October 23, 2010

Love, Life, Philosophy, etc...

So one of the most interesting things that happen to you in life... You realize you are not the only one of your own kind. You start feeling that the world is something that is designed for a beautiful collection of spirits, souls who are enchanted by the beauty of it's own reach. Sometimes when you think about certain things, you keep wondering... Oh my god, "I was the one who thought about this thing..."

You think, "Oh man, how similar my thoughts are... to that person..." You keep wondering as the conversation keeps on progressing. You imagine why... why didn't I meet this person before. What was he/she doing all her life? Where was he/she? One of the most important things that we have never discovered, nor tried to analyze... It's a simple fact, a fact that if explained properly..will make you wonder... How did this not occur to me? How can this ever happen?

So many times, once an incident has happend, you keep telling yourself.. How lucky you have been to have achieved something, met someone, fallen in love with someone or got married to somebody. Some people believe in destiny, fate, GOD or for that matter simple occurrences called coincidence. Well, the truth to the matter is it's a simple fundamental of 'Six Degrees of Seperation' , " Korean Red Circle Philosophy"

You might be wondering what I'm talking about, you might be thinking to yourself, I'm either drunk or half mad... Well, maybe not.. You might even be relating to many aspects of this. Unlike, what happens in Bollywood, movies or for that matter in your romantic novels and college love stories.. these are facts.. Truth that you cannot ignore.

Some has to probably do with Murphy's law... and in this context, reverse Murphy's law. Basically in Murphy's law, "Everything that has to go wrong, will go wrong!" How many times, have you thought of carrying an umbrella because it will rain and left it, cause you think it won't be needed. And that is when it rains. How many times do you take a shorter queue realizing the longer queue will take longer to finish? And end up waiting in the shorter queue, while the other queue finishes first...

It's the same fundamental, only in this case, whatever has to go right, goes right and as said by Ralph Waldo Emerson,  "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."

That's what is this life all about... Ultimately no matter what, if you are destined to meet, you will end up meeting at those points as stated by the ' Korean Red Circle Philosophy" The most amazing part is that you end up looking at a reflection of yourself and realize that you were meant to be. You start connecting dots and realize... this was destined to happen. Has that happened to you? I'm sure it has... Right?

Imagine so many things falling in place especially after you have connected the dots and analyzed that this was all part of a conspiracy, a great huge conspiracy with various connections ingrained... a conspiracy by the universe!!! I believe in these concepts. I'm not sure why. Probably because of so much that has happened to me in life... But truth be told, more important is us, realizing small facts, to connect those dots and learn. Be it, love, life, death or anything... It's all a simple philosophy at the end of the day...

"Life is what you get in return for your belief...  A belief that you exist because you are meant to be..." What say?


October 21, 2010

How I fought Corruption & so can you...

Ok, before I go on and blog about an incident that happened to me let me clarify a few points. Also since this account is detailed, it may seem to be long, however the issue is certainly something you guys would have a view on. So please bear with me.

1. We all may or may not have faced corruption, given in to temptation or have taken that as an option to ease our tasks. Let me confess I have in the past, once or twice... So I have been guilty...

2. I chose not to complain or crib in this post, but to just tell you a few points that could help you if you are in a situation like this. What your choice is later is completely up to your convenience. But the truth to the matter is, if you try, it's not difficult to resist it.

3. Lastly, I have not chosen to fight individuals in this incident and hence not revealing location / place where it happened. You also have the option of fighting it out in the court of law. But I have not done that as I don't consider myself to be completely devoid of corruption in my life so far and yes, we all may have made mistakes, lied, cheated been corrupt for we all are human including the person who is involved in the situation. The idea here was to fight the issue not the person. I may or may not have impacted the person in a positive or a negative way, however the idea was to do it the right way because I want to start making a change, moving forward and hope to succeed every time. I'll try. What happens next.. only time will tell. Fight the issue, not the people...

Here goes the story:

Well, I had to go to the Police Station to register a complaint of a lost National Savings Certificate which I had bought from a post office six years ago. Since I had lost it, I needed to file an NC / Complaint and procure a Certificate / Document also known as a 'Praman Patra' to produce in the post office to then follow a lengthy procedure of 1 or 2 months to get my money back.

So all that was required from the Police Station, was that certificate.

Question: What does one need to do to get that document?

Answer: He/She needs to file an NC/Complaint. Sign there and get it.

What happened here:

Me: Sir, I need to file a complaint of a lost NSC. I need a certificate / receipt of the complaint from you to show it to the post office.

Cop: (Asks a lot of questions, shows me some documents, affidavits so to speak, tries to understand whether I know the law or not... I comply and pretend to be ignorant and let him lead the conversation.) He deduces I'm ignorant and gives me his pitch.

He says, "You'll need an affidavit from a lawyer which will state all these points and then we will give you a certificate!

Me: Are you sure? But the post office told me, I just need to file an NC and then you'll issue me the certificate.

Cop: Forget what they said, I'm telling you this.

Me: So do you know where I can find a lawyer?

Cop: You go and find. I don't know anyone here.

Then the conversation get's interrupted, someone else comes and another cop comes to him. He asks me to sit aside in a chair and that he'll deal with me in a bit. (Probably a ploy to make me anxious. His first attempt to negotiate a deal out of me)

Cop: Kulkarni, ithe ya (Come here)

As I walk up to him, he looks at all the documents I carry along with me. (NSC Photocopy, My ID Proof and a written application in Marathi)

Cop: Me ek bolu ka tumhala? (Shall I tell you something?)

Me: Yes please tell me. (By this time I anticipate what he is going to say)

Cop: You'll go to get an affidavit done from a lawyer. How much will the stamp paper cost?

Me: I don't know sir.

Cop: Rs. 100, And do you know how much would the lawyer's fees be?

Me: I don't know sir.

Cop: Rs. 200, Also Rs. 100 for typist to write the affidavit.

Me: Is that so? *Me thinks, he thinks, I'm from Alibag*

Cop: So, what I can tell you is... something for your convenience, we can get this sorted out. See you'll have to pay at least Rs. 500 to them anyways, now we all know how our duty is. Konhi pan ek paisa aso kivhan shambhar rupaye aso, kadhi tyaala nahi nai bolnar. (Whether it's 1 rupee or 100 rupees no one of us would say no to it.) His own way, convincing himself, or rather me of what he's doing is okay and acceptable. Which maybe right in his own point of view.

Me: *Now I've got him* So how much do I give you?

Cop: It's upto you.

Me: Sir, I'm telling you the truth, right now I've only 80 Rs. in my wallet. (Trying to find out how much he would quote, which he never did)

I again got interrupted by another issue he attended, in fact, this was another girl who had lost her blackberry and this cop had dismissed her and her mom, stating some technical reason. Probably she knew someone in the Police Station, a higher up and immediately there was another Inspector out there. He scolded this constable and told him to get the NC/FIR/Complaint done and give them the certificate. The same thing I needed too.

Now, the devil inside me started running wild. I realised, there is no affidavit required and he was just trying to CON me, in fact trying to make his case strong so that I cave in and give him the required amount of bribe, which he had not yet quoted.

So this is what I decided to do:

I thought of getting it on my mobile camera and then decide what to do with it. I also thought to myself.. "Shall I give him the money and then get my work done?" But then I thought, what's the point?? Ok, I'd probably have to wait and maybe pay more for the lawyers fees... but wait, it's just not required in the first place. So I decided to go with my plan.

I waited there, stealthily, my mobile camera on shooting some random clips, whatever was going inside the Police Station... Still.. waiting and the cop is yet to call me to continue our conversation... But no luck... he is still busy with the other issue... I'm trying as much as possible to avoid being caught. i.e Hoping no-one notices I'm recording on my mobile camera.

Then the cop calls me...

I get up and start walking up to him and suddenly, there is another cop who comes from behind.

Cop 2: Give me your camera.

Me: Here...

Cop 2: Stop the recording.

Me: It's stopped

Cop 2: What did you shoot?

Me: Nothing as of now, just random shots...of people talking (I handed over my mobile to him. I admitted immediately what my objective was.)

Suddenly another guy joins him, there is another cop who comes. They start convincing Cop 2, that I was shooting for a while now... as if I'm the criminal now... I don't think there is a prohibition/criminal law against taking pictures / shooting inside the police station, however I didn't think it would be an issue as I co-operated and gave them my mobile.

Cop 2: Why were you shooting?

Me: Ask this guy (Cop1), I said.

Then I explained the situation and told him, he was asking for a bribe... blah blah and blah. By this time there was panic on Cop 1's face and at the same time he pretended to be angry. He was also trying to emotionally blackmail me by saying, this is what you did hah, talked sweetly and tried to nail me.. blah blah n blah.

Anyways, I showed him all the videos, deleted them even though I had not really got any evidence. While watching the video with my mobile in his hands, Cop 1's hands were literally shivering. Anyways, I don't blame him. He is not really the issue. Cop 2 was smart and knew they are in a soup and politely requested me to delete the video, not that it would matter.

First thing is first, the Cop misguided me, told me I'd need an affidavit for something I did not. We all know this was his pitch/ploy to get me to pay him the bribe. Secondly, he also openly asked me for bribe, however without actually quoting the amount. What I want to say is, I've been to a police station earlier, for a similar incident in college, where I lost my ID Card. Back then, proper procedures were followed and I didn't have to bribe anyone. So you know...

If this incident would not have happened, maybe I'd have caved in, or maybe not... I may have been wrong in actually doing what I did. But then again, maybe not. You guys tell me. At that point in time, that is what I did, for my convenience. I'm guilty of that. It may seem as though I actually tried to corner them using my freedom of speech, right to expression or maybe not.

Maybe I'd have spent unnecessary 500 bucks on an affidavit that was not needed. But the real question is how can we avoid paying them a bribe?? Now this incident may be restricted to that individual. I'm sure I may not or should not generalize by saying, the entire dept. is corrupt. That is completely an individual opinion. What he's doing maybe right or wrong. I'm not even arguing that point. I was able to do what I did, could have been because of many reasons which others may not be in a position to do. That is not really the question... The real question is.. the system, a system which we all keep blaming and do nothing about. The question is, is it his fault that he asks bribe? Or is it the system that is faulty. Doesn't increase their pay, doesn't care for their safety. They have to fight such a battle.. In the wake of 26/11 we all asked these questions. Is it their fault that all of them are not well off and don't have the luxury or comfort, which many have? Or is it just the peer pressure that all cops have to give in to? Does everyone who approach them encounters the same or they treat every case differently? Because I had the money and because he felt that I will give him the money? or he just did that to all...

Also, these are questions always asked and we all ending up saying the same thing, I used to as well. 'It's the system, it's the people, its the cops or for that matter it's the government.  I realized today it's no one but 'US.' Not all, but the ones who succumb to convenience and end up encouraging them to take bribe. So in a nutshell, here are a few things you should know:

1. Be aware of the law. If you don't know anything.. use Section 4 of RTI (Right to Information Act) and find out what is really the case. It's a little longwinded sometimes, but it can work.

2. If you can, refer to websites of your local police you will find a lot of guidance. I did that as an after thought.

3. Show some patience if you have the time, else you will always cave in.. Like I've before and I admit to being guilty of that.

4. Lastly, don't be afraid of the Police. They are here to "Protect and Serve" If possible do your research and then go ahead as per procedure.

Do let me know what you guys feel?


October 11, 2010

#TedxPune - Truly Inspiring Better Citizenship - Great Event

As I sat there waiting for #TEDxPune to start, I was looking around and thought to myself. How many people out here have come to truly attend a session that will talk about inspiring better citizenships. TEDxPune is not just about inspiring citizenship, but it's about bringing the most important things around you to reality. There are so many things that I did not know before the event and certainly felt enlightened, truly. I mean the speakers that were lined up were simply inspiring. The thoughts that they had and the ideas they wanted to share with us were certainly awesome!

What can an Idea bring about? An Idea can spread like wildfire. How do we do it though? Well most importantly the question is of the willingness! Yes, there is an Idea that you think of! But what do you really do about it? Do you ever, think of  mapping the idea to achieve your goals? Well, you don't need a stir to be able to do that. This is what I realized after I attended #TedxPune!

The conference started by a welcome note by my friend and the curator Mr. Abhishek Suryawanshi. Then it was Mr. Lalit, who asked us if we were hungry? Well, hungry that we were, he was talking about satisfying our hunger with some food for thought. And that he did indeed... A certain food for thought that made me think... What am I doing to make sure that my ideas are being heard. What am I doing to stand out and make a change.

With the first speaker, M/s Meera Sanyal, talked us through her experience as a Banker and an independent candidate to South Mumbai constituency. She  went through a great process when she decided to take a sabbatical from her work life and stand as a candidate in her constituency. Were you aware that you can also stand for elections through your constituency. We have a right to make that change. She took upon herself to make that change! What's the first thing that she should do? You'll probably say, go around the city and ask for votes. Well you are mistaken. She did not decided to do that. Instead she went near a slum around her area to understand the process, lives and reality of the cause that she supported.  During this period, she told us about a couple of interesting stories.

A woman once came to her and told her, "I won't vote for you. I'd vote for the criminals instead" Surprised that someone came to her upfront and told her about her views, she asked her why?

To which she got an answer, "Well, because if something happens to my daughter, if someone takes her away, then it is these criminals who would get her back within a day." True isn't it? With movies like Sarkar, depicting this very fact, and real life stories like these making a point that she made. Truly, she said, state is not that efficient in getting justice, but these criminals so to speak are able to. One such learning that she shared during her entire process. But the epitoma of her talk was a very simple question that we must ask ourselves... which she depicted via another conversation she had with her father, who was an admiral in the navy. His belief is, if we depend on state to provide us security, we will need 1.2 billion policemen for all of us. He inspired the thought of individuals becoming policemen. Yes, each and every individual can bring about a change. Do we really ever think about this one?

Then it was Mr. Surendra Shroff. He had a very interesting style of narration. Well, he showed us truly how easy and inexpensive it is to actually use Newspaper bags. He told us a story of how, he taught blind people in Lonavala, orphans in Pondicherry.  What a truly inspiring and an amazing Idea that he wants to spread. And in fact he gave us a great bunch of analogies and anecdotes of how he has managed to at least reach out to 10,000 people. He believes in the idea that these 10,000 could be billions if you and I supported those institutions who sell these newspaper bags. They are not inexpensive as well. In fact, they also support around 15KG, which he showed via a live demonstration. In fact, one of the most interesting things that he said was about how, Times of India donated over 10,000 tonnes of newspaper for this project of his. Kudos to them.

Then there was Ms. Vineeta Deshmukh who talked about her individual movement against DOW chemicals, yes the same company involved in Bhopal Gas Tragedy. How DOW Chemicals was forced out of Pune, where they came on pretext of research and were actually using their industry / plant to manufacture and in turn, polluting rivers nearby. How did she do it? Simple, something we all call RTI (Right To Information) act. Yes, she as an individual, made a difference.

All in all #TedxPune was certainly a collection of Ideas that were truly worth sharing, be it Mr. Shroff, Ms. Sanyal, Ms. Vineeta Deshmuk;s thoughts of Governance or for that matter the thoughts of Mr. Rajendra on Ganga river, Mr. Modak's talk about using a helmet and showcasing what is important than the beauty of the bandit queens as I call them! Besides that the beautiful videos that they chose on the day that matched the theme of TedxPune of inspiring better cities! Mr. Vinod Bodhankar, who helps change in the city by making a change in me. Yes his project was eco-restoration. Showed us how they made a change by physically going and making a change by going out in the city and cleaning up for better tomorrow.  Very good quote he mentioned, one by Mahatma Gandhi, "We must be the change that we want to see in others."  Very true. So were the ideas by Mr. Vijay Kumhar, a noted RTI activist. One who got the chief minister to resign.  But, last but not least, a really beautiful message that was sent through the classical dance, art of India by Neha Bhatnagar, the same Neha who performed at the opening of the Commonwealth Games. Well, certainly strong emotions by her to showcase a message that she had in mind. One of change, one of fighting through various odds through the power of dance. I've always felt that dance and martial arts for that matter, are truly a way of life. They have such power that very few really understand the true purpose of one learning these art forms. In fact, one can learn everything that you want to, about life... through this form of art. As rightly expressed during a balle where Neha narrated and enacted a story of Neelu Sahay, how this dancer fought all odds and made this country proud. Yes, that through the strong medium of art. What we watched here was something that we will remember for quite a while. Strong, yet very soft means of expressing a message that we all have heard umpteen times, yet the impact was much greater. Kudos to Neha and her way of life! What a certainly exciting ending to #TedxPune!

Every thing was relevant to the theme and truly opened my eyes on why inspiring better cities really is important! It was truly an evening that I cherished and I'm sure everyone else did too.

One core message. #TedxPune Inspiring better citizenship is not by bringing a  huge revolution, but as I had stated earlier, 'Making a Small Change' A small change that can impact small but meaningful differences. Every speaker reinstated that fact. One such important lesson that we all have learn't through many revolutions that were stirred by none other than us, the common men! What better location or venue to host such an event but Symbiosis Vishwabhavan. The place where you are greeted by a statue of R.K Laxman's common man. What do you think??? Is that a sign??  Well, yes, you can bring about a change!!


October 10, 2010

Chris Anderson - How YouTube is driving innovation

Chris Anderson says the rise of web video is driving a worldwide phenomenon he calls Crowd Accelerated Innovation -- a self-fueling cycle of learning that could be as significant as the invention of print. But to tap into its power, organizations will need to embrace radical openness. And for TED, it means the dawn of a whole new chapter ...

This is the welcome video shown at #TedxPune Watch it and be amazed!!! :)


Idea No. 10 - 10.10.10 - Make a small change

A very interesting video. On the onset of today's final day. My final Idea. What better and apt than relating the concept to this particular video. Amazing, thoughts.

So finally, the D-Day is here. I'm all set and excite to go to #TedxPune. As a matter of fact, I'm already on my way there. Well, yea, writing this blog in the Volvo to Pune. Thanks to my netbook. :) Well, anyways so far I've shared a whole bunch of ideas in the form of great videos from TED. True, these are the ideas that are astounding enough to stir a revolution. But the true question I always ask myself is how many people really take the effort and do something in our stride to make sure these ideas are brought to life. They are implemented. Well, many of us come together, come and be part of certain events, revolutions so to speak. But once the events are over, we just go back to our normal life. I think myself, sometimes what is really necessary for us to make sure that these ideas are implemented to the core. But then I don't really get a truthful answer. Yes, there are people who dedicate their lives to stir a revolution and their entire purpose in life is to bring that one Idea to life and dedicate their lifetime.

Well, the simple answer to this is 'Make a small change. A small change that you think could impact a certain element of your life. People around you.  Make that revolution, by making a series of changes. Every little bit that you think you can. One of the simplest ways you can make a revolution is by influencing every one who is around you. By your thoughts, by the positivity, by the simple dreams that you think can make a small change yet impact everyone around you in a fashion that you think  you can revolutionize the world around you. Think harder in a different direction, but make sure your impact is much more towards the goal that you have in that small change. That is what is needed in today's world. Slowly you'll realize that people will mould themselves, because they see the impact those small changes can bring.

Think about these things and keep on Ideating! Next blog will be about #TedxPune itself. So until then, happy reading.

Idea no. 9 - His Holiness the Karmapa: The technology of the heart

His Holiness the Karmapa talks about how he was discovered to be the reincarnation of a revered figure in Tibetan Buddhism. In telling his story, he urges us to work on not just technology and design, but the technology and design of the heart. He is translated onstage by Tyler Dewar


October 07, 2010

Idea No. 7 - Shh! Sound health in 8 steps

Julian Treasure says our increasingly noisy world is gnawing away at our mental health -- even costing lives. He lays out an 8-step plan to soften this sonic assault (starting with those cheap earbuds) and restore our relationship with sound.

October 06, 2010

Idea No. 6 - Gary Wolf - The quantified self

At TED@Cannes, Gary Wolf gives a 5-min intro to an intriguing new pastime: using mobile apps and always-on gadgets to track and analyze your body, mood, diet, spending -- just about everything in daily life you can measure -- in gloriously geeky detail.


October 05, 2010

Idea No. 5 - Where do Good Ideas come from?

People often credit their ideas to individual "Eureka!" moments. But Steven Johnson shows how history tells a different story. His fascinating tour takes us from the "liquid networks" of London's coffee houses to Charles Darwin's long, slow hunch to today's high-velocity web.


October 04, 2010

Idea no. 4 - Are Mushrooms the new plastic?

Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens -- and the environment. Watch this video, think and seriously make that change. Inspire for a change!


October 03, 2010

Idea no 3 - 10 Young Indian Artists to watch.

This time I decided to pick something to do with Entertainment and design. Indeed, this is certainly one of the best ten picks by Ravin Agarwal. By now, since you've watched these videos, you might find this certainly interesting where one of the most inspiring things about these is how simple things can form great ideas. Ideas certainly don't need to be great by themselves. It's persistence of the Ideator and certainly the passion and dedication. These are certainly small concepts but beauty of the art and the design is how well and meticoulosly taken out time to create these ideas in whatever form or shape that they would want to.

See it's not just about the art or the metaphor that goes along, but also about the interesting inspiration behind each of these ideas. Sometimes when you think, you ask yourself, why didn't I think of this? Don't you??


October 02, 2010

Idea no. 2 - How Mr. Condom made Thailand a better place

Continuing in the series of posting 10 Ideas worth sharing before #TedxPune on 10.10.10. Here is an interesting topic for starters eh? Indeed, especially if you live in a country with a population of 1.2 Billion. More importantly in a country full of beliefs of various cultures and different schools of thoughts! More importantly with the literacy rate being so low, can we stir up something that??

A certain thought and a question for all of us to ask ourselves.

From 1974 with this campaign the growth rate was reduced from 3.3% to 0.5 %

1991-2003 New HIV / AIDS Infection declined by 90%

This is certainly a brilliant Idea and inspiring better cities. Can we do something that will help us create better cities?


October 01, 2010

#TedxPune - 10.10.10 - Inspire Better Cities

Idea no 1 - Sixth Sense by Pranav Mistry

"Check out this great concept and idea that was a brilliant project way back in 2000 and now is a great achievement."

Today I got a call from the curator of #TedxPune. aka @Abhisurya  I'm glad that I've got an invite for #TedxPune to happen on 10th October 2010. 10.10.10 ! What a landmark date for an event of such great proportions. Well, there, I was certainly hoping to get in and make sure that I am part of inspiring better cities. So here I got my opportunity. Great isn't it? So what am I going to do about it? There are these simple theories where one random act of kindness make a lot of difference. ARK as popularly known in the movie Evan Almighty. A lot of people might know what TED stands for (Technology Entertainment & Design)but how many of us know the true meaning to what it really stands for? I ask this question myself. So yes you'll go ahead and Google it up, Wiki it for all you know... but no where will you find the answer that you are looking for. Many people ask me what do you keep tweeting about, what is #TedxPune?

I have only one simple answer for all of them. No I'm not going to give them a lecture and a brief on what Ted is cos they can google n wiki it up, but what #TedxPune is all about is bringing about a change, a change to inspire better citizenship. Be it in any vertical you think is important for you to drive it. Not just about Technology, Entertainment and Design, but also about the daily lives that we live. #TedxPune is about driving that opportunity where people share ideas, ideas worth sharing... Something that will bring this country together and develop and inspire great minds to think out of the box,

So here is what I'm going to do for the next ten days!!! I'm going to upload and share with you 10 different ideas from TED, they maybe in form of videos, articles, art form and something that will help you inspire better thinking and probably start contributing in your own way. So today's is one of my personal favorite. By now you might have seen the video, and it might have amazed you to the core. What do you think about this great acheivements? Do let me know your comments!