Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wanted: Manipuri/Nepali/North Eastern spa girl!

Always I write because I think I know something that people might like or get interested even if they dislike what I have to say. This is the first time I am posting because I don't know.

Somehow  I don't understand why people want Manipuri/North Eastern/Nepali girl in spas. Do they have clean sexy hand that is too touchy and people are happy to pay the money they demand? Or is it just that they are readily available? If spa is in Pune, why not recruit whole bunch of girls from Pune as well as girls form outside? Why not recruit very diverse spa girls so that guests can get whoever they want? In Delhi, why not recruit all of above as well as girls from Punjab? You know they are beautiful.

I am asking these questions because I got phone call from a friend this morning. He needs a spa girl for medical purpose and he is looking for Manipuri/Nepali/North Eastern girl for the job. He desperately need to fill that vacancy, but he is not going to recruit anyone who doesn't belong to above tags. (Great news for those who belong , you have comparative advantage over others who don't belong to place where you belong.) I asked him why doesn't he get someone from Pune?  'No, we don't want them'  is what he said.

Later I talked with a friend about it. He said, because girls who belong to those tags are more liberal than others. But being liberal is damned thing in most of South Asia. This reminded me of IPL cheerleaders. Girls cheering on those 'cash rich' games were white South Africans. They must have made lots of money. More papers to spend on lipsticks or may be some French wines.

Well, the world today is very complex. It's becoming more liberal day by day. It has to be. I need to eat some Chinese food, wear Thailand made denims, and use US invented machines daily. I have to respect them, everyone of them just because I am also one of them.  Or let me put it this way; I can't live without Chinese food. Who will go out of home without Thai denims? Man, this US made laptop is so great.
Moral? Simple, I can't exist without all these things. Voluntary exchange and mutual interest is deeply interwoven.

To you Manipuri/North Eastern/Nepali girls; I respect you as much as I respect Chinese Chef/American inventor/Thai designer. May be someday spa will be integral part of my lifestyle and I won't be able to live without you. And you know you are ahead of so many South Asians. You are global citizen!

P.S. If you are interested, don't forget to contact me before the vacancy gets filled. You might actually get the job! :)

Monday, June 20, 2011

Arindham Chaudhary and the IT Act

I usually don't watch TV. Or better put it this way; I don't spend much time on TV shows. Recently, while I was in Shimla on summer vacation, I was checking facilities provided by our hotel.  I checked plugs, bed sheets, ashtrays, bathroom and everything. Then I turned on TV just to check it out whether it was working or not.

It was working. There was a man on the screen: Arindham Chaudhary.

I don't know much about this man. But, I have taken him granted  as one of youth icons in India. He or his family runs one of the most famous education franchise; IIPM. I know they do lots of advertisement,  because of that, I doubt their quality. I have heard he has written some books too. Once I found him spending lots of cash to ask people to follow him on twitter. Few people do so, and I don't think an icon should.

Most unbearable was the time when I saw him on TV. That was not some speech or talks in a program. Rather it was advertisement, a showcase of Mr. Chaudhary himself. He whole heartedly supported/shouted recently passed Indian IT Act. Almost all the youths and aware public are against it, (obviously including internet entrepreneurs and geeks) the icon comes on 21 inch flat screen and says 'It must be enforced.' (I think you have seen his self proclaimed promo)

Well, numerous articles/essays are written against the Act. I think I don't need to write one. See some of the links you can refer if you are unaware of it.

Rules that allow anybody to simply tell a website or blog to take down any content that is in your eyes “grossly harmful, hateful, invasive of others’ privacy, blasphemous, threatens friendly relations with foreign States or threatens the unity of India” among a milelong list of potential no-nos.
I’m certain any odd person can find the Shruti Haasan article “invasive of privacy”, the SKS Microfinance news “grossly harmful” to the company’s prospects, the CPM news “dangerous to State unity” and the government’s own anti- Pak claims as “threatening to friendly relations with foreign states”. And if you happen to be one of those who decides that your sentiments are hurt, all you need to do is to send a signed letter to the publisher and bingo, they are rule-bound to take it down. No legal authority to decide whether your claim is right or not but hey, the content goes down right away.

And he gives some ways to fight back.

Increasingly, online is the medium that is scaring authority everywhere, from Tunis to Tripoli to 10, Janpath. And the new rules are just that — a ham-handed approach to muzzling what’s said online. And it’s high time we did something to stop this embarrassing stupidity from being part of our canon of laws.
The first thing to do is to put this in perspective. Online is now the mainstream medium and ‘they’ know it. They are doing this because digital is now bigger than traditional media. There are already about 108 million Internet users and only about 103 million households have access to cable and satellite television.
Second, use a loophole. If you are scared about what you might say online, do so on a website that has no office in India — our laws can’t touch them.
Third, popularise the controversial content. Spread it around to friends. ‘Like’ it or retweet it.
Fourth, use it against the government. Put a thousand complaints against the government’s own websites. Start with and
Fifth, fight it. I do wait for the right case and civil society lawyers who can help stop this silly piece of legislation from changing the way we live and share information online. The Internet, as our babus will soon understand, cannot be controlled.

Pune, 'Oxford of the East'? Think Again!

Pune is known for 'Oxford of the East' and 'Education city of India'. While University of Pune is sole body that administers almost all the colleges in Pune which are affiliated to it, there are numerous others. Well, I think it is 'Education City of India' but I am cautious enough to say 'Oxford of the East'.

Why Education City of India?

Simply because what it is. There are thousands of students who come to Pune for a single purpose i.e. education. While other larger metros drive folks not only for education but other things job prospects, family and friends, distance etc., Pune differs here. During some annual events, I have heard that education culture is bit old. Look at Fergusson College which celebrated it's 100th anniversary last year.  It's one of classic example.

One of the main reason it makes favorite among students is cool climate. You don't feel too hot in May/June. You don’t even think about it if you have already lived in cities like New Delhi or Kolkata.  Summer starts in June till September. Light rain, cloudy everyday. Everyone loves summer. Then winter comes in Pune. It's not cold. It's cool. You don't need to carry heavy jacket or sweeter. One of the best time to be around.

Another reason many students are attracted to it is size. Bigger metros don't provide the quietness and calm environment that Pune offers. Life is not as fast as Mumbai. People are simple. I think students like that. And yeah you get good flat/room/hostel to live in, cheaper than bigger metros. Some of the famous colleges of India are in Pune. Look at some rankings, Pune don't fall far behind. It is ahead of many bigger cities. Colleges attract students themselves.

I think these things make it 'Education City of India'. You are free to debate on it.

If so, why not 'Oxford of the East'?

Again, simply because it is not Oxford. Or let me put it this way;  it's not fair to compare with Oxford. Here number of colleges doesn't count. Weather that attracts students also doesn't count. Saying that here are so many top colleges is just showcase. Top doesn't mean great. Top means better than others. It means better than other colleges in India (Mostly on undergraduate level), not the world.  I think research is one of the integral part of university life. I find not much inspiring here. University of Pune has monopoly over colleges. It is everywhere in India that almost all colleges are affiliated to a big university. Government funds these mega-trusts. They are giving return as most of Government corporations do;  negative in proportion to resources employed.

Pune is not 'Oxford of the East' simply because it has no great college/university as Oxford. It has so many colleges all average that it has forgot to make some great one. Still, I think there are some very fine colleges than in other cities. Pune deserves a good deal of education share, but not the tag people use. That is too misleading.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Create, Break Some Rules, Build! Creativity can not be Killed

I am just back from my travel to Himachal. On the way is the city of Chandigarh. 
Chandigarh is city I always wanted to travel. I had heard a lot about the city. A planned, highest per capita income and well managed city traffic. To my astonishment, the city was better on almost all my expectations. One of them was Rock Garden!
Frankly, I hadn't heard of it before I went there. Rock Garden? My guide was saying that it is some famous garden and one must not miss it if he/she happens to be in Chandigarh. So we went in. I was surprised to see art  and sculpture shown there. It was hand crafted, most of materials used seemed liked recycled one. And one has to stay in queue just to enter inside. Big crowd! (See a picture below)

  I could not wait to know more about the great creativity that touches mind and souls of thousands of visitors daily. After talking a while with my guide, knew about it's origination and existence.

The Rock Garden of Chandigarh was started by Nek Chand. In 1957 he began to clear a little patch of jungle to make himself a small garden area. He set stones around the little clearing and before long had sculpted a few figures recycled from materials he found at hand. Gradually Nek Chand's creation developed and grew; before long it covered several acres and comprised of hundreds of sculptures set in a series of interlinking courtyards. After his normal working day Chand worked at night, in total secrecy for fear of being discovered. 

When people did discover the garden, local government officials were thrown into turmoil. The creation was completely illegal - a development in a forbidden area. It was too great to demolish. However, rather than demolishing the garden, they decided to give Nek Chand a salary so that he could concentrate full-time on his work, plus a workforce of fifty laborers. That's what stand 'Rock Garden' in Chandigarh. Daily thousands of people visit the place to witness the creativity and to search soul on it.

Moral of story : Think out of box, break some rules, create, build. Regulations in developing countries like India are not on our favour. In fact they are not even in developed countries. Break some rules, create, build; because creativity can not be killed!