Monday, June 19, 2006

Cities Classified!

People, I’ve my presentation coming up tomorrow. Have been researching on the Dispute Settlement Mechanism of the WTO for five weeks now. Getting the work published in a quality journal will require a lot more effort. Let’s see how things shape up.

Delhi in May- June is not the best of places to work in. Yet, I’ve had my share of fun here. With this visit, I have now lived in most of the major cities of this country after having visited some well known places of the world. Here’s an objective assessment of these places in order of my liking.

1. Bombay…

I’ve lived in this city for around 6 months (all stays taken together).I just can’t think of settling down at any other place in India (God willing). Having said that, I must stress that I love Bombay primarily for its old downtown area. It’s archaic buildings in Anglo-Saxon architecture, the peaceful localities of central Bombay, the Regal theatre and Café Leopold in Colaba, Swaminarayan (Dadar) and Siddhivinayak (Prabhadevi) temples, the age old Irani restaurants, the Bombay High Court, those bus rides along the Arabian Sea, the nightlife, and of course it’s people are just some of the other alluring factors.

This city can both make and break men. For the common man, life is a struggle here. But its energy is contagious. It has inspired many a great careers and has nurtured a host of great men. Truly, no city in India even comes near to Bombay. It rulez. It inspires.














Victoria Terminus















The Bombay High Court















Regal














Gateway of India














Leopold

2. Muscat…

I remember Muscat for its high sophistication, scarce population, exotic locales and those high speed car rides (almost all major car companies of the world have show rooms here…cars are the only means of transport available…and everybody can afford them…that’s Muscat for you) . It’s only after coming here that I realized that the Arabian Sea is actually blue! :). The city is sparking clean too. Given the number of Indian faces one comes across (mostly mallus), it’s almost as if India shifted to a posh setting. I’ll never forget Muscat for the landing at the Seeb International Airport…as the aircraft descends and hovers above the sea, seconds before landing, the sight of the arid mountains in contrast with the dark blue sea remains unparallel.














That's a solid rock in the background, right in the middle of the sea...


3. Gold Coast…

I stayed here for a week in March, 2005. The place is known all over the world for its sublime beaches. Surfer’s Paradise and Burleigh Heads are the two prominent Surfing venues. State-of-the-art malls, extremely friendly Aussies, the Pacific Ocean, cheap eat-outs, outstanding nightlife, sea doves and the extremely economical and efficient public transportation system make it worth its name.














Isn't that serene?

4. Berne…

Although I’ve just seen the old city, the sights and sounds of this fantastic part of the world deserve a special mention. The sights of flashy trams moving through its old lanes, basking tourists at the Parliament Square, the house of Albert Einstein, those age old human settlements, and the chimes from that archaic cathedral make this place special.














Berne, basking in it's medieval glory.

5. Brisbane…

Though I didn’t see much of the city, the towering skyscrapers, the GABA Cricket Stadium, and the wonderful people at the QUT, Faculty of Law will stay in my cerebral alleys forever.



















A cutting-edge bridge over the Brisbane river...

6. Geneva…

‘Posh’ is one word I would use for describing this famous metropolitan. Lake Geneva, the University, extremely fashionable people, the WTO Headquarters and host of other International Organizations make it a charming city. French is the language spoken and prices are sky high.

How about this for a home?

7. Chandigarh…

I lived here for a month in April-May 2004 for my first ever work experience at the Chandigarh District Courts at Sector-17. This planned city had a very pleasant climate at a time when most of north India was oppressively hot. It’s highlights; the four lane roads with the latest flashy cars zooming about, the lush green public parks, the market at Sector-17, the good-looking crowd, the ever so gregarious and friendly Sardars, the peaceful localities, the spotless cleanliness, the disciplined people, the proximity to Shimla and of course, the parathas!


8. Bangalore…

I stayed here for a fortnight in November 2005. People, this place truly rocks! The malls, the pubs, the crowd, M.G. Road, M.T.R, the ISKCON temple and of course the National Law School (we stayed in its campus for a week while researching for the WTO moot), the sprawling campuses of the Indian Institute of Science and that of IIM-B make it special.














Bangalore Central...














MTR...Bisi Bella Bath (rice cooked with lots of spices) Rocks!














NLS...enlightenment at the other end!














ISKCON temple by night...

9. Calcutta…

As with any other Non Resident Bengali, the association with this place dates back to my childhood days. The best-bit; dirt-cheap high quality food at the roll walaas and the authentic Chinese restaurants, the old streets, the yellow taxis, Kalighat temple, Eden Gardens, the underground rail network, Park Street, Writer’s Building, fish markets and of course the kind hearted and emotionally charged people. Although I’ve been to the city a legion of times, I’m yet to witness a Durga Puja there.

10. Hyderabad…

This city has everything to take one for a ride. The people here know well how to enjoy life. The outskirts have some brilliant resorts which make every visit worthwhile. And of course, how can I ever forget Hyderabadi Biryani!














Authentic Hyderabadi Biryani specially prepared for me at batchmate Basava Rao's place by his cook.


11. Pune…

Pune is another city I’ve frequented many times. Two of my closest cousins grew up here which meant we visited them quite often. My uncle used to stay in the tranquil cantonment area and his house had borne with a host of other cousins. Lately, my brother shifted his base there- another factor which has kept me associated with this city. Pune has recently become one of the major higher education centers of the country, a fact that gives the city a very young, hip-hop look. The Osho Ashram ensures a constant inflow of foreigners. With such huge student population, the city does have its share of fun, frolic and quite obviously, trouble!

12. Delhi…

Delhi is beautiful, albeit extremely hot in May-June. It has some excellent shopping arcades and ravishing food joints. Buses are all dilapidated and the auto-rickshaws hardly run on meters. This political capital of the country gets a lot of media attention. While South Delhi has an opulent look, the old city is very crammed up and wears a worn out look. Delhiites dress up very well. However, there is nothing here other than the Supreme Court that inspires. It doesn’t throb like Bombay.Delhi Haat and Ansal Plaza are worth a shot. The unlimited thali food at Andhra Bhavan Canteen for Rs.5o is incomparable.



















With Arun and Rachit at India Gate...

13. Dhaka

Extremely conjested.Read the Bangladesh post

14. Chennai

I stayed here for a week in November 2005. It was a time when the entire city lied completely inundated and had virtually nothing to offer. So, it would be unfair to comment about it before giving it another shot. Do read the Chennai post


P.S.- I’m heading back home on the 24th. The law school reopens on the 3rd of July. Professional commitments would keep me occupied till the 10th of July. I don’t intend to participate in moots this year and would hopefully post pieces related to relevant social issues every fortnight from now on. I haven't done justice to the tiger paper and can sense a feeling of guilt gripping me tight. I'll make amends.

And I take my photography quite seriously. So, kindly respect my copyrights. Special thanks to Sangeetha for the Delhi picture.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

hitting u once again...i shall be your critique for the days to come...
(a)decently written
(b) good photo links
(c) your overall language has dipped...this was far more junta types
(d) i would rank this at no 3 with regard to the content...with Rang de basanti toppin all of them...
good going brother....
The graffitti watcher..

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

ya, this was done in an hour...

Old Spice said...

Would you say girls were prettiest in Chandigarh?

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

Bingo!

Anonymous said...

We buy headlines!

Sunday afternoon and I'm flipping channels when I spot this on the ticker of CNN IBN: Nobel Laureate Kroto visits Amity campus: says Amity students most exciting he has ever met.

Yeah, right. I mean sure Kroto must have visited Amity and made some pleasant remarks about the students but to see this flashed on national television under the heading "Edu News" is a bit much. And this, on a channel that says it is serious about journalism and will do 'whatever it takes.'

Of course, it's an advertisement - just like Medianet articles in Bombay Times - but surely you can't put such information out on a ticker under the heading "Edu News". Imagine a ticker ad bought by Narendra Modi or Uma Bharti. If you wouldn't book misleading "ads" issued by politicians why are educational institutes exempt? Because they should not be.


But the issue is not even how genuine Amity is. The issue is that advertisements must clearly APPEAR to be advertisements on a news ticker. Otherwise they will be mistaken for news - and that would tarnish the reputation of the channel as a whole.

And oh, the same 'news' was running on Star News as well. But then, one doesn't really have very high expectations from that channel!

Lastly, for all I know Google Adsense is going to deliver an Amity ad in the space right above this post. Such is the irony of life... But you clearly know it's an ad, right? That's all I am asking the powers that be in television to ensure.

Correction: I saw the ad again and it does say "advertisement" on the right hand corner. However "Edu News" is far more prominent on the left hand corner and this apparently is the handiwork of the advertiser and not the channel.

However, as a viewer I still feel misled. As a publisher and media owner I am the last one on the planet to suggest channels should not make money from ads. But in certain cases one does have to intervene and specify what is acceptable and what is not.

It's a classic marketing vs editorial disagreement and I've had more than a few in my own organisation and others I've worked at. Like I said, it's a question of expectation. I trust CNN IBN more than most other news channels and hence feel the need to point this out!

Lastly, education has to be treated in a manner different from other 'consumer products'. It's one thing to see an exaggerated claim from a cosmetic product (at worst you lose a hundred bucks when the cream does not make you thinner, fairer or Miss India). But an investment in education is time, money and one's future.

Of course, it's upto students and parents to do the due diligence before joining any course. But some amount of responsibility falls on the media as well because despite what a few bloggers may think, people do believe what they perceive to be 'news'.


The graffitti watcher...

Divya said...

Out of all these, i can genuinely comment only on Mumbai given that i've lived here half my life..
Beautiful city.. Not aesthetically so in all places.. But fascinating all the same..
Love almost everything about it.. The nocturnal nature, the food, the people(well most of 'em), the beaches, the independant spirit....
Sniff.. I'm gonna miss this place..:(

Divya said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sangeetha said...

I completely agree with you when it comes to Bombay...after the Delhi internship, I realised how much more sophisticated Bombay actually is! Besides, if you manage to find the right job, money would keep flowing in.
I wouldn't know which one to rate higher - Chennai or Blore. I've fallen in love with Blore for it's attitude, climate & luxurious greeny. On the other hand, Chennai is more conservative and each time I visit the place, I learn more about 'my culture'.
Delhi would come down right at the bottom of my list - its heat, peoples' arrogance, theft blah blah....I could go complaining on & on!!

To sum it up, you've got a pretty impressive blog there!

SpaceMonkey said...

Nice post bro. Liked the part about Pune. For obvious reasons of course. Looking forward to seeing you this September. Nice work on the blog. Keep it up.

Debanshu Mukherjee said...

@Sangeetha

Thanks for dropping by.

@Space Monkey

Thanks Bro!I came to know of that consulate-receipt goof up last time around. Hope things shape up nicely this time.All the best!

sneha said...

totally agree with u on mumbai!! mumbai is THE best.. i miss my mumbai soo much.. its uniqueness lies in the fact that everybody who comes to mumbai falls in love with it! mumbai changes the lives of those living in it.. agree with u on the 'make or break' part!

asheyy said...

pretty much wants me to coem to india.....:)

great pictures...

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