Smart Neighborhoods

I am certain that since the time Modi-wave swept past a ‘aam aadmi’ movement to sideline a government that had held reins of power in India for most part since independence, our common man buoyed upon a social media world is getting smarter, more involved, more aware than ever before to choose, elect, praise and critique leaderships but do we all act with propriety when faced with day to day challenges around our own homes?

Satellite cities around our metros are giving way to smart cities. Environment and Climate Change is now a name of a  Ministry, Renewable Energy is a sector where India actually dominates in some areas, ‘cleanliness’ is a national campaign and men doing house work as wives go to work is an acceptable situation. But the unmanageable increase in motor vehicles, inadequacy of infrastructure to hold the boom times is pitiful and we come home or reach our office with anger, abuses and what not more times than ever before.

My colony was to have RWA elections recently and what I present are some lessons from this otherwise annual exercise which till now, I just let pass. In case you don’t know, it stands for your local ‘welfare association’ but if you are a modern household you might say “man, if I meet my wife and kids adequately I am lucky”. So you might have missed out on your RWA.

But to think what you could contribute to your locality’s welfare might be a sensible idea if you wish to be safe and healthy in daily living too. RWA’s were for supposed to be for retired old people, which I almost am; except that our generations now do not retire at 55 or 60 and if ‘senior citizen should be 60 or 65 has also become debatable as more Indian people are catching the Volvo buses to see overseas cities as the white people who used to throng India gate and Chandni Chowk and the local gyms are running overtime.

But seriously, what do we have in stake with our immediate neighborhood that never was before? So this is what I am learning from this RWA election time. Posters, door-to-door is passe. For the first time, a ‘whatsapp group’ was started. But in the very first hour majority of comments came like “How dare you put me in this group without my permission” and somebody pressed the button and “left”. One of the ‘teams’ contesting the election put up a poster and more left, “This is politics, cheating and self-advertising” said many and they left. Whoever was the administrator he added more; then more left. Finally all teams were allowed to put up ads, so more added and more left.

Anyway, with the IPL going on; this was more exciting and as the language turned crass and gross, I thought I must join; the age old competitive corporate honcho in me did my diplomatic best not to side with any team. But hey, I was learning how masses think and then watching the fantastic levelling of ideas to  the “left” people reducing and administrator adding many now and then – it is coming as a revelation how much we can achieve if we dare to just get into the ‘system’ of having a say in our surroundings. I was seeing this process of debate and development go on and I have seen (‘heard’ is better) both in past – people doing good for the colony and then the system’s own goons of self-fulfilment.

So, with this logic; now as a infrastructure consultant I had been following some seminars and reading about “smart cities”, clean water & sanitation and having spent much time in Africa even for issues of gender disparities. But here I suddenly see a whole new opportunity in disparities that are more immediate to warrant a new age of “smart neighborhoods”. Well, this is a fairly elite colony beyond the choicest of words for opposing teams that I am seeing on ‘whatsapp’; so there lies a logic in its economics too.

But to cut across the story, what is it that we can contribute to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to us? Here are some points that I can see emerging from the 24×7 comments coming now that they seem to have let all have a say and mind you the young, women and intellectuals are in good numbers.

AWARENESS: You may be receiving RWA newsletters and information along with your rolled newspaper in morning. Even if you do not read it normally, keep at least a leaflet with contacts of RWA active members stuck to your refrigerator notice board. If you notice things that bother you – suspect movements, choked drains, water issues, etc. note it on Android notepad or send it to your specific area or lane representative as a paper note on way to office.

SMART RWAs: A social media group like “whatsapp” is a modern necessity but take care that jokes, lame forwards, business adverts and anything abusive or derogatory should be strictly banned and the person, after a warning, should be removed. Keep the good old register of complaints and files; but sir, times are that you ought to boost it with digital diaries with categorized logs which an IT youngster in neighborhood can easily design as contribution and a team member can maintain; all these at a dedicated office with timings of physical presence of attendant.

SMART HOMEOWNERS: Install CCTVs and inform RWAs, who must keep log of who has installed where. A GPRS plot can easily be created on webapp or procurable software to map location of the CCTVs of government and homeowners. This will help in solving criminal and other activities. Plotting troubled areas will be an advantage. Make sure servant details are kept and shared with RWA if not the police. Keep a hired security if you can or smarten up your main door operation at least to whatever is affordable technology and check weekly. You can store info on ‘cloudspace’ as well.

SMART POLICING: Each individual is police, but do not do that to extent of being a peeping Tommy. There is no point cursing abuses when you cannot take car past point where double or triple parking, like around general stores, paan shops, etc.; if it is really repetitive, log it with RWA digitally and take a walk on Sunday to verify if your messages actually get logged.

RWA’s SMARTOFFICE: Initially people will flood you with odd complaints and you might go nuts, there is very good chance that if you actually send a few replies and solve a few the deluge will trickle to something reasonable – so importantly HAVE FAITH in your neighbors, all are not worst enemies you think they might be. Also, you need not address each issue immediately. Instead categorise, prioritize, put through for weekly or monthly meetings depending on level of urgency. Hence I mooted for digital logging that is indexed as a decision making tool. Now, these are not expensive set-ups; but like any office these are a standard, need regular attention and some passion ‘to serve’ – so just wake up to this reality of times!

SMART LEADERSHIP: A colony where everybody is muscle and don will be a non-starter to be risk and damage-free. So treat this like another office of trust but remember that since all are volunteers, you cannot shout and throw out anybody from his job; so your big daddying will be for nothing. Humour, a few tea parties with biscuits by RWA brass here and there are fine but refrain from big time parties where barbecue smell goes beyond your house as again – people will point fingers and you lose face for just your large heartedness. Instead visit the aged, intellectuals, professionals within locality than professionals out of your business or workplace for advice, record keeping, etc. This is the art and ability of good leaders to make their own locality see you as humble servicing individuals and please….you are not a politician or civil servant; but truly passionate and concerned for safe & happy living around your responsibility.

This is not an exhaustive essay on the subject and there is a lot more that each one of us has and we all, with our freedom with social media, familiarity with technology and social networking around our place of abode can make our lives safer, simpler, less accusative, less abusive, less controversial and it will be this HABIT that will make us better in our professions too and as human beings, citizens of our country.

So, all the best for your “smart neighborhood”

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A Wonderful World – New Delhi Diary Part 3

It’s a Wonderful world after a winter of discontent as summer breaks in and we encapsulate a huge turnaround of world events in 2016-17 and should it be a lesson that it is the times that dictate how we, the people of the world elect anybody to any office of importance. But the song never changes!

There used to be this dream where all hell seemed to be happening, nothing seemed to be as I would wish it to be and I was where I just did not want to be. Yet it went on and on. Then there would come a point where I was just wanting for the dream to end and I would find myself half awake saying “oh, the morning is not so far away; it’s just a dream and it will all be over”. Thereafter truly, it was like God intervened and “snap”, presto – I was awake! The bed was still the one that was mine and world order too was mine, very much the way I would ever want it to be.

The other day I met this man and just as he was leaving he said the customary “let’s meet again” gesture where my own response was automatic and habitual “inshallah” which had no religion in it really.

But I immediately felt an odd wave surge within me saying that suddenly the world had changed and so by habits I ought to be careful. Then just today the “Navratras” got over and after week of veggies and half-fasts we went out at as a family to splurge on Naan, paneer and soya chops as we ‘feared’ having tandoori chicken tikkas may be too sudden and harsh. I could almost see my late father rise from ashes with a questioning look “what hey, we used to run for tandoori chicken this day!” and I found myself saying in defense “oh, it was a Tuesday”.

There is no question that the world has changed and so, the way we are thinking is leaving us generally clear thinking educated folks perplexed. Whether it happened from a Trumpy US, a chaotic middle east or closer home to saffron rising in another bread basket of unexpected modernity, I don’t know. All I know is I am first of a generation of Indians born after independence so must think as that! We have led our lives on the cusp of everything from West to East, border to across, house to house, person to person, day to day, period to period and found no need at all to be on ‘one’ side of it all.

My childhood was spent on the edge of the walled city now famous as “Delhi 6”. We took everything as privileged. Example, my folks never considered our locality Daryaganj on Shah Jahaan’s walled zone as ‘old’ Delhi and it was certainly not “New” Delhi because it was at the point of separation called “Delhi Gate”. My uncles wrote and spoke Urdu mixed with Hindi and vice versa and could write some of each, even as they would swear in both English and Hindi, whereas the Urdu was for tehzeeb, meaning courtesy.

My generation added slang and punch to every punchline and courteous abuse, just as every next generation would for sure – to make life colorful but never abusive. We had the Jaini, the Sikh, the muslim and the odd Parsi who lived in seclusion (Delhi still is never Mumbai!). We could hear neighbors fight and we fought them at will. The next day things would patch up. My parents never approved the way others lived and we silently accepted even virtual the enemy. No one ‘told’ us who to meet and who to befriend and so we did that too openly and brashly – romancing the enemy with tehzeeb than with bad blood. The movies too had a well defined hero, heroine and villain but always happy endings.

Honestly rivalries too are part and parcel of ‘acceptance’ of a world order I have happily lived, or outlived I will know much later;  but I find it unfair to hear now some people say that past was wrong and ought to be changed. You mean sir, that to make a better today and tomorrow, we need to revisit past and change ‘history’? Was I a bloody fool to sit in a boring History class in school and now I must rationalize that I have truly lived a life in manner that was actually unacceptable. Honestly, would changing a story of a freedom fighter in school text books make our next of kin smarter and more ready to face the world order that shall be hereon?

Suddenly a world order seems to change and future looms like the streets and walls in “Inception”, the movie as a bad dream I must reverse somehow. A young friend gone saffron finds need to find the Hindu within and suggests my Ram is different from his (I love to sing bhajans, devotional music and pray when I feel like). An old Kashmiri friend is never the same for lack of the colorful musalmaniyat and tehzeeb that added to the flavor. I hate suggestions coming of a day when habitual Moghlai foodies and international travelers of my country will look dumbstruck as good old chicken and mutton platters may need license to be served.  Okay, if it’s just about clean-up of abattoirs, then I am fine!

I walk past bylanes of Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi to familiar ‘pathani’ faces but it’s just that I am noticing things I have never needed to notice until now. Now I am looking for a Iraqi, Irani, Kashmiri, Indian or North East from a new world order that will never restore, just like my dream. Back in college days we just ate Tibetian, but never questioned why they colonized out there on outskirts of DU or the Bangladeshis who got the now elite Chittranjan Park for ownerships as gift from our government.

Yehudi Menuhin was a musician and suddenly I can relate myself to what he said in “the ethos of a country is reflected in the kind of music it listens to”. Similarly I think, bad dreams are a reflection of our worst fears and when what we once feared has already happened and gone past, all mornings shall be beautiful.

So I say, “aahh” – all miseries of this world are the result of the electronica and melodyne auto-tuner music. So I get away from the unending dream to my morning of digital keypads, virtual drummers and symphony, microphone and lyrics, to make a song, record an idea, post some farce that has potential to be a fact provided it gets heard amidst the din of a ‘today’ that is not Delhi 6 – midway between what ‘ought to be’ and what we honestly love. Isn’t future a product of our present and don’t they know “Back to the Future” was only a Hollywood idea?

John Lennon sits by the roadside as I drive past Delhi roads which are seemingly still unchanged where the old Beatle is singing with a guitar in hand, no more the band around him, as he sings – “I’m just watching the wheels go round and round….I just love to watch them roll…no longer riding on the merry-go-round….aaanhh!”

Doing this, I don’t need belonging to any political party, group or cult or being imposed to any one or the other idea of a world order that ‘ought to be’. All the same I agree with my parents to just accept them for their co-existence ‘like neighbors’ and I will twirl all kinds of flags like I did as a boy; simply for their diversity of colors, tones and lyrics within. Somewhere too, it is now the ‘history’ and ‘literature’ classes that I seemed to remember more than the science and it was all of these together that give me my ‘current assets’ – enough for a wonderful world.

Mysite : please visit my new website https://yogeshbahadur.wordpress.com  and other related reads on wordpress.com :

Waiting to be Trumped ?

The story of TECH retrograde in India

New Delhi Diary – 2

New Delhi Diary – 1

 

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The story of TECH retrograde in India

Pardon me fellas, but even I would like to believe that the heading is only for impact so some people will read this. But that said, I am speaking about us ‘engineer breed’ of independent India of course and context is the Indian Budget 2017 and what Mr. Trump is doing to H1B in the US for our IT brigade meaning Indians and Chinese in particular, to what is now established as “Technology” and forever I find myself asking “then for God’s sake what are us – the electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil, marine kind of engineers who have grown up to be technologists and know a bit about businessmen too?”

So now that you have the introductory and if you are a non-IT technologist of any kind, let’s feel for ourselves and find that role which has been eluding us this last decade specially where the CFOs and all kinds of financial-legal specialists have taken over the IITians and other engineers to head companies, make deals and keep all kinds of divisions and heads under their wings, who will punch time cards to prove their utilization, once they are hired as ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers by the HRM of modern world (yes, those typical KPAs on Naukri.com et al). That building up of Nehruvian India post independence from the British in 1947 is now passé and engineering techies have become second or third row of priority for India, the global power of the future as the world looks at us.

There is no doubt that Indian engineering and IT alumni are the most sought after professionals and preferred teachers and trainers all round the world. But in India, we are suddenly retrograde. I know for sure that our infrastructure and energy, once a success story of engineers with BHEL, EIL, ISRO et al in prime contention are there but the definition of ‘Tech’ is the people who deal with any kind of CPU, intelligent electronics and software analytics.

Again back to the Trump election, it was always the American people who did not mind the accented Indians in first place as long as we could be a fair blend-in, stayed in background when we should, come as saviors when a project deadline needed as did the ‘job-shoppers’ back in the ’50s from here, just like the Korean and Chinese crews completed those ship-builds and other hardware which made America what it is; in parallel to what Nehru and the trailing generations of leaders were doing in India.

Now we are in Modi’s India, unfortunately way too late for this separation to be less stark than I am now feeling insides of me. Everybody was listening before this to the CFO and shareholders with young ownerships learning no better about ‘creating’ than to make highest profit as being the only real KRA sans the shareholder rhetoric on year closings. The task of building from scratch, taking risks had gone unless someone could stockpile big time out of advances on large size infrastructure immediately to make room for the ‘rainy day’ which has always looked a certainty in the cut-throat competition of tariff based and speed tendering to make political parties keep promises and the Indian engineers ‘on their feet’!

So worked up and stressed out had become our engineers and technicians along with labor, workforce and all kinds of contractors and sub contractors as CEOs with their HR hangmen created all kinds of regulations to turn them into machines with ‘hour on hour’ monitoring and then came the electronics of spy cameras and recorders for loyalty to be thrown out of our system as opportunities opened up everywhere; and even as  younger and smarter techie ranks learnt to hop in and out for highest bidders, putting the stress back on ownerships.

So now we have simpler equations where the IT guys are creating software to ensure ‘loyalty’ in companies and continued communication within teams in age when we do not like to speak, write or even read elaborate emails but ‘forward’ quotes and postulates; so that now the engineers slipped one more step down after owners, accountant, HR and IT man.

What’s going on here? When PM Modi started taking ‘class’ on values going out from the young and school kids, I felt a ray of hope but realized later that he should be looking at their parents – my generation. What have we done under pressure of these last 2 to 3 decades of ‘hard work’ where office timings became open ended after 2nd half, but our sense of professional ethics and inherent team and fellow feelings amongst tripped downhill in the blame-game we called competition.

As it happens, we are still buying technology from Germany, China and now even from South Africa, Israel and middle-east whom our forefathers had taught! The government put so much on shoulders of BHEL and PSUs once they found a floundering private sector enterprise from India, who are happier to be ‘consultants’ for services and downstream project EPC and manufacturing companies than to be the big time manufacturing as tax policies never quite worked to ‘make-in-India’ ever; even as the ownerships found ways to be fund surplus after these 2 decades of privatization through mix of trading and using countless heads to accomplish far less than what our country is truly capable of. Yet “Jobs” is a huge abyss for so many talented people.

If you visit technology fairs like ‘Green Summit(s)’, ‘Indian Infrastructure’ or on Electricity you will see that still the core machinery in the technology intensive fields of power & energy at large are still coming all from overseas with yes, spectacular value addition from Indian engineers. But to say, we are yet independent in general for all our technical supremacy, we are not; else why is China Option #1 for most even today?

The Risk taking ability has consequently come down in the MSME and SME sector which is an indicator on government policies and what Budget 2017 was expected to correct with some innovation to create capacity and jobs with the surplus money from demonetization. Boosting the rural, farming, etc. are basic obligation of a nation to give healthy food and medicine to the people all the time and in no way an achievement. The lacunas in enabling the rest of Indian entrepreneurship are still there and is evident when 60% of our Indian wealth lies with 1% people and the ratio incrementing with each budget, quite alarmingly. Now that’s a lot of money to live with and whether a CSR whip, nay obligation, enable growth is still not established.

In the constant drive to empower youth, create jobs for educated, it is the institutes running to the banks as Vice Presidents and CEOs at 35 or 40 has become a norm, even as corporates find too many unemployable. However, it has been observed that even young leaderships do not need the experience and vision to correct the backlog which is saturated with malpractice and indecision or poor decision in times when a certain kind of old adamance has perpetrated ownerships who have seen unimagined prosperity in these last decades of privatization and development. In many places there is little passion left to grow further and so many whose next of kin do not show that same will and mettle for all that lies already on the table.

This is what is ‘Backlog’ and where we see projects unfinished, mismanagement, selling on premiums, land and asset purchases on basis on who we know and where lie the loopholes.

It’s not just me, I find umpteen superb professionals, young companies, deficit for funding which is still asset based for whatever skills one may possess and enterprise an entrepreneur might carry. The irony is there are so many who fail simply for want of funds and the stoppages for any number of reasons. Forget businessmen, nobody nowadays has patience or faith in anybody nowadays and venture capitalism is only a catch-word for ‘use and throw’ as money has to be made at any cost everywhere and that’s so tough with policies, environmental and simple political issues adding to complexities. In fact, nowadays to show the way-out of a corrupt deal anyhow, is a KRA without any inhibitions and employees or aspirants take this as way of life and what is to be expected!

So if getting past clean earnings reaching dangerous proportions was why our visionary PM took such a drastic step as DE-MONITIZATION; then I am optimistic. Well the spurt in ‘legal’ appointments from mid-management onwards over last 5 years to answer all those ‘buried’ cases of unfinished projects; this has never been seen to my memory in Indian businesses since a law firm used to be hired in past. So it kind of jives, isn’t it?

Now, coming back to Budget 2017, let’s analyse what have we gained post demonetization and cornering of corrupt people in these recent months with companies of today and yes, the government; what do we expect to gain now to revive those acceptable values and habits so much so that now have to remind each other on ‘WhatsApp’ forwards with each morning or they will just go down as mythology one fine day!

The Finance Minister started his speech listing how many companies do not file taxes and who haven’t even started their balance sheet. Sir, just look at us; I recall the speeches on ‘capacity building’ and talent deficit which has today made umpteen crass technical and management training institutes to mushroom along with some very good ones too. But they find relevance only when their products become VPs of E&Y or PWC, while here are some of us looking on “hey, what’s wrong with me….I was made in USA and EU too not too long ago and am an international, a professional”.

Honestly, I started my company over this last decade just because to my query “what will those professionals amongst us who have not accumulated capital do in these efforts to enhance entrepreneurship and capacity?”, the minister’s reply at a forum on ‘manufacturing & project resources’ as of 2006 was “hold on to fingers of the bigger players”. And look what that did to us (sure these people are there smiling, right?).

Well now that I have created the separation on TECH terminology, let’s look at what President Trump is actually saying in the same breath as he loves ‘Hindus’ and the H1B rise in minimum wage to US$ 130,000.

Aha, so I think President Trump wants us stalwarts back in action, those who have seen all sides of the world, taken our darn risks and all and throw out our accent when it matters too. We even know that language of excellence for they took it away from us here in India far too early for we spoke ‘global’ amidst ‘make-in-India’ and how stupid it was that at one time, right? So I am hoping our PM will likewise bring back enough wealth to split to higher than the 1% every year hereon backing up with policies so some of us can truly see the glitter of ‘good times’ or ‘achhe din’ in entrepreneurship, after waging wars to get to ‘India shining’ earlier on; no politics here though.

There is still one confusion in my mind and that is  this – “are we moving forward or back to ‘Building-Up’ days?” of course, with a ‘RE-building’ tag where IT and Engineers of all kind work in tandem as visionaries on our own to create a better world and definitely, without punching time cards and swords drawn all the time. Well, only time will tell and my strong recommendation – “Techies is Us 2” with a ‘V’ sign for ‘peace’ (LOl is Lolll).

Cover Image: Brochure of Pentacle Energy & Infra Projects Pvt. Ltd.

 

Waiting to be Trumped ?

(A Perspective on India and Africa with emphasis on future of initiatives in ENERGY privatization)

This may be the first time that a US presidential oath taking, on noon of January 20, 2017 by IST, is being followed as if it were D-day here in New Delhi. I cannot believe that cafes in Hauz Khas (per newspapers) are inspired to prepare for a celebration with big screens and all the pomp once reserved for big cricket matches only. I guess it has to do with the tourist season and time when NRI’s find best season to visit Delhi at its coldest.

In December it seemed like global warming was on when we said it is a weak winter, but snow like always in Simla since the New Year rang in, has changed all that and all of the woolen that remained inside until now, are finally out. So global warming sans the photography and videos from the melting Arctic seems to take backseat whenever here in Delhi the winter chill shows it’s delayed spurts.

We know for one that Merryl Streep and some of the glitterati may even boycott the grand presidential ball and invites to other festivities but as for those with eye on global energy investments from the USA, they are ones debating on Trump ideology, as it has been widely mentioned that he will go gung-ho back to fossil oil/coal and nuclear that have hitherto made USA the power to reckon. As world would have it, it is the intellectuals, the philosophizers, the sympathizers, the artisans, the educated elite who see the world in a certain perspective who normally crusade for ‘climate change’, environment and future of society.

With Obamacare health already on the chopping block, what will be the fate of Obama’s Lighting Africa and other initiatives for Africa and the developing world at large, none of which have instilled much inspiration anyway, even as Renewable Energy is considered more a democratic idea, less macho, more idealistic than practical by many who have held any kind of important ‘Energy’ portfolio in past decades. The capitalists can afford to keep changing stance the direction winds blow and corporate professionals shall keep falling like Humpty Dumpty to any such ideology, soon as the words ‘profit’ and ‘KRA’ come in during year endings and budget sessions.

With every elected government in developing world in recent years was enforced to give proof of combating corruption, fueling of economy with tax retrievals, the US had a very different agenda this presidential transformation. The whole differential strongly rests on the Payee and Payer division with regards to balance of payments, vis-à-vis, world bank and donor funding where African countries especially, owe billions of dollars to China, US, EU and Japan (donor countries) in particular. The sword of taxation hangs on private sector, which was already looking at their respective governments with feeble trust to enter infrastructure, energy et al to put their own money at stake.

Also no country has had a brave PM like we in India do; that’s the popular view in India at large it seems. Like USA, we too find our people with mixed emotions of late but there are positives and negatives to perspectives in context of Energy and renewables per se.

In India the retrieval on taxes and money out of circulation may have been challenged in part by demonetization; but the PM has taken huge strides to solar-power the nation and this is what I want to leave you as the reader with on the possibility of renewable energy (as against fossils) being trumped (with some comparisons for African countries):

  1. Funding of Renewables under Obama’s programs, especially Lighting Africa has raised more eyebrows and seeing a dismal growth and even worse, the interest of private sector; the oil-rich African countries might just welcome a reversal. It might even create a revival in oil exploration now on hold on east coast, but that is a long shot until the oil pricing shows a definitive trend. So push for renewables will still need a push from governments and regional treaties, with growth ensured.
  2. The private sector renewal business in India particularly will rest with the big fifteen or so who have gained from power projects in thermal coal and are already way ahead with mega solar; even as rural electrification from solar is widely dismal but in mega solar there is optimism from the new guidelines for the (just tendered) 250MW Rewa in Madhya Pradesh have made 3 big attractions for investors – i) lowest tariff of 5.9 Cents (Rs. 4) per unit (ii) state government guarantees with inter-state open access with 25% to Delhi metro rail (iii) deemed generation for grid availability
  3. “Pay-as-you-go” models by mobile companies in Africa, with Kenya showing the way; as also in far east (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, etc.) are gaining success and India too has started with ADB $6 million support as over 60,000 rural households are in process to be electrified by off-grid solar by a company “Simpa Networks” and others like Reliance will be in fray whereas Adanis have put up the largest of solar mega farms already. However, still much remains to happen in the urban (rooftop) context as electricity woes are diminishing per reports.

In summary, a ‘Trumping’ of Renewables is highly unlikely as the pie for USA dependency is way too small to interest the man who shall build a wall around Mexico. Also, the African & developing country support has sustained Congressional blessings for more important reasons; China for one which practically leads in Africa by miles.

Yet, it would be unwise to say that India will be inert to whatever changes do take place in USA will not impact world population at large. So we can once again sharpen our business instincts and world vision by re-evaluating global equations that will impact business, profession and our general well being, since this is how the world is slowly becoming.

So the better thing will be to question “whether Modiji would find an ally in Trump for real to counter China or will Pakistan (which voices it’s nuclear muscle whenever under threat), offer reasons for a shift even as Hindu temples lighted ‘hawan’ piers in prayers for US to have Donald Trump win the election”.

For sure, the euphoria itself will be exciting for globalized professionals and I am looking forward to get ‘in there’ yet again and with more vigor, but with fingers crossed as the “change” scenario is getting way too dynamic and regular – but sure as hell, we have learnt and that’s what we as professionals must keep believing and keep contributing.

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Where Love has gone

Now this is the first time where I have put a title and really just starting to write on basis of, just a feeling that I have woken up with. But right away, I must warn you that the context may not be the most obvious.

2017 has begun and we seem to be in a world where from the moment we get up to time we go to bed, we must have a peep into our social media – the ‘WhatsApp’ or Facebook, Twitter and what have you. I have tried not to, many a time. But it fails to work. In fact whenever I decide not to err….peep; I am doing it more!

Why have we got so fixed to what somebody else has to say or what somebody has to say to what we said and if we are ‘liked’ then ‘how many’ are these people and who all?

It is very sad. No, not this act or the habit, but the very existence, adaptation and governance factor of such perception per se and social media by itself.

Gone are the days when I will sing a song, all in my house (whenever together with some and that’s how houses used to be back then), they would say ‘wah, wah’ pat me on the back and someone will give the kiddo a 100 in cash right away for whatever it might have been worth. That 100 or even the 50 and 10 would matter a whole lot and yes, fond memories are around still. They egged me to go on, feel on center of a stage; small as the achievements were at that time. They were my halo of being a part of my little world where rest of the world never mattered. It also made me to make my mistakes in life when I perhaps stopped working the passion.

Now I have travelled the world. More and many have joined in the ‘togetherness’ and it is wonderful to see them all, someone in USA, someone in Ethiopia, Tanzania, a European I met a decade ago, a relative of relative who became now more of a friend than the primary relative over time; even an old ‘enemy’ who is appearing suddenly on Facebook page seems like lost love now.

But all along the way, the closeness, the oneness, the ‘My-ness” if I may say, seems to be waning.

If we remember somebody across decades, or across distances or across wider relationships of official colleagues and business associates with whom we have shared our deepest feelings at times without even knowing them enough; there has to be something more to it if we ‘just remembered’ it one fine day again, in midst of ennui.

And the year ends (2016 just did) and a year beginning (2017) are as good a time as any and so it is that I am writing, expressing it the way it is.

At the same time, there is too much music, too much art, too much writing across the websites to make us be heard nowadays. And then…who doesn’t want to be heard? Our friend Rahul Ram, the bassist from ‘Indian Ocean’ even said of those like me “now Indian music is democratic; people from bedroom studios can post music” with HT Times heading calling it “clutter” (hey, my kinds cluttering on the biggies – wow!)

In times when I was a nobody and could do precious little I had friends who loved me to sing, relatives who sent messages wide and far of what a lovely little boy was the ‘son of my parents x & y’. Now it takes so much out of me to draw a ‘you did good’ from my own close ones; when I have really worked hard, invested so much and fought against so many odds to actually learn and master some across the whole 9 yards down the decades.

Maybe it is not so. Maybe they feel me destined to do even more, reach even higher. I am not old and I am certain there is no age peaking on excellence.

But do they want my ‘Excellence’ or is it, that ‘Love has gone’ and replaced with a YouTube comparative for the ‘seen’, ‘liked’ and there is even the ‘thumbs down’ to declare somebody worthy of a ‘glance’ and ‘peep’.

Where Love has Gone, we learn to re-evaluate ourselves.

I get up in morning or to sleep to find ‘who did not Like’ and if there was even a ‘thumbs down’!

These are my indications of “path, yet to traverse”or should I say, the path to where love still exists and be it our work for profits, music for creativity we carry or writing for vision that we carry; the “manzil” or the destination – is the SONG itself, and path is the quest for that love that exists…but needs to be extracted and brought out again and again, better and better.

At least this is what I would like my children and the youngsters I may mentor to believe and that’s all I wanted to say in this ‘first post 2017’. Those who had gone will come again….just do your thing to the best you can!

Coming soon on through http://talentrack.in/yogimusic and on YouTube:

  1. The YogiB Orchestral
  2. The Ghazal – a genre of ‘feelings’ and classical music

 

 

 

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Happy New Year and in India, let the Music Play!

As the year 2016 bids adieu, the people may not, but the morning newspaper sure carries all the many ways that one can have the best of it as the year turns 2017 on the 31st. Now, that is one constant, which I hope the world keeps the way it is (smiley).

So if you are planning for the raunchiest party in the city or to sit quietly at home with any part of your family, watching the ‘stars’ celebrate it on TV since you have stood in Queues at banks and won’t brave city traffic, you would want to hear the “Bass & Kick” music, the way ‘babby’ likes.  For those who are not familiar, this last bit was famous the catch-line of the most popular Bollywood song in 2016 (Baby-ko-Bass-pasand-hai) – that’s the way it is, guys!

Times are where that is all we need to hear of  ‘music’ from whosoever. The lyrics, expression and emotion are ‘dated’ concepts in times when people; the best of us for that matter, have just too much on minds and we all need hi-octane ‘thuds’ stronger than our heart-beats and cymbal-crashes harsher than the chaos around us, just to make us feel ‘alive’.

For others there is politics and world affairs to rue, with assumption that nobody in his right mind ever wants to celebrate his New Year that way unless your country got independence from a tyrant that year or something as mind blowing as that. For my dear Americans, my kind courtesies on that account please and I ain’t said nothing!

For Indians in India, the PM’s ‘brave’ move of ending corruptive India for good by banning high denomination currency one fine evening of 2016 will be the talking point for a long time on. Also in 2017 we shall see an India where we follow traffic signals religiously. And if we don’t, then the traffic policeman will politely ask for your license, cut the challan and you will coolly deposit the fine through your “e-wallet”. You will not even think of offering him a ‘whatever’ because ‘bribe’ would have become a word used only on the EPIC and HISTORY channels on TV, or on the many pending court cases in India on any corruptive intent, which will be up for trial and deliver their verdicts in 2017 as has been promised per today’s news reports by our leader.

Personally this was a year when I never got paid for any of my efforts, which does not mean that I was out of ‘work’ of course; so I did what was next best – which is, to sit tight, not spend and my Godly talents to sing and compose music all by myself with zero expense leading to momentary nirvana; having done much on ‘the sides’ over a decade in preparation and a lifetime of casual endeavor.

As a family we saved a lot more money that way too because I realized that when we earn, we like to spend all. Now that Modiji has set all his plans so Indian people find lesser and lesser motivation to spend, I strongly support the idea as now I have seen first hand the virtues of ‘forced coercion to hold our wallet’ and the spouse or your girl friends or whoever it is for you who extorts from you for feeble reasons will not complain! All of you find reasons to be out-of-job please; then it will not be ‘coerced’ conversion (chuckle!).

That way it has been a peculiar year, this 2016 where most of us just took the easy path to ‘praise the leader’ at his every speech and move; while others grew bolder with their disgruntlement over superior authority who has seized away a hitherto ‘way of life’ with such disdain as if the ‘aam aadmi’ (ordinary man) is a scapegoat to world-wide terrorism and international corruption ‘either way’!

And what of the ‘ordinary educated, high salaried & worldly’ citizen of today living in the cyber-class metro localities of the country and who form the section of society which is most active on social media with blogs, educated “WhatsApp” discussions, Facebook arguments, et al?

This breed of a ‘citizen’ is ideally the devil’s advocate in present context. Generally speaking there is a considered ‘love’ for the country which appears now and then (hi-Q patriotism) when inwardly he/she is hoping they were somewhere in US/Europe/Abu-Dabi or had a house and bungalow larger, bigger and more luxurious than one they are living in or he/she can live that kinda life in a metro city in his/her middle-class colony; be it a cybercity or a classy-ish habitat as far on outskirts like a Navi Mumbai or Gurgaon. Apologies if that seems like getting at anybody somehow, but I meant to define a man/woman of today to my best. These are the people who make India and are in my view, the facilitators of change as their own drive to excel translates ideally and hopefully to GROWTH and development; buoyed by motivation and constant nudging of their fine employers or clients, as the case may be.

I find myself somewhere at the cusp of belonging to such society and hard as it has continued to become for friends and associates, I find it extremely difficult to define myself; more so now after musical ‘bassNdrum’ began to flow this fantastic year of 2016. Like all self-development schemes the admiration and criticism from others usually come on heels or each other, although they rarely come as expression in words by most. To some there is an age-factor to do anything and to many still in our society, to strive towards anything with a bold agenda to excel beyond ordinariness confuses! The reactions whether direct or just plain indicative, have been educative for me in terms of “perceptions” if not shocking at times even as the ‘hurt’ phase has expired just for improvements each day and thank God for that.

Modiji, our dear honorable PM commendably announces his intentions the way no other leader before has like “dekho….aage kya hota hai!” (see what I will do next); so we are all confused and waiting to see what next and run to newspaper each morning to see what he has thrown out of the system next.

So watch me and listen, just like that you all too please (wink!) and welcome 2017 with my songs and if you say ‘like’ they will come even better and if you cannot, thank you still because I am not Modiji and silences for us mortals too are just….that as well (smiley)! The bass is there, but ‘baby’ a little tough until you take my music AWAY from the ‘home’ (smiley+winks)!

And as for the politics and social upheaval, India has always found the better way ahead and this time we shall too. My sincere prayers for smooth transition and the winner is India and only India with a new thought and hopefully the drum-n-bass shall have the lyrics heard too!

http://www.facebook.com/yogiNfriends

http://talentrack.in/yogeshmusic

https://www.youtube.com/yog007esh

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New Delhi Diary – 2

I must start this blog of today with an apology and some kind of a statutory warning that what you are about to read may not be comfortable for some sensibilities and might leave you with stench and vision of an India that so long we have managed to sweep away from our very thought and vision.

Our PM’s ‘clean India (swachh Bharat )’ program is in full swing; so we are blessed to have come face to face with the ‘ordinary man’ who defecates in the open and whose son these days is mocking him for planning to buy a TV set for Diwali saying, “Dad you will never stay home to watch the TV anyway, since you do not use the toilet which you constructed last year”.

This advert from the government as a jingle, page or voice-over has been following me all day last few days, whether it is the FM radio in my car, or the TV serial break, even the newspapers have full page adds encouraging people to use the toilets. So my mind is working overtime, where I can suddenly and intuitively smell some kind of defecation everywhere I go these days, stronger than ever before.

But hey, this is definitely not the central theme of my blog today, so smell easy! It was just a prelude and trigger to write so you stay healthy and think ‘clean’, no pun intended.

The line of thinking was triggered when I was taking a walk along the street of my residence this last night few hours ago as pre-Diwali parties blared music intermittently on either side. Since the homes are now all lit up with Chinese LEDs (thank God for China’s contribution to our festivals and worship), after a long time I was actually seeing the houses lined up with cars, many of them had huge SUVs parked, that went well past the ramps and obstructing part of the street itself.

Over the years, as our cars grew in numbers and sizes, the ramps grew larger too and I really do not even know when it was, that those open channel drains which used to run alongside the walls of our homes a decade or so ago have now disappeared! The sloped terrain of my neighborhood now allows the roads to get flooded anytime it rains heavy during monsoon. Very soon Delhi could be Venice, but a very unhealthy one because we still would not have the gumption to keep that water clean like they do in Europe.

But no, my imagination is running amok today; so let me share the flip side of this whole idea. Well, I am a marine engineer by education, infrastructure professional and possess some kinky imagination when it comes to piping, be it for sewage, waste-water, water or any other fluids; since we are trained to trace each and every pipe on a ship the moment we join one.

So, I started thinking where did these storm water and waste-water drains disappear. If they are now stuffed with muck or got blocked by concrete, then where is all that water running alongside the roads now going to end up? In the park down the road or the market round the block?

Does anyone ever wonder that the moment we flush our toilet, where the water goes and finally ends up? Do the sewage lines and waste water lines run separate or they conjoin at some location to join those wide and deep nullahs that join with larger ones on outskirts of Delhi and then end up in the Yamuna river? Remember the time when a water line had sewage actually leaking into it in New Delhi? I do and now you know why, right?

If that was so, then what was the difference from one of us who flushes his classy toilet through a touch screen panel in a American modular concept to one who directly puts it along the Yamuna banks, as the man who defecates in the open? We are simply not sure, admit it folks!

Truth is that none of us is educated enough to take a guess how the pipes run under and beyond our homes and localities and we do not care. Also across generations, we are getting more and more carefree and care less for what happens next beyond our physical selves. We care about how clean our house is up to those car ramps, but would not care where the filth ends up, once it’s out from here.

Now there’s nothing new or exciting about this so let me stop right here. But, remember our parents and grandparents took so much interest in community and were voicing what should be done and what not and lines like “when we were young, we used to…..” that made us go “not again!”. Seriously, youth gives us just enough room to find our bearing within the ‘system’ and I am at the age now – to question the system. Sounds ominous? Not any more; see I am writing to find the writer in me and writers do just that!

If mundane issues like toilet usage, right to use of water, government’s obligations to provide effective sewage evacuation and clean water and hygienic environment are not questioned how can we as a country ever realistically conceive to come at par with the western world, who in turn is even calling us a futuristic superpower?

So let this Diwali be for cleansing our mindsets to at least think healthy; while using our apps, knowledge sources et al, let’s get thinking about small things like pipes and drainage so we can lay the questions to a government on a “man ki baat” kind of forums.

Let’s test and see how our governments and leaderships are actually planning in their adverts of a new vision for India. Let us show we are not so weak and ineffective that we are incapable to enforce our citizen rights when we have claims on using google and having an app for everything.

Are these reserves of knowledge we have earned just so we can relive our youth laughing at forwarded WhatsApp jokes and absorbing saintly wisdom from somebody who may not care one bit of what he just thought was wise enough to share?

Now, how much wiser does this realization that defecating on a e-processor toilet system that does not incinerate potentially end up same place where that ‘ordinary man’ defecates? Did you just realize he has his justification and loves the country and his surroundings just as much as our educated selves?

If you are holding your Android on your toilet seat to read this right now – man, just think! Living on outskirts of Delhi anywhere close to the nullahs off Yamuna up to Hindon river has become a smeller’s nightmare within a lot less than my lifetime, so intuitive projections are alarming.

(PS: Yes, the Ministry of Water and Sanitation( all ministries nowadays) do have apps; please check them out once in a while, you might get answers…how horrible can the future potentially be.)

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