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Showing posts from September, 2006

India's Feudal Politicians - II

In July 2000, a boy was discovered by Scotland Yard in a `drunk and incapable├é’ state at Leicester Square, the heart of London's West End. If you've been to Leicester Square as I have, particularly on Friday night, the most likely state you will find anyone is drunk and incapable ! That's one good way to put your worries behind and have a jolly good time, I would think.

Anyway, this boy seemed in bad shape, "lying on the ground, clearly ill," and he had been vomiting. An ambulance was called and medics determined that he did not need hospitalization. He was then hauled off to Charing Cross police station, not too far off. When questioned, Euan John, as he called himself, gave an old address and a date of birth which made him appear over 18 years of age.

Here is another London story. William Straw, all of 17, was caught by the police after he tried to sell $17 worth of cannabis to a lady reporter who was apparently following up on a tip she had received concerning t…

Our Incredibly Arrogant And Feudal Politicians

You haven't heard of Leeladhar Borikar, nor had I until two days ago. He is a Superintending Engineer at the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company (MSEDCL) in Nagpur. He is in the news because he dared snip off the power connection to Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh's official residence in Nagpur. Why ? Because the CM's department forgot to pay up some Rs 1.5 lakh worth of dues.

You might have heard of Yakoob Qureshi, the Uttar Pradesh minister for Haj (imagine, you can have a minister for the Haj when maybe a good travel agent would do) who put a price on the head of the Dutch cartoonist for his drawings of the Prophet. Well, he is in the news again, this time for threatening to kill (yes kill unless there is dire misreporting here) Indian Railway officials for catching him while traveling ticketless on a train to Lucknow. To compund matters, the railway officials made him pay a fine of Rs 14,000.

What's common to both cases ? Both incidents …

A Nation Of Potholes

A few years ago, this was touted as the new dream road, a toast to West Bengal and Kolkata's (Calcutta) future. The New Town/Rajarhat road which leads from Salt Lake to the airport was as smooth as silk. I remember racing towards the airport at a 130 kmph and wondering how Kolkata had changed so much. This road strikes out from the city and heads out into open fields, now earmarked for IT parks and the like.

Construction is on but the road is in shambles, as I discovered last week. After getting thrown around like a doll for some distance, we were mercifully transferred to the other lane. So, most of this once gleaming road has been closed off, for pothole covering work. The ride into the city after clearing Salt Lake was not much better. But than who ever expected Kolkata to have good roads. So on we went, bumping along, negotiating potholes and tram tracks till we reached Alipore.

Last month I drove to Pune. This is an uplilfting experience since there are very few moments you are…

Wanted: More Wiki India Concepts..

Some time ago I had written about how Wikimapia was a huge benefit in a country like India where we had little or no mapping of relevance. Particularly the kind of digital and satellite maps you can zoom in and out of many parts of the world.

I don’t know about everyone else but many friends and colleagues at work have found the concept and its utility fascinating. Considering you can identify and mark your home or area out on the map, wherever in the world. A friend who lives in north Mumbai’s Yari Road area found that his neighbour’s teenage daughter had already imprinted her name on his building. And just six families live there.

A colleague from work told me how the satellite picture of his village near Ratnagiri on the south western coast of India was taken exactly 1 year and 8 months ago (or some thing as precise). How, by looking at some construction activity which had just begun there.

A Wiki Project on Bribes !

The Economist in its latest issue talks about the Wiki principle in …