Just curious #4 – Worst world cup yet?

No no, not talking as an India fan. Too long a tournament (players are complaining), too many inconsequential matches, (is super 8 a bit much, was super 6 better?) – forget those things. The biggest gripe I have, and via his column this morning, Steve Waugh agrees, is about TV coverage which has been downright awful !

Ads start even before the 6th ball goes dead. What if that ball produced a six or a wicket? Just when the commentators start with a descriptive replay, boom, you get ‘mind-n-body heart-n-soul’! After the over break, producer jumps back to live action to find that the bowler has only started running – back to a quick 20 second comic jingle. And then you are brought back live right when first ball of the over meets the bat, pad or stumps. Talk about perfect timing!?

Perhaps its no coincidence that Indian performance and quality of coverage, both have hit rock bottom at the very same time.

2-3 vs a billion

A fellow in dark glasses and uniquely-Indian bow-tie took potshots at our courts and got away with it. And I was like why so much noise over it? Go ahead with IIM admissions, and admit ‘quota’ students later if and when courts have a final verdict. The new students may miss a quarter or so, but so what – how does that matter? When you have anyway lowered the admission bar, can lower the bar for graduation as well: “Must complete 6 of 8 quarters to get the degree”!

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A Bollywod script – “Full circle”

Flashback. The Girl came home. And told her dad, “The name is Khan, Mrs I Khan”. Dad, a popular leader, an upper caste Hindu with rich roots and cultured upbringing, stared at her young husband who had a Muslim sounding last name. He said, “No way”. Tension persisted, and a few tactical moves later, Dad won the battle of last-names.

Fast forward. Husband didn’t last long, ill health the culprit. Meanwhile, Dad got to rule the land, and passed away in office. After a lull, the Girl took over. A dynasty began. Sons grew up and got wings. One flew long and far to land seven seas away to return with a wife. The other one stayed loyal to his country. Sadly enough, only the better pilot survived to succeed. Eventually, the Girl too lost life in office, and so did her successor-princely son who left behind a son and a daughter.

Longish lull, things get dull, and then comes the climax.

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Indus valley or not?

I have been reading tidbits about the debates – was Harappan civilization truly the “Indus valley” civilization? Or were those cities built around some other river as well (Saraswati, Ghaggar-Hakra?) that doesn’t exist today? How did it end, an invasion, or geographical changes? In that context, I looked up the latest class XII NCERT text books to see what they say. Well, they do use the phrase “Indus valley civilization”, (Refer class XII material on Harappan Civilization), and there is no talk of Saraswati yet. On how it ended – the book leaves it open ended with talk of drastic climate changes as well as a note on the invasion theory.

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Complaints: a tale of few cities – #1

E-governance is a two way street, no initiative is complete without an electronic and easy way of taking in suggestions and complaints, and may I add – RTI (Right to Information) applications as well. How about we look at relevant online systems of a few city governments?

KALYAN-Dombivili gets cited for having one of the best egovernance implementations. As about the complaints system, you can lodge one via 4 clear steps. You get a token # in the end that you use to get status on your complaints. Even better, there is a citizen charter there that tells you the number of days a complaint should take to get addressed and who all get to act on it. One curious thing – even though Kalyan has concept of “unique citizen #” for its residents, it is not used in lodging complaints.

HYDERABAD lets you register complaints, as well as check status on same. One thing that sets them apart is – you can search and lookup all complaints. 1491 entires for March 2007, what says you, is usage high or low? Searches showed me that most complaints lodged and disposed are about street lighting. Understandably enough, most complaints in “encroachments” category are ‘pending’!

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Wowfee thoughts

Vista coffee

While at Jayanagar last month, cousin S and I went to a cafe. Asked for the menu card. Opened it, and wham, there was wowfee! That very first item on the list – Windows Vista Coffee – made me brew some instant thoughts:

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Control theory

h2Had read this news last month that IIT Mumbai (also called IIT Bombay) plans to put some controls on internet access in its hostels (Stop surfing). BTW, don’t go by the headlines alone. The idea is to cut you out from 23:00 to 00:30 hrs – 1.5 hrs of control, thats it.

“There has been a decline in academic performance and also participation in sporting, cultural and social activities has gone down,” he (Dean of Students Affairs) says.

So which one of the two is the real reason there? Should the IIT be bothered whether their students socialize or not? Or is it about decline in academic performance?

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Overheard … #4 – Burnt a bus? Pay up.

… that Maharashtra state government is going to bring in a legislation that will ask the organizers to pay up if a rally organized by them leads to damage of public property.

After Mr H D Kumaraswamy talked about acting tough a few months ago (when an anti-conversion rally lead to acts of arson in parts of Bangalore), Ravi had mentioned similar ideas on Metblogs. I don’t think HDK did more than that talk, so it may be time to take a cue from Maharashtra government now.

The only problem with such a legislation is – governments will have to bear the burden of proof that an incident was indeed a result of organizer’s actions, and that means cost and legal battles. Regardless, good thinking and a welcome start. Don’t let the “mobs” get away because in our country, they really think they can. If you burnt a bus, you got to pay up, simple!

The traffic socialists?

When I talked about the socialists (see Traffic clubs), this is the sort of thing I was referring to. Find thisĀ  small piece from TOI Bangalore, April 6, page 3:

A frenzied crowd in Chandapura, Bangalore Rural district, threw stones at buses and tried to torch a truck after a scooterist knocked down by the truck died on Thursday afternoon. … Police said the victim wrongly entered a one-way and lost balance. The truck, coming from the opposite direction, ran over Umesh.

Not to say that the truck in question was all innocent, after all I wasn’t there to witness it. And I sure have my sympathies for the deceased. But I have witnessed two such cases – bike doing wrong direction surprising truck/bus and getting knocked – thankfully both the accidents were non fatal. What I have seen is this – when the mob rules, “size” dictates who gets all the sympathy.

I thought this report was an example – if the “law” and “common sense” were to prevail, one life would have been saved and instead of “oh-these-truck-drivers”, “oh-these-law-breaking scooterists” would have been the lesson spreading around.

Another death and I wonder

This morning.

  • Venue: Kundalahalli Gate, Airport road between the signal and new Marathahalli railway bridge.
  • Fatalities: One, died on spot.
  • Who: Pedestrian, crushed by a Scorpio.
  • How: (Disclaimer: reconstructed from one quick glance at the gut-wrenching scene, good chances of inaccuracy) One pedestrian, trying to cross over. Jumps on to the road from median. A speeding Scorpio swerves to avoid a hit (Trees on the median make it hard to predict such surprises), but ends up knocking him down. Ped is dead. And the vehicle ends up on the pavement.

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