Saturday, March 29, 2008

Information Galore - 3

Save Electricity and Energy...Save Environment, Money and Our Earth. Please switch off lights, fans, television sets and other electrical appliances, when not required or when not in use.

Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC)

Attention: Architects, Builders, Building product manufactures, Commercial Space Developers, Design Professionals, Engineers and Citizens of India.

Bureau of Energy Efficiency - A statutory body under Ministry of Power, Government of India has established the ECBC which aims at increasing awareness about efficient use of Energy and its conservation in new Commercial Buildings with a connected load of 500 kW or contact demand of 600 kVA.

ECBC incorporates energy efficiency factors at the design stage itself to reduce the long-term operating energy costs of the buildings.

ECBC defines the norms of energy requirement per sq. metre of area and takes into consideration the climatic region of the country, where the building is located. Norms have been developed to cater to five different climatic zones in India - composite, hot and dry, warm and humid, moderate and cold.

ECBC details the parameters of various building materials to be used in walls, windows, glass, ceilings and floors, to minimize heat gain and thus the cooling cost.

ECBC also covers lighting, Heating, Ventilation, Air-conditioning, Electrical Distribution, Water Heating and pumping systems.

Compliance with ECBC norms is voluntary now, but soon it will become mandatory.

A copy of the "Energy Conservation Building Code - 2007" Manual can be obtained by sending a crossed bank Draft of Rs.200/- + Rs.25/- for postage charges, favouring "Bureau of Energy Efficiency", payable in New Delhi, India to the following address :
Bureau of Energy Efficiency, 4th Floor, Sewa Bhawan, R.K.Puram, New Delhi - 110 066. Tel # 011 - 26179699, Fax # 011-26178352 .

Courtesy : Advertisement by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency in The New Indian Express, Hyderabad, March 29, 2008.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Blame Game

It has been a month since the media has been talking about the death of British teenager Scarlett Eden Keeling in Goa, India. She was found dead under mysterious circumstances on Anjuna beach, Goa on February 18, 2008. She is believed to have been drugged, raped and left to die in the shallow water on the beach by a bartender, Samson D' Souza and an alleged drug dealer, Placido Carvalho. Pictures of Scarlett's mother, Fiona MacKeown, driving to the police station, giving interviews and panel discussions on the subject are aired everyday on television and articles on the same are published everyday in the newspapers.

Ironically, the whole circus is leading nowhere to the actual situation on hands, but to mud slinging and blame game amongst the Goa police, Government of Goa and Fiona MacKeown; peppered with our hounding media and its reports. The issues raised are about Fiona MacKeown's personal background and her irresponsible parenting of nine offsprings , fathered by five different men in her life; the flourishing drug trade and drug mafia in the coastal state of Goa; the Goa police being charged with cover up and what not!

I wonder what torture, pain and helplessness, the young teenager, Scarlett must have undergone in the last tormenting moment in her life. Why are we not able to pin down and punish Samson D'Souza and Placido Carvalho who committed the heinous crime. I also wonder about the plight of the parents of these two irresponsible, wretched living beings and also about their parenting pattern. Every other day we hear about females being molested in India with age and nationality, no bar. As citizens of this country and living in this society, are we not responsible to counter the situation by voicing our concerns and force the authorities to take immediate action and be more sensitive and accountable to such issues. The media has the power to drive and derive justice to the victims, as it has done in some cases. It needs to take up this mission to create more awareness amongst the citizens about their rights and stimulate confidence to join hands and crusade against the evils of this society.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Great Leaders

Baba Amte (1914-2008) - A Selfless Human Being

I first heard about Baba Amte from my mother when I was in middle school. She used to read Marathi magazines and share with me and my brothers interesting information and narrate good stories. During one of those narrations , I heard her talk passionately about Baba Amte and his selfless service to our society's most downtrodden living beings , the lepers - people affected with the scary disease called leprosy.

Baba Amte himself was repulsed at the sight of a leper lying in in a muddy gutter on a rainy night. This successful lawyer; a follower of Gandhian philosophy, responded to the situation, initially with some fear about the disease. But his moment of realization came when he told himself: " Where there is fear, there is no love; where there is no love, there is no God. I must banish this fear from my mind." He did not look back on his decision and renounced his flourishing career to start Anandwan, the first of the three ashrams he established to treat and rehabilitate leprosy inflicted people, especially from the disadvantaged section of our society. Anandwan is located in Warora, Chandrapur district, Maharashtra state, India.

Baba Amte's wife, Sadhana Tai also deserves credit for her selfless service to the mission started by her husband. Their two sons , daughters-in-law and grand sons are all doctors who have dedicated their lives to social work and continue the noble cause started by their parents.

Baba Amte's guiding philosophy in life is summed in the three lines of this poem by an unknown poet :

"I sought my soul, but my soul I failed to see, I sought my God, but my God eluded me, I sought my brother, and I found all three."

He found his brother on that raining night, the leper whose sight repulsed him at first.

Courtesy: Article by R.Prasannan in The Week, February 24, 2008 and Wikipedia

Monday, March 17, 2008

Information Galore - 2

Transport Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh, India - Vehicle registrations in Andhra Pradesh State, India.

It can be done at the Road Transport Authority ( RTA ) on our own, without approaching any Middlemen/Brokers/Dealers for assistance.

A temporary registration for the newly purchased vehicle can be done at E-Seva Centre or RTA located closer to one's residence for Rs. 15/- ; for financed vehicle for Rs. 100/- extra. A Permanent registration requires a fee of Rs. 60/- for two wheeler; Rs.200/- for car.

If any dealer pressurises, call 1074 (Toll Free) or Email to or complain to 9848989874

Courtesy: Advertisement by the Transport Department, Govt of A.P., in the Times of India, Hyderabad Ed, March 2008

Auto Rickshaw Fare Meter Tampering in Hyderabad : Citizens can e-mail their complaints at against auto rickshaw fare meter tampering .

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Information Galore - 1

I have been reading some interesting and useful information relevant for the general public which includes you and me. Some Departments and Ministries of the Government of India and Government of Andhra Pradesh are releasing advertisements in the daily news papers, providing vital information for creating awareness amongst Indian citizens on various topics. I am summarizing the information and publishing the same on my blog as an awareness exercise for our benefit. It is also convenient to have all the related and relevant information in one place.

I begin with

Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution , Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India, Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi - 110 001 . They advise us to
  • Be careful while making purchases
  • Check for adulteration
  • Not be fooled by misleading advertisements
  • To insist on a cash memo
  • To always check the expiry date on products
  • To pay only the mentioned M.R.P on pre-packed items
  • Take care to check correct weight
  • Look for hall-marked jewellery
  • And last but not the least - ISI stands for quality and dependability
If your rights are violated, refer to the consumer forum with your complaints. Log on to National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission to locate the Consumer Redressal Forum in your area.

Courtesy: "Jago Grahak Jago" Advertisement in the Deccan Chronicle dated 16/03/2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cancer in Children

Recently, I was watching a reality TV show on Star Plus : "Amul Voice of India - Chote Ustad" which showcases the singing talent of children. This was an episode where Salman Khan was the celebrity guest and the show was good fun with the sportive Salman pulling off his T-Shirt to display his well toned and muscled body, on request from kids on the sets. He was very sweet with the kids, encouraging and applauding their talents. He danced with them when they requested him and did not put on any starry airs. And then with all the fun and masti came a poignant moment when the organizers of the show had arranged for some children afflicted with cancer to meet with their super hero on the sets. I was choked with emotion watching those tender, enthusiastic, smiling and excited kids undergoing treatment at the TATA Memorial Hospital , Mumbai .

I remembered encountering a six year old girl afflicted with bone cancer and her parents at the Army Command Hospital, Kolkota in December 2007, when I accompanied my mom for her Chemotherapy session. My mom introduced me to her little friend who was lying on the adjacent bed and undergoing the same treatment. This little girl, a year younger to my daughter, with a bald head has a fetish for the "Saas Bahu Hindi Serials" and was watching one, on the TV set displayed in the hospital room. She loves sweets, fried fish and likes to apply mehndi on her hands. But she told me her mother wouldn't allow her to do so for fear of infection while undergoing the chemo sessions. My mom and this kid had a code word for the medicines dangling by their bedsides. The white coloured one is called Rasgoolla ( Bengali Sweet) or Putharekulu ( Andhra Sweet)" . The orange Coloured one is called Jalebi ( North Indian Sweet). It was amazing to see them humouring themselves.

My mom introduced me to the kid's mother and we started conversing in Telugu. The family is from Andhra Pradesh and they speak Telugu. Her husband is an Indian Army personnel. I asked her when the kid was diagnosed of this dreaded disease and what had happened. And this was what she told me:

" It happened a year and half back . My husband was posted in a highly sensitive area and therefore I was staying with my two kids, a daughter and a son ( two years younger than the daughter). One day my daughter came home from school , hurt on the shoulder by hitting the bench in the classroom. The area on the shoulder was looking black and blue and the child was running slight temperature. So I took her to the doctor and with the medicines, the wound appeared healed and the fever subsided. But again after ten days , the fever and pain were back and with subsequent visit to the doctor and medicines, it would normalise. This cycle went on for two months. Then I got panicky and informed my husband, who rushed down and we went to Naval Command Hospital , Vishakhapatnam. The doctors recommended a series of tests and they diagnosed "Bone Cancer". We were informed that the situation was grin and that they will have to remove the shoulder scalp which was infected. My child underwent the surgery and the follow up treatment. Later the cancer spread to other part of the body and she had to undergo another surgery which the doctors told was life threatening . But my child survived and was advised treatment at Army Command Hospital, Kolkota. My husband also got compassionate posting at Barrackpore and now our lives are commuting between home and hospital."

The lady appeared composed and cheerful all through my brief stay at the hospital. She gave me some shopping tips and insight about markets in Kolkota. Her husband came in and she introduced me to him. My mom told me that he also is a very helpful person and a caring dad. I inquired about her 4 year old son and she told me her in-laws were taking care of him at their home town in Andhra Pradesh. The little boy having seen his sister suffer in pain is exceptionally understanding and never cribs. This little girl is eager to meet her brother and play with him. She desperately wants to go to school and lead a normal life. And as I write this, I am again choked with emotion and tears trickle out from my eyes ( I consider myself to be very tough and I don't cry easily). This was exactly what happened when I was conversing with this courageous mother. Thankfully, my brother, a Pediatrician at the hospital walked in and I excused myself and spent some time in his cabin.

Meeting such women, makes me feel that every day is " Women's Day" . I pray for the recovery of this beautiful little child and children like her. When I see children suffering from such dreaded diseases , I wonder if God really exists. Maybe ...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Bloggers Meet in Hyderabad

On Saturday, March 1, 2008, I had the opportunity to enter the MICROSOFT Campus, Hyderabad at Gachibowli, to attend the Bloggers Meet organised by and sponsored by Microsoft. It was the first time I actually went around Gachibowli, which houses the University of Hyderabad, TCS, WIPRO, INFOSYS, CMC, Indian Business School (IBS), and many more offices. We took a MMTS from Begumpet to Lingampalli and then an auto ride to Microsoft campus and reached the venue on dot, at 4.00 pm. My hubby accompanied me and we were the first attendees. And then our fellow bloggers trickled in at the Hyderabadi Standard Time. But it was a good gathering of over 80 guys.

To begin with I was the only female blogger, other then the Microsoft student partner Ms. Sandhya Rajan and later a female student from IIIT, Hyderabad joined in with a group of nearly 15 student bloggers from the same Institution. Wow! and it was interesting to hear that most of the bloggers started to blog because their friends did it. And I thought, this trend was healthier, better and productive than hearing 'I smoke because my friend does'.

The meet was great fun with the ice breaker "One minute of fame" where each blogger got to introduce one's self and Blog. The IndiBlogger Jig was fun and I got to do one, as a comment from my blog was read out. The Skit by the IndiBlogger team was short and sweet. Microsoft's treat, the Pizazz and introduction to Live Writer was OK. And I got to meet some interesting bloggers which was wonderful. To sum it all, the meet was a huge success! Cheers to the IndiBlogger Team, Balaji (who coordinated this event) and Microsoft. Awaiting the T-Shirt and more such meets !

Our return journey was also fun as we hitch-hiked a car ride till Begumpet from a fellow blogger Sudeep and chatted non-stop. We were joined by two other bloggers Srikanth and Ashwin.

Deccan Chronicle, featured an article about bloggers and the meet in the March 3, 2008, Monday edition of the Hyderabad Chronicle. Excerpts of my interview appeared in it along with a few other bloggers. A good beginning for the Hyderabad Bloggers' community.