Tag Archives: Bangalore

Traffic woes, no one listens

I’d sent this e-mail on 26th Oct 2009 to the Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic), Bangalore City (currently Commissioner Praveen Sood) – to highlight the lack of regulatory efforts to improve the traffic situation in Bangalore. There has been no response till date (11th Feb 2010)… Well kinda expected, you’d say. There’s little that we can do, or make an impact about, unless the regulatory body is *serious* about it.

Please share your experience(s) & thoughts in the form of comments to this post.

To: addlcptrafficbcp@gmail.com
Date: 26 Oct 2009 02:07 am
Subject: Traffic Rules, Compliance & the Regulators

Hello Sir,

I have a couple of thoughts driving daily on the Bangalore roads:
1. We, the citizens, do not care or bother about the traffic rules; and even less about civic sense on the roads.
2. Then there are the regulators – the traffic police – who seem more interested to penalize the rule breakers & collect fines, rather than to make the citizens to comply by the law. (Is it true that there is a monthly “collection target” given to all the traffic officers, to be met?)

I’ve always wondered why do traffic policemen only stand inside a one-way, or after a traffic signal, (& such others)? Why don’t they stand at the start of the wrong end of the one-way and ensure that no vehicles come in & break the one-way rule? Similarly at a traffic signal its usual to find many traffic personnel waiting (rather waiting discreetly) *after* the signal to catch any offenders who break the signal. There are more traffic personnel seen waiting to catch the offenders & collect fines, than to regulate the traffic at the signals. Why is it being done this way?

Please understand, my intention to write to you is not as a complaint about these (& such others) – but more with a serious concern about the lawlessness on the road, which is increasing by the day.

My understanding is:
1. Some of the drivers are not aware of the rules. This is a problem caused by the RTO, which has issued them the driving licenses, without their being truely elligible for it.
2. And then, almost all the drivers don’t care much for the rules, because of their awareness of a lax regulatory body.

I do understand there’s a long way to get these things improved at the root level. However I look up to you for as much improvement as is possible by you, especially in the regulation of the roads. If the regulators get serious about compliance, I have a strong feeling that the lawlessness can be dealt with, effectively.

I am ready & available to volunteer as a pro-active citizen, for any help needed by your department, for this.

Thank you,
Rgds,

Nirav Doshi

Whodunnit: Fictional Relief of Frustration – Part IV

Part IV: Continued from Part III:

Recap:
Five auto-rickshaw drivers are mysteriously killed on the road over a week. The passenger of the first auto-rickshaw, Maanvi Sharma, potentially provided a clue of a bike driver being the potential suspect. The investigating police sub-inspector D. K. Gowda had received a note from the supposed killer which explained the reason for the murders. The supposed killer wanted the auto-rickshaw drivers to drive responsibly & strictly follow traffic rules. Now there’s news about an accident involving two cabs on HAL Airport road.

Alongwith the auto-rickshaw drivers, cab drivers who ferry the various company staff across the city, were also the worst drivers on the road. Unlike an auto-rickshaw, which cannot go very fast, the cab drivers drove their ‘racing cars‘ recklessly on the city ‘tracks‘. Numerous accidents caused by cab drivers were reported on a daily basis, and even otherwise – with their constant honking, menacing driving, blatant & consistent breaking of rules; the cab drivers *were* a serious nuisance on the road.

There was something unusual about this accident worrying Gowda, otherwise he wouldn’t have been informed about it. He was getting anxious as his jeep closed on to the HAL Airport (Old Airport) road – Victoria Road – Trinity Church Road junction.

The junction is a T-Junction where the HAL Airport road ends and the Victoria road starts, while the Trinity Church road causes the perpendicular split & connects them to the M.G. Road. The traffic signal regulates vehicles coming from the old Airport end taking a right turn on to the Trinity Church road, or continue straight on to the Victoria Road. Similarly, Vehicles coming from the Victoria Layout end can take a left on to the Trinity Church Road or continue straight on to the HAL Airport road.

Gowda got down from his jeep and walked towards the crowd gathered near the road coming from the Trinity Church road and turning left on to the HAL Airport road. He could see a white Tata Indica (car) crashed in to the right-side of a white Tata Sumo (multi-utility vehicle). Both the vehicles were badly damaged with the impact. Both the vehicles were cabs, most-likely ferrying IT/BT/BPO employees. There were a couple of police constables and a traffic constable already there. One of the police constable rushed over to Gowda and saluted him.

“Namaskara Sir, we had reported this & called for you.”

Gowda nodded, “Hmm… When did this happen?”

The constable replied, “This happened about an hour ago. We reached here about 30 minutes back, after we received the message broadcast. The traffic constable had first reported this.” He pointed to the traffic constable, called him over and continued, “Sir, the Tata Indica driver was coming from the Victoria road, crossing the signal to get on to the old Airport road, when this happened. The Indica driver was shot in the head, so we were called.”

The constable looked at Gowda’s face, expecting for some reaction. However, Gowda was busy inspecting the two vehicles. Without any expressions, he asked, “Is he alive?”

The constable replied, “No sir, he is dead. Both vehicle drivers are dead sir. We were doing the panchanama when you arrived.”

By that time, the traffic constable had reached them. He saluted Gowda and looked at the police constable, who continued, “After the driver was shot, he seems to have lost control of his vehicle. He probably floored the accelerator of the car turned left to crash into the Tata Sumo which was coming from the Trinity Church road and taking the left turn to get on to the HAL Airport road.”

Gowda slowly nodded his head, then turned to the traffic constable and asked him, “Where were you when this happened?”

The traffic constable immediately replied, “I was right here sir, managing the traffic. I was on the road median facing & guiding the vehicles coming from the Airport road when I heard a loud noise from behind. I turned around and saw the Indica and the Sumo had crashed.”

Gowda asked him, “Were there any passengers in the Indica or the Sumo? Were any other people hurt in this?”

The traffic constable replied, “Yes sir, there was one passenger in the Sumo. He’s not hurt as much, only some scratches. He was sitting on the left seat behind the driver.”

Gowda asked him again, “Any other passengers or passers-by hurt?”

The traffic constable replied, “No sir, no one else. The Indica was empty.”

Gowda turned to the police constable, “Where’s the passenger? Did you speak to him?”

The police constable said, “Yes sir, we spoke to him… that’s how we got to know that the driver was shot at.”

Gowda exclaimed, “What? Did he see someone shoot the driver? Where is he?”

The police constable said, “Yes sir, he’s there on the footpath.” They start walking towards the footpath.

The constable continued, “He said he saw someone riding a bike shoot the driver. The bike was waiting to take a right turn from the Airport road on to the Trinity Church road. After shooting the bike immediately sped away from the spot, he says.”

They reached the footpath and searched for the passenger. He was sitting below a tree with a handkerchief tied to his forehead. He had a bottle of water in his hand and looked calm.

Gowda held his hand out and said, “Hello, I’m sub-inspector Gowda. How are you feeling now?”

The man, seemed to be about 30 years old, shook his hand and said, “Hello sir, I’m Amit Joshi. I’m okay now, thank you.” He looked at his left elbow and lightly touched his forehead.

Gowda said, “Okay, good. Where do you work?”

Amit replied, “I work with Citibank, on Hayes Road, and I stay at Marathahalli. I was on my way home, after my shift, when this happened.”

He continued after a pause, “I saw someone shoot at the Indica sir. He was riding a bike.”

He took a pause again, wondering if he should continue talking or stop.

Gowda, looking at him in the eye, said, “Yes, continue… I want to know what you saw. Tell me in detail.”

Amit continued, “Sir, we were coming from this side”, showing his hand towards the Trinity Church road, “and the signal had just turned green for us and my driver continued to take the turn quickly as there was no vehicle ahead of us.”

“I was slightly worried and was anxiously looking at the traffic coming from the Victoria Layout end. Their signal had turned red, but still the last 2-3 vehicles were speeding through the signal, towards us. One of them was this Indica. As soon as the Indica was at the center of the road junction, I saw a bike rider standing at the signal, point a gun towards the Indica. I think he shot from the gun & after that, I saw the Indica lose control and hurtling towards us. It crashed into us and then I don’t remember anything until I was being pulled out from the wreck by this traffic constable and one other person. I’m not hurt much, but these policemen tell me my driver is dead.”

Gowda nodded. He said, “Yes, unfortunately he’s dead. Did you see the bike rider properly? What bike was it? What was he wearing? Was he wearing a helmet or did you see his face?”

Amit replied, “I only saw the rider for a fraction of a second. I only remember he was riding a black Enfield Bullet and was wearing a black or gray jacket. He wore a helmet, so I didn’t see his face.”

Amit continued, after a pause, “And yes, the rider had a cream or brown coloured bag kept in the front, on the bike’s fuel tank, where he quickly put the gun back before speeding away. I couldn’t understand anything at that time, and was more concerned about the cab approaching us.”

Gowda nodded, “Yes, I can understand. Do you recollect anything else? Anything written on his jacket or bag? Some logo or picture?”

Amit shook his head, “No sir, all this while after I was pulled out of the Sumo, I was thinking about the same thing. Whatever I could recollect I’ve just told you sir.”

Gowda replied, “Okay. Fine. Do you want to visit a doctor & get yourself checked?”

Amit replied, “No… no sir, I’m fine. I just want to go home now. Can I leave? I will hire an auto-rickshaw.”

Gowda called the police constable, “Take his name, address, phone numbers & get him an auto-rickshaw to go to Marathahalli.”

He then wrote something on a chit of paper, turned to Amit and said, “Give the constable your contact details. And, here’s my cell number. If you recollect anything else, feel free to give me a call anytime. Thank you, and take care of yourself.”

After Amit left, Gowda called the traffic constable near, and asked him, “Didn’t you hear any gun-shot sound from where you were standing? It seems you were close to the bike rider?”

The constable replied, “Sir, I might have heard – but didn’t notice it. Many times, vehicle tyres burst and even some vehicles, especially auto-rickshaws, while starting make abrupt loud noises… These sound like crackers bursting. So, I may have heard it, but didn’t give any attention to it sir.”

Gowda said, “Hmm… Is this signal mounted with a CCTV camera, & monitored at the Ashok Nagar police station?”

The constable shook his head, “No sir, not this one.”

Gowda brushed his hair with his right hand; he was deep in thought. This was *again* leading him nowhere. There were thousands of Enfield Bullet bikes on Bangalore’s roads. He still needed some better leads to solve this.

It also seemed like the Indica driver drove past a red signal, just before the vehicles from the Old Airport road were about to take the right turn on to the Trinity Church road. Their signal would’ve just turned green; so the bike rider *must* have been ready to shoot, with his bike engine running, before the Indica drove in front of him.

The killer also seemed to be a trained/expert shooter. He could hit moving targets with accuracy. Most of his shots were on the head, giving little or no chance of survival. Once he shot at the driver here today, all he had to do was keep the smoking gun in his bag, change the bike’s gear and accelerate away.

There must’ve been other vehicles behind him who must’ve seen him shoot and speed away. But no one there, waited to tell the story. These killings were also causing a serious risk to the other vehicles on the road and passers-by.

The next day morning, he was surprised to see the newspaper’s front page reporting the cabs accident and the driver’s murder. It had also published a letter received by most of the newspaper offices, purportedly written by the killer. The letter’s content as well as its photograph was published and it was formed with words cut out from a newspaper or a magazine, just like before. The words were again stuck to a paper in correct sequence of the words to form a sentence. It read:

This is my NO-TOLERANCE MOVEMENT.

This time I got two birds with just one shot! The cab driver drove through the red signal; I drove a bullet through his skull.

My hit count is six, but total deaths are seven. Very low ‘statistics’ as compared to the perpetrators on the roads. So, treat this as an open warning to *everyone* on the road. Henceforth, I will not target auto or cab drivers only, now *ALL* the rash drivers are on my hit-list. If I see you break a rule, you will be shot at, 24x7x365. Simple.

Remember & obey the following 10 simple rules:

1. Strictly follow lane discipline. Do not change lanes without prior indication to the vehicles behind & in front of you.

2. Do not drive through red or amber signals. Respect the traffic signals, obiediently.

3. Do not honk unnecessarily. Honk *only* to inform other vehicles, not to SHOUT at them.

4. Slow down & HONK before a road crossing, and every time you take a blind turn.

5. Respect & give way to people crossing the road. Its their right to walk, while driving is a privilege given to you.

6. Needless to say, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.

7. As well as, DO NOT SPEAK ON YOUR CELLPHONE WHILE DRIVING.

8. Do not drive on the wrong side of the road, or especially on the footpath, even for a short distance.

9. Do not drive rashly in a personal rush/emergency; if you’re late for your appointment/work, its not the others’ problem.

10. Follow all traffic rules, and do not bribe traffic policemen to avoid penalty/punishment when you flout the rules. I will shoot both of you dead.

No one knows me. No one has seen me. Don’t dismiss my warnings here, I shoot quite accurately & discreetly. Strictly follow my instructions above, and stay alive.

Soon, there will be many more people like me, monitoring the roads in Bangalore & shooting at anyone who dares disobey my instructions. After here, we will move to other cities in India.

JAI HIND!

With a little grin on his face, Gowda read the associated article. He said to himself, “I think, I like this guy!”

(End of Part IV)
Go to the last part, Part V

Whodunnit: Fictional Relief of Frustration – Part I

The shocked passenger was nervously happy to be alive with some injuries, after a close brush with possible death. The auto-rickshaw she was riding in, had suddenly swerved to the right & hit the median, causing the vehicle to topple to the left. Luckily for her, within a few seconds of the accident, some people from the crowd around the accident spot had rushed over and safely pulled her & the driver out. The people had carried her to the footpath and asked her to lay down there. After enquiring her how she was, she was helped to sit up straight and offered a glass of water to drink.

The 22 year old law student had hired the auto-rickshaw to reach the Forum Mall, and now the vehicle lay badly damaged at the Adugodi signal. She looked at the scratches on her left elbow & left knee and covered her torn clothes with her dupatta. Gathering her strength, she pulled out her cellphone from her purse and checked if it worked. She made a phone call and then continued to check for any other injuries.

Within a few minutes a police jeep with a sub-inspector (PSI) and 3 constables arrived. The constables pushed the crowd back with their lathis, while the sub-inspector looked around the vehicle, spoke to his constables & then asked aloud, “Was there any passenger?”. A few people from the crowd pointed to the girl and replied that she was the passenger in the auto-rickshaw.

Sitting on the footpath holding a half-filled glass of water, the girl nodded at the PSI and searched around for the driver in the crowd. The PSI walked over to her and asked her if she was okay. She nodded again and continued to search for the auto-rickshaw driver.

The PSI asked her, “Was there anyone else with you in the auto-rickshaw?”

She replied, “No.”

The PSI then asked her to relate what happened. She slowly recollected what had occurred and related the incident to him. She again turned around to search for the auto-rickshaw driver.

The PSI asked her, “Are you searching for someone?”

She angrily replied, “Yes, where’s the stupid auto-rickshaw driver? He almost got me killed!”

The PSI looked at her in the eye & replied, “He’s dead.”

She suddenly turned over to him & stared back unbelievably and exclaimed, “DEAD? WHAT? WHERE IS HE?”

The PSI helped her get up and slowly walk towards the vehicle. He showed her the driver’s dead body lying behind the vehicle. The body was lying in a pool of blood near his head.

She again looked back unbelievingly at the PSI and asked him, “How did he die? What happened to him?”

The PSI replied, “He has been shot in the head!”

She exclaimed, “WHAT? SHOT HIM WHAT?”

The PSI replied, “He seems to have been shot with a gun. That’s why he must have lost control over the vehicle and had this accident.”

“Did you see or hear anything before the accident occurred?”

She just shook her head in disbelief, then closed her eyes and started weeping.

The PSI said to her, “Cool down. Stay calm madam. We need you for the investigation. What’s your name?”

She replied sobbingly, “Maanvi”.

He asked, “Full name? And where do you live?”

She replied, “Maanvi Sharma. I stay in a PG at Frazer Town.”

He further asked, “Where were you going?”

She replied, “Forum Mall. My sister is there, waiting for me.”

He asked, “Did you call her up?”

She replied, “Yes yes… I called her a few minutes ago. She should be here any minute.” She turned her head towards the crowd searching for her sister.

The PSI then said, “Okay, we need to check your bag & purse. Can you show it to him?”. He beckoned one of the constables to come over.

Maanvi handed over her bag and purse to the constable, who checked it thoroughly and then returned it back to her. The constable shook his head at the PSI and went back near the driver’s dead body.

She pulled out her cellphone again and called her sister. “Where are you Saakshi?… Okay… Okay, I’m here diagonally opposite the Bata showroom. Come over quickly.” She hung up, turned to the PSI & said, “She’s almost here. Can I go?”

The PSI said, “Give us your full address & phone numbers. Do you want to visit a doctor first? Its important that you get a check up done. My constable can accompany you to a doctor close-by.”

She replied, “No sir, its fine. My landlady is a doctor and I will get myself checked-up by her.” She pulled out a piece of paper, requested for a pen from the PSI and scribbled down her name, address & phone number, and handed it over to the PSI.

“This is my address & phone number.”

The PSI replied, “Thank you. My name is D. K. Gowda. I will call you up tomorrow. You may need to come to the police station. Think about what happened and try to recollect if you heard any gunshot, or saw someone driving next to the auto-rickshaw just before the accident occurred. Okay? Take care.”

Maanvi nodded, and then slowly turned around to see her younger sister rushing towards her shouting, “What happened didi?” and frantically checking her clothes and body. “Are you badly hurt? Where are you hurt?”

Maanvi put her hand on her shoulder, and slowly pulled her away. She then said, “I’m fine. Let’s leave first. We’ll talk on the way.”

They slowly walked over to the other side of the road and hailed another auto-rickshaw to take them home.

The next day morning, Saakshi answered Maanvi’s cellphone. It was the PSI D. K. Gowda on the line,asking for Maanvi. Saakshi took the instrument to Maanvi who was lying down on the bed.

Maanvi answered “Hello Sir…”.

Gowda asked her, “Hello! How’re you feeling today? What did the doctor say?”

Maanvi replied, “I’m quite fine Sir, thank you. The doctor said I only have a few bad bruises… no broken bones, nothing serious. I was really lucky. My bag saved me. What happened to the driver’s body sir?”

Gowda replied, “Okay, good that you’re fine. We had to conduct a post-mortem on the driver’s body, after which it was handed over to his family.”

“So, were you able to recollect anything? Do you remember any gunshot sound or any car or bike driving next to the auto-rickshaw?”

Maanvi replied, “Yes sir. I remembered something, which might be of help to you. I’m a law student myself, and I know the importance of such information in a crime investigation.”

DKG replied, “Oh, great! So tell me…?”

Maanvi said, “Sir, when we were crossing the MICO factory on the Adugodi road, the auto-rickshaw driver had suddenly turned a little towards his right, to overtake another auto-rickshaw, without seeing the rear-view mirror. At that time, a biker driving next to us was barely saved from hitting the road median. He braked suddenly and controlled his bike. He then accelerated behind us and came to our left and shouted at the auto-rickshaw driver. The driver also shouted back at him and they continued their argument while driving. The biker backed off before the Adugodi signal and we continued further. As the signal had turned red, we had to stop. After stopping, the auto-rickshaw driver seemed to search for the biker in his rear mirror… grinning. I don’t know if he saw the biker or not, but within seconds the signal turned green and we started again. We crossed the signal and just before the Bata showroom the driver lost control on the vehicle and we had this accident. I think I saw the same biker on our left just before our accident. I remember from earlier, that he was wearing a dark gray jacket and had a small brown bag on his shoulders. I don’t know if this had anything to do with him, but this just came to my mind about something that had happened just before the accident.”

Patiently listening to her story all this while, DKG broke his silence, “Okay good. Do you know which motorcycle was he riding? Do you remember the registration number, by any chance?”

Maanvi replied, “No sir, I don’t know the motorcycle or the registration number or anything else. This was the best I could recollect.”

DKG said, “Okay, fine. I understand. You should rest. This is my cellphone number from where I’ve called you right now. Store it and call me back on this number if you recollect anything else. We might need your help further, I’ll call you up as needed. Okay?”

Maanvi, “Yes, okay. I understand. Thank you.” She hung up the phone and saved the number on her phone.

(End of Part-I)
Go to Part II

Accepted Injustice

1. Dhanya, a 14 year old village girl, died on the way to the hospital. The valiant villagers who had saved her from drowning in the raging Cauvery waters, couldn’t reach the nearest hospital just 2.5 kms away in-time to save the breathless Dhanya, only due to bad roads. The Sunday ToI (Bangalore Edition) on 28th June 2009, reported the sad news on the front page – as this also highlights the sad state of roads, especially in rural India.

    1. Who’s accountable for the loss of Dhanya’s life?
    1. Can Dhanya’s family sue the PWD (Public Works Department) for the horrible roads, which were the prime reason for their girl’s death? It might be tough to prove the allegations in court (the way our legal system is) – but its become utmost necessary to atleast cause a ripple in the hopelessly lax government departments.
    1. Couldn’t there be some action taken against the authorities responsible to provide the basic “bijli, sadak aur paani” (electricity, roads & water) to the villagers?
  • 2. I had an accident on the 03rd of Mar 2009 at around 22:00 hours, when I was driving my bike back from work. I broke a couple of ribs (minor cracks/fracture, unsure if they can be called “hairline fractures“) when I fell down – as my Bullet, cruising at less than 30 kmph, did not make it out of a deep ditch on Adugodi Road, here in central Bangalore. The front wheel got stuck in the deep crater on the busy road and turned itself to my left, while I was thrown off the bike to my right. I was lucky that the traffic behind me didn’t run over me – it was slow too – and even that the 200 kg bike didn’t crush my right leg!

    1. Can I sue the BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike), which is responsible for the state of the roads in Bangalore, and claim damages for my long suffering & excruciating pain? The ribs took a lot of care, a full two months to recover and caused a lot of stress & worry to my family too.
    1. Is it too much if I expect basic needs to be met, like good quality ditch-less roads in the IT capital of India? Why is the Indian citizen given step-motherly treatment for basic infrastructure – “bijli, sadak, paani”?
  • Yes, instead of cribbing here, indeed I can file a court case, and even can Dhanya’s family. But we won’t get into it. By not doing so, we save ourselves from a few years of court hearings, fat fees to the lawyers and some mental & physical harassment worrying about the uncertainty of the outcome of the case.

    There certainly is a problem with the terribly slow delivery of justice. The typical citizen avoids appealing for justice; and in turn supports the government departments & their employees in their fearless & careless corrupt growth towards “invincibility”. No accountability has induced a “who cares” attitude in them. For them, the death of a citizen is limited to an entry in the dead persons’ register, that too only with a valid death certificate. Period.

    Accepted Injustice” (is what I term this condition): We’ve accepted to live with injustice. 🙁

    How can the heavily corrupt and nonchalant government departments be sanitized? How can we sensitize the government employees towards citizen’s issues? Suggesting some action items:

    1. Implement serious accountability – linked to the salaries of *every* government employee. Parameters for the accountability need to be well-defined and strictly applied.
    1. Conduct regular, as well as surprise audits of each and every department to verify that the accountability is in force. The procedure of the audits can be standardized, so the audits can also be conducted by normal citizens – like you and me. The results of the audits can be one of the parameters for the accountability.
    1. The state Lok Ayukta departments (anti-corruption cells) need to be given more teeth. Any government servant implicated by the Lok Ayukta, should be immediately fired. He/She can never apply for, or join any other government department, ever.
    1. A stronger RTI act and vigilant proactive citizens needed too.
    1. Courts to have a single hearing & immediate judgement (fines) for cases against government departments. The fines ordered in the judgement should be deducted from the salaries of every employee in the convicted department.
  • We never know if these will *EVER* get implemented in India, and we are too small to make these changes happen, or influence them to happen. We sure can hope, though.

    “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” – Oscar Wilde

    So, do post your thoughts as comments here, and I will add the valuable thoughts to the list above – with due credit. 🙂

    Thank you!~

    Postcard from Bangalore!

    I noticed a red & white card lying next to my right shoe while waiting at the Madiwala checkpost traffic signal, on my way to the office. I bent over & picked it up. I wiped the wet dirt which had covered it. It was a card driving license (DL), and the name on the card read “Kavindra Rai”, above his father’s name and a very short one line address (the name of a road) in Darjeeling.

    We all know how difficult it is (typically) to get a DL done in India, especially if you go through the right channels. Alternatively, you need to ‘spend’ quite some money to get it through the twisted channels. So if the DL didn’t reach him, Kavindra would have to go through some trouble to get his DL re-issued at Darjeeling, or worst-case he’d have to go through the full process again – reapply for a fresh license, get the learner’s license, use it for atleast some 60 days, then apply for the permanent license, pass the test (and/or bribe!) & get the DL. And, only I had the power to save him from all that trouble & expense. 😉

    I suddenly felt important… And in the heat of the moment, I assigned myself a task: Trace “Kavindra Rai” & give him his DL back. 😐

    The ‘project’ was kick-started…  (music!)

    I launched my web-browser, and popped the query to Google. Yeah – “Mullah ki daud masjid tak.” I thought Google knew everyone on this planet… however, I was wrong. Either Kavindra was not from earth, or I had exceptionally high expectations from Google (which obviously works only as per data available to it, so nevermind!). Searching on a few social networking sites, on LinkedIn & even Skype contacts did not result in anything – so, it seemed Kavindra was probably not very net-savvy. But then isn’t everyone in hi-tech Bangalore a net-surfing online animal? 😉  Naah, theory = FALSE! Misconception about Bangaloreans.

    I then ventured into the BSNL West Bengal website, navigated to Darjeeling & tried to search for a phone number registered to his dad, or to him. There were a few name matches, but no address matches. I did call up 2-3 people whose names matched, but they turned out to be “wrong numbers” (Yeah, they told me that, though I knew I had dialled the number correctly. :-)). Why is it never a “wrong caller” instead? Anyway, my numerous other tries with some combinations, resulted either in almost the same list of people, or else the nondescript, “No search results”.

    Now I could think of only two final options to reach him, viz.:
    1. Telegram. Courtesy: BSNL
    2. Snail mail – (Yes!). Courtesy: India Post (Bhartiya Daak!)

    I called up a couple of local BSNL offices, and got the know that the nearest telegram office was at the Koramangala BDA Complex. I visited the telegram office there, collected the form, filled it up… gave a deep thought… and didn’t send it.

    Why didn’t I send it?: Well… telegrams are delivered by BSNL, the telephone guys. Would they really be able to find the person at the brief one-liner address in Darjeeling? The odds, I thought, were very low.

    I was thinking – with such a brief address, this task could only be assigned to The Indian Postman. He was my final option too!

    Yes, don’t raise your eyebrows yet. Haven’t you heard of the stories of the Indian postman delivering letters perfectly, even when the letters carried an address so short that would make the tiny space for the address on the postcard seem royal? Yes, I’ve experienced it myself. Letters addressed to my Panvel residence – with just my name on them alongwith the name of my society or my building, are enough to be delivered to my home without delays. Even though, I’m not famous (or infamous!)  in my approx. 7-8 lakh populated town and there’s also one other Nirav Doshi (a good friend!) in Panvel, but the letters are correctly delivered – courtesy: The Indian postman! 🙂

    With the backing of my trust & logic, I expected the postman at Darjeeling would either already know the person addressed, or atleast put in some additional effort in tracing the person addressed.

    I went ahead and bought 2 postcards for Re.1 (yeah, no more the 15 paise we’ve known it to cost… its costlier now!) 😀 . I scribbled a short message about the DL I’d found, my contact numbers & just requested the recipient to call me.

    Quite a few pessimistic thoughts crossed my mind: what if Kavindra’s residence had changed and that was an old address? What if Kavindra had not informed his family about the lost DL and now could be rebuked because of my postcard? And even worse thoughts – What if Kavindra was into some illegal activities? What if he’d run away from home & was not in contact with his family?

    Setting these thoughts aside, I optimistically dropped the postcard in the mailbox & started my wait for that phone call from Kavindra Rai or his family.

    About 10 days after I’d mailed the postcard – I received a phone-call in the middle of a meeting. The caller identified himself as “Kavindra”. I immediately recognized him and exclaimed “Oh, Kavindra Rai! Is that you?” – He sure was the Kavindra Rai I’d been trying to reach for soo long. He said we could meet over the weekend and then he would collect the DL from me. I quickly agreed and hung-up, couldn’t keep the office meeting waiting for me for long.

    After the meeting, I met up with a couple of friends at work and expressed the joy of accomplishing the task I’d set myself unto. My trust and logic was proven right. The 50 paise postcard had done its job in helping me in my task. And ofcourse there was the uncelebrated postman at Darjeeling, who delivered the postcard to its right recipient even with a bare-minimum address on it! 🙂

    Kavindra & me met up on the next Sunday – and I gave him his DL. 🙂 It was also very kind of him to carry along a pack of Darjeeling Tea he got for me, as a token of his thanks. I asked him, how did he manage without the DL for about 3 weeks, to which he said he had a photocopy of the DL with him, so wasn’t so worried about it. Yeah, the RTO Officers @ Bangalore are very accomodating, eh?!

    Nevertheless – Bhartiya Daak… Still rocking!~

    Mission marathon

    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium, Bangalore. From the Gate 11, this was where we were waiting to enter into the ground/tracks.

    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium Bangalore
    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium, Bangalore. From the Gate 11, this was where we were waiting to enter into the ground/tracks.



    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium, Bangalore. A bunch of us Nouseans holding the placards high.
    Sorry about the shaken picture, it wasn’t me! 😛

    Some of the Nouseans on the ground with the placards high!
    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium, Bangalore. A bunch of us Nouseans holding the placards high. Sorry about the shaken picture, it wasn



    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium, Bangalore. Finally, the Nousean group started running…! Me there too… 😀

    dscn3393
    Inside the Kanteerva Stadium, Bangalore. Finally, the Nousean group started running...! Me there too... 😀

     

    This time on the road, out of the stadium. I’m there in the front with the gray track-pants.

    On the road!
    This time on the road, out of the stadium.

     

    After about a kilometer completed. See us panting and puffing… :P. That’s me in the front with my napkin & cellphone in my track pocket. Just behind me, Manjunath looks like he’s about to drop down! 😀

    That's me in the front with my napkin & cellphone in my track pocket. Just behind me, Manjunath looks like he's about to drop down!
    After about a kilometer completed. See us panting and puffing... :P. That's me in the front with my napkin & cellphone in my track pocket. Behind me, Manjunath looks like he's about to drop down! 😀

    Another one, Manjunath is close to the lens this time… me right behind! 😉

    Another one, Manju close to the lens this time... me right behind!

    One more…

    One more...

    And this one with a lot of Nouseans in the frame catching their breath. 😉 Yeah, I needed the break too… 😛

    Whew... catching our breath!

    And here’re Aji waving out & a partly visible Sunil Shankar right behind Aji.

    Aji & a partly visible Sunil Shankar

    Nouseans in a group!

    A group of Nouseans!

    Sridhar, Sunu, 3 others, KB & a couple of female Nouseans – resting in the shade! Placards already half-way down! :-))

    Nouseans under a shade... Placards already half-way down! :-))

    Hurray! In front of the Vidhan Soudha (Karnataka State Assembly)
    Vidhan Soudha: Government Work is God’s Work! ;-)) With that our ministers are angels! 🙂
    Vidhan Soudha: Government Work is God's Work!  ;-))

    The Famous Five – After completing the mission.
    Sunu, Abraham, Suresh, KB & me!

    Whew! Mission accomplished, at last!
    Whew! The Famous Five - Mission accomplished, at last!

    Kick-start… Courtesy, ITC, UB Group…

    After a nice 5.7 kms of Sunfeast Bangalore Majja (fun) marathon yesterday (31st May 2009), I have a few aching muscles and lots of memories of a nice time running for Bangalore! I’d say a nice kick-start for me to exercise more frequently, as well as to participate in such events henceforth. Thanks to ITC Sunfeast… (ITC Ltd.)… as I don’t contribute to their revenue/profits otherwise! 😉 Nor do I contribute much to the United Breweries’ coffers (KingFisher [KF]!)… 😉

    Thanks also to my employers Nous Infosystems & the HR team – who organised this event for all of us.

    The Sunday started off for me with a sleepless night, as I slept (& kept) wondering if I would wake up on-time… worrying if I wouldn’t be on time & miss the 08:30 missive by Maryann (our Sr. HR Manager) as the time to meet up opposite the UB City entrance on VM road.

    I woke up, well before the 3 alarms I’d set for myself & was ready to leave home by 08:00. Stretched myself a little, and left home after having a couple of glasses of water.

    I was supposed to meet my colleague KB at a parking place close to Kanteerva Stadium, from where we were to walk to UB City and meet up with the rest of the guys from my company, Nous Infosystems. Coincidentally we met up right at the parking place and started our “marathon” walk towards UB City. We walked a little more than half a km to reach UB City at 08:20 and waited for the rest of the guys from the office.

    They slowly trooped in after about 30 minutes, i.e. about 20 minutes later than the 08:30 schedule. Finally we received our T-Shirts, our ID badges & our kits. We were prepared to carry the kits during the run, though we would’ve preferred them to have been given to us on the previous day, allowing us to decide what we really need to carry during the run. Additionally we also had to store and carry the T-Shirts which we wore from home that day, because we had to change into the “official” T-Shirts. 😉

    The Nous T-Shirts (official-wear) were good, though could’ve been better without the light gray colored text. The text wasn’t quite visible on a white T-Shirt, however I guess there were constraints that the designers couldn’t bypass. Nevertheless, they looked pretty good!

    We got into the Kanteerva Stadium from the designated gate and then went over to the Gate 11 from where the participants for the 5.7 km Majja (fun) run started their marathon! Gate 10 was overflowing with participants and the participants from the Gate 11 were also made to enter the ground from the same entrance as Gate 10. Nevertheless, we *finally* started our run at 09:30 hrs. IST and slowly worked our way out of the stadium.

    There was a huge crowd for the Majja run – official count ~13500~ – and most of them were corporate representatives in their “official-wear” with placards/banners in hand or wearing caps. The event was high on spirit & enthusiasm as there was no competition, pure participation.

    Manjunath, KB & me typically started running together (I’m wearing the ID 20453). Later we got seperated, but we continued running. We ran a little distance, then paused under a shade (if available!), caught our breath (was available!), walked some distance & then started running again… again for a short distance! Yes, we’re not in shape, and it showed! 🙂

    The crowd, volunteers and the “official” cheer-leader girls (Yes!) were quite entertaining (less encouraging)… especially when you’re out of breath. 🙂

    The sad part about the run were the roads strewn with litter – especially the small KF water bottles, thrown on the road by the runners after emptying. Later, I passed a woman participant in Cubbon Park carrying a couple of large polythene bags filled with these strewn bottles – hats-off to her!

    Winding across the route, we – 4 of us from Nous, viz. Abraham, Sreekumar, Santhosh & me – finally completed the 5.7 kms stretch in ~00:50:00! Back in Kanteerva’s enclosure at ~10:20 hrs. IST for the water (gasp!), cheering crowds (whew!) & refreshments (wow!).

    Though the event was to encourage a GREEN BANGALORE, a couple of things could’ve been organized better to really show the spirit.
    1. They could’ve organised BMTC buses from all around Bangalore to pick-up and drop the participants. This would’ve saved a lot of fuel + reduced the parking hassles at the event.
    2. Instead of supplying KF water bottles, the organizers should’ve encouraged the participants to fill up the water bottle, given in the kit, at the watering holes. The littered roads were cleaned within a short while after the event, which is good – but it could’ve been avoided altogether – as there *was* a better & greener alternative.

    These and other such improvements could’ve served the event better. Hopefully, the next time…

    Looking forward to a greener Bangalore, contributing to a greener India, and eventually contributing to a greener earth! 😉

    Hello World!

    Being a programmer (now only at heart!), and that too a C, C++ one… everything starts with a “Hello World!” – Courtesy K & R.

    throw, is a programming statement used to “throw handled/unhandled exceptions”. Read more, if you want to: http://www.cplusplus.com/doc/tutorial/exceptions/ & http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/6dekhbbc(VS.80).aspx

    Anyway, a wam welcome!
    Thanks & keep visiting for more about me & my experiences, thoughts, core-dumps! 😀