Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A parenting blog

Going through this parenting blog I thought of Ramkumar, Pravin,Deepak, Saravanan, Rajesh,  Sairam, and of several other Mantri residents  I haven't met. So decided to post a brief note here.
Amelio, a service sector company, is focused on running child daycare centres on campuses of companies for the benefit of young working mothers on their staff. The childcare people are also into running playschools. I learnt about Amelio through a leaflet handed out along with my morning newspaper the other day. The leaflet was about a playschool they have started at Hiranandani's.
What I found, of wider interest, in Amelio, was their blog pertaining to parenting. It talks of  communicating with your child,  siblings rivalry, developing self-confidence in your child, and potty training.
Their post on potty training gives a pretext to plug in my take (a grandpa's) on getting a child to give up diapers.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Waste disposal, a strategy

Our post - The garbage chute debate - has evoked a comment from Daily Dump,a Bangalore-based company that helps manage household waste, converting it into compost. We are not sure if Mantri's, who considered, and then dropped the chute idea (wisely,perhaps),have in place a waste disposal strategy.
As I see it, waste disposal threatens to become a major issue not just in Mantri Synergy, but the entire Padur panchayat area, where we see at least four other major residential communities coming up in our immediate vicinity.
It is time we, at Mantri's, thought of 1) putting in place(rather pushing PropCare into it)an effective waste management system within our complex; and 2) evolving, with co-operation of other developers and Padur Panchayat,a waste disposal model on the lines of the Mamallapuram town panchayat .
In this context, a 'B' block resident, Mr Vasudevan, who met Mr Nirmal of Exnora, says we can count on Exnora's guidance, if we approach them.
As for setting up a waste management system within Mantri Synergy, we have things to learn from Venus Colony (Alwarpet) where they have had vermicompost unit functioning for the last five years. A few of us, making plans for the past few weeks, for a weekend visit to Venus Colony, have yet to make it happen.
A Daily Dump presentation - 'challenges in waste management'- relates to a case-study made at Bangalore's Brigade Millennium Mayflower, JP Nagar. It has 220 flats, generating some 300 kg waste.
Excerpts from the presentation transcript ( Challenges in waste mgmt in apts
">see slideshow for full presentation).
BBMP does not collect garbage from apartments...Hire a BBMP-licensed contractor to carry the waste to landfills...Manage the waste within our own premises...Residents...paying a maintenance fee expect proper waste disposal management committee...High turnover rate of maids and tenants.
Dry waste segregation was introduced in BM Mayflower in Nov 2008 through the ‘Blue Drum’ campaign....Door-to-door visits to train residents...Segregation guide...Training of maids, house-keeping staff, security...Painting the blue drums activity for children and residents... Voluntary – no penalty for non-compliance.
Blue drums..Collected daily by house-keeping ...Transported to basement... Secondary segregation... Sold to recyclers... Proceeds kept for the staff.
E-waste kept separately... Collected by recyclers.. An experimental model ( for kitchen waste) – with the help of Mr Vellore Srinivasan... Composting ... In a specially-designed trolley ...On the terrace – good wind flow, sheltered from rain and direct sun.. Cattle-shed... Cattle edible food...Composting Trolley...Metal...4’ l x 3’ w x 3’ h....Capacity 500 kg.
Compost in 50-odd days... One trolley can serve 220 homes for about 10 days, after which it can be reused after about 50 days...5 such trolleys would be required... If cattle-edible items are sent to the cattle shed...2 trolleys would suffice.
Dry waste – Blue drums... E-waste – Recyclers... EPS/Thermacol – collected and disposed separately... Cattle-edible waste segregated by about 40 volunteer homes... Collected door-to-door everyday around noon ... Sent to cattle shed... Garden waste – composting trolleys.
Enforcement of rules (like segregation) by an authority is essential... Voluntary effort by residents is not realistic to expect.
Designate an area for waste management at the design stage. On the ground, basement, rooftop or combination of these, depending on the total ground area,space around the building,number of flats, height of building, etc...Highlight the waste management area, making it a ‘stand-out’ feature,like STP, generator back-up, etc.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A much-needed residents association

A friend staying in a Mantri-built apartment complex in Bangalore for the past decade has sent a mail in response my request.He shares with us his experience as resident of a Mantri apartment complex in Bangalore.
1)More often than not developers tend to sell the non-occupied parking space to owners of residential complexes and make money—that should actually come to the association concerned .
2)For this it would be prudent to form an association without delay.In normal course, the developer has to be present at the first meeting ( at least as per the Karnataka Apartment Ownership Act). In the event a reasonable number of owners have already shifted in your complex,you could start working on forming an association.
3)Once the association is formed, it could take control of the revenue that can be generated by letting out the club house or related facilities for family functions, exhibitions and the like. Otherwise, this could be done by the developer with the revenue thus generated also going to him instead of the association. In the absence of an association the developer cannot give the money generated from the club house facilities to anyone in the complex.
4)It is worthwhile,prudent as well,for the apartment owners to ask the developer to provide them with the khatas (for individual flats).These are provided by the civic authorities of the area concerned. Likewise, owners would need to get an encumberance certificate, again from the civic authorities of the area.
4)At some time in the near future,it would be worthwhile for the association to collect what is normally termed as ”Sinking Fund.” Till the time the maintenance contract runs with the developer its fine. Later, however, the association would need to raise this fund to meet emergencies — including repairs of lifts and related common facilities.
5)The amount could be collected on a quarterly/monthly or bi-monthly basis.The Annual General Body has to decide the quantum.
6) The association also needs to collect a) legal fees and b) an annual association membership fee that could range from Rs 100 and above.Legal fee could come in handy in the event flat owners have to fight a case with the developer for any inadequacies. Of course, it is up to individual complexes to take the call on the collection of legal fees.Some do it, others don’t.

We could also look into this: An FAQ on apartment owners association.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Intercom (non)system

"Internal connectivity, to various people and services inside our complex is of paramount importance. BSNL, the official telecommunication provider, has failed miserably",says Mr A Rajgopaul of H block in the CommonFloor discussion forum.
The points he makes merit wider attention, notably, of PropCare and higher Mantri Management. And they don't have access to Mantri CommonFloor forum, which is restricted only to apartment owners.
The operative part of Mr Rajgopaul's CommonFloor post is reproduced here.

None of the emergency phones inside the lifts have been installed.
Recently,I had to go down to the basement of my building at 6-00 am.I live in the 11th floor; a senior citizen with a pair of arthritic knees to boot!. Both the lifts were not working, and I could not contact any one of the services. I climbed down all the 11 floors, only to find that there was no security personnel manning the foyer. If I had got stuck inside a lift, I would not have been in a position to do anything to extricate myself.
This can happen to a child travelling alone in a lift.
Phones inside the lifts must be provided forthwith.

The so called treated potable water provided by Mantri synergy,has a TDS (total dissolved salts) content of 740.
Permissible limit is 400 and less.Ideal count should be less than 100.
The only way to get this figure is to use a RO system in every house hold. If we install such a system like like -say- Kent;, we will have to waste 6 litres of water, literally down the drain to get 1 litre of potable water. Multiply this by 700 flats and you have a clear idea of water wasted.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Waste disposal tips

Don’t pour cooking oil or grease down the drain. Grease blocks drains and sewers...
Never put grease, greasy food, or cooking oil down the drain. After soaking a greasy pan, place a paper towel over the drain basket to catch grease and food particles as you slowly pour the water down the drain. Put the paper towel in your green waste cart.
Use your green waste container for food scraps, things such as bulky vegetable peelings and stringy celery.
Never flush wipes, diapers, or sanitary products down the drain, even those labeled as “flushable.”
Source: Avoid pain in the drain...

A downpour

High-speed wind and sharp showers battered Mantri's for half hour this morning.
More photos on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A well story

Our family friend and short story writer Lakshmi Ramanan says she recently had to go round her Alwarpet neighbourhood for no less than a week before she could spot a well,the place they draw water from. Her US-based grandson Mihir,5, on a visit to India, had this school project to be done during India trip. His class teacher wanted Mihir to bring back to school a photo showing him standing beside a well.
Mrs Ramanan phoned up friends to find out if they knew anyone who knew of someone who might lead them to a well in Chennai city. It turned out to be bit of tall order, considering that her search continued for a week before they located a well. On completion of her mission Mr Ramanan said,"we got a closed well that was looking like a small wall". But then, it was an experience, which, I am sure, would provide her with material for a short story. Lakshmi Ramanan is a familiar name for readers of Mangayar Malar and some other publications.
I wish Mrs Ramanan had thought of us during her search. Mihir would have found his well right here at Mantri Synergy (see photo).
For more images of Mantri's 'Wishing Well' look up OMR Resident on Facebook.

Monday, November 21, 2011

OMR checkpoint toll: an update

The most-read blogpost by Mr Sriraj about monthly pass for car-users on OMR has now an update. They are introducing a fresh smart card for car users from December 1.
The OMR checkpoint card, valued at Rs.800 allows 60 trips a month. The new card will be available at TNRDC site office and online,from Dec.1.
Unlike the present card, which is valid only for a specified vehicle, the proposed card can used by any other vehicle as well for toll gate transit.
Details of the current toll rates can be accessed here.
Mr Sriraj's blog post relates to the local resident pass (LRP),which is relevant to residents at Mantri Synergy and other resident communities along OMR. The terms for LRP and application form can be accessed online.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Case for an aquarium at the Club house

My wife Kalyani and I read with interest the initiatives on having the plant pots painted. Color, indeed, brings a lot of positive energy to our day-to-day life.
Thinking of color and its positive impact on energy also set me thinking on one more possible initiative – setting up an aquarium in our club house.
This popular hobby has a number of benefits tagged with it. These benefits go way beyond aesthetic appeal. Even Vaastu and Fengshui advocate having an aquarium in home and office interiors. For one, it brings in water, one of the five elements of earth and creates tranquility and harmony by generating positive energy. Next it has a cooling and soothing effect.
The gentle, graceful movement of fish rinses the tension and stress. The colors and buoyancy of life in an aquarium adds spice and zest to life.
It works great in de-stressing lives of both young and the old. While the therapeutic effects on seniors are well documented,scientific studies have also established the positive impact of aquariums on the academic performance of students and their behavioral traits. As for the tiny tots, the fish captivate their fantasy and fire their imagination.
While a home aquarium would be ideal, space constraints and maintenance hassles act as a deterrent for many of us. This is why a "community aquarium" at our club-house could be a great idea to enhance the quality of life for all MS-ites!
I would not be surprised if an aquarium placed in our club-house would attract more attention than a state-of-the-art plasma TV!
Where there is a gill… there is a way…

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mantri T-shirt, an idea

Vincent D'Souza's blog post and Sunil's suggestion for a Mantri synergy slogan set us thinking, 'how about T-shirts designed by, and for Mantri's residents community'. How about it ?
My friend Mr D'Souza has invited doodlers, kolam artists and design/fashion students to design a T-shirt reflecting the spirit of Mylapore. Sunil's blog post suggests we at Mantri residents community adopt a slogan - Live the Snergy, Life in Synergy, Just(about)the Best, Be part of life in Synergy and 7 other slogans.
Sunil's slogan, along with a collage of artwork on our driveway pots, would go well on a T-shirt.
What do you say ?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Potwork by Mukherjee kids

In our earlier post we missed these delightful pieces, by the Mukherjee kids (D-1101). Vihan and Trisha picked out their pots, a little away from the main driveway.You could easily miss them, if you don't set eyes on the pots placed behind the open parking lot close to the 'Wishing Well'.
Vihan and Trisha turned up for pot-painting later in the day when the sun was on a setting mode.Maybe,in the coming days we would have other children emulating the Mukherjee kids - work on their pots, at their own pace, whenever they feel like it (see OMR Resident Facebook page for more photos).
Meanwhile,'Nityadhya', the neem planted by Aadhya and Nitya to mark the start of our Children's Day pot-painting programme are showing signs withering. We count on our children to keep a close watch on their neem in the coming days, and weeks, until the sapling takes roots.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Phone-in shopping at Mantri's store

Since our last post on the clubhouse store Jayamanagala super mart has now got a phone connection - 9566214747. They offer to home-deliver your orders. And they have started stocking vegetables, egg and bread. Couldn't find any fruits, though, on my last visit to the shop a couple of days back.
The shop in-charge Mr Mohan said they could get us most items that have a niche market, if we give them adequate notice.I asked if they stocked 'Rasiklal' supari. They don't, but they could get it for us.I get my supari packets from Adyar or Velacherry.'Pori-kadalai' is another item I wish they stocked. A small bowl of pori-kadalai goes well with evening coffee.
The shop-owner promises quality product at reasonable rates. I wish our store doesn't bill us at rates generally charged by branded retailers. They go by MRP, while there is a Rs.20 difference between MRP and wholesale prices in respect of many varieties rice, oil and pulse. I am not saying this;merely citing a shop-owner in Adyar who says this in the media.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pot-painters at work

It was a bright and sunny Sunday morning, and children at Mantri Synergy took to pot-painting on our driveway.
The row of pots waiting for artists to work them ;and this(photo below) was how they looked when the budding young painters were done for the day.
Going by their mood my sense is that the children, having bitten by the pot-painting bug, don't feel they are done with pots. Some of them moved from one pot to another with their brush and paint. Mercifully, we still have lots more pots waiting for painters.
Aadya and Nitya were the first to turn up. They helped us plant a neem sapling near the 'Wishing Well'. Planting a sapling and pot-painting was how some of us at the Mantri's wanted to celebrate Children's Day. The turnout at today's do was modest, but the children who turned up made our day with their enthusiasm and effortless way with colours.
We expect them to take this up as an outdoor activity in the coming weekends and holidays; and we count on moms to encourage their kids. They have nothing to lose other than an extra bit of Tide, Surf Excel or whatever they use for washing child clothes.
Considering that she has been a water-clour baby, and that she had not done oil ever before Aadya's use of brush and her way with colours surprised her mom.
Smrithi is apparently distracted while at work.
No, she hasn't abandoned her pot. Artist Nitya is merely away on water-break.
Praveen's house in the wood is taking shape
Artist Sahasra isn't quite finished yet with her pot.
Many more photos on pot-painting by Mantri's children have been uploaded on OMR Resident page on Facebook.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The moon at dawn

The moon seen from the 9th floor corridor of our D block apartment this morning - 6 a m, Sat., Nov.12

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our attempt: A drive-thru gallery of child art

We could do with such artwork on the row of pots along the Mantri driveway. The sample at the photo is done by three-year old Samarth.
When the children are done with these pots we would have a drive-thru gallery of children's artwork at the Mantri synergy. Propcare plans to paint the pots with a base colour (say, mellow yellow) to serve as background for the artwork to be done by Mantri's childern over the weekend.
The plan is to make a start on Sunday (Nov.13), weather permitting. This is our way of celebrating the Children Day at Mantri Synergy. Idea is to designate a pot for each child to work on. The children can paint their fancy on the pots, at their own pace. They can work on their art over a period, taking as many days as they please. I don't suppose we would run out of pots at Mantri's for children to paint anytime soon.
Children's pot painting
Sunday, Nov.13
7.45 a m - tree-planting by participant children (on the lawns around the well close to E block)
8.00 a m - pots painting
Mantri Synergy driveway.

Shopping at Mantri's

Having been away for a week, my wife and I missed out on the Monday opening of the Clubhouse stores - Shri Jayamangalam Supermart. We did our own inaugural this evening, and my wife was satisfied with what she found at the shop. The stores in-charge,Mr Mohan, said we would start getting vegetables from tomorrow.
The shop stays open from 9 a m till 9 p m, with no weekly holiday.Telephone orders would be accepted, they say, though the shop has yet to get a phone connection.
On our way back form the clubhouse stores we found the fountains in full flow.
A view of D block at dusk.
Work still undone: Ramp at the stores entrance. And the space in front, where they promise to put out a picnic table or two, is being leveled. we could do with a couple of trees - stores owner Mr R Subash could plant them to mark the opening of his shop.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nov.13 T-storms forecast

Weaterman isn't promising fair weather for us this Sunday, Nov.13, when we have planned the pot painting programme. Forecast for Chennai, Sunday, Nov.13: 'Scattered T-storms' .
This shouldn't deter us from our plans to have our children paint the pots. For the weatherman can go wrong. Besides, pot-painting can be done on any Sunday. And Mantri's own children's day would be when we have the pot-painting do.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Wanted: OMR-Airport bus service

Would appreciate if MTC considers running an airport shuttle from Kelambakkam, on the lines of the AC 16-seater coach service they have started from the airport to Anna Nagar West,and Egmore.
It is said about 50 residential communities,each with 200 to 700 apartments,are comming up along OMR on the Kelambakkam-Sholinganallur stretch.
There is scope for Airport coach service from Kelambakkam terminus routed through OMR. Taxi hire for airport drop from Mantri"s at Padur a few months back was Rs.750 by small car to Rs.1100 by bigger ones (with Rs.100 as night surcharge for trips after 10 p m). I don't know if they have raised the fare following fuel price hikes.
Incidentally,we could also do with AC bus service to Central Station from Kelambakkam.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pot painting, Nov.13

Idea is to let children use on these pots whatever they are comfortable with - crayon, water-colour or paint and brush. For the benefit of parents who may want to buy paints for their kids I asked Sahasra's mom Poornima to find out, from her neighbourhood hardware shop at Adyar, information on suitable paint that can be used on cement pots. And here is Poornima's feedback:
"We can use on cement the paint we use on wood. The shop guy, who stocked Asian Paint, says it works on concrete pot such as the one in our photo.Hardware shops have tins for painting concrete surface.
Size: Minimum available size is 50 ml. We can also get 200 or 400 ml tins.
Colours:Red,green,black, white, yellow, brown etc.
Cost : Rs.22 for 50ml tin; the 200 ml ones are Rs.60 a tin.
One-inch brush costs Rs.40; and a two-inch one, Rs.85.
Pot painting event is scheduled at Mantri Synergy for Sunday, Nov.13, at 7.45 a m. When children can be asked to plant a sapling to mark the occasion.
We don't know if PropCare would chip in, but participants would be well advised to bring their colouring materials,and mats.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Relocated play area

The children's play area, being re-located to a better and bigger spot,is coming up well,though some say, at the pace of a tortoise, symbolized in the photo. More images of children's play area uploaded in Facebook page - OMR Resident.