The kids need a better world.

Better broadband ?
Better digital interfaces ?
More connected online communities ?
Cooler handhelds ?
Quicker cars ?

Or cleaner air ?
Water ? (Man, this one is getting close.)
Livable cities ?

What do we leave behind ?
Plastic hills ?
Fenced, protected, expensive fresh water sources ?
Bubbles of glass inside which breathing is possible ?
Anger, despair, anxiety as the collective consciousness ?

Will they mock us ?
Curse ?
Deride our shortlived choices ?
Our escapist mechanisms to cope with threats ?
The generations that did not stand and fight and solve.
But escaped into the nether.
Created money, and used it to hide the sins.

Our lifespans are a curse, I read somewhere.
Looks like the curse is on our kids. And we're responsible.

I'm just wondering if there's a breaking point someplace and if we're all Neros.

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi


Dear GIMC,

Know what, I'm starting to get pissed with all the cynicism.

Let's show some spirit/character here, and stop using the shield of resignedness and hopelessness to avoid action/responsibility/effort, esp collective responsibility.

Its your job. Not your job "too", but your job. "They"/"the government"/"politicians" are not responsible for everything. You leave a vacuum, some or the other vested interest will smartly fill it up. So stop sitting on your rearsides, and stop leaving these vacuums.


Sameer (erstwhile member)

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi


Like that cigarette packs carry warnings, and scary pictures.

Shouldn't car ads show the 2.3kgs of CO2 ?
Shouldn't "convenient" sachets and packaging show the mountains of plastic piled up everywhere ?
Shouldn't the super-floor-cleaners, and soaps, and detergents, carry "screwing-your-groundwater" signs ?
Shouldn't food mention the pesticides used ?

Its all about convenient truths or inconvenient lies. Some, we just ignore. 

Of course I do not support smoking. I'm just saying we need to apportion our horror and disgust to other equally worrying problems as well. Irrespective of how benign advertising and media messages makes them seem (esp car ads!)

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi

My form, and my function

The Mangalore tragedy today saddened, and also provided a moment of reflection - what if I were to go today. It can happen randomly, after all.

Biologically, at 36, am over the hill. My bit towards the continuation of the species is done. I have participated in a fair bit of economic activity, ensured at least a decent future for the family and kids, and made at least a little bit of a positive impact here and there on society. 

What remains ? What will be lost if a flight I take crashes and I join some random statistic ?

Probably my creativity. Probably boundaries unexplored. But these are unknowns, unburdensome things. So perhaps the best way to live now is freely. Each day. Each decision. As it comes. No isms, no preconceived notions. No "challenges" but mere explorations - whatever and whenever possible.

So that when it happens, there is hardly any regret, and only joy and thankfulness for whatever was possible.

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi

Road Widening and Homeowner Pains

The BBMP has marked 216 roads for widening.

As someone has tweeted recently, widening roads for increasing traffic is akin to loosening one's belt as a solution for obesity.

How long will this help ? Wider roads - smoother traffic for a while - encourages more to drive - back to square one! A year's benefit, at most ? The sprawl problems in city after city have proven beyond doubt that merely wider roads are no solution for traffic issues. To make people lose their homes, land, etc permanently for a short term gain is extremely duh. Especially when done by an authority which has not shown that its solutions have actually improved traffic sustainably in any part of town. the Silk Board, Bannerghata Circle, Nimhans stretch - all are as bad as ever. Traffic has a way of catching up real quick. Without demonstrating a more wholesome plan for a long term traffic management solution, its downright horrible to destroy homes etc. 

There's another point to the whole story. Even if widening work does happen, it should not be done for private transport. The extra space needs to be marked for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists. There are many stretches - Haralur Road where we live being one such - where walking is a nightmare, and there is a proposal to make it wider so vehicles can zip even faster. Its a recipe for more pedestrian fatalities in the imminent future.

My home is not impacted by this TDR mess, but I fully intend to lend my voice and support to those who're protesting this. BBMP, grow up and think of solutions. You cannot fight cancer using band aids, and certainly not band aids that help the growth of that cancer itself!

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi


There's an ongoing debate about the need for recharge wells that we're trying to sink in our apartment complex. During this, someone threw in, "I would like to know what the ROI on this is."

This is a question thats brought into many debates - including some at my earlier jobs - as a red herring. Its often done without homework, or imagination, or creative, proactive thought. 

For instance, to continue with the case for water itself :

How valuable is water ? 10/- a litre ? How much would you be willing to pay if there weren't any ? Thats starting to happen to Bangalore! How do you calculate a number for this ? Intuitively, and with some homework about Bangalore's water situation, the answer is reasonably clear - we all need to turn producers, not just consumers of this dwindling resource, and recharge from stormwater drains is a major strategy thats part of this. It also counters a lot of the runoff losses caused by the concretization of surfaces, and its proven to be faster than shallow, surface level water recharging as is done through lakes etc. 

There's also the question of priorities. Whats the ROI on your car ? The fuel it uses ? The LED TV you've bought ? Sure, the answer is likely that its what I choose for myself and the satisfaction and happiness it provides me. But very similar to the same sentiment is the set of choices we make collectively, and the satisfaction those will provide to us collectively. There's also the responsibility that we have collectively that we should not, and increasingly, cannot shirk just because there's a Government. 

Think a little, and you'll see that the ROI question is moot.

I'd opined earlier why I thought apartment living might be unsustainable in the medium term, and now I add one more reason to it - the hardening of the consumer attitudes of our society as a whole. It's unfair to blame individuals for it, for we've moved in this direction as a whole. Our sense of entitlement, and resistance to having to do things ourselves has trounced all other attributes. We live together as a community, locality, city, state, but see ourselves more or less independently, only banding together reactively for certain causes. Go to store-pick from shelf-checkout is our sum total of actions towards living, society and the world around us. Anything else must forst prove its ROI in hard numbers.

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi

What Phylum Are You ?

Back in college (school, to those of you who subscribe to this strange usage from across someone else's pond) we had a euphemism for casteist leanings and biases - phylumbaazi - basically the urge/desire/need to classify, bucket, put in groups everyone you meet.

There's been some controversy over caste questions in the ongoing census (though in my personal experience, was not asked any such questions!).

Made me think about these issues, and their reduced relevance to at least a slice of our society. Our son had a similar question before him when some kids - barely 8 years old - were rather innocently figuring out their ethnicities. Shubha's a Palghat Iyer who grew up in Jharkhand. I'm apparently from Rajasthan, with our ancestoral village in the UP heartland, and grew up in Jamshedpur as well. For the last decade and a half Bangalore is home, and between the two of us we speak a little bit of Kannada, like the people, coffee and this is firmly home. We've setup a home in Coorg and might just decide to retire there someday! Like I say in jest - we have no roots and many branches. What ethnicity do the kids claim ?

I guess for the (growing) bit of the population which is in the same boat as ours, these identities and questions already have little significance. It can only be good for India. But sometimes, the others expectation of a clear response to the "where are you from" leave one a little bothered. Most of all, the government!

Posted via email from bangalorekaapi