Thursday, January 18, 2007


In winter, getting out of my car invariably involves the following steps:
  1. Remove the seatbelt.
  2. Open the door.
  3. Slide out of the seat.
  4. Reach for the door handle.
  5. JUMP.
  6. CURSE.
  7. Slam the door.

Now, being a dignified man, I would like to avoid steps 5 and 6 if I could. But it just doesn't seem possible. In fact, if you could put together all the jumps I make during any given month in winter, you could construct a dance for a very lengthy musical. A clumsy dance maybe, but nevertheless, a dance. And if you put together all the curses, you would have the lyrics for the musical, although it would probably have to be 'R' rated.

I can handle the freezing temperatures that winter brings. I don't mind the skidding and sliding in the snow and ice. I can put up with having to scrape ice off my car's windshield every morning. But static electricity irritates the hell out of me.

The first month of winter goes by with me getting shocks without expecting it. By the start of the second month I am terrified of touching almost ANYTHING. I stop and think before touching my refrigerator, table or doorknob. This is one instance where the thinking DOES NOT help at all. My thought process is along the following lines.. "Oh my god.. I'm going to get a nasty shock now. Maybe holding the door knob at this angle will help. Or perhaps acting very fast will help. Oh.. come on.. this time you may not even get a shock.." My hand reaches out and [zzzaaaappp].. Again!!!

The first month of spring is the worst. Temperatures have become warmer and humidity has improved. But I'm still apprehensive. I make all my 'touching' moves cautiously, flinching when I touch metal and.. NOTHING happens! Though I don't get zapped, I still feel like a fool.

In a departure from my usual style of rambling on about problems, I have actually looked up the solution to this one - A lucky break for the very limited number of readers out there and probably their first justification for reading this blog. The solutions here refer to getting out of your car safely, but you can always apply them to other equally dangerous objects.

Solution 1:
Hold onto some metal portion of the car before you get out and keep holding on during the entire time you are sliding out of your seat.

Solution 2:
If you are like me, you have probably forgotten to use solution 1 and are outside the car shivering in the cold and shivering more at the thought of having to shut the door. Never fear! Touch the glass portion of the car before you touch metal.

Solution 3: (Not for the faint hearted)
Use your key to touch the metal first. This is the option to go for if you like fireworks. You can almost always see a spark when the key touches metal.

If none of the three solutions work for you please sue and send me 20 % of the settlement.

I'm generous, ain't I?

Monday, January 15, 2007

The World may be flat, but India is not..

In fact India is far from flat. She is a region of some of the most uneven terrain on this planet. A few high peaks scattered across low lying valleys.. You could stand on some of these peaks(Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad for eg.), look down into the nearby valleys and see nothing at all - except for a dark abyss. Other peaks and life in these peaks are all that are visible, so much so that life in these few regions is portrayed as typical of the nation, when in reality, it is not.

It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking of India in terms of these ultra-modern metropolitan cities. The other day, an american collegue and I were talking casually during a training session and he happened to mention that he would like to make a trip to visit India. My instinctive response was a boast "Oh.. you should.. India is very developed now.. You would have an amazing time.. Be sure to visit Bangalore, Hyderabad.." He interrupted me gently: "No.. No.. I want to see INDIA, not America in India." I stopped short, surprised. But the next thing he said blew me away.. He asks.. "Is most of India like Bangalore and Hyderabad now?" After I recovered, I said "No, not at all, most regions are still just India". But it took a foreigner to remind me of that fact.

At a global level, technology may have enabled nations to collaborate on a greater scale than ever before and overall the world may be 'flatter' than it has been in the past, but India has a long way to go.

Now, even I'm not naive enough to think that a nation of 1 billion could develop at a uniform pace and empower all her citizens simultaneously, but I do think that the current economic situation raises a few questions.. Does the 'empowerment' of a few have detrimental effects on the people who have not been 'empowered' yet? Will the underdeveloped be hindered when they try to take advantage of the technological advances we have made in recent years? These questions, though globally applicable are especially relevant to our country because of the huge economic and social disparity that is prevalent. One could just as easily use modern-day technology to push others down as they could to pull themselves up..

India has a notorious history of exploitation of the poor by the rich and it is imperative that this does not happen in the Information age if India is to sustain her formidable growth rates.