Down Memory lane

I had not been checking my Facebook account regularly. Frankly I got a bit bored with the daily dose of smiling faces, holiday pictures and very well intentioned but boring advice on various matters of no significance. In fact I deleted the FB app from my mobile, which as everyone knows is as good as deleting FB totally. This happy state of affairs continued for many months . And then it happened. My mobile crashed.

In this modern mobile centric world, life comes to a full halt without the mobile. Immediate corrective action is called for and without wasting any time, a new mobile was procured. While downloading and re installing the contacts and very many apps , FB once again re appeared on my mobile. With nothing better to do I opened FB once again to find a few hundred friend requests waiting for my action. Among the many strange names and stranger personalities seeking my friendship was one from my class of 1971 in School back in Trivandrum, a mere 47 years ago. As I struggled to connect the face to old memories ;memories of a thatched school building and a dome faced pebble strewn ground which served as a football field came tumbling out.

A collage of faces, all colours and shapes; the performers, the teachers favourite, the sportsman, the musician and of course the joker ( we now call them stand up comedians ). The budding cricketer (lovingly called V) whose selection in the state cricket team was but a question of time who started of two years my senior but to the best of my knowledge never really bothered to clear any examinations , such was his focus on cricket.

We had our own Yesudas cum Kishore cum Rafi all rolled into one , always ready to entertain us with his songs. Last heard of he is enjoying his retired life and continues to entertain his friends.

Our history master fondly nicknamed Baldy for obvious reasons had a very interesting style of teaching . Every sentence began and ended with his favourite phrase “you know”. And thus he earned yet another Nick name “you know”

Our mathematics master was a colorful character fresh out of college , bubbling with energy and impatient to share his higher mathematical skills .

As I scroll down the images in my mind’s eye , I keep wondering about the whereabouts of my old friends. Maybe one day I will bump into them once more at the airport or the railway station if not on social media. Meanwhile, thank you old friends for the memories .

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Justice delayed is justice denied…

The news channels are busy . Salman Khan of bollywood fame has been sentenced to spend some time in prison for hunting black bucks in 1998 that is 20 years ago. It has taken our justice system 20 years to pronounce a sentence which anyway can be appealed in a higher court . How many more years before Salman is either acquitted or punished ?

The black buck is dead and gone. Probably a few of the actors in the original drama in 1998 have also left for their heavenly abode. Meanwhile our public prosecutors and defending lawyers for the accused as well as the judges have spent maybe many hundreds or even thousands of hours of their valuable time on this case, while the backlog of court cases keeps increasing. Is it any wonder that a section of society prefer Khap panchayats?

A very special day

Another beautiful day. Another band call. This time in protest against the delay in setting up the Cauvery Management Board. A just cause as any and worthy of support by every citizen and resident of this beautiful state.

However none of the well read and educated worldly wise men and women are able to tell me how a strike supported by all opposition parties and ruling party can help further the cause or put pressure on the central government in far away Delhi. A nice paid holiday for all residents of Tamil Nadu is always welcome. The niggling thought comes up , if the Central Government has to take notice why not protest in Delhi . Shouldn’t our elected representatives be doing their job instead of stopping the Tamil Nadu citizens from doing theirs.

The joy of dealing with Our citizen friendly everhelpful bureaucrats

Most residents of Tamil Nadu will be familiar with above picture which adorn the walls of many Government offices. (http://www.tnreginet.net/team_info.asp)

One of the purposes of TeAM is easier and transparent interaction with public. The above link clearly talks about some great citizen friendly attributes such as

Maximise satisfaction of registrants

Security of data

Anywhere registration

Online registration

Online payment

Online service

The website also claims simplified transparent registration in a single visit and provision for Aadhaar based services.

Last month my friend’s daughter got married. As per the rules marriage registration has to be done within 90 days . Of course with our very helpful and co operative officers and e goverment being seriously implemented , we expected this process to be quick and simple.

It took quite a few visits to the Registrar’s office for us to realise that registration of a marriage is a very complicated process. We also realised that Aadhaar is not acceptable as proof of address and anyway it has to be produced in original. Now this is very confusing as UIDIA clearly states that Aadaar number is sufficient as the ID can be verified on line. Apparently all rules are subject to suitable interpretation by our erudite babu’s.

The next surprise , proof of residence can be established only by ration card . Even though Aadaar card and valid driving licence is submitted , ration card is still a must. It naturally follows that without a ration card one may not marry as one cannot register a marriage without a ration card. Strange indeed are the ways of our babu’s as a ration card is only required for subsidised rations. So does that mean those who do not need government rations may not marry? Needless to say while we were impressed with the modern office with no dusty files littered around , the human element hasn’t changed much. Unfriendly , slow, unsmiling (grim faced) , un helpful and so on.

And finally yes the marriage certificate has been signed and will hopefully be handed over to the newly weds (not so newly) if they can satisfy a few more conditions of the babu’s.

Bharat Mata Ki Jai! May be only Goddess Durga can help us.!!

Incidentally the above is a true experience , venue Coimbatore , date this afternoon 4 March 2018 ; Result : Awaited

Give me a call or text me!

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Smoke signals

The smoke signals were among the oldest forms of long distance communication. Cumbersome , slow and dependent on weather but it still served its purpose of communicating over longer distances by visual signals.

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The good old rotary phone

Many from this generation would have seen the good old rotary phone only in pictures and museums. When Alexander Graham Bell, a man of vision , a public speaker an expert on sound and a teacher of deaf children made that historic phone call to his assistant Mr.Watson on the 10th of March 1876, he carved a name for himself in the history of mankind and also revolutionized the way people communicated. Telephony has gone a long way since that fateful day. The terminal equipment has become smaller lighter and more aesthetic. With more electronics , better sound quality and bundled features it bears no resemblance to the cumbersome instrument that Alexander Bell first used.

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An early version of the mobile phone

With Motorola producing the mobile handheld mobile phone in April 1973 , communication was further revolutionized. Martin Cooper , a Motorola executive made the first mobile call from a handheld device to Dr.Joel S.Engel a researcher at Bell Labs , thus signalling the new era of talking and communicating no matter where you are. This device has taken the world by storm and it has become as much a part of our daily life as a pen or a wristwatch.

With technological advancements , we are now in the age of the apps, when our mobile phone serves multiple applications so much so that it has become a device which is also used for voice communication. The ubiquitous mobile phone is now our banker, identity card, a reasonably good camera, a reasonably good video camera, a music player, an alarm clock and so on.

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In Dec 1992 a developer Neil Papworth sent the first text message to Richard Javis and thus the SMS or Short Messaging Service was born . With SMS communication became even simpler.

We now live in the age of communication with a variety of communication platforms voice calls,text messages, whats App, On line chats and so on. We live in a world with excessive communication capability where the latest news, happenings, personal thoughts, moods etc are broadcast to the world at large.

A Bank scam in the Land of scams

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We live in the land of scams. The 2010 commonwealth games was a golden opportunity for our scamsters , delays in finalizing contracts, payments to non existent vendors for services never delivered and so on. Suresh Kalmadi , chairman of the organising (fraud) committee was accused of financial wrongdoing ( a few 100 crores) and improper planning ( actually the scam was well planned though the games was not) . As per the accepted Indian custom, slowly the focus on the case waned and Suresh Kalmadi got bail and dropped out of sight.

The Fodder scam in 1996 with the bureaucrats and lawmakers dipping their hands into the till to the tune of 900 crores,led by the irrepressible Lallu Prasaad Yadav and his henchmen showed scant respect for the law and a total lakh of ethics. Even though about 500 accused were convicted including Lallu Prasad Yadav, he continued to control the state through his proxies.

Then of course we have the Satyam scam, 2G spectrum scam, coal gate or the coal scam and the many bank scams.

Continue reading “A Bank scam in the Land of scams”