Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Scrapping All Redundant Laws of India: The One Progressive Step By PM Narendra Modi!

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is perhaps the first Indian political leader who was bold enough to declare the urgency of deleting all those redundant and conflicting laws of India that has caused the justice system of India a never ending process, if not a mockery.

Human beings are not yet perfect in their mind and body. They are in the process of developing towards progress. How many generations or centuries more we might take to achieve even a reasonable level of perfection cannot be predicted for now.

Indian Electricity Infrastructure-Contradictory Rules
Making Things Difficult For Everyone!

So, all the rules and laws we have been making become obsolete and useless with passage of time. The laws which the British enacted for India some one-and-a-half century ago cannot be justifiably valid for those of us who have been citizens of independent India.

Yet, the the independent Indian law makers never thought of studying the old laws and removing those laws which are not according to the letter and spirit of the Indian constitution. For all these years they have been amending and creating laws and statutes without really studying the implications of the the wordings of the laws that they passed in the parliament and in the state assemblies.

This resulted in conflicts and unjustified delays in settling issues in the courts. It also enhanced the time needed for the courts to decide upon the various legal issues brought before them to justifiable decisions.

A very interesting article in this context was featured in Outlook magazine written by Mr Arindam Mukherjee, titled ' And Justice for None'

The author very categorically made his point and I agree fully with him.

But kudos to our new PM Narendra Modi when he candidly admitted this lacuna in the Indian law system and declared the same to the world the other day. This is what he said:

" I have removed all laws that are outdated and redundant". He was speaking to the Indian community in the USA at Madison Square

He declared his intention to give top priority to remove all those redundant and useless laws of India on a war footing at the rate of deleting one such law per day.

It is indeed a good thing happening.

We should appreciate the good work being done by the present government.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Why Do Malayalees Keep Preferring Padmanabha Dasa's Ten Chakrams?

Yesterday evening while having a usual pleasantry talk between me and my daughter over the cell phone, the issue of school admission for my grand daughter got in to our talks. And that initiated a kind of debate between us which soon was progressing towards an agitated argument that I skillfully put an end to our talks and said good night to her.

My book has taught me why I should not argue more to prove my point lest the truth what I want to convey becomes degraded to the status of an untruth.

Before I go further, it would be prudent to give some background of the issue with my readers.

My daughter, her husband and their five year old child are now in New Delhi. My daughter, who is an MBA had been working as an executive for the past few years before she finally decided to become a housewife to look after her child. Ever since, her most important passion and devotion in life is the upbringing of her child. She would go to any extent to accomplish that, just as any other urbanized middle class Indians. She and her husband want their child to get the best possible education. The only difficulty, as I see it, is their lack of clarity with regard to what they consider as the best education! No doubt, here too, they are no exceptions. The majority of urban or suburban middle class Indian parents now possess this mindset which is the bane of the Indian society, in my humble opinion. They are too willing to be exploited by the clever education entrepreneurs and so-called educationists of India who keep subverting the age old system of education for their own benefits. The aspiration for giving the child the best education is no sin. The definition of 'best education' is the real problem!

So, they have already spend a good fortune to get their child admitted in to one public school in the national capital region in the nursery level. Like all others like them, they have been now brainwashed to believe that spending on education for their child is the best thing that they can do for their child.

The Impressive Gates of a Typical 
Saintly Public School in India 

So, if the schools harass them, they are not much perturbed or they tolerate that without any complaints. 

If the schools charge 150,000 for a nursery level admission, they do not feel it as an exploitation! 

After all how can the schools give good and elite education if they charge only peanuts as fees? They argue! 

They are not disturbed and overtaxed when these schools burden them with heavy home works for the parents (mostly to be taken by the mothers!) and the kids, whose brains and bodies are just in the initial stages of development. For that matter, I have heard about other over enthusiastic young parents (again, mostly the young mothers!) who are too willing to get in to a cesarean to be performed on them to get the child delivered at the most appropriate zodiac time in the hope that their child would become a super human genius at some later stage!

My daughter fortunately understood these things very well. But her problem was the lack of mental strength to resist such evils that are slowly destroying the society in the ways that are never discernible to most of such parents. How could she be the odd woman when the whole society moves in one direction?

Now her worries and anxieties are mounting as her husband has determined to move to Chennai from Delhi to take up a better career there. But the Chennai school authorities are no saints any more. They would not even talk to them unless they are prepared to shell out a huge fortune to get her child a primary class one admission there. The schools bearing the names of the Christian saints are in the forefront now to prove the real meaning of sainthood to all those saint seeking people of India! And saintly schools have mushroomed in large numbers in all nooks and corners of India in the recent times with more and more people are willing to get their children educated there at whatever costs!

I told her to read this recent article that has come in the Outlook magazine online edition recently where the learned author has worked out the present value of the cost of educating your child in India now. 

The author has worked it out at Rs. 42 million for an average education spanning about 22 years in any average saintly schools or similar followed by any average kind of private engineering and management institutes of India. 

If this sum is handed over to the young man or lady after 22 years as a fixed deposit in the bank, it would fetch the young one an interest of nearly Rs.300,000 ($ 5000/-) per month. That is the average annual salary now for any fresh MBA in India who is fortunate to get a job!

If the child is allowed to study in the most humble and inexpensive government owned education system, not only this money would come handy, but also the child would learn things in the most realistic manner that would enable him or her to take up real challenges of life in a better way, the author argues. 

I agree with him fully, because I myself have undergone such an education system and it has given me the outstanding capabilities that I consider as my strength. There were a few among my time who had gone through the so-called elite public school education system imitating the Doon School or other such schools which existed as elite schools in India during the British Raj. No doubt, some of their alumni  have matured up as elitists who are generally considered as having good education. Perhaps they have been good in reciting Shakespearean poetry and might have climbed up the success ladders of professional career due to their better accessibility to receive favors and their connections! But many of them do lack common sense and the real human understanding of life gained from real human experiences!

But my daughter would not agree with me. Neither do any one like her. My children would also not agree the way I myself proceeded to educate them. I stuck to my convictions to the extent possible. I have been always against mushrooming elitist public schools  which I firmly believed as agents that destroyed the social fabric of the Indian society in a subtle manner. These schools caused many children to get developed as individuals with some robotic characteristics, eliminating their natural instincts of creativity and free thoughts!

I am not against private unaided schools or unaided educational institutions with good infrastructural facilities. But education as it stands today is a declared non-profit service in India. And if it is so, it has to remain that way in practice as well. It should not become a clandestine exploitation service for the ignorant society at large!

It should be a mandatory requirement for all educational institutions to publish their income expenditure statements and they should not be allowed to accumulate and divert their excess incomes. They should prove that they are non-profit organizations in practice, if they are registered under that non-profit society umbrella.

On the other hands, the government should allow education entrepreneurs to set up education shops for profit for satisfying the rich and the elites in the society. Let them take any amount of fees that their clients can afford to pay. But it should be a declared policy and not a clandestine arrangement. 

The problem now is of hoodwinking. Some educational institutions hoodwink the gullible parents to believe that they provide the elitist education for ensuring sure shot success of their children. The gullible middle class are forced to believe that the success of the elitist children with parental clicks and connections are the real educational contributions of these so called institutions. Many such institutions are functioning in India in the name of saints and gods, declared as charitable or religious organizations for educational service without any profit making desires whatsoever. But as of now, the reality is some thing very different!

To prove that their education is the best, these educational institutions adopt all kinds of tricks in their arsenal. First they screen the children and the parents in the name of various admission tests. 

They achieve a two fold gain in this process. Firstly, they get the children of better IQs or children of over ambitious parents who are too willing to do any thing to get good marks for their children. Secondly, this ensures better results in the examinations that is the net result of the parents' hard work and the children's better IQ. In this process they screen out all children with any perceivable lack of privileges and showcase the better results as their own achievement. This in turn  ensures a steady stream of parents flocking to such institutions year after year, boosting their financials.

Now what happens in this process? All underprivileged children (underprivileged physically, financially or socially) are naturally denied the opportunity of any reasonable education due to the eagerness of the such schools (read the individuals who manage them!) to maintain their market value. The eagerness in making market value naturally involves creating artificial problems in admissions and troubling the young parents in many ways.

The principals of these kinds of schools have become management agents and not any real and respectable teachers. The teachers have become exploited and overworked individuals who no more have the capacity and ability to be termed as teachers in the real sense! They have downgraded themselves to the status of 'education employees' (शिक्षा कर्मी ) instead of becoming the real and respectable gurus or master guides to their children.

There could be exceptions here and there. But in general, things are moving in a direction that is causing a fast deterioration of the status of the teachers, both in the private and in the government funded institutions, for different reasons!

And what is the final outcome? The inherently good students get screened to be exported to foreign countries to become a generation of second class citizens there in the coming future. Another lot becomes improperly educated ones with distorted moral values to become slavish future citizens of India with no enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. Again, you should excuse me for the generalization!

The majority parents want their grown up children to become employees in some foreign nations or of the government or some other public organizations.  

Middle class parents of India normally do not encourage their children to become self employed or to become entrepreneurs. They want them to become salaried persons of any company or the government at any cost. They are not willing to take any lessons from the successful businessmen and women of India who in the recent past have become successful wealth creators and employment creators. Excepting some, a good majority try to kill any such aspirations of their children! And the Indian education system does not help to improve this mindset of the people in any way.

And job generation is a big problem for a country full of average and non-enterprising minds! The number of employment creators keeps reducing with this kind of a scenario that prevails in India now! India does have immense potentials for employment creation. But the non-enterprising minds of the people do not allow it to happen. The governmental attitudes also create much difficulty.

In my home state Kerala, getting a job of the government (सरकारी नौकरी ) of the king was once upon a time considered as the biggest achievement of any person. The erstwhile kings of Travancore kingdom had the title Padmanabhadasa (പത്മനാഭ ദാസന്‍) . The travancore currency used to the rupee with the chakrams (ചക്രം) and Kashu ( കാശ്) as the coins. A government servant getting ten chakrams monthly was considered as having a higher status in the society and was commonly titled as : Padmanabha dasante patthu chakram pattunnavan. (പത്മനാഭ ദാസന്റെ പത്തു ചക്രം പറ്റുന്നവന്‍) which literally meant the person drawing ten chakrams from the king's treasury in a month as salary. Such a person was given a higher status in society than a trader or farmer who made ten times or more that amount in a month! This was because the government servant, though having a lower income, was having a higher level of education than his money making fellows in general in the past. The respect came from the educational status and not from the wealth status. This was indeed a good thing initially which enhanced the aspiration for education among the people. But the difficulty arose with the people refusing to change with the times!

In reality, this mind set is not limited to the Kerala people alone, but is more or less common with most of the middle class people of many Indian states. Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu could be some exceptions! 

Besides, this mindset caused another problem. The Indian people-the majority of them- are not prepared to honor a person who makes a decent living by self employment or by business. A person who has become successful in business secretly becomes one envied and the envy often got expressed in private by the people calling him some words which meant illiterate fool (अन पढ़ गवार)! Naukary ( नौकरी) or employment and a monthly salary continued as a status symbol among the middle class people of India even now. The status as a salaried employee is perceived as less risky and easy even when the situation has changed much from the olden days!

In such a situation, education has been considered as a tool not for gaining knowledge and culture, but a passport for getting a monthly salary earning employment! 

The educational degree certificates became more important than what has been actually learnt! When the degrees became more and more accessible, people began to look for educational certificates that have some exclusivity in them that could give them some additional status value!

The Indian education system has done hardly anything to change the mindset of the Indian people. On the other hand it has been doing  much to enhance this mindset in the Indian people.

And this is the real curse of the Indian society. If India is not making progress in all fronts simultaneously, it is because of its faulty education system. 

India needs an education system that does not cause further divisions in the already divided society on the basis of education based on any pseudo status. There should be a social awareness campaign that would break the false thoughts of the people and encourage them to view all educational institutions equally. All media efforts to promote some educational institutions as the best or having some higher rating should be shunned while constant efforts are done to improve the standards of all educational institutions and schools on a consistent manner.

Parents having the strength of mind and will power should come forward to promote the government run schools and institutions by sending their wards to such schools and institutions as far as possible.

The unholy alliance between some private companies and some professional institutions in selection and recruitment should stop.

Last but not the least, the educational expenses in the country should be brought under control by decisive actions. No educational institute or school declared as non-profit institutions should be allowed to charge unjustified fees that are not affordable to the average Indian.

The government should maintain subsidized education to the meritorious students who study in the government run institutions such as the IITs, NITs and the IIMs. There is no justification for them to charge hefty fees like the private institutions. 

Organizations should be encouraged to sponsor meritorious students with employment guarantees or with merit cum means scholarships.

All professional institutes or the government should give the data regarding the percentage of people who are employed out of the total pass outs so that the parents could take well informed decisions on spending money and time for any particular professional course. 

As land is becoming scarce to open future educational institutions, government should encourage opening large fully residential campuses in remote rural areas instead of allowing them to be opened in urban areas. The best successful example in India in this regard is the Lovely Professional University in Punjab state.

While higher educational facilities have improved much, the school education system has not. It is indeed a pathetic sight with our tiny ones and their guardians taking all the toils in the name of education. We need to learn much from the developed nations.

That is my perception, whether you agree or not. 

But I do welcome your views both in support and against.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Where Is This Incheon My Friend?

For the past few days, I have been hearing a new name - Incheon- occassionally while watching the Indian TV News channels . To tell you the truth honestly, I haven't heard this name earlier. I could also see this name appear in the other media, both print and online as well. But the news reporters hardly gave any clue as to where this place is.

Listening the news in bits and pieces what I could make out was that this Incheon is some city somewhere in some Asian country where the Asian games of 2014 is being held. Because, the news was about the Asian games and not about Incheon.

I self pitied silently on the present level of my general knowledge. Shameful! I have not yet found out where this Incheon is! I do not even know which Asian games is this or any thing more about it.

True, I am not a sports enthusiast and there is no reason why I should be worried about my lack of general knowledge about this sports event which is the Olympics of the Asians. And enhancing my GK is not going to reward me in any way now in the fag end of my career!

But yet, I am a curious man. When curiosity comes in I just could not sit without satisfying it. Many times I thought of taking the help of Google and Wikipedia which I now know for sure would give me the instant solution to my problem. Unfortunately, as what was told as happened in the case of Karna in Mahabharat, I was failing to recollect the name Incheon the moment I sat before the PC for browsing the internet. Without the key word, how could I possibly proceed to find out? 

Of course, I could have typed silly questions or illogical phrases with full spelling mistakes in the Google search bar just as millions in the world are doing today to find the answers they seek. The young men and women who work as programmers and analysts with Google have already found solutions as far as digging out information from the world wide web is concerned.

And the millions of amateur enthusiasts from around the world are using the Wikipedia platform to consolidate all kinds of information that any one might require. 

So, things are not so difficult in these days for those having the computers with internet connectivity.

But then the question that follows is this. Why do we have these news TV channels and the print news media? I am especially annoyed with the TV news channels of India because they keep making a mess on the screen visuals and the audio by cramming up too many things at the same time. Besides, every couple of minutes they give a break for several minutes to play their myriads of boring ad clips. When they start again, they keep repeating the same thing for another few minutes only to be stopped again to repeat the same routine! And the whole lot of them keep flashing 'breaking news' in such bold letters that eat away half of the screen area!

Perhaps they are trying to satisfy the needs of all kinds of customers. But the reality is that you just cannot make out any thing from what they keep beaming on a 24x7 basis! Perhaps, I am an old timer who is not fit to get to the wave lengths of the new generation viewers who are told as good in extracting all information from this kind of complex news telecasts!

But for me, things are totally different. I have stopped viewing this TV news channels of my country, especially those who boast as the national level players who convey the news in Hinglish (a mixture of Hindi mixed up with Indian English). But yet they come to be noticed now and then when I browse the hundreds of channels for some thing worth viewing, only to waste my available time. In that process, perhaps I do give an enhancement of viewership to all the channels!

Had there been a choice, I would have selected a news channel which gave the real news honestly without those biscuit and napkin ads. Yes, I know that these ads are their bread and wine and devoid of those they would not live for long. But yet, I would have preferred paying for viewing them rather than getting those ridiculous ad filled news! If some of the movie channels could be paid and ad free, why can't they?

And when that is the case, these news room boys and girls could have told us where this Incheon is! Perhaps they could have enlightened our general knowledge a bit more by telling us more about that city and the country too while giving us the news about the games and the medal tallies!

Initially I was thinking that I would be the only fool who did not know about Incheon. But to my great relief I found that a good majority are like me. Ignorant. They too did not get much from viewing the news channels and reading the print media.

So, what about you, my friend? Did you know where is this Incheon?

If you did not, just click these hyper linked key words - Incheon and Asian Games 2014- to know more!

Now you know that Incheon is in South Korea and its full name is Incheon Metropolitan Area and it is the host city of the 17th Asiad also now called the Incheon Asian Games. It is near Seol the Capital city of S.Korea and one of the fast growing modern city. The newly constructed Incheon Bridge and its International Airport are engineering master pieces!

But still it would have been much better if these news media fellows gave these back ground info too with their rhetoric of breaking news!

To tell you the truth, I have now started liking the Door Darshan News (DD News)- the Indian TV legacy owned by the government. It has improved much after the new government took over. Besides, it has much lower time wasting with boring ads!

Would you mind sharing your frank opinions? 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Kerala House Boat Tourism and Some Thoughts Arising From It!

A speeding House Boat in the Vembanad Lake of Alleppey

I was very delighted to see a small news clip in a Malayalam TV channel yesterday about the inauguration of an internet portal that provided travel enthusiasts the much needed information about the Kerala luxury house boats.
A small wooden boat in the approach channel 
to Vembanad Lake at Alleppey
This new online Kerala House Boat information and booking website which came into official existence is www.myboattrip.com which is a safe and secure website.

An Alleppey House Boat
The ever shining Malayalam actor Mohanlal [മോഹന്‍ലാല്‍] reportedly inaugurated this website which is an initiative by M/s Safe Boat Trip Private Limited of Kerala.

A House Boat in the Backwaters of Kerala
The house boat tourism began in the back waters of Kerala a couple of decades ago in a big way when an enterprising Kerala businessman built the first luxury houseboat for tourism purposes, spending millions. But houseboats called kettuvallam (കെട്ടുവള്ളം) have been in existence in Kerala rivers and backwaters perhaps for centuries. They have been used for days long journeys through the calm backwaters and rivers of Kerala. I remember enjoying a lunch inside a kettuvallam during my early childhood days. It was owned by some of our relatives who lived in the water locked Kuttanad area who came all the way travelling through the Pamba river to attend the famous Christian annual convention called the Maramon Convention. That was some time in the Nineteen Sixties. 
Coconut Palm grove and the backwaters of Kerala
The rivers and backwaters of Kerala always have been awesome for me, but regrettably I could not get much opportunities to experience it to the full. I have written about some aspects of those in one of my blog article (read 'my love and hate relationships with water')

The Backwaters of Kerala
Since most of my adulthood, I had spend outside Kerala, my exposure to the natural beauty of my home state is much limited. But whenever I visit my village, I keep thinking about the enormous potential of tourism in my home state. It is not that the Kerala government and the several private players have not done much on this. In fact they have done lot many things including the projection of Kerala as ' God's Own Country'! But whether they have done full justice to that phrase is a debatable issue.

Another House Boat in the Lake shore 
with the Coconut Palms
The first and last time that I could view the awesome glory of the Kerala backwaters, especially the Vembanad Lake in full was some time in 1969 when I was a high school student studying in the St. Thomas Higher Secondary School, Kozhencherry. Kozhencherry is a small town of Central Travancore area of Kerala located in the banks of the Pamba river. (Incidentally, this is the place where the now famous Mutthoot group began their small chit fund business decades ago. It is also the nearest town to the now failed Aranmula International Airport Project ) 

A large 7 Bedroom House Boat
In those days in the 1960's, tourism was not developed as an industry in Kerala. The Kerala roads and the water ways were much better maintained by the state government and the facilities were reasonably good when compared to the demands. My father allowed me to travel first time to the twin cities of Ernakulam-Kochi alone to book a railway ticket, a facility that existed only in the Ernakulam Railway station then. I could reach Ernakulam city situated about 120 km away from my home village, Elanthoor, within about 3 hours time then (some thing which is impossible now due to traffic congestion), travelling on a Fast Passenger bus operated by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC). By the time I completed the task of booking the railway berth, it was late after noon. Now, the possibility of my returning back to my home village by bus posed some problem. There used to be KSRTC Fast Passenger buses that plied in the night and possibly one them could have taken me to Chengannur, the nearest major town located on the main central road of Kerala which is about 18 km away from my village. But by the time I reach, Chengannur, it would be late night and all public transports to my place would stop ( the situation is more or less the same even now!)
A Kuttanad Lake Side House in Kerala
So, I decided to get in to a lodge and stay there over night. In those days, a lodge room was available in Kochi for budget travelers within Rs.10/- per night! But before getting in to any lodge, I decided to have a stroll to the ferry that existed by on the banks of the Vembanad lake on the western side of the railway station. When I reached there, the time was about 8.00 PM. There were several big motor boats which looked almost similar to the KSRTC buses above the deck. They were like buses placed on kettuvallams! In fact, they were the public transport boats owned and operated by the Kerala Water Transport Corporation for the people of the Kuttanad region. When I reached there, I saw one of the boats with a prominent board placed on it reading-Chengannur. It was indeed a boat which was going to Chengannur. I had no idea how this boat from the backwaters would reach Chengannur through the water route! Any way I got it confirmed and got inside. The conductor was a little surprised initially, because it was the first time that he was getting a passenger who is boarding his boat for such a long trip from the starting point to the end point! The ticket charge was surprisingly low. It was just three and a half rupees- much lower than what I had to pay for the overnight stay in the lodge! The boat, as I was told, would be reaching Chengannur next day morning. It was just alright for me because I would be spending the whole night in the boat and in the morning I would get the bus from Chengannur to Elanthoor. It was my first experience on a diesel boat of the water transport corporation. As the boat started to move in to the depths of the sea like lake, I found it surprisingly smooth and with good speed. There were hardly a few passengers and they were all going to their water bound Kuttanad homes unlike me. I enjoyed the night view of Kochi from the boat as it moved away from the Kochi harbour beside several big ships anchored there. In another one or two hours time, heavy rains started. But it caused no problems for the boat or its travel. On its way, it stopped at different boat jetties and that process too was new to me. 
A Passenger Boat Moving in the Backwater Channels
The boat had two crews. One steered it from his cabin at the top while another operated its diesel engine from the engine room below the water line. The communication between them was just a string operated bell. Yet they worked quite in good synchronization without their boat making any wrong moves. Yet it did happen. Some time in the midnight, the boats propeller hit some thing and got partially damaged. It moved slowly afterwards upto Alleppey where it was placed in a boat workshop. It too was some thing new to me. I watched the whole process of boat repair with much enthusiasm during the night till dawn. After the repair, the boat moved again and entered the Pamba river. By the time it was already morning. I had the unique opportunity of watching the Kuttanad life by being in that boat till it reached the boat jetty of Chengannur which situated just below the MC road bridge. This boat jetty is no more functional now.
A Foreign Tourist Enjoying Sight Seeing in a House Boat
Years later some time in 2007 I got the second opportunity to make a small motor boat journey in Vembanad lake from the Alleppey side after the house boat tourism became much popular. The pictures in this blog page were taken during that time.
A Kuttanad House and its Common Transport Means
My non Keralite friends who happen to visit Kerala do tell me their appreciation of Kerala's natural beauty. I do agree with them. Kerala is unique in India and it is really beautiful when compared to the other Indian states. But had the Kerala government been a bit more careful with their administration, there are much more things they could have achieved in this state. Tourism industry could grow tremendously if they improve the roads, the transport, get more trained professional tourist guides, get more online travel portals, etc. Air travel to Kerala is much expensive as compared to some other air ports, even when it has three international airports within a span of 600 km.
A Luxury Hotel by the Lake Side
Kerala has been a centrally neglected state all through out because of the peculiar submissive nature of the Kerala politicians and bureaucrats who represented it in the Central government and its organizations. Kerala has been a non entreprising state always collectively, even while the Kerala people remained much more educated and industrious individually. The reason for this, in my opinion, is the peculiar political attitudes of the people. They fight each other on imaginary ideologies, totally ignoring the practical aspects of life and business. Because of this, Kerala businessmen are careful not to make themselves exposed much in the public! It is common knowledge that many Keralites are specialists in leg pulling. When they find some one among them successful, their sleep is lost and they may go all out secretly or openly to reverse the success of their fellow being!
The White Sandy Beach of Alleppey and the Arabian Sea
That is the reason why many Keralites prefer to venture out of their state to try their fortunes. Within their own state it requires far more efforts to become successful because of the pulls exerted by many of their local cousins. In a larger context, this is true to India as well. There are millions of successful Indians in the developed nations who are all contributing their knowledge and skills for making their second homes to prosper while they would have been just average performers within their own country because of the local pulls of other Indians at the home land! (Read more about this narrow mindedness in the blog I wrote yesterday)
The Waves of the Arabian Sea
Barring a few, most media in Kerala shy away from giving any publicity to news relating to business initiatives. I tried to get more information about the news that I mentioned in the beginning of this article. I could not find any of the Kerala online news papers covering this news of Shri Mohanlal inaugurating the new travel and tourism portal in Kerala.
 Scenic Beauty of Kuttanad!
In my opinion, it is high time that the Indian media learn to move away from the politicians and give undue importance to their thoughtless voices and acts. The public also should understand the futility of going after the politicians. If the politicians are doing some thing good for the nation, that should be acknowledged. Not otherwise! Instead, the wealth and job creators efforts should get more public appreciation. All businessmen who have become successful in creating large business organizations that provide worthwhile employment to the Indians should be appreciated more than the politicians.
Author's Niece Having A Hands On Experience!
Why some nations are highly developed while some others like India are not? Perhaps, talents and resources are more in India than perhaps all other nations. But regrettably, we lack the fundamental knowledge and attitudes that are required for efficient management of resources, including our human resources.
Near View of A Luxury Hotel and their Speed Boats
From personal experience, I have come to the conclusion that Indian organizational systems are antagonistic to progressive work. All our rules and procedures are based on mutual suspicion and fear. Perhaps it is all because the rules and procedures of Indian organizations are all made mostly by non-progressive narrow minded individuals. In many organizations, especially in the government controlled organizations, people simply cannot give their best out puts because the systems do not allow them to work! People are seldom provided the facilities that they require for executing their respective works in the appropriate times!
Another Kuttanad House
Often, the capable person to do a particular work is alienated and he or she may not be assigned any work. Instead, the work is likely to be assigned to persons who are not capable to do that work.

Incredible, is n't it? But then, that is the way things generally happen in India! Kerala is no exception!

I would request all the retired high officials of India to do some introspection in this context. How did they work when they were in power positions? Did they work as broadminded mentors? 

They should also give some thoughts on the ways and means by which the water tourism industry is promoted ensuring safety and security to the tourists. Accidents and untoward mishaps should not happen to mar the industry and the livelihood of the people who are depended on it. It is reported that the number of houseboats in the backwaters of Alleppey has already crossed one thousand. Do the government and the local authorities have some mechanism to improve the infrastructural facilities and the vigil?

Just sharing these thoughts with those who are capable of thinking positively.

Would you reciprocate with your reactions?

Friday, September 19, 2014

Narrow Minded People Will Not Allow the Society to Prosper!

A view of the War Memorial Plaza  of 
Malaysia- a prosperous Asian nation with 
a high human development index

What is the difference between broadminded people and narrow minded people? 

Broadminded people have the following characteristics:

They are open to new ideas. They are keen to know more about others. They are willing to listen to find out their own weaknesses and willing to correct it willfully with conscious efforts.

Normally they become more balanced and matured as they gain more and more life experiences. 

They wholeheartedly encourage others to do good deeds and are willing to provide good and impartial advice to others when they are approached. As they grow up, they discard negative qualities such as envy, anger, anxiety, intolerance, prejudice, etc. As they grow, they acquire more and more knowledge and are keen to learn all the time. As they gain more and more knowledge, they understand their ignorance more and aspire to learn more.

Since they are broadminded, they become more and more aware about the true nature of God, regardless of their traditional learning or religious upbringing. They might also realize the purpose of life and may adopt a life style that is simple and humble regardless of their position or status.

They become more cultured and civilized with experience of life. They would never use their power, wealth and position for satisfying their own vested interests. 

They give first priority to the society than to their own personal interests. 

They would never argue with others for forcing their ideas or viewpoints. 

They would not get angry with others who are not accepting their view points or ideas, but my have sympathy for those ignorant fellows around them who have mind capacities much lower.

It is not difficult for them to understand good from bad and with time they develop the technique of appreciating good in every thing and in every deeds. They tend to become true mentors for those who are in their team.

They enjoy working, but they are not workaholics. They understand the importance of both work and leisure. They are truly balanced and are not addicted to any one particular thing always!

Broadminded people would prove to be very good leaders. But they would not adopt clever and cunning ways to climb up to leadership positions!

Since they have not closed their minds for new thoughts and ideas, they are bound to become more and more experienced with life experiences. Therefore they are the ones who lead the society towards cultural advancements, progress and development.

Broadminded people like reading , listening and learning the ideas and thoughts of others. They also like to share their thoughts with others. But they dislike to force their thoughts on others and also would not normally get carried away by the false teachings of others. Truly, many of them develop the capability to discern the right from the wrong over the years!

Children of broadminded people may be like the children of every one else during their initial years of growth. But later in their adulthood, these children do exhibit good qualities of their broadminded parent.

Broadminded nature is both inherent and acquired. Some people may have inherently better chances for developing a broadminded nature than others. But broadminded nature could also be nurtured and developed by conscious efforts. Education imparted by broadminded teachers help children to develop this quality, even when they have little of it inherently with them.

A society with more and more broadminded people would become more and more developed socially. The human development index of such societies would be higher than those societies where such individuals are a minority.

All the above said qualities are just the reverse for the narrow minded people, in varying degrees. Narrow minded people are those having inherent narrow mindedness and those who did not get the right kind of education to remove their inherent negative qualities.

Narrow minded children educated and trained by narrow minded teachers develop as hardcore narrow minded people in the society. They are full of jealousy, anger and envy towards all those who appear as successful in life. They cannot tolerate beauty anywhere. They keep devising ways and means to destroy good everywhere due to their jealousy. 

Narrow minded people are suspicious of others. Fear, anxiety, envy and anger keep fuming within them destroying their mind and body slowly. They keep their minds closed that they fail to learn from others. A few of them become dangerous extremists who get sadistic pleasure in inflicting injuries to others.

They are prone to develop false ideas and thoughts. It is easy for those cleverer among them to make them their blind followers. 

The more narrow minded people in a society, the more it tend to become underdeveloped socially. The narrow minded ones keep negating the good works of the broadminded people!

It is possible for narrow minded people to discard their negative qualities to some extent provided they get proper education and training from broadminded teachers. It is possible for the society to reduce the number of narrow minded people by devising and implementing broadminded education system. Such societies and nations are likely to progress culturally and socially in a much faster pace.

Narrow minded people might adopt all clever tactics to get in to leadership positions. They aspire for leadership positions not for doing any good for the society, but for deriving sadistic pleasures by inflicting problems to others. Power positions and leadership for them are for their own self enjoyment. And that is what they perceive with their narrow minds! Narrow minded leaders are likely to make their societies and nations deprived of all good things and might even inflict greater damages and pain to all due to their narrow minded decisions and actions.

Organizations headed by narrow minded people might show apparent success for a short while. But such organizations are bound to prove as failures in the long run.

Your narrow minded relative or neighbor or colleague or even spouse would never be able to accept your success. They would never appreciate you or provide you any complementary support in your acts and thoughts. Instead, they keep pulling you down either directly or indirectly that you find it difficult to live in peace. On the other hand, had they been broadminded, you would have become a happy achiever! When every one like you become a happy achiever, your society naturally become one high in human development index.

It is a good idea to have an introspection to find whether you have any narrow mindedness in you. Though it is difficult for narrow minded people to get rid of this negative and destructive quality, by conscious and willful efforts much desirable could be achieved.

Remember, becoming a broadminded personality is one of the greatest achievements in human life. There are many inherent rewards, though they may not be directly discernible always. Broadminded persons are not like touch-me-not plants. They would not show sudden outbursts of joy or gloom because they are balanced and matured. But within their minds they are loving and with full of peace. Many of them acquire the good qualities of Character, Competency, Compassion and Courage (the 4-Cs) as they grow up in their life, unlike the narrow minded ones.

Now let me give some illustrations that give the nature of narrow mindedness and broad mindedness from real life experiences:

In a particular organization, this narrow minded person become overnight successful and becomes elevated to the position of the chief executive. He had inherent weaknesses in many fronts and since he was narrow minded, he was not able to realize his weaknesses. Over the years he became highly suspicious of others and had developed a grudge to all those around him because of his inferiority complex. He was anxious to demonstrate that he was better than others and was waiting for an opportunity to teach all those others who directly or indirectly ignored his presence in the organization. By his good fortune, he got a family mentor who could catapult him to higher career positions regardless of his inherent weaknesses. And thus he became the CEO. He did not waste time to fulfill his desires of teaching all those others some befitting lessons causing much distress and damage to the organization as a whole! Since he was narrow minded, it was difficult for him to understand his mistakes and follies!

Sometimes, in an organization (it could be even a government), the new incoming head of the organization, if he or she is narrow minded, would tend to become too pre-occupied with such actions that are predominantly with the intention to negate the work of his or her predecessor due to certain kind of grudge that they have developed due to their narrow minds! The society as a whole suffers on account of this.

In a privately developed apartment complex in India, the builders had built dwelling units of a few different sizes. The residents later formed the owners' association and registered a society for the purpose of managing the common interest affairs of the apartment complex. Some knowledgeable and broadminded individuals helped in making the most acceptable bylaws in accordance with the laws of the land. The bye-laws considered all owners equally and they did not make any differentiation among themselves on account of the size of the apartment they owned. The association carried out the management smoothly as there was no disagreement among them. However, soon a few narrow minded among the lot began to play their crooked activities. They started creating divisions among themselves by demanding a change in the bye-laws allowing differential treatments of the members according to the size of their dwelling units. The management of the common facilities of the apartment complex soon began to go haywire affecting all who lived there.

A young couple were happily married and both were having their own successful professional careers. If they are narrow minded, marital disharmony would begin to spoil their peace both at home and at their work place. In many cases, this situation might reach to such heights that either one of them (most likely the wife, if it is in India) may leave the job or they go for a divorce. Depending upon the degree of narrow mindedness, they develop varying degrees of animosities among themselves. If the family members too are narrow minded, the husband-wife dispute soon envelop a larger group of people!

The management board of a company wants to provide some good incentives to all its employees because the majority in the board are broadminded people. They are willing to spend a sum as high as 10% of their annual profits for this purpose. The board entrusts the CEO to work out the details. The CEO in turn sets up a committee of three headed by a narrow minded finance official for a detailed study and for recommendations. The committee, greatly influenced by its head, finally gives a recommendation that in the final analysis was more of a disincentive rather than any incentive to the employees. Here the head of the committee being narrow minded was ready to give up his own benefits. He disliked the idea of the majority of the employees getting some better benefits!

A private school run by a society floated by an Indian church soon became very famous attracting a huge rush of parents to get their children admitted in this school. Soon the society's accounts began to swell with huge money as the cost of running the school was much lower than the amount of fees collected from the students. The funds were so huge now that there was no problem for the school to extent better pay and perks to the teachers and the staff. They could now also hire the best teachers and enhance the infrastructural facilities. They are also in a position to provide fee concessions to a good number of deserving children or to institute various scholarships. But unfortunately, the management committee of the school comprised of narrow minded Christians who could never understand the broadminded teachings of Jesus. The school, obviously, could not make any further progress due to this narrow mindedness!

A man in Kerala lives by the side of a main road. He has more than half acres of land where his house is located. But his financial situation is not so good. A million rupees can make his financial problems vanish for ever. This fellow has a neighbor who is financially much better than him. But this neighbor of his is unable to buy a car and use it because he does not have a proper approach road to his house. For making an approach road, the first mentioned person has to allocate some of his land for that purpose which he had been denying for quite some time now. The richer one now has offered more than a million rupees for the one or two cent of land that the first person has to spare for widening the approach road to his house. But the first man is so narrow minded and adamant that he would not budge. He prefers not to take the money. For him, the neighbor using the car conveniently is a bigger problem than his own financial problems! He does not want to solve his own problems because it gives some advantage to his neighbor!

Take the cases of the Aranmula airport proposal or the proposed liquor ban of Kerala. These are also typical examples of narrow minds in action!

In short, the more the individuals in a society are narrow minded, the more it is difficult for the society to prosper! 

Would you like to share some of your views about this in this forum?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How to Get the Best Cost Effective Blood Sugar Monitor Kit Online in India? How to Use it?

Me and my wife both are going to be senior citizens shortly and signalizing that forthcoming event, we both have become marginally diabetic in the recent times.

It is a warning signal for careful living during old age! We have already made certain restrictions in our food habits. Sugary foods with added sugar have become a no-no for us now. We are trying our best to manage with the least pills and also to keep insulin injections postponed to the extent feasible. But sooner or later it would become inevitable. We know it.

We are not alone. There are millions like us, in this country and around the world.

To manage the sugar and insulin balance within the body, it is essential to know the blood sugar levels on a regular basis. It is not practical to go to the doctor or to the medical lab for the blood test on a regular basis.

The modern electronic blood sugar test meter called glucose meter (or glucometer) comes handy for us in such a situation.

The electronic glucometer kit consists of the following:

The main apparatus is the testing meter with the electronic digital display panel which gives the blood sugar level. The unit of blood sugar is expressed commonly in milligrams per decilitre (mg/dL) or millimol per decilitre (mmol/dL) [1mmol/dL = 18 mg/dL] The first unit is what is in common use in India. So if any one says his or her fasting sugar level is 120, it means his or her blood at the time of test contains 120 mg of sugar in a decilitre of blood.

The meter is a life long device which only needs its batteries to be replaced after some 50-100 tests.

The test strips are the next essential item. It can be used only for one test and is a consumable item. Normally the test strips comes in packs of 10, 25, 50 or 100.

Apart from this we need proper needles or lancets to pierce our fingers to get the blood sample. These needles come pre-sterilized in packs of 10,25 or 50. They too are often used only once.

The lancets are to be fitted on to a lancet applicator which is a small mechanism to prick using the lancet mildly and surely without we feeling anything.

So, a normal glucometer kit should contain the meter with batteries, the strips bottle, the lancet pack, the lancet applicator and the instruction book and preferably a proper carry case for all these items of the kit.

There are now various manufacturers who supply these glucometer kits in India. Some of these names are 'One Touch', Johnson, DrMorepan, etc.

I was using one model by One Touch earlier. But for this, it was extremely difficult to replace its button cell battery. After I got its battery replaced, the meter started giving error readings. I had to throw it out.

I tried various medical shops in the city. They all had these meters and the strips. But the costs were very high. The meter was costing anything between Rs.1200- Rs.1800 with 10 test strips and ten lancets as initial supplies. Additional strips costed any thing between Rs.600-850 for a pack of 25.

Then I tried Amazon India and searched for the options. After some online research, I decided to give a try for this, TysonBio make JCB AC200 model of glucometer. It was the cheapest and the best buy option which costed only about Rs.1200 for the entire kit with 50 strips and lancets. 
 TysonBio AC200 Glucometer Kit Pack with the Test Strip Pack

The User's Manuals and  Log Book as provided

The carry case, the meter, the lancets, strips, lancet applicator

The Kit arranged in the carry bag

So, I ordered it online making payment through net banking. Though they indicated about a week's time for the delivery, it was delivered in three days.

I was delighted by the quality of the product. It was absolutely good and easy to use. The pack contained the meter with replaceable batteries (a pair of alkaline cells), 2 numbers each of 25 strip packs and lancets, a good quality lance applicator, the instruction book let, a booklet for recording the readings, a carry-case, all in a good pack.

I am sharing this for the benefit of those health conscious diabetic patients in India who are thinking of buying this meter. 

Now, a few tips for using the TysonBio AC200 Glucometer as shown in the pictures above. Its use is very simple and all instructions are provided in the user's manuals. In the original pack, the alkaline batteries are given separately. Take the meter, open the battery cover at its backside (slip the cover out) and insert the two cells with the correct polarity. (if you place the cells incorrectly, the meter will not work!) 

After inserting the cells, close the battery cover and then reset the meter by pushing a small pointed object (a ball point pen refill would do) inside the reset button hole at the back side. Then press the M-key at the front to put the meter on. When you first make it on, the first task you have to do is to set the date and time, sequentially. You can do it using the up/down arrow keys. There are more functions. It is better you read the user manuals and try it yourself for testing your blood sample.

If you find any problems in using the meter you may ask through the comments column.

You may also share your experiences with such glucose meters for the benefit of others.

Note dtd 08/02/2016: I found my instrument TysonBio AC200 got damaged due to leaking batteries. It was my mistake as I forgot to remove the batteries from the meter (a facility this brand has) when not in use for a long time.

I had a stock of the test strips and I wanted my instrument back. I found that this meter is no longer available with Amazon India. But fortunately, I found it on Snapdeal that too at a very low price as compared to any other model or offer anywhere. Today  I ordered it: the meter + 50 strips + 50 lancets just for Rs.990/- from Snapdeal.