Sunday, August 1, 2010

Aren't we Lucky??

We feel sad when we get lower increments. We get angry when caught in traffic jams. We feel jealous when we see someone in an Audi when we ourselves are driving a 2-wheeler or a small car. We feel forgotten when some close friends forget our birthdays. We always complain with life. I often do.

But sometimes when I am alone, with no work to do, I ask myself, am I really sad? Is my life really worth complaining? Then I realize, I am in fact far more lucky than most people. All you people reading this post are very lucky. We have decent incomes. We have decent dwellings to leave. We can buy as many clothes as we want. We get multiple meals each day. We can spend hundreds or even thousands just for fun. We can pursue or hobbies. We got (or are getting) good education. We have most modern amenities.We have someone to care for us. Someone to share our happiness. Someone to share our sorrows.

There are crores of people out there who don't know how they'll sail through the day. How they'll get even one meal. A single roti is a satisfying food for them. People are happy even if they get old, soiled clothes to wear. They call a tin shed as their home. Be it rains, be it cold, be it hot, people stay on footpaths, on railway platforms, on bus-stops. A single Rs. 10/- note is like a huge amount for them.

There are so many kids out there, who want to study, who want to play, who want to wear nice clothes, who want to eat sweets, who want to live their lives, but are working day and night, supporting their families,...supporting themselves.

There are so many people out there, who are in a constant threat of wars, of terrorism. They cant say if they'll see see the light of the day tomorrow. They don't know if they'll see their kids grow.

There are so many people out there who are handicapped, who cannot see the beautiful colors of life, who cannot hear the melodious sound of nature and of people, who cannot move on their own, who are always dependent on others for their daily chores, who are just counting their days in some hospitals.

There are so many people out there, who have been left alone by their families, who have been tricked into giving away their entire fortunes, who have lost their near and dear ones in accidents, in riots, in earthquakes, in floods.

There is so much sorrow out there.

When I think about all this, I feel that I am infact very very lucky. We all are. We are very much blessed. Our lives will be a lot better if we think of it from this perspective. So, always when you are sad, or are feeling very low, think of all that's happening in the world and ask yourself, Aren't we lucky?

Friday, July 9, 2010


Disclaimer: These are just my views. People may or may not agree. Please do not get into comment-fights with me.

Whenever the admission season comes, this issue bugs me - QUOTA.
Does quota system really help? Is giving reservations based on caste truly a tool for social upliftment?

Quota, according to me, infact makes people lazy. You get admission through quota, you can get jobs through quota, your kids get admission through quota...and so on. Isn't this ease of getting things a deterrent for true progress?

Is it so that people from some particular castes have lesser brains compared to others? Why are the cut-offs made so low for them? It really pains when one sees a brilliant student from Open category not getting admission to a particular institute just because of a couple of marks' difference and another who obviously is not so good in academics getting the admission with a much lesser score. Such people are also generally from well-to-do families who do not need such benefits, but get them just because the system allows them to. There are also concessions in fees given, even if it is clearly visible that the person is rich enough to afford the education. A deserving candidate from open category, however, wont get such benefits even if he really needs them. A simple caste certificate gives you access to host of benefits whether or not you need them. Merit and true need have no place in our system

Women's quota is somewhat better than caste based quota. However, just having a quota does not address the issue of women empowerment. Awareness amongst the masses, especially rural and slum-dwellers, is needed to achieve the desired effect. But I don't know whether the Government is really doing so.

Quota these days is just a tool for generating vote banks. The vision that Ambedkar had has totally been spoilt by the politicians. I had read an interesting observation somewhere. If the quota system indeed helps in social upliftment of backward classes, 50 years (2 generations) should have been enough and so the quota system should be abolished. And, if the people have still not made a progress, the quota system is flawed and it should be abolished. However, our leaders are not brave enough to make such a bold decision. Even if they are brave, they are aware that they'll lose major vote-banks. This may eventually lead to the opposition rising to power and the quota system being re-introduced by them. So why bother? Let the system stay.

It is no wonder that people prefer moving abroad to make life easier for them and their kids rather than stay here and fight against quota. Who knows, there may be just 15-20% seats remaining for the Open category, a few years down the line. And mind you, this 15-20% wont be "reserved" for Open category, but open for all.
The quota system is really spoiling our nation and its younger generations.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hindi Serial Loophole 4 : Do Hanso ka Joda

Serial: Do Hanso ka Joda
Channel: NDTV Imagine
Timing: 9.30-10.00pm
Summary: There is a rich family staying jointly in a palatial home. There are two daughters of similar age in that family. The mother of one marries her off to a very ordinary, poor guy who she thinks is very good at heart. The mother of the other marries her off to a rich guy, just by looking at his money, not caring about his nature. The story revolves around the lives of the 2 cousin sisters.

Loophole: The husband of one of the daughters returns home from office. When he comes home, we can clearly see that it is very sunny. We can even see dark shadows of the persons and the size of the shadow was enough to prove that it was just after noon. As he comes home, he asks his wife to bring water for him and then goes to to the terrace. When the wife comes with the glass of water, he is looking somewhere. The wife immediately understands that he is looking at the sunset. Both praise the beauty of the sunset, and indeed we are shown the setting sun. But it is still quite sunny on the terrace. :P
Ever heard of 2 suns?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Bollywood kinda scene...contd

Since I had already posted a scene from the TV serial "Rehne hai teri palkon ki chaaon mein", I thought of posting this one, which shows us how strong women are. Coincidently, the scene was aired on the same day as the women's bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha :P

For new-comers, the current hero of this story is the elder brother of the heroine's dead husband. He had recently saved her from a villain. The description of the scene can be found here on my blog.

Now, the villain has returned after escaping from the prison. In serials, its very easy to do so. Don't ask for an explanation. He calls up on the LANDLINE at her residence. Now, of all the members (there are atleast 10) of the family, luckily the heroine picks up the phone. I don't understand how the villain was confident hat the heroine will pick up the phone, but fine, she picks up the phone. The villain threatens to kill the hero, if the heroine does not agree to meet him (i.e the villain) at 12 midnight at the back door of the Durga temple. Now, the heroine is frightened. How will the hero, who had recently managed to enter the den of the villain and had single handedly beaten up all his armed men, stand up against ONE man?

Meanwhile, the villain is already at the temple, where a samuhik vivaah has been arranged, the hero being the chief guest. The villain is loitering around there, with a cloth held in his hand hiding one of his cheeks. What a great disguise to escape from the police!!! The heroine also comes in disguise. Now, since its already past 12, the villain decides to shoot at the hero. However, the heroine, who is just around a 100 feet away manages to come in between, before the bullet arrives, and hooray!!! our hero is saved. But what did you think, the heroine will die of the bullet injury? Do you think the fairer sex is so week? Forget dying, she manages to stand up, and when the villain (whom the police have already caught again) starts narrating false stories, she even slaps him hard. And what does our hero do? Take her to the hospital? NO. He takes her to the Durga temple and declares his love for her and they return home happily.

Hats off to the Bharatiya naari of Indian television!!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bollywood kinda scene...

Bollywood often portrays a hero as a one-man army, taking on the entire gang of the villain all by himself. Recently I saw a similar scene in a TV serial (रहना है तेरी पलकों की छाओं में...सोमवार से शुक्रवार रात ९ बजे, सिर्फ NDTV Imagine पे" . It's a very common scene in most movies, but still i would like to share it so that u can see for yourself how TYPICAL the scene is.

The hero(Kartik) and his entire family has gone out for some function. The heroine stays at home for some reason. The villain somehow gets her to come out of the house and kidnaps her. She is taken to a defunct, old mill. Hero and family come home and discover that the heroine is missing. Villain calls and "Muhahaha......Maine Suman ko kidnap kiya hai. Sari panchayat ke samne, mere paeer pakadke muzse mafi mango, thakur, varna tumhare ghar ki ijjat kisi galiyon mein ghar-ghar ki thokare khati rahegi". Then hero takes the vachan of saving Suman(the heroine), come what may. He leaves on his mission, all by himself. No police, no friends, no family to assist him.

During his search, the hero somehow gets to the villain on a phone. While speaking, the siren at the long defunct mill, where the villain has kept the heroine as a hostage, suddenly goes off (I wonder how the siren was still functional). The hero immediately knows the location of the villain and sets off to go there.

Meanwhile, at the defunct mill, the heroine has been tied up to the chair. But, there are some pieces of broken glass very close to the chair (as expected). The heroine somehow picks them up, cuts off the ropes and sets herself free, causing her hands to bleed in the process. By that time, our one man army reaches the mill and enters it. He comes across one of the villain's guards and kills him in an instant. Then he comes face to face with the heroine, who is trying to escape. Now, rather than escaping quickly, they hug each other for quite some time, long enough for the villain and his men to arrive on the scene.

The hero starts bashing all the bad men one by one, but alas! one guy manages to hit the hero on the head and he collapses. Then all the bad men hit him badly. The villain declares that the hero is dead, grabs the heroine's hand and starts to walk off. But, before he has covered even a couple of meters, our hero is back on his feet, with no signs of pain on his face, ready to fight again All bad men, who had left the scene, return to hit the hero. He successfully fights them all but now, the villain locates a knife nearby and threatens to kill the heroine.

The hero, with not even an iota of fear walks up to the villain. The villain, rather than killing the heroine attacks the hero. The hero defends himself, not by blocking the villain's hand, but by holding the blade of the knife (Holding the knife, rather than the hand adds to the effect) Now there is fear in the villain's eyes, seeing the strength of the mighty hero. The hero then hits the villain and rather than using the same knife, locates an iron rod to kill him. Man!... How well-quipped the mill was...broken glass, knife, iron rod, all in place...The hero swings his arms and just when the rod is near the villain's head, the heroine shouts "Ruk jao". Giving no respect to the momentum his hands had gained, the hero manages to stop instantly.

Suddenly, policemen rush in and arrest the villain and his men. Who called the police? No one knows  :(
The hero then takes the heroine to his home and announces "Maine mera vaada pura kiya" and then collapses. Sigh!!! And you thought, only bollywood heroes are macho??

Btw, the hero is not the lover or husband of the heroine. He is the elder brother of the heroine's dead husband :-p

Friday, February 12, 2010

Traffic woes

The Pune Municipal Corporation(PMC) is hastily implementing Pay and Park for all vehicles on most roads in Pune. The cost of owning a vehicle is increasing day by day. Lots of taxes and other fees are involved while buying a vehicle. Fuel costs keep on increasing. Vehicle maintenance costs are significant, chiefly due to the wear and tear caused due to rough roads at various places.Now add to this the extra expense that we will have to shell out everyday. Using own vehicle is now becoming a luxury.

Mostly when we go out for shopping, we need to stop at various places. The parking rates at various malls are already exorbitant. But, now even if you have to stop at some small shop in City area to buy some small item, which would hardly require 2 minutes, you'll have to shell out Rs. 2. Not that Rs.2 is very high for most of us, but  for some others, it really is. The cumulative cost of parking fees will easily go above Rs. 100 per month for most people.

The various reasons PMC gives is that they want to encourage people to use public transport,  de-congest the city roads and discipline the traffic. But, I think it has got all its calculations wrong. Now, since the public transport system was never good enough in Pune, I don't think charging for parking space will be strong enough deterrent for using private vehicles. People, who have already been used to travelling by own vehicle will prefer the parking charge, rather than use PMPML buses.

To de-congest the city roads, the traffic on those roads needs to be reduced. I don't think this issue can be addressed by charging parking fees. And if haphazard parking causes congestion, imposing penalties for improper parking should be the solution, and it is already being done. Moreover, improper parking is mostly a result of not having enough Parking space available. The PMC is not doing much to develop Parking lots in city area. The parking lots already developed are not good enough. The one near Mandai (at the place of Aryan Theater) does not have stairs for people to use before/after parking. The same route that is used by vehicles has to be used for walking up/down, meaning a lot of time and energy wasted. Moreover, its Entry and Exit gates keep on swapping. A big parking lot has been constructed near Modi Ganpati in Narayan Peth, but it is still not opened for the public, for dunno what reasons. Developing parking space should be the top most priority for PMC to de-congest the roads.

Unruly driving by rikshaw-men and PMPML bus drivers is also a major concern for the city traffic. Taking prompt action against them can prove to be useful for disciplining the traffic. Cars should not be allowed to stop on main roads for significant time, even if there are drivers waiting in them. Smaller buses should be used on narrow city roads. Public awareness camps should be held to imbibe proper traffic discipline in people. (But since no one cares for such awareness camps) high penalties should be imposed even on small traffic violations. Mass transport system projects (like Metros) should be planned and implemented at faster pace. Flop projects like BRTS should be scrapped immediately. Roads should be properly surfaced. Subways should be planned properly and implemented at suitable places(The subway at Goodluck chowk has already created lots of controversies due to improper planning). Flyovers should be built, wherever possible. Roads should not be dug up frequently. Timings for signals should be properly adjusted for smooth and continuous flow of traffic.

In short, a lot can be done to improve the traffic in Pune. All this needs to be done at a very fast pace, with proper planning, proper budgeting and by employing transparent means. But, this will be an almost impossible task for the corrupt and lazy PMC officials, so parking charges is the way to investment and lots of extra income.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Credit Cards

Credit cards, these days, are must haves for everyone. You don't need to carry much of cash with you if you have a card. Also, most online transactions happen only through credit cards. If used properly, you can get credit for upto 45 days without having to pay any interest.
But, it is generally advised to use credit card only when you need it . Moreover, one should not indulge in spending excessive amounts, so much so that you won't be able to pay back the amount later. But what if you can do away with the paying back part??
Recently I had a very funny (in fact an enlightening) experience regarding credit cards, or may be I was foolish enough for so many days for not understanding the trick myself. I was offered a FREE credit card by a particular bank. I said that I don't need it, since I already have a credit card of some other bank. But since the MADAM was insisting that it's free and that I have already been issued the card, I decided to take it. For verification, I needed to submit a few documents to a guy who was sent over to my office. However, later I again decided to decline the offer. I explained to that guy that I already had one credit card and did not need a second. But he kept insisting that a second card helps. His point was that currently I have to pay the credit card bill from my own pocket, but if I have multiple cards, I won't have to. HOW? Just pay the bill of one credit card from the other and vice versa and go on and on. No need to ever pay back in real money. Smart. Now I understand why most people and some Banks in US got bankrupt :)
One more thing that came forward was a nice marketing strategy that this particular Bank was employing. They call people saying that a credit card has been approved for them, but they need to provide contacts of at least 2 of their colleagues for verification. Once they get the contact numbers, they call them up and repeat the same thing, saying that a credit card has been approved for them, but they need to provide contact details of some colleagues for verification and the chain continues. Nice strategy I say, and more credit cards in the market...

Friday, February 5, 2010

Guidance [Part 2]

I am posting after a lot many days. Couldn't think of any decent stuff to write on. Even this is a very stale topic, but since I had written something similar to this and called it Part 1, having at least one more part was necessary :P.
I had written about people coming to me for guidance. Here I'll speak about people who gave me guidance, not to say, guidance I had never asked for. Here are some of my experiences...
My plans about my education were quite clear. 10th, 12th Science and then Engineering. But still, there were people who advised me all the way throughout my education.
Some said "Be a doctor. There's no doctor in our family." Come on, how is this a reason for choosing a career?
"BMCC madhe ka nahi admission ghetla 11-12th sathi?". Arey Science sathi BMCC madhe kon admission denar amhala?(For those who don't know, BMCC is a Commerce college in Pune)
"Amhi amchya XXX la javalchya school madhech taklay 11-12 sathi, mhanje abhyas neat hoto. Tumhi pan yala mothya college aivejit ashach kontyatari shalet ka nahi takla?" Pan tyanchya XXX la kuthe dusrikade admissionach milat navhta he nahi manya karnar.
"Engineering la kay jatos? Tu B.Sc. kar." When was B.Sc. a lucrative option compared to Engineering?
After getting admission into COEP, a guy even asked me "Bharatiya Vidyapeeth madhe ka nahi re try kelas?" Any sane person, with some knowledge of colleges in Pune must surely have understood why the above question is funny.
After Engineering, it became worse. Tu itka hushar ahes, MS tar whaychach. Engineering nantar MBA karavach lagta. Ata kay, GATE kadhi detoys? Arey, mala maza tharavu dya na.
Now, the latest and the most frequent advise I get is..
"Arey changla shiklays, changla kamavtoys, bhavacha lagna tharlyamule line clear ahe, ata tuza pan bagh" :P