Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Beer Can at BKC

- By Deepa Krishnan

London may have the Gherkin, but Mumbai has the Beer Can :) Or maybe it's a Wine Barrel? Check out the photo below and decide:
In case you didn't already know, this is the ONGC Green Building being built in Bandra Kurla Complex. I have been watching this building come up, little by little, for the last 2 years (I can see it from my 14th floor balcony in Sion). I even talked about this building in my interview for Mint.

Finally last week I went to BKC and clicked a close-up photo; then I decided to read up about the building. Apparently, the Beer Can is designed to be "Green, Energy-efficient and Intelligent". This is a CDM Project - meaning that the energy conservation measures in this project will help ONGC generate Certified Emission Reduction units which may be traded in emissions trading schemes. This kind of project needs to be independently audited. A Japanese company called JACO CDM did the audit, and I managed to get the audit report copy. The original project plan filed with United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) is also online.

ONGC has several other similar projects in India. 
ONGC Green Building, Dehradun, Hafeez Contractor
There's another one coming up in Kolkata:
ONGC Green Building, Kolkata, Hafeez Contractor
The one in Dehradun was completed last year, although I have not seen any real-life photos except this one. Construction on Kolkata has begun.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A fun day in Bollywood

- By Deepa Krishnan

I had a Bollywood day today. Saw a movie-shoot with Nana Patekar who (gasp) took off his shirt. OK, OK, there was a vest underneath but still, it was very much a case of dhakdhakheart. I am *not* old enough to be impervious to such stuff! Mercifully, I decided not to make a fool of myself and ask for a photograph. 
Also, there were Anil Kapoor and Paresh Rawal. And a whole host of younger actors whose names I *am* too old to be familiar with.

It was fun seeing the sets and the wardrobe guys and all the hard work that goes into the shoot. The scene they were filming was a party, into which Anil Kapoor swaggers in. Then he has a face-off with Nana Patekar. I loved all the glam girls and guys and how they sweated under the sun, but all smartened up miraculously when the director yelled Aaaaaction!! I especially loved how they made fake alcohol and filled it into cocktail and wine glasses.

I also saw lots of sets. Like this one, of a courtroom, with a lawyer arguing a case. Excuse the blurry pic. But it was too melodramatic not to post. What do you do when cliches come alive? :) :)

A super day!!

Oh also, I photographed Ranjit Dahiya's Amitabh Bachchan in Bandra. Awesome, no?

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Ganesh Visarjan 2014 - a great experience at Girgaum Chowpatty

- By Deepa Krishnan

I had a fabulous time at the Girgaum Chowpatty Visarjan this year. Actually it took me completely by surprise, because they have enforced a STRICT ban on drums and noise.

I went there expecting to be deafened by the noise. In fact, I even bought ear-plugs! But in spite of the thousands and thousands of people, there was no crazy noise. There were no big drums and no clang-clang-clang to burst the eardrums. The processions were colourful and full of tamasha, there were people singing with small cymbals and chanting "Ganpati Bappa Morya! Pudhchya Varshi Laukar Ya!". But we did not go deaf with the noise!
At a couple of places there were horrible loudspeakers, where sponsors were distributing free drinks and food, and they thought that gave them the right to shout over the speakers. But overall, it was not an assault on the ears. The police have a very major presence and are very helpful to direct people and maintain crowd control. 

This is our group, at Chowpatty Beach. Here also, at the beach, there was good 'bandobast' by the police, with CCTV cameras and several policemen on the ground. There was a separate entry area, a separate exit, and separate lanes for big and small Ganesh idols. The police were directing the flow of people and trucks.
I also went to Lalbaug, where unfortunately the noise levels were incredible and it was impossible to stay for any amount of time. But I saw Lalbaug cha Raja and many others going in big processions here, lots of singing, dancing, gulal and band-baaja.
There are lots more photos here on my facebook page: Ganesh Visarjan 2014 Mumbai Magic

Monday, September 01, 2014

The old BEST bus ticket

- by Deepa Krishnan

Did you know? These punched BEST tickets are now history. These days you get a modern version, like a credit card slip. I got this photo of the old-style tickets 5 years ago, when I went on a bus ride from Sion to VT. The conductor punched them for me. Against the green colour of the seat, the tickets made for a great photo.
I don't know if these old tickets are completely phased out, but it sure looks like they're on their way out :-( What a pity. They were so interesting! And they've been around for ages, with so many codes and markings on them! Here are all the things on the old ticket and what they meant:

1) On top in black, you can see the Serial number of the ticket

2) Below that, there is the BEST logo and it says: Parivahan Upakram - which means Transport Undertaking

3) In the centre is the fare plus 'adhibhar' (surcharge); in this ticket its Rs 9.85 + 15p surcharge. The surcharge has been around for 3 decades now and BEST donates this money to the state government. In response to a Public Interest Litigation, the state clarified in 2007 that the money is being spent on nutrition schemes for children, pregnant women, and new mothers. From April 1975 to July 2006, this has amounted to Rs 321.8 crores of donations.

4) In the centre there is a vertical line, and it is used to mark special or concessionary classes of ticket - Baalak (child), Khaas (special), Saamaan (luggage), Jod (valid with something else, additional ticket)

5) Punching system - On the left there is a series of numbers, from 1 to 26, this shows the stops on the route (onward). There is a similar set of numbers on the right, those are the stops on the return route. The conductor will punch the stop that you are going to get down at.

6) Right at the bottom we have 'Bruhmumbai Vidyut Purvatha Ani Parivahan Upakram' - Bombay Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking.

7) And below that it says something like "Niyamanusar something something ticket" I can't read that bit clearly.

Anyone who knows more, please correct me!

The new ticket is here, in case you want to have a look.