Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Your tryst with IT Capital Bengaluru | Why Janlokpal is required

Bangalore or rather bengaluru…Mecca for all IT people. It stands for Information Technology and not Income Tax. I may sound na├»ve here but it is better to clarify rather than lives in ambiguity. If you are anyhow related to IT or if ever any drop of word IT fell on you then you might be aware of the IT capital of India and its contribution to the Indian Service Industry as a whole.


Bengaluru offers plenty of opportunities to the people who wanted to make their career in IT and I am not making an overstatement here that if you are willing to work in IT and has very little eligibility even then also, there is no reason to be unemployed in Bengaluru. I liked it…Period.


The real story begins when you arrived at Bengaluru Airport. Swanky, isn't it? Not after Delhi but after Kolkata, yes it is Jannat(Heaven). You step out of the airport and wanted to hire prepaid taxi but for middle class(please note I didn't use cattle class), the rates mentioned by taxi operators works as anesthesia. if the fare is not reimbursable by the company, one looks for the option to go by bus. But between you and bus is another set of creatures known as touts or private taxi drivers. They will take you for the ride if you are not knowledgeable enough to bargain with them. And if you are aware of the mechanism of their operations, then yes it could turned into a smooth ride also. Anyways hopping on the bus without asking fare is also fun. You will get to know the flavor of living expenses in non-metro(as classified by Government data, Bengaluru is not a metro city). I know similar bus ticket charges in other cities but they are generally for the city tour by bus and for whole day/half day and not from point A to point B. But I should not be so critic as Bus is really good and comfortable from inside. Anyways I came to a conclusion to one theory that "It is basic notion in India that air travelers are meant to buy everything above the normal market rates." Be it a water bottle or a simple samosa or ticket to the bus.


Ok now you are on the bus/taxi, and you don't know Kannada…ahhhaaaaa.

What..why are you getting angry.. I am not saying that communication in Hindi/English is a problem. You will still be able to manage it there as names of the places can be pronounced in any language as same. So Koramangala will be Koramangala in any of the language Hindi, English or Kanadda. Your ride won't start from here. 


You arrived at your friend's place if company is mean enough not to provide you any accommodation for your initial stay or landed up at the company appointed hotel/guest house feeling like lord of the company. You spent the day/night in the hotel enjoying the hospitality and get ready for the work next day. I am taking liberty and assume that your bad luck is not bad enough that you did not get the hotel accommodation. Next day in the morning, you get up early to be at best you and wear the new clothes which you bought for the first impression. You come out from the hotel and looks for auto. Gotcha…one auto stopped by you. The driver looks at his prey and you asked him "Koramangala". he refused..next auto comes.. he asked for 100 bucks and you are not sure of the distance so you asked him to ply by meter which is vehemently rejected by driver by citing age old reason that meter is out of order. You waited for another auto and after bargaining things got settled at 80 bucks. Now you are ready for next adventure. Auto ride in the potholes and narrow lanes…oops in Bengaluru collection of potholes and narrow lanes are known as roads.(Believe you me Karnataka Govt is so proud of this that even the road tax in this part of India is at premium…not believing try on-road prices of any vehicle in Bengaluru and any other city in India). Bad roads(where you find 10 potholes every 100 meters) or no roads(I don't classify the path with >20 potholes in 100 meters as a road), standstill traffic(You can spend entire 1 hour with your date on one traffic light and saves lots of money this way because by the time you reach to the restaurant, your GF wanted to go back..after all she needs to go home in time also) and  poorly design traffic flow(I am sure administration must have burnt mid night oil in putting every trick in place to keep traffic crawl). Anyways when you already arrived in wonderland, there are no much options left except to growl about it and cursing the pity situation you are in. Ok dot dot…


So now you are in the office. You are delighted that at least office is nice and swanky. Loving the place you enter in the office and find out that this is the place where you can find some solace from the chaos you faced since you arrived in IT Capital of India. Breather… During lunch someone told you that auto fare is normally 30 bucks from your place to office and you are cursing your colleague why he told you before lunch and not after finishing your lunch. At least you could have your lunch in peace. He also does some KT(knowledge transfer) of few kannada words and lines which can come handy when dealing with the most gruesome lot of species in Bengaluru. But at the same time another warning that you don't look like South Indian so better be prepared to shell out money at every possible place. You did not understand what he said, but nod in acceptance. In the evening same story with auto, so you took help of your colleague and he got the settlement on meter rate+10 Rs Jashti(More). You felt like you won a battle. But WAR abhi baki hai mere dost!


The whole week pass by eating at office canteen, trying different delicacies of south and craving for authentic north Indian food. Weekend is busy in finding the rented home for your family. And the rents for a livable house are good enough to let you feel the way peasants are feeling in Mr Pawar's state(Maharashtra). Whatever you earn you give to your landlord and loanlord(banks). And at the end of the day you buy the things again on emi and it's a never ending loop.

But what option do you have. You are an educated and sophisticated middle class(they bifurcated this class too-upper and lower) person who will die but won't leave the sophistication. So finally you zeroed on one house and then come *T&C applied. Advance 10 months' rent, 2 months notice and on vacating the house expenses for paint need to be paid. I didn't understand the concept of 10 months advance. Is it the security so that no one will steal the brick and mortar structure in the night? But anyways when you are in Rome, you have to live like a Roman only. Now there is an added condition: you can't park your car inside, for that you need to shell out 1000 bucks extra per month. Ohh gosh!!! I wonder why the agreement doesn't state that you can breathe only in the area for which you are paying rent. But extortion continues…


Finally, you surrender and finalize the house. Now you want to convert your house to home. You bought furniture at the cost double to what generally available at Delhi or other cities. Now you are in IT capital and you wanted to have internet connection. Gotcha… Maadi/dost you are in Bengaluru, where to get an internet connection is a challenge again. Most of the service providers denied the connection based on No feasibility and the one which is available in these areas are as good as working:not working ratio of  1:3. You checked for state owned company BSNL as they are providing the connection in the same building where you live. But still they will do feasibility check(1 month) and then no feasibility to feasibility conversion(1 week to eternity depending upon how much and how fast you pay convenience fee to linemen) and finally if you pay convenience fee(You are avoiding to use word bribe as you are supporting Anna) then you can expect in next 15 days that you will get it. You zeroed upon data card and local player.

Now since you are blessed with a wife and small kid too, so you need to setup the kitchen and for the first thing is Gas Cylinder. There was a time(Control Era) when for everything you wanted to buy, you need to obtain license and then wait for years. Bengaluru is one place which let you feel nostalgic about that era if you apply for gas cylinder. So you finally purchased cylinder from private players at double the cost.

In the morning you went for the walk as well as to buy milk and you pay 1 Rs extra on MRP because I don't know why except the fact that I am in Bengaluru where everyone is looking to extort every single penny from you.


You heard that weather is very good in Bengaluru, but nobody told that this is also very conducive for all sorts of viral infections and diseases. You realize the same when after 3 months you noticed that not a single day has passed in last 3 months when none of your 3 member family was sick or coughing/sneezing. But it is also possible that you are having weak immunity which nowhere else comes into picture but here it is showing  you the reality.


So welcome to Bangalore..oops Bengaluru where:

1.       Internet is not easily available- since it is IT capital

2.       Rents are high – because it is non-metro

3.       Basic amenities like gas/water not available – since you are supporter of Anna(Paying bribe might get you but not tried)

4.       Autos are fleecing you – pretty much same everywhere

5.       Roads – ha ha ha

6.       Cost of living – will beat burj dubai as it is higher than that as well etc. etc.


P.S.: This is not to offence anyone or to hurt anyone's feelings. But if it does then try to visualize and work towards solving the issues. That is why, we need to have JanLokpal.


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