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Showing posts with the label Rambling-Rant

India's Political Disconnect: Prioritizing Youth-Centric Agendas for a Brighter Future

Photo by Chelsea Aaron on Unsplash Elections are currently underway in India, the world's largest democracy. However, the political discourse appears to be disconnected from the pressing issues faced by its populace, particularly the youth. Instead of addressing the genuine concerns of the electorate, candidates from both the ruling and opposition parties seem preoccupied with religious polarization on one side or empty dole-out promises on the other. India boasts the world's largest young population, yet even the political rhetoric, leave alone the political action, fails to resonate ideas for the young and productive generation. Rather than offering relevant agendas, the electorate is inundated with divisive narratives and superficial pledges. For a young population, the most critical area that urgently requires attention is education. India's education system poses the most significant challenge for a country with the largest base of young population.  India's publi

Debunking Gender Stereotypes: Examining Work-Life Balance for Professionals

Photo by  Sandy Millar  on  Unsplash In recent Whatsapp discussions about work-life balance with a few college friends, an interesting claim was made, suggesting that women professionals are most productive after the age of 45. The indirect point being made was that, women usually remain busy with 'family responsibilities' aka child rearing until 45, after which they become more productive at work. I found this very objectionable stereotyping of both women, but also men. This statement was also tacitly claiming that men did not have 'family responsibilities' in their lives, and that men did not get busy with the birth of children. I do not deny that our societies are still far from being gender egalitarian - patriarchy is rampant and implicit even in modern society. However, that does not mean that the stereotype of an alpha-male who 'earns the bread' and beta-female who prioritizes 'child-rearing' needs to be perpetuated! There are enough men and women

Learning from the Coromandel express accident

In a tragic incident that took place near the Bahanaga railway station in Odisha's Balasore district, a collision between the Coromandel Express and a goods train resulted in the deaths of 207 people, with over 900 others injured. The Bengaluru-Howrah superfast express was also involved in the accident. This devastating event serves as a stark reminder of the safety challenges faced by the Indian Railways.  While statistics may show a relatively low accident ratio per kilometer, it is crucial to consider the context: lower speeds, inadequate facilities, and a significantly higher passenger load compared to other parts of the world. Trains in India enjoy the same status as Airlines given the long distance travel is routinely popular. Given this scenario it is important that safety in rail travel is also given the same level of importance as in the airlines sector. The specifics of why this Accident happened such as technology or human failure may provide certain tactical cues but th

Sense, Sensitivities and Sensibility

It's easy nowadays to get offended - and it's also easy to offend someone. So when I read the news about some politician having made an 'indecent' remark about a Hindu goddess, I simply ignored it to be a political slugfest of trying to win the votes of one audience, by offending the other. It probably is indeed so - I honestly do not know.  However, as the news unravelled I came to know that the source was not this politician from the opposition parties but an Indian-origin film-maker based in Canada who apparently made a movie on Maa Kali and a poster of her film which created the waves. Apparently, the poster showed Kali smoking cigarettes - the filmmaker wanted to showcase Maa Kali as a badass hero and smoking was the way to show off the adjective! As I pondered over this, several thoughts ran into my mind - which the title of this post represents. But the very first image which flew across my mental retina was that of Gajanan Maharaj - a saint from the 19th centur

Taxation and the Principal-Agent problem

The principal-agent problem [PAP], in political science and economics, occurs when one person or entity (the "agent"), is able to make decisions and/or take actions on behalf of, or that impact, another person or entity: the "principal". This dilemma exists in circumstances where agents are motivated to act in their own best interests, which are contrary to those of their principals, and is an example of moral hazard. One of the relatable cases of PAP is sales - the sales executive is likely to motivate you to buy those products where s/he earns more commissions, rather than those which are cheaper or beneficial for you. This problem occurs in any kind of a sale whether its a kitchen appliance or insurance product. Maybe you've already guessed where I am going with this - the PAP with taxes. The government is an agent which levies a charge (taxes) on its people - possibly the strangest of principal-agent relationships [in all other cases, the agent is usually pa

What's with the 20 year fascination?

Here's a 2005 video of a TED talk by Ray Kurzweil - noted futurist and now a director of engineering at Google. He talks about some of the life-transforming (literally!) innovations which will happen by 2020, due to the accelerating speed of technology change. I had written in past about how the science fiction of the 1980s predicted several innovations (like Androids, Space Travel, Space cities, and teleportation) would come true by the year 2000, and how hardly any one of these seem to be coming true by 2050. As we cross the year 2019, and we can predict with a more absolute sense about where we will be in the year 2020, and Kurzweil's vision that "we will succeed in reverse-engineering the human brain" and "we'll be able to manufacture almost anything we need in the 2020s, from information, in very inexpensive raw materials, using nano-technology", look pretty much unachievable. Nevertheless, self-driving cars are here and smart digital

Sanju was a huge opportunity lost by Sanjay Dutt!

I know its too late to post a movie review, the movie Sanju was released more than 10 months ago and honestly, I just happened to watch it because it was showing on TV yesterday. But I am writing this because I simply cannot subdue my ruth at the complete waste of opportunity the movie turns out to be and mainly for the lack of directorial ability from someone as adept as Rajkumar Hirani. Rajkumar Hirani is an excellent story-teller but more so, a director par excellence, as anyone who has watched Munnabhai MBBS would confirm. His first directorial venture was a testimony to how a saturnine subject can be presented in an entertaining manner, yet contain a social message. But with Sanju , Hirani has failed as a director - because he has stuck to his template for a subject which demanded an independent treatment and not paid directorial attention to what the subject demands. There are many posts online [ 1 ] [ 2 ] [ 3 ] [ 4 ] which call out for the selective editing of Sanjay D

Education of the hand and the head

I have written previously on Education, my own bias towards Gandhiji's Nai Talim philosophy and my mentor Prof. Prasad's attempts to implement Nai Talim in Post Graduate studies. However, I keep getting disappointed at the lack of any support whatsoever to this (almost 80 year) old but pragmatic approach in primary and secondary education, even when the need for this is observed. I read this article in Mint by senior policy managers for J-PAL South Asia, they talk about "concern(s) that while enrolment in elementary education has increased, education outcomes have declined, with abilities in reading, writing and other comprehensive skills deteriorating"; suggest " Pedagogical solutions such as restructuring classes by learning level, rather than by age or grade and improving School governance like incentivizing teacher presence and effort, and putting in place properly designed monitoring and accountability structures ". What is lacking however

The irony of our times ...

The irony of our times ... Those who oppose crimes against themselves, inflict crimes on their own people  Those who want peace within, advocate bombing the 'criminal' states  Those who oppose 'repressive' regimes, side with them when the 'rebels' start bombing their countries  Those who work for off-shoring IT businesses, condemn governments for allowing cheap Chinese imports  'Export' cloth manufacturers encourage laws restricting of foreign manufactured vehicles Families who built houses with repatriation money castigate illegal immigrants from neighboring countries  Those who worship most feverishly are also those who preach hatred People conduct 'culture' festivals at the Bank of rivers damaging fragile ecosystems on the riverbed  Those who find affirmation action 'unfair' to the majority cringe when the government taxes their savings  Minorities always cite the law; majorities make the law!  My opportunity is fair -

A day in life of Incredible India!

The photograph below is a scene from the incredibly buzzing and busy Tier 2 city - Ujjain - in India; a center of religious tourism in central India. The precise location - a service lane to a otherwise important highway connecting the city of Ujjain to three other nearby cities of Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior. A marriage procession ( Baraat, बारात ) on its way blocking the whole road while the car (silver grey, Maruti Suzuki WagonR) patiently awaits passage. An impatient lady on the scooter tries to manoeuvre from the gap on the side, when an unchivalrous biker coming from the opposite end blocks her way. While in this logjam, the lady's mobile phone rings and without regard for the cacophony she is in, she decides to take the call. Moments later the procession will move on, the car will find its way forward and both the woman and the biker shall hurry towards their respective destinations. The ensemble cast in this photo will reach their respective destinations and discuss

The nemesis of Rahul Gandhi

As we approach 2014, the din of election rhetoric grows louder - the media and general public discourse alike get influenced by what the politicians put forward and portray. In such an atmosphere, while it is imperative that the real issues should boil to the surface, to the contrary, personality clashes and rhetorical debates will take center stage. One such debate being pushed to forth by the BJP is the comparison's between their PM candidate Narendra Modi and Congress (not yet announced) probable candidate Rahul Gandhi. There are those who accept this contest as one of personalities, and even try to justify the ideological bankruptcy of Rahul Gandhi as his style of leadership ; however most commentators concede [ 1 , 2 , 3 ] that Modi triumphs Gandhi in most sphere's of personality comparisons. Gandhi on his part has tried hard to break the jinx on him; he tried to instill internal democracy within the party, spoke several times against the party's decisions suppor

Arrogance, NaMo, Humility, Sachin, Society and self

Increasingly we see more arrogance than humility - whether its the traffic queue or the mall or in a workplace. Many people today thrive on being arrogant (often termed as 'dynamic and demanding' in the workplace). And the emergence of Narendra Modi is also a part of the same culture we are promoting. While from the same political party - the biggest chasm that separates Atalji from Modi was his humility. And Sachin, the maestro belonged to Atalji's category. His strength and wisdom, apart from his cricket genius is in his humility. Many of last decades' titans - from ICICI's Kamath to Infosys's Murthy are known for their humility as much as they are for their business acumen. It is, hence, worth pondering if - as a nation, as colleages, as companies, as a society, and mostly as individuals - we want to promote arrogance as a way of working or as a bevahiour which is encouraged.

SPAM - but interesting!

Image   by  Sean MacEntee I received the below spam mail in my inbox yesterday - mostly something which I would delete / (mark as) spam without opening; but by chance I opened this mail. And was I surprised! No, its not a legitimate mail - its spam, but it has been very carefully crafted suiting the present day context. And the logic presented is uncontestable: From: Sent: 01 September 2013 20:55 Subject: More to Come? Do you want to become rich due to armed conflicts? It`s the very time to do it. As soon as the military attack Syria, oil prices will rise as well as MONARCHY RESOURCES (M O_N K) share price! Go make profits on Sep 2, grab M O_N K shares!!! Of course I am not interested in MONARCHY RESOURCES (heck! I don't even know what it is) - but no one can argue the logic that any more warmongering by US (or its protege NATO) will only end up increasing the cost of oil and drive up the prices of everything. In fact, if one argues that had the US not

The futility of struggles in Mumbai

I live in Mumbai and while it has become routine for people to sing praises of the city, idolize the 'struggles' they face here, there are   some people , who see the naked thruth through the Stockholm Syndromed reactions of ' Mumbaikars ', and talk sense! Today I plan to add my take to this line of thought. I live in Powai, specifically in the Hiranandani locality of Powai - probably one of the most urbane spaces developed in Mumbai - paved streets, proper footpaths, angled / curved turns etc. Traffic flow has been planned to be regulated well; even then every morning between 8:15am and 8:30am, there is a cacophony of cars honking their way on the road beside my apartment. The reason is that there's a school in the alley behind my house and since it starts at 8:30am, cars of parents who have come to drop their wards occupy one lane of slow moving traffic. I am sure there are several commuters who pass this point every day at this hour and get stuck in this

All heroic acts are foolish to your contemporaries!

In the scène de finale of Die Hard 4 - John Mclaine (Bruce Willis) shoots himself through his shoulder to kill the villain in the movie Thomas Gabriel. Later when his daughter tells him - "Daddy, you’re out of your mind. You shot yourself!" he responds -"It seemed like a good idea at the time. Don't tell those guys [meaning the FBI] that I did this". The parting dialogue illustrates one of the most fundamental truths of life - any heroic or courageous action is usually also an act of foolishness when it is actually committed. Often if you too do things at work or personal life which are acts of personal sacrifice or risk - you try to conceal the fact that you did them. Few of us usually find pleasure in publicizing such acts. Think of any acts that we today honour and think of how these were perceived in their times - Copernicus or the fictional Phileas Fogg or even Bhagat Singh - all were considered courageous fools - if not by the whole world but definitel

Some photos from my mobile

The day Could not have started worse

Image Credit: deen I took about 2½ hours to reach office today. Apparantly some truck has oveturned near Chembur and hence all traffic from the Sion-Trombay highway has been diverted towards the Suman-nagar flyover (where Eastern Express enters the Island city). This has resulted in a huge traffic jam at Sion. The small incident explains how fragile the infrastructure demand-supply equilibrium is in Mumbai. The roads are just about sufficient to support traffic. So, if it rains or a truck/bus stranded on the road side - it creates queues of traffic kilometers long. Image Credit: Marc van der Chijs This is because of multiple reasons - first of course being that road-space is narrow. The others are like: There are no alternate routes to reach the Island city apart from the arterial roads. The JNPT road remains unutilized even at the time of the traffic jams and natural calamities like water logging. The Highway Maintenance services such as towing trucks to clear stranded vehicles are n

Random thoughts on rainy day

Image Credit phishpot from FlickR It's a beautiful sight - a lit up marketplace, cars driving through the lane in the middle with their own lights on, the slow speed making drivers push their breaks and hence a lot of red lights as well and rain falling from the above. I like night time - ever since my school days when we used to practice for our annual function at night in school. I used to love seeing the school building lit up. At night all the imperfections in buildings are hidden, the lights then highlight the best parts and shapes accentuating the looks. I loved roaming around my school campus at night, and the habit continued in college. Life at NITIE took my liking for night times to a completely new level - night time was for committee meetings, parties and chatting with friends - it was THE time. Night life is one of the hallmarks of the modern era; in the ancient times night was associated with darkness and hence fear of the wild, in the medieval it was the time of cri

5 online vices!

Forenote : Apologies for sounding so crass in this post - its a rant, so guess its ok. But if it bothers you to read - don't! 1. Changing one's name on a social network to some cryptic text/phrase In the days of yore (read:2005-7) when social networks like Orkut did not have the facility of setting your status, many people changed their display names to reflect their status such as "got married", "now in Pune" etc. Now that all social networks provide a "status" field, I don't think people need to continue to change their display names - yet, so many of them do!  Again, while most are sensible to append these messages after their names, some people completely replace their names with the message. Coupled with the fact that such people often use a cartoon or random image as their profile photo, it becomes impossible to determine the person's identify even when you visit their profile. And with some who have peculiar email IDs such as arbit-d