May 30, 2009
The President of the United States, Mr Obama, recently announced that he would eliminate a notorious tax law loophole that rewarded companies for creating jobs in Bangalore and punished them for doing so in Buffalo. American corporations will no longer be able to get away with not paying tax on their income from foreign operations!
Unfortunately it turns out that the Canadians are determined to foil his plans. Toronto and Calgary have the lowest tax rates in G-7 countries, and American companies are expected reincorporate and shift their head offices over there. In effect, American companies will turn themselves into foreign subsidiaries of Canadian ones.
There should be strong regulations to prevent American companies from reincorporating themselves in other countries to run away from strong regulations.
February 22, 2009
He has been out of Delhi so long that he has forgotten what weddings there are like. So when the invitation card says 7 pm, he arrives at 7.30. Once there, he discovers that the bride and groom and their relatives are nowhere to be found. He is the only guest over there, apart from one slightly chubby girl who is standing outside and talking on her cellphone. He has a vague suspicion that he has seen the same girl at every wedding he has ever been to, and that she is not actually a guest but a prop that all caterers carry along. Effectively, he is the only person there.
On the bright side of things, this means that Kitty Auntyji is not around. And the catering staff is on time and they are serving tandoori mushrooms and paneer tikkas.
He is slightly outraged. He has shaved on a weekend, put on uncomfortable shoes and ironed a dress shirt, and for all this effort, landed up at an empty banquet hall. It isn’t fair. So he grabs the tikkas from the passing waiters and broods.
When he used to be in Bangalore and go to his friends’ weddings there, Dig weddings would start promptly and end as promptly so that all the guests could move on to lunch. TamBram weddings would also start promptly though they would do this six hours earlier and end with breakfast instead. And moreover they did not impose these ridiculous dress requirements. He used to go in jeans, t-shirt, and stubble, and nobody bothered. He wonders what it is about Delhi weddings that encourages this tardiness.
He suddenly realises that he has already found the answer – in Bangalore, weddings are centred around breakfast or lunch, which cannot be put off. In Delhi, weddings and receptions are held at night, and dinner can be put off to midnight or even further as long as the guests are fed enough snacks uptil then so that they don’t revolt and march off. But this has started a vicious cycle of later and later dinners, and in turn has led to guests and organisers coming later and later. Now it is impossible for any wedding in Delhi to start on time. The snacks which seemed like such a good idea thirty years ago have led to the collapse of punctuality.
It is all the fault of the paneer tikkas that he is standing here out in the cold with nobody talk to. He reflects gloomily on this. And then, because he can’t help it, he has another one.
May 28, 2008
The second Bangalore photowalk will take place on the first of June. Skimpy has the complete details but here’re the salient points:
- Date and Time: 1st of June, 7.30 a.m.
- Route: Ravindra Kalakshetra to Central Jail
I won’t be there since I’m moving to Bombay (I’m typing this in BIAL’s swanky new departure terminal), but please do go if you’re there in Bangalore. Please RSVP at the post I’ve linked. You may also want to join the Bangalore photowalk yahoogroup.
As is usual for photowalks – nothing is required except a willingness to turn up and walk in the morning. Cameras are axshully optional (though desirable). No specific skill level is required either. Just RSVP please, it’s polite.
April 18, 2008
After the grand success of the Sennai potowalks, Skimpy is organising the first ever Bangalore photowalk. Details below:
Time and Date: 8 a.m., on Sunday 27 April
Venue: K R Road, from K R Market to Gandhi Bazaar
All are welcome, regardless of city, caste, or camera. You can show up if you have a cameraphone, a DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or even if you just want to hang around and listen to Wimp put fundaes on Bangalore history. This is a photowalk. So there are no admission fees. No entry charges. No registration formalities. However, do leave a comment at this post or Skimpy’s, so that we know if you’re coming or not. It’ll make co-ordinating the walk simpler on Sunday.
March 24, 2008
While in Calcutta, I went for a litquiz with Aishwarya and Pradipta. Despite four self-overrules in the prelims, we qualified; and despite a Bong-funda heavy first half, we ended up winning the quiz. I think the margin of victory was at least three questions, and probably four or more. Apparently, it’ll be reported in the Telegraph’s equivalent of Bangalore Times and stuff.
Pradipta informs me that this is the first time in years that anyone has ever beaten the runners-up (a team called the Inmaniacs), and that this will therefore cause ripples of shock and awe across the Calcutta quizzing circuit (such as it is). This was of course prophesied long ago by davenchit:
The Jin in the time of Genghis Khan were noted for their many defensive walls- rotting, all but useless against true foes, these were symptoms of inner decay. The infrastructure of Calcutta resembles that of the Jin- reflections of past glory. Reckless drinkers, weakened by the Irish influence, they are ripe for conquest. Securing this key littoral will complete the preparation for the final assault: Bangalore.
Indeed, the shock that is currently reverberating through the cul-de-sacs of the City of Dretful Night is comparable to the
wounds North India suffered after the initial Turkic and Persian invasions, the crippling blows to society faced by Great Britain after the Viking raids, and the sack of Rome by Attila the Hun. A mere raid has exposed the society’s decay and corruption; annihilation and conquest cannot be long away. Soon, Bombay and Bangalore’s quizzers will overrun Calcutta, grabbing pole positions in every quiz that takes place, crushing the locals, and hearing the lamentations of their women and children. The old order of sleazy pubs and Ambassadors shall be shattered, as new watering holes and real taxis spring up to serve the needs of Calcutta’s new masters. The Pax Quizzica shall return Kolkata (faugh!) to the state which it was always meant to be: Calcutta for the Marwaris!
February 18, 2008
Ramesh Ramanathan is fuming about Bangalore’s new airport being underdesigned and underconnected (via Ajay Shah’s excellent roundup on infrastructure). As is happening far too often these days, Skimpy beat me to blogging about the main topic. However, that just gives me more stuff to discuss. In fact, I’ll make the whole post an outsider-layperson-dummy’s guide to the Bangalore airport, infrastructure design, infrastructure financing, and maybe even special check-in counters. So. Yeah. Let’s do this shit. In Q&A.
Read the rest of this entry »
December 12, 2007
Raiders Lost the Arc, the idiotically titled and idiotically written Outlook cover story on how IT is ruining Bangalore, has been debunked and fisked enough elsewhere on the blogosphere (Churumuri rebuts CNR Rao here, Nitin points out what the Outlook story missed here). Sugata Srinivasraju doesn’t ever blame IT junta for ruining infrastructure himself, but he conveniently forgets that infrastructure is the government’s responsibility, not the IT industry’s. When developers try to make infrastructure their own responsibility, as in the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor, the government has gone after them with a hatchet.
However, it’s undeniable that there is an influx of immigrants into Bangalore (me included), and that this is leading to new cultural forms (which still does not translate to a destruction of the old culture and values of the city). But there’s something interesting about this wave of migration.
Uptil now, whenever there’s been internal migration in India, the migrants have alsways carried their culture along with them and ghettoised themselves. So Gujrati Jains and Marwaris used to set up their own schools and colleges wherever they went. Mumbai has DG Ruparel College and lots of other Gujew colleges (which are mocked regularly in JAM), and even more Gujrati dominated schools. Even Bangalore has a Gujrati medium school near City Market. Other communities don’t migrate as prodigiously as the Gujratis and Marwaris, but they still cluster. So you have Bongs coalescing in Chittaranjan Park in Delhi, Punjews sending their kids to DAV schools all across UP, and Tams setting up Sangam associations in Delhi and Mumbai. And this is before they extend the ghettoization by marrying somebody from the homelands.
But the IT migration to Bangalore (and Pune and other hotspots) is different. The migrants are united by profession, not by community. And while within the overall migrant community they’ll still form sub-clusters based on language and community affiliations, the ghettoisation is not as extreme as it was when Marwari traders flocked to Chikpet and created their own temples and schools there.
So what I’m eagerly waiting to see is what happens when the IT professionals’ kids go to school – and where they go to school. If migrants’ kids and ‘old-Bangaloreans” kids grow up together, the clash of cultures is probably not going to be as acute.
This could of course go all pear shaped if:
- New schools don’t come up fast enough to cater to the Bengalooru baby boomlet – this worries me the most.
- New schools which do come up price themselves out of reach of the old middle class. Even so, if they do, they’ll price themselves out of reach of a substantial number of IT workers as well, so cultural intermingling would still happen, just in old, cheap schools instead of new, expensive ones. I somewhat doubt this will happen. This is India. People will find the money to educate their kids.
- Cultural factors mean schools end up as IT/ non-IT kids ghettos also. I greatly doubt this will happen. Schools compete for students, just as students compete for schools. If the kid is smart, the school isn’t going to care about the parents (at least at the post Class-10 level). And if the school is really good, the parents aren’t going to care much about who the other parents are.
How this plays out is going to be interesting.
November 16, 2007
Namy Roy wrote in and asked me if I’d read Niranjan Rajadhyakhsa’s column on Bangalore and the Coase Theorem, and suggested I blog about it.
I had read the column on Wednesday itself, and thought of mentioning it in a post on kids in aeroplanes. Since I’m busy making the quiz, I won’t be writing that post for a while, but do read the column. It’s good.