Quote for the day!!!!

Life is a difficult game. You can win it only by retianing your birthright to be a person - Abdul Kalam

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Akshaya Patra-Feed The Need

It was a freezy morning. Having coped with the cold breeze in the air, I reached the mess at 8.45AM. I settled down in a chair with my usual set of friends for breakfast. As I was eagerly eating the steam filled idly and sambar in my plate, I was astonished to see a member of our set sitting idle without eating. His answer took me by surprise as he did not like idly for breakfast.

No wonder we hear so much about poverty and hunger, we still complain about the taste and quality of food available to us, rather than considering it a blessing for the food that has still been available to us. We cite all sorts of reasons in the world to skip a meal.

Have we ever thought about the millions of people in the world who do not have proper food even once during a day? An estimated 3.5million children below the age of five, die each year due to malnutrition.

Here is one side of the world, where people have enough money to take care of their personal needs, while on the other side there are people starving due to hunger. These people do not even have money to take care of their basic needs. A recent data suggests that the number of people living below $1.25per day in India has increased from 421million in 1981 to 456million in 2005.

In India, education is directly linked to hunger. Our country has a population of 70%in the rural areas which in itself shows great disparity. Most of these people are illiterate, as they do not attend school because their basic need of food isn’t satisfied. They are asked to work from their childhood as it is considered as an additional source of income to the family and they also get to eat the day’s meals. And this tradition still continues, with their children also involved in this kind of work.

In order to provide education to these children, the government introduced the mid-day meal scheme in schools. This led to the increase in children attending schools, as most of the families considered it a way to feed their children at least once during the day. This also solved the purpose of education, as these children also started learning.

One of the basic reason for the NGO’s to evolve, is to help these needy people. Their primary motto is to help people in need in terms of food, clothing and shelter.

Akshaya Patra is one such foundation, which has been founded to help those who are suffering from hunger. The name-Akshaya Patra is derived from Mahabharata, one of the great epics of India. Akshaya Patra was a vessel given to Yudhishtira by Surya and the vessel had the powers to produce inexhaustible supply of food each day. This foundation started with the vision that “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger”.

The first mid-day meal program was launched in Bangalore, where the foundation served 1500 children across 5 schools. With an increasing support base, this foundation is reaching out to 12 lakh children every day. Currently, they are working on a mission of reaching 50 lakh children by 2020.

With one of the most basic and important needs of humans being taken care of, there is a substantial increase in the number of children attending school.

Even with all these organizations working day in and out to reach the needy, there is still a big gap to be filled, as money has become a big hindrance to achieve the goal.

To be a part of this great cause, you can donate via:

To know more about Akshaya Patra, log on to: http://www.akshayapatra.org/

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

CommonWealth Games-Is it a blessing in disguise or Curse?

It has become a routine in our life to talk about the highly hyped COMMONWEALTH GAMES. Be it TV or Newspaper or the friendly neighbourhood or colleagues at work place, Not even a day pass on without speaking about CWG. Have we ever wondered why CWG is much talked about? Or to say much hyped about? Or Is the focus on CWG due to India’s dismal performance in Cricket.

Let’s date back to a day before the Children’s day in 2003. In Jamaica, two strong contenders (Canada and India) were at loggerheads for hosting a prestigious event named CWG in 2010. A tense first round of voting got over without reaching a consensus. Just moments before the second round of voting, India made an offer of US$ 100,000 to each of the participating nations in addition to the free offers of air tickets, boarding, lodging and transport. This offer strongly tilted the voting in favour of India and India won the bid by a margin of 46 to 22 votes. The bid document estimated a cost of Rs. 1,899 crore for hosting the event.

It was one of the most cherished moments as India got the honour of hosting the game for the second time in Asia after Malaysia, which hosted the game in 1998. Back in India, celebrations erupted across the length and breadth of the country to admire the historic achievement. Preparations for CWG started in full flow, with Suresh Kalmadi being named as the Chairman of the Organising committee.

The game is supposed to bring prosperity to the Indian economy in the form of direct and indirect labour, Infrastructure development and bring new tourists to India. The work ranges from building of world class stadiums, improved infrastructure of roads, Metros, Airport and to build a CWG Village for the players to stay. Periodic audits were conducted to make sure that the deadline leading to CWG was achieved.

A year back, with the entire work going in full flow, a metal construction bridge (build as part of the Delhi Metro) collapsed. The situation further aggravated with the toppling of a crane, which had been put there to clean the debris. The well-known and respected Mr. E Sreedharan, head of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), offered resignation, even though none of the political parties had sought his resignation. Known for his honesty and integrity, he was allowed to continue as the head of DMRC and he assured to complete the given work in time.

Exactly two months leading to the games, major scam broke out in form of medical equipments procurement for the games. With other major controversies popping out, the government stepped in to assure the World, that the games will go on schedule with World class facilities provided to the visiting nations.

With 13 more days to go for the games, complaints have been raised on the kind of accommodation being provided at the CWG village for the sportsperson. The countries, New Zealand, Canada, Scotland and Ireland have shown dissatisfaction on the kind of accommodation being provided. It is said that the facilities provided to the sportsperson is not up to the standard of International level and if not addressed immediately, an alternate accommodation need to be provided to them either at the Ashoka or Janpath. This means the cost of hosting the events still goes up.

The Organizing committee has added worries with the possible dengue outbreak, shooting incident at the Jama Masjid, flood like situation due to the monsoons. Adding on to these worries is the bridge collapse near the main venue-Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium. These latest incidents have made the visiting nations to double-think their decision of participating in the CWG. Also, famous stars have started pulling out of the prestigious CWG, with World Discus champ Dani Samuels of Australia, being the latest in the list.

Are we forgetting the reason for winning the bid for CWG?

Isn’t this event supposed to bring pride to this developing nation and to prove our strengths to the World?

With the kind of scandals and problems erupting out, Will we be able to host a successful tournament?

Will we be able to improve the conditions in the next 11 days, which we were not able to do in the past six years?

Will we ever be able to go for any future bidding for major events?

Are we prepared to accept the World mocking at us in case of a poor show?

There is only one answer to all the above questions. Work day in and out to improve
the facilities before the blessing turns into a curse.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Oil Wastage: From huge organizations to common man

In this post, I would like to compare the oil spills that happened in the recent times and the oil wastage that is happening in our day to day life.

The date was April 20. It was just another day for BP situated in the Gulf of Mexico near Mississippi river delta. All of a sudden, there was a leakage of Methane gas during drilling, leading to the ignition and explosion of the site. The worse followed by, as it took nearly 3months (on 15th July) to control the Oil spill. Enough of destruction has been done in the meantime, as the oil spill covered atleast 2500 square miles, threatening the environmental life in the coast of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

The directly affected includes those who were dependent on fishing, hotels and beach resorts. It has indirectly affected the sea food lovers, reducing the supply of the sea food, which eventually lead to the increase in the price of sea food. Not only were the humans affected, but it includes the marine animals, birds (mainly pelican), flora and fauna too. This incident is popularly known as the BP Oil Spill or Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. BP was made responsible for the event and the US government has levied fine for causing such an environmental disaster. Also, BP replaced Tony Hayward with Robert Dudley as the CEO.

Now let us look into the second incident which happened nearly four months after BP oil spill. On August7, MSC Chitra collided with MV Khalijia III. Technical and navigational error that occurred in one of these ships was cited as the reason. This incident occurred at a distance of five nautical miles from the port. It is believed that 500 tonnes of oil has been spilled into the sea till now.

The affected party includes birds, marine animals and the people dependent on sea. As the incident occurred near the Mumbai harbour, movement of ships were also affected. This incident is popularly called as Mumbai Oil Spill. Work is in full flow to clear the mess created by this collision. Case has been registered against the Captains and the crew members of both the ships under the sections of Environment Act and IPC.

Even though the damage caused takes months to repair or sometimes irreparable, the above two incidents proves the fact that penalty would be paid, in case of damage to environment. These incidents happened unknowingly due to human errors. But, there are environmental destruction being caused by us, which remains unnoticed and unanswered.

Whom we are talking about and what we are talking about?

It’s none other than us and the usage of vehicles (Two wheeler, auto, four wheelers, heavy vehicles, and so on) in our day to day life. ‘US’ can be anyone-it can be the person writing this post or the person reading the post or any common man who uses vehicles. We use oil (petrol and diesel in this case) to run the vehicles.

How many of us have thought about the petrol or diesel consumption due to rash driving?

How many of us have cared to switch off the vehicles in the Traffic signals or have thought about changing the gear to neutral in traffic signal?

How many of us have thought about car pooling, which leads to saving petrol or diesel thereby reducing the pollution caused?

Has the government ever realised to provide a proper infrastructure for roads, which will reduce the consumption of petrol and diesel?

What does a common man say, when he/she is being pointed out for the above? They just point fingers at others to justify his/her mistakes and this blame game continues. Even though it is said that this oil wastage happens on a small scale, isn’t the summation of such small scale leads to mass wastage of petrol and diesel? When are we going to realise these mistakes and correct them?

Just because the BP oil spill and Mumbai oil spill happened on a large scale, it came into criticism. Why aren’t the common men not criticized for the mistake being done? Why aren’t the common men fined for wasting a non-renewable resource?

It is time for us to react and to save nature from falling as a prey to the environmental hazards. Better late than never. Let us follow the rules and understand the ways of petrol and diesel consumption, and do our part as a human being.

I would like to conclude this post with a quote by Walter Lippmann: “We all should make the World a better place to live in, because we all live in it”

Disclaimer: By common man, I referred to the people who fall into the category of persons mentioned above.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Oh!!!How to cook????

This story dates back to four years. After joining TCS, I completed my ILP(Initial Learning Programme) in Pune and got posted at Chennai. I reached Chennai on 27-Oct-2006 (got enough memory to remember this date). The city welcomed me with heavy rains (Chennai cried on the thought of karthik settling in this city). After a week's search for house, I got settled in a 2BHK with four (BN, KC, Manju, Piyush) of my colleagues in Thiruvanmiyur.

Like every house, this too got a kitchen, where we used to keep the water cans. The moment our throat becomes dry, we enter kitchen for water; else, this room remained untouched. We used to eat in hotels. We used to eat dinner together and that too in 5Star hotel (neither 5star nor the name of the hotel; these are road-side stalls). Our mantra (most of the time, its my mantra) for dinner was, "Spend Rs.15/- in 5Star and eat belly full".

Nearly two months passed by. One fine day, BN's(Sandeep BN) parents turned up. I came back from office at 7PM and was shocked to see our house (the kitchen :D). The kitchen has been set up, with a mini electric stove and the utensils brought by his parents. Even more happy I felt, when I saw the vessel in the electric stove. Wonder what it was!!!Sambar-my favourite. Persons who have seen me for the past four years know the importance of Sambar to me. "Don't drink Sambar"-this is the comment thrown upon me everytime.

I interacted with BN's mother and tried to help her in the kitchen, as I know cooking(Don't be astonished). We had a happy meal on that day and it was nice till BN's parents stayed with us, as we got home-made food (hope the bachelors who eat outside knows the importance of home-made food).

Now starts the real story!!!

BN's parents left and the same old story continued(Kalutha ketta kutti chuvaru). We used the kitchen, only to drink water. I was the only cook, who didn't had time to cook (Don't think that I worked too much. Used to be on call for most of the time). My roomies didn't even know to keep hot water using the electric stove (roomies-don't feel bad on the secret being revealed). I used to promise them that I would prepare food for them someday(some day never turned up).

One sunny day(oops!!Chennai is always sunny), I started to office as usual, compeleted my work(my teammates knew about the work I did during my initial tenure) and started back to home around 8PM. While passing through a general store, Maggi(not a girl) attracted me.

'Maggi in 2mins', was the first thought that came to my mind. I bought a Rs.10/- Maggi(Flavour-Masala) packet. On reaching home, I entered kitchen directly and kept a vessel, partly filled with water for boiling in the electric stove. In the meantime, I changed dress.

On returning to Kitchen, I emptied the masala flavour in the boiling water and added Maggi noodles. I waited for more than 2mins(electrice stove takes time to cook :D). The noodles got cooked, and I emptied them into a plate. I kept the vessel for washing and moved to bedroom with the plate.

Piyush was shocked to see me, holding a plate with some cooked stuff. And the first question that amazed me was, "Oh!!!You know to cook Maggi???" and it was followed by "How to cook Maggi?". I laughed a bit. Then I explained him about the process to cook maggi(What a tough process; Boil water and put maggi in that). He was satisfied with my answer, but the most surprising question came next.
Piyush: So, tell me PK, Where did you learn to cook Maggi?
After a flurry of explanation, Piyush was happy.

Thereafter, things changed.

As Necessity is the mother of all invention, my roomies learnt to cook. I have tasted the food cooked by Kc. This fella cooks really well. Hope he thanks his guru(I think it's me)

Catch ya folks in the next post:)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Worst but memorable incident (oops, its accident)

It has been a week since I wrote my first post. What is very special about 17-July, which made me to write my second post. I am celebrating the first anniversary of an important occasion. Last year, on the same day, I met with a bike accident. One of the most rememberable incidents in my life and am going to narrate the incident in this post.

The sequence of events started from 16-July-2009. The sixth part of Harry Potter (Half-Blood Prince) got released on this day. As we (Satyakiran-roomie & I)are great fans of Harry, we booked tickets for the show in Satyam at 10.30PM (First day, First show). My roomie was hosting a dinner party on that day. Hence, I started from office at 5PM. We went to the restaurant (Flamingo-Velachery; People in Chennai must have heard about this restaurant) at 7.30PM. At 10PM, we came out of the restaurant after having completely stuffed our stomach.

Considering the distance to be covered to reach theatre and the traffic, we realized that we need to race with time to reach the show on time. He was my pillion rider and we both enjoyed the breeze(Not on every occasion, we have a breeze hitting upon us in Chennai) while going in the bike (Apache RTR 160 FI).

The fastest part of the ride was, when I clocked 4mins while riding in the Mount Road (Anna Salai) from Nandanam to traffic signal at Satyam (nearly 5 signals in between these two signals). People in Chennai would realize as how fast this ride was:) We reached the show exactly when the minute hand touched 6, while the hour hand was between 10 and 11.

Like every Harry Potter fan, I enjoyed the movie very much. It was a pleasant ride on our way back home and I slept by 2.30AM. I woke up at 4.00AM to receive my friends mom (Ansar's mom; she is a best friend of mine). I accompanied her till the her destination and came back to room by 8AM. I slept by 9AM and woke up at 10.30AM to meet a friend of Santhosh (Santhosh is one of my best friends. Currently, hiding in US:D and not showing his face at all). Even though, I was feeling very much sleepy, still I woke up, took bath (something which I hate at times:D) and reached Adyar by 12Noon to meet his friend.

I met Avinash (Santhosh's friend) and bought a T-shirt to present to Santhosh. All those formalities got over by 1PM. Now starts the real story...

I was feeling very sleepy and very much hungry too as I didn't eat breakfast. After thinking a lot, I felt it is good to go to office, which is 2kms from Adyar. Main reason being, I can go to Virudhunagar (not the name of the place, its the name of restaurant) located in the food court and taste Chicken briyani over there. Antha chicken briyanikku asa pattu than, accident nadandichu (those who don't understand Tamil, plz bear with me)

I took the bridge over Buckingham Canal (not in England, its in Chennai) from Adyar to Rajiv Gandhi (R.G.) Road. Successfully reached the side lane of R.G. Road. I was driving towards the Tidel Park Signal at a speed of 65KMPH (koncham over kolluppu than). While I was about to enter the Rajiv Gandhi Road from the side lane, I just closed my eyes for a moment(lack of sleep took a toll on me) and opened. The very next moment, I realized that I am going to meet with an accident.

Inorder to prevent a collision with another bike coming in the R.G. Road, I applied brakes (Applied the front brakes at a speed of 65KMPH), the worst thing I did. Collision averted successfully!!! In a fraction of seconds, I was thrown away from the bike (flew from the bike). I slided for a distance of almost 70ft in the road, with my bike sliding behind me. Luckily, the bike hit the side ramp and stopped.

What were the injuries??The jeans pant in the right knee was torn off, and blood was oozing out. Blood was oozing out in the right hip, with my white T-shirt slowly turning into red in this part. The front side of the white T-shirt looked black in colour (As the T-shirt cleaned the road, while I was sliding). Right palm was full of scratches, as 70% of the palm was covered with blood. Then, minor injuries (I say minor, because the intensity was less compared to the right side of the body) on the left elbow and knee.

What was the first thing I did after getting up from the road. I slid my hands in the pant pocket, took my mobile out and checked whether it was working fine or not:) (The mobile costed Rs. 13,000/- & my mind was engrossed in this electronic instrument rather than my body, at that instant). Even in that tension, I smiled happily as my mobile was not damaged (itha than, ranagalathulayum gilugiluppunu solrathu). I turned back to have a look at my bike. Badly damaged:(

The accident happened exactly opposite to Tidel Park. I phoned one of my colleague cum friend (Arvind). "You look like a beggar in this costume", by Arvind(He commented on seeing me). Few vehicles passing that way stopped and offered help.

Then, I went to hospital, TVS Showroom (to leave my bike for repair) and reached home.

Even though it was a worst day, I don't want to forget the accident. It taught me few lessons, which I have implemented after my recovery.
1) Never ride a bike when you feel sleepy.
2) Don't overspeed
It took me three weeks to recover(recovered 80% by 7-Aug) from the injuries.

I think that I have narrated too much about this accident. Chal, c ya!!!

Meet you all in the next post:)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My First bike ride in the hills

This is my first blog and am completely clueless as how should I start this blog. Here goes the story!!!

I love to ride bikes and used to ride APACHE (RTR 160 FI), when I was in Chennai. Its been a month, since my college started and I did not get a chance to ride a bike during this duration. My college is situated on the top of the hill (the area is named as LAVALE). By God's grace, I got the chance on 10-7-2010 (Saturday).

My classes got over by 2.30PM, and I went to play Badminton in the evening by 4PM. The game got over by 5PM, and four of us planned to go to city by bike. One bike and four persons (What a perfect plan!!!!). Now, we are on the lookout for a second bike and then I remembered my roomie (Nice that he is down with a fever (sorry Siddharth), due to which I used his bike).

Our planned start was at 6.30PM and we did started in time (Time management, as we are managers!!!!). What next??A happy ride as everyone would think!!

Of course, the onlookers felt happy, as I was moving the bike rather than riding. Even a child would say that these vehicles need Petrol to run. Very less amount of petrol in bike (cursed my roomie then). We were much dependent on the other bike as their job was to go ahead of us, to get petrol for our bike. I moved the bike till the start of the slope. My pillion rider (Raunak) was as happy as me on seeing the slope. Then I kept the gear control in 'Neutral' and we descended down the slope.

It was a cloudy evening and with cool breeze hitting upon us, our bike slowly descended down the slope and gained momentum. Luckily the brakes worked:) and I was in full control of the bike in each curve.

It was my first ever bike ride in a hilly area and what a way to start, by using a bike which has got less petrol in it:) On reaching the end of the hill, we covered nearly 2kms, before our fellow biker found a shop which provides Petrol. My mouth opened into a broad smile on seeing it. We continued the journey and had a nice time in the city. Happy ending:)