Monday, April 28, 2014

When Religious Organizations Run Educational Institutions For Money and Power, the Damage to the Society is More!

To be very frank, I am pained by the way the Indian education system has deteriorated over the past few decades beyond redemption. When I talk about the deterioration, I do not mean the physical deterioration of the infrastructure that the Indian educational institutions have. In fact, the physical infrastructure in many private educational institutions have improved tremendously when the governments have allowed the private educational institutions to charge heavy fees from the students, several times more than what existed a few years ago. So, the deterioration is not on that count.

On the other hand the deterioration I am talking about is the moral deterioration that has been taking place in the education system in India. Again, it is not about any explicit immorality that I am concerned with but about certain kinds of indirectly discernible acts of certain private school managements  that cause the students to get distorted ideas about morality and ethics that are applicable to the citizens. While publicly most schools display their concern for morality, discipline and high ethical standards, what they actually practice convey some thing else!

Most of the school managements cannot set any moral examples for the students because the ones who manage the schools are often ruthless or ignorant people who either do not believe in any moral values or who do not know what it actually is. 

The educational institutions they manage boast of high disciplines, highest standards of education and the like [There are people who can frame all standard objectives, rules and regulations for them to get all statutory clearances!] But those who really manage these are without any of these qualities in most instances. In reality these institutions kill the real creative talents and innocence of the children and reduce them to biological human robots whose ability is measured in terms of the scores or grades that  they obtain in examinations. 

Indian education system as it stands today in the schools and colleges essentially measures the memorizing capacity of students! The training for memorizing begins even before a child learns the mother tongue, killing the child's creative abilities and its abilities for understanding meanings and values! The children and their parents are pressurized and to the highest possible levels all throughout their school education years only to be repeated again when these students become parents again a couple of years later!

In the process, most of the children who are trained through these institutions become intrinsically fearful persons who either have lost their wisdom to live a life according to their inner consciousness or become clever cheaters who do not feel the mind pinch to do any thing immoral or illegal so long as they could do those without getting caught. The children and the parents have been forced to become helpless and rotten on account of the education system forced on them by people who have never undergone through such a torture. The latter are the cleverest ones who know well to control all those who want to become great through what is being cleverly projected as the 'highest quality education'. 

Some children watch the material success of those VIPs who were managing their educational institutions and many of them are intelligent enough to understand the clever games the so-called successful people play. The children also witness how some of their teachers are exploited by the school managements. Those teachers who are not pets of those who manage the schools have been reduced to persons with no self esteem! The children also watch the benefits that some of their teachers who are the favored ones of the management get and they also sense the disparities that exist among their teachers based on various factors which are not logical or justifiable to their young minds. Some of their teachers are good teachers in their eyes but they are not that way before the management or the principal. 

The principal is the visible management representative whose main function is to enhance the institutions' image so that it attracts a steady stream of parents every year who are too willing to get their wards admitted to the institution by any means. Private managements of many of the educational institutions of India are too willing to spend much on the principal and showcase him or her as a living example of pomp and show to boost the image of the institution in the public gaze! 

It is not difficult to find such principals of private schools in India who sit in such lavishly furnished offices which could even make the CEOs of large business groups feel pretty ashamed of themselves. 

Such principals, especially those of the schools,  move around in expensive chauffeur driven vehicles! 

On the other hand, within a few hundred yards away one may also find government run schools or even some private government aided academic institutions having perceptibly higher societal importance getting much less or no facilities of that kind. 

Projecting the principal is a new technique some private educational institutions have adopted to boost the image of their school and hoodwink the gullible parents. More and more private schools and educational institutions are now resorting to this technique in India. But if you happen to talk to any such VIP head of any such institution, it is likely that you soon realize the hollowness of the person sitting on the chair as a neo-aristocrat! 

Meeting such a principal of an educational institution would be perhaps much more difficult for the parents than to meet the Chief Minister of the state. Many principals are also known to show favoritism to the parents according to the wealth and status of the latter. They treat wealthy and powerful parents with visible politeness while they show no such politeness to those parents whom they consider as of no consequence. 

Such favored parents are too happy to oblige to any request the principal may occasionally request from them! This way such principals soon become influential persons of the locality. 

Soon the wards of the less favored who happen to be students of such so-called prestigious educational institutions develop a feeling of class differentiation and a general antagonism within their minds which explodes in manners that we can never imagine, sooner or later! Wards of the lesser privileged in the locality who happen to study in such schools might develop a kind of inferiority complex which gets reflected as psychic anomalies later in their lives. 

Hype generation by educational institutions managed by societies formed by groups of people with motives and objectives for building public influence and power is understandable. At least  they are not making any false claims on morality! Again, there are many educational institutions in India which are essentially family run but officially run in the name of Societies formed by select group of individuals from the same family. Sometimes the name of the society that manages the educational institution might bear a misguiding name! But such acts are done by business oriented people who went in to the profitable education business in the guise of the non-profit societies because they had no other choice to establish such a business declaring it honestly as a profit making venture! How could any body believe that some one would spend scores of millions to establish an educational institution for charity alone? It is quite unlikely. So all those private educational institutions in India run by business groups under the banner of registered Societies are run for profits in terms of money and also for gaining influential positions in the country. That is the reason why India now has hundreds of private engineering colleges, medical colleges, universities and management institutions all competing each other to woo parents to sent their wards to them by paying high fees.

But what pinches is the manner in which even many of the educational institutions run by Christian church groups and other religious organizations slowly getting adapted to the new trends!

In the process they seem to forget what they preach and practice some thing which is not compatible with their teachings! 

The objectives in their bye laws may be good but many of these societies stand hijacked by people who do not possess the moral and ethical strengths of their predecessors. This is because of the democratic nature of these societies where it is very easy for characterless people to enforce their dominance over the majority members many of whom might be good and simple people. Such hijacked educational institutions are capable of creating much damage to the social moral fabric.

Since they could perpetuate the moral and ethical decline through the students of the concerned educational institutions they keep managing, I consider it as much more serious than those doing the education business! 

It is foolish to think that our children are blissfully ignorant about these double standards of our educational institutions set up and managed by our religious organizations! When religious organizations err, the moral damage to the society is many fold!

The educational institutions which boast of high standards and proudly announce their cent percent results in the final examinations are in reality managed by narrow minded pseudo practitioners who are too eager to exploit the ignorance and anxiety of the gullible Indian middle class parents. 

These parents are under the false concept that it is the English speaking students who find success in their career. This erroneous concept has been forced upon the gullible public minds by the very same pseudo educationists of India by using various techniques reinforced by either inaction or wrong actions by the state and central governments.

Let me categorically tell you this. I am not against English medium education. But imparting the education in a second language other than the usual mother tongue or the common language of the locality for a child is highly damaging and it actually kills its ability to understand language and meanings properly in its later years.

There exists a group of people in India who try to show to the rest of India that they are different from others by speaking in a foreign language and directly or indirectly projecting this quality as one of the essentials of measuring knowledge and educational superiority. Coupled with their outwardly lavish life styles and their peculiarly accented English speaking usually create inferiority complex in those people who are not of this category, in spite of many of the latter being better of than the former. 

This growing inferiority complex fuels the fire of aspirations of gullible middle class of India who want their future generations to acquire the much needed aristocracy through the so called English-medium education. Those who cannot fulfill this aspiration then become antagonistic to the system which generates this disparity. A new caste system begins to establish.

Children whose mother tongue is not English and who are compelled to get education in English right from the Kindergarten or nursery levels are bound to develop a language deficiency which is difficult to explain. They are highly handicapped to understand higher meanings. I have seen this deficiency in grown up people who have undergone such an education. 

In my opinion, it is not at all necessary to have English medium education for getting English language proficiency. 

Of course, English is now the international language and proficiency in this language is definitely an advantage for Indians under the present circumstances. But that does not mean that the Indian children should be taught in English right from age two. By creating a situation like this, India is generating a future generation who are not good in any language!

I am pained to read one of the clauses of the a private English medium school under their 'general guidelines for students' that is published on their website. It reads like this:

"Conversation in EnglishDuring the school hours but for Hindi classes the students are informed to converse in English which is essential in developing communicative skill in English.  Other than Hindi periods in the class and in the campus and also in the bus English must be the spoken language; if not spot fine will be charged."

So this school threatens the students to speak in English only, in the campus and also while they commute to the school by the school buses. Else they would be fined. The school is honest to declare that they do it to encourage their students to speak in English! Obviously, the school tries to tell that communication skills in English is the most important thing to develop in life as a school going boy or girl for future success! 

And this school is not an exception. There are several such schools in India who frame their ill conceived rules this manner, many of them contradicting the Constitution and the laws of the country in this manner. 

This school is managed by a society formed by Malayalam speaking members of a Kerala based church located in North India. The school administration  is carried out by an elected management committee, having very ordinary folks as its members having pretty no idea about the rules and laws that the governments issue from time to time. Effectively, they are guided by one or two external advisers who pose as chartered accountants and lawyers with some contacts in the concerned government departments. The school committee thankfully take their advises and perhaps even obliged to take 'other' kinds of helps that are required to keep them safeguarded from the government officials who are likely to pounce on them for possible violations of government directives that keep coming from time to time.

Thus a new kind of game gets started. The schools do the education business and money pours in as fees. The more the schools reputation with results and the infrastructure the more the students they get. The more the students, the more the money they get as fees. The more the money, the more the government departments come in to monitor them. The more the government scrutiny the more they have to spend to be compliant with government directives. The more they try to be compliant by unfair means, the more they spend later directly and indirectly for escaping government's punishment acts. The more such indirect acts needed for compliance, the more the chances of the managing committee members to make personal benefits!

This process then leads to a kind of give-and-take friendship among the players. Both sides become influential.

This way running any educational institution could be done by any one in India even if they do not know any thing about the law or about the field that they manage. The educational institutions in India are not managed by any eminent educationist. Any teacher or professor employed by an educational institute who is in the good books of the educational society eventually becomes an eminent educationist.  

The members of the educational society need not have any experience of their own to vouch for the efficacy of English medium education. Even the teachers need not be those who are excellent in teaching in English. What they need to have is the desire to imitate what the so called Indian educationists elsewhere are apparently doing. And that desire is not essentially based on their desire to turn their students to English speaking Anglo-Indians, but by the desire to promote a pseudo aura about the school's elitist culture that would attract more and more parents to send their children to them! And that would ensure them to earn a steady future income and also maintain their influence in the society indirectly.   

But who are responsible for this situation? It is easy to blame the over anxious parents who want the best education for their kids. But personally by analyzing the situation, I consider the parents are not to be blamed. Most parents I talk to and even me myself have been mere victims of the situation. The existing educational institutions who have been doing yeoman service to the nation have been clandestinely closed down by creating situations for their closure or non-performance. 

Is it the unholy or rather ill conceived nexus between  the governmental authorities and the private educational institutions responsible for creating such a thing to happen in India? I am not sure. 

I think it is the unwillingness of the governments to open up education system in India. It is an erroneous thinking that educational societies are formed by eminent citizens with desired levels of qualifications and experience to establish and manage educational institutions effectively for the common good of the nation. Unfortunately, the Societies Registration Acts in force in many states of India are too vague and have no practically effective supervisory controls in regulating the education activity in India. The governments control the education sector by using various administrative orders and also by controlling the examination boards , the universities and also the entrance examinations.

It is again to be stressed that eminent educationists and highly educated and experienced people who are capable of understanding the psychology of children well have no role whatsoever to play in the education management in India. Just as the Indian politics, the Indian education has also degraded to such levels that people with some self respect cannot think of associating with it! Education in India is in the hands of people associated with religion, politics and the like and they would not allow those who are not of that kind to enter into that field.

Artificial scarcity in education in India has made education black market. Helpless parents are anxious about the future education of their children. Fees are sky rocketing year after year. A parent who has a transferable and non-influential job in India posted in a city faces his or her greatest ordeal in life to get a school admission for his or her son or daughter. Many young people are shying away from having children for the dread of education for their children!

Educational societies are making a kill and are not answerable to the most important stake holders-the parents and the students. Unless one is having political blessing, no educational institution can be established. Individuals or companies are not allowed to enter into the formal education field in India.

Education stands as a clandestine business just as public transport, liquor trade, petroleum trade, health industry and the like in India. Those who know the tricks of the trade, big fortunes are awaited at the cost of the poor children and their parents! What a nice country to live on. Any wonder that the Indians who go the USA or Canada for a job do not want to return any time later?

But the worst that can happen is the hijack of Indian educational institutions established by religious organizations by those who have no religious good left in them!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Autonomous Education Companies and Campuses: Something For Indian Government to Think and Act!

The following are some suggestions that the law makers and entrepreneurs of any country may consider implementing for making drastic improvements in existing school and college level education in their nations, especially my own country India.

1.Schools and colleges having high standards and facilities should be allowed to be set up also as profit making corporate entities with professional management. The profits of such corporate educational institutions should also be taxable under the law governing business entities. However, tax exemptions may be granted till such time that the institution becomes fully operational. 

(In India at present, there are indirect legal hindrances that do not permit educational institutions to be established under the Companies Act 2013 though the Act in itself does not categorically exclude it. So, one may not find a school or college or educational institution offering formal education having a name such as M/s ABC Education Services Pvt Limited or M/s ABC Education Services Limited. Presently the government allows educational institutions to be set up under the Societies Registration Act-1860 or the Indian Trusts Act-1882. This was something acceptable in olden days when education was considered as a purely non profit activity. However, post liberalization, the situation has clandestinely changed. The government while retaining the policy of maintaining education as a non profit activity allowed both government controlled and private societies and trusts to enhance the fees exorbitantly with no transparency whatsoever allowing many of the existing managements to amass huge funds at their disposal to be diverted illegally for other purposes. For example, a two year Post graduate management program in a government controlled institute which used to be less than Rs.10000/- two decades ago has sky rocketed to Rs.1,700,000/- at present! Yet, there is no transparency on the manner in which these funds are used. On the other hand, a company doing business is bound to publish their profit loss accounts and balance sheet to the public scrutiny and also pay taxes and and declare dividends  if there is any profit!) 

2. The education company should have full freedom to device its curriculum, its teaching system, admission procedures and the qualifications required for its teachers. It should also have freedom to advertise about its functions to draw clients (students and their parents) to avail its educational services. The parents and children should have the freedom to decide whether they would like to have their education in such institutions. However, the government should make laws in such a way that there is a level playing policy clarity with minimum governmental interference while ensuring essential  superintending controls. 

3. Such a corporate educational institution should admit boys and girls who have already completed their pre-primary and primary level schooling and the minimum age of admission to an institution should be ten.

4. Such an institution should have an integrated education system comprising of school and college education in the following manner:

-Middle school education of three years, 
-High school education of three years, 
-Senior school education of two years
-Integrated college level education of  five years. 

Thus a student entering the integrated study program finishes the entire course at an age of twenty three. 

The eight year long school learning provides the Integrated Residential School Diploma Certificate (IRSDC) and the subsequent five year integrated college education provides the Integrated Post Graduate Diploma Certificate (IPGDC) with a common curriculum with about 50% of study time reserved for specialized studies in any elective subjects of interests  from a number of elective courses in the field of physical sciences, applied sciences and engineering,  bio sciences and applied bio sciences, economics, commerce, business, law, etc. 

5. The entire education shall be residential and co-educational. However, the hostels should be separate for boys and girls and the young men and women. A few teachers and trainers shall reside in the hostels as local guardians and counselors.

6. The intake capacity of the lowest sized campus at entry level shall be 50 girls and 50 boys and this capacity should not be changed at any time. The batch strength shall not exceed 100 and the total student strength should not exceed 1300 in such a campus. However larger campuses with proportionately higher student strengths also may be planned. Students may be allowed mutual change of campus that follows similar education pattern.

7. The campus shall be set up at least 25 kilometers away from any urban or city limits and the campus area shall not be less than 25 acres for the lowest sized campus. The campus shall be fully secured to ensure full security to the residents. The campus shall have its own solar powered electric generation system with alternate power back ups. It should also have its own water treatment and supply system with rain water harvesting systems and waste water treatment systems and bio waste processing systems. At least five acres of the land shall be reserved as the campus horticulture farm to enable students to experience the basics of land management and essentials of agriculture.

10. The campus shall have its own medical clinic with medical staff, sports center with sports trainers and environmental practice center with agricultural trainers.

8. Two hours of study on all working days shall be exclusively reserved for language studies for the school level curriculum. Students completing the school level learning shall be fully capable of oral and written communication in one national and one international language. They should also have adequate competency in these languages so that they are capable of self learning in later years by reading and writing. They shall also be adequately computer literate at this stage.

9. All students shall attend 15 days study excursions to various cities, factories, hospitals, farms in the  every year compulsorily on all years of their campus stay, out of which two such trips shall be to foreign countries.

10. All students shall get one month compulsory holidays per year to spend their time with their families.

11. All students shall participate in some kind of games, physical work in the farms or workshops or in the gymnasiums on all working days for at least one hour.

12. Students shall normally pursue one subject of study other than the languages in a week of six working days, each day comprising of five hours of oral and experimental learning activity. They will learn the subject for five days in a language most common and most acceptable for five days, refresh it and complete an assignment on the sixth day of learning a particular learning module. For completing their test assignment they are allowed to use their study materials and references. The completed assignments shall be kept as records and shall be used as one of the means for evaluating the students' performances. 

13. Use of memory based examinations shall be minimal and shall have least weight-age in the evaluation process of the students.

14. Students who are not compatible to the residential campus education system and who are judged as physically or mentally unfit to pursue the education may be allowed to leave the campus after due completion of a process which shall be sympathetic to the student's future development. All other students pass out with just three passing out grades- Brilliant(B), Excellent(E) and Accomplished (A).  

15. The fee chargeable by the institute shall be based on the expenditure incurred and the audited account statements of the institute shall be published in their website. There shall be no government interference in as charged by the institution and the fee chargeable should be deemed as a service charge which could be taxable. The educational company may have more than one campus and they can declare dividends to their share holders in the event of profits just as any corporate business entity. They may not declare any profits even when there is a surplus in case they have immediate development plans. 

16. The education company may enter into agreements with corporate business entities for extended on the job training to the pass-outs and ensuring guaranteed employment opportunities to the graduates from the campus. However, the education and training program of the campus shall be such that every pass out from the campus is a youth who could be an example to all others in all respects.

17. The education service company may employ experienced doctors, engineers, lawyers, technocrats, academicians, trainers, artists or any one who possesses experience and wisdom as teachers and trainers of the students in addition to the permanent campus guide teachers who too are highly qualified and trained to do their duties in a very responsible manner. The campus shall have facilities for fine living and recreation for all its faculty and staff members.

18. The admission to the campus at entry level shall be based on the an Intelligence Quotient  Test (IQT) , Empathy Quotient Test (EQT) and a Preliminary Knowledge Test (PKT). The test and its evaluation shall be done by competent professionals. Students scoring below the average score of all applicants shall not be admitted and all students should have desirable levels of IQT,  EQT and PKT scores.

19. The IRSDC issued by such institutions should be statutorily recognized as equivalent to the conventional Senior Secondary School Certificate while the IPGDC should be equivalent to the conventional Post Graduate Degree.

20. The wholly residential educational institutions set up and run in this manner should be recognized as autonomous educational institutions. 

I know that there could be several additional ideas to fine tune the concept further so that our future generations should be transformed as perfected citizens who are capable of adapting to any situations with ease and are highly competent and honest. 

It is high time that the stereo typed education with least flexibility is discarded and students are benefited to learn from multiple fronts in a holistic manner. 

Examination based education needs to be thrown out and an education oriented to develop students in an all round manner should take its place. 

Creativity, curiosity, honesty and compassion should be encouraged while parroting should be discouraged. 

Our concepts of education need to change. New ideas and experiments should be allowed to happen. The laws and regulations that curtail that freedom of people with innovative ideas need to be reviewed and changed if needed.

In any case, the practice of education business in the guise of non-profit societies and trusts should end. No non-profit charities and trusts should be allowed to exploit the students, parents and the government and manage their enormous funds clandestinely without paying any taxes. In the event, the educational institution is run by non-profit societies and trusts, their income and expenditure statements should be made available in their websites and it should be mandatory for them to get it audited. No such institution should be allowed to enhance fees if they are already surplus with funds. It should be their prime duty to prove that they are really non-profit making organizations. If not they should be allowed to get themselves changed to education companies with profit motive.

It is just a suggestion from a common man of India for any people friendly democratic government of India to think and implement.  

No doubt, educational avenues for the wealthy people have increased many fold in the recent years in India. But employment opportunities commensurate with the cost of education have not increased. It is the government's duty to do research on this aspect and publish such information for the guidance of the people.

At least, the government of India should not be a facilitator for education exploitation by unscrupulous elements in various clandestine manners any more!

Let not our beloved nation to degrade year after year to be known as the mother of all corruptions by perpetuating an education system which nurtures corruption and dishonesty!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Some Technically Wise Considerations For Buying and Installing an AC For Your Home or Office!

This article is for the guidance of those thinking of buying and air conditioner for their home of small one room office located in the cities and town of power deficient India.

Being a very populous country, India needs electric power in huge quantities even when its average domestic consumption is much lower than the developed nations. As per the 2012 data, the average domestic power consumption per year was about 750 units (KWh). This translates into about 3500-4000 units per family on the average per year or about 290-330 units per month per family. Since this is an average value, the higher income families must be consuming much higher as the a good percentage of lower income group families might be consuming zero to 30 units per month. It is also interesting to note the wide disparity of domestic electric power usage across the various regions and states of India.

Electricity requirement for lighting, fans, TV, etc are much less as compared to its requirements for the purpose of water pumping, cooking, air conditioning etc. In reality, those homes which use air conditioners consume much more electricity than those who do not have air conditioners.
Again, air conditioners which are of old designs and wrongly selected draw much more electricity. Hence, it is very essential that air conditioners are selected and used with some care. There is ample scope for reducing your electricity bills if you are a bit careful with regard to your air conditioners.

Most people are not very clear about the working principle of a common air conditioner unit. Any one who is thinking of purchasing and installing an air conditioner for home or small office purpose should try to understand the essential principle of working of an air conditioner.

An air conditioner is essentially used to cool air and remove humidity. Humidity in air is due to the presence of water vapor in air. Normal room air conditioner units also remove micro fine dust particles in air using an air filter. Some air conditioners also have electric heating coils in built which could be used for heating the air in winter time. However, cooling happens to be the primary function of a room air conditioner that we use today.

Cooling in air conditioners take place using the Joule-Thomson effect. When a gas is compressed suddenly (the scientists call it adiabatic compression) it gets heated up to expel the heat which it had. If the compressed hot gas in a pipe or container is kept for some time it cools and some gases even become liquids. When this compressed and cooled gas (which might have become a liquid) is suddenly expanded its temperature goes down much below the surrounding temperature. This cold gas can absorb heat from the surroundings which is at a higher temperature. 

This principle is made use in the air conditioners that we use for our comforts in our homes. An air conditioner essentially has a refrigerant gas ( a gas which is easy to compress and has some other desired qualities) contained within a hermetically sealed system of copper tubes attached to a compressor unit. It also has one or two fans for circulating air externally through the two tube coils kept separately. The principle of working of an air conditioner is shown in the figure below:

The refrigerant now commonly used in domestic air conditioning systems is a chemical substance called Hydro-chloro-fluro-carbon (HCFC) which is commonly now known as R-22. This substance when leaked to the atmosphere causes ozone layer depletion in the atmosphere and hence considered as not so environment friendly. Hence, alternatives are being experimented.

The air conditioner unit has two pipe coils, called the vaporizer and the condenser interconnected using and incoming and out going copper tubes passing through an electric motor operated gas compressor. The coils and pipes are filled with the refrigerant gas such as R-22. When the compressor starts, it continuously compresses the gas coming from the vaporizer coil placed inside the room to be cooled. The gas inside the vaporizer expands and cools and the room air is blown through it by a fan becomes cool. The expanded gas from the vaporizer moves to the compressor to get compressed and the refrigerant gas at the outlet of the compressor becomes hot due to compression . The hot compressed gas then moves to the condenser coil kept outside the room and its heat is dissipated to the air outside from the condenser coil. The compressed thus gets cooled in the condenser coil to become a liquid. The liquid refrigerant moves to a liquid gas separator from which only the liquid refrigerant is sent back to the vaporizer coil to repeat the process.

So long as the compressor keep working the refrigerant takes out the room heat and expel it to the outside through the condenser. The condenser is sometimes called the radiator as it radiates or discharge heat to the outside air. 

In a window air conditioner all these systems are suitably kept inside one packing. The vaporize and the fan or blower that circulates the room air is kept inside the room and the condenser is placed outside through the opening made in the wall. 

Now-a-days, split air conditioners are common. In this, the compressor, condenser and its fan unit are placed in one pack while the cooling unit (vaporizer) with its fan is placed in another pack. The cooling unit houses the electrical and electronic controls and connects to the compressor unit using electric power cables and refrigerant piping which are connected skillfully after installation without the gas getting leaked. The window air conditioners come as factory fitted and tested with initial refrigerant filling.

The air conditioners also has a thermo-stat switch which keeps keep the compressor unit on or off depending upon the temperature of the cold air in the room.

The capacity of air conditioners to cool is designated in terms of ton refrigeration (TR). One TR is equivalent to a cooling rate of 3024 Kilocalories/hour (kcal/hr). Standard sizes of room air conditioning units used for home and small offices are 0.75 TR, 1 TR, 1.5 TR, 2 TR etc. Commonly, TR is simply called ton. So we hear about one ton, 1.5 ton, 2 ton and higher rated AC s. 

The compressor is the key moving machinery of an air conditioner. The compressor technology has advanced much in recent years. In old air conditioner, the compressors used to be reciprocating type. These used to be big and heavy and used to draw much electricity. In modern compressors, rotary compressor technology is used. The power consumption for rotary units are much lower for the same TR.

Air conditioner traders usually try to sell higher tonnage machines which are costlier and draws much higher electric power. As a simple thumb rule, a room of size 10 ft x 10 ft x 10 ft high which is only exposed to direct sunlight only on one or two sides can easily be managed with a 0.75 TR AC. However, people might be tempted to go for an AC of 1.5 TR quite often. Of course, the cooling rate of the higher ton machine is faster. But ACs are designed to work on-off using the thermostatic temperature control. A lower ton AC works a few minutes more than a higher capacity one under similar conditions. 

Electric Efficiency rating (EER) with star ratings are used for designating energy efficiency of electric appliances. The highest rating is 5 star and it has the lowest power consumption. But between a 2 or 3 star and a five star rating, the practical net savings on electricity is not much for an average user because the cost of the machine with higher star ratings usually much higher than the lower star rated machines. When the cost difference is in thousands of rupees, it is not prudent to go for the highest star rating unless the machine is intended for continuous working throughout the year which seldom happens.

Window ACs are to be preferred in place of split ACs if your room layout allows installation of window AC. Split AC should be the choice only if Window AC cannot be installed suitably with its condenser radiator in the open. Again, use a split AC when there is a risk of some one intruding through the window AC opening.
In split ACs since the compressor unit could be located quite at a distance (such as the roof top) the likelihood of room noise could be much lower. The only noise you hear is of the fan of the cooling unit. However, split ACs are not a well suited choice if the unit is required to be shifted quite often. 

In my opinion rotary type window air conditioners should be the first choice for small and medium homes and offices having rooms which are not so big. It is also better to limit its size to 0.75 TR or 1 TR. This is because, the lower TR machine draws much lower current from the house hold electric circuit. For example, a 0.75 TR window a/c consumes less than 1000 W of electric power if it is a rotary compressor type with at least 2 star rating. It may cost around Rs.15000/- while a 1.5 TR machine of similar rating would cost around Rs 26000/- and consumes about 1800 W of electric power. Obviously the lower rated ones are better both on account of initial costs and running costs. The higher rated ones would start and stop more making your home's electric wiring prone to higher sparking and burn outs. Again, the machines with reciprocating compressors for the same TR rating draws much higher electric power. Such second hand and reconditioned a/c machines are available in the grey markets in India at throw-away prices. However, their running costs would be very high if they are regularly to be used.

In places where humidity is low and water supply is not a big issue, the evaporation type coolers are much preferable both on account of initial and running costs. As the summer heat goes up with lowering of humidity in the air, these coolers give very comfortable cooling. However, they are not useful when humidity goes up during the onset of rains after summer. They are also not very effective in the coastal areas of India due to high humidity.

It is also not a very prudent decision to spent much money for fancy features of air conditioners. Of course, such fancy features are for those for whom money is not a big issue.

The best brands in air conditioners in India are Voltas, LG, Carrier Aircon, Samsung, etc. Voltas is totally an Indian brand and the current market leader.

Though I have advocated for window a/c of one or 0.75 TR, such machines are apparently in short supply as the traders normally do not seem to be keen in selling these for obvious reasons. So, if you are thinking of low tonnage AC, you have to be a little persuasive with the dealers. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Cartography- the Art and Science of Map Making that India Seems to Neglect!

Cartography is all about making maps. It is an advanced science as well as an art. Unfortunately, there is not any institution of higher learning where Indian students interested in learning this specialized topic can get trained. 

Any one who is interested to know about cartography should think of visiting this website

Accurate cartographic maps gives much information about the geography, topography and other physical features of the lands where we live. Now-a-days, advanced survey techniques and cartography techniques have combined with the help of digital computer techniques to become what is known as the Geo Information Systems (GIS). Such information is very essential for city and country planning, development of infrastructure (such as road, railways, bridges, airports, buildings, towns, cities, industrial zones, harbors, special economic zones (SEZ), factories, mines, etc) demarcation of private and pubic lands, demarcation of state and national borders, demarcation of forest lands, etc.

Yet, the common citizens and those who wish to undertake any business venture in India are both frustrated with the lack of getting some essential services from the government departments with regard to the exact survey maps of the land property they own or intend to procure. The governments charge hefty sums from people as registration fee from some one who proceed to buy a piece of land. The costs towards property registration is as high as 15% of the the market value of the property. If you buy a landed property worth Rs.50,00,000/- you have to shell out another Rs.7,50,000 towards registering that property in your name. By just one transaction the property cost has gone up by 15%!

Yet, the government departments do not do the job properly. The existing system of property transaction in India so complex and erroneous and differ from state to state. There is neither any standard procedure nor any system that ensures accuracy to the property identity. The buyer is not entitled to get an accurate and authentic survey data of the property to safe guard his titles! The democratic governments in India post independence have done pretty nothing in this regard from what existed in the erstwhile princely states or British India earlier!

The lack of such information also makes land acquisition for public projects a cumbersome thing which could later get embroiled  in various kinds of legal complications. Project delays of years take place on account of such things.

One of the reason for such a thing in India is the lack of trained man-power in the field of micro and macro survey and the lack of trained man power who could transform such survey data to accurate land records and maps. In India various government departments work in total disharmony. There is no co-ordination and most often these government departments work antagonistic to each other with their concerned systems and procedures not understandable to their own officers and staffs.

For example, the functions of the Survey of India is not synchronized with the state level land records or revenue authorities. (Read the wiki article about survey of India here!) Some states like Kerala and Andhra Pradesh have reportedly gone ahead with digitization of land records and adopted some superior methods in land survey and land record management. (Read about some salient information about the survey department of Kerala here!) Some countries such as the USA has national level land record information systems in place.(See the website of the US Land Records here!)  

Land sale or mortgage deeds have to have authentic and accurate survey or engineering identity information as part of the deed. This can be done only when the people who deal with these are properly trained in the technical matters concerning these.

The dilemma of the land survey and mapping system together with the land record system is the complexity that has been evolving while technology advanced. Unfortunately the law makers are not well informed as the technologists and as a result law and technology do not move cohesively!

Adding to the problem is the lack of training and placement of trained personnel in the concerned departments and organizations. Unfortunately, in India there are not many training institutions to train technical people in the fields of surveys, GIS, cartography, etc. Apart from a few institutions that offer post graduate diploma or degree courses the elite engineering institutions such as the IITs or NITs etc do not seem to think it prudent to offer such courses in India. There seems to be a discontinuity in the lower level knowledge and the higher management level knowledge and competency in this field.

In case the governments, both the central and the states, become a bit serious about this matter, there is a huge potential for job creation in this area. Not only it would generate higher employment potential, it would also enhance the quality of governance in India with regard to land resources management.

I am not an expert either in survey or in cartography. But as a technical person, I have seen the problems created by the lack of proper survey and cartographic information in India. I have also seen the continuing neglect that has been taking place in this field in this country. I have also seen the rise of the new wave GIS technologies imported from western sources and the piecemeal developments that have been taking place without much understanding even among the so called technical people.

The Indian technical planners are now depending heavily on google map service and Google Earth service. No doubt, it has given tremendous advantages to many while the centuries old Survey of India limped behind with their conservative approach. But no one in India has thought of the cartographic technologies and the great work that went behind Google maps and Google Earth that made these services work efficiently. Advanced cartography with the help of aerial and satellite imaging techniques has become highly beneficial to professionals and laymen alike. For example view this site which provides the aerial maps of all airports in the world using Google Maps and Google Earth.(You have to click on the hyper-linked airport position coordinates to open the map which you can view at different angles and elevations)

There is a need to integrate map making technologies with land record management and both need trained man power. It could perhaps make India advance and assimilate the technological developments faster. Let us only hope that the technical advisers to the political bosses of India think of it and make such things possible!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Experiencing Professional Egos of Two Medicos and the Story of Losing A Friendship Too!

This is a real life story and a real experience of my life that happened some quarter-a-century ago. When this happened I was an young professional executive working in a large company in central India. My family comprising of my wife and my two young children lived in a newly constructed residential area of the company for which I worked. Nearly three hundred families similar to mine lived in the place and we were all professionals holding similar ranks in the same company.

Those living in the place were all colleagues because we all worked for the same organization and mostly knew each other by face but obviously all could not have been considered as friends. Yet there were small groups in the community who could be termed as friends or higher level acquaintances. I too had a small group of that type and we knew each other more and had more unofficial friendly interactions. We used to visit each other in the evenings, had tea or coffee together while the men and women talked on various topics of common interests.

My family friendship group comprised mostly those belonging to my home state, Kerala. Because we were more acceptable to each other in our in cultures and mother tongues. In this group we got the opportunity to talk in our first language-Malayalam. And we felt some mind relief in talking in the first language during our family get-together meetings in the evenings after our day long official interactions in our second language, English and in our third language, Hindi.

Our company owned and operated many hospitals for the benefit of its thousands of employees and their families. The biggest one was a 1000-bedded high rise hospital with many modern facilities and this hospital was very near to the place I lived at that time. Our company employed hundreds of specialist medicos and medical staff under its medical department. 

While many people are too much enthusiastic about medical facilities and also are overjoyed when such facilities are free, my personal outlook to this was always different. While I realized medical facilities necessary, I have been always repulsive against the concept of medical profession becoming too much specialized and mechanical and moving away from its divine and holistic approach. The super specialty system of modern medicine have been turning and training medical doctors with least concern or empathy towards humanity or human feelings! 

Due to this, I was reluctant to go to the in-house medical department of my company for any type of medical aid to me or my family. We were fortunate that no major health problems occurred to us in those days that we were forced to seek the free medical services offered by our company's health department. I relied on a few private medical practitioners for all our small medical needs and was not much bothered to spend the money from my pocket rather than getting the same free from our own company facilities. The reason for this attitude was also due to the arrogance of many of the doctors and hospital staff who considered it as a great favor that they were giving out to the patients as if the free medical aid to the company employees was from their own pockets. During that time, corruption also became rampant as many company doctors resorting to preferential treatments to those who greased their palms secretly. Many employees also felt it better to resort to such practices to gain what they thought as higher value medical help by pleasing some of the specialist medicos in the unethical manner. So, the situation was that the medical department of the company had truly transformed as much bureaucratic and an employee was likely to get some real medical help only when he or she either personally knew some doctor or made up such an equation by unfair means.

I had only heard about the situation that had been prevailing in the medical department and I felt it better not to experiment it my self for good. I had a couple of doctors with whom I had better personal relations than mere strangers, but I preferred not to use such relations for getting some preferential aid from our hospitals.

There was an young Malayalam speaking lady doctor in our family friend group. She worked as a junior child specialist in our big hospital. Her husband was my college-mate and colleague. We regularly visited each other for our evening get together and were family friends.

My son was about three or four years old at that time. One day when I returned from office in the evening, I found my wife gloomy and disturbed. When I inquired, she presented our son before me who, I noticed as having a cut and bruised lower lip with blood clotting clearly visible. The boy while playing hit with some thing and got his lower lip wounded in the process! I examined it and with my own past experiences during my childhood days, felt this as not any thing to be worried much. The wound would heal up in a couple of days with some home remedies. That was my reaction.

But I was not going to have an easy evening. Ladies from the friendly neighborhood of well wishers began to pour in after hearing about the playtime accident of my son. They all had their own examinations of the boy and were too liberal in giving advises to my worried wife. Many of them had expressed their anxieties and accusations secretly to my wife adding the tensions of my already tensed wife. Some of them even pitied with her for having such an insensitive husband like me who was sitting coolly inside as if nothing had happened!

Last came our lady doctor friend. She examined the boy in a professional manner and declared her professional advice to me. The cut was not to be left like that. It needed immediate medical attention and she compelled me to take my son immediately to the casualty section of our big hospital without losing further time.

Now I had no choice. I searched for our medical cards which we seldom used and was fortunate to locate them. I took my son to the casualty by around 8 p.m. A group of casualty doctors examined the boy and opined that the cut need to be stitched and directed me to proceed to the first aid room with their medical advice written on the medical books. An old medical attender glanced the boy and the doctor's scribbling on the book and asked me to guide my son to lie on the examination table. 

To my horror I watched the attender proceeding to do the lip stitching on my son. Never in my life I imagined that this work was done by a medical attender! I thought it was done by a qualified medical doctor. I asked him about it. He told that for years he had been doing it in this hospital and he was perhaps more experienced than the doctors who were attending the casualty cabin outside!

We had no choice. In a couple of minutes he completed his stitching work on my son's lip, creating a bulging ballooned flesh bound by some black threads at the base. He directed us to present before the doctors and proceed home with some medicines that the casualty pharmacy would give. The young casualty doctors examined the work of their attender and approved it. They required us to return back after a week for further actions.

Seeing the condition of my son's stitched up lip, I had a feeling that some thing went wrong. But I was helpless.

Next day evening, our family friend lady doctor visited our home and examined my son. She minced no words. Her hospital attender had done a horrendous work indeed and needed to be immediately corrected by some expert surgeon before it became too complicated. She was feeling the responsibility to help us being a specialist of the same hospital. She knew that we needed her personal recommendations in our big hospital for things to move properly and quickly.

She accompanied us to the hospital and with her influence she took us directly to the senior most surgeon of the hospital. As a case referred by a junior lady specialist, the senior doctor was too professional in examining her family friend's son. He admitted that the case had indeed become complicated which needed to be corrected by a surgery to be performed under general anesthesia. And for that the boy should be admitted in the hospital a day before and all the medical tests are to be completed before the actual surgery took place. He advised the lady doctor to use her influence in the various labs to complete all the tests and get the results well in advance before my son was admitted for the surgery. While he was explaining all these things to his junior colleague, what I noticed specially about this senior specialist surgeon of this big hospital was the obvious display of his professional ego. He was making it too obvious for me through his gestures and talks! He was apparently least concerned about me or my son! This surgeon in his late fifties appeared to be more concerned in showing his surgical knowledge and professional superiority to his junior lady doctor who worked in another department in the same hospital.

And the process of medical tests began at a speed much faster than normal as the personal acquaintances and interventions of the lady doctor in the hospital helped. Completing all the initial introductions she left us in the hospital to get the test results even at odd time later in the evening as a special case so that my son could be admitted the next day for the intended surgery immediately thereafter.

While waiting for the lab tests in the late evening with my young son, I was feeling much uncomfortable. My common sense kept reminding me that all that were happening were indeed unwanted and unnecessary. The doctors of this big hospital had become too egoistic with their professional pride that they had lost what we call as wisdom! I decided to act according to my inner urge!

I started my vehicle and proceeded to a private clinic with my son. This was the nursing home where I used to go occasionally. The doctor who owned the clinic lived in his home attached to the clinic. I reached the place and the doctor came quickly from his home. I told him what had happened and what was in store ahead from our 1000 bedded super specialty hospital. He told nothing, but took my son to the adjacent cabin and returned back, perhaps within five minutes. 

To my utter surprise and happiness, my son looked normal. The horrible lip bulge was gone for ever. There was not even a wound. The doctor had carefully incised and removed the awkward looking bulge of flesh, created by the big hospital attender, from his lower lip, skillfully!

We were much relieved and proceeded home happily and peacefully. There was no need for my son to be admitted in our free service big hospital next day for a day long surgical procedure under general anesthesia as opined by the renowned surgeon!

Next day with a peaceful and tension free mind I went to office. There I called my friend and the husband of the lady doctor and told him that we are out of the problem now and there was no need for my son to be admitted in our big hospital for the surgery. He seemed to have understood our relief!

Though my son's hurt was healed, it was not the case with the doctors of our free service hospital. Later I learnt that their professional pride got hurt with my decision.

Our family friend lady doctor got her professional ego hurt because I proceeded as if to deny her out of way professional help. The professional ego of her senior medical colleague was also hurt because the case was so easily settled by a private doctor of a small time nursing home outside who had no professional standing matching his professional standing as a renowned surgeon. His medical judgement was proved silly by this family friend patient of his junior doctor!

They were least concerned about the comfort the patient and his family got! Professional pride for them was of more importance than all the medical ethics that they were supposed to have adhered to as medical practitioners! 

The hurt ego for the lady doctor family friend stood so high that she cut all our good relations without any further explanations. Her poor engineer husband felt helpless and he candidly admitted that to me when we met outside later.

We never met later in our life as she maintained the uncalled for grudge against me all through out later.  

I had written about this incident now only to explain to the readers about some facets of the complex nature of human beings. The human state of self pride and importance that we call as ego is such a damaging thing. Getting rid of such ego is something that humans have to learn and practice if they wish to live a life as a son or daughter of God!

I know that it is very difficult for many. I also know by experience that many people would not even like to become such sons or daughters of God! If abilities cannot give superiority over others what is the use of having abilities, they ask.

Their egos would not allow them to be humble and humane! Being humane is considered as a weakness in this world.

What a pity!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

What Do I Expect From the New Central Government of India to be Formed in May 2014?

Media men and women of India have been  chasing the common men and women on the streets for the last many days with their microphones and camcorders for capturing  the latter's voices on their expectations from the politicians who would get elected to form the national government shortly. 

The folks on the streets may not have high aspirations from any government because that is what time has taught them. Yet, they are too enthusiastic about the general elections and are eagerly siding with some party as their own this time. Some of them might even risk their lives for their preferred parties and their preferred candidates even while they know that their support would not give them any real or lasting benefits. For that matter they might even do the same for their favorite cricketer or film star! It is like being in a big game and elections in a democracy are indeed big games that some people play and want to play at the cost of the majority whose roles end the moment after they return from the polling booths.

And there also exist a large group of people who are neither any party members, candidates or their near and dear ones and also not the enthusiastic voter who support and vote for the sake of getting the thrill of being in a contest. And they are the people like me, who are merely silent observers who may or may not go for voting realizing pretty well that their votes and opinions make no difference to any one even while some pseudo intellectuals preach otherwise! They are knowledgeable and responsible citizens who are concerned with their nation's progress, development and governance but are shy to raise their voices or try to assert themselves because experience has made them realize the folly of their gentlemanly behavior among the majority who have no such self imposed restrictions!

Being a wise and gentle person having some good human nature is not some thing that could draw some regard and respect from those who haven't acquired these qualities yet. A man who stands for principles and ethics cannot be a political leader who could win the confidence of the majority people of the present day. He or she could be considered as a weakling who could not be depended upon. What the people of the present day want is a leader who would not hesitate to assert his authority to have his way. If it hurts the people, they might moan, but yet they might feel proud of their authoritative leader. A circus lion has the strength to tear its trainer, but it won't do it so long as the induced fear resides in its mind. Common people are like such lions! The lion in the circus cage would be happy if it gets its meat and the cage floor to sleep and it won't mind those occasional lashes from the trainer!

The political leaders are like those circus trainers. They know pretty well to engage their caged lions dance to the tunes of the circus band! They know pretty well about the needs of their caged lions and the lions would sleep for hours in the cage if they are not fed well. If they roar in protest, those whips are sufficient to keep them under command. 

So what do I expect from the new government of India? If I am like the circus lion, what I expect is nothing to be elaborated much.

If I am like one of those lions in the wild, perhaps I may expect not to be caged just as those other lions who are there. Better hide away from the circus trainers!

I do not want to be either way. I do not also want that the political leaders to be like those circus trainers.

I want to live like a human being in this country. I also want the political leaders who form the central government to be like human beings and facilitate people like me to live like human beings. And not exist like those caged lions!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Online Shopping in India- Things to Know for those Who Haven't Done it Yet!

Online shopping in an activity that is on the rise in India now. More and more people are finding it convenient to buy those items such as books, DVDs, laptops, tablets, e-readers,  mobile phones, cameras, electronic gadgets, shoes, clothing, furnishings, utensils and kitchenware, perfumes and toiletries, medicines and health products, car care items, etc., etc which otherwise would have taken a lot of their time actually locate and buy. The online retailers provide the fastest solution to locate the item with all those details one would perhaps like to know such as the costs, specifications, appearance, etc.

For many items of regular use and consumption, it might be better to go to the retail shop physically and enjoy your shopping as a leisure time activity.  But for some people, shopping is indeed a troublesome activity. They have to first locate the store which sells the item and go to the store physically which might involve driving through the hopelessly crowded and congested roads either by public transport or by your own vehicle. In the latter case, one has to find the parking space for your vehicle. In both cases, one may have to walk quite some distance to actually reach the shop concerned. If the item is not available, you have to walk around for locating other shops.

One may spent the whole holiday in this process and it is indeed not a very pleasurable activity, especially for the menfolks!

Online shopping becomes a boon for such people. In the comfort of your office or home, the items you need could be easily located, compared, evaluated and finally decided for purchase. And the purchasing activity is completed within few minutes with the some clicks on your PC, laptop or tablet.  

The world's largest online retail company, the US based has entered the Indian scene nearly an year ago. To visit the Amazon India website, click on the amazon logo on the top right and the bottom left of this page. Alternatively, you can find the availability of any item in Amazon. For this you may click the drop down arrow of the search box below to select, say computers and then type the item that you are interested, say tablet or laptop in the next box and click 'GO'. The whole of available products in this category would be displayed for you to view, select and order online. It is that simple.

But before you purchase any item, it is essential that you may register your name with the online retailer. 

For registration, one should click the 'sign in' tab on the top right which is for customers who have already registered their names. But while clicking this one can see, the button or drop down indicator which shows the tab for the new user. When you click it, you are presented with the new registration page. Here one has to enter the name, e-mail address and a password (not the password of your email, but a password that you would like to use whenever you visit this online retailer (say, Amazon). To avoid possible errors in typing, your email and password may be required to be typed twice. Once you have done this, you may have to go to your email inbox to see the mail from the online retailer which gives you some directions including the activity that you should do for email verification.  

India has many other online retail companies such as the eBay, Flipkart, Snapdeal, HomeShop18, IndiatimesShopping, RediffShopping, FutureBazaar, myntra, tradus, etc. Most of these companies have established their reputation in India in one way or the other and are mostly reliable. All of them have almost similar registration formalities. The registration involves in giving your e-mail id, your name or user name, setting up a password for you to open the shopping site, verifying your email id by clicking the verification link that the online shop has sent to you and completing your other details such as address etc by updating your profile.  

Many of these online shopping websites also provide handsome rebates on many of their merchandise. Online shoppers could avail such rebates by entering the rebate coupon codes while they finally place their orders online. However, it may not be so easy to find out the details of all rebates that the various internet shops are offering. I have recently found another new Indian online venture called 27 Coupons which lists almost all online shopping firms active in India now and giving all details of rebate coupons as offered by each of them. 

It is a better idea to note down your registration details lest you forget it. After you are registered, use the sign in facility to log in to the online shopping site. You can search and select the items conveniently by moving around the site and with some practice one would become so conversant about the many features that are available on the online shopping site.

If you are located in some select cities, many shopping sites offer the Cash on Delivery (COD) facility. To check whether COD facility is available for your city or town, you may have to give your postal index number (PIN) and check whether it is applicable for your place. COD is a very safe method to order things as you don't have to pay any thing while ordering. The money is payable to the courier who delivers the item at your office or home. Remember, to fill up your delivery address properly with your contact telephone or mobile numbers before you place your final order.

But it is also convenient to pay in advance using either your debit card, credit card or internet banking facility. Use these only if you are familiar with online banking transactions. There is nothing to fear when you deal with reputed companies such as Amazon. But at the same time, one should be careful to read all the online instructions carefully and act on the basis of those instructions. It is not wise to act in haste and commit errors.

The online shopping companies provide much guidance through email and SMS regarding the order position and status. There are also provisions for making complaints. Your order positions are also reflected in your account which is available once you log in to the shopping site.

It is a good idea to shop for small value items first and develop your confidence first. High value items may be tried after you develop your confidence with the online retailer.

It should be remembered that the items you have ordered on the online retailing companies are delivered through various couriers. Reputed companies dispatch the items through reputed couriers and the reputation of the courier company is a very important factor in the success of the online shopping business. Substandard couriers may employ lowly paid delivery boys and staff who might do some mischief at times. The online retailers realize this mostly and they try to do their best to select dependable courier companies often.Yet there could be human errors and mistakes happening at times. One should be prepared to pursue the online retailer in such cases and the reputed companies normally take up the customer complaints seriously.

So, happy online shopping. Explore the huge stores to find those things that you may find useful or interesting. Get those interesting books that you like to read either as paper backs or as digital. Amazon is perhaps the largest online bookstore in the world. Happy reading!