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.