Monday, December 24, 2012

Delhi Gangrape: Let There Be Light.

It's been days since I've been watching, hearing and reading about this horrendous incident that took place in New Delhi, our beloved (yes, pun intended) capital, sometime last week. Honestly, I don't care about when, where, what, why etc. details of the same. I'd rather leave that on those news channels to judge, who make me believe that there's nothing else happening in the whole country except this mad, senseless struggle which is trying to hold the whole country at a ransom. The ransom being, the death of the rapist.

Before you jump to any conclusions about the incredibly absurd and probably hurtful, even, statements that I just made, take a few deep breaths and read on.

The Beginning

I have been watching the TV series Rome these past couple of days. It's a biopic (as far as I know) about the ancient Rome and its fall as an empire. Although, the details of the series are irrelevant here, there's one thing that I noticed there, that started with or before the mighty Roman empire and persists even today. There's NO equality between a man and a woman, a male and a female, a boy and a girl. None, absolutely.

This is something many of us would raise our arms for and object. But, let's face it, somewhere inside us all, there's that set of discriminated beliefs, values and superstitions about the tasks, work, status and so on and so forth between a man and a woman. It all begins when the brother of the family is busy learning the ways of their family business from his father while the sister is learning how to cook in the kitchen with her mother. Sadly, these have become the pre-requisites for a marriage, and this is the saddest state of the society that I can imagine being.

You know the reason for these rapes? Exactly what I stated in the previous para. The absence and thereby lack of equality, that has been passed onto us one generation after the another. The acceptance of how things are supposed to be between the sexes, and the ignorance to change that.

It's a very simple fact. We men, don't treat women as equals and that's where this whole story starts. We men, don't oppose when someone treats our women with disrespect, passes a cheap 'comment' and ignore it to 'avoid making an issue'. We men, ask our women to stay indoors while it's equally their right to stay outdoors. One of the prime reasons is because of there are not as many women on the roads as there are men! Just as an army of 10 can't fight a 100 people, a dozen-odd women can't fight those 100s of perverts on the street who desire to take undue advantage of the fairer sex.

It's we who allow this. Through how we treat eve-teasing, and let our ancestors, with their age-old, screwed up, superstition-ridden beliefs, ride our minds into actions which belittle the honour of a woman in our minds. It's the Indian culture which asks a woman to cover her head in front of a 'paraya' man, but the man can do as he pleases. It's the unfair treatment where a guy can sport the denims he likes, but the girl can't go out of the house unless she's completely dressed in a salwar. It's this absurd, unfair, un-written law, that we abide to, to please our fathers and forefathers, who never did and never will accept that women can stand side-by-side men and achieve more than what they can, that gives these other men the ability to rape.

The Reality

The crime against women is not a country, region, race, or class specific crime. It occurs in all classes, in all countries, in all regions, in all races. In fact, some of the developed countries register more rape cases than India (stats attached at the bottom of the post). It's a globally accepted belief of the lower standard of a woman in a family that brings such heinous crimes to effect.

Today

What happened in the last week in Delhi, was a mere incident. It was one of the approximately 22000 rapes that occur in India, every year (I talk from the 2010 data which being genuine, I can verify). This is the number of cases registered. And we all know how many cases actually get registered in our country. If you ask me, I'd say that'd be a roughly quarter or lesser number of cases.

What everyone fails to understand is that what happened last week was just one of the girls. One of those thousands of girls who undergo such a brutal and painful experience, at the hands of monsters, on a daily basis. From what I read (but I don't vouch for how genuine the data is), a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. Every friggin' 20 minutes. This makes me cringe. This makes me wanna cry. And this makes me shout, "WHY ONLY THE CASE OF LAST WEEK?" What's so special about her?

I got a text message in the last week which ended in a link to an NDTV poll which asked if the rapist should be given a death sentence. It also described in detail what the writer of the message thought she had been through. From what I've been gathering as a research for this post, no publication (Indian or otherwise) wrote those details. Personally, I don't believe it. I haven't seen the girl, nor have I seen her reports, nor have I witnessed it first hand, nor do I know anyone trustworthy who has, nor has it been documented in the public domain. And that, for me is a simple definition of throwing mud in the eyes of the people. It's how people's emotions are played with, to create something that's insignificant.

Why is it insignificant, you ask? I ask you, is any other of those 22,000 rape victims of India in 2010, any less deserving of justice? Then why are we fighting for only this one? You may say this one lightened the torch and made everyone united. I ask, why this one? Why so late? Where was this India when Jessica Lall was murdered? Where was this India when Rueben Fernandes was killed for protecting his female friend from an eve-teaser? Where was this India when the rape victim, who went to the police for seeking justice, was raped by the police officer, all over again? Where was my India, then, fellow Indians?

We are people of emotions. We are easily fooled. That happened to us with the whole non-corruption movement led by Baburao Hazare. We shout for a few days in the grounds, and then come back home, tell our friends and family, that nothing will happen of this great (pun intended, again) country of ours, and sit back and watch TV. And then when we're asked, we say, 'I'm only alone, what difference can I make.'

The Blamegame

"The Government should do something about this,", "Such people should be hanged,", It's only corruption that's the cause of such rapes,", "What kind of a police system do we have that such things happen?"

I have just one sentence to everyone asking for justice. Shut the crap up.

You, the ones asking for justice, are the same ones who can't ask for equality from your parents, from your grand-parents. You, the ones asking for justice, are the same ones who'll break red light at 11p.m. in the night only because there's no traffic. You, the ones asking for justice, are the same ones who'll pay the passport officer a bribe to get your work done quicker. Yes, it's you and only you. Till you can't clean your own house, you don't have the right to raise a finger at those who don't keep the society clean.

Dump the Government, they're only figures of inability. Dump the police, they're only people who take bribes for the smallest of works. What did you do? Did you promote equality? Did you teach yourself / your kid how to fight when someone tries to loot them? Did you do your best to make sure that no one dare even touch you? You didn't. Then who gives you the right to blame someone else? It's easy to ride the blamegame train and keep pushing it from one authority to the next and feel good about ourselves that there was nothing we could've done, all while being oblivious to the bitter fact that we're where it has started.

Corruption. Oh yes, corruption. Incidentally, this is the corruption of basic human rights and that related to money. And yet, they both have the same name. (Sorry Arvind Kejriwal, you couldn't pick a piece of this incident's pie to decorate it on your everything-is-related-to-corruption board.)

And the biggest part, kill such animals. Yes, they're crude animals. Let's kill them, get them punished to death. Why not? It must be atleast 30,000 men who have raped women in 2010 alone. Let's kill them all first. Then, let's look for more men who'd possibly commit such barbaric crimes, those who tease, pass snide comments, etc., and catch and kill them all. And then, in the end, the few thousand good men that remain, let's threaten to kill them, and then, may be kill them one by one, so that no man ever exists to threaten the honour of a woman.

Doing this would be like killing all the ants from a corner of your home, instead of throwing the morsel of dropped food into the dust-bin. Until the day the psyche of the Indians changes, till we can't accept women as our equals, rapes will occur, and I'm sorry but this is the brute reality.

Our lives are at the behest of our own selves. Not the Governments, not the tyrants, not our parents, that seem to govern, rule, request us. The day we understand this, we understand that our lives are our own to live, our own to protect.

Let there be light.

Until the next post...

The articles and pages I reference to:
1) Rape Statistics - Wikipedia
2) An article on FirstPost
3) Another on Rupee News

Author's note: In my time as a blogger, I have written another blogpost, pertaining to the problems and empowerment of women. I request you to read the same, if you haven't already and leave your feedbacks, here: Women, Vowed to be Woed.
 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Customer is the King?

As those who regularly read my blogposts would know, I don't hesitate to express my displeasure over my experiences with corporate firms. It's simple, they sucked, and they have to face my written wrath.

In the recent past, I've been subjected to more frequent and more disgusted forms of torture from such companies, which made me ask myself, am I not the customer? And, isn't the customer the king? It's with utmost sadness that I inform you that through my experiences, I have been enlightened enough to inform you that a customer, a consumer, was the king. He isn't anymore. (And no, the customer isn't the queen anymore. Stop trolling.)

It's one of the saddest realizations for someone who has always believed that companies actually care about their customers. I am also the one who pretended to smug when everytime I was told, 'Make a company so big, that you have call centers answer for you.' For good or bad, now, that's a thing of the past.

Let's come back to today. Here's a list of my recent experiences:

1) September, 2011: My Vodafone incident. I wrote an in-detail blog about the same, here.

2) October-November, 2012: My passport incident. Similarly blogged here.

3) October-November, 2012: AirTel disconnects my prepaid number, with enough balance and validity running upto February 2013, randomly, without any sort of intimation.

In the last 2 months, I've talked to more than 6 representatives from AirTel's Delhi/Guragon head office, and visited the gallery in Malad twice, to no resolution. I've had to explain my problem to each one of them, all of them promising me to get back to me and then never calling back. I'm called back by some other random service representative or whatever they call them, from their side, the next time.

I'm told that it is because it was lying unused, and I was intimated, to which I claimed I wasn't and thus I ask for records as proof of their communication to me, I'm told that there are none because the number has been deleted from their systems. Neat. Easy way to just dump a customer's number without any intimation, naming TRAI. About the TRAI guidelines, as far as I know and have read, the telecom operator is required to inform the user by calling on the alternate number, texting, e-mailing, and also sending a letter to the registered address before disconnecting, none of which was done to me. So there.

Also, they can't tell me who from their side had called me earlier, for much more lame reasons. The AirTel gallery in Malad explicitly stated that MNP numbers (I had ported to AirTel from Idea), can't be disconnected and he was wondering how was it that this number was disconnected, even.

4) November-December, 2012: ICICI tells me they'll take 42 'working' days (showing me a date of 25th March for resolution) to revert me a failed online transactions of 368.28. And for another failed payment of 444.04 made 4 days before the 370 payment, I'm told I'll get the refund in 10 days.

42 days for getting back 370. And then they blame it on procedures, difference in payment portals and VISA policies. You seriously think I'm so dumb?

5) December, 2012: I'm denied a nano-SIM by AirTel because my postpaid number is registered in my uncle's name, who is currently traveling and is outside the nation, even though I have the complete and appropriate documents.

More so, I'm denied to get the number in my name (in Pune I was told it is possible). I seriously don't understand the double standards here. I get that Pune is Maharashtra circle, and Mumbai is a separate telecom circle, but does the procedure change between the 2 circles? I thought the procedures TRAI lays down are for the, not some damned telecom circles.

6) November, 2012: A MSRTC Shivneri bus driver, driving rashly, rams into a Honda City which was changing the lane after appropriate indicators. I was traveling in that bus. There have been numerous other examples of me, and my friends, having experienced similar issues with these state-run and state-operated bus service.


In the period of these last 15 months, there have been other examples too, and this post, has been long over-due. I'm sure you'll would have a lot more to contribute too. From those little ones where shopkeepers ask you to pay anything from 2-10 rupees extra for 'cooling' the soft drink, to insurance lapses pertaining to the smallest, most negligent clauses. And I think it's high time that this crap stops.

In the last few days, I've been trying to figure out what I'd love as a customer myself. What is the right way to treat someone who buys services or products, or both from you. And there are some basic guidelines that I have come down to. Many of these are pulled from the current systems which are already in place in USA and other developed countries over the world.

a) Return period: Anything between 14 days to 30 days of return period wherein you'd be paid back the full amount you had paid, if you're not satisfied with the service.

b) More transparency: I want the records. Of everything that I use. And not some random made-up shit when you say your data is deleted because your number is deleted from our systems. Also, I want to know which representative of yours called me. I'm not going to sit and keep a log of phone numbers and names of everyone from your end I talk to. Hell, I don't remember their names while I'm talking to them!! It's your job to keep a track, not mine.

c) Better co-ordination and post complaint follow-up: With Tata Sky, I was happy I observed this. They made sure I got what I had asked for, at the right time, and again called a week after to know if I was happy with it or not. Amazing service, that.

d) Lesser blame on other companies and Government: Not everyone is a fool to believe what you throw in their face as a big fat lie. Some customers are aware. And they can shred you to pieces with it in a court of justice.

e) Knowledgeable staff: Seriously, do I need to explain this? Isn't it everytime that you talk to some customer service that you're told to hold while they confirm something?

f) Without bill guarantee, warranty: The only 2 companies that already do this (and I know of), are Apple and Lenovo. You will never be asked for your bill. And there's a reason for it, your device has a serial number. Period. Every device you buy has a serial number. But no, you have to get the bill when you claim warranty, because hey, I have all the time in the world to take care of every bill that I ever get for everything that I purchase! You put such big stamps of serial numbers on my device, USE them.

g) Don't sell my info: You take my information to inform me about updates about my devices and services. Use it for that. Don't sell them to third parties who'd spam me with letters and e-mails. Not cool. (This I've specifically observed for AirTel, because my AirTel online account is in my uncle's username and my e-mail ID. I got an e-mail a few days back addressed to him.)

h) Make my life easy, as you promise, and if you can't do that, don't make it tougher atleast: I buy services and products so that they help me, not because I have lesser problems in my life to add a few more to them.

I'm of the opinion that our country can't truly progress until we begin recognizing the might of the consumer, and the sellers begin respecting the same. I've come to believe that the companies and products that we rely on specifically have come to defy the reason they were made. It's an absolute ruckus out here.

It matters to me how I'm treated. It matters to me how my parents, my friends, my countrymen are treated by these people who loot us in the name of safe services and guaranteed products. And it's high time things get aligned with them. Real big a time...

Until the next post...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

It's India That Stops India.

(Author's note: You may skip to the conclusion if you don't want to read the torture I went through while submitting my passport renewal application at the PSK. Seriously. I wouldn't mind. I needed to vent it out, and thus this. Although, if you read it, you'd know my plight and know what to expect if you happen to go sometime soon.)

Day: Friday, 12th October, 2012.
Task: Go to the Passport Seva Kendra (henceforth, PSK) Malad, and complete the submission of the application and documents for the renewal of passport.

And this, was an experience of a lifetime. An experience I will tell my grand-children about how things were in the India I lived in. Yes, I surely will. Before them, it's time for you to read about it.

Let's rollback a little...

When dad realized that my passport was going to expire soon, he asked me to get done with the renewal of the same as soon as possible. I realized that it should be a pretty easy job, since all I remembered of the previous application was signing and clicking a photo with a white background especially for it. That's it. Until...

I called the travel company which takes care of my grandpa's tour bookings and talked to an uncle there who told me that the agents are no more allowed to take care of passport applications and they have to be made themselves, by everyone. He gave me a long list of documents that I should carry, even though it was a re-issue (in the passport office terms). Some 10-15 documents.

I filled up the form online. It is a pathetic looking website. No kidding. We live in the 21st Century, when even teenagers (including me) have their own websites. Took some time to figure out what's to be done because it was a heck of a terrible design. It bombards you with too much information, in too little space (take a look: http://passportindia.gov.in/). I was eventually done filling up the form online, and getting a PDF from there, after much deliberations. After that, I tried to select an appointment to submit the form and the documents at the PSK. I couldn't. They allow you to select an appointment only 3:30 pm onwards until 5 pm or so. I accepted that and then tried selecting an appointment the next day. I got one, after more than 15 days, for 12th October, 2012.

I checked the documents check-list on the website, and it said I needed to carry only my old passport, with two first and last page self-attested photocopies since it hadn't yet expired. Along with renewal, an automatic minor-to-major change in my passport had to take place too, since my earlier passport was issued to me when I was 14.

D-day arrives.

I took print-outs of the 2 PDFs I got from the website. A form, and an appointment confirmation.

I got ready in a hush and then hurried to get a few photocopies of the 15-odd documents that I was told to carry, and made my way to the PSK. I reached there at 12:28, for my scheduled appointment of 13:00, and reporting time of 12:45.

On reaching there, I saw the gates closed. People standing in a queue outside the gate, in the scorching sun, surrounded by hawkers on a 2-lane 2-way street. Yes, a 2-way Mumbai street with busy traffic, buses, cars, auto-rickshaws. And yes, everyone had no option but to wait in the scorching sun.

I saw those with the 12:45 appointment go in at 12:30 when the watchman came by and opened the door for them, and let them in after checking their slots. The watchman just disregarded anyone asking him anything. I witnessed a bus conductor knocking on the door for 5-7 minutes before the watchman came by and answered it. He was there to enquire about the passport procedure and was shooed away by the watchman asking him to come at 10:30 on Monday, if I remember right. I saw a senior citizen couple come almost 2 hours early for their 2:30 appointment. After much consideration, the watchman let them sit in the shade of a tree inside the building compound (I believe that was because the uncle had a strap over his chin and to his ears).

I eventually made my way into the PSK compound at 12:45 when the watchman let me in after the same procedure as the prior. The first thing after I was let in the door that I noticed was that there was a long, really long and big compound that led to the PSK door. Everyone could easily wait in the compound, in the shade of the trees. After being frisked, I was let in the 2nd gate. And that's when my experience began spiraling downwards.

Stage 1: Getting a token.

Once in, I was completely lost over what to do and where to go next. There were 5-6 queues of at least 20 people each, waiting for something, i.e, atleast 100-120 people. What, I wondered. I looked around, completely confused, for a board on the walls which would tell me what next. I asked a guy with an ID, about what was I supposed to do next. He asked me if I had a Tatkaal application, and when I answered in the negative, told me to go and stand in one of those queues. I did.

I was still confusedly looking all over the place for some checklist, some procedural guidance board or sign. I couldn't find any. Eventually, on observing the people getting off the queue, I realized I would be given a brown envelope with some papers inside it, and a bar code printed paper.

I waited in that line for over 50 minutes, all the while thinking why would they let so many people take a particular slot if they couldn't manage? My chance came around 1:35. I was asked to photocopy a middle-page of my passport at the very spot, then. Luckily, the photocopy centre, inside the PSK, which had a queue of 25 people or so when I entered, was empty, and I got it done in a jiffy. She also asked me for an address proof (which I with the numerous other documents so that I wouldn't have to go there again), which was never mentioned on the website. She took my documents and asked me to wait. I asked her how long it'd take, and she said it wouldn't be more than 15-20 minutes. By now, the queues were with just 5 people in the 3 queues that were running.

After 5 minutes, I saw her walk away with another lady. I peeked at her desk and saw a few brown files just lying there. I was hungry too! And was getting delayed because she wanted to gossip with her next-counter lady while having a merry lunch.

Going back 20 minutes, while I was standing in the queue waiting for my turn. The queue next to me read 'For infants (less than 1 year) and senior citizens only'. When I entered, till when my photocopied documents were taken, there was absolutely no one who was waiting or submitting documents in that queue. The lady there was busy chit-chatting with everyone else who worked there, while everyone else's queues kept getting elongated from 15 to 20 to 25 people. A guy who stood ahead, asked her if she would accept his documents as she was free. She asked him to read the board, and said a simple no. All this when there was no one in her queue but the other queues were over-flowing with applicants.

I saw people who had 14:00 appointments come and get their tokens, and moving on to the next round while the woman who accepted my application had her lunch. That's when I felt like pulling that woman from her lunch box and asking her to give me my goddamned file and a token, before she headed to fill her stomach!

In the meanwhile, there were atleast 3 couples with babies less than a year, and half a dozen senior citizens waiting in the queue for them, with no one to cater them (because the lady there was having her lunch). None of the guys at the 2 on-going queues answered them properly. They just asked them to wait (in turn, delaying issuing them tokens, which would make the whole process for them just longer). I also saw a lady with a Tatkaal passport application wait in the line for a token while she didn't have to, only for the lack of knowledge and availability of any help (had I known any better, I'd have helped her).

Finally, the lady came from her lunch at around 2:15, and then after another 15 minutes, gave me my file and the token. I was thoroughly pissed by then. Sadly, I didn't know that this was just the start.

Stage 2: Zone A.

I walked into the next part of the PSK, only to see a large seating waiting area, with a few LCDs mounted on the front wall. It had Internet Explorer 6 (sorry, couldn't ignore) running on it, with a dynamic file which had some counter numbers like A1, A2, A3, in one column, and token number on the other. Another LCD had the same from B1 onwards, and C1 onwards, with token numbers. The A zone had the token number of N150 or so reading on it when I entered. Mine was in the 220s. The B zone had something around N100. And that's when I realized that it's going to be a long, long time before I got home.

I stopped keeping a track of how long I waited. When my number flashed on the zone A LCD, I asked another guy with an ID about where to go, and he guided me to go through a door. Once there, I saw around 30-35 well-built cubicles. The sad part? Only 12-15 of them had attendants sitting on them and doing their job.

I waited for the previous applicant on my allocated cubicle to get done. When I sat there, the first thing I saw was a Canon DSLR in front of me. I saw one LCD monitor facing me, another facing the girl who was verifying, my details. Soon, I realized that there were scanners, printers, finger-print readers and all kinds of modern stuff that you'd expect there. She got done with submitting my application pretty quick, and I paid the cash there. She was humble, soft and helpful. And directed me to zone B.

Stage 3: Zone B.

When I walked into zone B from zone A, the LCD there read N150s. And I sat in the waiting area there (yes, another seating waiting area in zone B), and waited for a real long time. I didn't take too long to realize that the priority was given to senior citizens, Tatkaal applicants, and minors, and normal applicants were just pushed lower in the priority order. Another thing I realized was that the token numbers displaying there weren't in sequence (like in A) but according to when the application from zone A was submitted. First come, first serve basis kinda.

In the meanwhile, I got like really hungry, and decided to visit the small food stall inside the premises. It was out of all kinds of snacks, and only had a handful of desserts left. I munched on one of those little brownies and waited for my turn to come. It did come when I had lost all hope of it coming by. And I made my way to the zone B cubicle to find a typical Government employee.

He was getting done with the previous applicant too. I stood close by, observing a 3-4 year-old cute girl roaming around the whole zone. When my turn came, when I was about to sit down, the uncle asked me to wait. My expressions changed to bewilderment. He asked me to wait until my number flashed on his computer screen. I said my number was flashing on the LCD and so I was sitting. He told me that he wasn't drinking his tea which was now getting cold, and instead doing my work, and even then I wasn't waiting. I stood there waiting for 2 minutes, while my name and details finally appeared on his screen. He quickly verified them and pushed me to zone C. Again, it was because it was a re-issue that it all was so quick.

Stage 4: Zone C.

Just out of zone B, I got a call from home about when I would be coming home, as it was already over 5 pm. I was staring at the LCD which would tell me which counter to go to in the zone C, while talking on phone and saying that I'll be done soon. That's when I saw an uncle from zone C pointing me with an angry expression. I hurriedly kept my phone and walked to him. He angrily asked me why I wasn't paying attention to him and talking on the phone instead. I politely told him that I was looking at the LCD and waiting for my number to flash there. He asked me if I was talking to my 'girlfriend' and I replied even more politely (realizing that he can cancel my application here, and I'd be forced to face the whole torture again) that it was a call from home. He threw (literally) my old passport across the desk and told me that it hadn't been cancelled yet. I asked him what that meant, and he rudely told me that it hadn't been cancelled. I asked him if it was necessary and he said yes and I should get it done. I enquired about how to do that. He asked me to go to the zone B again and get it done.

I went to the zone B again, and waited until the uncle was done with another applicant. He quickly stamped it, when I asked him to, and then told the next applicant to wait until he finished his tea (!!). I walked out to the zone C again and waited while he got done with another applicant. He saw that my old passport had been cancelled and took my application and threw it on the floor where other applications were kept, and asked another applicant to sit down there. I asked him thrice if the procedure was done and he looked at me with fierce expressions and said yes. I walked towards the exit gate, submitted my receipt for the cash I had paid, and the token number paper, and left.

Conclusion:

5 hours and 10 minutes. It was 17:38 on my watch when I left the gates of the PSK. I had lunch at 18:00.

An experience of a lifetime, ain't it?

Now, the most disturbing fact.

All this is managed by the reputed Tata Consulting Services. Yes, the TCS we all feel proud our fifth-engineer-friend or relative gets a job in. The website is proudly managed and made by them, and so is the whole PSK. Those at stage 1, 2, and the security guys, boasted their TCS IDs.

Such a poor, confusing website (check out TCS's own website), incredibly poorly managed PSK, IE6 (when IE9 is out since over 2 years) running to display the information, while they splurge the Government money on unnecessary DSLRs (point-and-shoot cameras do an extremely good job of capturing a portrait) and separate scanners and printers (and not MFDs), while most of the cubicles don't have staff to use such expensive equipment!

This here, is one classic example, of how private companies dupe the Government and the people, in the name of computerization. A reputed IT company, exploiting the Government, wasting people's time, and making the passport procedure just so bloody complicated and tough!

This, is sad when it's form one of the most reputed IT companies in India. After this, I thoroughly am demotivated to work in TCS (even though I never planned to).

And there's another side of this same coin. The Nandan Nilekani-led Aadhaar project. The most challenging identity project that was undertaken by the Infosys co-founder. I remember getting an appointment one day, going the next and coming out 15 minutes later. It doesn't have anything fancy. Heck, even their offices don't have ACs! And yet, it's more than a million times more efficient.

Only if the Governments that we elect understood the plight of the common man and did something about the numerous documents that we have to produce to get one damned document.

I turned 18 last year, and since, I have been in the same state. It's crazy. The driving license, PAN card, Aadhaar card, and now the passport. Documents, applications, more documents, photocopies, mistakes... The process is never-ending! And still, I'm trying to find out how to get my name in the electoral list so that I can vote in the 2014 (or the 2013) elections. Don't direct me to the Jaago Re website. That is utter crap too. It gives me a blank PDF form with none of my details filled in it, even though I have filled it atleast thrice with 3 different e-mail IDs. Their customer service e-mails aren't replied to, either. It just, equally sucks.

How simple would it be, to get an appointment at the UID office, get your documents verified once when you turn 18, and then have all your documents sent to you? Driving test, cool. I wouldn't mind giving it. But, the rest? Unnecessary misuse of resources, money, time and energy. Utterly.

I really wish someone gets some sense and the Aadhaar UID project gets the boost to eliminating every hurdle in its implementation, and becomes universal for every document you ever have to have. I would love to live in an India that would ensure that.

And it's not the Government who is to blame for the lack of deployment of the same. It's we, the people. Let's face it. How many of us have called, e-mailed or written to our representatives in the LS, about what we want them to represent us for? What have we done except going on that holiday to 'vote' as if we do the nation a service by voting!

We don't ask them the tough questions. We let them test our patience. We let them push us through the hurdles and yet we stay mum. We'll read a blogpost like this, or an article somewhere, and then after 15 minutes, we'd be busy in our own world, a world where the politics and the betterment of this nation doesn't even cross our minds. That's the India we live in. And I pity it.

Yes, it's India that stops India. Isn't it only India that stops India?

Until the next post...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Politics Of An Indian's Life

Disclaimer: These are solely the author's opinions. I request you to read this with an open mind. And I can assure you that I'm not a worker of, or paid under-the-table by any political party to write this post, trust me.

I'm not proud of being an Indian. I'm extremely proud. But, of one of the many things that prick me, on a daily basis, is how the game of politics influences the Indian's life, on a daily basis.

I write this post in a situation where there are high chances of the Government falling. With the coalgate scam reports all over the media and opposition parties disrupting the parliamentary sessions on a daily basis, the Government dropped the diesel price hike bomb on the people of the country 3 days back, followed by approving the 51% and 49% FDI in multi-brand retail and aviation sectors respectively, the day after.

By explaining my point of view on these 3 topics, I'd like to show you how influenced our daily opinions are to the politicians and political parties with no or half-knowledge of the subject they're talking about. In the sequence of events, I'll go with the diesel price hike first, LPG next, and FDI in the end.

1) Diesel price hike
My first reaction. Oh well, the prices are up again. Wasn't that so very expected?

a) Before you go any further, I'd request you to read about why the prices of petroleum products go up, here. (Note: The answer is to the question about what could Barack Obama have done to prevent the price of gasoline doubling in the last 4 years, his presidency term. Just to be clear, our petrol prices have gone up by only 50% in the same time-frame, and diesel around 20%.)

Did you read that answer? No? Please, read it. I appeal to you.

I hope you have, after me requesting you twice atleast (even if you were lazy to open another link and read that too the first time). This is the first time I'm requesting readers to read a link on a different page, that too twice, consecutively. That's for a simple reason. It answers the question beautifully, without any doubt, in laymen terms.

b) India doesn't have enough oil reserves to suffice the 1.2 billion population of ours. We have to import oil from other countries, at global crude oil prices.

There's a popular forward (which reached me atleast half a dozen times), that India's petrol prices are more than anywhere in the sub-continent or south-east Asia. Frankly, I don't know how true it is. I haven't checked those prices. But, I do understand the fact that the need for petro-products in India, on a daily basis, is atleast 10 times more than those countries. Enough said, I assume?

c) The Government provides us subsidized petro-products for our well-being, and to reduce the burden from our shoulders. The loss for the Government, per litre of diesel sold, has recently risen to Rs. 17/litre. That's a 40% subsidy on the price of the fuel in itself! You may ask, from where does the Government get the money to pay for such a massive subsidy, and how does it pay it off?

It comes from the income of the Government, mostly taxes. And the excess, adds to the bugdet deficit, which, simply means that is a loan that the country has to take.

What happens if the budget deficit increases? Growth stumbles. Foreign investment reduces. Unemployment rises. The currency suffers. Inflation rises.

So, how do you prevent all that? Increase the prices of subsidized goods. As simple as that.

Yes, it will increase inflation, temporarily. In the long run, it will lead to the inflation getting static, or even reduce. Increment in the industrial growth rates, and the rest follows...

d) I realized this when I saw the NewsHour debate the other day on Times Now. This is the gist of what one of the panelists, namely, Swaminathan Aiyar, Consultant Editor, The Economic Times, pointed out.

Government subsidies are a luxury, not the need of a nation. The sad part of an economy is when these subsidies become political pawns to earning votes. A Government which spends more on subsidies for oil products, than on its prime projects, will suffer.

There's a solution. But, it's a bitter political party, which I bet no party in the country can swallow. Fix a yearly amount of subsidies, if not remove them completely, that'd be given to oil products and then let them fluctuate over the world import prices. As freaking simple as that.

Result? An economy which wouldn't be burdened by nonsensical political moves over protecting the prices of the oil products, more than the important Government schemes.

This is something really bitter. But, it's a fact each one of us understands. And sadly, no political party in the country has the will or desire to make this happen and help the nation. I repeat, this would help the nation, immensely.

2) LPG Cylinder subsidy

Most of what I said above, applies here directly. There's not much of addition here, except one.

I wondered how this'd affect the budget of my home. Upon asking that question to mom, she told me that one gas cylinder roughly lasts for 2 months. And so, it won't affect us much.

If it doesn't affect my family, that translates into it surely not affecting most others in the whole country!! Those who do, pay the premium price to get it. The rule is fair, isn't it? To me, it seems so.

3) FDI in retail, (none of the political parties really care about aviation)

There are facts, and then there are random political arguments to make the Government policies look bad. FDI, sadly, has had more of the latter than the prior.

I want to emphasize on what I've read and seen as opinions of major political parties, and rubbish their claims with facts.

a) BJP: Claim: It will wipe of small businesses and local kirana stores.

Reality: The facts from most countries of the world prove that no major retailer can reduce the clout of local traders and stores. In Indonesia, almost 73% of people still prefer buying from local traders and stores.

b) Shiv Sena: Claim: Why not get the technology and we run it ourselves?

Reality: Don't we have enough failures of the likes of Birlas (more.) and Ambanis (Reliance Retail) in front of us already? Why not give someone else a chance who has worldwide expertise in it?

c) Trinamool Congress: Claim: The farmers will lose.

Reality: The farmers lose today. The middlemen eat away the money that the farmer should be earning. Also, almost 40% of India's produces get spoilt in godowns or never make it to the market in time.

Bigwigs have a simple method of picking up farm produce from the farmer himself, thus providing them with better, and thus the prices they deserve to get for their produce. Their storage techniques, as we already know, ensure that none of the produce they take under their hands, goes waste.

d) SP: Claim: They'll import most of their goods because they're supposed to have only 30% of Indian goods in their stores.

Reality: How does a business work? Would you import goods from 'your own country' or pick up goods from the local markets? How much would importing a container full of apples from USA cost Wal-Mart, in comparison to what they can buy it from India for?

It's simple business. They're here to earn profits. And so, their actions will be a simple desire to reduce their expenses to supposedly import goods.

Another point I want to make is, which one of these parties talked about the customer? Isn't he a critical part of the chain?

The customer gains, surely just gains. He gets more choice, he gets better prices, he gets world class products and service. Isn't that more than enough to make a customer happy?

Secondly, who talks about the economy? The falling growth rate? The falling rupee? The falling stock market? All of which, as we've seen on Friday, have got an enormous boost because of these decisions.


We live in a simple India. An India driven by politics. Politics which is promoted by presenting half-facts to the public. And a public which blindly believes that the Government will never want to do any good for it. In my opinion, such a projection of the country's Government, is highly destructive, in both the short and the long run. The last thing we want to see in India is a replica of the instability in Egypt.

Also, I know most of you will try to tell me about the innumerable 'scams' that this Government has seen.

Is this the only Government which is corrupt? No other Government in the history of the country has ever been? Rather, we should be happy that these scams are coming to light of the modern day. That ensures that next time onwards, every Government employee will think twice before accepting a bribe.

The reason I write this today is because I see people randomly blaming the Government for everything without even knowing what those things are, or what they mean. That, hurts.

In my personal opinion, Dr. Manmohan Singh is one of the best Prime Minister's this country has ever seen. And he is one of the best economists. And a politician who puts the nation before his own self. Whatever is said about him working under Sonia Gandhi, arises out of the speeches of political parties which couldn't make it to the Government. No PM can function alone. He has to have a cabinet for policy decisions, and the political party head for the party-related decisions. All the PMs till date have had, and all in the future will. There's no denying that. You can't blame a woman for the very same, just because she's of Italian origin.

And the PM proved 2 days back, why I respect him so much, by saying a sentence in the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs,
The time for big bang reforms has come. If we have to go down, we go down fighting.
And you say this is a PM incapable of action? Shame on you. He doesn't mind being thrown out of the Parliament. He won't try to secure the allies' consents. He won't sugarcoat so that the country likes him. The fact that India needs reforms, terribly, are bitter but true. And to stand up to it, to take charge, takes courage.

No other politician in the country can say what he did. And for that, he deserves a standing ovation.


These issues are just the tip of the iceberg. And we have such inhibitions, such projections of politicians in our heads that we can't look beyond the petty issues into the real deal. We are so obsessed with having to support one goddamned party in everything they say, without even realizing the extent or truth of their claims. I hope that after reading this post, you will think twice before criticizing any politician, or any party, based on what someone else says.

Until the next post...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

When the phoenix was created...

I can't explain my lack of ability to write anything in more than 3 months. But, I can say that me blaming it on the unavailability of my laptop, or my studies, was just an excuse.

You wake up one fine day, and realize that it has all fallen apart. Everything that could've possibly gone wrong, has. And then, by the end of the day, you're shocked to see that it could've and did get worse. But, it just does happen that way. More often than not.

It's tough to come to terms with what happens to you. Even tougher to act as if it's just a passing phase and things will be fine.

Being in a similar situation in the last few months, gave me a chance to assess myself and what I've been going through. There's just one word to express it: fear.

We struggle. Everyday, in everything, all the time. And in all that, the only thing that holds us back, is fear.

We begin faltering at simple things, and the devil miniature hovering behind our head, induces the fear in us, tells us, that we'll fail at bigger things too. We believe that, and we push ourselves to still try, knowing that we'll fail, knowing that we'll screw ourselves more than we've ever, knowing that we'll fall, harder this time.

It isn't we being vulnerable. It's we trying to tell ourselves that things will be fine, when we just so terribly know, that they won't. That they haven't been, in a while. And they will be the same until we can get past the fear that bondages us.

But, what happens when we get afraid? When we fall? When our myth for ourselves that we're invincible, falls? The person who you think is the strongest, most resilient, goes down? What happens then?

Life happens then.

It's tough to get past our fears. And just as they say, the one who appears to be the strongest, gets hurt the most. To find the way back, comes later. To look around, to sit, to stand, to walk, and then to fly away to the goal; that's what should happen. And then reality bites, because that never, ever happens.

We want to walk before we stand up, fly before we can open our eyes, because we are ones who can never falter. We are ones who everyone looks upto as the strong ones. And we forget, we are also the ones who are allowed to fall. And so we fall into the cage again. The cage where all you feel is afraid.
Fear can hold you prisoner. Hope can set you free.
How do we hope when reality fails us? How do we hope when life threatens us? How do we hope when it's just a million piece puzzle in front of our eyes? We just do... We somehow, always, just do...

And there's something we need to remember. A phoenix isn't born. A phoenix is created, adorned with the name that suits him, because of his actions. Because he rose from the ruins, and soared to where he never dreamed he would, he could.

When he was afraid, he hoped. He hoped to heal his wounds. He hoped to recover. And he rose beyond what he had achieved, yet. And for the centuries to come, his name was emboldened as the phoenix...

He hoped.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

It’s Your Turn Now.

It has been almost 3 months since my last post. And a lot has happened since. But today, I write this post for a reason. Because today, it’s my turn.

I came across this initiative (by someone who I don’t know personally) called Your Turn Now (referred to as YTN hereon) less than 3 hours ago, and here I am, writing a post promoting the same.

Each and everyday, we come across hundreds of people, have conversations with may be a fifty, and are thankful to almost a dozen. Similarly, there are many who are thankful to us, for something or the other, day in and day out.

What do we do to them, except say a ‘Thank you’? How do we express the gratitude in our hearts?

The gratitude is the goodwill we have. The goodwill someone else has for our actions. And YTN is an effort to spread that goodwill.

You don’t have to pay a penny. You just have to spread smiles, and these cards. What cards, you ask?




This is a 2-sided, visiting card style card which you pass on to someone who says ‘Thank you’ to you, for your goodwill, requesting them to do the same. The colours haven’t been reproduced as well as I would like on my scanner, but, they’re good cards. Not cheap quality, printing paper-style cards. Real, durable cards.

And the best part, these cards are available for free.

This is a start. A start to live in a better society, to live in a world where thanking someone isn’t a ritual, but, a happy and graceful choice. Why not take part in an initiative someone else is willing to pay for, just for those smiles, just for the sake of a happier society?

I am going to begin spreading these tomorrow onwards (I got a pack of 5 cards before 3 hours when I came to know about this effort). If you think it makes some sense, get them, spread them.

Until the next post…

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Of Ultrasounds And Babies...

In the last year and a half, I've come to watch more television series and sitcoms than I have in my whole past life. Most of them, make me laugh and are pure fiction. Some have a relation to the daily life of ours. This blogpost is inspired from one such medical drama, Grey's Anatomy.

For those who are unaware of the series, it exists inside a hospital. The daily in-and-outs of interns, residents, doctors, nurses and of course, patients. It's a typical drama that gets you hooked to it making it difficult for you to not watch it. And, trust me, it's pretty good too.

Coming to the point. There's this doctor in the show who is a neonatal surgeon/obstetrician gynaecologist. In plain English, she's a surgeon who operates on children, when they're newborns, for defects, and/or mothers who have complications during the birth.

In various episodes, they've shown cases of patients whose children have various complications during births and the urgency with which those newborn babies need to be operated on, so as to make sure the child can live a healthy life. The way those surgeries are detected? Pre-natal ultrasonic scans. Period.

There have been a slew of laws that've been brought into action to help reduce the difference in sex ratio, of the country. The debut episode of Satyamev Jayate (a new Indian TV talk show raising awareness towards the social problems of India) too, focused on the same problem. But, is the problem of declining sex ratio because of the use of ultrasound machines, solely? And how fair are we to decide that?

I'm considering a 10 years later scenario here. I'm a married guy or happily living-in with my girlfriend. We decide to have a baby. Research has shown that 13 weeks into the pregnancy, an ultrasound scan, in 80% of the cases, can correctly tell if the baby is a boy or a girl. Why shouldn't I and my partner know? Why can't we begin making the preparations for his/her room, for the silliest reason to know the sex of my baby?

Because many Indians go for a abortion or a forced miscarriage, when they know that the baby in the mother's womb, is a girl, doesn't mean that all of them do!! Why should I have to face the uncertainty for another 6 months, while my counterparts in most other countries know the gender of their child just into the 2nd trimester? That's like saying we should shun Muslims because most terrorists are Muslims.

And to curtail the same rate of abortions, the use and sale of portable ultrasound machines, has been restricted.

That brings me back to the things I've seen and observed in Grey's Anatomy. The portable ultrasonic machines are more prevalent in the rural areas. If there are deformities in the child, while it's developing in the foetus, and if they aren't observed at the right time, it's fatal for both the mother and the child. (It doesn't take rocket science to figure that part out.) And if they're situated in some village 300kms from the nearest equipped hospital, how fair is it to lose the child and/or the mother, just because we don't allow the use of ultrasonics for determining the health of a child?

The reason we live in an India with such an inclined sex ratio, is not the use of ultrasound machines. In fact, the use of these, prevents those fatal losses. There can be and is just one reason, ineducation.

We suffer from the worst epidemic in the world, ineducation. And when coupled with the orthodox nature of the generations that raise us, and our supposed obligations to abide by everything they say and expect us to do, we tend to turn into our own worst nightmares.

The India we live in today, is a transition. The mix of the old-aged beliefs, and the new world, is tough. To educate people, to let them know of the possibilities they have, to explain them that not obeying their parents/guardians (who have such views of a girl baby) is not just pathetic but also unrealistic, and to dare to go past them, is what we need to learn.

To do what you feel is right, without feeling obliged to, compelled by, or to supposedly listen to, someone else's wishes, and having a strong distinction of right and wrong, is the education that we need to provide India with. That's what we really need to curb this evil.

Some food for thought, aye?

Until next post...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Compulsion.

Disclaimer: This post is about adolescents. Others, don't judge us.

The phase of being in your teens, in this 21st century, is not easy. I repeat, not easy. With being surrounded by a whole lot of things, and having to balance yourself with each one of them, you tend to screw yourself up. Well, almost...

In the whole ball-game, life begins to feel pretty messed up. A few things, if not all, go haywire, hit bottoms. Relationships seem to be dwindling quick. Friends fade out and new friends replace them. Acquaintances, the term, finally surfaces. And all through, you are just trying to figure out who you are and why do some of your close pals say 'You were different'.

Most of this, happens when you go to a new college, a new city, or both. Most of this, happens because we feel compelled to be like those we are around.

Seniors, classmates, roommates, batchmates. In that whole phase, we seem to forget who we actually were and tend to become someone we never have been. Without actually realizing what's happening with us.

This, is a wake up call.

The last few months, I've been studying engineering in Pune and have been talking to a whole lot of my friends every once in a while, situated in different parts of the country, studying various courses. Simply said, each one of us has done something we never thought we would. Some have new-found interests in music. Some develop a knack of watching movies and TV series, and can never get tired of watching them. Some smoke. Some drink. Some eat what they supposedly swore they never would. Some lose friends. Some let friends go. Some blend-in. Some just go with the flow. Some, hold their places and stay left out. Some, do all of this.

The phase we're in is something, no adult, no one who is above their mid-20s now, would understand. And that's simple. They haven't been where we are today.

The necessity to make friends, be friends with those who are around you, staying with you, studying with you, to be a part of the crowd instead of the one who's a topic of the college gossip, makes us forget all the principles we had listed for ourselves, before we turned 15.

Peer pressure, as many would want to term it, is much different. I know you'd beg to differ, but just trust me, it is different. No one pressurizes us to be that person. We choose to be that person who'd be one of the many, who'd be liked, who everyone would love, who we assume no one would gossip about (even guys gossip, #TrueStory), and over everything else, won't be lonely.

It's loneliness that's the crucial factor that plays its role here. The world keeps moving, it's this loneliness that prevails. The loneliness that makes us humane and also slowly tortures us, while we choose to stay away from feeling compelled. We try to hold our grounds but lose it after one point. Not giving in to the peer pressure, but, giving in to our own urge to not be the one who is different.

It's not about our behaviour. It's about our feelings. We sub-consciously tend to make that change of outlook happen. Into those of someone else's opinions, over those to whom we've listened to thus far. We all do that, and there's not even a bit of denial. And if you deny it, it's sub-conscious and something we don't even feel we do. But, we do.

Why?

To be a part of the 'it' crowd? Not really. Out of loneliness.

In a new environment, we don't make friends. We force ourselves to get adjusted to those around us, and call them friends. Because, in the end, we need to be comfortable around those we are gonna be with. Some, if we're lucky, turn out to be really good friends in the long run. Others, friendships of convenience, of need, and those to be. And we change for these. All except for the real friendships.

We'll click photographs, promise ourselves of supposedly creating memories. And 3 years after the graduation, we won't even know where these so-special people, with whom we've clicked a few hundreds of photographs are, for the simple reason that we got busy with our lives.

There. We would've maintained our relationships that were around for the period that actually mattered. We have a 1000 friends on Facebook and an over-flowing contact list on our cell phones, but just a few tens whom we call and actually chat with. And the reality being, we took these few for granted and hurt them while giving those other hundreds much more than just a part of our lives, and changing for them.

It's a compulsion of being friends and of maintaining relationships that we burden ourselves with. Not the compulsion of the so-called and dreaded bad habits.

This is a profound, yet simple reality. To not be who you are, who you have been and to not be influenced, yet to change and see yourself in a different light... It's funny, weird, and somehow sounds absurdly logical. Some food for thought, I believe.


Until the next post... Adios!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Dream School

In the last few weeks, I've posted 2 posts on Education & India (Part 1 & Part 2). There, I had said that I'd be posting a version of the draft I had created of the above titled post, a few years ago.

It was 28th or 29th April, 2009 when, in a seminar, in a group of 10, we were told to come up with a plan and layout of our dream school. We made a rough version of what is posted below. On coming back from the seminar, in the few days that followed, I realized the importance of that project and how much it meant to me. For the same, I completed what I had started as a competition, in the seminar and the outcome is as below.

My Dream School

In India, and for that matter all the world over, schools are also known as the ‘Temples of Knowledge’. But, in India, temples are built after consulting architects but not the schools. Thus, today, I decided to give my dream school a real pictorial representation with the necessary documentation.

My dream school is a two-storey building and technologically advanced. It has all the modern facilities that the world has never seen before. It is a school every student would want to be in. This school is a secondary school i.e. for students in 9th to 12th standards. Everything in the school is in the interior so that bad weather conditions do not affect learning. The school will not have air conditioners because we believe the students need to be taught to help in solving the problem of global warming from the schooling days itself to create awareness. The timing of the school will be from 9a.m. to 4 p.m. with a maximum of 5 lectures a day.

The ground floor has the classrooms for standards 9th and 10th along with the locker rooms of students belonging to these classes. The entrance to the main school building is also through the ground floor. There is also the Audio Visual room, dining hall, auditorium, science laboratory, and the basketball, volleyball, and badminton courts on the ground level.

The first floor has classrooms for standards 11th and 12th. There are also locker rooms for these students. The tennis court and arrangements for table tennis, chess, carom, and other indoor games are also made on this floor along with a separate room for gym. There is a swimming pool and a cyber room on this floor.

The second floor has a football field and a garden. There are also changing rooms for boys and girls who play football here.

Everything is described in the points hereon:

1) The whole school building is a Wi-Fi zone with 802.11n wireless network and an internet speed of 2 gb/sec providing information to the students whenever they require without any kind of delays. Each student will be given a username and the student can access the resources on the network if and only if the student logs in from his username after giving the confirmatory password.

2) Teaching in Classrooms: The teaching in the classrooms of this school will be through video conferencing and video telecast on the laptops/tablets of every child, thus making the environment more private so that each student can learn according to his abilities to cope up a subject. It also ensures that the same teacher can teach and record all the lessons for a particular standard and then be with the students to solve their doubts, if they have any, with no worry about her next class. If a student misses a particular class, he can approach the cyber room coordinator and have the last class broadcast to him again personally, during break hours or post-college hours so that he/she doesn’t feel the burden of studying a step above directly. Each lecture will be of the duration of an hour with a break of ten minutes between two lectures. The attendance in these classrooms will be taken by swiping fingers. There will be one fingerprint scanner on each side of the door to each room in the school and the students, teachers and other staff will have to swipe before they actually enter the class.

3) Girls & Boys Locker Rooms: The locker rooms for girls and boys are provided separately and that too on the basis of the standard they are studying in. The students can keep all their stationary and laptops in these lockers so that they don’t have to bring these from home daily. There are also restrooms in these locker rooms. There is also provision of showers in the locker rooms so that students can freshen up themselves before heading for the next class.

Ground Floor Layout
Ground Floor Layout - My Dream School
4) Dining Hall: The dining hall of the school will have various kinds of food available, but, no two cuisines will be available on the same day. It will cover a variety of parts of meal like salads, starters, beverages, soups, main course, desserts, etc. The students can have the food of their choice and preference. They won’t have to pay anything extra for the food. However, the service can be accessed only in the afternoon lunch time and not in any other break.

5) Basketball, Volleyball & Badminton Courts: Sports builds the body and that’s the reason there are various arrangements for sports in this school. In their sports periods, the students will have access to all the different sports arrangements in the school and they have to decide what they want to do in that period. This room on the ground level has arrangements for students aspiring to play basketball, volleyball and badminton. We also have a court of beach volleyball with beach sand on it. There are also coaches available, two for each sport; so that one can teach the game and at the same time the other can be the referee and take care that students don’t get indulged into foul play and play the game in all its spirit. Also, there will be other ground staff so that the courts and equipment is maintained properly.

6) Science Laboratory: All the laboratory apparatus will be made of borosil so that it doesn’t break easily and is heat resistant. The laboratory is spacious with enough apparatus to suffice 50 students at a time. Also, the teaching for the science practical’s will be done through video conferencing in the same way as other classes but an attendant will be available in the laboratory with sufficient knowledge of the experiments in case students need help.

7) Auditorium: The auditorium of the school is spacious with a seating arrangement of 1000 people and extends onto the first floor. There are two large LED television sets, on either side of the stage, which will display the events happening on the stage live. Also, the auditorium will have the best possible audio surround system and more than 15 speakers on each side. It will also have a hi-def video camera to record what is happening and broadcast it simultaneously.

8) Audio Visual Room: The Audio Visual Room of this school is the place where all the data of the auditorium will be received and processed. It also has a beautiful LED television and multiple computers with onboard video cards to process videos fast. The recordings for the various lectures will also be done in the studio in this room. The people sitting in the room for editing will be those who know how to use video software as well as have knowledge of at least one subject so that they can understand the lecture and edit it accordingly.

9) Tennis Court, Table Tennis, Carom and Chess: The facilities for lawn tennis and the other indoor games mentioned will be at par with the world’s best. The information regarding coaches and other staff is as in the previous sports room.

First Floor Layout - My Dream School
First Floor Layout - My Dream School
10) Swimming Pool: The swimming pool on the first level is a 10-lane swimming pool and also has depths of up to 11 feet. There will be four life guards in the premises of the pool at all times. They will also coach students and help them if they need any. There are also changing rooms for males and females separately in the room.

11) Gym: This is the room that can help students to maintain their body well and also is useful for warm-up for students who are representing the school in different sports in sporting events. The gym will be very well-equipped with paraphernalia suiting the teenagers.

12) Cyber Room: This is the hub of the whole school. The server of the whole school and all the data of the school will be stored in this room. The room will also serve as the transmission center of the Wi-Fi network of the school. All the student records will be stored in this room. The entrance to this room also requires the retinal scan of the school employees and any student is restricted in this premises.

Second Floor Layout - My Dream School
Second Floor Layout - My Dream School
13) Football and hockey field: There are arrangements for these games on the second level with a sun-roof on the top so that even during the rains, they can enjoy the games. The school hopes to nurture each student in at least one sport so that he excels in it. The coaches and ground staff are also available here.

14) Garden: The garden of the school would be maintained by the science club of the school. Along with regular plant species, there would be plants grown with the old Japanese art of bonsai.

Miscellaneous features:

15) Board: The school will be affiliated to the state board so that it ensures covering most of the necessary topics and clears all of them right from the basics.

16) Energy: The premises will be using energy provided through solar panels situated on the roof of the football field. The hot water required in the bathrooms in gym and locker rooms will be heated too through solar panels.

17) Water:  The water used in the building will be recycled and purified to reuse again. The drinking water in the coolers will be UV and RO purified.

18) Notice Boards: The notices of various events happening in the school will be conveyed to the students by the medium of notice boards. These will be put up outside each room conducting the event. For example, the sports camp notices will be put up outside the respective sport room. The auditions for the dramas, etc, will be put up outside the auditorium. The notices will be available together in one place i.e. the ‘Notices’ section of the login page which they must open to login to their school accounts.

19) Newspaper: The school will have a weekly newspaper service with the reports of events of the school, the seven most important news of the world, one interview with a renowned personality. It will be managed by the school students along with the help from one teacher completely devoted to the cause. Also, the editor to the newspaper will be one of the student members of the newspaper club.

19) Annual Magazine: The school will publish an annual magazine emphasizing on happenings of the entire year with reports, articles and drawings made by the students themselves.

20) Houses: The school will be divided in four houses on equal basis and the students will have competitions on various topics throughout the year. The house which is the overall winner of these competitions according to the points will be given a trophy on the annual day of the school. There will be different criterions like academics, sports, co-curricular subjects, and other competitions. The individual criterion winners will also be given trophies.

21) Student Council: There will be a representative to the student body known as the student council. It will have a lot of power and can change the way many things happen in the school to the need of the students, but, in consultation with the teachers and principals. The student council will have three levels of representatives. A) School Captains and School Vice-Captains and Sports Captains and Sports Vice-Captains, B) House Captains, C) Assistant House Captains. The duty of the house captains is to nurture talent within the house with the help of their assistants. The school captains will cater to the needs of the school and the sports captains to the problems of the school with respect to sports.

22) School Events: Annual Cultural Day will be one of the most of the important events in the school. Various felicitations will be done on that day. The school will have Annual Science Exhibition held every year. This will be the chance for aspiring scientists to showcase their talents.

23) Library: The college library will be an extensive e-book library supported by hard cover copies.

24) Principal’s room: Not very different from the principal’s rooms around the world already.

25) Staff room: For the teachers, basic amenities.

26) Office: For the accounts and the other clerical records.

P. S.: The last 4 points, were added during a recent revision and so do not find a place in the layouts, anywhere.

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