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Showing posts from September, 2007

Go Goa!!

I am in Goa with Shubham and Sabyasachi for a 3 day tour. Technically this is my fourth visit to Goa - I visited Goa first when I was 5, then when I was 12 and then last year (for a company offsite). This is my first visit with friends - and frankly, I have been planning this getaway for almost 6 years now. I first planned a Goa trip when I was in 2nd year of my enginnering (2001) when DCH was released. But for some reason or the other it never worked out. My plan was rejuvenated when some friends planned a similar trip at the end of our NITIE tenure - but again the plan didn't work out. Finally, as a consolation I managed to go to Uttaranchal , last year. But the original plan for Goa was still in hibernation, and finally got activated this year. So here I am - in Goa for 3 days. Shubham and Sabya flew to Mumbai yesterday and we took the Janshatabdi from Mumbai to Madgaon today 5.30 AM; reached here about 4 PM - are staying in Dona Paola - almost half a Kilometre from the coas

The academics of today

If you are a regular reader of newspaper editorials – you would have noticed columnists who write on matters of Indian politics, policy research, mythology, pop-culture etc. Of late, so many scholars of ‘Indian studies’ have come from foreign (mainly US) universities. Is this because there are no Indian institutes where ‘India’ is being researched? Not quite – we have the JNU, the BHU, the AMU, and numerous departments of social studies in all universities from Ashok University (Gwalior) to Delhi University. Then why this dearth of scholars in Indian matters, who practice their profession in India? Not being from the academic circles – I can only make an informed guess based upon limited knowledge that I have of the culture in academic institutes (which I studied in) and internet research (the links are strewn in the text below). Due to heavy politicization of student community following the Janta Party movement of the 1970s-80s[ 1 ][ 2 ], the academia in our universities too have

Orkut Scrapbook in Hindi

India is Orkut's largest market after Brazil, so it makes perfect sense for them to embrace Indian languages .... and they have started with Hindi Makes sense - after all US is almost sold out to Facebook and MySpace and China is a different world - so better concentrate on India which will be among the 3 largest economies of the world in the coming years.

Chak De!

Yes ... its true - after 13 years of expectations for a second world cup - WE HAVE WON the first ever Twenty 20 cup!! Don't worry I am not going to get into the same loop of 'we worked as team' blah blah .. there are better reviews of the match around. So better go read them ! I just want to point out one thing that irked me. My heart sank every time Sreesanth and Joginder Sharma bowled those beamers off the wicket which were either going to go as 'wide' or deserved the hardest hits!! And yet, at the end Dhoni said - "... I decided to give the last over to Joginder, who wanted to make a name for himself in international cricket - it did not matter if we won or lost!" Did it not really matter??? A billion people watching the match, sacrificing their precious times .. I saw almost the whole Mumbai rushing home early yesterday - and the Indian captain says 'IT DIDN'T MATTER!!' Yes, I agree that this team won because it went without expectations

Observations from the streets of Mumbai

Many times I find Taxi drivers in south Mumbai, who are in such a hurry to wade through traffic that they forget to notice that there is a fare waiting on the side of the road. In a hurry to surge ahead in the traffic laden streets of Mumbai – they overlook the little opportunities that stare them in the eye. Aren’t we all too like those Taxi drivers, who just want to go somewhere, without thinking where? In our jobs, we are all running, to outsmart the other, to grab even larger pay checks, to rise faster through the corporate ladder; to buy a bigger house, in a more expensive locality; to buy a car, an newer car, a more expensive one – WHY? Are we all not just running in every direction possible – just faster … speedier … farther – without even knowing if there is a destination out there which we will reach, if there is a reward out there to grab, and even ignoring if there were some rewards on the way – we keep running and see just the road and nothing beyond !! I wonder!

Tips from an autorickshaw driver

I was trying to hire an auto-rickshaw to an unfrequented place – almost ten rickshaws refused to travel to that place before one agreed. Amused, I asked the driver why he agreed, the answer he gave set me thinking. “Sir, most autowalahs only keep running in a particular direction. They run away from home in the morning, as the day progresses they change their direction towards home. But what each one of them forget is that, our job is to ferry passengers – to travel in a direction which they desire; not to pursue our own agenda. I am ferrying you to the place you want to go now, I will earn my bread by the money you pay – then even if I have to ferry back empty to my home – it will still turn out to be a small profit; never a loss. On the other hand the other rickshaws which refused you will probably have to ferry all the way to their home empty – not earning any fare and burning his fuel anyhow. Very few auto drivers realize this.” There was a lesson for all leaders in the above

Do we like the same toothbrush?

The title of this post is just to went out my frustration at the animatedly friendly line you see in invitation emails for Shelfari (Do we like the same books?) . Actually, I am not frustrated at the service or the way it introduces itself - my objection is to something else ... read on if you are interested. The service is really an amazing concept - I wish I would have thought it and launched it. The way it introduces itself too is really good. Having tackled with the problem of 'introducing' websites myself - I do feel this is one of the better ways to do it. But isn't there is a limit to how many times you invite a user?? My first point is that if a user has invited me to the site and I haven't responded means that I am not interested in the service for one reason or the other. It could be pure disinterest or may be that I don't have time for it. Either way - I AM NOT INTERESTED!! Then why should the website send me a 'reminder' for the invitation??

The 'Micro Credit' Business Model

Today's Hindustan Times Op-ed has an article by Sujata Anandan around Vidarbha farmer suicides etc. It throws light on how misuse of credit by people compounds the situation created by poor rains and lack of proper irrigation. I quote: My sister spotted a vegetable vendor at the local market who had been defaulting in payment for months. When she swooped on her, the lady brazenly told my sister she had taken the loan not to buy a stall, as stated in her application, but to marry off her daughter. " Mera kaam ho gaya. Muzhe ab zaroorat nahin . (My purpose has been served. I do not need you now)," she said. Most of the money borrowed by farmers goes not into seeds or crop but into paying off their debts to moneylenders, the dowries of daughters or gambling dues... Moneylenders were big business in Andhra Pradesh's villages, too, but then the state government came up with a scheme to settle with those bloodsuckers and banned their return to the villages. Suicide rate

Butterfly Effect!!

Yesterday evening around 5.45 PM, our department secretary asked everyone in office to assemble for birthday celebrations of a colleague. I was in the middle of something and so was in two-minds whether to join or not. After some seconds of haggling in my own mind, I decided not to go. So with everyone at the celebrations, I was sitting all alone at my desk - feeling hungry I went to the pantry to get some grub. There were no wafers or biscuits left - so reluctantly I got some coffee and came back. And then it happened!! My cellphone rang. In a hurry to pick it up, I spilled the coffee on the table! I immediately moved my laptop aside and ran to collect tissues; but by the time I came back the coffee had spread further and had touched the edges of my laptop. While I was wiping the coffee off the table, my laptop went off, never to start again! Being the end of the day, IT dept could not help me - a replacement could be arranged only today evening. Lesson learnt- a decision made in a

Statistics Deceive - Psephologists Delude

I wonder if its politicians or psephologists whom we should blame for perpetrating more casteism in the society. I read the following in an article on inclusive development in Hindustan Times last month - About 88 per cent of India’s SC/STs belong to this group of poor and vulnerable. Similarly, about 85 per cent of all Muslims other than the SC/STs and 80 per cent of all OBCs except Muslims are poor and vulnerable, living below per capita consumption of Rs 20 per day. Only 1 per cent of SC/STs, 2.4 per cent of OBCs other than Muslims, 2.2 per cent of Muslims other than SC/STs belong to the high income rich group, of having a per capita consumption above Rs 93 per day. Further, 86 per cent of all illiterate and 79 per cent of all those who received education below primary level belong to this group. This shows congruence of all those people in India who are poor, deprived and discriminated. The last line is a clever piece of interpretation. Is it "people who are poor and deprived