Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Autorickshaw grafitti

The other day I managed to see this autorickshaw in front of me with the message written in Kannada

It reads thus:

and in english it means:

Going behind a girl will only get you agony,
(Hudugi hindey hodrey golu)
Going behind an auto will only get you lots of dust!
(Auto hindey hodrey dhoolu)

So now, which one will you go behind? :-)
Tomorrow is fool's day, make your choice!

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Nostalgic trip to central Bangalore – part one

Central Bengaluru always is a misquoted terminology. No one knows what part of Bengaluru is central and what part is not. Some say its Majestic, some say its MG Road, some even say its Koramangala! So much for the skewed understanding. Nevertheless, I had to purchase an ultraviolet lamp, for medical reasons, and the only place it was available in Bengaluru was on BVK Iyengar road. So I set off on a rather unusual trip to a place I was walking around a lot about a decade and a half ago during my studies, and early career, when there were no MALLS around for fun and frolicking!

It was a rather hot afternoon, and I decided to go by bus. A decade of car driving had not only brought me loads of knee pain, but also made me totally dependent on the automobile and its services at all times, even to the nearby road. So this time bus it was to be. Boarded a rather rusty rickety BMTC blue bus and set off on my journey from Koramangala to Majestic only to halt two stops away for a good amount of time. It was noon and the driver jumped off the bus and went away with two empty bottles to fetch drinking water from a nearby temple. For the next ten minutes the same bus (171) cloned itself thrice and I missed all those simply because I had already paid for a ticket on this bus. The reason the bus would not move is because the driver feared that he would not meet the collection target for that journey. Don’t you think the transportation tracking has bettered itself over these years, that even drivers are now talking of collection targets? One can only sympathize with them on this fact. If commuters were to get five buses of the same route, one after the other, where must these drivers go to meet these targets? I can’t board all five buses at one time can I ? But this also spells progressive urbanization doesn’t it?

After a few arguments, and explaining to the driver not to waste our time, the rickety box started moving at snail’s speed. The hot sun was really killing everyone and without breeze it was like sitting inside a furnace. A decade of car driving seemed to have removed the notion of a bus from my mind. The best part though was the ticket cost – Rs.10 for about 10 kms. In these days of recession, this is awesome! Not to forget to mention you get entertainment on the way too. A guy sat next to me, and was all to himself. I just enquired about a couple of buses since I was doubtful where they were heading. That’s when I noticed the stench. Our man had boozed in broad daylight. But his answers were perfect, and he was still steady. People were toiling hard outside the IT industry as well.

 

I kept to myself and away from the stink when I noticed this young eunuch (more girlish) get into the bus from the rear, with a water pot. When she (for simplicity sake, i ll take the she route, now lets not debate whether ‘its’ not a ‘he’) saw that the bus was more or less empty, she was running from one seat to another, looking back and forth and giving that odd ‘Do you want something’ notorious smile. People were not pissed off either and let her do what she was good at – giving stares. Quite obviously her’s was a ticketless travel and the conductor dare not question that! Somewhere half way though she got down and the bus slowly reached my destination – a traffic signal after the actual bus stop – Mysore Bank.

 

For my ill luck the signal had gone green, and I had to do some stunts to jump off the moving bus. The last time I had tried anything like this was when I was in my first year engineering degree, where buses also overtook people walking. Now the situation was quite opposite. Both of them were lethargic, so it was a relatively easy job to get out. Enter BVK Iyengar Road – the familiar Abhinay theatre, the familiar KG Road, the traffic – the streaming people, the beggars and vendors on the footpath – everything was pretty much the same. The atmosphere of old Bengaluru was unfolding in front of my eyes. And I turned nostalgic almost instantaneously. Its never about a bus journey, its about the memories that follow such a journey.

 

I walked the entire stretch of this road, and turned left at some point into a smaller lane to reach a shop that I had to go to. My decade old car driving manners had also instilled in me a sense of expecting hi-fi things and the disappointment showed on my face. I must have tuned my mind to central Bengaluru before entering the place. The street I was on could barely accommodate three individuals standing next to each other. In other words, this was the width of the lane. And were there three individuals? Heck No! There were three hundred – a hundred individuals walking furiously, a hundred vehicles mazing their way in and out, and another hundred parked wherever there was a perception of space. There were shops everywhere selling everything electrical (for those who dont know, BVK Iyengar road, is for electrical stuff, just as much as SP Road is for electronics) and the shop dimensions were anywhere between 5ft x 5ft to 10ft x 15ft if nothing bigger – only smaller though.

 

This post will be continued …

 

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Sunday, March 8, 2009

Nostalgic trip to central Bangalore – part two

I had written an earlier post describing a short journey into Bengaluru Central. I continue that here. As I walked all along the really small lane, I could not help noticing that even in the din, there was silence, even in the dust there was life, even in the dinginess, there was space. For a moment, I looked up skywards, and found storey over storey of buildings. There were scores of pigeons living in harmony with the people doing business here.

The shop I went to was a small place. But business was brisk. There was a large portrait of the shop owners father who was no more and all business was transacted under him literally :) I waited for 15 minutes after which my product was ready. Meanwhile a worker in that locality (or perhaps I must call him ragpicker) came over to the shop and begged for something to eat. I expected the shopkeeper to pay him a few coins and ask him to go away, but what touched me was instead that he gave the ragpicker a bun to eat. This was a daily routine. In a way is this not equivalent to sharing profits like our huge IT organizations do? Well maybe not exactly but its somewhere there.

As I started walking back to other shops, I could not help noticing scores of schoolchildren alight from a school van after their half a day of school was over. Sincerely I am dead against having school on Saturdays. I’ve enjoyed nearly ten years of weekend holidays in my life and I wish every school kid was also given this option. I searched high and dry for some juice or flavoured milk, but the summer heat did not permit me to find one so easily. So at the signal light I jumped on to a bus taking me to the main bus stand. Unfortunately since the conductor had closed the ticketing for that journey, he was unable to give me a ticket. And I was the rule violator of ticketless travel for the day. I jumped off the bus, before an inspector could catch hold of me.

Even before I could think, there was an air conditioned volvo welcoming me into its plush seats. Unable to bear the harsh heat, I just succumbed to the luxury. The return journey took me almost one hour with the bus twisting and turning at every possible junction. Finally the bus stopped about a kilometre away from my house and I found what I wanted – sugarcane juice. Frankly this tastes much more better and refreshing than even tender coconut and these days they also serve it in plastic cups for neatness. Six bucks a glass sounded like pre 1995 era, and I blissfully gulped down a glass of sugarcane. I still had to reach my house for which I decided to take another bus.

For a walk time of ten minutes, the bus seemed to take eternity to reach the same place. A couple who were college students were busy sharing their love for each other on the vestibule bus in full public glare, oblivious of the imminent audience. For the first time without argument, the conductor gave me a ticket in actuals. As I got down from the bus, the long hours spent in central Bengaluru were etched in my mind for sometime to come. Little did I realize I would have to traverse the same trajectory a week later only to bring back more old Bengaluru feelings within my mind!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gmail video chat - finally working

I was trying to use Gmail video chat and knowing google, i expected it to be really easy to configure and use. But i was in for a rude shock as my browser did not support the active-X control that I need for using video over gmail. For those of you who are curious, my browser is K-Meleon - the worlds fastest literally beating opera to it.

So I decided to give it a shot until it worked and so went back to Illegal Explorer (oops! IE). I hated IE all my life, and it was a browser only designed for MS and its own sites to load properly from day one. However within minutes I got the gtalk video activeX installed on my system for IE. Great I thought now video would work, since it showed a nice little video icon against my name. But when I contacted prakash, my friend, video would not work for him! I got him to install the same activeX control on his system, and even after that it would not work! Both of us were using Illegal Explorer, both of us had the activeX installed, and yet gtalk video would not work.

But on one fine day, I clicked against his name, when both our icons showed video mode, and viola, I could see him instantly. Since that day, my webcam stopped functioning, and if its due to google, then I hate you folks for screwing up my webcam. While i am still struggling to get my webcam going, what the other friend of mine and me saw were just my photo to one side of the screen at the bottom for me and on the video screen for him.

So there you go, as of now its a thumbs down for Gtalk video for the setup ease, but for quality, nothing beats it!
DO YOU HAVE ANY SIMILAR EXPERIENCE TO SHARE? GIVE ME YOUR COMMENTS!