Live and Express

Live and Express


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The Water Problem (Episode 2)

Recently I wrote about the looming water problem in India. At that time, all I had was questions on the enormity of the issue, and how we can tackle this. I made a bucket list of all the stuff that I can do, and I quickly followed up with a few people I knew on social media and otherwise, and the results were a bit comforting, although the efforts are long-drawn projects that need constant follow-ups.

I was deeply heartened to see that many people are actually working on the water already at various levels – creating awareness, conducting sessions, executing implementations to effectively use groundwater and rainwater, and coming up with innovations that can made radical improvements to the abilities to store water.

Two of such groups that I came across were The Rainwater Club and Bhungroo. Both of them are well-known in the water circles for their work. The Rainwater Club is doing their work mostly in Karnataka and Tamilnadu, while Bhungroo has projects all over the world, but head-quartered in Gujarat.

The Rainwater Club has modules to conduct trainings and sessions in the schools, so that awareness can be created among the children. It would be great to partner with them to conduct sessions at your schools, especially if you are a group of institutions or a chain of schools.

Bhungroo is all about implementation, you can reach out to them to implement their solution in the usually drought-hit areas of your state, to see if their solution would help the situation.

These two were great starts for me to do something about the areas that I know of, while I am talking to someone in Kerala to see if there’s a potential solution for their unique issue of land level being the same as sea level along the coast, and hence water cannot be stored underground!  I am also planning to be in touch with a unique project in south India, to partner with them for projects and training on water for school children.

I will keep you posted!

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International Yoga Day 2018

Warm wishes to all of you on the International Yoga Day 2018 !

Events are organized as reminders for something that need be remembered on a daily basis, probably every moment. The days that are celebrated every year are also reminders for us to incorporate Yoga into our daily life, so that we are in tune with the Universe.

I once asked a spiritual person why Yoga only for human beings. Animals don’t do Yoga, other creatures don’t do.  The answer was that only humans need to work to be in tune with what they aspire to be. With Yoga, you could be pretty much anything you want to be by constant striving. With other creatures such possibility does not exist, and they are fixed to be in the way they are, and there are no opportunities for them to change or transform.  But for humans, its possible. So, we should make use of the opportunity!

Somebody died in our family recently, and that made a distinct change in my attitude in being regular towards Yoga. When that person died, we could clearly see for ourselves that they are not their body (anymore), and we don’t know what happened to that person who kept walking, talking and doing so many stuff daily. It was shown very clearly to me that the life given to us is to find out that we are not just the body and the mind. There should be something more.

Having said that, being in a human body is absolutely important while we live, not just for the compassion that humans show unlike many other creatures, but also for the opportunity to do stuff that others can’t. One fever showed me what kind of dances I had to do with my body to make it okay; body is such a complicated system. So, it needs be maintained properly, and luckily the Yoga system that’s currently offered by many groups, is not that complicated at all – simple practices for great benefits.

As many success coaches say, regular regimes are important. Sticking to them as far as possible is important. So, if we care for our body, our breath, flexibility, agility, liveliness and all the goodies, it’s important to do Yoga daily. And a diet that won’t strain the body but make it malleable, strong and vibrant.

Our life expectancies have increased – people live till 90s very easily, thanks to the advances in medical sciences. It’s important that we be hale and healthy while we live for such long periods of time. It would be cruel to see our body suffer because of non-flexibility while it is still maintained by medicines. Thus it is important to do Yoga daily irrespective of the age.

Thanks for listening. Have a wonderful International Yoga Day, doing Yoga, today and every day!

 

 


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The Water Problem!

I was terribly shocked when on a fine morning this week, I saw the report from NITI Aayog about the impending water problem across India. In summary, it said that many states will run out of ground water by 2030.

This is very serious, and even more serious is the fact that around 30 cities in India will run out of water by 2020 (yes, you read that right; 2 years from now!).

It’s not like ‘Should I care? What can I do?’  It is more like ‘I got to do a thousand things that I can.’

Are you listening?

Alright, so here’s what I did. I picked up a sheet of paper and wrote down all the stuff that I can do. I am giving this here to be a starter or an inspiration for you to think of things that would work and make a difference:

1. Contact Indian organisations that are working in the field of primary and secondary education, as well as Indian organisations that work on public education, and make them create modules and syllabus that can be delivered to students and general public so that they are aware of how important water is and create awareness about the following topics:

  • Ground water restoration
  • Irrigation management
  • On-farm water use
  • Drinking water supply
  • Devising water policies

2. Strengthening the ways of predicting rains, such that general public can make arrangements to tap rain-water in whatever infrastructure they have wherever they live.

3. Try working with aerial experts to see if any additional data can be gleaned for point no. 2.

4. Creating awareness in colleges, so that the outgoing students can create products and software surrounding the issue. Bonus point: it creates jobs

5. Influencing the governments for implementation policies.

6. Contact on-the-ground organisations in various states to work on implementations in their states.

7. Work with organisations that already have a lot of reachability in remote areas (for example, population control organisations), and convince them to create awareness and educate their audiences.

What ideas do you have?  Feel free to rack your brains – because it’s you and your children who are also going to affected by this. The usual Indian apathy won’t help!

Thanks for listening.

 

 


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The undistracted time!

Recently I was having concentration problems. Unable to focus, unable to get anything done, too much to crunch…I was questioning myself ‘What’s going on! Where’s the guy who focuses on one thing at a time and does a great job?’

I guess everybody these days are going through this because of (1) options, (2) exposure, (3) information and (4) social media. In one of my earlier blogs, I wrote about how to handle information overload from social media by using streams facility offered by social media management tools.

This is really a very ‘disruptive’ society (no pun intended) that we live in, with loads to learn, and keep ourselves updated. One thing I figured is that there are multiple players in the same product space trying to compete to get your attention and get you to buy their product, and in that process, confuse you totally that you become numb and won’t take any action.

This trend has psychological effects too. I wrote about the effect of endless browsing in the social media platforms before. These kind of browsing makes you just depressed. Now researchers are asking not to just browse, and more specifically NOT to multitask, and focus on a single task at a time! I am just reminded about the number of browser tags that have open in my browser!

The issue has become so serious that there have been books written of late on how to stay focused! One of such books, whose Amazon summary I really liked is ‘Deep work’ by Cal Newport. I think this book nails the issue, and probably provides the apt solutions for handling the issue.  I just came across the book, when I was looking for books for success!

Well, that’s it for now. I hope the information is helpful to you. Let’s look forward for productive times and lots of success!

 


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The Bengaluru-Coimbatore Uday Express (Train no. 22665)

On June 10th, Indian Railways has introduced the Bengularu-Coimbatore Uday Express, which starts at around 2:15 PM in Bengaluru, and reaches Coimbatore at 9 pm. This is a double-decker AC coaches train, with a highly equipped WAP 7i electric engine, that takes the Tiruppatur route to reach Salem. The train no. is 22665.

There has been a lot of excitement among the railways community because they consider it as an ‘advanced’ train, may be because of the fact that it is fitted with a 7i engine, and has AC coaches.

To me, as a passenger, the double-decker AC coach is a disappointment as it is too cramped, and the leg space is too little. I have experienced this with the Bangalore-Chennai double-decker. Also, the air-conditioning is too unfriendly, and it gets really cold. One won’t be able to sit in the coach for more than 4 hours. Thus, these AC coaches are suitable for travel only upto 4 hours while sitting, say from Bangalore to Salem.

The travel time between Bangalore and Coimbatore is usually 6.5 hours, and anything above 6 hours is not suitable for a sitting train, and should be made as a sleeper train. But, the Uday express, as of now, takes 7 hours to reach Coimbatore, so it would be very inconvenient for the passengers. The train reaches Tiruppur at 7:40 PM, but it then reaches Coimbatore only at 9:00 PM, which is 1 hour and 20 minutes in between, but the usual express train travel between Tiruppur and Coimbatore is only 40 minutes. When asked about this, they say that the section between Tiruppur and Coimbatore is too crowded at that time, so the train might stop in some loops to let the other trains pass.

This is a very inefficient usage of the highly capable 7i engine – to stop in loops for around 40 minutes. Also, the passengers inside the train would be anxious to reach Coimbatore, having crossed Tiruppur, but they have to wait for another 40 minutes in signals!

I would suggest that the Railways relook at the itinerary and reduce the travel time. Probably the train can be made as non-stop, or only with one stop (say, Salem), and given very high priority over other trains, so that it does not stop in any loops or signals. This will make an efficient use of the high-power engine.

There is significant distance between Bangalore and Coimbatore (around 418 kms), and it is not suitable for a sitting train. What is required between Bangalore and Coimbatore are two more sleeper trains. Kanyakumari Island express reaches Coimbatore at an unholy hour of 3:15 AM. Mumbai Kurla – Coimbatore express is always late to reach Bangalore and unreliable. Thus, two more sleeper trains that start around 10 PM and 10:30 PM are required from Bangalore.

It’s great to have the latest technology engine and AC coaches, but if the passengers are not satisfied with the travel time and the comfort of the coach, it would be a waste.

We will have to wait and see the popularity of Uday express. Currently around 880 seats are being offered in this train, and we will watch how much of them get filled every day.

As such, if there is another option like taking a Airavat bus from Bangalore, one would prefer that, rather than taking this train.

Will the Railways take notice and take relevant steps?


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On social media and channelizing the minds

Why social media for me :

It was one of those strenuous days in 2017. I had too much to do in 3 or 4 activities spread across the day.  I like focus, and that’s the way I have been for the past many years. I like channelizing my mind, body and my energies in a task. But then, there are some boring moments when you would like to just get off for a minute or two, wander your body and your mind, and then get back to the task.

Social media (Facebook, Twitter, et al) have been a cure (or a curse on how you see it).  That one of two minutes of wandering of the mind away from the task using social media extended to 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and before you know, it had consumed a full 43 minutes!

“Well, that’s not good”, I told myself. I decided to take a mental inventory of HOW the time is spent on social media. I sat down and wrote a diary of all the posts I read, I liked and shared, and just “browsing”.  Though it was just my break time that I spend on social media, I wanted to justify myself on how the time is spent, because it’s my precious breath and life after all, moment after moment, before I die!

My findings!

The notes I saw alarmed me. 89% of the time was just browsing post after post in Facebook and Twitter, without any focus, learning or practicing a skill.  A typical “browse” Facebook session contained a book advertisement from a book club, an advertisement on how to “opt-in” more customers to your blog site, a post in a school group asking whether this school is better or that, a post in a music group with a picture of a guy with a violin, a group post about the latest trend in western cinema, a post in a railway group about that fantastic engine….You get the drift.

A rattling mind and the consequences

If your mind travels this fast with no focus on a specific subject or related thinking, you know where you will get to – nowhere.  It not only puts your brain in an ever-shifting mode, it will strain your brain to no-end resulting in nervousness, a sense of loss, depression, anger and a deprived feeling!  Many studies have also shown the same.

Social media tools for streamlining

Social media tools that help you segregate topics as streams based on hashtags or keywords are helpful. It helps browse through the social media posts and organize your thoughts on one direction, learning a thing or two about a topic and participating in a discussion.  But many of us do not use those tools on a native basis, but login to the social media sites directly.   In this year, I have reminded myself to use these tools instead of logging into social media sites directly, and save myself of the mental stress!  If I ever wanted to take a 2-minute break, that should not be and won’t be on the social media sites, but a short walk, a visit to the restroom, a cup of water and then back to work again.

Not just the break time!

We all know the three things that are required to excel – Learn, Practice, Network.  A typical successful person’s time management has these components.  For all of these, accessing the Internet has become a necessity.  For learning and networking, social media has become important.  We just need be careful that our learning and networking time is used productively, not just during the break time, but during our work time also, and be conscious that our precious time is not wasted in endless, mindless browsing.

So…

I thought I would just share my thoughts on this, which I had been postponing for a while now. I wrote a Facebook post (there you go!) on this sometime back, but not sure how many people it reached, so here I am, writing a blog.  Hopefully it’s useful for you!
Thanks for listening!


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Vikram Vedha

Better late than never! I didn’t see this movie when it was released but took my time for someone to recommend me this one, and then I went.

Madhavan, in the role of Vikram, an encounter specialist, is a straightforward, straight-shoot officer, who does not pay attention to the intentions and moves of the people around him, and that could cost his life. How he handles his this handicap and finds out the real villains – is the story.

Madhavan looks like Kamalhaasan in his mannerisms, movements, facial expressions, etc., though not sure if that was intentional.  His acting, as well as the acting of the co-stars, is impressive.  Music and the songs are good, but they do not stick after coming out the movie. And that’s okay for this high action movie.

The story lacks the motivation to watch till the climax!  There, all the pieces come together.  And the jokes made during the climax stick well with the audience!  If not for that climax, the movie would have crumbled down. Special marks to the directors for this intelligent piece of work. The story flow is very logical, and it needs a keen observer and watcher to remember the story flow and appreciate the significance of the happenings and their connections.

The directors impress upon the audience that there is no right and wrong, and everyone is acting to preserve themselves and their circles – which is true to a major extent in the society that we live in today.

I recommend this movie strongly to people who are intelligent above average, can appreciate sequence of events and remember them, and who can enjoy light-witted humor.  I very well see a Vikram Vedha II in the pipeline by the way the movie ends, and sure enough, I look forward to it!