Category: Thoughts & Opinions


I was having a discussion with my friend/colleague Amit Shinde about the quality of things, and he brought up this topic of expiry dates. Fortunately for us, here in India, we now – at least – have an expiry date for most food stuff sold on the primary economy. The underground economy – or System D as it is known – is so vast and so uncontrolled that the government cannot even dream of regulating it.

But Amit’s concern was much beyond perishables. He mentioned his iPlugs for example (I’m not a Apple guy and don’t know if they call the iPhone earplugs that). He said that although there was no visual damage, they weren’t performing as they did. After all, everything has a shelf life – which may or may not be straight-forward to predict.

Take vessels for example. The old copper & brass vessels – now costly souveniers – have served families for years. There even exists a maintence process to extend its life. But the non-stick we use today in our fast lives is not built for centuries. Who knows how the coating disintegrates or how the lower layers react with oil/soap. I’m sure there is a point at which it has to be discarded – which is left to the consumer’s discretion. And when it comes to Indians, experimenting overage tolerances on expiry dates

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Last year I began drafting a theme for the year 2011. I called it ‘Being my own superhero‘. Although I did work on those lines and achieve quite a bit, the post remained a draft all year. Here’s a snippet:

I really can’t make sense of what’s going on in life. Sometimes I feel I’m being overly optimistic about things – like the sole warrior fighting all odds. Are will & determination enough to survive tough times? Can & should one person bring about change in so many people? make them realize things? help them think right? I really don’t know. But I’m going to try. Because if I don’t, someday I might curse myself for having lost a chance to make things better for myself & those around. So I’m taking this chance to be a super-hero – my own super-hero. That’s the theme for 2011. And I will try to have one each new year to set a direction to life. Cheers!

This year I thought I’ll publish it in time. But before everything else, here’s wishing you & your family a very happy, prosperous & healthy new year. But here’s what is going to really make it a ‘new year’:

Its New Year. Welcome it with a new vision, ambition & persona. Stop worrying about things that don’t matter. Respect & love people selflessly. Don’t do things that make you feel sorry. Then its a Happy New Year! Cheers

And continuing on those lines, this year’s theme is: Unf*#k your mind. Everyday I meet sane people who are bogged by the pressure exerted on them by those people around View full article »

Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen) is a song by Baz Luhrmann, an Australian film personality, adapted from an essay by one Mary Schmich which was published in the Chicago Tribune back in 1997. Although this song makes me quite sentimental, I make a point to listen to it once in a while to take stock of my own life. I am attaching the lyrics here and highlighting parts that make a lot of sense to me. Do read through, you’ll love the song too!

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’99
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked….You’re not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. View full article »

Apologies! I know that I have been away for quite some time now – but there are reasons! Work being the major sucker :) followed by personal interests. Moreover, my boss paid a visit :D I tried hard to spare time, then reversed some – but nothing worked! Anyway, the good news is that I’m back.

Census 2011 Logo

Census 2011 Logo

I did miss writing all this time & kept noting them as they happened. To begin with, I hope you are aware about Census 2011. Most state & central government employees have to compulsorily participate in this, over & above their routine responsibilities (pl note 0+1=1). The lady who was doing it in our area was an innovator! Instead of visiting each house & collecting data, she took an iterative, outsourcing model. She took the lift to the first floor, and walked down distributing a form in Marathi to each house. She very calmly told people that the form was very simple (I don’t know of a single govt form that is simple) & that one didn’t need to know Marathi to fill it (I don’t know how Bengalis & Malayalis bought this idea?) Suddenly people realized the importance of Maharashtrian neighbours, and fortunately each floor had one. After putting people to the job, she again took the elevator up to start collecting filled forms. I’m sure with this trick she managed to get home in time for lunch, which otherwise she would’ve had to couple with dinner. Just to note, that innovation is not necessarily rocket science.

Rickshaw Meter

Rickshaw Meter

Two notable things happened in the near past, both of which have affected our lives in one way or the other. The first thing: revised auto-fares. As Shubhojit said, this is one thing that makes you feel real poor. What I used to spend both way is what the 3-Tyre boogie now takes away one way. All thanks to the revision graced by skilled instrumentation engineers at garages.

Rupee Sign

Rupee Sign

The other thing – the symbol that our national currency got – actually makes me feel very proud. It is the symbol of globalization, equality & finally a distinguishing factor from other currencies with the same name. Some websites, like Burrp, picked up the symbol in no time. I’m just waiting for it to show up on currency.

Ambedkar Memorial, U.P.

Ambedkar Memorial, U.P.

After news about the symbol hit the stands, people questioned the kind of money that must have gone into its making. But I say, what’s wrong? If someone can spend tons of money raising statues in a city where people don’t have enough, View full article »

prasadgupte | 1999-2014