Sonali Desai

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Indiranagar residents want burial ground moved

In News, Uncategorized on May 23, 2011 at 11:27 am

A decades-old burial ground bang in the middle of an Indiranagar residential colony is leading to conflict between residents and nearby villagers

Sarmistha Acharya

Residents of HAL II Stage have been facing a strange problem. In spite of repeatedly writing to the concerned governing bodies asking them to shut down or shift a burial ground in the area, the Civic Amenity and Cultural Association of the Residents’ Welfare Association of HAL II stage is yet to get any response. Meanwhile, their problems multiply.

The burial ground is located at HAL II stage, 12th main, 8th cross, Indiranagar and spreads over an area of two acres.  The residents say that it is used by one community of Doopanahalli village and the people from the same community living in different surrounding areas too come to bury their dead in this burial ground. There are more then ten buildings located at the surrounding areas of the burial ground. But except three buildings, the owners of rest of the buildings had either rented their houses or given them for commercial purposes and moved out to some other places because they didn’t want to stay near the burial ground.

A resident, who wished to remain anonymous, said that usually the villagers get dead bodies everyday or once in two days to the burial ground and while getting the dead they make so much of noise which is a problem for the residents, especially the senior citizens staying in the nearby area. She also mentioned that villagers also get the dead at late hours of night.  “A person staying in the building which is opposite to the burial ground was a heart patient. He had to vacate the building because he could not sustain the humiliation,” she added.

Moreover the resident also mentioned that slumdwellers from the nearby areas come to defecate in the burial ground. “People start coming to the ground early in the morning and we have to keep our window close always because of the foul smell that comes,” she said.

According to her, though the burial ground creates several problems for the residents and makes it difficult for them to stay in the area, none of the residents complain openly. She says three years back a member of the Residents’ Welfare Association was beaten up and threatened by more then 100 people from Doopanahalli village for complaining about the burial ground and that had spread a fear among the residents for which they are afraid to complain. She also said that the local area corporator doesn’t take any action against the villagers because they serve as a vote bank for the politicians.

Meanwhile according to Sanjay G (name changed on request) says, “It is unfortunate that even after years of complaining,  the officials are not taking any step to solve this problem. We have invested a lion’s share of savings of our entire life in purchasing house here. What’s the use of this a home where you cannot be at peace even for a single day?”

When City Buzz contacted Geetha Sreenivas Reddy, the local area corporator of ward number 112, she said that the burial ground is still known as Doopanahalli burial ground and it has been there for ages, even before the residential layout itself was formed. “The entire area of HAL II stage was earlier Doopanahalli village, but few years back the layout was developed and people started building residences,” she added.

The Residents’ Welfare Association officials say that a site (BDA site number 3784) adjacent to the burial ground was allotted to a person who could not build his house because of the obstruction created by the Doopanahalli villagers and he surrendered the allotted area to BDA again and left the place nine years back.

An official told City Buzz that three years ago, the villagers of Doopanahalli village constructed a compound wall for the burial ground and encroached on the BDA site (site number-3784) and a year ago they constructed a house on the mentioned site. According to residents, people form the village used to gather at the premises and drink and make noise, although the practice seems to have stopped of late.

Another office-holder of the Indiranagar Resident’s Welfare Association, who, while wishing to remain anonymous, said that according to law there should not be any active burial ground in the midst of the residential areas. He moreover mentioned that according to the draft Master Plan – 2015 of the Bengaluru Development Authority, the burial ground site is for greenery but the villagers are still using it as a burial ground.

When City Buzz contacted BDA officials about the issue, they said that the area may be reserved for greenery but the villagers of Doopanahalli village have been using it for past 20 to 30 years. NG Chandrappa, assistant executive engineer, BDA who is in charge of Indiranagar area said, “BDA forms rules but the public sentiment is above all rules. One of the reasons which the villagers want their burial ground in the same place is because they are sentimentally attached to the area where members of their family and community are buried.”

Further, Chandrappa said that they have not received any letters from the association for the burial ground. “The Residents’ Welfare Association might have written letters to the governing bodies earlier, but in the last few years we have not received any complaint letters,” he said. According to the residents, they have appealed to the civic authorities on this issue for the last 20 years and after receiving no response they had stopped writing letters 10 years back.

The last word perhaps belongs to Geetha Sreenivas Reddy, the very same politician accused by the residents of playing votebank politics with issue. She says the shifting of burial ground is impossible because it’s been used by the people for ages and the ancestors were buried in the ground so the shifting may hurt the emotion of the villagers. But as if offering consolation, she adds, “If the residents have a problem then let them write to me, we will take necessary steps.”


Coco decor

In Uncategorized on May 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

The coconut tree – fabled for the utility of its every single part – has been put to new and previously unimagined uses at this innovative crafts unit

Radhika Vitla

These are good days for all things ‘natural’ and ‘organic,’ so how about some organic décor for your house? That was just the idea that prompted Ravishankar, founder of Chaya Nisarga, to start a handicrafts centre that manufactures dozens of varied household and interior decoration articles exclusively using coconut wood and shell based on in-house designs.

Anyone who visits his small production unit near Nandini Layout will be amazed to find the myriad design possibilities Ravishankar has discovered in the humble coconut shell and wood. He has fashioned everything from trendy designer earrings to stylish hairpins, neckpieces to ethnic bangles, crockery sets, an array of cups for various purposes, pen stands, cushion covers, vanity bags, and just about any other showpiece or household item you can think of. You will also see coconut wood transformed into banisters in multiple designs, table pillars, walking sticks, candle stands, bowls, photo frames, trays and much more.

What started as casual experimentation soon expanded into a organised unit for making eco-friendly artifacts. Initially, his plan was to make such products with materials like paper, jute or bamboo, but on discovering that these have already been exploited fully, he turned his attention to coconut shell and wood.  He then enrolled himself for a short term training course at Bangalore Design Centre to gain technical knowledge about making handicraft. Chaya Nisrarga was formed in March 2000, and soon started adding employees, and today has a growing clientele both in India and abroad. Often, they make the basic product and pass it on to some women’s groups who do the polishing and finishing work from their homes.

Ravishankar says, “Initially I faced a lot of difficulties and slowly developed my own network and started acquiring customers. I don’t run a shop, but there are people with the same taste whether rich or poor, who approach me for my products. I take part in various exhibitions organised by (crafts organisation) Dastakar and by the government. I also get bulk orders from the corporate offices for their gift purchases. I have travelled widely in India mostly for my exhibitions and even abroad too. But I prefer domestic market is better because I have a good response and also it is easy to transport the products which are very delicate.”

The craft of making decorative and utility products out of coconut shell and wood is mostly practiced in parts of India where coconut is grown in abundance. Coconut shell and wood craft is mostly common in Kerala; in and around Kozhikode, Attingal and Neyyatinkara, as well as other states like Goa, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a few parts of Bengal, Pondicherry and Tamil Nadu.

However, in most of these areas coconut wood is also used as firewood. Coconut shell has always been used as cooking fuel all over the country and to make small multiple utility bowls or serving spoons with simple bamboo joinery. Coconut shell and wood craft has gained popularity only in the last few decades and hence does not have a long history. It is believed that as a craft, coconut shell or wood carving was first experimented by craftsmen from the Vishwakarma community in Kerala.

Ravishankar procures the wood, cut to size, from coconut plantations and the hollow coconut shell is bought from copra merchants. The wood is obtained from 60 to 70 year old trees which no longer yield fruit, and yielding trees are never cut for wood. The beauty of the coconut wood, he says, is that it varies from one portion to the other even in a small piece, and the irregularity makes it unique and beautiful.

The product range starts from a price of Rs 90 and goes up to Rs 2,500. Most of his products are handcrafted, for example the coconut shell handbag requires as many as 200 coconut shell units which are wound together to make one piece. It is entirely done by hand and takes a week to complete, Ravishankar points out. “We never paint the products, and instead, for some pieces, just apply synthetic varnish to give a neat glossy look but retaining the natural glory of the material,” he adds.

For more information contact Chaya Nisarga at 28399405 or 9448587136.

Issue 21

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2011 at 9:25 am

Hot cakes
‘Adult’ cakes are all the rage at Bengaluru parties, and event managers are more than ready to meet their customers’ oh-so-naughty demands, finds Asha Menon
This city appreciates a naughty sense of humour. Every ten days Bengaluru asks at least one event manager to think up something kinky.

According to Any Surprise Any Place (ASAP), an event management company, they get orders for adult-theme cakes (also called naughty cakes) from all corners of the city.

The cakes are advertised online, and come in various shapes, ranging from the embarrassing to the amusing. They look like genitals, breasts spilling out of a shirt, bubble baths, lingerie, corsets, and so on. The bigger cakes are shaped like nude men and women, but small, kinky cup cakes can be ordered, too.

Naughty confectionery is a favourite at bachelor parties and hen nights. Tina (24, name changed) wanted to surprise her friend Pooja before her wedding. So a few common friends got together and decided on a bachelorette cake.

“The event managers gave us a list of cakes to choose from. We decided to play it safe and ordered a muscled man, with the photo of Pooja’s fiancé pasted on the face,” Tina recalls.

There was a lot of laughter and jokes, and the crowd was mostly between 24 and 32 years. “Someone said he would have to work hard to live up to the cake,” says Tina. “Pooja loved it.”

The cakes are usually priced between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000. But the friends didn’t stop with the cake. “When we called to place the order, the event company gave us a few more ideas for the party, like risqué shot glasses and personalised napkins.” With a satin sash and a tiara that said “Bride”, Pooja was made to give an acceptance speech – like she had won a contest.

These days, naughty cakes find their way to birthday parties too, says Rohit from event managers E Factory. “People order it for their friends mostly and once we had a customer ordering it for his brother,” he told City Buzz.

Dhyan SN, a techie with Accenture, ordered one such cake for a friend who for some reason was scared of looking at even pictures of bras. “We wanted him to overcome the phobia, so we decided to gift him a cake shaped like a woman’s breast covered in a colourful bra! It was for his bachelor’s party and it was amazing. The cake was cheap at Rs 500 for a kilo, and trust me, it is still the topic of discussion among our circle of friends.”

Customers are usually between 20 and 40 years, says Ruchi from ASAP. And, here’s a surprise: most often it is the women who are placing these orders for their husbands.  “Couples in the city gift these cakes to each other or their friends for fun or on their anniversaries,” Ruchi explains.

Suraj Gowda, a business analyst, recalls the time his wife decided to surprise him with a naughty cake on their anniversary. “For our first anniversary, my wife who knew a friend who bakes such naughty cakes, had ordered a 2kg cake which looked like a honeymoon bed with lingerie spread out on it! As it was close friends and a few young-at-heart people celebrating our anniversary, we really enjoyed the cake, and it tasted good too!” he says.

Event managers say people across all industries order fun pastries, but the more ardent customers are from the media and advertising industries.

ASAP is a New-Delhi based company, but promises to “deliver happiness at any corner” of the country. In Bengaluru, they work with an army of bakers who are just starting out in their profession or who work from home. They are more than happy to do something innovative. The company sends out the idea to the bakers and they in turn make it happen, says Ruchi.

While there seems to be a bunch of adventurous bakers in this city, they seem to operate from the shadows. Few bakers are willing to talk about adult cakes to the press. They are either wary or afraid of being misrepresented.  But in a city that thinks up delicious fantasies in chocolate, it seems sinful to be shy.

Order a delectable embarrassment at the nearest occasion, we say.


Bachelorettes just wanna have fun

Bengaluru women know how to party. There are tempting candies, outrageous shot glasses, napkins that are hardly polite, and sometimes, male strippers.

Reva (name changed) and her friends organised a surprise bachelorette party for Neeta a day before her wedding. Though their cake was plain old blueberry, the rest of it was impish. “We had wild shot glasses, which came in handy when the party was at its peak, and then there was a hamper of kinky lingerie. The event manager even thought of a fun quiz.” What is a four-letter, must-have for a wedding? Ring!

The party was strictly for friends and so there were laughs and drinks. In the end the bride did a show for her friends, flaunting her new lingerie. While Reva’s went well, some have had unmanageable embarrassing moments. An event manager got a frantic call from a client asking for help. “She had, by herself, managed to get a male stripper to her party and he turned out to be terrible,” says the manager. “We refused to get involved.”