Month: August 2019

A trip to B.R. Hills (Part 1)

There was a very long weekend here in Karnataka recently. And we made some last minute plans to head out of town for a couple of days. Last minute research showed cars available on Zoomcar and rooms available at a place called B.R. Hills, about 150 kilometres from Bangalore. We made the bookings on Thursday evening and early Friday morning saw us headed out in a South Westerly direction from Bangalore.

We took the Kanakapura Road out of town and our first halt was for breakfast. While the parallel Mysore Road has a plethora of decent food joints immediately outside Bangalore city limits, there are hardly any on the road that we were on. So we halted at pretty much the only decent option – MTR, opposite the Art of Living Ashram.

The quality of food was excellent, though a tad expensive. The average quality of the restrooms were a bit of a disappointment, though. Nevertheless, fortified by food and coffee, we were on our way to our first halt – Barachukki waterfalls at Shivanasamudram.

The road was delightfully empty of traffic. So even though road widening works are on at full swing, we still made decent progress and reached our destination at around 11 am.

We were greeted by the magnificent sights of the River Cauvery splashing its way across multiple falls spread easily over 100 metres in width. The infrastructure provided by the authorities at the place were impressive – plenty of parking spaces, toilets, a viewing tower as well as steps and landing areas to watch the falls from a relatively closer distance.

After enjoying the stupendous views and a snack of fruits from a roadside vendor there, we continued on our journey to B.R. Hills (to be continued in Part 2).

A few photos of the waterfalls:

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Revisiting the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

I did my Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad, way back in the late 1990s!

While I have gone back a couple of times, the last one was well over a decade back, and lots of things have changed at the institute. For one, they now have a large, ‘new’ campus that I had never visited before and was quite curious to check out.

I started my visit at the old campus. The first thing that struck me was how the city of Ahmedabad had grown in just the past 10 years. Even when I last visited the campus, it was on the outskirts of the city. A dusty road passed through the main gate, with tea stalls on the side, and barely any traffic on it. Now, the institute can be considered to be well within the city limits. The tea stall has gone and the dusty road has been replaced by a busy thoroughfare with a flyover just in front of the main gate.

Inside though, the place looked exactly the same. The buildings and lawns were just as well maintained. However, what really stuck me was the complete absence of any kind of atmosphere. I am pretty sure I visited during term, but I could hardly see any souls around. It almost felt like I was in a museum, albeit surrounded by structures that still retained the power to awe and inspire.

Louis Khan Plaza
Louis Khan Plaza or LKP
Student housing - old campus
Student housing (Dorms) – old campus
Student housing - old campus 2
Dorms 16 – 18

I then made my way to the ‘new’campus, crossing the busy road that separates the two campuses through a subway. The history of the institute and its famous architecture has been excellently told through a series of posters along the walk. As soon as I climbed the steps up to the new campus, I felt like I was in a different place altogether.

The architectural style of the new campus is quite different to the old, with concrete replacing bricks as the primary construction material. However, the architects have retained quite a few nods to the original style, with liberal use of red bricks, as well as in the overall layout of the various buildings.

Surprisingly, for a modern campus, there were very few maps around. So I pretty much had to walk around and guess what purpose the different buildings served. There was no single dominating structure like in the old campus. And there did not also seem to be any obvious central hub, unless I missed it altogether. What it did have, though, was the feel of a world-class, modern academy of learning. The last time I felt the same was at the campus of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), Sydney.

I would have loved to spend some more time at the campus, maybe interact with a few of the students, etc., but I was running out of time. I did make a note to revisit the place with my family. Until that time…

IIM A - new campus
New campus
Student housing - new campus
Student housing – new campus
Classrooms - new campus
Classrooms – new campus

A trip to Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad is the commercial capital and largest city of the westernmost state of India, Gujarat. It is where I did my Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management, at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.

I was invited to teach a few sessions in Display Advertising at another eminent institute located in the city – MICA. Though I had been to the city a few times, this was the first time that I was actually flying in to the city. A few photos of the airport below.

The MICA campus is located on the South Western outskirts of the city at a place called Shela. I had to take the Ring Road to get there – a road that did not exist when I was a student in Ahmedabad. It was interesting to observe how large the city had grown spatially. There were also numerous apartment complexes along the road, though many did not seem occupied.

The campus itself had a lot of similarities with IIM. Low brick structures set amidst well maintained lawns and surrounded by lush greenery lent it a serene ambience, conducive to the pursuit of knowledge. The lush greenery also meant that it had a rich bird-life – in fact, after a while, the loud, harsh calls of the numerous peahens within the campus went from ‘nice’ to ‘mildly irritating’.

The classes itself were interesting. It was good to see the interest in the course with well over 130 students participating. Hopefully, they would have learnt a few things from the sessions.