Last day blues?
Today is the last day of the Year and all of us are at work. To make things worse, its a Friday. As an unwritten rule, all offices should be closed on 31st! To lighten up the mood, I’ve decided not to “work” (in the literal sense) today and just hang around the office for a while and then get back home! huh…now I feel a lil better.
I’ve been fishing for reasons on why I haven’t been blogging lately and couldn’t come up with anything reasonable :(..so I guess its just a bad habit.
We’ve been seeing 2 movies every Sunday for the past month. These are the ones I liked:
“Musafir” (means “traveler” in Hindi): If you liked “Kaante” (remake of “Reservoir Dogs”), you would like “Musafir”. Sanjay Dutt rules with his Harley. Dialogues are really good.
For once, the dialogues relate to the actor playing the role. Sense of humor is quite different and very sarcastic of all the Hindi movies. I enjoyed watching the movie. They could have done better by not having Sameera Reddy and Koena Mitra.
“Saw” - a chilling movie and very articulately directed, well-crafted thriller.
Oceans’s Twelve was a disappointment and didn’t live up to the expectations of Oceans’ Eleven. Nevertheless, George Clooney is awesome as always.
Happy New Year 2005!
Nature at its worst. Terms such as tsunami, tornadoes are generally unheard of in India. So when such a calamity struck, it shocked and surprised everyone beyond words.
The tsunami that hit South Asia on Dec 26th morning has claimed over 20,000 lives in Sri Lanka and 13000 in India. It was chilling to read the experience of a family from Bangalore that was on a speed boat ride in the Bentota river that fateful morning. As they sadly reminisced the experience of how they got back to the shore when the boatman deserted them midway, I was reminded of memories of our ride at the Bentota River 2 years back. That was one part of our trip to Sri Lanka that we enjoyed. I received a few pictures now ..the zip file is named “what happens when death is near you”. Every picture has a huge body of water chasing people desperately running for their lives. What an irony - nature chasing mankind just when man thinks he is the master of his own destiny, nature reminds us that we are helpless.
All my coworkers are out on a picnic today. Can’t believe it is so hot in Bangalore on a December afternoon. Another coworker and I are at work struggling to get even with Java Server Faces. Damn JSR 168 Portlets, Inter portlet Communication and JSF! Precisely the reason why I hate the first version of any new technology. Whoever makes the draft claim to have not addressed certain key factors deliberately (or otherwise ?) in the initial version. It is left to those unlucky few in the initial months of release to live with the bugs and figure out the drawbacks. “Google Programming” is not helping either. Well, everything has a way of working out, so I’m not worried.
I was all set to leave home this morning, when I realized I couldn’t open my front door. I checked if I had opened the latches again to ensure I wasn’t sleeping. Didn’t take long to realize that someone had locked me in. It took a good 15 mins to get my neighbor to unlock the door. As it turned out, there were a few kids playing outside who remembered later that they had locked me in. Funny!
Broadband has arrived finally. One vendor has agreed to provide Internet connection. So I should be connected from next week which means more frequent blogging.
Tapping the potential of Technology - From wheat to Aashirvaad
India, the largest democracy in the world, held its 14th Lok Sabha elections in 2004. Of the 675 million registered voters from the 1 billion strong nation, a whopping 378 million exercised their franchise. Despite this overwhelming turnout, thee election results were declared within a span of 24 hours. Thanks to the technology revolution in India. Every government in the past decade has not lost an opportunity (despite the lack of development in other sectors) to tap the IT potential that is available in abundance - the Indian brain power. Examples of the same are e-governance, online Railway tickets reservation (book a train ticket was a nightmare until 5 years back and required planning), and paying electricity bills online.
The reason I mentioned technology is because of the article in India Today about how it has revolutionised the agri-business in rural India.
V reminded me to read this week’s edition of India Today. On the front cover is Yogi Deveshwar, ITC chairman. I was very impressed about the concept of e-choupal when I heard it for the first time a few weeks back (more of an up close and personal version).
Its achievement - 5050 choupals, 29,500 villages, 3.1 million farmers.
Ambition - to reach 1,00,000 villages, 10 million farmers by 2010.
–from India Today
To me, this initiative by itself is a big deal. Selling technology to the uneducated and gaining the confidence of the farmers on a machine (a computer) that they would generally look at with awe only from a distance. The real potential of India lies in the villages where more than 60% of the population lives. Educating farmers and making Internet connection accessible to them and other information in their local language is an appreciable deed.
Let me explain what this initiative is all about in a few words. ITC sets up one e-choupal for a number of villages and appoints a sanchalak (the person that operates the computer). The farmers then approach the sanchalak for information such as weather forecast and what would be the right time to sow a crop, prices in the markets etc. ITC steps in by selling the concept and educating every farmer about good cultivation techniques and sells seeds and fertilizers at competitive prices. Upon harvesting, the farmers have a choice of taking their produce either to their traditional mandis or getting them to ITC. The article says that the farmer’s prefer to sell it back to ITC because of competitive prices and no malpractices and they get paid without any delay (as is usually the case in mandis). This is the story of transformation of wheat to Aashirvaad.
However the concept that appealed the most to me was recognizing the buying power of the rural India. Though the buying capacity of every individual cannot be compared to that of an Urban Indian, the volume is so high that FMCG products are fast moving now in the villages. The farmers have hard cash with them on selling their produce and they don’t hesitate on spending the same in consumer goods. For more on this read this week’s India Today.
I saw Phir Milenghe (read: We’ll meet again) on December 1st. December 1st is World Aids Day.
Phir Milenghe, a Hindi Movie adapted from the English movie,Philadelphia, is the story of a highly paid ad executive (a woman in this case) of a creative agency who is fired from her job when her boss learns that she is diagnosed HIV-positive. Tom Hanks’s Oscar winning performance cannot be compared with that of Shilpa Shetty’s. But I liked the movie. Phir Milenghe was released in 2004 while Philadelphia was released in 1993. As one would expect, this movie did not perform well at the box office and was telecasted on Sahara within a couple of months. AIDS is still such a taboo topic and is not spoken about openly. There was very good dialogue in the movie that said, “when you don’t talk about it, you promote ignorance.” This is true and we believe in the saying “Ignorance is bliss”. I imagine most of us believe in the misconception that being HIV-positive means the same as having AIDS, which is not true.
Well, anyways, the purpose of writing this post was, it troubled me knowing that people didn’t like this movie but they like movies such as Hum Tum (read: we and you). Yes, it is a personal choice and perhaps they offer the kind of entertainment the masses look for but don’t that doesn’t mean you demote meaningful movies either.
The November 29, 2004 edition of India Today has an article titled “Freedom Runners”.
The introductory paragraph reads –
An increasing number of Indians are saying goodbye to fat salaries and fancy designations to pursue their dreams. For them, satisfaction and freedom are incentive enough to opt out of the daily grind.
Triggers: why people do it
- Hobby Bug
- Outgrowing Money
- Seeking fulfilment
- Office Stings
- Self Belief
- Being alive
- Taking charge
- Lending a hand
- When love beckons
- Gimme a break
- VRS cushions
- Securing the future
- Sixty plus
- Overcoming age
This very well written article spoke my mind. There is one difference however between the people mentioned in this article and me. They quit their high profile jobs that earned them fat salaries, for something they have always wanted to do. For example, 2 IIM A graduates quit their jobs to start a magazine called JAM.
All I know is I HATE technology and don’t like introducing myself as an IT consultant (alright it sounds better than a software developer) to anyone. Call it identity crisis, name it whatever. But the fact that a 25-30 year old person from Bangalore needs no introdcuction and passes off for a s/w developer doesn’t appeal much. I want to quit this profession for reason 10. But I don’t know what I can do alternately - ummm probably painting that I’m very passionate about (DON’T READ as I’m good at it). Or teach in a nursery school. Well, I don’t know. But atleast I’m glad that this article has awakened my boredom demon that will instigate me to explore other options. The thought of working in this field forever is intimidating.
How about you? Do you do what you like to do for a living ?
Now there is no doubt that I live in a village - ironically along the IT corridor of Bangalore. I have contacted about 4 DSL/broadband providers over the past 3 months and we still don’t have a Internet connection at home. Every vendor has the same questions –
Where do you live?
How many metres away from the main road is that?
The conversation ends with a standard answer “Ma’am, we will have to do a survey of your area to see if DSL connection can be provided. This process will take 4 days. ” Even if the outcome of their feasibility study is positive, we don’t hear from them later for taking our order or installation. And in one case the reply was, ” Ma’am you are a few feet away from where we provide service. It will take a couple of months for the service to reach your area.” Thanks for telling me that. I should probably set up my machine on the road and browse now.
I’ve almost given up. Since I don’t like having a blog that is not updated frequently, I’m toying with the idea of shutting this down. I’m going to give myself another week for “Project Broadband”.
“My share of Planet Earth”
This weekend was good. We hung out with a LOT of friends. But with everyone the conversation centred around their efforts to procure a piece of land or an apartment.
Some of us already owned one and the others were trying to procure one and were bogged down by the shooting prices. It seemed as though a mental picture of the area-builder-price matrix was swimming in their head (reminded us of our plight 2 years back). Real estate market in Bangalore has seen a significant growth in the past 5 years, thanks to the IT growth and thousands of Double Income families. Real estate investment has been providing a very satisfying ROI. But if Bangalore will be able to match demand-supply ratio is something to be seen. With the kind of infrastructure that is prevalent now, it is going to be a nightmare living in this city after 2 years.
Yayyyyyyyyyy..off on a 2 week vacation.
I moved today. Not my home. Not the company I work for. Just a change in the office work space to a few cubicles further away. Why such a big deal? Well, because I sat in that place for over 3 years. It sounds strange because instead of feeling sad, I’m rather relieved. Probably everyone else is more relieved than I’m and the feeling is mutual. Relieved as don’t have to live upto unsaid expectations, find answers for unasked questions and not carry the guilt of being biased. It was different until a while back. Enjoyed being a part of the team but things change and familiarity breeds contempt. I got to stop posting cryptic, senseless entries…….
The Apprentice - Season 1 is now showing in India. I haven’t seen Season 2 yet.