Friday, December 02, 2016

12 Months

I couldn't think of a better title to this post than putting '12 months'. This blog is to recollect the last 12 months. There is always a story for becoming successful - it could be exam, or career, or business. But, mine is a story with a difference. My story is still in the middle of recovery to path of success.

Last 12 months have been the toughest part of my life. The first part of this was dark and deep in the tunnel, while, the second half saw ray of hope. Having a disease at its peak for long duration is next to being in a dark dungeon with no food or water. Being hospitalized 6 times made me feel that nurses are going to be my friends for future and doctors will be my Protectors on this earth.

I thank everybody who came in my path of this life for their support and wishes. I tried following their advice for most part. At times, I couldn't stick to their instructions due to my limitations. Family, friends, neighbors, office-mates, well-wishers, etc - all come to mind for me to acknowledge and show my gratitude. I felt their nearness as well as their distance, both were required to keep me comfortable. As an individual, I see myself as two parts - physical and mental. Both were put to test. My mental part being winner at times and my physical body trying to cope with stress and anxiety. Body and mind fought with each other and each complemented at times.

Going in to depression is an ugly experience. Not just for me, but, also for people with me, i.e., my family. I had no control on my emotions. Crying had become a normal emotion in depression. Asking for the unnatural was a mad effect. Watching TV, reading something, talking something sensitive - all led to outburst of tears. Being a dad of 2 kids, I feel that I had the extra pressure of taking care of my family. Question of 'how do I make my family safe?' haunted me.

In the hospital once, I blabbered something that I vaguely remember. I was on pain-killer injections and sedatives and this is what I said. "I want to go far away, far far away from the people I know. I want to go to a holy place and live a lonely life for next few years till my end. I am sure somebody there in that holy shrine will serve me 2 meals a day." I uttered these to my mom and I don't know what happened next.

My health condition is improving and my mom smilingly compares my story to mega-television soaps. Progress is slow. But, I see progress and I am positive. I see success in me coming out of ill-health that was like a deep well which doesn't have a way out. I am climbing the steps up and am confident that I will view the greens soon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Jungle Book

Took kids to the movie, The Jungle Book (3D). They liked it. The movie is well made with good graphics and effects. In few instances, I felt that they have Americanised the movie in few places. Example, "bander-log" is Hindi word for monkey people. In the movie, it is pronounced as some English word.

Good movie to watch with kids this Summer.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Boss, we don't need techology

Seeing the wave Indian PM is creating in the US, it is hard to imagine how technology can really raise India from the current situation.

From a basic standpoint, I want 24/7 electricity, good drinking water, and good roads. While the State Governments blame the Central Government, Centre doesn't care too much of the state as the ruling parties are different. Because of tussle between State and Central, sufferers are the citizens.

How can technology of Internet and foreign investments improve roads in Bangalore?!!! How can Googles and Facebooks help me provide 24/7 electricity? India and its states must unite first to have a common goal to meet the basic needs of every citizen. Till this is not achieved, there is always friction between states and Central Government which will halt progress of country.

On the other hand, there are other important aspects of education and healthcare that needs attention. If affordable schooling and medical facilities are available in all corners of the country, it is a big win for all.

Why should International companies invest in India? Are they doing philanthropy? I hope not. There is that expectation of 'return-gift' for investments coming in that India will owe if not immediate, surely in distant future.

Only way I see is, get investments in the name of technology and cycle this funds to sectors internally like agriculture, infrastructure, education, etc. While no investment looks lucrative when we open our arms with welcome gesture for such sectors like agri or infra, 'technology' is the only trump card to gain momentum. Everyone is sitting with this ray of hope for the next 4 years.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Ooty Visit

Visited Ooty recently. Started off from Bangalore on Friday morning at 9:30am. Midway, took a tea break in Shivalli restaurant near Channapatna (about 60 Kms away from Bangalore).

Route: Bangalore -> Mysore -> Nanjanagudu -> Gundlupet -> Bandipur National Park -> Theppakadu -> Masinagudi -> 36-hairpin bends -> Ooty
Note: We need not go to Gudalur to reach Ooty. But, Road transport buses takes Gudalur route.

Road Conditions:
After crossing Mysore, road between Mysore and Nanjanagudu was not the best of state roads. Also, after Nanjanagudu, road to Gundlupet was undergoing repair at regular intervals. Apart from these patches, road was very good to reach Bandipur.

Inside Bandipur, road was good, but, speed limit was about 30Kmph. We reduced speed and did wildlife watching. After crossing Bandipur, we reached Masinagudi (Tamil Nadu). From here, it took is about an hour to hit the base of Nilgiris. From here starts 36 hairpin bends to Ooty. Our resort, Mystique Ville was at 15th hairpin bend.

We reached our resort at 4pm. It was total travel time of 6 hours. After a quick late lunch, we headed to Botanical Garden. On the way to the garden, we had a quick stop in Chocolate Museum (a small shop). We sneaked in to garden few minutes before gate closes (gate closes at 6:30pm). It was chilly here as the sun had already set. The garden is worth a visit though we could not complete checking out all sections of the garden.

Saturday (Aug 8th):
Train journey experience from Ooty to Coonoor is a memorable one. We had arrived in station an hour an half early for 12:15pm train. We purchased the tickets and waited in the line. It was a refreshing moment to see the train arrive after a long wait. Journey was very scenic with view of the valley and dense tree canopies. With few tunnels passing along the way, it was worth a shout while cross tunnels.
Note: Plan in advance for doing this heritage train journey. Check train schedule and plan accordingly.

After reaching Coonoor, we had lunch in a restaurant that was next to Coonoor station. We had couple of hours to spend before taking the return train to Ooty. We visited tea estate and Sim's Park by hiring an auto. Once we entered the tea estate, it was a refreshing experience to take a deep breath of tea aroma. We took a tour inside the tea factory and got to know about how tea powder is made.

Sim's Park (Garden) had to be cut short because of shortage of time. Our return journey from Coonoor started at 4:30pm in a jam-packed train with no space to stand too. Fortunately, we had got early to grab our seats.

We had no plan for evening after reaching Ooty. We opted to have a leisure dinner at Club Mahindra that was 5 minutes away from railway station. We reached the restaurant an hour ahead of dinner time. We were hosted by friendly Club Mahindra team that made us comfortable to spend some time with a snack. We got to spend next 2 hours by have a very slow candlelight dinner.

Sunday (Aug 9th):
Return journey to Bangalore: Started from Ooty at 10am. Our first stop was after 4hrs of travel at Shivalli for lunch. From Shivalli, it took us another 90 minutes to reach home. Return journey took us 5.5 hrs.

Pictures: here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Traffic in Bengaluru

Daily, table topic in office is about traffic jam while commute in Bangalore.
Traffic is always high and slow moving in IT corridors. It takes 90 minutes to cover a distance of 20 Kms, i.e., average speed of about 15 Km/hr.

Main reasons for slow moving traffic:
1. Excess traffic on road during peak hour.
2. Bus/truck breakdown
3. Bad road condition due to digging or overnight rain creating water logging areas.

There seems to be no solution to this concern. But, with existing resources and funds, there are possible areas of improvement:
1. Improve road conditions. Never allow for potholes to grow bigger day-by-day.
2. Clear broken down vehicle at the earliest. Hanging a branch of a tree to the window of the vehicle is an indication that vehicle is broken down. Police should try to move the vehicle to a safer zone and avoid slowing down vehicular movement.

Best times to commute to/from office:
Before 7:30am and after 11:00pm.
Peak hours:
7:30am to 11:00am
4:30pm to 9:30pm
Bengaluru Traffic - All RED in google maps

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Making of India in 1947

I completed reading a book about Indian history this weekend and was shocked and disappointed by the way things took shape in the years 1947-48. Few points noted:
1. British didn't want to hold on with Indian land as the country was breaking apart in riots.
2. Mountbatten was given the task to finish handing of this part of the land to the people of sub-continent.
3. He completed the task along with support from British and few Indians. From Congress, representatives were Nehru, Patel and Gandhi and from the Moslem League, it was Jinnah.
4. Racliffe was invited from Britain to mark the partition boundary. He knew least about the terrain and hence was chosen to be unbiased! This marking of border was a major controversy and head to confusion and riots along the border.
5. In the first week of June 1947, Mountbatten announced that Britain had agreed to handover and move out of India. Conditions were: Partition will be done. Pakistan and India will be two countries as per demands by Jinnah and Congress. Gandhi was against partition.
6. In the press conference in June, Mountbatten announced a random picked date of August 15th. This date reminded him of Japanese Empire surrendering in Burma war. Hence, he announced it without consulting anyone from Indian side. In India, astrology and celestial-positions were believed and were given high importance. Many in the papers condemned this date and told that it is a bad date for a country to take birth.
7. Aug 14th - Pakistan got Independence. Mountbatten was along with Jinnah to do the handover.
8. Aug 14th evening - Riots broke out in Lahore where Hindu-Sikh area was in flames after water distribution was stopped. Nehru was getting ready for night's handover ceremony. When he heard this news over telephone, he was shocked and disturbed. Nehru's speech was not a prepared one. Here is his speech. He had later disclosed that he didn't know what he spoke. Handover was done by the first "Governer-General of India" - Mountbatten.
9. For many reasons, Mountbatten was considered supreme and was considered for all consultations and suggestions. Nehru and Patel had tough time handling communal disturbance that broke out in various parts of India. They went back to Mountbatten and begged him to take control of the situation as they and Congress are good at 'protests' and very inexperienced in 'administration'. That is the time Emergency Committee was created by Mountbatten to handle the situation better.
10. Gandhi was not around Delhi during Aug 15th. He was in Calcutta dealing with the local communal disturbance. He arrived in Delhi in first part of Sept. Infact, when Nehru delivered the speech on Aug 14th night, it is believed that Gandhi was fast asleep and followed normal routine of sleeping at 9:30pm.

There are tonnes of interesting stories and facts along this timeline. Overall, it was a shock for me to read how 400 million Indians had to bear this turmoil. All important men mentioned above wanted only one thing - speed. They wanted things to be completed at the earliest. There lacked any planning and it looked like things happened for personal cause and not for the cause of people.

Monday, April 27, 2015

India With Gaps

After reading the book 'Breaking India' by Rajiv Malhotra, I am thinking about recent history since 1990. In the past 15 years, we have seen India getting into the world map in terms of IT. On one side, we feel proud that India has evolved as a global major and is termed as prospective super power next to US and China. On the other side, we don't realize the possible mistake that was done in the 1980s by the so called entrepreneurs within India.

Whenever we start something new, we are always circumspect. This is specifically in case of business and investments. When Indian IT companies kicked off 2-3 decades ago, their main goal was to do things that they people felt right. They would have hardly thought of revolutionizing Indian life 15 years down. They started business for their own success. What has this done to the greater India? It has created a gap among the people by splitting the population into IT and non-IT crowd. Also, this has created a gap of 15 years in terms of scientific research and development. The coming of IT to India was not bad. But, the way India became slaves of IT is something which we have to realize and could have been done better. With less than 1% working IT sector, it doesn't actually put India's prospects bright.

Could have India thought differently? Yes. We should have taken the technology and ideas from the west and implemented for Indian companies and public sectors, say, banks and industries. This would have enabled local companies to match competition from the west. See for examples, China, Japan, South Korea and Germany. They all have their own economic ecosystem without needing help from external countries. China has slowly stood for itself and is becoming self sustained. If the then (in 1980s and 1990s) visionaries of India had thought this way, we would have made more advancements in science and technology along with having a self sustaining ecosystem for ourselves. Personally, I would have studied something more relevant and worked for company/sector that is more Indian. Similar to this, if millions of Indians in the past decade had thought, we could have contributed a lot to the self development of India. Think like, such people would have been in ISRO, DRDO, HAL, etc.

What are the ill-effects hidden with IT boom in India? It slowed down India's investment in research and science. Students coming out of college chose IT and as Sanskrit saying goes, 'vidhya eva dhanam', people started running behind IT. As more and more top cream of students moved to IT, this deprived intellectual brains in sectors like teaching, science, and innovation. Adding to this is the concept of 'brain drain'. India is lagging in moving ahead by 15 years now. It could take double this time to bounce back in becoming a country that it was in terms of science, maths, culture and tradition.

Another ill-effect of IT boom in India is the mass immigration of population to metros and leading to stagnation of mindsets. For the natives of a given city, they lose their connection with the city seeing drastic changes in the past 2 decades. For people coming in, they always have one foot off the city to which they migrate and always think that they will return to their hometown one day. With these mindsets, cities will miss the citizens who work and contribute for the betterment of the city where they reside.

What should be done? Main focus of current India should be education, thus nourishing lost fields like teaching, core science and research. Apart from this, basic things like water electricity and employment has to be tackled in rural areas. Cities of India have become a place of chaos and doesn't have any goals to achieve. All we can do is add to chaos and make it the city explode. Instead, by helping the tier-II and tier-III cities, there is scope of seeing a better India.