Monday, May 28, 2007

BlogCamp at Pune

Circa 2025 : At a friend's online party

Me : Hi HookedonTech, Didnt see you around for quite sometime ?

HookedonTech : Hullo there ! Was away on a vacation from blogging !

Me : Wow ! What luck ! We, sitting in Blogistan can never imagine taking one months break..There is an additional tax on us, if we dont blog while on vacation :-( But you guys at the NewBlogWorld have it so much easier !

HookedonTech : C'mon, I know Blogistan is developing much faster because of the high- quality low-cost services you are providing ! Anyways, meet my friend, Mr.X of the great Xposts blog...

Me: Hullo, Mr.X !! I am thrilled to meet you :-)...Your blogs are one of the most influential blogs ever written :-)

Mr.X : Hi ! Thanks for the compliments ! Yes, my offshore team does a great job !

HookedonTech : Mr.X, I believe you have now got branches in ReformedBlogworld as well ?

Mr.X : Yeah, I am starting off some work from there. The competition in the Blogosphere is hotting up. My strategy is very clear.... " Where do you want to take your Blog today ? "...

Does this sound too weird to you..Think twice, this may not happen exactly but flavours of this will surely !

If you would like to see, hear, learn and contribute to the growth of blogging, then join the BlogCamp at Pune, India on 16th June 2007 . This is an unconference modelled after the famous Barcamp - open participatory events ( read more here ). Read more about it here and register yourself as a participant here, if you wish to.

Note : HookedonTech and Mr.X are both fictious..I personally do not know any blogger with such identities. However, if you have this identity, please understand that this is purely a coincidence and not intentional. Still, if you would like me to replace it, then send me an email !

Friday, May 18, 2007

About Pashi

The inspiration for Pashi is a street child, not more than some months old ( read about him here ). That day when I started writing, I only wanted this blog to reflect my random thoughts. When a few weeks passed and I wrote a few posts, I started thinking about what Pashi is and what it is meant to be ( read here) ?

Well, this is what I think Pashi is .

Through Pashi, I want to portray a perspective on our life, our country and the world we live in. I dont believe that it will change anything hugely, but it might be enough to make us think , maybe think differently and create a spark in someone who may even take it forward.

Personally, Pashi acts as a storehouse of impressions for me which helps me crystallize my thoughts into an action plan to make tangible contributions sometime, very soon.

Monday, May 14, 2007

New India. New Culture.

Living in India is an emotionally exacting experience...Each country and each culture has a lot to offer to its people, and the people in the country are an integral part of the culture..making it , shaping it and reshaping it. And living in these countries or cultures could be more or less exacting for varied dynamic reasons. And so is it with India.

I dont think there is anything to be gained from comparing ourselves with the outside world in this matter, so I am not going to debate about it here. But an introspection may throw some interesting insights.

The generations before us may have had many reasons to feel this way. But most of their reasons were positive or with positive intentions or led to positive results.

Take the example of our freedom struggle. Living during those times must have been a much more intense experience, but since all thoughts and actions sprung from a common positive intention, the experience itself became positive.

Take another symbol of our culture, the diversity that we display in our culture. From the rains that shower in Kerala to the snow that covers Kashmir, everything is diverse about us. Our languages, our customs and traditions, our food, our clothes, our appearance and our demeanor - everything is diverse. And still we manage to live as one country. Isn't that a proud achievement ? Definitely. But is that emotionally exacting ? I dont think so. We as a nation have grown up with this diversity and we have the maturity to include rather than exclude, as a group of people. Hence it is not so much of a stressor, atleast for now.( However, the signs that keeps showing up everyday in many places point out that the virtues of tolerance are getting buried quickly. So we don't know how long we will cherish this aspect of our culture ! )

Maybe it is India's rapid development or the not-so-rapid development of present times ? Whichever way you prefer to look at it, the very fact that things are improving, from where they were, is a step forward..however small it may be. Agreed, that it may not be as much as is required or desired. And we are always playing the catching-up game. But still, imagine India a decade back. Till so very recently (about ten years back) , owning a telephone ( not a mobile, but a landline) used to be a luxury, and I am not talking about the villagers here ( like so many of us would like to think) I am talking about people who were well-educated with govt. jobs ( which used to be the biggest thing, then ). Compare it with the proliferance of mobile technology now. Every single member of an average middle class family owns a mobile. Your taxi driver gets a call, when he is driving you to work. The milkman gives you his mobile no, in case you need to place an extra order. The "mausi" who sells vegetables at the corner of the building carries one too !!! Could you have imagined this in your wildest dreams ten years back ?

Then is it the corruption and the criminalisation of the entire system that is the cause. Definitely the parallel system which runs and dictates the country is cause for much chaos and machinations, but that is a system which has become a way of life in this country. And it is intertwined so much into the normal pattern of life that it is becoming hard to discern which is which.

But here, I am talking about the cultural aspects and not the systemic aspects. Because the system grows from the culture which nurtures it. This corruption and criminalisation is born due to the culture which gave it manure rather than weed it away. And now there seems to be no escaping it.

So why has India become an emotionally exacting experience ?

There are two behavioural aspects which has become very noticeable these days about us. As a people, we have become dishonest. And dishonesty has seeped into us so much, that it has become THE way of life. So much so that, if in case we come across someone or some action which is honest, it evokes surprise and amazement in us. And we do this spontaneously, unconsciously !

Just think about this. Don't you get surprised if the auto driver or the taxi driver goes by the correct meter charge ? Don't you notice it particularly if you find an honest traffic policeman ? Don't you discuss this amongst your colleagues, if a new employee has disclosed his prior remuneration correctly , and don't you rebuke him for being so honest ?

As a nation, don't we expect that none of the politicians will ever deliver what they have promised their electorate ? And even if they manage to do a 10% job of it, don't we get pleasantly surprised ? Do we ever punish the judges who acquit a criminal knowingly, using his power and knowledge of law to intrepret and misintrepret the various provisions ( Jessica Lal and Priyadarshni Matoo are the only ones we have where we can highlight judicial response in the face of public outcry, but for every Jessica Lal there are thousands of others who get away with crimes easily. And never have we read about a judge being punished for abusing his power, other than probably getting a transfer ! )

We can quote enough number of instances in our everyday transactions which will only reinforce the fact that dishonesty is accepted and has become the norm rather than the exception. From an individual, to the state, to the nation, we have made it our new "culture". Imagine what will be the values that we will pass on to our future generations ! And there are already evidences of the damage that we are doing.

Just watch a group of youngsters for ten minutes. Those whom you think belong to the same level of socio-economic status as you are / you were when you were their age. Its very interesting.

Which brings us to the other point.

If you observe them closely enough, you ll notice their behaviour and the attitude they display. Leave out the obvious things like the funky mobile and the ipod they carry (I stay in a middle class locality, and this is what I have noticed, so its given that these gadgets are quite prevalent even among the service-class kids ) . Nothing wrong in being technologically savvy, is there ?

But then notice the " taken for granted" attitude they display towards such things. It is all the more stark because there you have a huge set of people struggling to make their ends meet, and then you have a generation which is growing up thinking that the world revolves around X-boxes and iPods. Embracing technology or advancement is not the issue. The attitude with which we embrace it is. And the attitude which we hand down to our younger generation is.

Why look at only the youngsters ? Take their parents. Us. You, me and everyone around us.

Have you ever noticed the crowd that throngs the shopping malls ? Another interesting group to observe. You get to see every cross section of people out there, and hence all the more interesting.

Spend half an hour, and then you start noticing similar patterns everywhere. The nuclear family which does their grocery shopping, the group of middle aged housewives who are there to check out the latest trends, the old couple walking around window shopping, the gang of guys who are out to have a nice time, all of them display the same " taken-for-granted" attitude. It is as if this is the way of life that they have grown up with. And this is the ONLY way of life.

Again, I reiterate that I am not anti-development. But it is the attitude with which we adapt to it that irks me. I am not saying that we need to gape awestruck at it. But definitely, be grateful for all you have now. And do not despise the simple values of life.

I fear that we have forgotten and discarded some basic tenets of our culture. Simplicity of life, for example. Am not saying we have to live a life of renunciation, but valuing the good things in life. Being respectful of others. Selflessness. Being responsible for what you are and what you pass on to your future generations. Believing in principles and not just material acquisitions. Not measuring others only by their tangible assets.

These basic values which are core to our culture and our upbringing has almost vanished. These values which united every Indian in an irrevokable way is now nowhere to be seen. And believe me, this is not a phenomenon of only the metros or the big cities. Its everywhere. In every nook and corner.

Everyone wants to be part of the "happening" life. Except that they have thrashed away what makes that life meaningful.

And this is why I feel that Living in India has become an emotionally exacting experience.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Why ?

Why do I blog ? And why do I blog about the things I blog about...?? ( These existential questions just dont seem to rest in peace, leave alone let me rest in peace some !! ) But these questions have been humming in my head( actually now they are pounding it ) for quite some time now...
What is the basic motivation ( except for the initial enthusiasm and the excitement of discovering something new ) ? ....

I dont know i am taking a little figure out why I blog...what I intend to do with blogging and where it will all lead to ?

Do you have any thoughts ?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Being a trillion dollar economy...

My beloved country has achieved another milestone....India has become a trillion dollar economy ! It took some time for my typical middle class economics to assimilate this understand the impact and the implication of such an achievement. And I did observe that most of the nation ( by that I mean, most of the media ) did not bother to focus any more attention on this bit of news than it would give to a story about an elephant being transported from Maharastra to Kerala in search of a mate ! much for being an elephant ...;-)

India's GDP at current market prices is estimated to be Rs. 41,00,000 crores and with the US dollar slipping below Rs. 41, this translates into a little more than $ 1 trillion dollars ! The other countries who have accomplished this are the US, Japan, Germany, China, the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Canada, Brazil and Russia. And to think that India had not even touched $ 500 million dollars in 2000-01 !

For all of those who want to pooh-pooh this as mere statistics, consider this :
  • India has been the fourth largest economy in PPP ( purchasing power parity) terms ( which converts rupee to dollar on the basis of what the respective currencies can buy in their countries rather than the nominal exchange rate , for more on PPP, refer wiki), just behind the US, China and Japan and its size is about $4 trillion
  • India is the second fastest growing major economy, with a GDP growth rate of 9.2% during the second quarter of 2006-07.
  • Total Foreign Investment increased to $ 15.7 billion during April - Dec of FY 2006-07, according to FICCI data. India has become the fourth largest recipient of FDI in South & South-East Asian region, according to UNCTAD reports
  • A Goldman Sachs report predicts that India's productivity growth will help in sustaining a growth above 8% until 2020 and by 2050 we would be the second largest economy in the world, ahead of the US
  • Doing business in India has become easier, according to the World Bank, which ranks India as one of the top reformers in a recent report “ Doing Business in South Asia 2007”.
  • Total telephone subscription crossed 200 million in February 2007, according to TRAI reports.

Well, I know that there are more statistics that we can showcase to demonstrate the other face of development. I myself, do believe that ensuring equitable development and reaching the fruits of this immense growth to the grassroots is the biggest challenge before India.

But, that should not stop us from celebrating what is still an achievement. Because unless we learn to take pride in our achievements and in our development, we will not take the responsibilities that come along with it.

So, here is to my country and all of my country people who are building a dream called India ! Congratulations and lets welcome the good times ahead :-)