Long Live India!

Long live India! Save India from educated migrants!

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India is a country of paradoxes. More you get to know about it the more you will get perplexed! I am born and brought up in India and all my life I have lived in India. I always think and feel that I know a lot about India. But I have realized that I hardly know about thought processes going on India. Some acts & traits of people can be said to be because of too much poverty or too much money! I thought that I am generally able to classify things! But it appears that if I appear for a test about Indian way of behaving or reactions, I will fail miserably. 

My friend Suresh who lives in Sydney, Australia told me a story. I was simply stunned after I heard the story! Their neighbours in Sydney are of Indian origin. A 30-year old person from that family, a Chartered Accountant by training, met him. He told my friend, “I am going to India for a holiday”, so Suresh said, “Have fun”! Suresh asked him where will he take his fun filled holiday, in India. The guy said, “First thing that I am going to do is to the break traffic signals at least 30/40 times. I feel claustrophobic due to the disciplined and organized way of life in Australia.” Suresh said, “You can do it here too, as many times as you want.” The guy said, “Here I will lose my license, is it not?” 

What do you say of such guys? Educated, living in foreign rich country, his idea of having fun in India is to break traffic signals 30/40 times. How to react to such statements? I am numb! I always thought that Indian diaspora living in foreign countries will add to betterment and disciplined behavior in India because they live day in and day out in disciplined society! With such obnoxious thought processes, ISRO’s achievements are brought to the earth with a thud! What will you do with digital and progressive India? Progressive India is a myth one feels! What is the use of making world’s largest biometric individual id system? One really feels disheartened.  

But I always feel, that at heart, Indians do not want to follow basic discipline. Take simple case of round abouts, a square with no signals! In the US, I have seen that at such round abouts, traffic is always smooth as ALL follow discipline and go by the rule of right of way! In India, we follow the method of might of way! If there is a jam with this method, two wheelers will simply go on footpath! What would you call such behavior? Why do these things happen? There appears to be a production line consistency of people who simply break all possible rules. Somebody said that this is because of migration in India from villages to cities! But what about our migrants living in Sydney?  

The caricature below depicts the skew thinking of Indian populace. Since the dialogue is written in Marathi, I will explain. The father asks his daughter, what happened with the boy you were courting? Love at second sight? She says that she had almost decided to chuck him, when she first saw him,  as he always chewed tobacco and spit on the road. The father is relieved but then she says that second time I saw him, she finally decided to marry him because she saw him spitting from his fancy brand new Audi!  

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Another caricature below displays a lady talking to her friend. She says that she was to give a speech on Anti-Superstition. But on the way a black cat crossed her path hence she returned back. 

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Caricatures are meant as sarcastic or satiric remarks on situations. In real life, these sorts of things are so predominant, that it does not remain a caricature anymore but becomes the real-life depiction of the way things are happening in our society. Money over rides everything including bad social etiquettes. We may preach things about superstition but when it comes to personal behavior, we will follow the superstition path! I live in an eleven-story high-end condo; one of my cars is always in the uncovered parking. Every day, on this car I either find pieces of bread or rice. The balcony of one of the condos is living quarter for their pet dogs! So, my car knows every day what the dog eats. If I park my car at another open space, it will be covered with a lot of water and clay! Somebody waters their plants in the balcony but feels that my car also needs water and clay on its roof! What do you say about such people?  

Recently, in the state of Rajasthan, a Hindu man killed a Muslim man, a jilted lover of his wife. Then he burnt that man’s body and took video film and shared it on social media. Police action started but suddenly the social media became active to support the man! Not the murdered man but the murderer! Can you believe it? People wanted to support the murderer! They even collected a few lacs of Rupees to give to the wife of murderer, as he was in jail. There is a video evidence of what has happened and yet the people want to support the murderer. People started using WhatsApp and FB to collect a big crowd to protest on behalf of the murderer! Government had to shut down Social Media in those areas to avoid ugly scenes. Any comments?  

Honestly, I am a very positive guy and think very positively about India. I am proud of our culture, sub culture, cross cultures! We are very large sized European Union and our eating habits, cultures, the way we look are vastly different. Normally, we live peacefully. But it is the incidents mentioned above and especially about the educated Indian from Sydney that my faith is shaken. When I sleep over this blog, I will definitely come out of the melancholy mood I am in! Tomorrow morning when I see the lovely atmosphere with hills in the background and birds flying, I will back to normal! Long Live India!  

Net Neutrality!

Is Net Neutrality the way?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers must treat all data on the Internet the same, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication. For instance, under these principles, internet service providers are unable to intentionally block, slow down or charge money for specific websites and online content.

 For example, imagine someone using a paid service from a website, regularly. That person does a lot of purchases on the site. If there is no net neutrality, the service provider will have the authority, in connivance with the web site, to allow faster access to large customers! It is like mother giving additional cookie to favourite child! In certain cases, they may block access to you! To avoid such situation Net Neutrality is essential.

Discussion on this subject has started recently in the US. Internet was born with Neutrality and US government under Trump for their own reasons want to end Net Neutrality. Main thing is that nobody “owns” internet! Internet is a service created by scientists which has changed the world beyond imagination. It is a rare service which is independent of language, nation, cast and creed!

A couple of years back Facebook tried to bypass Net Neutrality with a concept called Free Basics, in India. They said after arrangement with some service providers, if a user has fully used his usage limit, he will still be allowed use of Facebook. This is the first step away from Net Neutrality. If this were allowed, then service providers would have made their own rules slowly and allowed access as was beneficial to them. Government of India came down heavily on them and stopped free Basic from rolling out.

Today there is a news that in the USA, that FCC has repealed all the laws set by Obama administration to keep Net Neutrality. Is this the beginning of war on the net? Does it mean that there will be rich man’s internet and poor man’s internet? Does this mean that if you pay more fees then you will be able to sit in the first-class lounge?

People who are for non-neutrality argue differently. They claim that they will provide basic services to all in the same way; however, those who pay more money will get services even if their package has been used up. But what about those who already have unlimited package? Will the speed remain same for them beyond “fair” usage? Will they get lesser priority beyond a certain limit? Who will decide fair usage? Once the discrimination is allowed then it will be impossible for anyone to track what certain sites do or what certain service providers do? Agencies cannot track these misdemeanors.

In Portugal, something similar is already happening. Even though they are under EU laws, each country has its own bit of freedom. Portugal is allowing their ISP’s to play around a bit. Large ISPs have given every indication that the idea of freedom costing extra isn’t too far from their ideal. And abusing a lack of broadband competition to force users to shell out additional funds to access to the content and services of their choice isn’t too far off of what has already happened;  AT&T had decided to block Facetime from working unless users shelled out for more expensive plans, or Verizon’s had decided to charge users $10 more just to avoid arbitrary video throttling. This is going to happen! 

All these years internet is being treated on par with Electricity, Water usage. For using these services, one did not have to do anything special. If you used more electricity or water, you paid more. These utilities never say, we will give you xxx units only. You pay more then only you get additional usage. Or since you are not our priority customer, water pressure will be low at your end.

I feel that jury is still out. But with USA formally declaring internet as “Non-Neutral”, we will know the real meaning of the same over a period. Portugal has done it, but they have done it in a small way and discretely. There is another argument for “Non-Neutral” internet; the proponents of this are saying that there will be large investments in internet technology because of new policy. According to them there are “serious” users and “non-serious” users. Majority are of the second variety. For them probably internet will continue to be available as it is available today. Serious users may not mind paying a little more for additional, better, faster and un-restricted services. On the other side Netflix has already shown how people love to use it. So they already have an upper hand on the ISP’s!

Friends, I am non-serious user of internet. Will it really matter to me about net neutrality? Honestly, I do not know and only time can tell. New internet order has just started today, formally. So let’s wait and observe.

Where are you, my audience?

This is take on change in the social fabric vis a vis plays, movies and entertainment industry, in general.

Sunil Barve actor, producer and a friend, wrote an article about a Marathi play produced by him under the banner Herbarium 2. Herbarium is a collection of preserved plants stored, catalogued, and arranged systematically for study later. The idea is to look at the plants and leaves after enough time has passed, and to view them in posterity. Sunil named his endeavor Herbarium for the old plays to be  enjoyed nostalgically after 3 to 4 decades. Herbarium 1, was extremely successful where Sunil revived five old Marathi plays, in 2010. The response from audience was exceptional, to say the least. Each drama had 25 performances all over Maharashtra. Herbarium 2, started with a Marathi play, Pati Gele Ga Kathewadi पती गेले काठेवाडी. This was in September 2017.

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Sunil wrote the article in surprise, to the reaction from the audience; he said where has the audience gone? It was just a matter of seven years. In that period, very good response for Herbarium 1, switched to ok response in Herbarium 2. Sunil was wondering what could have happened during this period? Sunil and I spoke on phone on the subject. I think that these seven years were crucial years where the generation which was nostalgic about the old plays, became much older and the younger people were not very keen about those plays.

Life meanders in a way where old likes & dislikes change, new thought processes come up, new technologies and media like Netflix become popular. The traditions and social ethos change with time. We may feel that certain things continue and do not change much. But they do change, though subtly! For example, foods and food habits change over a period. In my childhood drinking coffee in Maharashtra was almost non-existent; now we have so many coffee-shops and bistros. Drinking alcohol during my school times was taboo but now it is a socially accepted drink. Stadiums used to be full for Test matches, but slowly one-day matches took over; T-20 was the next step but IPL jamboree is the most popular now.

50’s in the last century had movies which were themes based on nation which had just earned freedom, मेरे देश की धरती सोना उगले, उगले हिरे मोती. 60’s films were more of sad stories and love stories. Then in the next decade came angry young man movies. So, trends keep on changing. Now the popular movies are, Salman Khan type of movies like Dabang. Connoisseurs of movies may like art movies with subtle stories, but general populace prefers Dabang. Connoisseurs may call such movies gross, but life’s realities are different! Ultimately, making movies and producing plays is business and their success will be dependent the masses and not classes. 

Connoisseurs of dramas would rather see Herbarium 1, but this number is dwindling. Are the days of such revivals numbered? Do people really care for plays in which Dr. Lagoo, Satish Dubashi, Nilu Phule and Kashinath Ghanekar acted? Do people now really care of writers & poets like Vi Sa Khandekar and Kusumagraj? If they are not in awe of such personalities, then there will be no nostalgia. Someone like Pu La Deshpande may remain in the lime light for a generation or two more. Do we hear the names Ga Di Madgulkar and Shanta Shelke these days? Pu La, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohamad Rafi are still on pedestal but for how long will they remain there? The most popular actors of yester years were Clark Cable, Vivian Leigh? Heard these names anywhere lately?

Another thing that comes to mind is the strong drama movement in Newyork’s Broadway and in London. Similarly, strong activity happens in Prithvi theater in Mumbai and NSD in Delhi. This continues at one location in one city! But, does it mean that going to different towns to perform, may not happen in future? The costs have gone up because of travel, and now GST. With these limitations it can be difficult to revive old plays in future. What lies in future for attempts like Herbarium is difficult to judge but indications are that it is going to be a tough call! Maybe equivalent of Prithvi theater in Pune, is the way forward!

I will share one more nostalgic experience with you. Recently, I purchased a device called “Caravan Saregama”. It looks like a Radio of the olden days with knobs and all! It of course, has a remote too! This device has 5000 songs stored on it and these songs can be played by mood, singer, music director and has Amin Sayani’s Binaca Geet Mala songs stored with his commentry. Songs are between the period 1950 to 2000! The moment I saw the advertisement I bought Caravan; nostalgia, love for olden days, not too much efforts to search songs,  were the reasons I bought it. How long this device will sell?  I don’t know. Maybe they can increase its life span by having songs between 1970 to 2010 and so on.  Audience for 50’s & 60’s songs is going to dwindle fast! But will the young gang buy this device for themselves? What is Amin Sayani for them? What is “Hava mein Udata Jaye” for them? I am not sure! In fact, I am sure it does not mean anything to them!

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Experiments like Herbarium are fantastic things that happened to Marathi theater, but the quality of the play and actors was not the only reason people flocked to see the first edition! Herbarium was “Amin Sayani”  & “Hava mein Udata Jaye”  of theater for them, nostalgia! Is my generation, which around 70, craving for Sehgal’s “Jab Dil hi toot Gaya”? No, it is not! The natural process of fading with the time, goes on all the time! I am quite sure that Sunil will definitely find the right path for more such experiments!

Sunil2

Since I am in filmy mood, let me end up with an appropriate Hindi song Ye Jeevan Hai! It says this is what life is all about! There is some happiness and there is some sorrow! Life goes on and on! 

 

Go with the nature!

Follow the nature to improve quality of life!

Days are longer in summer and shorter in winter. There are scientific reasons for that. Similarly, waxing and waning of the Moon follow the laws of nature. Except for humans, all the living things follow natures laws, religiously. Why humans behave differently? Simply because we are brainy! Are we?

Human kids and their pets like dogs follow the nature. Example is eating habits. A child simply refuses to eat more food than it needs. If their indulgent mothers try to force them to eat or drink something more, they will simply vomit. Have you seen a dog overeating? Have you ever seen an obese dog?

There is a lovely little Marathi song for kids “Chimnu tai chya pila”. In the song the kid is asking the baby sparrow,  “How do we find the roads in the sky? Are their white markings, Red, Yellow, Green signals up there?  Should a kid lose the way, are there any policemen who will help them find the way back home? Do policemen provide kids with biscuits till someone comes to pick them up?”

Wow! What a song? So much meaning to it! The kid asks the baby sparrow only with references known to him, the white lines/policeman/signals and so on! But I always have been fascinated by the bird species that traverse certain path daily, regularly and religiously! This they do it to gather food for themselves and their babies; they also collect building material for their nests, when required. How do they handle this? They must be having very advanced radar and eyesight! They must be having a perfect body clock which guides them to start their day at a certain time with respect to sunrise & sunset! Birds never go out for all night parties! Every day, from my seventh-floor window, I see flocks of birds flying away for their daily chores, around sunrise and return back around sunset! In winter, as the days become shorter the morning times are a few minutes later every day and evening time is a few minutes earlier every day! How do they handle this when the Sun is not visible?

What will happen if humans follow the routine of the birds? I am very much aware that we have different time tables and don’t go by nature’s clock. There are practical limitations. But we humans flog our “intelligence” so much that we don’t follow even twenty % of what nature suggests! Have we heard of any birds who have stored so much food that they don’t have to go out in monsoon? Within the limitation of our life style, we should try to follow as many nature’s laws as possible!

We hear many stories of sleep deficit, insomnia, sleep disorders! Some of the people, may have illnesses, which cause these issues; but again, our fancy life style of partying, drinks, late nights start these issues. Once these issues cross the limits, sleep related issues start. Studies about sleeping patterns of Polar Bears makes a fascinating study. Scientists tagged about 30 polar bears in Northern part of Canada. They wanted to see how Polar bears handle their hibernation. (Polar bear Hibernation is a state of inactivity and metabolic depression in animals capable of generating their own heat) As the known time for going into hibernation came closer, volunteers started tracking bears physically. All 30 bears were looking for their nook for hibernation. To surprise of all when the hibernation start timings for all 30 bears were compared, they all went into hibernation exactly at the same time. Nature? Humans can at least learn that you have your flings and swings but don’t overdo them, otherwise our body reacts in such a way that different issues can start affecting our quality of life.

Migration of Birds in winter is another discipline that humans cannot follow due to practical difficulties. Lately, humans have also started this activity; our retired brethren who have settled in cooler climes, come back home during winter for 2/3 months. The radar and GPS within the birds works perfectly and I fear that Googles of this world have developed GPS, studying the birds! But can we humans not accept the discipline part of the winter migration? When “dumb” birds can do it can we “smart” humans not achieve this discipline?

Emotion is a trait very distinctly displayed by humans. I am sure that other species also have emotions but I am not sure how much they use the emotions. Human baby goes out of the “nest” at age of 20/22! Whereas in other species this phenomenon occurs much earlier. If we do comparisons using life spans, human “baby” spends ¼ of the life in parent’s home. Whereas in other species it is much smaller. This may be one area where humans are better over other species! This I think is because humans have come out of “survival of the fittest” law!

What can we learn from other species and laws of nature? A lot! We are already doing it. In science, this usage is much higher than in our personal behaviour. The airplane landing follows same flight path like the bird landings. Boats take their design from fish! Car maneuvers are based on Chitah running! Of course, Chitah looks more elegant! We build great homes but we are not able to use the simple tools available to us, like the beak and two legs, used by birds to build their complex nests!

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Humans are way ahead other species because of their intelligence but could have a much quality of life if they try to go closer to nature, by following more and more things suggested by nature, in personal life; these are already adopted by birds and the beasts. Many of these adaptations, will reduce a lot of common setbacks in life like obesity, sleep issues, social issues. See the photo of pelicans below, where there is no fight between them when fish is fed to a group of pelicans. So, get to know your Bees and Birds better, and follow them in other personal areas of life too! ( For records, Pelican photos were taken by me during our Australian sojourn)

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Multitasking! Boon or bane

100% social media free time is very important in any relationship!

I have been reading that all the successful people are expert multitaskers. They have many habits that allow them to handle multiple tasks simultaneously. This makes them more efficient and performance oriented. But I read an article today which started some thought processes in my mind. Multitasking of current days includes checking WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, during working hours. The article even says that this multitasking is affecting the GDP of the nations. People are wasting to 1 to 1 ½ hour from their working time on WA/FB/INST. Initially, I doubted these figures either way. I thought these figures could be larger  or smaller. In large organizations the sites like FB/Instagram are blocked and hence cannot be accessed. But with large numbers using Smartphones one does not really need Computers to access these sites. In some organizations, people from a department are spread all over the country and they are travelling. They form WhatsApp groups and officially use them for keeping in touch with each other. My experience these days is that I get fastest response for my WhatsApp messages in comparison with any other mode of business communication!

The figure of 1 to 1 ½ hour is not the actual time spent but when your thought processes are broken while working, by using social media, people lose the link. So, getting back to groove plus actually checking social media may add to this figure of 1 to 1 ½ hour! This is a real menace and the society at large will have to find a solution. People use their cell phones for work, so banning them at work is not possible. Organizations can say that if you are using company phone then use it for work. How do you keep track if one has used WA for official purpose or personal needs? People will simply use dual SIM card cell phones and have WA on personal SIM!  Enough of work related complications but what about personal life and social media?

There is story of a young couple, very much in love, they got engaged to be married. Next day they went for cup of coffee in a Bistro! Instead of looking into each other’s eyes, they were looking at the screens of their own cell phones! If you don’t have the urge to look into each other’s eyes at this stage, when will you do it? With the new gadgets and newer media our lives have become different. Is multitasking really important at home? Can we not live without it? To some extent it is essential, but I feel that we are going overboard. The other day my grand daughter Rhea, all of four years old, was doing some painting, she loves it let me assure you! While painting she was humming an old Kishore kumar song, “Ye Ratein, Ye Mausam nadika kinara!” (The choice of song is again a surprise, courtesy her Mumma!)  Jaya was sitting by her, just attending to her! Maybe she was skimming through a newspaper, nothing more serious! Suddenly there was a ding on Jaya’s cell phone and she had received an e mail. She quickly read it and was thinking of the reply! Immediately Rhea said, “Aaji will you look at cell phone later? Can you help me do the painting better?” Rhea was doing perfectly all right in her painting but she realized that Jaya’s mind was a bit distracted. She did not like it. A child can put her demand bluntly but as we grow older we become more courteous and don’t demand full attention.

Same things happen in husband and wife relationship too! Can’t they give each other 100% distraction free attention for some time during the day? Same things can happen with friends too, for that matter in any relationship. We tend to give gadgets and social media more importance than the person. This type of distraction leads to different consequences in different relationships. I remember ages back, I was called by Managing Director of company for business discussions. I reached on time was ushered in his cabin. In a few minutes we were both served piping hot coffee and boss was speaking on his cell phone, very important stuff about his Rotary Club activities. He finished his call in 15 minutes. Before he could apologize to me, (I was naïve and thought that he would apologize!) the phone rang again and another 15-minute call discussing more socially important things. When the third phone call started after one-minute break, I signaled to him that I wanted to use the washroom. I walked out of his cabin and sat in my car to drive back to my office. Half an hour later his secretary called just as I was settling down in my office chair. Probably after two more rounds of calls, our friend realized that I had left. I had taken a decision to stop doing business with them and managed to do it smoothly within six months.

We can take such decisions in business, at least sometimes! But what can we do in personal life, with spouse, with friends, with relatives. One cannot take divorce, one cannot break long friendships! So how do we find the golden mean? The children are usually open as well as blunt. This was displayed by Rhea’s telling Jaya to pay attention to her. What she expected of Jaya is an opening of “Trust Fund” so large that there never will be any deficit. I have used the Simile between the “Trust Fund” and “Trust” she expected from Jaya. Apparently, it is such a small demand, but we have made things difficult for ourselves. We don’t give “100% free time” to each other! We keep on doing so called multitasking of looking for stuff on social media! While on my way  to office there are always some people who stop side by side at traffic signals. The moment they stop, they take out their cell phones and start looking at WA/FB/Inst. There are about four signals on the way, each taking about ¾ minutes to reach. What important messages keep on coming every ¾ minutes? Can’t messages wait till you reach your destination? A person may have something very important going but how almost all must see their cell phones at each signal? Driving carefully in traffic is important, cell phone causes a distraction.

Friends I strongly suggest that today’s social media attack is like a terrorist situation. We cannot stop the real terrorist attack, but we can always avoid social media attack by initially reducing and then trying eliminating trust deficit that gets created in relationships. Why not think of giving blank signed cheque in the relationship which is indicative of 100 % attention? Rhea’s of this world will tell you on your face that you are not attentive but others will not!

Advantage, Poor Economies!

Sometimes not being too developed is an advantage!

As the cliché goes, “Change is the only constant”! Human race with smarter brain and use of Thumbs of both hands has leaped frogged ahead of other species. From stone age tools, to the wheel, to metals, list is endless. During any and every change there has been resistance, there has been reluctance to accept new things. Flat earth theory is the classic case of non-acceptance of the progress of science. But in the end, all the new changes became routine.

During last 50 years of previous century and 17 years of current century, the changes and innovations have happened at an breath taking speed. Some things kept on becoming more efficient and improved tremendously. Some products, became obsolete even before their potential could be realized. Classic example is Fax. Before we started using fax in a big way other methods of communications came into use, PC became a mass product and over period fax machines simply disappeared. Some products which never existed before suddenly became household names, like iPod.

Computer proliferation has been the most important change that happened during 80’s and 90’s. Advent of computers, first as big as a room, then came desk top machines, followed by laptops, tablets and smart phones. This sequence is important. Computing and storage capacities went on increasing so rapidly that current smart phone capabilities are far greater than original desk top machines. One of the most important effect of these changes is to speed up discoveries in various fields, improve diagnostics in medical field due to better imaging techniques and faster results of collection and analysis of data.

I have only touched upon a couple of innovations and technological changes, but I always wonder how the general population of the world will handle these changes. One important thing about some of these changes is that they are seamless and are accessible without the hindrance of international borders. This reminds me of a Hindi song Panchi Nadiya, Pawan ke zoke, Koi sarhad na inhe roke! Birds, Rivers, the Breeze fly and flow at will and no border can stop them. Internet is one such thing like the birds and rivers and breeze! Except in countries like China, who go by their own laws of freedom. Another unfortunate seamless development is terrorism but that is a subject by itself.

How is general population able to handle these changes? In developed countries where literacy levels and education levels are higher, you might think that they handle it the best. But we already know that India is leading the usage of Cell phones, more than 80% of India’s population has biometric identification, which is practically unbreakable. High % of Kenyans use cell phones to make their financial transactions. I am quite sure many more Indians can do it but they avoid doing formal transactions so that they can cheat on taxes. I do not know the data about how many Indians have started using Bitcoin crypto currency! This switch over will be fast because it is currency which is non-traceable, seamless internationally and illegal in India. This will help people keen on dabbling into “black money”; at least currently it is better than keeping money in Cayman’s island!

How can new technologies change the world order? This may not happen overnight, but it can happen. Countries like US, England, Germany and many other are money rich countries, but countries like India are data rich. In 70’s in the last century when gulf countries realized the importance of oil, in a decade or so they became rich countries because they exploited the oil! Mukesh Ambani has recently said that Data is new Oil! What is the meaning of this statement? It means that the country which garners and manages the data well, will become rich fast. China is both rich in money terms and is data rich, so they will probably gallop over the others.

The Rich world already had systems and with new technologies they have improved on their systems. But in countries like India a large % of people who are not in the system, are taken into formal system, thanks to Aadhar which has biometric authentication. This has enabled India to create completely new systems. This will enable such people to access loans, and funds to which they never had any access. These systems can give poor, subsidy in Electricity bills and Fertilizers, directly. Before new systems there was a big leakage of funds and benefits never reached the poor. Systems are being designed for day to day use where biometric authentication is the only thing that is checked e g vending machines. Using this authentication, financial transactions can be completed. In India power deficit has been historical. Recently, a solar power plant for 800 Megawatt was commissioned in six months in Andhra! Five thousand people were employed on this project. One more example of new technology doing quickly, what old and polluting technology was taking years to do. Those who can afford, should put a solar plant on their own rooftop, for home use. What this does is 30/35% transmission loss is gone because there is no transmission!

Will the “uneducated un included” population be able to handle these rapid technology changes? If cell proliferation is an indication, then things look good! Cell phone is going to be the tool for all so it is upto the app developers and various agencies to create business processes in such a way that life becomes easier and easier; biometric authentication is already there! Before signing off let me share one more example of new technology and thought process. There is a Dam near Pune with a very large reservoir! The is plan, is to cover 4600 acres of water with floating solar panels to generate 1000-Megawatt power! Do you know what the bonus is going to be? Great saving of water which is lost due to sublimation! Great thoughts and new technology are simply going to change things for “Have Nots”!

Ye Zindagi ke Mele!

Death of a Spouse is the toughest call in life. But overcoming it is doable.

This is an opening line of a song, from the movie Mela (1948). Mela means a Fair!

The meaning of the first couple of lines of the song is “This life is a Fair and there will be Fairs galore going on all the time! These Fairs will continue, alas, I will not be there!” The word “Fair” is the metaphor for “Life”!

This song represents the realities of life because life goes on and on! Our life is just a drop of water in the flowing river. At the end of our life, the water drop merges into river water and ends up as water. You folks must be wondering from my “All is Well” blog which I published yesterday, how come I have gone into reverse gear! I am not talking of sadness but realities of life. This is about one of most positive experience in my life!

This thought came in my mind when I attended a function for a book release. The book was written by my friend Vishwas’s wife Vineeta. The name of the book is “Grieving to Healing”. Vishwas died suddenly this year in January, and here is Vineeta publishing a book of poems she wrote while grieving. The courage shown by her is unbelievable and I am sure this book will guide many who have lost their spouses!

What is life? What would happen to this world if you and me never existed? What would this world be without a Gandhi or a Nehru? Where would this world be if there had been no Einstein or Picasso? World would have been the same if there had been no Lata Mangeshkar and Mohmad Rafi or a Tendulkar. Contribution of these eminent personalities is enormous. But had they not been born; our world would have been almost the same at it is today! Our individual contributions have no relevance, considering the life span of the earth. All of us are born and are assigned finite number of breathes. The beauty is we do not know that number. This lack of knowledge is what drives the world. Before the human being reaches the golden period of his life, after 60, fallibility as a concept is alien. In the golden period the thoughts come in mind about end of journey. If the end comes as a natural progression, after old age and illness, brief or long, humans accept the death philosophically. But when this happens suddenly, as if skidding on a speed breaker, the grieving is profound.

The book release, especially the thought behind it, is one of the important paths that Vineeta has shown us to move forward in life. People handle grief differently. Humans tend to think that sudden death occurs in someone else’s life and not their own life. Death of a spouse can happen in any home, like Cancer, Heart Attack, Fatal Accident also can happen to anybody. So why not plan for such possibility, the way people plan careers, and finances in life. Mind you, this is not going to be a golden wand solution, but planning will help one to handle the grief a little better.

What other ways come to mind? Create a small group of friends, who meet regularly. Do your exercise regularly and shun fast food!  But while doing this, be honest to yourself. A neighbour who died recently had a very different story. His son lives abroad and had come on a holiday. The neighbour had told his son that his BP/sugar values were regularly checked. His dad was going to Gym daily and met his friends post gym. As he died suddenly, the son kept on wondering why the death was sudden. He found, that testing was done regularly but values were wide outside the safe range. He did his Gym routine in a very relaxed manner, without sweating. He and his friends met after Gym for smoking and eating fast food. This was exactly opposite of what he should have been doing.

Trying to cultivate hobbies is a very important way of keeping yourself busy and interested in life. Planning, means one should start trying hobbies as early as possible and not after the event has occurred. Friends, history has shown that women handle the death of spouse much better than men. This could be because, day to day chores in the house like cooking, cleaning and tracking of groceries are ongoing and keeps women busy. Men also should try their hands at cooking and other daily chores; try helping your wife in the kitchen! Don’t start with something very fancy but start with something which you normally eat. Both men and women should start some activity which ensures that there is something to look forward to the next day or week. Do not plan your things around your children and their families. Sometimes we tend to forget that they have also grown and have their own life, worries and anxieties. Support them, help them. Be their lighthouse but don’t make them your lighthouse!  And do not expect the children to look after you! Anxieties increase when expectations are not met.  

If you are a people’s person, life can be much easier. After the death of your spouse, your most reliable partner is gone. Being people’s person will help you handle this change in a better way. Don’t go into shell. Start going to market for your daily chores. Initially you may find it tough. But over a period, things ease out. Start going on holidays, to movies. Do things that you normally do.

Friends, passing of a spouse is the thing that will hit you the hardest. It is the most difficult event to handle. But it is doable. Try to start doing things, that your spouse would have expected you to do! As the saying goes, your spouse will be  watching you from up there, till you take that final journey to rejoin!