Feb 23, 2012

The Green Thing

It all started with a mail chain that got fowarded and set me on memory lane. Initial story as below:
Courtesy Little Green Blog
Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this green thing back in my earlier days."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

How True.. All we see today is Green, Green, and Green.. Surely, a lot of us are not that old going back 7 decades, but a lot of us have grown up in the "Non Green Environment".

Soft drink bottles were returned back to the stores for 50 fils, which not only gave some extra pocket money, but the bottles were sent back for washing / sterilizing and resold. The same bottle gets used again. We never drank Cokes and Pepsi in plastic bottles, simply because these were wrap sealed. Nothing green about it.

School meant walking, even if it was for 30 minutes. No Dad or Mom driving their gas guzzling 4x4's that would drop us to school, simply because petrol was cheaper than water.

Elevators were only in high rise buildings, but we never thought of these if they did not exist in ours, even if it meant climbing up and down ten times a day. It could be as simple as a friend calling or going to the grocery store to buy milk and in the bargain get a lollipop. We walked every where, never needed a gym that had enough lights to turn night into day or worked on machines that were huge energy busters.

One TV, one Radio, One AC. That for many was their luxury of appliances. TVs mostly black and white, Radio in the living room, Ac's never switched on unless it was really hot and even then only when it was time to sleep. Once the room cooled, the AC was switched off. We now have 40 inch LED's in every room, home theaters to listen to a CD of light music and Central Ac's with free chillers that are on all day.

Crystal glasses that we would take back home would be wrapped in all our old clothes and newspapers, fitted with rubber bands. Today we use foam, bubble wrap, and we even plasti wrap our bags. Once we reach, we dump it all. The amount used would be enough to cover up three people without clothes, if ever these could be stitched.

Water in steel glasses, no one cared how many people had used the glass before us. Some water, a swipe of the hand and the glass is clean. Eight glasses of water a day today, and eight plastic cups used as a minimum. Disposable plastic pens? We grew up on ink pens.

We switched off electricity in the rooms where we did not sit, simply because it cost money. We never let the AC run for two hours to cool the room before we could go and sleep, nicely tucked under a 7 kilo blanket. Gardens were in our balconies, today we create them outside our villa's and have power generated motors to manage them.

We destroy forests then host conferences on how to save the Amazon. We run our electricity all year long; switch it off for one hour in a year and proudly declare that we participated in this. Global conferences entail thousands of people travelling all over the world for two days, to discuss what we can save for our future, without ever compromising on our present.

It does make one wonder as to was our upbringing wrong, or was our environment not in line. We see the generations today, do everything that our parents taught us not to do, however we are unable to tell our future generations the same. What also never surprises, is that every generation expects the previous generation to save the world for them to live and enjoy, without ever realizing that the world today exists because of the past generations.

Development does bring its costs, however there is an element of common sense, which unfortunately we seem to have lost some where along the way. Is it simply to hide our mistakes that we know we can never stop? Is it simply a matter of who cares? Or is it society's plague that we ourselves have built and have no means of getting out.

For me, I am still glad, I was born before the Green Environment, and if given a chance, would go through it all again

Feb 18, 2012

Life.. A Fast Track Race..?

Saturday Morning, Feb 18, 2012... Quite frankly, not the very best of days in my life, as being a weekend turned out to be a cross between a decision as to should I relax and laze at home, or finish my chores that were pending to be cleared.. Of course, the chores won.

Not really complex ones, very simple.. I had to go and get my Car renewed for the year. The passing had all been done last week, however I had not been able to close this, due to the need to clear out fines on my car. Of course, Saturday being Saturday, the laziness won over the first part of the day, leaving the second part to finish, threatening to destroy the week ahead.

What is difficult one would say in this? For me it was very simple.. Heading to the RTA (Road and Transport Authorities), the route was filled with people who despite being on the fast lanes, preferred the traditional 70 KMPH, rather than the permissible 120... Having a bit of a short fuse and being impatient by nature, this is enough to rile you up early on.. Add to it, the fact that you are shelling out money for stupidity that could have been simply avoided, is salt to the wounds.

You honk, you blare, you dip, you zig zag, you glare.. The opposite person does not care and all he / she does is a wave of a hand. You get more upset. And to enjoy this, a peppy number come up. The feelings of "That Magical Song" (my last post), come up and that too does not help. You reach your destination, upset / happy / grouchy, you want to get your job done fast, but you find more people now on two legs at the same pace, in front of you, beside you, and there is nothing that you can simply do.

Point in question? I compared this to life. How many times at work and in life, we meet people who prefer to let life run on its pace, as opposed to the helter skelter that we have made it into. Work today is no longer a 9 - 5 option.. It is a 9 - 9 job as a standard, and without it even being in your job description, multi tasking is an art. Your mind should be at 10 places in the same moment and you should be ready to do any thing that is expected or unexpected at the drop of a hat. You run like a man on a mission.. Full blast, expecting all to think like you, act like you, and run like you..

The other end are the people who want to move at their own pace. A supermarket, where the guy in front of you has 50 items in his cart, but is talking on the phone. Each item is picked up with the speed of a tortoise.. A stop here to get a joke or pass a comment.. And you behind would simply like to take the cart and turn it upside down. People on the footpath, on the roads, at the airport terminal, who cannot walk straight. Swinging side by side, slowly, they get in your way, when you would like to run.

No doubt, we have made life into a race track where it is always about the winner. No one wants to know who came second. No one cares, and we too go into the quagmire of life, where the fine line of where to stop, ceases to exist, not having any meaning at all. I realized this on the way back.. The guy who I overtook on the road, the guy who I waltzed past at the Traffic department, the person who i cut at the supermarket to be ahead in line, the team member who took an extra five minutes for coffee... They all did their job eventually. Their work got done, and probably more peacefully than I could.

The running, the stress, the mind working overtime, hundreds of thoughts.. Did it really matter?

Feb 10, 2012

That Magical Song.....

Sunday morning (or Monday, depending on the part of the world one lives in), first day after a weekend of rest, early morning blues.... Aaaargh.. I wish it was a holiday again.. But life has to move... Drearily you wake up, get dressed and are almost pushed out of the house by your partner (who stays at home) to please leave.. Two days of nagging for a resident home maker is sufficient...

Start up the car, and let it warm up for about 5 minutes (I wish, it could be more, had it not been for the fact of polluting the environment and of course the price of petrol), you leave your parking lot to go to work... Weave your way around the initial traffic, until you can hit the highway.. Your radio is on, with your mind still wanting to go back home and enjoy the continued bliss of the last two days..Had it not been for the fact that one needed to work, and the fact, that I am not related to either the Ambani's, or the Birla's, am sure, all of us would have probably continued to rest... And then it hits...

The radio channel, suddenly plays the song that simply turns you around. It revs up your blood pressure, brings a sparkle to your eye, your mind clears out, the fact that you were not in the mood to sit in the car, twenty minutes ago, is long forgotten....

The slouch is gone, the steering wheel is firmly gripped, and the zig-zag on the lanes start. The accelerator goes more down, the RPM up, and so does the speedometer.. Your mind is singing, your lips are moving, your fingers drumming up on the wheel.. Before you realize it, you have covered a distance that would have taken you 15 minutes in 7.. All within the song.. You are out of control, but in total control.

Why do I bring this up, as it happens to me regularly, and this may not be limited to a Sunday (my first day of the week), but at times even expands to the other days. It could be a morning bout or an evening return trip back home after a hard 12 - 14 hours at work.

It is a time that you want to be alone, yet you want to have some one there without speaking a word and knowing what you feel. You jump around here and there, fidgeting on radio channels, looking completely lost in the world, and it is then the nature of your mood crops up. It could be in your car, at a tea stall, a paan shop, but it simply takes you out of the mundane and put you out of the ordinary. Time stands still, the world does not exist, Life has a meaning.

Surely, all of us go through this, probably daily, or weekly, and we all have our favourites and our specials and our moments.. The two songs appended are different mood swings of mine, both in their own way and time, Kaminey for its simple raw energy, and JS, the ultimate from my perspective in simplicity and meanings.. Of course, a ode to JS for his birthday last week..

Feb 7, 2012

The changing face of cricket..

Two interesting and fascinating games that I was following on during the last few weeks.. One for over a month, the other for nearly a month.. India and Pakistan... Two of the greatest arch enemies on all counts.. Coincidentally playing against Australia and England.. Two other great arch foes... What am I talking about.. Cricket!!

India a team not so long ago, ranked No. 1 in the world... Pakistan a team not so long ago, were at the bottom of the heap.. India could do no wrong, Pakistan could do no right... India had the T20, the W.Cup, the No. 1 Ranking.. Pakistan was simply living off history...

Australia a team long ago.. No 1.. England their poor siblings.. Change of guard, and Australia started seeing the ground, England started improving.. Australia losing matches that were un-thinkable.. England started winning matches and building up a team.. Australia out of the top 3.. England at the top..

Another change.. India tour Australia with a team, considered the best in a long time and one that can win a series Down Under.. Something that has eluded India for ever.. A match among equals.. Australia struggling with half their team not performing, India had no one that was not performing.

England tour against Pakistan, was to be a quick wash.. After all, there are No. 1.. Pakistan was not playing at home, no home crowds, matches in Dubai, should have been a clear cut win.

Of course, the results did not surprise people, but simply shocked every one.. Australia a 4-0 whitewash, even coming from behind, and finishing two matches inside 4 days.. Pakistan give England a thrashing 3-0, also finishing matches inside of four days...What went wrong.. This was not part of the script.

The major difference I feel is the quiet resolution that both Australia and Pakistan had and kept to. Australia being Australia continued with their sledging, but this time not losing focus on the big prize. Pakistan simply kept quiet, scandalized and let their game do the talking. What was it that made the difference? How do the two top teams of the world simply get thrashed black and blue, with not so dissimilar results?

It could have been the long planning, the desire to quietly prove themselves once again, tired of all the insults and the comments that they had over the years. The fear of losing ground once again, people playing for their places..And could be many more.. But where I felt was the big success was the change management.

Both Pakistan and Australia had virtually built themselves up from scratch.. Australia from the emptiness of the greats and the lack of form of their remaining stalwarts, Pakistan from the graveyards of scandals. Both having a point to prove, both wanting to show, that their successes of the past were not flashes and they still had it in them to beat the best.. And beat them they did, in style.

Whether lessons have been learnt or not by England, who may have been a flash in the pan, or India, who simply are living off past glories, both had one thing in common, again a quirk of coincidence.. Both attained the top sitting at home mainly and planning their victories.. The winners obviously were the ones who had stepped out of their domains into the world and challenged the impostors.. The result was simply there to show..

Whether Australia and Pakistan continue their form is still a matter to be seen, however they have proved one thing.. Victory does not come by sitting and crying over lost milk, you have to ensure that the struggles are there, the efforts are put, the dedication exists, and the will to succeed is never diminished.. The rest simply follows..

Feb 4, 2012

Media Reporting.. Quality or Marketing

As I was writing my previous post, could not resist the extra post, that was quite incidental to the story. I normally read the TOI, since some time, have moved to the The Hindu, and the story that I read (Sahara Pulls out of BCCI), was just a coincidental comparison of the two.

Of late have noticed the TOI versions are simply maverick attempts at grabbing headlines. It is not limited to politics or sports,  but to every facet of reporting. For instance Sahara pulling out of BCCI, I read both the Hindu version and of course the TOI version.
The quality of reporting is simply incomparable. Of course, both have their own styles, their own positives and negatives, but what has often been a downer for me for TOI has been the commentary allowed. Quite often on stories, the allowance of absolute derogatory language by the readers, right up to having our not so infamous local desi swear words, literally pasted all across, simply puts one off from reading.
Does bring to the question, as to whether there should be guidelines and do the media really care as to what people post. No doubt, freedom of expression is necessary, but to me, to the extent one can manage. It was like some one trying to compare the Jerry Springer show with our desi JS ape, Rakhi Sawant's, Rakhi ka Insaaf. Not to say either one is better, but having watched both, my personal opinion has been that Jerry Springer has a much better control process when things go out of hand, and more important, as the Anchor, he never goes derogatory
Question begets, why do we promote such nonsense? Time and time, we have tried to copy, of course, not knowing how to paste. Another prime example was the "Minute to Win It" game show, and of course the "Are you smarter than a 5th grader". Both were copied to our desi versions, both turned out to be flops. Were they badly managed, or were we simply not good enough to manage standards that are managed by real professionals who know their job.
The topic started with news reporting, ended with shows, but both being media, found the comparison inevitable. Will I stop reading / watching both.. Probably not, may reduce the lower quality reporting though, as both in their own way, are teaching experiences...
PS: This is not an advertisement for either the Hindu or Jerry Springer, of course, for TOI, RS, definitely apply..

End of a Partnership - Sahara India Pulls Out

Another day, another headline that makes you stop in your tracks. Sahara ends ties with BCCI !! Is this the year of awakening. Is this an Anna Hazare impact? Say no to corruption.

What is so special? Nothing much probably, it is just the end of a business partnership, one would say. People enter into partnerships, people end them. Big deal. But this is the National team sponsorship, that is being pulled out from!

What was special to me about this was the way Subrata Roy clarified as to why he was pulling out from the sponsorship and all association with the BCCI. His comments, clearly show a hurt that has effected him badly and the decision to move on, however, commit to completing all its obligations, including payment to all concerned, and not reneging on its commitments.. That to me was special.

No doubt, Sahara has not, not received any benefits from the sponsorships. I am quite sure their association with the Indian cricket team has been equally rewarding as the money they have been paying BCCI, and would not have been without adequate return, it still takes a great effort to stand up to say, enough is enough. Cricket now is more a money making business for the BCCI, rather than a sport, where the aim was to excel. The fact of their investment and payment fees per match (Rs. 3.4 crores), is simply an indicator of what volumes one is talking about. Obviously, with more players around in the market, there are more people willing to put their money, where the BCCI mouth is.

There has no doubt been a lot of support on this move from all across, and is probably the jolt that Cricket needs. As absolute power corrupts absolutely, so does absolute wealth. BCCI today is the richest cricketing board in the world, and the fact that it uses its money power to wield decisions is no doubt a death knell for the game. One still does not know, if the BCCI would be impacted. Issue is you have equally rich corporates who are willing to put their money in, irrespective of how India fares. How much of social support they come to, that is another question.

My only grief on this.. Sahara mentioning that they will now invest this money in other sports. Nothing wrong with that.. If only, they as the sports corporate body, had promoted other sports where we had started to excel... This day probably might never have come.. But, as a wise man once said.. Better late than never...

Feb 3, 2012

The 2G Sale

Interesting read.. Captivating and Eye Catching.. "Supreme court sraps UPA's 2G Illegal Sale". What a start to the Year. An investigation started one year ago and the SC coming thundering down steam rolling all culprits in its path, and having the tenacity and the guts to quash not one, not ten, but 122 licences, all across the country.

The impact no doubt will be big, and one report quotes SBI having a Rs 45k Cr exposure. Money, no doubt is a big issue, considering the number of players, however what is key, is the image bashing that the Government will have to go through. How do you inform the world, that the we sold you something that was tainted all across?

Possibly, they (Govt) knew. Possibly they endorsed it. Deals like these do not walk alone. They need crutches. Where the crutch originates from, no one really is worried. As long as there is a crutch.

Of course the next few months would see a lot of appeals, media comments, TV channels, all giving in their own views with animated screens coming down 25 times in one minute, making a mockery of the event with flashy, booming voice overs coming in from behind.

But, what of the Corporate world? The Tata's, the Birla's, the Ambani's. They are the images that the world sees as representatives of India. They too have been a part of the scam. It woudl simply not be possible, that they would have known that all is clean. The fact that many of them are being fined by the SC, speaks of their involvement in this.

The beureaucrats, no doubt will have a field day. Kapil Sibal blames Raja, the BJP asks the ex FM to quit, and of course there will be many more.. Congress blames the BJP as they did the initial draft by the then Telecom Minister.. and I distintctly recall that when the auctions took place, the BJP took credit as their brain child.. Today, all is forgotten, the blame game starts, the finger pointing.. How many more will be indicted is an open question, but once again the sufferrer will be the common man. Imagine millions of subscribers impacted due to this.

No doubt cleaning dirty laundry is never easy, and full Kudous to the SC of India, who once again showed their impartiality and put the National interest before any thing else. A judiciary that is independent of such baggage is necessary in a democracy, that still leaves hope for the future.

Anna Hazare, speak up!!!