Thursday, May 22, 2008

Inviting a (healthy) discussion..

As always, a comment and my reply. I thought this was worth publishing :)

Anonymous sachin said...

Well I have seen the Hyd Airport, to say the very least I was disappointed. We need to catch up. By the way it is not maintained by Govt. It is not complete yet and I cannot even compare that to the third best terminal at Detroit airport. Yeah thats where I live now. This is not a complaint, I want Indians to compete, compete at an international level. We boast a lot, but do little to match that. As for the security, its a joke. I can go on and on.....


Wed May 21, 08:43:00 PM PDT

Blogger DivSu said...

Hi Sachin

Well, you should take into account a lot of things before you compare anything in the US with anything in India. Sorry, but I usually don't tolerate people comparing India to the US and saying roads are cleaner, airports are better, traffic rules are followed bla bla bla.. especially when India has a very severe infrastructural disadvantage when compared to the US (1/4th the area and 4x the population). I never let anyone say that in front of me and get away without having a piece of my mind.

We boast yes, its unhealthy. I agree. We do a little and then we celebrate a lot. But that aside, why don't you compare the Hyderabad airport with the older Hyderabad airport. Its a far cry and we have come a long way. I wish people would dwell on the positive end and look to the brighter side of things. But more often than not people are pessimists. They insist on pulling down every small achievement. Moderation is good, pessimism is not.

Yes, its not maintained by the Government which is all the more reason for us to hope it will continue to be better and not get worse.

We need to catch up yes. No one is saying we are all there and arrived completely. But we are at least trying to run along in the race and that is what you should appreciate. Catching up doesn't happen over-night and far less with just building a couple of squeaky airports.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy Detroit ;)


Anonymous said...

I think for now, India has to spend money on many other things, like trying to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor which is widening very much, before spending money on trying to build airports to compete with US airports.

We are already proving that Indians are no less smarter, we compete in all fields, technology, engring, software.

Its amazing what India has achieved in the past 60years.

Its only a matter of time.


DivSu said...

Hey Z! I agree totally. We can't catch up just by building airports. We have a lot more catching-up to do in many other things. But at least the India I see now is a lot more aware and a lot more intellectual than say 20 years ago (in my narrow window of perception). I dream of a great country which will live up to its rich history and smart early civilizations! And I believe its possible. We just need our youth to be more involved in building this place ( I was told that we have the largest growing population <35 years age).

Laksh said...

You hit the nail on the head! Absolutely with you on what you say. Boastfulness or not, the nuggets of feel good news makes me hope. Of a stronger shinier desh.

DivSu said...

Thanks Laksh!

rupa said... just poured my thoughts into words....we are sure trying to catch up in our own way....and am extremely proud of that...

DivSu said...

Thanks Rupa!

Sachin said...

Go back and read your post on Hyderabad airport. You compared a lot of things with US and the whole point of the post was kind of comparing things. It seems like you are comparing new airport with the old one, then you say "it was something like someone transferred world famous airport right into the city". Check out how many times you mentioned US in that post.

By the way the old Begumpet airport was good enough, the big difference now is this new one can handle more traffic. I will tell you what i cannot accept, i cannot accept mediocrity and i cannot accept when people do stuff day in and day out and ask others not to. Oh well if you are so mad at people comparing, check your blog all you do is compare and my comparison was not meaningless.

Yours is though. Cleanliness and following traffic rules has nothing to do with infrastructure.

I will tell you about couple of incidents during my India trip. Well I travelled from detroit amsterdam to hyderabad. My flight from amsterdam to hyderabad, we all boarded the plane, i was one of the last ones, and the captain says that somebody forgot a laptop at the security check. Guess what, almost everybody in the plane who had a laptop got up, and was looking for the laptop, to find out if they forgot theirs, You know what i was wondering, am I the only one who Knows that my laptop is in my bag. You know what this shows, lack of confidence. Obviuosly about 98% of the poeple in that flight were Indian, many of them are well educated and worked or worked in US or Europe. They were clothes made in USA, They want the foreign wine, they want everything western. Mostly materialistic. What we need to learn from the west, we leave it behind. We need to learn to be responsible for our actions, we need to take up the attitude.

The attitude of being the best, no matter what. I recently made a comment on HBR blog about how the managers from east lag self-confidence, his response was, i was right on spot, he meets managers from India regularly who lack this and he rarely sees this from their western counterparts.

I can go on and on and on.....But i will save it for another day.

Anonymous, The best way to improve the standard of living in India is obviously creating more opportunities for poor, and building airports is a very good way of doing that. Nobody is building airports to compete with US airports, its to cater to the needs of growing India. It is not amazing what we have done in 60 years. I will give you an example of amazing thing in the last 60 years, south korea's development. Its the only new developed country in that period.

by the way India of today is not lot more intellectual than 20 years ago. That was a completely absurd statement, when it comes to intellectuals.

I would say this much to end this comment.

People, Stop accepting mediocrity.

Anand said...

The original note is not very detailed on what is lacking in Hyderabad airport compared to Detroit. If they are reasonable amenities that a modern day air traveller expects and they arent there today and even in the roadmap for a reasonable future then it is a failure and there is nothing wrong in recognizing that. Heavy taxes are paid by passengers and airlines and these airports managed by private are out there to make money. There must be some minimum service guidelines because these are mass transportation systems and not malls where people can choose to go or keep away if the facilities are not good. I dont think this is related in any way to India bridging the gap between rich/poor etc. because the govt is not subsidising airports.

DivSu said...

Hi Sachin

First off, let me clarify some things. I recently moved back from the US and my main motive to move back is that missed a lot of things India and a lot of things Indian. So I compare. Because I have been asked to. My friends, fellow-bloggers etc wanted to know what I "felt" when I came back. How my experience in India is compared to my life in the US. So that they can try and make a decision as well. So I compare my experience in India with my life back in the US. Yes. But that is on a more "emotional" level. It could be one-sided. But then its my experience. So its bound to be one-sided. If your opinions align with mine, you can apply my conclusions to your life, else you don't. That is it. I say I never got mangoes back in the US but now I gorge on them, but if you want to say that it is the same kind of comparison that you make, then I am sorry, you are way off on a tangent. And to further clarify, I challenge you to show me one line in the original post on the Hyderabad airport where I said something to the tune of Hyderabad airport is better than San Jose airport in such and such things. Or that San Jose airport's (that is where I lived) something is a joke and so on. And the reason I don't do it is not because I can't find anything wrong to point out in San Jose airport, it is not perfect. Believe me, if I were to compare the now Hyderabad airport to San Jose's airport, Hyderabad would be a lot more jazzy. You should have a problem if I did between Hyderabad and San Jose what you did between Hyderabad and Detroit:)

And I am a mid-west old timer. So I know mid-west's airports have their own share of problems. And this when you expect everything in the US to be fully formed. Developed. And when India is still waking up. Developing. I know we have spent a lot of time in being in the "developing" mode. More than is justified. But that is hardly reason to underplay small achievements.

Comparison on an emotional level everyone bounds to do. I am not claiming to be a saint and be above it all. I do compare. Because its my various experiences. And I don't compare on non-emotional aspects between countries that are not on equal footage. Especially to downplay the less privileged countries. I say India is severely crippled for infrastructure. There is just no space to provide to everyone. There is just no way you can avoid the "survival of the fittest" race in every walk of life. If you don't win, you get run over. So I wait my turn in the US because I know my turn will come sooner or later. I know that supplies will not be exhausted by the time I get to the head of the line. You will find that it is often not the case in India. We don't have surplus supplies. And that in my mind is the root-cause of all ensuing "evils" that you see here and point out. Think about it a little more. And you will know for yourself.

I don't want to comment on the rest of your ideas because they have nothing to do with the discussion on the airport. And I will leave it to the other bloggers to reply to your responses to their comments.

Hi Anand

You simply said it all:) Which is probably good enough to use to debate Sachin's point about how I "compare". If you didn't find details about what is lacking in Hyderabad when compared to Detroit, or for that matter vice-versa, its because I simply didn't compare. I think the Hyderabad airport caters well enough to what passengers need. At least I didn't find any problems. Please do share your own opinion when and if you happen to fly through the new Hyderabad airport.

sachin said...

It is very interesting how you know what my conclusions are based on.

If you do think security at the airport is good enough, then God help you. You see security can be established without having all kinds of modern equipment. The security personnel are not properly trained. Once again the security at hyderabad airport is a BIG JOKE and this does not mean that everywhere else its better, even in US, European security system is lot better than US.

If you did not compare sanjose airport to hyd airport, i mean yo u were not specific, but when you involve the whole world that concludes your comparison is not just with begumpet but many of the other international airports. I do not have issues with truth, if Hyd airport is jazzier than sanjose, then so be it. I will be proud and happy.

About emotional and non-emotional comparisons and your friends requests etc etc....Its just bullocks.

I know you just moved to hyd, i know you lived in mid-west, but that does not mean that i said everything in US is perfect, you see thats the whole point, If americans are satisfied with what they have their progress will slow down or diminish, and if they accept what they get, then their lives will be miserable. you see what i am trying to say. It actually applies both to americans and Indians. If you want to be the best then try to be the best and do the best not of you but of everybody.

and how many times did you have to stay in line and by the time you reached the counter the supplies exhausted since you are back in India. Those days are almost gone in India, thats actually is the biggest difference today, you have money, you will get it. There are always exceptions though.

Hi Anand,

Yeah I agree i did not talk much about what is lacking, i will give you two things, my gate was changed at the last minute and their was no announcement ahead of time, and these guys were literally going to person to person to relay the message, why do they have to do it? dont know, the boarding of the flight was very confusing and chaotic until we put foot on the flight. The smoking lounge was not yet ready, no exhaust and not properly maintained. I already mentioned about security. These actually seem small things but these are what show you where we are going in the future.

as for bridging the gap between rich and poor is concerned I was right on spot with providing opportunities to people who want to work, as for the others even God cannot change them, so let them be what they are. I am very much familiar with shamshabad and surrounding areas, and how many people got new jobs due to airport is mind boggling. i will give you one example, there are 400 new taxis in hyd because of this. and as for govt. subsicidies taking care of this problem (poverty), were you serious about that? i dont want to be rude but i cannot stop myself from asking this question, are you a communist?

Hey Divya detroit is great, I wish it were a little bit warmer here. It is good times in detroit, wings are in stanley cup and as always pistons battling celtics in ECF. I am in chicago for the weekend, you know chicago right, I am having fun.

Hope you are enjoying the hot summer in India.


DivSu said...

Hey Sachin

As you seem to be extremely pleased with your own opinions and observations and especially since you think all that I said is crap (I am assuming that is what you mean by bullocks?!) I don't see how I can say anything that you won't think is useless. So I will not even try. I wish you well and hope you become the "best of everybody" :)

Anand said...

Hi Sachin,

I agree that your boarding experience could have been better. I havent been to Hyd airport but I have been to US and on one particular instance on a long weekend in San Jose airport and with a confirmed ticket and before time, I was made to run from pillar to post to get into a flight that too not to my original destination and then again take a cab from there and to again run/argue/wait to get credit for the cab drive from that airport. But yeah you may say that is a long weekend etc. but that is an already known event so that is no excuse and thier planning equally sucks as Indian airports. Infact in my post I have said that if reasonable facilities are not provided to the traveller then the govt must enforce them with the private airport management.

Regarding creating new jobs because of the new airport, I dont know abt Hyd, but in Bangalore a number of jobs will be lost because the old airport shut down. So what is the fun in creating new jobs in a different locality?? And also a new airport by itself is not going to drive any new investment, there are hundreds of other factors that investors consider.

Regarding govt subsidies I think you didnt read my post carefully, I never said I support/oppose them, I only said airports are not subsidised so this issue about providing more facilities in airports takes away money from other subsidy programs that empower the poor argument is false.

But now that you have understood it differently let me also also state a few facts. Take the case of farm subisidies, I am not sure whether you know how much US, EU and Japan spend on farm related subsidies, retirement benefits for farmers (geez :)) etc. most of it in direct cash. Go figure how much they dole out to people who havent planted a seed in their lifetime. In India most of the agiricultural subsidies are indirect in the means of cheaper inputs such as seeds and fertilisiers and they are really meagre compared to developed countries. So direct your ire on subsidies at the US govt to which I presume you pay taxes, Indian subsidy mechanism is much more meaningful and productive and makes a real impact however small compared to similar programs in so called developed countries.

Anonymous said...

If you have been to grad school here, you would see mostly Indians and Chinese. How many US citizens do you see? If you work in any of the techie companies, you would see more Indians than Americans! Go to Silicon Valley which is the high tech place, with lots and lots of companies, the place is taken over by Indians! Well, when I say India has developed intellectually, I do include the Indians in the US. If they decide to become US citizens, I would just say its unfair.
South Korea and India comparison is unfair, India is a huge country heavily populated, it is very difficult to compare with such a small country!

I do not like to live with mediocrity either, but its good to acknowledge progress as well. When we say India is doing good, we dont think we are done and stop making progress!

And I feel in US only, mediocrity is appreciated. In India, if you dont compete you get run over! India is where it is soo tough to get into good college, get good job, it is always survival of the fittest. Even on roads!! In US, that is not the case at all! Oh Indians are fiercely competitive, I am not sure where you are from if you do not agree with that!

I do agree managers from India lack confidence. But I see it changing with the next generation. Ok we may be some steps behind the 'mighty' US, but I think the gap is reducing.

And lastly, no Indian has the right to complain about India, without doing his part to fix it. Instead of looking from far off, saying, this is not good, that is not good, it is every Indian's reponsibility to do his 'best' to improve things.

A-kay said...

Tiny baby steps is the way to go and I think the hyd / bgl airport was one such baby step. There are many roads to be built, many mouths to be fed, many kids to be educated - we need to get our priorities straight!

sachin said...

response to divya, whatever....

response to anand, dude thats the whole point. I am trying to look forward not backwards, who said that everything in the US is perfect, not me. Never. I have my own disappointments with the USA, yeah always wonder, if i had the opportunities these americans have. There is no sports facility in India, I guarantee no facility in India at a school, college, university level, which can compete with the sports facility at the High School near my work place, this is a remote small town north of detroit and you know what it is the second best in town. So I ain't letting these guys go away easily. They do very little with what they have. That being said, we should not be contained with the things we get particularly if it is not good enough, you know what I mean. i agree, my comparison with detroit may not look good, but go back and read my whole sentence, I was disappointed at the standard at Hyd airport, I have heard so much and when I was in India for two weeks everybody asked me how was the airport, i did not get to see it enough was my answer, and when i was departing from Hyd i got see a whole lot and that was ok, not great. thats the point. I was pissed off at divya's boasting of hyd airport. she was kind of like it is the best in world, not in so many words though, but felt like it and as for the subsidies are concerned, there are very few instances they are helpful, and who said that India is the only one subsidising. Yes the west does and does it a lot. when i say subsidies dont help much it is also applicable to US. By the way, once again, capitalism is the way to go, new airport in bangalore will create thousands of jobs, if you lose some 100's thats fine, they will probably lose it cause they might not be good at what they do and once again nobody builds airports just like that, there is a tremendous amount of investments which drive in when this happens, just check how many flights now take off from shashabad and how many were taking off from begumpet. you will find the answer. maybe new airports are needed to just keep the old investors in town.

To Anonymous, Every Indian has the right to complain. Thats what is freedom of speech. if you do not agree go live in china. where you cannot complain, even if you did your part. I am an Indian citizen and I have every right to complain, just because of that and as for me doing my part, i will give you some examples, i eat food mostly imported from India, i went on vacation to India, meaning i paid sales taxes on everything i bought or spent in India, i send money home, which my folks utilize they pay some way to the Indian govt. I make telephone calls etc. etc. I do a lot of things, may be a bit more than you guys in India. So stop telling me that i do not have a right to say things. If i don't have to pay taxes to Indian govt. thats not my fault.

comparing India and south korea is very applicable when you use the word "amazing" what India has done is ok, but not amazing. why arent there more countries like south korea? even take equal size ones. by the way I do not work in IT, I dont want to. I know how many Indians work in IT, they work in IT that does not make them intellectuals. you said mediocrity is appreciated in USA and Indians are fiercely competitive. You are totally lost on this one. I will say this much "Olympics are coming".

Anybody wanna bet on India? I give you five dollars per dollar in each category of any sport of your choosing.

Lets see if anonymous is gutsy enough.


Anonymous said...


Exactly, my point. Olympics is coming, You expect, 'other Indians' to compete and win and you complain that they dont win? Do you see the paradox? Arent you Indian? If you say its not your field.. here is why I think Indians dont win in Olympics, its their genes, they are not hefty and strong like the others. they rely more on brain power than brawn power. The capable ones dont get to spend money on trainers. I know Guiness Book winner Kutral, a child swimmer, (no longer a child), but he wanted to go to Olympics, the country didnt support, he come to the usual route of being an Engr and followed the usual career.
You have every right to complain, after you do what you have to do. I dont know if you are getting that. WE are Indians, you are Indian, YOU should do something if YOU want India to develop. And then you can complain.
You, an Indian, participate in Olympics if you think INDIA is not doing well there.

When I said Silicon Valley I didnt mean the IT folks. I meant folks working in companies in Microsoft, Google, Cisco, IBM, HP, Dell, in research Labs the list goes on. For ex,where I work, (not sw or IT) my team has 80% indians! But you may argue I work in a crappy place.
There are quite a few profs in good schools as well. There are quite a few PhDs grads as well. Erm, what else is your definition of intellect?

I did agree about MBA, if they are intellectuals according to you, def not for me, things need to improve there and they are improving.

India is thriving on IT presently, yes it may not be the best job in the world, (btw we agree on one thing, I dont like IT either!), BUT India has found a way to develop and grow, and it took the opportunity, thats how I see it. It has created sooo many job opportunities its not a joke.

Anonymous said...

And here is an article, Speech by Abdul Kalam.

It has stuck hard in my heart.
I used to complain too, now I have stopped.

sachin said...

Hello Anonymous,

I did not say that Indians are fiercely competitive. you did. so please do not ask me to go to Olympics. By the way I am shooting for 2016, if i make it i will be representing India, in one of the shooting categories.

Why are you guys making me look like I am all negative and i praise anything foreign at the expense of India. I just said that i cannot even compare Hyd Airport to detroit airport, well maybe thats too harsh with the terminal stuff, but i was not way off. Its true that Hyd airport is fine, better than begumpet, but will it be in the worlds top 50 probably not and thats truth. APJ never mentioned in his speech not to manipulate truth. That is what our culture teaches us, to speak truth. If its harsh, so be it. I am not the one who spits and throws cigarette butts on the road in India, I try to be the same person in India as I am in America, maybe you are not, thats why you need somebody like APJ to remind you of that. so please do not come to conclusions like i am in love with everything foreign and hate or discourage or negative on everything Indian. Times have changed a bit since APJ has given that speech. As for all the BS about no money, no support in India for talented guys and etc, its a bit true, but what about Sania Mirza? do you wanna bet on her? the stuff about genes is crap too and we have done better in olympics 30-40 years back than today.

The logic that if i say anything bad about India, i should try to change it is not very thoughtful. Then you should never criticize anyone other than people in your own profession. you should accept everything without any complaints. If a doctor screws an operation and makes a patient go blind, and when the blind guy is blaming the doctor , you should say, hey try to be a doctor, then you can blame him. There is a reason we all are doing what we are, a doctor is a doctor for a reason, a soldier, a teacher, an engineer, everybody chose to be what they like and what they can be best at.

you did not mean the IT folks? well check the companies you are listing after what you said. and by the way i never said i dont like IT, thats another conclusion you came to. I said i do not work in IT and I do not want to, that does not mean i dont like IT or the people who are working in the area, it can be that I like what i am doing more than IT stuff.

you guys should check out my blog to get a little better idea about me.


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