Dream come true!

There are few instances in life that one can actually call a ‘dream come true’ moment. The kind, may be when you land a job at your dream workplace? or get a seat at a top-notch university that you coveted and worked hard for? or hold a much loved and wished-for new-born baby girl/ boy in hand after 9 months of nourishment in the womb.

Home sweet home

Home sweet home

We had one such ‘dream-come-true moment’ last week when we stepped into our very own newly built home on the auspicious occasion of the gruhapravesha, in the valley alongside a small hillock in our beloved city of Bangalore! 🙂

I don’t clearly remember when exactly it was that this became our dream… may be after 2-3 years of being a happily married and carefree couple with no real responsibilities on our shoulders. That must’ve been around the time when we saw friends and family making investments and buying/ building their homes to settle down and a seed was sown in a corner of our minds that we’d like to have a nest of our own too.

We were on the look-out for houses/ plots/ flats from then-on but never really seriously got around to buying anything. Mainly because we were confused – we wanted an independent house but the ones we saw were way beyond budget and more so, needed repairs and renovation to suit our needs. Only a flat would fit into our budget, but we weren’t very keen and also couldn’t find good ones in the localities we were looking in. The plots in the city had sky-rocketing prices and the affordable ones were a good 10-15 kms in the outskirts…nothing seemed to fall in place.

It was around 5 years back that the hubby came across this layout while he was on one of his site-scouring trips on the bike. He mentioned it to me and it sounded promising. We went around soon enough and I was excited, this looked like the place for us! It was well within the city and what’s more, very near and well connected to all the localities that we’d normally traverse regularly; most importantly it would be close to his mom’s place for the hubby. It was just 10 mins ride away from our present much-loved locality of stay. One wouldn’t have to travel for hours daily along the A/ B/ C roads in Bangalore to reach the place. It was a locality inhabited and maintained by decent, well-cultured families. The layout was on a small hillock and just riding-up one could feel the dip in temperature with a cool breeze to caress, with a panoramic view of the entire city. And what’s more, the cost – although it would require us to stretch a bit, wouldn’t be beyond what we could afford!

The cons were – the approach roads weren’t all that wide as it was through a locality which was previously a village and had been converted into layouts without any planning. There was no Cauvery water supply piping yet, although it had reached the neighbouring locality down the hillock – we would have to depend on the layout’s water supply till that fell into place. The pros seemed to outweigh the cons and our minds were made-up and we initiated the discussions to buy a site in the layout. There were many months of tense waiting and the hubby did the rounds of several BBMP and government offices to make sure that the titles and papers were all in the clear. With the number of scams tumbling out of the govt. closets these days, we didn’t want our life savings to go down the drain!

After much running around, finally everything was sorted and we were ready to sign on the dotted line and after spending a tiring morning at the registrar’s office the house papers were in our hands. Or the bank’s hands rather, as we’d taken a combined plot+construction loan to be able to invest. Nevertheless we were thrilled with our very own piece of land, on which we dreamt looking fondly into the future, that our home would stand one fine day. For a couple of years after that we lay low, paying the EMIs and getting on with life… and soon we got busy with our bundle of joy who arrived to further add to our happiness. Soon enough as the months rolled by, we realized that we had to begin the construction – as the combined loan requires one to begin construction within a stipulated time period after the loan is taken.

Then began the exercise of trying to find the right contractor/ engineer/ architect who could translate our dreams into reality. We visited some architecture firms, spoke to many contractors, got the design done by some contractors, who’d also design homes, considered the option of going in for alternate construction methods, had various debates on what was good and what was not, visited several under-construction houses to check if we liked something… this went on for some months. One such day we walked into a house nearing completion of construction in one of the cross-roads of our locality and immediately fell in love with the way it was designed. It was spacious and well-thought-out with lot of importance given to good-lighting and ventilation. That was what we primarily wanted in our house – it had to be well-lit and well-ventilated giving us a sense of wide spaces throughout in all the rooms. We quickly got the contact details of the architect and got in touch – it was a lady, freelance architect who was just getting back into her working groove with a young daughter on hand.

We fixed up an appointment and went to speak to her; we told her our needs and looked at pictures of some of her previous assignments. She frankly told us that she took up few projects and only with people whom she felt comfortable with; one – because of her young daughter and secondly because she would be involved in every stage of the construction right till we moved into the house. Her job wouldn’t end with just handing over the design drawings and so her rates weren’t cheap either. We contemplated and said ok and she came up with the design of our home. It was exhilarating going through that design with her – seeing our needs being transformed into nooks and corners of the various rooms in the house. As with all her designs there was scope for ample light and air and the house would be crowned by a huge skylight! We loved the design and said yes; of course it had to go through many refinements with various sittings and rounds of discussions later.

Thereafter came the choice of the contractor – we spoke to one of our liking and another recommended by her, but the rates quoted were too high for our budget we thought – which in hindsight was probably a mistake, we feel at times, but nevertheless we decided not to choose either. Around the same time, my sister’s family were planning the construction of their home, for which they had approached my engineer uncle to handle everything – right from the design to the planning and construction. We decided to talk to him also to check if he could supervise the construction for the design we’d already gotten from the architect. Our uncle said yes, mainly because both the houses would be fairly close-by on the same side of town, only a few kms apart, but with the condition that he would hire a maestri to oversee the daily work and we would have to do all coordination for the materials purchases and payments etc. This way he wouldn’t be involved in the financial aspect of the construction and would only serve as the facilitator for getting the construction done. We agreed to it, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy for us – full-time working individuals with a small child to manage all this, but atleast this way we’d be able to significantly control the cost we reasoned.

And thus began the saga of the house construction which went on for a good year and a half. There were many highs and many lows… lets suffice to say that we were involved with every single aspect as the house came up through the various stages right from the foundation to getting the loads of sand and cement, from the laying of the bricks & concrete to the roofing and plastering as the structure came up in a matter of months. But then began the various travails – as more parties got involved and when we had to do the various selections, the co-ordination and the involvement and decisions increased multifold. The architect gave us good options, but since we were literally doing lot of research to get the best suited products at as less cost as possible, the decisions were very difficult. The flooring selection took ages after lot of dilly-dallying and we rushed to place the order for the sanitary-ware as there were rumours that the prices would shoot up post the festival season. We ran around for the tiles and when it came to choosing the carpenters we had more worries evaluating the options. Whatever we chose had to go through 2 level of approvals – one with the architect and then by the various working-teams for feasibility.

There were tons of arguments and heated discussions and we got to the point of going crazy with the confusion and issues we faced sometimes, the hubby having to deal with most of it. Taking the painting, carpentry and flooring work to a point of logical conclusion before the pooja can be a story by itself! The hubby was on-site getting last-minute stuff and cleaning done till 11 PM on the eve of the pooja. Well, at the end of it, we do have a beautiful home to go to, as every single person gushed on the d-day. But the stress and heart-burn we went through was something we could have done without. In hindsight sometimes we do feel that having a contractor would’ve probably saved us most of this trouble, but then we wouldn’t have been so much richer in experience! 😀

All said and done, we’re nearly at the end of this journey of building a home from scratch – there still are minor things to be fixed and completed and it will be sometime before we can actually move in.

The courtyard leading to our hearts!

The courtyard leading to our hearts!

And then it will be a whole new journey altogether, with the excitement of setting up everything afresh; but more importantly of filling our home and hearts with enough love and joy, to envelop us and all our loved ones in it’s folds of warmth 🙂 And that feeling is aptly described by the name we have chosen for our nest! Wish us luck, won’t you?! 🙂

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The year that has been…

It has been a rather long time since I posted anything here – updating this space has become more and more difficult. As I get on with life and work and home-stuff, I wonder how I had the energy and the inclination to post here regularly in those early days… But yeah, there’ve been some occasions when I stopped to think – ok, I can write about that in my blog. So I guess it’s not time to shut down the blog yet. As long as I feel this urge to get back and put something down here, I guess I should just have it here…

The new year came by and went past – we’re well into the year, having completed almost 3 months – I always feel that these initial few months in a new year tend to just whiz by and you hardly realize where the days went! Here’s what I can recollect of my past 3 months:

New year’s eve – we did nothing, just stayed put at home, put the little one to bed as usual, watched some movies on TV, called up a few loved ones and wished them at the strike of midnight and then went to bed.
Jan 1st – I had taken the day off and we had decided to go out for lunch/ dinner. All of us had a leisurely day and went to Commercial street in the evening… spent some time gorging on some chaats at Bhagatrams and doing window shopping – it had been quite sometime since I’d been there and there were lot of new shops which had come up, selling lovely but expensive stuff, of course! We finally went to the Konark restaurant and wound up the day with an early quiet dinner.

January – was otherwise uneventful. Having decided to change jobs, I was spending my last few weeks at my previous organization and was busy wrapping up stuff. I treated my team for lunch – which turned out to be quite expensive, despite the combo offers etc. at Pizza Hut and they in turn hosted a lovely little farewell meeting for me. Everybody had such nice things to say – including the managers! – which I suppose is a good way to say goodbye! 🙂 They also presented a Titan gift card, thanks to which I am the proud owner of two new Titan watches! 😀
Jan end was when I joined my new place of work and I was immediately put on the job at the client place. It was work and more work from day one and there’s been no let up till now…

February – I was looking forward to Feb, what with promises of a couple of weeks of travel on work. But it turned out to be quite a dampener with the talks being just that and all plans fizzling out 😦 Feb also was the month when we had planned our little one’s chowla/ mundan ceremony – but that too didn’t work out due to the sudden demise of an elderly extended family member on the husband’s side. Not being able to celebrate the sister’s and the new bro-in-law’s birthdays was another sad side-effect of this untimely event 😦

March – has been quite busy so far – the kiddo’s mundan cremony pushed from Feb, was carried out successfully this time – with some puja and homas at home, followed by the actual chowla being done at Nanjangud. It was a successful event on all counts – with a good turnout by all invited family members and the festivities at home carried out without a hitch. Also the trip to Nanjangud was enjoyed with close family and loved ones and the best part was – the little one did not so much as cry during the actual shaving. This was a h-u-g-e relief for all of us who were expecting tantrums and what nots!
So the little one is now a gundu-paapa – well no longer actually, there’s already scores of spikes of hair on his head, which miraculously sprouted the very next day! wow!

But not everything has been hunky-dory though – the kiddo had the annual day function at his playschool last week for which he was selected to be part of an act which had them dressed in birds’ costumes. He was chosen to be a peacock and was given a beautiful costume with long lustrous feathers… We kept talking to him about it and tried to keep him pepped up and he wore the costume in the evening all right. But when it was time for the act, he decided to turn on his worst clingy behaviour and refused to go on stage! We were aghast and tried coaxing him and what not, but he just didn’t budge. Well, the show must go on and it did, even without our little man. He had a chance to atleast pose for the group photo, which too he refused to so. Needless to say, we were disappointed and left perplexed by many unanswered questions… hopefully this is a one-off thing and he will learn to enjoy himself by taking part in such events/ performances further on…

Well, that’s been my year so far… we have a couple of big things lined up for this year – my son’s move to the big school being one of them. I’m just hoping that all goes on as per plan and turns out well! *fingers crossed*

In search of solutions…

As I was saying in my previous post, I am ending up traveling 2 hours each way to office daily. During one such soujourn back home where the roads seemed to be stretching on and on, me and my colleague were discussing the possible steps that we could take to overcome this daily commute issue. Suddenly one of us had this idea and I thought a lot about it later too. I even discussed it with the hubby and it was he who gave the idea of putting it up here.

Well, the idea we had was nothing ingenious – it’s a pretty commonplace one. The question I have is – why hasn’t it been implemented yet? We were basically discussing that the IT companies should build living quarters for their employees at a distance which is within the 5 km radius from their workplaces. Now, as all of us are aware, this is a pretty common thing with the Government and Public sector units. Any big government organization or a PSU have living quarters built and allotted to their employees. The companies which come to mind are the IIMs, IISc, HMT, BEL, HAL, ISRO, DRDO, NAL etc. The size, quality and comfort of the quarters allotted of course depends on the hierarchy levels and is decided based on the seniority of the employees. Now, why can’t IT companies take a leaf out of their books and implement a similar idea? Here are some points why I think this needs to be done:

  • This will help scores of employees (like me, me, me!!) who have to travel from far-off places everyday to work – staying close-by helps in better time management, productivity improvements and better work-life balance with more quality time to be spent with family
  • This will help reduce the traffic on the roads to a big extent I believe – with the office cabs having to ply only between the quarters and offices as opposed to going all over the city and also the scores of people who ride/ drive to work might not need to do so, atleast not for long distances
  • This will help companies in retaining their employee base – after all what do we want in life? – a workplace offering good opportunities and challenges, a good working environment and a good team to work with – all these apart from a decent salary of course. But the most challenging aspect of working these days has become the daily commute which eats into a major chunk of our everyday lives. We spend hours on the road – neither working nor spending time with family. So if somebody offered me the option of staying within a vicinity of 5-10 kms from work in decent company provided accomodation, I wouldn’t mind taking it even with a few concessions on the other fronts like salary and facilities!
  • The real estate prices in Bangalore have gone spiralling upwards ever since it became the IT-hub. Scores of apartments have sprung up in all corners of the city – thanks to the crowds from other parts of India who typically find the apartment-living therapy more convenient rather than staying in independent houses. What this has resulted in is flats being built and given out on rent – even on small gullies with hardly space for more than one 4-wheeler to move in. I sometimes wonder at the quotes of rent I hear from my colleagues who live close to the ITPL/ Whitefield hub – it has become a means for good money-making – if you have a place to stay in this area give it out for rent and find yourself another rented place elsewhere at a lower cost! We can try to curb this trend if companies can offer living accomodation to its employees.
  • Lastly, living in quarters builds a beautiful sense of community living. It’s a lovely experience with kids of all the families coming together to play, learn and grow up together – irrespective of caste, creed and status. Some of my earliest memories are times spent growing up in the living quarters of the institution that my dad worked in. I remember the fun times we had as kids – running around bare feet on sunny afternoons chasing butterflies, playing kunte-bille and kalla-police and generally running around in gay abandon, sliding down concrete stair slopes and scraping our knees, visiting each others’ houses on festival days and revelling in all the fun! And all this within the safe confines of community living where our parents didn’t have to worry about their kids running out into the roads… I believe this adds hugely to our personalities and defines the kind of people we turn out to be.

The hubby was of the opinion that this model won’t work out – he said look at the condition of all those govt. quarters which were built years ago – the maintenance costs will run into lakhs of rupees. I say – you are looking at companies which mostly run on government funds – the reliability of which, we all know and can imagine. But here I am talking about private companies and that too not the small fry, but the big giants who declare their profits every quarter with pride and who’s revenues run into billions. As for maintenance, take that money from our salaries, I sure won’t mind paying a few thousands from my pocket yearly for the maintenance of the house I live in, provided it is properly accounted for and managed efficiently. It would be equivalent to the maintenance charges collected as part of rent by the house owners even otherwise!

Well, what do you think? Is it really a non-do-able prospect? I’d sure like to hear what others think…

The accident

It was like any other day… the last Tuesday. Having gotten up as usual we went about doing our daily chores – the usual cooking, getting ready for work, giving the little one a bath and getting him ready for the drop-off at his grandma’s place etc. Yes, the one not-so-daily-feature was the early morning argument with the maid, which ensued in an exchange of words between us and her, resulting in her ouster from the job, effective that day itself. It went as far as that because she really did cross her limits that day and I must say that we’ve been pretty patient with her, having put up with her tongue which seems to run away with her many times. But that day was the limit and the hubby was livid. In retrospect we really are glad to have gotten rid of her – considering that we’re the employers here it really shouldn’t have been so difficult to dismiss her from her duties, but believe me when I say it was a near-Herculean task!

Well, that really isn’t what this post is about. As I was saying, it was like any other day. After a few talks on how we would manage our commute with the deviation of having to drop the kid at my sis-in-law’s place (with the mil stationed there for a couple of days), we decided to take our two-wheeler, leave the kid there and carry-on further together to the workplaces, with the hubby dropping me off first and then getting to his office – the same as what we’d done the previous day. As per the plan, we started from home and bid goodbye to the little one after ensuring that he was comfortable with his grandma and cousin brother. The hubby decided to take an alternate road – one which we didn’t normally use. This was only a slight deviation and we would soon reach our regular road by going up another ramp of the same fly-over. We started up the fly-over ramp and I was glancing at the ads lining the huge glass windows of an adjoining mall along the road below – that’s when it happened. Suddenly our two-wheeler wobbled and with the hubby trying to apply the brakes to control it, it seemed to skid completely and I got thrown away a couple of feet onto the hard tarmac. The first thing I remember is the throbbing pain on both sides of my head. I didn’t realize how exactly it happened and how I got thrown away – I just remember getting up immediately amidst the pain and looking back – my first thought was to get away from the vehicles behind and check if the hubby was doing the same. As I turned back, I cannot explain how relieved I was to find that there weren’t many vehicles behind us and the hubby too was up and trying to get to the side of the road. A couple of other 2-wheeler riders had stopped and were trying to help us. I was in a bit of a daze, I held my head in both hands and stood next to the side-wall of the flyover – I saw my phone lying some distance away, the husband was bleeding from near his eye and nose, people were offering to take him to the hospital and all the while I was thinking that my head was going to split open with all that pain.

In spite of the bleeding my husband quickly gathered his wits and we decided to go to the hospital which was right below the flyover. We reassured the kind people who’d stopped to help and started on our way. I don’t know how the hubby rode, he had closed his injured eye and was riding, all the while deciding the best course of action. We decided not to go to the nearby big hospital and instead go to the specialist eye clinic which was a slight distance away – probably it was foolishness on our part, but the decision was taken since it was the eye in question and acted upon in that split second. Enroute I began sobbing uncontrollably – the worst thoughts kept coming to mind and my life seemed to flash by my eyes in those few minutes. The hubby kept consoling me, saying that he won’t be able to think clearly if I lose faith and asking me to remain calm and that everything would be alright.

We soon reached the clinic and they rushed the hubby into an ophthalmologist’s consultation room while I attended to the formalities at the reception. I rushed in and the doctor soon reassured me that nothing was wrong with his vision, the cut which was bleeding was below his eye and above his cheek, it had not affected the eye though there was some internal hemorrhage which had already caused the eye to swell with redness. After the initial scare subsided about the extent of his injury, they asked me – are you not hurt? That’s when I spoke about the severe pain in my head and as I did so, I touched the side of my head only to find something dark and sticky in my hair . Needless to say it was blood and they soon found that I had a deep cut in my scalp about a cm long which was bleeding and needed a few sutures to patch it up.

To cut a long story short, we got back home after the initial treatment; further follow-up check-up and doctor visits confirmed that the extent of injury was luckily limited. It took us a few days to overcome all the body pain and bone-aches and the initial shock of the accident. Needless to say it gives me the shivers even now – just the thought that we met with an accident and how easily it could’ve been anything worse. It makes me look at everything with a new perspective and I have sent a billion thank you’s to God that we didn’t have the baby with us when this happened. I cannot but think of the what if’s – what if we didn’t have to go to the sil’s place? what if we had taken the car? what if we hadn’t chosen the alternate route? was that slight anxiety I felt when I switched off the puja-room lights before leaving, an indication? what if there were some heavy vehicles coming behind us when this happened? I have worried so much thinking of the scary things that could have happened to us; but my heart has been equally gushing with the gratefulness for the positives.

Even as I type all of this down, I really am not coherent on what I need to say – probably a few months or years down the line I will be able to look at this objectively and say something; but definitely not now.  All I want to say is – thank you God for saving us, for being there for us when we needed your blessings and most importantly we can’t thank you enough for keeping our baby safe!

After a long time…

…I’m on this page, writing a new post! I don’t even want to look at the date on my last post here… well, I’ve been busy can be a ready excuse! There’ve been so many things I’ve wanted to write about but never got around to doing it…

Our sonny boy is a 19 month old toddler now! Can you believe that? I can’t!! He has bounded past so many milestones that they seem like a blur in my mind! That’s why one has gotta be regular on the blog, you’ll say; I know!
He now tells his name correctly albeit by adding a paapa suffix to it – infact he takes several names now – mine since a long time, it being the simplest with 2 letters, the maids’ names (she is delighted to have him call out her name and he does it atleast a dozen times while she’s around!), his cousins’ names – many such, except his appa’s – ha ha! *evil laughter*

He loves his books – yes he’s got quite a few already (courtesy his amma, who crazily had picked up the first bunch when he wasn’t even born) and he loves it when we read it out to him loud and that is the first thing he wants to do in the morning after he wakes up! He learns quickly and knows most of the pictures/ objects already and tells them out loud when we point to it in the book. He loves his rhymes and recites several in Kannada (nayi mari, nayi mari…, male bantu male, aane bantondaane…) and English (chubby cheeks, twinkle twinkle, johnny johnny, happy birthday…) – even if it is in parts, in his cute baby tongue, as and when it pleases his fancy. He also knows to count from 1 to 10 in both Kannada and English (he swallows ‘entu‘ in Kannada and ‘five’, ‘nine’ in English). He recites “A for apple, B for ball… right upto Z for Zebra”, with only a few misses in between. He understands every single thing that we tell him; but whether he chooses to do what we say or not is totally decided by his majesty! I don’t know if he’s doing stuff ahead of his age or not, as I’ve mentioned once before, I’ve never looked at any charts to keep track of his milestones. We enjoy them as and when he learns new stuff and surprises us with his antics. All I can say is – there is never a dull moment and it is a joy to watch him grow!

This spring of joy is much needed in our lives which is getting more hectic by the day. If the distance we were traveling to work was not already long enough, both mine and the hubby’s offices shifted to a location, another 10 km further away – now most of our waking hours are spent in locations on the far East of Bangalore, which if you ask me I can never consider to be a part of the city! Of course, people’s opinions differ and they have offered us various suggestions – the most common one being, why don’t you move to a place closer to work? We don’t want to move for several reasons – the most important being the kiddo, we don’t want to disrupt his routine, most definitely don’t want to put him in a creche/ playschool now and we want him to grow up in environs which atleast in parts remind us of the Bangalore of yore. We want him to be familiar with the bylanes of Basavangudi and Gandhibazar and Jayanagar and Malleshwaram – enjoy and drink in the cool air provided by the green lung spaces which still dot some parts of these areas. We don’t envisage ourselves as people who would enjoy the pleasures offered by the glitzy malls and amusements of a glamorous cosmopolitan Bangalore. If for this we gotta bear some hardships, then so be it; I am sure we will work out a mid-way solution somewhere down the line.
Phew! that’s quite a rant, isn’t it? But I’ve really had enough of people offering me the seemingly simple solution to our hardships – ‘move house’!

Amongst other news, on one of our recent ventures to this famous lung-space of Basavangudi, we came across this Kannada library called “Munnudi” and I thought I must spread word about it on my blog. It is a modern library catering exclusively to Kannada readers with a wide variety of books – old and new in the various genres of Kannada literature. The registration fee is a nominal Rs.100 and they have different membership schemes – starting with the silver membership plan for Rs.50 a month with the facility to borrow 1 book at a time, right upto the diamond membership for Rs.150 and 3 books combo. Additionally with each scheme you have the choice to pay the fee upfront for the year where you also get cool discounts and what’s more in such a case, they do a home delivery of the books too! There is also a platinum plan for Rs.2000 yearly payment only with 4 books combo. They have a in-house kiosk with the RF-ID reader using which you can track the books and maintain your membership. Isn’t the whole idea so  awesome?!

I was really impressed with the initiative and thought I should share it with my readers (however few they might be! :D) And today while I was looking to check if they have a website, what do I find? – apparently it’s a venture of Just Books clc, as you can read it here and they also have a Facebook page – check this out. Guess they’re not exactly in need of publicity, but it nevers harms to spread the word, don’t you agree?! 🙂 Do drop in if you’re in the vicinity of KrishnaRao Park in Basavangudi – it is located on the road leading to ‘South Thindies’, they’re open from 8.30 AM to 9 PM on all days except Mondays which is their off-day.

Well, that’s it for now and I will try to be more regular with my posts, going forward…

 

Namma Metro

I’m back after a short hiatus and this time, not with baby tales. I see that this space has becomes more or less a mommy-blog, which I suppose is normal; but I feel I have neglected the other aspects of my writing. Earlier I had a wide variety of subjects that I felt like writing about and sharing my thoughts on, but with the arrival of the baby, all that has taken a back-seat. There are events happening around me, and I have opinions/ thoughts on them as before, but those thoughts never find their way onto this blog-space. Today I decided to make an attempt to get back to my former writing style and substance.

And what best to start on than the ‘talk of the town’? Namma Metro! 🙂 Yes! It is finally here! Today at 4 PM the inaugural run of Reach 1, is scheduled to be flagged off between the MG Road and the Byappanahalli stretch. As this article will tell you, the trains will stop at Trinity, Halasuru, Indiranagar and Swami Vivekananda Road stations for 30 seconds each and the frequency of the trains will be 10 minutes. From tomorrow the regular services are slated to be started from 6 AM in each direction between Byappanahalli and MG Road.

Can you tell that I am super-excited! Gosh! We will finally have the metro zipping across our city! Though it is just a single line being started at the moment, it is a giant step taken, I feel. Better late than never! If there is one thing that was lacking in our city, according to me, it was the metro rail transport system. Having been in several cities abroad and in India and seeing how much difference having a metro makes to the time taken to commute within the city, I always felt that Bangalore sorely missed having one. I thought that it was one aspect of planning for the city which had been left undone too late, cities like London and Paris have an excellent inter-city and suburban rail transport system that was designed and built nearly 100 years ago. If they could do it then, why couldn’t we? Well, I suppose nobody anticipated the kind of bludgeoning growth that the city witnessed in the last few decades, but still, realizing that plan on paper was much delayed.

As the chairman of the commission’s working group and MD of Delhi Metro Railway Corporation (DMRC) E Sreedharan says: “Seven cities are already building the Metro. If the city’s population is 2 million, they must start planning for a Metro now. To me, the Metro rail should be a revolution in urban transport. How else are we going to handle this urbanization that’s going on at a frenetic pace? Buses can cope with just 8,000 passengers per hour.”

Rants aside, I am truly, really, amazingly and goose-bumped-ly happy that I am part of the generation that witnessed the metro services being launched in Bangalore. Did you know that our metro is really high on tech?

Check these out:

  •  Ballastless track system
  •  Electricity runs on third rail
  •  Wi-fi enabled coaches, internet access
  •  Emergency call button
  •  Voice communication/speaker system between passengers, driver and control centre
  •  CCTVs inside stations and trains
  •  Automatic train supervision, safety and protection that will sense another train on the same track and come to a halt
  •  Stainless steel coaches made by Hyundai Rotem and Mitsubishi
  •  Automatic ticketing
  •  Recharge of metro cards through mobiles and SMS, a first in the world

Wow! Isn’t that amazing?! In fact it is supposed to be so stable that you can drink your coffee without spilling a drop, as this article will tell you. The logo for the metro is the Rangoli. In the words of the designers Jayanth Jain and Mahendra Kumar: “Rangoli has been an intrinsic part of Bangalore’s culture. With the explosion in vehicle population, it faced the prospect of being lost forever. We wanted to revive this traditional art while depicting the seamless, continuous connectivity of the Metro covering all parts of the city, and it became the inspiration for the logo

The route map for Phase-1 according to their website is this:

But as many of us have seen and need to know, the journey hasn’t been easy. If there is one man who has taken all the brickbats till now and needs the bouquets, it is N Sivasailam. He has led from the front and has overcome a lot of adverse situations to bring the metro to us. You can read some instances and the team’s experiences here. It has left a lot of broken hearts especially with the demolitions – no compensation can replace their loss; but in retrospect, it was something that we as Bangalore citizens needed the most. So, it is hats off Mr.Sivasailam and his relentless team. We’re proud of you and thank you wholeheartedly.

On this eve, E Sreedharan , in his message to Bangalore says:

I want Bangalore Metro to be the best. Bangaloreans must take pride in their first mass rapid transit system. With this, we’ve proved to the world that we can construct world-class transport systems

We definitely are a proud and happy lot! Now, all that I need to do is go to MG Road and hop on to the metro and take a joy-ride! I am eagerly looking forward to doing that! 🙂

My city, my love

The temperatures had been soaring over the past few days and there was no respite… sleeping at night beneath the fan churning and re-circulating the hot humid heavy air was turning out to be an ordeal. Yesterday when my manager started to leave at an unusually early hour (for him), I remarked – “wow! It might rain today!” Seems like the Gods above heard me! 😀 In the evening even as we got back we could smell it in the air… the sweet scent of the first rains on dusty dry land wafted from far across. I reached home and it hadn’t rained yet, maybe it won’t rain after all, I thought disappointed.

As I finished the chores for the evening there was a sense of restlessness – of not knowing what to do – it wouldn’t do to switch on the TV – it just wasn’t a day for cricket and IPL and all that screaming. I decided to pick up a book after a long time. As I flipped through the pages the unease stayed with me… I decided to step out into the portico. I vacantly looked across the street and the kids playing with gay abandon… that’s when the symphony started – the clouds darkened and without warning big fat drops started decorating the brown surface of the road. I realized with slow childlike wonder that it was actually raining! The first drops brought with them the unrivalled sweet scent of the wet earth and the sense of calm and joy that the rains would wash away the heat and dirt and everything would be sparkling clean again.

The mobile beeped and I grinned at my manager’s message – “Anu, it is indeed raining today!”😀

I sat out by the steps for a long time, taking in the sights – kids jumping around and getting drenched, the umbrellas coming out of closets to be put to use, the saree hung out to dry now flapping in the cool wet breeze, the orange-ish hue of the full moon night bright in spite of the power cut; listening to the soft pitter patter of the rain-drops and more than anything else, hungrily drinking in the heady fragrance.

Today morning it continued to be cool and the clouds hung low on what looked like a wintry/ rainy day. As I walked into the lush green campus fresh after the night rains – the roads wet, the leaves green and the flowers dewy, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of overwhelming love and thankfulness. I breathed in deeply and was reminded of the purity of the mountain air of Shimla. I am so glad to be living here – in this city, which in spite of all its so-called changes continues to surprise and bless us with days like this. Of course, we need the summers – for the mangoes and the melons, the spring buds and the shoots, the pink and yellow blooms lining the skyline and carpeting the roads… but when the mercury level rises what we crave for is showers like these – to bring the message of hope and freshness and purity and fill our hearts and lives with that inexplicable sense of joy! Thank you, my love!