Un”fair” hiring game in the skies?

I am glad someone brought this up because I have had these thoughts myself as I watched our airlines grow. We are talking about cabin crew on our domestic airlines. A former US diplomat termed this “racism” in a newspaper column this week, but let me take this a bit further.

Perhaps, racism is not the right word. Skin color bias is the objection I would raise. You don’t see many (any?) dark complexioned flight attendants on our domestic airlines, do you? Actually, there is more. Just look at these job descriptions on various airline sites to discover this. Most are clear about complexion requirements and one has a preferred marital status! Besides, there is age and sex bias as well – all want them young (less than 25/27/30 years), and some only want females!

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Overheard … #2

Our ministers are watching too much TV!

First that ban on AXN. Then the recent ban on FTV (Fashion Television). And now, its CNBC Awaaz (quote from ToI):

The channel had, according to the notice, screened advertisements featuring ‘Martiac Whisky’ and ‘Satu Petrus Wine’. The decision on the ban was taken after the inter-ministerial committee took cognizance of the matter.

Inter-ministerial committee, hmm! Must be a nice gathering, right – everybody get together for some serious channel surfing!

Just curious #2

There you go, a greenfield city in the works – New Raipur. Disclaimer: Its been on the cards for a few years though, and it is still early days.

So how about a “New Bangalore”, or a brand new city by another name? Either shift our capital there (Muhammad Bin-Tughlaq style!), or wean businesses away from the current city – possible strategy for de-congestion and re-branding? If I may suggest a location, how about somewhere on coastal Karnataka!?

Elevated Inner Core Ring Road

Some details were put up on BBMP website last week. Find it all here (ICRR specs), here is the planned route (figure 1) with very good details – comes as far South as Dairy Circle, and goes as North as Yeshvantpur Circle.

Personally, I like the project, but I would prefer two separate North-South and East-West elevated corridors instead. Going from one end of the city to another is a problem today. Can’t go through the city, and circling it on Outer Ring Road is a bit too lengthy. If our city has the resources, BBMP should do both of these, N-S and E-W elevated radial roads, as well as this Core Ring Road. But if I had to pick just one of the two, I will do the radial roads first. Don’t encourage traffic to circulate within the CBD, encourage public transport there, but make it easy for traffic to zip through the CBD – that is the thought I have.

BTW, BMTC too is with me on this. In a long term traffic improvement plan they came up with last month, they too talked about two long flyovers, one running North-South and another East-West. Well, same thought as I expressed above.

Yes, I know, you almost get that North-South city corridor in the ambitious tunnel project! But this thing doesn’t go all the way through the city.

Karnataka Industrial Helix!

One Tarle fellow and friend mailed in his creation – he calls it the Karnataka Industrial Helix. Here is the image, unedited and unmodified (Click on it for a bigger version). Any idea how these six areas compare in terms of their GDP? I guess the order will be Bangalore, Hospet/Bellary, Hubli/Dharwad, Mangalore followed by the rest.

Industrial Helix

The treasure called history

I was barely out of high school then, and was visiting an uncle’s native place to attend a function. I didn’t know why but the name of that place sounded familiar – Suryagarha, a small agricultural village on the banks of Ganga. At the Railway station though, the board said Surajgarh. And then it struck me why it sounded ‘heard-before’. Wasn’t this the place where Mughal army of Humayun lost a famous battle to a rebel? That battle almost changed the history of Medieval India, almost – they say almost because Mughals reclaimed the empire a little later only after that rebel lost his life in a freak accident a few years later.

Somewhere in Surajgarh, on the banks of River Ganga and Kiul, Sher Shah defeated the Mughal Army in 1534 to start his journey towards becoming the ruler of most-of-India. For those who didn’t know this much history, Sher Shah was the king who first built our National Highway #2 (Kolkata to Amritsar today, Dhaka to Peshawar then, or the Grand Trunk road). I remember asking a few folks there if they knew this bit about their place. Some said they did, but didn’t know where that battleground was.

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Attack of the Kiranas

Garuda MallI read this interesting story in Business Today, March 25 edition:

“In possibly the first of its kind experiment, some 3000 mom-n-pop stores in Rajkot Gujarat have come together to take on modern retailers.”

Ever since Iscon Prozone Mall opened in Rajkot, it seems these local Kiranas have seen a decline in their businesses. Not just that, some claim to have lost employees as well. So what is the plan of action? Hunger strike against big retailers? Nope. This is Gujarat, and that was West Bengal. There is a reason these two states are near opposite ends of our country :)

Their idea is to join hands and:

“become more organized in terms of how they buy and sell, and how they manage their inventories and customers”.

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Overheard … #1

… this at a Darshini today – “Next cricket world cup onwards, nobody will try to describe any pool as the group of death“. Stupid rediff is still using that phrase!

PS: Sad indeed, the Woolmer story. I am waiting to hear more on it, the guy was doing a book on match fixing it seems and had traveled to India as well to ‘ask around’. Moreover, he was coaching SA when Cronje-gate happened. May be that Hansie Cronje’s plane crash was an accident. I just get this feeling that Woolmer’s is not. Who is next?

Hyderabad vs Bangalore – 1

Here you go Vasanth. I didn’t write this as another “us and them” post, that might come across as unhealthy/cheap way of playing this up. What got me started was an article in ToI today that seemed to grow this thought (Airports on time) into a more verbose comparison of the two new airports.

In there though, Sowmya Aji didn’t cover much on the point I am more curious to hear on. Both the airports could be looking at playing a regional South Asian hub. Think Aus/NZ/Indonesia/Malay area to Europe. Think Japan/Korea to South Africa. Why not? In that context, I was hoping for some good statistics based analysis on 1) whether there is space for both of them 2) do these airports stand a chance of grabbing a piece if there is a market there. Sadly, that part of ToI article had nothing more that content from the two websites (BIAL, GMR Hyd).

Anyways. Dear journalists, could we have a detailed and healthy comparison between the two cities. Look at their ambitious projects, look at their current positions, and tell me how the two will look a few years from now. More than a healthy competition, perhaps there are things to learn from each other. Don’t know if there is a forum in our country where big cities sit down, share their experiences and collaborate. There must be one, just that I couldn’t find any informative sites for this.

Beyond these airports, here are some other quick-n-small Hyd-Blr tidbits for you: Continue reading

The traffic clubs

Come, lets club Bangalore traffic before it clubs you! The chaos called Indian traffic has patterns if you spot them (see lessons 1, 2, 3, 4, etc), and several groups, call them clubs, if you observe the dynamisms on display.

Leader’s club – The biggest club on our roads with the powerfully addictive logo that goes – “Everyone must get to lead at least once”. To lead is Indian. The members got upstaged at some stage of their lives. Ruled by spouses at home, rat-raced by smarter colleagues at work, and lead by Politicians to nowhere – if not one of these, then these folks were perhaps undone by front-bencher students back in their school days. Come driving time, and they get the opportunity for some sweet leadership revenge. Advice on dealing with them? Good old divide and rule. Prop the wannabe leaders up against each other, and you will find your escape route!

Newton’s club – Members swear by a popular physicist’s third law of motion, which in the Indian traffic world translates to – I dent you, you dent me and we’ll be unhappy family. A small possible problem may be – these guys assume everyone else knows the third law as well. But surprise for those who believe India is an illiterate nation, and a boost for those who always believed we have a scientific bent of mind – most of us do! So when that daredevil Qualis or Indica puts its nose in an impossibly tight lane that belonged to you, you just make way. How to deal with this club? Join them, or join the comprehensives (see below).

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