Sunday, March 29, 2015

When fakes rules the market

Everyone knows that, there are numerous fake LPG, PDS and God knows what else connections exists in India. It’s an open secret; after all how many doors are there in India which can’t be opened using money? What is shocking is the fact that, one in every 14 LPG connections is fake!!!

As per BS report, "direct transfer of cooking-gas subsidies has revealed 12.73 million “duplicate” connections". UP tops the list with 1.87 mn multiple connections, followed by Maharashtra at 1.35 mn and Assam at 0.99 mn.

I don't think fakes are limited to 1 in 14; it might be more. If government comes with another scheme, more fakes will be flushed out of the system. But the irony is, even at the time of speaking, many more fakes might be finding its way in to the system and enjoying subsidies.

These schemes might occasionally flush out some unwanted growth, but, as long as we are not eliminating the reason - the very people who granted connections - and put in checks and balances, we will be hearing many more horrific stories in coming days.

Another scheme where government has to pitch in is MGNREGA. This scheme may look good in paper, but on the ground its implementation is poor and lacks accountability. It’s better to say nothing about auditing!!!



Saturday, March 28, 2015

A statue at Sea? For whom?

Maharashtra "has proposed an elaborate security arrangement for the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj memorial in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai, including a system that will keep it invisible on radars, bunkers and an independent security unit, including the National Security Guard ( NSG)".

And this 190 feet statue is going to cost 1,900 crore!!!

Do the state really need such a statue; that also at sea? When people don't have enough toilets for sanitation and pure water to drink, how the state government could even think of taking such a decision?


1. Z++ security for Rs 1,900 crore Shivaji statue - TOI

Monday, March 16, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part V - Mumbai, The Maximum City (Day 3 & 4)

As I wrote earlier, I wanted to visit BSE on a working day. So I walked from CST and reached BSE building. To my disappointment, there was hardly any chaos or scenes like traders running around in hurry. Calm and quiet building; surroundings were equally calm. Only difference on that working day was, BSE was open, and employees - wearing their tags - were frequently coming in and out.
After spending some time there, I walked towards ‘Gateway of India’ to catch a boat to Elephanta. Ticket cost was 160 INR. By the way, Elephanta Island is located some 10km away from Gateway. I boarded a boat and slowly started our journey towards the caves.
It was an interesting journey through Arabian Sea. Apart from being the biggest city of India, Mumbai also have one of the biggest harbors in India. On both sides, there were ships waiting to enter the harbor; oil tankers emptying out their stomach to big oil storage tanks located at Butcher Island.
After a while the journey becomes monotonous. This lasted till we reach somewhat close to the island. From there onward birds joined us till Island’s jetty. There is a toy train running from the jetty till the steps (ticket - 10 INR). From here one has to climb a lot of steps to reach the entrance to the caves. Vendors selling souvenirs are located on both sides of the steps.
Finally I climbed last of those steps and reached in front of the white board indicating ‘Elephanta Caves’, a designated UNESCO world heritage site.
History of Elephanta (aka Gharapuri in Marathi)
The debate is still on the question of who built the caves at Elephanta. It can be Konkan Mauryas, Kalacuris, Chalukyas or Rashtrkutas.
The Portuguese named the island "Elephanta Island" in honour of a huge rock-cut black stone statue of an elephant that was then installed on a mound, a short distance east of Gharapuri village. The elephant now sits in the Jijamata Udyaan zoo in Mumbai” - Wikipedia
Many accuse Portuguese as the main culprits for the destruction of these caves - “Portuguese soldiers used the reliefs of Shiva in the main cave for target practice, sparing only the Trimurti sculpture. They also removed an inscription related to the creation of the caves.” - Wikipedia.
Apart from first cave, there were hardly any statues/carvings or rock works on other caves. After spending some time on first cave; I just checked other nearby caves, but skipped caves on other side of the hill (there were some renovation work going on there.
I was so hungry that, I had a veg biriyani from a hotel located in the island. That was one of the worst Veg biriyani I ever had; and I believe that, it was the reason behind by stomach sickness started from next day.
Naval Area
While coming back to Gateway, one can get a good view of naval area. A number of naval ships were docked there. One is not allowed to point their camera in that direction and take photographs!!!
Vile Parle
On the way back, I met a couple of localites who was standing on a queue to board a boat to Alibagh. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time left; hence I politely declined the offer and went back to CST. Probably on another day…
There wasn’t any plan for the afternoon. So I thought of having some good street food. After going through some food related articles, finally decided to try street foods along western line, starting from Vile Parle. Needless to say, Vada Pav from there was really tasty.
Mumbai Monorail
After trying metro, I decided to try monorail as well. At the time of writing this article Mumbai monorail is operating from Ghatkopper to Wadala. A skywalk from Ghatkopper station took me to Monorail station. This is a combination of Metro and Mumbai local. A journey through excellent air conditioned coaches at local’s ticket rate. I believe that, constructed and operated by government agency, this is going to become another white elephant. At this ticket rate, Monorail may never breakeven or generate profits.
Last stop for Mono rail was at ‘Wadala Road’ and I got down there. Security guards at station told me that, GTB station is closer than Wadala. I walked and walked, but GTB was nowhere in sight.
This is a big problem in Mumbai (and later in Gujarat as well). People often say a place is very close and I start walking, only to discover later that the destination is quite far away. So whenever someone tells you that a place is close, never rely on that info!!! Check in maps and board some bus or hire a taxi!!!
Finally I reached GTB station and boarded next train to Seawoods.
Next day, veg biriyani - from Elephanta - showed her real face I wasn’t able to wake up properly form bed.
That was my last day in Mumbai. For all those days I was staying at Ammu Chechi’s home with Ammu chechi, Setuettan and Saju. As a matter of fact, I was seeing them after a very long time. All those moments were really great and enjoyable. Without their help the journey would never have been so easy and comfortable.
To Vadodara
Setuettan came all the way to Seawood Station to drop me. From there I went to Kurla Station, and then in an auto to Bandra Terminus through ‘Bandra Kurla Complex’. It was a place I wanted to visit for a long time. In that night, I was able to see the board of NSE building along with so many other famous names in the industry.
I reached Bandra Terminus just on time; therefore I had to run through platforms and tracks to reach Avadh express. Fortunately, I was able to make it.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Supreme Court should discontinue one and half month Summer Vacation

Can anyone tell me why Supreme Court of India (SC) requires a one and half month summer vacation – half of May and full of June?


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Women's Day 2015 - Make It Happen

To All Readers,

October 1824 was a bad month for British East India Company. It was on this month, they attacked a small princely state in Karnataka (called Kittur) with a force of 20,000 men and 400 guns, mainly from the third troop of Madras Native Horse Artillery. To their shock, they lost heavily and St John Thackeray, collector and political agent, was killed by Kittur forces. Can you imagine who was in charge of Kittur Kingdom? - Rani Chennamma. Chennamma fought valiantly on later wars against British India and died on 21 February 1829.

It was this story which suddenly came to my mind when I thought of this year’s Women's day – the courage of lady to stand up against the most powerful empire of the time.

Brigham Young once said, "You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.”

Let's celebrate this women's day and do whatever we can do to help and empower all those who can't stand up for themselves.

Anne Frank, wrote in the "The Diary of a Young Girl",

“In the book Soldiers on the Home Front, I was greatly struck by the fact that in childbirth alone, women commonly suffer more pain, illness and misery than any war hero ever does. An what's her reward for enduring all that pain? She gets pushed aside when she's disfigured by birth, her children soon leave, hear beauty is gone. Women, who struggle and suffer pain to ensure the continuation of the human race, make much tougher and more courageous soldiers than all those big-mouthed freedom-fighting heroes put together.”

That's the spirit.

Wishing Happy Women's day (belated)

Twitter Hashtags
- #MakeItHappen
- #womensday
- #IWD2015
- #internationalwomensday
- #PaintItPurple

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Including History of North East in NCERT Curriculum

As per latest government press release, UGC has advised the Universities to include more elements of North-Eastern area and culture in university syllabus.

This includes,

“(I) Novels/short stories…
(ii) History of North East including personalities who participated in anti-colonial uprisings as well as freedom movement”

Apart from this UGC also recommends,

“(I) Students from the other part of the country to spend some time in the North East so as to understand and appreciate culture of the area… regular cultural exchange between institutions…
(II) The North East Zone Cultural Centre, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture also organizes various programmes under its scheme namely, National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP) for awareness about the culture of the North Eastern Region.”

This was supposed to be done long time back. At a time when people have very little information about India beyond West Bengal in the eastern side, these measures will really help. Making infrastructure for more people from other parts of the country to visit north east will also do some help.


Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part IV – Mumbai, the Maximum City (Day 2)

Main activity on day 2 was visiting Dharavi Slum. From Bangalore itself, I booked a tour with ‘Reality Tours and Travels’ for the same. This agency conducts verity of tours in Mumbai and one of it is – Dharavi Slum Tour.

After having breakfast from Aummu Chehi’s home; I went to Mahim Jn which is close to Dharavi.


Contrary to what people say, this is not the largest slum either in world or in Asia.

As per National Geographic,

“Until the late 19th century, this area of Mumbai was mangrove swamp inhabited by Koli fishermen. When the swamp filled in (with coconut leaves, rotten fish, and human waste), the Kolis were deprived of their fishing grounds—they would soon shift to bootlegging liquor—but room became available for others. The Kumbhars came from Gujarat to establish a potters' colony. Tamils arrived from the south and opened tanneries. Thousands traveled from Uttar Pradesh to work in the booming textile industry. The result is the most diverse of slums, arguably the most diverse neighborhood in Mumbai”

Located in the heart of Mumbai, Dharavi spread over 535 acres of land and have around 300k to 1mn people (depends on whose number you want to believe). It is also estimated that this area have a turnover of $500mn.

Mahim Jn

At 10AM our guide Cheeku came to Mahim Jn. There were five people in the group – me, one guy from Holland, another one from New York; one gentleman is from Switzerland and a lady from England. We crossed Mahim Railway Foot Over Bridge and reached slum. Cheeku told us not to take any photos while we are inside the slum, after all residents many not like others photographing them – especially after the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

As per Cheeku the slum is divided in to Commercial and Residential areas. Industries which creates/consumes a lot of toxic materials during their operation are located in the commercial area.
First we went to one such area where a person was crushing old plastic waste using a locally made equipment. There seems to have a lot of units dedicated for plastic waste recycling. Guide told us that the equipment is also manufactured in the slum itself.

Then we moved on to an Aluminium smeltering unit; where a couple of guys were separating Aluminium and Iron from industrial waste. This Aluminium parts were later put into a pot placed over a fire-herth. Due to high temperature Aluminium would melt instantly and they pour this liquid aluminium to various moulds to make Aluminium bars.

There were some more industries like this. After seeing a couple of them we moved towards areas where soap and eatery units are located.

Next place to go were Leather Bag manufacturing units. As per Cheeku, tanneries are banned in Mumbai; hence the leather for these units are currently coming from Chennai. As per him, most of these bags would go to foreign countries as less people use leather products in that part of India.

From the areas where above said industries are located, we walked towards residential areas. But what Cheetu told about religious divide really shocked us. As per him, earlier people from the same area stayed together. For e.g people from Tamil Nadu stayed at one place and people from UP stayed at a different corner. This make sense because they spoke almost same language and culturally also there isn’t much difference.

Destruction of Babri masjid – located more than fourteen hundred kilometres away - changed everything. Riots broke out, and this grouping also changed – now its religion wise. Hindus and Muslim areas. I really wonder how people staying together at such a small area can really fight each other because someone destroyed a mosque at such a distant place or someone killed some others somewhere in a distant land?

Dharavi is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Lanes are so small and congested that it’s really hard to walk. During rainy season water may come inside rooms located in ground floor. Hence rooms in first floor carries a premium rent.

Toilets are common and less in number, which invariably affects ladies. At this point of time, the guy from Holland asked a question about toilets. What is the problem in building some toilets if money is available? Well, I also don’t have an answer. Why not build a couple of toilets?

After spending some two plus hours, we finally reached an area occupied by potters – potters colony. It is at this place where they create pots.

Cheetu concluded by saying that he wanted to show us a different face of Dharavi, which is not merely the slums and poverty but it’s industrial and creative side of it. Well, he didn’t say the exact word I mentioned here :)

Bandra- Worli Sealink

Going through the sea link was there in the agenda. I took a local from Mahim and went to Bandra. What I though was, I could board a bus from Bandra and go to Worli through sealink.

What I don’t know then was, buses are not allowed in sea link. As a matter of fact, I didn’t check it in net. As a matter of fact, one Police guard at Bandra West told me that I need to take a taxi for travelling through sea link.

I was about to go to a taxi stand, but for verifying the information I checked with one more guy - a shop keeper. He told me that, bus is available from Bandra East. So I went to Bandra East and then walked towards the main road. Whomever I asked, they all told that the bus stop is just there, as if some hundred meters away. I walked and walked but never saw a single bus going through sea link. By this time I checked with multiple traffic and law and order police personals and locals. Two guys even told me the bus number!!! Which of course I never able to find.

Finally one taxi driver told me that, bus is not allowed in sea link. Finally I hired his taxi to go through. Entry fees to sea link was 55 INR. He took me through the sea link and then to Dadar Station. Mumbai’s famous Siddi Vinayak temple is on this way.

By the time I reached Dadar I was very much tired due to lengthy walks. So no more journeys; boarded a train from Dadar to Ammu Chechi’s home.


Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part III – Mumbai, the Maximum City (Day 1)

Mumbai Express reached Panvel station on time. I pulled my luggage out and walked towards the platform, to step into India’s biggest city - Mumbai. Local train was standing on a platform on the other side, as if it was expecting me. I went to the ticket counter and bought a ticket to Nerul. Before getting in to train, took a photo of an electronic map of local train routes displayed there - this is the guide for travelling in Mumbai…

Train moved quickly through harbour line; after crossing Khandeshwar, Manasarover, Khargar, Belapur CBD and Seawoods I reached Nerul. It was here, Ammu chechi and Saju would come to pick me up.

Meanwhile, I bought a five day first class tourist pass (550 INR) from Nerul counter. If you are going to Mumbai and plan to use local trains, then better to take a pass.

Mumbai Local

Local is the easiest and jam free way of moving around Mumbai. Before going further, let me tell you something more about Local. It’s a network of approximately 200 hundred trains making 2000 trips over 300 km track. Local train system carries more than 88% of commutators (approximately 6mn people a day). A new train will arrive in every 3 minutes and leave the station within a couple of minutes. These trains are built for carrying some 1700 people, but in reality carries around 4500 people (carries more passengers/ km than anywhere on the earth).

Local train service is mainly divided into three lines,

Harbour Line - In Map you are see this in green colour. This line connects Panvel to CST (fondly called VT by old timers). This one intersects Central line at Kurla.

Central Line – In map you can see this in Red colour. Connecting Mumbai CST to Kalyan Jn. This intersects Western line at Dadar and Harbour line at Kurla.

Western Line - Grey in colour and connects Church Gate to Dahanu Road; intersects Central line at Kurla. 

There is one more line called ‘Trans-Harbor Line’ which connects Navi Mumbai to Thane.

If you remember this map (or have a photo) it’s quite easy to travel in local.

For e.g. if you want to go to ‘Church Gate’ station from Seawoods then board a train from Seawoods, get down at Kurla station and switch to Central Line (run to western side of the platform); now get down at Dadar and switch to Western Line (run towards west); Western line will take you to Church Gate. One addition quality you need is some physical power to get in to the train :)

By the way it’s not so difficult to use this system if everyone cooperates and fall into some kind of queue. Problem is commutators are jumping out of the train before it stops and hit the ground running. It looked like, they are completing some 100 metre sprint and it’s our (people standing on the platform) duty to stop them from falling down!!! While getting in also there is an unwanted rush. If you are in a local station, then you will feel like the city is always on the run.

I have to appreciate the system. Trains are always on time and operates probably more than 100% capacity. Like Mumbaikars, I also love local. As a side note; it’s not so dangerous or bad as some travelogues describes. It’s a mini Mumbai on the run.

CST and Colaba

After taking bath and breakfast from Ammu Chechi’s home, I went to CST. It took a while to reach CST. On the way there were high rise buildings covered in bright metallic glass structures; then comes big slum areas where instead of metallic glass, tin covers provides protection. While approaching CST one can see big old buildings - which might have played significantly higher roles during British days - struggling to stand on its crumbling foundations.

Contrary to expectations CST was different. From inside it looked more like a 19th century building deprived of any maintenance for a long time. After spending sometime inside I went out. From here CST looks majestic and proudly carries a tablet indicating that it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Muncipal building, which again a great building on its own right is located on the other side.

BSE - Dalal Street

I walked further down following Nokia maps. Target was BSE building – one of my long standing wishes is going to be fulfilled today. Till now I saw this one on TV only; but now, I was going to see it in front of my eyes.

This 29 storey building is located on Mumbai Samachar Marg. When completed, Jeejeebhoy Towers (then known as BS towers) was the tallest building in India. Following the death of Sir Phiroze Jamshedji Jeejeebhoy, chairman of the BSE since 1966, building was renamed in his memory.
This building (housing one of Asia's oldest exchanges) was a target of the 1993 Bombay bombings. The first of the 13 bomb blasts occurred at 13:25 hrs on 12 March 1993 in the basement garage of the building. Almost 50 brokers and traders were killed and 30 cars were destroyed in the attack.

I was expecting to see a crowded area, where a lot of traders always shouts some numbers. But what I saw was a calm and quiet area with a deserted look. By the way, it was Jan 26, India’s Republic Day anniversary. Ok, I would come back again on a working day.

No one is allowed to photograph this building, as if taking photographs will melt it to ground. I stood quietly in front of it for a long time, looking at its digital screen and then slowly walked towards 
Gateway of India.

National Gallery of Modern Art

This three storey building is located near gateway and Police building. On that particular day, exhibition theme was Sachin Tendulkar. On the top floor, there were 100 gloves placed in wooden panels and pasted to wall. This indicates the first 100 centuries in Sachin’s life. In the background Sachin’s retirement speech slowly flowed in to visitor’s ears.

Caffe Leopold, Cafe Mondegar and Fasion Street

I went outside and had some vada pavs. By the way, Mumbai is also famous for its street foods, never leave the city without experimenting with Vada pav, Pav bajji, Kulfi etc. Two famous cafes of Mumbai - Leopold and Mondegar - are located on this road, Colaba causeway (aka Shahid Bhagat Singh Marg). Leopold is a popular restaurant and bar; this was one of the first sites terrorists attacked during November 2008 Mumbai attacks. This caffe also find its place in the famous novel Shantaram.
Both sides of road have numerous stores located on footpath selling dresses and other fashion items.

Afghan Church

This Anglican Church is located at other end of Colaba Causeway, inside a defence area. It was indeed a very long walk to Church.

The Church of St. John the Evangelist (aka Afghan Church) is to commemorate the dead soldiers of First Anglo-Afghan War (1838). This war was a part of the Great Game in which British and Russians tried to get influence over Asia.

At the end of this disastrous war – in which East India Company suffered their most humiliating defeat – only one person (surgeon William Brydon) came back alive out of 16,000 men (4,500 military personnel, and over 12,000 camp followers) went to war.

William Brydon returned safely to Jalalabad (Captain James Souter, Sergeant Fair and seven soldiers were taken as prisoners and rest were killed).

It's another matter that 'Great Game' didn't end there. Britain (British India) fought two more wars against Afghans (fortune favoured the British in both wars); then came Russia followed by USA. Till this day, US is not able to get out of that nation. Only future can tell which great power will go there next...!!!

Photography is not allowed!!! I think Indians are very good in issuing prohibitory orders. One guy who some way linked to the church came and told me,

“You can’t take photographs without Father’s permission”.
“When the father will come?”
“Tomorrow morning”
“I can’t wait till that time”
“From where you are coming?”
“ok. take photos quickly”.

Suddenly some English tourists came and he opened the church’s door for them. I also sneaked in.
On the left side of the church building, there is a small memorial for the fallen soldiers of First Anglo 
Afghan War.

Tajmahal Palace and Hotel

I was not at all in a mood to walk all the way back. Hence took a BEST bus to reach the Gateway. This hotel - victim of 2008 Mumbai attacks - is located next to gateway.

Gateway of India

Gateway? How come? Is this the question just came to your mind? Well let me tell you the story then,

this memorial was erected to “commemorate the landing of their Majesties King George V and Queen Mary at Apollo Bunder, when they visited India in 1911. Built in Indo-Saracenic style, the foundation stone for the Gateway of India was laid on 31 March 1911. The final design of George Wittet was sanctioned in 1914 and the construction of the monument was completed in 1924. The Gateway was later the ceremonial entrance to India for Viceroys and the new Governors of Bombay. It served to allow entry and access to India.”

Interestingly King George and Queen Mary never able to use this gate to enter in to India, as the construction was not completed when they came for attending Delhi Durbar in 1911. By the way that was the last Delhi durbar (Edward VIII abdicated the throne before any durbar and George VI didn’t get a chance for durbar due to World War II).

I remember reading somewhere that, after Indian independence the last column of British soldiers went through this gate. There is a lot of pigeons - fearless - on one side of the monuments. Numerous boats and birds, along with huge crowd and its symbolic meaning give a different colour to this monument

Azad Maidan

I took taxi to reach CST from here and then walked through Azad Maidan and lot of other streets to reach Church Gate Station.

Marine Drive

Close to evening I reached Marine Drive. After finding a comfortable position in that lengthy concrete structure I simply sat there for half an hour. I was really a beautiful moment; Mumbai was standing behind me in arch shape; on the other side, orange red coloured rays of sun is painting Arabian Sea; on my both sides huge number of couples – both young and old – are sharing some of their beautiful moments.

After some time, I woke up and started walking towards the other end. By the time, I reach the other end it was almost night. Hence I boarded another local and went back to Ammu Chechi’ home.


What is the key to Innovation, Mr President?

“Speaking on the occasion the President said Innovation is the key to progress and prosperity. The process of innovation converts knowledge into social good and economic wealth. It encourages the engagement of talent with the society to improve the quality of life. India always has had a strong tradition of knowledge. Our knowledge system offer tremendous scope for research involving land-to-lab investigation and lab-to-land transfer of technology. It is important that the vast repository of indigenous knowledge is protected, documented and preserved in active collaboration with prominent practitioners of traditional knowledge.” – President Of India

Innovation is the key to progress, I agree. But what is the key to innovation? Are we really creating those right environment for innovative minds to work on; or ideas to come out?

Why we are always focusing on the so called “tradition of knowledge”? It is true that we did something good in the past. But it was long time back; we can’t live on memories of past forever. We need to move on.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Curbing the Indian past time - A step in the right direction

Spitting in public places is considered so normal in India that, no one feels ashamed of doing so. Hardly anyone think twice before decorating road, dividers, public toilets, space between train bogies, stair cases of government offices, railway stations etc with their spit. It’s agonising to see the staircases of newly built government offices decorated with red coloured tobacco, pan masala spit. Offenders, which also includes the officials working there, always walks free; it is a different matter that they don’t do this inside their own home.

I fully appreciate and back Maharashtra government’s proposal – “If a person is caught not just spitting tobacco but even chewing it in a public place, he may have to work as a government "sweeper" for a day. The state health department is considering this stringent punishment against tobacco users.”

Singapore - A model to follow

Under Singapore’s "Regulation of Imports and Exports (Chewing Gum) Regulations”, no gum (except the ones for medical purpose) is allowed to be bought or sold inside Singapore and there is a $500 fine for spitting out gum on the streets.

When a BBC reporter suggested that such laws would stifle the people's creativity, Lee Kuan Yew (former Prime Minister, Singapore) retorted: "If you can't think because you can't chew, try a banana."
Probably we have to take a look at this nation on how to punish the offenders who vandalise streets.
However, if this law is only for a few days – just like the way state and central government implements such laws – its better not to have one. Why to create a law only for everyone to break it?


1.    Maharashtra plans to make tobacco-chewers, spitters sweep government offices for a day - TOI

Monday, March 2, 2015

Konkon Reise - Netravati to Sabarmati: Part II - Mangalore, blessed by Gods and Rivers

Mangalore is a major city and seaport in Karnataka. Located between Arabian Sea and Western Ghats, this city serves as administrative head-quarters of Dakshina Kannada (formerly South Canara) district as well. Blessed with two rivers - Netravati and Gurupura - Mangaluru handles a major portion of India's coffee and cashew exports. It is believed that the city is named after Hindu goddess Mangaladevi.
Before annexed by British in 1799, this city was ruled by Kadambas, Vijayanagar, Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Hoysalas, Portuguese, Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan at various time in history.

Recently ‘Mangalore’ became ‘Mangaluru’ as part of a renaming exercise. Politicians do this exercise in frequent intervals. After independence, many Indian cities were subjected to this ritual (including three out of four metros). I think more are in pipeline.

I reached ‘Mangalore Junction’ at five in the evening. This station is located somewhat far from city centre (Mangalore Central station is in city itself). As I didn't see any bus there, I hired an auto to reach the city. By the way don’t fall in to this temptation; if you can wait for some time or ready to walk a bit you will get a bus to reach the city.
A passenger standing at the door

As I reached late in the city; I had to drop my plan to visit Panambur beach for watching sunset. As sun went to see India’s western sisters I booked a room at TajMahal Lodge in Hampanakatta ('Hampanakatte' in Tulu). After shower, I started my night walk.
There was no particular destination or time limit. So I walked aimlessly through the city. University College, Clock Tower Circle, Gandhi Park, Town Hall, Corporation Bank Head Office and then reached Forum Fiza Mall.
Isn’t it a bigger, but younger brother, of Bangalore Forum Mall? I spent close to one hour there, simply walking through brightly lit but relatively vacant corridors. After having some quick food from ground floor I left Forum and started walking towards the lodge.

This time I took a different route and it proved to be a longer one. This road went through neat and clean residential areas, but I saw hardly any human being till I reach Old Kent road. Finally back to the hotel for a good sleep.
Thannirbhavi Beach

I am not a big fan of waking up early. But as a traveller, every time I sleep unnecessarily I would be forced to remove one entry from my wishlist. Why to take the risk? So after getting ready, I boarded a bus to Kaloor (R45) from Hampanakatta circle. After a while I got down at Kuloor and crossed the bridge across Gurupura River on foot.
Kudremukh Iron Ore Company’s plants, Mangalore Seaport, Indian Oil’s Facilities and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers are located nearby. Kudremukh Iron ore Company(KIOCL) was running one of the largest Iron mines in the world at Kudremukh in Western Ghats. They used this facility at Mangalore to pelletise the ore for exporting. Expiry of the lease and ecological concerns forced the company to stop operations in 2005.

Beach was around 4 kms away. Bus frequency is very low in this route - no more than some one in two hours or so. Hence, I joined with a couple of people standing there to catch a bike or tanker for a ride. After talking to a local guy for some time about KIOCL finally got a tanker lorry. This would drop me near Silver Jubilee gate. During my journeys I travelled through different types of vehicles but this is the first time I am in a tanker lorry!!! through the side of Gurupura river I walked rest of the way to Tannirbhavi.
After a while I am again at the shores of Arabian Sea. Apart from the voice made by sea waves there were hardly any voice at that deserted beach. At a distance a group of fishermen were pushing their boat to a side. On the other side a couple was walking towards the road.

I spend close to one hour there by walking up and down through the shores and clicking photos. Waves slowly came, touched my feet and went back. Sometimes they come very fast and drenched me in seawater. Finally its time to go; this time in a bus.
After checking out from hotel, I got a direct bus(R11) to Mangalore Jn railway station. This bus journey remembered me my daily commute to school. When we board the bus at 4 in the evening there may hardly an inch left in the floor; still we someway got inside. Inside it was like a pressure cooker. Here also it was the same, only difference was this time I got a seat!!!

Mumbai Express was already waiting there for me to get in.

From one tunnel to another one