets of purple and yellow….

The flyover near our home is to be inaugurated (well, part of it, actually) this evening…more traffic jams while corrupt ministers come and try to take credit for what has been delayed beyond a year….

I HATE POLITICIANS. I HATE THE CORRUPTION IN THIS COUNTRY!

friendship..and patience

February 15, 2005

A close friend was very, very rude to me a few days ago. As this was on the phone, instead of reacting, I just put down the phone. Though I felt miserable, I just kept quiet for a few days…yesterday she called up and apologized, and explained how she was very upset over something else and had vented on me.

Amazingly, I seem to have stumbled on the right way to handle these things. I would like to ensure that I always hold back from reacting, and let things cool down….a small price to pay for a long-enduring friendship.

How to ensure that I learn from this experience and be wiser in future and not let my temper get the better of me? How to control my temper? A question that has been with me for so many years…with not many answers!

friendship…

February 15, 2005

A close friend was very rude to me a couple of days ago…without reacting openly, I just disconnected. For the past couple of days, though I was feeling pretty bad, I just let things ride. Yesterday she called me up and explained how she had vented her anger at someone else on me.

I seem to have stumbled on the right thing to do. How to ensure that I keep from reacting immediately in situations like this? I like the fact that I have emerged from the situation with dignity, and with the friendship intact…and I want to treat every such situation in the same way.

Aero show

February 12, 2005

Went to the Aero Show at Jakkur yesterday…my spouse thoroughly enjoyed himself with his weighs-a-ton-and-costs-more camera…and I must say the pictures he took were really SUPERB.

The display was not as detailed as the one I saw at Chennai last year on the occasion of Air Force Day; but it was very impressive nevertheless. I had to remind myself that these were the “showmen” of the armed forces, not the real heroes..those who repeatedly pack parachutes for the glamour boys to jump in, those who service those awesome machines and keep them safe….

But still and all…when the Sukhoi flies past in a thundering display of raw power, or the Surya Kirans streak past in perfect formation trailing the triclour….it is so difficult not to get all choked up and proud and patriotic and not have a tear stand in your eye….

Such displays are great for our national pride. I was also impressed with the arrangements made this year. Plenty of parking, fairly clean toilets, plenty of food…good job done.

Mime workshop

February 9, 2005

Enjoying the mime workshop (over 4 weekends) very much. What Nazi, the mime teacher, told us during the mime workshop: Make time for plenty of practice. Don’t stop to analyze too much or your work will become laboured and it won’t “flow”. Lose yourself in who you are at the moment. Self-absorption will produce better work.

Just the same words my music teacher used for me when I learned Carnatic music….she said until I enjoyed myself, my audience wouldn’t….

Alas, our terrace is too small for some of the large movements that he teaches. But I am less than happy about the dog poop all over the terrace in Koramangala which is the alternate venue….

It is also difficult, at least to me, to be the only woman, as well as a middle-aged one, in a group of people, one of whom was my daughter’s classmate in school…I think it inhibits them, I didn’t find any willing partners in the two-people routine where one had to punch the other’s face in mime…it crossed my mind that maybe I should be interested in stuff more “suitable” to my age…but then I thought, what’s the age factor in MIME, for heaven’s sake!

Nazi’s email id: nmanoharan@hotmail.com

He is really good.

Cyclist’s experiences

February 7, 2005

Several months ago, I made a resolution to cycle and walk as much as possible, and not take out the car unless absolutely necessary. This, however, has led me into all sorts of problems:

Dogs chase me as I cycle. These are NOT stray dogs but “pets”. Dog bite injections are a VERY expensive way to pay for someone else’s craving for aggression.

I inhale LOTS of fumes and smoke from vehicle exhausts, not to mention literally eating the dust of vehicles on our foully-maintained roads. My heart may be in excellent shape, but my lungs must be two sacs full of grime and benzene-compound particles. What shall it profit me to have a sound heart if I am to develop some disease of the lungs?

I am jolted unmercifully by all the potholes, and realize truly how bad the roads of Bangalore are. Four wheels, a suspension and shock absorbers really don’t tell me the reality of a pothole as two slim wheels do.

I find cyclists are perceived to be from a lower income bracket and treated in a shabby manner by everyone on the road; policemen think nothing of cuffing a young man on a cycle for some small infringement of traffic rules. I cower down, expecting to be clouted next.

In the twenty first century, a lady cyclist (no matter that I am middle-aged) is enough to draw cheap, sexist comments that I have to ignore and pretend not to hear.

There is no security for the stuff that I buy or have with me, and I am forced to take it along with me into various shops.

All that said, the pluses are:

Definitely, my cardiovascular system is in much better shape now, and my legs are developing strength.

Parking, or turning, is not a problem anymore; nor do I find myself stuck in lines of traffic.

Having struggled up the slopes, it is SUCH fun to go wheeling down them.

Once over the novelty of it, shopkeepers in the area near my home have accepted me and I am often able to leave my cycle unlocked as I go about my chores.

Cycling really opens my eyes to my surroundings in a way that I cannot do in a fast-moving car. I take in the sights and sounds, and generally enjoy them.

There is a lot of satisfaction that I am trying to counter the traffic pollution, and am actively doing something about it.

When Bangalore has better roads (not just the main ones, but the small ones too)…and encourages cyclists….I will be a happy person.

first entry, LJ, writing on the wall

February 6, 2005

Finally…I too have given in and started “writing on the wall”….I find that being a user is the only way I can avoid being barred from posting comments on many interesting posts….now to find all those interesting people!