Thursday, May 31, 2012

On the phone with baamma

Today the son imitated as if he was talking to someone on the phone. Usually he does this, not a biggie. But today when he finished with an "ok, bye" I asked him whom he was talking to - and he said Baamma Usha (baamma in Telugu is Dad's mom and my mother-in-law's name was Usha).


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Narendra Modi on Gujarat's development

From 7000 crore deficit to revenue surplus without raising any taxes!! in 11 years.

I am amazed that a politician can rattle off so many data points so effortlessly - with as much in depth analysis as any professional. Very rare. And he has such confidence - at one point he says - what we have achieved I can bet no one can break this record in this sector for the next 10 years - if anyone does, that will be Gujarat.

Must go through for everyone :

Some highlights
1- Three pronged approach - agriculture, industry and service sector - development in all of them without focus on just one.
2- Inclusive of NRIs - says, I am not accountable to just voting Indians, I am accountable to the non-voting Indians as well - even though your passport colour might have changed ;) So here is the  hisaab.
3- Only two rivers - Narmada and Tapi - agriculture revenues up 11% - in spite of registan (desert) on one side and Pakistan on the other. Nice poetic lines too.
4- Cultivable land - 108 lakh hectares to 145 lakh hectares
5- Milk production up by 68% (Delhi cannot drink tea without Gujarat sending milk ;) )
6- Banana production - 16.93 ton per hectare world average vs 54.76 ton per hectare in Gujarat. Similarly for onions and potatoes. World's first sugar-free potato using tissue culture. (for diabetics)
7- Industrial development only on non-cultivable land. Non polluting industries given priority.
8- Gujarat moving towards becoming Asia's automobile hub.
9- Only four governments in the world, Gujarat being one of them, have their own climate change department.
10- 24x7, 365 days - always on electricity
11- 18000 villages connected through conferencing equipment.
12- Use of technology at toll gates - same road - Maharashtra makes 500 crores less since they do it manually.
13- Gujarat was never a tourist destination - this I have also seen examples of (that famous Amitabh ad;) - tourism sector grown by 16% (national average 10%) - from never being known as a tourist spot.
14- Lifeline services akin to 911 (911 costs USD 100 per person, Gujarat's similar service costs 50c per person)
15- 40% of all deliveries in hospitals to 98% of all deliveries.
16- Sanitary works - 46 out of 56 lakh households never had toilets - now 54 lakh households have them - working towards finishing them in the other 2 lakhs households. Improves quality of life.
17- School dropouts come down to 2%. New infrastructure developed for schools.
18- Ahmedabad was one of the world's more polluted cities. Today it is one of the three most non-polluted cities. (can we get data on this somewhere?)
19- Those famous solar panels !! 600 MW solar energy nationalized. Solar panels on top of canals (again famous in Facebook images) - also save evaporation of water from canal (1KM canal stretch saves 1 crore litre water per year) - solar panels also generate more power since the underbelly is cool due to water. Ingenious.
20- Not going to stop with this. 16000 km stretch of ocean - will utilize this to the maximum.
21- Zero-defect manufacturing - next goal.
22- Value added agriculture. Sell raw or processed/finished by-products - whichever maximizes income.
23- Senior citizens whose kids are not around - government should be around for them.
24- Skill development programmes for youth - only way to compete with China. Make youth employable - 65000 new youth were employed.
25- All of these, in an extremely peaceful environment. With zero bundhs and labour unrests.
26 - Done more than its share of responsibility towards development of India.

Show the world what a development model should look like! :)

What is not there to love?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Increasingly impressed

First it was the Bangalore Traffic Police and now it is BESCOM. They have taken to FB in a big way and are delivering amazingly tangible results on this social networking platform. Aam aadmi registers grievance and they actually immediately address those. Of course, it will take a while before we completely clean up but I am impressed already, very impressed. This is very heartening. I just hope BWSSB follows. They could do with some feedback and reforms ;)

See this:

And this:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The cooks

Yesterday my co-sister and I were talking on the phone and the son was asking me in the background if he can have some Rajma, Chana, green dal etc so he can make some Paneer curry and I was explaining to her how he pretend-cooks with me. She was saying her son also loves to cook, and always follows her around when she is in the kitchen - ditto with my one. So we concluded it is in the genes ;) Subhash's mom always used to say how Subhash used to follow her around in the kitchen. Indeed I owe all the fine-tuning in my cooking to him!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The worst

Today I spent 2.5 hours in traffic. This is my worst ever!!

Rains + chaos. Plus a wrong decision. This cost me 1.5 hours of my commute - I believe I could have come home in one hour otherwise. I took my normal route from behind the airport and just to get onto it - it took me 40 minutes - I think I could have gotten at least till Marathalli in that time. Then I went all the way to the bridge, only to discover that the bridge had collapsed!! So I had to take a U-turn and come back all the way and just to get back to Outer Ring Road it took me a full 1.5 hours. What with the son being nice the way he is, I was able to manage - else 2.5 hours of commute with just me and the son - could have gone horribly wrong - this is why I am thoroughly indebted to my son for being the nice kid that he is.

This officially beats the Fremont-880 nightmare. I have seen roads collapsing and now bridges collapsing - I have no idea how worse the city's infrastructure can get.

Forgot to add: I thanked Subhash's decision to buy me an automatic i10 so many times today - if I had to go through the clutch-break routine - my god, what a pain that would have been!! My trusty car, it never lets me down. It is my machine and it works the way I do, and it works when I need it to!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

18 minutes!!

Today - after nearly 2 years - I got to work in 18 minutes!! Of course I took my back road - but still, it was not clogged at Bellandur and I managed to get to campus in 18 minutes! I was thrilled to bits and ecstatic. Airport road gets worse and worse everyday so I decided to give my back road one week to see the average commute times and convert back to this. It did not disappoint today!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Aavakai and Rasaalu

Thanks to my mother-in-law's sister - I have an abundance of fresh pickles this summer 6 varieties!! - and the rasaalu variety of mangoes to boot!! This is my favourite type of mangoes - and I have been having my heart's content since 3 days!! And the pickles packaging was superb! All neatly packed in similar bottles and even labeled - no work except taking it from my father in law and putting them on the shelf!!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Satyamev Jayate

Everyone on my Facebook wall is going ga-ga over Satyamev Jayate. I did not watch it myself. I have a re-run scheduled for recording tomorrow and will see it. I heard he has taken on the topic of female foeticide very well and the format is really good.

Aamir is a great guy. I really have a lot of respect for him as an actor and a human being. He has the clout and the mind-share to make a difference if he wants to. But I want to reserve further praise on his TV show till I see more episodes and what topics he takes on in the future.

Female Foeticide is an easy topic. We can find numerous examples, plenty of data, shocking stories even in cities and the so called modern India. Shock value is definitely there. It is a very little ask in terms if risk-taking since it targets common people, the normal citizens who cannot really come back and kill you for showing their misdeeds on air.

If I can see Aamir take on a few more sensitive topics like corruption in government agencies (especially public works departments), distortion in history and how we have been fed lies over ages in the name of history (and I am not even talking about >50 years' history: post-independence era, modern history itself will suffice to generate shock), how communal/regional/divisive politics have caused unending damage to economy etc, then I will give him a standing ovation. That is a task which is not easy, is riddled with risk, which needs to be done NOW to offer any redemption from the way the country is going to the dogs AND more importantly is not very easy for a man on the street to take on. Aamir can. He has all the muscle needed for pulling off such a thing. But will he?

(I know this is putting too much responsibility on an individual while washing our own hands off of serious issues, but if someone has taken on a huge project like this one, might as well take it all the way and do something really worthwhile with it)

Will probably share more opinions on this show once I watch it ;)

Friday, May 04, 2012

Ref:CitizenMatters Article on the jam

Blame game on from BDA. This road was heavenly - the Kadubeesanahalli junction was not a major one and the road was wide with the service roads on either side itself holding 2 lanes each of traffic. The main road easily serviced 4 and 4 lanes on either side. That is a whopping 12 lane road. And I have no idea why we even needed an underpass here. The whole concept of a signal-free ORR is already going to the dogs. Since they started work on this underpass two years ago - the road has become more and more of a nightmare :( And I shudder to even think of how many hundreds of crores have gone into creating this nightmare - it is like we pay taxes to make our lives miserable!

And if this does not make my blood boil - there is some more:

A Public Interest Litigation(PIL) filed by Citizen's Action Forum (CAF), Koramangala residents and others, challenging BDA's project is already in the High Court of Karnataka. BDA had started work in four Koramangala junctions - St John's hospital, Krupanidhi, Koramangala 80 ft road and Jakkasandra junctions, initially saying minimal or no land acquisition would be required along this stretch.
The High Court had initially issued a stay order on the work on February 27th. But BDA filed its written objections, on March 20th saying no land acquisition was required and that it had already issued Work Orders (WOs) for the four junctions. On March 28th, the court ordered for the work to be resumed.
But three days later, on March 31st, BDA shot off letters to Indian Institute of Astrophysics and St John's hospital at the Madiwala end of Sarjapur road, saying land had to be acquired from them. IIA will lose about 384 sq m of land. From St John's, 2067 sq m land will be acquired, most of it from along the IRR side.
The PIL petitioners have already pointed out that BDA's action amounts to perjury. Sajan Poovayya, lawyer for the petitioners, says that this warrants a case in itself. "A separate criminal case can be filed against BDA for the offence of perjury. But our focus is on the original issue of grade separators, so we may not pursue the perjury case," he says.

What can one say. The BDA is a mess and politicians interfering with those very few people who want to do something good for the city, does not help!


Thanks to the water situation at home. It has been a tough 2 months so far with water. No water to be had from BWSSB. Our borewell had run dry 3 years ago anyways and this summer the situation has worsened thanks to BWSSB's tankers also going haywire. We have to keep calling them for 2-3 days at least before they come and give water. This morning, there was not a drop of water at home and no guaranteed supply in the near future - all tankers say they will come but never show up. About 50 calls made since 3 days. And the story is not very rosy with private tankers either :( Then I see all that rain water getting logged on the underpass and simply wasted. Lakes polluted and all the rain water catchments also wasted that way - just waste and waste everywhere :(

Now I am going to research how I can tap rain water and feed it directly into the sump at  home. We already have rain water harvesting but it goes directly into the ground - even so, that has not helped the borewell pump any more water:( So need to work on this some more. It is a pity that we have so much rain and hardly any water which we can use out of it. Something has got to be done now.

Then I came to work and saw some more waste. Some guy printed blown-up copies of his passport on A4 sheets - in colour! Not one, not two but 6 sheets!! Then someone laid them out neatly on the table and put a post-it on it saying - "This is how we waste Cisco's resources". I liked it. I should have done the same too. Then there was a whole bunch of A4 white sheets lying in the printer tray with staple pins on them - pure white sheets with pins on them. Thanks to that junk printer - now they are neither print-outs nor are they re-usable A4s. I tried to remove the pins and put the papers back in the tray but it did not work - the staples were too clingy and were tearing the sheets. Since my notebook is anyways getting over, I got them to my office, put binder clips on them and am going to use these papers as a notebook going forward - my own redemption to all the wastage I see around me :(

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Oh baby!

So my sister had a son yesterday. I think the whole process was relatively smooth and I for one am glad she did not have to go the C-section route - painful days following labour when you are already confused and hyper hormonal especially after first kid. I am glad, glad, glad for her!

This month, we have two ceremonies for mother in law (did I mention we managed to have ALL of them so far at home? Yay!! for that :) ). One on 12th (this is the 171st day one and is considered very important and apparently has to be followed whether or not we follow monthly ones) and the other is the regular monthly one on 20th. I have no idea if we should go before 12th (which leaves just this weekend) or after 20th or in between the two dates. I think we will decide based on when they want to have the "baarasala" which is the naming/cradle ceremony.

What a jam!

Again another major major jam on ORR. I don't know what the hell is happening. I saw two things that saddened me very much this morning.

One of my engineers called just as I was about to leave and told me there is a huge pile up on ORR and I should avoid. My only alternative which is sane is the Kadubeesanahalli-Yamalur-Airport Road back road. But the way it poured last night, that option was not enticing me. This was a road that used to bring me to work in 18 minutes flat no matter what day or time it was. And now, because of the Bellandur bridge construction it has become completely unmotorable - add to that all those major constructions along the lake and it is not a pretty picture.

So very reluctantly I took that road this morning, expecting to be stuck at Bellandur bridge for at least 10 minutes and imagining a dirty, slushy car at the end of the drive (against the squeaky clean backdrop of the office) but still assuming it will be better than getting stuck on ORR. And thank god, all my expectations were met. I was stuck for exactly 10 minutes on the bridge, and I managed to reach office in 35 minutes - not bad at all - the road was a life saver. And my engineer too!!

There is a small off shoot of Bellandur lake (I daresay it was all part of the lake before but forced into an offshoot now thanks to the constructions) on the way which was happily gurgling with water - thanks to all the rains. Only, it was dark green, and probably stinky water :( How sad. The only way we can retain rain water in the ground - we destroy. Who gives permissions to construct and encroach and when this greed will end, or how it will end - I don't even want to imagine.

Then ORR itself. The newly constructed underpass opposite our office, apparently logged 1-2 feet or water, caused a car to get stalled and then the whole mother of all jams ensued. This is a modern construction. People know it rains cats and dogs in Bangalore - why the hell can we not plan to drain out the water, I have no idea. If a construction which is days old (and took a bloody two years to finish) cannot sustain the pelting of a night's worth of rain - I have no idea what else will. Whom are these people accountable to? Clearly not us :( We have no time to even ask. This road services a few lakh cars everyday - if we just came together and protested against the way tenders are handed out and completed - but I only dream..

The last jam on ORR which was really bad was also because of sheer collapse of the infrastructure. The road had just caved into the deep excavation next to it. I can tolerate pile-ups because of accidents etc. But because of infrastructure collapsing - how can we sit down and take it? But, we do :( And I am sad about it :(

Tuesday, May 01, 2012


Eagerly, for news from sis. She was admitted this morning, can't wait to see if I have a nephew or niece!!

UPDATE: She had a boy!!