Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Good bye Mr President

Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, India's 11th president (2002-2007) is on his way out. I wish him good luck on his future endevours. I also welcome our 12th president, Mrs Pratibha Patil, earlier governor of Rajesthan.

Abdul Kalam was an exemplary statesman. Constitutionally, the post of Indian president is a ceremonial head but without any effective power. Most of the times, the ruling party had its say on the presidential election. So all they did was to visit countries as head of the nation, give speeches and help the ruling party in passing the bills of their choice. APJ was chosen during NDA's regime of 1998-2004 not because of his political inclination, which he did not have, but because of his iconic image and charisma. Elected, rather nominated, out of protocol, this scientist chose to defy the norms and protocols left and right when it came to presidential grandeur.

What more, he used to utilize his time judiciously. Even the people en masse could feel his activity. Today he was visiting some school in some village, tomorrow he was in some submarine of India navy and maybe the next day, he is addressing some doctors via teleconferencing. It has been reported that his days usually had 10 meetings. Not surprisingly, several visions of this visionary scientist met reality. Indian all over the world and more importantly, even in the remotest villages came to know of him. Know that the post of president is not meant to only enjoy the power but to actually meet the responsibility that accompanies the power. APJ has an excellent skill in writing. His books and articles are quite popular in India especially among the younger generation. Of all the 5 presidents that I actively remember, I don't think I remember any of the rest 4 for anything. I was not even clear how much a president can do ? APJ proves, when there is a will, there is a way.

I hope our current president can live up to the reputation of the president's post. India is aware of the president's office, the youth in this country are well trained to dream and chase the dream. I hope Mrs President will similarly uplift the morale of Indian women. I do not want all Indian women to join politics or airforce or become executives. I just want them to be aware of their position in the society and live with their head held high.

Welcome Mrs President and good luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Kolkata kebal bhule bhara

Those who teach frequently use examples to explain concepts. Those who write software programs love reproducible test cases which they can debug, analyze and correct. With utmost humbleness, I believe the civic engineers have neither experienced good teaching nor have decent engineering skills. Year after year, with sure shot prediction, Kolkata floods during monsoon. Its pretty easy to guess, any heavy rainfall will cause water logging. It becomes an even better test case because the water does not go down quickly once the rain stops. So here is a situation that is realized 3-4 times a monsoon season and provides ample time to check design and implementation flaws. Given that the situation is not improving, in fact, degrading year after year only has one conclusion: like the Indian cricket team, the engineering team needs fresh blood and talented minds.

Final note: please do your part by not throwing plastic bags around. Whether its the drains, empty land or waterbody, the fundamental problem they cause is to block the flow of water. Store them at home and when enough is deposited, dump it in a garbage dump. Though there is no adequate plastic recycling program, at least this will prevent plastics from blocking water flow around your house.