New year wishes

A new calendar and a new diary. 2015. Tomorrow is the first day of just another day in the world. The date makes it special.
No floods. No shoot-outs. No bomb blasts. No flying accidents. No Ebola cases. No suffering. No wasteful apps. No disastrous inventions. No sudden changes in school curriculum. No mindless environmental clearances.
May we walk safely wherever we go. May we get back home to rest each night. May every new day give us hope that the future is one to look forward to. May 2015 be a year we will want to relive. Happiness, health and success.

Walkers at Puttenahalli Lake, JP Nagar 7th Phase, Bangalore

Scooby Art fun

Scooby Art must be one of the most fun things to do, especially if it is a part of the school curriculum and you have lots of friends to share your experiments with. Over the last few months, my son Gautam has taken this beyond school, learning new designs on his own. There was a time when we’d find a scooby wherever we sat down. Hearts, stars, snakes, caterpillars, dollars. The helicopters are my favourite!

The craft teacher at school has been so impressed with his creations that she suggested that he holds classes that would easily cover the cost of his materials. We’ve now converted some of them into cute danglers and key chains, to give away as gifts or sell for charity. Continue reading

Side street life

In a hunt for a dealer’s warehouse, I find myself on the street right next to the railway tracks near the Kandivali East station. Narrowed by the vehicles parked by train commuters and regular flow of pedestrian traffic, ‘station ke baju valay road’ is what it is called.

Vehicle parking

Continue reading

Open letter to Karnataka CM regarding occupancy certificates

Respected Chief Minister Siddaramaiah,

I was delighted to read yesterday’s newspaper report in The Times of India (Only 97 city high-rises have occupancy certificates) that said that your government would “take suitable action against builders who flout the building bye-laws”. As you have rightly said, those who have violated the laws need to be punished, but while this is being done, steps need to be taken to prevent this violation from happening in the first place.

It is distressing to note that “only 97 high-rise buildings in the city have obtained OCs between 2009 and 2014”. This means that there are hundreds of apartments in Bengaluru that are occupied without having been issued the occupancy certificate. This is done not without the knowledge of the BBMP because many of them pay property tax, and this is in total violation of Section 5.7 of the Bangalore Municipal Building Bye-laws, 2003, as below:

“No person shall occupy or allow any other person to occupy any new building or part of a new building for any purpose whatsoever until occupancy certificate to such buildings or part thereof has been granted by an officer authorised to give such certificate if in his opinion in every respect the building is completed according to the sanctioned plans and fit for the use for which it is erected. The Authority may in exceptional cases (after recording reasons) allow partial occupancy for different floors of a building.”

Continue reading

Transferring a ticket on Indian Railways

“You learn something new everyday if you pay attention.” – Ray LeBlond

Thanks to a shared post on Facebook, here’s something I didn’t know till today. One CAN transfer a confirmed ticket (i.e. change the name of the passenger) on Indian Railways, subject to certain conditions. Picked this off straight from the Indian Railways Passenger Reservation Enquiry website. Continue reading

God on leave

God must have been on leave for he wasn’t there to save them.

16th Dec 2014 Peshawar school attack: 145 dead, mostly children 

15th Dec 2014 Sydney cafe siege: 2 + gunman dead

5th Dec 2014 Uri and Tral attacks: 12 dead

3rd Nov 2014 Wagah border attack: more than 50 dead

Or this must be a part of his great plan where we humans learn how to swallow our tears and face the world toughened through our sorrow.

Now we will need to ask this God to give the parents the strength to get over the loss of the children they sent to school this morning, and the children to continue to live without their mothers and fathers who got killed for God’s sake.

The world over, trouble and terror are in the name of God. If there was no God, would there be peace without there having to be war? Maybe God is not on leave. Maybe he has never been around at all.

Birds in Dubai

With the vast expanse of sand and sparse greenery one would think that there wouldn’t be much for birds in Dubai. However, Ber trees, Yellow trumpet bushes and Bougainvillea seem to be adequate to attract several species of birds, many of which are uncommon in our city homes.

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul (Location: Mirdif)
White-eared Bulbul
White-eared Bulbul (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow
House Sparrow, female (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow, male (Location: Mirdif)
House Sparrow, male (Location: Mirdif)
Common Myna
Common Myna (Location: Mirdif)
Eurasian collared Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove (Location: Mirdif)
Laughing Dove
Laughing Dove (Location: Dubai Marina)
Blue Rock Pigeon (Location: Mirdif)
Blue Rock Pigeon (Location: Mirdif)
White-throated Munia (Location: Dubai Marina)
White-throated Munia (Location: Dubai Marina)
Purple Sunbird, female (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, female (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, male (Location: Mirdif)
Purple Sunbird, male (Location: Mirdif)

Pictures taken in Dubai, October 2014

Christmas CapMagnets

Twenty days to Christmas. CapsToKeep CapMagnets specially for the occasion. Made using discarded bottle caps, pictures from here ‘n there and other bits saved from the trash bin. Fitted with strong magnets to brighten up anyone’s fridge. Ideal for gifting!

Christmas Magnet Set1  IMG_1068-001 IMG_1068-003

Check out more CapsToKeep Magnets and Keychains on the Facebook page here.