an "a to z" of thoughts, conversations, remarks, observations,musings about

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cricket: an indian player dishes it back to the s. africans

Cricket: This is Sreesanth, of India, responding to Andre (the Giant) Nel of South Africa by scoring a six and..... (more)

Friday, December 15, 2006

i i t

i i t. these three letters carry so much weight in india. entire industries have been built around these three letters. IIT, or the Indian Institute of Technology, is an engineering college setup to produce engineers. there are 5-6 of them currently in India, oases of academia among the chaotic bustle of India. Outside their gates young slumdwelling 9 yr olds wash plates in cold water early in the morning in winter preparatory to serving food to the IIT'ians red-eyed and famished from either studying or doing something else all night. Inside the IIT campus, acres of green land with buildings dotted all around give the lie to the belief that India is an overcrowded place.

Most IIT'ians end up outside india within a few years of graduating with a degree and go on to build stellar careers. 300,000 17 - 18 yr olds sit in an exam called the IITJEE ( Joint Entrance Exam ) which tests their ability in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics and ends up admitting only 4000 of them to its hallowed portals.

As puts it in its inimitably droll style, "In order of establishment, the seven IITs are located at Kharagpur, Mumbai (Bombay), Chennai (Madras), Kanpur, Delhi, Guwahati, and Roorkee. Some IITs were established with financial assistance and technical expertise from UNESCO, Germany, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Each IIT is an autonomous university, linked to the others through a common IIT Council, which oversees their administration. They have a common admission process for undergraduate admissions, using the Joint Entrance Examination (popularly known as IIT-JEE) to select around 4,000 undergraduate candidates a year. Graduate Admissions are done on the basis of the GATE. About 15,500 undergraduate and 12,000 graduate students study in the seven IITs, in addition to research scholars."

I became an ex-IITian after leaving college. Some years after I left college, the alma mater finally got seduced and accepted to join the ranks of the IIT and change its maiden name to IIT Roorkee. The wiki again describes roorkee as -

"IIT Roorkee, originally known as the University of Roorkee, was established in 1847 as the first engineering college of the British Empire.[10] Located in Uttaranchal, the college was renamed The Thomason College of Civil Engineering in 1854 and was granted IIT status in 2001. The institute offers undergraduate degree courses in 10 disciplines of engineering and architecture, and postgraduate degrees in 55 disciplines. It has 375 faculty members. The campus is about 1.45 km² (360 acres) in size and has eight hostels."

Over 25000 IITians have settled in the USA and many more join their ranks every year. The fees for a 6 month semester when I was there was about a 100 dollars. The rest was subsidised by the state, which led to jokes about India subsidising America's technological development, since in those days about 70% of graduates headed straight to the good old melting pot.

Many IIT alumni have become entrepreneurs, including N.R. Narayana Murthy (co-founder and chairman of Infosys), Vinod Khosla (co-founder, Sun Microsystems), and Suhas S. Patil (founder and Chairman Emeritus Cirrus Logic Inc.) Other alumni have achieved leading positions in corporations, such as Rajat Gupta (former Managing Director, McKinsey), Arun Sarin (CEO, Vodafone), Victor Menezes (Senior Vice Chairman, Citigroup), and Kanwal Rekhi (CTO, Novell).

One of the most famous IITians is Asok.

Recently the alumni have started to get together and try and leverage their collective strength. There have been several initiatives which aim at creating networking opportunities, help the institutes modernise and expand and to make a difference to society and community.

These efforts are still in the early stages and not really upto the level one would expect when the cream of india's technical talent comes together and creates something. Today, India and even the world, is crying out for genuine solutions to genuine problems. There is a need for someone to come forward with a reputation for incorruptibility, credibility, acumen and experience to show the way forward in the new millenium. The IIT's pass the test in all parameters. The selection procedure is still considered free from nepotism, corruption and bias. Their credibility is still intact, their acumen and experience acknowledged increasingly around the world.

Current and ex students together make up at least a 100 thousand strong team and they have money aplenty. So we have manpower, money and also we have infrastructure and a lot of bright minds with experience and innocent idealism teeming with ideas and a desire to do something for society. If the IITian organization can seize the day and lead rather than follow, the results could be magical.

We all know the familiar problems, the media is controlled by a few moghuls, the political class is venal, criminal and incompetent at times, society is divided by race, color, status, locatoin, language, caste and creed, the poor do not have access to the tools of learning, capital and community to better their life, the rich are increasingly divorced from reality and forced to lead lives of shallow desperation, while the middle class is caught between a rock and a hard place with costs of education and healthcare rising, social security decreasing and jobs not really a sinecure anymore.

What could the IITians do?

Well they could start a bunch of not for profit organisations which use the manpower of thousands of students, the capital of thousands of successful technocrats and the experience of the old hands married with the academic rigour of the faculty.

What kind of organisations?

well....let a thousand flowers bloom.

maybe a newspaper...there were lots of literary types around last time i looked around.

maybe a television and radio channel...maybe call it "technically speaking"

maybe a product company for the rural market?

maybe a software company for the domestic sector?

maybe a housing company, making small affordable slumhouses for the urban poor?

maybe ...maybe ...maybe...

yeah..i know....dream on.....

still its nice to know that it could happen ....u never know...

Thursday, December 14, 2006


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a retard.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe that ex-lovers are really dying for you to telephone them at four in the morning.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.


***WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to believe you are invisible.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause a disturbance in the time-space continuum, leaving you unable to account for large chunks of time.


***WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you have mystical Kung Fu powers, resulting in you getting your ass kicked.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to roll over in the morning and see something really scary.


WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is the leading cause of inexplicable rug burns on the forehead, knees and lower back.

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.


WARNING: The crumsumpten of alchlohol may Mack you tink you kan tpye reel gud!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

fact of the day

In the USA,

58 percent of all convicted drug felony cases involve African-American men-even though Black men are only 6 percent of the national population and 72 percent of all illegal drug users are white. 12 percent of Black men aged 25 to 29 years old are imprisoned compared to 3 percent of Latinos and 1 percent of white men. In 2002, there were 603,000 Black men in college compared to 791,600 Black men in prison. Black women are two and a half times more likely than Latinas and four and a half times more likely than white women to be imprisoned. In total, 49 percent of the U.S.'s two million prisoners-in prison or in jail-are African American. This is a shocking statistic considering that Blacks are less than 13 percent of the entire United States population.

the male child

great post about sons and the joys they bring at momma's blog. check it out.

some samples

And you also find out interesting things when you have sons, like

1.) A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000 sq. ft. house 4 inches deep.

2.) If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.

3.) A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4.) If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound Boy wearing Batman underwear and
a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four walls of a 20x20 ft. room.

5.) You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a
few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

3rd December 1984

22 years later, we have forgotten something, which we never really wanted to remember. We have pushed it into one corner of our memories, and try not to stir up the ghost of 3rd december 1984 and face the disconcerting reality it represents. read it and weep

Where : - Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, ( literally meaning central province ) in India.
When :- 3rd December 1984
What :- 40 tonnes of MIC, methyl iso cyanide, a heavier than air toxic gas overheated and spilled out of its tanks in the middle of bustling heavily populated city in the morning hours, killing many while they slept, killing many as they ran to escape, killing many who were in trains passing through, still killing through toxic pollution and disease after all these years.

How many: - 20,000 deaths as a conservative estimate. 3000 killed initially...and the toll is still rising.

Who was responsible: - Union Carbide owned this company. It did not put adequate safety or warning procedures in place. Now owned by the Dow Chemical Company. The government did not do its part in making sure they checked the plant and the processes regularly.

Redress :- Average compensation paid to the families of the dead - $2200

Insurance coverage of the company - $10 Billion

Damages paid - $470 million.

What the company says : - A single employee deliberately pumped in water to the gas tanks causing the overflow and escape of gas. There was no fault of the company. This employee has never been named or any charges pressed against him.

What went wrong : - 1. Untested unproven technology was used. 2. No disaster management plan was ever made. 3. Warnings by scientists in Union Carbide were ignored. 4. Safety checks were infrequent. 5. Slip-blind plates that would have prevented water from pipes being cleaned from leaking into the MIC tanks via faulty valves were not installed. Their installation had been omitted from the cleaning checklist. 6. The MIC tank refrigeration unit was disabled to save money. 7.The gas scrubber was placed on standby. 8. Though the audible external alarm was activated to warn the residents of Bhopal, it was quickly silenced to avoid causing panic among the residents. Thus, many continued to sleep, unaware of the unfolding drama, and those that had woken assumed any problem had been sorted out. 9.The flare tower used to burn off gases before they are allowed to escape into the air was inoperational pending repairs. 10. The water curtain that may have reduced the concentration of the gas was only set to ~13 m and did not reach the gas.

why its tough to live anywhere else but india

any why its so damn maddening to live here. :)

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