Packing off ...

Song for the mood: Times like these - Foo Fighters

I'm moving to a different place tomorrow. It's a few miles away from here, bit closer to my office. I won't be missing the current place much though; never really liked it. Multitude of reasons ... but am looking up as far as the new place is concerned! Of course, what problems characterize the new one, only the next 11 months can tell :)

I have packed my bags ... I think I have; the bags look filled ... but I can still see a lot of stuff lying around. Guess I'll just dump it in tomorrow morning. The one thing I really wanted to do was to have a huge sack; I just place it near my desk and slide all the stuff in it ... you see, most of my stuff is never in the cupboard, it just lies around on this teeny-weeny desk and a chair that's beside it. I sometimes wonder if all this stuff is alive because I'm pretty sure it organizes itself! In a messy way, of course, so that innocent humans like yours truly never suspect what's really going on ... but after dumping stuff for so long I'm really starting to see a pattern ... every time I thrust my arm in, into that being, to find something (something, anything) wallah! It just comes into my hand! It's like I pretend I'm reaching for it ... but actually 'it' reaches for me ... spooky! Brrrr ...

Well, I'll be packing off between 10:00 - 11:00 tomorrow morning. Leaving behind a lot of scraps of paper, non-disposed wrappers of biscuits and chocolates and a huge stack of plastic bags that I prefer to think I'm leaving as a welcome gift to the next occupant, whoever he or she maybe, I'm also letting go of a much more personally valuable item; this blog.

I've been scribbling for nearly 2 years; it's been fun! I've written a lot of personal experiences, some poetry, few jibes at friends along the way, criticisms, vented my anger out at times ... lotsa stuff ... it was all good. Somehow I just don't feel like adding to it anymore ... it's has become like one of the packed bags that I can see next to my desk right now. If I dump even one more item I'll have to sit on the bag so that the zip can be closed ... pretty much the same for this blog too ...

Not to say I won't be blogging/scribbling anymore. It will just be a different one, somewhere else. I just hope all the good friends I've made along the way who have taken the time to read this indescribable nonsense that I love to ramble on about will continue reading more indescribable nonsense somewhere else ... wherever it might be :)

Until next time ... adios!

Buses, rains ... leaks ...

So, it's raining. In Bangalore. Heavy rains mind you. Not the kind where eager but cautious parents dress their kids in thick rain coats and an umbrella so the kids can splash in puddles and use the upturned umbrellas as boats in little gutters ... proper rains, there's even lightning.

So if it's raining this heavy, would you get drenched? Of course! Stupid question, moron. Ya, but what if you have a raincoat or an umbrella (or both, you might be the cautious kind) with you while it's raining? Then maybe you won't get drenched but you could still get a lil' wet, right? Strong winds could blow away your umbrella (that is always a funny sight, a complete cracker!) blah blah so there is a still a chance you could get wet. Hmmm ... what if you are traveling in a bus? Could you still get wet? No you can't get wet. You can, however, get drenched.

My office bus leaks! From all over the place; the window edges, the roof and the sunroof just point your finger to a part of the bus and it will be leaking. Guaranteed. It leaks so much I have to sit wearing my jerkin, no matter which seat!

I dunno if the BMTC (it is a BMTC bus) has given some serious thought to this, but this could be an amazing business idea. Don't fix the leak, just put bath fittings wherever there is a small/big hole. Sell the idea of a shower bus; tubs instead of seats and so on ... it might sell, who knows? Or even better, make sure the water only leaks in and doesn't get out of the bus. That way when it fills up it will looks like a traveling aquarium, what with all the passengers swimming around inside ... put a few dim lights and you're done! Put some plants in one corner and you're better! It will sell like hot idlis! A splendid tourist attraction, only one of its kind. Or maybe not ... I'm sure half the buses that BMTC has leak in the same way.

I spotted one of my colleagues when the bus left the office campus yesterday. He was standing under a small shed to escape the rain. I think he saw me too. It was raining, he didn't have an umbrella, but he was ok. I was in a bus and I was soaking wet!

50 cars < 1 bus?

Song for the mood: Second Love - Pain of Salvation

A car on the road carries on an average 1.2 people. 50 cars worth of passengers can fit into ... wait for it ... 1 bus! A good bus leaves a carbon footprint equivalent to just 4 cars traveling over the same distance. Although these stats are true for Europe, where this awesome awesome video-ad has been made, I think a similar group of numbers would hold true for large Indian metros like Bangalore and Mumbai among others.

I have blogged on similar lines in the past. Maybe if enough of us mobilize in such a cause we can do something similar here. It wouldn't be trouble free but then there's no free lunch right? ;)

De-congesting the cities will go a long way in improving a lot of things. Money saved on just building larger and even larger roads can be directed towards need-of-the-hour issues like public sanitation, restoration of forests, effective waste management etc. Maybe I'm getting a lil' carried away here, but to me it seems very realistic.

Another little thing I'm pumped up about; I'm buying a bicycle! Yes, I'm gonna use it for my everyday commute to office. More on that once I get my bicycle, which should be very very soon!

Thanks to for the video. By the way, if you are thinking about getting into bicycling and need a reason to convince you why it's great, do yourself a favor and check that blog :) What the heck! Check it anyway!

Fake? Really?

The Pak probe team that investigated the horrendous episode of a girl, who goes by the name Chand Bibi, reportedly slogged by brutes in the SWAT valley, has termed the entire episode as fake. Yes, it never happened.

The investigating officer has termed the video evidence as a fake, saying he personally visited the place where the purpoted incident took place. While Chand Bibi and her husband have already denied this ever happening, even the people of the area have denied knowledge of any such incident. Read the story here

I'm just wondering as to why this 'officer' also did not claim that the Taliban does not exist in SWAT at all! It is all just imagination, phooey talk!

Borrowing some commonsense from an old joke, if somebody put a bomb in your mouth, what will explode first - your face or the bomb? But of course; your ass! Sabse pehle teri gaand fategi.

Does Mr. officer really expect people to believe him? Last I heard his 'government' has sold the land and the citizens of SWAT to the Taliban, who by the way have no intention of giving up their merry ways. How, pray tell me, does he even expect a witness to testify against the beasts who practically control his every breath? This, ignoring the fact, that the 'investigators' are part of the very democratic government (sic) that have sold him, not long ago.

Unless this Taliban is a new women-friendly organization that we haven't heard of, chances are there are already hundreds of Chand Bibis in that valley. It's a shame that the only thing her own country can afford her is to term her tribulations as fake on top of a spineless investigation. I wish the officer is right. I really hope this incident has never happened to any man or woman or child. But that is only wistful thinking.

Literacy vs Education

Literacy is basically the ability to read and write, at least in one language. Literacy empowers you to be on the same pedestal as the society in which you live. In a world where information comes mostly through the written medium this is a rather crucial ability for anyone. Being literate is necessary. Being literate is indispensable. Being literate is literally just that.

Being literate is not the same as being educated. Education is more of a process than an ability. It's a loop: observe -> learn -> understand -> apply -> observe. Literacy is a tool in this process, at least it is if your choice of education is academic: science, literature, history etc

That last sentence is important! Literacy is not the only way to be 'educated'. Suppose you want to be a great fisherman? You can't just read about the different types of fish, you have to go and catch some. You have to know when and where to fish. Suppose you want to be an amazing cook? You have to burn your fingers, burn the food, burn a few utensils, know the difference between ginger and garlic and so on.

A politician, no matter how illiterate, is educated in the art of being a politician (manipulator, diplomat, shrewd). A painter, even if he doesn't know the names of colors, can be a great painter if he knows how to use them such that it appeals to observers.

They are not the same, literacy and education. The difference between them is much like the difference between a tool and a process. Literacy will give you the ability to read a book. Education is when you, at least, understand what the author is trying to convey. As an ending note I'll give an example of self-help books, something like 'Learn how to lose weight in 30 days'. What's wrong with the title? Nothing. You can learn how to lose weight in 30 days. You can 'learn' it. When you actually lose weight ... then you'll know it ...

Writer's block ... ?

What the hell has happened to me? How the hell can I be unable to blog random nonsense anymore?

Does that make me a writer? Hooray ... sheesh ... bah!

Easing traffic on Ring Road

The Outer Ring Road, for the uninitiated, is literally a ring shaped road that goes right around Bangalore. With the city ever expanding there are now plans to build an outer-outer ring road in addition to the current Outer Ring Road but that is where I'll leave that.

The Ring Road is definitely the most plied on road in Bangalore, especially by buses and trucks and their heavier cousins. Many large IT parks are also alongside the ring road. The amount of traffic is truly unbearable at times (most of the time) with section of a couple of kilometers taking up to half-n-hour, especially near those signals which are close to these IT parks.

There have been a lot of talks of making the ring road 'signal free' (a mini Autobahn?) by converting all current signal crossings into underpasses and so on. Certain work has even begun in this respect for e.g.: a new underpass opened just today morning just ahead of Banaswadi in the direction of Hebbal.

There is one more thing I observed today morning, which I personally found to be a neat little piece of work. It is the making of a small cut in the side of the road to accommodate a bus-stop, in such a way that when a bus stops it doesn't hold up traffic behind it.

As you can see from the awesome image above (it's a 2 min job in ms paint, so thanks) the part in gray shown the bus stop. This means that when the bus halts for public to get in and out, there is no traffic held up. This means there is no lane-cutting or spillover of traffic into adjoining lanes. Once the bus has to start moving again it can seamlessly join the main traffic. The bus stops are especially a concern on ring road since most of them are just ahead of traffic signals. I'm optimistic about this little design helping out in making the traffic a lot smoother.