Oct 6 2009

After a breakfast of my mum’s famous potato sandwiches with her absolutely delectable homemade tomato chutney, I left with my brother-in-law (I hate the term cousin-in-law) Babu (S.K. Laxminarayana as he is formally known) to visit my Alma Mater (the National Institute of Engineering) NIE used to be an integral part of the University of Mysore (which issued the actual diplomas) when I was a student there in the 80s, but its now a semi-autonomous body and has grown by leaps and bounds since. Its is still in the same complex that it started off as a tiny civil engineering institute in 1946, but to keep up with the growth in programmes, they’ve opened up several satellite units.

When I was a student there (1983-1987), there were several flower gardens in lieu of the lush green lawn you see now. But it saddens me that they’ve taken down the creepers, because of occasional problems with bats. I remember seeing the odd bat or two, but it was never a problem. Oh well…

RoboticsThe new Robotics lab. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a demo, but they have some very neat equipment there.

Mech LabThis takes me BACK!!!! The Engines Lab !!!! We had to conduct experiments to verify the basic principles of all thermodynamic cycles! The equipment has been replaced by newer models, but the concepts are the same! I want to go back to school!

MotorCycleA bunch of lucky buggers got to build this puppy as part of their senior project! Grrrrrrrr

Fire Lab Once again, too bad I couldn’t get a demo, but I doubt they’d just set that thing on fire every time some doofus-alumnus shows up.

Irrig Swing
NIE has an “Alternative Energy Courtyard” with examples of all kinds of alternative energy units. This one (A Swing Irrigation Pump) cant be matched for sheer brilliance – you set this swing up in your plant garden and use the energy generated to power a pump that irrigates your plant beds, while you relive your kindergarten days on the swing.

Flour Mill
Babu who has been a pioneering force behind NIE’s recent wave of expansion demonstrates a pedal-powered flour mill – burn off the calories that you’ll probably get from consuming all the wheat products from the flour!

Thanks to some bad scheduling, we’re going to Planet-X tomorrow, but I am meeting my former classmates Gopal and Shiv for dinner this evening. In the meantime, I’m going to hop over to the Pelican for a pint.

Pelican_4 Shyam (left, the Man-U acolyte) and Venkatesh (who worships at the altar of Cricket alone) tend bar at the Pelican.

Tap_Me I was invited to pour myself my own half-pint (they don’t do full pints, next step up is a pitcher) of Kingfisher (one of the world’s best lagers)! This is an honour I shall cherish for the ages!

KF Tap A close-up of the Kingfisher keg. The colour red appears to be the dominant theme of all things Kingfisher – which is rather at odds with the fact that the kingfisher is actually a blue bird – Raghu, my mum’s driver pointed one out to me at Kukkarahallikere the other day)

Pelican_EntThere’s a coconut tree just past the entrance to the Pelican. No, I do not know why the lowermost portion of the tree is (or appears to be) painted, but I will make a mental note to ask – My suspicion is that since it does not involve the minutiae of either Cricket or Soccer, neither Venkatesh nor Shyam will be of much help, but I’ll give it a shot nonetheless.

KF_Babes This photograph should constitute incontrovertible proof that I am quite the ladies’ man, even if said ladies are two-dimensional and therefore not exactly capable of issuing a reasoned rebuttal. That women (particularly women of faith) worldwide fail to recognise that I am god’s gift to women is astonishing – Wouldn’t the fact that the “supreme being” has a macabre sense of humour be axiomatic to them?!

GroupGopal, Shiv and I outside Gopi’s (no relation to Gopal!) a rooftop restaurant after a night of much mirth and recollection of events from three decades! Gopal and I went to middle school, high school and college together. Shiv and I have known each other since college. Shiv (an electrical Engineer) and Gopal (an industrial engineer) are friends in spite of their entrepreneurial relationship.

Paan When you’ve lost track of how many pints of beer you’ve had, the answer to “Paan Sir?” invariably switches from an emphatic, if polite “No Thanks” to a whimsical “Ah! Why the heck not?!”. Fair enough. So how was it, you ask?! Well, .. do the expressions on our faces suggest “Interesting” ?! Lets go with that anyway!

I’m going to venture into the heart of old Mysore (SayyajiRao road) tomorrow and attempt to engage the shopkeepers and street vendors there in casual banter so as to get a feel for how they think the city has changed in 21 years. Since I wont have a translator with me (my mum even in her golden years probably has more worthy causes that demand attention), it will be my tortured if nor altogether fractured Kannada, and my best interpretation of their responses that will determine the outcome of these cultural exchanges. I suspect that I’ll discover how one says “Bugger off” in Kannada, but that too would prove immensely useful!

Other Notes:

  • It turns out that I was mistaken about KukkarahalliKere (See Blog entry for Oct 4) translating to “Crane Village Lake”. I got this information from Shiv (not a native Kannada speaker) who thought that Kukkara means “Crane” in Kannada – its actually Kokre (pronounced Kok-ray). Halli does actually mean village. But apparently, there is no way of formally translating the name of the lake to English. Shiv can be forgiven though, because the lake is indeed famous for the flocks of cranes that show up at dusk.
  • It is not exactly clear how much, if any, treated city waste water really flows into Kukkarahalli Kere, or if that waste water is actually treated prior to being discharged into the lake. I will try and research this topic a bit more.

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