Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hello Leopards

The city of Mumbai with all its congestion has its spots of greenery.It boasts of a wild life sanctuary, affectionately called 'Lungs of Mumbai', named after Sanjay Gandhi,which is centrally located in the suburbs dividing western and central suburbs.A lot of wild life abounds especially Leopards,their numbers increasing to an extent that they are invading the encroachments.[photo on left from mapsofindia.com and below from wikipedia]
Last Sunday evening,I got a call ,in an excited tone from my brother,staying on Ghodbunder road bordering the north eastern side of the National Park.On their evening walk at 6.00,at Sanghvi Hills near the foothills,they spotted 2 wildcats stretching and lazing on a ledge on top of a hill.A crowd had gathered mostly construction workers and they were viewing them through binoculars.On his urgent invitation,we managed to reach there in 45 mins,through the congested traffic,but could not spot the wild cats most likely lions as people described them as yellowish brown in color.Common sighting is of spotted leopards.People were talking about dogs disappearing and workers who were used to sleep outdoors moving indoors now.It is indeed thrilling to spot these wild animals in their natural surroundings,but scary too.This is a spot where many from nearby residencial areas go for a stroll in the evening.[ Photo from mumbainet.com]
Viewed from a larger perspective, this appearance of cheetahs and lions only highlights the issue of rapacious builders intruding too fast on what is essentially a National Sanctuary. It isnt' simply Ghodbunder Road's sides that are being constructed upon anymore, but areas far away from the Road too. Sanghvi Hills is quite a distance away from the main road. Besides, only 3 years ago the entire area was virgin forest land. The politician-builder mafia's might and ruthlessness and malevolence is on full display here. I only hope this doesn't lead to the kinds of incidents we witnessed a couple of years ago in Powai.
Similar things are happening on the western borders of the Park in Borivli where Slums have encroached on their habitat.Attacks on humans is most frequent there as slum dwellers sleep in the open and visit the forest areas for illegal procurement of firewood as well as for their natural calls.
Mumbai requires its bit of greenery and sanctuaries but there seems to be no will to take care of the problem.In the long run people and animals both are going to suffer.In the short term it is the builders politicians and mafia who are going to benefit.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Breathe Easy See Dirty

Confusing Title !! Today's blog is on based on what I see, what I hear and what I breathe on my daily morning walks around my city of Thane.As usual my wife Shyamala,and me left on our usual morning round taking a route along the express way on the service road.We walk for about 45 mins to an hour covering on an average a distance of 5 to 6 kms.We avoid going in parks or around the different lakes [The Lake City of Thane] as it is boring to see the same people again and again.Being a doctor I come across many of my known people and have to acknowledge their 'mornings or stop for some consultation.As this disturbs my walk,I prefer going on long stretches in the city.[Photo on right from Midday 28/04/06,on left from Infopedia.com]

Coming to today's Title.I had noticed the pollution levels going down over the years ,especially after Thane was revamped , so many years ago and went on to win the' Title' of' Cleanest City of India' .We have many of these three wheeler small cabs called Autorickshaws running about town.They are seen in many South East Asian countries also and known as Bajaj,or Tuk- Tuks.Recently there was a news item that they will shortly run on the streets of London and be called Tuk Tuks.[Photo of auto from Wikipedia ]

Here they were seen as creating a lot of pollution.Today I was delighted to see markings of CNG [compressed natural gas ] in green on the front of these Autos.I was happy that they seem to be getting converted to CNG and thought it to be a good beginning.As I was walking my happiness got multiplied on seeing a large number of them almost every alternate one with CNG.We were breathing easy over the years now it will be easier. That is Breathe Easy.

Now over to See Dirty.Our city of Thane was supposed to have had about 60 lakes.Over the centuries about 30 are to be accountable,on this day, as per my right or wrong information.Our local authorities have done a wonderful job of renovating,beautifying and dredging most of them so as to look really presentable to anyone visiting this city.Alas ! our citizens do need disciplining.We see the wonderful parks,lakes,gardens of foreign countries on TV channels as also photos taken by friends and relatives going abroad.What ails our people when it comes to civic sense?It saddened me today, on seeing the massive pollution of Makhmali Talao,a lake about a km from my reside.This lake was seeing better days after a clean up,Bio treatment and people cooperating on not throwing garbage and flowers in the lake.I fail to understand what has occured suddenly .It was sad to see the greenish scum, plastic bags,flowers floating on the water.Unless people participate with a determined civic sense,a seriously lacking backup of authorities and leaders,we will not improve.Forget making Shanghai of Mumbai.People there must be making fool of us .We don't deserve Democracy. We need a Lee Kuan Yew.

Breathe Easy But See Dirty.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Munnabhai Again

It was great fun watching Lage Raho Munnabhai [LRM ].We had been to see this movie today in the comforts of Eternity Cinemax,very near to our residence.A couple of years ago, we had seen Munnabhai MBBS,a great story of a criminal reforming to be a doctor,and cures patients in a different hilarious way with his Jadu Ki Zhappi [A Magic Hug]. Today's movie was with the almost same actors but a different theme.Here a criminal, to win the heart of his beloved,gets work done not by violent means, which is his real way of working,but by non violence means, based on the teachings and advice of Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation,who is visible to him only and not to others,in a ressurected form.

One has to see these wonderfully directed movies to really appreciate them.It is just not possible to describe them as a story on this blog nor can one narrate it to anyone.I must surely add them to my profile.I love to see such entertaining movies,as I am basically not inclined to view typical "Bollywood "stuff.Movies like LRM are pure entertainment.

Congrats to the Director,actors and all the support staff who have put in their efforts.Hats off to Circuit played by Arshad Warsi,Jhanvi played by Vidya Balan ,Lucky Singh played by Boman Irani and last but not the least Munnabhai by Sanjay Dutt.

Hoping to see more in these series, if at all, more are to come.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Communal Harmony

A sad day for the country and the civilised world.Bomb blasts at Malegaon city in the state of Maharashtra,about 200 kms from Mumbai,has shattered the lifes of so many.It has rekindled the memories of those who have lost their near and dear ones in the blasts that have shaken the country and the world.It is good that people have realised that terrorism has no religion,no boundaries.Politicians have refrained from taking undue advantage of such incidences to stoke communal hatred for their own agenda.People are seeing through these games now.

My salutes to the people of Malegaon and Mumbai earlier to have kept up communal harmony in these painful moments.This is a definite setback to the dirty designs of terrorist networks,who would have thrived on a flareup of violence.I hope the terror groups will start getting less support from the black sheep of the society .Common people are least interested in these activities,they are more interested in their efforts of getting their daily bread.

Lax administration,poor inteligence network,political / criminal nexus and less people awareness are some of the key factors for terror.Political will and peoples participation is the need today.Mohhalla committies and alert citizens can spot nefarious activities in the bud and put an end to terror.

Long live communal harmony !!!!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Teacher's Day

As school children,so many years ago,we used to look forward to this day.Looking at the senior students taking over the class,I used to dream of taking over that role in the years to come.Some were very serious in their new roles,some used to take it lightly and some used to immitate teachers.Great fun!!

As I am writing my mind goes back on a special programme on a popular news channel, in honour of today's day,the topic relating to teachers getting a fair deal or not.This was in relation to the fatal attack on the professor.The events were not only disgusting but also a fear in the minds of all whether justice will be done or not, looking at our past dismal judiciary histories.

Much has been said about reforms in the educational system,ever since the time I really started taking interest in the topic and think on what basically is lacking.Foremost is the vast difference in the pattern if elections.We had in our times fights on topics directly concerning the institution only and see now.All political parties have an agenda which has nothing to do about the colleges but only to groom youngsters into the kind of politics we witness today.Do we have quality to emmulate and idolise?Most of the leaders have questionable background so it is natural that candidates are like them and get elected on methods that are witnessed today ..Common students are just witnesses and are coerced into voting.Their sole aim is to do well and get a good job,but in this process the whole schedule gets disrupted by strikes,bunds,loss of teaching talent and study hours leading to dissapointing performances.

What exactly does the education department achieve in the term of a minister in charge.Does the minister have a real interest in his portfolio or looks at it as something less paying and less recognizable?It seems they derive pleasure in disrupting a smooth sailing system by topics like reservations,board exams in lower classes,changing syllabus especially History ,to fit into party agenda.

Have a look around the proliferation of tuition classes.Education is given a great priority in many countries next to defence.Are we any where near them?We look at it as a thriving Industry with I presume vested interests.Does anyone know how much the fees are.A simple solution would be to ban all private tuition classes,instead of banning bars and TV channels,raise the salaries of teachers to comfort zones but make them answerable,give incentive to teachers who give results and also give them a free hand to take extra lectures if they wish, in the premises only.Raise the fees of students.They wont mind paying ,as it is they get fleeced by private tuitions.What is the use if the Govt.gives free education with mediocre teachers and students are paying through their noses outside as well as compromising on their play time and other extra curricular activities.Govt need not subsidise education.They should arrange long term loans .

My last question. Has any Professor or teacher,anywhere in the world got killed or attacked by his own students?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Emotional attachment

This is for my two wheeler and my car.

I prefer commuting to my workplace [my clinic]on my two wheeler-a 150 HP LML Vespa scooter-as my clinic is just 200 meters away from my residence.This is a 1995 model and is still giving me good service with minor maintenance.A month ago the piston got jammed, there was no compression and it would not start at the fuel station.I pushed it back home,got it repaired and was back on the road in a weeks time.I had told the mechanic not to spend too much on it as I was planning to get a new scooter a Honda Eterno in the near future.He comforted me by saying it wouldn't cost much and otherwise the scooter was in good condition.I knew fully well within me about my attachment to my scooter.
Today I had gone to the market about 2.5 kms away and on the return trip got a flat tyre, fortunately near my residence.The person who replaced the tyre tube told me about the bad condition of the tyre and advised me to get a new one.I again told him I was going to get a new one in the near future,knowing fully well that I was not going to do that.

This has happened a few times in the past also and I feel the only reason for postponing my plan is a sort of attachment that I feel for it.The same thing had happened many years ago.In 1978 I had purchased my first scooter a Vijai Super again 150 cc HP model with a taller seating arrangement compared to others available then.It had been just launched and was among the first batch to be delivered in town.After using it for almost 17 years I reluctantly got the one I am using now.Riding on the new one I used to look around to spot the old one.One day a scooter whizzed past me and there it was my MTY 8384 [its registration number],My wife was the pillion rider and we both were quite thrilled but alas I never saw it again.

Many advise me to go in for modern machines available now with great looks,higher efficiency and additional features.Something holds me back.It is definitely not the cost, they are reasonably priced and financial assistance is also available.

What is that something ?? Will let you know as soon as I get one.It's the same with my car.But that will be another post as there are many instances I want to share, when you get a feeling that the vehicle is not inanimate.You feel it responds in appreciation to the care and love one bestows on it.I am sure many must be having similar experien

Friday, September 01, 2006

My photo

New to blog,trying hard to get my photo displayed,not as a post,but getting it on blog page.Went through all instructions till getting it in html format and pasting the url on the profile page.Does the photo appear on the blog page or it is displayed on the my profile.will get through it.think i have to search photo less than 50k

That's me

That's me, posing for my son Rahul,on my favourite cane swing chair.This was about a year ago when he had bought his Sony digital camera.He had specifically asked me to hold my favourite Minolta camera,a 1981 model,which has given me immence pleasure of clicking photos of so many trips, functions and events over a long period of over 20 years.Times have changed ,it is now seeing photos on the screen instead of holding an album and navigating through all these memories of yesteryears.