Saturday, December 31, 2011

Got your dinner coupons ?

I don't suppose we can blame it on weather, if we are not able to lay out dinner tables by the poolside at Mantri's clubhouse for the New Year party. Weather forecast for Sunday in Chennai rates the chances of rain at 50/50. I understand event organizers are planning on games for kids at the party hall, and thereafter, buffet by the poolside.They would do well to check out provisions for lighting ; and ensure all light points on the poolside are in working order.
Catering is by Shawarma Zone, a Padur restaurant with focus on home delivery. It is a relatively new eating house designed to serve the needs of working couples, many of whom tend to shutdown their kitchen on weekends. Incidentally, the owner of Shawarma is a Mantri resident.
Those who might need extra coupons or have any questions regarding menu or other arrangements for Mantri's New Year evening can contact:
Mr Ujjal Mukherjee (E-803) - 9840119444;
Mr Ramkumar(H-205) - 9962522868;
Mr Jagadish (H-105) - 9176665661.

Our in-house concert musician

Among those who moved in at Mantri Synergy recently is Mr Kasi Viswanthan (C-804), a carnatic musician and veteran of over 500 concerts. Proficient in music Mr Viswanthan is a lawyer by profession.Law and music made strange chemistry,if at all,I thought. Not so, counters Mr Viswanathan who has struck a synergy between legal practice and his passion for music. His concert singing opened for him many doors that helped his career in law, particularly, in early stages in life. Mr Viswanathan, mentored by Kalakkad Narayana Iyer gave his first concert at the age of nine. Now, at 72, he is still up and singing .
Kasi Viswanathan has an hour long concert (3-4 p m) scheduled for New Year Day (tomorrow) at Vishranti Bhavan, a home for the aged and destitute women at Palavakkam on ECR. Music lovers at Mantri's are welcome, says Mr Viswanathan. He will be accompanied on violin by Hariharan, and on mridangam, by Kalakkad Sreenivasan.
I wish this time next year we organize Mr Viswanthan's concert at Mantri's, at which elderly and destitute inmates at the ashram can be our guests, for lunch and concert music at the clubhouse on New Year Day,2013.
Mantri apartment owners association can make this happen.Mr Viswanthan loaned me an audio disc containing a selection from his renderings. For a nit-wit in carnatic music, such as yours truly, my favorite numbers in the disc included Santhi Nilava Vendum and Parukkle Nalla Nadu. If Mantri residents association were to set up a video library at the clubhouse, Mr Viswanathan can be persuaded to gift this and some other discs as well.
There are residents who would like their children to learn music. Mr Viswanathan says he would be happy to teach. We could also do with volunteers who can initiate Mantri's children in Hindustani music, Tagore sangeet, bhajans and ghazal (my favourite).
Related posts:
Talking music on morning walk
For your attention, Mr T M Krishna
Concerts online: Sangeethapriya
A date with T N Krishnan

Friday, December 30, 2011

Calm after the storm

On a clear day we can see Siruseri IT complex from our 9th floor bedroom balcony at Mantri's.Today's weather was far from clear; in fact we had a turbulent night with howling winds and rain throughout Thursday, with cyclone Thane moving in from the high seas, threatening Chennai. The storm eventually hit land at Cuddalore early this morning. I took this photo around 4.30, Friday afternoon when the beastly wind was gone, and we could step out into our bedroom balcony, though it was wet and misty outside.

Parents involvement in schools

A group of about 30 parents started spending nearly two hours every Thursday night at a PTA School Smarts Parent Academy...The program focuses on teaching parents how to be involved in their children's schooling, something consistently found to be one of the most important factors in a child's academic success regardless of family income or background.
When parents are so involved, they stay on top of their child's education....pick up new skills, get to understand school functioning.

This is from an article relating to elementary schools in the US. Their experiment covered schools where parents of children come from varied economic background.
At Mantri's we could create a parents' group to engage with schools and teachers of their children. With available web networking technology , such as class blogs, we could tailor our own programme to promote parents involvement with schools of their children. I know of a few Mantri residents who, I believe, have the kind of resources and inclination that would help us mobilise Mantri residents to take forward the idea of parents involvement in schools such as Gateway International and Padma Seshadri on OMR.
Would want to mention in this regard Mr Atul Joshi (D block), who wants to initiate in school teaching of Vedic maths; and Mrs Revathi (E block) who would be happy to teach the subject to interested students. And then we have Ms Latha (D block) who can give us her perspective as teacher at a school on OMR.

NOC for the party

For organizing or hosting a New Year party you need to get No Objection Certificate (NOC). If you are organizing party in your apartment, you need to get NOC from your landlord or neighbors in your apartment and from apartment owners association. If apartment owners association is conducting or hosting the New Year party, they will have to get NOC from its members and residents in apartment.
Source: CommonFloor

A Wet and Windy night

After a wet,and particularly windy, night we woke up to this view, from our D block corridor on the 9th floor. A branch of tree from adjacent compound blocked Mantri's driveway. A wind-swept drizzle prevented me from stirring out and about Mantri Synergy to get a picture of other damage done by rain and howling wind through Thursday night.
This photo relates to 7.30 a m, Friday. And the dreaded storm was yet to hit the coast.
Look up Facebook for some more photos.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lift breakdown: poser to PropCare

1. When are you going to install the intercoms in the lifts?
2. When non-sleeping, non-wandering, non-songs listening security guards are going to be posted in EACH BLOCK SEPARATELY on duty?
3. When are you going to hire an on-site lift technician EXCLUSIVELY for Mantri's rather than sharing one person with a number of other complexes?

These Qs were posed in an e-mail from Mr Ramkumar (H block) following yet another incident in which a lift in motion came to abrupt halt, mid-floor, with someone stuck inside. The man was on way to the airport.
Mr Ramkumar refers to an incident that happened at 6 a m. It is usually around this time that power supply goes off, almost daily. We have had our lift 'misbehaving' at other times as well, some times late at night.
The H-block resident refers to (6.00-6.30 a m) a timeline when there is noticeable slackening of security arrangement.This has to do,I guess, with a shift-change. The last time we raised this matter with PropCare we were told:
1) Security person will be in place near the lift in every block; and he would be instructed to check out, as a matter of routine, if anyone is stuck in the lift whenever there is a power shutdown.(As I typed this post, around 8 15 this morning, we had power supply on off-on mode frequently - went off-on some 5 or 6 times within as many minutes).
2)Internal phone would be in place in all lifts within a couple of weeks (this was a week back, I guess).
3)The intercom speaker connecting the lift with the security desk at the lobby of each block remains very much a work in progress.

Playroom ideas

I don't know if you have come across the website -The Daily Buzz - It gives scores of ideas that we can use in our daily life. A FB friend Lavanya drew my attention to this web page that claims to have 25 clever ideas to make life easier. Some of them do,I must admit.
And then there is this '15 inspiring playrooms' that ought to interest Ramkumar, Atul Joshi, Pande, Deepak, Krishna, Saravanan, Ujjal, Sairam and several other young parents in our Mantri complex.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Year 'fun & dine' party

We have a 'Fun Club' at Mantri's; and they have lined up New Year 'fun & dine' party this Sunday.
Welcome drinks: 7.00 p m
Games for kids: 7.15
Dinner : 8.00 p m

The children's games will be held at the Clubhouse party hall. Event organisers are counting on fair weather, so that we can have a poolside dinner. The Sunday party, first such event at Mantri's, is contributory.
Residents can contact their block representatives for event coupons. Non-resident apartment owners, and others, from communities such as Akshaya, Rosedale, Victoria Towers etc. in our OMR neighbourhood are welcome to join the party. They could call Mr Balaji/Mr Satish at PropCare office - 29856000 - for coupons. They cost Rs.250 per adult; and Rs.100 per child (below 10).
The 'fun & dine' party is an initiative by a three-member Mantri residents committee. Congrats, I believe, would be in order. And those who wish to do so should please call: Mr Ujjal Mukherjee (E-803) - 9840119444; Mr Ramkumar(H-205) - 9962522868 ; and Mr Jagadish (H-105) - 9176665661. You could also call them for coupons.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Let's put it on YouTube

We didn't cover ourselves with glory at a meeting of Mantri apartment owners on Christmas Day. Shouts,counter-shouting, and a penchant for over-staying their welcome, on the part of those who grabbed the floor characterized much of the proceedings. It is nobody's case that the voice of dissent should go unheard. What we witnessed on Sunday was nothing short of a highjack of the proceedings, reducing the organising committee to be mute spectators.
At one stage we heard someone from the back singing out, 'we are not in parliament'. This brought us all to our senses, brought down tempers,and generally lowered the decibel level in the hall. If I had iPhone, I would not have been able to resist the temptation to video the proceedings for upload in YouTube.
Someone ought to do this the next time. Hopefullly, this would have a moderating effect on the way we conduct our business. Maybe no other residents association has done this - YouTube proceedings.Can anyone come up with a reason why we shouldn't give it a shot at Mantri's ? To ensure orderly proceedings, and in the interest of transparency. Non-resident apartment owners might welcome such move;it would enable them to keep track of developments at Mantri Synergy meetings.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa at Mantri's

At Mantri's we do things somewhat differently. Not for us, the portly old man with bulbous nose and a pot belly. Santa, for us at Mantri's, doesn't spring down on us from North Pole on flying reindeer. Nor does he park himself on a rocking chair near a Christmas tree. Our Santa comes down the E block elevator from his 8th floor abode.
We, on D block 9th floor, were alerted of Santa's arrival by the cheers of the children assembled at the central park. He bounced about dancing with children,ringing a puja bell, and raising hungama in the joint. The Mantri's Santa, far from being an oldie, turned out to be an young man, athletic built with no belly to speak of, even after stuffing in a pillow under his red robe.
He reached out to all comers, handing out gifts to kids, blessing their young mothers,and seniors twice his age, out there to join in the fun.A platoon of children followed Santa wherever he went in the complex.
Santa's agenda at Mantri's included planting of a sapling under our community tree-planting programme. Children and community elders filled up with sand the planting pit, prepared by gardener Raj, and watered the plant. The tree, when fully grown, would have exotic flowers growing out of its branches and trunk.
Our Santa is multilingual, profecient in Tamil, English, Hindi. He spoke Bengali to the daughter and mother of a migrant worker at Mantri's construction site. Our effort at Mantri's is to make our community events inclusive, engaging in festivities the Mantri staff and residents alike.
The tree we planted has a name - Nagapushpam - but we prefer to call it Ujjal Santa. We the Mantri community would like to see the tree, the children, and Mr Ujjal Mukherjee grow up together to higher heights over many, many more Christmas to come.
More photos on our Facebook page.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

What it takes to work an idea

when we meet on morning walks at Mantri's 'Dada' Chakraborti (F block) asks, 'what's our idea for the day?'. This is 'dada's way of greeting,'good morning'. Mr Vasudevan (B block) joins in our deliberations. That they lead us nowhere,and that most of our ideas melt away with the Marghazhi morning mist is quite another matter. Point is, we usually have an idea to bat around, to 'talk the walk' daily morning.
Anyone who walks with us can come up with something, but it takes the Mantri community to put wheels to an idea we generate. Just how much of a task it is to get an idea working is articulated in the community website - DreamIndia.
Those who run it say it all began with an idea:
The idea of conducting English classes for the slum children occurred in October 2004.
We spoke to a bunch of children playing in the playground opposite our house.Though apprehensive in the beginning, when we got down to their level and participated in a few games (marbles, cricket etc) with them,their fear subsided. We then enquired about their background ...Their living standard was below par;so was the education they got from government schools.
We asked the children if they would like to learn English during weekends...15 children enrolled for the classes.
We had to find a place for holding classes for them...the school they went to was just a km away. We approached the teachers for permission to use the school premises on Saturdays and Sundays...their response was negative...said the principal was 'away on official trip'.
We tried a tuition center in the ground floor of our flat, but the owner flatly refused to part with his room.
We then looked at an old temple nearby, with some vacant space. Secretary of the temple trust asked us to give a written request seeking permission.. . said he would get back within a week, after discussing the matter with other members of the society...No response for a week and a half,and after a call to the secretary,we were told the temple society didn't okay the idea.
In anticipation of approval we had already bought books, a cloth blackboard,and alphabet charts.
That was when we found a piece of government land of which an elderly person was the caretaker. He heard our plea and allowed us to use the space under his care.

This was DreamIndia's experience. At Mantri's we have ideas waiting for wheels to move them:
a)Finding adequate space for community tree-planting
b)Mentoring deserving security and other workers who go to college in the day and work at Mantri's, night shift.
c) Teaching housewife and senior citizens the use of computer to widen their world view through e-mail and Google search and Internet
d) Coaching children of our domestic workers
e) Training school students in conducting energy audit and other service activities they can do during school breaks.
We meet many who trot out five reasons why a given idea can’t work before we run into someone who says, ‘Let’s give it a try’. A website that posts ideas awaiting someone for Giving It A Shot remains un-updated for the past two years.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa Dada invites Mantri kids

Place: 'Wish Well' lawns, Mantri Synergy
Date: Dec.25, Sunday
Time: 10 a m
Occasion: A date with Santa, and tree-planting.
Santa Dada of Mantri Synergy invites Aadit, Advith, Aadhya, Diya, Kavya,Santhanu, Sidharth, Smriti, Shrish, Trisha, Vihan, and all other children in the Mantri complex to join him in planting a flowering tree.
Tree-planting will be followed by distribution of gifts to children.
Event planners: Mr Ardhendu Chakraborti (F-904), Mr Sivaram of PropCare.

Talking music on morning walk

Now that Marghazhi music season is in full swing, our conversation with Mr Sampath Iyengar during morning walk at Mantri's centres on music. Mr Iyengar who shares his time between Kodambakkam and Mantri's (with his son Mr Sriraj) is a music lover who has been tracking concerts of vidhwan's and upcoming carnatic musicians for decades. He can recall notable concerts he has attended; can share interesting tidbits on music sabha programes.
Brought up in 'music sabha culture' Mr Iyengar has much to share by way of incidents and anecdotes relating to carnatic legends and music sabhas. Mr Sampath Iyengar belongs to a family that has had close connection with jambhavans of carnatic music. His father Krishnaswamy was a donor member of the Music Academy.
My wife and I run into Mr Iyengar on our morning walk, but we 'discovered' his expertise in the area of carnatic music only after his son Mr Sriraj (D-1202) organised a DVD music evening at the clubhouse TV Room. We have not had such an event since September. Now we have at Mantri's several other residents with flair for music.
Isn't is time we revived the DVD music evening at the clubhouse, at least once a month, if not every other week ? Such periodical gatherings can pave the way for forming a music appreciation club. We can draw up plans for sharing DVDs among residents, and also to set up a Video-library at Mantri clubhouse.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

For young parents

At Mantri's we have many families with young children. And rivalry among kids in a family isn't uncommon.What every parent would want to know is how she/he can bring about harmony among siblings. An article I read speaks of five steps.
1) Set ground rules. Your children need to know that you won't stand for bad language, name-calling, shouting or door-slamming. Ask them what they think the rules should be,as well as suitable consequences for breaking them. This teaches children that they're responsible for their own actions.
2) Create situations where your children could get along.The strongest sibling relationships are associated with siblings who spend meaningful time together in the company of one or both need to have fun together as a family and this can involve something as simple as a game of Snakes and Ladders.
3) There are times when you should step back and let your children nurture each other...allow space for them to have a kind of give-and-take... when a younger sibling falls over and hurts herself,ask her big sister if she can give her a cuddle and make her feel better.
4) Take a step back when your children are arguing. If someone is telling tales,explain that you do not want to listen. This will encourage your children to find their own solutions.
5) Treat your children as individuals... give them one-to-one attention that suits their interests and needs....
Source : How parents can encourage sibling harmony.

Padur to wherever

There is a website that can tell you how to get from Mantri Synergy, (or wherever you are) to wherever you want to go, by road, rail, air, and ferry (if there is an option).
I tried Padur to Pudukottai. Pat came the web-page showing the air route to Trichy, from where you take to road. The trip takes 3 hrs.33 mins; produces 0.065 tonnes CO2e per passenger(if you are environment sensitive). If you do the trip by train/car, it takes nearly eight hours, and causes 0.26 tonne carbon emission. And going the whole way by car would mean 0.067 tonne emission, driving 375.9 km for 6 hrs.15 mins.
Website: Rome2Rio
Info. sourced from Mr Natarajan's 'Natpedia'

Christmas at Mantri's: A suggestion

I don't know about others, but when I heard about Mantri apartment owners meeting scheduled for December 25, my thought was,'why, on festival day; would people come on Christmas?'. Organizers say that New year, Pongal also fall on Sundays. And if we miss this Sunday, the meeting for forming Mantri Synergy association would have to be postponed for another month.
Now that we have decided to the meet on Christmas Day, why not make the best of it. we could think of making it a Mantri family gathering. While registered apartment owners hold their business session, women, children, and non-owner residents with children can come together to make this Christmas a social occasion.
1)Mr Sivaram of PropCare could be requested to arrange for a Christmas tree to be set up in the Clubhouse - on swimming pool lawns (weather permitting), in the first floor lobby (if the business meeting is on ground-floor party hall); or at the billiards hall, or even in the creche.
2) Mantri residents,who would otherwise buy festival gifts/toys for their children, can be persuaded to leave the presents they buy at PropCare office a day in advance, so that we can gift-wrap and keep them at the clubhouse Crhistmas tree. A Santa would appear on Sunday to hand over gifts to Mantri children (we could hire a Santa,if no Mantri resident volunteers).
Other option for gifts is we can all contribute to buy in bulk three or four items (crayons, drawing books, fancy pencil box or any other suitable gift item) to be gift-wrapped and handed out to all children.
3) A picnic lunch, after Mantri's business meeting, can be arranged, with food items brought by women for a pot lunch. Mr Sampath Iyengar (Mr Sriraj's father) says at an apartment complex he visited in Bangalore, community pot-lunch is a monthly feature among residents.
Incidentally, his wife makes excellent Mysore rasam; and daughter-in-law, nice pulao. A pot-lunch would help us discover cookery talents in our midst. If each family brings whatever they make for Sunday meal at home, we can make a community pot-lunch at 'Senior Citizens' area.
4) It is the area where we plan to have a tree planted that day by Mrs Nambiar. The Nambiars are Mantri's 'first couple' (they moved in here in February last)
If the suggestion is acceptable, we would need volunteers to work on the nitty-gritty - ordering Chritmas tree, gift-wrapping presents, getting feedback on the lunch each family would like to bring. There may those willing to contribute to the pot lunch by ordering - pulao, dal-roti, pizza - in limited quantities they would order for their family.
For those who feel we don't have much time to plan, I would want them to consider that if we have adequate number of residents willing to make a social gathering out of the necessity of having to hold a business meeting; and if we could mobilize a core group of volunteers, we can make it happen.
The experience we gain on Christmas would help us make Pongal, Diwali, Baishaki, Holi or other festivals occasions for Mantri family community events.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ahead of time

We have this digital clock that runs way ahead of time. In my reckoning the radio/clock gains a minute every 15 seconds.Would anyone know whether it needs repair or simply a 'reset' to make it run on time ?
Please do leave a comment,if you have a suggestion or know of someone who can fix this digital clock.
GVK, D-901, Mantri Synergy.

Christmas ideas

There is no dearth of trees around where we all stay. Gather some fallen branches, slather them with some spray paint, and spread them around the house in vases. Hang some Christmas balls, little bells or other ornamental knick-knacks on them and you are good to go.
Do you have Christmas cards collected from over the years? Stick them together with double-sided tape or glue them to hang them as Christmas artwork.
More such ideas in this CommonFloor feature.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Rice water remedy, from 'Natpedia'

This post is sourced to my Mantri neighbour in F block, Mr G Natarajan, who shares e-messages with contacts from his SBI days. He calls them 'the gang', which is involved in cyber activity of,not hacking but, the sharing kind. Moving to Mantri Synergy after retirement from the State Bank of Inda, Mr Natarajan included me in his cyber gang. I call it 'Natpedia'(like 'Wikipedia').
A recent mail from Mr Natarajan pertained to grandma's cure for diarrhoea.Here it is:
Boil a handful of rice in a saucepan with lots of water - four large glasses.
Drink the rice water, after cooling.
The patient is advised not to take in cooked rice - it stays in the stomach - nor the broth - some of it might get into small intestine.Only rice water works; it must be taken in sufficient quantity for it to line your guts, from throat downwards, all 10 to 12 metres of it.

For research reference, read Diarrhoea and child growth
Those who wish to join Natarajan's 'gang' could e-mail -
Caution: Not all 'Natpedia' mail would interest every recipient. And on some days your Inbox could develop 'Natpedia' diarrhoea, of the verbal kind. I wish those who send group mail - I am one of them - would split their contacts into sub-groups in accordance with their area of interests. So that members in a given group are not inflicted with too much deletables.

A beach walk,at Kovalam

Mr Ardendhu Chakarborti of F block, and Mr Vasudevan (B block), regulars at our morning walk around Mantri Synergy, were missing this Sunday morning. When I met him later in the day Mr Chakraborti said they went to Kovalam, for a change.
Both of them left home 6 a m on Mr Vesudevan's two-wheeler. It was a 10-minute drive to Kovalam. "We took a walk along the beach for nearly an hour," said Mr Chakaraborti. They loved it, and plan to do the Kovalam walk every Sunday.
I guess some of us, who are morning walk regulars at Mantri's, would also like to do Sunday walks, if only we can car-pool to Kovalam and back. My wife and I are ready, but we don't have a car.

Monday, December 12, 2011

'They also serve who only stand and wait'

John Milton, who authored this line, presumably, had in mind the likes of Rajesh, Manikandan (the security guys), Sachin, Balaji (of PropCare) and many others who contributed, in their own ways, to making our Sunday meet happen. That the numerical turnout at the first ever meeting of Mantri Synergy apartment owners fell short of the legal requirement (131 against 198) does not minimize the importance of the December 11 meeting. This blogpost is devoted to those 'who only stand and wait', and thereby, 'also serve'. These are persons who set the stage for the main players in their efforts at association formation.
The man in the middle (in the photo),hanging out near the clubhouse library, handed out slices of fruitcake to all comers. In my book, Mr Ramana, an apartment owner,was furthering community spirit. Which is the purpose of forming the apartment owners association, according to Mr P K Nair who presided over the Sunday meeting.
His observation found an echo in Ms Geetha Viswanathan's remarks about the need for us to bond as a synergized Mantri family. The Mantri Synergy family is an entity that is wider in scope than the apartment owners association. For, unlike the owners association (which is required under law), the Mantri Synergy family embraces all those who contribute to our community living - owners, tenants, the security and support services staff. Viewed in this perspective, Ms Geetha Viswanathan made much sense when she expressed gratitude to Mantri's for giving us this Synergy residential project that brought us all together in this 765-apartment exercise in community living.
The lone voice in the audience that took exception to her remarks about Mantri may not appreciate the contribution PropCare people have made to facilitating the Sunday meeting at the clubhouse. We had Mr Sivaram working overtime for the past few days on the nitty-gritty. His colleague Mr Balaji turned up an hour early, this too, on a holiday, if only to 'stand and wait', and thus serve us. Mr Sachin, another PropCare person, was deputed to oversee arrangements for tree-planting that was to have taken place near the 'Wishing Well'. Mr Ezhumalai, of the maintenance staff, was on hand to ensure we didn't have problem with power supply, lift operation, at the clubhouse during our meeting.
And then we had Manikandan and Rajesh (both from security) deployed on the clubhouse detail to facilitate oldies (such as yours truly) to make it to the second-floor library hall. Rajesh and Manikandan, doing Sunday overtime, are college-going young men who do security duty at night, while attending daytime classes.
We had volunteer and apartment owner Mr Ujjal Mukherjee (of E block) who ran errands for the core group engaged in organizing the meet. Mr Mukherjee also kept an edgy participants at the library hall posted with the factors holding up the start of proceedings. Mr Ramkumar (H block),who (bless him) became father a second time only the other day, took time off from baby care at home to volunteer at the residents meeting.He was seen serving coffee to invitees to the meeting who couldn't be expected to muscle their way to the coffee counter on the second-floor corridor.
Several others at the hall promptly gave up their seats for the elderly participants, of whom there as a sizeable turnout. In a standing-room only corner of the hall I reconnected with Sunil and Santhosh. They who 'stood and waited' (giving up their seats to others) were also engaged in community-building activity. Sunil has coined some catchy slogans that are fit to be printed on customized Mantri T-shirts. Santhosh volunteered to serve the residents working committee as E block representative. A student at the adjacent Hindustan University, Santhosh can help build a positive rapport between students who are tenants and rest of the residents community.
A notable aspect of the Sunday meeting was that it engaged in community-building efforts, a small, but significant,and silent minority of residents. Included in the agenda of the meeting that couldn't be held was the ceremonial lighting of the lamp - Kuthivilakku - by the Nambiar couple. The Namibiars are the first occupants at Mantri Synergy (from February last).The problems we face at Mantri's today sound like Sunday picnic when we get to learn about the hardships the Nambiars had to endure in the early days and months of their living at Mantri Synergy.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A meeting that wasn't

A meeting convened for founding of the Mantri Synergy residents (owners) association at the Clubhouse this morning (Dec.11) had to be adjourned without transacting business for lack of quorum. Mr P K Nair (D block) who presided, announced the legal requirement for such meeting,when held the first time,was 198 members. We were 131 at today's meeting.
However, there is no such legal binding at our next meeting of apartment owners , to be convened not earlier than a week from today - 'even a turnout of two would do then'.
Mr Nair announced the constituent meeting of Mantri Synergy apartment owners would be reconvened Sunday next (Dec.17), the same time (11 a m). More photos of 'the meeting that wasn't', on Facebook, OMR Resident page.

The morning after the eclipse

On a closer look at the western sky the morning after lunar eclipse we saw a hazy moon, from our 9th floor corridor in D block. Before I could get down to the driveway for another shot the moon disappeared behind a passing cloud.
All I could capture was a lone crow sitting on a overhead cable that runs across the road in front of Mantri Synergy.
Meanwhile, the eastern horizon a rising sun puts in the shade a multi-floor residential complex coming up at Mantri's backyard.
Elsewhare on the skyline we saw a formation flight of birds setting out in search of worms towards Siruseri and beyond on OMR.
More photos on OMR Resident Facebook.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Mantri Synergy Project Status - Updated 09 Dec 2011

This is the correct status of the Mantri Synergy Project Status as of 09 December 2011

Total Number of Apartments in Synergy : 765
Number of Apartments Sold as of date : 740
Number of Apartments unsold as of date : 25
Number of Apartments handed-over : 398
Number of Apartments Occupied by Owners : 100
Number of Apartments Occupied by Tenants : 22.
(T0tal occupied = 122)
Approximate date of Completion of Major Works/Decomissioning : Major works completed, house keeping, cleaning and services related work will be completed by end of Jan’11.

V Channel at the gym

I don't suppose one can have anything against people playing MTV, V Channel, or what-have-you in the gym, if everyone is okay with it. We have two TV sets in the clubhouse gym. I am not sure why they have set up TV in the gym. It can be a distraction. Whoever has the remote tends to choose the channel.Besides,there are some who prefer their own choice of music, recorded in an MP3 device wired to ear-plugs. Admittedly, listening to music during a workout minimises monotony and keeps your mind off the drudgery. Busy executives use their time at the gym to take in an audio talk or presentation.
This morning I couldn't listen to Mehdi Hasan on my MP3, as TV at the gym was on, blaring out V Channel music. I wish I had tried to enjoy pop for a change,instead of sulking I couldn't listen to ghazals in my MP3. I ended up having a needless argument with a youngster over the need to observe certain norms in a common area used by different sorts of people. My sense is, in a common space frequented by all sorts, one should refrain from doing anything that could disturb any other person using the gym. I wanted the man with the remote to switch off TV.
His point was, if I didn't care for their music,I could have plugged in my MP3 player to listen to my choice. And as a favour to me, he offered to lower the volume on TV. In his reckoning I was not being reasonable in expecting him to switch off the TV.
Of the five persons at the gym this morning, I was, perhaps, the only one who cribbed about MTV music on TV being a distraction. All four youngsters in the hall seemed to relish TV. As my young friend handling the TV remote put it,listening to music was a group activity. And they were at the gym as a group. I was the odd man out.

Wind cheating karthikai deepam

Karthikai evening (Thursday) at Mantri Synergy on OMR was particularly windy. Which wasn't conducive to lighting the traditional earthern lamps at our doorstep on the 9th floor flat in D block.We had to make do with battery-operated lamps that our daughter-in-law bought for us.
These are, I believe, one of those small items that have have helped China build up its huge dollar reserve trading with the US.I don't know if we get the battery-operated lamp in Chennai.
Maybe, someone sees in this a business model for a small unit making wind-cheater deepam. A switching mechanism at the bottom activates the battery, which, they say, can give us 24 hours of burn-time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Service on-call

They claim to have a one-call solution to all your worries over appliances- repair, upkeep, exchange old for new, acquire and discard. Calling their toll-free number - 1800 200 2000 - I got Mr Ramakrishnan of 'customer care' on line to explain how they work. In response to his query about my requirement I listed the following:
1)Need a service engineer to fix problems that crop up in my lap top, fridge, washing machine, or whatever;
2)A buyer for an inverter I don't use; a DVD player that doesn't work; a VCD player for which I couldn't find a taker.
Mr Ramakrishnan said 1-call can handle this and more.If I wanted to buy something - a cell phone or camera - they would identify for me the shop where I get the best bargain.
I-call levy Rs.100 as service charge for a call.If I call them five times for varied services in the month, I end up paying Rs.500 to i-call. Mr Ramakrishnan suggests annual membership for Rs.1,000, which enables a customer to seek their services any number of times during the year. He mentioned that two Mantri residents have already gone in for annual membership.
Calling time: 6 a m to 9 p m; holidays - 9 a m to 6 p m.
Access OneCallIndia and go online, anytime, with your request;and they promise to call back within 24 hours.
Contact details: One Call India Concierge Services Pvt. Ltd., GF-06 A-South Block,Tidel Park #4, Rajiv Gandhi Salai, Taramani, Chennai-600 113.
Phone: 044 - 39157325 / 26;Toll free: 1800 200 2000

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

`Kutchery` Road at Synergy OMR

December in Chennai means sabha hopping listening to Carnatic music, seeing Barathanatyam dances & having some good Krishna Sweets vadas & chakkarai pongal !
Minus the tasty bites for the tongue, Starting this Saturday, you can enjoy your own music festival. Do come & enjoy the show. First show details are :-
Vocal by T V Shankaranarayanan
(Madurai Mani Iyer Bani)
The Video plays for about 45 minutes.
Venue : TV Room - Synergy Club House
Date : Saturday, 10 Dec 2011
Time : 7.30 PM onwards
All are welcome. Do watch this blog for more on `Kutchery` Road at Synergy OMR.
Thank you, Sriraj.

Mantri residents AGM

The first annual general meeting of Mantri Synergy residents is scheduled this Sunday, Dec.11, at 11 a m at the clubhouse library hall.
11.00 AM – Lighting of the Lamp;
11.10 AM - Welcome Address by Mr T P R Nair - President Elect; and introductions, of committee members;
11.30 AM - The Way Forward`, address by Mr Arnendu Chakraborthy - General Secratary Elect;
12 Noon – Appeal & Vote of Thanks by Mr R. Gopal - Treasurer Elect.
12.10 PM - National Anthem
12.15 Pm - Planting of a sapling in our Complex.

Plea to Mantri's Residents Association

An article in The Hindu speaks of 'Parampara', an outfit that distributes free tulsi saplings for planting in apartment complexes, prompts me to refer to an earlier post in this blog - 'How about tulsi, Mr James ?' - appealing to Mantri's landscape architect to consider 'tulsi' for ornamental and hedge planting in common area of our complex.
If these plants now found in Mantri's landscape have any use other than ornamental,I would like to be educated. Besides, they must have paid quite a sum to the nursery for buying these hedge plants. Parampara has been distributing tulsi saplings free as part of their ongoing drive, for planting in schools, commercial places and apartment complexes.(Details from 9840324158/ 24991516).
Tulsi is worshiped in Hindu households. And,to quote from The Hindu,'tulsi works as effective cough remedy; and because of its aromatic oil content, it's a microbicidal and anti-viral agent that wards off insects; due to its ursolic acid content, it's a powerful anti-oxidant that prevents ageing and counters the effect of stress'. It is easy to grow, doesn't require much space. And the Krishna tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum), a shrub-like, long-living variety, has maximum medicinal value.
To revert to my plea to our landscape architect, we haven't had any response from Mr Sekar James. However, someone from his office (Mr Prabhakaran) phoned me acknowledging our e-mail, and saying he would meet us for discussion. This was in mid-October. And there has since been no further communication from him or Mr James.
Now that we have a residents association in the works, our working committee could consider taking up the matter. Should they decide to take it from here, I would be happy to forward to the committee my e-mail to Mr Sekar James.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Another new-born at Mantri's

The Ramkumars in H block have now another baby, their second, a boy, born Sunday last (Nov.4), at Chettinad Hospital. The hospital is located virtually across the road from Mantri Synergy.Which came as a big help.
Mr Ramkumar said his wife developed pain when they were at Mantri Clubhouse shop on Sunday evening.She was taken to hospital, and, within the next two hours the child was born. Mother and the baby are doing fine, and they are expected to be discharged from hospital in the next day or two. Ram Kumar's baby is the second child to have been born in our residential complex. Mantri's first-born, Aadit , is getting to be six months old.
The shenbagum we planted in June to celebrate of Mantri's first-born is coming up fine at F block backyard.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Pizza, home-delivered in 40 mins.

The person taking calls at PitStop - a Chemmenchery pizza place - said we, at Mantri's, can have pizza home-delivered in 40 mins, after a phone-in order.I don't think they take online orders.
PitStop, fast-food unit of transport operator, Parveen Travels, takes calls for burgers, pizzas, fried chickens & wraps from 11 a m till 10.30 p m. The tariff card (see photo) does not cover services charges and tax. Home delivery of orders, with a bill exceeding Rs.199. Which means you need to order at least one piece of Tangy Tomato or Veggie Supreme (medium) to be entitled to home delivery. But then the pizza place has special offers of 'treat for four' for Rs.499; and 'family chicken meal' for Rs.400.
For details phone - 24501699 or 34501499. They also have two other PitStop outlets - at Panaiyur (ECR) and Express Avenue (Royapettah)

Chasing the rising sun

Chasing a rising sun has become part of my routine. This photo, taken this morning, gives a sense of the real estate activity that goes on all around Mantri Synergy. Sad part is that many Mantri residents at higher floors of G, H, and probably, F blocks may have their sea-view blocked by the residential buildings coming up at our backyard.
More photos on our Facebook page

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Solar, wind power for common area

I can't wait to see how they accomplish it - solar and wind power for common area lighting. And , this is not the only feature that sorts out the Green 201, a proposed residential project at Siruseri IT Park, Pudupakkam. The developer's media announcement speaks a green patch on every floor of the 15-storey towers - five of them in the entire complex - roof-top clubhouse & swimpool, acupuncture path, ATM and pharmacy.
The amenities we have at Mantri's - the pool, clubhouse, tennis, basketball court and cricket pitch for net-practice - sound pretty dated in comparison. The emerging residential communities on OMR appear to be outdoing one another in terms of facilities they promise.
Hiranandani Upscale at Navalur is said to have plans for an in-house medical facility with 15 beds. Roof-top helipad for air taxi service may well be the next thing developers on OMR would want to go for.
What,I believe, is well within the realm of possibility,if property developers on OMR set their mind to it, is a shuttle service connecting residential clusters on OMR, with Seruseri IT Park, Adyar, the airport, Velacherry metro station and other notable locations. Air-conditioned 15-seater vans would do. The OMR shuttle can be floated by a consortium of developers, and a business model for a no-loss transport service would have as stakeholders, residents associations, trade associations and corporate houses that stand to benefit from OMR residents shuttle. The shuttle fare would be in keeping with the value-add such service provides to OMR residents.
At Padur we have a cluster of emerging communities developed by the Mantri's, the Gem Group, ETA Rosedale, X S Real, Jain Housing and Puravankara. We could evolve a Padur shuttle serving residents of these and some other residential communities along OMR.
More photos in Facebook, of the emerging real estate on the Padur-Kelambakkam stretch.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mantri moments

Every other morning I do a walk-around with a camera on  Mantri Synergy campus. I didn't take my camera  this morning when we set out,  but once  on the Mantri driveway (where we do the walking) my wife and I were so thrill by the sight of rising sun that my wife went back up to our 9th floor flat to fetch the camera.        
By the time she could make it down we lost valuable moments when the sun,looking like an out-sized football in glowing orange, appeared through a layer of cloud. Not only did we lose the best sunrise shots. I couldn't take proper shots of even the available moments when the sun was fast losing its contrasting orange glow.   I haven't mastered how to make appropriate use of exposure options available in my amateur Kodak M753.

Maybe Mantri residents with flair for photography could get together on Sunday mornings for a photowalk around Mantri's and in Padur neighbourhood. Our photos  can then be displayed at at the Clubhouse foyer, as Mantri residents photo exhibition to be held once a month or two.

For more images,look up OMR Resident on Facebook.

A self-advertisement

I am Archana. I got your e-mail id from the OMR Resident blog.  I am currently in Madipakkam and planning to move to OMR as my husband has got a job in Polaris, Navalur.
I have a 2 year old daughter so I need info regarding play schools available there and also which society would be best to stay,keeping the school and the office in mind ( both preferebly within 5 km radius.) ...I could not find any useful details from Internet about the play schools in that locality and also I found OMR resident blog very informative about Mantri.

We got the following messages in response to Archana's query:
1) We have one play school within Chettinad Health City; nearest to Mantri Synergy.
2) There is a website called ... we were following this site before we put Aadhya, two-and-a-half years, in PSBB Millenium school.
And then leaflet tucked inside our newspaper advertised Amelio, play school & day care that has come up at Hiranandani's. Their website also has a parenting blog.