Mar 29, 2010

Earth Hour

Have been hearing / reading a lot about the oncoming Earth Hour.. March 27 is the day, when every one across the globe switches of lights for one hour at the same time..

4000 Cities in 92 Countries participated this time. A fantastic idea, virtually putting everything on hold.. The idea is to conserve energy. Per the report in the Dubai newspapers, they saved 170k KW in one hour. In Australia, it was equivalent to getting 42,000 cars off the road..

I am quite sure that there will be many such success stories in every country, every city. Every one would clamour to state what they achieved and people would be talking about it for a few days.. maybe weeks... And then..

Then we go to our normal lives, our daily routine, where we consume energy like there is no tomorrow. We will switch on all our lights, every single highway, every single multi storey building that we have.. Every single highway, every building, every showroom.. Our cities are going to be brightly lit for the next 364 days.. And then March 27, 2010, we will switch it over for one more hour.. And brag how much we gave to the society.

Did we really? No doubt this is a good idea, a good thought, but why can we not put this into routine practice? Can it not be done every day, every week, every month.. It is the same question that I have.. Why Mothers day one day of the year.. Fathers day too.. What about the rest of them? Are they not special.. People take an extra "effort" to contact their parents and show how much they love them? What about the remaining 364 days?

We have pushed ourselves to the limits of no return in many areas, and now we all try to improve our conciensces, by contributing to these once a year annual piligrimages. It is our way of telling the world, oh, we contribute..

Why bother.. Why have this fake attitude? Do we honestly care? Will we even remember it after one year? Reminds me of the no car day that the Dubai government recently did.. All RTA employees were informed of the no car day.. Come walking, biking, metro.. what ever, but not your car.. People came by Metro, some got dropped, some took the bus.. The fun part.. The Government paid for their tickets !!

Who are we trying to fool?

Mar 9, 2010

The Average Man

It is quite surprising. You think of some thing to write, you start and then you plan to come back as more thoughts come. You stop, take a break for a day, and before you know it, a couple of weeks pass out. Not becuase you planned it, for me, it is simply, will do it tomorrow. However when you come back, it is like you never stopped.

I was discussing a topic on cost of living recently, some people local, some recently moved in.. and the consensus was quite mixed. Of course, people coming from Bombay, stated that living costs were exorbitant back home, people here claimed that Dubai was unthinkable.

Bombay over the years has no doubt grown massively expensive. Demand and supply? Shortages? Real increase? No one really knows in my view. But the fact is that no matter what happens, the price is absorbed by the common man. The rate of increase in population, and the fact that disposable income has more than increased in the last 10 - 15 years, simply ensures that people will continue to spend.

More so, as every one wants to lead a good life, be seen in fancy restaurants, drive a car, have an apartment in a posh building, costs are bound to increase. Of course, as people get used to this kind of living, it becomes very difficult to ensure that the alternate source of income is a continuing trend and there are no hiccups to this.

Similar to Dubai, where I live. Costs have increased, two. Of course the main reason was the artificial inflation on the property market, second the view that anything any country did, we can do better. Good attiture, wrong approach. Rents are still sky rocketing, normal utilities have become more expensive, indirect taxation is simply at its best. People who are earning well, continue to earn well and ofcourse will continue to spend

But where does that leave the average man? There are still people who earn a lot less and living costs are a nightmare. People commit suicide on a regular basis, because they have expanded beyond their means. Current costs cannot be met, cannot be decreaased, and financial liabilities are on the rise. There are a lot of people, all around, who still face difficulties in making ends meet.

How does he survive, how does he live? Would he ever be in a situation where he can move to a better apartment in the Middle East or for that matter, back home when he goes. Would his savings suffice when he goes back home? Can he buy a house? Can he send his kids to the posh school that he dreame of?

What is indeed surprising is that Malls, Restaurants are all full throught the day, often making you wonder, is there really a bad time? Should people stop enjoying a good life when can? Of course, if no one spends, how does the economy grow?

A two sided coin, it indeed is