June 05, 2007
January 08, 2007
September 16, 2006
Two years ago, Bangalore over took California's silicon valley in number of engineers employed. But, is the tag of "silicon valley of India" really appropriate for Bangalore. With my first hand experience here in Bangalore, It is clear that Bangalore is much more than silicon valley.
"Bangalore" brand is now globally recognized just as silicon valley is. But the industrial landscape is much more broadly diversified. Of course, much of the growth had been fueled by American companies, however, the Europeans are just now starting to realize it's potential and getting a footprint here.
See Full Article Here.
September 07, 2006
The Pakistani government agreed to meet all the demands of the militants.
Exchange of greetings and gifts between militants and military leaders.
August 21, 2006
There are not enough roads for the amount of traffic. Every inch, every millimeter is taken up on the road. Talk about efficiency. Very high.
Roads are in horrible conditions. Some better than others, but in general, mostly broken up. No paved shoulders. Lanes on same road vary from 1 to 2 to 3 depending on the area. Many outside lanes have tree trunks blocking the lane. Since the tree was cut to expand the road, the trunk is still left in the ground. So that lane is practically useless, causing more problem than actually helping traffic. Some of the potholes are so huge on Bannerghatta road, I'm sure you can find motorcycles or rickshaws in there if you look deep enough.
Most roads don't have sidewalks. So pedestrians are using the side of the road and blocking the traffic. The few sidewalks that do exist are completely full and so the foot traffic is then overflowing onto the road. No J-walking here.
Roads have what are called 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers, 4-wheelers, and other such creatures.
2-wheelers are mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles. And there are tons of those on the roads. Everybody and their mama seems to have one. And that's another story. It's not just the mamas or the papas on these 2 wheelers. You can literally find the whole family on a scooter. I've seen family of 4 and 5 quite often. And judging by the weight of the mama and the papa, the 2-wheelers suspensions look to be way overloaded and the engines seem to be huffing and puffing.
3-wheelers are auto-rickshaws. Open air taxi service. There are literally millions of these running around the city. Not sure why there are 100 rickshaws for every 100 feet. Nevertheless, they are all buzzing around, zig zagging their way through other traffic and clogging up the roads. They are always in a hurry and spewing out this dark black smoke all over the other motorists. So we have these new cars with very low emission standards, but rickshaws make up for that loss of emissions and about 10 times more.
4 wheelers ofcourse are cars, SUVs, and Vans. Mind you these are all motorized 4-wheelers. Not to mention the cows freely roaming the streets. Bullock carts and camels are not so uncommon either.
Not sure what trucks and buses classify as. Can be 6-wheelers, 8-wheelers, etc. Anyway, you get the point. Suffice it to say, the roads are being roamed by all creatures motorized or non-motorized.
For one to survive in traffic, and get anywhere, here are some guidelines. Try and start driving on the left side. If there is no room, try the right side. If that is blocked, then try the shoulders, the sidewalks, the storefronts, or any other openings that may not be taken up yet.
Have you ever seen an ant line? Now imagine many ant lines criss crossing each other. Ants bumping into each other at intesections. Whichever ant gets to a spot first has the right of way. That basically is the picture of traffic flow in India. There is no stopping or slowing at intersections. More like speeding up around corners, generally scaring the heck out of pedestrians and causing more traffic confusion. There is no checking of cross traffic while making a turn. It's the other person's job to slam on the brakes and let you in.
There is no right of way in driving. It's truely the survival of the most daring. If you dare to stick your vehicle in front of moving traffic, you either get hit, or others slam on the brakes to let you in the traffic flow. Most times the traffic will jam on the brakes and will let you in, nevertheless, your life is in their hands. You have to just hope and pray that they don't hit you. The rest is up to karma.
Now I know why the Indians drive that way in America. Zig zagging, criss crossing, no stopping or slowing at intersections, or driving on the wrong side of the road. It's the other motorists job to watch out for them, and give them the right of way. They are just a little home sick.
August 16, 2006
August 05, 2006
One, the duality of politeness. It has even been debated in the media here. More so for Mumbai than Bangalore, but can be applied to India overall. The image of Indians is that they are very polite. And in many ways, there is no doubt about it. If you are a client or if you are visiting a 4 or 5 star hotel, you definitely get the 5 star politeness treatment.
However, if you go through the daily routines, you quickly notice that there is an aura of the opposite of politeness. In supermarket lines, people cutting in from all sides, is a perfect example. People just move in as if you don't even exist. They don't care how long the other person has been standing in line. As long as they can get in first, that's what counts. This is not a once in a while experience. This is a normal experience. This goes on at any public lines. Airport security lines, bank lines, car rental, etc.. are no exceptions.
One prime example of this "rude" behavior I want to discuss, but first let me make it clear this is rude only in my eyes, having been used to the life in America. Seems it's not all that rude or impolite here for the locals. Not only are they use to it, they also have to practice it to survive. The reason I say it's only rude to me is this example I want discuss which is the traffic behavior.
There are traffic rules, and lane lines, but nobody follows them. All intersections where there is no police direction are complete gridlock. I will have more about the traffic and driving habits in a different article. But, suffice it to say, the attitude seems very selfish, where everyone tries to get ahead of everyone else. At times, it seems very efficient, but mostly its' very dangerous.
Two, the duality of respecting life, more specifically women's life. Women are worshipped as gods. Mothers are very highly respected in family life. Yet, here is the duality of this. The rate of abortion of female fetuses is still very high. In the old days, the argument was that boys were more desirable to the farming families and for helping and continuing the farming tradition. So the girls, being a burden in that sense, were rejected and aborted. However, now it's not just the poor or farm families. It's the educated and the professionals and even the well to do that have the abortions performed on female fetuses. This has been the subject of debate in the media extensively. Even though it's illegal to abort for sex selections, it goes on daily here. Millions of girls have been killed this way, and yet actual court cases are less than a handful. Needless to say, this sex selection practice in favor of boys continues. Recent articles here and here document some of this. This record is pathetically alarming, amounts to female genocide and goes against any religious teachings.
Once born, the girls then have to bear the burden of dowry. This really becomes a family burden once a girl is born to the day she is married off. In some cases, the atrocity continues even years after the wedding. Married girls are pressured and even beaten to get their side of the families to pay more. Again, this is not just something practiced by the poor or the poorly educated. It is embedded throughout the culture. Dowry is also illegal now. However, the law is totally ignored by most. It almost becomes an honor to receive big dowry or to give big dowry if you can. However, to many it remains a big financial burden for the girls' family. Not just some token money amount is expected. Requests for cars, refrigerators, and other big ticket items are not that uncommon. In some cases the after marriage stress has led to the tragedy of suicides. I say in some cases, since the rate of that occurrence is low, but to hear about it so often is still alarming and disheartening.
There are other examples of this duality nature, but I don't want to make this too long. Are there any explanations for this? Not sure. Are they being selfish? Yes. Are they just following the culture that permeates in the society? Most probably. But if India expects to be part of the larger global community, as it is starting in the IT industry, then I believe, Indians must rise and reject the behaviors that are destructive to individuals, family life, and society. To practice and live by the projected image is a difficult task, but something that is absolutely necessary in this day and age.