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Stewardship and Trusteesh
  By A.J. Philip  
  I ACCOMPANIED Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on his visit to South Africa on the occasi  
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Letter to Metropolitan
  By Rev A.P. Jacob and five other priests  
  Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan Most Rev. Dr. Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar  
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Back to infancy -- they n
  By Shaheen Chander  
  ENJOYING a relaxed weekend, I was checking updates on the Facebook page. I came across a b  
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  All for a job  
  By Meetu Tewari
AS a recent visitor to the city of Bangalore, I was struck by the rampant commercialisation of not just the small street corners sprouting big brand names like Tommy Hilfiger but also the invasion of even homes with the same.

Bangalore is called the IT hub of the country; offices are open at every street and corner and multinational companies have made it their home in India. Names like KPMG, Capgemini, Shell, Nokia and many more can be found here. But Bangalore as a city does not belong to anyone because no one belongs here. Most people come here for a sojourn of a few years before moving on. It is not a city loved and has no old world charm about it. It is not like Delhi or Mumbai where people dream of going to settle in. To date, of all the people I met, no one said they came to Bangalore because they wanted to. Their reasons are mostly for their job and for a few, their studies.

The city has adapted itself to meet the demand of these short-term visitors. Walls and pillars alike are plastered with posters offering PG accommodation for girls or boys. There was a poster offering the services of a North Indian cook, Ramu.

Trying to discover a suitable PG for a friend was certainly an experience worth remembering. After using Bangaloreís helpline number and scanning newspapers, a list was made and then began our visit to each. Opening a PG is a favorite activity for the people here. Because of lack of space, most houses here are tall but narrow. People have put this to good use, as most houses here have two-three storeys; these are given on rent and become a means of extra income.

PGs are especially popular with girls as they generally ensure food and give them a place to rest in. That is about all they promise. Their condition is generally poor and they are seldom more than a small room with a bed and cupboard. There was one which was expensive, with Rs 6000 per month for a single room with attached bathroom which was so tiny that I could not even spread my arms in it. Worse, food was not part of the deal.

In another the owners promised us North Indian food, a very homely atmosphere and clean facilities. Expectantly we arrived at a house in Koramangala, the heart of Bangalore. Curiously the house did not have a single plant or even grass, it was just a concrete block which somehow made me apprehensive. As the owners were then not present, some of the girls already living there showed us around. Basically, it was a large hall partitioned into rooms by cardboard sheets, there were two bathrooms and a kitchen so dirty that I wondered how anyone could even cook in there with dirty dishes spread about everywhere, tomatoes rotting in a corner, packets lying about, cobwebs in the cupboards which stood open.

As yet hopeful, we continued our journey to another. Next, we came to a posh apartment building and we, naively, believed that at last we would get something decent. What was shown to us instead was a small room with a bed, in which even a chair would not fit. It was a servant quarter which the owner, an old lady, wanted to rent out. The bathroom had an extremely small metal sink and was so tiny that my friend could not stand there without touching the wall. The cost was Rs 4500 for the room and as she was a girl and alone, another Rs1500 for food.

Our next halt was a PG being run by a lady from Delhi. She was very friendly and told us she cooked the food herself. Her one house was run as a PG while the one she was living in had two rooms which she gave for single occupancy. However, we were then given a list of regulations: cannot stay out late at night, after 11 door will be locked and food will be gone, no one can come to visit unless itís a girl for 1 hour max for project work, no males (family or friends or relatives) can come, no male can drop anyone in front of the gate, you have to inform whenever you are out late, no family members can come visit inside the house or stay for even a day. Needless to say, we never looked back.

While my friend is now happily sharing an apartment with another girl in a good locality, I was amazed how people choose to stay in such difficult circumstances. A colleague told me she shares a room with four girls, the food is pathetic and she has to walk over 4 kilometers everyday to and from her bus-stop. I asked her why she does not shift. She replied that she does not earn enough to afford better and besides, though her PG is really bad, the only reason she chooses to stick on is because all the other girls are so nice.

They are all from North India and very caring towards one another. In an alien city, so far away from home, perhaps it is this warmth and affection which we crave for and we sometimes find. In a city which is not friendly towards its inhabitants, it is these bonds which make a dreary life livable.

The companies here attract a large number of people but they are paid a pittance. However, they get to say they work for an MNC and are in Bangalore. Survival is never easy for the people coming here, especially young graduates and girls. They live in conditions which no human being should live in, especially one working for some of the biggest companies of the world. They live in rooms partitioned with cardboards, cramped rooms with six others sharing it, saving money, yes, but more so, making bonds with people who care for them.

Standing in dirty kitchens but cooking together, living in one room but watching out for one another and being happy because they know that in an unfamiliar city with no family there, they are lucky to have found someone to stand by them at all times.
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