Sunday, December 21, 2014

'Made In India' quickly becoming an endangered word

India is a land of festivals, colours and celebrations. We have one or other festival coming in every month from Jan to Dec. Without looking in to economic growth charts, we celebrate every one of them with increasing vigor. As this year comes to an end, we are now celebrating Christmas. I was walking through the streets of Bangalore, lined with stores selling Christmas trees, stars and other decoration items..

Decoration Items for Christmas


I went in to one of them with two friends. While they were buying items for decorating Christmas tree, I just checked the stickers pasted on that. Surprisingly all carry the marks – ‘Made in China’. From teddy bears to crackers to kitchen equipment to electronic gears. What more, even flags for celebrating Independence Day is coming from China in these days.

Just think about the scenario; small plastic toys manufactured in Shenzhen, Beijing, Shanghai etc travelled all the way through ocean and probably reached Colombo, Chennai or Mumbai seaports and then travelled all the way to Bangalore through land. Imagine!!! all the additional cost that particular toy might have incurred; still it beats Indian products and found prominent places in shops.

I am not a swadeshi camp follower, believe me I am not. Still, I am concerned about the erosion of our manufacturing industry. That day might not be far away when we no longer see any ‘Made In India’ toys, kitchen equipments, sport gears…. The list is too long.


Photo Courtesy: Rakesh

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Saurav Ganguly's speech at IIM-C

Ganguly is one of the most famous captains we saw in recent history. His aggressive style went hand in hand with India’s economic growth of the time. Here is a person who is ready to take Flintoff head on in Lord’s; a captain who no longer hesitant to take the battle back to opponents turf. Indians no longer felt so much awe and fear while playing against foreign teams.

Main points he delivered in his IIM-C speech are,

1. Leadership is about helping your mates at right time.
2. There is no substitute for hard work. You will not become a doctor by sitting in a coffee shop.
3. Leadership is about trust, being at the side of your colleagues. Entire world will be with you when you are up... but when you are down…
4. If you are good at what you do, then no one can stop you for long.


Harsh Bhogle’s speech at IIM-A

Followers of Cricket, the biggest religion in India, might not require an introduction for Harsh Bhogle. 

At 19 he become commentator for All India Radio, later he worked with ABC and covered many cricket world cups. As a commentator he also worked for Star Sports, ESPN and BBC as well.
Below video is the speech delivered by Harsh Bhogle at IIM-A. In this speech he focus on some experiences he gathered during his career. 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Consumer…. Tax payers too require quality services

Maharashtra “state consumer commission last week directed a builder to pay a compensation of Rs 13.50 lakh to a Jogeshwari couple for a five-year delay in handing over possession of a flat in Thane. The couple has paid more than 95% of the flat's price of Rs 30 lakh. The commission also directed the builder and developer Ganaraj Group to hand over the flat within 45 days failing which Rs 1,000 per day would be payable to the complainants, Prashan and Sailee Dhotre, till handing over of actual possession of the flat.

We, the people, pay tax and submit all documents demanded by government. If failed, even for a day, Income Tax department and many other government agencies will come right in front of you. It was a tax case which delayed global acquisition of Nokia’s phone division by Microsoft. Finally what happened? Chennai plant was moved out of the merger and now Nokia is selling it in parts. Vodafone and IT department argued on how to calculate numbers, which one to put on which sheet for a good number of years.
In return do we get all those things a public administrative body is supposed to provide? In how many cities autos drivers are charging their customer by meter? In how many cities women can walk through the street without fear after ten in the night? The lists of questions are really long. Can’t we expect services like that?

By the way the article also says that, “The Dhotres filed the complaint before the commission in 2010”. I wonder what the commission was doing for last 4 years. Do these things are supposed to take this much time?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Think before you do..... Really?

People often say Think… Think… Think… Is it required always? We have hundreds of proverbs which asks (or threatens!!!) everyone to think before taking any action. Did we ever think what will happen if we didn’t give much time for thinking in certain cases? It may not be as bad as it looks. For e.g. I created hundreds of plans in paper after thinking for hours which eventually didn’t work J

So is it really required in all situations? Let’s see this video before saying yes with a red face.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

State has only one option for population control?

Population control is very important for a country like India, where huge numbers of people are fighting for limited resources and opportunities.  But, do you think mass sterilization drive is the only answer for that?

As per NYT report,

"In the 12 months ended in March 2013, 4.6 million Indians were sterilized. Between 2009 and 2012, India’s government paid compensation for 568 women who died as a result of the procedure. All told, 37 percent of all the female sterilizations performed in the world are done in India, many in unsanitary, assembly-line conditions."

When many other safe contraception methods are available, why government is still focusing on laparoscopic tubectomies? Without an iota of doubt I can say, this is not the way to control population growth. How come population control becomes so important among tribal areas, where the levels of awareness about such surgeries are so low? What is the need for government to impose population control in tribal areas, especially when tribes themselves are facing survival challenges?

We have to recalibrate our policies and action plans, especially after the death of 13 women in sterilization camp. For some targets and incentives, we can no longer do these sorts of things. (Incentive for each women undergoing sterilization is 1400INR. In many parts of India this is a big amount).

One of the Doctor there performed 83 surgeries in six hours!!!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Are we substituting the original news with adrenaline driven debates?

What is the difference between news and opinion?

Opinion is, “A view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge”.

Now-a-days I am seeing Indian media spends more energy in debates, where panels composed of activists, social workers, politicians, strategic analysts etc. discuss and reach an opinion by sitting at their chair in the comfort of studios or home. Is this, we the audience, expecting from news channel?

What are the main problems our country is facing today? Is it the statements of some politicians, some infighting in some political dynasties or what happens in Delhi, Mumbai and sometimes in J&K and UP?

What about hundreds of life stories from central, eastern and north-eastern India? What about problems faced by tribals? What about the ever increasing child death rates in Kerala’s tribal belts? What about the problems faced by farmers of Vidarbha? What about the infrastructure problems faced by people from Odisha? What about people’s raising interest in viewing their fellow neighbors through religious prism instead of considering them as fellow human being?  Isn’t these and many other stories are not worthy of primetimes?

Or do we have to turn to BBC to see that?


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Land is not the main impediment for industrialization Mr Rao, it’s the government

Port of Singapore - This tiny city state is an economic miracle
"We have 5 lakh acres of readily usable land with us. Very shortly, we will be coming with new industrial policy which will be really inspiring. The new state of Telangana requires blessing of people like Ratan Tata. We welcome the corporate and industries from across the country and globe to set up industries here," Telangana CM K Chandrashekhar Rao said.

It is true that, government is the biggest landholder. Still I wonder from where Telangana government got that much land; that also readily usable. However, land is not the major problem in industrialization. If that was the case Singapore (smaller than Bangalore city), Taiwan, Hong Kong etc won’t be present in any economical map.

Telangana really need the blessings of Ratan Tata and other business leaders. But business executives won’t invest in areas suffering the burden of heavy government, insensitive and red tape bureaucracy. Will Telangana be able to offer something different?

Last but not the least, I don’t want to see a land scam in Telangana…


Five lakh acre ready-to-use land available in Telangana: Chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao - TOI

Fort Kochi and Surroundings

Cranes of ICTT in the background
Close to noon I reached Aluva railway Station; wasn't it earlier than expected? Well it is. Heavy rain started Just after boarding a bus to Ernakulum. People would have enjoyed the rain, if the entire stretch of road was not dug open for constructing Kochi metro.

Maneka Boat Jetty
After jumping over so many pot holes we I finally reached CUSAT bus stop; from there took an auto to university hostel to meet Jithu. By the way I forgot to introduce Jithu; he was my roommate and currently pursuing an MSc from CUSAT after taking a sabbatical from NAL.

I am looking outside - U can see the jetty behind

Hostel was in a holiday mood. Room was full of magazines, meteorology related books and magazines. After having a brief breakfast from university campus, we went for sightseeing tour.

Port's Skyline
As I already mentioned about Kochi and her habits in one of my earlier articles, let’s see some other face of Kochi here.

Jithu in the boat

Our first destination was Kerala high court, from there a brief walk to nearby boat jetty. I didn’t plan this journey, as I went to Kochi for another purpose. There weren’t many services available from High Court jetty. So we boarded another bus to Menaka Boat Jetty. This is one of the major service points in Kochi’s costal navigation system. We took first boat going to Vypin.

Oil tanker transferring the commodity to mainland depots

And…. Finally we were in water. There were hardly 10-15 people in the boat. We slowly left the mainland and head towards Vypin. A couple of ships were anchored at a distance. A localite on the ship explained as the route for incoming and outgoing foreign and domestic ships. We finally reached Wellingdon Jetty.

Docked ship
Wellingdon Island

Named after Lord Wellington, erstwhile Governor of Madras, this island was created by dumping the soil dredged out during the deepening of Vembanad Lake to build new Kochi port back in 1936. Home to Cochin Port Trust and Southern Naval Command this is an important island and a poster boy of Kochi.

Water Jet going outside
We left the jetty and went further ahead. An oil tanker was anchored some 200 metres ahead. A long oil pipeline was busy in transferring the oil to mainland.

Office of Cochin Port Trust

Finally we reached Vypin. I heard first about Vypin through new paper reports.  Whenever there was some hooch or spurious liquor tragedy (mainly due to mixing of both ethyl and methyl alcohol) reporters frequently give some space to mention the disaster happened on that Onam day (in 1982 drinking spurious liquor killed 77 people, blinded 63 and crippled another 15). Unfortunately that was not the last liquor tragedy in Kerala; however banning hooch in early 2000s really improved the things.

Approching Vypin Island

Heavy rain slowed us, but who don’t want to enjoy monsoon rain in Kerala? We walked towards the bus stop and boarded a bus going to Bolgatty Palace.

Raining. @ Vypin boat jetty

On the way at one side you can see ICTT at Vallarpadam.

ICTT Vallarpadam

ICTT was Kerala’s dream project. Like many other projects it took decades to build, and finally when it opened road and rail connectivity remained a block. Being said that, Vedanturuthy Railway Bridge connecting Vallarpadam and mainland is India’s lengthiest railway bridge. On that rainy day, that freight only bridge with her beautiful curves looked beautiful.

Heavy rain continues

Bolgatty Palace

Built by Dutch, this is one of the oldest Dutch Palaces built outside their own country. Former seat of Dutch Commander, this Palace was handed over to British in 1909.  Currently this palace is a heritage hotel managed by KTDC.


As the palace was converted to hotel there was hardly anything to see there. We walked towards a nearby jetty and boarded a bus to Marine Drive.

You can see India's lengthiest railway bridge on the background 
Form there another bus to Menaka and then to our final destination Mattanchery. Once again on the waters… From here we can see the big cranes of ICTT. Honestly speaking I expected more, but it was only some 4-6 big cranes and associated machineries (with a very big parking space for container Lorries).

After a while we reached Fort Kochi.

Fort Kochi

Lorries approaching ICTT 

We spend a lot of time in the lake by roaming here and there using government run boats. By the way, if you are coming to Kochi and would like to enjoy the waters (and not looking forward for adventure sports then try government run boats).

Me standing in front of lake
It is believed that Kochi rose in to prominence after the fall of Mussaris Port of Kodungallur in 1341AD. Later the area currently known as Fort Kochi was granted to Portuguese by Raja of Kochi in return for their help in war against Samootitri of Kochi. Portuguese built Fort Immanuel there. The word ‘Fort’ came from this fort (this fort was later destroyed by Dutch). After 160 years of Portuguese rule this areas was captured by Dutch in 1683. Dutch were the overload of Kochi for 112 years. Foreign rule didn’t end there… Kochi was conquered by Hyder Ali in 1760s and then by his Son Tipu. With the fall of Tipu Kochi came under British Rule.  In 1814 this area was attached to Madras presidency.

Standing opposite to Marine Drive

By time we reached Fort Kochi it was almost evening. From there we walked through the streets – which was almost empty – and reached Mattanchery. I had similar feeling when I walked some years back on a night in Palayam Market. How come both of these traditional market shutting down their operations before evening? I don’t know.

Marine Drive

Around 7.15 in the night we reached Jewish Synagogue.

Constructed on 1567 this Synagogue is the oldest active synagogue in Commonwealth Nations. Original synagogue was built in Kodungallur when Jewish community had high profile mercantile role in the area. When community moved to Kochi, they built new Synagogue there. First synagogue built by Jews was later destroyed by Portuguese.

Entering into a boat
By the time we reached there, synagogue was already closed. We spend some more time on that deserted road and want back to Mattanchery jetty, boarded last bus to Menaka Jetty. It was really an interesting trip on that night, lights from the ships, marine drive, beacon lights etc created a magic of lights in the night sky.


Beautiful Sky

Beautiful Sky - Another view



Jewish Synagogue

I am standing in front of Synagogue

City skyline at night

Me and Jithu in a boat - return trip

Ships @ night

Lulu Hypermarket @ Edapally junction, with its excellent!!! road

Monday, September 22, 2014

Spirit of Wipro Bangalore Run

After a long time I ran for long distance - 5k. With little practice and long habit of sitting in chair, I didn't expect to finish it easily. It indeed a take a bit of struggle to complete 5k. Even for tea, I don't walk long. Probably the only instances I walk some distance in a day is to catch bus from home and to reach home from bus stop. Indeed, a long run organized by Wipro provided an opportunity to run 5k, which otherwise I may not do anytime soon.

Some pictures from the run,

Before starting


Here comes the band

Some are on the way, others are already one the way back

Age is not a limit

Crowd waving in tune with music

Sidharth Mahadevan with Sukriti Kakar and Prakriti Kakar