Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Asthma and Bangalore

The city of  Bangalore is sensed with some amount of negativity by some or few because of the belief of an higher incidence of asthmatic attacks for children and adults alike. This is more prevalent in children where these attacks commence on as common cold gradually graduating into full fledged bronchial asthmatic attacks on a repetitive basis year after year accompanied by heavy cough sometimes with a deep whooping noise.

I  was myself a subject of such bouts of illness as a child and became a regular victim and can largely say that this ailment robbed me of my childhood depressing my general chest formation and the need to be on medicine. Franol , Periactin , lidermyzin all medicines I have taken and not to forget some injection called denzyllin. The main reason for me to translocate for higher education to a relatively warm place like Calicut was this ailment thereby getting rid of this disease once and for all. A weed called parthenium  was seen to be the propogater of this kind of asthma but have no proof to nail this as the only cause. At REC I did one thing constructive..an attempt to build my chest and stamina to act as some kind of immunization against such onslaughts and spend considerable amount of time during my formative years into such efforts at REC.

There was a  gym in the ground floor of the B hostel where I did  bench pressing which means lifting weights and also trained myself into running upto ten rounds around the foot ball court. I don't regret having spend time into all these efforts as it helped me get my heath aspects into control. I learned Yoga too. At the gym I used to regularly meet Vinayak Prabhakar More my senior and his room mate Sunil Chilar.

What is the reason for asthmatic attacks in Bangalore ? I have always wondered. I have got an answer. Cold winds.....Selectively in my view cold winds sweep through Bangalore during the winter months somewhere starting in September and extending to the end of February a full six months in all and a sizable part of the year. Note that prior to these months is the rainy season that renders the various lakes and tanks of the city full and many peripheral areas becoming plush with vegetation. I presume these cold winds that are aggressive almost during the day intensifies during the nights bringing down the temperature to around 12 degrees Celsius. It is not the cold that does the harm it is the winds.

Somewhere in my view point these winds have their source to almost far off  Siberia and descend into india through the crevices of the Himalayas progressing through the Vindya Sathpuri mountains and thereafter encountering the Deccan plateau which is a conical structure formed by Western and Eastern Ghats on either sides ..the winds intensifying in rapacity owing to this bottle neck and constraint and the city of Bangalore is almost at a vantage point that faces the fury of this gush becoming colder as it passes along the wet bodies
 of the  city which are brimming due to the rains few months earlier. These winds must be progressing even further downwards into the Indian ocean. The city of Bangalore is in an continental wind belt and especially when house holds and habitats are on this belt are susceptible to Asthma creating winds.

The skyline of Bangalore is fast changing with construction activities of various kinds and must be having a bearing on the overall weather patterns but these winds will always influence the overall life of this city

How can you counter the Bangalore winter..by being careful and prepared for it. Use ear plugs when you go out especially children and those driving cars... only drink warm water and not water that is at room temperature..never drink any cold drinks during the day time...Avoid air-conditioners..Keep the windows of the car closed while driving..use a heater to heat up the room if needed..especially in children identify some herbal remedies and administer it to the child all over the year to create resistance ....and if you observe cold winds gushing at your residence year after year build some barricade..... preferably sleep in the room which is relatively warmer..give children hot water to drink on a regular basis during these months.

Let the asthmatic attacks on the children in this city decline..or else their parents will think of sending their children to some far off places for advanced education not just to study but to also help their ward get rid off bronchal diseases that were gifted to them by Bangalore winds when they were too young to understand what asthma and its causes meant.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Beggary and Bangalore

Whilst being a student at the National Law School of India University I was once invited to a conference on Beggary by Mr. Japhet of the university. I presented myself on the day of its occurrence with diligence and found a bunch of distinguished law makers and representatives of the police force and the duration of this exercise extending into one full day and was drawn largely into participating in the proceedings and listening to wide variety of discussions headed by Mr. Pandey.

If one were to walk or stroll through the main Bangalore bus station you find beggary in various forms and natures and not a exciting thing for the inhabitants of this city and largely deplorable that enlightened passers by do not give a second thought to the affairs of this kind. Education has failed in itself to sensitize people to social settings. The concerned agencies of this city must brainstorm with the help of supporting networks to make all parts of Bangalore a zone free of such maladies not by using methods that are far from human considerations but from approaches that are people friendly and humane. If every citizen of this city were to contribute one rupee on a monthly basis much can be done to make this city a more adorable and respected one in the eyes of the world at large.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Wayanad Ghats

Some one hour drive from Gundlupet through the Bandipur forests comes wayanad district of kerala and some half an hour drive ahead we get a nodal town of this place called Sultanbattery or Sultans' battery as it was originally assigned. Around one hour drive from Sultanbattery we intrude into the wayanad ghats a relatively treacherous stretch of mountain roads the semblance of which at least does not exist in southern India.

My earliest experience with this road  was in the early 1980's and this stretch of road was narrow and raw in nature with the capacity to handle a single bus with ease and two buses from either side with constraint. In the night the problem getting more acute with large trucks laden with logs of wood literally sealing the entire space and the drivers of passenger buses using spotters in the night who alight from the bus guiding the driver through narrow inches of space.I  had my own moments of despair once in the evening when a Karnataka state transport bus made a collision with the rocks that edged this road sending a rock down in a rapid pace but the driver unruffled by all these guided the bus to safety.This happened at the topmost point and I could see the vast expanse of infinity below a large stretch of mountain ranges.

These roads are much better now being widened and strengthened and plying on this stretch or road being less cumbersome.

What is the essence of the wayanad ghat road. Twelve hair pin bends in all over a stretch of twelve kilometers taking commuters one hour to traverse which would very plainly translate into a speed of 12 Kilometers per hour. I have noted many roads across the western ghats and have found this stretch of the western ghats most fascinating on one count and at the same time the most impeding to execute.

It is time the Government of Kerala  aspire upon a project that would be radical in its nature and at the same time without precedence. A cable stayed bridge that would entertain the entire stretch of this ghat road and at the same time bypass it, lowering vehicles without much difficulty from the pinnacle to sea level a full 3000ft in all. Would this be possible I think it would be and at the same time not mingling much with the ecological aspects of this place. How would such a bridge look like. Starting some 3km before the ranges and ending some three kilometers after it thereby spreading the load over a stretch of beams without much load concentration at any point. Note that speaking from first principles , when a vehicle goes down the stretch of such a bridge it would create a high bending moment both owing to its weight and also from gravity but these forces would be countered by large struts and cable some three kiliometrs on land upstream. More than anything there would be high bending moment...but engineering people in kerala must do some ground study for the unfurling of such a structure.

What would be the benefits of such a structure....?  You almost instantly cover this stretch of space.....No chaos and confusions at driving through narrow tracts...no accidents..you save on fuel every year....and eventually trade and commerce would quadruple and the economy of this stretch getting an unprecedented fillip. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Western Ghats

I have presented above a rare picture and all-encompassing picture of the Western Ghats. Note almost instantly the staggering nature of this mountain range covering a huge length adjacent to the coast and also the breadth and the number of states the mountain ranges extends into.

Note that I have marked a circle and a triangle on the map. The circle is the Palghat gap one of the very few apertures in the range  and the triangle is the Bangalore city and note the proximity of the mountains and Bangalore city.

I have pasted below another map that portrays the mountain ranges within the Indian sub continent; It shows the western ghats in relation to the Eastern Ghats.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My fascination for James Bond 007

I have been seeing Bond movies for many years now and have been fascinated by this fictitious character created by Ian Flemming  of an international  spy trotting the globe  taking the battle to the enemy around the world ; working with advanced technological gadgets on one side and fist fights on the other. Bond has fascinated the world and I have played Bond on stage some times. The 007 theme music adds charm to the entire movie and every one around the world I presume must have seen at least one Bond movie.

I have seen Sean Connery ; Roger Moore ; Timothy Dalton ; Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Craig play Bond...and  I also read from some quarters about some dispute among rival companies that own the intellectual property rights of Bond. Presently Bond has a female Boss and women must be happy.

David Niven was the earliest personality to don this character possibly much before it became an icon ..David Niven can also be seen in the movie "Guns of  Navrone".

Let me see if I can remember names of some Bond movies I have seen..Gold Finger ; The man with the Golden Gun ; Moonraker; The spy who loved me; Live and let die;Thunder Ball; Never say never again; Living Daylights ; Casino Royale; Golden Eye; Die another Day....There are many arguments who is the better Bond among various actors who have donned this role. I have liked Roger Moore and has given his best performance in 'The man with a Golden Gun" opposite Christopher Lee. What should Bond look like? largely a slim and tall person in his mid or late forties with  keen intellect and agility..comfortable with women and a crafty approach dwelling on technology. Of late the makers of these movies have veered away sometimes from this description of Bond. One of better of the fist fights unfurled by any Bond in my view is the one in " The man with the Golden Gun" by Roger Moore in the first few minutes of the movie.

Of late I evince great concern in the way Bond is visualized and the nature of his general activities. Possibly Bond is forced to change with the times. Both in Golden Eye and in the recent remake of Casino Royale I see Bond running with the fury of an athlete eager to touch the finish line and I believe is deviant from the general persona of Bond. The last thing that Bonds' must do is be part of a run-chase. Maybe various kinds of audience research is pointing to such an activity being taken well by the audience. It is pernicious to deviate from the fundamental persona and character of Bond for the very enigma of the name Bond must be preserved at all costs..come what may..and this is the essentials of any Bond movie and largely determines how a Bond movie is different from other movies. many bond ladies have contributed in good measure to the success of these movies..some of them part of a deceitful, plot eventually to switch sides and align with the charming Bond.

The growth of Television and the Internet in some large measure has changed the entertainment industry around the globe and movie makers must be finding it difficult to bring an audience to the theater in adequate measure to make a movie a success but possibly  Bond is the only character that has stood the test of audience and romped in sizable revenues for the promoters for every single movie. Bond movies are today dubbed into local languages and also the concept finding its place in vernacular movies around the world.

What is the future of Bond? bleak in my view if some fundamental changes are not incorporated. Firstly there must be no large scale deviation from the fundamental description of Bond as a personality and his characteristics. Secondly a clearly identified villain must also be given an exposure almost equivalent to that of Bond. Thirdly there must be acharacter who constantly creates humour of some form , fourthly the Bond lady must largely be a part of the plot..fifthly the  Casino is an important part of any Bond movie and must f
ind a place and I can go on ..and ..on. Iam largely perturbed when I see a Bond movie which is deviant from the ethos of Bond and today note that "the world is enough"....incorporating the language and culture of various communities may the next Bond movie be not just the thriller it used to be and also one which would rejuvenate the glorified spy of   yester years into a strong character for the world.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Vasco Da Gama holds a key place in the history of the World largely for his temerity to explore a sea route to India all the way from  Portugual and being successful at it.   Leaving  Lisbon in the July of 1497 and reaching Calicut in the May of  1498 almost ten months braving the sea and largely following a hunch. Somewhere this link established by Vasco Da Gama was the forerunner of many events that would unfold in this part of the world bringing in European colonization of India ; good and bad in many ways for the Indian subcontinent. Somewhere it must be pointed out  that for several years the route followed or created by Vasco Da Gama was the maritime highway for europeans urging to visit India.

If one studies Europe one would see many surprises and eventualities. Somewhere Europe seems to me to be a hotbed of conflict and conflicts dwelling on various axes. It is only now that Europe is coming closer and getting better knit and for good and had this happened many centuries ago the progress of the world would have borne a more endearing and prosperous tone. Europe needs to understand this sooner the better. Europe is composed of several small countries somewhere bordering the Mediterranean (and an instant remnant of the Roman empire) facing cold weather and a dispersed population and in such a set-up has a favorable ground for economic distress. And we see it today too.

Why was Vasco Da Gama desperate to discover a sea route to India. The embargo imposed on the land route by the Turks put the European economy into deep distress. The trade of spices over Europe was a key activity which employed many into sources of income and economic gains and discovery of a sea link to India would re-ignite the spice trade which lay sullen due to the blockade of the land route. The sooner they discovered the better off they would be. It appears to me that Vason Da Gama analysed various maps of the day and had a faint idea of how a sea link between Europe and India would look like. He planned to skirt the African coast on leaving Portugual and head upwards to a vantage point where from travel straight Eastwards and he could hit the Indian coast and he was right. Possibly guided by magnetic compasses he made a success of the final lap of his journey travelling straight eastwards until he hit the Indian coast a risky journey by many standards as you are far away from land with little breather in the event of some irregularity. Vasco Da Gama had three ships with him and 170 people and he touched some 18 kilometers north  of Calicut. Must have been very eventful in many ways and the Zamorin of   Calicut who was away at Ponnani heads to meet the visitors. 

The spirit of Vasco Da Gama needs to be appreciated largely his firm belief that a sea route to India was plausible. Various other Europeans use this route thereafter virtually flooding the western coast of India with their occupation and enterprise entering into conflicts and alliances in an attempt to displace one another and take control of the spice trade for themselves.What happenned in europe of those times replicated itself in far-off India.

Why did I choose to write about Vasco Da Gama ? Firstly something is amiss about the way his name is treated and looked upon by various stake holders of his momemtous journey. More than anything else I find not much enthusiasm for  his name or what he did at Calicut itself and the place where he landed in calicut assuming a callous reaction. Many who visit calicut I presume fail or are not enthusiastic about visiting the Kappad beach where he set foot. His first step on land at Calicut has momentous and far -reaching implications. When Neil Armstrong landed on the moon he said " a step for man ..but a giant leap for mankind" and similarly it could be said " a step for Vasco Da Gama ..but a giant leap for Europe of his times". It is said that the subsequent relation between the Portuguese and the local rulers soared leading to many wars and the invaders progressing southwards into cochin and northwards toward Goa for their future ventures. However I believe it is time to turn a blind eye to unsavory incidents and to look with sagacity the arduous journey that this sailor undertook transforming without retreat the fundamental equations of this part of the world and that the name of Vasco Da Gama would not just remain idle in the text books of the land and that any person who makes a visit to the place called Calicut facilitate himself into visiting this place where he once landed after a 10 month voyage facing the rough seas and spend a moment of solitude reminiscing the efforts of this man and his persistence which would be a tribute to the adventurous spirit of mankind as a whole and the verve of a portuguese sailor who bet all odds and the skeptics into finding a sea-route to this great land.