Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, September 30, 2007

cost of education

my general regard to the times group publications is usually in the range of disregard.
the economic times has still not plumbed the depths of the other 'esteemed' publications yet and the local editions are perhaps just notches above the bombay/delhi editions.

so this article is interesting in its premise and values thrown up:
Educating your kids is no child's play
Our estimates indicate that it could cost on an average Rs 21 lakh (at today's prices) on education of a single child from school to college. This includes expenditure on school fees, coaching classes, books, stationery and so on. If you have to include post-graduation studies as well (MBA, for instance), the cost is even more. It reaches Rs 98 lakh.

while the 98 lakhs seems out of proportion, there is certainly some validity in the 21 lakhs.
i think private education is the sciences (engineering or medicine) will cost more than 21 lakhs.

and my estimation indicates that the majority of this cost (during the K-12 period) will be spent on private coaching/tuitions and the actual cost of school fees will be less than a quarter of the total cost of education.

one of the primary tasks of parents in the USA is to save up for their children's college education and looks like indians are headed that way too.

good luck mates.

Friday, September 28, 2007

where the streets have no name

this song is a classic from the U2 stable. from the album joshua tree.

just figured out today that they were actually singing about japan.
see para 4 under the address elements heading.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

understanding men

in continuation with the theme, lets try to understand this one...

a man, well educated and 'on the road to enlightenment', closing in on equality and other virtues.
is put in a tough 'grinder' situation.
after extended back-and-forth negotiations, some decisions are taken, most of which is in his mind ....'serious concessions'.
he has not had the best interaction with either gender participants.

but he goes on to selectively disparage his opposite gender in a public forum.

out of character, or is it...?

understanding women

lets try to understand this...

an educated, earning woman who has spent her best years in an unequal married life, always aspiring for more say in decision making, etc.

when it comes to her son, she wants her clone (or even better, even more subjugated) for a daughter-in-law.

at an elevated level, we have the gut-churning female foeticide issue.

with the numbers at play, it could not even be termed non-average behaviour.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

india, china on top

of economic growth

of corruption

of pollution

it is a imbalance, as topping in all 3 spheres is unsustainable.
i predict that economic growth will lose out top sheen.
india and china will continue to dominate the other 2 lists.

thats the way - Mahi ve

i was watching dhoni's interview on NDTV today after the bombay safari and wankhede ass-licking.
very impressed. aplomb is a word i have not used in this blog and am debuting the word to celebrate how dhoni handled sreenivasan jain.

also his pithy start to his speech at wankhede is very funny considering how tired he must have been
"A lot has been said in English and Marathi. Now let me stick to Hindi."
for the record, i have to state that i did not watch the final of T20.
partly to blame was the cable TV fiasco in tamilnadu and that my favourite team was not in the final.

a fantastic analysis of the win was by rajan bala in deccan chronicle.
he says this:
Gautam Gambhir top-scored in the final, but he might well have to watch the duo of Tendulkar and Ganguly going in first. How would he feel?
how indeed?


Tender – delicate, soft, fragile

Also 'tenders' fill up at least 2 pages of the newspapers everyday. Really wonder how this usage originated. (or if this was the original, then how did the soft meaning arise)

In my indefatigable news-quest, I have expanded beyond the reported word to the paid-for words (namely the ads). And dominating this spectrum are our PSUs imploring contractors and businesses to come and partner in nation-building.
For example, in today’s Deccan Chronicle – Chennai Edition
1. Ordnance factory (makes ammunition and stuff) in Hazratpur, UP wants a 500 KVA DG set to be commissioned.
2. The National River Conservation Directorate wants consultants for Organisational Development, E-governance and Financial Management.
Come on guys, get real.
And all these are online on
search for "tender" on google and above site is tops. in fact the first page is full of india based sites.

For the readers who are not familiar with this system, tendering is a method to prevent corruption and ensure fair practices, and is a compulsory procurement policy.
Wonder why private sector purchase managers, almost as a rule, ignore this system.

Ok, here is where it gets more interesting.
Those who respond with offers and quotes, have to furnish something called and Earnest Money Deposit – which amounts to 2% of the total project cost (which interestingly has already been calculated to a rupee).
So in theory, if there are 10 respondents, the government automatically recovers one-fifth of the project cost via EMDs.
Through all this, it is so apparent that the very system aimed at eradicating corruption, is like a petri dish for bacteria.

wikipedia has more on tender.

Monday, September 24, 2007


agumbe is a small town in karnataka.
it caught my attention when i was closely perusing the climate news in the hindu. (yes, i know i have a lot of time to kill).
among all the towns in south india, agumbe is by far the tops when it comes to total annual rainfall.
we all know the cherrapunji story. worlds wettest region with over 10000 mm of annual rainfall (i.e., 1000 cm or 10 m). which is a lot mind you.
by comparison, bombay gets peanuts - say 2500 mm a year.
to refresh your minds, in bombay on july 26 2005, it rained around 944 mm in a single day.

so....after cherrapunji, who? it is this humble town. nearly 7.5 m of rain a year.
ok, now back to more details on travel in agumbe . and here it is on wikipedia.

should go there sometime.

Friday, September 21, 2007

tsunami and stock markets

this curious connection was highlighted in a speech by sainath at an awards function yesterday.
here is the article where he briefly mentions this connection to bolster his arguments on the inequality inherent in today's much lauded 'india growth story'.

....he recalled how when the 2004 tsunami struck, the stock markets of five badly affected countries—India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand—boomed.
i found these archives on the sensex in december 2004. it is quite interesting to see the daily commentary towards the last week of the year.
on dec 27 2004, which was the first trading day after the tsunami hit, sensex and nifty hit new highs of 6567 and 2079 respectively.


for all the hours spent staring at it.

The forgotten face of the room.
The poor, dark underside of the popular roof.
Once feted and caressed by the likes of Michelangelo, you now gaze wistfully at the Porcelano and Italiano.
Gone are those glory days. Of slopes and domes, of frescoes and inlays, of majesty and grandeur. Reduced to a laughable untruth….false ceiling.
Like the carpet, you also get the ‘sweep under’ treatment.
At least the carpet’s a looker.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

what i had and what i did

this is the x-ray picture of the problem i had (representative):

and this is the current state of my spine (representative):

the explanation is available here (pics are from here) and here.
my slippage level was just over grade 2 (as per the diagnosis in july 07) and into early grade 3 (just before the surgery).
along with the implants, there is a thick bone dust formation which has been created between the same 2 vertebrae (L5 and S1) which will eventually solidify into a bone providing a unshakable solidity to the region.

Monday, September 17, 2007

am back

greetings to all.
exited the hospital yesterday and in one piece and good spirits.
so far the progress has been good and on track.
needs another month or so of kid gloves treatment.

will return to my home in madras tomorrow and recuperate and relax over 4-5 weeks.

hope to be able to write more.

Monday, September 03, 2007

brief break

i will be more intermittent in my blogging coming 2 months.
will be undergoing a minor medical procedure.

happy gokulashtami to all.