The ‘first come first serve’ idea

Two far corners of our country, and two similar ideas:

  • First come first serve system introduced in Bangalore for police verification of passports. Simply put, I think this means a cop must verify the last pending passport on his table before he goes on to the next.
  • UP state government introduced first come first serve system for issuing permits to public carriers. If you apply for a permit to operate a new bus on a state-local route, RTO must approve (or deny?) it before picking up the next person’s application.

Isn’t this a good way to go? If the first-in-first-out or FIFO queue can be tracked and always be visible to public, then it really is a good idea! Basically, an application can’t be kept in “hanging” state. Its either waiting, or processed. This sort of transparency definitely reduces chances of favors or delaying games. And since a queue is public, anyone can easily track performance of the relevant sarkaari babu or body.

The word is Desi

“There is something odd about this piece”, I told myself yesterday after reading a newspaper article titled “Desis Raise $2 million for Hillary Clinton“. I soon figured that it was about the D word, “Desi“. Do I recall reading that term in a mainstream Indian newspaper before? No. This was perhaps a first.

I have never liked that tag, and have wondered why most immigrant Indians – yeah, I know, South Asians, but lets keep it short here – readily embrace it? If you ask around for what that term means, most who are okay with it say it describes “Global Indians”. Classify yourself into an ethnic sounding sub-group, and yet aspire to be global, what kind of contradiction is that?

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ICL updates: BCCI’s nod of disapproval

So BCCI’s has picked its direction as far as Mr Chandra’s ICL is concerned. It has asked its players and officials to stay away. No ‘approval’ for ICL either – ha, like they invented the game! A new league may need some of BCCI’s players, but certainly not any of their ‘officials’ :). Puns apart, you know what could be cool here, a US baseball styled multi league domestic cricket setup. They got two leagues, National and American that make up the MLB. NL and AL champions have been playing an annual World(!?) Series since 1903.

Imagine two leagues, one Indian another Ranji, with a Champions Series every December. To go with the professional domestic setup, I also dream of a mechanical selection process for our international team. Top ranked batsmen, bowlers, keepers get picked using agreed-upon statistics from past X domestic games. Can leave one spot to popular vote, but just eliminate the selectors to avoid any inter-league disharmony over the matter!

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Tata’s 1 lakh car – early pic?

In case you didn’t see it yet, Team-BHP is carrying an early picture of Tata’s Rs 1 lakh car. Yeah, the car that could change so much – our traffic, the look of our roads, nation’s energy equations, jobs and God knows what else!

Coming soon …

logoThe Bangalore part of silkboard will soon be moving to a work-in-progress ‘citizen networking platform’ :)

Local, nothing global about it. Discuss Bangalore developments that are of interest to its truly concerned and willing-to-stay-aware residents. Find like minded people. Join energies, and some day soon, do more than just blogging, arguing or cursing.

Know, share and participate. Coming soon … !!

Rediff – Media site or group blog?

Would I be wrong if I called Rediff the biggest group blog with Indian content?

Are interactive-format websites really responsible for any irresponsible unmoderated content their readers contribute for free? A good answer isn’t out yet and is being discussed around the world right now, in many case inside court rooms as well. Can’t dwell on legal aspects of this question in India, but I do have a point to make.

When you run websites like Orkut, Myspace or even a personal blog, it is clear that you are betting on content generated by random readers or users. However, if your primary act is mainstream media with original and paid content, expectations are different.

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Flyovers – Thank God the ‘truth’ is out!

Ah, was I glad to see major newspapers talk negative about flyovers last week!! The irony is that these same guys were hyping up the ‘f’ word as recently as last year. Anyways, good. They finally realize these things are not the panacea. Yeah they aren’t, I cribbed over an year ago – here, here and here again.

By the way, its not just the mainstream media, Union urban development ministry too has the right language now. Did you read this last week?

The Centre has directed states and cities to draw up comprehensive mobility plans giving priority to pedestrians, non-motorised and public transport as rising travel demands have resulted in a disproportionate increase in private vehicle use … Officials … explained that the comprehensive moblity plan … is required to focus on the mobility of people instead of vehicles.

Not to say that things like flyovers or elevated expressways are not needed. But if their net result is going to be increased incentives for using private vehicles, then they are not good for our crowded cities. Sorry, and period.

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Our topsy-turvy world

Not an India Bangalore thing, but did you hear about the Chinese demolishing a 30 feet high statue of Buddha in Tibet? Jump to google, and find a few articles talking about it, like this one:

The nine metre gold and copper-plated statue of Guru Rinpoche, the founder of Buddhism, was torn down by Chinese police in mid-May at Tibet’s Samye monastery, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said.

Does anyone remember that March 2001 incident when Afghan Talibans tore down the Buddhas of Bamiyan? So. Last time someone brought down a tall statue of arguably the first apostle of non-violence, the world got 9/11 and stuff. What could be in store this time!?

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Height of hope …

… or gross waste of strip of tin and red paint? What would you call a stop sign on a Bangalore road!?

stop_signI say a waste. Let me tell you why. The stop sign mechanism, rather any organized “discipline” at an intersection is inefficient, and we Indians know that! Hear out my case.

Imagine two 30 feet wide roads intersecting. If vehicles followed the “first come first go, but must stop” rule, you would be wasting 30 x 30 feet of quality pucca road at every intersection. When stopping or stalling, vehicles must occupy every available inch. We are a land starved country you know.

Now, even after the high packing fractions, gaps between two stopped vehicles are often enough to let a two wheelers squeeze through. There you go, so you can get more number vehicles to cross paths if you allow squeezing and inserting to play on.

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The brand is desi

ThumsupThe thing I missed most while living abroad was … Thums up. Few Indian grocery stores did carry the bottles, but one could tell that the fizz and freshness was missing. And I used to wonder, what if the Coca Cola company tried selling Thums Up abroad?

Back home, ask cola drinkers of our nation, and the genuine ones will tell you that pepsi has a lot more sugar than CO2 while coke is bland and short on fizz. Didn’t they try killing Thums Up brand after acquiring it? They may say no, but back then I couldn’t explain how the local grocery stores stayed short on Thunder for few weeks at a stretch. “Supply nahin hai saahab”, I remember that from 94/95.

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