We in Bangalore are always happening, lead the way, do new things that puts us apart from the rest. We showed how things can be done completely differently and in a totally unpredictable manner when we introduced a manned interchange on the first floor on Richmond Circle Flyover. I am sure no one has been able to achieve anything like that yet. We did not stop our innovative ideas there, we keep improving by the day. And it was evident with recently finished Kaveri Junction underpass. See the image for the layout of the underpass.
1. If you go from Sadashivanagar to Windsor Manor Bridge, you take the underpass 2. If you go from Mekhri circle to Windsor Manor Bridge, you go straight at ground level, uninterrupted 3. If you go from Windsor Manor Bridge to Mekhri circle, you once waited for signal. Now you go at ground level, along the route as shown in picture.
I got a chance to take this road a couple of days and could not help but appreciate the most ingenious design ever. We must give some awards to BMP engineers. As I passed the U turn and headed towards Mekhri circle, I felt that the shape of the road is oddly familiar. After a few seconds, it struck me. It struck me when I conceived the shape from Mekhri circle end - it looks like a 'question mark'! BCC engineers have given a very opt shape for their design! Very very apt!
Last few days have been about getting up early and cycling for a good 30 minutes. While in the process, I already seem to have discovered a few muscles that earlier did not seem to exist. Darwin's theory about unused organs tapering away from the body over a long period(what is that theory called?) has less chances on operating on my clan now! I am reminded of what Ruskin Bond writes in one of his stories: 'In a hundred years, people will be born without legs. Of course by then, we will be having flying wheelchairs'.
The plan has been to wake up at 6 and start moving by 6.15. That means I can at least wake up by 6.30 and start moving by 6.45am. You have heard the phrase 'some things never change' and waking up on time is one of those 'some things'. The main roads look generally calm at this hour, but for the BPO cabs that do not quite align themselves with the cycles of sun and earth. The software crowd starts trickling in around 7 and gigantic buses buzz threateningly close to me. They have a long journey to make, and starting any later would hold them up for hours. But then, the world is full of smart people - everyone is starting early and it is again coming to the same story.
I used to sit in one of those buses sometime ago, and probably whiz past threateningly close to other cyclists. I see the same old expression of boredom on the faces of people heading to work. Reminds me all those attempts to make the mornings cheerful and not being all that successful with it. I encounter my once office bus at 7.15 and peer into it for familiar faces. All windows are closed and I can't see people inside well enough. I stop for a coffee around 7.30, and realize I have been having so much coffee lately that I don't enjoy it any more. I take a badaami haalu instead. It is 7.45 when I return home. All those once undiscovered muscles are now screaming of their existence!
Over a short discussion on a Sunday afternoon, we decided to go for a movie in the evening. The movie we were looking for was playing in Fun Cinemas at Sigma Mall. We called up and booked tickets over phone. The show was to start at 9.30pm.
I drove to Cunningham road and reached there around 8.45pm. I wasn't too keen to take the car but it was late hours and car was a better option. Having heard of likely parking problems at the mall, I parked outside on the road where I found the first parking space. It was a half kilometer walk to the mall and I made it there at nine. We still had 30 minutes, but I had to pickup the tickets.
I was surprised to see the mall unusually crowded at this hour. There were people all over and hardly any space to walk around freely. The cinema hall was in the fourth floor. I planned to take the escalator but it was narrow and crowded. Besides, I figured there wasn't really any space in the lobby to comfortably go up and down the escalator(oops! no escalators for coming down at all), instead it was fixed besides a wall. And if you want to go all the way in escalator it was many complicated steps.
1. Beat the crowd, fight it out if you have to and find a place in the escalator and get to first floor. 2. Search around for the escalator to continue to second floor. It won't be visible anywhere. Realization comes - you need to get into some shop and emerge from the other side of the shop to find the escalator! This is the time most people abandon the escalator. 3. If you feel strong enough to take the pains to continue repeat steps one and two at each floor to get to the top.
I abandoned the escalator at the ground floor itself and searched for the stairs. Lift was a total no no. Stairs were hidden somewhere at the backside, but fortunately wide enough and spacious. But the crowd was big enough even there, that I had to search for some space for walking up. I slowly walked up to the fourth floor and hoped to find the entrance to the cinema. There isn't one! The only way through the fourth floor was into food court. Searching, I had no choice but to walk into the food court. The food court, not surprisingly is full with people. The chairs are so densely packed and there are so many people that it is a hard job walking through without tripping into a chair or bumping into someone. If you are claustrophobic, this is where you would meet your end.
The worst is yet to come. A narrow passage on the other side of the food court finally leads to the movie hall. I am relived, almost. Someone is checking the tickets at the entry. I walk into her and ask her where should I collect phone booking tickets. She looks at me as though I am a peasant and tells me -
"The ticket counter is at the basement sir".
And that sounds like a bombshell to me. I need to make another adventure to go back to the basement and come back all over again! I am amused at the sheer brilliance of the architects of the mall and the cinema for having the hall at the top floor and ticket counter at the basement. Surely there is some sadism involved. If Howard Roark were to come here, he would have died of shame.
I have no choice. I make my way, again via the claustrophobic food court and the stair case. To my horror, stairs stop at the ground floor and don't continue down to basement! That means you either have to take the lift or cut across using the ramp. Later is the worst of the two devils, so I choose the former. But why should I be worried about the lift? There are reasons for that.
1. There is a long queue of people already waiting for the lift for a long time. 2. I did see a mad rush in and out of the doors when the lift arrives; I feel creepy to be in that rush. 3. Later when I finally make my way into it, I see the sign on the lift reads that it can hold 20 people. But there is floor space for hardly ten; and the actual count of people inside is not a comforting number.
I waited for a good long time to finally manage it into the lift and get to the basement. Then, I had to endure another queue to get my tickets printed. On the way back, the lift scene occurs again, and I have to live with the drama of people rushing in and out at every floor from basement to the top. Finally when I am inside the hall, it is 9.27pm. 27 minutes, is as long it took, just to print my ticket and get into the hall.
After the movie was over, I walked to the basement to say goodbye to my accomplices. I see cars haphazardly parked all over the place and even on the driveway and the ramp as there is not enough parking. It should take the last person anywhere around twenty to thirty minutes to get his car out. I feel good about having parked the car outside, the only feel good moment while I was at the mall, and drive home swearing never to come back.
Later, I remembered an employee from Fun Cinemas whom I know telling me that they are having a tough time getting permission to open the hall there. No wonder it was so. First, the already busy Cunningham road gets clogged during the end of the show; and then there is not sufficient space and parking for everyone. But somehow(you know what 'somehow' usually is) folks from Fun Cinemas seem to have pulled it off.
* you don't have to worry about traffic jams in the city * you get to decide when to wake up, when to eat and when to go to bed, with no obligations to keep up with time * you can travel as you please, where you please, when you please * you can finally find time to take out the guitar and re-start learning * you can take out Spanish notes and re-start learning * you have sufficient time to go out on weekdays, if you feel like * you have sufficient time to travel-blog everyday, and sufficient dough to fill it with. * you are contended, and really feel that you don't really a great deal more in life than what you already have.
I am walking on the road near my house, and suddenly something falls in-front of me from a tree with a sonorous metallic sound. My eyes follow the object that disturb me - it is an empty deodorant bottle. Have deodorant bottles started growing in trees while I was away from town for just two weeks? Obviously no. It would have come from the first floor balcony of a house behind the tree. I don't like someone throwing things at me, and I hate it even more when people take littering as their right. I throw my hands in the air and am almost ready to tell who-ever is in the balcony to get their act right. And I see there, a three year old kid amusing himself and seemed to be bothered about having lost his toy. Don't be in a haste to conclude things, I tell myself, we have a kid in all of us.
After a break from the city for 2 weeks, I land at the airport and head to the pre-paid auto counter. The cop there says no pre-paid facility, just go by the meter; which surprises me. I don't understand why. And then he adds, you need to pay 16% extra, which adds more surprise on the top of it. Further inquiry reveals that the prices have gone up by a rupee a kilometer. Having been recently in Delhi where transportation is much cheaper, I get irritated. Nevertheless, I don't have a choice. Had I had no luggage, I would have taken a bus without thinking twice.
Anyway, I get into a rickshaw. When I get in, the meter is already showing Rs.12. I ask the driver to reset it once and he pretends as though he did not hear me. I say again and he speaks to me rudely and taunts me as though he wants a fight. But I keep quiet and keep my cool, and he resets the meter. A few kilometers later, he asks me which route to take when he clearly knows there is only one sensible route. I answer. In 45 minutes, I am home. He reads the chart for mapping the increased fare, and says it is 120 rupees. But I know my math; I take the chart from him and see that it is only 110. I tell him so. After all these things, he feels he has the right for an extra 10 rupees. And he gets into a shameless begging routine now for that additional 10. I shrug, give him only the what is due and leave him without speaking a word.
And then I make a mental note to take the bus more and more, a process I have already started sometime ago with some degree of success.