Monday, September 08, 2014

My experiments with meditation: On and off

I have failed to sustain the meditation habit in past. It is interesting to note that I have restarted the practice each time I have quit. Sometimes there were gaps of multiple years. Till now, I cannot say that I have greatly benefitted from meditation.
Ironically, during times of turmoil, I felt that meditation is useless and discontinued. It is ironic as meditation is supposed to support one, precisely during the turbulent times. Somewhere deep inside(let me call it samskar), I do believe that the discontinuity happened because of my lack of practice and not because of some inherent flaw in meditation. Samskar tells me that only if I am more regular with meditation, it will indeed support me during times of trouble. Hence I come back to it again and again. It is not all inner-voice and samskar though. There have been regular articles in magazines extolling the virtues of meditation.
So here I am, back at meditation, possibly seventh time around.

PS: I have assumed samskar and gut-feel to mean the same thing.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Stoddard Temple: Plenty of those in India

In Ayn Rand's Fountainhead, Howard Roark constructed the Stoddard Temple. The temple's theme was that god exists within human. Hence Howard designed the temple to keep it 'grounded' yet exalted. The central idol was that of a human (Dominique).
In many Indian temples, the same theme is seen. Rabindranath Tagore captured it brilliantly in his essay titled 'Mandir'. There are temples which have the normal day-to-day human life carved out on the outer walls. The deity resides within this depiction of day-to-day-human-tussle.
This is the kind of god I will like to believe someday. Thanks Tagore. Thanks Ayn Rand.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ice vs Rice bucket challenge

In the Indian context, Ice-bucket-challenge is a fun exercise. ALS is not on our problem radar. Celebrities are using it as fun and we laymen are enjoying the show.
On the contrary, rice-bucket-challenge is disgusting. One needs to make a show of his/her charity. You need one gratified looking 'needy' person and then you need to flash your magnanimity to the world. If I would have been that needy-person, I will go to the end of world before accepting such dignity-trampling-charity.
I am still far from terming charity as a vicious vice. However, ethically speaking, charity is an extremely tricky business.
Ice bucket challenge, although being silly in Indian context, at least does not trample dignity.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Capitation-fee, Free-market-competition AND The-Hindu

In The-Hindu, there was an editorial on capitation-fee menace. In the comments section I had a discussion with one reader(Pawan). I am cut-pasting that in this blog post as in The-Hindu, I was having some difficulty posting my entire reply in one comprehensive post. Here goes my reply:

@Pawan. My heartfelt thanks for your reply. Let me share my views on the points you mentioned:
You wrote: Then private colleges should stop hiring fresh pass outs as lecturers and at least provide provide NIT level faculty
My point: Let the private college hire class4-passouts as faculty. The students, as informed customers, will come to know of it and avoid the college. Government may facilitate disclosing the experience level of faculty as a part of accredition criterion.

You wrote: 2. Ask them to provide the facilities for the capitation fees they charge
My point: Let the private college run out of tent in a field, if they wish to. The students as informed customers, will come to know of it and avoid the college. Government may  facilitate disclosing the facilities-standard as a part of accredition criterion.

You wrote: 3. Guarantee 100% placement with at least a salary of 2.5 to 4 lacs so that the money borrowed to pay capitation fees can be repayed
My point: Let the private college not conduct any campus-interview, if they wish. The students as informed customers, will come to know of it and avoid the college. Government may  facilitate disclosing the placement-record as a part of accredition criterion

You wrote: If they can do the above then they should be allowed to make profit or else they have no right to make profits.
My point: The Holy And Sacred Force Of Free Market Competition (THASFOFMC) can solve this problem of capitation-fee excess. In fact, THASFOFMC can solve most of the problems on this planet. There are some situations where THASFOFMC won't apply though.
However, as I see that my earlier post has got N-downvotes. I am sure that I will convince none of them about THASFOFMC. At my personal level, I only make my best attempt to defeat the opposing side politically.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rituparno Ghosh

Rituparno Ghosh movies mean a lot to me. I once captured a part of his lecture on my camera. He is talking about why he made Dosar in black and white.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Coping with rising medical costs in India

Medical expenses are a serious concern for Indians. Things which we can do to address the problem (both at personal and policy-making level) are given below.
At a personal level:
  • Plan for medical emergencies: Medical insurance is must but not enough. There are articles on websites like where strategies beyond medical insurance are explained.
  • Start exercising regularly: Every financial planner should become an expert in basic health coaching too. The two fields are tied at hips now. A regular exercise regimen cuts down the probability of many medical expenses.
  • Hospital/Insurance-companies are symptoms, not cause of the problem: A politically incorrect thought-process which I do not dare to share on public forum. The gist of the thought process is that we (patients/family) can solve the problem ourselves. One should not blame hospitals and insurance companies. They are being run by good people who need to make profits and it is not easy to draw a line where profits should end. Expecting doctors/clinics/hospitals to be non-profit-seeking-social-workers is a very cruel injustice.
At a policy making level:
  • Enforce copay: Discourage insurance schemes which provide complete coverage. There should be minimum 20-25% copay. This would force people (and consequently the medical business) to be cost conscious.
  • Unshackle medical infrastructure: Remove the barriers to set up hospitals/clinics/medical colleges. In the name of quality, all the command-control and restrictions breed inefficiency and corruption. Public is smart enough to figure out the bad doctor and bad hospital.
  • Do not damn alternative medicine: Till we find a satisfactory solution, do not publicly posture or legislate against alternative medicine, however unscientific it might be. Homeopathy, ayurved, unani, siddhi, tantriks, vodoo, quacks, religious-godmen-healers(and what not) should not be banned. Alternative medicine is either one of the following two and both the options are beneficial for psychological well being.
  • healing at a lower cost (if you choose to believe in them) OR
    It is giving peace to patients and their well-wishers, letting them think that they are doing everything they can do and are not hindered by costs. (if you chose not to believe in alternative medicine). 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Varsha Bhosle

I started on internet around 1998. I was introduced to Varsha Bhosle's writings around that time. It was through her columns in rediff. She was a fireball. There was no hypocrisy in her writings. I had never read anything like that before. She did not bother about being politically correct and that was very rare then.
There was a statement in one of her blogs which has become the guiding light for my voting strategy.
" Aap mujh se chhoti hain isliye main aap ko ek salah doonga. Kabhi bhi, chaahe koi bhi party ho, aap issues ko dekh ke hi nischay kijeeye. Aap candidate ko dekh ke vote deejiye. Ideologies disappear when they are given the seat of power."
Ironically, the statement was not hers, but Rajesh Pilot's whom she was quoting in obituary column.
I can only imagine her pain, which drove her to suicide. It would be incorrect to say that I WILL miss her. I started missing her from the day she stopped writing her columns in rediff. That was a long time ago.