India Shining: A Technology Update – Part 3 The Government

This is a continuation of my previous two posts about India Shining on Republic Day 2010.

Part 1 : The Military / Part 2 : Space Technologies

In part 3, the spotlight is on the government. I can already see some of us rolling eyes at the screen when we talk about the Indian Government and Technology. To be honest I would have done the same if I had not gone looking for information regarding the use of technology in the Indian Government. Although at a crawling pace, our government has managed to take up certain firm and good initiatives in introducing technology into the government services. However, with increased technology comes increased transparency which I am sure the red tape and bureaucracy within the government can be highlighted. And that is something our government does not want to pitch for.

If you visit the India portal of the government of India we can confirm that, we clearly missed the train with regards to e-Governance and to make up for the failed attempt, the Government IT department which is essentially the National Information Center launched a series of websites over the years. There are specialized websites for all government sectors or at least links that can be found, starting from the personal website of the Honorable President of India, to Centralized Banks. All these links can be found here, In fact you can dig through the services to find out more departments and regional offices as well. As listed here, there are more than 3000 websites dedicated to the Indian Government Departments and organizations. Check them out here as well.

Having said that there are some noteworthy web sites and services that are definitely to be mentioned,

  • ISRO vs. Google Earth : As discussed in the last post, ‘Bhuvan’ the mapping service from ISRO stands out as a jewel in the crown.
  • The work of NIC to spread the improve the Indian web presence worldwide took a huge appreciation last year.
  • The Indian tourism website and the slogan Incredible India are now present worldwide thanks to the effort of the Tourism Department of India, However as a country we are not yet ready to accept mass influx of tourists.

I have visited many state run websites lately and have rarely found one that is well designed and well maintained. It’s worrying when you consider the claim (usually from NASSCOM), that India is a Software Giant. It is said that India is called a Sleeping tiger because India’s progress is not because of government but despite of it. Still, after so many years of impressive growth in software business, if better technology has not reached the Indian governments and the public, something is surely missing.

Having said this I am going to bring about the amazing Indian software sector that undeniably is vastly ahead of its government counterpart, and posts like this might give the required encouragement to software firms to approach government  to upgrade their services, websites etc. to be in a position that we can get in par with the name ‘Software Giant’.

India Shining: A Technology update – Part 2 Space

This is part 2 of my continued effort at looking at Technological Innovation in India. You can read the first part here.

Space the final frontier, and we are some of the foremost people who have ventured into the vast enormities of space. Of course the Americans and Russians are known for most of the innovations in this field of science, but we are not far behind. A good example of our capabilities in the field of space would be the percentage of Indians in NASA. This articleon actually references the Times of India to say that there are 36%.  Which means its one in 3 or here there and everywhere, however there are other sites that place this number lower. The fact remains that the Indian presence in NASA is irrevocable, it even formed an interesting backdrop in the movie Swades.

My tryst with the Indian Spare Research Organization (ISRO) happened when we were doing our final year project during my Engineering days, and we were fortunate enough to be around for the launch of a satellite by ISRO. The satellite was one of the first for photographing India from above in space, and it could process images until a height of 5 metes.

A few years from then, I am fortunate enough to witness ISRO launch ‘Bhuvan’ a map-based web application with deeper Zoom (upto 6 meters from surface) and plenty of other futuristic features such as complex poly-lines, geodesic calculations, 2D-3D images, shadow analysis, snapshot creation etc. Also, quite appropriately, ‘Bhuvan’ is more focused on the Indian landscape. Though at the moment the web-app is far from being usable, the initiative is just a shot in the arm of the Indian engineering and R & D Scene. ISRO intends to refresh its images every year — a feature that would give it an edge over its biggest rival and help keep track of the frenetic pace at which Indian cities are growing.  You can check out Bhuvan here at

Apart from taking on Google in the mapping arena, ISRO is also working on several key technologies that could completely change the placement of India in the space age.  ISRO is one of only 6 agencies in the world who have launch capabilities for satellites, rubbing shoulders with giants like the United States, Russia is nothing short of an achievement. India uses its satellites communication network – one of the largest in the world – for applications such as land management, water resources management, natural disaster forecasting, radio networking, weather forecasting, meteorological imaging and computer communication. Business, administrative services, and schemes such as the National Informatics Center (NICNET) are direct beneficiaries of applied satellite technology. Some of the awesome achievements in the field of Space would definately be.

Image courtest : ISRO

Shooting the Moon: ISRO launched the Chandryaan-1, an orbital space satellite designed to map the surface of the moon. Since NASA proposed a new initiative to use the moon as a starting point for an eventual manned mission to Mars, India has stepped forward to help out. The initial plans of the Chandrayaan-1 were that it will begin a two-year mission where it will aim to send back millions of high-quality images for scientists around the globe to ponder. Just 100 kilometers above endless miles of dusty planes, Chandryaan will drop a miniature probe to test future technology that could one day be the proposed basis for a lunar landing where the ISRO could use its own robotic rovers. Scientists from the European Union, United States and Bulgaria have all contributed instruments to the mission. However, ISRO lost communication with it due to solar winds, but in the process, Chandrayaan relayed information about finding water on the surface of the moon. This was a first.

SCRAMJET: When you absolutely, positively have to get a jet to move at 25 times the speed of sound, the only practical option is to construct an engine that uses atmospheric air to fuel combustion. To reach those speeds it’s just not practical to carry along your own oxygen like most rocket engines do. The trick seems to be finding a balance between drag and thrust — otherwise the engines won’t fire up, or worse, they could break apart. Eleven countries have ongoing hypersonic programs, but no one has yet been able to announce anything much better than a short flight. Seeing the SCRAMJET, or Supersonic Combustion Ramjet, as an integral part of developing a reusable launch vehicle, ISRO is working on developing its own Re-entry Launch Vehicle and recently tested an engine on the ground that fired at Mach 6 for seven seconds. Unlike the space shuttle, the RLV won’t thrust itself into orbit, but only briefly exit the Earth’s atmosphere, deposit a satellite into orbit and then come back down to the space center. Once perfected, the RLV could eliminate the need for disposable jet stages and significantly cut launch costs.

Rocket science: Sending delicate objects made out of metal and glass into space without breaking them into a million pieces or dropping them into a nearby ocean is not something to be taken lightly. India has successfully put 44 satellites into orbit. Until a recent failure in which the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle, a disposable three-stage cryogenic rocket designed for launching communications satellites, exploded a minute after takeoff, ISRO had an impressive string of successful launches. A second disposable rocket that positions reconaissance satellites into polar orbits, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has only had one failure in eight launches and had launched the Chandryaan probe last year. In the coming two years India will complete research on a new launch craft, the GSLV-III, that will be able to handle large satellites weighing up to 6 tons into space.

Miniature satellites: Building disposable multi-stage rockets that only launch one or two satellites at a time before they succumb to the will of gravity and burn up in the atmosphere doesn’t exactly give you bang for your rupee. So a team of scientists at the ISRO have begun to develop miniature satellites specially outfitted to be deployed by their two currently operational launch vehicles. According to Raghava Murthy, the project director for the small satellite program, the ISRO is developing miniature modules half the size of the average dining room table that could be launched up to 16 at a time.

Remote sensing: The bulk of India’s space program hasn’t devoted much time to looking into the remote corners of the universe; instead it has spent most of its time looking back at Earth. Just about every one of the 44 satellites launched by ISRO has had at least one instrument with a camera or other scientific instrument. Together these programs have produced major breakthroughs in search and rescue, detecting climatic shifts, uncovering archaeological ruins, managing fisheries and forests, and detecting water in the most barren areas of the planet. The technology is on par with the best the world has to offer, with one major advantage: The average satellite can be had for half the price.

Telemedicine: India has world-class health infrastructure in the big cities, but most of the country’s population only has access to village doctors whose credentials are crash courses in first aid from run-down medical colleges. With telemedicine, specialist doctors in the city are able to diagnose and treat illnesses in the remotest corners of the country from the comfort of their own hospitals. ISRO satellites now connect over 271 rural districts with first-rate doctors in the metro areas. There is even a satellite-dish-sporting clinic on wheels that covers the remote areas of Tamil Nadu providing care to people for whom a trip to the city for treatment could be life-threatening.

Telecommunications: Before 1980 India had virtually no TV. One state-run channel provided most of the programming and it was only available in a few select areas through scattered terrestrial transmitters. In 1982 India launched the INSAT satellite program that has stewarded over 20 communications satellites and brought increasing television and meteorological coverage to the nation. Now most of the nation is covered in the warm blanket of MTV, Discovery Channel, and a host of local language stations that proffer news and some of the most melodramatic soap operas ever conceived. Truly, the space age means that even the most rural villagers have a chance to be part of the MTV generation.

Apart from all these, The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is building the technology blocks needed to “neutralise” hostile satellites in low earth and polar orbits, having the ability to target any satellite in case some nation tries to use the satellite neutralization techniques. According to ISRO Chairman Dr. K. Radhakrishnan, India is getting ready to launch Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) with indigenously developed cryogenic engine.

What ISRO is working on, could definately change the way India is perceived in the Science and technology world, with low pay, low benefits and even lower motivation to work, this is my salute to all the ISRO engineers and Scientists who are making it happen for us. I hope our government decides to help them boost their motivation at least a bit.

India Shining: A Technology update – Part 1 the Military

Republic Day brings about great memories of National Cadet Corps camps, Parades, Republic Day Parade preparations (although I never made it there), my National Defense Academy Selections (which I missed cos of some certificates) well all in all my what-might-have-happened-if career in the Indian Defense; But most of all it reminds me of my childhood days when I would sit glued in front of the television on Republic Day parade when India showed off her military competency or at least the weaponry that we have stacked.

Over the years, I watched the parade slowly change from borrowed technology and bought technology to indigenous technologies taking over. However, I think we all believe that its happened very slowly, especially after we have been watching US based military technology in Hollywood movies, it is getting relatively difficult to impress us. The Indian Government has been increasing the defense budget considerably to develop some of the most ambitious projects undertaken by the scientists from India. All of us know that some of the most popular organizations from the Defense sector have made it through this recession without too much of a hitch, in fact they are some of the most profitable organizations within the government sector and we can figure why.

Getting back to the Republic Day, this year is no other than the previous years we have had. India is going to go in all guns blazing to display some of its technologies that are now on the brink of commissioning. India’s first Indigeneously built multi role fighter aircraft christned ‘Tejas’ (formerly LCA – Light Combat Aircraft) is going into operations at the Indian Air force this year, no wonder that it will make an appearance at the Republic Day this year. Although it has had its share of  hurdles for the proposed ‘Kaveri’ engine, the swelling costs, R & D costs etc, the Tejas is a testament of Indian Engineering at par with the best in the world. However, one would have loved to see it fly rather than just being a display. Continuing on the Air force front, the Medium Combat Aircraft another ambitious technological leap from the makers of the Tejas (HAL) and Sukhoi 30-MKI (Sukhoi Industries) who are now working on the specification of the latest Multi Combat Stealth Fighter; is supposed to be better than the the American F22 Raptor, can you imagine that. (Have a look at some of the Artists Impressions (Credits – Alexander Dueller)

Another major highlight of this year’s Republic Day Parade would be the showcasing of the Indian Army’s Arjun tanksand the ambulance-tracked vehicles, “Smerch” multiple rocket launcher systems, engineer reconnaissance vehicle, indigenously built “Sarvatra” bridge, infantry combat vehicles and ICV-based communication vehicles of the Army along with the “Agni” ballistic missile, “Shaurya” canister-launched hypersonic surface-to-surface missile and “Rohini” radars from DRDO. (Check out Equipment of the Indian Army from Wikipedia)

Apart from all the actual military equipment, the Indian Army is looking to introduce Eco friendly technologies in the outposts, by that I mean power generation from renewable sources. Why ? well first of all out Military is in need of such technologies to provide for basic amenities in the remote outposts and also the maintenance and installation costs are going to be far lesser than trying to get to areas like the Siachen Glacier, the highest battle field of the world. It would also help to save the glacier from pollution, as also to cut down on the cost of the fuel and logistic efforts.

All in all it might be an amazing Republic Day parade this year, unless the weather decides to play spoil sport with fog. For all of you who might be interested to see the republic day parade and who might not have access to Doordarshan like me, can check out the parade here online.

Indian movies embracing technology – Part 1

Some of the biggest movie buffs around, my friends and me do go and watch nearly all of the movies that are released from the Mumbai film industry. The Indian Movie industry is now the biggest movie industry in the world. The reach of the Indian Movie Industry these days is not judged by the viewers but only with the technologies that are used for distribution since the Indian Movie Industry is now breaking culture barriers and language barriers world over.

The most successful movies of all time commercially have happened in the recent past, with Ghajini and now 3 Idiots. Inflation adjustment might make these movies just below the legendary Sholay, but having said that these movies had a big advantage that many other movies in the past did not have. Digital Distribution.

It is now a certifiable fact that Ghajini, the Aamir Khan starrer was released in over 1200 theaters the highest ever for a movie. Screening in small villages as well as in metros at the same time, the biggest strength of this movie was the reach into small towns and villages where movies would normally release a few weeks and even few months later. Digital solutions in filmed entertainment are now helping the producers to reach relevant audience & increase the number of prints without any additional cost. The Advantage of Digital Distribution over normal distribution would definately be :

  • Reduction in the cost of sending the movies across, with the Analog tapes which were heavier as well as large in size it is definitely reduces the trips to the movie screens etc.
  • Low Budget ‘different’ movies : Usually good stories that are not lapped up by the big banners had to be funded out of the excess money of someone, since they used to struggle to find the big budgets required for shooting, post processing and distribution. With new technologies more interesting different movies will get a voice without having to shoot a big hole in the producers pocket. And like me a lot of us movie buffs like these different movies.
  • Reach out to a bigger Audience : Like the examples mentioned before, the higher reach means higher gains to the producers as well as and the motivation for the piracy industry is reduced since the movie is more available to the masses. This would also mean that the return on investment of movies would be faster.

However the physical barrier is having too few digital screens. Currently only about 11% of screens in India have the digital screening system. To overcome this barrier, the movie industry is trying really hard to bring the movies closer to us, via the mobile phone. One of the most carried personal gadget in the world might soon become the new center of the movie industry. Personal Movie screening is taking off slowly but surely, when I bought my N95 8GB it came preloaded with a digitally protected copy of Spiderman 3; and my friends in India got the cult movie Sholay preloaded.

The increase in mobile penetration can be seen with other famous Bollywood movies like Om Shanti Om which is now available for download for the ‘Really Small Screen’ i.e. the Mobile Phone through iTunes as well. Furthermore, Mobile Movie cards are now entering the market, through the service HotSpot. Hotspot is offering movie titles along with trivia, wallpapers, special cut scenes etc on a 1GB SD Card that is suitable for the mobile phones.

I can already hear some of you reading say, a movie is not made for the Mobile Phones, computers are OK, but not mobiles. So enter the omnipresent Google. Google has decided that it will get into the pay per download mode of movies, through its flagship service YouTube. YouTube has just signed a deal with the producers of 3 Idiots, to be able to provide the movie for download for a nominal fee after 12 weeks of release of the film. With the small internet penetration in India along with the bandwidth hungry download of the movie would still not stop people from downloading / buying / sharing pirated copies. However I believe it is a step in the right direction especially since the internet penetration is slowly and surely increasing in India.

So taking this into account I do believe that there us a very nice opportunity to mobile providers and local handset manufacturers in the country to get into the mobile Bollywood bandwagon. Let me know what you guys think as well ?

The world according to ….

I am quite certain that most people have seen this map titled, the world according to the United States of America, the stereotype of the Americans towards most of the world is quite legendary. It is hilarious, although offensive to a few. Found this here.

Interestingly I also found this other sketch made by an Indian, showing the world according to us, the Indians.

Well you can check his site out here. Thanks to both these guys for these awesome infographics.

Hierarchy of needs cause of Dubai crash ?

I just stumbled upon the Hierarchy of needs by Maslow which was published in a paper in 1945. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is also predetermined in order of importance. It is often depicted as a pyramid consisting of five levels: the lowest level is associated with physiological needs, while the uppermost level is associated with self-actualization needs, particularly those related to identity and purpose.

Businessman stacking blocks

The higher needs in this hierarchy only come into focus when the lower needs in the pyramid are met. Once an individual has moved upwards to the next level, needs in the lower level will no longer be prioritized. If a lower set of needs is no longer being met, the individual will temporarily re-prioritize those needs by focusing attention on the unfulfilled needs, but will not permanently regress to the lower level. For instance, a businessman at the esteem level who is diagnosed with cancer will spend a great deal of time concentrating on his health (physiological needs), but will continue to value his work performance (esteem needs) and will likely return to work during periods of remission.

United Arab Emirates, Dubai, Nad-al-Sheba Club, camels

What has all this got to do with the Dubai crash that has been so vastly publicized earlier this week, well I think everything. Most of my friends who left India looking for better prospects a few years ago are now residents of those countries or well and truly getting there.  There might be various aspects in which I might be doing a bit better than some of them, but definitely they are in a position where they are now nearly getting their citizenship in those countries.

Looking at the attitude of those guys I realized that my love for Dubai is like a fish loving his bicycle. I mean its not that I dont really like Dubai, but I do not have a sense of belonging here. I have worked my way up a fairly small ladder and have spent my earnings .. all of them in this country. But still I have no sense of belonging. Being an Indian I have seen first hand the sort of discrimination that happens in this country when it comes to how much money an Indian guy makes or an european/arab national makes for a similar role. Moreover the largely Indian population in Dubai are to a certain extent responsible to keep the machinery of Dubai rolling. Having said that they are subject to a sort of discrimination and the “emiratization” they still seem to work here, one because their need of money / security or lifestyle is met in Dubai at some level.

But South Asians ( mostly Indians) in Dubai have found more than just the nominal construction worker / cleaner / driver / clerk roles and have made their way into the greater roles like Financial Advisors, Financial Analysts, Planners, Engineering Managers etc. In fact the UAE cricket team that is playing to qualify for the Asia cup will not be allowed to play even if they qualify !! Because they are not citizens of this country. Why does this not happen to a South African cricketer who now plays for Australia ?? or an Indian Player who is now playing for England ? Because they are now up the ladder in the hierarchy of needs and have already received their citizenships.

Getting back to what we were talking about, as these guys move up the ladder the sense of belonging to a country or a place where you dedicate a huge chunk of your life gives you a motivation to work in another country than your own. Bearing all this in mind I began to think would the financial advisers of the bigger firms in Dubai would have been the same like they have been ? And this is not only the Indian community but also the expatriates that are in decision making positions in Dubai. I think people would have splurged less and been more cautious with the decisions that they would have made. I could be wrong … but there is no way to find out.

India vs India – the battle continues.

A while back I cited a small ad made on the independence day celebration that featured the Big B himself here. And the hidden meaning of that saying was to clearly and surely show the India that was willing to give support but asked “Proof” of growth, to the “India” that wanted support to prove growth. And until this dilemma was solved we would never have a prosperous government, either just, secular, economically stable or anything positive.

The election is just shaping up as another place where something like this is beginning to show up. There are good intentions within non political entities that are trying to get India to leave behind all that is happened and try to make a change for the better of the country like the awesome campaign from Times of India i.e Lead India ’09 campaign which is really noteworthy in their approach trying to bring about changes like anti corruption, no criminals as leaders etc. And on the other hand you do have agencies like “Bleed India” which are discouraging people from voting because of all the bad that is happened in the past from the leaders.

The Lead India campaign has taken note of this as well and have put up this on their website

We know systems are corrupt. We know many politicians are too. But where is the solution. It is always easier to criticise than create. Their website has the potential to keep the young and tech-savvy glued to their screens. Be it the games or the ring tones, the fun quotient tickles the senses of all and sundry but we feel a more serious approach would have served them better. One grudgingly admires their creativity and innovation.

Like everything in our country, there is a constant battle between the India that was and the India that aspires to be. We know we have made a lot of mistakes in our past the partition, relisious divide in the country,

You can visit the sites here to see more about their campaign. Let me know what you think is the correct opinion because it’s us who will shape up the future of the country.

Lead India ’09 – BY Times of India

Bleed India Campaign

Social Networking a Boon or Curse !

Well ever since Gulf News posted an article of my favorite Social Networking Website Orkut, Emirates Internet I.e Etisalat have blocked the website from accessibility within UAE.

Its been three long and painful years in Dubai for me, and for these three years I had lost in touch with a lot of my fiends back home, some very near and dear to me. In this time and age of emails, work get so hectic that mailing friends goes down to the bottom of the priority list. When I was at my vacation last year a few friends in Bangalore mentioned Orkut to me. I was impressed with the idea, created an account just before I got to Dubai. When I got back here, I was surprised to find the number of long lost friends there were on Orkut. Some from more than 10 years back. A lot of my coffee table conversations at that time involved around which friends I found and which ones I was looking for more. It even gave an idea of which of my friends made it and which of them were on the brink of success.

Few months into using Orkut I discovered Groups, there was a group for the School Alumni, One for my college Alumni, One group for the place I worked first, Groups for people with similar interests and even a group for people who had joined too many groups lol. I thought that was interesting. Well for us poor souls it is a boon in disguise. Moreover the assurance that it is run by Google is something noteworthy as well. How many times have you forgotten a friends birthday, Orkut would help remember birthdays as well.

But like everything on the net, the blog has been bitten by the sex bug. There are other tons of communities promoting sexual interests, one of them called Dubai Sex with over 2000 members in it. Interesting as it may seem, this is an issue which is far fetched than just Orkut or any networking site. Alas, the people who are running such communities do not realize the long term effects it has. Not that I do not support it, I mean its their lives and their preferences, and that is the very fact that makes us human. Our perspectives and choices. Well human, choice and perspective are not words that are very widely appreciated in the Middle East and being what they are they have blocked the site.

There goes the days of connections, back to celibacy from friends. I think we will have to wait for someone to say its Ok. Maybe Google to make some modifications or Etisalat to relax a bit. Either way now is the time for alternatives. And my first stop is FaceBook. A little more privacy and tons of features, this application is beginning to loose its charm in my perspective.

You know you have a Mangalorean Wife when…

  • You speak to her in pure Konkani and she insists on talking to you in half-broken English.
  • She does not talk to you for several days because at a recent party you chose to speak in chaste Konkani and not English, thus lowering her social status.
  • She either has one brother called Wilfy, an uncle called Peddy, a cousin called Vally Dattu, a distant aunt called Yellubai (nickname for Aunty Helen), a mother who is called Jillibai, a neighbor called Pimpy, and a dog called Tommy.
  • She cooks “paiz” (boiled rice) for breakfast, lunch, brunch, dinner and for in-between meals. Accompanied by “Kualo Kadi” and “Lonche”.
  • Her idea of a party is cooking “Pooolao” (Pulav), Dukra Maas, Sanna, and Kombo Sukho.
  • She drags you over to church every Sunday (and Fridays, for Gulfies) so that she can meet her friends from St. Aloysius.
  • Her mother comes to your house once a month and stays over for the next 29 days.
  • She thinks the telephone is one of the greatest inventions. Her phone conversation always start with “Aaz kale niste?” (What’s for lunch?)
  • She can tell you the current market rate of betelnuts (phopla) and coconuts (narl), without batting an eyelid. In fact, she thinks that people who chew betel leaves are cool.
  • She is related to or knows almost every one in Mangalore. E.g. “She’s my mother’s aunt’s sister-in-law’s maidservant’s niece.” And if she isn’t related to anyone particular, she makes them her Kumpadr or Kumadr.
  • She knows how much each neighbor is earning and scolds her husband for earning less.
  • She knows how to clean fish.
  • Her statements of sympathy always begin with, “So sad, no?”
  • You don’t drink beer and she wonders if there’s a problem with you.
  • She thinks twice about kissing you even after marriage.
  • If she is in the Gulf, she comes to know about what happened in Mangalore days before her cousins in Bombay know about it.
  • Your cousins are called Valli and Shipri.
  • Your idea of a date is having ‘gadbad’ (falooda) at Ideal’s or Pabbas.
  • The most famous men in your town are Marble Pereira, Bokol Pinth, Wagh Porbhu, Vokil Freddy, Jako Fori, and Khaithan Lobo

This is really funny forward that I received. lol. I am not sure how everyone will react but Mangee’s will know what I am talking about.

Mother Tongue

Throughout my use of the internet I have been surfing sites in English. Localization was not a big issue for me, as in I did not want Google in Hindi or to be able to blog in Hindi. Well they are beautiful features nevertheless, but then personally I do not find as much use of it. Maybe it’s just me, but then I can’t picture the next generation of vernacular based software developers and planners using any of our national languages to do the programming of the next gen software. Unlike countries like Russia or France or Hungary etc where people thrive on the vernaculars; India is a nation where the respectable person is only one who speaks English well. A person is regarded as well learned by the Metro Generation only if his English is good, no accent. Well I think we don’t think outside the box here in India.

I can confuse most people, when I am talking in my mother tongue cos its very rarely used. Well to tell you some interesting facts about the languages in India, Indian main languages are Hindi and English, But practically they are one of 800 Languages spoken in India and a total of 2000 Dialects exist for them. Out of the 28 states and 7 union territories, only 10 states and 3 union territories have Hindi as the principal official language. Every other state has its own regional language. And although I am from the state of Karnataka, my mother tongue is Konkani. The official language of Goa. It is so cos the name Konkani is derived from the region I am from originally called Konkan. And Konkan spans 3 states with different state languages. Confusing huh.

Anyway the Metrosexual personalities of people in India is driving the vernacular languages and people who speak vernacular languages to the side. Well that’s a bit more of the vernaculars digging their own graves, cos the commotions and strikes that all the antisocial elements conduct are under the veil of the vernaculars. Anyway, someday people will realize. But in the mean time the fact that the vernaculars are seen as outsiders is prompting more children to learn English more than any other language in India. At least so the metros, well there is only one issue with that. We are going to loose out on the language soon, in one or two generations we are going to be a complete mass of English speaking Indians and loose our vernacular individualities.

Konkani being my language is prompting me to take notice for the same reason. When I am thinking of the same thing, I am prompted to look at some options online. ;, and are some of the options I looked at. But the most impressive for them, is the site called

Auto Racers, Quite Literally for the Clinically Insane.

For all those who have been in an Auto Rickshaw in India you will know what I am talking about. The Maikalal Schumachers if India are supposedly the Auto Rickshaw Drivers, or at least that’s what they think they are. Especially driving through the streets of narrow Indian roads, with vernacular abuses when translated, can shatter the dictionary. Well there is now a place for them to test their racing skills out, quite literally.

Just when you thought you had seen the weirdest, there comes along something that just makes you wonder. For friends of mine who don’t know what an Auto Rickshaw is : An auto rickshaw (auto or rickshaw or tempo in popular parlance) is a vehicle usually for hire and is one of the chief modes of transport in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka it is also popular in many other countries. It is a motorized version of the traditional rickshaw, a small two- or three-wheeled cart pulled by a person, and the velotaxi. The auto rickshaw is also related to its Thai cousin, the tuk-tuk and the Bajaj in Indonesia. Some more ways this is called are auto rickshaw, auto-rickshaw, auto rickshaw, auto rickshaw, auto-rickshaw. Motorized rickshaw, Motorized rickshaw, Tuktuk, Three wheeler and in many parts of India simply as AUTO. Here is a You Tube video to give you a small experience to see how a ride on the Auto feels like. Detailed look and feel of the auto rickshaw

The fact that all the proceeds are for charity makes you take notice of the event. The Indian ARC (Auto rickshaw Challenge) 2007 is an event organized by and will be in fact a charity based event. The website is very interesting and counts down a total of 87 days and 12 hours; which means that on August 5th the world will witness one of the most bizarre motor sport endurance rally. The race is not for the faint hearted as this rally certainly would test ones physical strength, and mental character. Rightly stated it is for the clinically Insane. Well interestingly the route is very scenic, it would be a foreigners delight to see so many places in a single trip so many places with so much to offer.

Chennai is the automobile capital of India – and aptly – as it is from here that with an exuberant start the challenge begins for an unrelenting journey through the west coast of India.

  • Station 1 is the Fort City of Tamil Nadu, Vellore
  • Station 2 is my Hometown of Bangalore which is The tranquil and picturesque “Garden City of India” with its many gardens and boulevards is also India’s silicon city,
  • Station 3 is the tranquil town of Hassan is the oldest town of the Hoysala Empire, the city almost dates back 1500 years.
  • Station 4 is Mangalore, a city of vivid contrasts. On one hand you see narrow winding streets with cozy, red-roofed houses and on the other there are lofty coconut trees lining the beautiful beaches.
  • Station 5 is Bhatkal. Bounded by the shimmering sea and rolling hills, this place is a favourite tourist spot and known for the gorgeous temple perched on a hillock by the shore.
  • Station 6 Karwar, The beautiful Devabagh Beach in Karwar is said to have inspired Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore to write his first play. It is also home of the Indian Navy’s Biggest Fleet.
  • Station 7 welcomes you to the Paradise of India, Panjim. The Capital of Goa.
  • Station 8 invites you to discover the forts of Malvan. Malvan is today known for its salt pans, Chinese clay pottery and the special Malvani cuisine which is quite distinct from Konkan food.
  • Station 9 is the worlds most well known for the King of King of Fruits, the Alphonso Mangoes.
  • Station 10 is the hillside town of Mahabaleshwar, exhausting amounts honeymoons and romantic sunsets cant reduce the lusture of this romantic hill station.
  • Station 11 is Alibagh, an idyllic town where you can rest your weary feet. It’s a small town with a beautiful beach and the green hills on the other side, free of pollution and noise.
  • Station 12 is India itself, Ancient yet modern, fabulously rich yet achingly poor, Mumbai is India in microcosm.

I would not be able to jot down a better itenary for any person visiting India. The sights and sounds and the heart beat of India can be felt in only one visit, the Most Amazing Race ever. The organizers of the Indian Auto Rickshaw Challenge have taken a specific notice of the lack of good education, low literacy levels, and the high percentage of child labor that affects the Indian society. By fostering the Adopt a Village program and donating every penny of the profits from the rally to this worthy cause, the organizers of the Indian Auto Rickshaw Challenge hope that the ultimate winners of this historic rally will be the children of India.