Smart Idea?

sprawl cartoonAfter all the debate, various meetings, a lot of input and work, Nashik hasn’t been selected in the list of 20 Smart cities. Just to put things in perspective for a few oh-we-are-so-swag-youngsters, it is as bad as your 8th prospective girlfriend turning down your proposal on your 64th attempt. Yeah! While some are quite openly disheartened, some are relieved, some mocking the whole thing (like they mock everything anyway), others are just wondering what they should talk about in awkward social meetings here on!

What is a smart city?

Wikipedia describes smart city as -“A city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions. There should not be any difficulties for the general public or things that they find hard to get in the smart cities.”

profiling_participatory_budgeting_cartoon_large.previewBasically, the aim is to provide great sanitation, transportation facilities, and adequate water supply, build an ecosystem, manage waste, etc. Well, isn’t that what any city, smart or not, supposed to grow into? Or have we elected a government, just so that they can throw a mega birthday party with our money?

Smart city uses information and communication technologies to enhance the quality of performance, increase interaction between the people and government, digitize the entire planning and development process. Well, in our country, literacy is an issue, let alone digital knowledge. So, one has to be very very very lucky – you know, born under the perfect planetary positions (consult your jyotish)- to be in the cream 5% population who understand what it is, and will be able to use the facilities the way they are intended to be! Oh, by the way, if you are reading this on some device, congratulations and be grateful.

Basically, each town/city/state is allocated with some funds for development, expansion and growth. Then, the government comes up with some schemes under which, a few cities get extra funds for development. As the trend has been, we know who all have developed and prospered. And now with more money flowing in, oops, I mean funds being allocated, we can sort of foresee who all are going to flourish!

Oh this topic reminds me, the funniest thing that happened this week was rumours of a certain “Mr. Power” being no more. Hang in there guys, what’s the rush? Well…

Anyway!

Amidst all this economic hoo-ha and political jargon to the smart city concept, I hope a few things are taken care of during the implementation of these plans –

  1. Reservation quota for developing tribal areas, inhabited by SC/ST/OBC. (Here it is important, just for your information, government)
  2. Addressing local needs, culture and architecture, and not just block-printing the same idea across the nation. One shoe doesn’t fit all. Never.
  3. No cheating, or we will…umm, forget it, we are busy vacation-ing!

Well, as for me, I am just awaiting Mr. Kejriwal to announce his own rule of “over-smart city”, since Delhi isn’t on the list. Oh, you get the pun!

Love, Life and all that Jugaad

It is a little less than a week for Republic day, and I am already feeling so patriotic – first of the three times in a year, third being any cricket match – even if Mumbai Indians is playing. Apart from the Railways and ‘English’, the British will be remembered for giving the gift of Democracy to India. This year India boasts of its 67th Republic Day. We can proudly say that after all these years everyone in the country is happy, except Dalits, Muslims, minority, transgender, Farhan Akhtar and sportsmen playing any other sport apart from Cricket. Good job, government!

Something that is to India as Circuit is to Munna Bhai is Jugaad.

I remember reading somewhere that many years ago, innovative Punjabis mounted a diesel irrigation pump on a steel frame with wheels, and created a vehicle they called jugaad. It was ultra-cheap but did not conform to vehicular regulations. Over time, jugaad came to mean grassroots innovation to overcome any constraint, with the given limited resources!

In the West, innovation is done by scientists jugaad-newusing expensive equipment. In India, it’s done by every housewife, farmer, transporter, trader and industrialist. It does not require high-spending R&D: it simply needs creativity and knowledge of basic science. A lot of people confuse Jugaad with bribery, or illegal, unethical things to get work done faster, but that definitely is not jugaad I speak about here!

The country’s chaotic democracy, according to journalist and author Elliott, creates an environment “where jugaad fixes are easy, and where the failures of the system in terms of poor governance and weakened institutions make the fatalism of chalta hai a welcome safe haven”. It also “blocks changes and acts as an excuse for what is not being achieved”.

Even though at many levels I think this statement is faulty, but having said that, I do believe that to run a country as large as India, with second largest population in the world, diverse cultures and geographic conditions under not-so-stable leadership and poor governance is, in a way, Jugaad. We have all done jugaad at our own level, and are moving ahead somehow. And that is the success rate that jugaad can accomplish! I would even like to add India’s successful Mars mission to this list!

In this day and age, where everyday a new start-up is booming, jugaad can come as a handy tool!

Final criticism could be that what India needs is systems as well. It needs structure, it needs regulation. If there isn’t a system in place, or if there’s a system that blocks any change then one needs jugaad to find a way around it- not in negative sense, but to actually overcome constraints! If we can innovate with our ingrained Jugaad-o nature, and in second step, learn to strategize well – I think there is no stopping us! ‘Make in India’ can easily be changed to ‘Innovate in India’.

PS- No, no! This article on jugaad was not my jugaad, as I got too close to the deadline without a topic in mind. I am quite systematic that way!

Higher Secondary Certificate Exam for the Best Mugger

Well, 15 days into the New Year, and it already isn’t happy for a few of us! I know you lost your hair pin, which was the perfect shade of the dress you are going to wear for SulaFest! Life can be cruel sometimes- hang in there!

But there are some unlucky 10th and 12th grade students, who are going to appear for their board exams next month- Oh you poor souls! For me, the only good thing about these SSC board exams was that it happened a decade ago! Yes, I am old, but what the hell, at least I am not struggling for my face to be exhibited on the side of the BEST bus! Hello paan stains!

All you can’t-wait-to-go-college-kids are thinking about is- how much do I get to answer the question that seems to be on everyone’s mind (including Jaadu) – “Are you planning to take up medicine or engineering, or should we hire you as our sweeper?” But let me tell you something. 80% of the questionnaire is going to be from that one chapter you skipped. And no, you will never use trigonometry in your life! True Story! *facepalm*34a9bfc80ff200387fbfc1637a2699f3

Apart from hard(ly) work, heavy bag workout, and chit-cheating, (oops, chit-chatting) another thing which is prevalent in a student education today is – tension! It is as important as the date of Battle of Plassey- which, by the way, is June 23, 1757. But I have google, and you don’t! One up!

There are only 2 kinds of students who are tension free at this moment–

  1. The one’s who have surrendered themselves to the examiner – since they know no amount of work they do now is really going to reap any benefits!
  2. When your self-esteem is so low, that there is no self, and only esteem is left – and you are wondering where do I drive to now?

While some others are not really tensed about the exam, but if the Rs. 10/- Puja thali is going to work its magic is their primary concern!

One small theory about tension – Tension is always about achieving and not about understanding. (This one is not by Baba Ranchoddas). And this, my friends, is the primary problem with our education system. For example – Students generally fetch full marks for writing, “Excess alcohol causes memory loss and liver cirrhosis”, but celebrate writing this answer with a wasted night. Memory loss I guess. On second thoughts, probably they are doing it right – experience by practical implementation is more important after all.

Right now, your mind is thinking of all kinds of possibilities that this upcoming exam holds-

“What if I don’t score well?”

“What if I score so well that my parents think I am brilliant and I am forced to take up medicine?”

But all said and done, stop reading this article now, and start getting concerned again for the upcoming exams, so that you clear it just to give the next one, and then next, until you realise that it’s a trap and your parents lied when they said – “Bass, this one exam, and then life is great!” Booyeah!

Pehle AAP

It is odd that people complain about the living conditions in India, even though they don’t want to really participate in the betterment and growth.

It is odd that half our nation wastes so much food, even though the other half doesn’t have enough of it.

It is odd that kids watch cartoon network, even though it doesn’t play Tom and Jerry anymore!

It is odd that I am trying to use odd and even just to make a point, even though these sentences don’t make any sense! Erm..moving on!

Delhi has been called the most polluted city in the world. So, Mr Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi and snazzy muffler man (when he is not going around coughing or calling the prime minister a psyc(h)opath), is unwilling to sit just fidgeting with his pen. He has introduced a road rationing policy based on odd and even license plate restrictions that went into effect in Delhi from January 1, 2016 – the day when Dilliwalas can hardly remember their name, let alone mathematics!

It has been a week since a trial run of this rule has been in effect, and amidst all the hoo-ha, Kejriwal single-handedly, so easily and quickly has managed to teach an entire city to count! Isn’t it amazing!  So simple, and yet so effective.

“Do you want to drive that second-hand “expensive” car of yours that speaks – Tu jaanta hai mera baap kaun hai? – Just by its mere presence?” Well then, know your numbers! Genius I say!cartoonI asked a lot of people for their opinion about this rule. Well, indistinctly it is a widely laughed at idea, with a common outlook of an assured failure. But a little optimistic sound from within me believes and hopes that this does help in reducing the pollution level of the capital, simply so that the deep-breathing Ramdev baba followers get their share of abundant oxygen!All said and done, it is a very serious issue! Just when man thought, what are the odds that nature will get even with us (see I did that again!), we are constantly hearing of natural disasters in some or other part of the country! It is time that we start understanding these signs, co-operate with our government (even if it is AAP), and together fight to avoid another Chennai floods!

This odd-even experiment has been tested before, and has proved to be successful in many other cities in the world. What falls flat in Delhi is its lack of public transport. This led to an old image of the crowd at Rajiv Gandhi metro station suddenly becoming viral, leading to a series of hilarious tweets about the way Delhites are coping with this new rule! The only thing funnier than these tweets was Mr. Kejriwal tweeting John Lennon’s line. Yes that’s right, John Lennon. #swag

It is critical that we pay close attention to the wise words of Enrique Penalosa, the former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport”.

“Bhaiya, Antilia chaloge?”

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That’s the excitement level while typing a text from under the blanket in a dimly lit room, after failing in all efforts of making “at least” this year’s new year’s eve worth remembering. (How was the Dadar station experience at Baga beach, Goa people?) Probably this is the only good thing about this obnoxiously ever-hyped day, and Shah Rukh Khan has ruined it for us. One cannot wish Happy New Year without getting reminded of Main lovely ho gayi yaar…Argh!

Funny-New-Year-03It is day 2 in the January of 2016!Basically, the day we are sane enough to regret all that we did to bring in the New Year! Also, the day we realise that the resolution list is made of a “no” before all that we did to bring in the new year. And also the day we live the first lie of the new year – by not doing anything or everything from the New Year resolution(s) list!

“Loose that extra weight” and “Cut down on alcohol” are like so passé. Here is a more doable and innovative list of things one can do this year!

  • This year’s “summer-y” new year’s eve has opened my eyes about the seriousness of global warming issue. I really feel I need to do my bit. I shall avoid having bath everyday, and conserve water.  Oh, and also have alcohol neat!
  • At some point in 2016, go get that thing lying under the bed! Like really.
  • Try and cook one non-terrible meal this year!
  •  This is a leap year! Take inspiration from Phil ( modern family reference) and plan to do something CRAZY on this “extra” day in four years, just to realize it is a Monday, and well, before you know, Monday morning got bluer than Jodhpur! (Yaaay, all you 10-year old 29 Feb Born!)
  • Don’t suffer in silence. You can moan, crib and complain.
  •  Get better grades. You could always try. Like every year!
  • Learn the lyrics of Govinda’s chartbuster “Meri Pant bhi sexy, mera shirt bhi sexy”. #TooMuchSwag
  • This is really really clichéd. And overly used. But again, get off facebook and put your face in a book. But, if it is Chetan Bhagat, you would rather watch people eat the best cheesecake in the world on facebook. *like*
  • Go to one place this year where you have never been! Of course, save up for it! Wait, where is the 500 bucks I put in my wallet last night! Erm..nevermind!
  •  Some people wish to do something that scares the daylights out of them. In retrospect, all they do is get married. Well, fair enough.
  •  As Bazz Luhrman says it, use sunscreen! *very important*( I know you know that it is my favourite reference)

Jokes apart, I really feel I need to get out of my comfort zone and go to Kathegalli, where I think people are still watching Happy New Year!

PS- Happy New Year everyone! May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.