Saturday, December 29, 2012

Have you committed Gang rape .. no problem

I guess, even if I committed a gang rape I'd not have to worry. What will happen at max. let me see.

  • First, the police, even if they catch me, will keep my identity safe and so I do not have to worry about my future reputation
  • Second of all, some people and media will protest against me, but our bureaucrats and the politicians are very concerned about the law & order situation and hence the protests would be brutally crushed  So, I do not have to worry about the pressure from public
  • Third, do you know what is the maximum punishment that I can get. 10 years or fine. 
  • There are multiple ways to minimize the crime. 
    • "Tujhe pata hai merae baap kaun hai" (Do you know who my father is?") .. need less to say anything else.
    • If I prove that I did not plan for it and it was only in the heat of the moment because I was drunk, my punishment will be lessened since my intentions were never to hurt the person.
    • Of-course, there are ways in which the corruption works above all these things

Do you know if I rape my wife I get a maximum of 2 years of Jail or Fine, and the fine is defined by such outlawed rules, even a beggar on the street can pay that. ... how many Indian women face this .. No one even has an idea. How many times, is the dignity of a woman being sacrificed to satisfy the hunger of some drunken bastard. 

You want to know the status of all rape laws in India, an interesting read ( So many recommendations are already made and still the Govt. appoints some godforesaken person to again suggest ways to reduce rapes in the National Capital Region. God knows what will happen to those recommendations.

In this dastardly crime committed on a girl in Delhi, had the woman been conscious and had the people involved been from influential families, the whole case would have been simply closed long before the day light even broke. 

If some politican in an esteem position comes to know that his son committed a rape, would he surrender him to justice. Will his wife allow that to happene. Wouldn't her motherly sentiments take control over her womanly emotions (Example is the Jessica Lal murder)... Every one of us men in India is tainted by the relentless and blind love of their mothers. 

End of it, I know if I can withstand the pressure I can easily get away after committing any crime, which is the biggest thing that we achieved in 1947. The independence day that we celebrate is not the freedom to rule ourselves, it is the freedom to commit crime and remain loose.

I am just getting carried away by the anguish. But as usual I end up doing nothing but writing a blog post. "chetakani vyavastha lo chetakani manishini" (A clueless man in a devastated system)!

Legal infrastructure .. &*^&*^%^&

Fucked up is probably the least thing to say, about the mentioned title's status in India!
With the latest rape victim case just proving the case once again.
So many rapes, gang rapes, blatant violations of the basic human rights .. sorry, I guess the word "human" is no longer relevant to our society. We are animals in a human form... not sure if even that sentence is correct.
Every one understands that this is another story line, which will die out soon. Time and again, they keep happening, and now we are looking at some solutions to hasten the punishment process or the so called justice. 
What justice are we referring to. What are the cases which actually have given justice in time to the petitioners in India. 
The biggest problem behind rapes, gang-rapes or any crimes is the devastation of the legal infrastructure in India. All contracts can be violated, all crimes can be exempted, all criminals can be pardoned.. then what justice and what legal system are we looking at.
I am scared of going to a police station because of an absolute misbehavior that a police man did with me. I never want to get in contact with them. I end up in some litigation, I know that the best thing is to settle it even before approaching the police.
And again, the excuse is ... poor police what can they do, when even their hands are tied up in many instances. And all the fingers stop at the members of the parliament sitting and dictating terms. Can we assure the police that they will not be transferred even if they handle a particular case as per the rules of the book. Oops, "the rules of the book" .. here is the actual major culprit.
Every one of us understands that the courts operate as per the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which was construed in 1862. Yes, you read it correct. The Indian Penal Code adheres to the standards set in 1862. And, as is the case with our constitution, even the Indian Penal Code has had multiple amendments. But look at some of the important sections and their amendments .. Section 375, 376. These are the sections that deal with Rape as a crime. Awesome, we have a dedicated section for Rape. Very well thought. Now, let us look at the definition and the crime.

Section 376 in The Indian Penal Code, 1860
376. Punishment for rape.--
(1) Whoever, except in the cases provided for by sub- section (2), commits rape shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may be for life or for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine unless the woman raped is his own wife and is not under twelve years of age, in which case, he shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years or with fine or with both:
1. Ins. by Act 18 of 1924, s. 4. 2. Subs. by Act 43 of 1983, s. 3 for the heading" Of rape" and ss. 375 and 376.
Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment for a term of less than seven years.
(2) Whoever,-
(a) being a police officer commits rape-
(i) within the limits of the police station to which he is appointed; or
(ii) in the premises of any station house whether or not situated in the police station to which he is appointed; or
(iii) on a woman in his custody or in the custody of a police officer subordinate to him; or
(b) being a public servant, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in his custody as such public servant or in the custody of a public servant subordinate to him; or
(c) being on the management or on the staff of a jail, remand home or other place of custody established by or under any law for the time being in force or of a women' s or children' s institution takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on any inmate of such jail, remand home, place or institution; or
(d) being on the management or on the staff of a hospital, takes advantage of his official position and commits rape on a woman in that hospital; or
(e) commits rape on a woman knowing her to be pregnant; or
(f) commits rape on a woman when she is under twelve years of age; or
(g) commits gang rape, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may be for life and shall also be liable to fine: Provided that the court may, for adequate and special reasons to be mentioned in the judgment, impose a sentence of imprisonment of either description for a term of less than ten years. Explanation 1.- Where a women' s is raped by one or more in a group of persons acting in furtherance of their common intention, each of the persons shall be deemed to have committed gang rape within the meaning of this sub- section. Explanation 2.-" women' s or children' s institution" means an institution, whether called and orphanage or a home for neglected women or children or a widows' home or by any other name, which is established and maintained for the reception and care of women or children. Explanation 3.-" hospital" means the precincts of the hospital and includes the precincts of any institution for the reception and treatment of persons during convalescence or of persons requiring medical attention or rehabilitation.

The Summary is, as per section 376 (2) (g), a person can at max, get a crime of 10 years or fine. And the fines are defined as per the 1860 rates!!! Excellent. And the amendments are only done to the definition of the sections. Not to the punishment at all.
So, if I commit a gang rape in India, I can get a maximum crime of 10 years or fine or both. And if I say that I committed the crime in a state of inebriation, the punishment would be much lesser. 
Did you even observe, if a man commits a rape on his wife, the punishment is less than 2 years or fine. Wonderful!!
With such petty punishments, which can be easily circumvented what kind of legal infrastructure are we looking at. I will try and speak more about it later. Iam simply aghast. Instead of lambasting one another, why cannot we have better implementation of the legal system. Till that time I'd remain scared of going to Police Stations and the crimes would go unabated. Fucked up systems in messed up state!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Pipeline of dreams filled with gas

As usual we ran out of cylinder last week, and it took us two days to get a new one and for both the days we had to eat outside and also pay a heft amount to get our cylinder. Every one in India knows that getting a cylinder is such a bad experience. And moreover owning a cylinder has its own hazards coming along with it. Due to all the repercussions surrounding LPG based cylinder system, it is beneficial to have a system where natural gas is directly supplied through a pipe, called as city gas distribution network (CGD)
Hence the Petrolem and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) has called for bids to setup city gas distribution systems across almost 200 cities/Towns in India, and as is the case with many grand schemes it is going at a very slow pace.
It is important to understand that in the energy hungry society that we live in, having CGD pipelines help the society a lot. Imagine where every one of us can simply pay our gas bills online, and natural gas continues to flow unabated and hassle free. No kitchen will remain shut due to absence of natural gas. 
Unfortunately, among the developed and developing nations India has one of the lowest penetrations of piped gas and hence the need to setup the infrastructure. We lag behind Pakistan in the total number of piped gas network laid out. A city gas distribution network requires an effective system of gas production, gas pipeline of various configurations and a gas consuming economy which is widespread and has dedicative captive usage. While dedicated captive usage is the only area in which India has an existing potential with all other areas of the infrastructure required for a gas economy lagging. So, in order to manage the dreams of connecting 200 cities to piped gas means a massive investment in the infrastructure which countries like India do not have a successful track record to boast about. Also there are studies which indicate that CGD is a volume business but not a high profit business, making it less lucrative to many short-term/medium term investors. With this thought process in place, I asked my room mate why is natural gas required for retail purpose? The answer was cooking. But, if there was no natural gas but only electricity available, can cooking happen? Then his response was that, no. Because a rajasthani dish "Daal baati" can only be made on fire and hence cannot happen on an induction stove and so, natural gas is required for cooking. I knew that certainly wouldn't be the reason to provide natural gas. 
Then I realized that if analyzed properly natural gas can be replaced by electricity as the means of heating and cooking and so, there is no need of CGD.
Let us compare both the scenarios: Setting up a natural gas based economy in a gas deficit nation like ours would mean setting up massive infrastructure which we are not geared upto. On the contrary India has a hugely penetrated distribution network of electricity in place. Why can't it be improved to mitigate the piped gas requirements of India. Even on the economic front, producing electricity through natural gas and then distributing it would provide more efficiency and can be better controlled. And emissions are much lesser of-course due to the centralized usage of natural gas. 
A deeper study of viabiltity of replacement of electricity with natural gas as a primary source of energy for retail purpose is required to justify the case either ways.
But my hunch says unless "daal baati" is the most important dish, investments into city gas distribution network isn't necessarily the right choice for India.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


To both Palestine and UN.
Palestine for the survival and hard fought battle, and UN for finally standing upto the motto it was initially conceived of. The ramifications are yet to be seen, 
and how is it that, such a thing has happened inspite of the strong  lobbying against it..
Guess, the pressure is on India and pakistan to take things forward...
I haven't tracked the voting and was surprisingly happy hearing about it..
I guess, it is similar to the response that Israel got in 1940s when it was founded and formally accepted.
With differences resolved, one way or the other .. may be and for once, may be we can co-exist.
Congratulations again!!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coal from Indonesia or USA??

Another boring article on Coal Economics! :)
While every one is clamoring for coal from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa, developments in the farther west might have shifted the overall paradigm of coal scenario.
USA with its increasing Shale gas resources and the emphasis on cleaner coal has seen a decline in coal based electricity generation thereby leading to increased inventory of coal. (So far Cliched!!)
With decreased coal consumption, it was inevitable that US starts exporting Coal from the power hungry countries like China and India. Till date the high prices and domestic consumption in USA were impediments. But they no longer are.
Hence, as predicted Coal has slowly started moving out of USA. 
To begin with its only a trickle, but the interesting thing is it has actually started moving out. 
The below figure provides a snapshot of the coal moving out to the three of the largest consumers:
As expected, with its proximity to USA and the hunger it has of Coal, China is the largest importer of Coal from USA among Asian countries. Still, China has only imported a paltry amount compared to the amount that it imports from Indonesia or South Africa. 
The interesting number is the Cost of Coal. As you can see, the prices from last year to this year in the same duration have nearly halved for China. Similarly India has started imported more coal from USA than earlier. But it still is around $80/ton of FOB. The charges for CIF are still not known.
At $80/ton and with a very optimistic estimate of around $20 for Insurance and Frieght, the variable cost for a sub-critical plant in Coastal India would come to ~Rs2.50/kWh, which is quite an acceptable figure for a power plant.
With huge availability of Coal and with such variable cost, it was just around the cards that some one would crack a deal of imported coal from USA as the major source of Coal.
Just today, the client with whom I am working for made a deal worth $7bn for 25 year assured coal supply from Coal for its power plants and steel plants. Indeed quite an acheivement considering that the client was lagging on all other fronts. 
He would be the largest imported of coal from USA at this juncture. Hopefully the dreadful Coal scenario in India will improve with the assured coal supply from Coal

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

India story of Shale or Shame

As has been the case always, India is only doing a catching up in terms of Shale oil & gas exploration. With USA already reeling under the excess gas production ever in its history, and China going ahead with its second round of bidding for Shale gas exploration. India finally woke up to the possibility of exploration options and hence has prepared a draft policy, which is available for comments on the Ministry of OIl's website.
With the recent power crisis, brining the energy crisis into limelight the shale gas development becomes all the more significant and lot of eyes will remain glued to the way things shape up.
The whole process in a very nascent stages, since at this time even the likes of "Yours sincerely" is also aspiring to bid for the shale gas, India has to be really cautious about the way forward.
One of the most important aspects associated with Shale gas is the (the Nuclear related issue as well) is the long term liability of the developers associated with shale gas development. Also the NELP exloration bidding processes and the tussle between Government and Reliance in the releasing the pending payments to Reliance stand as a big lesson for any party involved in the overall process.
Shale gas is a resources which if not properly regulated may cause immense harm to the surrounding ecology. Some of the most important aspects in shale gas development are surrounding water usage viz. a) Water consumption, b) Stability of the underground water, c) Possibility of various chemicals seeping into the existing water resources. Water consumption is one of the highest in the exploration of shale, and the possibility of re-cycling and re-usage of water is minimal, and hence with all the hue and cry surrounding water availability and usage, how would the developer mitigate the water shortages would be somthing to look out to.
With India already reeling under huge water crisis, it'd be interesting to see the guidelines that Environment ministry would develop to keep a check on Shale gas development.
PNGRB which is the regulatory board surrounding shale gas development as well hasn't had a successful record in exploration and development of a gas based economy in India. The city gas distribution and the NELP exploration possibilities which started with such great hopes have remained only hopes, with the latter alone seeing some success in the form of KG D-6 discovery by Reliance, which of late again has become dud.
With so many stakes and stakeholders involved, I guess it'd not be a problem even if India continues to go on its snail pace in the development of shale gas, since, no one wishes to have a shale gas reservoir drying up the total water in his vicinity and then blaming the private parties for their melancholy towards environment.
Wishing that it'd not be another story of lost opportunity for India.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Quest for something!!

Wrote this couple of months ago, but was just not sure how to close it .. still Iam not..but here it goes.

28 years... this is what it took for an uncle of mine to establish, operate and sell a company. It is then that I realized how the total valuation process undermines the efforts and the journey involved in establishing the entity.
After the company was sold, I sat with him and he started pouring out his emotions. It’s been quite a tumultuous journey for him to let go his company into the hands of other entity. He certainly appeared to be shaken, no doubt, but one thing for sure was evident. His desire to perform!
Only a few people stuck with him throughout the journey, and as usual it was not the relatives and as predicted they were the friends and well wishers. In the times of depression, while some did pull him up, it was he who dedicated most of his life with a rigor matched only by his vision.
During the journey, he fell down, lost many a battles, battered relationships, missed family life and many more. Not sure, if his deeds can be considered as a sacrifice, but yet, he was the first among the small rung of entrepreneurs who indeed took the bull of life by its horns. Now he is tired, needs rest, cannot sit for a long time and needs constant monitoring.
In-spite of all this, there is something in him, some zeal and some energy that keeps him running around looking for something. He is constantly reading, nowadays a lot more on religious practices and religion, becoming more and more discerned at the mis-deeds of the other stakeholders. While he seemingly loves getting lost in the daily activities, he is on a look out for every opportunity to come out of it and do something that may impact the impoverished. May be it’s the reading that is making him think on those lines.
In the mad rush, there is something in him holding back and at the same time some other forces pushing him to the limit. A queer situation! Not sure, because he has been like that through-out the life.
What is the one thing that would satisfy him?? While I haven’t asked him, guess it would be the satisfaction he derives out of his daughter and Son’s innocence. He wouldn’t publicly acknowledge, but I can only imagine the pride he derives out of his children.
In-spite of all this, I’d still want to understand what is driving him. What makes him, the way he is. While age certainly has caught up with him, he is defying every bit of it to prove something. Wonder, if even he realizes it!!
End of this, I can just hope to accomplish his achievements. Energy Levels!! Not sure :)

PS: Dedicated to my uncle Mr. Bhagavathi Hari Babu

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Disincentive to hoard/consume/devastate a scarce entity

Recently was watching the "Save the Tiger" program which is attempting to create awareness about the reducing tiger count and so measures to ensure that the tigers are saved.
I was wondering, why would people go ahead with killin tigers inspite of the fact that they are dying and would be extinct in the near future.
Then it hit me, that the scarcier something is, the faster it will become extinct. To be more precise, scrcier an entity is, people will try to go illegal routes and ensure that the entity is consumed or not left in a state to be consumed by any one else.
Let's take an example of Tigers themselves. While Tigers have always been a thing of precious value, the intrinsic value of their not having around was much higher. Since, Tigers were plenty and are a threat to the cattle & humans as well, people mercilessly killed them. Even at that time there was demand to wear tiger fingers as nechlace and to showcase tiger skin/head as a proof of the bravery.
As tigers became scarce, owning tiger nails has become all the more precious. Earlier if a tiger nail used to cost say Rs10,000/- now it'd cost much more. Hence, the scarcier the entity, costlier it is and more would be the people trying to own and showcase the same. So, the demand for the goods keeps increasing. 
At the same time, since access to tiger's nail would become difficult, illegal ways of acquiring the same would increase and hence more incentive to poaching. So, more people would try and kill the Tigers so as to make a fortune out of the kill. The trend increases as tigers become scarce. While the job of killing a tiger would become riskier and hence more premium is charged for the same. It ends up in a vicious circle unless there is a strong disincentive.
It doesn't hold true for commodities alone. I guess this is more psychological since the owner of a scarce commodity/entity is considered niche.
Let's think of another example which is a hot topic for any guy. The bad sex ratio, in the society increases the craving for women/rather increases the appetite to have physically possessed a woman. So, more people would be willing to take the riskier route of molesting a woman. On top of that with very less disincentive in terms of crime vis-a-vis the incentive of false prestige, more people would be willing to take the riskier path. All the more, if the girl looks beautiful, people would go any length to have consumed and at the same time ensure that the woman cannot be possessed by any one else. The reason for disallowing the woman is to ensure the niche image of being the sole consumer. Hence the logic says the incentive to commit crime against women will only increase. 
Even in academic institutes with bad sex ratio, one can see the desperation even more. It is just that the scare of a devastated career, which may keep them from taking steps in the wrong direction, but otherwise things would become gloomier.
The whole thought process comes out pf the psychology that owning anything scarce is considered prestigious. The reason for the entity being scarce can be many like
a) Lack of the Entity
b) Regulations blocking access to Entity
c) Lack of Affordability of that Entity
d) Biological demands and many more.
At the same time, when the entity is available in plenty, the incentive to own the same is lesser,unless they are the basic requirements.
/* End of the day, it all boils down to simple demand/supply equation I guess, with the point of equilibrium defining the optimum demand which shall keep people sane ensuring right price for the commodity and at the same time no insanity to consume the commodity completely.*/
If I relate this to the Oil & Gas prices, with the increase in oil prices people start exploring more oil resources there by oil gets consumed at a faster rate. At the same time, the incentive to hoard and take the illegal route like petrol adulteration increase. The declining oil prices, do not allow any incentive for oil companies to expand their exploration as well as distribution base, thereby reducing the rate at which oil will be consumed and also preserving the overall oil reserves in earth.
Overall, things are more psychological ofcourse, than simply the economics of demand&supply. If only some one could find the Beta factor for understanding this behavior!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What if PA becomes NPA

Even this is about Power sector in India.

  1. Let's say CompanyXYZ intends to setup power plant. Total Project Cost is Rs1,000 Cr. 
  2. They managed Rs300 cr and they got a debt of Rs 700 cr since they got all the clearances including Coal Linkage, PPA, EC etc.
  3. They went ahead and placed the BTG order and BoP order.
  4. Activity worth ~Rs 500 cr is executed.

Suddenly one day the Coal Linkage is cancelled. And due to forex fluctuations the BTG cost increased by 20% leading to an overall cost increase of 15% for the project. Since the RoE from a power plant in itself is around 15%, the plant is no longer viable. 
Now a Performing Asset (PA) has become an NPA. Now what are the options for lender? While Technically NPA happens only after a default, for the sake of discussion let's assume that any project which is no longer happening is an NPA.
If the borrower is a Govt. entity, every lender has the support and cushion that Govt. body will pay back. But what if the borrower is a private entity. 
Moreover typically for power projects, funding happens based on cash flows but not necessarily based on balance sheet. So, only the successful completion and operation of the project will provide returns to the lender.
The answer may be as simple as saying, since the land and other equipment are a mortgage, the banks can sell the asset and recover the money. What are the things that Banks can sell?

  1. Machinery: While it may fetch some money, it will not be of the same value at which it is purchased. Once the power plant is no longer viable, the equipment isn't as valuable as it'd be had it been utilized. Since Machinery is customized in many cases, lot of investment further would be required to make it useful for any other project.That being the case, banks may not be able to recover good amount of money.
  2. Land: This is the only cushion that a lender might have assuming that the land prices might have appreciated. But this also doesn't provide enough buffer.

Lenders may force the Borrower to shell out some more equity to compensate for their loss. Since it is a cash flow based funding, the borrower is not liable more than the assets of the project. So, the overall risk exposure of the banks increase multifold. All that they can probably think about is converting the asset into NPA. But does that address the issue? The ideal way would be if the lenders can take the project forward my financial restructuring or by re-negotiating the contracts.
But Lenders do not have the capacity to operate the plant. So, what do they do?
I was asking this question to a friend of mine, who is working in a State funding agency with focus on Power sector. While earlier these instances were rare, with the increased volatility and the uncertainties in the sector, it is apparent that there are going to be power plants who may have to be shut mid-way during Construction. Considering that banks have tremendous exposure to Power sector and have very limited exit options, unless there is a drastic turn-around in some of the areas impacting the sector, lenders have tough days ahead.Contrary to the belief that developers are facing the wrath, it is the lenders who are at the risk of going bankrupt. 
Do I sense another business opportunity for Consulting? :)

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I don't want cheaper Energy!!

Ever thought, if some one would actually say this. Of all the people, do you actually expect this coming from the largest Energy consumer in the world!!!
Many companies in USA are suddenly fighting with a decrease of more than 25% in their total energy cost.
All power utilities and major states which predicted revenue for the fiscal at a target price of $4 per gallon, are forced to work under less than $3 a gallonn.
This has dented the profitability of all utilities and many states, especially in Texas and the Floridas ofthe world.
Imagine a state whose primary soruce of revenue is gas. Now, gas prices have crashed by 25%, so this would decrease their revenue by 25%.
This is precisely the reason that the stock prices of major utilities companies are down.

Obviously the whole story is one-sided i.e. from the producers of energy.
A country doesn't run by the producers of energy alone and hence overall the economy is bound to benefit .. 
but Iam in the industry of energy producers, hence it is a perspective that Iam very much inclined to believe in!

You may ask, if the cost of gas goes down, the cost of eletricity generation should also go down and hence should benefit all the utilities.
Typically utilities get their revenue based on their input cost. So, as and when the input costs goes down, the price at which they can sell the electricity also goes down..
and with a very tight margin (In USA it is arnd 5%) that all these companies operate at. Such huge decline in input costs will only reduce their revenue drastically, making the whole business un-viable.
Hence, all the utilities are shouting at the top of their voice to increase the cost of Energy :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

No work blues!!

Monday blues, hangover blues, marriage blues and lot others!! Every one discusses about these normal things .. but the blues that none of us speak about are the No work blues.. All of us crave for days when there is no work, and all that we are expected to do is to come to office, surf, coffee, gossip and leave..
But, what if the same continues for an extended period of time.. especially when you actually love working and need something to keep the senses up and running.. Iam going through these patches, that for the past 10 days I hardly have any work..
Now these blues are actually making me sleepless since the mind is reluctant to allow me to go to sleep for having not used it for quite some time.. Iam only starting to realize what it means like not having any work or sitting on bench (IT parlance).. while I will be paid for my salary, for all the position and experience that I extend to the company, what is the point if all the experience is there only for CV sake..
Ridiculous, as it may sound that some one is cribbing for lack of work. But, I guess its more psychological, because one needs to be working to remain confident and feel distinguished. with no stakeholders in vicinity, the only way to garner importance is through work .. Now that the tribulation part is done .. let's try and find a work around.. what to do when no work ... (let me not speak about the ways to find work in consulting like networking, being proactive etc. )
a) Blog .. one way to vent out lot of things
b) Read news .. gives you ways to see how messed up world around is thereby feel good that you are better off
c) Get into relationship .. makes you feel important and atleast your ears have some work of listening to all the ^%&$ being spoken by the counterpart
d) Dress smart .. Makes you again feel better for no good reason at all... am sure there are many other things.
But, hey who cares!! Live life on your terms and whether work or no work, you for sure are important to certain people and in what ever stage you are, they would be around taking care of you. Wishing for bright colors instead of blues!

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Consumed by nature!

“We, the willing, are doing the impossible for the ungrateful. We have done so much, with so little, for so long, we are now qualified to do anything, with nothing.” - Mother Teresa (Took it from the article written in Dawn)
Just been to some remote locations from Delhi for the long weekend. Quite an un-planned trip which did end on a good tone.
Was in places, where there was no network, continuous vegetation, but still a human to be found.
The road was not a proper one, with huge bumpy rides along the road, but the road was still visible and accessible
Streams of water, cold, flowing across the landscape at different depth, at varied pace..but we could still take a dip in it and not be scared of getting washed away.
Staring into the sky, clear sky, with a full moon, bright stars .. but still there was light that we could see coming from the closest neighborhood and we were sure that we are not lost in the woods.
Add to that the scare due to the chance of bumping into a wild elephant, which can run amock and hit your vehicle .. but there was a person with us adept at handling this scare.
Inspite of such a great ambience with lush green fields, clear water and sky I was sure that I cannot stay here for more than a week.
While the sense of just being yourself and talking to nature brings in so many good feelings, the same feeling when extended takes the sheen away from the thoughts.
Its such a task to just be yourself, stare into long strides of blissful snow, sky, weather which remains as cold as the person trying to break a relationship.
Just to imagine being in such a climate with no access to anything remotely called as a "human made" makes the whole episode so haunting.
It is precisely, in this kind of weather that thousands of people walk and stay for such long hours to ensure that the other side doesn't walk on to your door step.
Iam referring to the Siachen Glacier!!

In news, because of the avalanche which took away the 139 soldiers in pakistan and last month took away 20 lives of their Indian counterparts.
Just to imagine, what would have happened to those soldiers who had spent the best part of their lives looking down into the deep valleys and not sure what to expect.
Far off from any human and farther away from the closest person in their life.
What would be the feeling when they actually find some one...event a distant glimpse at a two legged mammal with similar features as his..
I wonder when they actually encounter a foe, would they actually fight it out .. wouldn't they be happy that they finally saw a human form which they have been longing to see .. 
why would they kill something that they've been desperately waiting for.
As a matter of fact, nature is the only thing that they are closest to .. and what more happiness than to be hugged by the person whom your are closest to .. 
hence wouldn't they rather love the nature consuming them, because it is the only one that gives them eternal company..
These are a few lines expressed in gratitude to the lives wandering at the peaks .. invisble, unsure, lost in the peaks and dead in the shadows of the snow!

Monday, March 26, 2012

And if that wasn't enough..RGTIL is also for sale

It was in 2005 that Reliance Industries made big news with the discovery of the largest gas deposits in that year. The gas deposits are found off-shore near the Eastern Coast of India. While the gas discovery was made, there were/are no major pipelines connecting the eastern coast of India with rest of the country. Hence there was a need to setup a major gas pipeline from Eastern Coast to the Western Coast and beyond (~1500 kms). So Reliance Industries with no prior experience in either of these two areas floated two companies: Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) owns the gas well. Reliance Gas Transportation Infrastructure Ltd. (RGTIL).
Every one was gungho about the discovery of gas and the progress of the gas pipeline because the gas production was estimated to reach 80mmscmd by FY2013 and the pipeline also planned to extend by another 1500 kms towards South & North Eastern India. Investments by various players also ensured that RIL got a decent return on equity.
Alas, as was the case with his younger brother (Mr. Anil Ambani owns power, telecom verticals of the conglomerate), the big brother Mr. Mukhesh Ambani who owns both Reliance Industries and RGTIL fell short of the expectations. The gas well started producing less and less with the present output at 20 mmscmd way below the estimates. With such low amount of gas, the RGTIL no longer made any money.
So, what does Mr. Mukhesh Ambai decide to do. He decides to sell RGTIL.
While traditionally the Reliance group continued to invest and scale up the businesses, the recent trend has been that the group promoters are deciding to setup businesses and shelve them before they shape up. In the process they have ensured that some of the major investments into those sector are stopped.
Now, RIL has also ventured into 4G telecom. With these forays into areas where the promoters have minimum exposure the options in the future remain to only quit from those businesses. I just hope they give up all the businesses so as to ensure better competition.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Either you are with me or against me in this!!

Either you have sex and get pregnant or not have sex at all. Interesting stance that the so called forthcoming religion in the world has. (Religious views on Contraception)
“This is a direct attack on religious liberty and will not stand in a Romney presidency,”.. so says the spokeswoman of Mitt Romney - the Republican  presidential candidate in US. (And the reason she says so is to appease the conservative catholic Christians.)
Another statistic (Source; NY times) is that 50% of the pregnancies in US are unwanted. And among those 40% end up in abortion. Going by this the 3 million addition to US population last year would have meant ~2 million children unwanted!!
So, guess people cannot experiment with this fantasies to without getting pregnant. Not that every time one has sex she will get pregnant, but without emergency contraception or birth control pills, the population explosion would be unstoppable. 
Even in India no political party has the courage to say that birth control is not required. Didn't expect this from the self proclaimed police of the world!
Imagine, if Republicans come to power. Now that the likes of George Bushes are running out of ideas to attach other countries, here is the new reason. Attack every nation that suggests birth control pills. 
Here is what would be their reason for rogue states... 

"US intelligence has found secret sites where birth control pills are being produced. If not attacked, the world freedom is at a risk. And we, the republicans cannot allow any one to control birth because we do not subscribe to it. Even if we do not find these birth control pill manufacturing centers we'd have eliminated a regime which is a form of tyranny by allowing contraception. US alone has the right to do this. So, I the next gen George Bush alone will control the births across the world. Only through me should every woman in this world give birth.

Either you are with me or against me in this!!"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Day when the hearing impaired listened to me!!

I could see that the gate opened into a small ground followed by two rooms with not even a concrete slab. We were waiting for some one to open the lock of the gate. Some guy came with keys. He looked alright..well built and decently dressed and with a badge in his neck. I appeared to be overly dressed up for the occasion in a suit and the laptop. He didn't bother to look into our eyes and was trying to unlock but it didn't happen. The person with me signaled him in some unfamiliar signs and the guy went in, brought another set of keys which opened the lock. I wondered what did the person tell the guy!! 

The guy went away with no change of expression in his face as if he has ignored our presence and that he didn't care whether we came in or not. I was bemused at the least!

I walked in and I met the lady of the place and the guy, who heads the center, invited me inside. For a place handling the students from Below poverty line, the place was well furnished. It had a computer connected to the printer and a latest printer, a mission and vision goal attached to the wall along with the daily activity planner etc. It felt no less professional than any corporate home except that the walls and the ceiling are in a shabby condition.

The name of the person with whom I travelled to this place and who is also the head of that center is Sridhar. And the name of the center is a branch of Dr. Reddy Foundation School for People with Disability!!

Sridhar asked me to join him outside to watch the prayer being performed in the ground by the students. The ground was with lot of sand and less pebbles making it easier to walk and I could see that male students and female students were standing separately. They were like any other school going children standing in queue. It is just that the students here were a group of 40 students any where from 18-35 years of age unlike the children of 5-15 years that we are familiar seeing performing a prayer in school.

The prayer started with "Vandemataram" and some were singing and the others remained quite. I wasn't sure why, at least till that moment! Once it was over, a person started reading out the pledge. While I do not remember the actual words, it said something like this .. " I will not be bogged down any hindrances. I will perform duties to my strength. I will not harm any one and that I will remain every confident ... ". I dont remember to have performed any pledge like that.

While every one was repeating this pledge, there were these students who would repeat the signals that a lady instructor was telling them along with the pledge. There was a person sitting in the chair with a stick besides him, but was still reciting the pledge. Another girl was standing alright, but her feet weren't in proper shape. Another person is suffering with Polio. Each one of them was reciting the pledge. 

Once the pledge was over, every one started getting into their classes. I saw that one of the girls walked too closely to another girl and that's when I realized that she was blind. She has come here for a 3 month training on basic IT skill!!

The whole air was as if telling me that human senses are not limited and that nothing can stop a person from performing any action.

Sridhar was explaining me the break up of this batch. Most of them are from the families with an average income of less than Rs15,000/- per annum. and these are from the remotest part of the state. Some one lives only 150 kms from Hyderabad, a leading metropolitan city in India. But it still takes around 6 hours to reach that place. (No hill road, simple roads on plains). And these guys have come all the way including girls to stay in hostels in the city and then study in this training center and get into the basic jobs like data entry jobs, support staff in companies like KFC, retail stores etc.
I could also observe that the in the batch half of the students were girls. I was happy looking at that number and the drive that these woman had. 

Sridhar asked me if I'd like to see any of the classes happening and I chose the obvious one. A class in which MS Excel was being taught.. I could not stop myself from going there. When I entered, an excel sheet was projected and 3-4 students were entering data and performing the basic functions like SUM and the others were repeating the same, one after other. 

A person who accompanies from my client showed me how the students are identified and trained. To begin with, a booklet is shared with the students and they are asked to write down about their strengths, weaknesses and what do they want and what do they want to become. 

I was overwhelmed by the simplicity of the words and expectations. One of the girl's expectations were

a) I want to communicate in English.
b) I should be able to earn money.
c) I don't want to lose my friends.

and this girl had to drop off from her intermediate education since her parents could not afford that with their monthly income. I am really not sure if I can articulate my expectations in such a simple fashion and iam not even sure what my expectations are!!

One of the students asked for a clarification from the faculty and I said let me handle the doubt. The doubt was relatively simple, how to select a cell in a formula using Mouse. When I taught them how to do that and a few more techniques to do things simply, the happiness in their face was amazing. They thanked me multiple times for letting them aware of such simple things. They could relate to me quickly since I was speaking their native language and they could converse without any apprehensions. And all the three students with whom I could speak could hardly walk and they get a monthly pension of 500/- a month in which they are pursuing this course.

I spoke to the trainer to these people and asked her how long has she been working and what inspired her. I thought she would be a normal graduate with  not lot of career options and hence sticking around. Then she told me that she has completed her Masters and has worked in the industry for some time and chose to work in this organization! A brave lady with a focus on her priorities I should say. I felt humbled at the whole place and left the room.

Then, I was taken to the room where the hearing impaired students were getting taught. Things were only getting interesting for me. When I went in every one of them stood up. I could not tell them to sit down and not to stand up for me. I signaled them to sit down and even i sat among them and started listening to the class. I must say it was one of the most attentive and disciplined classes that I ever saw. While pin drop silence was obvious, there was such attention to detail and the students would ask doubts without shy even at probably some of the basic things. I was happy at their courage and willingness to learn new things. 

Then came the wonderful part of the total day. I stood up and offered the instructor to allow me to teach a session. So, I explained some basic communication skills in English to them. You may ask How? I wrote things on the board and the instructor would explain the same in sign language, if the students didn't understand whatever I wrote. For 15 mins they asked me what was it about. I did a small role play and was amazed at their enthusiasm. I came to know couple of signs like Thank you and Good morning!! Later I came to know that students from each region have different signs for conveying a message. Earlier I thought that the sign language was universally same.

Some of these students include women from far off rural areas and I was amazed at their attitude towards life. They are willing to question the hindrances being offered by their inabilities and are trying every bit to force themselves to live with dignity. They would expect no sympathy, but only opportunities.

The trainers spoke of incidents where some of the employers wouldn't offer opportunities to any of these candidates, but later have offered multiple opportunities looking at their dedication and performance. 

While the children have been amazing, I should say that the trainers are the heroes. They left very lucrative job offers to ensure that they do their bit to the society. I hope I garner such courage in a very short span of time to consider the contributions from my life noteworthy!!