Saturday, October 25, 2008

Desensitizing Violence

Ten years ago, the word "rape" would cause me to twitch uncomfortably. Today, this news assaults the ear continuously that it seems like it is quite a normal event. Even under the current conditioning, a few events were shockers (the rape of a nun in Orissa, the rape of a young girl in broad daylight in Mumbai by a policeman and so on). A few days back, when driving through mount road in Chennai, gory photographs of dead Sri Lankan Tamils were visible. For some reason, these images passed through my eyes without causing a flutter. Looking back, I think it was the Rwandan genocide that really exhausted all the shock senses. Every possible atrocity that could be conceived on a human was completed during that period (a million corpses in three months). I was not aware of this event when it was actually occurring (1994), but I learnt about it later.

Now, I do not know how to contextualize all these events that occur on these lines. Shock doesn't help. Anger doesn't help. Helplessness doesn't help. And for more than one reason, the choice to ignore is no longer available.

My intention is not to make this a philosophical musing, but to see if there is personal relevance for us in the situation. There is one thing we can do. It is to use all these events to look deeper within ourselves. There is only one way we can help. It is to be that which we wish to create, and if possible, create such a climate in our nearby surroundings. I happened to hear Sadhguru say this recently (translated from Tamil) - "When you got angry, irritated or jealous, you did not consider that to be a big deal nor did you understand that was violence. But when it took a monstrous form on the road, you suddenly thought it was inappropriate". What we see in ubiquity today, once took root as a seemingly trivial human thought. These thoughts came together one day and then...

I am sure all of us nurture thoughts like these within us in varying degrees of intensity (my due apologies in the event you belong to the rarer kind). In the context of what is happenning nowadays, I think we need to take a very close look at this and decide what it is that we wish to create within and without.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

MTC Buses

Unless you have travelled in one, you cannot relate to the experience :)Happy

Anyway,this post is about the plight of the conductors. It is a truly thankless job. First, there is the problem of overcrowding and ensuring that all people have tickets. Then, there is the problem of people not tendering exact change, and finally the problem of maintaining ticket sales. This leads to a lot of frustration and it is quite rare to see a happy or peaceful conductor especially during peak hours Happy

This post is to touch upon the last aspect, because it is the most overlooked aspect from a commuter perspective - maintaining ticket sales! If you are aware, a trip on an MTC bus is divided into stages. A "stage" is where the ticket rate to the same destination drops because the distance is reduced. So it is the conductors responsiblity to clear off unticketed passengers before the stage changes. Frequently, especially during peak hours, the bus stops so the conductor can clear off any backlogs. It is a passenger nightmare. Happy There is nothing to blame the conductor here for, that is the process chalked out to him/her (very few hers!). Crowd apart, there is this sheet he has to fill out at each stage marking serial numbers of the ticket denominations he has to keep tally. It is truly a production support environment with continuous pressure!

Now, there is no need for all this complexity. I think it is time to enlist technology. The other day, I was travelling in a deluxe bus (this means that the ticket rate is 4 times the normal rate with no visibly additional facility!), I saw this conductor holiding a digital priting device. He just printed out a ticket for whatever destination we asked for, and for multiple tickets purchased by a single person, it was still a single ticket (imagine counting 20 individual sheets in a crowded atmosphere). Best of all, it is the keeping track. The conductors head is all clear of keeping track of stages as the tiny machine does that. Once before the stage, I saw him press an "Update" button that supposedly syncs some internal databases with the stage data.

This sort of technology change is long long overdue and must be brought in wherever feasible. It must be expedited at least at critical junction points where there is a lot of frustration involved in getting things done!
A side thought - if the government doesn't take care of these things, why else do we need one? Because, the bigger issues are still in the same state for years as well!

  1. Train tickets (we have etickets now for long distance travels), but local train tickets are still a headache. A vending machine concept was piloted, but I am yet to come across a working machine! Happy
  2. Auto rickshaws - despite the mandate, no one uses meters. You must be here to see the haggling involved before a trip commences. Can't we employ technology to track this? What if we fine the passenger in a random audit for not using the meter (instead of the driver!?)]
  3. Traffic signals (this deserves a separate post!)

Ticket Sample:

Note: The images above are licensed with creative commons.
The copyright for these images belong to PlaneMad. Click on the images to view them on PlaneMad's website.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Siberian Husky

You Are a Siberian Husky

You love to stay active, especially if running is involved.

You are athletic and strong. Working out and playing sports just feels like fun to you.

You are cooperative and friendly. You get along with others, especially when you're on a team together.

You have strong instincts. It's sometimes hard to ignore what the voice in your head is saying.

Note: The image in this post is licensed with creative commons.
The copyright for this image belongs to IrisDragon. Click on the image or here to view the image on IrisDragon's website.

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