Sunday, December 5, 2010

2010 CWG: Shame or Dignity for India?

The 2010 CWG(Common Wealth Games) which was held in India's capital city Delhi was nothing sort of stellar performance from the numerous Indian sports person who made India proud on the world stage.
So what is the media frenzy which, seems like a being-on-steroid like condition reporting @ a overdrive mode? Good question I must say, come on let us try getting an answer to that one.

Background:

 The CWG OC(Organising Committee) decided to conduct the 19th 2010 CWG in Delhi. `21,000 Cr was spent on this event(whereas `70,000 Cr is the figure which is being beamed by all the scores of media channels which is kinda misleading because it included cost of other allied projects like the building of Metro, fly-overs, etc). Around 22,000 volunteers made this event what it was - a Grand Success.

Pros:

CWG's exorbitant and lavish expenses were some what justified with India managing to place itself 2nd in the medal tally with a total medal haul of 101 which included 38 Gold! In the process India beat England to the 2nd position on the medal tally. This medal haul did herald India's arrival as a sporting nation on to the global sporting arena. This event finally has proven India's mettle & emergence as a sporting nation...which was long overdue. It was also very much needed to jolt the otherwise dormant service oriented Indian mentality who till date were(and are) being looked up for their 'BPO-centric' expertise. This doesn't mean though that India is ready to rub shoulders with their global counterparts as yet...rather an shot-in-the-arm for all sports lovers and would-be sports-person.

Cons:
Stellar performances by scamsters like Suresh Kalmadi and not to forget the kilometer long list of others, most of whom should have had blessing of the current Congress led govt. Accusation, allegations and lies were part of the drama which unfolded on to mainstream media hogging all the prime-time waves, adding another feather to the world leader in corruption(read India). All these added shame to our already tarnished image which was happily lapped up & highlighted in international media for shoddy preparations among others.


Contemplate:
To start of with, did India need to host these games just to prove their point(and may be satisfy their ego) emergence as a Superpower-in-the-making?
Weren't there other important & burning issues like tackling the issue of lack of basic facilities important for the govt to address?
Can India really announce their arrival on the global gaming arena or is it too early to sound the trumpet?
What about the Corers of which were swindled in the name funding?
Will the guilty be charged and ultimately shamed?
Did India plays its cards right for 2010 CWG?
...or quiet simply put...
Did the 2010 CWG games bring Shame or Dignity to India?

These are some of the few questions which every Indian wants answered.
If this truly the case, then the big wait for truth & answers begins...

Amen!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Carbon footprint! That ain't mean nothing to me

Let me start point blank about Global Warming (GW) - lot has been said, made and felt but very little done to correct it. Loads of issues need to be addressed in this regard. Carbon Credits were proposed as a last ditched half-hearted effort to salvage our positions, which by the way if you've been following closely has turned into another tool of extortion(read business/trading) used by the developed countries to trade with developing countries like India.

Hmm...a heavy start! Continuing with my topic, developed countries have imposed the developing countries with seriously challenging tasks of reducing their carbon footprint to avail trade benefits. These tasks are almost impossible & stifling to say the least for a growing economy & country like ours. Having said that India's resolve to reduce Carbon (denoted by symbol C) emission is unquestionable(if not undoubted). But the monster that it is - GW - is no Gothic fiction or some weird scientist's experience gone hay-wire. It is something that has far reaching ramifications for the rash & unmindful ways of our human endeavors. The implications of these being irreversible(if not unstoppable) in nature. So the problem is you, me & others like us who have mindlessly used up(almost) all the natural resources.

Yes you read that right. Let me say that again, "The problem is you, me and others like us!" But here is the best part; the solution is also you, me & others like us! Now that is some solace and a pleasant surprise to all of us. Isn't it? But the important & most uncomfortable question now is, "Are we prepared to be part of the solution or are we going to wait for somebody to do something while this mindless catastrophic destruction continues?" I guess I can vouch for all those with their heads & hearts in the right place that we are ready(though not sure how) to be part of the solution and usher the change that we want to see happen.

Here is something to chew on:
  • 3/4th of India's Petroleum quota are imported!
  • Govt spends Rs. 7000 Crores/year on fuel imports!
  • 1 tree on an average absorbs 1 ton CO2 in its 100 yr lifespan!
  • To produce 4 plastic bags 1 kg CO2 is spit into the atmosphere!
  • Mumbai uses 10 Mn plastic bags/day.i.e.,equivalent to 2500 tons of CO2/day!
  • Green house gas - Methane - traps 20 times more heat than CO2!
  • Bangalore produces 50 ton waste/day!
Counter facts & figures on how we can go around doing our bit to save Planet Earth & ourselves:
  • India is the 5th largest user of Solar energy!
  • Indian govt. has 35000 sq.km area ear-marked in North-West region to harness solar energy!
  • Karnataka state govt is contemplating ban on incandescent bulbs to use CFL bulbs for lighting purposes!
  • Indian govt has pledged to bring down their Carbon footprint further by looking at alternate energy sources like Wind Power to supplement its ever growing energy needs!
  • Every Indian can save 2% fuel by driving @ 50 KMPH and switching off your engines at signals.I'll leave the number crunching to you on your savings!
  • Decrease your C footprint by 11% by using CFL bulbs, unplugging mobile/any electrical appliances when they are not in use!
  • By switching 10 incandescent lamps to CFL bulbs you save 3000/year on your electricity bills!
  • Segregate dry & wet waste. Wet waste can further be converted to composite which can then be used in your gardens as an organic way of recycling. This would further decrease your C footprint by 4%/year!
  • You can save substantial amount of water by not washing car with a hose pipe, having running tap while brushing and fixing leaky taps!
  • Explore ways of car(and bike) pooling!
  • Look at alternate powered vehicles(Electric and Hybrid vehicles have already hit Indian shores)! It is up to us as consumers to jump on the bandwagon.
  • We can move away from conventional power and setup solar/wind powered solutions for our household needs thereby taking a substantial cut in our electricity bills and also end up easing the burden on the national electricity grid!
These are some of the few things you can do to help & save yourself as well as the present and future generations to come.
One small step will have huge impact in turning things around provided we are ready to take the first step.

On a parting note few lines which keep me going:
  • Rome wasn't built in a day.
  • Together we Can and we Will make a difference.
  • Nothing is impossible.
The only question is, are you game for it? Stop, Think, Contemplate but act Fast!

Amen!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Machoism on Manual Transmisson mode!

The other day I was having this discussion with my friends on my plans to buy a car. Naturally the discussion touched upon various aspects of it ranging from the car make, car type(hatch, sedan, SUV, luxury et al) to the obvious topic of budget(which was discussed in detailed to say the least) but not mentioning the other mundane stuff like the accessories, etc. But what warranted me to come out of my hibernation(of writing posts) and pen this post was the topic of car transmission.

For those who are unaware of what this means, let me lay it out for you. It is the mechanism used by the gearbox to shift gears which is ultimately used to control speed of the vehicle. For more details refer Wiki. Coming back to the topic, every vehicle has one of the two transmission types - Manual Transmission(MT) or Auto transmission(AT). I assume you might have guessed from the sounds of it that in the former type the driver controls the gear shift while in the later type it is taken care by the vehicle.

I have had a go at driving both MT & AT vehicles(though for a very brief amount of time). Given the fact that I'm more comfortable with the AT variants, I'm a staunch believer in the benefits of AT(for obvious reasons ;). Given this background, my discussion with my friend(s) obviously veered to the choice of transmission type while selecting a vehicle.

Now here are this broad sect of people who feel driving an AT vehicle is very girly kinds(if not upright lame)! Their school of thought being, driving a MT is a reflection of their machoism and there is no two ways about it. Where they lose me is the fact that these guys don't sound logical since their approach is anything but that. Let alone talking about comfort and things like that they confuse riding a vehicle to that being a show of their machoism!! In fact one of my friend went on to sight an example how he knew of an AT vehicle owner who used it since he was physically challenged!!! Ho ho ho...now wait a minute. Isn't this pushing the ideology too far(so-to-speak)? And the discussion gets interesting as another friend went on to add on the fun factor. According to him there is no fun in riding AT vehicles since he can't change gears (technically speaking the use of gearbox in AT is next to minimal) and his left leg(usually used to control clutch) is wasted. Add to this their unmindful need for high powered engines - the kinds which are really unessential in the urban/city commute. Let me explain myself a bit here. I say this since(most car drivers will agree here with me) most of the time you are caught in bumper-to-bumper traffic and by the time the signal goes green and you switch your gear away from neutral gear planning to hit 30 KMPH one the following hurdle crop up - a silly traffic unmindful pedestrian or an equally challenged traffic driver or a new speed bump(thanks to the new infrastructural surge happening around most cosmopolitan cities)! On top of this sample yourself having to navigate the mindless potholes ingrained on the city roads, couple that with the steady stream of smart a** bikers showcasing their driving skills by snaking around the car corners and barely sparing scratching your car. All this leaves you as an MT driver to constantly work on the clutch & gearbox, as if the other irritants weren't enough to get your pulse racing for nothing short of a heart-attack. We all know how stressful it is these days driving in city traffic.

So as an AT vehicle user isn't comfort the apt term to be used in this context or am I drifting away from the topic? But then I'm also reminded(by the I-know-the pulse-of-manhood "Studs of India") to look at the number of MT options v/s the AT ones available in India. Fair point made and point taken in this context, but again I've this to say to them. How come that in all the developed countries usage of AT vehicles are a norm? Aren't we missing something big here? Or is it that the Indian drivers' are smarter than their western counterpart? Answer to the later question is a debate in itself and will warrant an separate post altogether. Here is a something to chew on for the "Studs of India": What do you think of all the luxury cars being offered with AT as the norm? Take that for a change :)

This discussion was and till date continues to be the one gyan that I fail to understand. Hope I get the drift soon else I might be "branded" for my choice...of transmission ;)

Amen!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hummer hums to its grave

Hummer faces shutdown! (Read full story here...)
Hummer - the ultimate American SUV(Sports Utility Vehicle) icon is at its last leg of life so to speak. With the collapse of talks between its prospective new owner - Chinese heavy equipment maker Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machines Co and its current owner GM(General Motors Co), its time this beast breathed its last for good.

Americans egos are mostly reflected by their wordly possessions, which loosely explains how it rose to be the ultimate icon. Examplifying the American way of living - consuming more than needed - this innovation was an well known gas guzzler.

One of the most important fact missed out by the Americans was that any over consuming idea/idealogy can not & will not survive the test of time. With GM almost bust, Hummer was one of the most likely candidate to be taken out off the list. An wise decision indeed by GM's think tank to wake up & realign themselves with the sensibilites of important issues - one of which being the mega fuel consumption of these vehicles. All around the globe most oil sites are either fully exhausted or are on the verge of drying up. Reactively we humans are now looking to alternatives of conventional fuels. Hope we've learnt our lessons - though compelled and the hard way.

Looking away from the job loses & the dent in revenue for GM, this comes as a welcome news. Because it is not about who owns this monster - Americans, Chinese or may be the Indians(a distinct possibilty). No matter who owns it, but resurrecting this beast would mean paying too high of a price for all of us as human beings!

That is the lesson to be learnt from this case study.

Amen!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Silda ambush: Govt caught with their pants down!

24 Jawans killed in Maoists attack in Silda(Read full story here...)

In yet another incident involving the Maoists terrorists this time around our uniformed countrymen have paid up with their lives. Maoists problem has been plaguing us for many years now and India as an emerging Super Power have turned an blind eye to this issue. Result being both civil & uniformed countrymen are paying with their dear lives. But it seems that is not enough to jolt the govt - both state & central - from their slumber and issue remedial measures to counter this situation. Neutralizing this ever growing threat by eliminating the Maoists movement completely is the only way to deal with this problem. There can and should be no other choice at all (Period)

On top of this what comes as a shocker is the callous attitude of the security forces responsible in tackling this menace and their blatant disregard to the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures). For God's sake what were they thinking??? Were they there on a picnic or fight terrorists? How could the Jawans be so careless and unguarded! With such high body count, did the bodies of their fallen comrades teach them an lesson or two on how to tackle terrorism or are these forces happy being sitting ducks?

That being said the govt. has to get their act together on this issue and go out all guns blazing against these Enemies of State and give them an befitting response. Such an response which should be etched in the annals of any terrorist - be it an organization/person - contemplating trouble in India. But that is wishful thinking...

Shame on the state & central govt. machinery(read Home Ministry) which has been dealing with this issue for years now without any proper/probable solution in the horizon. Lets face it, the ugly truth being govt. has been caught with their pants down...again!!!
Amen!

Monday, February 1, 2010

2 Madrasas take the 1st step in the right direction

Madrasas are religious schools where Islamic spiritual education is taught. It doesn't come as a surprise though that some Islamic extremist radicals use these very schools to in doctrine young & vulnerable minds into hardcore terrorists the world has ever seen/experienced!


In today's times when Islam is tainted by the so-called champions of Islam (read Taliban & its allies); this news of 2 Belgaum madrasas leading from the front and setting an example is heartily welcome(Read full story here...).


These kind of initiatives are the need of the hour for the Muslim community. They exemplify the true essence of Islam - non-violence & peaceful coexistence. These also signify that they wiling to integrate into mainstream rather than isolate themselves behind the secluded veils of terrorism & fanaticism which has tainted them worldwide.


Hope all the Islamic scholars & religious leaders learn a lesson or two from this, thereby heralding a new chapter in Islam's integration(in India & worldwide) and set an precedent for future generations to come.


Amen!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Important information regarding govt. undertaking

I have compiled some useful information and URLs pertaining to different govt. undertakings. Thought of sharing those with you all. I encourage my friends & readers to share with me these kind of useful information so that I can update this post accordingly. This post will be updated as and when more information will be available to me.


Thanks in advance to all.


Indian Railway website
http://www.indianrail.gov.in


Indian Tax Information website
http://www.tin-nsdl.com

Karnataka state govt's BBMP election initiative
http://www.bbmpelections.in: To check which ward you belong to and other details regarding BBMP elections 2010
http://smartvote.in/voterlist: This website enables people to access information on voters across the 198 BBMP wards.

Karnataka state govt's e-Stamping initiative

Amen!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Internet running out of addresses & our dependence on it


For the layman, internet was(and is) always an invincible ever growing mechanism...which in a loose way is true, so to speak. But I'm sure this news was a kick-in-the-head for many geeks. No one ever imagined that we would come to a time when internet would run of addresses!(Read full story here...) It is happening now and this burnout (of internet addresses) is in many ways faster than the melting snow caps of Antarctic!

This goes on to say how internet has touched and changed our lives. In the late 70s or early 80s no one could have predicted this kind of unprecedented impact of computers let alone the internet on our lives. But as we evolved, so did our(ever) growing hunger for knowledge. In all facets of life science & technology are shaping the way we look at life. Our very survival is now slowly and surely being etched by the very success of new technological break through taking place all around us. Going forward our lives will be hard wired on the very survival of these technologies and internet will form the backbone of this very mechanism.


Our evolution and hunger for knowledge has surged way ahead of our means. There would come a time when the good ol' days will be sorely missed and technology will have to pause its relentless march to accommodate our good old ways of healthy living.

But having said that, I'm surely not trying to undermine the various milestones reached due to the success of technologies like the internet. To counter this shortfall of internet addresses due to the use of IPv4 mechanism the best way forward would be is to move to an IPv6 address mechanism. Addressing this problem will take sometime for sure but then I'm sure the realization has set in and some corrective actions will be taken to remedy this situation.


Zooming away from technology and looking at the broader canvas of life, taking into consideration the very reason & need of why technology came into existence was to address and make our lives easy & fuller so to speak. Looking back are we in a position to agree to that or do we agree to disagree? There definitely needs to be an balance of aid from technology and human needs. But isn't this wishful thinking?


Amen!

Friday, January 8, 2010

700 Jihadis waiting to strike in J&K!

Around 700 Jihadis waiting to strike in J&K!(Read full story here...)


Post the Lal Chowk terror attack, Indian security intelligence has credible information about an possible attack(s). This doesn't come as a surprise since it has been Pakistan's systematic scheme to destabilize J&K in the name of so-called Azad Kashmir movement. Having occupied major part of northern Kashmir, now officially referred to as POK(Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) they want to extract Kashmir from India's control and make it one of their own. Pakistan's ideology stems from their anger & frustration over India's role in splitting Pakistan into two(Bangladesh being the other half).


Having said that I fail to understand why the Indian security agencies and the ruling govt. are not able(read willing)  to decipher this basic design. Shouldn't we as a formidable country look into our security arrangements both pro-actively and/or reactively? India's weak kneed response to this ever growing terrorism from across the border is boosting the ego of the master chefs who are busy dishing over different flavors of it.


The media on the other hand is not strong willed to question the govt. and its policies. Even if they did question(which was only to garner mileage in terms of sales)  they didn't never follow up on the course of action or inaction by the authorities to mitigate these issues.


Hope these kind of passive & reactive mentality is shunned by the govt. and the media, some concrete measures are taken to address this issue....but thats wishful thinking...again!!!


Amen!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Real estate prices on Steroids!


Cheaper to buy in Bhurj Khalifa than India(Read full story here...)

Real estate is no longer real in India. India has always been on the forefront when it comes to making heads turn. It is at it again...this time its real estate for a change. With the world economies trying to stand up on their weak & wobbly knees (due to after effects of the recent financial meltdown) India on the other hand is soaring to new heights, mocking the sensibilities of number crunchers - economists ;).

The real estate prices are sky rocketing in India and this news article says it all. Indians specially those staying in cities like Mumbai & Delhi are paying a premium. I know this is not news any more, but what baffles me is the fact how can any sensible person in their right senses pay such a premium provided there are no proper(read appropriate) infrastructure or facilities built/provided to support and hence justify these kind of sums charged! The prices of Bhurj Khafila makes sense for the fact that the infrastructure in and around this place is well developed.

Hope the investors\residents shelling out this kind of head-spinning amount ask the right questions and push the developers to be answerable for providing enough(read appropriate) infrastructure rather than play into their hands and be part of this fleecing game. Anybody want to second that?

One of the thought that keeps lingering in my mind is "Does Indians really have these kind of money or is it Black money talking?"

Concluding all I understand is that 'Real estate prices are no more real any more!'

Amen!

Monday, January 4, 2010

India readying to destroy enemy satellites

India readying weapon to destroy enemy satellites(Read full story here...)


Yahoo News reports this very sensitive information on its homepage. Good way to break an sensitive news relating to the security developments of our country. I doubt this is right way for an ever developing (and want-to-be-superpower) nation to deal with an important topic like the nation's security details! But this doesn't matter Indians and hence India is known to throw up surprises from the least expected quarters.


Being proud and boasting of building an missile (read determinant weapons system) is one thing, but that shouldn't come at the cost of the undermining national security. Leaking these kind of security related information has its own downside and issues to deal with.


Let us remind ourselves or what our capabilities are. We are a nation which is one of the biggest spenders on national security next only to developed countries like US, UK, China, etc. But our indigenous weapon building program falls well below the expected level give the size and skills of our country. We are a country which spends a king's share of the allocated budget on procuring weapons from countries like US, Russia, UK, Israel, etc to name a few. These suppliers on the other hand are spending billions of dollars on R&D facilities to come up with new & improved machines to have an advantage both mechanically and technologically, thereby gaining an upper hand in the art of warfare.


If India really needs something to boast about(in this domain), then they better start developing indigenous technology and tapping the local potential. The potential is to come up with good products and scoop customers with that.


Retracing back to topic of this post, boasting of new project undertakings specifically the ones pertaining to national security shouldn't be discussed in the public domain until it successful. I'm not advocating unaccountability for all the govt./pvt agencies involved, but rather the notion is to get these sensitive projects worked on under wraps to avoid possible security breaches, both - unintentionally and deliberately (by subversive anti-national forces). 

Let us talk less and do more (work)...for actions speaks louder than words.



Amen!