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Live and Express

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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.


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!

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The 10 km walk!

I am uninitiated to fitness regimes. I am not a fitness freak. But I read a saying recently which said: “Exercise is not for living healthy, but dying healthy.” There could not be a truer truth than this! So, in order for me to be not a nuisance for my family and my social circle by being unhealthy, I decided to be healthy.

I am always motivated to walk.  I walk long distances without an issue. So, I decided that walking would be my exercise. I have heard that fast walking takes care of several things – maintaining the proper blood pressure, cholestrol,  blood sugar levels, giving exercise to muscles, etc.

I usually go for a long walk, which I was thinking to be 7.5 kms, but when I measured the distance using the Pedometer android app., I figured I was just doing 6.3 kms. As a coincidence, someone had posted their walk details on Twitter, so I was motivated to really do a 7.5 kms walk.

I used Google Map to mark the milestones, but I figured I could do more than 7.5 kms, if I reduce the speed a bit. So, I reduced my walking speed from my normal of 2.9 miles/hour to 2.7 miles/hour, and started.  I gave myself a toilet and water break after 4 kms, and then proceeded for the full swing after that.

I passed through several areas that I have never been before, and was excited to explore.
I also passed through an area which I always wanted to visit, which was a bonus! I got a bit confused in one location, and had to backtrack and that took some additional 10 minutes. But, I finished my walk successfully, and here are the stats.:

10.49292 kms, 555 kilocalories, 2 hours 25 minutes, 4.34523 kms/hour, 15,302 steps.

Somebody had asked a spiritual guru that they had a tummy and noone likes him, what should he do. For which the guru answered, ‘Why don’t you go for a 10 km walk?’ That answer had always being ringing in my mind, not because my pot belly is too much or something, but the stress that things have to be taken care in the way they have to be, and there is no magical fix.

I’m now pretty happy to know that I can do 10 kms.  I don’t want to increase it, but to maintain the habit of walking the same distance daily, because to me, habits are important than goals, as habits decide the character, and the destiny!

Thanks for reading!


#India to beat #China in #Population by 2022; Child #Adoption process getting simpler

Life is a mixed bag.

Last week, two significant headlines hit the news. The first is about the estimate that the India Population is going to exceed China by 2022which is a bad news, as we had expected it to happen by 2028 earlier.  The other is about the child adoption process in India is getting faster, easier and transparentwhich is a good news, as more people including NRIs can adopt in a simpler way moving forward.

One is a problem, and other is a potential solution. While some even neglect to think that the child adoption is a potential solution to the population problem (and say that adoption is emotional, the child and parent should connect well, one cannot adopt ANY child, etc, which are all reasonable), many consider it as a viable solution.  Here is an example of a parent who thinks so.

The Central Adoption Resource Agency has created a database of children that are waiting for adoption, and it has linked the adoption agencies to the database.  This way quick access to children to be adopted is available to the agencies.  Potential parents can now register online for them to be considered.  The guidance will be effective by August 2015, is what the post says.

With these updates, the urban folks of India now have a choice.  We have written several blogs before encouraging urban parents to adopt and why.  Several things have changed from the past, and attitude of the young generation is changing too.  With limited resources that India has, population has to be kept under strict check, and adoption is one way out – to give life to an existing child rather than creating another which will add additional burden to the country – burden may be a strong word, but yes, that’s how it is – with population increasing 1.6% in India every year!

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Aadhaar, National Population Register and #India #Population

Yesterdays report in The Economic Times says that the Indian Government has decided to link Aadhaar information to National Population Register (NPR).

This is a very good move. This will not only benefit people who are benefited by the various schemes, it will also bring accountability to the population count, who everyone is, and where they generally live. And this will help in measures related to resource allocation (money and workforce) in implementing government plans and schemes.

It will also help check illegal immigration from Bangladesh. One of the serious issues that we have in the states bordering Bangladesh is that identifying individuals had become difficult for the police and the establishment because of the facial features.   Many Indian citizens who live in the remote areas do not have identity cards like PAN, thus it would be impossible to identify whether a person is an Indian citizen or not. Now, with Aadhaar linking to the NPR, bio-metric information is stored to the master database, so more accountability is brought in.

In addition, it would be great if birth & death registrations become online for quick updates to population count, so that planning become efficient.

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Is #Sterilization the solution to #India #Population?

This article was posted in Reuters yesterday, and it talks about how sterilization is the major means of India population control.

It’s really sad to hear that even in the days of Information Technology, social networks, smart phones, cloud, and reach-ability to the masses, to the rural masses in particular through startup apps., these kind of measures are required.

India technology evangelists and entrepreneurs should invest in making awareness creation solutions to not to have babies.  Most of the work will be done mentally, when we plant these ideas of other options available rather than to have babies, and physical measures like sterilization will come down.

If you look at India broadly, 70% is rural and 30% is urban/semi-urban.  Solutions like ‘Make In India’ which are destined to boost the Indian economy, should focus on the rural areas where the unemployment is the most, and generate job opportunities, such that people don’t generate babies for labour.

And the urban folks have the adoption option.  The Ministry of Women and Child Development, India under the able leadership of Mrs. Menaka Gandhi, is streamlining the CARA process and making adoption easy and hassle-free.  If only people can reject the stigma surrounding ‘It’s not MY child!’, things will be a lot better.

So, good work is being done, but we need to invest in data gathering, sharing and awareness creation.  Will the India tech. entrepreneurs take note?

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The value of family and life – #India #Population

I write about India Population. And it’s a very unpopular topic.

Sometimes you need the steel heart to read the personal attacks that emanate from people who think that their rights are being violated when asked to consider not to give birth to children.

Here are some of the feedback received from very well known members of the community:

‘You look like you have lived your life well. How can you ask us to not to have babies? I am an unmarried woman in my twenties, and I want to have my family’.

‘Have you ever given birth and raised children?’

The first comment is because they fear the system/government will prohibit having babies.

The second comment is tricky.  If I answer ‘Yes, I have had children’, then they will blast me ‘You advice something for the world, and you do things differently. Hypocrite!’  If I answer ‘No, I have not had children’, then they will blast me ‘See? How will you know the value of having a family? You should never advice!’

Let’s look at it objectively.

The moment your child gets out into the streets of India, they become one in the 2.72 billion people. And the family safety net that you provide is lost.  In the streets, today, people don’t even see each others faces and smile at strangers. They are all driven by their own missions of getting to office and coming back. So, the ‘value’ that you are talking about in your ‘own’ child just vanishes in the society.

More so with these huge numbers of people. As the numbers increase, tolerance to fellow human beings will naturally reduce. All the push-pulls that happen in the public transport, and the politics that happen at the work places will increase as there are more number of people, because, everyone has to take care of their survival.

If you are not objective, and take care of managing the no. of people that this nation can hold (by the way, we are 17.5% of world’s population in 2% of world’s land!), then nature will be cruel.  By nature, I don’t mean just the land, water, air, etc, but also all the life forms including human.

Our nation has been a very tolerant one in general. ‘Please adjust’ has been our mantra. But that will break with a population growth of 1.6% every year, as per the latest reports. People will start being cruel to each other. Like buying illegal software through an IRCTC official and booking 36 tickets at once illegally!

Just take a look around, and see if we really more children. How are we going to educate and give jobs to all these population? What about drinking water, food, space to live? For God’s sake, how about experiencing the pleasantness of life with some space instead of always being jam-packed?

If one really values life and family, they will understand it’s being cruel to everyone to add more. And probably adopt children who have no one to care for.

Someone said ‘There will come a time when the government will start asking to produce babies’. That would be a golden day to live when we are all joyful, and want to make copies of ourselves.

But right now, we are over-crowded and miserable. Let’s stop!