About the Blog
This is my diary....what I make sense of, around me. You'll find short prose on contemporary topics that interest me. What can you expect - Best adjectives? …. hmm occasionally, tossed around flowery verbs ?…. Nope, haiku-like super-brevity? … I try to. Thanks for dropping by & hope to see you again
January 24, 2009
January 17, 2009
The “ I am feeling Lucky” convictions that I got out of my regular Google searches turned into a moral baggage & burden of a thought that it was not being so lucky for the environment. Because as per recent NEWS reports; performing two Google searches from a desktop computer can generate the same amount of harmful carbon dioxide as boiling an electric kettle for a cup of tea. I presume this was computed on energy consumption equivalents and therefore hydrocarbon usage , and as per the Harvard university physicist who made the calculations, a typical search generates about seven grammes of CO2! To put this in a broader perspective, available data suggests that computing industry contributes 2 percent of global carbon emissions, similar to the global aviation industry, and this will increase its carbon emissions by 6 percent per year, due to unparalleled demand for computing hardware, software and services.
The underlying driver for all these is the lucrative Internet search market. Google leads this with its engine processing nearly two-thirds of the Web’s queries but there are hundreds of smaller search engines. The economics behind this is quite simple, in the US alone, companies spend $17 billion (Rs.69,700 crore) a year on online advertising, and 40% of that is spent on search engine sites. And the mad scramble to embrace e-commerce has resulted in companies hiring specialists to drive their websites higher in search results on popular search engines to drive traffic to their sites. This in turn is propelling the Internet search industry, not only are the algorithms that drive the search engines are getting better but the search output itself is evolving from traditional text links to unified search results that offer Web sites, news, pictures and video on one page. The searchable index is also increasing exponentially while companies like Google are also building huge repositories of data to support this information binge. The next generation of voice based search has already been lined up. All this frenzy is a build up to feed 4 billion information hungry PCs by 2020.
Meanwhile the browser war has intensified with Google coming up with chrome to take on Internet Explorer version8 to make the internet even better but the big question is how much of an impact will all these have in increasing the network of search engines in this world wide web & its fallout on the environment?
January 13, 2009
Cut the chase to Hollywood & you'll find it no better when it comes to stereotyping us, notwithstanding Elephants, Snake charmers , Idols, turbaned despots ,Sitar etc (remember Steven Spielberg’s Temple of Doom & its ilk?) nothing excites their sensibilities better than Slums , rags, poverty & deprivation in all its Indian glory. The current movie ‘Slum dog millionaire’ based on such ‘researched’ formula have always found favour with the western media & critics and somewhere reinforces the usual stereotype about India. Perhaps Arvind Adiga also scored a Booker prize recently riding his ‘White Tiger’ with a similar theme on India’s underbelly and found favour with western literary critics. In both these instances what i find is a common thread that somewhat mirrors the way foreigners especially the western world have been getting to read & know about India of late ; its economic progress & the rags to riches stories, the Urban-Rural & Rich-Poor divide etc.
January 9, 2009
Subrato Baghchi can be a magician with words, he builds a tapestry of images that provides a rich background to his early life. As someone with similar experiences, my mother was a Govt Doctor & she used to get posted in the Deccan hinterland where I used to spend my vacations & absorb the life away from cities, I could immediately relate to his early life which he describes in verdant & colorful details surrounding those small towns & villages in Orissa where his father, a Govt Employee was posted. Throughout the book he describes situations & instances that are not only captivating but some profound truths on life emerge from his uniquely narrative style.
In the early part of the book he sketches out his childhood days & the growing up years where he explains how he tries cope up with the apparent contradictions & challenges of setting up a career path and choosing what to do in life. He then goes on to describe the trials & tribulations he faced early on in his working career. The Office politics & challenges he describes can be very common and everyone can relate to. His experiences at Wipro, a failed venture in Project 21, a wrong career move with Lucent before he finally hit upon Mindtree makes for interesting reading. It has been one roller coaster ride for Bagchi but throughout all these experiences he has imbibed & drawn a lot of great value laced lessons. By explaining situational issues he also touches upon Management skills that a good manager brings to fore. This makes the book the handy for any budding manager or anyone interested in good biographies.Throughout his narration are small nuggets of wisdom drawn by earthly experiences and relevant to the topic under consideration. Eminently readable & releatable.
January 6, 2009
One look outside was all it required to figure out the situation but the Airline staff kept on repeating the usuals; weather can change anytime, clearances may be given based on ground situation blah blah... The delays of the previous days or the severity of the current situation did not seem to in any way have a bearing on them . While I cancelled one of my trips & took a similar schedule for a different destination the same day did I realize the true picture. My Flight to Lucknow which was scheduled to depart at 9 a.m actually took of at 1:00 pm. But there was technically no delay on behalf of the airlines, because they gave us the boarding passes at 8:45 am saying that the flight would depart on time and made us wait for a full 4 hours subsequently on the bus at the tarmac & inside the aircraft. A good part of 25 minutes were spent in the near freezing conditions in the former, with elderly & small children having to bear the brunt. A similar thing would have surely happened with my cancelled ticket which was to depart at the same time. Yet they refused to acknowledge any delay & made me forgo the base fare charges even after I had cancelled 1 Hr prior to the flight. For the conniving airlines, and a blind & indifferent Airport authorities , this was not a delay since the flights boarded on time.
Why did the airport authorities give clearance for boarding when they knew that visibility was low & flight would be delayed by hours? The flight attendants said that this could possibly be due to accommodation problems at the airport! Now this shows the state of Apathy in the authorities who seem to have more sympathy for airlines than passengers. For the airlines it is a convenient way to skip the cancellation refund clauses by technically boarding the passengers & make them wait for hours on the runway. Now who says the airlines are Bleeding?
January 4, 2009
The year began on an exciting note, as usual I spent the New year eve with my father & we went to a nearby hills (Panhala Ghats) to mark the vacation. I learnt to my pleasant surprise that dad had also made special arrangements to celebrate this New Year by booking a private farmhouse of his Business friend on the outskirts of the city. And so we heralded the New Year by raising a toast on the Scotch that I had carried for the purpose from Bangalore. Just a week into the year & my world came crashing down, my beloved Dad passed away in near perfect health. His passing away created a chasm in my heart & mind that I found very difficult to cope, especially at a time when I needed his reassuring company the most. Because this was the year when I had taken my fledgling steps to entrepreneurship after years of dilly dallying & Dad who stood by me all these years like a friend and a guide was no more.
Later in the year the Global Melt down & stock market crash that followed later in the year had a sedative effect on my Investment habits ,and in the process burnt a big hole in my Investment portfolio. However that has not fazed me, I have been investing even in these troubled times, maybe be with some forlorn conviction that averaging might kick in. Or so I hope.
The year also brought Terrorism to our doorsteps, first in Bangalore and other cities and finally in Mumbai has been heart wrenching. The sheer statistics of terror attacks over the past year ( 8 strikes & 444 dead ) is frightening, one doesn’t feel safe anymore , the nagging feel creeps up in me whenever I step into a public place and that probably made me to double-up my Insurance amount this year by buying additional policy from Aegon Religare. I could have suggested Thomas Friedman to add another word “Dangerous” to a book that he published this year “Hot Flat & Crowded ” to describe the world we live in current times.
The year also had its sunnier side for me, my 3.5 Year old son took school for the very first time, rather a pre school and it has been wonderful just watching all those lively tiny tots coming out to their parents after the school hours. Also my Niece, Risha stepped into a formal school, the 1st standard, a first again and it was happy news to see her get into a good school. Schooling children in a good place has become a big challenge and a major worry for parents especially in major crowded cities like Bangalore and any happy development on a personal front is always welcome.
The other positive that I have been able to draw from the year has been my exposure to several projects that kept me challenged & engaged. I have found it good to set new benchmarks for myself and attempt things that I only imagined earlier. I express my gratitude & thanks to all those people who made this change possible and supporting me in this endeavour - Lalit Popli, Rajeev Karwal, S Athavale, R Krishna, A Ramana Rao et al.,