India, Defender of democracy.

One of the best ways to gain international credibility is by sending peace keeping force.
1) You instantly gain a favorable reputation with the government you are helping and improve your standing in the UN as a defender of democracy.

2) Indian Companies are more likely to expand in areas where Indian troops are there to protect their investment and employees. It gives them a sense of security, plus ensures cooperation of the local government.

3) You boost the morale of your soldiers who feel bored due to inaction and whose skills are underutilized in peace time.

4) A UN mission is an excellent training ground where we can demonstrate our defense capabilities in different terrains. France talks about sending 200 troops, we already have a million in J&K I think we can relocate 200 of them for the world causes and gain some laurels.

5) UN pays equally to each soldier irrespective of their nationality. Even $5 per hour for 10hours each day might look peanuts for a European or American soldier, but translates into 69000/- p.m. for an Indian. (Remember on duty a soldier does not have to pay for his expenses) Hence most Indian army soldiers look UN posting as a reward for their good work. A cash reward for which the govt. does not have to shell out even a dime.

6) British ruled an empire by making the local provinces pay for the troops it housed in their territory. That way they fed for a world conquering army. If India needs to upgrade its military might without increasing budget allocations. I guess this is the way.

7) Most of the developed countries are relying more on air and naval supremacy to maintain their military might. They have limited number of infantry divisions to spare for the world causes.

Yes there is a danger of losing some soldiers in a foreign land. But to boost the morale of Indian soldiers, increase our international influence, and play an important role in the world affairs.

In this Lebanon crisis, the main brokers of peace are the EU. A body without any army, foreign minister or diplomatic service is collective sending troops to broker a peace treaty. Italy is being asked to take command of the peace-keeping force. A question comes to my mind, why is India not involved. To gain this title, we need to send our soldiers and fight terrorists abroad. You do not have to breed a army of mercenaries, but sure you could spare 200-300 soldiers who can prove the world about how strong Indian’s are.


one liners

The road to success is always under construction.

Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else get your way.

Life is not no much a matter of position as of disposition.

The best vitamin for making friends, B-1.

If you don’t care where you’re going any road will get you there.

A pint of example is worth a gallon of advice.

Nobody raises his own reputation by lowering others.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

Ideas won’t work unless you do.

“The future is purchased by the present.”

One thing you can’t recycle is wasted time.

A hard thing about business is minding your own.

He who forgives ends the quarrel.

Children need more models than critics.

Frogs have it easy, They can eat what bugs them.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime.

If the going gets easy you may be going downhill.

Jumping to conclusions can be bad exercise.

The best labor saving device is doing it tomorrow.

A turtle makes progress when it sticks its neck out.

Failure is the path of least persistence.

Have a backbone not a wishbone.

If you want your dreams to come true, don’t oversleep.

Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses.


How to wear a saree?

I tried explaining one of my friend what a saree means and how to wear it:

Saree is a 6m long and 1m wide drape with beautiful weaving, stones
and embroidery, which Indian women wear. First you wear a blouse and a petticoat.
Then wrap 3 meters of this cloth around a waist like a long skirt,
fold the rest of the saree along the width in 8-10 pleats and tuck it in from the front side,
Finally turn around again, bring it round your hips to the front and finally diagonally across your side over your breast to your left shoulder allowing the excess cloth hang behind your back.

Pathetic descriptions, isn’t it… Finally gave it up. A picture is worth a thousand words, so send her links to these 2 websites.

Well if you still could not get it, then here is a nice youtube video to help you out (courtesy DDeden)

Inspired I even browsed for Dhoti. I always wanted to wear one, but never had a chance to try my hands on it. The instruction manual read something like this:

How it is done:

1. The dhoti is one long piece of cloth. Start by folding it in half so that it is half its original length.
2. Drape the dhoti behind you. The stripe should be vertical and held at the top by the left hand. The top of the folded side should be in your right hand and the dhoti should drape almost to the ground behind your heels.
3. Bring together in front of you the folded side in your right hand to meet the stripe side in your left hand.
4. Hold both the folded and stripe side in your left hand and bring them at even tension directly to your left side, keeping the bottom of the dhoti level and near the ground.
5. Hold the stripe side in your left hand as you accordion fold the fold side with your right hand until it is even horizontally with your left leg.
6. There should now be a folded bunch in your right hand. Slightly lift this bunch in your right hand as you bring the stripe side over it to your right side. The dhoti is now wrapped around you. What is left is adjusting the tightness and rolling it down to hold the tension in place.
7. Take the bunch in your right hand twist it slightly together and to the left and slip the top side of the dhoti just over the bunch to hold it in place.
8. Even up the stripe side so that the stripe is vertical and the dhoti drapes level just above the floor.
9. Roll the top of the dhoti down to a comfortable waist level, somewhere below the belly button.

Scary 🙁 I read all the 9 steps, yet it made no sense. Let me try once more, maybe there is somewhere a step by step pictorial procedure that might be more informative.

PS: thanks to Sathiyan for providing me with the link on Dhoti wearing.


1,000 Volvo busses for BMTC

Today I was delighted that my favorite cartoon character returns with a big bang.

I especially remember his drama of criticizing BJP the day he joined hands with them to form the government. (a great way to strengthen the new ties) Then every time his ministry failed he blamed it on the previous government, forgetting that he was very much a part of it. Now today he announces the deal of 1,000 Volvo busses.

Let me throw in some facts.
1) BMTC (Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation) has a total fleet of 4,000 busses. It neither has the financial resources, nor manpower and parking berths for 1,000 regular and 1,000 Volvo additonal busses.

2) Volvo officials simply jumped with joy when BMTC introduced their busses on just 3 routes. They felt they could enter into a whole new market of city transport if they make this deal. Now today, when Bangalore itself is planning to buy 1000 of its busses, why are they so silent? I hope the ministry did communicate with Volvo that they are buying 1,000 of their busses (a deal of 5,000 million rupees). Not to mention that will prompt many other cities to evaluate introduction of Volvo services.

3) If I am not wrong only a month ago the same ministry announced that by June 2008 we will have a metro. What are you going to do with this bloated fleet of 6,000 busses then?

Volvo busses have been very successful and are very comfortable. Bangalore needs to solve its traffic problem real soon, but that does not mean that to gain some PR points you mislead the public. Adding 100 new busses is logical, one can even define a timeline for that, but 2,000 busses… please give me a break.



When you get a tension headache, do exactly what it says on the aspirin bottle:
“Take two aspirin” and “Keep away from children.”

It is a sad fact that 50 percent of marriages in this country end in divorce.
But hey, the other half end in death. You could be one of the lucky ones!
– Richard Jeni


Campaign funds in Indian politics

It costs about 50 lakhs (5 million rupees) to do an election campaign for a post of Member of Parliament (MP). Today’s elections are not like the Roman council election where the elected kills the loser, yet in a way, even today the winner does take all. Considering the per capita income is 20,000/- for an Indian, this half a million is no small fund especially when you consider the number of candidates a political party has to field and the frequency of elections.

How many of us know about legal ways of contributing to their political parties? How many of us have actually used this mode? Have you ever seen a candidate doing a fund raising campaign? We all talk about how expensive an MP is, but is there is any state support which helps him raise this kind of money.

Lets us not be ostriches by thinking that there is a magical way of raising this fund. An elected representative or a minister needs to generate funds not only for his own needs, but also for his party. Let us do him a favor by not forcing him into a moral dilemma to get reelected.
Corruption is like smoking, either you smoke or you don’t. And once you have started smoking it is futile to put in the restriction that I will only smoke 1 cigarette a day and not two.

I believe in the 10-80-10 rule. Where 10 % of the people are corrupt no matter what, 10% are honest no matter how tough the circumstances are. While the rest 80%, the lot that matters the most are pragmatic and adapt to the situation. The efficiency of a system lies in its ability to keep this lot honest. The only way is to keep them honest and encourage honest people to enter politics is to design means by which these funds are raised. A person in debt will only think about money and not concentrate on the primary task of welfare.

A simple, but expensive way would be state support to all candidates who collect at least 10% of the popular votes. Another tough but less expensive way would be to monitor the party funds. If money of the tune of millions flows in and out daily, it makes sense for these parties to maintain accounts and get the scrutinized regularly.


Man Made Floods (asking the right question)

Why wait for the last straw to break the camel’s back?
Why did government wait for the dams to be filled and released the water in one go?

The states of Maharastra, Karnataka and Gujarat are riddled with flash floods due to good monsoons this year. A little investigation reveals that the floods are primarily caused because the dams and reservoirs released water.
I am surprised why people never ask the right question. Why nobody pointed to the failure of the irrigation and metrological department to estimate the rainfall and flow of water. Why aren’t the people who released water held responsible for the lives lost and the damage caused?
Monsoon started on 15th of June and water gradually has been constantly flowing into the catchments. If you release water in one go instead of continuous steps, you will definitely cause floods. These floods are not due to rain gods, but due to gross errors in estimation and planning as well as insensitivity of the government. I wonder when our yellow journalist will realize that.


Moral/Ethical challenges:

Talking about ethics, one is often drawn into the thoughts of the “history class” where teachers sing songs about our country and the ethical code of conduct followed 2500 years ago!! Looking at that time, we realise that the world was quite utopian, every thing was either right to all the people or wrong to all of them. There was never a dichotomy in this. But a quick look around us, we find that we are divided apart by various degrees of correctness – fully correct, partially correct, mostly correct, fully wrong et al. What has changed in these 2500 years that made the same thing that was right or wrong to take various shapes?
Solitude answers questions that are not answered in the books. But this time, I got the answer from a fairy tale of my younger sister – the book on “Robin Hood” – the noted childhood hero for most of us! What makes him stand apart in the category heros – when we had heros like “Rama”
who was trully perfect? The answer to this question is : “Abiding by conscience”. I am not saying that “Rama” did not abide by his conscience, but, it was really too much of perfection – which was quite possible in those days and quite not possible currently! Again, it may sound either a little too easy for following the norms and you might consider a person abiding by the conscience to be zany, but let me tell you, friends, it is not all that easy as we assume. Abiding by conscience is something which is hardly followed now – and anyone who follows it is branded “Crazy” or “Haughty” or even sometimes “unethical”.
Yesterday, I met a close friend of mine after 1.6 years – we went to the same college and shared our hometown. And when we were close to hitting the sacks – suddenly she said – Do you think that “Agni Pariksha” was fine in Ramayana? I was taken aback – for that matter, I have been thinking quite hard on this. Not only did it sound dumb, but it was horrendous. Why would a man [rather, God] set fire on his own wife just because some urchin doubted her chastity? Again, is that we need to go according to the society and its norms or is it fine if we went according to our conscience? More often than not, we come across situations that have been praised for centuries together by our forfathers only to realise that it is not applicable at all to this situation. That defies the very funda of having an ‘Epic’. An epic is not just a ‘long story’ from which Karan Johar or Sanjay Leela Bhansali can adapt a movie – but it is a story which is quite relevent to our lives at all times. Considering that most part of Ramayana is still applicable to us now, it is quite disheartening to find that rama set fire on his own wife. A wife , for whom he roamed places, fought a tough battle, used the help of monkeys/humans – and to set fire at last? I personally feel that it is not worth all that he did. Had I been in his shoes, I would have still continued to live Seetha – only proving to this world about her chastity. But, am NOT Rama!

The article was written by Savitha KS, expressing her own opinions.


cover-up or uncovering

In archaeology you uncover the unknown. In diplomacy you cover the known.
– Thomas Pickering
One of the greatest discoveries a man, and also one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.

Henry Ford


Creativity loves constraint.

A wonderful 18 minute podcast by Marissa Mayer, VP of Search Products & User Experience, Google