Where will preceeds hunger…

December 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

1 year 1 month and 24 days… That’s how long it’s been since I wrote on my blog.  And if I am not writing this post now, I would personally equate myself to scum.

I’m gonna cut the pleasantries and head straight to why I came back to write… Irom Sharmila.  “Oh that Assamese lady who’s been on a fast for a while now for the AFSPA Act?’ and “Man, her protest is truly humbling” and “Wow, I wonder how she still hasn’t gotten as much media as anybody else would have” – a bunch of lines that I’ve been hearing about this … umm… lady.

I don’t think I can really fixate on a certain adjective for her.  Is she stupid? Brave? Crazy? Persevering?  Revolutionary – yes. Steadfast? Simple? Hmmm, I’m quite lost for words, surprisingly.

A lot has been written, spoken and deliberated about this lady and her protest and Government reactions have been tracked as well.  She has been periodically arrested and released stating that her protest is an attempt at suicide!  Many say she hasn’t received the media attention that she should/could have for political reasons.

What hurts me the most is that I sit here and write this post, almost unable to do anything about this? Or am I able and not doing anything about it?  That is a question we all need to ask ourselves.

Let us assume that newspapers, TV channels, doctors, social workers, journalists have all done their bit in bringing her protest to light.  But as citizens who are more privileged than Irom, what have we done for her cause? This question is haunting me and I am unable to go through my regular busy work day.

I am still thinking…  I need to do something, however small or big. And I need hands of support.  More on this will follow…


As I sign off this post, I am headed out for lunch.  Because there is only one Irom Sharmila.


“Auto”matic change and beyond – Trust. Educate. Apply. Manage.

August 17, 2008 § 3 Comments

A nice workout, followed by a dinner that I got all dressed up pretty for, yummy food and interesting conversations, the romance, the happy waiter’s face after he saw the tip… and then… the auto-rickshaw ride back home.  Now that ride has made me stay up tonight.  Ah, haggling with auto drivers at the end of a wonderful date is such a killjoy.

But that is not what this is about.  This is about that auto driver with whom my sympathies lie.  Because he chooses where he can be.  Because he chooses not to rise.

After a board room level discussion and negotiation on the tariff that he would charge, we settled to give him his second bid.  He cited the reason for the extra tariff as the changed traffic regulations where he had to take a longer route.  But once we got into the auto, he takes a swift U-turn where none is allowed and dashes into a lane which according to him “makes things easier”.  Then why bargain so much if you are going to break rules anyway?  Or more specifically, why break those rules?  When my date and I asked him about it, he just snapped back with a look that read “whatever dude, shutthehellup!”

My dearest date lost his patience but I continued to appeal to the driver’s good senses, but in vain.  He kept justifying his action, if that was even remotely possible.  And to test my patience, he kept blessing the road with his mouthful of saliva+paan.  Now for those of you who know me, you would also know that the next thing I generally do is give the driver a piece of my mind about the spitting.  But instead, I decided to give the talk just before I pay him the money.

After the silent auto ride, just as I got out of the auto, the driver started to crib about how we brought him too far and that he should’ve charged more.  That’s when it struck me.  Crib, crib, crib was all he could do.  The date was now mighty bugged and decided to drag me out of the scenario before I get snubbed by the driver for my advice.  This was reasonable then because it was past 10 PM and the driver could have reacted negatively. But the fact still remained that I did not tell the driver what I wanted to.

As I think about it now, it could be true that the driver would have disregarded my every word, if I had spoken.  But why do I still feel guilty?  Because I credit myself with more patience than that.  Because I know that I disregarded my passion towards the benefits of social interactions by not speaking.  Because by not speaking, I did not give the driver anything useful to think about on his way back home.  Because this is how every other driver gets away.  And because I did something everybody does.

Why does one break rules?  Is it the fault of the rule maker or the rule breaker?  These are scenarios that have seen a lot of discussion.  What can one do at a grassroot level to fundamentally alter the civic sense of an individual, a community, a town, a city, a state, a nation?  Every educated person can be a knowledge pool to one who is not.  I believe I am educated and sensible enough to do this.  Here, I am referring to education of the mind and not the brain.  I have friends with degrees who still litter roads and break road signals.

So for an educated person in that sense, it just takes the willingness to share what you know and your passion towards the cause.  I talk to almost every uneducated person I know and try to make a difference in their outlook and approach towards all of this.  Do you?  You should.  Because that leads to social interactions that would further the progress of any community.  Trust me, it works better in real life than on paper or a web-page like this.

Trust your beliefs more than anyone can.

Educate people around you who could use that knowledge.

Apply your thoughts and beliefs.

Manage all these interactions effectively and in a structured way if possible.

I am really open to receiving questions on how and how not to do this.

And oh, the date is a really nice boy.  Nice enough to keep for a lifetime.

Power holidays – The power to tweak today lies in you.

July 26, 2008 § Leave a comment

In the wake of the power holidays being imposed throughout the city,  I was reading a couple of articles and was surprised to see one issue not being addressed anywhere.  We talk so much about the gap between the supply and the demand, we blame the lack of wind and the southwest monsoons, we claim that the Central Pool gave us only 60% of our share.  But we fail to rise up to the occasion and make some simple yet permanent changes in our lifestyle to conserve power and energy.  Sustainability is a lifestyle and a culture that we all need to understand, cultivate and apply.  It gives meaning to small actions aimed at larger implications.

We need to have take-aways from every experience and my suggested take-away in this scenario is this – SAVE THE REST.  If we can tweak little things in daily living, we can make sure we don’t have another power holiday, atleast in the future if not right away.  Here are a few ideas that we all may know of but refuse to acknowledge.

1. Walk more.  Cycle more.  And if this is not possible, look at No. 2

2. Car pool.

3. Use the fan more than the A/C.

4. Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones. They last up to ten times longer and can use a quarter of the energy.

5. ALWAYS switch off all lights and fans before you leave a room.

So I hope you remember to switch off the lights in your office conference room when you walk by and see it empty.  I hope you remember to dump all your friends into one car before you head towards the beach.  I do.

Madras sans Hoardings – Eyes wide shut

July 25, 2008 § 2 Comments

Before April 2008, I could see blue.  I could see yellow.  Pink.  Red.  Orange.  Purple.  I could see various other colours whose names menfolk reading this cannot comprehend. (Men cannot understand words like teal :P) All of this on the colourful hoardings that adorned Madras’s skyline.

But there was one colour that I rarely saw.  Green. the natural, leaf green.  The greenery of the city has climbed to a higher strata through the removal of hoardings all across the city.  It was quite pleasant to see the leafy greenery which have been in hiding behind those multi-hued boards screaming out to the public.  But what does this open up?  As I whizzed past T.Nagar, I saw rusted roof tops, ugly buildings, broken and dilapidated skyscrapers(?) et al.  The removal of all these hoardings have opened our eyes to more than just the greenery.  Or has it?

As a community, we need to understand and be aware of the constituents that Stagnate, Contribute or Derail the city and its environment.  The hoarding ban has caused various repurcussions and realizations.  Advertising has taken a huge hit, event management companies have lost a way to announce to larger audiences and people now actually are more surprised seeing the free space and greenery rather than being awestruck looking at a Vodafone ad.

But my focus is more on the questions that have been thrown up.  What is the corporation doing about how dirty the buildings are and how dilapidated the surroundings are, now that they are more visible?  Why are the long posts that hold the hoardings still sticking out into the sky?  What sort of mass advertising is taking the place for hoardings (Internet?!)?  What are the electrical wires spoiling picturesque photographs?  How will the roads make-do for the loss of lighting from the hoardings?  Is there adequate city lighting through street lamps?

Also, this showed me that Madras will be Madras because of its people’s pure love for it.


So now that the doors are open to more questions, shall we start looking for some answers?  I will update when I do figure something out 🙂

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