Sunday, 7 August 2016

Calling it a day - the last post

Its been a long journey writing my heart out on blogger for over 7 years now. When I started, I did dream that this blog will have millions of readers and focused a lot of attention to make that happen. For a fact in life, many dreams end up as dreams. As some self appreciation, I wouldn't mind patting my own back for getting over 2 lakh page views on this blog. It could have been 3 lakh if I hadn't done the foolish thing of deleting the blog and restarting it about 3 years ago.

With the whole world blogging, there are more writers than readers these days. Moreover, blogging is slowly becoming a thing of past as there is so much instant content generated on each topic by professionals themselves that amateurs hardly find a mention. Without much ado, I thank everyone who has been a part of this journey.

This is definitely not an end of the blogging journey, but a pause to reflect where things are heading and perhaps, start afresh with something meaningful, something more appealing than just one blog where that I run like a scrapbook. So much scrap around, life hasn't been messier before, and its some time to clean up, reduce responsibilities of all sorts, lower confrontations, minimize expectations, kill some dreams, and spend more time breathing clean air and drinking fresh water, something I haven't done for quite some time now.


Friday, 24 June 2016

Europe, Eurozone, European Union, #BrExit is more about British than EU

The world is watching with a great interest to see if Britain will leave the European Union (EU), and topics similar to this have been surfacing every now and then from the time the EU was formed. Here's an attempt to present what's happening for those who may want to understand this complicated stuff in simple words (hopefully).

Approximately 50 countries form a part of Europe
Its the second smallest continent by surface area (2% of earth, 7% of land)
Russia is the largest country in Europe, both by area and population, and Vatican city the smallest
Europe has roughly 11% of world population (~740 million)

European Union
Union of 28 countries primarily in Europe that have decided to have close coordination among themselves. The EU has 7 decision making bodies -  European Parliament (legislature), European Council (impetus & direction), Council of the EU (legislature), European Commission (executive), Court of Justice of the EU (judiciary), European Central Bank (ECB), and Court of Auditors. These institution were established around 1958 when the European Community was being created.
EU has ~7.5% of world population but generates ~24% of the world's GDP (nominal, 2014).
26/28 countries have a very high human development index.
EU won the Nobel peace prize in 2012.
Total area of EU countries is 4.4m sqkm (approximately 32% more than India).
UK is a part of EU

Eurozone or Euro Area
A monetary union of 19 of the 28 European Union (EU) member states that have the Euro (€) as their common currency

Who are these 19 countries that have EUR as their currency?
Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.

Who are the 9 countries of the EU that do NOT have EUR as their currency?
Bulgaria- Bulgarian lev, Croatia - Croatian kun, Czech Republic - Czech koruna, Denmark - Danish krone, Hungary - Hungarian forint, Poland - Polish złoty, Romania - Fourth Romanian leu, Sweden - Swedish krona, United Kingdom - Pound sterling

Now, UK wants to exit the European Union for several reasons, which are very well discussed by several people across the world. The reasons stated include political reasons, economy related reasons, immigration related reasons, reasons relating to UK's contribution to EU bailout packages that is an additional burden, and so on.

Read the rest of the article at

Saturday, 18 June 2016

India switches to flight mode - Enough to take off? #CivilAviationPolicy

India has unveiled its New Aviation policy that is intended to boost the aviation sector both intra-nationally and internationally. The two big announcements are
  1. Cap of Rs 2,500 for one hour flights
  2. Scrapping of 5/20 norm

Cap of Rs 2,500 for one hour flights

Last year, about 80 million Indians flied (6.7% of total population is a minuscule number), which is a very small percentage considering India's middle class population of 350 million. According to Government, India is one of the least penetrated air markets in the world with 0.04 trips per capita per annum as compared to 0.3 in China and more than 2 in the USA. Capping of fares and adding new airports are aimed to provide people with enough opportunities to fly. Over the next 3 years, 50-80 airports are expected to be revived/added in smaller towns, implying that India will have twice the number of airports we have today (75). New airports will help in avoiding a detour or connecting through another mode to an airport in a different city, and lower prices will attract more passengers. As more passengers come in, airlines can fly larger aircraft economically, instead of costlier ATRs or other smaller aircraft. India's aviation sector registered a 22% growth this year and the Government expects to see up to 60% growth in the next 5 years, a massive number, taking the number of fliers to 300 million in the longer run, making India the 3rd largest market (from 9th now). The goal is very ambitious but considering India's price sensitive consumers, the fare cap may just play the trick.

Thus, the regional air connectivity scheme aims to ensure affordable, convenient and cheap flying. Airlines are set to get tax incentives for operating on un-served routes. Passengers, however, will be levied a fee towards regional connectivity fund. The Government also intends to have a cap on fares during national calamities, a definite welcome move.

Scrapping of 5/20 norm

Until now, domestic airlines could fly overseas only after 5 years of operating locally and having a minimum fleet size of 20. From now, any domestic airline can fly overseas if they deploy 20 planes or 20% of their total capacity for domestic operations. This rule benefits new carriers like Air Asia, Air Vistara and puts some competition in to the kitties of older carriers.

There hasn't yet been a decision on auctioning of additional bilateral rights or on FDI, which continues at 49%. Further, the open skies rule for beyond 5,000 km, but not within 5,000 km continues to be there, as the Government feels its premature to take off this rule, as airlines still need time to become capable of facing the competition. The Civil Aviation Ministry will come out with initiatives to develop new airports, separate regulations for helicopters and measures to boost skill development in the aviation sector. Most developments are supposed to be done using AAI's funds, and may not be passed on the passengers.

Source: IBEF

Some pain points of aviation in India

Friday, 3 June 2016

#2yearsofModiGovt Is Modi really #TransformingIndia? I bet..

A country with over 1.2 billion people spread across all kinds of geography and economics doesn't transform itself in a year or two. For any visible change in India, it will at least take 5-7 years. With this in the background, lets try to see if there is some change really visible in the 2 years of Modi government.

A lot has already been said and written about various initiatives that the government has taken for general welfare of people, promotion of manufacturing industry, enabling entrepreneurship, etc. A simple google search would throw up a list of such measures taken over time to bring a positive change in the country. However, in my personal opinion, it is a herculean task to bring about a change in India. Any ways, even the WSJ now is of the opinion that there is really some change. That should end the whole debate, and so, I do not have to speak anything about economics or finance as the big boss has already spoken at

When I voted for Modi 2 years ago, all I wanted was large scale corruption to end. And it seems like my vote hasn't gone waste. In 2 years, there is a loud statement by corporate that corruption at high level has become non-existent. This is perhaps the biggest change that has happened in our country. We must note here that people fought for 60 years, did all kind of efforts, there was also this recent Anna movement, and then some shows by Kejriwal and the likes on corruption but none could bring about a change. It was all talk. So, I guess the biggest success I point out is the end of corruption at the macro level. Now, at the micro level, we still see instances. Hopefully, these should come down as well.

Modi is one person who has been constantly under fire from all places - media, people, fellow politicians, etc. He is one person who has been under pressure to prove himself each day, despite being such an astounding success. This is perhaps why he is always on his toes, unlike many other politicians who can afford a nap when they want to. In fact, most of those who have the political lineage don't even have to certify themselves in any manner. There was this huge hue and cry over his BA & MA degrees, which was so disgusting. Some people get to any level to wash their dirty linen. Now, the reason to speak all this is that here is a man who can not take anything for granted. He ought to give his best on everything, and the best part of it all is, he loves to.

We have moved on from which minister made how much money is which scam to such pathetic news like intolerance, quotes on country, who met whom and said what, etc. This itself is a big progress. Modi has got the country talking, and the youth and the responsible quarter of the country understand how things are happening, leaving the media with some stale news items. Now, this is not a claim that Modi alone will change this country. Modi, as one man, can do very little. It is this force that he is adding in everyone to bring about a change that things are happening. He is the officer in chief of country, and he's definitely doing some kick ass work for sure.

My most favorite change in the country is the mood/sentiment. Remember the last few years of life and your opinion about the country and its future. How many times have you said or heard, "Iss des ka kuch nahi ho sakta?" How often do you get to hear such a statement these days? Why have people stopped using such a sentence? It is because we all are now aware that "Iss des ka kuch ho raha hai".
Des badal raha hai..

The race will always be run by the people. The challenge is to put a billion people on the run, and keep their spirits high, so that they emerge victorious. And to this extent, the 2 year old government is doing a great job.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Fighting fire triggered by a short circuit in neighbor's home

It was about 1 AM. I had just come back from work, and was trying to get some sleep. While I was catching some sleep, there was someone shouting, "Help Help". I thought I was dreaming even before I fell asleep. It appeared like someone was standing opposite to my window and asking for help. I didn't bother much and tried to catch sleep. The shouts increased, and soon, I was able to smell some smoke. I walked out of my room to see what happened. I saw that a family was trapped in their balcony, and it appeared like fire had broken out. I could observe from my balcony that there was smoke coming out of the other room. I was still unable to convince myself that something like this was really happening. I thought I was sleep walking in my dreams. I went in to the kitchen and had a glass of water. The smoke increased and it was then that I came in my senses. I rushed out of my house to see that the home right next to mine was in a mess. There was 3 ladies and 3 kids trapped in the house, unable to know what to do. I ran to wake up the security. Even other neighbors started coming out.

We were clueless about what had happened and what we should be doing. We called up the fire brigade and they promised to come soon. But the situation was turning worse, and by then, we made out that a short circuit had triggered the fire in home. I couldn't believe that a short circuit could be so massively dangerous. The first thing we did was to turn off the electricity connection for the entire apartment. We were unable to stop ourselves from doing something and we couldn't wait till the fire brigade. 4 of us walked over to the main door and started checking if we can enter in. We ran back and forward to ask the family if they had a key, or if there was an alternate door, etc. Though they gave us a key, it just helped us open the add on door, and not the main door. 

We decided to break open the door. The door was really strong. Despite us kicking it to the best of our energies, it had no effect. We got a rod and started smashing it, and a layer of the door was broken. Yet, the lock area was so strong that it just didn't break. We continued smashing it vigorously, and finally, it was broken. The moment the door was broken, a flush of smoke came out of the house. I still had my own doubt on whether this incident happened due to a short circuit or some cylinder burst. We just couldn't enter the house, as it was filled with smoke. I could see with great difficulty that almost everything in the house was burnt.

The fire brigade arrived by then, and they took a quick step spraying water, and doing their process to solve the issue. In moments, the police and ambulance too arrived. All this happened in a span of 8-10 minutes. They too were unable to enter the house. Finally, they had to use protective gear, mask and suit to walk in to the house and rescue the family. By God's grace, all the 6 members of the family were safely brought out of the house. First came the grandmas who were just unable to even walk. We took them downstairs and made them sit. They were crying to the core. Then came the kids, and at last, came the mother. She was simply inconsolable. She was searching for her kids, without being aware that they had already come out. It was a great sigh of relief for her when she saw the kids out there.

Slowly, as the smoke cleared, we saw that everything that is connected to electricity had burnt and the house was completely devastated. The TV and music system had turned into some liquidized state, the fan was hanging broken, and even the furniture (woolen, and cotton, but not wood) had burnt. It was just a terrible scene. It remains a disbelief for me even today that a short circuit can trigger such a damage. We walked off from the place as the police and other regulatory authorities took over.

A lesson that I learnt from this entire episode is to make sure we turn off the electricity switches when we are not using them, and keep anything that is conducive of electricity away from switches. 

Stay safe!