Thursday, June 28, 2007

PMI Bangalore chapter networks PM practitioners fortnightly

PMI Bangalore chapter brings together in the city PM practitioners across industries. PM practitioners meet fortnightly to share and learn as part of the PM Footprints program.

Posted by ShoZu

Waste Management in Bangalore

Pourakarmikas collect waste every morning from every street in the neighborhood. These are shipped to the outskirts of the city in garbage trucks.

This post is made using Shozu on a Sony Ericsson 750i. Whew!

Posted by ShoZu

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Poverty peeks at Prosperity

A poignant picture of a small street girl shivering in the cool monsoon evening watches the more privileged in the city chatting over a coffee at Cafe coffee day.

These are a sign of the times. Poverty and Prosperity are ofter staring at each other in the face...

Which parota? - Try the "Weechu" Parota!

The Weechu Parota is a type of flat-bread from the parota or porotta family of Indian bread. Photo above was shot at Pongal Cafe near Innovative Multiplex at Marathahalli. It is made of maida or refined flour. It is quite popular in south India and is available in some restaurants in town.

The Weechu Parota is a square shaped Parota unlike the others in the family - The Kerala or Malabar Parota (circular and layered) and and the Ceylon Parota.

A few other pictures to show you how it is made. The maida is rolled into balls in oil (as below) and kept for a while for it to soak a bit.

The skillful chef makes then rolls the maida ball a bit and deftly slaps the dough on the table in a circular motion till it becomes really a thin sheet of maida (See photo below).

It is then folded into a a square shape and placed on hot pan (see below) and cooked till it becomes brown.

And lo and behold the "Weechu" is ready! Weechu Parota is served with Kurma - a spicy gravy. If you haven't tried this you should when you get a chance.

The Weechu Parota or Parotta is not to be confused with the other north indian bread Parantha or Paratha also widely available and popular in the country.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The life and times of an auto rickshaw driver

You cant live in Bangalore city without having used an auto rickshaw sometime. These autos are such an integral part of our lives. Ever wondered what a auto drivers life is like? That thought crossed my mind and I chatted up with Venu Kumar the driver of my auto.

Venu Kumar (in picture above) rents his auto and cant afford to own own. Autos are priced at around Rs. 1,25,000 and another 25,000 to get it registered and ready to run. Venu drives his auto for 12 hours a day. Makes meter earnings of between Rs. 550 and Rs. 800 a day. He needs to pay Rs 150 to rent his auto a day and another Rs. 200 for the LPG gas that runs his auto. That makes it a running cost of Rs 350 a day - his break even point. Everything he makes over that figure is what he gets to keep (approximately 200 to 450 Rs).

Venu has a family of 5 - a mom, his wife and three children. His children are in 8th standard, 7th and 1st standard at school. He is the only bread winner in his family. He admits that his eldest son couldn't study further and he had to get him to take the vocation of a tailor to help him meet his own expenses.

With earnings of around Rs. 6,000 to Rs 9,000 a month (let us assume 7,500), he pays a rent of Rs. 1500 for his rented small home in Banaswadi. He pays over Rs. 15,000 for his children's schooling a year - approx Rs. 1500 a month. That leaves around 4,500 to take care of all other expenses - food, clothing, medicine for a family of 5 for a month - that Rs. 150 a day and Rs 30 per person in the family! Thats less than a US $ or a Euro a day.

Venus says some auto rickshaws run in two shifts. 6 AM to 2 PM (at a rental of Rs 80) and 2 PM through 10 PM (rental of Rs. 120). He manages to take about 4 days off month - mostly driven by family pressures and the odd day when he is unwell. He say the money that comes in every day just goes away for expenses the same day and he is often in debt with creditors. He had a resigned look about himself when he said that. But amidst all this he manages to own a cell phone that is paid off for a year for incoming and some limited calls.

We reach our destination and I notice the meter, it reads Rs 81.

Wiser after my chat with Venu, I know what my ride's fare means to him...
  • Around 20% of his break even cost. He needs nine more long rides like this for a good days earnings, probably many more smaller drops
  • Around 40% of his daily LPG costs
  • Covers daily expenses for 2.5 people in his family. Half his daily family expenses.
  • Around 5% of his monthly expenses to educate his children.
Oh boy! I was humbled and a whole lot wiser.

I showed him the pictures I took of him on my phone and he managed a smile when I told him I would be publishing this on the internet (he knew what it meant!).

Life moves on for Venu... He is on the look out for his next customer...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Large scale road repairs in Bangalore

After many months of neglect the city administration has woken up finally and is doing a large scale road repairs in Bangalore. First it was Bhaskaran road near Ulsoor, then old madras road and now 100 feet road in Indiranagar.

These road repairs did come with some minor inconveniences with half the road shutdown and commuters having to dovetail each other on a single lane (see photo below).

Surely a few days of difficulty is worth getting rid of the pot holes once and for all! Good to see tax money being put to use well. It is visibly making some difference to daily life.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Suzuki SX4 battles the Honda Civic

A bright red Suzuki SX4 sedan demo car does the rounds in Bangalore traffic to tease the potential buyer. Photo taken on Koramangala inner ring road.

The new SX4 sedan is positioned to compete with the classy and wildly popular Honda Civic that has taken Bangalore by storm. The Toyota Corolla is already struggling to keep pace with the Civic which has caught the popular imagination with its new styling. The battle between these three is going to be interesting to watch!

Some interesting facts about the SX4:
  • Developed by automakers Suzuki and Fiat
  • Car was designed by Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro who was recently award the title Car Designer of the century. He has more than 75 popular car designs to his credit!
  • Launched in the Geneva Motor show in 2006. Launched in India in mid 2007.
  • Assembled in Hungary, Japan and India (Mesar in Haryana)
Priced at Rs. 7,60,000 for the fully loaded ZXi (ex-showroom) around Rs. 5,00,000 lesser than the City, it sure is going to be a force to reckon with.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hijra trouble at traffic signals becoming common

Hijras have started surfacing in Bangalore city like never before. They have invaded certain city traffic light junctions. What they do is very simple. The come from vehicle to vehicle and harass commuters. They try to touch some people, pretend to bless some, they get aggressive sometimes, sometimes they plead. They have a singleton goal of extracting some money from you.

One find it utterly disgusting when they breach a person's basic rights when they start touching people. Some commuters get hassled, some scared, some simply angry.

Obviously one respects their person right to be what they want to be. It is a personal preference. But they have no business to start bothering public in this manner. They should enact a law to bring to book these Hijras if they are a menace in this fashion.

This burely is beggary in its most sophisticated form. Mumbai is well known for this problem along with many other cities. Growth brings the city best of talent and the imported "trouble" as well.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Its almost "No entry" for the sun

Bangalore is know for its green cover and trees. The green cover on some roads is so dense that the sun hardly gets a chance to get through. Its almost a "no entry" for the sun on those roads. These are things that make Bangalore the wonderful city it is.

This photo was shot at the Madiwala market road near Silk board flyover.

Bangalore View listed in "Around the World" photoblog catalog

Around The World is a photoblog directory. They have listed the Bangalore View photoblog in their directory on the 16th of June. This blog seems to have met their criteria. "Around the world" has Daily Photoblogs Old and New - a guide to sites around the world.

The photoblog is listed here and mentioned in their blog here. Nice!

We are now a CDPB officially. CDPB = City Daily Photo Blog = A photoblog that posts a daily photo with narrative and context themed around a city.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Great way to begin a relaxing weekend

This is the view from my breakfast table... Serene and calm on a morning.... With busy weekdays gone by my whole body was aching to relax and chill.... And this view over breakfast did a whole lot good. Guess where I was?

To tease you further check out the view below.... If only I was staying there... I was just visiting for a meeting...

I was at Ista - the 5 star hotel so close to MG road at Ulsoor in downtown Bangalore.

My first experience was great. We had a sumptuous breakfast - ranging from Rs 120 through Rs. 350 (US $3 through US$8). Must be a great location for visitors who have work in the city center.

I can surely see myself going there more often over the weekends!!!

Disclaimer: BTW I am in no way associated with Ista management or the business.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Teeing off at the KGA

Young golfer tries his skills under the watchful eyes of his dad at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) on a lazy Saturday. The KGA is one of 6 golf courses in Bangalore. 3 are owned by the military, the other two are Eagleton and the historic Bangalore Golf Club.

The 18 hole Golf Course is international class, spread over 124 acres of land. The KGA was designed by the legendary golfer from Australia Peter Thomson of M/s.Thomson Wolveridge Associates of Australia who have designed more than 5 golf courses in India. KGA is among the top 4 Golf Courses in the Country. It is a flat 6,786-yard par-72 layout. Major Tournaments Held : Classic Masters, All India Amateur and the All India Ladies Amateur.

There more than 12 member categories and getting membership is an arduous task. Even Rishad the son of the world's richest men Aziz Premji (Chairman of Wipro) is wait-listed to be a life member despite a fee of Rs. 15,00,000!!! The wait-list queue for being a permanent member is 1360.

For the not so lucky, I guess its good luck with Microsoft Golf 3.0!

Further reading: Bangalore & Golf Golf courses in South India History of Indian Golf

Friday, June 15, 2007

Spicy and delivered at home!

Picture this! A nice big red chilly mounted on a scooter. These are the 2 wheelers that delivery the choicest of spicy food home from Nandhini - Bangalore's chain of restaurants serving Andhra food.

These guys are entrepreneurs. They know a thing or two about the food business. They keep it relatively low cost and its popular. They don't have a web site but they sure know how to do outdoor branding!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cops are busier than ever before

It looks like the policemen are having a casual afternoon walk in city surroundings... Thats what I thought too at first glance... These were photos shot near Yeshwantpur station. Look closer in the next picture...

You will notice the policemen are escorting a criminal they just nabbed. Notice the handcuffs on the man.

If you thought only the IT folks in Bangalore worked crazy hours, change your mind. Bangalore city police have been busier than ever before. Rising due to the economic divide between the haves and the have-nots.

Crime in the city has been on the rise and at staggering levels.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Combating Tuberculosis globally from Bangalore

Bangalore is increasingly becoming a powerhouse in Biotech and Pharma. AstraZeneca the global pharmaceutical major headquartered in the UK. Bangalore is one of the R & D centers for the company, in addition to their centers in Sweden, USA and Japan. The photo was taken at Astra Zeneca's facility in Hebbal.

The company operates in 100 countries, has 65,000 employees, worldwide sales in 2005 totalled $24 billion and an annual R & D budget of US$ 3.4 billion. The pharma major globally focuses on six important areas of healthcare - gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, cancer, respiratory, neurosciences and infection.

Since 2003, Astra Zeneca R & D in their new laboratories in Bangalore, India, have been focusing on finding a new treatment for tuberculosis with an investment of US$ 35 millions over 5 years.

Some important facts:

  • Tuberculosis is the single largest cause of adult death in the world from infectious disease. TB kills 8,000 people a day - that is 2-3 million people every year. Thats more people dying from AIDS or malaria.
  • The medicines now used to treat TB were developed more than forty years ago.
  • More than 70 scientists work in this new centre, including molecular biologists, genetic engineers and chemists.
  • AstraZeneca Research Foundation India as made more than 100 million rupees of Investments in Indian Science and institutions.
  • In India alone 0.5 million people die from TB every year (15-20% of the worlds deaths). Thats more than 1000 every day in India (i.e one every minute). Scary facts!
We need all the money we can get and our own attention to tackle this problem.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

12th June - World Day against Child Labor

Stop! Spare a thought for unprivileged young children.

Thats precisely what young school children of Vidya Vahini school did. They raised loud slogans and placards to create awareness against Child Labour. The energy was such it sure drew my attention, that I had to stop and take notice. Photo taken on main road past Mekri circle enroute to Hebbal.

According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), Child Labour is....

Work that harms children's well-being and hinders their education, development and future livelihoods.
The state of things:

Worldwide, agriculture is the sector where by far the largest number of working children can be found - an estimated 70 per cent, of whom 132 million are girls and boys aged 5-14. These children are helping to produce the food and beverages we consume.
We sure can make a difference.
Spare a thought for an unprivileged child and do something about it. What can we do?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Firefox! You can browse....Cycles not web pages....

The Firefox store! At CMH road in Indiranagar a popular residential area in Bangalore. The shop's name is no coincidence. Surely intends to cash is on the popularity of its namesake browser.

The shop surely gets every passer by to take notice, even pause and browse their bike collection and accessories.... Lets not forget the key target customer is the IT guy!

Monsoon time - battle beween the clouds and the sun

Its monsoon time in Bangalore with the showers getting unpredictable, especially in the evenings. While the monsoons are a blessing in general since they bring down the mercury, they pose a serious dilemma to the biker or two wheeler commuter.

To bike or not for the day is always the question!!!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

When ancient traditions get reduced to beggary

In the heydays, artists playing the Nadaswaram accompanied with a caparisoned bull was a tradition that was patronized by many. The artist would play carnatic classical pieces on festive days and this was considered an auspicious act. It surely kept tradition and culture alive and gave these artists a living.

Over the years with so called "modernity" these guys have a hapless future and their art form is now reduced to beggary. Their music's quality has also been reduced dramatically due to lack of patrons.

Friday, June 08, 2007

The bright lights beckon you

The bright lights at the AKS convention center are a tease. AKS convention is a popular hall in Frazer Town that plays host to wedding receptions, conventions and meetings. It is mostly in demand and they charge 1 lakh (€ 1,800) to 1.3 lakhs (€ 2,400) for using the facility for a day. It can seat 700 people.

Weddings are a big deal in India. People spend their lives earnings and their fortunes on just the few days of the wedding. The Indian wedding market is estimated to be a whopping 5000 Crores (€ 916 million). Halls like AKS thrive on this mania.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Beast of burden?

How much can this lady carry? Scene captured near Mayo Hall and Bangalore central mall in downtown Bangalore.

We are growing at a staggering 9% GDP and the world is watching in awe. So are we at the rocketing prices and the social divide. All the rocketing growth in the city has done nothing to better life for this lady.

Growth sadly creates a social divide between the haves and the have nots.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Passengers scramble to get on buses to commute

This is one of the bigger vestibular buses of the BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) photographed near the KR puram flyover.

Passengers "mob" the bus in a bid to get in. Using public transport is a big challenge. The supply is less than the demand. This challenge of travel forces many middle class citizens to find alternate modes like two wheelers (Did you know? - Bangalore has the world's largest concentration of two wheelers) and four wheelers - compounding the problem on the roads.

BMTC stats:

  • 4586 buses and 4258 schedules
  • Carry 35.00 Lakhs Passengers in a day
  • 60,860 trips
  • Perform 9.11 Lakhs Service Kilometers
Bus frequencies are a challenge. Bus stops are few and far between in some routes. Bangalore has no concept of queues in Bus stops unlike cities like Mumbai. The BMTC buses have signs in kannada only and this is another challenge in a city that has attracted so many migrants due to the job opportunities.

If you commute via BMTC try this useful site from Mapunity that maps the Bangalore bus routes on Google maps.

It is a different matter that BMTC has taken many new initiatives to add new volvo buses in the city to target the middle class.

BMTC has do a lot more and faster.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

World environment day

Today is World Environment Day. A day we stop and introspect about the environment that sustains human life. A time to introspect on how we can treat it more responsibly for our own good. The choice is really ours....

We could have a city green and environment friendly like the photo below signifies....

(the photo above was taken at the small park in downtown Bangalore - park in front of Mayo Hall and Bangalore Central mall. Its green as green can be amidst all the air pollution of the vehicular emissions).

Or we could be irresponsible and pollute the city with effluent waste that is untreated and causes health hazards by affecting the water table around.

(photo of the great Bangalore Nala. This picture was shot less than 30 meters from the Gopal Admirality apartment complex. The stench from the Nala is unacceptable.)

Or we could cave into selfish commercial interest and pollute the city while seriously endangering the climate and weather in our city. Temperatures have gone up by 5-7 degrees in last 5-6 years. Is this what we all deserve?

(the above photo was shot on Outer ring road between Hennur road and Hebbal. This lorry is poorly maintained but used for commercial gain. The owners of this lorry have an armada of vehicles around 15-20 of them. If this isn't irresponsible behavior what is?)

The choice is really ours to make. You and me.

Don't neglect the environment! Let us make a difference in our own small way today. Or it could become too late to save it.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Sreeraj bar and their myriad of options to beat the summer heat...

Numerous options that drive you crazy. Lassis, Kulfis, Shrikand, Faloodas and more...

What are you waiting for? Find ways to beat the heat!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Glimpses from the Aerosmith concert

The large Aerosmith hoarding greeted the fans.

The show started with the large LCD screen splashing the Indian tricolor.

The large stage had two large screens flanking it. For most in the audience it was these large two screens that gave them a glimpse of their heroes. Some couldn't even see them since they weren't 6 feet tall! The main stage had a large LCD backdrop that keep screening live larger than life images of the band. DNA Networks the organizers could have done a better job with the sound and the live display screens could have been higher.

Steve Tyler was a bundle of energy. Scary to think he is 59 years old. Trim as a fiddle and he proudly displayed his flat stomach and his "Lick Me" tattoo. One helluva energetic bloke. His face looms over the large live screens at the venue.

It was a nice evening with the full moon for company. What a setting! The weather held itself despite the met department predicting the monsoons to start on the 1st of June.

They played anthems Living on the edge, Dream on, Falling in Love, Jaded and I don't want to miss a thing. The lights were alright, but not earth shaking. Thought the Times of India thought the effects were the best ever in Bangalore in a concert. I respectfully beg to differ.

The crowd was around 20,000. Lets wait for the official count. I felt the crowd and the energy was a lot lesser than what I saw at the recent Iron Maiden concert.

The girls went berserk for one of the numbers. Their beasts of burden (the folks on whom they were hoisted) must have had little choice ;-), they simply had to oblige!

Overall it was a great evening and a great opportunity to see Aerosmith live!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Aerosmith are in town

Yes, Aerosmith are in the city. And for those of you not from the city...they are playing only in Bangalore ;-). The city has been the obviously choice for rock bands and the organizers DNA Networks. This concert in Bangalore follows a string of shows .... Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Bryan Adams, Deep Purple, Roger Waters and others in recent years.

Can wait to hear the "bad boys from Boston".

Friday, June 01, 2007

The all new pest swatter hits the streets

You can have missed this! I am talking about the all new pest swatter that's hit town. You can see it everywhere - street vendors, traffic signals, everywhere. Shaped like a Tennis racquet, this gadget let you swat pests. Whats the big deal you may ask? This gadget creates a spark when a pest hit it and instantly kills it. We'll I guess it would also give one a sense of playing a game :). Note the thunder bolt shape on the gadget. Wait till the next big ingenuity!!!