Archive for March, 2015

LEVERAGING THE POWER OF ZERO & ONE FOR A BETTER INDIA

Posted on March 31, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Years ago, Francis Bacon gave his famous quote “Knowledge is power” and that statement is highly relevant in the world of today where things and the information relating to things move faster than the blink of the eye.

In this world of today where we like to traverse the information superhighway with the mobiles in our palms, the great differentiator is the access to information that is served digitally.

Throughout the pages of history, the advancement of man and civilizations has been the result of not power or weapons or wealth but through the power of information and knowledge. The great powers of today are wealthy and derive their powers from the ability to not only gather knowledge but also the ability to disperse the knowledge to their peoples.

The digital revolution is not just intended to help the big corporations or the government. It is ultimately intended to take services to the citizens involving savings of money as well as time.The digital means of communication involving the use of social media can play a great role in making the government reach the citizens, thereby, promoting welfare.

From my experience as a teacher in a college I can tell the world about the tremendous benefit of leveraging digital technology to make life easier. About a few years ago, the Government of Odisha decided to introduce the system of E-Admission as part of the Students Admission Management System (SAMS) as part of e-governance.

The new system replaced the earlier system where students had to apply to individual colleges. This was difficult for students and parents since it required large amounts of money and time. Moreover, the system was not considered transparent and there were always complaints of nepotism and favouritism.

With e-admission, the student has to go online and make one application to any college within the state of Odisha and the whole process is transparent with the use of email and text messaging to inform the applicant his/her status. Life has become less difficult for those coming from remote areas and with limited resources.

As far as the teachers in the colleges are concerned, there is no need to go through the mark sheets in order to prepare the merit lists. The merit lists are now prepared digitally taking into account the reservations and weightages thereby ensuring greater accuracy and almost no scope for human errors or omissions.

We all know the difference it made to our lives with the introduction of computers in banks and then when the computers became part of a giant network making it easier to transfer and receive funds and also to check accounts.The same can be stated about the convenience of booking railway tickets using the power of digital technology.

Recently, the Government of New Delhi introduced digital ration cards for people to avail the benefits from the Public Distribution System (PDS). People can have information about the stocks of essential commodities with the respective Fair Price Shops (FPS), thereby ensuring less of leakages and greater benefits for the true beneficiaries.

Initiatives like this are certainly welcome in view of the corruption that is widespread in the context of public services that are actually the right of the citizens. The corruption is mostly due to the lack of information about the policies and the initiatives of the government. The use of the modern technology like the internet is not only cost effective but also is quick. With more and more people having access to the internet and social media thanks to cheaper smartphones, the task before the government becomes much less cumbersome when it comes to the dissemination of information.

Intel has been at the forefront of the digital revolution by powering more than 90% of computers and the like. Intel is also powering tablets and smartphones. These devices are certainly going to make #DigitalIndia which is going to be the first step in laying the foundation for a new India.

This is my post for the great contest put by indiblogger.in and Intel.

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MAN ENOUGH TO TAKE THE CHALLENGE

Posted on March 31, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I come from a society where extending a helping hand to the wife in doing the household chores is not considered manly. I am not exaggerating. I know friends and colleagues who do not have the knowledge of making a cup of tea. The mother is followed by the wife. So washing clothes is a strict no-no, even when a washing machine is used in the household. The same goes for the ironing or the pressing of the clothes. These two jobs are the exclusive domain of the ladies and for some of the more affluent, it is the neighbourhood dhobi who does these two things.

My mother worked as a teacher and had to put up with a heavy load of work at home and also at the school. It was not an easy task to raise four children, of course, my father makes fantastic tea and coffee.

When young, it was my mother who took care of the washing of the clothes. The pressing task was given to the dhobi. Mother did not have any trust as far as her clothes were concerned . She ironed her own clothes.

As me and my siblings became older, we were encouraged to wash our clothes and this habit came to help us save a lot of money during our stays in hostels. When it came to ironing, it was a mixed affair.

In course of time, the washing machine became a member of our household and now it was father who became the boss of the washing. Post-retirement, he took great interest in the working of the gadgets and appliances and the washing machine was no exception. Mother would collect clothes and put them in the washing machine and then father took over. He became a master of the drill when it came to the operation of the machine. He would sit in front of the machine, even when the machine is a fully automatic one! Even now, he goes through the same routine.

I do not put my undergarments in the machine. I also do not put my t-shirts in the washing machine.I use my trusted hands to wash them. After the birth of my son with my wife being overburdened with work, I decided to share some of the responsibility of the cloth washing. There was a fatherly pride associated with the task of providing clean clothes to my son.

Now my son who is only four years old wants to help his mother operate the washing machine. He is extremely happy when he is given the task of putting detergent in the machine.

In my household, it was and is no big deal for the men to share the responsibility of washing the clothes. I am happy not to be a stereotype.

So I have taken up the #WashBucketChallenge to help other husbands change their mindsets and #ShareTheLoad when it comes to washing clothes. Of course, I am not ashamed to confess the prizes on offer !

This is my post for the contest promoted by blogadda.,com with Ariel, the maker of the finest detergent to wash dirty linen, though not in the public !

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This post is a part of the #WashBucketChallenge activity at BlogAdda.com is association with Ariel India

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FOOD TO LIVE FOR

Posted on March 25, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Singapore is a city state and it takes little time to traverse the entire country from end to end. The limited geographical area, however, is no obstacle to the economic importance that Singapore has enjoyed for a long time. Very often, Singapore has been cited as an example of a well-developed and well-governed country with many countries aspiring to reach those heights.

I am, however, not interested in these details. I am more interested in things that are more close to my belly and food delights of Singapore in particular. I am a fan of food related travel shows from different corners of the world. As far as the gastronomic delights of Singapore are concerned, I have been influenced by the television shows of Anthony Bourdain and Bobby Chinn. Chinn even cooked some signature dishes of Singapore.

Singapore is home to people of various ethnicities ranging from the Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian to even the Koreans. The diversity of the people and their cultures has resulted in a unique mix of food style that is uniquely Singaporean. To give an example, there are certain dishes where tamarind juice is used along with ingredients that are never used in the traditional cooking of India. There is a lot of food to be tasted right from the China Town to Little India.

Anthony Bourdain in the course of his ‘layover’ in Singapore starts the day with the traditional breakfast that is loved by many in Singapore-Kaya toast and soft boiled eggs. Being fond of food that is sweet, I would love to dig my teeth into the coconut custard jam and warm toast with butter sandwich. It would be good to wash it down all with a large cup of tea made in Little India.

Speaking about the influences of India, I would love to try the red coloured chicken dish where one has to use straw to drink the juice from the marrow of the bone. Sticking to Indian influence, Bobby Chinn cooked the Fish Head Curry where tamarind juice and okra are used. I like fish but my sensibilities prevent me from having this curry.

There is the crab preparation made either with pepper or chillies. The one with the pepper is considered to be uniquely Singaporean.

Laksa, a kind of a soup is something that fuses Chinese and Malay elements known locally as Perankan culture.There is also noodles and Satay that is of Indonesian origin.

A variety of rice dishes are savoured. There can be chicken rice or duck rice which is for some the national dish or Singapore. There is also Biryani with some native twists reflecting the influences of various cultures. Roti Prata is like the Indian bread or roti but sounding different due to the Malay name.

Most of the great food on offer in Singapore can be had from the streets and the quality of the food is something that can be assuring thanks to the strict regulations of the government relating to health and hygiene.

Singapore is a true melting pot of different cultures, traditions and ethnicities. This is reflected in the food culture that appeals to all kinds of tastes and sensibilities. But each dish is uniquely Singaporean like the country itself.

In Hindu mythology, there was the divine churning of the ocean that resulted in ‘Amrit’ or nectar. The same is the case with the food of SIngapore.

This post is my entry for the contest promoted by indiblogger,in and Far East Hospitality. The website of Far East Hospitality has all the information regarding the food and other details for those interested to take the food plunge in Singapore.There are some great prizes on offer for the effort.

As part of the contest, a meme is created and my meme is

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MELBOURNE-THE COMPLETE PACKAGE

Posted on March 20, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized |

India won the Prudential Cup in 1983 beating the mighty West Indies at the home of cricket Lords’. I was only thirteen at the time and the full import of the win by the team led by Kapil Dev did not sink into my brain.But it helped my father convince my mother about the time me and my siblings spent playing cricket.

 

In 1985 when I was busy preparing for the tenth class examinations, that India won the Benson & Hedges World Championship of Cricket at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Australia. There was no live television to savour the famous victory but the images in the print media where the players covered the ground with the prized Audi won by Ravi Shastri under the night sky light by the floodlights still are fresh in my memory.

 

There was a win at Sharjah where the Indian team won against Pakistan after defending a meagre total due to the great spell of fast bowling of Imran Khan who finished with the figures of 6 wickets for 14 runs.

 

Then Kapil Dev led the Indian team to a famous win over England in the first test at Lords’ with great contribution from Chetan Sharma and Dilip Vengsarkar. With a hundred, Vengsarkar became the first non-English player to score three tons in a row. This win was followed by a win at Headingley where the conditions were supposed to help the home team more.

 

All the grounds in India where my heroes starting with Sunil Gavaskar down to the likes of Virat Kohli are more than cricket grounds. They are like the sacred sites for the religiously inclined- ‘dhams’ as they are known to the Hindus.

 

Then there are the grounds in the Caribbean that have been the stomping grounds of some of the greatest cricketers known to the world.The energy that comes out of the crowds is electric just as the brand of the cricket played by the masters in the maroon cap until a decade ago.

 

There are also grounds in New Zealand, South Africa.and Sri Lanka also are important for having chronicled the great deeds of the Indian players from time to time.The ground at Multan shall always be remembered for the triple hundred of Virender Sehwag and the famous win by team India.

 

The Eden Gardens is one of my favourite cricket grounds and so is the one at Turnbridge Wells where Kapil Dev scored 175 not out during the course of the World Cup in 1983. The interest in Sharjah has diminished with the losses to Pakistan notwithstanding the two great knocks of Sachin Tendulkar versus Australia in consecutive matches to win the Coca Cola Cup.

 

However, for me the Melbourne Cricket Ground or the G as it is now fondly called will remain the go to place for me to visit as part of any cricket holiday. Melbourne is not just home to one of the most famous cricket grounds but also offers a great package as far as any interested traveler is concerned. The G has not only hosted great cricket matches for over 150 years but is also the host to ‘footy’-Australian football. The MCG has also hosted the summer Olympics and the Commonwealth Games in the past.

 

Melbourne is also home to the first tennis major of the year-The Australian Open. The Rod Laver Arena is not far from the MCG. Melbourne has also been the host of the first Formula 1 race of the year. Apart from cricket, there is a lot for the followers of other games and sports to experience in the city of Melbourne.

 

There is the Philip Island Park which houses penguins and is not too far from the city of Melbourne. There are a lot of vineyards that produce quality wine that can accompany any cuisine.

 

There are speciality restaurants from all over the world that speak about the cultural and the racial diversity that is about Australia in general and Melbourne in particular.

 

For me, the greatest cricket holiday destination is undoubtedly Melbourne. There are other places and grounds which are also famous but none can offer the complete package that Melbourne and the G provide.

This is my entry for the blogging initiative from blogmint.com.

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