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Showing posts from December, 2006

Urban Slums ...

Mostly when we talk of slums we consider them to be the negatives in an urbane locality developed due to immigration of poor rural populace to urban areas. However, not all slums get created due to immigration of rural poor to urban areas; in a city like Mumbai one would find slums getting created due to a completely opposite reason - spread of urban populace to semi-rural areas. I live in an area known as Hiranandani in Powai (to rekindle your memories this is the area which is nowadays the most ‘shot’ area in Bollywod movies). Powai is a relatively new locality in Mumbai - there were IIT, NITIE and a Naval colony in this area since a long time, but the area was otherwise a bit unknown to the Lokhandawala-Colaba crowd of Mumbai. This was probably because the area is hilly and hence not so fit for construction. The hills surrounding this area were inhabited by small villages (2-3 villages in the whole area) However, a couple of years ago Hiranandani developers came and started c


2 different groups of people ... at 2 different locations ... The first, a bunch of slum dwellers gathered in a playgroud with flash lights erected on bamboo poles, huge speakers assembled locally in downtown Mumbai and songs run from pirated CDs The second, a bunch of posh upper class youth, in an expensive Discotheque, with Bose speakers around them and conducted by a renown DJ who uses special music CDs for DJing ... ... but both thumping to the tune of the same song - Himesh Reshamiya's 'Tera Surooor...' This is democracy in India ... 2 different groups but same mode of enjoyment ... PS: Being back in India, I am feeling the pressure of time paucity ... somehow making a post today .. hope I get net access enabled at home ASAP

The ordeal on European Skies

Those of you who read about my Geneva Trip hassles [ 1 , 2 ] will be aware about my disenchantment with European Skies. To add to that, when we had travelled to Scotland, one of my colleagues had lost his baggage [for a journey as short as London - Edinburgh] which made our Scotland trip much inconvenient and more so mentally stressed out. But finally, as an icing on the cake, after my ' sarkari experience ' with BA/BAA yesterday at Heathrow - British Airways has managed to misplace my baggage on the way to Mumbai. The ordeal started similar to my Geneva trip, when the flight [supposed to fly out at 2130] was kept standing on the Airport for hours on the behest of long queue on the airstrip. We were finally informed at 2300 hours that some incorrect baggage has by mistake been loaded on the flight and so we had to turn back to the loading dock and re-enter the queue for the airstrip. At about midnight they informed us that the baggage problem was sorted out, but a new problem

From Heathrow ...

Yes Sir .... I am blogging right from the Heathrow Airport Terminal 4, London. My flight is in another 2 hours and I had time to kill - spotted this internet kiosk and thought ... why not?? So here I am blogging right from the airport - in my final moments in the UK. I have 2 parts to narrate .... A. Service Levels in British Airways If anyone ever tells you that BA or BAA (British Airports Auth ) are better than Air India and AAI - don't ever believe him. I had another harrowing experience with the UK airports (after my Swiss trip drama) today - though quieter minor. I had a bit of excess baggage for which I had to pay some charges - no probs with that, I was ok with paying. So the check-in rep told me to go to the cashier (on the next window), make the payment and get my boarding pass from there. When I went to the cashier window, it was closed with a sign 'Go to Ticket Window for payments'. So I went to the ticket window to find a 20 minutes queue ahead of me.

LONDON - 3(Concluded)

In the last two posts I talked mostly about the positives of London – in this one I talk about the negatives. However, I would like to put in a disclaimer that none of these negatives imply that London is not a good city. London is indeed a great city to live in – these are just some of the things that can be improved. First and foremost – London is dirty as compared to (some) other European cities. In some parts it is as dirty as Bombay and given the population load (which though is large, is lesser than Bombay) this isn't an expected trait! In fact, before coming to London one of my expectations from the ‘London experience’ was to live in a clean city – to my disappointment my expectation hasn’t been met. [I grew up in Bhopal which was much cleaner than Bombay if not spot clean!] The next is the reliability of transport network; while London might have one of the best public transport networks – the reliability of this network is pretty poor - frequent disruptions, unplanned de


In my last post I briefly touched upon the cosmopolitan nature of London and its infrastructure – I will elaborate further on them here; to keep my writing from swaying to unknown territory I will maintain an annotational style in this post. Cosmopolitan/ Multicultural City London is one of the world’s most multicultural, multiethnic and cosmopolitan cities. The existence of plethora of nationalities and ethnicities makes its experience even richer – more so there is high tolerance for different cultures and even accents, people make an effort to appreciate the differences between them (though there is a mild undercurrent of racism as well among few people) - all this makes an interaction in the city enjoyable. The variety in ethnicities makes interesting linguistic situations here. Imagine a Russian girl behind the McDonalds counter telling an Indian – “ be havbe only Vegitarian Mel(t) ” and the Indian responding – “ Yes! I want the Veggie Meal ”. Population vs. City As a city Lon

Net Neutrality

Dr. Eric Shmidth, CEO Google explains : Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can't pay. Read More about the Net Neutrality Debate here , here and here .


My 6 month sojourn of London is finally coming to an end – about this time next week I will be at the Sahar Airport, Mumbai. Time to recap thoughts that have crossed and perceptions that have been crystallized in my mind about London as a city, UK as a country both compared to my motherland and some of the other places I saw (Swiss). The moment you step out of the Heathrow what strikes you most is the views that loom around you - manicured lawns, roads marked with lanes, numerous flyovers and tunnels and organized boundaries. However slowly as you settle down in the city – you start noticing the cons and more subtle pros. As an 'Indian' the easiest thing to expect is that 'foreign' is a completely superlative experience to India – in that respect the biggest learning from this visit is that not everything in the west is superlative and that India has certain qualities that stand out! Anyway – this post (probably a multi part one) is about London/UK; let me come back

Let go ...

"Tum bahot lucky ho Roy, sabko pata hota hai ki zindagi ke kitne din ho gaye; par kitne din baaki hain ye kisiko nahi pata hota. Tumhe pata hai!" BluffMaster Indeed in life the toughest decisions involve, not, when to leap - but when to let go. When to let go a habit, when to let go a job, when to let go a shirt that you like to wear? Often the confusion gets multiplied because of emotion - the 'how to let go' aspect. Yet even for those who can keep emotions aside - the cardinal questions are ... is it too early? Am I yet to learn the trade? Should I give it some more time? Is the market ready yet? Am I ready yet? Will I get an investor at this stage? Can I afford to give up a steady income? And when the context is stripped off, all these questions reduce to the same dilemma - 'When to let go?' Indeed if you knew when you will die, you could plan backwards and know exactly when to let go - "Tum bahot lucky ho Roy - bahot lucky! Ab ye tumhare haath me

Knowledge Management and the Web

I was reading an article on capturing tacit and explicit knowledge when I realized how the Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 are distinctly related to these terms. In fact, on a second thought, between the mid 1990's and mid 2000 the internet / web has come a full circle in terms of its purposes. When internet first started as the 'inter-network' of university-LANs, the popular services were usenet / newsgroups and email. The concept of personal or department web pages (precursors to today's websites) though present from the beginning was not the most popular service then. Clearly academicians and scholars were more fascinated by the collaborative nature of the internet and the ability it gave them to reach the most'resourceful' co-scholar for a query or project. Slowly as 'the net' spread to the business world, the concepts of 'websites' became more popular and the Web 1.0 as we would call it today (traditionally known as the World Wide Web ) became a gl

The Winning Mix!

Steve Ballmer said during Windows Vista and Office 2007 kick off : "Windows Vista and the 2007 Microsoft Office system also provide the core platform that will enable businesses to take advantage of the benefits of Internet-based software services. These products incorporate key XML and Web services technologies that will help companies tap into online services and select the mix of on-premise and hosted applications to deliver the right balance of control, convenience, cost-effectiveness, and security while helping increase productivity. " The keywords here are control, convenience, cost-effectiveness and security. You will notice that each of these are targeted towards a different audience, but directed against the common enemy - Web Based Office Productivity Apps * Lets break them down: Control : Most Chat, Online Storage, Networking etc sites are blocked in may companies, who nevertheless acknowledge that these things enhance productivity. Why the do they block them?