Thursday, 17 July 2008

Taps to go dry in Bangalore - tips to tide over the crisis

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Taps are to go dry in Bangalore during the 3rd week of July 2008 due to shifting of the Cauvery water pipes. BWSSB has promised that the work would be completed in 4 days but knowing them we maybe in for a longer haul. Here are some practical and many absurd and ribald ways to tide over the water crisis in Bangalore:-
Be ready to shell out ridiculous amounts to the local tanker for getting un-potable water supply.
Use plantain leaves for having food and disposable glass for liquid consumption.
Bathe on alternate days. Use a lot of deos and talc to cover up your stink. A ribald method would be for spouses to shower together but then most of us have day jobs.
Washing cars and vehicles are a strict no. If you find anybody in the neighborhood doing so, stand with your family in front of the car and get a free splash.
Finish most of your liquid consumption in your office. Don’t forget to take home the mineral water bottles that you get at various meetings.
Stand on top of your house and scream at the top of your voice “God give me more water”. Unable to bear the shrill noise, your neighbors will fill your empty tanks.

Jokes apart, we are headed for serious water crisis world over in the near future. We are treating Global Warming less seriously than bread getting burnt in the toaster. India has one of the worst records for contamination of ground water. Added to this we are going for N-fuel reactors. Nobody knows what safety measures are going to be taken to prevent water contamination. People are informed only about how beneficial the N-deal but not on the safety measures. Who cares, all that matters is the word of one Prime Minister whose government is on its last legs. Just learn to tide over this and the coming scarcities of water in a lighter vein. We have leaders who are passionately committed to their egos rather than the impending crisis.

A reality show which promotes adultery

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A reality show “Kabhi Yaar, Kabhi Pyaar” is being aired during prime time on Sony TV which covertly promotes adultery. It is a dance show wherein 7 on-screen (who act as spouses in serials) and off-screen (who are spouses in real life) couples have to prove their passion compatibility to win the grand prize. The dance movements are erotic to the core.

It may be a great idea to ensure maximum TRPs but what happens if one of the on-screen couple gets carried by emotion and commits adultery in real life? Adultery may be projected as comedy or heroism in our ethic bankrupt films but in real life it is not so. Adultery is an act no sensible human being can be proud of. People who commit adultery in the spur of a moment may repent it till they die. Families get broken and kids shattered because of adultery. Should a public medium like prime time television be used to promote adultery? Is the dose of mega serials promoting adultery not sufficient that a reality show should be based on such an immoral theme? As they say, despite all rumblings, the show will go on. Feel the good old eighties of a single DD Channel was ideal.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Bangalore citi taxis are no better than the autos

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Citi taxies in Bangalore were introduced with much fanfare. It was promised that they would charge metered rates and never demand excess fare from the customer. To their credit, they also fulfilled their obligation to a greater extent in the beginning years and Bangalore citizens who could afford used to have a pleasurable trip. I too shared the same experience till very recently. Of late my experience with Citi Taxies has been very unpleasant. Here is a summary of the unpleasant experiences I have had with citi taxies in Bangalore, which makes me feel that they are as good as the city autos:-
A substantial number of them don’t have the digital meters.
They are expected to charge a minimum fare of Rs.50/- upto 4 kms but most of them insist on a minimum fare of Rs.150/- upto 10 kms.
The meter reading is never recorded when you board in and more often than not, you are forced to pay for extra 2 or 3 kilometers.
The waiting charges are Rs.40 per hour but they usually demand Rs.60/-.
Any journey which lasts for more than 2 hours is automatically pushed into the package bracket of Rs.500/- (40 kms and 4 hours). Citi taxies are not expected to operate package trips.

Nowadays I feel it is better to pay the extra amount to the local auto driver rather than go to the citi taxies who also charge extra over and above the approved rates. This is despite the fact that most of them run on gas. If you still want to engage a citi taxi in Bangalore, please double check the tariffs with the call centre keeping in mind the distance and duration of your travel. This could avoid a lot of arguments for you with the citi taxi drivers.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Salaried Middle Class are the perfect sitting ducks

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Sitting duck as defined by the Oxford dictionary is “a person or thing with no protection against attack”. If you have to go by this definition, the sitting ducks of India are “the salaried middle class”.

We are the largest segment of the population but no political party considers us a constituency. We are spread across the country, occupations and can never get together to fight for our rights. We are considered ungrateful by the political parties and nobody takes up our cause. Farmers have their “Sons of the Soil” leaders to fight for, we don’t have say, “Sons of the toil” leaders.

We pay tax for every pie earned but there are no welfare schemes for us. We don’t file our tax returns, we get penalized but no action is taken against the black money hoarders. We pay all the municipal taxes but when it rains the roads get inundated and water flows into our houses. We are blamed for polluting the atmosphere with our vehicles but nobody provides us a good mass transport system.

We lose our jobs nobody provides us a livelihood. We commit suicide due to financial burden; it finds a mention in the crime beat of local newspapers and never becomes national news; no government comes forward to write off our loans. We keep our families small but no Government ensures affordable education and healthcare for us. Thanks to organized retail, we begin to get vegetables and provisions at cheaper rates, the dogmatic Left protests that traders and farmers are getting a raw deal. Our frenzy ensures that the cricketers get crazy amounts as endorsement fees but when we criticize their non-performance, we are labeled as “arm-chair” critics.

The Salaried Indian Middle Class is sadly the perfect sitting duck which can be found anywhere in the world. But then we are too mired in making our ends meet that we don’t have time to come together and demand for a better living. Remove our contribution; the economy will be sinking in a quicksand.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Spoken English knowledge, does it matter

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Spoken English coaching centers have sprung across the country. Spoken English Centers are akin to fairness creams, trying to make money out a societal inferiority complex. The question arises whether one really needs to speak English without any hindrance. I believe if you are an achiever in your chosen field, working knowledge of English (both written and oral) would be sufficient. Also there is no need for you to spend hell lot of money and effort in learning to speak English the way Englishmen speak. Have a look if you are in any of these categories you don’t require to speak fluent English:-

Politician – Lalooji does not speak very fluent English but he has transformed a sleeping giant like Indian Railways into a money spinner. Harvard guys wait for his appointment to know his management secrets.
Sportsman – Sehwag and Inzamam also suffer from the same handicap, but that does not make any difference when they hit the ball for a six. Flip side is when a bowler curses them in English, it falls on deaf ears.

Those were specific examples. Let us assume that you are a software engineer, as long as you can write efficient programs, it does not matter whether or not you posses fluency of English language. A mathematics or science teacher has to explain to his wards in simple terms how a particular result is arrived at and his English knowledge need not rival an English teacher’s. Nobody would mind taking advice from a stock broker who speaks broken English but frequently recommends a stock which gives an annual return of 30-40%.Same is the case with a surgeon, pilot, solider, civil engineer, grocer, etc.

The only people who definitely require a good knowledge of spoken and written English are secretaries, copy writers, clerks, English professors/teachers, BPO employees, News Readers and English journalist.

Thus, most of the jobs in the world can be executed efficiently as long you have the core skills and excellent English knowledge is only a cherry on the cake. There is no need for you to feel inferior, if you can’t speak fluent English. Most of the work in the outside world can be done through pre-printed forms. Just chill, knowing good English won’t make you owner of a company but possessing the right business acumen can.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Platonic relationships, making them work

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Jaane Tu Jaane Na has brought platonic friendship into the limelight once again. The famous Hindi film dialogue goes “Ladka aur Ladki kabhi dosth nahin ho sakthe” (means A boy and a girl can never be friends). One thing is for sure Platonic friendship as projected in the film can never exist between a man and a woman unless and until both of them are insensitive objects. Platonic friendship does exist and can exist subject to certain conditions which experience has taught me:-
a. The contact between platonic friends has to be limited and in reasonable hours of the day. Innumerous SMSes and emails make it vulnerable to the applicability of law of diminishing marginal utility and bound to die down, get into romance or result in irreparable misunderstandings. Too much contacts lead to misunderstanding in families and suspicious spouses lead to sacrificing the friendship itself
b. Physical contact between Platonic friends should definitely be avoided. This either leads to romance if unmarried or in case of married people, to disastrous consequences for all the parties involved. Never try to convert a platonic friendship into romance especially if the other party does not like it.
c. Don’t get too personal with your platonic friend. It reveals your grey areas and the scope for getting intimate increases.
d. Never have platonic relationships with those you meet and interact on a day to day basis. Ego, jealous friends, gossiping colleagues are sure to dissolve it. Let your platonic friend be one you meet not more than 2 times a week. The novelty will be sustained for a longer term.
e. Never make promises in a platonic relationship. If you make one, better learn to keep it. There is no other thread in a platonic relationship than trust.
f. Disclose your grey areas in the initial stages of a platonic relationship. It is better if the relationship breaks-up at the initial stage itself. Break-up of a platonic relationship when it reaches the peak is more difficult to accept than a love affair break-up.
Platonic relationships are very easy to make but difficult to sustain in the long run. It is the most wonderful relationship in this world but everyday it is a tight rope walk.

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Banglaore, Karnataka, India