May 10th, 2008

boy with dog

Office Commute Rants

I tried out a new route to commute to my office today, instead of the regular Ring Road - Mysore Road - My Office path, which I have been on for more than three years now.

On occasion I had heard of an alternate route of sorts, which was not plagued by traffic woes, the likes of which prompted me to write this. But that route, I had assumed was a myth, and that even if the route did exist, it was no more than a mud road.

However, I did chance upon travelling on that road on the office bus one fine evening when there was some major flooding on Mysore Road and the entire stretch of road was blocked for a really long time. The road was pretty bad at that time, and was WIP (work in progress) so far as making it a motorable one was concerned.

In this scenario, I had made a mental note that it wasn't feasible to travel by that road, and had relegated its very existence to the back of my mind.

Until the past few days, since the start of May. There is some major renovation that is taking place at the Rajarajeshwarinagar Arch, and this has caused a traffic bottleneck and the wait time has increased so much that I feel I could brush my teeth in traffic during that interim duration.

Not to mention, incidentally the fact that the moronic bike riders now are upping the ante, so far as their riding on footpaths is concerned.

That, quite possibly is a state of mayhem that I'd rather escape, and as a consequence, I decided to take the alternate route I had previously mentioned and to my surprise, I found that it was quite decent.

For some parts of the way when the road was narrow for two way traffic, the vehicles inched along at low speed, but the parts of the road that had tar on them just seemed so smooth and so devoid of traffic, that it was absolute relief, more than pleasure to be able to get to the office this way.

It won't be long before morons end up taking this route to the office, and honking with their wolf horns and erratic riding shall disrupt normal traffic to make regular peoples' lives miserable. That day is inevitable, I just hope it is stemmed for as long as is humanely possible.
boy with dog

Election Day Diary (Part 4 - Indelible Ink Stories)

As a kid, when I saw my folks return from the polling booth after voting, the indelible ink stain on their left index finger seemed to me an important indication of their having exercised their fundamental right. This was around the time we had the study of our fundamental rights and duties as part of the curriculum in Civics.

Now, as I sit and type out this live journal entry with an indelible ink stain on my left index finger, I am thinking of how the weekend trip to Mysore was so totally worth it because I had a chance to exercise this fundamental right of mine, consequence regardless.

However, the ink used by itself was used so copiously that it ran off and has spread itself on the nail as well, and is so conspicuous now that I might as well have been wearing a t-shirt that said 'Look Ma, I put vote!' or something to that effect, and that would in effect have had the same effect.

Quite effective usage of the word 'effect', no?

This set me thinking about two things, one of which I would probably have to put some research on, or would be more than glad to have inputs from the three readers of this LJ.

The first one is about how, just as we had the stamp that indicated which candidate one had voted for, in the days before electronic voting machines came into existence, we could have a mini stamp of sorts with a universal symbol like the Ashoka Chakra or our National Emblem in miniature which could then be stuck on a person's finger to indicate that he/she has voted.

It would look much cooler than an arbit ink stain on one's finger.

The second thing is a more pragmatic quandry. It is about how it is that other countries that don't use indelible ink as identifiers for people who have voted (should such a practise be followed at all) manage to keep track of those that have voted, so that they don't show up at another polling booth to vote again.

If you have an idea of how that happens, please do let me know.

Hope you've had a good election day, I say!
boy with dog

Election Day Diary (Part 3 - Early Start)

On election day, our family has this habit of waking up early in order to go vote en masse at the polling booth. It is probably due to the fact that all the four voting members of our family have consecutive serial numbers in the voters' list and we are quite concerned about making life easy for those election officials, who'd have quite a task of going to the same page again and again, on four separate occasions were we to stagger the time during which we'd go cast our vote.

In addition, it is quite fun to just do some activities together as a quartet, for its been a while since something such has happened, as it always does when the children in a family grow up and have their own things to do, and family time, which was once de facto and taken for granted becomes that much more important as one figures out that its quite hard to come by as the days progress.

The whole going early to beat the rush reminds me of many other things that people tend to do in order to beat the rush, including standing in line early to get tickets for a cricket match, should online booking not be their thing.

Other stuff people do is to wake up early and head to the office before the onset of rush hour, or get to the gym early in the morning when the equipment has been wiped down properly with disinfectant and is not yet soaked up with the sweat of other people who shall work out on it eventually.

People in Mumbai wake up before sunrise to go visit the railway tracks and do their business, to beat the rush hour train traffic.

I'm thankful we've not gotten earlybird-ish enough to show up before the election officials themselves set up the machines and officially declare the polls open.
boy with dog

Election Day Diary (Part 2 - Death to SMS Campaigns)

I received about four SMSes on my mobile, two from 'CONGRESS' and 'JDS' (names of the senders) respectively, imploring me to vote for the candidates they fielded in a few constituencies in South Bangalore, and this form of campaigning had me quite incensed for about twenty seconds until I deleted that message.

I made a mental note to never vote for anyone who would ask for my vote by SMS. If not for having had that same number for five years now, I don't think I would have had any qualms about contacting my service provider and blasting them off to kingdom come for having divulged information, were they responsible, and going far enough to change my number and service provider.

However, these parties with substantial clout and money would have probably been able to send messages to numbers en masse, without having to contact service providers.

I am of the firm opinion that the most sincere candidate with good intentions should win, rather than someone who can spend a lot of money, though the latter is usually the one who comes up on top.

The Election Commission should probably look into the matter of SMS campaigning for I am of the opinion that most normal people wouldn't take to this too kindly.
boy with dog

Election Day Diary (Part 1 - Backing the Right Candidate)

I voted today. For the second time in my life, and the first time as a tax payer. The last time I voted, I was a final year student in engineering college.

Back then, I had to cast two votes, one for the parliament elections and one for the assembly elections, both of which happened at the same time, and thankfully too, for the costs involved would've been monumental for everyone concerned, organizers and participants included, were the two elections to be held separately.

This time, I have to cast my vote for the Karnataka Assembly elections only, and the one to elect the central government shall be done in 2009.
This entire election had many thoughts run through in my head, and the most relevant ones that are on the top of mind are being jotted down below, for self reference, more than anything else.

I support the Royal Challengers in the IPL. They've disappointed everyone concerned, and have been thumped miserably all through the tournament, with only two bright spots in our otherwise dismal record being the victories over the Mumbai Indians and the Deccan Chargers. That doesn't stop me from supporting them, because they're the home team for me, and all things considered, even though winning is the only thing in the IPL, its not really commendable to switch loyalties if a team is doing badly to another team that is doing well.

On those same lines, I guess I would've voted for Lok Paritran's candidate had one stood for election in my constituency (Chamundeshwari, Mysore), despite knowing that he/she probably wouldn't have won anyway. I guess its the good feeling that one gets with regard to being in tune with a particular candidate's ideology or school of thought that makes it worthwhile voting for them, and that it doesn't always make sense to support someone who is bound to win.

If there are more such enlightened individuals like me, our elections would make more sense. I am feeling particularly modest at this point in time.

I have a few more parts to the Election Day Diary series to document some layperson's observations with regard to the process and things that transpired, just to ensure that this post doesn't get way to lengthy for my own good.

In addition, posts have been done in reverse order so that if you are to access my LJ URL, you get to read parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 in order. I got inspired from Skimpy's Goa travelogue.