A new Pepsi ad has coined the phrase ‘Youngistan’ by combining Young & Hindustan. The actor in the ad claims to be an alien from the planet Youngistan. However is Youngistan really a planet in outer space or is India and Youngistan one and the same? I say this as I can’t help but note that India is being totally customized for the young, rich and the healthy. I certainly don’t have anything against the Youngistanization of society. The young definitely should enjoy the prosperity and the growing disposable incomes of new India, but not by steadily ignoring other segments of society.
“World Spitathon Champs”
Indians might have the strongest lungs on the planet. Not because of any genetic reasons but because of the exercise that they make their lungs undergo by firing spit missiles every couple of minutes. Across the country we have great exponents of this art, hard at work on every street. While walking, driving, through cars, buses and every other vehicle you will find spit missiles fired with great dexterity and regularity. Although the best performances come from tobacco consumers, even those who are not, often put in scintillating performances.
“Citizens cannot be denied the comfort they deserve, innovators the recognition“
A couple of days back, the Tata’s launched the much hyped 1 lakh car, the Nano. The car is believed to be the cheapest in the world and is expected to revolutionize travel in India. The car looks good and also seems to come with a decent set of features. Considering that hardly any Indian companies consider research and innovation a priority, the Nano is a significant achievement for the Tatas.
With cities like Mumbai where an overwhelming majority of citizens travel south for work but stay up north, it’s quite obvious where the city centre is. However it’s intriguing how city centre means different things to different people in Pune. A friend was recently telling me how his company located in Kalyani Nagar refuses to give bus transport to employees stating that the company was located in the city and so bus transport need not be provided. Considering that he stays in Kothrud and believes that the old city and the Deccan area is the real Pune, he found the company’s suggestion that Kalyani Nagar was ‘in’ the city quite ludicrous.
In my last piece I wrote about my time in San Francisco. After a hectic work week at San Francisco, me, my wife and a friend headed to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is casino country. You step out of the aircraft at Las Vegas airport and it becomes obvious that Vegas is not just another American city. The first thing you encounter at the airport isn’t baggage claim or immigration or customs, but a series of slot machines!
I am writing this column from the Oracle OpenWorld conference in San Francisco on an Internet connection that’s as fast as the Internet speed of half of Pune put together. It’s strange how fast Internet connections always put me in a good mood. Anyway, talking of OpenWorld, it’s an annual event that has over 40,000 people coming to San Francisco from over a 100 countries. It’s amazing that the city can pull off such a mammoth event fairly easily and the infrastructure doesn’t collapse under the load.
The city administration seems to go the extra mile to ensure that delegates have an enjoyable and safe visit to the city. Although OpenWorld is the biggest, it is just one of the many events that happen all year round at the Moscone Center. Each event not only gets people to San Francisco and works as a great public relations exercise for the city but also pumps millions of dollars into the economy of San Francisco.
Geologist Suvrat Kher has written a five part series of articles on Pune City and environment. He integrates geology and high-resolution images from Google Earth to highlight and discuss urban planning and environment issues.
- Idling and Pollution
- PMT buses and Pollution
- Rickshaws and Pollution
- Urban Forests and Clean Air
- Sensing Corruption Remotely
Apart from these articles there are many others that also make for good reading. Do check out http://suvratk.blogspot.com
For several years I have been planning to use the Right To Information (RTI) to get information and facts on things that bother me in the city. I read up on the subject, talked with friends, blogged about it, but never managed to take the most important step, that of using the right and asking for information. I even explored every possibility in which I could get information without having to visit the Pune Corporation office. Unfortunately that’s not possible. If you want information you have to work hard for it.
So I picked a Saturday when I did not have much else planned. Picked some RTI form samples from the net and filled up three forms asking for information from the PMC. The first form asked information about footpaths / pavements in Pune. The second about parking provisions that commercial buildings need to make as per corporation rules and the third asking for information about the PMC’s e-governance initiatives. I will write details of the information I sought and the response I got, when I do get the information. For the time being I will stick to the submitting the form part. A friend of mine who has been complaining for years about the stray pig menace in Shivteerth Nagar, Kothrud accompanied me hoping to submit his complaint to the relevant department and to finally rid his locality of the pigs.
(Cont…Click here for the entire article). Published as part of my fortnightly column for the Maharashtra Herald