Monday, January 30, 2012

Tanya wants to go on a date and prefers her date to be tall, dark and handsome.

  • Of the preferred traits - tall, dark and handsome - no two of Adam, Bond, Cruz and Dumbo have the same number.
  • Only Adam or Dumbo is tall and fair.
  • Only Bond or Cruz is short and handsome.
  • Adam and Cruz are either both tall or both short.
  • Bond and Dumbo are either both dark or both fair.
Who is Tanya's date?

Answer is Cruz - figure out how :)


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Slum-like living conditions

BBC reported that according to a report from the UN, in the last decade a quarter billion people graduated from slum-like living conditions. (Find the report here) This, an UN official said, was due to conscious government policy in the developing nations. However, whether we should accept this as a good thing is what I want to draw your attention to. No, I am not one of those village romantics, in fact quite the opposite. Cities are where people learn new skills and innovation takes place. That is where civilization comes from. But it is just that what we (people of the developing nations) understand of urbanization is a very western dominated concept – not suitable for a developing country. The question is what do we see as cities – do we see 5 star hotels and expensive cars or do we see a compact, functional and efficient agglomeration.

Why this is particularly relevant to developing countries is because more and more people are moving towards the cities. If for the time being and for the sake of free democracy, we keep Thackrey policies out as an option, then the government will have to find ways to accommodate the immigrants which would mean additional resources [Build roads, metros, outskirt cities etc.]. However governments of developed countries simply do not have the resources to build cities for large part of their populations. Even if they did, there will be other associated problems to keep these cities going, power for example.

To me it is just not sensible spending. Why waste resources squandering away money when there are more resource efficient ways of delivering output? US Cities are definitely not the most energy efficient creations. Most urban transport corporations of the world lose money (even in developed countries). While cities do attract companies (Silicon Valley), we should understand that it is not because it was such a great city that companies settle there. Most often, the decision of companies are governed by government policy, availability of human resources and cost efficiencies. Look at the movement of BPO companies to Tier 2 cities and villages. They are doing so because now they have the required man power, the government will allow them to make money with supportive policies and they can invest in internet infrastructure to keep them connected. The costs are obviously lesser. So first thing to be understood is cities are not the only way to attract investments.

Given this, should we as a nation think of energy guzzling cities or should we think of outsmarting the westerners? India is known for being resource intensive and it is that, more than anything else that has helped us tide over the financial crisis. The common man in India knows how to save. The women of India know how to use the tin of the coconut oil as pots for plants. We know how to save money and that is what we should never forget to do. I feel increasingly our city dwellers are forgetting how to save. The economy will do much better if the super riches in the city withdrew from lavish marriages and parties and instead put that money in the bank.

Look at the slums in India. It is fool hardy to think that we can bring these people to high rise buildings. These people need the money; they will rent those buildings and go back to slums. The whole idea of making wide roads and having gardens outside houses is a phoren concept simply not applicable to India. What we need is to support these slums, make them free from diseases, build schools in them and make them liveable. We should connect them through roads so that they become centers of excellence. In fact there is about a billion dollar industry running in Dharavi slum in Mumbai and the average dweller makes about Rs 120 – Rs 150 per day (836 million people in India live on less than Rs 20 per day – Arjun Sengupta Report). There is growing recycling and tanning industry running in the slums of Mumbai. And so, while the queen of England might want to put her handkerchief to her nose, she would be scared because the slums generate money with far greater efficiency.

Similar is the slaughter house in Idgah – the one that runs near sadar bazaar in Delhi, probably the most efficient land usage example. One can argue, that our competitiveness might go away once the wage rate rises and the only reason why we are competitive is because of the low wage rate, that we need to invest in productivity, but whether we remain competitive is a lot more to do with government policies than individual actions. Nobody invests more in R&D and technology that probably the US, still it takes millions of dollars of subsidy for US to sell its agricultural produce. More often than not, any industry will make all efforts to make it competitive when the need arises because its survival depends on it. The reason why Japanese became super efficient is because of the policies of Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) after it was devastated by war. What I am trying to impress, is simply that necessity is the mother of invention and I for one do not need to worry about the resourcefulness of the Indians. Let’s not become blind to the inventiveness. It’s a shame that Harvard Business study had to bring the Mumbai dabbawallas to our notice. In fact have a look at this site to get an idea of how the slum dwellers use YouTube to improve living conditions. What the government needs to do is just support these industries with what they need – roads, sanitations, health and education. There have to be low fee nearby schools and hospitals, they should learn about safety from water borne diseases for example. Leave the rest of the wonders to them.

Coming back to the core issue, there is a serious need to rethink what cities in India should look like. People are moving towards cities and people will move towards cities. Increasingly cities will get congested, traffic jams will be there and slums will be formed. We know we do not have the resources to create a city of lights. Maybe we should not in the first place.

Naxalism in India

I have had some free time in my hands over the last week which I have used on increasing my global gyan. In the process I stumbled upon the issue of naxalism. After having read through about a dozen articles I decided to put my views on the issue.

Let’s start by understanding what naxalism is. Here is what I make of it – Naxalism is a violent movement largely by the tribal people in India in some rural parts of India. The movement is characterized by killing of government officials, land lords and disruption of the state machinery. Most of the people engaged in this were and are landless laborers.

The major region in India where this movement is gaining strength is what is now called the red corridor. But this being a tribal or adivasi movement is largely prevalent in the backward regions of backward states – viz. Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and parts of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Bihar and the NE states to name a few. Here is the red corridor as depicted in Wikipedia.

Now let’s see why the naxalist people are killing people. For that we will have to go to how naxalism started in India. The word naxalism comes from the region naxalbari in west Bengal. The dispute then was regarding land being taken away from farmers. The idea of naxalism is to follow a more communist way where farmers get their share of land, whereas most of the land was in hand of landowners. This resonated with students in Calcutta and even they joined the movement. The movement became stronger and for sometime some of the major universities were taken over by naxal groups. The state retaliated with an iron fist and stopped the occupation of such government institutions.

The reason why the naxal movement has continued to live on is because the government is using very oppressive methods to crush the force. There have been outcries of human rights violation.

Coming back to the original question: why the naxalite are killing people. These are the most deprived people, mostly farmers. The fruits of development are yet to reach these areas and jobs are hard to come by. The people live in abject poverty. This kind of situation is the fuel to such behavior, but this is not reason enough for them to take up the gun. The kindling point was taking away of land. In India, lobbies work stronger than one realizes in first sight. The industrialists want land in these areas at cheap costs and the governments to woo them, and get money from them will take away land from the tribal. The government does not have proper land policies in place to support them. Land acquisition has invariably meant that these people lose their only source of livelihood.

This was the problem to start with but the current problem is that of revenge. The naxals feel wronged because of the way the problem was handled. The government retaliated with force, killing civilians who sympathized with the naxals as well as naxals with brute force. The same stories of fake encounters, rapes of women are repeated. The adivasi civilians are being killed in the cross fire. This means more people are getting angered against the government and joining the naxals. This explains why the movement is getting stronger.

While one can argue that it was the naxals who started with a violent approach, one cannot weigh the government and the naxals in the same scale. The government is elected by people; it is responsible for the people and cannot become the same autocratic force as the naxals. Secondly it must understand that by drawing guns against its own people, for whom it has not done much anyway in terms of development, it breeds such insurgencies.

Remember the case of Cuba. Fidel Castro, a lawyer by profession, uprooted the Batista government by the support of the people who had lost faith in the government as it had started killing people. The latest operation green hunt is a similar step, where in the government is employing its army (the one which should be protecting the borders) to uproot the naxalist group using night vision cameras etc. This is the demise of democracy. IF the current government does not wish to be the next Batista, it should stop this stupidity and restore peace. IT should start making outlays in building schools, hospitals and roads. At the same time, it should make it difficult for the naxals to procure arms but not kill the naxals.

Naxalism is not a law and order problem in India, it is simply a socio-economic problem and hence the solution is also in economic development.

This is a good read on the life of naxals.
This is about Operation Green Hunt.

Friday, January 16, 2009


In most apne pyaare bollywood movies -apparently in tense moments - somehow suddenly everything slows down for the protagonist. Remember those heroes in motorbikes crashing in through the glass window - slow: sometimes while catching a thrown child or in other times while fighting the villain. Often times, there is a soft music playing as he reminisces his work out sessions, practice sessions - about his beloved smiling.
In all my experience, I have never felt things slowing down. If it did, i believe this is how i would want it to be...

Some how I prefet the things the way they are -

Saturday, August 23, 2008

SN's NEW music room


Friday, August 8, 2008




Thursday, July 3, 2008

SMS communications

SMS1 = sent sms
SMS2 = recieved sms

SMS1: Happy Birthday Buddy :) Heres to standing the test of time ! Cheers
SMS2: who is dis ?
SMS1: Chutiye
SMS2: Achha achha. sorry

This is the best sms conversation I have had in a long time !