Our e-port card so far

Having become more "enlightened" citizens, we've been trying to reduce our footprint as much as possible. Here's a few things achieved, and a few more to go.

+ I cycle to work 90%+ of the time
+ We reuse the "waste" water ejected by the RO filter
+ The automatic dryer is strictly for emergencies - not switched on for ages now
+ Try and aggressively avoid "standby mode" for TV/Home theatre/chargers - still left on 30% of the time tho :(
+ Determined to do fewer kilometers on the car. Working out very well, thank you!
+ Been trying to promote cycling in our circle of influence, and beyond. Decent success.

- Cannot seem to reduce geyser usage. Love warm water, and attempts at minimizing time switched on have failed.
- Have not revived attempts towards en-mass adoption of solar heating in our apartment complex
- Have failed in attempt towards getting apartment to optimize usage of diesel for backup gensets
- The Standby Switchoff is only a partial success - needs more work
- Plastic usage is still not low. There's so much that comes packaged in plastic from the stores :(

Overall, pleased - but there's scope for improvement.

Silent Majority

They came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up.

Most recent trigger for the above - a biker got beaten up on the flimsy premise of his attire. The mailing list on which I read this got into a debate about the off-topic-ness of the story and reactions to it!

Overall, the spiritual leaders forgot to speak out strongly against the association of weapons with religion. The political leaders at the top got into marriages of conveniences with the terrorizers of local populations for short term "gains". We stay shut on the roads when there's a brawl, or a woman gets beaten up by some neanderthals.

None of my business. Thats what it is all boiling down to.

Your Own Little Space ? Read on...

If you've been thinking about a house, don't like living in the heart of bustle and traffic, want a good community, do not like the run-of-the-mill builder version of creating living spaces and were priced out of the market, this may be of interest to you.

What: A smallish comuunity - bet 12-25 homes (depending on costs, configurations) with potentially homes/condos/row-houses thrown in. Very green. Lots of open spaces.
Where: Off Sarjapura Road. Options exist between the area near the Railway Line and a little before Sarjapura Town. Beautiful green places, decent connectivity, emerging hotspots (hopefully a little in the future so we can have some peace and quiet)
How Much: Want to keep it in the affordable range - so maybe as much as a decently priced 3#BHK apartment.

Honestly, not all the details have been worked out. But I trust the guys who're ready to execute this. I've seen their work in the past, and saw something they're developing now only yesterday. The entire campus there needs just 7.5KW of electricity, which is completely supplied using a combination of solar and wind generation! In addtion there's a bio-mass unit, and rain water harvesting takes care of most of the water needs. And the construction style is concrete-minimum, and very energy friendly, yet pleasing.

Ok, that almost sounds like a sales pitch. Perhaps it is. The idea is to have like minded folks living in the same place, running a sustainable community without breaking the bank. If you're curious or keen, lemme know. There are 5-6 people on board already, and we could think in terms of an "expansion" of the plan in terms of the area/number of dwellings, but ideally don't want too much of built space.


BCycle: B the change :)

Oh so cool. Will this work in Bangalore? Need someone to try this out. Whatsay ?


Some I've noted. No its not irritating etc - just amusing how many have used these "incorrectly" and I'm guessing the latter won't even be true in another decade or so - quite like "prepone".
  • loose/lose
  • voila/viola
  • off the mark/of the mark (and similar contexts) [ The Outlook's latest issue has this too! ]
  • advice/advise [ of course used interchangeably :) ]
  • consist of/comprise [ I've been corrected to "comprise of" instead of comprise, in a doc! ]
If you know more - comment maadi.

The one thats become popular already, and does get my goat :
  • my bad (my bad what ?)
Then there's the very Bangalorean
  • by the by
which is both a little irksome and a little cute.

[ Oh well, I'm probably just getting old :) ]

Seriously, language is a dynamic, living organism. Nothing proves it like these changes as more populations adopt one. So Messrs Wren & Martin, stop turning in your graves.


Part of the reason (the more recent trigger being the Outlook) was this thread on BikesZone, where I added:

Advice for Advise ?
Which the Verb, which the Noun,
"Stadiums" reprimanded
"Prepone" gets a frown!
Ah the English Nazis march,
Love Queen's Desi tho
Want to break free.

Culture-vulture and all that

Culture. Hmm, deep one.

Ok, I'm trying to find my own personal answer to this. What is culture. Is there a "definition" ? Whats the "list of things" we can arm ourselves with to respond to the Selvams and the Muthaliks of the world ?

Well, here the definition (I like Wiki's combination of the more common ones, so quoting that)

Culture (from the Latin cultura stemming from colere, meaning "to cultivate")[1] is difficult to define. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions.[2] However, the word "culture" is most commonly used in three basic senses:

  • excellence of taste in the fine arts and humanities
  • an integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for symbolic thought and social learning
  • the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution, organization or group.
Part I is something I doubt occurred to Muthalik or Selvam or their ilk when they repeated what they've heard so often from others who wanted to use it as a blunt object to beat other people on the head with, or stop from this or that.

The second/third: Wow, those are deep and complex. What's the "pattern" for India - land of extreme vegetarianism as well as cannibalism, country of the devout and the atheist - not just now but in recorded history and given an appropriate place in the texts as well, social behaviour that stresses on idealism, is pragmatic about politics and corruption, includes in its ambit both polyandry and polygamy, and proudly tells tales of ferocious gods, and more human kings who started out bloodthirsty but overnight became persistent role models for peace mongering ?

Is it the rigid rules in the Vedas that define us, or the moral strictures, or our codified caste system, thats been handed down to us as collected knowledge ? Is it the subtle sarcasm in the extremely open minded Upanishads that define our philosophy, and the tradition of tark-vitark and recorded accepted disagreements ? Was there a reason for a personal God for every Indian, while the texts simultaneously speak of "inclusive monotheism, which acknowledges a personal form of God as the Supreme God, with all other forms of God as plenary expansions or aspects of the Supreme" (source) ?

Are we trying, too often, to define our beliefs, religions, culture and traditions by what is disallowed (often for a convenient truth in a political or social power struggle), illegal and considered profane ? Are these not better defined by their positives - what they enable, what they help better/improve ? Is culture not a concept that aims to define some set of ideals that works towards a more refined, tasteful goal ? Is that served well by fear, and a demand to adhere, or else... ?

To me, India and its culture is about not just tolerating, but embracing and adopting the strange and new, respecting the different even if one doesn't necessarily understand it, and celebrating life in all its myriad forms. What its never been, certainly, is homogeneous, or a one "best" thing to do, to follow. Gods, clothes, customs, traditions, beliefs, philosophies - we have numerous cores, and even more forms of packaging of each. Like a Buddhist Lama explained to me when I wondered about the gazillion sects of what started as a simple message - different folks accept the same truth presented differently. Its the same end goal. That, to me, was Indian culture. Be what you are, be comfortable, and expect to be comfortable with your truth though there are others who have a different truth and a different take on things.

Often this exists at an individual level as well. The west and western trained minds consider it hypocrisy - our extreme politeness with folks known to us, yet some very crude/rough edges in our behaviour with strangers, our patience in certain contexts when we cannot even queue up for a bus - but its the same comfort with multiple truths and acceptance of opposing concepts that co-exist simultaneously - that defines our culture.

If there's any one thing its never been about - any one negative you want to define it in - its rigidness. India is an old, mature adult who's seen it all, and is pragmatic yet pious, comfortable with its blemishes and revels in its grace. It certainly does not seek to define itself narrowly, or through intolerancle of this set of beliefs or that. And certainly not intolerance of tongue, or attire, or faith.

[ The song from "Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani" captures it quite nicely :D ]

Will ride better

The Well-Tempered Cyclist | Momentum - The Magazine For Self Propelled People!

No more "riding past" along with pedestrians - get down and walk if one has to use that. Bangalore's riders are a new lot, and we gotta establish the rules and the riding culture here.