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.


Pawan Shetty, the youth who tried defending women from the Wanar Sena attack in Mangalore, has been threatened. Here is the article.

With all the 27 angry monkeys released on bail there's no saying what they'll do. I hope Pawan doesn't have to pay a price for doing the only right thing in that entire fiasco.

Are you enjoying the ride yet?

Ok, so this post was intended for lashing out at past week's Mangalore pub fiasco, in continuation of my question to mr. moral brigadier.

I'm not going to do so.

In one sentence, I believe it was all purely political and with the elections drawing close these incidents will happen more, peak during the elections, and dormancy will prevail for the next 4 years ... in the fifth year it will start again.

In the aftermath of the incident, mr. moral brigadier has downplayed the hooliganism of his monkeys, the NCW pointed fingers at irresponsibility of the girls who got beaten up (bummer?) then retracted and blamed it on the pub security even demanding cancellation of that pub's license, Ashok Gehlot has opined for an end to mall and pub culture saying that he is against boys-n-girls holding hands in malls (would you prefer boys-n-boys sir?), Yeddyurappa has ruled out action against Ram Sena saying he wants to wait and watch (???), Ramadoss has in all glory and authority stated that pubs are detrimental to Indian culture and society and an end should be brought to the nuisance ... let me stop here, the list is endless and meaningless.

Boy, are we being taken for a ride or what? Ram Sena, Maharastra Navnirman Sena, Shiv Sena, Hoysala Sena, Anand Sena, Saxena oops! sorry, no Saxena but ... its like a friggin' virus! I even have the unwanted privilege of knowing a guy back in Mumbai who proudly speaks about his MNS membership and how his 'ideals' are valued in this 'struggle'. There are thousands rather millions like him across our country; disillusioned with their state in life - due to unemployment, poverty, big list - and they are easy targets for these self-proclaimed leaders who use the anger of these millions to achieve whatever they want. These creeps can get them to do just about anything , why pubs, they could get them to even vandalize schools and colleges, breakdown hospitals, libraries, museums ... its not just their blind faith in their leader that makes them do these things. This vandalism makes them feel power-drunk, authoritative and dominant; for that brief period they feel important ... you can't reason with such a man. Any talk of morality, society, conscience, values is alien to him ... in his opinion he has gained nothing from those things, the society in question has rejected him long ago, whereas here he is suddenly a part of a peer-group that is willing to accept him for all his hooliganism. All he has to do is break and destroy more than the other guy ... I find all this extremely disturbing.

There are a large number of voices asking for a ban on these Senas. It won't work that way. It's like the phrase 'War on Terror'. You can't fight terror, you can only fight a person. Finishing him doesn't kill the ideology. We have to look beyond the who and come to the why in these cases. Why is it so easy to mislead them? You know the answer ...

In no way am I saying that those b******s should not be punished. They have to face the law and they should get the treatment that their crime deserves. We are not fuckin pushovers! We need to twist their arm before they can hear us speak. But let's speak to them ... let's not brush this issue under the mat like shoe dust.

We are far too quiet, and that we includes me. We are resilient, but maybe not by choice. We are resourceful, but maybe because we are forced to be so. We are far too quiet ...

One question for the Moral Brigadier

Mr. Pramod 'Ram Sene' Muthalik, I have just one question for you ...

Have you not gotten paid or have you not gotten laid?

More on this over the weekend ...

Beating the traffic ... I think WE can

I travel to and from office by the bus service that my company offers for its employees. Its a tie up that IBM has with the BMTC, so I travel in normal BMTC buses, no private A/C luxury bus and blah. The agonies of a more-than-six-feet-tall person in a BMTC bus seat are out of the scope of this post ... sadly ... but anyway, let's carry on.

I stay near the HAL Airport and my office is in Nagawara, near Hebbal. Via Outer Ring Road this is a distance of roughly 18 km. I usually board the 9:40am bus which is office rush hour on this route. It takes me an hour or more to reach office. It takes me pretty much an hour or more when returning back late in the evening. That means my travel speed is a little less than 18 kmph, very close to the average traffic speed in Bangalore and other major cities in India.

I'll put it simply - I hate losing so much time per day crammed in a bus, which as I have said before are not the least comfortable for me or even for many others. My friends have suggested that I should buy a bike, which means I can leave at my own time in the morning, beating the rush hour. The other plus is also that I can zip through the city's inner roads and lanes without having to make the longer journey via Outer Ring Road, which as the name suggests is actually a road that runs 'outside' they city in a big circle. I am actually going to buy a bike (as soon as I learn to drive it, I confess I can't drive a bike, shame on me!) because presently it makes a lot of sense to me to do so, for a lot of reasons including (but not limited to) the traffic woes I have just illustrated :)

Having said that, I came across this presentation a few days ago. Check it out it's totally worth the time. I have to say I agree with what the author has said in that presentation: 'Efficient Public Transport' is the best way to curb 'our' traffic woes. Its really very simple.
  • The bus that I travel in accomodates roughly 40-45 people. Buses on other routes carry upto even 60-65 and all this where you definitely have a seat, no standing journey, no shoving no pushing no nothing.
  • 9 times out of 10 any car/bike I see on the road is carrying, yes you are right, ONE person. There is very little carpooling. Imagine taking all those people from their cars and putting them in one bus ... 40 cars off the road for the price of 1 brand new bus!


  • Buses give a mileage of ... 4-5? km per litre of diesel. Multiply that with 50, which is the average number of passengers and you get 250 person-kmpl.
  • Even a really efficient car will give you a mileage of 14-15 kmpl in the city, tops. Even with carpooling you have 4 * 15 = 60 person-kmpl. Bikes are trickier! A mileage of 40-45 kmpl will go down drastically if you have a constant pillion rider. So it roughly comes to the same for bikes also, is my guess.


There are so many added advantages of a well developed public transport system. Fuel emissions will go down by tonnes! No choc-a-bloc traffic, so no rush hour (for all ladies, you will never miss your favorite TV serial). Buses are also much safer to travel in. A well developed system of this kind will save you time and reduce frustration caused by traffic.

Okay okay, there are some flipsydes to it, not the least being that you can't travel as comfortably as you can in a car. Another is your time-table will be run by the BMTC and not you. Having your own transportation also means that you are more flexible with your travel route ... dinner on the way back from work ... drop in for a beer someplace ... movie with girlfriend :) ... just go for a drive! ... blah blah

But the way I see it, there is no style or comfort left when you are stuck for an hour in traffic going from 0-10 on the speedometer. You lose time, get frustrated and seriously bored! Sure, maybe travelling in a bus reorganizes your time-table and weekend plans but if you save more than an hour everyday it might not be a bad idea to come home first on a Friday evening (early! since the roads were ... clear ... imagine) then set out on your cars n bikes. No one hangs out every night! I could personally do with saving an hour everyday ... I could practice my guitar, maybe read more or maybe even hunt for a girlfriend ;) ... lol!

We can't just keep crying about the traffic and finally blaming the government (culprits!) for everything, because that won't change anything. Its a small adjustment that will go a long way in making cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi and others congestion free, greener and quieter. Its our city, our country ... not the government's.

I conclude with the following: I can't beat the traffic ... but WE can ... cheesy but true :)

Addition: Sunday Jan 11
Check out this really cool cycling initiative in Bangalore. We need more of these ... we need to adapt, there is just no other solution ... and there is no harm in adapting, frankly :)