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Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Bangalore Trip

Left Cbte for Bangalore by Jet airways on 5th noon to attend a Mico organised program. The travels car picked me up & proceeded to my destination - a hotel in Indiranager. There was heavy traffic enroute and progress was slow. Enroute we passed Kids Kemp,Brittania, Titan, Intel & Manipal Hospital on one side and the thickly forested sprawling campuses of ISRO Satellite Centre & National Aeronautical Laboratories on the other followed by Leela Towers the only 7-Star Hotel in Bangalore. After this we reached the Koramangala crossing & turned right into HAL 2nd stage towards Indiranager. New flyovers had been constructed at this point resulting in faster & more regulated traffic at this once upon a time bottleneck. Finally checked into the Hotel around 2.30 pm & switched on CNN-IBN to listen to some terrible news being telecast - the final award by the Tribunal on Cauvery water sharing between states - Tamilnadu had been awarded a whopping 419 tmcft against only 270 tmcft for Karnataka with Kerala & Pondicherry getting 30 & 9 mcft respectively. This was indeed unpleasant news for the Kannadigas as Cauvery has remained a flash point between the 2 states for past several decades. Karunanidhi was being shown grinning victoriously in all channels. Violence against local Tamils as well uncontrolled violence by unruly mobs was being anticipated.
The Mico award ceremoney initially scheduled to begin at 6.00 pm at Mid-fort Gardens (off MG Road) was delayed to 7.30 pm. Fortunately there had been no untoward incidents - the Karnataka Govt was unsure about how to react to the unequal award. Finally the program got under way & the evening began with a recital of Vatapi Ganapatim Baje in Raag Hamsadwani (Carnatic) by an eloquent flutist accompanied by Tabla, Gadam & Mohana Veena. This was followed by Hindustani recital on Mohana Veena to Raag Kalyani. The final piece of this orchestra was a Bengali folk tune. Mesmerising stuff.
This was followed by a series of beautiful and elegant Indian dances - Yakshagana, Kuchipidi, Odissi followed by an amalgamation of four dances - Kathak,Bharatanatyam, Kuchipidi & Odissi. Thunderous applause. Overall a really enchanting evening followed by cocktails & dinner.
Got up leisurely next morning not sure how the day was going to turn out ! Finally decided to take a walk down the 100 ft road to visit Ravindranath Menon an old friend of my fathers for over 50 years. After a brisk 15 minute walk tracked down his house named "Shyam". Wife Shyamala recognised me after a brief pause but Menon uncle (who at 82 had aged considerably since our last meeting close to 18 yrs ago) could not identify me even after I had provided several easy clues. Finally recognition dawned on him only when I mentioned fathers name. Daughter Lata(erstwhile Sanku papa) & hubby( a PG from Berkeley who teaches at IIM,Bangalore) along with daughter Poornima(a lissome girl of 24 who works for KPMG) and son Balu were home. We talked about old times( Bombay,Patna & Alleppey) and many memories came flooding back. Balu is unmarried, aged around 50, thin & a heavy smoker. He is practicing corporate law. Son Surendran aged 55 is a Vice President in a software company. He has two daughters - Kavita(studying fashion design in New York) & Aishwarya at school in Bangalore. He is divorced from his first wife Ambica Pillai(now a reknowned & acclaimed fashion desiner) & happily married to second wife Lata. On their (the Menons) insistence I had breakfast (idli,vada,sambar) & coffee with them.
The Menons along with Sanku( a baby then) and Surendran a few years my junior(together at St.Xaviers) were guests for 4 months at our( my dad was a Sation Engineer in AIR) house in Chajju bagh, Patna before Mr.Menon, an IAS officer, got his posting & moved to his official residence at Boring Road. The year was1961.
My next stop was Mallya Hospital to see my erstwhile colleague(and ex-boss) from Escorts days Mr.K.A.Krishnan. At 64 he had suffered two strokes during the past two months,paralysed on his left side, followed by a severe bout of pneumonia. A trachaotomy had been recently done to prevent total collapse. He was fighting for survival at the Medical ICU - it was a heart rending sight to see him sedated & totally helpless & breathing through a tube stuck into the throat.
My next destination was Domlur. The car proceeded on Residency Road past Cash Pharmacy circle, Sacred Hearts Girls School, St.Patrick Church, past Brigade Rd & Public Utility blgd turned right into cantonment area & finally into Domlur Rd. Gopu and Thangam were at home due to a forced holiday arising out of the Cauvery waters award. Lunched with them, exchanged notes on the latest developments in the two families,visited the website to see a slide show of Mira's photos and to briefly read my blog which I have recently started writing. Jyotsna & Samit are now happily settled in Sao Paulo. Vandana was recently unwell Gopu & Thangam had been on a short trip to Mumbai to cheer her up.
Some of the landmarks we had fondly associated with during our stay in Bangalore(1977-80) have disappeared - Sri Venkatadri Apts in Indiranagar has been demolished,only a vacant site exists there now. Like wise Lido Theatre (we saw E.T. Crazy Boys of the Games,Airport 77 there), Kamadhenu Hotel(Ulsoor)(Shobha & I stayed there once in 1975) & Cash Pharmacy bldg(we regularly bought medicines prescribed by Dr.Thimmarayappa) have all been demolished.

1 comment:

  1. Bangalore, often termed to be the Silicon Valley, holds a major chunk of the responsibility of transforming India into an economy to reckon with that it is now and a prospective superpower in the near future. The excellent weather, the warmth of the people, and the beauty of nature have always put Bangalore on the high ranks in a travelers’ book. In the past decade or so Bangalore has become the IT capital of India and immediately the city saw a phenomenal spurt in its tourism sector. Bangalore was no longer a leisure traveler’s delight, but the city became a major financial hub. Soon delegates from all over the world had to visit the city. In keeping with the taste and travel inclination of the international delegates and business travelers a number of world class luxury and business hotels in Bangalore were opened. Big names in the hospitality industry like the ITC Welcom Group, the Taj Hotels etc have multiple hotels in Bangalore. Only recently Taj opened its 5th property in this beautiful south Indian city. A few months back ITC Welcom Group also opened its 2nd property in Bangalore. The hospitality industry is also opening budget hotels in Bangalore that have a fine mix of business and luxury in a flexible budget.