Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Gas supply disconnect

We had no gas supply for nearly 30 minutes this morning. For that was how long Gas Ramu took to reach Mantri's from wherever he lives. The Mumbai-based agency that is supposed to maintain 24x7 pipeline gas supply doesn't have 24-hour staff presence on Mantri site. Gas Ramu, pleading helplessness, says it takes 10 minutes for his staff to come from Padur to attend to complaints. A PropCare execute says workers aren't allowed to stay on Mantri premises.
But then, the gas maintenance staff would need a work station , with a chair, table and intercom connection, if they are to attend to residents' complaints promptly, round the clock. We can't be calling Ramu on cell every time the gas fails - morning, noon, night, and in-between times . And cell phones have a knack for going 'out-of reach' or getting 'switched-off whenever you need an urgent connect.

Sunrise over Muthukkadu

Mr Ram Kumar (E-103) who dropped in at our place early this morning was taken in by the view from our living room (D-901). Mr Kumar who lives in Qatar is on a visit to take possession of his flat did puja at his place this morning. Of the 40 plus flats , where they have done puja, 24 have been occupied till date.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Community planting

The shenbagams we planted on June 25 provided a photo opportunity for the emerging Mantri residents community. The 15 odd members representing Mantri's extended family lined up with the saplings planted to celebrate the arrival of baby Aadit in the Charkraborti family (F-904), and the return of schoolboy Srinivas (D-1202) from a 'space camp' hosted by NASA at their headquarters in Huntsvile, Alabama.

Aadit, who is less than a month old (birth - May 30), slept through the proceedings. And Srinivas who planted the other sapling would return to his boarding school in Ooty next month. By which time the shenbagams would have taken roots on Mantri soil, and assumed individual family identity. The kerbside plant near the ramp to G Block basement is Aadit, and the shenbagam standing next, is Nasa Srinivas. The plants are adopted children of the Mantri Synergy community.
Aadit's uncle Omkar Chakraborti videographed the planting ceremony. I wish he puts in a clip on YouTube. PropCare chief Mr Sivaram photographed the occasion, presumably, for Mantri's official record. I wouldn't be surprised if, at a future date, his photographs find space in a Mantri brochure on the company's 'loyalty programme'. We didn't know such a thing existed until we Ms Snehl Mantri made a mention in her e-mail. In response to a communication on community tree-planting by Mantri resident Mr Sriraj she referred his plea to Ms Priyanka who handles the Mantri loyalty programme. But then, as nothing was heard from Ms Priyanka, a few of us decided to ahead with our plan for community planting.
Here we have another shot of Aadit with grandma and Nasa Srinivas with his father Mr Sriraj, who event-managed the occasion. Though he planned for it to be an exclusive Aadit affair, I persuaded PropCare to get an extra sapling, with young Srinivas in mind. For I reckoned his achievement merited a sapling.
Which brings me to suggest 1) we designate the last Saturday of every month as community planting day, on which we celebrate achievements of children in our complex.
2)It can also be an occasion for a monthly get-together of residents over coffee. Last Saturday we had Sumi Coffee CEO Sumitha Ravi serving it with muruku at 'D' Block parking lot.
3) We would work with PropCare to mark out locations suitable for community planting.
4) Let us celebrate June 25 as Mantri Synergy Community Founding Day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

When cows crowd OMR

Our stretch of OMR, right in front of Mantri's,is taken over by an influx of cows every evening.They are,presumably,let loose by their owners. This was okay when OMR was a less travelled street and there was lot of greenary around for the cows to feed on. What they get to eat nowadays is garbage thrown around on roadside,
These cows having such a run of the road baffle on-coming traffic. An odd, unlucky one gets run over by a speeding truck.
Took this photo near the bus stop at Hindustan University. When this cow gets home the calf wouldn't have a chance to get anywhere near the cow till the dairyman had milked her dry.The cows on road stay there until dark when the herdsmen show up to drive them home.
My post for Camera Critters.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The shenbagams are here

The saplings,both shenbagam,are here. And Mr Sivaram of PropCare showed us the location where they would be planted on Saturday. Dr A P J Kalam Former president and green enthusiast, among other things, is quoted as saying, a tree reduced 14 kg of carbon-di-oxide and gave out 20 kg of oxygen. I wonder how much gas a single air-conditioner, working 6 hours, would emit. When all 700 odd flats are ready and occupied at Mantri's we can count on having at least 1500 AC units.
Young Srinivas, the schoolboy who would plant one of the saplings tomorrow, joined us on our site inspection. Mr Muthaiah of Mantri landscaping dept. said the digging and earthwork would be completed by the end of the day.
Mantri community planting
(behind 'G" Block)
Saturday, June 25
Time: 5.30 p m

House maid health insurance

The centre's announcement of health insurance for domestic workers isn't likely to help Mary who works at our flat at Mantri Synergy. First, Mary didn't know about it till I informed her; and secondly, the insurance scheme covers only registered domestic workers.
To get herself registered, Mary needs to obtain identification certificates from any two of the following - her employer, residents welfare association, a trade union or the police. Mary isn't a member of any trade union, and getting a certificate from the police has its hassles.
Of the other two certification agencies - employer and residents welfare association - Mary works part-time in three or four flats in Mantris ; and we wouldn't have a residents welfare association for another year or so.
Questions: 1) Would an ID certificate issued by PropCare be acceptable to the health insurance authorities ?
2) Would it be necessary for Mary to get a certificate from all her employers ?
3) Is there a prescribed format for employer's certification ?
PropCare or any public spiritied Mantri resident can get details from the relevant dept. in the union ministry of labour and employment. Meanwhile, PropCare can collect data from Mantri residents regarding domestic workers in their employment.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Plant & Party at Mantri Synergy

This is the corner where we plan to plant a couple of saplings this Saturday. The idea is to celebrate the birth of Adit to Smitha and Arya Chakarborti of F-904. Adit is the first child to have been born in Mantri Synergy. Planting a sapling is the way Mantri residents community would like to take note of and celebrate its first-born. When we proposed this to grandpa Chakraborti, he expressed a preference for a flowering tree. My wife suggested 'chenbagam'. And PropCare chief, Mr Sivaram offered to fetch the sapling. It is a community thing.
Mr Sriraj of D-1202 has volunteered to be a one-man organizing committee , among the 18 flat owners who have taken up residence at Mantri's till date. What's more, he has persuaded a friend Ms Sumathi Ravi to line up some coffee and muruku , to be served at Mr Sriraj's D Block parking lot. Mrs Ravi who is in retailing welcomes the opportunity to showcase her coffee and other items.
Planting a sapling to mark a family occasion makes it a community celebration; and gives us a pretext to plant trees. Every family can find many occasions on which they sponsor a sapling - child-birth, your child's first day at school, his/her participation in a project, success in a contest.
I have requested Mr Sivaram to get us another sapling, a neem, to be planted in celebration of the participation of a Mantri schoolboy at a 'Space camp' organised by NASA at their Huntsvile headquarters.
The saplings we plant would thus have a story to tell. And each would have family identity. The chenbagam and neem we plant this Saturday as aliases for as Adit and NASA Srinivas.
The planting is scheduled for Saturday, June 25, at 5.30 pm.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Talking trash, vermicomposting

Our trash have raddi (resale) value - old newspapers, bottles, plastic cans, and tins. And most residents have self-interest in sorting out reuseables and recyclables from rest of our domestic waste. What we need at Mantris is a reliable raddiwalah who can collect saleable waste from our door-front.
PropCare, which has outsourced house-keeping to MTS can talk to them about creating a business model for waste collection and disposal. The raddi dues payable to individual residents can be adjusted against the monthly bill sent to them for supply of milk, water, newspaper by MTS.
Under the present system the MTS house-keeping staff collect kitchen waste from each flat around 9 a m daily. I don't know how they dispose it.
If PropCare is amenable , I would suggest vermicomposting. This article in Green living tips gives us a sense of putting earthworms to work for converting our kitchen waste into organic manure. This can be used in our landscaped area. Surplus manure can be sold.

Welcome showers

Sharp showers on Monday evening sent residents out on a stroll rushing for cover. Seniors,women and children were out on Mantri's front lawn when it started pouring. The showers continued for 30 minutes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mantri's 'No' to garbage chute

We have it from Mr Shankar Naganathan, former VP and business head, that Mantri's chose not to go in for garbage chute . Why ? Mr Naganathan writes in Common Floor:
For the sake of Synergy community, let me share with you all on our (Mantri) thought process on the garbage chute and the subsequent decision:
1. Garbage chute was not included as part of the amenities to the buyer - as you can infer from the printed catalogs and agreements. No mention about it.
2. However, as we got into the design stage, we included Garbage chute for the first time in Mantri and provided for the ducts to handle garbage chute.
3. The civil construction for garbage chute has been completed in all blocks but subsequently the debate about its relevance started.
4. The points shared by many of our community members were known to us and they are relevant - you need to seperate the garbage as dry/wet/perishable etc.. and it is a perennial source for accumulation of insects, dirt and stink, unless used very carefully.
5. A superior design calls for a stainless steel sliding tray with water and disinfectant flush and a good collection mechanism at the bottom.
6. Since these were practically difficult and expensive and costly to maintain, the garbage chute system has been deleted from the scope of works.
7. Synergy comes with the manual garbage collection mechanism only; if the chute is to be introduced, it will be difficult at this stage if not impossible but Mantri will not agree as we have deliberated and decided against it.
8. On a later date, if residents want it, it can be re-introduced subject to residents paying a certain price for incorporating some features like auto cleaning.
Hope I am clear.
Shankar Naganathan

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The garbage chute debate

Whether or not a garbage chute in high rise buildings coming up in Chennai is a good idea has been debated in Mantri Synergy CF. House-hunting in Chennai before we settled for Mantri Synergy, my wife and I had a look at as many as nine residential projects, one of which provided for garbage chute. Isn't that 'cool', I wrote to a friend in the US. And my reference to the chute in a blog post evoked the following comments:
Mr Ramaprasad, New Jersey wrote - When we first moved to the US in 1971 we rented an apartment in Queens that had a garbage chute. I believe that garbage chute are no longer permitted. I do not know the reason. But the apartments then had serious problems with roaches and the super pointed to the chutes as the reason.
Mr M P V Shenoi, Bangalore : Perhaps the garbage chute was first provided in Vashi, Navi Mumbai in stepped blocks (Charles Correa’s) in 1973. They achieved high nuisance value. The reasons were lack of knowledge about segregation of different types – wet, dry, etc., our dependence on house maids, evacuating them at infrequent intervals, not cleaning and disinfecting the inside.
The chutes were provided near the stairs and stairwell became a place for bad smell,cockroaches and rats. the practice was discontinued.. of course the material used then was masonry. I recently saw one in a new block in Bangalore but made of stainless steel. People had similar complaints. We introduce certain facilities without giving proper training to all concerned. I was in team for preparation of master plan.
I would also like to know about Gated communities as they in my opinion are islands of affluence amidst squalor and slums alround as they neglect to provide any shelter to personnel serving these people,like subziwallha,Dhobhi,house maid, sweeper, etc.

Friday, June 17, 2011

NRI dance fest

Later this month, next week in fact (June 23-26), Chennai will host a dance festival,featuring gurus and disciples of NRI Bharatanatyam schools from across the globe.Venue - Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (June 23),R K Swamy Hall (June 24 & 25) and Mylapore Fine Arts Hall (June 26).
Maybe this time next year we could plan on an NRI dance/music fest with an OMR venue.At Mantri's we have a multi-purpose hall,and, within a year we should be having a residents association in place. And most of us at Mantri Synergy would know someone who knows of NRIs willing to participate our dance/music festival.
Narthaki publishes a calendar of events that gives us a sense of cultural happenings all around us.
We could explore possibilities for a OMR-based music fest with Vincent D'Souza of KutcheriBuzz.

Automen levy Mantri surcharge

Automen operate as a cartel when it comes to fixing fare. We paid Rs.30 for Chettinad Hospital, which is virtually across the road from Mantri Synergy on OMR. Automan who dropped us back from the hospital wanted Rs.40. I haggled the fare down to Rs.30.
Chettinad Hospital is barely 5 minutes' walk, and you get free transport into the campus from the main gate. We had to hire a three-wheeler to take my mother, aged 92 using a walker, to the dentist at Chettinad.
Autowallahs charge Rs.30 from Hindustan University auto stand to Kelambakkam. If you want them to come inside Mantri campus,it costs Rs.10 more. Before quoting the rate they ask if you need to be dropped on OMR or inside Mantri residential complex. It would cost Rs.40, from Kelambakkam, if you want to get dropped at your apartment block.
A couple of automen I have hired - Sudhakaran at 9962190790 ; Arumugam 9383194999.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A case for clubhouse ramp

My visiting sister(we call her Baby,though she is 60 plus) has the gait of a penguin,because of knee trouble and associated complications.She found the walk from bus stand (Hindustan University) to our D Block residence way too long for her comfort. Climbing steps is problem.
Baby had not seen the inside of a gym till I took her to our clubhouse gym.She liked what she say, and expressed her desire to visit the gym regularly as along as she stays with us. I am sure we would have the likes of my sister, who would take to the gym if only they can make it there without a hassle.The clubhouse has a lift, but the project architects haven't put a ramp at the entrance. Now they say a ramp would cut into the service road, which needs to be of a specified width prescribed by the fire dept. The physically disabled wanting to use the clubhouse would have to take a lift from the basement, they say.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Mantri lad visits NASA

Uppili Srinivas , who goes to school in Ooty, has recently returned from a trip to NASA, Huntsvile, Alabama. It's called Tranquility Base, says Srinivas, of the place where he spent a week attending a space camp for school students.
The trip was sponsored by his school, Good Shepherds, Ooty. Srinivas, son of Mr Sriraj of D-1202 at Mantris was among some 700 plus students at the Hunstvile camp, drawn from various parts of the world and from schools in the US. There were over 60 boys and girls from India. The idea of the space camp may well be to expose school-goers to space technology. But I suspect the camp organizers would feel good if their Huntsvile experience take the campers' schoolboy dreams to the realms of outer space.
I didn't ask Srinivas what he dreams of nowadays, but we did talk about his camping at the place from where they send astronauts out into space. He was at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, a few days before spacecraft Endeavour was to land from its final trip to the space station. Kennedy Space center is huge, says Srinivas, adding for my benfit, that it would cover the area from ECR bridge over Muthukkadu lake, extending up to the end of Chettinadu Health City.
Space camp interns, put up in bunker-beds, seven to a room, spent their days visiting various facilities at the Huntsvile. Srinivas experienced zero-gravity at the space lab and had a ride in a fighter-jet simulator. But then fun time for him was the after-lunch hours when they took the campers to Imax theatre.

No water, erratic power supply

They switched off water to Mantri flats for over three hours last evening. Later in the evening, amid a gathering of dark clouds, power supply got erratic.The lights went off/on, off and on, and off again, and on again every other minute, till 10 p m. And then, when power supply got stabilized water taps went dry again. I didn't know when the supply was restored last night.
Mantri's claim of uninterrupted water supply and 24x7 DG power back-up came under severe test. And PropCare has some explaining to do. The residents have the right to know what went wrong, and what PropCare plans to do to ensure this doesn't happen again.
1) PropCare Balaji does call individual flats to alert residents about power/water supply disruption. But he couldn't cover all apartments last evening. Anyway, it is time they thought of putting in place a public alert system - smoke signals, town-crier, and something more in keeping with Century 21.
2) Water supply gets disrupted whenever there is power failure. For Mantri's don't provide for overhead water tanks. It's old hat, they say.
3) BSNL IPTV gets switched off, even with a split-second disruption in power supply. The TV service provider, inaptly called 'MyWay, is rather short on viewer service. It takes a couple of minutes after you switch on the set for getting the TV channels on screen. And every time power goes, even it is barely for a few moments, the set-top box takes its time to bring the screen alive. The 2-minute rigmarole for the TV screen to come alive was repeated so many times, so often, last evening that I gave up watching an on-demand movie in sheer disgust.
'MyWay' is surely not my way, can't be anyone else's way to TV entertainment. With no power back-up to keep set-top box alive, there is no knowing whether you get to watch uninterrupted, prime-time news or anything else on TV. Besides, they haven't updated their 'on-demand' movie list for several weeks now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Household water audit

I didn't know that water drained out of our air-conditioners is pure. Is that drinkable, Mr Sriraj ? Even if it isn't, that water has many other uses.Mr Sriraj's post prompted me to have a fresh look at our Clubhouse AC units with an eye on conservation.
I counted 12 AC units that account for as many buckets of water,if not more.The clubhouse ACs can all be connected to a core pipe for water collection. Mr Sriraj's idea for conserving AC water ought to set us thinking about carrying out a household water consumption audit.
How about drafting a check-list of possible points of water leakage/wastage in our households.Besides, we could think of conservation by changing some of our ways. For
instance, some of us keep the sink water running while brushing teeth. Using a mug, instead of washing face in running water,can save water.
When Mantri community gets going, we can persuade school students in our complex to volunteer for household water audit on weekends or during vacation.Volunteers can run through the water audit check-list at their own flats, and also those of their neighbours, and report to PropCare any plumbing or other repair work that might be needed to check leakage.The student volunteers can also suggest steps residents can take to conserve water.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Little Drops can make a Mighty Ocean of pure water at Synergy


Our 1.5 Ton Air Conditioner turned `Varuna` producing almost 12 liters of water in its 6 hours of overnight usage. (Please see photo). Now, Please do refer to Mr GVK`s blog ( ) & note that every day during summer, we can collect :-

1400 Air Cons at Synergy x 6 hours of running (average per day) x 12 liters = 100,800 liters a day. That is nearly 10 lorry loads of water a day ! Cost per load of 10,000 liters of water is Rs.600.

Savings for our Association


Water we can produce & save : 1 Lakh liters a day

Average number of days ACs are used in a Year : 175 days

Water saved Per Annum : 175 Lakh liters of pure water

Saving Number of loads per day : 10 loads (10,000 liters lorry tanker)

Cost per load : Rs.600

Saving Costs per day for 10 loads : Rs. 6000

Saving Cost for 175 days : Rs. 6000 x 175 = Rs. 10,50,000 ( Rs.10.50 lakhs per year )

Number of apartments in Synergy : 771

Saving Per Apartment Per Annum : Rs. 1,361 per annum

Value of Saving water : Incalculable !

Satisfaction that we have done our bit to save our Environment : Immeasurable !

If we can find a solution to collect all this water that can either be used for watering our plants & trees or for our fountains (future) etc, it will be prudent to be looked into & acted upon now & pipes laid now.

I used this bucket of water to hand-wash some garments that cannot go into a washing machine. I will write to Mantri on this & see their response. In the meanwhile, please suggest anything more that can be done to save this water other than it going down the drain & eventually into the sea.

Sriraj - D 1202

Our `First Night` at Synergy - D 1202

Having moved in with men (women) & material, it took the whole day & night trying to put things in its place. The excercise was satisfying though when me & my wife hit the new sack around mid-night, I could not sleep perhaps due to change of place or worried about when I could have my newspaper delivered in the morning. We live on the 12th floor & did have a few `winged-visitors` that I always call `mobile blood banks`. Have to put up with these guests till construction debris are moved away from Block - C next to our block. I did wake up fresh to the cool air that always flows through the apartment with dust despite the bamboo curtains in our living & MBR balconies. The 5 hour sleep was good enough to start the day looking at the blue sky (Monday morning blues? ) & its grey clouds bringing hope to the trees on the ground. Talking trees, we are sure to plant one sapling this week for Adit, the first citizen of Synergy. Back to normal life. Friends, move in & make a difference. Sriraj - D 1202.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Mantri resident's plight

Mr Ram who lives in H block bears the brunt of the dust-raising monster machine. In a comment left in Mantri Synergy Common Floor portal the H Block resident says, 'we always keep our doors and windows closed as I have a 2.5 year old. This keeps us away from the balcony. I hope in a year or so that machine goes away'.
Sad to hear about the plight of the child. While we can put up with many nuisances in the hope they would go away some day, we can't afford to ignore the well-being of children. Dust nuisance can be lessened by putting up a bamboo curtain on balcony (we have done this in D-901).
It cost us Rs.9000 to put up 'bamboo chick' on both living-room and bedroom balcony. I gather my D Block neighbour on 12th floor, Mr Sriraj, knows someone who can do it at half the price. He can be reached at 9444708530. I wish PropCare picks up the tab for balcony blinds at Mr Ram place, if only as Mantri's child-friendly gesture.
Other suggestions: 1) Would appreciate if Mr Ram could monitor the time and duration when the dust-raising machine operates. After getting data for a week we, along with PropCare, can take it up with the housing project next door the question of regulating the machine's operation to a fixed time daily. So that we know when to keep our balcony doors/windows shut.
2) As Mr D Venkatesan suggests, we could take up with the next-door project management the issue of steps they need to take by way of damage control.The pollution board people who, presumably, allowed the dust-raiser on site, can be involved in discussion.
3)Faculty/students at Hindustan University environment/structural engineering dept. can be approached for guidance. Maybe they could be persuaded to take this as a case study.
4) Chettinad Hospital can be approached for a health advisory on the steps the affected residents, notably children and the ailing, could take to cope with dust in the air.
Maybe we can share our concerns with the local media. I can visualize a newspaper cartoonist doing a sketch depicting Mantri Synergy residents moving about/sitting on the balcony with air-mask fitted in their mouth - the ones worn by the traffic cops posted at road-crossings.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Dust in your living room

My next-flat owner on the 9th floor in D Block has been putting off his move to Mantri's because of the dust hassle. He finds the balcony,living-room and other parts of his flat covered with a thin layer of dust whenever he drops in to give finishing touches to his apartment.He shares a wall with Block C, which is abuzz with construction activity.
The work in progress at Mantri's A to C blocks is not the only source of dust in our living-room. Ours is a partly sea-facing flat, relatively away from the yet-to-be finished A,B and C blocks. My dust is sourced from neighbouring housing project at Mantri's backyard.
This concrete-mixing unit raises considerable dust when it is in operation; which is usually in early morning hours. The dust-raising monster machine isn't going to be put out of operation anytime soon.

Footprint in the lift

How could someone have managed to leave his footprint at such a slippery spot inside a lift ? Spotted this showpiece in D Block this morning.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sticking out

A sharp edge of the roofing material sticks out into the G Block pathway.

I Block June 9 status

We are carrying these photos in response to a request from a flat-owner who is awaiting hand-over of his apartment later this month (June). He wanted to get a sense of the status of construction of I Block that Mantri's have promised to hand over 'on or after 15th June'.

The apartment owner, now abroad, wanted to know whether they have really completed the works in I Block in all respects - interiors, exteriors, elevators etc.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Adit comes home, to Mantri's

His grandma picked up the phone when I called to enquire how Mantri Synergy's first-born was doing. The baby boy, born to Smitha and Arya Chakraborti (F-904) at Chettinad Hospital , was brought home, to Mantri Synergy a couple of days back.
A happy grandmother, inviting us home to bless the child, said they had named him Adit (which, she said, means teak). She added her husband Ardhendo, however, prefers to call his grandson Akash. The grandparents welcomed our suggestion that the Mantri's residents community should celebrate the birth of Adit by planting a sapling at our complex. A few of us who have appointed ourselves to an organizing committee are working it, and a date for planting the 'community sapling' would be announced soon, in consultation with the Chakraborti family.

Piped Gas Connection with `Gas Ramu`

After having paid Rs.12/15K towards Piped Gas connection at Synergy to Mantris, I was given a bill for Rs.800/- by Ramu, the agency retained by Mantri to get the gas going through the yellow pipes to your homes. Left with no choice but to handover a Rs.1000 bill, he gave me a receipt with no seal but had his autograph. Thinking that I would now be connected to Oman with an un-interrupted gas supply, Ramu just said `Please call me when you need the gas`. When I told him `now`, he fumed before our stoves could ! I put him down & when I insisted that I need the supply now, he said he would revert by evening. This happened on 4th June. I presume he thinks he lives in Neptune & the day has not yet dusked. The disgusting part of the whole thing is when I gave him the Rs.1000 bill, I had to insist that he pays me back Rs.200. He scratched his head & gave me back Rs.100 which had some Parachute Oil from his hair & I suppose, I should take it as he supplies oil & not gas. In the meanwhile, my stove straves for gas. Again, we are trapped with a single supplier to have our daily coffee & food. The only thing we can all do for the moment is to keep Rs.800 which is the exact amount payable for the already paid gas connection. I boil without gas. Perhaps it is the oil in the Rs 100 bill that keeps me warm/hot. Sriraj.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

BSNL router in short supply

Mantri apartments are wired for BSNL landline and broadband connection. Wireless router that comes with the modem is however not made available by BSNL at the time of installation. Mr Aashik (9790122995) who helps setting it up at your place may tell you that the router is out of stock at the moment, and he wouldn't be able to tell you when BSNL would issue the equipment. I got mine after a month, this too, after I persuaded PropCare to take up the issue with BSNL.
Till then, you need to tether your laptop with a cable connected to the modem in order to access broadband. The router is that magic box that enables your laptop to access the Net , wherever you take it - bedroom, kitchen, the loo or the balcony.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mantri's children's corner - 2

Our plea for a re-think on location of the children's play area in front of the clubhouse stores has apparently had no impact on the Mantri project team.
They have added another play unit in an area that is already pretty cramped. Besides,the play area, in its present location, appears to be coming up mainly for the benefit of children accompanying their parents to the grocery store. Which may help the store sale. If the play area has to address the needs of all children in the community, Mantri's would do well to re-locate it.
One other thing. With the children's corner taking up so much space in front of the stores, one wonders how they can fit in a ramp at the store entrance. See earlier post - Need a ramp to the store entrance.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's a long walk

If you view this picture close enough you find a gentleman carting a suitcase and lugging two shoulder bags. I happened to look out of our D block residence (9th floor) this morning, when the man struggling with his baggage caught my attention. I should have got down the lift to reach out and help this gentleman. Instead, I reached for my camera .
It is a long driveway at Mantri Synergy, and it was hot and stuffy, even at 8.45 a m. And within the next hour so you wouldn't have much shade left on the driveway.
Two things: 1) For some mid-day shade on the driveway we need to plant something more substantive than the potted plants placed for show on our driveway.
2) Couldn't we think of battery-operated golf-carts to ferry people from the main gate to, say, H or I blocks that are at the far end of the Mantri complex.
Golf cart deployed for movement of visitors and staff within Chettinad Health City.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Going green, the Akshaya way

Akshaya Homes plan to plant a tree for every flat they build this year. Their chairman Chitty Babu, conscious of the shrinking urban lung space to which property developers contribute, is quoted in The Hindu as saying they need to compensate by, what he called, creating 'green buildings'. Akshaya claims to have planted 10 trees on the public space around every housing project they develop.
As a resident of Mantri Synergy I believe we can do with a lot more trees in our complex. Eco-friendly tree cover is an issue that can't be left only to the corporate landscape planners and architects. They adopt quick-fix mode to create overnight green-cover. The trees they bring for transplanting may look good in a picture post-card. But they don't provide the shade or the cooling effect the residents look for. Landscape architects don't live in the projects they design.
I guess I speak for many Mantri residents when I say 1) much of the open space we have is all concrete and tiles; and 2) the monotonous expanse of the tiled space needs to be punctuated with holes to plant leafy trees that provide much needed shade. For instance, the tiled driveway, from the main gate to Block H, can do with a row of trees (and it is, for most part, broad enough for tree-planting).
Park benches in the front lawn can do with some shade cover from trees . Trees prescribed for by corporate landscape designer leave much to be desired when it comes to providing shade all day long for the bench-users. I suggest we contact Nizhal for guidance.
Mantri's corporate social responsibility should focus on their customers, most of whom are here to make Mantri Synergy their home. We could make a start by planting a sapling to celebrate the birth of the first child in our complex - a baby boy in the Chakaraborti family at F 904.
May I suggest: 1) We mark out spaces in Mantri Synergy for 'community tree-planting'. The space is to be used to plant saplings to celebrate special occasions in our residential community. PropCare could survey the complex and identify tree planting space, in consultation with resident representatives.
2) Let us designate a day every month (say, the first Sunday of the month) for community tree-planting. On this day we plant saplings to celebrate special family event/occasions that happened the previous month in the Mantri Synergy residents community. We plant saplings in celebration of a wedding and birth anniversary, success in exams, career placements and promotions . Given the will to plant trees, we can invent umpteen reasons for doing it. At our previous residence in Mysore my wife and I planted a sapling on Ugadi Day a couple of years back (to mark our grandson joining play-school in California).
Bottomline is Mantri Synergy, when all its 700 plus apartments get occupied, would have twice as many air-conditioners, adding to the green-house effect. Property developer and the residents alike must own up their responsibility ; and take action, by way of compensatory tree planting for having put in place 1,500 plus air-conditioners.

Eco-friendly campus

Those who take a walk along Mantri's wind-swept driveway, as I do, can't miss this mango tree on the other side of the compound wall that we share with Hindustan University. In refreshing contrast to Mantri's landscaping - acres of tiled space with token patches of green - the university campus is eco-friendly with dense tree-cover.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A cow for the puja

We ran into them early this morning at the E Block parking lot - a cow and her calf. They were brought from nearby Padur for grahapravesam, at a Floor 6 flat in Mantri Synergy. The house-owners had to come down to do the honours for the sacred cow and her calf. For cows don't climb stairs or take a lift.
The cow for the ceremony was arranged by 'Pumpkin' Ranganathan, who said there was puja at as many as five flats this morning. Asked how much he charged,Mr Ranganathan's stock reponse was, 'give whatever pleases you'. But then what you choose to give doesn't invariably 'please' him. Pressed for a specific figure Mr Ranganathan came up with Rs.2,000, which he surely knew he wouldn't get. The eventual price you settle for depends on your propensity to bargain.
Mr Ranganathan can be reached at 9092725791


This is the yahoo user name adopted by a Mantri Synergy resident who sent me an e-mail yesterday. Doesn't it prompt you to invite yourself to his H block flat for some soodana idly ?

Swimpool getting a clean-up

Swimpool at the clubhouse, Mantri Synergy

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wanted: Flat for rent

MrJ R Soni, looking for an apartment on rent, dropped in at our place, to ask if we knew of someone who wants to rent out his/her apartment. Mantri's PropCare, he says, has not been much of help, though he had registered his name with them over a month back.
Mr Soni,who has booked a flat in Block C, doesn't expect to get possession before early September. Till then he would like to rent an apartment, two bedroom, in any block that has already been handed over by the developers. Block I is expected to be handed over to owners later this month (June).
Mr Soni's contact number: 8939478156

Mantri's children's corner

Children's play area that is getting ready close to the Clubhouse store is, frankly, bit of a disappointment. It doesn't fit in with the location I had in mind. I would have thought the play area for children (who need supervision) should ideally be located in a prime space - the front lawn, which has benches for elders and a security cabin within hailing distance.
In its current location the play area appears litle more than an adjunct to the super mart. Branded retail chains and reputed fast-food joints such as Mcdonalds factor in children's play area within their premises as a promotional feature.

Shades of sunrise

Thought I would share these shots, taken by an amateur from his 9th floor sea-facing flat in Mantri Synergy.