Geeky posts no more

Between work and, I hardly have time left for this ‘personal’ blog. Never started this with ambitions of becoming the best known blogger on the Indi-blogosphere or anything like that. I am not that good either. I was told I would find like minded friends via this thing called blogging. And that I did, a good number of them, and so so very like minded that we have a whole big geeky site we all call our own now. Mission accomplished! However, on the subject of blogging, I do find interesting reactions to a question I have asked around – “So really, why do you blog?”. The one that intrigues me the most is – no answer, a posture of discomfort, with “why do you ask me” looks. Anyway.

Thanks all for your support (no names here, but you know) and encouragement. All this stuff – talk of infrastructure, positivity, local governance etc – all of which can summarily be rejected as boring, is where my interests are. And I will continue the talking, and as much as possible, some doing at

I am not sure whether to continue this blog as a place for pure ‘personal’ takes on other interests such as Hindi Music, Ancient History and Regionalism of our country, R&D outsourcing/offshoring ), or to just pause all this for a while till I can be sure of finding time to make at least one post every week. Let me think.

So long then. I will be back, very likely here itself in a re-invented way. Or elsewhere. But regardless, I am always around you-know-where. Just google silkboard :)


Pranav aka silkboard

Transportation reforms around the BMLTA concept

[Cross posted from Praja-Bangalore, comments off]

In the telecom space, you have TRAI, which is a national level regulatory body. Rightly so, since telecom networks have national footprint through interconnections, it need not be looked at as a state subject. Drawing a parallel for our state, think of extending BMLTA concept to the state – a Karnataka state land transport authority (KSLTA). Why so? Because we want efficient two or three change connectivity from Whitefield to Haradanahalli as well, and not just to Jayanagar or Malleswaram. Just like the primary schools, every region needs good connectivity.

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Traffic police – why stand and deliver?

[Cross posted from Praja-Bangalore, comments off]

Was driving my F-I-L’s Santro the other day when I was stopped by one of those police parties. 5 of them, settled under a lush thick tree, half of them waiting to stop unsuspecting vehicles, the other half busy ‘punishing’ the ‘successful’ catches. I never get stopped when driving bigger cars, but the 9 year old santro ‘fit’ their criteria.

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Meeting with Mr Tripathy, BMTC – Summary

[Cross-posting from Praja-Bangalore, comments are off]

So it did happen. Naveen, Murali sir, Vasanth, Praveen, myself got 30 minutes of Mr Tripathy’s time in his office. After introducing Praja etc, we were planning to present our (rather, Naveen’s) slides on single dedicated lane based BRTS idea. But Mr Tripathy said he was short on time, and would look at it later at leisure. However, he warned us that he just can’t do BRTS by himself. He is only a bus operator, and owns only the rolling stock. We should go to other bodies (BBMP/BDA/Traffic police to get non-rolling stock infrastructure for BRTS) to push for it. He then updated us on the BRTS-on-ORR project a bit. He seemed well versed with BRTS, its need and advantages, Bogota etc. Though, his take on the key reason for the success of buses at Bogota is – the interesting ways in that city ran campaigns to educate citizens on road discipline.

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How is 18% for majority!?

After casting my vote early in the morning yesterday, while I drove around and was doing some shopping, I was curiously trying to spot the ink on those index fingers. My empirical observations told me that less than 50% of people had taken the trouble of visiting a polling booth. Morning newspapers are saying that Bangalore city areas saw only 44% voter turnout, and I am not surprised.

With three cornered (four, if you add BSP) contests everywhere, it is safe to assume that winning candidate will at best get 35-40% of the votes polled. 40% (winning percentage) of 44% (voting percentage) = around 18%. So, the winning candidates can realistically claim to have support of only 18% of Bangalore’s citizens.

What a shame. 18% is not even half of what we call majority (50%). They say democracy is the rule of majority and I am wondering how the hell do we call this democracy.

[Cross posted from Praja-Bangalore, comments off]

Traffic – Insurance laws to strengthen enforcement?

Over an year ago, I was driving not so fast not so slow, near the hard median of a road, when I spotted a bold biker riding on the ‘wrong’ side. Right around then, an impatient cab (Sumo) following behind decided to pass me from the left, the overtaking action putting him on a collision course with the wrong-way biker. The biker sensed trouble and tried to ‘filter’ through us. But in between his confused maneuvers, the bike slipped, fell, and I found the man and machine directly ahead of me. Hard median to my right, heavy-metal Sumo on my left, I didn’t have much to do or think, I braked hard, real hard, and stopped just short of the fallen human and machine waiting to be crushed.

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Shell outlets: shutdown coming?

Suman isn’t the only one. I too noticed that my neighborhood Shell bunk now sells only the premium petrol (Shell supreme or something), cost ranging from Rs 61 – 64 a liter over last month. The BP bunk nearby offers Rs 52 – 55 Rs/liter. 15% is a bit much premium to pay, though I know I get 8-10% better mileage with Shell. So, no more Shell now. And guessing from reduced crowds at this Shell bunk, this seems to be the case with many.

Reliance recently announced shutting down all its retail petroleum outlets (pumps). How long before Shell does the same?

Now, while filling at the BP bunk, I can’t help staring at the diesel rates – Rs 36 odd per liter! That is a third less than petrol, again, a bit too much, and calling out to trade in my petrol car with a diesel.

Its all pretty sad though – us, the consumers not paying the real price for petrol, and more so for diesel. The whole sarkaari petroleum machinery is happy siphoning off money from organized adulteration business (I don’t have proof, so this is loose talk by definition). And by subsidizing the cost of fuel, they keep our mouths shut and voters happy. Wonderful arrangement – that subsidy is like a kickback for us to let distribution irregularities pass off under the carpet.

Will the fuel prices be unreasonably high if sarkaari control over distribution and pricing were to go away? Don’t know. May be not, because loss of subsidy may be offset by more efficient and clean distribution process brought in by private enterprise. Or may be yes. But why should government care?

Entrepreneurship around alternate energy will prosper only if we start paying the real high prices for petrol and diesel, isn’t it? We will change our driving and private vehicle usage patterns only if ‘real’ and high fuel prices start pinching our pockets dry, isn’t it? Its sort of like saying water is important so preserve it, but keeping potable water’s cost so low that you don’t take those threats seriously.

So tell me now. Which diesel is better, Swift VDI and Getz Prime?

Whats in a name?

No no. I m not talking about an IPL owner using team name to promote his brand (Royal Challengers). I have a slightly more fundamental question. Why is it that none of the teams have an Indian sounding name. Leave out Mumbai (Indians), but the other seven? Even in ICL, except Lahore Badshahs, its the same story.

BCCI or IPL team owners’ argument could be – we are trying to appeal to a global audience. But can’t that be done via some Indian names as well. Bangalore Hoysalas? Sher-e-Punjab? Delhi Pandavas or Mugals or Aryans? Leave it, I don’t want to think of all the controversial possibilities here, but why not?

Its not just the cricket team names you know. Think of recently created big brand names around you. Tell me how many of those are ‘local’ words or names. Why is no local airline willing to use local words (pushpak, garuda, pawan, vaayu etc, keep thinking)? Why did UTI bank go Axis? Why is it called a ‘Nano’, and not ‘sawaari‘, or ‘aam‘, or ‘rathh‘ (branding gurus can think better, pardon my weak attempts).

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Immunization on death bed!

What would you say if someone started vaccination programs for 50 year olds, or an immunization program for those on the death bed? Wasted effort, too late, non sense? Pick your reaction. Now, I may sound like over-dramatizing the talk around reservations in IITs and IIMs. But media and politicos beating so much drum around reservations in higher education institutions does make me react.

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Dignity of labor

Here is an MP’s take on the thing we call dignity of labor, which they say is about respecting another workman’s space and authority. I cut it out from a story today that talked about an IA pilot throwing a late MP out of his plane. (Asian Age, Zee News). This quote is from TOI:

“Rana (the pilot) then told me that it was not my business. I replied he was only a glorified driver and shouldn’t equate himself with a people’s representative.”

God knows what really happened there. But I quite liked the fact that MP chose to go on record with his ‘glorified driver’ talk.