Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What I am outside my job

What defines you? 
Your job? Career? But that is a 20th century invention. People did not have 'careers' before that and still lived happy life!
Your kids? Spouse? Parents? Family? They are important! But does your happiness define what they think of you? That is difficult to control. Are you always going to try and please them to maintain an 'image'?
Your friends? What kind of friends? Those who like you? love you? speak their minds or dont speak at all? Who will back you up even if you have done something wrong? 
Neighbours? Colleagues? They are integral to your life but you will keep changing. What do they mean then?
Your hobbies? Would you do them if no one appreciated you for them?
What defines you is 
- how you would treat others if you had nothing to do with them
- what you would do if no one was looking
- would you do something if it did not pay you

Friday, March 10, 2017

1000 kgs of Goa - Book review

1000 Kilograms of Goa1000 Kilograms of Goa by Rohan Govenkar
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This brilliantly written book is a good movie plot. The Author, Rohan Govekar, being a Goan lad himself, lends authenticity to some of the facts about Goa.

If you are a Goan yourself, his narration takes you through some of the well known landscape and portrays a few typical Goan characters quite realistically.

The only part I would say could have been completely done away with, is the protagonist's philanthropic redemption of his ill-gotten wealth towards the end of the book. It comes across as a little too self indulgent and guilt ridden.

Having said that, awesome first book!

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The origin of God

Long long time ago, the human race was just evolving, and was learning how to cope up with health, hygiene and disease. I don’t know what ‘era’ or ‘age’ it was. Monolithic, bronze, stone or some yuga like dwaparyuga, tretayuga…etc. But it was an era when diseases spread fast, even simple ones like lose motion ! And people died of these little diseases. This was way before humans knew the benefits of personal hygiene or fresh cooking. I am talking about like really old times.

But we were evolving. There was this one guy who took bath everyday (probably because he liked it). Lets call him the ‘clean guy’. He even had bath multiple times a day. He had learnt the art of cooking over fire. He knew how to make fire, and how to use it to roast or cook. So he cooked everyday in his cave. And he had bath before cooking, after cooking, before going out, after coming back to his cave…all the time! Now, other people who did not know how to cook, would hunt animals or get fruits and vegetables to this guy and he would cook and serve them fresh cooked stuff. Also since bathing and cooking is all he did, he had lot of spare time on his hands for art. He made sculptures and decorated them. Other people who visited the ‘clean guy’ loved his sculptures too.

And then one day, there was an epidemic. Humans caught a strange infection through air, food and touch. Since they never had bath or cooked food daily, the disease spread very fast. Only one person was not affected. The 'clean guy'. Everyone looked at him with admiration. He looked like the wise one now. They went to him for help. He kept serving them cooked food. Since the food he served was hygienic, it slowly cured rest of the people.

So, thus was born prasad - that cures  all illnesses, the pujari - the wise one and God - his sculpture and creation in spare time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

The perils of urban living

I have been living in a city for more than 10 years now. Before that, I have lived in a village in Goa, India. The total population of my village was less than five thousand. Whereas, since 2004, I have lived in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune & now Hyderabad. Being raised in a village, I have always had difficulty liking a city. In fact, the first time I visited a house on 14th Floor in Mumbai, I got a very weird feeling. It is a perspective I had never had in my village! Since then, I have tried to blend in, albeit forcefully.
Over the last decade, having lived across cities, with all the constraints of a family man, I have zeroed in on 3 main issues that stare us in the face. And these issues have remediation (if not to resolve, at least ease it) at individual level. We need not wait for the government to do anything. I have already started doing my bit.
This post is only for setting the context on each of these issues. I will dedicate another post individually to how I am trying to handle each of these by doing my bit.  

  1. Waste Disposal - if you feel you are not being creative or not able to 'make' something as an urban dweller, here is the good news! Our life styles create one thing in abundance - garbage. garbage of all types, textures, weight and colour. And we know nothing about where and how to put it. We think that a garbage fairy picks it up from our doorstep where we put it every morning. 
  2. Commuting - we all commute within the city in private cars and hate the traffic. If you do not commute in a private car, please leave a comment and then we have a lot to catch up on. Traffic (which is basically us!) causes delays, pollution of all sorts and unnecessary fuel expense. All this can be avoided.
  3. Water - I rest my case!

Just 5 minutes into discussion on any of the above topics, you will know that the root cause of all these is us - the people. So it is upto us now to solve these issues.
Another issue that is at the root of these three problems is the social divide (urban / rural, rich / poor, them / us etc.) For instance, we keep generating waste till it is not disposed in our own backyard. We do not mind if it gets disposed in a nearby village (from where our water also comes). Unless we take responsibility for these problems and accept that we are creating them. We will never (yes, NEVER!) be able to solve them.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Should women be allowed in religious places?


Having settled the matter there, let us move forward with some rant since this is a blog...

There are a lot of religious places that are banning women from entering. This includes temples, mosques and not sure if also a few churches. In retaliation, women and feminists are going all crazy calling it their fundamental right, challenging the diktat in court etc. I have a different view point on this and may sound crazy to a few, but since you are reading till now, go on further...

  1. Practicing your religion is your fundamental right, not going to a specific building. So just chuck it and practice your religion somewhere else. Just like if you want to gulp a few drinks but are not allowed in a specific bar because of dress code, you don't go to the judiciary or stage a protest!!?? You just go to the theka, get some daaru home and get high. 
  2. Why do you desperately want to go to a place that does not want you? Would you visit a jewellery shop or saari shop if they ill treated you, even if they had the best stuff in town? (afterthought: I guess women would go to a saari shop even after being ill treated...wrong example...but you get the point. Right?)
  3. I would suggest ban those religions places back. Like remove them from your 'must visit' places. Don't go there even if you are not menstruating or not pregnant or not wearing a lungi or
  4. We need to start parallel belief system. E.g. movies, theatre, parks, libraries, museums, zoos don't stop you from entering and are so much fun. Go there! worship those places! If I ever have the money, I will start a temple with an un-delcared god inside that allows just about every living being to enter the sanctum sanctorum.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ford Figo 5 years ownership experience

10/10/2010 was the exact date we purchased the Ford Figo Titanium 1.4 Diesel variant. Since I like to keep my vehicles in stock condition, it has not undergone any modification so far, except for non-stock tyres that came in at 50,000 Kms. I shifted from MRF to Yokohama with no upsizing.
This post is intended to share the ownership experience over the last 5 years. After 5 years, this is what I still love about the car -

  1. It is spacious - one of the largest boot space in it's category. It can conveniently fit in a week's luggage (or even a month's) for a family of four. Also, the legroom is ample. With a 6 footer like me in driver's seat, 5 foot 10 inch adult can be comfortable in the rear seat even on long journeys. The cabin also feels quite spacious because of ample use of glass (and also because I have not used tint on them)
  2. Solid build quality - Even after 5 years, the interiors look like new. The plastics are still shiny and every button on the console has a firm click. I would take some of that credit for regular maintenance and cleaning. But the feel and robustness of interiors was one of the key points in our buying decision, even 5 years ago.
  3. Great handling - This car is great to drive on long drives. Mainly because it is very well behaved even at speeds of 140 Kmph. It feels stable and firmly grounded at those speeds. Having dual airbags and ABS also adds to your confidence. 
  4. Amazing comfort - The rear seat comfort is stellar in this vehicle. Unlike the Swift, I found the rear seat to be larger giving good thigh support on longer rides. It easily accommodates 2 adults and a kid on long journeys comfortably.
What I have begun to dislike and the downsides -
  1. Ground Clearance - anyone who owns a first generation Figo will tell you that it can't even take a speed breaker under it. With 4 adults, it scratches it's underbelly in each and every cellar parking, gets a beating on each speed breaker and if you are in Goa, never enter a ferry boat. If it were minor bruises, I would have neglected it. But once on a road trip to Bangalore, on the ultra-awesome Bangalore-Hyderabad expressway, a trucker had left a stone in the middle and it hit the underbelly of my Figo, damaging the cross member. This not only cost me a pair of tyres but also had to replace the cross member. Total loss - 25K
  2. The rear windows open only 50% - they don't open much. I thought this would not be much of an issue but if you have to pass a bag out (e.g. to your laundry guy), it does not pass though- irritating!.  
  3. The rear windows are manually operated - Again, I knew this right from the beginning and thought, since the car is driven with AC on 90% of the time, this should not be much of an issue. The issues are 2 fold. Firstly, the windows open up slightly over a period due to vibration or passengers accidentally bumping their knees into the lever. So you constantly have to be on the lookout. Secondly, if you are driving and you spot that the rear window is open slightly, imagine trying to close it manually....on  a busy road....on a rainy day. 
  4. The ignition wants you to wait - and then wait some more. When you want to start the Figo, the ignition gives out beeps like - beep beep beep, pause, beep beep beep. You should not ideally start your car unless all the beeps are over. Also, before restarting, you need to turn the ignition completely off and then start, else it won't. On a busy junction, if you happen to stall, there are more beeps in people's mouths then in your car's ignition! Oh and wait! If you are on low fuel, the the beeps have low fuel audio indicator in between, so it be like - beep beep beep, pause, ting ting ting, pause, beep beep beep. WTF!
  5. The stock audio is a mess - the Bluetooth does not connect to most devices, CDs get stuck and Ford takes months to repair.
  6. The door lock system is a real mess - The doors do not have a separate 'lock' button. The same lever that opens to door is pushed inside to lock the door. Hence, a kid can accidentally (& easily) unlock any door. And you cannot always use child lock!
On maintenance expenses side, the largest amount I spent till date was 2 months ago to replace the cross member, the clutch assembly and a major servicing at 60 thousand kilometers. Sounds decent to me!
Having said all this, the downsides are still minor irritants and nothing that makes you get rid of the car. Even after 5 years with decent maintenance, my car looks like it is just a year old. This car will certainly go on for another 5 years. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to pay property tax in GHMC

I was away for an year and had not received any property tax notice. So  was not sure how to pay the property tax at all since there was no base document with amount etc.

So, I went to the GHMC office in Serilingampally and met a person in Revenue department. The process is quite straight forward. All you need is the TPIN of your house. You can get this from your old notices or receipts of property tax (even if the notice is not in your name).

You simply have to give them the TPIN and they will tell you the amount with penalty, if any. Pay it by cash or by cheque and your receipt is handed over to you then and there. Easy!

Apparently, this can also be done at any e-Seva counter. But, I have not tried it yet.