Lets make Bangalore Hotter

There's a power cut right now. I'm at home, and last year we'd taken a call to not start the gensets between 10am-5pm if the electricity was out.

Its in the lower 30s right now - and thats out in the sun. This being Bangalore, the breeze is still pleasant, and its perfectly tolerable indoors, unless you've grown up in the Upper Himalayas or the Arctic or at least Canada. But there are mails about the unbearable heat, asking for backup power to be restored immediately. The power cuts are shorter these days, and surely we can afford this!

Can we ? Our apartment complex uses 2x180KWh generators to keep the backup power going. At peak loads, utilization has rarely exceeded 40%. During the day its worse - with most people at office. Can we really afford to keep making Bangalore hotter, and crib about the heat, and keep running gensets longer as we strain the power supply with a larger and larger demand for energy to keep our airconditioners running perpetually?

Yes, we've got so used to keeping airconditioning running all the time at work, in the cars, that the lack of it makes it unbearable? (Honest, its in no way hot as I type this. My daughter's here too, and not even close to complaining about the heat).

What can we do ? There's been talk of trying to connect both gensets and try and reduce the diesel consumption to a minimum. But the action's been slow, and I fear will die out once the gensets are back on fulltime. There's also the aspect of redefining what "need" is and the things we "cannot live without" as a society.

We in the middle class blame the government a lot for most stuff. Lack of roads, lack of electricity supply, lack of public transport, and everything else. Often rightly so. But my observation in the recent past also leads me to believe that we're quite insensitive and focused on our short term needs, even at a huge cost to our long term benefits. The craz.y salary spiral, the real estate bubble, the growing use of cars even for basic grocery shopping, the string of excuses for not using public transport, etc - these are all symptoms of a common malaise -"let me solve that little bit of an issue and who the hell cares if the cost is huge - I didn't create the problem after all". We keep giving in too easily, to too many "necessities", at too large a cost. I really have nothing against convenience, but we could start showing some level of sensitivity towards ensuring the footprint these cause is reduced as much as possible. Monetarily, we can surely afford that.

Fair enough. Sure, I'm probably over-reacting and hyper-ventilating, but then I'm also despairing.

Edit : just noticed the Google Ads on the side for this page - both hilarious and depressing. Commerce, ah.

Whither Bangalore ?

The Hindu : Karnataka / Bangalore News : Gangs attack women in ‘western attire’

Horrible - and while I'm trying hard to not be biased, such elements seem to have been emboldened under the present government. I was optimistic when the government had changed and we'd gotten rid of the Gowda family and related uncertainty - but given their silence and inaction on these kind of issues makes me less certain Bangalore will continue to be as friendly as civilized under them. Its really a fringe element of society/polity, and it'll be sad if they're allowed to terrorize and radicalize a friendly place like this.

This entire outside/insider cr@p these guys rake up, and then proceed to target lone women for, is such a fraudaulent issue. This has been my home for 13 years now, including the coffee, people, weather, and the adjust maadi comfort one gets here - and its scary to see these lumpen narrowminded allowed freedom to roam the streets and tell people where they should live, what they should wear, who they're permitted to meet and what God they can and cannot pray to. Mangalore seems to have been under this terror for a while now, and I guess they want their influence to spread. Unless the good folks of Bangalore (or even Mangalore) stand up and resist - and the report doesn not inspire confidence wrt that - we'll just let these louts take over completely.

Mr. Yeddiurappa, whose side are you on ? Loud and clear, please, for once.

The Standard of Living Problem

This was sent on the Bangalore Bikers' Club group. Someone also noticed the mention that in the 70s, 71% of passenger trips were made on bicycles! He also commented that "It was better than Copenhagen."

So Bangalore, and in fact most of the country, did have a bike culture - ? Except it was hardly a culture - but more of a lack of choice. Our species is so governed by defined and accepted "standards" that we soon got hit by technology, and all that. And as affordability/incomes improved, there was only one path that spelled "progress" and we took to our Vespas and Lambrettas like there was no tomorrow, licence raj notwithstanding.

And so on and so forth. The used Ambys, Padminis, the landscape changing 800 and Gypsy for the braver souls, and in more recent part the plethora of options with more and more features becoming 'standard' and airconditioning becoming the only visible way to battle the noxiousness this progress brought into our lives.

The argument given, usually, is that this is the "price" of development and economic progress.

Really ? Are we so dumb that there's only the whole of one of two or three models to be picked from ? Nah, we just never bothered to define our own report card and terms of progress.

So its someone else's "standards" we're trying to catch up with - consumption of electricity, fuel, goods leading the march. Upsizing, a "standby" mode for everything at home, western WCs, zippy long expressways to merely get to work - all are symptoms of this affliction.

These "standards" have started to interfere with the "living" in a big way. Gotta evolve beyond the aping we've gotten into. Gotta be smarter than the species has been in the last 30-40 years or so.

Cars move cars, not people!

Amazingly good read about the inherent inefficiency of private transport, why trains work better and why cities should be defined by a 20 minute walking radius!

You might initially not find the ideas practical, or even digestible, but give it another read, and start asking "why not". For too long we've not questioned the way of life, the form of economics and the attributes of progress that have been defined for us and that we're expected to pursue and strive for.


The real problem is, though, cars don’t move people, cars move cars. The average car or light truck is two tons or so: 4000-plus pounds to move 200 pounds of people. OK, everybody out of the SUVs and F-150s and into a nice, green Prius. However, the curb weight of an unladen Prius is 2765 pounds, which means a ton and a half around to get you and a bag of groceries home. Not good.

Someday a generation will wonder "How could they? Did they not pause to think, or did they have no brains or foresight?"

Ride The Bus! CBD Bangalore HOHO Service.

The BMTC has launched a Volvo service in the central business district which connects all the hotspots in 2 circular routes, at a low, convenient fare of 10/- for an all day pass! Just hop on and hop off wherever you need to go. All the major malls, intersections are covered, and you'll get to walk and discover the pleasures of Bangalore's happening zone too.

Thsi service is called the Kendriya Sarige (just ask for KS, eh ?) and you're guaranteed a bus every 5 minutes or so! Another service - the "Big10" (2 routes start today) connects the entire city using regular (10 minute frequency!) buses on the major arterial roads.

Here's a map of the routes and a list of stops on both the Blue line and the Orange line.

I'm very very impressed with Namma BMTC and will definitely make use of Namma Bus :)

Bangalore, do try and not take the car to CBD - ride the bus instead! Saves fuel, pollution, congestion and encourages the city to think of more progressive options. Public transport options have been a chicken and egg story for a while, but BMTC has taken the first steps forward. Now its upto us to use it or lose it.


The Big10's are starting on 2 routes today - E-City and ITPL. Fromt next week, they'll start on the Sarjapura Road-Viveknagar-Brigade Road route too! Yay - it'll probably pass my office too :)

Hazards of being a bl**dy do-gooder

As is wont with the more enthusiastic bikers in Bangalore, Rohan and a bunch of others were at Lalbagh some time ago trying to spread the word and do their bit to create a mindset change towards cycling.

Look what they got from some senior citizen, and some official!

I remember a guy trying to pick a fight around the same place earlier too when we'd gone there for the first Critical Mass. Fine, you have a different point of view - but whats with the animal behaviour, morons ?

Cycling benefits illustrated

[ From the Mumbai Bikers' Picasa Pics ]