And I spoke

Well, finally on Saturday I spoke at the discussion about "The Politics of Reservations, and the Future of India".


There were a few things to note.
1. It was a very humbling experience. A few videos have been uploaded on google video, and when I look at myself - i am probably one of the worst speakers.
2. The attendance there was very low. Only about 150 people were around. Kudos to those who come - but I thought that the people who will be affected by the reservations. So, maybe it is warranted that the reservations are ok - as anyways the people in general category dont seem to be affected by it apart from a handful. So, maybe we are a minority after all.

The talks were on various topics. From a very fiery speech which left a few red ears by Saurabh, to a very clinical assesment of the type of governments by Vikrant. Docs in the panel gave thought of what they thought about the reservation issues. Did you know that the topper in medical exams from AP was not able to get a medical seat ?? Is that how what our democracy is about ?

The most impressive of the talkers were Shri Sriram (advocate) and Shri Hanuman Chaudhary (former IT advisor, AP govt. ). Shri Sriram talked about how the upper castes and communities are 'smug' and think that they will not be affected - and the current situation has been brought about by us.

Shri Hanumanji talked about various issues - a speech which was spell bounding. Regarding Saurabh's speech, he said that it was nothing compared to how our politicians talk in Parliament. I dont think that I would be able to replicate his speech here, so forgive me.

After the talks by the panel, the audience was invited. One of them was by a student in IIT, with statistics as to the current reservation. If I remember correctly, in his class 5 seats were reserved for SC and 3 for ST. Of these only 3 and 1 were occupied respectively. So, in a single section we have 3 people from general category deinied admission because there are too few SC/ST people around to even meet the relaxed limits for getting admission. And the govt wants to up the reservation limits to 50% .

However, one thing which I did realize in this speech is that everyone is willing to analyze and point the fingers, but very few are able to come forward to do anything. And this is what saddened me the most. Its easy to talk, but difficult to do. Shreyas, who helped convene the meeting also felt the same , and has blogged his feeling.

I am speaking

Folks,

There is a discussion happening in Hyderabad on saturday. Its a discussion about the current ham handedness of the govt in implementing the vote bank quota - for we know that the effect of it in actually uplifting the people is not much.

And the surprise is that I was contacted by the Social Cause and YFE hyderabad people, asking if I would join them and take part in the talk. Well, I decided to take the plunge and said yes.

So, 27th May, we have a talk on "Politics of Reservation and the future of India".

so, I am one of the speakers there. Hope to see you there - if for nothing else than moral support ! :-)

Headlights on for Youth for Equality


This is about the anti-reservation stir, so IF you dont want to be part of it, stop reading now.

Medicos in Delhi has been leading the stir against the govt's decision for putting more quotas based on caste. From that was born the Youth for Equality group. Many people I talked to on the issue in my office were of the view that "yeah its bad, thank god for no quota in work". I told them that the quota in job is the next step.

And today evenings news confirms it. The govt has given a deadline of 2 years to Private companies to voluntarily start giving quotas or the laws will change to include that. Do you really want that ?

Now, I've been thinking how we can show that we side with the folks at YFE. One way is to go to the rallies. But we may not be able to go everytime , and yet we may want to show our support. I am here in hyderabad - and hardly any movement is happening here. But I want to show my support.

Lets show some light to the govt. Lets show Support for YFE. My idea is a simple one.

Most of us use a 2 wheeler or a car to go to office. I suggest switching on the headlights whenever you ride - its a signal that we are anti-reservations by the govt. in its current form. If you see another person riding with the headlights on - give them a 'hi'. My aim is to have people realize that there are a lot of more people supporting anti-quota reservations than what one sees in a rally - cause we may not know when the rally is or where , or may not be able to go due to some reason.

So, please pass on the message, and ride with your headlights on.

Death knows no reservations, so why should Life?

UPDATE:
  • We have just started an Orkut community for you to register your support. I know - you must be saying "another Community" and rolling your eyes. But this is only for showing that you are in. I don't even ask you to come and check the posts there - as long as you are riding with your Headlights On, and you let us know about it.

22nd May - Please switch off.

Do you know what a dumb minister sounds like ? Watch the CNNiBN interview with Arjun Singh. If you cannot watch it , you can read about it on the cnnibn site . I have never in my life heard such a dumb minister. Lalu Prasad - one of the chaps who was treated like a backward guy is amazingly intelligent when compared with A.S. ( pronounce it 'ass').

From the conversation something occured to me - all the decisions have been taken by parliament and they are final. Parliament here could be replaced by Saddam Hussain - for that is how it is being done. The verdict is taken by the 'supreme ruler' and it is 'final'. More of dictatorship and less of democracy if you ask me.

Tonight at 8PM, please switch off the lights in your home for 10 mins. This is for support of the Youth for Equality group.

YOUTH FOR EQUALITY: EVENTS ON 22nd May : BLACK OUT at 8 pm all over India

Anti Reservation rally in Delhi Tomorrow




DO the pictures impact u? Do we agree with their cause? Is it only there responsibility to protest against wrong ? Do u really want to put ur share to show that u r concerned for the society?

Tomorrow there is a protest ralley in Delhi. Details are on the Youth for Equality blog.


Furthermore , corporates in delhi are pitching in. Details are as follows :

Heading : 'PUKAR - A Corporate Initiative'
Date : 20 th May 2006
Venue : JANTAR MANTAR
Time : 10 am.
Dress Code : White T-Shirts/Curtas/ Blue Jeans/ Black bands on left hand or black scarfs


We have had a discussion with Medicos as well who would be gathering at the Jantar Mantar after a march from Maulana Azad Medical College.

Important
  1. Refrain from anything which is not legal under the rules and regulations of the Government and maintain a peaceful march. This would also include smoking in public, sledging etc. Let us be disciplined and focussed in our approach and be a responsbile youth.
  2. No violence would be supported which would lead to a cious. Even a small mishappening can cause a big problem. Also in any adverse conditions we need not panic and think logically.
  3. Get your water bottles and other things needed. Get the slogans and banners ready. Bring markers, chart papers, postal colours, brushes, fevicol, etc which you feel would be required for demonstartion.

NOIDA

We are planning to go either thorugh public transport or through our own vehicles to Jantar Mantar and meet the other people joinging there.

Arrive at CSM 8:00 AM
Leave Noida by 8:30 AM
Reach Jantar Mantar 9:45 AM

People can get direct buses to CP at a good frequency from where we can either walk in small goups to venue or may be a connected buses. For all the others who wish to join directly CP provides a vast parking space at various places.

Directly join at Jantar Mantar or at CSM for a small gathering.

GURGAON

We are planning to go either thorugh public transport or through our own vehicles to Jantar Mantar and meet the other people joinging there.

Reach Jantar Mantar 9:45 AM(reach directly at JANTAR MANTAR)

People can get direct buses to CP at a good frequency from where we can either walk in small goups to venue or may be a connected buses. For all the others who wish to join directly CP provides a vast parking space at various places.

The buses available routes gurgaon -> dhaulakuan -> jantar mantar (Bus rt no 729)

Directly join at Jantar Mantar.


Delhi

People can directly join us at the Jantar Mantar.

Youth for Equality

If you are in India you would have seen the news on the TV. You would have read it in the daily newspapers.

If you are not in India, you would have heard about it nevertheless. Maybe at the back of your mind you had this voice saying - see, exactly the reason why I left India.

But if you are an Indian, I dont think you are going to be not affected by this in some way or other. Giving voice to what's happening on the roads of India is the wispers of the internet.

The Youth for Equality movement is now on the blogspace. Read about their agenda at http://youthforequality.blogspot.com/

Youth for Equality - No to Reservations

I remember the first time in my memory that the word reservations took a different meaning than getting a train ticket. And from that time reservations became a 'dirty' word. It split the world we lived in. Till that time , the only split was supposed to be studied as part of history as the castes set by Manu. The only divisions were by the British rule of India with their policy of divide et empera or divide and rule. Suddenly we got to know SC/ST/OBC. Suddenly a few of my friends were in this group. Were they different from me ? Are they less capable than me that they needed a different quota to get into reputed institutions ?

Sadly it seems that the politicians in India seem to be doing exactly what the British were doing. They are practicing shoddy policies against which the Indians had revolted. They are practicing divide et empera.

With the proposal of 49.5% reservations in the premier institutions of India, it looks like we are headed for a dark time. Inspite of politicians trying everything to stall India's growth and not let it be developed, the people took it on themselves to go for it - and now we are a force around the globe - not in the space of arms , but in intellegensia. However, the politicians dont want that - do they ? They are greedy for a bigger slice. They want more votes for staying glued to their chairs. Its true - power corrupts , and in India we have some of the most corrupt people around. Short term goals, long term pains.

Agitation by a few students have started across the country - the first whiffs of mutiny. Maybe this time also it will fizz out like last time. Maybe not. Maybe this time its the winds of change. Maybe its time to right the wrong and remove the malaise of casteism and reservations.

If you wonder how you can help ... sign the online petition here.

Rocking on Linux !

Well, I had this post a few days back about using a dual monitor setup with my system. Some comments were positive, but some were ... ahem... pointing out how dirty my room is !! Well, I normally don't care, especially as when you are trying out something new, you do tend to get messy ... but then a comment was made - which made me realize ... that I better do something about it ! Also, got a cable connection which necessiated a change in room configurations. Here's how my room looks now ;-) ...

BTW, I am watching HBO on cable TV in this screen shot... and the computer is running Linux. :-D


Check out the wiked bedsheets ;-) . After much hunting for black bedsheets, I was only able to get something which is a mix of black and white. No idea why people don't stock black sheets !

Bet, that got you interested, so I thought I might as well take a few screenshots of my system running Linux. Here's how it looks - plain vanilla. Nice wall paper eh ? ;-)



If you are wondering what is what - check out this annotated pic on Flickr.

And, here's how it looks running a few things. As you can see I am editing this blog, and listening to Rang De Basanti, running an openGL spectrum analyzer.


Of course setting it all up on linux is not as easy as on Windows, but, as you can see, Linux is pretty close to windows in terms of usability.

If you need to intall linux on your system, I provide consultancy ;-)

Power Riding

Update 14May06 : Added section on gear changing. Added some books to read.

So you know how to ride a bike eh ?

But maybe you know less than you think. Everytime you see another chap overtake you with non-chalant ease, you wonder how. Evertime you race with a friend he seems to go faster than you. Everytime you ride in traffic, you always seem to get stuck behind the slowest moving car. Evertime you try to go fast, you have to brake.

Seems something you can relate to... read further.

DISCLAIMER : If you firmly believe in speed is not for you, or that you only want to follow traffic rules, dont read any further. Also, if you do read below this line, I am absolved of all responsibilities of any kind of damage you may cause while trying these out.

Now, before I write any further on this - a little of bragging, as to why I can write this ;-) . Ever since I started riding - with my CBZ all my friends with faster bikes seem to be perplexed as to how I can go faster than them. Evertime someone drags with me on the road, no matter how hard they try, usually I am there - right next to them - a botheration ... how come he is still sticking to me???

A few years back, I could not have answered the question 'how?'. But, being involved with bike groups, I have identified the terminology and the processes that enable one to go fast, and thought that on this boring friday afternoon , to give you a good dose of these! Hopefully this will improve your riding skills (and maybe driving also)

Setup


Get a proper bike. By proper I mean something which is in good running condition. Tyres should be good . The engine should not misfire. The brakes should grip and not make squeaky sounds. Bike should have rearview mirrors, and working horn and headlight. Wear proper clothes ( should cover your skin, which you may end up leaving on the road). Wear a helmet with a good clear visor. Wear boots and not chappals.

To go fast, you need to go slow


I read this somewhere on some site on zen. But since I translate almost everything to bikes, this seemed quite apt to riding.

What this means is that you need to slow down and analyze your riding. First get the hang of how to ride well at slow speeds and then utilize that to go fast. And the way you do this is ... to ride without brakes.

Pick a route with low traffic. Say around 3-5kms of road ( not a highway buddy. you will not learn this over there.. the highway comes later on below..). Now, ride the route and try not to use the foot or the hand brakes. Yeah, i know its difficult, but its doable. The first time you will find yourself using the brakes reflexively. But if you keep to it, you can start using lesser brakes. For those who want to know my test track - it used to be from University circle to Chandni Chowk - without braking a single time! Of course my speeds were low ...

But... how can that be ?

Here you need to make use of the following :
  • Anticipation : Don't look at the vehicle ahead of you, look at least 2-3 vehicles ahead of you.
    • Notice how the vehicle in front blurs out a bit, but you can still make it out of the corner of your vision. Also notice how suddenly you can see the gaps between the vehicles ahead of you. So, just chalk out a path your bike has to take and go through the gaps. On the ZMA I was mostly going faster than the cars and bikes - who were using their brakes.
    • Notice also how you can figure out that the car/bike in front of you is more likely to brake as the car/bike 5 lengths ahead of you has the brakelight on!
  • Use the engine and throttle to control your speed
    • Brake using the engine. Dont know how ? Try this - go at around 40 in 4th gear, drop down to 3rd gear. Notice the sudden jerk as the bike slows down ? Try going down another gear... what happens ? (Don't try it at high speeds the first time, you may get your bike to slow down more than you think, and can have disastrous consequences).
    • Use the throttle to control your speed. If you are going to slow down, leave the throttle way back. Remember - anticipation is the name of the game - can you slow down sufficiently before that corner to take it without using the brakes ??
This is the first and foremost lesson. Also try and keep your speed constant all throughout - can you ? No ? Drop your speed a bit - can you do it now ??

Now... we move to the power part of riding.. but still we will go slow.

Know your brakes


Can you brake fast enough ? What this means is that do you know the distance before which you can stop your bike at a given speed ? No ?? Well, time to get cracking.. lets practice braking.

Get an empty stretch - I know we dont have many such places , so try to find one which is relatively empty.

Check your rearview to see that no one is behind you. Take your speed upto 40 - brake with only the rear brakes! And I mean brake , not slow down. How much distance did you cover before you came to a stand still ? do it again. This time use your front and rear brakes. Notice it how you have stopped at almost 2/3 - 1/2 the distance of the previous time ? Practice this. Now, try braking and going down the gears again (read above about engine braking). Are you getting the distance down ? Are you in 1st gear (ready to rip off again as soon as you stop) when you come to a standstill ? No ? You need more practice. No.. stopping in neutral will not do - neutral does not provide any braking.

Another important part of this is to figure out how hard you brake which will cause your tyres to skid. You want to be able to brake hard enough that you are only just shy of skidding. Skidding causes lesser friction and you actually stop over a longer distance.

Gear Change


How did you learn to ride your bike ? Probably from your dad or a friend. And how they tell you to ride is to get to the 4th gear (90% of bikes are the 100cc , 4 gear ones) as fast as possible and stay there. You get good mileage.

Yeah, whatever. But then you dont get your power.

So, how do you get the mean power output ??

By now, you would have heard the words 'torque curve' or 'power curve' a few times. Its a graph of your engine characteristics which shows at what rpm your bike outputs the maximum power. Since its rpm we are talking about , you are going to hit this sweet spot on each gear. While changing gears, you get the max benifits by being in the top part of the curve. This applies to gearing up as well as down. Always be in the correct range.

This comes with practice. First, you will probably be looking at your rpm meter to figure out the changing. But what you need to aim at is know when to change the gears - by ear and feel. That's when you will get into the zone.

Attacking the curves


Now we come to the most complex part of the power ride. How to take a curve. In most places you will hardly find a good place to practice taking a curve - but if you do find one - use it.

Curves are the most difficult things to take as 1. You need to lean the bike, 2. You need to brake on curves.

Point 2 many people will say "hey - you are teaching the wrong thing! Brake on curves ??! are you mad?!".

Well , i guess you must belong to the section of guys I regularly overtake on curves ;-)

Yeah, braking on curves is difficult. So, I'll start with how to take a curve and then you try the braking on the curves (pls ref to disclaimer above!) .

The trick to taking a curve fast is that you need to accelerate through it. Also you need to lean.

First you need to use your body in the curve. Basic criteria - the bike should be as straight as possible - peg scraping is not an indication of going fast. Here's what you do. Say you enter a curve which is a right hander. Instead of leaning your bike into the curve, move your torso to the right - so that it is off the center line, but make sure that your eyes stay horizontal to the ground - i.e. your head should be vertical even though your body is leaning. The CG gets shifted, and your bike starts turning. Lean more... till a point that the bike also starts to tilt. Now, how much you can tilt is upto you - you will get to learn it as you practice.

Next practice the speed to enter a curve. Basically brake before a curve and take the curve - slightly accelerating in the curve. Next time enter the curve at a faster pace ... are you comfortable ? Good, increase the speed more a bit. Here, you really need to know your comfortable speed to enter the curve - i.e. the speed you can enter the curve without having to brake after hitting the curve.


Note : most people lean the other way. i.e. if the curve is left, they try to keep their body straight when the bike leans, so they are effectively leaning left.

The next step after this is to shift your butt off the seat to the side you are leaning. Watch MotoGP to figure out what hanging off is. But I would strongly suggest you try a race track for this... city roads are not made for this.

Go long distance


Long distance riding - how does it help ? Well, you are on bike for hours instead of minutes. You get to know your bike better. You get to know yourself better. In hindi it is said that "haath baith jayega". Get used to the bike. Go on unfamiliar roads. Learn caution. Learn your bike.

If you have never done long distance riding before, you can start with a 100km one way trip *out of the city*. Riding 100+kms in a city is not longdistance riding. Its commuting.

Riding Hard


Now comes the time of riding hard. Take proper care of your bike. Brakes, tyres, rearview mirrors etc. Take proper care of yourself - riding gear, shoes, helmets, gloves, properly rested. Ride on the road. If you have followed the above and practiced it, you will find yourself taking the path which has the least amount of traffic, braking less than the other punk trying to overtake you, leaning in corners where the others get heart failure seeing you.

If you still can't do it - maybe you need personal training. Give me a call, get your own bike and I will teach you !

Books and other reading materials


Way to Dusty Death - Alistair McLean
An unlikely book to be here - but believe it or not, reading this made the gear changing click in my mind.

Proficient Motorcycling - David Hough
One of the books on riding properly.

Twist of the Wrist - Keith Code
Tips on how to ride really really hard.

The trip to Hampi


On the 1st of April, I rode down to Hampi and met a few friends from our bike group - Bikenomads. After the trip, I usually write a trip log, but this time, due to change in job I got busy and could not upload the trip log.

But now the log is ready ! Read it here !

So - what did you do on the weekend ?


I went and got a 19" monitor .. and then setup dual monitor configuration on my Laptop ! So, now , when I work , I have 2 monitors where to throw around the windows ! :-D . Pretty cool eh ?

clicking the above pic will take you to flickr for an indepth view of what is what ! :-D