Molecules

•November 9, 2013 • 2 Comments

Its quite an interesting fact that every thing in this whole world is made up of the fundamental building block of the universe-the molecules. From cocaine to baby powder, ships to paper, brad pitt to myself. Isn’t that astonishing that if we start breaking down anything in this world, you will come down to see this wonderful matter.They combine together in so many different combinations to create such a variety around us. That brings us to the point that the rules of wear and tear applies equally to anything in this world. This is not a blog on atomic science. I wanted to share with you something that happened to me this morning.

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I was driving shreya to school. It was unusually foggy today with almost zero visibility. My mind too was quite reflective of the external environment. Hazy thoughts made me a bit uncomfortable. A hundered threads were running through my mind during that half hour drive. I reached home and i had to check some transaction which happened in my Bank account, which i had opened a decade back. Through out this 10 years i had memorized the 10 digit numeric id and password. I never had to write it down anywhere. The moment the internet banking screen opened in front of me my fingers always magically moved over the keyboard and typed the user id and password. This was more of a subconscious reaction from me,something in my brain was triggering this as soon as my eyes noticed the internet banking screen.

Today for the first time in the last 10 years, i could not type my numeric user id. I was not able to remember it at all. I tried blinking my eyes repeatedly, shaking my head  violently as if this would magically erase the block which was not allowing me to access this 10 digit number in my brain cell.I felt as if there was a fog created inside my brain which was not allowing me to see this number,similar to what i experienced while i was driving. I started panicking after a couple of unsuccessful attempts of entering the user id. I knew i was failing to recollect. I thought what if  as i grow older i start forgetting my self, my loved ones ,my friends, the wonderful things i have done in my life. There are so many elders whom i know who are experiencing this, destined to live among their loved ones without knowing who they are. Like i said earlier human brain like any other substance in this universe is subjected to wear and tear. Its just like a memory chip which keeps eroding with time.

Reminded me of two great movies from padmarajan around this theme. “Innale” and “Thanmatra”. Report says that by 2030 there will be 66 million people suffering from alzheimers. Lets all pray that we don’t fall to this.  And for my user id i got it mailed to me by the prompt and friendly customer care.I have written it down in BOLD letters in my dairy.

 

Sanil

 

 

 

The Indian Lathi

•September 27, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I have always wondered why young indian men don’t opt to join the police force. While there has been conscious targeted campaigns from army to lure more men in to the armed forces, the state governments have always turned a blind eye towards the plight of the police forces. Perhaps it has to do with the budget allocation which could be more for army since it comes from the central budget unlike the latter which is state controlled.

 

Even the movies which portray police officers as the savior of the common man has failed to do the job. Be it the stout chulbul pandey with his aviator or the roaring singham flaunting his six pack, they have not been able to move the youth to make a career choice in police forces. The fact is that the moment they step out of the movie house they might run in to a real life cop harassing or even begging to a street hooker for his weekly commission ,for him to pay his daughters school fees.

 

The image of the indian police officer is not that of a smart and stout young man in a well ironed kaki uniform holding an AK-47, but it is that of a pot bellied,tired, sweating,frustrated middle aged man with a lathi who is on the street trying to make ends meet for his struggling family and who wears this look on his face of a  man lost between his moral obligations and the  hard reality.He knows that he can never change the system which is more corrupt than he though it was and to the common man on the ground he is the dartboard to vent all their frustration on the corrupt judicial and political system. No policeman is ever liked by a common man.

 

Why are they in this state?? The primary reason being the state governments have never looked at them as a strategic force to reckon  in maintaing internal stability and security. They have been historically used to suppress political hostility by the ruling government and have been mere pawns in the hands of the political class. The recent terrorist attacks in mumbai had exposed this sad state to the general public when the whole country saw the police constable trying to overpower a well armed terrorist using his lathi. We made a mockery of our police force in front of the whole world.

Its not enough to buy fleet of gypsies and toyotas for the higher ups to move around, we need to start the transformation right at the bottom. By bringing in more young people in to the system, giving them better pay and making the system more transparent and accountable. At the bare minimum equiping every constable well to handle crisis situations.

 

The Indian police force is only as relevant to the current society as the lathi is to the current weaponry.

Catch them young!!Lets have a better force tomorrow..

 

Sanil

 

 

 

 

Where are the Crows??

•September 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

I woke up today morning to a very rare and nostalgic sound. The caw of a crow. I thought the crows never existed in the US . I hadn’t seen crows in the midwest which was logical due to the extreme weather there. I was happy to see them when i moved to california. Having born and bought up in a coastal village in kerala, they very much made me feel at home along with the sardines and the mackerel, and the thousands of indians in the silicon valley. I then came to a conclusion that crows always lived close to the beaches..

I have great memories about this bird. As a child i always woke up hearing it caw,marking the start of the day. This bird did not have any mythological significance with no mention anywhere in any of the great epics. But i knew it was there for a purpose. Occasionally my grandmother used to curse them,when they stole a piece of sardine kept outside in a clay pot for cleaning. It was very much a part of the family earlier. It was always there in the backyard,trying to grab anything meant for it. In malabar we had a belief that if a crow cawed sitting on your house you would have guests for the day. As a child that was one more reason why i loved the bird because i loved guests coming home so that i could play more and i associated the caw to happiness and fun.

In hindu religion we believe in reincarnation. We believe that all our loved ones who have parted with us in this world are born again as crows. That is the reason why we offer the crows rice during an auspicious day in a year..

The ritual went like this. You wake up early in the  morning, take a shower and remain in your wet clothes,remember all your loved ones who are no longer there with you and offer a handful of cooked special rice and clap to let the crows know that they can come and have them. I was told that if my ancestors were happy with you the crows would come and have your offering. I always used to be tense about this and hoped that the crows would come and have them. They never let me down!! This was the spiritual association i had with the bird.

The last time i went to India, i did not find much of  them along with lot of other things.  They were no longer there in the backyards as we no longer cleaned sardines outside in clay pots. They no longer cawed,as we no longer wanted anyone to come home, they no longer came to have our offerings as we no longer remembered our loved ones. I felt they have extincted themselves having realized that the world no longer needs them. The world has changed a lot

Every soul in this world is there for a purpose. If the purpose doesnt exist the soul ceases.

Remembering the Crows i used to love

The Mason and the Oracle Consultant

•December 6, 2012 • Leave a Comment

The days of Flat/Constant salaries are slowly going away. With more and more focus on productivity across the world ,hourly wages are gaining popularity.  The perception of hourly wages associated with low paying jobs is no longer true.  This has infact opened up new opportunities for companies and Individuals who have acquired specialised skill sets.

When my father build our house in the 90’s the mason used to charge Rs 200 a day for him and two of his associates along with a sumptuous lunch,break fast and a snack in the evening. This would look exorbitant for any one in the northern part of the country. Thanks to Communism – Kerala still is heaven laborers. The carpenter used to charge Rs 150 for himself which now has reached 700+. As a child i had more respect for the carpenter who had more 100 rupees in his hand than the mason, when my grandfather used to give their wages at the end of the day.  I was curious as to what made the carpenter have more money than the mason though both were almost doing the same physical labour.

 

Today i was working with a Consultant who was charging $250 dollar an hour.  Because of some budget constraints i was asked to keep an eye on his hours which is quite unusual in the industry . But what bothered me was, what is it that that made the guy worth $250 dollar an hour. On a broader angle what determines labour rates??? Is it just an intersection of supply and demand of labour.  But then there is always demand for menial jobs and there are not enough supply of labour to do them. Then why doesnt the labour rates for these kind of jobs go up?

Is it then associated with the Skill set required to perform a task?? Not really because its always easier to Configure a server than making a lovely designed gold chain, which still doesn’t answer why an Infrastructure consultant charges more than a Goldsmith.

Is it then associated with the Creative quotient/thought leadership/Knowledge you have. That also doesnt seem to be the case because we all know of economists and artists who struggle to make their ends meet. But fine piece of art always demands a premium, so does the creator or the artist.  As long as there is Revenue associated with the labour Involved it is easy to justify the labour costs. But in most of the cases it is hard to link the additional revenue that is generated out of the labour cost /expenses incurred.  Both the mason and the IT consultants are just contributing to Cost centers and are just absorbing allocated budgets.

I believe there are multiple factors that determine why  Scott the Oracle consultant earns more than Kunjikannan the  Mason (Country factor discounted,Lets assume kunjikannan was in silicon valley). My Talaash  for the answer will stay on..

 

On a different note Talaash is a good movie dont go by the reviews..

 

 

 

A Wasted Opportunity

•November 13, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Its still not hit us hard and no one seems to be thinking of it..Perhaps its not talked about much in our society because of the taboo we associate with it.  I am talking about Waste management which is going to be the most sought after management subject in the coming decade. A billion dollar industry that will shape itself and expand aggressively going forward.

I first thought of this three years back,when after my sister in laws marriage,the organizers of the wedding stood perplexed, when they were asked how they will dispose the waste. In a small city like Kozhikode the families are totally dependent on Community based programs  like Kudumbasree to dispose of their day to day waste. I presume the situation is no way different when you move to larger cities . I have heard that in Trivandrum the Corporation fines people for disposing their wastes in open( Which should be the case ideally).  Recently KFC which had a Grand opening in Kozhikode was Blacklisted and moved out from business when they were caught disposing off their wastes in open.

Think of bigger cities like Mumbai and Delhi. Have  the authorities even thought about handling this as our population gets bigger and bigger.We wont be able to sustain this with our old school of thought of recruiting people from the lower strata of society and getting the job done.  This surely will and is in fact getting out of control with heaps of waste on busy roads and neighbourhood being a common sight and increased cases of recurring epidemics.

At a Global level i guess they have thought about it by Involving Private Participation and Investing in Technologies. Our population will touch 10 Billion by 2030. This means increased consumption resulting in increased waste. Asia will hold 2/3 of the World population 2030. For India with its high density ,this problem could be even worse, with the Waste composition changing with more electronic and non degradable substances increasing their share.

 

There is an Opportunity here for Sure. The opportunity of a new Industry ,generating new jobs,new technologies and a healthier planet for the next generation to Live. We need to act soon,at least India needs to act soon.

 

 

 

 

 

LalSalam!

•October 12, 2012 • Leave a Comment

I am a die hard Lal fan.. i grew up watching malayalam movies in the 80’s.  This is my list of the best Lal movies i have watched  in ascending order:

1.Kireedam

2.Sadhayam

3.Iruvar

4.Thovanathumbikhal

5.Amrutham Gamaya

6.Nammuku parkan mundhirithopukhal

7.Devasuram

8.Bharatham

9.Dasaratham

10.Spadikam.

 

 

 

 

When the migrating birds become a Nuisance

•July 9, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Kozhikode landscape had changed drastically from the time i was there a couple of years back.  Tall buildings, well lit hoardings showcasing smart models endorsing international and local brands, plenty of eat outs, great malls and movie houses. I observed the same as i travelled across malabar till the tip of kerala.  I realised that the change was not just a structural change.In fact in one of the train journeys i noticed that 25% of the passengers were North indians, the new breed of daily wage workers in Kerala.  The so called “Bengalis”.  The friendly “annachis” we had from the neighbouring state of tamilnadu had ditched us over the last few years.  They are currently happy watching Suntv on their TV sets given to them by “Purachi Thalaivi” and finding a decent daily job in their very own place.This is not just in the cities. The Hotels in my very own town have only “Bengalis” in grocery store deciphering every item the customer tells in malayalam with utmost ease or juggling the “Porotta” for which we were so proud of,in a local thatukadda.  The bottom line is that the Malayalees are not available for daily wage jobs.

I just wanted to draw a parallel with a situation US had decades ago. US was in the same state when the neighbouring country of Mexico supplied labour for daily wages who literally run the economy in the US right now.  If it was not for the Mexicans there wouldn’t have been the Walmarts and the Tacobells and Chipotles which have become International brands. There is obviously a Flip side to this flow of Labour.  The Crime rate increased,Movement of drugs became easy and human trafficking was much easier. A country like US could control it with their efficient border security force and an effective immigration policy. Inspite of that there were loopholes in the system,which utimately led to the most debated immigration policy in Arizona.

What worries me is that in a state like Kerala,where our politcians are least interested in the welfare of our people i am sure this change in demographics is surely going to go unnoticed. I am sure there is no record of anyone who enters the state and finds an employment. When i say they are called “Bengalis”  dont expect them to be like the  Bongs we know. These are probably from Bangladesh who have come deep south to make a living and they have absoultely no societal commitment to lead a non-criminal life and our politicians can easily use them at their will against their opponents which could be the common man.

The french Govt had recently started expelling the “Roma’s” from france citing criminal reasons. This is not just in Kerala but  a global phenomenon and can never be stopped. I hope our authorities are vigilant enough to note this movement until its too late to be corrected.

They are not like calm seasonal birds,but they are here to stay and we might need to fight back.

This is just a point of view and i will never stop talking to the “bengali” chettan who makes puttu and kadala on pottamal road next time i meet him:)