Saturday, March 28, 2009

Noise Polution

Six years back we were very happy to shift our house from Dr Rajkumar road in Rajajinagar to Vidyaranyapura. It was a nightmare to continue stay at Rajkumar road where the traffic is ever increasing with entire road becoming commercial now. The sound of all kinds of vehicle are so strong that neither we could hear our family conversation nor watch any programme on TV without any disturbance. In fact, the floor of our house used to vibrate whenever heavy vehicles passed through the road.

On the contrary, our new place Vidyaranyapura tucked far away from the maddening crowd, was in a serene quite atmosphere free from the dust and noise pollution when we shifted 6 years back. It was aptly named ‘Vidya-Aranya-pura ’meaning a Jungle area. We heaved a sigh of relief on shifting. We thought that at least now we could lead a peaceful life. But our joy was short lived. To our utter disappointment, the vast green fields around our area soon started vanishing and concrete jungle of houses and flats started coming up in all the direction at a very fast pace. Roads became dusty and uneven due to constant invasion of heavy trucks loaded with construction materials and bore well drilling machines. Road-cuttings became order of the day in all the lanes and by lanes to give vehicle owners, specially two wheelers jerks of their life time. These road cutting became a permanent feature never to be repaired again by any one.

With the new residents coming in with their pet dogs and stray dogs arriving in full strength from no where completed the corum to disturb others only at a time when somebody wanted peace and rest. How can Street vendors, beggars and ‘Basavannas’ remain far behind. They all joined together to add to the noise level. If this was not enough, than there are sounds at odd hours of ‘reverse gear siren’ of different tones fitted in cars or people honking near their own house entrance gate till some body opens the gate!

Now, we are in a fix whether to shift still further to another ‘Aranya’ or to live with the same kind of Noise & dust pollution!

Traffic Management

It has become a faishon to talk about making a city Singapore by our politician and city mayors.Let the talks of Magic Boxes , flyovers, elevated roads, Metro, mono/tube rails be kept aside for a moment and concentrate on the following points which are not of long term nature and can be implemented with a minimum outlay of funds RIGHT NOW FROM TOMORROW ITSELF if the authorities concerned local body & Traffic Police are serious about bringing about a change.
1. Remove or shift all the bus stops and auto stands which are situated immediately after a turning or circle. These are main hindrance in free flow of traffic. Penalise those bus drivers and auto drivers who stop the buses/autos at these turnings and bus stops.
2. Distance between two bus stops should not be less than half a kilometer. At present, there are many bus stops which are less than 100 meters apart and buses are not able to pick up speed.
3. Make footpaths free of hawkers. Stone slab footpaths are uneven. They should be properly plastered to have an even surface.
4. Public or for that matter any body including government agencies like water board, Telecom,Electicty board, cable operators who dig the road or footpath must be made accountable to restore them back to original failing which heavy penalty should be imposed.
5. Slow moving vehicles like bullock cart, hand driven carts, three wheeler rickshaws, Tonga, etc should not be allowed within the city limits during peak hours.
6. Any body driving two wheelers on the footpath to go ahead in a traffic jam situation must be penalised or his/her vehicles should be impounded.
7. At railway crossings, there is a common tendency by two as well as four wheelers to block the right side of the road in order to go ahead as soon as the train passes. This practice results in blockage of traffic on both sides of the crossing. Public who are also well educated should understand this.
8. Potholes on any road should be immediately filled up as soon as information is received. Road inspectors should be made accountable for not attending to any pothole.
9. Superior quality paint should be used for zebra crossing and other road humps as the paints used at present become faint or invisible after a weeks time.
10. Glow signs should be put up at the starting of all road dividers.
11. Trafic police should stop ignoring those who are driving talking over cell phone.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Journey down the memory lane

Ever since I took voluntary retirement from Allahabad Bank in 2001 after serving for 28 years, it was my long cherished dream on the back of my mind to revisit those places wherever I had my education starting from Ist standard to the last and to visit all those schools/colleges where I have studied, to show my gratitude for what I am today, talk to the present teaching fraternity, visit the house where we spent our old days, meet old friends and teachers if possible.
I was born in Durg, Madhya Pradesh in 1950 where my father was working for M.P. State PWD, as an Engineer. After completion of my post graduation, got a job in Allahabad Bank in 1972 and worked till December 1984 in Madhya Pradesh. Later I took transfer to Tamilnadu to work there in the Bank in various capacities until 2001.Thereafter; I came down to Bangalore to settle down.
It took almost 7 years for me to transform those dreams in to a reality when finally I decided to embark on a 15days journey down the memory lane. Plan was prepared in such a way that without any loss of time I am able to cover all the 9 places in Madhya Pradesh within 15 days.
My journey started on 21st February’08 by train to reach Nagpur next day morning. The nearest place from here to M.P. was Chindwara but I am going to narrate my experience in a chronological order of my schooling.
I do not remember any thing about my first 5 years after birth during which my parents stayed in places like Durg, Vardha, Nagpur & Betul. I have therefore omitted these places to revisit now.
HOSHANGABAD (1956-57):
24.02.08- I am visiting this place after 52 years where I had my first schooling i.e. First standard, during 1956-57. On arrival, the first thing was to visit PWD circuit house area where we used to stay and father’s office was situated. To my surprise, on going there I could identify the office as well the old house. Nothing much has changed. Just behind the Circuit house was Narmada river bank where my father used to take us for learning swimming by tying a tin box of Dalda Ghee on our back to save us from drowning.
I could not locate my school due to loss of memory than as I was just a boy of may be 5 or 6 years. Visited Narmada River Ghat where new temples have come up now.
MULTAI (1957-59):
23.02.08- As soon as my bus stopped at the Multai Bus stand, my excitement got doubled as every thing was same as I had visualized in my mind about the place. Father’s office and our house were just behind the bus stand. There was a big vacant ground in front of our house but now several houses have come up but still I managed to identify our house. At present, Sub Divisional Magistrate Mr. Tiwari stays in that house. When I introduced myself to him and told him about the purpose of my journey, he was very happy to show me the house from inside. In fact he asked me why I have not brought my wife and children on this historic voyage. I showed him the photograph of the same house taken during 1957-59 which more or less remain the same except a garden in front of the house which was not there.
From here, I started walking towards my school and took the same path which I used to traverse along the Tapti river tank in the heart of the town. I missed the lane in which my school was situated but could locate when I sought direction from a shopkeeper. The school looked the same and was rather in a poor state. It was here, I studied class IInd to IV. Straight away I went inside the hall where my class III used to sit on the floor. The principal and teachers were very happy to meet me. They said that I am the first student of their school who has bothered to visit again after a gap of 51 years. To my utter astonishment, within 10 minutes a teacher brought a register from the office room to show me the old record of those years wherein my name and marks obtained were recorded. On seeing the old record of 1957, I could not believe but yet, it was like stumbling upon a gold mine! I profusely thanked the Head Master Sri K.C.Pawar and the staff for showing me the record.
Thereafter I walked up to a theatre where we used to go to watch movies. The theatre has also not changed. This town remains the same old sleepy Multai as was in 1957-59.
CHINDWARA (1959-60):
22.02.08- When the bus reached Chindwara bus stand, I could not recognize. The bus stand has completely changed with a big shopping complex around now. As soon as I came out of the bus stand, I saw a big board on my left reading ‘Police Lines, Chindwara’.I knew now that I was standing at the right place since my house was situated just behind the Police Line and that I used to go to school via a short cut from this very police line. I engaged a cycle rickshaw to reach my old house and I did not find any difficulty in giving direction to the rickshaw puller even after a lapse of 49 years. The house was a big British time bungalow with three big halls and a vast ground in front. I could not go inside the house as the present occupant was not in town. I remember, there was a grave of British dog which was very much there. After taking snaps from outside, I proceeded to visit my school where I studied class 5th. The school is very much there but the class room where I used to study stands demolished to give way for shops. I met the principal also but his response was lukewarm.
Unlike Multai, this place has developed in recent times because of political patronage and big show rooms and houses have come on the outskirts.
View photos at link
5.03.08- While going to Raigarh, I had a doubt in my mind whether I will be able to locate my school as I had totally forgotten its name as well as partially its location. Firstly I went to Kirodimal Polytechnic College, behind which our PWD quarters existed. Even though new colony has come up in the entire area now, I was able to recollect the location. I knew that to go to my school from here, I have to first cross the Polytechnic, than a bridge and a theatre comes beyond which the road somewhere leads to the school. I took the help of a student and asked him to name a few high schools in the vicinity and out came a name from him ‘Natwar High School’ and lo! That was the name I had forgotten. The next moment I was in Natwar School. I could not meet anybody as the X board exams were in progress. This school was very near to the railway station but nearly 6 Kms away from the house where we resided. I used to walk down the entire stretch of 6 kms to the school everyday in those days of 1961.
KANNOD (1961-62):
25.02.08- This small village is 100 Kms away from Indore and the road was so horrible that all the bones in my body got rattled! There was no electricity in the village than and we used to study in the light of lantern or patromax. There is just one road, on both side of which the town is situated. I went straight to PWD campus where we used to reside. Next to our house was that of sub divisional magistrate and he was the first person I met him on the road. He took me to his house and on knowing purpose of my visit commented that ‘he is coming across first time in his life a person like me who is revisiting all the schools and houses without expecting any fruit after so many years’. It was a compliment and I thanked him and visited my old house. The SDO Mr. Gupta took me around the house to get me a feel of those days of 1961.
My school was just a walking distance from the house where I used to study class VII. I went there early in the morning; school was to open in the afternoon so could not meet anybody in the school. There was no addition to the school building and looked the same as in 1961.
SAGAR (1962-65):
27.02.08- While coming from Indore by bus, I could see that the city has expanded and several new colonies have come up on the outskirts. Cantonment area was the same with little change.First, I met my old friend Hemant Godre who was with me in class VIII & IX. Now he is a notary Public and advocate in Sagar. Needless to say, we shared several moments of togetherness in those days. He provided me with motorbike to move around.
I went to Jain Higher Secondary school where I studied class VIII .The Present principal Sri K.A.Bhonsle had taught Hindi to me in the year 1962.Both were very happy to share our experiences. Here also, he showed me the office record of 1962 in which my name, date of birth and date of passing out of class VIII was recorded. It was a thrilling experience to see old records being still preserved. Next, went to Emmanuel Boys High School where I studied class IX & X up to 1965.I could talk to one of my Hindi teacher Mr. Ifrahim over phone because he lived far away. I also met another class met Rajan Thirumalai, whose father was Chairperson of this school. He is in real estate business now.
In the end, went to the area near Christian colony where we used to reside. The house is now converted in to PWD office and was in a bad shape. The ground in front of the house where we used to play is now occupied by office building. It has lost its old look completely. Most of the old theatres where we used to watch good old classic Hindi & English movies have also been closed down.
MANDLA (1965-66):
03.03.08- When I went to see our old house, the present occupant Executive engineer was sitting in the lawn. When I got introduced and told him the purpose of my journey, he was just amazed. He wanted me to confirm from “Limca book of records” if any body else has under taken such a task of visiting schools / colleges from first standard to the last! He was too happy to lead me into his house to show me every room. I told him that children’s slide next to the house was got constructed by my father. It is in a ruined condition now due to disuse. After visiting Narmada River behind the rest house, where a new bathing ghat and several temples have come up, went to my old school ‘Jagganath Higher Secondary School’ where I passed out class XI in the year 1966. The board examination was in progress. Here I got the address of one teacher Sri B.B. Shukla who was teaching Sanskrit than. He was overwhelmed to know that one of his old students is meeting him after a gap of 42 years. I informed him that I was a weak student in Sanskrit and used to get canning from him, he just laughed. He not only offered me lunch at his house but came personally to see me off at the bus stand. I went to another friend’s shop who was my non school friend Bhagwan Das Makhija.. We used to collect stamps and make pen friends as common hobby. I came to know that he died 5 years ago.
JABALPUR (1966-1971)
29.2.08 to 04.03.08- Jabalpur was my last destination with longest stay. Its here, I did my graduation as well as post graduation. I went to Saint Aloysius College from where I did Graduation (1966 to 1969). The principal Dr. Davis George of the college was so happy to meet me that he immediately called for a staff meeting to introduce me to the staff members. He also presented me their college latest souvenir. The old block where I used to study has become a part of the school and a new block of college has come up next to the old building. One of my classmates Sharat Saxena from this college is a famous film artist & villain in Bollywood films now.
Next, went to Government Science College where I completed my Post graduation (1969-71). I enquired from the principal Dr.AnupamaGanguli if the college is still publishing its magazine called “Jyothirmayi”? I was on the editorial board of this magazine in 70-71. She presented me with the latest issue of the said magazine duly autographed and took me round the Physics department.
I also visited Christ Church School where I was a teacher for 9 months on completion of post graduation. Visited the office of daily News paper “Desh Bandhu” where I worked as Advertisement Manager in 1971 for a short time to gain experience. Joined Allahabad Bank in November 1972 and remained in Jabalpur till December 1984 before taking transfer to South, i.e. Tamilnadu.
The house where we stayed for several years near bus stand now stands demolished.
Met old acquaintances of that area, friends like Samar Mukherjee, Narendra Nema and Ramji Verma, house owner’s son who is in Bhopal now. Met most of my old colleagues with whom I worked during the period 1972 to 1984 in the Bank as well as writer friends like Arun Misra, Ramesh Saini & Sriram Thakur Dada. It is here I was editing a quarterly Hindi Magazine “Vyangyam” along with two friends one of whom is no more and the magazine could not be sustained for more than 4 years due to lack of financial help.
As for as the growth of the city is concerned, the pace is slow. Roads in Civil Lines area looks broad with well laid footpaths. Many new big hotels and hospitals have come up but the traffic remains as chaotic as before.My journey down the memory lane came to an end when I boarded the train to Bangalore on 6.3.08 to reach Bangalore on the morning of 08.03.08.
I take this opportunity to thank and express my gratitude to School Head Masters Sri K.C.Pawar, Sri K.A.Bhonsle, college Principals Dr. Davis George, Dr.Anupama Ganguli, SDO Kannod, Executive Engineer, Mandla, Sub Divisional Magistrate of Multai and Kannod, all my friends & colleagues without whose support, warm response and cooperation this journey would not have been complete. I feel that my long cherished dream and life’s finest wish got fulfilled.
View photos at link

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Music/Movie Channels V/s Entertainment Channels

For the namesake there are a dozen Movie channels and equal number of Music channels in Hindi but all of them are treading the same old beaten path like “Bhed Chaal” (Movement of goats in a group). How many of them are really ‘Varied’ in contents?
Same movies or same songs are repeated and re-repeated day in & day out in all the channels. Like me, regular TV buff must have seen the Priyadarshan’s movie ‘Malamal Weekly’ not less than a hundred times on Sahara One channel and equal number of times on other channels.
Tell me the name of a single music channel which has a fixed separate slot everyday for classical music or devotional music in the morning or for that matter, is there a single movie channel which has a daily slot for old award winning or classical movies? Yes, B4U movie does show old songs and movies after 8pm but the problem with the channel is unlimited number of commercial advertisements. There would be minimum 15 minutes of commercial break. So much so that it is difficult to say if this is an ‘Advertisement channel’ where songs and movies are played during commercial breaks!
The fate of other so called entertainment channels is no better. There is a mad rush to churn out dance and singing competition in the name of reality show/ talent hunt, none of them are different in either content or presentation. Far from being simple, the backdrop set colors would be too gaudy and lighting would be so bright that you can hardly recognize the singer or observe the body movements of participating dancers. ‘Boogie Woogie’ on Sony is one exceptional programme which is best out of all the shows where the judges never hog the lime light. They facilitate the conduct of the programme in a dignified way without going overboard.
About conduct of the judges in other musical programmes , the less said, the better. The judges seem to be more interested in creating drama than judging the talent of participant. If using only a limited vocabulary of words like ‘Mind blowing’ ‘Fantastic’, ‘excellent’, ‘good body language’ and ‘Yaar Tussi great ho’ amounts to judgment, I too can become one!