Tragedy of commons and cracker ban in Delhi

There is no technical solution to the “Diwali cracker” menace in India. The only way to solve this problem is through policy action.

Garrett Hardin would have argued- the utility or fun of bursting one more cracker is enjoyed by only me where the negative outcome in terms of pollution ( noise and air) is shared by the rest of the society. So the natural course of action for me will be to burst more crackers to maximise my utility. Every person will think  the same and burst more crackers and therefore bringing us to our collective doom.

Since exuberance for crackers cannot be moderated by individuals  it needs to be regulated through policy action.

Diwali celebrations doesn’t have be only about bursting crackers. It need not be a tamasha  of who has more patakas and which ones are louder. Every year during the Diwali week lot of people go through a hard time. Infants and kids suffer, Old people suffer, dogs have a hard time and next morning every one has pain in their eyes and ears.

Imagine  its 10.30 pm on Diwali night. You are sleeping in your house. At this precise moment your neighbour brings out “100,000 ladi waala pataka”. It burns for about 25 minutes or so  and in the process waking up everyone in the neighbourhood . Are you really celebrating return of Lord Rama from Vanvas?  Is 10,000 ladi wala pataka or Atom bomb really necessary to enjoy Diwali ?

Multiply this by 10,000 colonies in Delhi and  soon it starts sounding like war front. If Lord Rama were to enter Delhi on Diwali day he would assume that people are fighting and not celebrating his return.

I don’t think ban of crackers in Delhi is attack on Hindu festivals. We have been attacking our festivals for long. They are increasingly becoming symbol of who has more money to splurge. There was a time when we would all put candles, rangoli, diva’s  in the house. Yes there were crackers but not a whole lot. Now everywhere you see you have Chinese lights. People are seen competing with each other.

I’m not against bursting crackers in Diwali but in moderation. Since we don’t know moderation the only thing left is judiciary to set the limits.

 

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Wheel Force Centre- Bosch Authorised Service centre

This is a  story of how Wheel Force Centre, Rajouri Garden became the centre of my trouble for dear Skoda Yeti.

My beloved Skoda Yeti car needed a Dual mass flywheel and clutch replacement. Wheel Force centre promised to replace them with genuine parts and save me some money over dealer prices. Just google them and you will see their banner adverts everywhere claiming huge savings over dealer prices.

It sounded too good to be true.

To begin work Wheel Force Motors dismantled the clutch and flywheel assembly. Then they ordered a genuine OEM part from SACHs. There are two companies that make Dual Mass Flywheel and clutch for Skoda Yeti- SACHs and Luk. My car had SACHs so Wheel Force ordered a SACHs replacement flywheel and clutch assembly from their known vendor.

I like to know things. I also like to see what goes inside my car. I insisted that I would like to see the replacement part. Wheel Force motors  assured me that they only put OEM parts and they can show the part to me. I also had no reason not to believe them.

The next day when I went to see the part it looked like the real deal. It had come out of a nice blue packing with SACHS written in white. But on closer inspection I found something else.  I found that the replacement part by Wheel Force Motors had very poor quality marking on them. The original part was “machine stamped” where as the replacement part looks the “engraving” is done by hand. This normally the case when the part is duplicate.

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When I pointed this to Wheel Force centre they  insisted that the part is original but may be made in a different factory.  A few searches on Google and I realised that all original SACHs clutch flywheel and clutch assembly made anywhere have “machine stamped”  markings. Wheel force still insisted that their part is original and why would they not as they were charging me top dollar for this job.

Remember, Wheel Force Motors is a Bosch Authorised service centre. Bosch is a reputed MNC . They claim to service and repair high end cars and here they are trying to palm off duplicate parts as originals to make an extra buck

However this makes perfect business sense. Not many customers really bother to check what are they fitting into their cars. All of this is too mumbo jumbo and they trust the workshop to do the best. Most of them don’t even go to the workshop. They either send drivers or use pick and drop service.

And workshop like wheel force centre do what they do best.

Take advantage.

I asked wheel force centre to kindly put everything back in the car.  After another round of convincing they agreed  but told me that I will have to pay labour charges for everything.

When I went to take the delivery of the car they gave me a bill of Rs 3000 for all the trouble. In the whole process the A.C of the car also developed some problems. The irony is that I went to Wheel Force Motors to solve one problem and I came back with two- 1) a  Un repaired flywheel and clutch 2) A.C problem

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So simple advise, don’t go to Wheel Force centre, Rajouri Garden. Infact don’t go near any Bosch service centre anywhere.

This Taxi respects women

We Indian’s love tokenism.
For instance in Delhi you would have come across these stickers ” This taxi respects women”. To the best of my knowledge no case has been ever found of “Taxi’s” disrespecting anyone.
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Okay,  the message is about ” Taxi Driver” respecting women. But what are we hoping. Will  this message remind Taxi drivers of not doing anything bad.

If we look at the data we will realise that in very few cases Taxi and Taxi drivers disrespect women or molest them. In most cases women get molested, kidnapped and raped in Private vehicles. Do we have a similar sticker for them. Imagine on your bad ass SUV- This SUV respects women.

To be honest Taxi drivers get abused and disrespected a lot by everyone. These stickers disrespect them even more. If someone came to Delhi from a foreign country and saw this sticker then they would think that in India Taxi drivers are the culprits of violence against women.
Even if we were to buy this message of ” Taxi’s respecting women” does it mean that these Taxi’s don’t respect men. Or Men don’t need respect from Taxi drivers? And what about those who are transgender ? Do they deserve any respect or not ? What about Taxi’s  without this sticker on them. Are they disrespectful ?  Should we be taking these Taxi’s or not,
So this public service message of women safety serves any purpose at all ?
If you want to solve the problem of women safety in India you have to fight to patriarchy and the condition of women in our society. You have to fight for a speedy justice through our judiciary. You have to have a more responsive and empathetic police force. You have to educate males and females in our homes.
But all of this is tough work and will take a lot of time. Making stickers and pasting them on Taxi’s is easy.

I will not buy anything this year

I wanted to start somewhere so 29th June is the day I want to stop buying things for the rest of the year.  Some basic rules  that I will follow

  1. I will not buy new buy books unless I have read all the books that I have in book shelf.
  2. I will not buy new clothes and shoes.
  3. I will not buy any new electronic items.
  4. I will not buy anything new for the house.
  5. I will not buy anything that I don’t need to function
  6. I will not buy cycling or running gear. No new water bottles.
  7. I will do my best not to buy bottled water.

Let’s see how the next 6 month of the year goes.

 

Three cities one question

I grew up in Shimla.For a variety of reasons our family moved to Dehradoon in late 90s. In the beginning I didn’t like Dehradoon. It was a a city in a rush to become Delhi. But slowly I started enjoying doon. And how can I not. Mussoorie was literally walking distance and Ganga  was never too far away.

But Shimla never moved out of heart. I kept my links with Shimla alive by visiting the city whenever I got a chance.

Its been 24 years since I left Shimla. Out of which the for the last 14 years I have been living in Delhi. I call Delhi (South) home. I’m home in Delhi.

Life has been kind inspite the usual ups and downs. For the first time in my life I have the luxury of choice. I can choose where to live for the remaining years of my life.

Go back to the city where I was born or keep living in the city that made me what I’m today. Or take the middle path and move to Dehradoon.

Tough call.

 

 

To Protest or not to protest #Jallikatu

The answer came to me after a long time.

I totally agree that cruelty against animals is the worst form of cruelty and a slap on the face of entire humanity. Why ? Because animals can’t speak . They have to suffer silently the whole thing. If we are the higher beings then we have to treat other animals with kindness.

I’m all against animal cruelty but hey my morning starts with a healthy animal cruelty.

How ?

My morning tea has milk that is not meant for me. It’s for the calf. Imagine a cow who is lactating after delivery. Her calf is hungry. He is brought to the her just so that she can start giving milk. The calf doesn’t get to drink much. Almost all of the milk is taken away to be sold.  Now replace calf with your newborn.  Would you like mother’s milk for your newborn to be taken away from him.

So yes protest by all means but first put down that chicken wing and leave your lattes else you are just a Facebook animal friendly hypocrite.

Some would argue let’s start change with Jallikatu. I would say lets start change with us. Let’s start with our morning tea.

 

 

 

 

My resolutions for 2017

When you make your  resolutions public you can depend on the energy of the universe to make them happen. Also one can  count on good friends to remind  every now and then.

So here is a list of my resolutions for the coming year and I need everyone’s help to make them happen.

  1. Say NO: I find it impossible to say NO to anything. This year I want to learn to say NO to things that are not important or urgent or interesting. No more saying YES just because you feel obligated. No more saying YES to that extra Roti. NO to that conference or meeting that is just a waste of time.
  2. Say YES to Meditation and Yoga: I want learn meditation and Yoga. Its been on my list of things to do for a long time. I feel now is the time in my life to start doing it. Any leads on how to go about doing this?
  3. Learn something new: Either hone up swimming skills or learn to skateboard. I don’t remember when was the last time I learned something which was physical in nature.
  4. Read 12 books: On an average one book a month for year 2017.
  5. Learn to code .. again : 16 years ago I could write SQL code and make it talk to databases. The world has changed in these 16 years. I want to understand what people code now days. My first stop is the learning to do programming with Scratch. Scratch is a visual programming language for kids.
  6. Lead a minimalist life: Buy less and discard anything that is in excess is going to be a mantra for 2017.
  7. Eat and live healthy: I want to reduce 4 whites in my food. White rice, white sugar, white milk and white atta ( maid or anything processed)

So these are my resolutions for 2017. I would love to know what are yours.

The world as we know has moved closer to War

 

History has a uncanny habit of repeating itself.

The recent assassination of Russian Ambassador in Ankara is like  the  assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria-Hungary. His death at the hands of Gavrilo Princip a Serbian was one the major reasons for the start of the First world war that killed 17 million people.

Let’s pray that this recent incident doesn’t lead to a “crisis of confidence” between Russia and Turkey.

Just a few months back Turkey had shot down a Russian fighter Jet. Both Turkey and Russia are heavily invested into Syria albeit on opposite sides.

Turkey is a NATO member. If Russia attacks Turkey NATO will be drawn into the conflict. America, who is also member of NATO will be  duty bound to get involved too. And with Donald Trump at the helm of affairs things can get  messy.

At the end of 2nd world war UN was created to make sure the world doesn’t blow itself up. So far the UN has done its job. But the recent killing of innocents in Aleppo-Syria and Iraq doesn’t inspire much confidence on the ability of UN to prevent wars.

Lets just hope that history doesn’t repeat itself or else the world as we know it will be gone.

Air india website please grow up

Have you ever tried doing online check in with Air India. You will go nuts. First of all they have 4 options and then each of the options they  have a long list of things that they require before you check in. In todays day and age they  want you to  give you Flight number and date with your name, PNR  etc

The four infamous options

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After you have chosen one of the above you will be presented with another screen with more information to give. All these six fields are compulsory but they don’t tell us that upfront. You will realise it after doing dance with submissions and errors.

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Now see how Indigo does web check in. PNR and name and its done. No wonder they have pipped Air India in everything.

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Indigo Web check in options

Our Indian state carrier is also not ashamed of using stock photos and that too of a foreign national.  They are just too lazy. If you have to use stock photo please choose a Indian face at least.

I don’t know when will Air India grow up to be an adult.

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 Air India customer service agents looks like her ?

A brief history of Chaddis for Hommes

Men don’t discuss chaddis because under that nice Diesel Jean there is Rs 90 very un-comforatble VIP frenchee hiding. But seriously what can we do. We don’t have Victoria’s secrets. Just some stuff hanging here and there.

If you were born before 1979 its certain that our chaddis have a common ancestry. It is from the time when the words like briefs, trunks and  boxers were not invented. Our modesty was guarded by our faithful “Naade walla Kaccha” Also known  as “Latthe wala kachaa ” ( chaddis made of coarse cotton with stripes and string ). Man,  these were popular. You could see the entire men folk out with their pride and stripes everywhere. It was perfectly okay to wear one and go  buy things from Kiryane ke Dukaan. Most likely the lala jee will be  wearing one too and going one about his business.

These Kaccha’s were handy ( and airy). Almost everyone in family had  atleast one Kaccha with ” Chor Jeb” where one can safely keep cash while travelling. These Kaccha’s also had a camaraderie around them. They all looked the same .Y ou could never know for sure if you were wearing your own or someone else. Early morning men could be heard asking their wives – Sun na Zara ek Nada to de dena.

As if it was the curse of the  ” Naada” one day everything changed. The super cool and elastic band enforced chaddis came to the market. Overnight our good honest Kacchas became underwear and and the rest is history. We got invaded by Amul, VIP,  Jockey Rupa et al.

The trouble with men and their chaddis is that we are very narrowly focussed- Sastee and tikaoe ( long lasting). We love to buy the cheapest and wear them till you can do star gazing through them. We take special pride in having holes in our chaddis- Mujhe koi problem nahi hai, tujhe hai to nayee laa de.

Have you ever wondered why there are no specialist Chaddi stores for us. Imagine 650 million men in India and not even one ” Lovable” equivalent store for us. There are millions of blogs on advise on cars, homes, love, cooking, mother in law etc.  But no blog for advise you on good chaddis.

So here is some honest advise. What ever you are wearing, discard. Rush to a Marks and Spencer store. Buy their Autobiography range of Chaddi’s. They are 850 a piece but I guess you have saved enough money so far on those 100 ka pair chaddis. These M&S chaddi’s are super cool. They are so comfortable  that you will wonder if you are actually wearing one :).

But just one word of caution- Don’t call them Chaddi’s else the store guy will instantly know what you are wearing under your Diesels.