शनिवार, 9 जुलाई 2016

और कैसे दुनिया बच गयी

आज के दिन का इतिहास:
इधर ज़ाकिर नायक इस्लाम को 2+2 = 4 और बाकी धर्मों को 2+2 ≠ 4 बता रहे थे, और इस बात पर अर्नब उस पर चिल्ला रहे थे; और कुछ लोग अर्नब पर इसलिए चिल्ला रहे थे क्यूंकि वो ज़ाकिर नायक पर चिल्ला रहे थे.
टोनी ब्लेयर अपने कर्मों के लिए माफ़ी मांग रहे थे, और अमेरिका के लोग अपने ही राष्ट्रपति पद के उम्मीदवार के बयान पर सर खुजला रहे थे.
कुछ लोग सड़क पर एक जानवर के हत्यारे को फांसी देने के नारे लगा रहे थे, तो कहीं कुछ लोग बैठकर दुनिया को 6000 साल पुराना बता रहे थे.
इराक में इस्लामिक स्टेट वाले यज़ीदियों पर अत्याचार कर रहे थे, तो कहीं कुछ लोग बैठकर युद्धबंदियों से सम्बन्ध बनाने की परमीशन वाली किताब को पढ़ पढ़ कर सुना रहे थे.
इन सब की बीच दुनिया में सिर्फ बम और गोलियों की आवाज थी, उधर रोजर फेडरर भी विंबलडन से बाहर हो चुके थे. डर था कि दुनिया का अंत आज ही होने वाला है.
इस बीच एक फरिश्ता आया और उसने फेसबुक पर "घर बैठे 10000 रुपये महीने कमाएं" और "व्हाट्सऐप पर 100 एम बी मुफ्त डेटा पाएं" का सन्देश डाला। यकीन मानिए दुनिया उसके इस सन्देश की वजह से ही बच गयी.

मंगलवार, 2 फ़रवरी 2016

A manager’s tale: when brain gets drained

Ever since I joined office I realized one of the most important job which I have to do is not accounting, but it is human resource management.  A reason for it may be my distaste for the accounting that I find myself more concerned about the man management part or it may be the case that I am having fun in doing this part of job more than the other part. Its normal, we are not born as super-man and we may have our own taste. But that is not what we are assumed to be and so we have to do all part of that work irrespective of our liking. And this all part includes a hell lot of things.
But why am I writing this? What prompted me to sit down in front of my laptop to write such thing? It is the feeling which I felt last evening; I came back from office on time (Always try to go office on time and come back on time), so definitely I had not worked for more than 8 hours yesterday but when I reached my room, which is just 40 stairs away from my office, I was feeling completely drained. I just wanted to go to my bed and give my mind some rest. I have felt like this few times earlier but then I had worked or studied for long hours or when I had done something physically very tiring. But, yesterday it was a very different situation; I was drained after working in my office for some standard 8 hours a day and remember it was a just Monday.
So, I decided to think about the probable reasons for it, and found the real culprit. It was multitasking and this is the problem which managers face day in day out in their office daily. We are supposed to be good in multitasking. All officers are supposed to be, and this is what makes their job difficult while it looks very cool from the other side. I had to deal with many different issues in a single day; which ranges from coordinating with state government officials to get their accounts on time, to, why cases which have to be finished in 45 days, got delayed. The very next minute of doing one of the above mentioned jobs, I had to read the court cases and go into their core and prepare a reply and while doing this, I need to find out the reason my staff got salary with some delay and many more things. Add to it the management of around 180+ staff and it would require a good multitasker to perform all this.
And here lies the reason of my drained brain. The work of a manager requires a quick shift from legal to financial matters, administrative to accounting matters and so on and it affects our brain. It makes our brain feel tired. I felt it and many of you must have felt that in many evenings. Being a manager is a tough job. So managers (or officers, whatever you feel good when being called)! Kudos to you.
Another Bakra.

रविवार, 24 जनवरी 2016

Caste, reservation, discrimination and me (A life journey)

To start with, let me make it clear in first line that I hate caste system and any discrimination based on caste.
I think some background of my family will help you people to decide whether my experience is superfluous or could be termed a little bit real. I was born in a family which belongs to a caste which comes under the category of OBC definition of our government system and which is numerically insignificant to make any ‘vote bank’ except in some municipal wards or in some village, like one to which my father belongs. Before moving to Allahabad, I spent first 10 years of my life in a small town having a population of some 10-15k in district which could be called a backward district in terms of industries, development or in terms of law and order. My mother belongs to another town of the same district and my father’s village is in district which is even more undeveloped. So here it starts; my experience with caste.

My first school is one of those which are called by some people where casteism is taught; one of Saraswati Shishu Mandir spread in towns and small centers of this country. And number of times I faced any kind of discrimination from any of my teachers is an ‘absolute zero’.  Most of them must be knowing my caste as it was a small town or at least they must be knowing that I am not one of so called ‘born with golden spoon kid' born in an ‘upper caste’; but still they never did any discrimination to me, not a single time. I spent 7 years in that school and forget about discrimination, I am one of the most loved students by teachers there. They loved me like their own kid and when my parents used to complain about me in meetings with them, they were the one who defended me in front of my parents. They were the one who had laid the foundation of my journey; if you consider me being a somewhat successful person, then they are the one who should get most of the credit. 

When I moved to Allahabad, I joined a small private school there. Being new to that school, it’s obvious that I would not be in favorite list of those (every school or institute has its own dynamics), but again caste based discrimination – 0.

Then I did my high school and Intermediate from a government aided school. And like my early childhood days, here again I was one of the favorite students of my teachers. (Oops! Something must be horribly wrong with all these people, why are not they doing any discrimination). I still meet some of them, and when I touch their feet, it’s simple a student touching feet of his Guru; for all those who looks everything through lenses of castes, it may not be a ideal case for their Halla-gulla, but this is a real world, not a ‘award wapasi’ gang studio. To add more salts to wounds of this gang, if I was ever discriminated, it was always on positive side, and that too was not for my caste, but because of me being a hard-working student in their eyes. They were good people who had stood with me to make me, to build me and probably never looked at the caste column of my profile.

Then comes the college life and here again I was in the good list of ‘Shukla’ or ‘Ojha’. Anyone wishing to hear a story of an OBC being treated badly by an ‘upper caste’ could be sad by now, but hold your breath, 10 years of my life is still left.

Then I reached the prestigious IIT Kanpur to do my Post graduation and let me assure you I still don’t know caste of my thesis guide and I am sure he also don't. Reason is simple, we were busy doing what to be done in an institute, doing study, research. I still do and meet him to take his guidance, caste is a useless thing for both of us. I was involved in hostel politics and even there some of the cards played against me were my food habits and regionalism. To give the credit where it is due, even my political opponents did not brought caste into the table while fighting the election.

And with IIT, my educational career stopped, and I faced no discrimination on the basis of my caste even a single time. And I do ensure you that I did not faced any discrimination during my job period too. 
So here I am; After 3 schools, 2 colleges, 4 training academies and 2 workplaces and zero caste based discrimination. What a journey it was, and by now I don’t believe that it was just my luck to not find a single such person; it is more of a norm. I may get some in future, but that would make them exceptions only.

So it was all about my educational and professional life, but that is just a part of my life, what about time which I spend with my family, my friends, their families and many other people with whom I come into contact daily.
Starting with my family; for them it never mattered that I am making friends of what castes or religion. They did not care for it at all and all my friends are always welcomed by them inside home and my mother always had conversations with them, some time even more than me irrespective of their caste or religion. Talking about any such discrimination in my friend circle would be a blasphemy. All of us know each other caste or religion, but we don’t give even a shit to it (and its not worth giving too). About their families, they had always treated me like their son. How on earth I am so lucky to have such wonderful people in my life, I have access to their living room, kitchen etc, and they did not even care to ask my caste! How can they be like that when according to some people everyone is castist to one’s core outside?

Reservation and my dilemma: Now it’s a good time to talk about the dilemma, which still haunts me. Whether to use reservation or not? First, I never faced discrimination and second, I belong to a middle class family (not a creamy one), so to use it or not, here lies the dilemma. If I go for using it, that would be against my personal views on reservation which I think is discriminatory against people of so called upper castes; and if I decide to apply as a general candidate, I may be doing more harm to other general candidates who are already suffering from reservation. This is one of those dilemmas which had given me sleepless nights. It may be happening to many other like me too, and they may have reached to a solution unlike me. I am still clueless what to fill in my form in the category column while filling a form, General or OBC? I decided to fill it at random, i.e. just fill whatever it comes into mind at that particular time. I find it a funny way to mock a system I dislike, there may be better ways, please help me if you have one.

Now I want to end this long emotional chat with you people, if by this time you hadn’t got bored and still reading it. I never wear my caste in my hat, and got treated like I did not have one. I got love from so many people from all castes and religion, and I am sure all of you must have got the same. I agree that there are some ass-holes out there, but there always be some of them and there are some of them in all caste. Also life is not fair, and you will meet some people who will not do good to you, and some who will do good to you but if you keep wearing your caste hat all the time, whenever you meet one who does not do good to you, you may feel it is because of your caste, when the reason is you had find one such person which you had to meet one day anyway, so don’t blame him being a castist. Professors do not have time to look into your caste before awarding you mark. Stop being so skeptical and cry foul every day. By doing this, you may be doing exactly opposite of what you are wishing for in your heart; we will make a caste less society one day. 

Love to all. 

शुक्रवार, 8 जनवरी 2016

Urban Transport and pollution: Is odd even a solution?

No it’s not a solution. Odd-even is not a solution for a simple reason that Paracetamol is not a medicine for cancer. 

Here we are talking about problems which are highly related urban transport and city air pollution. Cars are not the biggest polluter in the cities, but if taken per capita, they are and if you consider per capita space taken on road (and road side parking), cars will come at top and these are major reasons for traffic congestion which leads to more emission and more pollution from other vehicles too. So we should try for removing as many cars from road as possible. But how that is the point which should be debated.

1. Rule number one for any city is to transport as many people as possible with as less emission as possible and this can be done in three ways - a) walk    b) ride a cycle              c) use public transport.
a) Walking – whether you are walking to office (not possible in any big or medium scale city) or to a point of public transport, first issue which will come to your mind is how safe is it? And it is unsafe to be a walker in most of the cities. You may be robbed, or thrown away by a bull, a pack of street dogs with their sharp teeth are ready to bite you at every corner; and crossing a road is nightmare, either you will not have a zebra crossing or no one in their cars are going to respect a mere mortal like a pedestrian. So removing stray animals from road is difficult, making zebra crossing and signal system for pedestrian to cross is difficult and it requires surgical efforts, easy thing is to go for paracetamol.

b) Cycles – This is where future is, go to Europe and see how much precedence cyclist get over other mode of transport (second to pedestrian). They have dedicated lanes, 10 feet is reserved for them in front at signals, they have right to use roads above motor driven vehicles.

c) Public Transport – It requires buying buses, running those for larger number of hours, connecting the areas which are not connected and increasing the frequency of metro. Again all this requires money and will power which is normally absent in our political system always.

What other things we require to handle pollution which is happening because of urban transport.
2. Lane driving – Really! Most of the people in national capital probably never even heard of it, and that’s why people prefer to use car rather than cycle or two-wheeler. And this problem is even in Imphal too. They are widening the road at the level of madness with no concern about how to ensure safety for pedestrian or riders. Everyone loves one’s life and prefer car if they can afford.

3. And now let’s come back to where we started, i.e. why odd-even is not a solution? Because it affects people at large for no reason. Cars are still costly and their fuel too. Those who are rich affords it easily (and they mostly have more than one car in family, so wouldn’t be affected much anyway), but for many use of car has a lot to with the points mentioned earlier. Alternatives for not using car are in pathetic stage. Use of public transport goes like that – Make sure no bull throws you away while you walk to nearest point of public transport, then because government has invested less in that (remember same government spending money on widening roads, so what they are lacking is not money, but something else), riding a public transport system is like getting shipped in a factory assembly line and then this process continues while returning and if its dark you will need to walk through social criminals and dogs too. Riding cycle or bike is not safe on roads in a country where traffic rules are far books only.

So people use cars, for safety, for comfort and for need too. And odd even system does not address any of these. It neither makes you feel safe nor makes you comfortable and worst it affect you when you need it. How would you go to a doctor for an illness if you get sick on a wrong day? You want to go out for a weekend trip to Jaipur and it turns out that you are not even with the scheme. You parents may be coming to railway station from your native place and it is again a wrong day. How to deal with these situations? With a fine of Rs. 2000, not a solution at all. If some needs to go to Delhi to spend his time with his friends from Noida, he is not going to buy a new car.

People should be discouraged to use car by making private cost of it to increase it to social cost. High parking rates would also discourage people from taking out their car and if it reduces the number of cars by 20-30%, that would be better than odd-even without affecting any needy one. Reducing advantages of cars over other modes are more important and it should be done by making other modes better, not making car ownership a crime. Removal of stray animals from road, strict imposition of traffic rules will make roads safe for pedestrian and cyclists. Improving public transport is a must. Copenhagen may be called cycle capital of world and there people don’t use it because they are environmentally more concerned than us or they hate cares, but because their cycle system and its integration with public transport is so good that people prefer it over cars. And when they need to go by car, they don’t do 5th class mathematics of odd-even. Solve cancer with surgery, not paracetamol.