Saturday, June 28, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008


Cinema is a very powerful medium and a great canvas for showcasing one's talents. There are many legends in World Cinema, but contribution from India has been paltry. Kamalhassan, I thought, is a good bet from India and it was with that expectation that I went to watch his latest movie, Dasavatharam. I had not been to 'GOLD' class in PVR yet and thought a ~ 100-crore film from Kamal is reason enough.

But the film fell way short my expectations. To me, it looked more like a 'fancy-dress' show from Kamal. A show where Kamal appears in ten different 'make-ups'. Make-up is gross. Graphics and other effects used in the movie is sub-standard. Kamal can do, and his fans deserve better.

There are multiple email chains now active in the internet which are more in the research category vis-a-vis the movie. They try to go into the subtle meanings of some shots, the connection to the 10 avataars in Hindu mythology et al. All that is fun, only if the movie was a good one in the first place. If the movie is good, we will enjoy the pop corn; but pop corn cannot the reason for liking the movie!

Kamal should have planned 10 movies (with threads still running between them without compromising the completeness of each of the movies) instead of 1 and that would have, may be, done justice to the original idea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


It is bewildering to see for no good reason people manning/posted to oversee things that are best left to machines. Many companies in India have security guys posted at the entry gates to check the badges of the employees when entering the campus/building. Sometimes there is one before the gate and another after; just in case! No idea why an automatic badge reader could not be installed instead. It gets hilarious when sometimes you have a badge reader and still a person around to see whether everyone is flashing the badge or not. We still do not trust either the man or machine. So we end up putting a machine to check the man and a man to check the machine.

And it does not end there. You would see a guy manning every lift of this country (sitting on a ramshackle chair and pressing buttons all day), one person for every coffee vending machine (just helping with the cup, sugar, milk ...) in this country, two or sometimes three policemen on a traffic junction when all that is required is a working traffic signal post. I can go on and on .... Go for a function, if it is a buffet meal, you can count a person behind each dish offered. Don't know whether it is to help with the food and to protect the food (you know what I mean) ! Is all this in the name of employment? Far from it, this is gross inefficiency. On the otherhand if it is in the name of personalized service, we have better things to take care of like providing access facilities to a physically challenged/hearing-challenged etc. None of the public buildings have anything to take care of such genuine needs.

If the intent is to generate employment for the less-privilged, we should better focus our energies on imparting to these people some real skills that will guarantee more productive employment. Just imagine all these people entering productive employment and contributing to the nation. GDP will sure gain a minimum of 1 percentage point.

We are a nation of cess charges; why not add one for employment and contribute to a national fund for employment. I will do my bit as well.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Features On Demand!

I was looking at upgrading to a C-segment car from the Zen that I am driving today. The ones looked at were Honda City and Maruti SX4. Was not that enthused by Fiesta or Verna or Logan so wanted to keep those out of the equation completely. That, I thought, would also ease the decision making process since the choice boils down to one from the two, City & SX4. But that was not to be!

Began, surfing net for reviews and both cars seems to evoke a mixed response. I came across opinions like: City sports a more refined engine, SX4 is more powerful and feature-rich, City has better fuel efficiency, SX4 has uncomparable looks, City has low ground clearance, SX4 is tougher to drive, City may have a new model in end-2008/early 2009, SX4 has a rear seat issue due to arm rest and the like. Essentially, choosing from among the two itself is not a straightforward exercise.

I think, automobile manufacturers imagine or expect a prospective customer to have a clear preference for the specs of the car, like fuel efficiency or power. If that were true, I just would have had to figure out which is my priority and then choose City or SX4. While I for one, has a clear preference for fuel efficiency to power and am willing to compromise some power for better fuel efficieny, am still not able to decide in favor of City because, (i) City has a gound clearance of 160mm (the only complaint I have with the Zen that I am driving today it's ground clearance which is 165mm!), (ii) while City overall has a more refined interior, there are aspects of it which are very ordinary like the speedometer, tachometer dials, placement of the stereo, placement of the hazard button etc. On top of all this is the threat of a new City model from Honda which will render my new car one generation behind in six months! So I am going for an SX4?

Not sure! Since fuel efficiency was a crucial parameter for me, SX4 starts with a big disadvantage. There are many good features that an SX4 comes loaded with, but with only around 9-10 KM/l, my fuel bills are going to go north-bound! (my Zen gives me 17-18 KM/l today!).

So, that sets me thinking, why not a car with configurable parameters. Features could be enabled on demand. Instead of a specific power give me a range, for example 75 - 100 BHP. I am told, the low fuel efficiency of SX4 is partly due to huge power premium. So let it run at lower power and give me more mileage, for example while driving in the city. Now if I am on a long drive and want to shift to a more 'powery' drive, I could configure it to run at 100BHP. There could be more other configurable parameters!

Would something like this be possible?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Please HONK!

On the same topic, as I continue to be subjected to indiscriminate honking of my fellow roadwarriors, I noticed something that might be a pointer to why honking is so commonplace. See a sample snapshot here. It seems honking is not just invited, it is a humble request, "Please Sound Horn" and see how prominently it is displayed! Really unfortunate. So it is generations of unlearning that we are looking at here!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Pay as you honk!

I think, we have a propensity to mis-use things if they come without an explicit price tag attached. Take for instance, the amount of honking we do in India, while on the road. It would have been a lesser problem if the honking is completely at one's expense. But unfortunately, it is others in the road who bear the brunt of somebody's unjustified and indiscriminate honking. I am afraid, the horn is used almost as a supplement to the accelerator. For no real reason, people keep sounding the horn at regular intervals. That is when it is indiscriminate and becomes a real public nuisance. Horns and honking comes in various shapes and forms. From the very simple ones in bicycles to the very sophisticated in the latest automobiles, it is a pain all the way! I wonder whether people will be so indiscriminate if they knew there is a definite cost associated with each sounding of the horn. I presume, that a visible associated cost would make people more conscious of the honking process (it looks so ingrained into the driving process right now) and help curtail improper usage.

So how about making horn a consumable. Maybe akin to petrol. May be one pack for 500 or 1000 honks. The pack should be intelligently priced. Enough cheap so that it gets used when really warranted, enough expensive so that free usage is curtailed. May be a pack of 500 available for Rs.125 at the rate of 25 paise for every horn. What do you say?

Had to start somewhere

For even some simple things we sometimes end up thinking a lot, kind of a boiling an ocean strategy, when all that was required was to just start somewhere and get moving. So after a pretty long search for a nice blogspot name, I am ending up (should I say starting with?),! I searched for most of my pet names, but all were gone long before. No worries, coming to think of it, didnotgetanythingbetter, looks an appropriate name because I in a way wanted to get started with my experiments of blogging, was not getting a good starting point and eventually when I got this, it truly represents what I was feeling. So a good start, I think!