Saturday, August 9, 2008

The big Mac's ... Mr McCall and Mr MacMillan

Thanx to the Mac duo, for you gave us the two wheeled miracle; THE BICYCLE..........The age old adage which says; "All that goes comes back.....Evolution happens in a full cycle"; is turning true yet again!!!The rising crude prices, spiralling inflation the world over, decreasing purchasing power, scarce resources, dwindling foodstocks et al have forced earthlings to reconsider their spending priorities. Suddenly 5 star conferences, 7 course dinners, sporty looking SUV's and glitzy get-togethers seem to be a worthless exercise, a wasteful expenditure, an avoidable cause.....In the midst of all this flux, the humble bicycle is back in focus. 109 years after Henry Ford sparked the Detroit auto boom and 104 years after Rolls and Henry Royce met in the Madison hotel in New York, the world suddenly wants to forget them in a jiffy. The 150 dollar mark might not have been breached in oil futures, but it has definitely forced the GGA's (Gasoline Guzzling Americans) to switch their 4 wheeled monsters with the 2 wheeled bicycles. China has built dedicated lanes for cyclists and the West is following suit. Is it then a wonder that India which accounts for the 2nd largest number of bicycles in the world follows suit? Bhubaneshwar is probably the first Indian city to have built cycle lanes in its showpiece business district: Chandrashekharpur (how many of you knew dat now?). Bangalore, Chandigarh, Delhi, Ahmedabad and more are following suit. So why does Machomaverick suddenly pop up with a wierd bicycle theory???? The answers lie in the the metamorphosis taking place....slowly but surely. With our roads choked with traffic jams half a mile long, our air polluted with 4 times the permissible limits of dioxide gases and our fuel stations showing new increased gasoline rates every month, people have started considering the services of the bicycle again. Infosys has established facilities for employees who pedal to work; last heard a group of 119; in its Electronics City campus. Make no mistake, those pedalling to work include Project Managers and Team Leads. That the BBMP has identified corridors in which Bicycle lanes would be introduced comes as a welcome change.Bicycling has been associated with Mountain Cycling and offroading. Believe me bicycling in the city seems as exciting a proposition as any other adventure sport. It does have greater probability of accidents or health hazards, but where there is no hazard, there is no adventure.... I was recently in Jalori, Himachal on a mountain cycling trip. I met the kinda guys you nomads ld love to hang out with. One of them has terkked in China and regularly does rock climbing near Mumbai....up a waterfall! There was one other guy who has a catering business and works for 3 months during the marriage season and cycles the rest of the 9. Even as i write this extract, he must probably be on his way to Leh for yet another cycling trip. But the dude has serious plans in place....of cycling from Delhi to Hyderabad!!! Bicycling in the city offers the kind of exercise people would otherwise miss. It offers you great returns in terms of money as a good city bike costs anything between 5000 - 10000 bucks, a cost you can recover in months if you dump your car for daily transport. What's more in a city like Bangalore where you can get stuck at a traffic signal for a very long time, you can actually save on some time and road rage by manoeuvring your bicycle home.....Bicycle tourism is an unknown concept in our country. Western European countries (Italy especially) have such concepts in place for local sightseeing within city limits. That of course would require impeccable traffic management to avoid accidents. Hopefully one day, I would get to bicycle with some of the nomads in here. Wish the day dawns sometime soon....Ciao

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Gadha on "Namma Gaddi"

KARNATAKA: The land that enjoyed incomparable prosperity under great dynasties like the Chalukyas of Badami, the Hoysalas of Halebid, the Vijayanagara rulers of Hampi and the Wodeyars of Mysore is today reeling under its own success as the IT and BT hub of India. The upcoming elections are a poignant reminder of the fact that political parties are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring their reign on the "GADDI" (Only the other day a friend was muttering so;"Gadhas on Gaddis"). More so in a state which houses the largest silicon hubs in the country. The lesson to be learnt by common man and industry alike is the inefficacy of coalition governments; courtesy the ruling coalitions of Karnataka over the last 4 years. It waits to be seen though, the outcome of the present elections in Karnataka which could definitely act as a prelude to the general election in the country next year. Here is a humble attempt at highlighting the efforts made the various political parties and their chances of making a mark in the Karnataka assembly elections.
Surprise Factor
: Has been surprisingly suppressed over the issue of the jinxed one week rule after JD (S) withdrew support when it could have used it more actively to flay JD(S).
Congress: Has been actually able to regroup by recalling S.M.Krishna at a short notice.
JD (S): Has the nerve to even campaign on a mass scale after all the opportunistic drama staged over the last year!
BSP: Has lived up to its claims of becoming a national party by 2010 by entering the fray in Karnataka.
SP: No surprises here, like the HUTCH/Vodafone tag line, they have diligently followed the BSP to Karnataka.

Pre election mantra
BJP: Definitely trying to emulate the Gujarat model by promising overall and sustainable development. The have been actively campaigning all over in a bid to storm into power for the first time in a South Indian state all by themselves. A 67 page election manifesto.
Congress: Actively denouncing both BJP and JD(S) over the drama in 2007. Promises made to all sections of the society, especially the minorities. Freebies promised right from free power to total employment and what not. A 54 page election manifesto.
JD(S): The same old cliched but unfulfilled promises made over the last four years. They have just converted the verses from active to passive voice and are "voicing" it all over again. The real shockers being: Development of Bangalore on the lines of Shanghai and a 16 page election manifesto!!!
BSP: Promised reservations on lines of caste, creed, sex,age, religion, gender (including the third one), demography, geography, history, topography, species, economic status, marital status, fertility rate ...............
SP: They have the simplest mantra: "Keep quiet and let the others fight. Why waste precious money when you are in the fray only for the sake of being there).

Thumbs Up
BJP: Yeddy's image of a relatively better administrator (compared to JD (S) peers) might help. The fact that the party won assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh recently.
Congress: S.M.Krishna's return from exile (In Maharashtra). The personal interest being taken by the "Yuvraj": General Secratary Rahul Gandhi.
JD(S): People might remember them as an eco friendly party since they have saved tonnes of paper by presenting a 16 page manifesto, at least 40 pages lesser than their nearest rival! On a serious note, the pure Kannadiga party.
BSP: For having done their research on the dalit groups in the state and their economic and social status.
SP: For having kept their mouths shut.

Thumbs Down
BJP: As everywhere else, they lack the support of the minorities. The infighting between Ananth Kumar and Yeddy might tilt the balance away from them
Congress: Too many power centres within the state unit. Mallikarjuna Kharge, S.M.Krishna, Dharam Singh....Their failure at forging a sustainable coalition at the centre certainly doesn't help in the land of coalitions.
JD (S): Gowdas and their indecisiveness.
BSP: Mayawati's efforts at dividing the state on the basis of caste. Lack of a strong support base, even after all the efforts that have gone in over the last 6 months.
SP: Definitely the most insignificant player of the lot. Would find it difficult to exercise influence even in the possibility of a coalition government.

Claim to Fame
(Notable way of advertising themselves)
BJP: Comparisons of prices and terrorist attacks during the tenures of NDA and UPA through print and mass media and by distributing pamphlets.
Congress: Active campaigning in remote areas by General Secratary Rahul Gandhi.
JD (S): Weepathons by the Gowdas. They start weeping during rallies at the drop of a hat.
BSP: Drawing blue outlines of elephants (party symbol) on every single pillar of the upcoming Hosur Road flyover.
SP: Entering the fray only because BSP is doing so (Must have probably mistook Karnataka for UP).

Hilarious Snippet
: Narendra Modi claiming that Yeddy will turn Karnataka into another Gujarat and make it a power surplus state at a time when power projects like Nagarjuna in Udupi have been stalled for years due to opposition by locals.
Congress: Mallikarjuna Kharge slamming the Gowdas for their weepathons and weeping himself at a public rally.
JD (S) (This definitely takes the cake): Kumaraswamy attributing his heart problem to stale food offered to him during his overnight "village stay" as a Chief Minister and bursting into tears once again.
BSP: Claims by Mayawati that no government in Karnataka can be formed without her support.
SP: The fact that they have released a poll manifesto....They did?

In the spirit of democracy, let all the voters on the electoral rolls vote for the prosperity of the state and let the best man (party/coalition)win the race to Vidhan Souda. Cheers!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

RPS the wierdo???????????

Hey folks!!!

Exactly after a hundred days of a self imposed exile (remember the last blog on democracy?) I finally made it a point to get back with or without a bang. So be it. I was wondering what to write about. A number of topics came to my mind; the Tibetean cause, the importance of failure, Kannada Rakshana Vedike (Keep watching this space for more on these soon). But I have finally realized the importance of one thing. That being, ME.... So I thought, why not write something about myself. I may not be an adonis (or am I), I might not be earning a seven figure salary (hell I am not), I might not be having a steady girl in my life (for that matter no unsteady one either). So what do I "brag" bout myself???? Challenging eh!

I have been suffering from insomnia lately (lately=7 months) and frankly, I am finding difficulty trying to get rid of it. Tried working out (as in excercising dumbo) and earned a bonus....backache. Tried reading every night and ended up reading too much of Paolo Cohelo's work."Alchemist" "By the banks of river piedra I sat and wept" "Zahir", I ve finished them all (Bravo!!!!!). They did inspire me, but in another way. Like I did last year, I am undertaking a trip to the Himalayas this summer for eight days and seven nights (I was in Bhutan last year). A trekking and mountain cycling trip to Jalori Pass in Himachal at 12000 ft. An aunt was shocked learning this and chided me for going to some godforsaken place instead of being home. Now unlike the luckier "Blog Junta" no one in my family is interested in finding me a bride. The median age of marriage in my family is 33 (or is it the mean?). THIRTY THREE. Given the fact I celebrated my Silver Jubilee a few months ago, a frightening proposition I would say. So getting back to the point, I visit wierd places instead of going home for my holidays.....

Shifting from geography to history, it is no secret that I love history. In fact, during my TAPMI interview, a certain "nutty professor" asked me what my "passionate aim" in life is? And lo, I blurted out beaming :H--I--S--T--O--R--Y (should have thought better). He shot back "Why the hell are you here then". I started explaining the interrelationship between history and management. "Sir you know the first book on management? It was the Arthashastra by Chanakya which was commended even by Megasthenes in the 3rd century BC......". Well what happened after that during my stint in TAPMI is history as well.

Getting back to the present, I work in the 3rd largest 2 wheeler company in India (We like projecting ourselves that way duh duh). Work's fine as long as you work within rules and SOP's; the acronym for Standard Operating Procedures. Hell manufacturing firms need them. Why, we have an SOP card neatly hung in our restrooms as well outlining important guidelines to be followed (been only to the "HE" section though). All this has made me wonder whether it is in my destiny to be rule bound professionally and a maverick personally at a time when the mantra being followed is exactly the opposite. See, turns out I am a maverick in this regard as well. The URL of my blog highlights me perfectly. Machomaverick... (Still a while away to be a perfect macho). Seems the characteristic runs in my blood, what with the number of times I have shifted my residence (and the gym) in Bengalooru in the last 12 months, five times to be exact (am shifting once again this month).

Well, am feeling much better mates. The lethargy on my part in updating my blogs ensures I receive 3 comments in as many months for a masterpiece of a post (read the last one and you will agree). I have thus decided, a blog a week, and applause is all I seek.... Sorry for the PJ guys. The coming weeks will see heightened activity on my part (blogs, maverick actions et al), requesting everybody (well wishers or otherwise) to assist me in this endeavour.