Sunday, December 27, 2009


This is a question going rounds among many people who were assocoated with ITI for years. Once a magnificient behemoth now weathered by time and circumstances. A parallel question is Should ITI be revived? What used to have around 25,000 employees at one time has hardly few thousands now. As widely felt I dont think that ITI was a victim of policies but of the changing scenario that caught the world and ITI offguard.

I for one have always believed that ITI can be revived and should be revived. ITI seems to have lost its way and needs to find it in the new economy. There were many such cases of large organization dwindling in importance over time --like the swiss watch industry of the 60's which used to employ scores of people but only to vanish when quartz was used to make watches as against gears. Managerial weakness of some kind can be seen in the way ITI was run in their inability to prognosticate the future and react to it accordingly. Success is sometimes dangerous -more so the windfall type because communities forget to do one most important thing--predict the possible future ,its concerns and vagaries. Top management must always do this activity of forseeing the future and warn the organization of pending eventualities. Very few people of this nature exist in top management of today is by itself a weakness of the system which goes more by status quo than by the needs of the organization and its future.

How then can ITI be revived; I have the following suggestions though may not be perfect but can go some way in keeping the morale and optimism badly needed at this juncture.
  • First of all beleive that ITI can be revived. If every one goes by the general rhetoric and chorus that ITI is doomed there is no scope and possibility of revival.
  • ITI needs to be awakened from several dimensions, which just one team or person cannot fully comprehend. The person who is holding the post of CMD must be chosen carefully and given a minimum period of atleast five years at a stretch on the job unless he voluntarily decides to abdicate for reasons best known to him.
  • Unfetter the CMD and his team from administrative or buerecratic shakles and give him a fairly free hand with some control from the government to operate.
  • To take full advantage of the modern realities ITI must be renamed as Indian Telecom Industries as against the present name.
  • Divide ITI into various zones with each zone taking up manufacture and fabrication of telecom equipments and products.
  • One of these zones could totally focus on being a backend outsource partner for telecom giants around the world.
  • ITI must be a platform where tasks involving manual labour and professional labour are given sufficient importance. The next generation ITI must have say 20,ooo manual workers and say 10,000 professional workers who involve in activities like software development.
  • Synergise the resources of ITI with other public sector giants and defence institutions.
  • Create a telecom institute inside ITI on the lines of the IIT's to focus solely on telecom education and management.
  • Never privatize ITI . The government must take the onus of reviving this institution by basically reorienting things and asking fundamental questions. ITI needs a vision and mission statement to stay its course in the era that unfolds.


There used to be an annual sports event of the Indian Telephone Industries during our times. This used to be a full fledged flood-lit tournament held in the pre-midnight and was an event every one looked forward to. It was a very rare and unique feature of ITI with no other public sector conducting such an event in this scale ; will full fledged preparation and co-ordination. I think these games were discontinued somewhere in 1986 or almost immediately later to this year when ITI went ito a down swing. Every summer the matches would commence during the end of march and progress till the middle of may . They used to commence some where at about 6:30 in the evening and last upto about 10:00pm. It was a national event and many participating teams would arrive from all over the country. By around 6:00 crowds begin to flow into the stadium and the stadium would be full a little later. It should be pointed that this event was absolutely free for all with no fee being charged from the spectators and was open to any one who wanted to view it.

There were three games played namely basket ball, Volley Ball and kabaddi as a rule year after year. I think the public favoured these games in this order with crowds largely dwindling for kabaddi matches. Baket ball was highly watched sport because of theaura it created and the pace of the game. Beagles; Bharath; HAL;HMT were all local teams along with the hosts ITI for basket ball matches. the teams from outside the city would be TISCO; Western Railway; Indian overseas bank; Madura coats - to name a few as year after year the teams participating would be different. Number 13 Arvind of Bharath and Somashekar no.14 of ITI team are names I remember from bangalore who were favourites with the crowd. There was a person Abbas and An arjuna award winner Kataria from western Railways. I think some of these teams who came from outside walked away with the rolling trophies during some years of these matches.

This event had a special significance and meaning to the boys growing up in the locality; the urge being to make basket ball posts and play with some improvised form of ball and also several rounds of meetings held among these boys of what name should be given to their teams and some of the over-enthusiastic boys swaering to continue playing with absolute determination and some of them vaguely trying to act and behave like players they saw at the tournament. Strategies were discussed and swords were drawn and there the many elders who passed the way whomhad to pacify the boys telling them they were not playing an imternational match and only one that too in the bylanes of where they stayed with hardly any defined court. This was the heat these games created in the kids only to die away when the sporting event was over and to be revived and remembered the next year. The tournament at ITI in the summer was not just a game - it made kids behave in weird ways and parents were drawn into this fever invariably.

In bangalore those years there used to be an unwelcome shower in the evenings and it was the prayer of every boy looking at the clouds that it did not rain and the games could progress well. However I remember a volley ball match that was fully washed away between APSRTC and KTC (kerala transport corporation..Kunjalikutty was a key volley ball player for this team) by the rain. DDCSM (dharmapuri district co-operative sugar mills) and ITI were other contenders in the semi finals. There was a player panneer selvam who used to play for ddcsm and would single handedly turn matches in the favour of his team . Panner selvam used to play for ITI earlier. Ashwathappa was a retired and old player who was still at his guns for ITI.

Many guests used to come to inaguarate these matches. Mr. Karthikeyan who was commissioner of bangalore police at that time did the honours once. Mostly the guests were dignitaries from within ITI like CMD Mr. C S S Rao

Saturday, December 19, 2009



I have always felt something wrong with the way corporate India works. To a large extent success comes to societies when they organize their man power better. Human capital has always been more powerful than financial capital and the power to multiply financial capital lies in the organization and co-ordination of human capital. All our B School training notwithstanding there is a serious lapse in this front. Education seems to have done nothing more than provided a form of fixated labour who can execute task during their life time but drastically fail to see the whole and possibly the true picture.

To some extent the japanese proved to the world through years of systematic application what proper organization of man-power can achieve. The power so developed and applied by the japanese during successive years has brought many auto giants to their knees. B school education is futile if it only teaches students to look at things in discrete terms with no effort or ability at seeing the total picture. I see the concept of finding a job and getting placed as the mantra and end goal of many a student. Is our education distorting students and deforming them for a life time with a micro-focus which in turn effects their performance and approach to business.

The culture in most corporates no matter how distinguished is foul and and driven by fear and insecurity.What a pity. Corporates must bring in fiscal discipline . Fundamentally this means two things. At one end ensure that no one is underpaid and at thwe other that no one is overpaid. Both these dimensions have to be adequately balanced. Wrong behavior of any kind from any one must be punishable. This means largely the manner in which human beings at the work place behave and communicate with each other. Corprates must give adequate scope for people who would like to contribute to organizations through research and not just economical ends. In addition to tangible contribution companies must also have means and scope for logical contribution and lastly companies must have proper policies in the removal of employees and the circumstances under which they happen. no man must be kept in top management who does not necessarily take a long term view of things and does not have such orientation. Many organizations inadvertently suffer in the long run because of their collosal inablity in looking beyond the obvious. Years of wrong management will ruin business , some instantly and the others over a period of time.

Even the best of Indian corporates seem to have a scourge called groupism. Forming groups is healthy , but for what ends is the question. Whenever groups are made and designed for perfidious ends they destroy everything with it. You grow through organizations not because of the good work that you do but by the largesse of the group to which it belong. many managements are incapable of doung anything or are simply not aware of its existence. Groups are sub-marines that work without being noticed. People who lack competence at an individual level find it easy to partner with groups to get along. Well , nothing has been done on this front and to a large extent people who do not want to be part of such groups are in the receiving end.They possibly do not know what is up and the dynamics makes it impossible to pull on. Such phenomena may not be unique to the Indian situation alone but must be prevalent in many parts of the world too.

Human resources planning from a very conventional and stereotyped setting is of not much use to organizations , if it cannot get to the bottom of problems of organizations. Human Resource Development must understand that development of people can happen only through creation of proper setting. no doubt the conventional tools does take organization far but not far enough. the challenge today is in the creation of right work environments. For example , how should an employee be appraised ? First study his conduct through the organization and not the results. If the conduct has been violatory it demands appropriate action. Study the performance of a man both from tangible and intangible perspective. Corporates have to do this or else they land up loosing people who could have otherwise made laong standing contribution to organizations. it is through the force of conduct that good management is derives and it is through the power of conduct that business organizations get the natural and effortless ability to beget outstanding economic performance. I think there is no such concept as cheap labour but only a labour that is willing to do work and the other is half willing or unwilling.

Iam against the concept of providing targets and making people achieve them. targets are fallacious and they put organizations on a reverse gear. It does not call upon people to put in all their effort much above the call of duty but makes people do just enough and very often the wrong things. For example a territory might be crying for customer service for years and the person concerned is focussed on augmenting customers and the end result being that you loosing customers and endangering organizational survival.Intent is more powerful than performance.

I still beleive organizations should have some kind of people development indices. In the era we are entering business must look at challenges and issues through radically different perspectives so that organizations can handle the challenges of the new era. Technology and people will be the key drivers of modern economy but people as always will be the most important. Leadership is all about building people into organizations that perform. People development involves inspiring people into performance and not merely coersion.It revolves around making strong people networks. Chaotic situations will result if no effort is made in this direction.

The word performance has been largely misused by many business societies and seems to be a take-off from Drucker's concept of Management by objectives. The problem is the proper measurement of performance and the indices that has to be established. Very often performance evaluation is done on wrong objectives. Performance indices drive organizations through narrow alleys . I beleive that innovation is a very important component of business and organizations must not incessenty drive through narrow alleys where after a measurable period of time you loose sight of anything at all. The american auo industry seems to have reached such a stage and so will many organizations over a period of time who over focus on performance. A small hotel can be run around this concept because it is small and wants to be so; but not an organization aspiring to be big and remain big. Any organization that aspires to stay in the arena for long must essentialy develop a sound people policy, build the right kind of culture ,propagate and inculcate that culture and reform and transform people. The most important ingredient that a human being can bring on the table shoud be willing dedication and organizations must thereafter make use of that dedication for organizational good and take all possible steps to ensure that an employee's act in good faith is not abused or mis-used.

For long I have heard criticism about the way Indian public sector works. Many successful private sector enterprises called the public sector culture clumsy and not performance oriented. We have public sectors that failed and at the same time many public sectors that survived and prevailed. Many public sectors continue to be sick but can be revived; but for now people seem to discern strenghts in the public sector culture and approach in the abilities of the collective. Many larger private organizations need to ake a study of this unique culture ; both the shortcoings and adbvantages to bring about a re-engineering in the way they see and use peope.

Lastly there must be more vigorous participation of government organizations and bodies as a watch-dog in the modern era of the activities of the corporate sector. As of now they seem to be content with a birds-eye-view. This is insufficient. It must be a microscopic view. Every single corporate must come under a scanner with regards to all their human oriented transactions. Necessary mechanisms must be set up to monitor corporates largely around their manpower policies. Things will otherwise fo hay -wire but it is stil not late.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Is China a threat to Indian business; Well I think it is. Indian corporates and business community must get shocks and nightmares by the word China , but for the Indian customer it is a welcome proposition. Firstly China is a large country and has experience in handling various kinds of manufacturing, caters to a large population, works on large supply chains, seems to be technologically more advanced than India in various forms of transport and is a far better integrated set up than India. I have never visited China for that matter but that is what it seems and appears from afar. Added to these China has a land border with India and is conveniently perched vis-a-vis other countries. It is only a matter of time China extends its supplies into India resulty in jeopardy to many established Indian business houses. Secondly, China by virtue of these advantages can penetrate into Indian market pivoting itself on a platform of very low prices for many goods and services. How much China strategises on these fronts is not very well known but is relaxed, laid back and complacent but with the power and advantages to strike any moment. USA is the only antidote for china as seen from India but the US is in a war against terror and has an enemy at its front door which would drain resources and attention for long.If India were to become more friendly with china it would essentially alienate western forces and powers. There are huge and complicated equations emerging in the world polity and the market place incomprehensible for any one analyst. Ultimately the customer and the general customer would have a say as he will gravitate to directions where he gets value be it chinese , indian or any other country for that matter.

How can India combat this plausible chinese threat. Should it at all build defences? The answer might be yes unanimously to largely save indian business houses and activities.
Firstly India must be able to use the large scale manpower and resources avaliable across the country to the fullest extent. Secondly some basic form of education must be provided to all through some innovative delivery devices. the contribution made by one and all to the Ibdian economy must be recognised and appreciated. there must be a focus on price reduction at all fronts. Government must explore methods of support possible to various sectors. India must think more like a world citizen and partner with china in activities that would be of mutuual benefit. This threat has many encouraging sides which could be used by India to its fullest advantage.

Friday, December 18, 2009


MG ROAD or Mahathma Gandhi road has a special place in Bangalore. During the raj days it used to be called South Parade and Indians were not allowed in this stretch of road. After independence it got the present title. As I write this article MG Road is getting irrevocably transformed and process started about two decaded earlier. At this present moment pillars for the Bangalore metro are being erected.

MG Road technically starts from Trinity circle and could possibly end at the beginning of Kasturbha road or at the Victoria statue. What a stamp which cannot be effaced have the British left on this city and any child born and reared in this city becomes a world citizen and a very knowledgable and affable person with a global view of things as in any developed city of the borld; this phenomena has its advantages and disadvantages vis-a-vis other cities in this country. Mayo hall is a very important British monument on this road. BPL company had an exlusive office which was a two storied outfit with a showroom in the front and was at the place where the present Barton centre stands. It was a very impressive office which was demolished to build the present structure somewhere in 1990.

Typically in the 1980's the initial stretch of MG Road had victorian style houses on either side possibly inhabited by british officers serving in india. Any englishman living at present who has any recollection of having seen or stayed in these houses are welcome to contribute his memoirs or observations of these times. With the MG Road slowly growing into a commercial hot-spot many of these victorian style houses were demolished without mercy and business offices began to take shape. Victorian syle houses can be seen on brunton road which is atributary of the MG Road.

The coffee house and Plaza theatre were key joints on this road. Plaza theatre used to exclusively screen english movies and stopped operation some where in 2006. Coffee house used to serve good vegetarian snacks and was possibly the only eat out on this road.

In the 1970's a walk on MG Road was like walking through a park with occasional pedestrians taking a stroll and with time the road began to look like a railway platform with scores of people using this stretch of road. As children many times my father used to bring me and my brother sunil for a visit to town and this road.

MG Road slowly seems to be slipping into being another road of bangalore with the growth of many arterial and connecting roads being built around bangalore and the airport being shifted out of the city. Defanitely every traveller of Bangalore who uses the metro and has a ride on MG Road must remeber he is traversing on a stretch which was priceless and unique at a time when bangalore city was just beginning to establish itself as a city in its own right. Like many Bangaloreans I cannot forget the M G Road and would love to see it in a new format post metro.

Infosys, Wipro

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Somewhere I mentioned about the Ayyappan temple in vijanapura and thereafter had the feeling that it needs more description and enlargement. In fact vijanapura has three temples ; the Ayyappan temple, the Murugan temple and Kali temple. There is a mosque also at present. I dont think there is any other place in the world blessed with all religions at one's doorsteps.

I think this Ayyappan temple at the present location came up somewhere in 1973. Previously as a small boy I remember attending Ayyappa bhajans held at a makeshift temple operating literally from a small shop behind the k r puram railway station. From the window of my house at gopal building I noticed one morning some foundation laying ceremony of the temple. We moved to our house which happenned to be adjacent to the temple from gopal building around this time.

Let me describe to you what the temple looked like during inception. It was all but one single room with an asbestos roof which could at the most accomodate some 30 people. (Malayalees in Bangalore deserve copious credit for putting up Ayyappa temples serving the spiritual needs of the multitudes. Such temples have brought amity among various linguistic groups.). For nearly fifteen years all temple activities were conducted from this small room and it was my hobby to attend bhajans at this temple and I used to look forward to them. There was a very important aspect during these times. EXACTLY AT 5:00 PM in the evening loud speakers would be tied on lamp-posts and religious songs of every flavour mostly in the malayalam language dished out from these speakers and in full throttle. Ambadi thanil oru unni... sung by P Leela used to be there on the menu almost every day. I think this practice was stopped after some years because of objections from some other communities.

The present temple most probably took shape in the 1990's; and is a full fledged temple with various dieties and the central presence of the diety of Ayyappa. Let me thank all the people involved in the inception and execution of this novel venture and let the temple continue to do the good activity in the right spirit as always.

These days Vijinapura is the official name of vijanapura and there are many Airtel communication towers seen here.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


A new lay-out has come up in bangalore in an unexpected and unprecedented way and is the picture of modern day Bangalore with thousands of flats in a limited stretch of land. In the 1970's I remember seeing this stretch of land nothing more than a wet-land with some cultivations and the BTS buses of these times would stop at this place as it formed the end of a stage and the conductor was busy issuing tickets to some remaining passengers in an otherwise highly over-crowded bus.
I think these flats took shape some where in year 2000 and in a sudden explosion many flats in multi-storey format and very closely knit began to appear in quick succession. The growth of the Indian middle class can be seen through these flats ;especially with the large number of cars parked at these flat basements.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


The ring roads of bangalore are something special. It has made transport much easier through the city and improved routing. The ring roads beyond doubt show the world that bangalore is a progressive city. The progress is so much that that these roads also seem to be insufficient. the construction of metro started in bangalore around 2007 which is more of an overhead system and not an underground system seen in some countries. I happenned to use the NICE road recently and the concept itself is impressive and so are the roads.

I remember using the ring road for the first time in the year 1997 between hebbal and ramamurthynagar. There were no vehicles on the road and it was a smooth passage. By the year 2007 vehicular traffic on these roads began to increase manyfold and the earlier importance enjoyed by the central parts of the city began to diminish. I think peripheral ring road is also under way which will circumscribe the present ring roads.

All areas around the ring road has seen rapid development. So much so that there are traffic jams at every junction. This is the scenario in 2009. Many unerpasses are coming up on the ring road to ease congestions.

Though the metro might solve to some extent the transport problems of Bangalore , I strongly beleive Bangalore as a city needs elevated roads in dozens linking various key points to others. I think the town planners have to think in this direction. Though the progress of work is slow on road development programmes but still many things are underway.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Near my house at the Doddanakundi industrial area in Mahadevapura is the company called Graphite India that makes graphite electrodes for the steel industry. I think this company was set up in the year 1973 by the Bangur group with the help of Great lakes carbon corporation of the US. Mr.Maniar was a key person in the setting up of the plant it is said. Mr G K Nambiar was head of marketing for many years.

Graphite is a allotropic form of carbon found in natural form; however it can be manufactured as synthetically using manufacturing procedures.The industry by itself is very dusty with carbon. Pitch and coke are used as raw materials.

I used to know A K Jain who was the general manager of the plant in 1992. He used to be very pious man and used to walk around the plant every day praying to the various deities. I came to know later that he died of brain tumour. He had met with an accident some where in 1992 when his white ambassador car collided with a truck when he was on the wheel near Lowry  School.

This company is a major consumer of electric power with a 66kv line entering the factory premises. Mr. Ashwathnarayana Reddy a local politician was union leader for some time. John P Sachs the President of great lakes carbon corporation visited the plant some time during the late 1980's.

The entire area looks quite different now especially after the itpl came up in its vicinity. This company pollutes the environment and the owners and well-wishers must find some method to control and reduce the pollution.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Some wher I mentioned about the bridge built of mortat and limestone that over looks the k r puram railway station built by the british some where in the mid 1800's or slightly later. This was a narrow bridge and could possibly take only traffic in one direction at one time. The bridge by itself was very very strong. Gradually the scenario became such that the bridge could not take the heavy load of vehicular traffic and became a bottle neck. Discussions were held at many levels of how to remedy the situation and have a new bridge in place.

What resulted is probably a master peice in its own right and bangalore joins the list of various developed communities in the world who have cable stayed bridge. If my memory serves me right the bridge construction commenced in 1998 and was completed in 2003. In the year 2003 the then prime minister atal bihari vajpayee inaugurated the bridge.

I remember watching the step by step progression in the construction of the bridge whenever I passed that way. The construction company was a consortium of the indian railways and a private party. The first step in the construction was the erection of two mega pillars which took quite some time to complete. The important feature of this bridge is that part of the bridge is cable stayed while the other part is a normal bridge. This bridge runs roughly for about two kilo meters. The lowry memorial school is clearly visible from the bridge.

Congratulations planners, executioners, financiers and all the workers of the bridge for having presented to bangalore such a master peice.

This place is also called vijinapura these days.

Monday, November 2, 2009


27TH of October 2009 will be a day that I can never forget. At 10:45 AM my illustrious mother
P O Vasanthi died of brain tumour. What a zest she had for life but everything came to an end from a disease that would never let go. It was like the grasp of a python and we saw her being sucked in helplessly.(It is 10:45 AM)

Two years prior to this date she was diagonised with Anaplastic Astrocytoma an aggressive brain tumour which later got converted into GBM meaning Glio Blastoma Multiforme. She was operated upon and survived barely for an year when the disease appeared again, this time to take her.

On 28th October her body was brought to our house from the morgue by my father , me, sunil and few other relatives. Her front teeth (incisors) were protruding outside a bit. Don the american legal head of caterpillar, Prema Bhaktavatsalam, the father -in-law of my sister Keshavan Nambiar and few other members of the Kerala Samajam were present. My brother and myself performed all the rites at home and we took the body to the crematorium which is off mysore road and I performed many rites as a faithful son of my mother and then she was sent into the furnace. I cannot forget the gesture of my younger brother Sunil who insisted that he should touch her feet before she was sent into the furnace. thus ended the life of our mother who fought a valiant battle through life.

I must thank the american company CATERPILLAR for bearing a sizeable amount of my mothers' treatment through medical insurance.

My grand mother was some sort of a divorcee. In her first marriage to a poduval she had a daughter rohini. Fom her second marriage to edakalon karunakaran nambiar she had three children namely padmanabhan nambiar, yeshodha and my mother. The relation between my grand mother and grand father seemed to have strained possibly due to negative influence of surroundings thereby making my grand mother the sole guardian of all the four children. This was a set back and was tough. The first daughter rohini died of mental illness somewhere in 1973. My father and mother were married in 1964 and since my father had a job in bangalore they re-located to bangalore. My mother had a good life in Bangalore largely enjoying many comforts. During the last days of her life she was housed in the ICU of the hospital for more than a month.

It is difficult to believe that my mother is no more. She could not get good formal education but was very important force behind the education of we three children. We expected a miracle would save her life but that miracle never happenned. We conducted all the ceremonies and on the 6th of december 2009; my father, myself , keshavan nambiar and my sister P O Supriya travelled all the way to srirangapattana and immersed her ashes at the sangam there. My mother is eternal in the waters of the kaveri river. My brother Sunil was not in station and hence could not accompany us.

Surviving GBM is a difficult and impossible task it seems. However people with such diseases should not loose hope. Please contact me and I could be of some help and advice.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


For long I was debating with myself if I should write something about this person. Every other day we hear media hype of people in business or what they have done. This person is something special for he developed the company called BPL with utmost dedication for nearly three decades ; from the medical electronics facilities to telecom to television. He rarely craved for publicity but was a leader with exceptional intuition.

The television business of BPL for nearly two decades was handled by him with distinction making BPL a market leader year after year. He had fine understanding of manufacuring , marketing and engineering. He used to sit late in the office at church street handling difficult situations and discussing with people. He had an uncanny gift at making right decisions and organizing manufacturing.

Friday, October 23, 2009


One of the significant events of my life at Bangalore was the setting up of ITPL- International Technology Park Ltd on the KR Puram Whitefeild road. This event changed the face of the entire area and Bangalore. Bangalore seems to have become an international destination and began to grow at a rapid pace thereafter.

Something must be said about this Whitefeild road which runs almost parallel to the railway tracks that connect bangalore with madras (renamed chennai in the 1990's). During the 1960's and 1970's this belt was home for many medium sized steel plants like kap steel, kamani steel, bhoruka steel to name a few. In the 1980's there was power shortage and many of these plants closed down. This stretch of road employed many industrial workers so to say. As a boy I learnt cycling on this stretch of road. This road was narrow and some accidents were a routine affair.

With the growth of Information technology ITPL was set up adjacent to this road almost nearing Hope farm opposite to suri and nayar factory few kilometers ahead of garudacharpalya. there were four independent towers housing a myraid of national and international software firms and companies. Bangalore simply changed after this. Professional workers began to flood the city and the city began to be recognized as an international destination with shortage faced in the housing sector and the sky line of bangalore changing with many multi-storied residential flats coming up in the lenghth and breadth of the city. I had visited ITPL a couple of times. This incident made a sleepy area of bangalore find new life with economic development and growth.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Living in Bangalore , I was not very much concerned about my roots in Cannanore/kannur in Kerala. My earliest memories are that of going to my ancestral house in cherukunnu in kannur with my parents and brother. My father is from the kalikot family at a place called narath in kannur. The sister iof my mother using treacherous methods ousted my mother without giving basic rights on ancestral properities after demolishing the ancestral house and building a smalll one for herself in its place. This event had a lasting impact on our lives because most of the connections with our mothers household got terminated once and for all somewhere in 1973. Thereafter as relatives we only went to our father's place. My father also seems to be from a formidable house hold in narath of hard working people. I remember fondly the eldest brother of my father whom I used to visit and stay with when I visited kannur/cannanore.

Interesting as it seems the word Nambiar caught my fancy largely because of my stint at BPL nd I became increasingly curious about my ancestors. The search focussed on the village of cherukunnu in kannur/cannanore. It seemed to be another of those villages. The ancestral house that I mentioned above was built by a person called kottayam kadankot chindan nambiar in 1935 and is the father of my grandmother. There seems to be something great about this person from his actions during his life time. In bangalore we used to frequent the house of professor
O K Nambiar who used to teach english at bangalore university and their three children Prema Bhaktavatsalam, Prabha Shankaranarayanan and Jeevan Prasad. (Mr. Shankaranarayanan was chief secretary of karnataka state)
Prof . O K Nambiar's wife is the granddaughter of kottayam kadangot chindan nambiar.

There is another house hold in cox town in bangalore we used to visit as childre; this is the house of Dr. P C Nambiar who used to be an FRCS and his wife Madhaviachi is a cousin of my grandmother. Later I had regular contact with the daughter of p c nambiar by the name janaki menon. They used to stay in a victorian style building which was demolished somewhere in 1997 and flats built in its place. I have met the son of janaki menon by name dilip menon once.

I became keen on this kottayam kadangot family as I have connections with this house hold so to speak. This led me to the activities and the times of pazhassi rajah in the place called kottayam in telicherry. When the british took control of Telicherry from the pazahassi rajah many of the relatives of the rajah fled tellicherry and it seems this family called kottayam kadangot in cherukunnu were descendants of the relatives of the pazhassi rajah of kottayam. In 1865 when my great grand father kottayam kadangot chindan nambiar was barely eleven years of age a house in the naalu-kattu style came up in cherukunnu and exists even to this day. I had visited this house some time back.
It is surprising to note about this connection between telicherry and cherukunnu that was established during the times of pazhassi rajah whom the british called pyche rajah. However my initials are Palanghat Odayoth and please visit which is a web site created by the members of this family.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I spent more than four years of my life here and became a man from a teen-ager. I count myself fortunate for having been given an opportunity to study at this place and thank heavens for the same every other day. I liked this place and to a large extent a life full of fun ,games and frolic - away from the binds of home. I must thank my father for having sent me all the way from Bangalore to this place to study which not many a parent would endeavor. 

REC presently re-christened as NIT was culturally very very different both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is a socially different place as we find students from all over the country and abroad. Social learning is a challenge to an intelligent mind as much as technical learning. The setting is simply different from any other institute. Recently the government has done away with this policy of admitting students from various states and has gone into a national merit list and the NIT of today will be a totally different place from the REC of yesteryears. There were many tanzanian students during our days. The International hostel at REC was inaguarated in 1983 by the then chief minister of Kerala Shri K Karunakaran. He started his speech in Malayalam and with the hindi crowd uncomfortable with the language switched over to English. The foundation for the F hostel was laid in 1985 by the then Education minister Shri T M Jacob. At the place where the F hostel stands used to be a tract with bushes on either sides leading to the Mini-Canteen. The Mini-canteen was thence shifted to the present location to give way for the construction of the F hostel.

I beleive somewhere NIT Calicut has a problem called the "crisis of entry point". Even today I have not been able to perfectly pin-point the main gate of the institute.Technically the institution's confines starts at the temple towards the end of the chathamanagalam hills and runs all the way to the edge of the E hostel at Kattangal which should be around 3 to 4 kilometers. At both these points there are no gates that should prevent extraneous elements from making an entry into the institute. For all practical purposes the institute's main gate is the one seen near the canteen leading to the main building and other key structures further leading to the hostels. This could well be called the student zone or the academic zone. This area in its entirety must be around 10 acres of land including the sports feilds which are for practical purposes used by students. I have not been to NIT of-late but have come to know from several quarters that many more buildings have come up in this zone. The irony of the situation is that though the campus is on 400 acres the effective student area is as mentioned thereby the area per student is effectively much lesser than what could be.

The best view of NIT Calicut is the one from Papachan hotel ;especially the true majesty of the departmental building appears from this angle and view. Many a visitor to the institute returns without a view of NIT which is truly majestic. When we approach the Departmental building from the Main building we encounter a land surface which is in a downward gradient and the true majesty of the departmental building lies camouflaged so to mention due to this uneven nature of land.

The class rooms at NIT are very spacious. We used to have our first year classes in the left wing of the Main Building on the first floor; the III sem classes in the ground floor of the main building and most of the other semester classes in the various floors of the Departmental building except for the V semester where we came back to the ground floor of the Main Building.

From a strategic view point I beleive that the entire land mass of NIT must be put to better use through some process of fundamental redesign. The good and bad aspect of NIT is the road that winds through the campus with many private vehicles finding a throughfare. The next generation NIT should be able to stop this in some way which protects the interests of the institute and at the same time does not put the public to inconvenience. As a initial recourse to such a situation the road could atleast be made a one way road. Vehicles approaching NIT from Calicut could take a deviation at 12th mile towards the left and use the stretch to reach kattangal. In the long run a fly-over would be one of the possible solutions from the temple point to kattangal thereby bypassing the institute aerially and serving long term purposes. Even other wise no mode of transport other than college buses must be let beyond 12th mile. This could create inconvenience to lady students who would like to reach their hostel but a diagonal road could connect 12th mile to the lady hostels forming a short-cut.

When I visit IISc at Bangalore I witness a very novel venture in the form of an underpass that links the institute to the JRD Tata auditorium. To me this is an unique civil engineering effort and very effectively links and integrates both the parts of the institute. Rightaway one such link could be considered at NIT too which links the hostels to some point near the guest house making the yonder part of NIT easily accessible to student community bringing the kind of synergy that is needed and at the same time increasing the land area per student that was being discussed. The residential area of faculty could be fenced and made a private area with minimum tresspass from students if necessay .

The beauty of NIT is the two valleys. One yonder to the faculty quarters and the other seen behind the guest-house. When we were students in the first year the valley behind the guest house was accessible to us. One fine day when we returned from vacation we found the entire patch of land sealed by the forest department for afforestation. During our first year we used to walk down into this valley the corner of which had a ground with the resemblance of a cricket feild and have played some cricket matches there. What a good feeling? I think this patch of land must be re-opened for students if it has not been done so.

Iam concerned that the breath-taking view of Departmental Building as seen from papachan be fully tapped as one of the measures of making NIT look even more formidable. A full fleged gate could be constructed at this point. I have walked down the road one evening from papachan towards the river which at that time was a desolate stretch but now must be more occupied and utilised. By constructing such a gate a parallel joint like kattangal could come up in the vicinity in some form thereby reducing the dependence of students on kattangal for various reasons. At all open points around the boundary of NIT barbed fences must be constructed.If possible the exit at Kattangal must also be sealed fully or partially.

NIT I believe needs to strategically redefine itself as it enters the new era. Note that when we were students communication facilities like telephones were non-existent. We could hardly make phone calls to our homes and there were no STD booths and writing letters were the only source of communication. Compared today we are in the mobile and internet age where any one could be got on demand at point of time and at any place, What a transformation. As a precursor to development at NIT an accurate high altitude geographic re-modelling of NIT must be done in some form so that it is accurately positioned to provide high quality services and at he same time gallop into upcoming avenues with ease and least discomfort.

In the year 1982 I get a seat at the REC calicut. Calicut is roughly 350 km from Bangalore and is on the arabian sea coast. At these colleges there used to be an inter-state quota and 06 of us from the Karnataka state were deputed to this institute. We were Subash (myself) & S V Giri from Bangalore ; Srinath shetty , Jerald harry dsouza from Mangalore ; Gayathri Bhat from kasargod and Arvind poal Masaji from Belgaum. My father accompanied me to this instute during admission.

All the five boys were housed at the room B 315 at REC Calicut along with two other boys from Maharashtra namely Gautham Balram Hendre and Ullas Hiralal Ghondane(This person left the institute soon after). We were seven people in this room. There after I stayed in the rooms
b 108; c 327 and d312. Antony Susairaj; M M Shajan; Binodanand Mishra ; Anil Eapen were all my room mates at some point of time or another.

During my stay at REC I had a local guardian at calicut by name Capt. K T Sreenivasan. I think in retrospect this was a big plus point. He was the zilla welfare officer at calicut during that time. The wife of this person by name mani is the neice of my father. It was a spacious bungalow and I used to frequent it. My batch mates Raghuvaran , s v giri and anthony susairaj have visited this place atleast once. There was a student strike at rec cakicut on 11 november 1983 because some students of my batch were purportedly held for involvement in some ragging case. The events of 11 of november 1983 became violent and the crpf was called in and students were asked to vacate the hostels. I took refuge in the house of Capt. K T Srinivasan for the night seeing the movie big beard ghost at crown theatre. In bombay i happenned to talk to my senior kalol roy and we had a lengthy conversation about this strike. iam told that in 1977 there was a conflict between students and the locals living around rec.

I must make special mention of the great help Capt. Srinivasan and family did to me during my stint at Calicut. Captain (though he never liked being addressed so) was a generous man . He passed away in 2008 and his wife a little earlier. He had many political contacts and friends in kerala. I remember meeting minister Mullapally Ramachandran in New Delhi through his introduction. I remember meeting colonel ayilath a retired military officer in the office of captain and many people from the police department. The native place of Captain K T Srinivasan is in Meppayur near calicut ,which I visited once and remember meeting his mother and climbing the mountain one morning that runs behind his house.

REC was renamed NIT somewhere in 2003 meaning National Institute of technology. REC stands for Regional Engineering College.

More than a place of academic learning I found this place more apt for fun and frolic which I had to my heart's content. Kilungatha changallagal was the first movie we friends saw at kattangal dhanya theratre and thereafter we were frequent visitors to this place. Food in the messes were very good and there was lot of scope for extra curricular activities and sports. This place gave me a once in a life time experience which I enjoyed to the fullest extent. Though I was party to the fun and frolic deep within me I was committed to academic work and was judging to fairly accurate extent the academic pressure and ways to react to it. I like quiet places in life but REC was not simply one of those quiet places.

At that time there were only five hostels at REC ; A B C D and E. Eventually I moved to other hostels during my stay here namely C and D. The best stint I had I think was at C hostel room 327. I remember my senior Prem Vathore from Bombay used to stay close to my room.

I studied Electrical Engineering at REC. The academic standards were fairly high and the Calicut University was a tough university to be in by any standards. Among the teaching staff I remember Dr. P S Srinivasan who used to teach at this place and later was the Dean. He taught us Induction Machines and used to do a splendid job at that deriving expressions off-hand and showing general mastery over the subject.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The K R Puram railway station has with time become a very important place in bangalore. What used to be a sleepy station for most of the day has become a busy center and the station has become a junction. in the 1970's quite a few trains used to pass this way and most of them worked on steam engines. The brindavan express was the fastest train that used to ply on this route with a deisel engine. This railway line got electrified in the year 2000.

During these times , from the station the old KR puram bridge was visible. This is a narrow bridge built in the 1850 it seems to carry supplies to madras. Over time the K R puram bridge became incapable of handling traffic density with altercations between drivers driving in opposite directions becoming a daily and routine affair. I have used this bridge to go to work on my two wheeler. However a ultra modern cable bridge came up in this place somewhere in 2003.

The KR puram railway station itself grew over these decades from a one platform station to a multi-platform junction. Trains from Bombay and other key Indian cities ply on this route now. Whitefeild station and byappanahalli stations are the adjacent railway stations in the two directions.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


The story of Bangalore during my times would be incomplete if i dont write something about this company called BPL which flourished in bangalore during 1980 to 2000. BPL originally stands for British Physical Laborotaries which was a company in UK a independent division of which was started by TPG Nambiar in Palakkad in Kerala and opened units in Bangalore city. The company had its inception in 1962.

BPL was a very big brand all over India mainly dominating the manufacture of colour televisions.At its height the turnover of the company was 2000 crores of indian rupees. BPL had several white coloured buses that used to ply around the city to bring employees to the plants. There were BPL plants everywhere in Bangalore at that time. To name a few places at avalahalli on old madras road, arakere on banerghatta road, and at several points on hosur road. BPL was a factory mainly in the electronics business abd I being an electrical engineer life was not very amusing for me within the plants. The head office of the company was located on church street and MG Road. The company enjoyed huge pomp and glory. I think roughly 5000 people worked at the plants.

BPL had a unorthodox management culture. However the company was very successful. The company enjoyed success for a limited time in the mobile telephony business too.

Several years of ill treatment of employees made it easy it seems for rivals to incite the employees into a strike in 1997 jeopardising beyond recovery the overall fortunes of the company in 1997. The mobile telephony business also went into dis-array later

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I passed my 10th standard from Lowry Memorial School but my grades were not good enough basically to study science at some so called premier institutes for pre-university studies. The premier institutes were national college -Basavanagudi and the st. Josephs college. I applied to all these colleges and my father used to accompany me for this purpose. 

The sathya sai college at Whitefeild Bangalore was an option for me for various reasons. It was relatively close to my house, many of my seniors at school studied there, but I was apprehensive if I wold be offered a seat. however I made an application. I had gone to another college christ college (now called Christ University) for admission and as I returned home I found a post card asking me to appear for an interview at Sathya sai arts science and commerce college - as Sathya Sai college was known. 

Mr. Narendra was the principal who along with Mr. Nanjundiah and Mr.Kulkarni were present during the interviewing process. However I was offered a seat to study science and did two years of pre-university education. Divine Sathya Sai Baba used to give his discourses occasionally and his darshan used to happen every day when he was in station. I remember being with him one afternoon with few others when he was leaving for puttaparthy in his Benz

Divine grace Sai Baba made a lasting impression on my life which I realized only decades after i left this place. i liked the bhajans we used to sing every day  in the morning

Mr. Alvin Drucker used to teach us and handle lecture seminars sometimes. I remember he spoke about homeopathy in one of these sessions. 

It is important for me to say that I did have some miraculous experiences from Baba thereafter and hence i have started looking at him as god. 

We were a bunch of around 25 students from Doorvaninagar who used to travel to Whitefield who were students at sathya sai college. During the first year namely 1981 we used to go and return by train ; during the second year we used the ITI bus ( college bus provided by the Indian Telephone Industries)

I fondly remember Mr. H K Nagaraj; Shri Chandrashekar; Shri H N Mahendraraja Urs; Shri Hegde and Shri H R Ravi who used to teach at this college.

Jai Sai Ram


As I mentioned somewhere my father worked for nearly 40 years at the Indian Telephone Industries also called ITI. After independence the Govt of India put up many public sector units in India and ITI is one of them. It is a large Industrial township with many houses built for staff. To some extent it can be said that National Highway 4 runs through the ITI territory.

What a great place it is. During the heydays in the 1970's and early 1980's ITI must have had 25000 employees nearly 200 buses and made telephones and exchanges largely strowger and crossbar exchanges. In the 1990's with privatization the role of ITI began to dwindle with voluntary retirement given to employees and production almost coming to a halt, In 1986 I spent a month inside ITI as a trainee during my stint at engineering college.

ITI used to hold an annual sports meet every year in the summer with games like basketball, volleyball and kabaddi being played. Teams used to come from all over India for the event. I remember I K Gupta,C S S Rao, Swaminathan, K P P Nambiar were all Managing Directors of ITI. ITI has a park in which carnivals were conducted once in a while. ITI hospital is also an enterprise worth mentioning.

But ITI is in a sorry state after 1995 with large scale reduction of employees and not much production. The buses were sold off and the entire township wore a dejected look. Government policies and telecom revolution can be attributed to the decay of ITI.

It would also be worthy to mention about the ITI auditorium or theater where cinema used to be shown every day in the evening and three shows on a sunday. I have seen many block busters in this theater like "Sholay", "Amar Akbar Anthony" in the 1970's

Ramamurthy nagar, Vijanapura and Krishnarajapura are all adjoining areas of ITI; Can ITI be revived is a very vital question and discussed in many quarters. Some years back another public sector in Bangalore HAL was in the doldrums but miraculously revived as a result of globalization. ITI seems to be caught in crossfires and whirlwinds of many kinds. But I still beleive ITI can be revived and the re-birth will result in a transformed ITI. How could ITI be revived...? Please study the following points;

  • ITI must be renamed as INDIAN TELECOM INDUSTRIES as against the present name of INDIAN TELEPHONE INDUSTRIES.
  • Alongside making exchanges the company must make wire less equipments too of various kinds for the global market.
  • There must be increased synergy between ITI and other public sectors like BEL and ISRO.
  • An INDIAN INSTITUTE OF TELECOM must be established inside the premises.
  • Finally the Government must ensure that the CMD of ITI is a telecom graduate and has vast experience in wired and wireless telecom along with managerial degree or expertise.

Monday, June 22, 2009


The Lowry Memorial School
 was a key school in the area of Dooravaninagar. It had an area of around sixty acres of land with many western style buildings in the school. When I joined school in 1969 I think Mr. Easterbrook was the principal. We used to have a week of prayer conducted in the school once every six months.

Mr J DAVID joined as a teacher of the school in 1975 and his sons ravi and steevi joined my class at 5th standard. I remember Jeffry Wilson who used to teach us english with distinction. Benedict wilson and fredrick wilson were students at the school anbd i think nephews of Jeffry. There used to be lot of fun and frolic in the school with a good number of dedicated teachers like Mrs. Starry, Deborah Vasantha , Mr. Sujjan john etc. There used to be a west indian lady by the name of Dollence Trot who used to teach moral education at this school I think in 1977-78 and she used to do a good job at it. I fondly remember Mrs. Balentine who used to teach mathematics at elementary school in the year 1974.

The administration of the school slowly passed into the hands of Indian principals . The basket ball court was introduced into the school in 1974. I came out of the school in 1980 after completing my 10th standard. Slowly the school went into becoming a college. Corn used to be grown in the farm along with vegetables.

I remember some good teachers' in the school; Mr. Paulraj used to teach Kannada (he used to stay near tin factory) , Another Mr. Paulraj used to teach us English (he later married the daughter of one of the earlier principals Mr. David; Livingstone used to teach maths etc. There used to be one Mr. K C Nagaraj from kengeri who used to teach Kannada. Miss Starry used to teach Science.


My father P K Damodaran worked for nearly 40 years at the INDIAN TELEPHONE INDUSTRIES in Bangalore and I have stayed here for most of my life barring a period of 04 years when I relocated to Calicut (1982 to 1986) to study electrical engineering at rec calicut.

It is important for people to write at lenghth what they see during their life times so that posterity could get a picture of what transpired.

My earliest memories of this city was going to the Lowry Memorial school in dooravaninagar where i did my schooling from 1969 to 1980 and from our home we (along with my brother ) used to cross the k r puram railway station to reach the school. There used to be a train to madras passing by this railway station at 9 am with a steam engine.

The K R Puram station during that time was a small station with a single platform and the old madras road runs above the station through a narrow bridge built in the late 1800's. However a new cable bridge came up there in 2003 making the bridge wider with free flow of traffic.