Pune’s Fire-brigade Museum

City of Pune keeps surprising me, even though I am living in the city, for my whole life, well most of it. May be because it is very difficult to track what all is going on in the city, as city is growing bounds and leaps. Some years time back, I learnt about a Joshi’s train models museum(which I had visited long time back), and also more recently cricket museum, both private ones. Other day, I happened to know that there is a fire-brigade museum in the city, and I happened to visit it, when I was in that part of the city few weeks back. We all see them and hear their bells ringing, more often than not, on the road, going to some place for rescue. I, myself have been walking or zooming past a fire-brigade station in Aundh area near Bremen Chowk, in Pune. But never bothered to peep inside and find out what goes in there. Another famous place where I have seen fire fighter van stationed in in busy locales of Dagadusheth Ganpati temple in the heart of the city.

 

I remember my first hand encounter with fire brigade. It so happened that, a tiny kitten somehow ended up in the duct located at the backyard of my house, few years back, on a sunny evening of the winter. I tried to help her out of it, but in vain. Someone suggested to call the fire-brigade. In few minutes, they came in their big red van. My neighbors were wondering as to what happened. Those men in dark blue uniform, they came in with their props and rescued that kitten. And they went off, after a quick chat over tea.

So, that day of July 2017, when I walked in into this museum located near off near Nal Stop, Karve Road, I was wondering what is that they have there. It was Sunday evening. The car parking was almost empty. Right near the car parking, the old, vintage model of fire-brigade van is showcased. This was manufactured by Rolls Royce, was commissioned into service in 1956. This was deployed during the Pune’s infamous 1961 floods caused due to Panshet dam disaster. There were paintings around the parking wall. The shed where this vintage van was housed, had many textual displays outlining history, some of the famous rescue operations in the history and other facts. The entire area is strikingly colored in red, with graffiti on the walls. I also noticed water and mist tender van parked in the parking lot, which was mini-version of regular fire fighter van.

 

This place is fire brigade’s station which has this museum in the campus. It was usual calm and quite in side the fire brigade station. Have you watched Charlie Chaplin’s The Fireman, produced almost 100 years ago? When I entered the place, it reminded me of it. Anyways, now, fire fighters were relaxed, some of them were watching television, others were chatting. They seemed to get surprised by our entry there. When I mentioned that I wanted to visit the museum, I was welcomed warmly and one of them accompanied. I was taken upstairs area where the main exhibits are on the display. I could not escape the thermal ware clad life-size model at the doors, which is these days used by firemen during extreme situations.

 

The guide started talking as we went upstairs. He said, this museum was recently opened, in March 2017. We reached the the exhibit area upstairs which has many antique fire fighting tools, equipment, right from water hose pipes, nozzles, helmets, search lights, display of various types of rope knots used(I remembered my school days seeing these knots, as I was in scout troupe where we were taught these), thermal imaging cameras(to look for trapped people due to smoke caused), diamond chain saw etc. Many of the equipment, tools used by fire fighters have evolved over the years as technology has advanced. The fire fighters’ suit it self has undergone transformation over the years. It seems this is the only kind of museum in India, for fire brigades.

Pune Municipal Corporation portal has a page for Fire Brigade, do check it out here, the page for museum badly needs revamp. Anyways, stayed tuned on this blog. Next one will be another offbeat, rather unknown place in Pune.

 

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Beggars at Traffic Signals: What to do?

We all keep noticing beggars in the cities we live in. We certainly see them often times at various traffic signals across city roads. Poverty is general is a problem in India since time innumerable. Many elections have been won by politicians promising eradication of poverty. But poverty seems to be staying. Of course, not every poor person is beggar. But beggars are certainly poor. By street side and even in trains, beggars are very common. Also common are beggars at the traffic signals on the city roads. They live on the footpath, under the shade of a tree or something. I see them all the time.

Like many, I go to work to Kharadi EON IT Park everyday and I see them at at least at 3-4 signals on the way. The moment traffic stops at these signals, beggars pop up from no where and they engulf you before you even realize. You see women, women with kids with them, kids themselves extending their arms helplessly, elderly men, many times disabled. And the sight is not pretty at all. At times, you feel pity about them, and some other times your hands automatically reach out to your pockets for them. You also see many times transgenders as well walking around at traffic signals and their typical actions, they ask for money. If you pay them, you get good wishes, else you don’t! I have seen many beggars displaying their displeasure if they are denied their rightful(!) donation by spitting, by saying something, or even at times thumping on the bonnet of the car. In earlier days, beggars would be happy with coin changes, but it seems they don’t accept anything below Rs 10/- note. Not sure if these beggars have forgotten that beggars cannot be choosers! These street-side families employing their young children in begging activities, is in fact, illegal and against human rights. But who cares about rights when you are not sure of what you are going to have for dinner for 10-12 members in the family? Even the traffic police at the these signals ignore them-understandably so they see them every day and all day. Sometimes, you wonder if this has become their business. We know that this concept made very famous by actor Annu Kapur in Hindi movie Gardish couple of decades ago. Depicting beggars in movies, cartoons, is also very common.

You wonder, at times, if you are not busy on a call while driving, or don’t want to divert your attention from jokes that radio jockey(RJ) on radio in your car is cracking, as to how they beggars land in to situation where they forced to get to streets for their daily bread, and most of the times their entire family? We keep hearing farmers committing suicides, many times, when their life is ruined by drought or other reasons. The ones who don’t, you wonder if they get into such terminal situation. I being associated with mental health awareness since last many years, I also know that many of these beggars are suffering from various mental health issues. I know one NGO who works for such street-side people who are severely suffering from such problems, who are abandoned, who are lying on the footpath, surviving somehow with petty sums they get from the passers-by. I have written about that organization here in the past. I also know one of my friends running a education session for children on the street side. We also have seen photos of many organization distribute warm clothing etc to these people during winter seasons. This and donating them petty sums are are temporary solutions. You will find them there again at the same place at the same time. The real question is how to solve this forever?

I don’t have answer. We, as society need to think about it. Our Prime Minister has started monthly radio program called Man Ki Baat(मन की बात). May be putting this problem across him and drawing some attention would help. Organization can help in rehabilitating these people who can be still employable, provided their mental health is fine. I being in information technology field, I can think of a brainstorming hackathon for solving this problem, may be of help. Can this be made part of smart city agenda, by the way? We need to think on how to make them part of the society by having them employable and earn their own bread.

Many of us who entertain foreign visitors, and who go by these streets, we  are ashamed of beggars’ sight when we walk or drive on those roads. I also have seen many times, in the foreign countries, homeless people, standing by traffic signals, with board/placard seeking help. The difference is only in the style, and intensity of the problem. But the problems are everywhere. There is a saying in English which says, a country can be understood by people at traffic signals.

Anyways, what do you think? How to change this?

World of cabs and cab drivers

The other morning during my early morning walk, instead of walking on my usual route, I decided to go towards the main road in my area. Near the traffic signal, I noticed at least 5-6 cabs waiting, with their drivers inside them sleeping or resting. It obviously was not a pretty sight. First of all, the cabs were parked inside no parking area, plus the drivers were certainly missing sleep. I work in Eon IT Park in Pune, almost 25 km from home. Until now, I used to drive on my own, or carpool with someone occasionally. Since last few weeks, we got cab facility and I naturally grabbed it by both hands. And a whole new world of cab and cab drivers opened in front of me.

Pune never had taxis or cabs until few years back. All we had was auto rickshaws. As Pune Mumbai express highway opened itself in year 2000, we started seeing taxis in the city. I am sure some of you might remember those blue colored cool cabs providing service between Pune and Mumbai via express highway. With the advent of call center business to Pune, the culture of cab services to employees started. The main reason being that call centers typically operate in evening and night shifts. This requires employees to be transported to ensure they are in on time to take the calls. Let me shed some light on how these cabs operate. Companies would typically engage a travel service company which either owns fleet of cabs or has cabs individuals who are either drivers themselves or others who would lease out them. The employee rosters are created, pick up points are decided, transport desk phone contact is setup. Depending on employees who would be availing cab facility on any days, they are free to optimize number of cabs on the road. Many times, this means drivers ending up working late hours, and I mean really late hours. They virtually live in those cabs. Most of them are addicted to chewing tobacco and/or gutaka, also are habitual of spitting on the road, by open the door of the car in motion. The general hygiene factor of these drivers and cars also is a big question.

As the famed economic reforms of 1991 happened, slowly automobile industry opened up, more models of cars started arriving, more people buying them as well. The private tourist vehicle industry also thrived. These were generally for outstations tours, having minimum requirement of 300 km per day, at the beginning. Later as mentioned above, adopted themselves to the demands of IT companies for city limit transport, round the clock. Then we see the advent cab aggregators, which is the latest trend in the cab business with players such as Ola, Uber. They are aggressively pushing commuters to use their services. While it is causing convenience, but also has been causing social issues, especially from commuters security perspective, and also from drivers’ way of life perspective. The situation is much more severe in the bigger cities such as Bengaluru where driver and commuters alike are traveling length and breadth of the city.

It is certainly heartening to know that more and more people are now car-pooling. I had written a blog on the need for this, few years ago, sighting the problems created by explosion of cars on the road. I believe only time will tell where this is all going to lead, especially, in the shrinked, and cramped city-scapes, with fleet and army of cabs, just few meters away from you, waiting for you, as shown on the Google Map on their apps.

रहमत तरीकेरी-लोकसंस्कृती संशोधक आणि लेखक

मी केलेल्या अमीरबाई कर्नाटकी या कन्नड पुस्तकाच्या मराठी भाषांतराच्या निमित्ताने माझा त्या पुस्तकाचे लेखक रहमत तरीकेरी यांचा जवळून परिचय झाला. आता माझा आणि साहित्य, लेखक यांच्याशी असा परिचय यापूर्वी असण्याचे काहीच कारण नव्हते. मला थोडीफार वाचनाची आवड आहे इतकेच. त्यामुळे त्यांचा परिचय झाला ही माझ्यासाठी विशेष बाब आहे. येथे आज त्यांची थोडी ओळख करून द्यावे असा विचार करून लिहायला बसलो आहे.

गोहारबाई आणि अमीरबाई

२०१० मध्ये हा सिलसिला सुरु झाला. एका कन्नड मासिकात बालगंधर्व आणि गोहारबाई यांच्यावर रहमत तरीकेरी यांनी लिहिलेला मी लेख माझ्या वाचनात आला. त्यांच्याशी संपर्क करून, मी तो लेख मराठीत करूयात अशी विचारणा केली. त्यांनी थोडेसे कचरतच मला परवानगी दिली, याचे प्रमुख कारण, त्यात गोहारबाई यांची बाजू मांडली गेली होती, आणि त्यांना धास्ती अशी होती की मराठी रसिकजन ते कसे स्वीकारतील. मी मराठीत तो लेख भाषांतरीत करून ग्रंथालीचे आणि थिंक महाराष्ट्रचे दिनकर गांगल यांच्याकडे पाठवला. त्यांनी तो प्रसिद्ध केला. वाचकांना तो आवडला आणि बरीच मतमतांतरे झाली. पुढे काही दिवसांनी तरीकेरी मला अमीरबाई कर्नाटकी पुस्तकाबद्दल सांगितले. त्याचे मराठी भाषांतर करायलाही त्यांनी मला परवानगी दिली.

लोकसंस्कृती संशोधक, साहित्य समीक्षक

तो पर्यंत रहमत तरीकेरी हे काय प्रकरण आहे याचा मला अंदाज आला होता. त्यांचा चिक्कमंगळूर जिल्ह्यातील समतळ येथे जन्म(१९५९) झाला. पुढे तरीकेरी, शिमोग्गा, मैसूर येथे शिक्षण झाले. हम्पी येथील कन्नड विद्यापीठात साहित्याचे प्राध्यापक, विभाग प्रमुख म्हणूनही त्यांनी काम पहिले आहे. वेगवेगळे उपासना पंथ/भक्ती संप्रदाय, साहित्य समीक्षा, साहित्य मीमांसा, संस्कृती चिंतन, नियतकालीकातून लेखन, लोकसाहित्य क्षेत्रात संशोधन आणि लिखाण, आणि त्यानिमित्ताने भारतभर प्रवास त्यांनी केला आहे. त्यांच्या काही साहित्यकृती अश्या आहेत-प्रतीसंस्कृती, मरदोळगण किच्चू, कर्नाटकद सुफीगळू, कर्नाटकद नाथपंथ, कित्तीयंचीन दारी, चिंतनेय पाडू, इल्ली यारू मुख्यरल्ला, मातु तलेयत्तुव बगे, अंडमान कनसु, कदळी होक्कूबंदे, धर्मपरीक्षे, नडेदोशट्टुनाडू, नुडी संकर साहित्य, कन्नड साहित्य वाग्वादगळू इत्यादी. १९९३, १९९८, २००० मध्ये कर्नाटक साहित्य अकादेमी, २००८ मध्ये जीएसएस, लंकेश हामाना, २०१० मध्ये साहित्य अकादमी पुरस्कार त्यांना मिळाले आहेत. ह्यातील काही पुस्तके मी मागवली आणि त्यांचेही भाषांतर करावयाचा मानस आहे. जसे त्यांचे पुस्तक ज्यात कर्नाटकातील सुफी पंथाविषयी त्यांनी अतिशय विस्ताराने, त्या सुफी संतांबरोबर फिरून, संशोधन करून लिहिले आहे. तसेच त्यांचे कर्नाटकातील नाथपंथ याविषयीचे पुस्तक तर नक्कीच मराठीत यावे. त्या पुस्तकाच्या निमित्ताने त्यांची थोर संशोधक रा. चिं. ढेरे यांच्याशी त्यांची ओळख झाली. मराठी आणि कन्नड भाषेतील संस्कृतीचा अजून एक समान धागा ह्यामुळे जोडला गेला.

त्यांची पहिली पुणे भेट

माझी आणि त्यांची प्रत्यक्ष भेट व्हायला २०१३ साल उजाडावे लागले. तो पर्यंत माझा आणि त्यांचा फोन, ईमेल असाच संवाद होत होतं. २०१२ च्या मे मध्ये मी हम्पीस गेलो होतो, पण मला वेळ नसल्यामुळे मला त्यांची भेट घेता नाही आली. पुण्यात भेट होण्यास निमित्त ठरले ते मी आणि चैतन्य कुंटे असे दोघे मिळून सुदर्शन संगीत सभेच्या अंतर्गत त्यांचे बिळगी भगिनी(Bilagi Sisters, अर्थात अमीरबाई आणि गोहरबाई कर्नाटकी) याविषयावर सदीप व्याख्यान ठेवले होते. त्यांच्या प्रथम दर्शनाने तर मला चकितच केले. अतिशय साधे कपडे, पाठीवर हॉवरसक. अतिशय चिकित्सक नजर, भरभर चालणे, आणि सतत पडणारे प्रश्न ही काही ठळक वैशिष्टे.

With Rahmath Tarikeri

रहिमत तरीकेरी यांच्या समवेत

त्यांची ही काही पुण्यास पहिलीच भेट नव्हती. अमीरबाई यांच्यावरच्या पुस्तकाच्या निमित्ताने ते पुण्यातील FTII मध्ये आले होते एक-दोनदा. मी माझ्या यथामती त्यांचे विचार आणि प्रेरणा समजावून घेण्याचा प्रयत्न केला. भारतीय संस्कृती, भाषा, पुण्याचा इतिहास, मराठी-कन्नड भाषेत यापूर्वी काम केलेले अनेक व्यक्ती याबद्दल आमच्या चर्चा झाल्या. त्यांची एकूणच जीवनातल्या आणि संस्कृतीच्या प्रत्येक क्षेत्रात रुची होती, माहिती होती-खाद्य संस्कृती असो, भाषेमधील लकबी आणि विशिष्ट शब्द असोत, त्यांचे विचार त्यांनी मनमोकळेपणाने माझ्याबरोबर आणि माझ्या कुटुंबियाबरोबर वाटले. त्यांची कन्नड भाषा जी अतिशय वेगळी आणि कर्णमधुर वाटत होती. त्या वेळेस कार्यक्रमाच्या निमित्ताने २ दिवस माझ्याकडे राहिले आणि आम्ही समृद्ध होवून गेलो. माझ्या घरच्या वास्तव्यात त्यांनी अगदी मनमोकळेपणे, कसलाही अहं न दाखवता, अतिशय मितभाषीपणे संवाद साधला, त्यांच्याकडे असलेली त्यांच्या हम्पी येथील घराची छायाचित्रे त्यांनी आम्हाला दाखवली. त्यांचा सुदर्शन रंगमंच येथील कार्यक्रमही सुंदर झाला. त्यांच्या अमीरबाई कर्नाटकी पुस्तकाच्या संशोधनाच्या निमित्ताने अनेकांशी त्यांचा संपर्क झाला आहे, तसेच त्यांनी बरीच माहिती, आणि गाणी, जुनी छायाचित्रे त्यांनी गोळा केली होती. त्याचा वापर करून त्यांनी अतिशय खुबीने कार्यक्रम रंगवला.

मराठी भाषांतर आणि प्रकाशनाच्या निमित्ताने

त्यांची दुसरी भेट अमीरबाई पुस्तकाच्या मराठी भाषांतराच्या प्रकाशनाच्या निमित्ताने झाली. त्याधीही, त्यांच्या बरोबर, १-२ वर्षे सततचा फोन, ईमेल वर संपर्क होताच. भाषांतर अचूक आणि त्यांनी सुचवलेले पर्याय यावरून त्यांचा व्यासंग, आणि आपले काम परफेक्ट करण्याचा त्यांचा असलेला कायमचा प्रयत्न दिसून आला. तसेच अमीरबाई आणि गोहरबाई यांचे आयुष्य आणि त्यांनी केलेला संघर्ष जगासमोर आणण्यासाठीची त्यांची मनापासूनची तळमळ मला कायम दिसून आली. मराठी आवृत्तीसाठी त्यानीच मला FTII कडे असलेले अमीरबाई यांचे दुर्मिळ आणि सुंदर छायाचित्र घेण्यास सुचवले. डिसेंबर २०१४ मध्ये प्रकाशन होते मुंबईस. ते पुण्याला आल्यानंतर आमच्याबरोबर मुंबईस प्रकाशन सोहळा पाहण्यास आले. त्यांना अतिशय उत्सुकता होती, की मराठी साहित्य विश्वात, कसे काय कार्यक्रम होतात, आणि ते प्रत्यक्ष पाहण्याची. तो सोहळा त्यांना खूप भावला आणि समाधान व्यक्त केले. त्याचे दुसरे असे कारण होते की ज्या अमीरबाईने मुंबई हे आपले कार्यक्षेत्र निवडले होते, तेथे त्याच्यावरच्या पुस्तकाचा प्रकाशन होत होता.

तर असे हे रहमत तरीकेरी. कन्नडमधील पुरोगामीवृत्तीचे संस्कृती आणि साहित्य समीक्षक, साहित्य संशोधक, लेखक. त्यांची इतरही पुस्तके मराठीत आली पाहिजेत, आणि मराठी जगताला त्यांच्या कार्याचा आणखीन परिचय व्हायला हवा.

Vivek Sawant: Pioneer of computer literacy for masses

It is sometime amazing to realize and know how some unassuming personalities you were aware of, making their mark in the society. You are forced to visualize the way you have known them and to trace their association with you; also their journey. Same thing happened to me recently when someone was interviewing Vivek Sawant on the radio.

I was in last year of college where I was studying computer science. We had one of the elective subjects which was related to computer hardware. I had opted for that and Vivek Sawant was our teacher for that. I still distinctly remember, we reaching out the college very early, for his lectures. He preferred early morning sessions. I along with my friends would hang around at the main gate of the college, waiting for him to arrive. We would seem him enter on his two wheeler and walk to towards classroom. Tall, skinny, with his full sleeved shirt tucked out, trouser with bell-bottom style drop, simple and serious face, almost looked like the man in hurry. He, of course, was good and passionate teacher, as I remember, with ability to explain points by simplifying. After few months, the sessions ended, and I never saw him again. But I had kept hearing/reading about his achievements in computer literacy in Maharashtra.

It was revealing to know many facets of his personality when I listened the interview with much interest. The interview was in two parts. First part focused on his upbringing, and C-DAC days. Later part was on his involvement in MKCL for which he more known. When I heard about his background, I came to know the reason behind his simplicity and humble personality. He belonged to family of freedom-fighter father who was Sanskrit expert, a dedicated and committed teacher as well. He got dose of his values from the family on commitment towards society upliftment. It naturally influenced him and took the teaching profession after his education.

He was teaching in Fergusson College in Pune on the subjects such as Physics and Electronics. In 1988-89, he was involved in C-DAC activities when it was lead by Dr Vijay Bhatkar, for government of India, as India wanted to get into super computing space. This is the time he was visiting faculty for us when I was college. He and Bhatkar played pioneering role in C-DAC by forming a team of engineers and architecting and building super computer and related software and tools. Few years later, he was pulled into computer education field by forming and head education arm of C-DAC called ACTS. Today, C-DAC’s ACTS is known for its quality education in advanced computer science areas.

Almost a decade later, as computerization was happening on large scale all over in India, government was also going towards e-governance, the government of Maharashtra felt the need spreading computer literacy to masses, so that benefits of e-governance can reach to society in faster manner. He, once again, was summoned for this job. Vivek Sawant’s value based upbringing came handy here as it had imbibed social angle to his personality. He made full use of that and came up with various innovative ways of making MKCL work by partnering with small and solo interpreters to reach vast population all over Maharashtra, and also by coming up with eLearning delivery framework, to reduce the cost as well. As he said(and I found later on MKCL website), his six tenets for MKCL were: Bigger, Better, Faster, Cheaper, Wider, Deeper. This is explained as:

  • to a very large population with various diversities : Bigger
  • with high quality of relevance and applicability in life and work : Better
  • at an affordable cost : Cheaper
  • within a shortest possible time : Faster
  • with a wide accessibility from metros to villages : Wider
  • in a mass-personalized manner : Deeper personal experience

For over last 15 years, the kind of response, success and spread of MKCL has managed to achieve, it is no doubt, is a success story and firm belief of Vivek Sawant in knowledge based and value based education system to fight various problems in the society, made it possible.

It was indeed motivating to understand his social focus and using technology to change the society and empower them. At the end of the interview, he quoted one Sanskrit verse which explained meaning Bharat(Sanskrit name for India). The meaning goes as the society or country which is striving to go after knowledge. I think he is truly living that verse by his deeds.

Update: Today, Sept 5, is Teacher’s Day in India. I wrote this blog on Aug 28. Retrospectively, if I look at it, this article is my tribute to teachers.

AWS Enterprise Summit in Pune

AWS as a cloud provider has grown enormously last few years. My interest has grown in it off late, since at Sungard AS, where I work, we build various solutions and services on AWS catering enterprise customers. This was the first enterprise summit by AWS in Pune. I was not quite excited when I looked at their agenda for the summit, except one or two sessions which looked closer. But nonetheless, I registered for it and this blog is quick report of what I saw there.

The conference was in Le Meridian hotel in Pune today(June 25, 2015). I decided to take public transport(our beloved PMPML bus service in Pune) instead of driving down. I have been sick and tired of driving down to work in messy traffic everyday. Traveling via public transport was not all that great experience. I don’t want to go on rambling about it here(but interested and curious ones can look at it here). I reached the venue on time, got myself through the formalities. The setting was nice inside. I soon found myself on the demo booths setup by conference sponsors(which among few vendors included a Try and Ask booth, AWS Startup Ecosystem promotion booth)

Amidst the full house in the main hall(close to 350 people rubbing their shoulders :-)), the keynote began with AWS India head Bikram Singh with participation from BMC Software, Tata Motors and Sokrati.  Bikram went over history, and threw numbers depicting AWS size and stressed how cloud is new normal and how cloud has crossed chasm by going beyond Gartner’s technology hyper cycle. BMC’s Suhas Kelkar talked about BMC’s AWS offerings for cloud life-cycle management(CLM), while Tata Motors CIO talked about their foray into cloud using AWS, and how are they reaping benefits on innovation without having a dead-weight(in terms on-premise infra), and Sokrati(which represented startup on AWS) spoke about how they are exploiting various analytics services from AWS.

After which there was a talk by Intel which happened to be platinum partner of the event. But his talk did not bring any relevant information and was not crisp. The morning session ended to with panel discussion which wasn’t impressive as well.

Post lunch where break-out sessions were planned in two parallel tracks. The original agenda included: Hybrid Infrastructure Integration, Architecting for Greater Security, Building Mobile Apps on AWS, HPC/Big Data on AWS, DR of on-premises IT infrastructure with AWS, DevOps – Transforming Software Development, Digital Media & Entertainment Workloads on AWS and Microsoft/SAP Workloads on AWS. We found break-out sessions were looking very different.

Anyways, I managed to attend three of those break-out sessions. The first one was on Big Data on AWS. This session went over rising need of big data applications, how it is all around us and how AWS is ready with battle-hardened technologies for the same in terms of Redshift and EMR. The second one was on Microsoft/SAP workloads on AWS, which went over support in AWS and key architectural considerations. The third one was on hybrid environment where in on-premises infra exists with cloud infra. It went over the support and considerations for setting up such environment with help of AWS. These sessions were not deep enough and did not go beyond standard information available on AWS websites, and left me wanted for deeper insights.

All in all, the summit was not quite a great experience for me at least. I kept wondering myself as to what was my takeaway from the summit while I was riding the bus back to home.

A ride in PMPML bus in Pune

I live in Pune and drive 25 km one way everyday to work. Like many of us, I am sick and tired of it due to bad roads, heavy traffic. Talk of getting BRT, metro in Pune seems to be happening forever. My car-pooling options have vanished. Today, I had a conference to attend(see more on it here). I thought of taking a break from driving, and use public transport.

The morning was perfect. It had rained all night and weather was perfect. I ventured out with high hopes of pleasant trip to the conference venue. I reached the PMPML bus stop with anticipation, after a 10 minute walk from home, closely avoiding water splash caused by passing by bikers couple of times. Within few seconds of halt at the stop, I noticed a bus approaching, and not to my surprise, it decided to give me(and few others at the stop) a miss and frisked away. Few minutes later, same thing happened. On the third attempt and after another 10 minute wait, finally was able to grab the bus.

Things went smooth from here on. I was able to get a seat, bus conductor was able to return me correct change without looks and complaints. There was not much traffic on the road as it was early morning. The bus was cruising at high speed. Suddenly, myself and others sitting on the last row of the bus, got a mega bump as bus went over a hump without slowing down. All of us were in mid-air position for few seconds before landing with a bang back to our seats. There was not any other incident after that and I alighted at a bus stop near to my destination.

The 10 minute walk from thereon to the venue was mixed bag. I don’t understand why it so hard to build minimum acceptable walk-way or footpath where pedestrians can walk comfortably. I had to walk very carefully, avoiding potholes and dirt on the way. I noticed a dead frog on the way, not sure who it got itself dead there, but must have come under a vehicle. I also noticed traces of evil forces on the way in one corner where bunch of lemons were kept with needles pierced in them. This must have been an act of those, earlier night, who believe in black magic.

I entered the conference venue with my mood dipped down and mind filled with sour feelings due to all that I experienced during my ride. Since childhood, I have traveled by bus and local trains. Bus conditions, service, road conditions have certainly improved, no doubt about it, but lot is left to be achieved. PMPML also has a website and also has a mobile app to plan your journey. I did not use it today, but plan to do it next time when I ride it again.

PS: Update on July 5, 2015: I heard that PMPML organized a commuters’ grievances meeting for resolving them at their office. Not sure how effective it was, but I wonder if they can do this online also, say on social media. That would be I guess more effective. They do have way where commuters can send emails with their complaints.