Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Music Post - 'Orange' comes to end the drought for good telugu songs

Harris Jayaraj is back with a bang. Orange album is very good both musically and lyrically. Generally most of hits are dubbed Tamil songs and always the lyrics are made to fit with the music and hence the authentic feel is lost. But this time with the songs directly in Telugu, they are much better. Listen the songs here. My favorite music streaming site has enabled embedding again. So it is time for celebration.

<p><a href="">Listen to Orange Audio Songs at</a></p>

Surely, it will increase the craze for the movie. If you want the lyrics for these head over to Sandy's blog here.
I will also write the lyrics for songs which I like most but for that I have to do some good listening :)

Enjoy the songs ...!!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why I am hopeful of a better government ?

"Idealism is what precedes experience, cynicism is what follows" 
I am going to tell a story about how I became a cynic from an idealist. Now, the fact that we have a bad government is nothing new. So, when I came to know that Dr Jayaprakash Narayan, an honest IAS officer is going to start a new party, I became overjoyed. I was so excited that finally, after years of waiting, a credible, honest and knowledgeable person was coming into politics. His policies seemed so sound, so coherent that I started rallying behind him with posts cheering him here. Little did I know that I was setting up myself for bitter disappointment. As the results of the general elections 2009 were declared, all my hopes of a good government crashed. I was down but not out. Why - Because in Lok Sabha elections, the number of educated people who vote is very less. So I thought if educated people really voted and more people are educated about the policies of Lok Satta, then surely we will have a good government. That is why I was even more excited when there was a call for Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. The percentage of educated people will be more in Hyderabad city. Moreover, Lok Satta launched a unique campaign in the elections, saying that they will pay fine to the people if they didn't resolve people's complaints within a posted resolution time. With this I thought they will surely win in the elections. And when the results were announced how many Loksatta candidates do you think won?  Zero, nil, zich, no one...!!!! And that is when I became a cynic... If people fail to know what is right and what is wrong and when there is a chance for change also they will not utilize, then I didn't know how change can come...

And for a long time, I remained a cynic, convinced that no good change will come. The IPL fiasco, the CWG corruption only confirmed and made me more of a cynic regarding politics. Do you think I am peddling cynicism? No - and even I don't want to remain a cynic, but I didn't find a single hopeful thing to cling to then... But some things were happening around that again sort of gave me hope that all is not lost. So I am here not to make all of you cynics, but to show you rays of hope and ask you to reflect that.

The first thing that caught my attention was the website done by an NGO called Janaagraha, called Being a cynic, I was not at all convinced what change could a site like that where people who gave bribes were sharing their plight could change. Though I supported it whole heartedly, I was not hopeful of it changing anything. But I was pleasantly surprised by the success of the campaign. People started taking it seriously. One woman threatened a doctor who asked for bribe saying she will post his name in and he backed down. More heartful news is that a transport commissioner gave show cause notices to twenty of the traffic commissioners whose name had surfaced in compliants on IPAB.

The second thing which showed that people are thinking about the problems and people are thinking of doing something when I heard the speech of Siddharth at TIE Connect 2009.

Though the speech was given in 2009, I saw it recently and was really impressed by the solutions he proposes.He talked about lot of things like the smaller attention span of our generation, the lack of ability of any person to make a difference, the lack of records of facts but what really hit me was the fact that we need to glamorize good government. We are in a time when it is very difficult to concentrate on one thing. We hve constants interruptions with twitter, facebook etc. So we have an attention deficit. Thats why we tend to forget quickly.Hence we need to keep the discussion going and keep this always in front of the people. The fact that people are talking about it and thinking of solutions makes me hopeful. And as he said media is wasting a golden opportunity by not taking the chance to lead from front for this.

And this brings me to the next thing that makes me hopeful of that. I saw someone implementing a suggestions given by Siddharth, one person using his glamour and influence to talk about problems facing India and how government is responsible for that which automatically leads to selection of better politicians. SS Rajamouli is a movie director who hasn't given an flop in the industry. And thats why he is the director with the most craze in the industry. When he talks about something, people in AP listen. And he is utilizing his influence and craze to talk about problems facing India and discussing the solutions for them. It is a program called 'Come On India' in Telugu. The links are here if you would like to watch it. In this episode he talks about the healthcare system in India. It is a fact that if we get any health problems in India, government hospitals are hopeless and private hospitals attach unknown diseases to us to get as much money as possible. So it is a very important issue. He talks about the better systems all around the world and what changes are required for improving the situation in our country and responsibility of everyone involved, the government, the doctors and citizens. I am sure whoever has watched it has understood how better it could be and how can we get that.

With all these changes happening around us, it is not difficult to be hopeful of better days isn't it. So will it magically happen? No, there is more responsibility on us to spread the awareness, talk about issues and take a strong stand wherever required. So however you can, facebook, twitter, blogs, movies, videos, short films, tv programmers whatever you want to make, whatever discussions you want to have, keep the discussions going and spread the word, I am sure, we will live to see days with better governments and a happier and developed India. Jai Hind.

PS Thanks to friends  Saandeep, Bikram and wisedonkey for keeping the discussions going.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Recommendation - The Switch

Cover of "Switch: How to Change Things Wh...Cover via AmazonI completed reading a book called 'The Switch' written by Dan Heath and Chip Heath. It is a very well written book. It is a book about making change when it is difficult. If you want to quit smoking, but aren't unable to do it or if you are in a legacy industry whose competitiveness is threatened by internet and want to make difficult changes, this book lays out a very clear way for making the change.

When we know that we have to change, then we feel that we have enough reason to change and we can easily navigate the change. But if you have tried to change anytime, you would have observed that it is not that easier. To understand it, the authors have used  a model. Assume a rider riding on top of an elephant. Your analytical mind is the rider. You know all the facts about why to change, what to change. The emotional or feelings part of mind is the elephant. So for your analytical mind to make the change, you have to ride the inertia and emotions. But imagine if you can have strong emotions for change, then riding the elephant would become a breeze in the right environment. Right environment is the third factor. Suppose you have to make an elephant go uphill. It is a difficult task but if you make a clear road in the way, it would be easier for the elephant to go.
 Lets take an example here. Consider some person is trying to quit smoking. He knows why it is important to quit smoking but he doesn't have sufficient motivation to quit. Now assume, he imagines how happy his wife would be and how much good it is for his kids, then he gets motivated. He then decides he will quit smoking. He goes the whole morning without smoking but after lunch he couldn't control his feelings to smoke. Then he can make it easier for him to quit it by scheduling meetings right after lunch so that he needn't have any time to go and smoke.
So change consists of three parts, they are

1. Shape the path: They have to clear the path or environment for change - For eg, if you want to eat healthy food, other junk food should first be thrown off your shelves. You should fill it with fresh fruits and vegetables. etc.

2. Direct the rider: There are two parts in our brain. One that is emotional and doesn't do what it has to even though it knows. It is swayed by emotion. They call it the elephant. Other part is rational brain which analyses and comes at the right decision. This is called the rider.  They say that due to many alternatives, the rider comes into analysis-paralysis mode and is confused. To overcome this problem, the rider should be directed correctly.

3. Motivate the elephant: As told above, even though when we rationally know what the right decision is, most of the time we fail to see through it if the emotional part of brain, the elephant is not motivated enough. So the elephant should be motivated.

Head over to my book reviews blog here to read a summary of various ways in which you can make harder change easily.
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Bed-'Buggy' Story

Image via WikipediaLot of apartments in US are infested with bed bugs. I didn't know this fact and hence I stayed in a room which had bed bugs for three months. I didn't realize it for first two months, but I felt that something was biting me and disturbing me in sleep. After a few days, I found some on my bed and thats how I discovered them. The apartment people came and treated it for bugs. Luckily I had to shift to another place after this. This place didn't have bed bugs or atleast I didn't see them initially. But after one month, I observed bed bugs on the bed of this room too. I thought even this apartment had bugs and was cursing about how bad it is that U.S people had to put up with bed bugs.
I wondered why we don't have bed bugs in India. I found out that because of the high temperatures in India, they don't survive and hence we didn't have this menace. See how lucky we are that sun shines all round saving us from these bugs. First some bed bug facts:

Bed bugs are small bloodsucking insects that feed on humans & other warm-blooded animals.
•Bed Bugs often hide in mattresses but they can also survive in furniture, behind wall coverings and pictures/paintings. They will crawl and nest inside tiny crevices anywhere indoors, as long as there is a source of food (blood).
•While bed bugs do not transmit any pathogens or diseases, their bites usually result in swollen red, itchy welts.
•Bed bugs are typically nocturnal insects (they creep about at nightime).
•There are other types of bed bugs including the bat bug, the chimney swift bug and the swallow bug. All of these relatives survive on blood feeding, however these secondary parasites thrive on either bats or birds as their primary victims.
•Small reddish or brownish spots on one’s linens are often the first sign of an infestation. These spots are the bed bug’s droppings. Another sign is swelling where you’ve been bitten.
•Bed bugs are not necessarily a sign of unkempt/dirty homes or buildings.
•A female bed bug can lay as many as 500 eggs during her lifetime.
•Bed bugs are less than 1/4″ in length, flat, and oval-shaped like; a bit like a sunflower seed.
•Bed bugs can go up to a year without a blood meal
•A bed bug’s saliva features an anesthetic to numb the pain as it’s biting. It also contains anti-coagulant to keep the blood of it’s meal host flowing.
Furniture that is inspected should be inspected thoroughly. Remove pull out drawers and inspect any and all small creases and openings.
Taking apart furniture is often advised you want to get at the source of the bed bugs infestation. Doing this in a garage or outdoors is preferred if possible.
The covering on the bottom a box spring bed should be taken off for inspection and treatment measures. If the infestation is severe, you may want to dispose of the mattress.
Bed bugs are many times also found underneath the edges carpets, where ceilings and walls meet, behind light switch covers and outlets, in clothes, inside appliances, and behind baseboards and carpet stays.
If possible, it is usually recommended that you hire a professional pest control company. They will know where and how to look for bed bug infestations and will have the equipment required to remove the critters. Homeowners should get rid of any clutter (boxes, clothing, papers and junk) in order to help the process.
It often takes a professional 4-6 hours to do a thorough inspection and initial treatment. Please be advised that additional inspections and treatments are usually necessary.
Bed bugs infested bedding materials and cloths will need to be thoroughly cleaned. Take them to a laundry mat if you don’t want to bed bugs in your washer and dryer. But never use insecticides on materials that would come in contact with your body. Also, if you have pets, be sure to understand the possible affects chemicals may have on them.
A thorough vacuuming effectively removes both bed bugs and their eggs from mattresses, walls, and carpeting. Special attention should be given to creases and crevices. Be sure to get rid of the vacuum bag/contents in a sealed garbage bag. A professional hot water carpet extraction is also recommended if possible. More information at

So what happened to me: Actually I should have reported that I found bed bugs, but as my previous apartment I thought they were common everywhere. But now I had to move to a different place again. I had paid a deposit of 500$ to my previous apartment which I should get back on moving. But what happened was that my apartment owner was slapped a $600 fine for having bed bugs in his house and because of that - he says I was responsible for bed bugs in his home - a claim which I cannot prove. But he has refused to give me back my deposit. Ohh..these bloody suckers, I mean the bed bugs, have not only sucked my blood, but also my hard earned money. So now I have to carefully observe if something happens in this new apartment too, lest I lose my deposit again. So all those people who dream of coming to US beware of bed bugs. Always make sure, where ever you stay doesn't have bed bugs and report bugs the first instance you see them. This will make your stay as well as everyone's stay pleasant.
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