Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Bangalore has received a lot of bad press for the recent spate of rains. Infrastructure, apathy etc.

We have a neighboring layout, Ferns Paradise, which is a little higher than our layout - Doddanekkundi has a lot of gentle mounds - our gate is the lowest lying point between the neighboring layouts and apartments. They have been lax in managing their excess storm water and just let everything out into the street. All our requests to manage it within their premises have fallen on deaf ears. Naturally all water collects at our gate. We have ensured we properly treat sewage and also connect to Rajakaluve as per norms. But when there is a cloud burst like what we have had since two days, there is just too much water and the Rajakaluve is unable to drain it away fast enough. The night of last year's Diwali, when we had a similar outpouring, water had come up to our compound wall. But not further. Yesterday, thanks to two days' worth of onslaught, we were seeing water come up to our gate. This has never happened before.

There are also a lot of new homes in our layout which have connected their entire storm water profile to the sewage. Despite repeated requests, this problem largely still remains unattended to. As a result, the sewage chambers outside our home overflow when there is heavy rain since they just cannot hold all that storm water. Normally, the sewage water drains into the storm water drains but yesterday it just had no place to go since the drains were already overflowing.

Thanks to us, as a layout, being strict with keeping storm water drains clear at all times, our usual experience is that once this heavy downpour lets up even a little bit, water drains away nicely.  We were unsure yesterday how much longer the onslaught of rain would last so as a precaution, we moved our cars to the upper part of our street and also sealed shut our water sump with packaging material.

Luckily neither precaution needed to kick in. The Rajakaluve did it's usual magic and once the downpour let up a bit, water drained away as usual and this morning, when I ran on the layout streets, my shoes didn't even get wet.

The takeaway from this - a little less civic apathy as communities and as individuals, goes a long way. Unfortunately, this is not to be. We continue to see people push back when asked to follow rules. So, the saga repeats.

But I do have great faith in Bangalore's citizen activism. Within our community, we have been able to use the threat of stopping work to keep our storm water drains free from construction debris, for example. Hopefully, we can continue to exert pressure on the neighboring layout to manage their excess storm water without just letting it out onto the street. At a city level, we have solved many problems despite the government inefficiencies, hopefully, over time, we will take care of this too!


Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Remembering May 1997

It was March 1997. For our batch of students, the most frenzied phase. Entrance examinations, college examinations, board examinations, examinations, applications, admissions. We studied and prepped and we were ready.

If only..

Starting from the day our Math paper was published on the front page in Deccan Chronicle, the iconic Hyderabad paper, our lives went on a rollercoaster. The entire Intermediate board exams were cancelled and re-scheduled to late April/early May. In what was a never-before-possibly-never-after, the IIT-JEE entrance exam was also compromised that year. Luckily the EAMCET examination was compromised just the year before so we were spared having to re-take that one as well. But the end result of all this was a medley of confusing mess of exams all sitting on top of one another, leading to a hectic May. Heck, I didn't even re-appear for the JEE since I was really exhausted and frustrated with this whole rigmarole. 

Then the results came - we basically had a fair/stalls setup in different places/districts where memorandum of marks were distributed. Students who needed them urgently had no choice but to travel to those locations to collect. If you didn't need them in a hurry, you could still wait for the usual channels. We had written umpteen letters to authorities to have the results delivered by the deadline for application to BITS-Pilani which was June-30. We got them ON June-30, thanks to then CM, Chandrababu Naidu really stepping up. From picking the marks to rushing to the only post office that was still open - Secunderabad HPO, to sending a telegram of the marks to BITS-Pilani before close of admission deadline (this was the only BITS at the time), we didn't even have enough time to look through the marks sheet and process the results and spend a moment to enjoy/relish the end of 15 years of hard work put in high school and +2. Such was the state of affairs. We went home exhausted and relieved more than anything else.

Then the local counseling got delayed. I had to make a call between taking the BITS admission or waiting for the local prospect. I had more or less decided to go to the US after engineering and so didn't want to spend even the engineering years in a hostel and so, my choice was simpler.

Local counseling started. I picked JNTU over OU - it was basically a choice between 20KM commute vs 2 KM and I picked the 20KM commute and I remember my Dad saying throughout the way back that if I have a chance, I should change it - why would I put myself through that pain for four years when I had admission to a college next door. But, I was sure I didn't want to pursue EEE, so wanted to at least give myself a chance to change it. Thank God, I was finally able to move to ECE for having picked this horrible commute, else, who knows, I might have regretted the JNTU decision big time. Or, in the very  least I would have had to listen to many "I-told-you-so", "You-should-have-picked-OU" lines. Given whom I married later, of course, now I can safely claim it was all pre-ordained that I rejected every other (and better) college to end up in JNTU - just to meet him ;)

Well, all that frenzy done and dusted. Now all set to start engineering, right? Hell, no. We joined on December-29-1997. Do NOT ask why. The local process kept getting delayed. And as if to stake a claim to being the batch of 1997-2001, we joined formally with just two days left in 1997 and went to college exactly for those two days before breaking for the new year :)))

So we ended up studying and clearing one year worth of first year engineering material in a record five months!

Anyway, rewind to that phase between July 1997-December 1997 - 6 months. A bunch of teenagers who finished college, were ready for engineering, knew which college they were going to and basically, HAD NOTHING left to do except wait. That was the time of our lives! We went to every eatery in Hyd, every movie theatre, saw all kinds of crappy movies, ate all kinds of food, basically hanged-out around the town like there was no tomorrow.

Thanks to that frenzied May, 25 years ago, we had a blissful 6 month following. The best time of our lives!

Of course, it was agonizing to live through those 6 months, not knowing when we will start (basically like our pandemic now), but thanks to being young and the advantages that come with it, we did manage to really enjoy ourselves thoroughly!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Remembering Ma, 10 years after..

This Diwali was like any other - but I couldn't shake off the thought of that Diwali 10 years ago, when we had to rush my mother-in-law to emergency at Manipal. On the way there, she kept saying, she might not survive this bout of "Amavasya" hospitalization. Her mom passed away on an Amavasya and she was somehow sure she would too. We came back - very sober, very reluctant to "celebrate". We burst a few crackers for formality and called it a night.

Although she survived that Amavasya night, she passed away exactly one Indian month later on the Amavasya following. She held on to her life so she could meet my brother-in-law one last time - till he came down, she battled hard. Not many immigrant kids are lucky like that - to find closure and be around when a parent passes away, but she made it possible for him, she wouldn't let go without him being around. 

After he came down, she, in fact recovered enough to spend about a week at home with his family and all her grand-kids. As soon as he left to attend to some work in Hyderabad, we had to rush her to emergency again the following day and that was the last time she was ever home. 

Ten years later, every time I see her picture or think of her, the only thought that crosses my mind is, she should have lived at least a couple more decades. She worked all her life and looked forward to retirement and spending time with grand kids. In fact she used to tell Rohan, that when he starts school, she would pack lunch boxes for him just like she used to for her boys. This morning Rohan said, Amma, she never got a chance to pack my lunch boxes. She never saw me go to school.

She should have lived, she should have been healthy and happy and lived at least a couple more decades. The last few months were tough for all of us, seeing her wither away, lose all her strength and consequently becoming miserable at her own lack of ability to perform even simple daily tasks - for someone who always was going about here and there, it really irritated her confining herself to one place the whole day. Adding to that dialysis thrice a week on top of her already weak frame - it was just painful to see her go through it all :( She wanted to do so much, she couldn't do anything, she really wished to be gone rather than live like that - she even said that ever so often.

One of the nights before we rushed her to emergency the last time, I was giving her an oil massage to ease the pain in her legs and when I was done, she said, you have done so much for me, I will come back and be born to you. When I see my younger one, I feel, she kept her end of this promise. I did really want a boy so she even became one to make me happy :)

She was one of my very vocal supporters and never spared any words when it came to praising or comforting me. I really miss that. Every promotion, every milestone, every achievement, first thing I wonder, if she was around, she would have said this and been so happy. We could have celebrated so well together. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.

One of her last blogs - we all miss you Ma..


Yesterday I returned from hospital after treatment fully exhausted , tired and hungry .Divya served me hot delicious lunch affectionately inspite of her busy work schedule ,Icouldnot stop myselffrom saying annadata sukhibhava .Ofcourse daily we have hot meals but when u r hungry and weak it makes alot of difference .GOD BLESS HER .