Monday, June 30, 2008

Indias pressing need of the hour

is better press, not innovation as this column puts it.

But in recent years and certainly in recent months as the US economy has slipped and slumped, concern has been voiced over it losing its competitive edge, particularly when it comes to innovation.

Ask any company if their Indian units have contributed to Innovation and chances that you will hear a negative answer is close to zero. How do I know this? Because I work in company like that and I talk to others who do.

Now think about your favourite products in India? How many times have they been reinvented? How many times do we admit we misread the market or made a mistake?

I agree we have not in case of infrastructure - definitely not in the case of expressways and pretzels - the two amazing examples put forth in that piece. But we have innovated in pickles (Mothers has a superb sweet lime flavour - try it. Priya has a nice Ginger one.), chips (ever tried Bingo? Mad Angles?). Roads, we have never had and MMS is not interested in it, since he travels by air - so that is granted.

I agree 30 years is a long time. In 30 years, we have innovated - the IT industry is an Indian innovation, the Nano is a complete break in the way automobiles were thought about. Just in case you missed, the Reva is also from India.

Yes, the US is a great country - I think very highly of the nation, but innovation can happen when there are tons of money and it can happen in very subtle ways too. Have you seen that new sugarcane juice contraption at Forum? Or Arvinds eye hospital? Or Yeshasvini?

Mint, I can write that column for you...

Land transfer row

The Amarnath land transfer row is a lot of politics, but it is well worth a read and a thought. 


Heres a report from The Statesman -  on the comparison of the building of the Mughal road 3 years back and the Amarnath land transfer ? This report is worth reading - so obviously the environmental concern that everybody was so happy to report about was a fig leaf. What is left, is quite simply the religious angle. The state government is going to take over the yatra, but we will have to wait if the pilgrims get any better facilities at all.

Heres one from the ET - The BJP gets a poll issue, and so it continues.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

There is a gas pipeline

...and there is gas (rhetoric - as MBA types will tell you) itself. 


Dont believe them. Of course, we have reasons to believe them based on all the promises held since 1947. The gas pipeline that comes to India from Iran via Pakistan will be stupidest decision we ever make. 

There are alternatives as experts will tell you.

Friday, June 27, 2008

If religion was software

Hinduism would be Linux. If religion was the Web, Hinduism would be Web 2.0.

Richard Stallman would be pleased. You can debate what is Mac and Windows till the cows come home but that really is not the point of this post. Bear with me for this post, as I attempt to step into slightly uncharted waters. On Religion. On the religion we know as Hinduism. And my attempt to make a small comparison of the religion with open source and Web 2.0.

The last few years, for a variety of reasons, I have found myself at temples, ashrams and other pilgrimage centers all over India all the way from Puri to Tirukadavur and historical temple sites like Hampi. And if I count my family, we have been to quite a few temples around the world including the Kailas Mansarovar Yatra. Each one of it has been an amazing experience. Sabarimalai and some of the temples on its route perhaps among the most striking as far as experiences go. I have visited at various points of time in my life ISKCON, Raghavendra Swamis Ashram, Ramanasram, Sri Ravishankar ashram - which between them represent ashrams and groups old and new. By no means exhaustive, each of these groups have something common across them, yet may not have anything common across them.

And through these visits to temples, ashrams and related places - each slightly diverse, yet encompassing all others - I marvel at this religion. Hinduism seems to embody - notwithstanding new found guardians of the faith - open source to its truest extent. It encompasses just about all open source, web 2.0 principles. User level participation, creation of communities - look no further.

Pick an avatar for god - any one. You need not choose humans, past or present, though thats your choice. You could pick a lake, a mountain, a spring, a tree, a sand bridge, a river, an animal or a combination. How that for variety? Spore?

Write an epic. Come up with a zillion versions of it. No copyrights, no copylefts either. No paper? Pass down traditions orally. Create your own epic. Build history. Mathura or Madurai. Ayodhya or Ayutthaya. Create your user experience by building a website, I mean temple or city. Fan created content? If those temples were not created by fans of their gods, who did it?


And there are many more examples...

In the long run, open minds and open sources have always proved to be sources of progress. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The urban armchair activist

The urban arm chair activist is someone who you will see here and there and everywhere. It is easy to recognize them, even though they come in many shapes and sizes. Some of the traits they exhibit are that they scorn big industrial projects, heap insults on the "capitalists" who are "ruling" the world and demonstrate their activism by boycotting "some" things and buying "alternate" things. Next time you might want to ask them if they grow electricity.

They could work in IT and oppose "corporations" while collecting their paycheck rather meekly from the "corporations" they work for. They oppose the control that big software corporations have on software while discreetly checking with their friendly neighbourhood pirate if he has a copy of Windows Vista.

They could be your friendly neighbourhoods rich activist or their spouse. They croon about pollution while traveling in a chaffeur driven Skoda fuelled by the poor mans fuel, diesel. Occassionally they crib about large power plants while installing a genset in their houses that can handle the 3 air conditioners that they newly purchased. They also crib about dams while using fresh water to wash their roofs, no less.

They could even be writers - usually residing in the US of A or other developed nations while arguing for the enslavement of the ignorant idiots they left behind. They are a little peeved that the society they left behind is progressing. They are also upset about the rupee going up since that shrinks their real estate plans. They argue for a more egalitarian society, a society that takes care of their hinterland, shuns progress and votes for commies; a society that needs to be less global while using Google adsense and hoping that they get a few writing contracts from atleast one dollar euro paying magazine. They sometimes write about other halves and better halves while reducing their maids salary by half for missing half a day.

They could be journalists who write for a newspaper that prints reams upon reams of newsprint from vanishing forests. They could be eco e-activists who just purchased a new computer and threw the last one in their trash.


They may refuse to buy a cosmetic/softdrink on the grounds that it pollutes groundwater in Somalia, but their house may pollute the Bellandur or the Ulsoor lake - but thats because the local government has not done anything about it, right. They could even write a few words on protesting trees being cut on the sides of roads while simultaneously ensuring that there are no trees around their property which can damage the elevation of their house. They could protest about lack of public transport in Chickmaglur while travelling in their new Innova and talking on the new Nokia N series phone.

Truth be told, progress is unstoppable. If it were not for progress, most of us would not be alive much less kicking everybody else around us. If it were not for progress most of us would have been farmers or hunters, much less bloggers and activists. If it were not for progress, most of us would not be educated in schools, leave alone arguing in English.

If you are opposed to progress, there is one way to be an activist - give up progress and migrate to a village where you grow your own food, build your own house, stitch your own clothes from the cotton you grow and stay off the electricity grid - you get the picture. If you need more help, let me know - just dont ask me how since you cannot call me up, drive to my place or contact me on the net, right?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Take Risk

You can take it as career advice, but it is more a thought on how to use the time you are in college. 


In short, "Take Risk" it would be. From the time you enter graduation till the time you are done with your studies the big thing that you should do is, take risk.

Why? Because this is your best time, simply put. Once you are in a career, you will never get time like this to do some of the things you want to do or try your hand at. Or worse, if you spend your entire education worrying about the career you will have, it is a worry over a future you have no control on. Use this time wisely in trying your hand at various things that you never did as part of your education so far. 

Now, of course, you can argue that you dont have the time. Coming from someone who has been through this (and others) with an argument that theres "no time", I know for sure its bs. The best time you can have in your life, ever, is when you are studying. There will never be so much time that you will have as you will have when you are studying. 

Now, heres what I mean when I say take risk. 

Want to try your hands on something new? Try it. If you are an engineering student, spend more time in the library, lab and outside to see how technology impacts people. What can you do about it?

For all your science and commerce students - read history. Any history. The history of India. The history of technology. There is a lot of collective knowledge out there. And as a bonus you get to read a real history of India, not the ones that were fed to you through politically clouded lenses. Heres a book for starters. India: A History

Surf the net. And I dont mean social networking sites. Start a blog. Start a website. 

If you are studying for an MBA in finance, try out a marketing project and vice versa. Organize festivals and events. Try to get people together for a cause. Try out, for it when you will figure out the skills you have. Far too many people in an MBA or engineering treat it as just another college course where as if you treat it as an opportunity to build skills that you will use in the real world, it is far more rewarding. 

Try starting a business - on a shoestring budget. I know many who have found their careers, calling and talent this way. Treat it as a special project. Think small, low impact, prototype. If it succeeds, great; if it doesnt, you have a great learning on your hand. In any case most people are going to take the standard job route. Try your hand at entrepreneurship. Show your potential employers how you have used your time in college. Sure, nobody does that, but the fact that you are doing it would interest employers. Everybody wants people who can take initiative. What better time to do it than now? Who knows, you might end up as an entrepreneur instead of with a job!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Look ma, no glass

It is 2008 and glass has not yet been discovered in some KSRTC (Kerala, not Karnataka) buses. They still use the rexin over metal frames for windows. How about some transparency? The windshields, thankfully are glass. This is common all over Kerala - in fact there are very few buses with glass panes. If it not this rexin thing, it is pretty basic brown tarpaulin. 


Why? Cartelization is one obvious answer, but that doesnt explain why private and public transport alike follows the same pattern. I think it is because in communist gods own country the hourly strikes would cause glass to be broken far too frequently.

Any other ideas?


Friday, June 20, 2008

Who says elephants can't dance?

A little late in the day, coming from my side, but if you have not read it, do so. A great book. For anybody in any IT company (or any industry) it is worth a read. Louis Gerstner touches upon almost all the elements in a company - people, culture, processes, technology, acquisition, herd mentality, empire building - the works. 


You may not run an IT company but this book, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? will teach you a few things on projects as well and come in handy if you ever have to make an elephant dance...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Get rid of those queues

There is a system that lets you apply to Mumbais collegs online. Brilliant. 


Prior to this - and I remember doing this, it was a classic queue system. A long queue. The longer the queue and the more difficult to get the form the more prestigious it was. The thing is, it is not required. Not for the application seeker, not for the college. Online is a lot faster and more efficient.

I cant forget those queues.  You arrived early - as early as possible, sometimes as early as the previous evening and waited and waited and waited. You came stocked with food, at times. Waited for the presiding deity of the place to come out and decide to give out admission forms/kerosene/railway tickets anything. If there was a lunch hour, they coolly and calmly put out a board saying lunch hour or just vanished without a trace while you waited there waiting for a queue to end. They were the god, you were just a lowly species in the food chain. In some places it spawned its own ecosystem - agents who would wait for you or people who could get you a seat or people who served tea while you waited.  To get a school admission there are schools in Bangalore that have a queue system. A queue that can stretch for 3 hours or more. There are queues to distribute uniforms or books or shoes. The students and parents who seek the college form are your customers. Do you treat them like that? It is better to get your queues cleared faster and earn some goodwill. 

Every queue is a waste of productive time.  If you have a queue system and take pride in it, please get rid of it. Almost everything can be moved online these days, luddites... 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Early to rise

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. But it also made you uncool. The (K)night riders had all the fun, despite all thats been written. 


Try to change I did. Why? You see, mornings are uncool. The night it is when all the fun happens. "Did you check out that movie last night" or "How about Dandia tonight" is a far more hopeful conversation than a "How about seeing me at 5.30 am?" Besides nothing worth noting is open in the morning - other than doodhwallahs and newspaper delivery guys. There was no study partner who would want to wake up at the unearthly hour of 4 am. No parties begin at 5 am - ever.  Nope. Even the first possible show is at a hopeless 9 am - and populated with movies even the theatre owners would not like to see. No hope even at work. Showing up early means nothing - there is nobody who sees you arrive, unlike the aura of staying back of late. Everybody sees you hard at work - can't beat that. 

But my experiment to change was a disaster. I could not stay awake - not for studies, not for the cricket world cup, not for an impression on the boss. The second shows I went to, ended with me being woken up at the end of the movie. The gaming nights, inevitably saw me losing even as the nights just began - I almost began to use it as an excuse for lousy pictionary skills. 

But I did have my moments of triumph. Thanks to the spherical world,  I watched all the matches in Australia and New Zealand. I also caught sight of the odd comet that made its appearance at around 5 am. 

If you ask me, 5.30 am is the best time of the day. People may change, but for me, the morning it is, however uncool.

Monday, June 16, 2008

No cholesterol

After oil being sold on the "healthy" platform, is "no cholesterol" food. There are many snacks, deep fried products which have a neat "No cholesterol" emblazoned on the sides. 


There are very few products which have cholesterol in them - curd or buttermilk being one of them. But the presence of cholesterol in food does not impact your body as much as it does in creation of it once it is inside and there is a fundamental difference between the two. (Full article here).

So, even if someone eats something a "no cholesterol" label, it can still go into your body and create cholesterol and wreck havoc. Caveat emptor.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ten years experience

Ten years experience is often, a years experience multiplied ten times. 


Thats why I like the sound of this. So, for all you cubicle dwellers out there, there is no better time than now to ask this question and ask it daily. What did I learn? 

Years ago, merely staying place in a job for several years was viewed as praiseworthy by prospective employers. Loyalty is still important, but intellectual curiosity has edged past steadiness as the must-have attribute. Other must-haves: energy and a desire to improve a process, a system, or a relationship. Companies value people who look for opportunities to change the way work is done. Sitting at your desk plugging away with your head down is not the way to boost your résumé's "Wow!" factor. Getting out and making things happen is.

If you haven't done it lately, pull out your résumé and look it over. If you don't have a résumé, write one this week, even if you're not interested in looking for a job right now. Every working person should have one. Your résumé is a tally of your professional accomplishments. It's a way to make sure that no year, no quarter, no month slips by without a boost in your learning and a new feather in your cap.

While on jobs and careers, a pertinent post by Seth Godin - Getting versus Taking!

Vision 20:20

I think Kevin Pietersen is on the money when he says this, "50 over cricket may end in two years"


I was thinking about this. After the 45 day IPL blitz - the current tri-series went unnoticed - I did not even know there was a live telecast. Yesterday during some random channel surfing I realized that there were quite a few telecasts on.  

The papers have tried to glorify the Euro cup too, but you can be sure that on the street it will be a while before any other sport gets followed. Indeed, if there was any hope for other sports, I think it has been quashed by IPL.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oil and Health

By oil, I mean cooking oil and not any other oil. Almost every single ad we see on TV connects oil and health - I cannot think of a more stupid message that can be conveyed.


One campaign which comes to my mind is the Goldwinner oil campaign - it has a cute model, a kid no less, mouthing, "G for H, Goldwinner for Health." Thats it. Obviously, they have no other additive or benefit to speak about, so you come up with an inane, G for H.

Another one is Saffola that touts different health features of oil and how switching to a healthier oil (with oryzanol) will be beneficial to your heart and life. This is to me, is a jumbled message. 

My question: Agreed that these oils are less harmful than hydrogenated oils which will pretty much hasten your steps towards your grave, but ultimately oil is oil, right? Fried food is as bad it can get for your body? So, how can anyone ever position oil on the health platform? Or again, am I getting something wrong?

As far I know, if anything can save your heart, it is avoiding oil altogether. If at all you have to have oil, get back to your traditional cold pressed oils - the sesame and mustard oils or even ghee and have as less of it as possible.

Infy and TCS

Its annual report time once again and coincidentally I laid my hands on both the TCS and the Infy report at about the same time. Infy's report this time focuses on talent, while TCS is about 40 years (yes, it started operations when many of us werent even born) of leadership.  (In any case, the Infy report is glossier while the TCS report by its very nature is frugal. Something to read into?)

Both of them foresee a blip on the horizon in the coming years and then I see an article that says collectively SWITCH has only about 2.4% of the global market for IT services. This has gone up from where it was last year (1.9%). So to me, IT/ITES could see more growth in the coming years, China or no China. There will be some shift of work from relatively higher cost service providers to lower cost providers (relatively), but I dont expect second tier companies to be hugely benefited. I also see space for breakthrough low cost innovation here (and TCS touches upon it in their report) in terms of being able to software as a service for SMEs. Will they be able to bill the cat?

Disclosure: I hold an inconsequential (barely double digit) number of shares in both Infy and TCS which is why their Annual reports made their way to my house. I am a fan of TCS in terms of their strategy as regular readers will know. If you think people will read this post and rig prices, you give me a lot more credit than is due. If you are one of those who reads this and buys (or sells) shares, my advice to you is to not believe people like me - my thoughts are interim - never permanent (see header).

Previously on annual reports, here, here, here and here.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

As the oil price surges

Increasing fuel prices, spiraling inflation - what are we heading towards?

I believe we are moving towards a fundamentally different world than the one we are accustomed to - or rather, were getting accustomed to. In many ways, we may be moving back to many principles our parents and grandparents lived by. For many of us this is nothing new - except for the current generation - perhaps the largest of the "entitled" generations in India.

First. Increasing fuel prices means that endless upgrades of automobiles may be passe, unless the upgrade is for more fuel efficient versions of some vehicle. The emphasis will shift from big to fuel efficient. Petrol at 60 rupees a liter doesn't faze you? Think 100. But the good thing is that - dual fuel vehicles, electric vehicles will get a much needed boost. How about a subsidy on the Reva?

Second: Commutes and communities. There is a big opportunity here in most of India to get out of the stupid daily long commute mode and try to switch to bicycle or walk to work communities. Much neglected public transport will obviously get more focus and become a viable option, but otherwise a shift closer to your place of work or a job closer to where you live may be a reality. (Bangalore really has an advantage - most places where offices are located also have residences nearby - and really it is a small city as compared to Mumbai). Where are those industrial townships of the 70s and 80s?

On a slightly serious note, expect more work from home options, more decentralized offices, more closely networked virtual offices that let you work from pretty much anywhere. (And with some licence to dream, expect food to be grown pretty much everywhere - including apartment complexes, if not houses.) Expect people to slowly shun plastics. Also people could move to a more sustainable lifestyle. Architects, get your green designs out.

Third: The age of endless consumption - a very recent phenomenon in India - may shift. That means, a shift to our age old penchant, frugality and innovation. That means, well, reuse, recycle, repair will get a boost.

I believe that the sharp increase in fuel prices couldnt have come at a better time. Over time the sharp rise in fuel prices will help hasten the move towards environmentally sound policies. Of which I mean solar and other renewable forms of energy, which can only mean good for the world.

But thats the light at the end of the tunnel. For the moment, prepare to enter it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Are books making us stupid?

This is in response to a Nick Carr article, here where he asks is Google making us stupid?

I guess every time technology has advanced there are similar questions. Did phones make us stupid? Did electricity? Did transport? Perhaps even the printed word -I mean, India has had a glorious history of oral teaching for centuries prior to the invention of books - so why do we need books? I mean, we really were better off in caves with the occasional tiger to defend against, werent we?

Whenever somebody makes progress luddites like these fight for status quo.

In any case, to me having Google (and wikipedia) is the ultimate democratization of knowledge or atleast awareness. After all if it were not for google, I would not have found this stupid article either...

A marriage and a thief

The marriage was in a temple complex. Other than that, it was, like any other South Indian marriage. A far off cousin getting married to somebody. But marriages were like that. As families spread apart like continental drift - and it has no geographical equivalent - a sudden spasm that gets them all together - only to continue to their drift, though, now with updated phone numbers and mail ids.

Dheeraj thought a while before deciding to drop down. Marriages, more than other similar social events - like upanayamams or engagements - were like five day cricket matches. Between the crescendo of the muhurtam or the melee at lunch, there are significant moments when the silk haired grandmothers take stock of their progeny across multiple family trees.

And that meant that discussions would veer from "Why your son is not in America" to "My sons house in Seattle" to "My daughter is studying in Illinois" to a "She is only looking at green card holders". Even Platinum card owners (by invitation only) - she was not interested.

But because this venue was closer to Raghavans house, it made sense. Atleast he could slip away to catch some TV or even a nap during the times when there was nothing to do. In any case with Raghavan around, it would not be boring.

They all trooped in, the uncles, the aunts and the cousins. Each generation tried its best to look better than the previous generation, but then cosmetics only worked so much. But in the meantime, as they had lunch - which was the usual feast - and scrambled to get into Raghavans place at the earliest, Dheeraj had a problem.

"I dont seem to be able to find my sandals"
"You must have left it at home"
"No, it was with me until now"
"May be you left at the temple in the morning"
"No, I am pretty sure I had it until we came in for lunch?"
"Where was the last time you wore it?"
"Here"
"Dheeraj, we are moving man, you get your sandals and join us at Raghavans"
"Sure"

He did not let his conscience bother him too much- not when he was faced with the prospect of having to walk a kilometer on ashpalt barefoot at 1 pm in Chennai in April. Soon Dheeraj was back, having lost his favourite seat under the fan by about 5 minutes.

Some time later arrived all the uncles and aunties who were coming in to catch up on their siesta at Raghavans - who had helpfully arranged a spare room with their neighbours to cope with the wedding rush. As the discussion topics veered from stolen slippers to people losing their morals in temples there was a shriek.

"My slippers are here"
"You muttal, you were always like this. You forgetful oaf, Mani"
"But I cannot forget my slippers here"
"Why?"
"Because I did not come here in the morning"
"Oh, so you forgot that too?"
"I came with you, remember?"
"Yes"
"And we did not stop here."
"Correct"
"So who is forgetful? In any case, these are my slippers. Why? I can even see the sticker on it. God is great. I thought I had lost my slipper in the temple, only to find it here. It is a miracle."
"God has better things to do than take care of your slippers"

Just then Dheeraj woke up in the middle of a dream on footwear. "Hey, Mani mama lost his slippers at the temple and found them here."
"What? Which are they?"
"Why are you so interested?"
"This is your sandal?"
"Yes. It suits me does it not?" beamed Mani Mama "makes me look 20 years younger"
"Oh no."
"What do you mean? It looks bad does it?"
"No. Someone stole my new sandals and I picked up the newest of those remaining. Now I have to buy another one..."

Saturday, June 07, 2008

A lorry and a traffic jam

See this news report

This trailer in the picture is the trailer that the driver abandoned, pretty much in the middle of a highway and disappeared. When I saw it, it seems like a clear case of overloading. Not sure how the truck pulled it so far (the truck has a MH registration, but it was coming from the South), from wherever it came, but at some point, the driver lost it and decided to do a vanishing act - leading to the situation described in the report. 

Yesterday, this caused a 5 hour jam on a stretch of the outer ring road. If I remember right, on the side of this it is mentioned, apart from a big "Government of India", that it is some sort of autoclave. 

Not that the cleaners are complaining - after all they have a good temporary home. Like all good autoclaves till they are put to the right use, it serves as a home to the cleaners and helps dry their clothes till somebody decides to figure out how to get the autoclave to whoever ordered it.  

Note the clothesline inside the autoclave and the sleeping cleaner. 

Just for the jam that this caused, a few people ought to be arrested and tried...



Thursday, June 05, 2008

Email Fax Call

Circa 1998. Kumar looked at the bulging telecom bill and proposed, "Email services will be introduced in an effort to reduce the communication costs. At a time when our company is seeking to cut costs, through STD calls or VSAT lines, communication costs are sky rocketing. With the factory and the main office in different places, it is a cost that has to be cut down and we see email as a tool that will help us in achieving that target."


Dheeraj read the memo. Within a few days, email was available at everyones desks. Soon, the email included POWA (Please Open When Alone) mails, following which Dheeraj longed to be alone until he read saw the said mail. Junk also included astrological forecasts, chain mails, hoaxes, spam and the odd real work related email in between which nobody bothered to read.

After that, heres how a typical conversation went...

"I sent you an email"
"When?"
"9 am"
"There is nothing in my inbox"
"But I sent it to you at 9"
"Ok, what is it about?"
"It is about order 3429"
"What about it?"
"It is a long story. Anyway, I will fax a print of the mail to you."

Next Stop: IT department

"My mail has not reached the factory"
"We had a problem with the server"
"Why did you not inform us?"
"We ourselves came to know of the problem only now"
"Sigh! Each day you have a server problem. God knows how we can resolve this"
"Technical issue sir, cant help"

15 minutes passed and a fax was sent - this was an STD. And promptly a telephonic discussion ensued.

"Did you get my fax"
"Yes"
"We will ship it soon, as you wanted it"
"Keep me posted on the status on an hourly basis and bother with the mail"
"Sure"

Meanwhile Kumar in Finance wondered what was wrong with the skyrocketing telecom bill.
"Strangely, it shows an upward instead of a downward trend after making email available. This is completely absurd. I need to investigate..."

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

WTF line of the day

From the TOI today


Tourists may now find it difficult to find genuine Kashmiri handicrafts in Hampi.

1. I too find it difficult to get Japanese handicrafts in Australia. I am upset. I may refuse to visit Australia from now on.
2. Since when did Hampi become a shoppers paradise showcasing handicrafts of all Indian states?



Monday, June 02, 2008

The highway report card

While the minister in charge was busy getting the Prime Ministers office to write 8 letters of recommendation for his kith and kin to procure cheap gas in an era of costly oil, his departments incompetence is seen here. The highways project which were supposed to be the lifeline of a country which barely has good roads, is now put on ventilator.

And if Mr. Baalu were heading a project in an IT company that showed similar incompetence, the result would have been clear. But this is the government you see, and in this particular government, there is no accountability.

Previous examples of incompetence which have been rewarded, here and here. For a glowing list, go here.

The boiler


The piece de resistance of all "tea shops" in Tamil Nadu. Pretty much unique to the state - this gleaming one is doing duty at the Tiruvannamalai bus depot. 

IPL fever

The IPL fever has well and truly caught the country. At the Tiruvannamalai bus stand, there was a motley crowd of passengers, drivers, cops watching the Chennai team take on the Rajasthan team in the grand finale. 


Curiously however, the ads there were local ads. Sony, are you listening?