Saturday, October 13, 2012

“Shor”- The Noise

 Few years back we were very happy to shift our house from Dr Rajkumar road in Bangalore to a suburb Vidyaranyapura. It was a nightmare to continue stay at Rajkumar road where the traffic is ever increasing with entire road becoming commercial. The sound of all kinds of vehicle were 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.

 But our joy of shifting was short lived. To our utter disappointment, the vast green fields around  Vidyaranyapura also soon started vanishing and concrete jungle of houses and flats started coming up in all the direction at a very fast pace. With the new residents coming in with their pet dogs and stray dogs arriving in full strength from nowhere completed the corum to disturb others only at a time when somebody wanted peace and rest. How can Street vendors, beggars and ‘Basavannas’(coming with decorated Bull) 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!

Thanks to my daughter & son in law for inviting us to stay with them at California in US. Having heard so much about the cleanliness, pollution free atmosphere there, I was happy to be away from all those noises for some time as long as we stay in US. But it was not to be. Here one can get up from bed on hearing the sound of Lawn mower. Entire lawn area & grass area is cleaned/trimmed with this machine in the morning. After a gap, another person comes with branch cutter who with the mechanized machine cuts & trims the tree branches around the apartment. This is followed by Gas powered riding lawn mower  to collect the cut grass & leaves. 

Its 10 am and you want to relax & read newspaper in peace? Wait; here comes a giant size Garbage collection truck with two trunks like hands to collect the apartment garbage  from the dumpsters made of thick iron sheets. As the entire process of emptying the garbage drums through mechanized hands, the sound of lifting & again putting the drums down is enough to give a feel of 100 piece  orchestra all playing in high pitch at a time!.

Here even most of the toys my grandchildren play with are musical. Musicals to keep you awake as only few have volume button! After noon time may be a short nap time but not for real, because it is the time for all airplanes to fly. Being nearer to the NASA research Center their planes & helicopters keep hovering around the area. In between comes a big truck from FedEx or UPS to deliver courier packets. The driver is so used to the vehicle that he drives down the truck even to deliver next door! Around 4 pm comes a giant surveillance plane flying so low that your ear drums can starts vibrating.

Come night and you heave a sigh of relief to go to bed. But wait, there are two ferocious looking cats upstairs who keep playing hide & seek chasing each other all night with their paws sound clearly audible downstairs despite carpeted wooden floor. 

Now tell me, where on this earth can one find a place free from Noise pollution, Antarctica??

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Welcome aboard American Airlines

Dream of flying in an American Airlines came too soon when I decided to visit my nieces at San Antonio & Dallas from San Francisco. It was a dream of travelling in a world class flight famous for courtesy & efficiency. More so because we back in India keep blaming our domestic airlines comparing with their counterpart elsewhere in the world.

My flight with South West Airlines, a low cost popular airline to San Antonio was at 4.30 pm sharp. Sharp…..because we also make fun of our sense of timings, The Indian Time! Time passed and it was 4.45 pm when I became restless. There was no sign of my plane arriving. Later, it was announced that the flight is delayed. Just ‘delayed’ no further information about either the cause of delay or expected time of arrival. ‘Sorry, we have no idea’ was the curt reply when enquired. The same reply was forthcoming in this age of fast & furious technological advancement the country boosts of, even after 1 hour (and our techies are dying to work for them)! After an hour, it was known that the plane had some snag at Houston airport and that our flight will take off at 6 pm. The departure time on the display board at the help desk kept on changing from 6.15 to 6.30 from time to time but in the end settled for 6.15 pm. Yes, finally they were sure that the flight would arrive & take off at 6.15.

At last we boarded the plane at 6, greeted by an exhausted not so young air hostess. Unlike India, the boarding pass was taken away at the entry gate and I was not able to locate my seat number inside. I enquired from a steward who was grooming his long hair on the rear side. He gave a surprised look at me and said ‘It’s all free seating like Cinema hall and I can sit anywhere I like’. The flight took off without any customary apology announcement and first thing we were served was a packet of groundnuts & soft drink. Here serving of groundnuts is common whereas back home this item is mostly consumed as time pass by poor people and cinema goers in villages and smaller towns and looked down as foul smelling stuff. Unfortunately, as the day turned out to be, six of the passengers were not served soft drink as the pilot asked them to discontinue serving due to turbulence in air pocket. I was one amongst the six. Its only at the end of journey that pilot announced that the delay was due to snag in the plane due to which the plane had to be replaced and we should not be too worried about the safety as we have already landed safely at the Dallas airport. All the passengers clapped and heaved a sigh of relief.

My real harrowing time started on return journey from Dallas to San Francisco. Here, again I was booked on South West airlines going via El Paso & Phoenix. I was to change plane at El Paso with the same airlines. On reaching El Paso boarded the plane scheduled to fly at 2 pm. Soon after the usual safety drill, the flight failed to take off. Pilot informed that there is some problem with hydraulics and being attended to. All the passengers were seated waiting for about 45 minutes when pilot asked us to deplane. We returned back to the terminal waiting for the plane to be repaired.

El Paso is a desert area on the Mexican border & prone to sand storms. Suddenly, the airport was in midst of a sand storm followed by thick black cloud threatening with bright lightening. In no time, heavy down pour started making the visibility to zero! The announcement of uncertainty of flights taking off made us jittery. One thing was certain, unless the whether becomes clear, no plane would take off.

After some time it was announced that the same plane would now go up to Phoenix only at 6 pm. As I was to travel beyond, they gave me boarding pass for another flight from Phoenix to San Francisco but its departure was at 7 pm from Phoenix. I was assured that the flight would wait till our flight from El Paso reaches Phoenix but that was not to be. It was already 6.30 pm now and there was no announcement about the departure of Phoenix flight. I was sure to miss my flight. I asked the person at the help desk to accommodate me in some other flight so that I can go to San Francisco directly. There was such a flight at 8.15 pm via Las Vegas. They obliged to change the boarding pass and issued for 8.15 pm flight. In the meantime my luggage was transferred from one plane to the other. I had doubt if it would reach with my flight but fortunately it did. Finally, boarded the 8.15 flight via Las Vegas and till then, the other plane to Phoenix had not taken off. I missed watching the desserts of Phoenix but in return could enjoy the colorful lights of Los Vegas which never sleeps.

After, a harrowing time of 6 hours in anxiety touched down at San Francisco safely. The only silver lining of the entire trip was a compensatory voucher offered by the airlines worth $200 for travelling with them again within a year!

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Lover's Bank Ltd.

(Even though this humorous article of mine was published way back  in January’1978 issue of “The Weekly SUN”  but holds good even now for the present day lovers . The article is reproduced hereunder without any changes/editing).

We are pleased to inform that an unique bank of its kind “The Lover’s Bank Ltd” has been established to look after all kinds of lovers. It is hard to find lover/lovers of one’s choice, hence why not bank with us? We earnestly advise you to cultivate the habit of saving lovers for a happy future. Here are our star attractions of various deposit schemes:

SAVINGS BANK A/c:- This account can be opened by depositing one of your lovers with us. All your love letters will be credited to your account and at the end of every six months, replies will be given at the rate of 6% as half yearly interest. The following rules are to be observed strictly:
  1. Ten days advance notice for the withdrawal of more than two lovers.
  2. Cheque book facilities on deposit of 10 lovers. Encashment of kiss cheque restricted to ADULTS only.
  3. Incidental charges such as boarding/lodging to be paid half yearly.
CURRENT A/c:- This is meant for commercial people, clubs, associations etc with an Overdraft facility.

FIXED/DOUBLE DEPOSIT A/c:- This account is best suited for the future. Deposit any number of young lovers at a time for a longer period and get back ‘Matured ‘lovers in your old age with higher rate of interest. You can even take loan against your deposits.

LOAN SCHEMES: - Needy people can get loans provided they do not have any lover in hand. Such persons will have to furnish the guarantee of two respectable persons of repute who have never indulged in love affairs! The person seeking loan has to give an undertaking that-
  1. She/he will repay the loan as early as possible.
  2. She/he will not misuse the loan.
  3. She/he will hang a board on neck while moving around with the lover carrying the following words in bold letters-‘Financed & Hypothecated to The Lover’s Bank Ltd.’
  4. Aged persons are also eligible for this loan provided they are in sound health and are confident that they will not kick the bucket earlier.
Apart from these few, we have many more attractive schemes such as Gift scheme, Lockers, Collection facilities, Mail transfer etc. Pleas contact our nearest branch for details.

Remember, this is the only bank where all types of lovers will be waiting for you with smile. So hurry up and start banking with The Lover’s Bank Ltd, the bank with a difference!
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Friday, April 20, 2012


Guest Post by Lalit Surjan-

‎'मैं रिक्शावाला, मैं रिक्शावाला 
है चार के बराबर, ये दो टांगवाला 
कहां चलोगे बाबू, कहां चलोगे लाला''
सन् 1956 में बनी फिल्म 'छोटी बहन' में हास्य अभिनेता महमूद पर यह गाना फिल्माया गया था, जो जाहिर है कि एक रिक्शेवाले की भूमिका निभा रहे थे। यह वही फिल्म है, जिसका एक और गाना ''भैय्या मेरे राखी के बंधन को निभाना'' आज तक लोकप्रिय बना हुआ है। 

प्रिय पाठक, भारत में ऐसा शायद ही कोई व्यक्ति होगा, जिसने रिक्शे की सवारी न की हो। और तो और प्रियंका गांधी भी अपने बच्चों के साथ रायबरेली, अमेठी में चुनाव के दिनों में रिक्शे पर घूमती दिखाई दे जाती हैं। लेकिन एक रिक्शा चालक का जीवन कैसे बीतता है उस पर शायद ही कभी हमारा ध्यान जाता हो। अगर कोई सर्वेक्षण करवाया जाए तो रिक्शा चालकों के बारे में सवारियों की राय कुछ बहुत अच्छी नहीं होगी। हम रिक्शे में बैठने के पहले चालक से बड़ी देर तक भाव-ताव करते हैं। यदि बिना रेट तय किए बैठ गए तो उतरने के बाद उसके साथ हुज्जत करते हैं। हमें अक्सर लगता है कि रिक्शावाला लूट रहा है। सचमुच हमारे लिए लूट की परिभाषा कितनी छोटी है! रिक्शेवाला बरसात में पानी में भीगते हुए रिक्शा चलाता है, गर्मियों में सड़क के पिघले कोलतार के कारण पहिया खींचना मुश्किल होता है, ठंड में ठिठुरन से बचने के लिए उसके पास शायद ही कभी पर्याप्त साधन होता हो, यह सब जानते हुए भी रिक्शा चालक से हमारी शिकायत बनी ही रहती है। तथापि मुझे इस बात का संतोष है कि हमारी भाषा में ऐसे लेखक हैं जिन्होंने अपनी संवेदना के तार रिक्शेवालों के साथ जोड़े हैं।

सुधा अमृत राय ने अपने माता-पिता की जीवनी ''मिला तेज से तेज'' में बयान किया है कि लक्ष्मण सिंह चौहान सिध्दांतत: रिक्शे में बैठते ही नहीं थे कि मनुष्य मनुष्य को क्यों ढोए। लेकिन सुभद्रा कुमारी चौहान रिक्शेवाले को हमेशा दुगुने पैसे देती थीं कि उसका शोषण न हो। भिलाई में हमारे लेखक मित्र स्व. कनोजकांति दत्ता ने गहरी सहानुभूति के साथ ''रिक्शावाला'' शीर्षक कहानी लिखी थी। भिलाई के ही दूसरे साथी लोकबाबू ने भी अपनी कुछ कहानियों में सघन आत्मीयता के साथ उनका चित्रण किया है और दिल्ली निवासी युवा कथाकार सुशांत सुप्रिय ने भी।

आज रिक्शेवालों की बात इसलिए उठी कि अभी थोड़े दिन पहले सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने उनके पक्ष में एक बढ़िया फैसला सुनाया है। इसकी खबर ''देशबन्धु'' के अलावा और कहां छपी, मुझे मालूम नहीं। संपूर्ण घटना ऐसी है कि दिल्ली नगर निगम ने दिल्ली में रिक्शा चालन पर प्रतिबंध लगाने का फैसला किया। वे इसके खिलाफ दिल्ली उच्च न्यायालय में गए जिसने नगर निगम का निर्णय रद्द कर दिया गया। इस पर नगर निगम ने सर्वोच्च न्यायालय में अपील दायर की, लेकिन वहां भी उसे हार का मुंह देखना पड़ा। सर्वोच्च न्यायालय ने स्पष्ट कहा कि वह निन्यानबे हजार रिक्शे वालों को उनके जीवनयापन के अधिकार से वंचित नहीं कर सकता। बहुत से चर्चित फैसलों के बीच यह फैसला खो भले ही गया हो, लेकिन यह सचमुच एक बड़ा फैसला है। 

मुझे ध्यान आता है कि मुख्यमंत्री अर्जुन सिंह ने मध्यप्रदेश में रिक्शा चालकों को उनके रिक्शे पर मालिकाना हक देने का निर्णय लिया था। सुप्रीम कोर्ट का यह फैसला उस भावना को आगे बढ़ाता है और समाज को अपने बीच के एक मेहनतकश समुदाय के बारे में पली भ्रांत धारणाओं को बदलने का अवसर भी देता है। आज जब देश में तेजी के साथ शहरीकरण हो रहा है, खेती की जमीन पर कारखाने लग रहे हैं और छोटे किसान मजदूर बनने के लिए विवश हो रहे हैं तब इस बारे में सोचना पहले से कहीं ज्यादा आवश्यक हो गया है। यह कौन नहीं जानता कि अधिकतर रिक्शे-वाले गांवों से इसीलिए आते हैं कि वहां उनके लिए रोजगार के अवसर नहीं हैं। शहर आकर वे रिक्शा इसलिए चलाते हैं कि वही सबसे सुलभ रोजगार होता है। 

उनके लिए कोई कानून नहीं होता बल्कि वे बिना बात पुलिस की गालियों और पिटाई का शिकार होते हैं। पैडल मारते-मारते उनके पैरों की नसें गुत्थी हो जाती हैं और वे आठ-दस साल में ही वेरीकोज वेन, टीबी और अस्थमा जैसे रोगों के शिकार हो जाते हैं। अपने श्रम का परिहार करने के लिए वे शराब पीते हैं और फिर शराबी होने के नाम पर अलग गाली खाते हैं। इसके बावजूद उनके बिना हमारा काम नहीं चलता। आज भी हर शहर में हजारों बच्चों को स्कूल लाने ले जाने का काम वे ही करते हैं। अपने बच्चों से पूछिए तो उनके पास अपने रिक्शे वाले काका या भैय्या के बारे में कुछ मीठे संस्मरण ही होंगे। मेरी बेटियां कला नामक उस रिक्शा चालक को आज भी याद करती हैं जो बचपन में उनको नर्सरी स्कूल ले जाता था, और वे जब लौटते में सो जाती थीं तो अपना गमछा सीट के आर-पार बांध देता था ताकि वे गिर न जाएं। रायपुर के बैरनबाजार कुंदरापारा में रहने वाले हजारी, जगसीता आदि रिक्शेवाले मेरे दोस्त बन गए थे जिनका ध्यान मुझे अनायास यहां हो आया।

मैं विषय पर वापिस लौटूं। सुप्रीम कोर्ट के फैसले पर मद्देनार सोचना चाहिए कि रिक्शा चालकों के जीवन-यापन और उनके काम के बारे में क्या सुधार लाए जा सकते हैं। 1970 के आसपास नागपुर में बैटरी चालक रिक्शे सड़कों पर देखे जा सकते थे। आधा हॉर्स पावर बैटरी वाले इस रिक्शे की रफ्तार तीस किलोमीटर प्रति घंटा होती थी और चालक को इससे काफी आराम मिल जाता था। मैं नहीं जानता कि ये रिक्शे क्यों बंद कर दिए गए। आटो रिक्शा के मुकाबले ये ज्यादा सुरक्षित भी थे और इनमें प्रदूषण का सवाल ही नहीं था। गांधी जी के पांचवें पुत्र जमनालाल बजाज के बेटे रामकृष्ण बजाज यदि ''हमारा बजाज'' बनाने की बजाय ये रिक्शे बनाते तो अपने व्यापार में बिना नुकसान किए वे खादी आंदोलन की भावना से देश का भला भी कर सकते थे। 

आज जब शहरों पर यातायात का बोझ लगातार बढ़ रहा है, शहरी आबादी जहां प्रदूषण से परेशान हैं और जहां हर पल सड़क दुर्घटनाएं हो रही हैं, वहां बैटरी चालित रिक्शा एक उत्तम विकल्प के रूप में हमारे सामने मौजूद है। जिस तरह दिल्ली में डीजल बसों को सीएनजी से प्रतिस्थापित किया गया, उसी तरह इस बारे में भी सोचना चाहिए। आज बड़े शहरों में दिल्ली मैट्रो की सफलता के बाद मैट्रो स्थापित करने की होड़ लग गई है। निश्चित रूप से यह सार्वजनिक यातायात का बेहतर माध्यम है, लेकिन अच्छा होगा कि इसके साथ सिटी बस सेवाओं को मजबूत करने और ट्राम सेवाओं को प्रारंभ करने पर भी विचार किया जाए। ये दोनों साधन स्थापना और संचालन दोनों लिहाज से मेट्रो के मुकाबले किफायती हैं। इसके साथ-साथ निजी वाहन के प्रति बढ़ते मोह को कैसे रोका जाए, इस प्रश्न पर भी गौर करना जरूरी है। जरा सोचिए कि रेल, बस, ट्राम, रिक्शा ये सब मिलकर किस तरह मनुष्य के एक सामाजिक प्राणी होने के भाव को पुष्ट करते हैं, जबकि निजी वाहन हमें सिर्फ प्राणी, वह भी अक्सर हिंसक व आक्रामक, बनाकर छोड़ देते हैं। 

Author Lalit Surjan is Chief Editor of Hindi Daily "Desh Bandhu" published from Raipur, M.P. His contact:-

After reading the plights of Rikshapullers,how about reading a satire on autocracies of Autowallas in Bangalore? Read the previous post-

Thursday, March 1, 2012

‘Bengaluru Auto Services’

Here is good news for those coming to ‘Namma Bengaluru’ (Hamara Bangalore). No more complaint galore against auto services. ‘Bengaluru Auto Services’ has just launched its operations in the city with professionally trained auto drivers for your riding pleasure without any hassle of arguments & fights! Don’t ask why this one more service to already existing ones. Here are the salient features of our services-

1-      On stopping the auto, you need not tell your destination. Auto driver himself will tell you which way he is going. You just have to hop in if you want to go his way otherwise let him go. If the driver does not like your face, he will not stop the auto but will politely nod his head or with hand signal from a distance indicating that he is not interested in taking you any where. So simple, you see. Happy conversation with the driver en-route.
2-      No need to check or recheck the meter reading. They have been properly tampered with as per our specification from approved shop. You need not pay a single paisa extra.
3-      Our auto drivers will never demand 1 & half times or double the meter fare during night times because they are already tuned to show double the fare from 7pm onwards up to 6 am. No headache of bargaining & argument.
4-      Our drivers have been specially trained to handle women passengers in case of any misbehavior or rape attempt by the driver. Shouting Women passengers or those seeking help from running auto will be done away with or thrown out of the auto. We ensure that number plate of the auto is not easily visible.
5-      Our 24 hours helpline will be boon to travelling public. Just wait for few hours if the person manning the helpline is unavailable. If you find the phone ‘engaged’ or ‘Busy’ like Telephones/Electricity/Gas agency offices, rest assured that the receiver has kept aside the phone and you need not waste your precious time and money on trying the number again and again.
6-      You can also avail our ‘Phone an Auto’ service. Sitting in front of TV set or sipping coffee with someone you love, just call us and our auto will be at your door steps any time as per ‘Indian time ‘habits after your repeated calls to us.
7-      Please note that our autos stationed at designated auto stands will never come any where. They are there to chit-chat or fight with fellow drivers and if at all they agree to come, will be free to charge on their whims & wishes without the meter.
8-      If there is a strike on account of ‘Bandh’ or call for protest against price rise etc, our autos will ply in the public interest charging only 4 to 5 times of normal fare. Share autos would be allowed but every occupant has to pay full amount.
9-      Please visit our website, which are never updated to know our other services. Remember, our motto is ‘Service with a smile on Auto Driver’s face’!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Humpi Through my Camera

Carved Pillar

Balancing Sister Rocks

Beautiful carving on Black Stone

Bangle Pattern


Humpi Famous Chariot

Rock Formation Found Everywhere

Rocks & Rocks

Balancing Rocks