bunch of millennials taking a selfie

Millennials aren’t the problem…

All my readers who do not agree with my title line, likely will start flaming me by the time they finish reading this post. But, that is alright.

HR types who aren’t able to manage a young workforce or even provide inspiration to the line managers keep saying that the millennial workforce is different, as an excuse for attrition. I have a gripe about the way HR has become in the services industry, but that reason to get flamed, I will save for later. We keep hearing different ‘negative’ attributes, though contradictory among themselves, assigned to the millennials. Some of these are:

Sense of Entitlement

We keep hearing, millennials feel very entitled, expect promotions quick, get bored quick and do not like to be tied by corporate conventions from the 20th century. Well, way back in 2001, I remember the first sentence the newly recruited network manager uttered as he walked into this open plan office. Went something like – “Where is my cabin?”. That sure sounded like entitlement to me.

Irreverence / Arrogance

Weren’t you irreverent / arrogant, when you were in your 20s? I was. Actually, I still am. What do these attributes have to do with a specific generation? In fact, the millennials are way more tuned to the way technology is moving today, they are walking lock-step with advancement and easily are able to filter away extraneous noise effortlessly. If they are more technology aware, or sharper than others, then they can choose to have a bit of a swag, I think.

Not being able to use their education

Oh, c’mon. Who provided them the education or designed the curriculum in the first place. IT / ITES services companies in India, driven by the KPI of billability, have practically destroyed engineering education by abdicating from their responsibility and pushing training into the colleges. The bellwether company was singularly responsible for starting this, and the rest of the sheep followed. Making a student usable is the employers’ responsibility, not the college’s. Now, you can’t come back and say colleges are producing unemployable youth.

Distracted

As opposed to what? Just because they don’t want to have a collar around the neck and be in the office every day? Maybe, your place of employment offers nothing to keep them mentally engaged. The employee engagement index survey thingy is rubbish, bin it and save some money. Seen enough places with high engagement scores, and high attrition.

Oh, they are so stuck to their electronic devices.

We weren’t because we didn’t have our lives proliferated with these devices, remember? Aren’t gen-x and gen-y folk glued to their smart phones as well? Seen many, including this MNC CEO friend, who goes on vacation with a laptop, a tablet, two phones and a smart watch and get completely restive without an internet connection.

…and I could go on with other examples and attributes.

There is this Simon Sinek interview (on youtube), where her passionately talks about millennials, their sense of entitlement (and why it came about), their lack of social connects etc. Blames parents, but also the millennials … and I do not agree. The millennials aren’t really very different from what we were at their age. Just that the social context is different today, and thus the millennial reaction seems to be contrary to what we have grown up with. The problem lies with us, not with the millennials.

Allow me to end with an anecdote. On a flight home from Mumbai (earlier this year), I had a millennial sitting next to me. We got chatting. Figured from what she disclosed, she was maybe 25 – 26 and was already on her fourth job. She had already worked as an assistant arranger for a fashion choreographer, had worked in a call centre, in some start up as a merchandiser and was now an interning in a school learning to act. OMG, What an irresponsible person, with no longevity at work, right? When I asked her why did she change so often, and went on to completely different areas… her answer was “I am trying to find myself”. Internally, I mocked this ‘airhead’, while pretending to be stoic. Her remark, however, stayed with me. Much later, the profundity of her statement (even if that is not what she really meant) dawned upon me. What we, ‘the know-alls’ have lost is exactly that desire to find ourselves and have trained ourselves to be a service and talentless labour force.

Something tells me, folk who keep blaming the millennials, likely have something to gain by constantly blaming them.

Now, got that flamethrower ready?

Advertisements

Everest, the tallest.

The mountain is in the news again, for three different reasons, all in the same week. One of human conquest, one of human stupidity, and the third of nature’s unpredictability.

First, the one about human achievement. Indian mountaineer, Anshu Jamsenpa summitted twice, within a week. She has summited twice in 10 days in 2011, and last week was witness to her fourth and fifth successful summits.

Anshu Jamsenpa with HH Dalai Lama

Anshu, with HH Dalai Lama

The 37-year-old mother of two from Bomdila in Arunachal Pradesh (state in the far east of India), summitted on the 16th May, and then again on the 21st May. Before her second ascent, Anshu said: “My only aim now is to unfurl the national flag once again atop Mt Everest and pay homage to Lord Buddha. I seek blessings and support from my fellow countrymen.” She was blessed by HH Dalai Lama before leaving for the expedition. What a Rockstar!

The second story is about Ravi Kumar, from Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh who is untraceable on the mountain after having summitted on the 20th. Kumar and his guide, Lakpa Wongya Sherpa, got separated during the descent near the Balcony and the latter was later found unconscious and suffering from frostbite at Camp IV.

a8e9f2b6fac66d36d1761c9c30b10f5dIn another incident six climbers suffering from altitude sickness had to be rescued and then sent to different hospitals. The human body isn’t made for 25K feet, and the body cells literally start dying at that altitude. If one isn’t a trained and seasoned super hi-alt mountaineer, please stick to doing mid-altitude treks. Everest or other 8-thousanders aren’t really for you stupids.

The other in-fashion thing for some years now is to go up the mountain with a guide. Everest isn’t a tourist spot, you know. In 1996, most of those killed on the mountain weren’t seasoned mountaineers either. And there is no business that a ward should get separated from a guide. The life of the ward is the guide’s responsibility. Lakpa, this might have been your eighth summit, but your license needs to be taken away.

And finally, “…a piece of mountaineering history has disappeared “, said British mountaineer Tim Mosedale after he descended from his sixth successful summit attempt. Considered to be the last obstacle, some 58 metres below the summit, the rocky outcrop known as the Hillary Step has collapsed. Likely because of the 2015 earthquake. Last year, the American Himalayan Foundation did publish images, but it was not clear whether the rock formation had actually collapsed because of the snow cover. Tim Mosedale who summitted last year as well this year, has confirmed, with pictures that he has posted.

The crumbling away of the Hillary Step makes summitting easier and quicker for the inexperienced climbers, but also will expose them to the elements for a longer time because of the potential traffic jam which will ensue with larger number of climbers passing through that spot.

p034s06h

Deaths on Mt Everest (data, graph courtesy – BBC)

More than 240 people have died on the mountain (above base camp) so far, and three more already added this year, more so since climbing up has become almost a joke. Teams have to be sent up every year to clear rubbish and debris from previous years’ climbs. There are bodies on the mountain, and plenty debris. Most seasoned pioneers regret what happens to the mountain every climbing season.

But, we need to stop for a moment and perhaps listen to Sagarmatha. The mountain, I believe, is telling us that she feels tired and abused and that we should stop climbing her now.

 

Gorkhaland, on the rebound. A simmering pot.

DSC_0016

main bazar Kalimpong

The agitation might have started around the 1980s, and brought in some prominence to the Nepali, or the Lepcha population in the region … but the pot had been on the boil for a while now.

What region is that now? That would be part of Sikkim, and most of what is now Darjeeling district. The region which is administered by the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council since 1988. I was in the area in late 2015 and saw festoons, banners, flags, posters and road side meetings in Kalimpong. And, yes, Bimal Gurung (more about him later) does draw a crowd.


लेपचा भोटीया नेपाली
हामी सबै गोर्खाली

 – writing on walls in Kalimpong


Bazaar Area, Kalimpong

Armed paramilitary personnel, Kalimpong

There are armed security personnel on the streets with a sense of uneasy political calm as people go about their lives. The undercurrent is certainly there and is palpable. Talking to local people brought to light:

  • The Lepchas (along with some other tribes) are perhaps the original residents of the region.
  • Nepali folk arrived mainly with the invasion of Gorkhas in the 1780. The cessation from Nepal happened much later (for a pittance) after the British-Nepal battle. The ceded territory included Darjeeling, Siliguri, the entire terai, Simla, Nainital, Garwhal hills, Kumaon upto the Sutlej. The British came all the way in, and starting planting tea all over around 1860s.
  • As the world moved on, the Gorkhas lost some of their identity as they were neither in Nepal, nor were they in a ‘province of their own’. This loss of identity is what bothers the Gorkhas today, and their wanting to unite with Lepchas and Bhotias (tribes originating from Bhutan) to press for Gokhaland
  • There was some socio-economic pressure from the refugee Tibetans, but that has started easing out now as the Tibetans have started migrating to other parts of the country and also out of the country.

There are some other facts which play into the situation.

Shree Tibet Stores

Notice the Gorkhaland marking?

  • Subhash Ghising who was the face of the Gorkhaland agitation passed on early 2015 and left the movement somewhat rudderless. But, even in the years before Ghising had somewhat mellowed down.
  • As Ghising’s power based weakened, a new leader, Bimal Gurung, emerged. Gurung started as a GNLF member and later become a councillor in the Hill Council. Gurung capitalized on the mass support for Prashant Tamang (an Indian Idol contestant) in 2007, and garnered enough support to throw Ghising out of the power seat. In 2008, Gurung moved away from the Hill Council and also formed his new party Gorkha Janmukti Morcha.
  • Immediately afterwards Gurung resurrected the demand for Gorkhaland and had conversations with the Prime Minister in 2015 as well and got some assurances.

Surely, Gorkha identity is an issue as is the feeling of neglect as felt by the Gorkhas. Along with, there definitely is a problem of unemployment in many of the areas which are dependent on tourism (to a large extent) or the tea business.

Successive governments have tried to placate them with promises of development. It is just that those promises might not hold long-term unless there was some fruition.

Momo seller in the Haat Bazaar Area, Kalimpong

Momo seller in the Haat Bazaar Area, Kalimpong

Banners, flags, logo hangings in the bazaar area, Kalimpong

Banners, flags, logo hangings in the bazaar area, Kalimpong

Bazaar Area, Kalimpong

Bazaar Area, Kalimpong with Gorkha Janmukti Morcha colours all over

 

Sonam Tshering Lepcha plays his self designed string instrument

Sonam Tshering Lepcha, Padmashree

Lepchas are a small community residing mainly in the regions of North Bengal and Sikkim and believed to be primarily residents of Sikkim for the last some hundred years. They are a small bunch of perhaps 60,000 people. Today they are spread across Darjeeling, Kurseong, Sikkim and Kalimpong. Anthropologists venture that the ancients might have migrated from Tibet or Outer Mongolia. Maybe from parts of Burma down Erawaddy because their language (also known as Lepcha) has a wee bit of resemblance with Burmese and the script resembles Tibetan. Basically, they haven’t the foggiest.

The people themselves believe that they are aboriginal, native and didn’t migrate from anywhere except from northern parts of Sikkim. Though they are currently four communities, they used to consider the Sikkim Chogyal as their leader.

My short story is about the 89-year-old, full of spunk Sonam Tshering Lepcha. In lower Kalimpong, he runs a school but more importantly, runs a Lepcha museum; Perhaps the only one in Asia. The other museum that I have heard of is in Netherlands and has a host of artifacts and some ancient scriptures. Go visit the man, and his museum if you are interested in local cultures, a bunch of stories and a whole lot of indigenous music.

DSC_0140//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

The museum is kind of hidden away. Most locals have not heard of it either. Go down from the main bazaar somewhat eastwards. The broken road goes through a smelly area of vehicle repair and poultry shops gradually going downhill into a residential area. Ask for the Lepcha school, where the first floor is the museum.

While talking to you super enthusiastically about Lepcha culture, showing various older implements of cultivation and battle, he will talk to you about his Padmashree (2007) and Bangashree. He might, his memory is starting to fail these days, also mention that his wife got a Padmashree too for sustaining an indigenous culture. He might not be able to recollect when she received the award and what it was for. A bit of googling will tell you the year as 2013, and it was for folk music.

In any case, the museum is housed in a hall not too large, but is crammed with artifacts and small models that Sonam Tshering has made over time. It is amazing to figure that he has continued to remain motivated and keep the museum and culture going over decades, primarily, on his own dime. He is, however, widely respected in his community for what he has done, continues to do, his child like simplicity and sagaciousness.

Some visiting tourists donate, some don’t. There is no way, however, you will go back without heaps of respect for this individual. His child-like simplicity and enthusiasm is well-respected by the community too.

Belonging to the Támsángmú community which is based in and around Kalimpong, he has composed what is known as the anthem for the people in the language of Tibetan-Burmese decent. Sonam is usually clad in normal trousers and a shirt with a Lepcha cap; but on special occasions he would don a dumprá with a conical hat (which you will notice in video below).

Towards the end of the tour, he took us to what works as his office and took out a bag full of musical instruments. Most of them were wind instruments, except the last one which was a four-stringed fret less instrument made of wood and somewhat of a cross between a sarod and a rabab. Here he is playing a Bangla folk song. Click on the picture below to see the video (courtesy G Kozhipurath).

Wired Instrument//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Kalimpong itself is a boring, also ran hill town and there really isn’t much to see or do…except visiting Sonam Tshering Lepcha.

The fallacy of the “Demographic Dividend”

Allow me to explain what Demographic Dividend is, before we go into why it is a fallacy.

Wikipedia says – “Demographic dividend refers to a period – usually 20 to 30 years – when fertility rates fall due to significant reductions in child and infant mortality rate.”…meaning that:

  • Women and families gradually realise, because of falling infant mortality rates and increase in life expectancy, the need for producing more children is lower.
  • This is correlated in a way to the transition of a nation’s economy from being primarily agrarian to industrialized.
  • In the initial phases of this transition, the labour force then grows faster than the population dependent on it.

So, when the data starts showing a fertility drop, one knows that your population growth rate is starting to slow down compared to that earlier. Which means that in about two decades you would end up having a large population in the age bracket of 20 – 50. The data which shows the manifestation of demographic dividend, you will appreciate, is a leading indicator for what would happen a couple of decades in the future.

What the demographic dividend theory does not tell you is that this precedes a larger percentage of population growing older as well.

In a more developed country, a demographic dividend works well because the larger working population means (hopefully) economic growth. Check some of the relevant data points; Per 2011 census, India’s

  • Birth Rate is 20.22 per thousand
  • Infant Mortality Rate (below 5 yrs.) is 40 per thousand
  • and Death Rate is 7.4 per thousand

So the effective growth rate is something like 11.6 per thousand, assuming of course that if a child does get to an age of five, he or she will live till the expected life span limit. The numbers seem to suggest that if the trends remain about the same India will reach replacement levels of fertility by about 2020 -2022.

Two ways to look at the phenomenon

1. The positive first

One is that India’s population will get checked, regardless of what the naysayers keep saying. And that India will have a large workforce. During the period of demographic dividend, usually these three things happen:

  • There will be a quantum increase in labour supply. The magnitude of this benefit will, however, be dependent on how much of this supply the economy is able to employ productively. More on this shortly.
  • There is a potential of increase in per capita savings because the number of dependents will be less, eventually leading to an increase in national savings and thus availability of capital. If channelized well, there should be influx of capital into the economy as people invest more or at least put money into the banks.
  • Drop in fertility rates should also mean that womenwillbe pregnant less often, will add to the workforce and cause lower economic pressure at home and thus higher amounts of disposable income. The higher amount of disposable income should result in:
    • investment into the children’s future
    • and perhaps growth in domestic demand

2. and then what we should be concerned about

The other is what is actually starting to happen to India’s overall population and what the implications are in the long-term.

What will start happening in about 20 odd years is that India will begin to have a super large work force. While this is happening, consider the fact that a larger percentage of the population of many of the developed countries would have gone old. Now, to be able to sustain that workforce, given the above two situations, all the following need to happen:

  • There has to be larger and larger quantum of work being shipped to India in sectors which can afford to outsource; either in the services sector or in manufacturing.
  • India needs to have enough of its own employment generating capacity. Now, do you realise why “Make in India”, being pushed by our prime minister, is so important?
  • The demographic dividend phenomenon will happen for say two or three decades, after which the impact will start waning. Why? Because the working population will retire and start getting old. And we need to prepare for that, starting now.

Consider the following:

In about two decades from now, there has to be enough work has to be available to ship out to India. If the demographic dividend happens to coincide with a global economic slump for even quarter of the period, we will be in serious trouble.

It would be unwise to imagine that the quantum of work which gets outsourced to India from the services sector will grow in leaps and bounds. It won’t, and more likely will flatten out as other smaller countries get into the game.

The developed countries have already gone through the transitory period and their manufacturing bases would have weakened somewhat. Where will they manufacture? That is what China has been reaping the benefit from, now they have realised the situation as well and are slowly starting to move away from the one child policy. The impact of this is the availability of a short window that we will get to be able to insert ourselves and capitalise, if we really can.

Many of India’s large industrial houses have always been petty minded and selfish. They have thought nothing of transferring whole manufacturing lines to, or sourcing entire lines of products from China. In the past (before opening up of the economy) they have deliberately starved the Indian populace of temporally contemporary products. Want an example? Allow me to give you two: Do you remember the way Bajaj continued to produce lousy two and three-wheelers over the decades; made people wait for months for rubbish engineering from decades back? Or How about Hindustan Motors? (Sorry, I have no love lost for Ambassador getting extinct. It has gotten to where it should have in 1960.) That begs the question – can we depend on these industrial houses?

So, if we can’t up our manufacturing either through Indian companies or non-Indian ones setting up base in India, we will have a rather large unemployment problem on our hands; much, much larger than what we have now. Again, given the unreliability of Indian industrial houses, do you see again why promoting Make-in-India outside the country is so important so that they set up base in India now and remain here through the next forty years?

Where is India’s educational system currently? We are neither in a situation where we provide enough of a base for students to grow on their own, nor do we take education to the level of vocational training. We produce students with a BE in Information Technology, but unable to relate basic physics in real life situations. WTF is BE in IT anyways, with reduced stress on Mathematics and added subjects related to Management? You might as well send these kids to an IT training school around the corner already.

During the demographic dividend period itself, another phenomenon will start happening. The population will start ageing. Every year a certain percentage of the workforce will move into retirement and progress towards old age when they will need medical help. For a smaller, wealthy country the situation would be very different. For us, a one percent is a very large absolute number. Gradually, the entire workforce (from this period) will move over to retirement and old age. The burden on the healthcare system or the amount of money needed to support pensions will be tremendous, the costs very high.

Yesterday, the President talked about harnessing the demographic dividend in India and has talked about it a few times now (including twice in the parliament). Pranab babu’s pointers have been towards India not having enough quality educational institutions to train this large (forthcoming) workforce and that we might miss harvesting the transitory period if not careful. Today CII is orgasming about it too. It is surprising that little thought has gone into this, by CII, in understanding what the implications are for India and what we need to start building right now. But, then the CII is populated by India’s industrial houses which behave the way I have already mentioned above.

Now, do you see the knife’s edge we are sitting on? And why just getting euphoric about one face of the demographic dividend is such a fallacy?

Coffins of felled soldiers

The degeneration of media, and #maggiban

It really is true that who holds the power to disseminate information, holds the power to move human sentiment. Happens in every country, happens every day. In fact there was even a Bond movie made grossly on this subject.

The fact that the media in our country, at least most of it, is completely sold to causes nefarious is now a foregone conclusion. It chooses to show you what it wants to, what will catch more eyeballs, or what will raise TRPs and thus get more advertising. Hence you have the neurotic Goswami, or diabolic Dutt being stalwarts.

Take what is happening today for instance.

Nestle’s CEO Paul Bulcke has had to travel to India to save his brand, after lead was discovered in Maggi. The company is trying to do damage control. Media can’t get enough of it. Reluctantly, Nestle started doing a recall, but was prompt in lending support to actors who had endorsed the brand previously. Complete morons like Mahesh Murthy tweet “Nestle India market cap drops by Rs.5,500 cr. Dear VPs of Marketing, now do you see the value of hiring a good digital & social firm?” Must be f*#$@%g mad. In which world did brand protection become more important than consumer safety? In Muthy’s world perhaps.

Then, the who hullabaloo about yoga day. अरे बाबा , if your religion gets bothered by exercise, don’t do it. Why does the nation have to know your opinion and why do we have to watch endless, nauseating debates on the subject? But, switch on a tv news channel and this is what you get to watch.

What the TV channels won’t spend time on is the fact that 20 soldiers of the Dogra Regiment got killed in an insurgent ambush in Manipur. The newspapers use some space to talk about this. No imagery to talk about. Have you seen images of the burnt bodies of the soldiers? Likely not. But there are images of Paul Bulcke. Did you notice that even his initials are Pb? Heck, I digress.

Embed from Getty Images

The media however, protects its own and whoever pays to be protected. Certainly you remember the entire scam that Barkha Dutta was embroiled in and how TV media provided no coverage on the subject. Similarly, do you remember the circumstances that Ravi Venkatesan resigned from being the country head of Microsoft India? Remember the scam that the top leadership of Microsoft was (allegedly) involved in (along with counterparts in HCL)? Yeah? Now, try to find a news item on the web which talks about Venkatesan’s implicit /moral involvement in the scam. You won’t. Today, Venkatesan has resurrected himself as a social entrepreneur able to talk from a high pedestal. Right! That is what you can do if you can get media to work for you.

Complete morons like Mahesh Murthy tweet “Nestle India market cap drops by Rs.5,500 cr. Dear VPs of Marketing, now do you see the value of hiring a good digital & social firm?” Must be f*#$@%g mad. In which world did brand protection become more important than consumer safety?

A few days back, 104FM in Bangalore ran a program where they were asking for public opinion on the Maggi ban. The RJ made fun of the state governments’ concern, the recall, the bans and kept mentioning that Maggi will be back. Really? So may be Mahesh Murthy was wrong, and Nestle is already spending money sponsoring radio channels.

Bottom line, if you have a powerful spread out fifth column working in the country, why do you need enemies?

Do you feel as outraged about this as I do? Write.

Of public spaces, museums and galleries…

There was a time, when most of our cities had lung spaces, parks, public spaces where we could go to “shoot the breeze”, have a “walkabout”, set up a cricket field or play football.

Cut to today. Most large cities in the country have lost their lung or public places. Delhi still has some inside-locality parks, some large parks and lawns near India Gate. Mumbai has nothing. Calcutta has little to talk about except the one lake and the maidan. Bangalore has one constantly shrinking and being encroached upon Cubbon Park. You get the picture. The story isn’t too different in other places.

So, where would people go? You guessed it right. Malls – the large air-conditioned, non-interesting walking spaces filled with same-old same-old retail stores, cineplexes and food courts. What happens in the malls tells you what people are looking for. The footfalls are high, the conversion to sales (except food, and movies) is abysmally low. Why? Because people are just looking for public places where they can spend time, and not necessarily bunch of money. What better than being in an air-conditioned space (especially in our kind of weather), grab a bite and maybe catch a movie?

What if going to a mall isn’t your thing and you don’t want your kids getting stuck on malls? There actually are some choices in every major city. You might not be able to go there too many times, but even one time each is better than none.

If a city thought about it, places to send folk to would be museums and galleries. Most large cities, or locations of historic importance have museums and galleries. Our country has a bunch of them as well. India’s largest and the oldest museum opened in Calcutta in 1814. And over the past two hundred years, many more have opened. Some are just museums, and some are galleries displaying art of various kinds.

The problem is that people don’t visit galleries or museums. At least most people do not. It might really be about culture and what we perceive to be important for us and our children. But then, concerts do get audience in auditoriums and bar atmospheres. But, have you seen most of the museums in our country except the super famous ones? Exceptions are places like The Railway Museum, Dolls Museum in Delhi, Prince Albert Museum in Mumbai or some of the galleries where the rich and the famous want to be seen at.

A museum is an institution that cares for (conserves) a collection of artifacts and other objects of artistic, cultural, historical, or scientific importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary .

Allow me to name a few places which are either brilliant or hold a tremendous value in terms of novelty.

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore

National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore

National Galleries of Modern Art – there are at least three of them. One in Delhi, in Mumbai and in Bangalore. The first two are large establishments, but the one in Bangalore is relatively smaller. It is housed in a much smaller Manikyavelu Mansion on Palace Road. The place is green, serene and beautiful. Besides the permanent exhibits which are worth a visit, the place always has temporary stuff, film shows, talks etc. Entry Rs 10, and Re 1 (for children)

Chitrakala Parishat Gallery in Bangalore

Chitrakala Parishat Gallery in Bangalore

Chitrakala Parishat galleries – CKP, of course. People go there for the annual festival, but when I went we were the only visitors. Besides many others, there is a Roerich gallery and a bunch of Jamini Roys there. Entry Rs 10.

 

Naval Aviation Museum, Goa

Naval Aviation Museum, Goa

Naval Aviation Museum, in Vasco – this is located sort of behind Dabolim Airport in Goa. Some local folk know about this, most don’t. This is a decent sized museum, houses a history of naval aviation and over 20 aircraft.

Government Sculpture museum – in Bangalore, the red building next to Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. Over 200 pieces, at least 700 years old; all local, primarily from Karnataka. This place has decent amount of footfall though. Entry, Rs 2.

Philately Museum at the GPO, Bangalore

Philately Museum at the GPO, Bangalore

The Philatelic museum – at the Bangalore GPO. It isn’t large, is in a largish hall on the first floor. Get to the philately museum and ask the Deputy Post Master (currently Deputy Post Mistress). The ever smiling lady is delighted to have the museum opened up for you to visit. Did I say “opened up”? Yes, because no one visits it. Entry Free.

Maritime Museum, INS Dronacharya, Kochi

Maritime Museum, INS Dronacharya, Kochi

Naval Maritime Museum in Cochin – located at INS Dronacharya in Fort Cochin. This is again small, but relatively new and very well maintained. Check out Naval guns, beautiful scale models, Radars, Uniforms, Side arms, and a photo history of the navy and a Sea King helicopter. Fantastic. Use google maps to get there because locals aren’t even aware of it. Entry fee, Rs 5.

How many of these have you been to? All these are way more fun than any mall for sure. Do you want to take your kid to the mall every time, or maybe once to these places too? You decide.