100 Hundred शंभर सौ!

Thank You from bottom of my heart! Your encouragement is what really puts my blog writing in turbo charge mode!  Keep commenting, keep criticizing, keep liking too! 
धन्यवाद, आभार, Love you!

As I have reached  blog number 100, I am excited, apprehensive, and reflective. Many emotions come to mind, one definite one is surprise! I started writing in 2011, and expected that my stint as a person who can write, will be short lived as happens with most of things in our life. Now in 2017 I am reaching the milestone of 100 blogs.

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We start some activity with a great enthusiasm, we think that we are going to do this thing for ever and before you come to know, you have simply stopped doing it, not because you don’t want to do it but that is how life takes you around.  Since last three years my blog writing frequency has increased. All of us see something happening in our lives, a small episode in our day to day life, or a normal interaction with people. Afterwards, thoughts keep on meandering in mind about that event and inner thought process starts automatically. This chain of thoughts stops only when I write something.

It is said that humans age and wine matures!  But those close to me, say that I have aged but my writing has matured!  I feel that maturity in anything is a matter doing something regularly, or some event takes place which makes you more reflective in turn matures you. This is the difference in how I looked in 2011 and how I look now. I don’t know if by blogs written then and now look equally different! 

 

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I had never planned to be a blogger but it appears that after my Cancer treatment in 2013/14 my frequency of writing increased and I became a reasonably regular writer (though my professional work comes in the way even today!) My thoughts are more about human interactions, human reactions, human thinking and human nature. The event that induces me to write a blog could be taking my grand-daughter for small walk to a Mandir when she was two years old, or watching a lady suddenly going in a trance, reading about new tech products like Electric car being suddenly pushed hard by all.  My thinking in most cases looks into human aspect of the situation. Very few of my blogs are like an “article” which I recently wrote about GST implementation in India. Another subject that has kicked in a lot of thought processes in my mind are electric cars and non-conventional energy generation systems.

Events that stimulate my blog writing are of two types, divergent or convergent. Now let me explain. Some ideas are such that, in the beginning they look big, they look promising; but as I start writing, a very narrow thought or a conclusion comes out of it. These are convergent ideas for me. In case of divergent ideas, process is exactly reverse; I start with something very small but end with some idea which is universal and/or very big! 

Writing on different subjects needs a lot of study and has become much easier because of Internet. There is no dearth of information if one is willing to dig. When I started writing, it never touched my mind if anyone will ever read what I write. I would share my blogs with family and a few friends. Then I started understanding the techniques of sharing with others. A reasonable number people not known to me are followers of my blogs now. Later on I realized, that I can publish the blogs simultaneously on Facebook, Linked in and so on. I am also a member of a few groups on WhatsApp. I share my blog on these groups too! Out of curiosity I check the statistics that are available on WordPress site and I come to know how my blog has been “found”! It is found from search engines (Tagging helps!) on FB and so on. I also get to know the geographical locations where the blogs are “seen”. The main areas are naturally English speaking ones like US, Canada, Australia besides India but sometimes these are accessed even from Scandinavia or Eastern Europe countries! English speaking people from these places are doing this. Another information that I want to share is that in the whole year of 2014, I published 28 blogs and these were viewed by about 1000 people; till my last blog I have published 28 blogs in 2017 but the viewership is 3500! This does not mean that my blogs have suddenly become popular but I have improved the distribution! I have also observed that a couple of my friends from Facebook, share my blog with others. People give their comments on the blog itself or they send separate email to send comments. There are friends who prefer to call and discuss. My blog writing, comments, discussions also show that I am doing what I have been preaching! I have been saying, all the time in different blogs, please do something that will keep you reasonably busy during the course of the day, other than exercising, watching TV and time on Facebook/WhatsApp! I am also lucky that I love what I am doing.

My main criteria for publishing is that I myself should find the blog “readable”. My definition of “readable” is a bit stringent. If a person starts reading my blog then he should finish reading the blog in one go! Many of you have told me that my blogs are readable!

What next? Well in cricketing terms, I am taking fresh guard, will adjust my pads and will check my bat!  Next hundred should be possible in two years time. Frequency of my writing improved from 2014 and it took me about 3 1/2 years to reach 100. 2011 to 2013 were real baby steps! I think my blog theme will always be human relations and relationships! But it appears that I will pepper you folks in between on Solar Energy and Electric cars too!

Till then .. so long ! Thank You from bottom of my heart! Your encouragement is what really puts my blog writing in turbo charge mode!  Keep commenting, keep criticizing, keep liking too! 

धन्यवाद, आभार, Love you! 

 

 

 

Low Aim is a Crime!

This is take on being satisfied with Money earned rather than going up the value chain!

India got its independence in 1947. India missed the industrialization bus by a century because British allowed only a few benefits of industrialization to percolate to India.  Before independence educated Indians were interested in working for British, whatever work they could get, mostly they got clerical jobs; those were the only real jobs available anyway! British chose the people for senior admin positions and made them brown sahebs. These proxy Britishers were more British than the Britishers themselves.

This scenario put India under the gloom of disease of getting satisfied on achieving small things and doing mundane things. This led to metastatic mentality of under achievers; those who were trying to do something different were looked down upon and discouraged from doing anything different. Some of us from our generation were able to improve on this thought process and later generation became even more active and started taking risks.

IT sector was the first sector where India did pretty well, financially. Y2K issue was the one that gave impetus to Indian IT sector; middle class started growing faster than ever and large Indian populace started having money, living in foreign countries for work and started buying their own homes in a big way. This of course combined with official opening of Indian economy in 90’s. Effect of higher salaries in IT sector was seen in other sectors like engineering, pharma, finance and so on. But this success hid one thing from general populace and even from IT sector that the “great” work that we were doing was actually mundane work done for others as a service. This model kept on working well till about a couple of years back. Then the signals started coming that the mundane work that was outsourced to India can be automated so….

Circa 2017! Large Indian IT companies are sitting on big pile of US Dollars. This indicates their past success, financially. But it appears that these large “successful” companies were run more by accountants than by entrepreneurs! So they have made big money, hundreds of thousands of millions, many of them in dollar terms. But since the scenario started changing a couple of years back, it is obvious that if you don’t move up the value chain, you are going to come down as fast as you have gone up! The fact that these companies are sitting on a big pile of dollars shows that our mentality of mundane “services” type of work has not changed. This pile of money should not have been there; it should have been invested in going up the value chain! But even today this money is being used to buy back shares! The big bosses have not thought in terms of creating own IPR’s or products in any field, IT or Engineering or Pharma! When “services” are generating money why bother.

To give an example of how things are changing, when you “talk” to say Amazon on chat about some issues, the “Ravindra” or “Asha” who is taking to you may be a “BOT”. What is a BOT? An Internet Bot, also known as web robot, WWW robot or simply bot, is a software application that runs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are both simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is made up of bots. (This is Wikipedia definition of BOT)

How this is typically done is very similar to self-check-out counters in big departmental stores. At these check-out stations, for a group of ten such stations there is one supervisor helping, if you need any help. So what this system does is, instead ten people manning ten checkout stations, one person is sufficient. These BOTS also do the same thing. Now do you understand how the nature of business is changing? If your business is dependent on someone else’s way of working, you are in trouble if automation comes into picture.

What is the way out? Going up the value chain; but if you are a company with 100 to 150 thousand employees with “service” level skills you have tough task on hand. Basically it’s a tough call for the senior management to change its own ways from accountant based running module to technologist based running module. Who runs highly successful companies? Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Nvidia, you just list such companies and will see that these are technology driven companies. Yes, finances are very important but if the company is run by accountants they will never take risks! But when you don’t take risks and try and don’t keep abreast with new technologies or create new technologies, you will never know what hit you! How many of us know that Google and Apple are spending big money on Car technology, and they are creating newer technology in cars which was never even thought of. Nvidia is already a big auto system vendor to VW’s, Audis and Mercs of this world. They have invented technologies which are forcing these Auto giants to use new technologies to remain competitive in business. Elon Musk of Tesla had the audacity to start making Electric Cars and even start making space vehicles using venture capital.

Of course there is silver lining to each dark cloud! The surprise is that the silver lining is coming not from private sector but Government sector. ISRO, Metro projects implementation, Solar Energy project implementations, highways all over India are sign of we Indians have started getting hang of the situation. On IT side one of the success stories of product selling is Tally ERP. Yes it has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is unquestionably India’s “Numero Uno” product on IT side! If Tally is doable why can’t others do it? India is the largest democracy and is the only country in the world where all elections use EVM’s- electronic voting machines! Paper ballots are Passe’ in India! The EVM’s were developed by C-DAC! Aadhar card is one such initiative that has become pride of the nation! All these projects indicate that we are slowly coming out of the Chalta Hai mentality! Chalta Hai is a phrase indicating Small achievement is good enough! We should have Sachin Tendulkar’s in each field then only we as a nation can start achieving things!

So friends we started with discussion about Indian mentality of being happy with whatever little is achieved! Will our giants survive the onslaught of market changes? They have the money but do they have the wherewithal other than money? Do they have the mind set? Do they have the technological willpower to go up the value chain? Going up value chain is real hard and smart work. I hope these giants do it, but we are still discussing US H1B visa rules, which is the backbone of current business model of sending people on site to provide services! I hope our current young generation and future generation are as audacious as Elon Musk!

 

So long dear friends, Al Vida!

Al Vida is a Hindi word meaning Goodbye! This year has been a bit rapid in the wrong sense! I lost three dear friends of mine to the almighty till today, 11th April 2017. I am not writing an obituary but I am writing random thoughts that come to mind when such deaths take place. I am now 67 and it’s not a big deal really to face that your friends or family are dying. I know the realities of life and know very well that one has to go at some stage. My first such experience was when I was in final year of school and I had lost a friend to destiny. I have written a blog on this event

https://panvalkarpramod.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/he-is-gone/. That time it was a big shock!

In my grandparent’s time, he died at the age on 89, reaching that age was a miracle! Medical science and other allied sciences were not yet really developed and reaching the age of 50 was a great feat. Probably this threshold has already gone up to 55, then slowly to 60. My father and father in law both died at the age of 63. Celebrating 60th birthday was a great event then. People were considered to be at their prime around age of 40/45. Things have really changed now; almost 10 % of my batch mates from engineering college continue to work and are in reasonable health. Another maybe 50% are in good health though they have retired. People go for walks, treks, climb hills daily or hit the gym.

Now people are considered to be in prime around the age of 55/60 and I have known a few who have started new ventures after crossing 60. Definitions of old age are changing rapidly in India, the age bar for doing new things, new achievements has gone up! Besides improvement in medical sciences what has helped to raise the bar? New technology has brought people together. The isolation that older people had to suffer is now almost becoming history because we are in touch many people and many of the contemporaries are still around. This has definitely added to improved longevity.

I only feel sad that two of my friends who died, passed away almost instantaneously. Third friend was unwell for a few months. I don’t know the details about their health status for the period before they died. My other friend Suresh who was an Air Force pilot, flying MIG 27, had once told me. “Pramod, planes are as good as the way they are maintained. Except for one system, all hydraulics can be checked on the ground; only one system gets checked during flying. Similarly there is no sudden heart failure; there are signals which are ignored or sometimes due to diabetes the person does not feel the pain.” Had these two friends been a little more proactive in getting themselves checked who knows….

In this world time is the same for everybody. One minute for me is the same one minute to everybody. How we use this one minute is what matters. If we are day dreaming, thinking of future for ten minutes, we lose ten minutes from the current time which we could have spent better. Similarly if we had used those ten minutes to remember what we had done in the past, the net result would have been the same. It is the current time that is THE time!

Out of the three friends that I lost one of them was current time person. He would enjoy life to the fullest, whatever he was doing. He passed early morning. He had just come back from a party a couple of hours before he died. He had the real zest to enjoy the life. His son had shared the following on Facebook, sometime back. It is a perfect fit to my dear friend’s style!

The Dalai Lama, when asked what surprised him most about humanity:

“Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. Then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he neither lives in present nor the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies never really lived.”

My friend really lived life and it is not easy to be so zestful all through your life. Thank you dear for showing us the path how to live and in the how to go!  Goodbye, Al Vida, My angels!

WhatsApp FB…

Due to recent surge in communication revolution, things are really changing rapidly. We thought Face Book has made a great revolution in the way we communicate with each other; by the time we started assimilating these changes, in came WhatsApp which again is a game changer! Now what next? Only time will tell. But these rapid changes have kept us gasping to catch up, “how to use them”. Some of issues that come up are funny and others are of serious nature.

Humans started communicating with each other by spoken language, signal language when there was a language barrier. See how technology is changing this. Now on Skype, I can talk to someone in Spain in English, he can opt to listen to Spanish translation, speak in Spanish and I can hear in English, no sign language needed!! Then there were smoke signals and Shivaji Maharaj declaring safe passage with Gun shots in Pavan Khind. Then there were written message sent through personal messengers or even Doves, which probably were prelude to courier services. Who imagined that courier business will suddenly get a big boost with the advent of Flipkarts & Amazons of this world, though most of it is used for non-message related activity?

Human race has evolved mannerisms and etiquettes, when we speak with each other. Since spoken word is being used for a long time, mannerisms and etiquettes have matured. With these new mediums, we are struggling for correct mannerisms and etiquettes & gestures (though gestures are replaced by Smylies.) Let us first look at Facebook. Facebook calls every contact we have as “friend”. Probably we really start thinking that all are our real life friends. I will give you an example. Once while traveling back from Delhi to Pune, I met a gentleman on the flight. We had a couple of minutes chat, exchanged our business cards and then said goodbye on landing. Next day I received a friend request from him. I accepted it and that is about it. Once in a year maybe we just comment on each other’s posts. Both he and I are very clear that we don’t get into something personal. How our interaction in the flight would have gone forward pre FB days. It would have probably ended after the goodbyes at the end of flight. So FB is definitely very useful if used correctly. But we are yet to define what is incorrect and what is correct.

Many people share their personal things on Facebook like family photographs, their new car, a life changing event and also step by step journey details if they are travelling. I am sitting in so and so business lounge on so and so airport. It’s a “goaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaal” comment has a lot of relevance, according to some people. Why does a person think that this information is relevant to his “friends”? Will even his brother be interested in knowing, in which lounge he is sitting in! Frankly no. Then why do people share? Is it just because a tool is available? What is correct I don’t know! An example of a family who are fiercely private. They have a two year old child. They never put anything private on FB including photos. A friend of theirs put this family’s photo along with child’s photo on FB, caption my friend so and so with their daughter! Our friend was furious. What right does one have to share someone else’s private photograph? This according to me is definitely not correct.

WhatsApp is another ballgame. In Facebook whatever you do it is about you. Maybe some comments on someone’s postings, some such interaction. One to one interaction on WhatsApp is like FB messenger. But in WhatsApp, groups are sprouting at a very high rate. It is these groups that are tough to negotiate. Mannerisms and etiquettes for a group are very difficult to decide. A group is formed for a specific purpose, hopefully. There are close family groups, there are extended family groups, friends group, school friends group, college friends group, professional college friends group, office friends group, office group for business purpose and so on.

Close family group could be first family living in different parts of the world. They share almost everything which is fine but there is no point in someone during his/her day time sending a “what a lovely morning” message to the group. Others in different time zone are sleeping and the cell light will blink with the message!! When I joined a recently formed extended family group, on first couple of days there were “good morning” India or England or USA or whatever messages followed by “good night” blah blah messages. There were 20 such messages on first day and kept on increasing; and there are about 35/40 members in the group. I suggested if such messages are sent every day, by all, then there will be 70/80 clutter messages daily! I was unanimously declared guilty and freedom of speech was invoked! Then in all groups, length of some messages are equal to a couple written pages. Have a heart! We are using cell phone for WhatsApp and not a laptop!

Most interesting are the friends group. “Friends” means freedom and freedom means, do anything say anything! This appears to be the definition of friends on WhatsApp. Why do friends form a group? To keep in touch, to share small things as well as big things, pull each other’s legs and having a good time in general. But it seems that many people think that there is a license to write or share anything and everything, amongst friends. When the group size becomes large, things become a bit tricky. Best thing to do in such a case, is to avoid controversial subjects like religion, politics and maybe porn. Some people are not comfortable to even receive porn messages (maybe publicly) I know a person who sends a couple of photographs of Sunrise, with timings, every day! This person was hospitalized for some time and kept on sending a few Selfies, with Nurses, every day, once he got well! A person sends a new religious thought, about 20 lines, every day. This makes person like me very uncomfortable as I am not a religious person. Another thing observed in young generation, in Selfies people make crooked or funny faces, what can be the reason? Some people manage to drown you with deluge of “forwards”, a new term. Maybe WhatsApp gives some sort of certificate to people per group, who send maximum messages per day! I am amazed with people who send such forwards to groups; in most cases these “forwards” are not even read by those who send them! Reasons given for not reading before sending can be “Did not have time to read before forwarding!!”  Forwarding becomes an addiction to some people. This is an ever increasing list of issues which are sometime funny and sometime not so funny!

We also see proliferation of hoax messages and messages about new medical treatments. Why even highly educated people fall for such messages! Then there are people who have time to create a message say on Bajairao Mastani film song. (Which then of course goes into forward mode) People create messages which are “For Modi or Against Modi”! How do they find time to create such long messages is what I always wonder.

Friends why not give a basic thought to the actions we take. Is your personal information worth sharing with the whole world? Sometimes people share stage by stage details of their family travels. It is known that anything in soft format can be hacked. Hackers would know that you are travelling and can go and rob your homes. Your personal photos especially of kids can lead to some ransom issues. Unknown people can judge your life style and take their call. I am not over reacting but such cases have happened. Some of the actions may not have such nasty consequences but why bore people with something they are not interested in. Why share something which even you have not read. Why bore people in groups with information about some very specific subject of your interest e g “Ants behaviour in summer” or some such thing. Find people who are interested in Ants behaviour and discuss with them. But then don’t share “how to prepare snake delicacies” in that same group!! I have observed that these people are not in large numbers in any group. Groups over a period decide on their rules and admins try to apply them; least one could do is not to fight with the admin when he/she tries to regulate things! So long before I sign off let me share with you “Differences in behaviour of white mice, in Siberia, in summer and winter”; oh sorry I am in the wrong group!

Trial by Media- an Assault?

In last few days I have read about two unfortunate medical cases one in which a young man, 30 years old, died a sudden death, in Southern India. In the second case a small child died while a dental treatment was going on, in Pune. Both cases are an extremely tragic events; my sympathies are totally with the families.

In the case of the young man, Facebook post written by the young man’s wife was printed verbatim by Daily Bhaskar with a headline, “Monster Doctor did nothing while patient had cardiac arrest!”. At least at the end of the Post they have printed a disclaimer saying that they have just printed the Post Verbatim and do not necessarily agree with the views etc.

But in the case of the child, media trial is on, from the day one, after the mishap took place. The so called leading news daily of India printed the photo of the Doctors’ name board!! When we watch these things from far, everything is hazy. But some decorum needs to be followed. One can understand the parents & close relatives of the child, making strong statements, as they are in grief; this cannot be justified though understandable!! There was a discussion claiming that maybe the doctor was a quack. Come on, the Doctor is PG in pediatrics from a renowned institute. Even in criminal cases like murder, unless the criminal is caught red handed at site, his/her name is not declared, if it is practical. What right the reporters and for that matter the society, in general, have to judge a person without knowing details!

We hear about cases where families have attacked the Doctors physically, when a patient has suddenly died. This has usually happened in case of uneducated families. How is this assault justified in any way? Media attack and social media attacks are Assaults with a different name. In the latest cases, the headline about the “Monster Doctor” is a veiled slap on the face of the Doctor and not any different from physical slap, “disclaimer” being a balm applied after the slap. In the case of the child, the attack is exactly same as the physical attack. It is not that the doctor ran away when he saw that child was in serious health issue. He tried his best. So why assault him intellectually? Is it because he is defenseless? If the doctor tries to give any statement it will be misinterpreted, so he cannot say anything. So the media and society keep on slapping him.

From medical point of view we need to know if the correct treatment was given. Were the correct procedures & or protocols followed? Was the child going through some other treatment, at that time, and was on medication? Was this informed to the doctor? Was the child given local anesthesia? Did the reaction occur immediately or after some time? There is a mechanism in place where such cases are referred to a medical panel. This panel is empowered to study the cases and decide if there was a mistake by the doctor or negligence by the doctor. If the negligence is proven then the doctor can be charged by the police under due process of law. We do not expect a doctor to overcome such police cases with same impunity as many big shots from the society are known to do.

How this events should be handled. This is not politics where party A will attack party B and so on. Politics is a business. In current medical cases, individuals involved are normal human beings like you and me. Is it right for the media to give “exposes”? Is the doctor hiding anything? Is the medical council hiding anything? Due course of action has to start, yet. If some hotch potch happens in this process of inquiry, then the media can go into depth. Here media is trying to show as if the doctor is a villain. What does society achieve by taking candle march? Was this a rape case? When a child dies in road accident we don’t have candle marches! We don’t start publishing history of the driver! (It may not be drivers’ mistake to start with) What are we trying to achieve here? Are these the drawbacks of TRP related stuff? Is this the drawback of having Facebook platform being readily available?

I have personally experienced what can happen due a reaction of an injection. Years back when penicillin was used regularly, my mother was injected with penicillin. From the same ampule my nephew was also injected. I was sitting next to my mother; within one minute my mother just collapsed and fell on me. Her hands and feet started becoming cold and she started becoming black and blue! This all happened within 2/3 minutes. Luckily an Oxygen Cylinder was readily available so was Adrenalin injection. She was treated with all this immediately and she came back from the brink, after fifteen minutes! We were all just praying or maybe we just did not know what was happening!! Was this attempted murder? No, it was not! My mother had taken penicillin shots before and had no known reaction history but her body still reacted differently. These things are known to happen, that is why doctors take a consent form before anesthesia is used or a surgical procedure is done. In current case of the child, the reaction of something (still not known) had started 30/40 minutes later. The concerned doctor took help of another expert and a hospital overcome the reaction issue and to revive the child. Sadly this did not happen.

Does consent taken absolve doctors of the responsibility? On the other hand  will the doctor ignore the reaction just because he/she has taken a consent for the procedure? This case could be drug reaction, misjudgement of the doctor but this is decided not by you and me. Let the law take its own course. What the society can do is to ask for quick report from the medical committee and let the action start as quickly. “Justice delayed is justice denied” should not happen in such cases. But let us not become judges, juries or maybe God and try to fix the destiny of a human being without following the right procedures! There is no short cut to anything and that applies to justice also.

God bless both families in which deaths took place but also let us give the professionals involved leeway of trying to prove their innocence. Ultimately they also have a family!!