Sunday, April 20, 2008

Random thoughts on a weekend

A new project to construct a railway link into the Chennai Airport has been drafted. It is a good move as it also connects a few other locations for which there are no railway connectivity currently (Washermanpet etc). I feel a massive project to link all of Chennai is due now - something to the tune of how NYC is currently operating. It will be a massively expensive project (the airport project is ~2000 Cr), but it is worth it. In ten years time, the traffic situation in Chennai will be excruciatingly slow (it already is during peak hours) - train travel will be the only way to reach a place in consistent time.

Again, in relation to the train project, there must also be an initiative to increase the average speed of an Indian train. It must currently average 60kmph. The joke is that within this limit there are umpteen classifications (passenger, express, fast passenger, superfast, superfast express). China recently launched a train that hits 350KMPH! And they call it a "bullet" train appropriately! The bullet train covers a 120KM distance in 30 minutes! My office is ~60km away and it takes 1.5 hours today.

An interesting analysis about the new work-culture that technological advancements are spawning. Office -> Telecommute -> Nomadic. I have sort of glimpsed all three of them essentially because I work in a "production support" environment. Otherwise, my office is generally operating on a "office" culture! Telecommute is rarely allowed, nomadic culture is for executives. I sort of disagree with this demarcation, but there is a lot of complexity in managing the nomadic culture in a 90K employee organization. Without proper process or tracking, it will be insanity!

Jaya TV's "ennOdu pAttu pAdungaL" ("என்னோடு பாட்டு பாடுங்கள்") by SPB is becoming very popular now and they have switched the program to prime time. Yesterday, apart from the regular program event, SPB divulged into social responsibility. He talked about the "spitting culture" and "chewing gum culture" (if you chew gum you are a "cool" guy). I liked this idea of introducing side notes into the main program - every one sees what is going around them, but we sort of take it all for granted. Either, we do not care, or we back off seeing the enormity of the change needed. When some one like SPB talks about these things, people at least tend to listen.

Long after it happened, I had a chance to view Rajni's speech on the Hogenekal issue. Outside the specifics of the issue, the amazing aspect is his ability to cause ripples across both states through his speech. About the issue, we are in a very sad situation. Sadhguru said (out of context - he spoke in general), "... instead of celebrating our differences, we are fighting over it...". The only difference between TN and Karnataka, apart from the imaginary border, is the language being spoken - and we are unable to agree over a protocol to share water. More shameful is that this is being used for political mileage. Situations like these make me think about our 10,000 year culture, then a deep sigh, and then laughter!

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