if thoughts had a canvas

Month: October 2011

Bangalore pays price for progress

Bangalore started getting strangulated in the ’90s. Once a sleepy hamlet, not exactly known for industry or innovation, but surely the finest town in India was known for its picture post card greenery, fresh air and mint cool weather.

Between 1970 and 2000 Bangalore population exploded. From 1.7 Million in 1970 to 5.0 Million in 2000. In 2011, hold your breath, it is almost 10 Million. Add to this human zoo, an astounding 5 Million vehicles of all sizes and shapes, belching poisonous fumes.

Bangalore’s arteries are choking with humans, vehicles, garbage, stray dogs,  ….

  • Bangalore has the highest number of 2-wheelers in the world.
  • Bangalore has the highest number of pubs in India.
  • Bangalore has the highest number of public sectors and government organisations in India.
  • Bangalore has the highest density of traffic in the world.
  • Bangalore has the highest number of Anglo-Indians in India.
  • Bangalore was the first city in India to receive electricity.
  • Bangalore has produced the highest number of professionals in USA – almost 60% of Indian population abroad are from Bangalore.
  • Bangalore was founded in 2nd Century and still has the same infrastructure drainage & sanitary systems – the oldest in the world.
What has left Bangalore (forever) are its big majestic  trees, lazy moments around dosa and coffee, aimless walk in the drizzle, old sprawling bungalows peeping through foliage, leisure and coolcool  breeze. Sad barter for an urban eyesore!

Shimla in the hills


Most visible and the most photographed landmark in Shimla is the Christ Church on the Ridge. It is indeed an awesome monument, almost at the top of Shimla hill (further up is the steep Jakhoo top but not everyone visits that place!). With a tremendous backdrop, the church has imposingly presided over the town for over a century.  Church has a long and interesting history. It is ingrained into the lives of people of Shimla, be it a reference to a direction or a meeting place. Many a face lifts later it still retains its stoic grace and majesty, silently looking over a town, which has been blissfully busy with its own growth.

I have a few pics of The Church. Such a pleasure to see how it changed over the last century. But the surroundings (less described the better), are victims of pathetic, greedy urbanization. Shimla today is stripped of its joyous, peaceful charm.






Indian Music ~ Ghazal Style

Genre : GhazalStructured, metered, lyrical, romantic, love, separation, pathos, philosophic, urdu, nineteenth century classics     

Jagjit & Chitra Singh:


Koi samjhega kya raaz-e-gulshan 

Ye daulat bhi le lo 

Sarakti jaye hai rukh se




Jagjit Singh – rest in peace……..


Fasila to hai magar, koi fasila nahin,

mujh se tum juda sahi, dil se to juda nahin…..

For those of us who grew up with Jagjit Singh’s music, today is a sad day.

He nourished and polished Ghazal composition to another level. He gave Ghazal a long lease of life with his very contemporary music  and technically correct rendering. He was the Mozart of Indian light classical music.

I go back to ‘Sarakti jaye hai…’ when I stepped out of college. It was pure magic. Those notes seeped into my soul. Ever since, Jagjit Singh has been a partner in my ups and downs, ecstasies, pinks, blues, greys and all shades in between. Cheeky ‘Mera na aitbar karo, main nashe main hoon….’ to the melancholic ‘ Tere khat……’ a  philosophic ‘Apni marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain…’ to an earthy ‘Ye daulat bhi le lo, yeh shohrat bhi le lo……’ it is an endless medley of gems.

To all of us Jagjit and Chitra loyalists he was a soul lifter who could make you walk on water. He selected his ghazals meticulously, crafted the music brilliantly and sang it like there was no tomorrow. Some said that he was a better composer than he was a singer. I think his true genius was in presenting each Ghazal as a complete and lovingly packaged product to a younger audience that was not mature for the classical genre…..and to a national ambiance, full of clutter and ‘noise’. I never saw him in a live concert (we bought tickets to a concert last year though, only to find the show cancelled for some reason). His audience connect was extraordinary. Jagjit was a bright star born in a country which has produced a whole galaxy of stars at regular intervals.

I am sad at his passing away, not that he is no more, but because he will sing no more. Legends are not lost, Jagjit ji, you will always live in our hearts and souls.


Hot Cup of Tea

Tea means morning, evening, anytime sojourn with friends and associates. Even  a silent soliloquy with self and all those special moments when you do nothing. Tea when you get up. Tea when you are tired, cold, happy, visiting friends, seeing off friends, birthdays, mourning. Tea is gender, occasion neutral. Trust me, a hot cuppa tea on a mistycold morning at a railway station is God’s personal blessing to mankind.

Welcome to Tea land, India!

Considering tea  is a recent habit, north of India did not take tea till late 40’s, south India, predominantly a coffee consumer, is still not an avid tea lover. Then how and where did tea take over as a national drink?

What range and variety? From pale gold aromatic ‘Darjeeling’  to dark molasses like ‘Assam’. India consumes tea in excess of 1000 m Kg every year. Now, that’s a lot of tea.


We the people…


Delightfully slow!

My generation were  children of post-independence. Flags in hand, 15th August function at school, sweets, Nehru on Red Fort, dreams and more dreams, Binaca geetmala, Rafi and Dev and Lata…. life was so good.

Then something went awfully wrong.

Slowly, inching in with soft steps, a desolate dullgrey haze of corruption surrounded us. Loss of values. Rampant public loot. Degeneration of public morality. Layers of desperation. We were buried under an all pervasive pile of corruption. We metamorphosed from bright youngsters with a dream in our heads, to hopeless disconnected middle class citizens, trudging along, our heads cradled in our hands, scrapping our knees to attain material prosperity. Welcome to India of stifling bureaucracy, long ques for shoddy services and products, hope and despair for those of us who wanted to breathe an honest fresh air,  in the lap of our own country.

Sadly….. this happened to millions of us, the children of Independent India.


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