Sunday, June 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, young man!


Today is unique in the history of our family tree, at least the extent to which I know and consider. My grandfather (Shri S. Jcelebrates his 91st birthday. The first person that I know in my family to do so!

Like anyone belonging to the pre-independence era, he has been through a lot of hardships in stabilizing his family and bringing up his children. An immensely spiritual man, he has always believed that an unknown force always leads one to his or her destiny. That must have made him fearless, for I have never seen him afraid. He is a very rigid believer in consistency and regularity, not just in education, but also in games and fitness. When I was a child, ye used to say

"You have to play one hour everyday! Poet Bharati told 'Malai muzhudum vilaiyattu' (Play though the evening""

But he would allow the evening play no longer than that! He would call me back exactly after an hour, make my chant the evening prayers and get me started off with my homework. I honestly wish he had spent a bit more time staying with us (then he was at Trichy and would visit us only occasionally.) so I could have used a bit more of his regularity! :)

I have also noticed that he has been very balanced in digesting joy and sadness. Be it the death of his beloved and eldest son (who I hear was exceptional in college, before he died suddenly of unknown reasons) or the more recent convocation of my cousin Priya (who is the first Ph.D of our family and an early pupil of my grandfather), he always attributed it to God's will and took the feeling into heart in. Which explains why the young man is so young.


Friday, June 26, 2009


The picture to the right is my brother as is the one on top left. To the left is his son shashank! I know! You could tell! :)


My niece can barely walk. But she sure wants to ensure that she knows the nooks and corners. Quite an explorer!

Reaction to new education bill

Optional 10th exam is a bad move. The schools will internally assess poorly performing students allowing them to pass on to ensure better pass percentage.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Comment on WSJ's observation on NREGA

From ThinkChange India I read an article on Wall Street Journal about India's poverty and specifically about NREGA. I commented in TC-I about the article which I am reproducing here.

Two things about WSJ's observation on NREGA
1. About moving beyond NREGA in the next 5 years (which helps survive but not escape poverty).

The author is correct about making NREGA less prominent and making training, infrastructure investment, more prominent. But given the imperfections in implementing NREGA (corruption), it would be too soon to expect the transition in the next 5 years. I suspect, it would leave a void that would be occupied by more corruption. "But is the government thinking about skill enhancement?" is the real question to face!

2. Transparency.
Well, there are concrete measures for transparency that are already delivering. For example, the wage payment are increasingly made as bank transfers to the worker rather than cash. Another example is making NREGA, RTI compliant. This empowers independent monitors like RTI activists. The Hindu Publication has followed NREGA very well. Links

The Frontline survey in Jan 2009 edition: Go to "cover story" to the left of the page

Monday, June 08, 2009

My servent maid

My servent maid had an attack of fits....again! This is the second time in two months. She had her first attack in her life early last month for the first time. She hasn't showed up for work for more than a week now.

She has two kids of her own, a boy and a girl both in their primary school. She takes care of her sister's daughter too. She would have been in her secondary had she gone to school. Every time my servent couldn't show up for work, she send this girl as a replacement. I usually refuse to discourage child labour in my own small way. My servent maid talks a lot about her three kids, but never does about her husband. I don't know if he is even there. I wonder who takes care of the kids. For my part, to avoid a double whammy for her family, I pay her the full month's wage.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Drive safe lovable morons

I hate the hyderabadi driving culture. Especially the bikers who inspirationally 'pave their own way'. But now I owe them some benign words. Being a bus commuter, I frequently find myself chasing a bus only to miss it by a whisker. But almost always I find a biker stopping to give me a lift till the next bus stop. All the love i have for chennai considered, I must say hyd seems to beat my home town in this one. But you should drive more carefully you lovable morons!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Homemade sweet homemade

I would not buy a mango that looks like this from market. How would i know such an ugly mango can turn out to be so luscious? Combine that with the knowledge that it came from your own backyard as a result of absolutely no effort and it just gets sweeter! Really! What did i do two deserve this? Sow.. and reap. Thats all? :)