(Thus)Duss, the end of an Era(Era)

Dussera or Dasara was the time when Mysore really regained its glorious past. But this time around, I have refrained myself from posting anything much on Dasara or publicizing it on my blog. The reason to this, the seemingly corrupt administration not matching the early glamor and the false promises from the elected representatives.

Earlier during Dasara, the whole city of Mysore used to get spruced up like a bride. But well this time around the city stinks. The city has been famous for its simplicty, patience and beauty. But all the three aspects are lacking this time around. The government it seems has spent around 6.5 crores for Dasara this time and what do we get in return – pot hole ridden roads, unmanned traffic, flooded corners and junctions!

The government has even publicized the opening of the city’s airport. But with no airline seeing a promise, it looks like that’s a damp squib as well. The civil aviation minister as per a local news paper report has rejected the offer to open the airport without a roster in place.

I have openly expressed support to the BJP in my previous blogs, but well, I think the party must learn to properly decentralize its administration and let locals look in, if they want a festival of grand scale as Dasara to be a success. This Dasara has been very lacklusture and I hope its not the end of an era and will be a big success in the years to come.

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Our Shatabdi Express has been Tuned to Perfection…

It had been quite long since I had traveled by the fastest train connecting my city to Bangalore. Was always fed with the thoughts that it makes no sense to spend so much money to travel on a train! I still had the memories of traveling to Chennai (the then Madras) on the same Shatabdi when I was a kid for holidays.

Last week had a passing thought that I pay the same amount on the KSRTC Volvo to Bangalore, so let me shell out a few bucks to the fastest train and see whats up there as well. Well it was a big surprise awaiting.

I was watching that the outer side of the Shatabdi coaches had undergone a facelift. I just thought it was the remodeled doors and windows, nothing else. But this trial run of mine today, proved me wrong. I entered the coah and was just amazed by its new interiors. Plush environments snazzy seats and doors, I just had a feeling I had traveled back to Bristol on a First Great Western train. Time wise as well the train took under two hours to complete that journey  and overall, I had no go early to catch the seat etc… headaches as a KSRTC Volvo. Its thumbs up from my side to the new Shatabdi and any given day, I don’t mind shelling out money on that if I want to reach the IT capital a little early.

Article in iE on the new coaches: http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?title=Stylish%20LHB%20coaches%20in%20Shatabdi%20Express&artid=A9/RH0HbUaw=&type=

PS: I do not think we have a recession as everyone else argue. The Shatabdi was 100% occupied!

Wet and Weathered

Its a long weekend and I had absolutely no plans other than lazing around in namma Mysooru. By noon decided to take snaps of all the monuments lit up for Dussera. All went on fine until we took snaps of two or three of them, rain came down heavily and has dampened all my spirits :(.

First of all I had missed having my two wheeler for the first time in Mysore. Mysore is hatable to the max during Dussera! I can get no parking slot for my dad’s fourwheel anywhere!

However got Tanny’s bike and was able to take a few snapshots of the majestic buildings. I had promised to put up the Dussera schedule here. But I will restrict myself as the weather is to play a certain spoilsport. Looks like it has already done its part for the first two days! The only advantage of today’s rain – I spent more than two hours in front of Mari’s probably after 8 to 9 years of isolation!

Four Corporate Years

For the first time, I have officially spent more time outside the college than I did inside it.  My PreUniv lasted just two years and another four years for grads.  Four years of being a Corporate Honcho has got me nothing more than a tummy and has made me more eligible to learn almost nothing.

To earmark my second longest relationship with any institution, I write this blog expecting that this would not take the spot of being the longest. A relationship where I would have preferred to break up and probably vice versa, where the company would have preferred to break up with me, but still we both have cordially lived life together till now.

This post is going to list out the positives and negatives and probably my life as it shaped over the past four years in my company!

Post August 2005: A rainy start to my career on the 4th of August, on the Outer Ring Road in BTM Layout. Weirdly dressed in formals, I made it to our so called corporate training center traveling over 16 Kms. My efforts to search for a proper residence close by was in vain as I found every bylane in Bangalore to be dingy and filty and crowded and muddy! Being used to the wide and empty roads of Mysore, I was not getting adjusted to the Bangalore roads! Settled down in Rajaji Nagar in an aunt’s place and well ensured that I have a good start in the then Bangalore.

Two months passed, Bangalore was not getting into me and health was failing due to the weather. I was in deep shit! Called home and told my mom that I want to quit and continue with studies. These dud technologies were not getting into my head as well. Got support from home and without preparation I took the CAT 2005 and well the result was as expected. No Calls.

Meanwhile the not so snazzy – but still I am cool sort of HRs and the other higher ups in my company stopped impressing me and my instincts carried on with the idea of getting out of Bangalore, which still remains a dream.

Nothing else happened for the rest of the year, I just moved into a team after training and shifted between aunt’s house and a house in BTM, where again, I could not feel at home. Aunt moved to RT Nagar as well and I decided to settle in Vijayanagar given that my company was not confirming where my posting after training would be!

Almost at the fag end, was well settled within the team and had decided on two things. One, I wont stay in BTM Layout again. Two, Life has to change after CAT 2006.

Post August 2006: “Absolutely fantastic”, these were the flatteries at work for nothing. Absolutely nothing. Got promoted that year, ducked CAT again and the call to quit Bangalore grew more and more within! The year also saw me learn new technologies like SAP/ABAP R-4 which took me nowhere.

This was probably the most uneventful year of my life, except that I got a few good friends at work. I used to spend More time at traffic and less time at home and work! That was “Namma Bangalore”. Health was deteriorating due to the pollen and I had almost lost my resistance power (at least thats what I felt).

The call to quit Bangalore, grew up and I attended an interview with Infosys, with the hope of being placed in Mysore. But that was the only thing that was not offered to me and well, I preferred traveling to City Center than E City, and further augment my non technical knowledge. But to be honest, I was not doing anything almost for the whole year.

Post August 2007: It was three years in the company. A monumental reason given the rates of attrition! My company won a huge contract and lost it. I was slated to travel onshore for that and it did not happen. But opportunity knocked me out once more and I had to travel in November – missing another round of CAT.

Bristol Ahoy! British Airways safely landed me in London Heathrow and well I toured the entire United Kingdom in three months and returned back to India. The year ushered in an era where Benagaluru was born from Bangalore. But work remained the same after I came back as well. I was rather overworked and furstrated. Had taken an off and moved out of my office area on the joining date and celebrated quitely at home.

Destiny ensured that I would not turn 24, in India and had a bad Birthday in Bristol. It was quite a lazy and tame year, but quite eventful in terms of my visits to UK.

Post August 2008: Destiny had it and I had to go to UK, to convince someone that we could handle a managed service with our knowledge! I did that, but well fell out with my own management in a dialogue over honesty at work and professionalism with my communistic thoughts conveying to them that they were neither.

Most of this time was spent at work, trying to impress the client and to a large extent I succeeded. As destiny had it, I turned 25 in UK and landed back in India as well. Its a pleasure to come back and its refreshing to be back home and look forward now for a positive turn at last!

Now I look forward to make most of what all I can when I can…. Going by the words of A life… as it is.

Finally one sane city!

For a long time, I have been cursed, singled out for being pro-Mysore in all my thoughts. I have always argued that its the best city to do anything as it has sane people unlike my foster homes ;).

The courts in the city have once again proved it. For a change, the court has ordered to remove the name M.G – off a road. Believe it, this has happened in India! Mahatma Gandhi may be revered, idolised everywhere, but there are too many roads, buildings and political parties claiming his name and this must stop.

There was this good old road ‘Vani Vilasa Road’ in Mysore rightly titled after one of the scions of the Mysore Royal family. For no good reasons probably our dear city corporation ordered it to be renamed as M.G Road! The court has now ordered the restoration of the old name and seems sane. The news on the order can be read on – http://www.starofmysore.com/main.asp?type=news&item=21790.

Lose Your Identity!

It’s been four and half years since I am in Bengalooru. The city has transformed from Bangalore to Bengalooru and of course has lost its green cover, its culture and of course its original inhabitants! One thing it will never lose is the ever growing traffic and then the ever growing concrete structures!

Being a Mysorean (Of course I am proud to call myself a ‘Mysorean’), one thing that fascinates me is my identity as a ‘Mysorean’, wherever I go! But being in Namma Bengaluru as they call it, I feel that the true Bangalorean has lost his or her identity. The question starts, who do you call a ‘Bangalorean’. I have a few definitions now for this word.

a. An outsider to Karnataka who has now got used to the Idly, Dosa, Raagi Rotti, Holiges of Bangalore, now working in some posh IT/BT/ITES firm

b. An immigrant from Karnataka who had never ever seen Bangalore

c. Someone who stays in the 4th or 6th floor of a 100sqft JP Nagar house! – I used to call them ‘kaddipettige’ sometimes

d. Someone who feels getting out of Bangalore is a holiday and its cool

e. Idiots who ride at lightning speed to drink coffee some 50 miles away

f. Thoughtless!!!

g. Build houses after houses – rent them out and make money!

The above are a few examples of a modern ‘Bangalorean’ who has no identity! There are very few who have respect for culture like the erstwhile Bangalore of the early/mid 90’s. The scenario now is so ‘uber cool’ that you cannot define something that is attached to a person staying in one of Indias costliest and fastest growing Metros! Its quite sad to know that Banglore has stopped reflecting the rest of the state and is sometimes meaning less to people who stay there in terms of calling themselves ‘Kannadigas’. There was a documentary running on one of Indias top news channels which actually was proclaiming that it was “Bengaluru Vs Karnataka”. Its hard to know that they are true. The rest of the state can identify themselves, but Bangaloreans cannot!

Come down south, you have Mysore where people treasure their city and the heritage. Geographical indicators are identified for Mysore Silk, Mysore Pak, Nanjangud Bananas, Mysore Idlis. The city has one of the most sacred hills of southern India and its revered by Mysoreans. A little further Coorg has its own indicators, their tradition, the coffee estates, the climate etc… The coastal regions have their traditional food, the seas, the Yakshaganas etc… Similarly the other regions of the state.

Come to Bangalore, people follow all this, but they do not know why they are doing it nor they have any identifier for these. There are a few gifted areas in Bangalore if you ask me which still hace the aura of the old Bangalore. Come to Basvanagudi/ NR Colony I do not see an influx of the Bangaloreans defined above. The residents of these areas still rever the landmarks (Bull temple, Bugle rock, Lalbagh, Shankar Mutt, Various other parks) and protect them. To me they are the true Bangaloreans who have not lost their identity and are trying to save the city from losing its past. There are few colleagues of mine who speak the language of the Cauvery’s downstream. They were born and brought up in Bengaluru. But never ever have they called themselves ‘Bangaloreans’ or for that matter ‘Kannadigas’. They have lost their identity!

As I mentioned it boils down to ‘Bangalore vs Karnataka’ and in that case, I am proud to identify myself as a Mysorean.

Cultural Extravaganza

It was not raining today. Thanks to the rain gods! I had to go around BSK and near PESIT for some apartment scouting and came back home by eight. Needed a big break from the traffic and as usual BGU had the best answer – Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia!

Me and Srichand (one of my friends and ex colleagues – read a rich businessman now!) popped in around half past eight. It was a delightful concert and it was really amazing how the rythms of the Tabla and Flute coexisted with such a great harmony. If the flute was mastered, the tabla was even more!

All was well, and I was enjoying when something suddenly disturbed our concentration! Aaah a queue of people trying to give their interview to a TV 9 Reporter! I have always disliked TV 9 for their style of reporting but this gave me one more! The reported was not properly dressed for the ocassion, she was probably in the biggest Ganeshotsava in Bangalore and had one of the most eminent musicians on the stage and still, she did not know how to report that event! God, TV9, please hire me as an advisor. I can advice on multiple things ;). Of course a bunch of people talked about the fortnight long festival (they are planning 50 days for the 50th year) and it ended to my delight.

Back to the concert, it got finished with a Pahadi tune. Brilliant performace. Looking forward to his concert in this years Dussera as well.