Tuesday, May 05, 2009


In 2007 (Dec), I thanked people who planted the trees in Jayanagar in one of my posts. And in 2008 (Nov-Dec), I hear that these trees are going to be felled to make way for the Metro. But I always thought it won't happen because no one can actually think of cutting those trees on the Nanda road, they make a distinguished part of Bangalore.

No, I am not against development/progress. But to me, felling trees on the Nanda road (and Lalbagh) to make way for the Metro is like demolishing a part of Taj Mahal to make way for the Metro! Because those trees are part of our heritage just like how Taj Mahal is. I never thought it would be difficult for anyone to accept this, I thought Hasiru Usiru was doing a great job and we should be able to save those trees. Anitha, Boda and Chilli have been working a great deal for this cause with Hasiru Usiru.

From what I hear from them about the protests/progress, I realize that people don't care about these trees at all! :( Here are the updates from them, extremely disheartening.

Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 9:14 PM
Subject: Re: Map fundaes

They came around 5:30 when it started raining and chopped off one tree. As they saw people approaching to question them, they ran away! They even left the cut tree in the Lalbagh premises.

Some of the eye witnesses lodged a police complaint and the guy there said they will give protection for one night. So a constable was stationed at that place in Lalbagh so hopefully no more trees were cut last night.


From: Sridhar
Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 10:42 AM
Subject: Bad day yesterday ...

The Mothers of Bangalore (Sanmathi) wanted to raise awareness in the Jayanagar 4th Block area. So, they held a protest there yesterday. I was supposed to go along with them to try getting information about people who might support our cause. The whole evening turned out to be a big messy affair!

Things were going fine with the mothers singing songs on Bangalore and asking the people of Bangalore to arise to the illegality of the Metro, about how they weren't against the Metro, but wanted it to be built in a legal manner, with least damage to the environment as possible. Then these two guys start shouting at us for being anti-Metro. So this is the exchange I am involved with.
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: Metro is a dream for us. Metro is a 100 year old dream. How can you oppose it!
Me: We are not opposing the Metro. But we want it to go underground.
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: Metro is a dream for us. Metro is a 100 year old dream. How can you oppose it!
Me: We are not opposing the Metro. But we want it to go underground.
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: Metro is a dream for us. Metro is a 100 year old dream. How can you oppose it!
Me: We are not opposing the Metro. But we want it to go underground.
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: Metro is a dream for us. Metro is a 100 year old dream. How can you oppose it!
Me: We are not opposing the Metro. But we want it to go underground.
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: What's the harm if 4 trees go?! If we need progress, we need to sacrifice some things.
[NOTE: All this is being shouted at me, and I am trying to be as calm as I can under the circumstances.]
Me: When there is an alternative solution possible which will not only help the trees, but also make the Metro more useful, why should we go with the current alignment?
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: There are trees being cut in front of hotels, bars. Why don't you protest there?
Me: Come, let's go right now and protest those as well.

Obviously doesn't come.

Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: It's our right for a Metro. Because of your selfishness, we can't lose the Metro. Delhi has it. Hyderabad has it. We also want it.
Me: Delhi, inside the city, has Metro underground.
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: Metro is a dream for us. Metro is a 100 year old dream. How can you oppose it!
Metro-fanatic 1 & 2: All you people opposing are not Kannadigas. You are not from Bangalore.

At which point, another person in the crowd told me to not waste time talking to these people, and come out of the crowd. I did.

The women were still singing the songs. When these people go up to them, pointing fingers, flailing arms at them. Accusing them of people who will not remain in Bangalore.
Metro-fanatic 1: You people will go off to foreign. We want our Metro.
[NOTE: That guy was wearing a San Francisco T-shirt.]
And a minor slip from one of the women. She wants to ask the people of Jayanagar to be unapathetic, and arise. She says, "Kannadigas are lazy. We need to get up and fight this!"

M-f 1 & 2 latch on to this. And that's the end. :(

They tell us that we have 10 minutes to vacate the place, else we will be beaten up.

Anitha is waiting at Lalbagh where another tree was cut in the afternoon. As I leave from 4th block, she tells me that the DCP, ACP have given us assurance that no more tree-felling will happen until the 9th (when there will be another protest - probably the most important/final one).

-- edited to remove a line --

In the afternoon at Lalbagh, I am talking to the contractor in-charge of cutting the trees. He asks me where I was when trees were being cut at Vijaynagar, K R Road, etc. I tell him that when it happened on Seshadri Road, we were there. With a proud smirk, he says, "I was there at Seshadri Road". Resisted an urge to slap him.

End of the day, that's the story. Logic of most people - "You didn't protest before, why are you protesting before? Just let it go!" It doesn't strike them that it is this attitude that will result in more encroachments, more autocracy from the rogue BMRCL. Right now the station at Lalbagh doesn't have a parking lot, auto stand, bus stop, etc. They've ONLY taken 0.1% of Lalbagh. Few years down the line, I can visualise them saying this, "We have 0.1% already. What's another 1%? Besides, we need parking lots. We can't have roads jammed!"

Of course, it's progress. Development.

Excellent. Long live mindless infrastructure development.

Only good thing. Another day where I didn't beat up somebody.

I can't even imagine what Boda must be going through. In his place, I would have probably snapped a long time back.


Sent: Wednesday, May 06, 2009 3:23 AM
Subject: Re: Bad day yesterday ...

They had come with 4 police lorries, 5 jeeps, etc. Women police as well. Spoke to the DCP/ACP who had promised us protection just yesterday. His words, "Orders from higher up. Can't do anything."

I saw the cutting of 4 trees. They are in such a hurry to finish up. Most of the trees are landing on the asbestos walls they've put up.

All trees will be cut today for sure. And the saddest part, the land transfer to BMRCL hasn't even been done yet. Long live the Metro!

There are more protests planned (check http://hasiruusiru.org), these should make a difference, please spread the word.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I was excited to hear that Dr. Stroustrup was going to be talking on C++0x in Vancouver. A bunch of us that registered for the talk got official invites from the Simon Fraser university as our company has an university relations group that work closely with the universities.

So there we were, at the SFU on the 30th of April to take part in Dr. Stroustrup's talk. Dr. Stroupstrup talked about the new ISO standard for C++ that he has been working on and that he intends to get done by 2009, it's called C++0x (zero-x as the year is unknown until the standard is out).

I was expecting some major additions if not changes, however didn't see a lot of new stuff or radically different advances. Well, the reason maybe obvious that millions of people already use C++ and anything newly introduced shouldn't break the existing code and because whatever is done should kind of fit into the existing tool chains.

Here is what I could gather
1. Improvements to aid programming with systems that work closely with hardware, to support concurrency -new components, threads and thread pools added.
2. Increase type safety (strict enum type checks etc)
3. Initializer lists (std::initializer_list) to aid initializing pretty much everywhere - vectors, class members, function arguments something like below

void f(int, std::initializer_list, int)
so -> f(1, {2,3,4}, 5);

4. easier and safer use of templates
5. And a lot of smaller things like static_asserts, simplifying for loop syntax etc.

There were a few lighter moments in the talk that I must say I enjoyed :) He said a lot of people keep saying that C++ is not used much but it is a blatant lie. He also said we are not talking about the medium sized, medium reliable, medium performance applications written by mediocre programmers for windows!

There was also a slide listing what (who) all use C++ -Mar's Rover, Google's file system, Microsoft's every product, Photoshop, Cell phones, Gaming, Graphics, Compilers, Chip design etc.
A detailed list of applications that use C++ on his website -http://research.att.com/~bs/applications.html

It felt good to listen to him speak about something he created (that I have been using to write code) and is passionately working on it, the authority with which he speaks makes it nicer :)