Books I am reading now

  • The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
  • The Instruction - Living the life your sould intended by Ainslie Macleod

Sunday, July 14, 2013

on Corruption

what is corruption? it is after all a method of getting ahead i.e ahead of others by paying for it - the problem is we define corruption too narrowly and in money specific terms - now let me give examples of action that we do not consider corruption and then may be we could realise that we can take it as natural and go on from there and not get stuck to the concept of corruption
Are all these corruption?
1. we jump queues regularly be it at shopping mall, offices, railway station -
2. we (across the world) regularly pay tips to waiters and support staff -
3.  we jump traffic by creating a third or fourth lane and getting in front of other vehicles -specially happens in counties with huge population that drive on road
4. we (across the world) create laws that favour us and stop/delay other countries or organisation from generating profits or getting in? by this act, the "in" countries/organisations continue to get money while the others are effectively blocked
5. we (across the world) have clubs, hotels, etc. which stop people from getting in by the price they charge
6. we have schools and colleges that block students by means of percentage?
7. we block peoplle  from getting in by gauging them based on marks in schools and colleges?

on making a difference in India

on making a difference in a vast country like India - many people ask. can you make a difference in India - be it about corruption, educational system,  infrastructure, etc.  
the answe is of course yes....
corruption:
People can be corrupt only when they dont know you - if you get friendly with policemen, bureaucrats, municipal corporation, railway authorities before  you go to them with compliant, there is no chance of them being corrupt - can you ever think of asking money or paying money from/to your friends - in fact this is the most important reason why development does not happen at grass root level
 
on size:
India is huge and it is difficult to make change at mega level - for which one needs governing authorities support - for which one would need compassionate and visionary leaders for a lenght of time - which India was lucky in the initial stage to have - but unfortunately they didnt live long -however the advantage with India is that it has many many small Singapores or Finland with an opportunity to make a difference - unfortunately Indians are waiting for those visinary and compasionate leaders at the centre to make a difference when one can easily make a difference at Individual level

on education:
India has vast and varied kind of education system - we just focus on one of them viz the elite educatioal system and the traditional government based education system - there are so many variations happening in India unpublicised, unsung
Some solution -->  and i dont pretend i have all solutions - something that we can reflect on and consider? 
1. Each one of us in our own way can make a difference - may be just make friends with local police -or municipal corporation or any other governing body - just meet them - not to ask them anything - may be just if we can help them - may be meet their children - their staff - may be just understand their point of view - recently i had an occassion to discuss on the problem that railway authorities have in building bridges for the huge crowd in Kanjurmarg station (a suburn in Mumbai) and the time taken for people to reach the road - the  project manager had a clear view on what was needed - his budget amount was arbitrarily cut by 50% - obviously they can build only to the extent funds available - will any corporate or anyone help them in this act?- No, all that people o is to blame someone
2. how many of us have courage (and I am not the right person to comment since i have no personal "child") to let our children have quality education - no we want them to go to the best school, best college, best university, best management school- best means the ones that can get our children the best job (meaning money and prestige and position and so on) - do we really want them to learn and have quality education? i know of one couple who teach their children at home, give them access to woods and jungle and animals - in this age - how many such couple can we find? -
3. If it is difficult to influence municipal school which again is a limitation that we put on ourself - is it possible to influence so called best school and ask them to engage the best teachers i.e teachers who can really teach couple with online resources like the khan academy (really wonderful teaching material) and ask them to recruit all local children irrespective of background, income and charge them equally without any donation and bring out students of high quality - it is so easy to recuit like IIms/IITs to recruit best students and proclaim from roof toop that they are the best educational institution in the world - (no offence intended to any person or institution) - or can parents get together and contribute to teachers fund + computer/internet fund so that teachers can get adequate resources and teach students well
4. talk about and pubicize the change being effected so that more people will be energised to make a difference - Finland did not have the education system it has today till some women stared making a difference -US did not have the kind of consumerism till someone started making a difference - Singapore was not a great country till one man with a vision made a difference- India did not have the great IT industry it has till one company Infosys made a difference?



Sunday, January 11, 2009

nice poem by Derek Walcott

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

can we see the world as it really is?

Can we really see reality and not concepts???

How much we miss the world when we stick to labels!! Lets take an example in every day terms...suppose we look at a tree, our eyes perceive the tree, an image appears in our mind, compares the image that we have about tree with the current image and our mind immediately labels the object as tree. We do similarly the same with other human being (object) and compare the image with current image and label the object as Ram or Seeta or Sheila or John.

Actually the object that we are perceiving are “called” tree or human being or stone; but we perceive them through the color of the image in our mind and that too an image which existed in the past. And to add insult to injury as it may seem, we even perceive our body, mind or whatever through the historical image recorded and continuously overlayed with more images most of which are completely wrong or nonsensical. Think how much we miss the beauty of the world and the human being by labelling!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

great contribution from youth

It is so wonderful when a group of young people (and sorry to use the word "young") get together and start such a moving movement.. these are some people i know who have got together to make a difference to Bombay- they are going to help terrorist victims, make people aware about what road digging, any problem that you feel helpless about; now you need not sit and mope as to who will help you; if everyone contributes, we can make a difference and push the government into making India vibrant !! click on the following link and join the movement
http://sosmumbai.com/#

Sunday, December 07, 2008

sunset view today

Saw sunset today like many other days - it was absolutely beautiful - sun's rays streamed and painted a myriad of colours and hues -and the few dark and white clouds enhanced the beauty of sunset against the backdrop of blue sky with the half moon smiling as if at the painting. The white clouds looked ethreal with the sun rays behind them; the red sun that was sinking into the horizon was even more splendid if that was possible
this scene set me thinking .. was this created "by" someone or are these are just events that are done and there is no doer as some great masters have said? And doesn't it apply to all of us i.e. it seems that we do deeds when actually deeds get done through us just like electricity is expressed as light or fan or refrigerator !

Interesting side to mumbai post attack (?)

Noticed something interesting post attack.. citizen movements like the one at Gateway of India, candle burning at Taj and Leopold, people holding hands at Peddar road, and some holding candles too! people writing petition to prime minister, the physical anger against politicians and i was thinking, and the media (DNA, times of India) quickly setting up process for citizen to report (hope it continues) - will mumbai be the same again? may be .. may be not..

other interesting things noticed just two days after attack... a bored security guard next to ATM of a large bank...certain members of authorities - being rude with roadside hawkers! and other authority members taking free rides from taxi (i could be mistaken but the meter was certainly not down) and the politicians won't change (or will they)- 6th December (Saturday) saw the usual annual traffic jam that afflicts mumbai regularly - yes the Dalits (sorry for the choice of word!) come (or brought?) to mumbai on the death anniversary of our revered Dr Ambedkar (i am sure he would'nt have approved of this)

and the very nice side of mumbai
I went for my run this Saturday nite and three different groups of people wanted to help or stopped to chat - interesting eh? and my apology for use of age in my communication like young ....first was a nice chap driving his car (with loud music) - he stopped and asked me "can i drop you to the bus stop?" ; next were a group of kids driving scooters - asking me ... wouldn't you be better of running in the morning? and then traffic policemen - asking me - can i help you? nice isn't it :)?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

my first ultramarathon at Banglore ultra 2008

It seems so long ago- yes, 16th November 2008 was a memorable day since I completed my first ultra marathon (which for the uninitiated means at least 50 Kms of running) and the interesting part was that i have never run a full marathon before :), it was tougher trail than the previous year and i was just thinking, i almost cancelled the trip.
We reached the previous night at ONV (www.ournativevillage.com) a nice ecofriendly place on the outskirts of Bangalore at a place called Hessarghatta. We all went by a bus from Cubbon park to ONV- we were regaled on the way by A1 (Arvind) on what was in store for us on the trail and boy was he right to warn us (and more of that later). We met some of the runners who also stayed overnight; had lots of food (carb loading) and this is one of the best part of running ultra. Another major part of this year's ultra was the fabulous running by Santosh (who became record holder of running 156 km in India (Bangalore Ultra -2008), yes not kidding)- and the running doc (Dr Rajat) and others too - his wonderful parents- we wished them before the run and after one and half hours of run too-- then we went off to sleep :(. Incidentally i had registered for 25 km but changed it to 50 km the previous night.

We woke up (at least most of us) by about 5 and were very excited when the run started - it was lovely weather throughout the run - cool, cloudy, and of course nature was abundant and beautiful.. we started on the dot at 6.30 (as is expected in RFL organised ultra) and a bunch of us started the run with lots of encouragement from others (specially Sabine who couldn't run this year)- the trail was perfect - it started with being quite earthy, then went onto being grassy, then we ran on tar road for sometime and ended with sandy trail - great trail- on our way, we met the 24 hours running warrior team of Santosh and Rajat and others and it was wonderful to see them smiling... the runners in the ultra are wonderful and keep helping and motivating one another... I kept to a speed of about 8 km per hour in the beginning which looking back was quite high for me - specially since i was totally unprepared for the run - what with high worktime (at least 14 hours including travel time), being affected by viral which lasted about a month - till 15th october and weakness thereafter- and very limited running practice...
as A1 had warned, the trail was at a gradient twice and i could hardly take advantage of downhill and in the first two laps (i.e till i completed 25 kms), the gradient didn't bother me.. it was when I started the third lap to complete 37.5 km that the gradient looked tough... the other good thing about this run was the stuff that i could drink and eat - lots of water, electrols, sandwiches with jam and peanut butter, peanuts and fruits... apart from these the life savers were Iodex spray and the fantastic support from Doc's B2F team (http://web.mac.com/drrajatchauhan/iWeb/B2F/B2F.html) I probably missed the salt pills - I was advised to have one pill every one hour and unfortunately I didnt have them...The team helped me in stretching once i completed 25 km and then the 37.5 lap started
I found to my surprise that I was quite prepared for the 37.5 lap and was quite comfy when I started the next lap (50 km lap) with nice stretches from doc's team and reached the 42 km mark and the first major cramp started - I to actually sit on the ground and was groaning and thanks to the samaratins from the RFL group and some runners including Santosh's group which gave me a salt pill (which was amazing since they were running lot more than i did) and the doc's support, i felt better and could walk run till it reached the 43.75 km mark - the return journey was quite okay for some time till i reached close to the 47 km /48 km when once again the cramp started and it was worse than the earlier one and thanks to the runners and RFL i got over it - the sad part was that i had to walk most of the balance part and completed 50 km at a long time of 7:47 minutes at 2.17 pm! I didn't have time to stretch and was off to catch the flight
and thanks to my friends in Bangalore, i could reach airport by 3.30 pm and catch the 4.25 flight and boy was it hurting to even walk...it was such a joy to sleep that nite- just hit the pillow and went off to sleep :)

26th nov carnage mumbai

After all the news and blogs and twitter, there is very limited stuff i can muse about; whatever happened was sad; so many people killed, injured, scared! Many people were too scared to even venture out on the 27th. And the city part as the oldtimers would say i.e fountain, fort, etc. - I have never seen it so deserted for a long time; the ubiquotous hawkers on the roads were missing- cars were actually parked in those places ...and people so scared on the 28th or even the next day.
I was having lunch in one of the restaurant and the sound of car horn was enough to send people to the deep end and the restaurant was ready to shut down. People were running helter skelter at just a whisper of any incident. My favourite juice shop at fort was shut too.
on the flip side, it was amazing that mumbai's famous dubbawallas had come to office to collect dubbas- so many people had gone to office and were working...Mumbai is amazing in its resilience.
Now things have quietened down and mumbai is back to its usual crowd, usual rush- the only change seems to be more of alerts.. I read that strangers in neighbourhood are to be reported to police - on the ligher side ... how do i run in different parts of mumbai :)
I was partly glad and partly outraged and partly sad - when i was stopped by police (not traffic police) to show my driving license -
I hope and pray that mumbai doesnt change into a scared place- where every human being is suspected; we have to prove at every place that we are not terrorist ...Lets be alert but not paranoid
Lets all pray for a better world and not a world where we take revenge or react just like the terrrorists...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Cycling - an ecofriendly way

Wonderful way of spending time in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu for 7 days - wish i could do it too ! A environment friendly and healthy way of touring these places - can view the place better - slow is better - fast is terrrible - just try it when you want to reach somewhere - when you are in a hurry and when you have ample time to reach the place and you know what I mean
for info on the tour click on http://www.tourofnilgiris.com/

instructions for life -non spiritual?

I will start with this nice quote - source unknown - and thanks to Internet.. and the quote is .....
“You look like a thinker. Am I right? (I confirmed his hunch) I have some advice for you. What do you do when you take a shit? (I told him, I never really thought about it) Exactly. You just shit. That’s what you need to do with your music.”
Isn't this interesting quote for life- what finally matters is what one does.. and this is dependent in a sense ultimately on what deep down thinks right ?

and even more interesting instructions to life and quite deceptively simple are:
1. Be impeccable with your word - effectively means be true to what you said (doesnt it sort of match with the last one (yeah just be patient ! i will come to it)
2. Don't take anything personally - and this is required in office or any other place - it just means that whatever happens is quite impersonal - each one of us lives in our own world where no one exists - yes just think about anything that some one does or you do and check out for yourself - once you are convinced about it, you won't take anything personal and incidentally be happy :)
3. Don't make assumptions - always seek clarification - again this is integrated with point 2
4. Always do your best - in whichever state you are in - and this also means don't compare this with others (this is typically an instruction in Gym or during running) - this applies to life in general
(these are from a book called The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz http://books.rediff.com/bookshop/bkproductdisplay.jsp?A-Practical-Guide-To-Personal-Freedom&prrfnbr=80853731&pvrfnbr=80867649&multiple=true&frompg=_
5. and the last - Just Do it - don't just think
(It is quite easy to say all these - right!)