Thursday, September 8, 2016

Chennai Bangalore Link . . .

Few months back, this article was submitted for publication in Madras Musings though it is not published yet. On a recent trip to Avani with college buddies, our conversation leaned towards the road connectivity between the two metros. In this context, am reproducing that article in it's entirety. Hopefully, it turns out to be interesting read !!!

With multiple trains plying between Chennai and Bangalore, offering both day and night services, the route has hit a saturation point in terms of travel options because of the exploding population. Presently road services provide the alternate option. State carriers of the Governments of TamilNadu [T(amil)N(adu) S(tate) T(ransport) C(orporation)] and  Karnataka [K(arnataka) S(tate) R(oad) T(ransport) C(orporation)], and private-bus operators provide buses from the basic to  luxurious amenities, thus catering to different  levels of affordability.

Tracing the origins:

With so many choices in different modes of transport presently available, it is interesting to trace the origins of road link between Madras and Bangalore. In the FIRST APPENDIX TO THE THIRD REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS, in the section titled, PUBLIC WORKS carried out at Madras, in 1828, mention of ‘Formation of a road from Madras to Bangalore occurs. This report says:  “ … the work has been completed to Poonamallee, but beyond that place the work has been restricted to the object of making it possible for carts and ordinance carriages”.

The Madras Road Book (1839) compiled by Captain William John Butterworth, Assistant Quarter-Master General of the Army ( printed by George Calder at the Asyum Press, Madras and,  published by Edmund Marsden)  lists seven routes to travel from Madras to Bangalore by road. This lists comprehensively the ‘TABLES OF THE ROADS THROUGHOUT THE PRESIDENCY OF FORT ST.GEORGE’, first written in 1833, revised and enlarged in 1836‒1839.

The Madras Road Book, 1839

The famous Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand-Book to the Madras Presidency and the Central Provinces of India, published in 1864, provides a complete thorough route and descriptive guide by road, river and railway, throughout the presidency of Madras.  Initiated by George Bradshaw (1801-1853), an English cartographer, in 1839, Bradshaw’s series served as road and railway guides for Great Britain and Ireland, France, Germany and Austria, India, Italy, Syria, Turkey. This series was published by W. J. Adams of London ; the titles continued until 1961.

This guide is not limited just to the routes but provides details on social and political status on the various stations located on the various routes. Covering a distance of 207 miles and a quarter furlong, the first route shown is between Madras to Bangalore via Arcot, Waniembaddy (Vaniambadi), Nullapaddy (Nallapadi), Coorumberupatty Pass, and Ossoor (Hosur). This is followed by four different route options with most of them passing through either Arkat (Arcot), Chittur (Chittoor), Colar (Kolar), Ooscotah (Hoskote) or Poonamallee, Chittoor, and Colar.

BRADSHAW's Illustrated Handbook of the Madras Presidency

         Having travelled often between these two cities, using  buses and trains, I can ascertain that the modern day bus journey follows almost the same route — but the choice reduced to two of them: one via Poonmallee, Vellore, Vaniambadi, Hosur, and the other via Poonamallee, Chittoor, Kolar, Hoskote . A small town, Hosakote is located at the intersection of NH-4 ad NH-207; part of the stretch from Hoskote towards Bangalore is called as Old Madras Road.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


For a book with the plot based on sutras and numbers, naturally, the first chapter is given the number Zero and runs through until 66. First [Book # 0] in a three part series, rest to be published in the coming years as per the author's blog [link to be provided], it revolves around number crunching algorithms and their application in currency trading. 

History weaved with author's imaginative twists and turns makes the reading a pleasure. Sprinkled with mathematical conundrums (?), like the travelling salesman problem [link to wikipaedia], shortest path alogrithm [link to wikipaedia], the author also captures the anomalies and short-sightedness prevalent amongst us -- that of NOT preserving heritage in it's original form -- point in case being the building of memorial for Tyagaraja, one of the trinity of Carnatic music, by pulling down his eighteenth century home.

Maha Magam, Divya Desams, Sulab Sutras bring to focus the ancient tradition and learning representative of the region and by-gone era. This combined with that famous cab number 1729 and associated conversation between ailing Indian and his visitor at the hospital in Britain, conflict in the co-existence of animals and humans (only in writing, do the former come first in the order before humans) in IIT campus at Chennai, lesser known museum on the famous Indian mathematician is a true attesation to the author's handling of the characters and events alongwith those portrayed in this fictional work.

Invited to a technical conference in IIT, Madras, the protagonist, Joshua Eziekel, finds himself challenged on multiple fronts -- initially by two greenhorns during his presentation ..........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................., then in a series of encounters completely strange to his avowed profession ; to begin with, the incidence of meeting the US Consul General at the Madras airport, news of the murder of his PhD student in US followed by high drama of his laptop being stolen from the Oceanic (sure this name would kindle nostalgic memories for many old timers of Madras), ransacking of his university office in the US, late night calls (does it resonate with those working for US-based IT companies) with the principal investigator from US; icing on the cake proving to be a close encounter with the anonymous "supari" wallahs ramming the Amby using a water-tanker. 

How many stories have we heard of those daemons proving fatal for many pedestrians in Chennai roads, and no exception here too.

Divya and Venus (short for Venu Sampath) are true reflections of their generation, and their parents support them amply by chalking out the plan, portrayed by the author in flowchart format -- Pre-MS and Post-MS obligations.

"Lax" is a true exponent of that professor avatar in our IITs -- echelons of higher learning in India -- multi-tasking technical and non-technical tasks ; just-in-time review of the thesis of one of his students after repeated reminders, co-ordinating between various parties for conferences, assessing material damage brought on by the descendants of monkey God Hanuman and approving the cost for the lab restoration. Reluctant to start with, Lax teams up Josuha, later to be joined by Divya, and the trio is part of that core informal investigation team in India that makes an all-out attempt to gather all that they could, initially in dribs and drabs, to unravel the mystery behind the murder of Joshua's students in the US of A. 

Did they award the doctorate on that "renowned industrialist" ?

Snarling traffic moving at snail's pace is the bane of Indian cities and Chennai is no exception. While Durairaj's persona comes across as an engaging cab driver with his modest English and always on the lookout for foreign visitors at the Oceanic to earn those "bills" with George Washington face embellished on it, Nalathambi's expletives in "Madras Bashai", provoked by the less-caring Madras populace, raises the curiosity of Joshua and also Lax's eyebrows ; but the latter could not avoid Joshua's eagerness to have them translated.

Short chapters and well laid out fonts makes easy and quick reading. Publishers, Westland, have made also efforts to make e-book version available for those readers who prefer Kindles and Kobos. Running to 356 pages, the book is offered at a discounted price in some of the online portals compared to the printed version. 


Links to other reviews :

Profile of M N Krish :

On the making of Steradian Trail :

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Spelling invention . . . Part I

I haven't read Charles Read's work on children's invented spelling but am going to post some of the interesting English words as spelled written down by an 8-year old studying English in India.

Note : Seed for this post was drafted three years back but pushed to hibernate, and re-ignited now.

'Ruff' work [ Actual word: Roughwork ]

Increa'ces' [Actual word : Increases ]

Prep'era'tion [ Actual word : Preparation ]

Resist'ence' [ Actual word : Resistance ]

Y'eild'ing [ Actual word : Yielding ]

K'erla' [ Actual word : Kerala ]

W'hea'ther [ Actual word : Whether ]

Obta'ind' [ Actual word : Obtained ]

Sym'tems' [ Actual word : Symptoms ]

F'eav'er [ Actual word : Fever ]

S'hed'ule [ Actual word : Schedule ]

Spa'id' [ Actual word : Spade ]

Rec'ieve' [ Actual word : Receive ]

Re'couc'es [ Actual word : Resources ]