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The first quarter of 2017 was mostly dedicated to dystopian novels. One book that belongs to this genre, which I mentioned in the last 5-minute review which you can find here, is Fahrenheit 451. It is one of the most recommended books of this genre and it sits in the league of 1984 and Brave New World. Fahrenheit 451 was written by Ray Bradbury in 1953 and is considered one of his best books and I definitely agree with that. This book won Bradbury many awards including a Retro Hugo award and a Grammy Nomination for the audiobook which was narrated by Bradbury himself. I had listened to this version of audiobook only which I am sure must have added a lot of extra value to the text. Read more »
Today is Women’s Day (2017). So Happy Women’s day. Now I would not wax poetic about the importance of women in our lives in all the forms and how we all should be thankful. I could, but I don’t think I’d have anything new to say which hasn’t already been said, so I won’t. Instead, I would want to discuss a topic, an issue, which I feel needs a lot more discussion and I think I can contribute to it. Lets discuss the gender pay gap. According to the Monster Salary Index (MSI) on gender for 2016, women in India earn 25% less than men. The number is huge yet totally believable. Now instead of looking at it from the gender angle, let’s try and look at it from a pure capitalist angle. The relationship between an employee and an employer is a very special form of buyer-seller relationship. The specialty in this relationship is that the employer and the employee keep interchanging the roles of the buyer and the seller. The employee is the buyer in the case where he “buys” a job and compensation from an employer in return for his work and the employer is the buyer in the conventional way where he buys his employees work in exchange for compensation and perks. All buyer-seller relations are about negotiations and bargains. From a capitalistic point of view, a person will want to pay as little as possible for something he wants to buy. If multiple sellers are offering the exact same product, it’s only logical to go with the one with whom you can negotiate the least possible price. This is all economics. This is exactly what is happening with women when it comes to the wage gap. They are, in most certainty, being out negotiated into accepting lower pay. The usual bargaining chips that most employers use for such negotiations are
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- Most women might not want to travel far from home.
- Most women might quit or be on long leaves for marriage and maternity
- Most women are not ok with working long or extra hours or hard enough and similar reasons.
Fatherhood, compared to motherhood, is almost never celebrated. It is. But the reverence that is given to motherhood completely overshadows it and there is no denying that. When it comes to a child, everything is about the mother. And rightfully so. She is the one who gave her sweat and blood, literally, to bring the child to this world. She continues giving even after the child is born. In comparison to this, a father seems rather small. He is standing somewhere in the blurry background. He is happy with whatever credit he gets in return for whatever fatherly duties he fulfills. Many girls dream (not sure the right word, seems strong) of being mothers some day. Detailed stuff. What they will do with their kids, what kind of mother they will be and what not. People do not expect men to be like that. The idea that a boy thinks about being a good father one day seems weird, almost alien. I am not sure why this but I can say one thing. It’s not that true. Many men want to be fathers. They want to be the one who provides for a young life and be someone the little ones look up to. This must be exactly what must be going through Karan Johar’s mind. Irrespective of what his social, economical, political or personal life is, I can completely understand his desire of becoming a father. What I admire more is that going against societal norms he went for it. Unlike a lot of us, who let go of our wishes and dreams just because “what will the world think” he made it happen for him. I am happy for Karan Johar. You should be too.
Context: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/karan-johar-is-dad-to-twins-via-a-surrogate/articleshow/57471741.cms Read more »
This is what my usual day looks like. I am up by 6.30 am and in the gym by 7.15 am. Depending on what my workout of the day is I usually am able to come back home by 9.30 am (showered and ready to leave for office). I am in my office by 10.30 usually and unless I have a meeting elsewhere I am there till at least 8 8-30. I reach home by 9 9-15, depending on the traffic, where I spend the next 1 hr or so having dinner and catching up with my wife. She is usually in the bed by 10 am and I by 11 am since we both are early risers. I am sure this is more or less (except the workout) your schedule as well. Our lives are a hamster wheel loop of sleep-work-sleep which we are turning, trying to be faster, all day every day. Most of the leisure, let’s call it that though I prefer the words culture or happiness, we defer for weekends. Not much is accomplished on such weekends. I wish I could read more. I wish I could do something about my health. I wish I could travel more. I wish. We all carry a lot of such related regrets on our shoulders which we take off your back from time to time, stare at them, sigh and put them back blaming the busyness of our lives for not being able to do what we wish. Days go by and one activity that kept us busy is replaced by two more and the chance of ever making time for the “I wish”s. I realized that I am stuck in this loop and there is no way out of this. At least no immediate way that I could see. Finally, I came to a conclusion that I will have to force the culture and my “I wish”s into this loop only and somehow make it work.
My first wish was that I wanted to incorporate some kind of physical activity in my live. Around 3 years back I decided to force this in my life. Like most of us on New Year, I too started as resolutioners, highly motivated to build a healthy life. Soon I realized that motivation was not enough. Motivation will get you out of your bed on a cold Delhi morning maybe for a week but will fail, rather miserably, to do so in the subsequent. The human mind is great at making excuses and will come up with such great ones to skip a workout that you yourself will be amazed. When motivation fails, discipline comes to the rescue. Fortunately, I was able to force the habit of regular workout into my life and not it is not something I do or have to do but something which is a part of my lifestyle. This is now a habit for life and I could myself blessed to have been able to do it. Read more »
Raees in an unforgivably mediocre movie. But honestly, the mediocrity of a film is never the real problem. A lot of times a project that seemed like a great idea, in the beginning, ends up with a not so good execution. Passable movies as an end product are definitely not the problem. The problem, especially with this one, is that clearly the makers of Raees were actually only aiming for mediocrity. Throughout the movie, it seems the goal was to keep it just ‘good enough’ so that it does not tank. A good enough movie, along with a megastar and ultra-hyped marketing strategy, can work wonders in terms of box office collections. The movie lacked any good scenes or even a single good moment. Every character, except only the lead, was a prop. Replaceable, as well as removable, without making an iota of an effect on the movie. I personally feel bad for the actress, who I’ve heard has done some really good work in her country, come all the way here to just be an accessory for the songs.
The reason that filmmakers can even think of aiming for such passable movies is because we, as movie-goers, have accepted such mediocre movies and have time and again made them multi-crore success. We flock to the theatres every time a Sultan, Dangal or Raess releases just because of the lead actors. It would defy all business sense for a movie maker to not continue following this path of averageness just for the sake of financial security. So they continue making such movies which you will forget as soon as you’ve had your post-movie dinner, maybe just remembering the Sunny Leone item song or Nawaz’s entry. Nothing else. Only we can do something about it. But as masses, we won’t. Till then hurrah to such average films and their success. Read more »
Yesterday Sushma Swaraj, the current Foreign Minister of India, threatened Amazon to remove from its Canada store an item or face severe consequences. The item in question is a doormat with the Indian flag and the consequences are the denial of visa to Amazon officials and even rescinding of the visas of Amazon execs already here. At this point, I do not have any appropriate adjective to express what I feel about this whole matter. If I had to explain my thoughts in one phrase, it would be “why is this happening?”.
Sushma Swaraj is one of the few politicians I personally admire and all this admiration has been earned by her acts as a person in power working for the common man. She is very active on social media and has effectively used social media to help Indians world wide. Even save Indians. But this time it seems she is trying to save India. Now the way I look at it, India cannot be saved. This is not the normal cynical or naysayer POV of looking at the malice in India and just saying that India cannot change. India that she is trying to save is not the physical country which is named India. It’s not the land, the skys and the air of India that she is trying to save but the India in question here is the concenpt or the notion of India. The India that exists in the history books. The India that exists in the minds of the people, Indians and others. The first mistake one could do would be even assuming that this India can be attacked or harmed. Even worse, thinking that this India can be affected by a doormat print is, in my thoughts, us not being very confident about the strength and perseverance of India. Now I do not, in any way, condone the act of using the Indian flag as a doormat. I am pretty sure out constitution and the justice system have defined rules about how the flag has to be treated but I for one am really unhappy about the public display of pseudo (or real) patriotism and the aggression that follows. Let us not delude ourselves. If someone wants a doormat with the Indian flag, he will get it. If not from Amazon, someone else. If no one is selling it, he will get it custom made. Would it make sense to make it a mission to find such people, across the world, and make them respect us. In the entire history of civilization, has this ever worked for anyone except tyrants and despots and do we want to be listed with the likes of Hitler and Kim Jong Un. The issue which could have been easily resolved by a single simple email is not a shit-show (yes!) for the entire world to see and mock. There is no scenario in which we as Indian come out at the top when this ends. For every step that we take forward as a nation, these things take us 2 steps back. Read more »
This is going to be a rant post about how @Zomato service and customer care royally screwed me over Wed night. You have been warned. I wanted to initially make this a twitter rant but this got way to long for that. Also, I want this post to reach Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal so please share. And yet that’s a clickbait title. I am salty; deal with it.
I was working late this Wednesday (23 Nov 2016) with a teammate and the client. Around 10 PM we decided to order food since it seemed like we were going to pull a late nighter. It was decided that butter chicken and roti was to be had. I quickly opened Zomato Order and found a decently reviewed nearby place named Sighri. The order placing process was complete by 10.27 PM (ref attachment). Now Zomato has this process of order acceptance in which only placing the order does not guarantee food but the restaurant has to accept it. Which Sighri very graciously did and I was informed that the order will reach me by 11.22 PM. (ref image). Read more »
I cannot believe that I have to explicitly put it in words but looking at the misinformation out there this needs to be done as this is really annoying the techie in me. THE NEW 500 AND 2000 NOTES WILL NOT BE TRACKABLE. Identifiable - Maybe. GPS trackable - Absolutely not. Its only in the movies where the entire GPS circuit (chip, battery et al) can be concealed within the pages of the books and wads of cash. It is physically not viable today (at least not on a nonmilitary scale). I personally know more than 10 startups who are working on creating the smallest possible GPS device what can be worn by women and children so that they can be tracked for safety. The biggest hurdles these people are facing are form factor (making the device small) and rechargeable battery. No commercial solution exists that has built such a small device that can be embedded in a paper note. At this point discussing the data center requirements for such a large scale GPS device network would be a moot point because the NOTES DO NOT HAVE A GPS CHIP.
Now I can have a guess about what kind of “tracking” could be possible. The note could have a small RFID chip (the kind used in office IDs and metro tokens) which has the note serial number embedded in it. A RFID reader which can be placed anywhere a transaction takes place (bank, shops etc) and what can be tracked is what was the serial number of notes that were used for a transaction. Theoretically, if all this data can be captured at one central location / repository (which is a data and connectivity nightmare ) it could be possible to predict where the note was last used. But GPS location tracking is not happening. Not in the near future. Read more »
Last week an ex-serviceman committed suicide over the delay in implementation of OROP. It is saddening to know that a man who gave his life to the service of the nation had to kill himself because there was a delay in getting him what he deserves. I had been meaning to write this post for a very long time but this is what finally brought me to writing it.
I come from an urban middle-class family. No one in my family or the extended family or their friends has ever joined the armed forces. You could say that our previous generations used to only take after their fathers when it came to choosing an occupation and that is why it’s like that. But even now no one of my generation in my extended family and their friends and neighbors is part of the Indian Armed Forces. In the current times it is not uncommon for kids to venture into new fields. Men and women are now performing the roles which earlier used to be designated to opposite genders and many of us are doing jobs that did not even exist 1-2 generations back. Yet, the number of people who come from a non-defence background and join the armed forces is still way too small. Why is that? Risk. That seems to be the apparent reason but lets look at it this way. A quick google search shows that the odds of an individual dying in a vehicular accident are way higher than death on active military duty. This difference gets even bigger if there are long periods of (relative) peace. Yet everyday millions of Indians ride their two-wheelers to work. Mostly without a helmet. Could it be that they have to stay away from their families for long period of time? Most of the young Indians are already doing that for their jobs. Clearly, it could not be that the job is not prestigious. If there one thing that a military person will definitely get, that would be respect. Yet why is the youth not going in that direction? Read more »
Looking at the frightening smog that I am encountering daily since Diwali and looking at all media outlets, social and traditional, attributing it to Diwali fireworks there are a lot of thoughts in my mind. Honestly, I am not able to format them in a presentable way so I would rather make a disorganized scattered list.
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- Indian fireworks industry is pretty small (INR 2000 crores in 2013) and its market has been getting smaller every year by both the decrease in demand and the increase in sales of Chinese fireworks. Legislative and accident related issues also have a fair share in this industries misery. More info here
- Now this is completely anecdotal but I personally feel that there has been a palpable drop in the amount of fireworks Delhi consumes every Diwali. Without denying that it still is certainly way more than it should be, it is still getting reduced every year. (I couldn’t find sales numbers to quote, hence the anecdote). Yet this is probably the first time the smog situation has been this bad even 3 days after Diwali. Maybe I am missing something or there are some factors at play.
- Diwali is a one-time occurrence annually. The idea that somehow NCR was able to produce such a huge amount of pollution that it is overshadowing the other major regular players like industries, traffic, and fires (accidents as well as deliberate one) is really hard to put my head around. Considering that I believe that its contribution to pollution has been going down steadily.