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Blast from the past: Bangalore
I am convinced that what I wrote six years ago about Bangalore's infrastructure holds good more than ever before. I'm curious to know if aside from the Ring Road and a few flyovers (with the one being built at the Airport Road-Indiranagar intersection presumably being made a museum artifact), has there been any other infrastructure development effort in this duration?
I'm just back from a Linux conference at Bangalore. The first person who affects you when you set foot in Bangalore is the auto driver. Now I do not claim that he is worse than the Madras auto driver. But at least the Madras auto driver doesn't insist on offering you opinion on which hotel you should be staying in even after you've told him a dozen times that the room has already been booked. It does tend to make you feel a little bit on the down side at 5 am.
The Bangalore one is much more polite. But he drives as rashly as the Madras chap and haggles as much. What's worse our means of communication become something like a mixture of pidgin version of Hindi and Tamil. I know Bangaboys will rise up in union and declare that theirs is the most cosmopolitan of South Indian cities but not from my experience. Well at least a lot of the auto drivers I've talked to cant figure out Tamil and the other half aren't too good with their Hindi.
Unfortunately it is the rainy season in Bangalore now and the poor infrastructure is evident from the way the roads break up during the rains. A lot of the Indian cities (except possibly Bombay) really get affected by the rains. But I found it strange that a city with Bangalore's profile would also be found wanting in the area of drainage. Well I had heard stories (and news items) of how Bangalore is bursting at the seams and how the city's infrastructure has gone for a toss but I now experienced it first hand.
The conference by itself was a superb one. Except for a couple of speakers (one from Oracle talking of how Oracle and Linux are made for each other and another from SCO talking of their new network administration system Tarantella) the talk was of the highest quality. The speakers were pioneers. Rasmus (www.php.net), Richard GNUman (www.gnu.org) & Nat Friedman (www.gnome.org) were the stars of the show. GNUman in particular was amazing. What he said would have ruffled a lot of feathers and a lot of it did not seem practical either but it was the way he said it that really influenced the people. Nat Friedman, who wouldn't be older than 21 or so gave a superb demonstration of the GNOME project and its associated projects like the GNUmeric project etc.
The conference had been organized into three separate sections:
b. Pro 1
c. Pro 2
It was however apparent that a lot of people had wandered in from the Beginners track to the Pro tracks. Snippets of discussions overheard:
Q: "Hey who is this Linus Torvalds chap ?"
A: "He is some programmer chap. Don't really know why his name is on the slide"
Q: "What is this Star Office ?"
A: "Star Office, Oh that is a Windows 95 program written for Linux".
No I'm not kidding.
Lets leave the conference behind. So I walked around Commercial Street hunting for food and found a Woodlands branch there. It was possibly one of the safest places to have grub surely. I hadn't however prepared myself for the prompt service I would encounter. After I had purchased my meal and taken it to my seat, I went about the task of consuming it. A while later, I walked back to the counter to get a drink and indicated to the waiter that I had *NOT* finished with my food. I went back to my seat to find out that the waiter had not heeded my instruction. Sure you have to do your job sincerely, but not at my stomach's cost !!!
I've been to Bangalore around 4-5 times in the last year and during various seasons. Yet I have never ever figured out why on earth people wear jerkins in the day, at night, when it rains, when it doesn't, when it snows, when it doesn't ... you get my drift. Any Bangaboy cares to clarify ?
Call me sexist or myopic but Bangalore was the only place I've seen in India where I saw girls driving Kawasaki Bajajs and Hero Hondas around. I'm not saying that they cant or they shouldn't but it did make me wonder about why I hadn't seen that happen in say Madras. I haven't had enough time to focus on the roads in Bombay because of the huge amount of time I spend travelling from the airport to Flora Fountain and because its night by the time I am done with my job !! Anyway I am more likely to see a lady taxi driver in Bombay than anything else !
All the blasts: Kargil & WC 1999, Lata v Asha, Tam-Brahm wedding, Madras, Unglamourous Orissa, Idols and Bangalore.
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