Sunday, May 20, 2012
Monday, December 5, 2011
Now that you are aware with this special race of human who are gifted with absolute zero gifts, let me tell you a secret I'm one of them.
Children are often regarded as the apple of their parent's eye. The deteroriated ones are speck. I was the log. Not an ordinary log, I was the log. Born of the 11th day of the 11th month, at 11 in night, at 11 mins and 11 secs weighing 11 pounds!!
As a small girl, I loved arts and I still do. But the tragedy was, I could not draw. And if i could draw, I could not paint. And by a miracle from the heaven if I could draw it and paint it at the same time, by no chance it can be called an art. Not even remotely.
Did i tell you that i love music? Music fascinates me. It drives and keeps me alive. But I cant sing. On the rare chances that I have tried my luck, I realized that I have this uncanny knack of converting a beautiful song into a digre. And people are so much in awe of my singing that i have been threatned to be sued. The crime? Adding to the noise pollution. I tried to be a bathroom singer. But then my taps choked.
So the next interest that i encountered was writing. Back in school I had a wonderful handwriting. All of my notebooks were beautifully crafted with words that would mesmerize anybody with their structure. so one fine day my class teacher told me to participate in hand writing contest. Realizing that I posses a talent I was spellbound. I started imagining my self with a gold trophy, with a triumphant music in the background; my mom rolling in tears and my dad's chest swollen with pride. I had even made plans to forward my hand writing samples to Microsoft. Maybe they would introduce a new font. Maybe they name it New Times Parul. Ah!! So on the competition day, I like a soldier, armed with fine HB pencils, Natraj, Camlin, Apsara's extra dark ones, you name any I had all, marched into the hall. It was a cake walk. I had to write 2 pages in 30 minutes. 2 pages? 30 minutes? Are you kidding me? Did anyone know I write slowly. Slowly as in tortoise slowly? Why we are taught all the wrong lessons as kids. Slow and steady wins the race. The evaluator scorned and said, "Too slow are disqualified" .
You must have heard about alcoholic, workaholic and shopaholic. Well I call myself interest-aholic. And with the zero talent that i posses, I have metamorphed into Parul of all, Singh of none. Still, I'm here pursuing, yet another, interest of mine, speaking. Because even if I'm trying trying until I'm bleeding, I've never bled enough to quit trying.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Then there were milder concerns. She knew how bad she is at the basic survival skills of Man is a social animal law. And surviving in a monstrous city like this one... Ah!! Did Darwin give a theory on survival of the lame? For a person who had indulged in solitude all her life, living in the metro was going to be a severe strain to her sanity. As of now she had no friends in the city either. She never had one. She never had the time for one. And the blend of her unbeatable inability to approach new people and the fact that out here where no one makes the first friendly move, and she had undoubtedly landed in a position to be friendless and alone. So she is where she is supposed to be- single and nobody to mingle. “To me.” Megha lifted a toast in her honor, determined not to waste another moment of rental time on the famed Lovers Lounge. She had come here to party and that exactly what she is going to do. Savoring her drink, Megha made her way to the dance floor. She jumped as the bass line of a funky new dance tune thudded through the speakers. The DJ was doing a good job.
Closing her eyes, she let the rhythmic pop music take her far away from her life, the frenzied professional life and the hollow personal life, and all the stupid expectations she’d piled on herself over the past few years. At least she knew how to dance. Right now, as the music pulsed through her veins and set her into motion without a conscious thought on her part, Megha decided that was enough. She was there for more than an hour, dancing oblivious to the world. When her body was hot and damp with sweat she decided to sit and have another shot. The Lounge was full and she could not find herself a seat. She peered through the darkness. Then at the corner she saw a young guy sitting alone at a table. Under normal conditions she would never share a seat with a stranger but today she was in a mood on acting on impulse. She dragged her and sat on the couch and decided not to talk.
“You were exotic while dancing. Care for a drink with me”, he said in a soft tone and ordered a drink for both of them. They exchanged their introduction. But the strange thing was that they didn’t tell each other their name. And it was not required. She wanted a casual talk and that was what she was getting. She was happy and contended. He was a final year graduate and she was just a fresher out of college. Yet this guy had something about himself that intrigued her. He was fun to talk and at the same time his priorities was sorted. Unlike her he was very resolved and oriented with his emotions. They talked about their childhood, school days and then college life. Megha felt her body ease. Even in her very close friends’ company she used to speak in an alert manner, apprehensive and careful about her views. But there was something about this guy that relieved her. No it was not the scotch she was sure. It seemed as if she was floating in his words. She had spoken enough about herself and he had a solution for each of her problem. He said that she was lonely because she doesn’t allow people to penetrate the walls she has built around her. She tries to balance her emotions in a circle. She sense things like radar and whenever talks go beyond the circle she gets too conscious. He said that she talks to herself in her lone time and she knew it was true. What was he? A psychiatrist or a soothsayer? How did he know so much about her in less than two hours chat? She kicked herself for not asking more about him. She was mesmerized because the attraction had been so strong and so fast, faster than they had talked.
She heard a distant beep. Oh yes!! It was her scheduler. The digital scheduler she always carries in her purse. Damn! It was three in the morning. On a normal weekday she would have been sitting at her laptop and finishing the bugging and testing. Reality rushed into her mind like a cascade of water. Megha pivoted away from guy’s heart-fluttering conversation to peer around the Lovers Lounge.
“I suppose it is getting late.” She gasped.
“Don’t stop now. Things were just getting interesting.”
Megha regretted her conscious. She wanted to spend time with this guy who’d bowled her over from the moment they’d met. It was not just his looks but his talks. How non-judgmental and without any prejudices he talked to her and soothed her erupting emotions. The premise was crossed. The walls were broken. Her head whirled. How can she think romantically about a stranger? It would be unrealistic and embarrassing. And how on this planet could she leap into a relationship when she is stinging into the mess of her professional life? She knew her job was tiring. It was taking toll on her life. But isn’t this was the time she could give her best to her career and achieve the milestone long awaited? In a matter of three years she would be married and then start a family. Things would be difficult then, working at odds hours and stuffs like that. Grrr! Shhh! The thoughts inside her mind were shouting and suddenly the music she was enjoying became a noise.
She collected herself from her thoughts and rose from the seat.
“Hey at least tell me your name and contact. It was fun. We can do it again.”
“I’m not sure about that. Besides it’s not such a good idea as I’m not much into pubbing and stuffs.”
“Ok have my number and call me when you feel like talking.” She sensed a strange urgency in his voice. She couldn’t deny it after spending these momentous hours with this guy. It was an experience that would be indelibly impressed on her memory.
He handed her the tissue over which he had written his number and gestured toward the door. “Shall I drive you home?”
That sounded dangerous in her lonely, heart-sore condition. Especially when her attraction to him—senseless though it might be—loomed as sizzling hot and the practicality crashing down stopped her from taking a step further.
“I don’t think that’s such a good idea. I need to drop at a friend’s house for some papers.” Along with fifty other “must-do” and the tissue clenched between her fists she wandered over toward her seat, where she’d set her purse earlier. Time to leave this night—and this wonderful guy—behind her. She waved her hand for a cab. At the next signal she blew the tissue without even giving a glance at it. 22 and life you got! Megha sighed.
This is not a blog on “live-in” relationship. My simple question is why we have to name a relationship? Marriage? Friendship? Passing affairs? Sometime things could be so simple if it goes without a name because sometimes we have to fit things under certain classification. The reason- nomenclature doesn’t have a name suiting the description. The whole agony begins when we start looking for a “tag” for the relationship. Let me explain you the process. The whole things start with liking, possibly mutual or non-mutual. With time the feeling grows. The simple liking is then augmented with emotions. This heralds the need to designate the special someone. If she/he is of the same gender the most convenient label is “friends” or probably “bro” or “sis” (if very close). So with same gender things are simple. But the actual game begins when people of different sex develop the liking. We have limited options here. You can be friends or boy/girl friends. The most stupefying fact is that for each pair involved the feeling is different from the rest and very unique. Yet one has the same brand to tag us with. And when things do not go according to the tag rules…problem starts. People start “fitting” themselves into the circumscribed boundaries of the existing named relationship. If they are successful at the first level (of sustaining this contest) they go to the next level. Another tag… Spouse? (Women might particularly start looking marriage through Cinderella eyes.) You need a fountain of emotion to perform at this level. With each hit that you bear, your drive for scoring the best increases. Pressure is ever increasing and adrenalin is gushing… Lup Dup... Lup Dup…Playing the role better than others is on our mind. We try it to the hilt without realizing that the relationship is sucking up an enormous amount of time and energy. It entirely takes over our lives. The pressure is always on to do something, be it wine and dine, interact with the family, remember things etc and etc. HUH!!! It's just too much work. Then come the judgment day-culmination of all the failed attempts to last in this war. What was the need of this futile struggle? Just because we wanted to stand out in the named relationship? Stand as examples? After all this we forget the beautiful feeling we shard at the zeroth level, when no tag was attached. The same (read as used to) fun becomes a burden that sags our soul. Whatever it is, it’s just too doltish to ruin the fun and kill the moment in some trivial attempt to fit in. A word for all those loathsome fellas, “Stop brooding and nauseating over this repugnant feeling of this ain’t working”. I think we don’t need to fit in at all. All we need to do is to live it. But I guess it’s too simple to realize, right?
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Indians love hero worship. From Team India players to Bollywood stars to politicians, we are known to put heroes up there. And in a country of a billion-plus, what does one do when one falls short of heroes? Do we outsource them or appropriate anybody remotely Indian? The celebration in India over Bobby Jindal’s elevation as Louisiana Governor proves again that whenever, anywhere, round the globe, we smell Indian we begin following the trails like sniff dogs. Even as his village and the rest of India broke into a jig over his political ascent in the US, very few realized that here was a man who had never even visited India. Mother Teresa born in Macedonia, distressed with the poverty stricken India, claimed us as her (too big!!) foster child. We claimed her as our own and one may argue, that she, too, had lovingly claimed us as her own. Then V S Naipaul created waves in the literary circuit and we went all out to embrace him. When NASA astronaut Sunita Williams, born to an Indian father, went into space, we were one of the first to go to town about her victory leap. We prayed day and night for her safe return. Not that we did any wrong praying for her. But we prayed for her considering her an Indian. Tell me is she really more Indian than American?
Do we as Indians tend to borrow role models because we don’t have enough of our own? Or are Bobby, Sunita, etc really our heroes and we are just doing what suits us best - hero worship?
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Shocking. Alarming. A massive crippling crisis. These words ring the chords of another November 26th or July 11th. However, when I’m speaking these words, I’m referring to the state of maternal mortality in the country. According to UN, 80,000 Indian women- pregnant or new mothers- die each year from totally preventable causes such as excessive bleeding, anaemia or ratcheting blood pressure.
Not that I’m playing a blame-game against the government. I’m talking about the same Indian Janta who marched the streets with banners and shouting for resignation of the ministries after the Mumbai mayhem, which they said was totally ‘preventable’ if not the negligence of the government in playing their role. But the same Janta recourses to a mute slumber when millions of mothers or even children under five die from entirely preventable causes such as malaria, diarrhea, malnutrition or starvation. Take maternal mortality itself. Maternal mortality rate in India is six times worse than China, eight times worse than Cuba’s, whose people have been living in embargo for decades. And it’s 14 times worse than Chile’s. The UN estimates that 2.1 million Indian children under the age of five die every year mostly from preventable disease.
Indeed, controlling the causes behind these may not be as forbidding a challenge as containing terrorist. Basic hygiene, clean water, and essential medicine are all that it takes. For instance, potentially fatal dehydration from diarrhea can easily be avoided using sugar, salt and water!!
Security is now being spoken as an election issue. But never has such importance being accorded to human health. Of the 5 percent GDP that Indians spend on health, only .9 percent is supported by government. But we never raise a voice against such issues. Obviously we are too busy fighting for extending the reservation quota or the V-Day stuffs. Whose has got the time to watch these alarming death tolls, when you have got girls in noodle straps boozing in pubs? Nevertheless, dying of these preventable causes belongs to our very own Indian Culture. Unlike in the US and Europe, health has never being a social or political issue, rather say no issue at all. Bad health is something that happens in our country. It’s just in India that you could die even of diarrhea.
Just step back a bit and all the preventable fatalities-whether from terror, disease, dowry or even road accidents- seems to be symptoms of systematic ailment. The cheapest commodity in India today is human life!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
How long do you have to wait?
Not very long! India is all set to launch 3G mobile telephone services by June 2007.According to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India chairman Nripendra Misra, a total of 32.5 MHz is available for allocation within the next 6-9 months.Trai has also recommended auctioning 200 MHz for broadband wireless access services like Wimax (worldwide interoperability for microwave access) and has proposed a national frequency management board to oversee spectrum availability and its efficient use.He hopes that the allocated spectrum would be enough for the next two years and said Trai would recommend freeing up more spectrum for those who lose out in this auction. So what is 3G spectrum all about? Read on.
What is spectrum?
Radio spectrum refers to a range of radio frequencies. The bandwidth of a radio signal is the difference between the upper and lower frequencies of the signal.For example, in the case of a voice signal having a minimum frequency of 200 hertz (Hz) and a maximum frequency of 3,000 Hz, the bandwidth is 2,800 Hz (3 KHz). The amount of bandwidth needed for 3G services could be as much as 15-20 Mhz, whereas for 2G services a bandwidth of 30-200 KHz is used. Hence, for 3G huge bandwidth is required.
How is 3G different from 2G and 4G?
While 2G stands for second-generation wireless telephone technology, 1G networks used are analog, 2G networks are digital and 3G (third-generation) technology is used to enhance mobile phone standards.3G helps to simultaneously transfer both voice data (a telephone call) and non-voice data (such as downloading information, exchanging e-mail, and instant messaging. The highlight of 3G is video telephony. 4G technology stands to be the future standard of wireless devices.Currently, Japanese company NTT DoCoMo and Samsung are testing 4G communication.
How will 3G services help you?
3G services will enable video broadcast and data-intensive services such as stock transactions, e-learning and telemedicine through wireless communicationsAll telecom operators are waiting to launch 3G in India to cash in on revenues by providing high-end services to customers, which are voice data and video enabled. India lags behind many Asian countries in introducing 3G services.
What is Trai's recommendation on 3G pricing?
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended auctioning radio frequencies for 3G telecom services at a reserve price of Rs 1,050 crore (Rs 10.50 billion) to companies seeking to offer nationwide high-speed Internet and streaming video. The base price for spectrum in cities like Mumbai and Delhi and Category A telecom circles is Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 million); in cities like Chennai and Kolkata and Category B circles Rs 40 crore (Rs 400 million); and in all other cities Rs 15 crore (Rs 150 million).
What are the frequency bands and quota for CDMA?
Trai has recommended three sets of frequency bands - 450 mhz, 800 mhz and 2.1 ghz. For CDMA players like Reliance and Tata Teleservices 1.25 MHz each is offered. CDMA operators are free to bid both in the 2.1 GHz and the 450 MHz bands, but they will be allocated spectrum only in one. The pricing of these two bands is linked to the auction in the 2.1 GHz band. CDMA operators will pay the same as the second-highest GSM bidder. And if there is more than one claimant in the 450 MHz band, the reserve price will be half of that arrived at in the 2.1 GHz band. Another rider is that if the highest bid is a quarter more than the lowest, the lowest bidder has to raise its bid to 75 per cent of the winning bid. But CDMA operators are likely to face problems. Operating 3G services on 450 MHz is a problem because we they do not have dual-band phones that work both in 450 MHz and in 800 MHz (the band in which CDMA operates in India).
What are the issues regarding 3G for providers and users?
3G has successfully been introduced in Europe. But several issues continue to hamper its growth.
High spectrum licensing fees for the 3G services
Huge capital required to build infrastructure for 3G services.
Health impact of electromagnetic waves.
Prices are very high for 3G mobile services.
Will 2G users switch to 3G services.
Takes time to catch up as the service is new.
What are the issues regarding 3G pricing?
Pricing has been a cause of concern. Spectrum auctions ran into billions of euros in Europe. In Europe, spectrum licensing fees were collected years before the 3G service was developed and it required huge investments to build 3G networks, hitting mobile operators' margins.However, in Japan and South Korea, spectrum licensing fees were not applicable as the focus of these countries were national IT infrastructure development.
Which companies have applied for 3G license?
3G spectrum has been provided to GSM players like BSNL, MTNL, Bharti, and Hutch to carry out an interface check on a non-commercial basis ahead of the start of 3G mobile services.Trial spectrum has been given for a period of one month. This will be only 1/1000th of the actual 3G spectrum capability. Apart frm PSU majors, spectrum for carrying out 3G trials has been given to all those who have applied under the National Frequency Allocation Plan on the 2.1 GHz band. GSM players operate on 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz, while CDMA players operate on 800 MHz.
What is the pricing issue in India?
While Tatas have welcomed Trai's Rs 1,400-crore (Rs 14 billion) base price for a nationwide rollout of 3G services, the rest of the players find the price too exorbitant. Bharti-Airtel is disappointed with the pricing as they were expecting it to be Rs 300-400 crore (Rs 3-4 billion). The reserve price is a disincentive for telecom companies in India. Bharti has appealed to lower the prices specially for rural penetration. The Cellular Operators Association of India and the Association of Unified Service Providers of India are studying TRAI's recommendations and have not given their comments.However, Trai chairman Nripendra Misra has said that there is no reason to worry as players will not bid exorbitantly and derail the auction. Misra said telecom operators had matured from their experiences and global developments, and would bid sincerely. Where was 3G spectrum first introduced?Japan was the first country to introduce 3G on a large commercial scale. In 2005, about 40 per cent of subscribers used only 3G networks. It is expected that during 2006 the subscribers would move from 2G to 3G and upgrade to the next 3.5 G level. The success of 3G in Japan also shows that video telephony was the killer application for 3G networks. Downloading music was the biggest draw in 3G services.
In how many countries does 3G exist?
There are about 60 3G networks across 25 countries . In Asia, Europe and the USA, telecom firms use WCDMA technology. The WCDMA standard provides seamless global evolution from today's GSM with support of the worlds' largest mobile operators.WCDMA technology is built on open standards, wide ranging mobile multimedia possibility, and vast potential economies of scale with the support of around 100 terminal designs to operate 3G mobile networks.
3G services were introduced in Europe in 2003
Monday, September 29, 2008
This crisis has its roots in four interlinked trends. The first is the chronically low productivity of farmers in the poorest countries. The farmers have little means to pay for the high prices of good quality seeds, multi-nutrient fertilizers and modern irrigation system. The second is the misguided policy in the U.S. and Europe of subsidizing the diversion of food crops to produce biofuels like corn based ethanol. The third is the drastic climate change; while it is raining day and night in one part; many other regions are experiencing drought like conditions. Take for example the recent droughts in Australia and Europe, which cut the global production of grain in 2005 and 2006. The fourth is the growing global demand for food and feed grain brought by the surging populations and income. To put in short, the rising demand has little supply, with the poor taking the hardest blow. Brisk actions are required or else food riots will become a commonplace in the entire world as it is presently in countries like Egypt, Yemen, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines, and Senegal. Newspapers in Egypt are reporting that people have started to go for inferior commodities lacking in nutritional value; they are buying less and less meat/poultry/cheese and they are also cutting down on expenses for education and health expenses, etc. the country is experiencing many price-related protests. The world has not experienced anything quite like this before. In the face of rising food prices and spreading hunger, the social order is beginning to break down in some countries. In several provinces in Thailand, for instance, rustlers steal rice by harvesting fields during the night. In response, Thai villagers with distant fields have taken to guarding ripe rice fields with loaded shotguns
It is time that the U.S. and Europe should abandon their policies of subsidizing the conversion of food into biofuels. The U.S. government gives farmers a taxpayer-financed subsidy of 51¢ per gal. of ethanol to divert corn from the food and feed-grain supply. There may be a case for biofuels produced on lands that do not produce foods--tree crops (like palm oil), grasses and wood products--but there's no case for doling out subsidies to put the world's dinner into the gas tank. We urgently need to weather proof the agricultural activities. While we cannot stop the clouds from pouring, but a small measure like a farm pond- that collects rain water, can do wonders in a dry spell and turn a famine into a bountiful harvest. The world has already committed to establishing a Climate Adaptation Fund to help poor regions climate-proof vital economic activities such as food production and health care but has not yet acted upon the promise.
What is true for food will be true for energy, water and other increasingly scarce resources. We can combat these problems--as long as we act rapidly. New energy sources like solar thermal power and new energy-saving technologies like plug-in hybrid automobiles can be developed and mobilized within a few years. Environmentally sound fish-farming can relieve pressures on the oceans. The food crisis provides not only a warning but also an opportunity. We need to invest vastly more in sustainable development in order to achieve true global security and economic growth.
What we do know:
· Wheat prices are up 120%
· Rice prices have risen 75%
· Poor families spend up to 80% of their budget on food
· According to the World Bank, an estimated 100 million people have fallen into poverty in the last 2 years
· Prices are expected to stay high through 2015
· 21 of 36 countries in a food security crisis are in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the United Nations FAO
· West Africa, the Horn of Africa, and fragile states are especially vulnerable.
But what we need to know is that still there are places and people who waste food. A lot of food is wasted every day at our hostels, house and hotels. For every unfortunate who sleeps starving, there is his fortunate counter-part who just threw his supper because he did not find it tantalizing. It’s a request to everyone who reads this- kindly think twice, before you waste food, about the 3.5 million children and the families that die every year due to hunger and starvation. There are a few who lives to eat, a little more who eats to live but there are millions dying without eating.