Thursday, April 16, 2015

Malaysia-Singapore Calling


Often our local politicians keep talking of making their city like Singapore and in the name of study tour keep going to such places on tax payer’s money but never emulated!. So, the idea of me going to Singapore was always there on back of my mind for a long time. The long cherished dream of visiting Malaysia & Singapore became a reality all of a sudden when 15 family members (all of whom are 50+ except 3) decided and embarked upon 7 days sojourn on 1st of April 2015 from Bangalore to Malaysia.

Day 1-

 We were picked up by our tour guide Parmeswari, a Malaysian born Tamilian. The airport is 65 Kms from Kuala Lumpur. The climate was cool as it had rained the previous day. Before proceeding straight to famous Genting Hill resort, the bus stopped at Putrajaya for photo shoot at the Malaya King’s palace and Prime Minister’s office/residence followed by Indian breakfast near a lakeside.



In front of Prime Minister's Residence, Putrajaya & Guinness Record certificate for Genting Height Hotel

Genting hill resort is a private resort promoted by a Chinese businessman late Sri Lim Goh Tong at an elevation of 6000 feet above sea level. On the final leg to Genting hills, we took a cable car which is the longest cable car route covering a distance of 3.38 kms. This cable car is fastest in south Asia. It was a breath taking exhilarating experience with thick rain forest below and dense fog playing hide & seek with us inside the cable car. Our stay was at Genting height hotel which has largest number of rooms (6118) in the world, a Guinness world record!The hotel resort complex has everything under one roof one wished for- Gaming station, Casino, shopping malls, snow city, bars & restaurants, amusement rides and above all beautiful panoramic views from the hotel floors.

Day 2-

After breakfast, Left Genting heights next day  once again taking the cable car and onward journey by bus to Kuala Lumpur which is about 45 minutes’ drive from Genting. Our first stop was at Batu Caves where all Indian temples of Lord Shiva, Murugan, Vishnu, Hanuman, Ganesha, Shanishwar are situated. A very tall statue of Lord Murugan is situated at the foot of caves and one has to climb steep 300 steps to reach the cave where Murugan temple is situated.
Next on our itinerary was KL Tower which is 420 meters high giving a panoramic view of the city. This is world’s 7th tallest tower, top most floor being a revolving restaurant. While travelling in the city, we could also see chaotic traffic & traffic violation by two wheelers like going in wrong lane or moving on to footpath during peak hour just like Namma Bangalore!
But looking at the greenery and maintenance all around, I can confirm that our own Bangalore is very far from getting a tag of garden or green city! In fact, inside the city, a portion of forest has been preserved untouched. The day ended at Grand Season Hotel for our night stay.

Day 3-

In the morning visited the famous landmark of Kuala Lumpur ‘Petronas twin towers’. This entire 88 floors tower is constructed with stainless steel and glass. It has car parking for 5400 on 5 level basements. One tower is occupied by the Petronas group of companies while the other is occupied by many multinational companies. There is a sky bridge at 41st level connecting the two towers while at the 84th floor is observatory deck for viewing the entire city’s landscape. Afternoon was free for shopping.

Twin Tower of Patronas,Kuala Lumpur
Day 4-

In the morning we were dropped at the bus stand for our onward journey to Singapore by road. It was a 4 & half hour journey including immigration check at the Singapore border. As soon as we crossed the border, we were in Singapore city. This name is derived from India only and it was earlier called Singha-pur (city of Lion) but Britishers named it later to Singapore. Passing through several high rise buildings and greenery all around, we were dropped at the Imperial Grand Hotel in Little India area. In little India, one can feel at home with similar shops & plenty of eateries  from Tamilnadu like Sarvana Bhavan, Komala Vilas, Sangeetha, Anjapaar etc.

Post lunch, we were taken to Merlion plaza where the famous mascot of Singapore stand tall. Merlion is a tall statue of fish cum lion and water gushing out of the lion’s mouth on the bank of river. Later we went for River safari followed by Night safari to enjoy the animals in their natural habitat. One can experience the feel of being under the sea at the ‘Sea Aquarium’ where several kinds of giant mammals & fishes keep moving overhead, of course behind glass panels!

The Merlion, Singapore
Marina Bay sand Hotel, Singapore with Ship like deck on top
Universal Studio
KL Tower, Kuala Lumpur
Batu Cave, Kuala Lumpur
Day 5-

Next day was a full day trip to Sentosa Resort Island with several attractions like Butterfly Park, Cable ride, Madam Tussad’s wax museum, Sea beach side, Segway ride, ropeway slide, 3 D shows and laser show ‘Wings of Fire’ etc. Even full day is not enough to see all the attractions.

Day 6-

Visit to the Universal studio is a star attraction for children & adults alike. There are several breathtaking rides in the Madagascar ride, Jurassic Park, Egypt, Transformers, sci-fi city, water world etc. Steven Spielberg’s conceived special effect section gives the visitor an idea about how special effects are created in disaster movies. The visit to studio ends with a live model a-la Merlyn Munroe greeting every one.

Post lunch was a ride on ‘Singapore flyer’, Asia’s largest giant observation wheel (merry go round) 165 meter high featuring several mini bus size capsules. It can carry 784 passengers at a time. It rotates very slowly (45 minutes to take one round) so that people can enjoy the birds view of the Singapore sky line as well as enjoy the illumination of tall buildings  in the night. Evening was the time for shopping at ‘Mustafa’, a huge 3 block shop in little India area where A to Z items is available 24x7!

Day 7-

On the final half day trip, it was the time to take a tour of city and the river in  what is called ‘Duck tour’, a bus cum boat like vehicle which moves on road as well takes you in the river to show the star hotels, parks and  financial district of Singapore. The last stop was at Sky park observatory deck at the famous Marina Bay Sand Hotel. At the top 57th floor is a deck in the shape of big ship resting on three towers of the hotel. It has world’s largest rooftop swimming pool with palm trees around. It takes 57 seconds to reach the deck at 57th floor!

 Like all tours, our tour also came to an end and we arrived back with sweet memories of the politician’s study city-Singapore & Malaysia! Sayonara.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

THE URBAN ‘BANDICOOT’


Bandicoot is one of the Rat species, larger in size over the normal rat commonly found in houses and grain shops. These terrestrial species are very active at night and destructive in nature. They destroy cultivated crops; make tunnels beneath the fields, gardens and even the concrete floor making them porous to the extent of sinking the ground, floor or the road. But this article is not about such rats but about the new generation urban bandicoots of Namma Bengaluru. Guess what?

During 50s, 60s & 70s, the city was considered to be a garden city with cool climate, clean roads and healthy environment. With the population explosion and influx of people from other parts of the country, city started losing its sheen giving way for human progress by way of apartments, skyscrapers, vehicles, more & more autos, Meru and OLA taxis on call and above all heap of garbage everywhere. These are all the external bandicoots destroying the city.

There is another kind of bandicoot markedly visible to everyone whom I call the urban bandicoot namely the BBMP, BESCOM & BWSSB!  They are civic agencies to take care of the city but going by their shoddy work as visible to our eyes, they are nothing short of a bandicoot work. They keep destroying the city roads by digging them round the year. They dug tunnel like holes to lay pipes, cables or sanitary repairs but never bother to restore the road to its original state. The moment one agency finishes the work, another agency starts digging again the same road for some other work.

Just as bandicoot keep hopping from one hole to another, these urban bandicoots keep hoping from one road to the next. Their work is perennial which goes on and on giving no respite to the poor public from inconvenience. There are umpteen numbers of roads which have been dug up several times but are left unattended or not asphalted once the work is over. Like a bandicoot, these urban bandicoots are destroying the remaining beauty of the city.

Unfortunately, no one has yet invented any remedy to get rid of these urban bandicoots and people of the city have to adjust, live and bear with them for many more years to come. God save the city!




Friday, August 8, 2014

STUDY TOUR REPORT LEAKED

Going abroad on study tour is a favorite pastime of all our vigilant Corporators, MLAs & MPs. All of them want their state or city to become Singapore, Dubai or Shanghai. They often go abroad to study how their transport system works efficiently, how are their roads maintained, how their garbage is disposed of etc. It is another matter of discussion that those study tours neither change life in any city in our country nor the reports of such tours are ever made public. Just imagine, what would be the report of a study tour of Indian cities by similar representatives from some other country look like?

Here is a leaked report of such a study tour:-
“India is in real sense a republic country enjoying all the fruits of freedom. They have all the liberties on road. You can walk on middle of the road, cross the road anywhere you like, go into one way from wrong side, stop the vehicle anywhere suddenly without using indicator and jump the traffic signal at ease. Two wheelers go in a zigzag fashion, ride on the footpath in case of traffic jam, no need to give way to ambulances, fire brigade or police vehicles in an emergency. Traders can sell their products on footpaths and shopkeepers can encroach on them as much as possible. Small eateries on footpath are like mini drive in.

Cable operators, telephone, electricity, sewage board and all such civic agencies can dig the roads without any coordination any number of times repeatedly without restoring the road condition to its original state. Roads are beautified with high road humps & deep potholes. The road contractors are given free hand to take their own time to commence and finish the job of laying roads. Inferior quality work ensures regular contract.

People have all the facility for their garbage disposal. They can just throw them at the nearest vacant site, or corner of a road. If not, throw them in the open gutter. People often make use of these facilities while going in a two wheeler or even a car. They carry the garbage in a carry bag and throw on the road side garbage heap without even stopping their vehicle or bothering if anybody is coming from behind. Citizens do not bother about these and accept everything with a ‘Sab chalta hai’ attitude which is exemplary.

There is no restriction on taking out processions and blocking the traffic even on busy roads. Demonstrators can sit on dharna in the midst of the road with full protection from police. They can freely damage the vehicles plying on roads specially Buses, damage buildings, shops, furniture without paying any compensation to anyone. No one is arrested for such vandalism. Sometimes, only under pressure the main leader of such procession is arrested and later honored by the government with a ‘Gallantry award’.

For the elected representatives, regular attendance in the assembly or parliament is not necessary and one can enjoy all the facilities & perks sitting at home or doing their private business. They can even come to assembly or parliament to sleep or watch a video on their mobile while the proceedings go on. They can create ruckus or stage walk out of the parliament or assembly at the drop of a hat. Sometimes, they enjoy fruits of ‘Horse-trading’ after the election staying at star hotels and resorts and come back home with hefty bank balance.

The police are always hand in glove with the politicians and the rich. FIR cannot be lodged easily, rape victims are ridiculed, politicians get VIP treatment for their short stay in jail because they are never convicted for life term, goonda elements can operate their plans sitting inside the four walls of jail and common man can get away with petty offences by paying bribe. Punctuality is given the least importance. Indian time is very much respected and adhered to by one and all.

In short, it would be a fitting tribute to the Indian democracy if such measures are also introduced in our country for the benefit & upliftment of We the people”!!


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My Manifesto


General elections are round the corner.There is a mad rush for filing of nomination by all and sundry. I am counting myself one amongst the sundry. When  notorious bootleggers,murderers and scam tainted  can file their nomination, why not me? Forget about my qualifications and antecedents. Ask me what shall I do?  Unlike other political parties, I will  concentrate only on local issues.Here goes my manifesto:-

ROADS- I shall continue and improve upon the methods adopted so far by the civic authorities.. As of now, roads are first laid and thereafter next day  they are dug for laying water pipes or optical cables. Sometimes both the side of road is cut to make way for improved rain water drainage system. I will make the road contractors to execute a guarantee that the roads laid by them will last for at least one month failing which they would be given additional contract to undertake repair work. This would be on the lines of ‘buy one take one free’ scheme. Citizens would be encouraged to go for road cutting in front of their house the very next day of relaying new road. To minimize frequent road accidents, unscientific road humps at all the road intersections will be made mandatory. During my tenure, the accumulated dust and sand on either side of the road will never be removed. Pot holes will never be filled up as it will facilitate in better traffic management and would act like a speed breaker thus saving the additional expenditure on civic authorities. Two wheeler would be allowed to use the remaining footpath if  available  for faster commutation.

GARBAGE-The residents will be allowed to throw  household garbage on vacant plots and by the side of the road. The garbage bins wherever available will be allowed to act as a nodal point to collect plastic, card board boxes, milk covers and other items to be sold to old newspaper vendor by the urchins and official garbage collectors. They will be free to remove every thing from the bin and spill the remaining unwanted garbage all across the road. In fact to facilitate garbage disposal, people would be encouraged to throw them in  the nearest  storm water drains if vacant plots are not available. As there are no dearth of stray dogs and monkeys in the city, encourage them to roam around your house to feast on the waste foods which are thrown away like a ball by many maidservants on their way home.

WATER SUPPLY- In few of the localities, clean drinking water supply is regular. Steps will be taken to connect them to storm water drains so that entire city gets uniformly the same kind of water as else where. Choked drains would be allowed to overflow on to the roads for an unspecified time. In the mean time digging of the roads would continue all over the city for laying pipes.  Builders will be permitted to dig  as many bore wells as possible to tap last drop of ground water.Water tanker contractors will have free access to such bore wells.

POWER SUPPLY- Uninterrupted power supply to big malls, multiplexes, big show rooms, marriage halls and bungalows of politicians and V VIPs is assured so that people coming from other places feel like being in Singapore as most corporators and politicians dream of. For domestic users, power cut shall continue unabated. For them, use of candles, emergency lamps, invertors etc would be encouraged so as to give a boost to small scale industries. Additional unscheduled power cut would be imposed during examination time for students so that they can go early to bed and rise early! To avoid thefts or accidents on road,street lights will not be switched off during day time.

FLYOVERS/UNDERPASS- The first priority would be given to to connect congested areas like lanes and by lanes of Chickpet, Balepet area with those of city market area by constructing flyover. All the culverts would be converted in to underpass. The flyovers would be constructed in such places where majority of the traffic take the service lane so that flyovers would look clean and broad. Traffic signals on flyovers would be re-introduced. By 2015, no roads should be visible, only flyovers or underpass should remain. Sky walk would be erected in places where there is least likelihood of its use.

Thus, touching upon almost all aspect of life affecting the common men in this manifesto, I propose a big applause for YOU for going through it with so much of patience and expectations.Now, what are you waiting for? Go out & vote but ………wait……think……think  twice and vote. Any vote for me?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Making of CM

A tea vendor sets up a 'chai dhaba' in the capital. People starts flocking to the dhaba for a cup of chai. Immediately a rival sets up another dhaba in the vicinity selling milk with the caption ' Why drink chai to spoil your health when healthy milk is available'.

Finding the rivalry between the two vendors, a common man pitched in and started selling a special drink by mixing half a cup of chai from first vendor with half a cup of milk from the second and named it CM (Chai milk).

CM became instant hit with the masses!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nation’s shame


It all started with planning commission’s report, that in our country those earning below Rs.32/- per day come under the category of ‘below poverty line’ implying that those earning more are not poor! This created uproar in the parliament as well as in the media. Different views were aired, a Delhi politician claimed that one can have full meals for Rs.12/- whereas one cine star turned M.P. said that Rs.5/- is sufficient in Mumbai to fill the belly. Not to be left behind,  a state chief minister waiting to be the next Prime Minister declared that in his state, those earning Rs.17/- or more cannot be treated as poor. So much concern for the poor! Can there be a bigger shame than this when a small cup of tea cost anything from Rs.7/- to 10/- and even Rs.20/- in Metros!

It is only in our country; these politicians from various states keep going abroad on a study tour to make their city Singapore & Hong Kong but hardly study anything there. These study tours are going on for years but nobody knows about their study report or implementation of their recommendations. These leaders enjoy VIP status with full security and demand all facilities not available to common man. They are even allowed to carry pepper spray & knives inside the parliament and to use them to justify their demands. No security check for them. No doubt, with such instances, the sale of pepper spray must have gone up if not anything else. Black out of parliament proceeding on important issue over TV channels is a new trend.

Prime Minister calls it Nation’s Shame but what about 2G, 3G, CWG, Coal/Granite mining scams and the recent incidence of pepper spray in side parliament or removing of shirts by some MLAs in the UP assembly  adds to the big list of shames. It can happen in this country, one day our media on all the news channels keep harping on death of a VIP’s wife in a 5 star hotel in mysterious circumstances and black out from very next day of reporting further investigative coverage!

It is here legal cases go on & on for decades without any judgment. Mercy petitions of death row convicts are left to gather dust and ultimately courts have to convert their death sentences to life sentence due to inordinate delay. A convicted film star get frequent furlough & extension by jail authorities while a common man’s family suffers in pain without their bread earner getting any such relief for a long time.

We are already burdened with the shame of swamis/ gurus involved in rape or sex scandals on one hand, sports celebrity in batting scandal on the other. Doctors involved in organ trading on one hand, nexus between builders, contractors and civic authorities on the other hand. Where will it all end and how many more shames this country is going to witness? Time can only heal but the scar remains!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New Year Compliments


Come New Year and people start thinking of making resolutions to be broken later. Till a few years back, New Year also used to bring another kind of expectations in the public. Expectations of, collecting New Year Calendars, Diaries and small gifts like key chain, pen, leather purse, fancy bags etc. from shops and Banks.

A fortnight before the New Year,  Bank account holders  used to  visit the bank branches just to enquire whether New Year calendars have come or not. Senior citizens used to be very particular to get them first. It was a matter of right to get such compliments. Distribution of such compliments used to be a herculean task for bankers as the supply used to be limited and demand for them hundred folds. Staff members themselves used to lay hands on the chunk of the supply leaving very little for others. It used to be a balancing act for the Branch Manager to please as many customers as possible keeping in view their connections & deposit in their branch. Still, there always used to be more grumbling lot then the happier ones. Senior citizens who are left out used to fight threatening the branch people to withdraw their deposits with the bank! It was difficult to convince them as to how a branch with 1000 accounts can manage with supply of just 100 calendars & 25 diaries! Staff in turn used to look up to their corporate clients for beautiful 12 sheet calendars, sweet box and other compliments.

Such expectations were not confined to banks alone. People from all walk of life while going for shopping invariably used to ask for calendars or compliments at the billing counter. Those days, shopkeepers used to keep many such gifts handy beneath their counters for distribution to discreet customers. Getting a calendar or gift used to like was like winning a lottery!


With the tight economic conditions and rising cost, most of the banks and shops have done away with this practice of distributing calendars or compliments. In fact, one has to pay even for a carry bag while shopping. Also, the practice of hanging calendars in drawing room is gradually fading away. Thanks to features like calendar/to do list/notes etc. in mobile phones, the calendars too are becoming extinct. Now these are used only to see some auspicious day for religious function or marking attendance of housemaid, supply of milk & newspapers. The charm and enthusiasm of collecting more and more number of calendars and diaries on New Year is no more visible.