Monday, March 14, 2011

The essence of what we are!

It seems I just step out of my house and I see the essence of Bengaluru. Its casual and arbitrary ways! It is only last week I blogged about the improvements planned for the footpaths in Kumarapark West.

Here is the first step, a small trough to collect water. You can see the cement is still wet! The trees now have a better chance of survival. The rain god or even a concerned citizen could take care!

But this morning I was in for a shock! One of the trees is gone. The deed was done on the weekend! I cannot imagine how or why this tree was a threat. But now it is gone, it will make nice parking slot between the two gates!

The granite slabs which were removed are still lying around and the cemented skirting is not even complete!

Then I saw this tree on the opposite footpath. As I do not see a well around it, probably this was the chosen one to go! Case of mistaken identity? Or may be they just forgot or the time was up for the day! I will ask around and hopefully I will see the logic behind all this!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I have mixed feelings about the Kumara Park West getting a make over!

There is so much to blog about. But I will restrict myself to a kilometer around our house. There has been a lot of activity. The road was resurfaced and the lane markings made. There was even a puja ceremony before the resurfacing started.The corporator we met at the ceremony told us that the next project would be tiling of pavements.

Reminds me of my chat with an engineer of the town planning department of BBMP. While I did not grill him on town planning, my observation that the pavements had no standard design to speak off elicited an interesting reply. He said the corporator of the ward had the final say on the pavement. Its design, specification and location. No wonder the corporator spoke to us about pavements. It was his territory so to speak. I hope the present corporator is able to do a better job than the earlier ones. Though I have my doubts.

Speaking of roads, I saw a press report which said that a 2.6 km long sankey road would be widened (30 to 45 meters from the present width of 12 to 15 meters??) at an estimated cost of Rs.21.77 crores. Wonder how much repaving of our footpaths would cost? I guess the footpaths would be about 20 km long or less as some cross roads are too narrow! I am also very ambivalent about the usefulness of footpaths as it is. Most of the pavements are useless for walking and the well made ones are occupied by vendors, car and scooters.

Anyway I was also lucky to meet the MLA of the area at that time. I requested him to create more sports facilities for the kids in the area and he gave us the good news that the swimming pool which is not functioning will be recommissioned. He was not very keen to discuss further except to say that a badminton court was almost ready near sirur park and would be opened soon. Not too bad. It is reasonably close to our locality.

A pity but the biggest private school in the area does not have a sports ground. The other school, smaller and aided, does not seem to have resources for developing the open area in the school. Probably my next blog will be about developing facilities for the kids utilizing the open grounds within the locality.Our locality has practically none.

Will Bangalore be a better place than it is now? At least for sports among other things! Surely there are areas which are already good and a few which will get better. But I have this strong feeling that in general it will only get worse. It is because the way our system works and the type of people we are.

Here are a few pictures I took after the road was resurfaced:

An ideal situation, wonder of wonders, the scooter driver is keeping to the left! Usually all vehicles take the shortest route possible, which is to cut into the oncoming traffic! The lane markings obviously had an effect.

Not for long as at this junction the vehicles are parked on either side of the road. But the lane marking is helpful to center the vehicle to the middle of the road!

There is a footpath on the right side of the road, but how can four friends be together? It is too narrow and on the other side of the road!

The reality of our roads. Parked vehicles on either side.

Roads are not wide enough for both parking and for two lanes! I find that the narrow strip between the pavement and the road is the best for a pedestrian. It feels safer with the lane marking. The road is level when compared to the footpath.

This is a broad road with a temple at the end of the road. The interesting part is that the lane marking just divides the road. It should have been three lanes; one lane to be used as a parking zone. This is India, we already know this and are using it as such, no need to mark and waste money!

Another scene; it is the birth right of students to walk in the middle of the road. I imagine that there is no place for the students to congregate within the college. How can anyone blame them if they spill out on to the roads? Lane markings and traffic rules are superfluous here.

When the corporator spoke of improving the footpaths, he was serious. Work has already started! Space around the trunk is opened out for watering the trees. This tree better not grow bigger!

The cutouts are all different!

Types of pavements seen around our locality.

This one is unique. The owners seem to change pavement design with impunity.

The car and scooter wheels require a smoother approach than our poor feet!

Typical situation. The cars on the left are actually parked!

Almost perfect and level footpath. Again a rare sight!

The pooja:

Our MLA being garlanded at the pooja.

The corporator taking the aarthi.

The contractor invoking the blessings of the gods. I am sure he needs it, the way scams keeping tumbling out of the bureaucratic cupboards.

The tools in readiness.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A temple my mother liked.

We were at this temple as my sister Latha had arranged a pooja on my mother's anniversary day. We were there right on time for the maha mangala aarthi, but as it was Shivaratri , we were told the aarthi would be delayed by two hours. A special pooja was being performed for Vinayaka installed next to Venkateshwara.

Even though I complain about the microsecond darshan an average devotee is allowed in Tirupathi, I was not too sure I wanted to be sitting in front of the well made replica for the next two hours. But I left it to my sister and brother in law. They said: 'Let us wait having come all the way'.

This delay set me thinking. I would have surely have walked out grumbling if I were with my mother. Then 'why was I here?' I wondered. 'How did it matter now whether I stayed or not'. I suppose it is in such moments, we imagine things. That somehow she would know that I stayed on at the temple and would be pleased.

We also let the mind take flight and convince ourselves that things are really possible. She wanted to be born as a boy in her next life, in a well to do family with a doting father, she lost her father as a baby, who would spoil her silly. I really hope so.

The aarthi was very impressive and grand. It was worth the wait. On an other note here are a few pictures out of cell phone which would have pleased her. I had forgotten my camera but then I saw photography is not allowed. I sneaked in a few pictures out of my cell phone just to pass time. Not of the deity! I wanted to obey rules.

The silver door would have sent her into raptures. She would bless the 'Punyathmas' for their contribution and devotion

She would be focusing on the idol while I would be looking at the hundi and the ugly blue board.

While she would be impressed with the door

I would notice the advertisement!

The humble hanuman in the garden.

While I would look at the unmatched flooring

She would appreciate the facility. A place to break coconuts.
I would ask her 'why waste the water', she would say 'you cannot drink it because the coconut has to be offered to god first'!

She would surely admire this modern yaaga center, with its exhaust.

I did not see anyone using it. Did not try it myself as I was afraid the machine would swallow the note and not give me coins!

A sleek modern Hundi on wheels.

The traditional hundi. I counted eight such hundis all around the temple.

She would appreciate the steps with the railings while I would say 'what a waste of space'.

While I would react to the gaudy painting, she would notice the number of devotees who donated. I guess she is right, the numbers do count!