Saturday, October 21, 2006

The "Language of Instruction" debate

Off late I have had numerous discussions (read arguments) about the "language of instruction" issue. Below are a few points I would like you to consider before taking sides in this argument :-)

1. Every body learns better when taught in mother tongue.
I feel that a solid understanding of Maths and Science in the early years of primary education is a pre-requisite to any discipline of higher education. This determines a persons ability to think logically, dissect information and make informed decision. These skills learnt that early in life become part of one's psyche (or subconscious).

World over, not one study shows that learning "Basic Maths and Science" in English is better than learning the same in your mother tongue. There is no denying the fact that you home is your first school. It is obviously better to extend this comfort of home (at least in language) into the early years at school.

Unfortunately, I have seen people trying to solve the problem by resorting to speaking English at home. It's a solution, alright. But that creates a bigger problem that I will discuss later.

2. It's not hard at all to learn new languages
I have heard people tell it is very difficult for students to switch to English as the medium of instruction later in their study. Thats not true at all. Unfortunately this point was put forth by a school head-master on TV. I think, it reflects badly upon him and his teachers only. Everybody knows that children are very receptive to new languages. A high school student could learn a new language much easier than a man of his age. No Doubt.
The very fact that VETA, Rapidex, Max Muller Bahvan or Alliance Fran├žaise are in business (and good at it) shows that you can learn a new language almost at any time in your life.

3. "English speaking ability" is totally over-rated.
People have sighted the "English speaking ability" of Indians the major factor in India's success in the Information Technology sector. Believe me this ability is thoroughly over-rated. The French, Germans, and Japanese are much more advanced speaking very little (or no) English. Ask any Infosyian business manager to list top 6 points that have won him his last few projects:
A. Operational Efficiency
B. Quality driven execution
C. Huge talent base (read bench strength)
D. The Time Zone. As a company the client would be working the full 24 hours.
E. Cost

Did you see the "English speaking ability" in the list?

Well, by now you would be ready to hit me on my face for having left out the entire BPO/Call center business. I do agree that our "English speaking ability" gives us an edge in this sector. But, those who fear that China would put us out of business contradict themselves. If Chinese can learn "English" so fluently that they can challenge Indian business based on 3-4 generations of speaking experience, then it must be very easy. Isn't it? Why do you make such a big deal of learning English later in life?

Secondly, the BPO/Call-center model is not sustainable. The cost difference is soon will be wiped out when employee cost will go up. China, Philippines, Singapore, Korea will soon catch up with our "English speaking ability" sooner or later. More and more processes will be automated leading to lesser and lesser people required.

Thirdly, Is that the direction we want our country to go? Be a big huge factory providing cheap labour to the world. This will only take us to the second place. Never the first.

4. Language is the carrier of culture.
You want to kill a culture, kill the language.
Wisdom of generations are passed on through books. You need to know the language (be able to read) to imbibe the knowledge and wisdom (yes, translation is a option. But, there is always some loss in translation). If children are not taught to read the "native" languages, the entire wisdom learnt over generation would be lost in a couple of generation. Don't believe me? Look what happened to Sanskrit. All the worldly wisdom in the field of medicine, yoga, music and every other discipline is locked in scriptures that we hardly understand. Yes, the damage is not apparent immediately. With respect to Sanskrit, it may have happened over centuries of Mogul rule, closely followed by systematic dismantling of Indian education system by the British.

5. Not all of us need English.
When we talk about globalization and meeting the world, English speaking ability gives us a tiny edge. But, you can not deny that local business is best done in local language. Guess what, only 1% or 2% of Indian population is in businesses that *require* them to speak English. More than 50% (of the employed) are working for Government or other organization that interact with people directly. How can you expect a person who does not know to read or write an Indian language be equipped to do this job efficiently? Should we sacrifice efficiency in Indian (people oriented) offices only to be well equipped to make some foreign offices faster?
If you pick 50 random students from any average school, I guess 30 of them will end up doing business or get employed in occupations that definitely need read/write knowledge of at least one of the Indian languages. If you deny 30 of them that chance, on the pretext that you want 50 of them to make big in IT (or similar fields), I think you can clearly see the flaw in that logic.

My solution:
1. All Indian schools must teach Indian languages at least a compulsory course if not the medium of instruction. I am stressing compulsory because, given a choice a child would opt out of anything that is difficult. At the age of 10 you really don't know what is best for your own future.

2. If a child is going to a school where the mother tongue is not the medium of instruction, then they must provide ample coaching at home in mother tongue.

3. Indian IT Managers must find an alternate business model that does not rely entirely on our head start in "English speaking ability". Innovation and adaptability must take precedence to taking short term profits from out-sourcing low-tech jobs.

I know, this medium of expression is totally one sided. Rebuttals are welcome at prashanth_k_blr at yahoo dot com.

Finally some questions:
When was the last time you read a book written in an Indian Language?
In what language does your mind think?
Do you enjoy Kabir's Dohas or Sarvajna's three liners or Thiruvalluvar's wise sayings? Do you think it is important to read them?
Do you have a Plan-B for your child?

The answers may help you to chose which side you are on

Monday, October 02, 2006

Iran with Bangalore

Yes, I have not yet found one person who read the above line engraved on the medal that has not exclaimed "What the ??" Two weeks ago, Bangalore hosted the "Times of India International Marathon". It was my first attempt at a half marathon. Yes, I completed the half marathon in 2:11:11. I gather that it is pretty good time for a beginner. After finishing that, a lot of people have been surprised (obviously, looking at my frame) that I could do that... The rest of the blog provides some answers.

Even as a child I always wanted to be a long distance runner... I used to imagine myself as one... Not a sprinter, not a cricketer, not any other glamorous sport... I still believe that long distance running is one of those sport (apart from wrestling) that could help you in your real every day life. Seriously... What good is skill at shot-put or javelin or pole-vault for your every day life... Nothing. Long distance running teaches endurance, builds character, never lets you get late to work.

Although I always wanted to be a runner, it was not until a year ago that I seriously started jogging. Thanks to Subbu. For the first few weeks, I could run only 700 meters continuously. I was thinking that was cool. Those of you who can do 1Km today can easily prepare for next year's half marathon.

Partner or no partner does not matter. After the first few kilometers, its always you v/s you. A pretty face that smiles at you once in a while may help for the next hundred yards... But thats not where you should draw your energy from. It should come from within.

A good pair of running shoes does help. I know a lot of people say it is all gimmick by shoe companies and it does not matter at all... But I have found it helpful. With 'Power' I would feel the pain in my legs at around the 8th Km. With Adidas Climacool... the pain comes in only at 16th Km or later :-)

Have a schedule. Stick to it. In a time management session, the instructor told that the best way to get your self to commit to a schedule is to announce it to the public. The fear of being ridiculed will get you out of the bed every day. There are many many sites that give detailed training timetables... Choose one stick to it. Google for "long distance training".

Warm up is a must. Its boring to do same old stretches... But believe me it is very very important. 10 minutes of warm up for every hour you plan to run is a must.

Again, running is the only legal way you can get a high.

Happy running.

PS: for those of you who still dont believe... here is the certificate.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Le Tour de France

Pro-Cycling has just started to get its fan following in India over the past 2-3 years. The "Tour-de-France" is the most celebrated annual event of cycling. There is more to the tour than Lance Armstrong. For those who do not know about it, this is their website.

In short:

  • Happens every year in the month of July (usually July 2nd to 23rd)
  • Approximately 180 riders of 20+ teams race for 3 weeks across France for the ultimate glory. There are only 2 rest days. This year, FIFA WC '06 final has eaten away one of the rest days.
  • Teams are not national... but based on sponsors. Just like F1.
  • Each day the riders cover approximately 200 Kms in about 5 hours. Yes, go back and read it again - no typo there.
  • To suite riders of various abilities, 5 competitions go in parallel
    • Overall timing : Yellow jersey
    • Best Climber: Polka dotted pink jersey
    • Best Sprinter: Green jersey
    • Best Young Rider (Overall timing + age limit): white jersey
    • Most aggressive rider (subjective. judge's decision) : red number plate.

The race can be split into three terrains. The flat section, The Pyrenees and the Alps: Initial days of the tour will usually be flat. Not much climbing. These stages (a day on the tour is called a "stage") are usually flat and in excess of 220 Kms. Usually the sprinters get their way in these sections. The Pyrenees and the Alps involve lot of climbing... this section is what separates the men from the boys. By the end of these stages, we usually have a clear winner and that guy has to just finish carefully in the rest of the stages to defend his Yellow jersey until Paris.

Paris is where the tour ends.

What do I get by following this Sport?

1. Inspiration: A test of endurance... like no other sport. Mountaineering comes close. But not quite.

2. Sight seeing: Yes, you get to see the French Country side without any tour guide (unlike the Discovery travel channel)

3. Dream: It is hard to imagine anybody who watches it continuously for 2 years not wanting to do it themselves... Believe me it is doable.

4. Sportsmanship: I follow cricket quite religiously and I did follow this years FIFA WC '06. There is always (some times more glaring than other times) some gamesmanship involved in those sports. Not here. You can only find instances of sportsmanship of the highest order displayed on the tour.

So, go home and watch it.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

I read the English translation of this book. Superlative. Simply brilliant. If you are a person interested in Sanskrit literature and are used to reading English translation still retaining the Sanskrit’s poetic style, then you will simply love this book irrespective of whether you appreciate the content or not. I believe some essence of any book is lost when it is translated. That will surely be the case here also. But I hope I have not missed too much.

The book is extremely well paced. Just right. You can not call it fast… neither is it slow. Again, Anand had told me that it is the best written English book on Advaita. I expected this to be a well thought through (idea) translation from some of the already well known and famous interpretation of the original Bhagavatgita / Shankaracharya doctrine. The book started of giving me the same feeling... Siddhartha was taking full interest in the path shown by his father – the path of strict daily rituals, ablutions and sacrifices. Siddhartha would one day become the best priest the world had ever known – all he had to do was to follow his father’s instructions. But, like the reader, Siddhartha was also feeling that something was missing. This was not what he wanted to be... this was not what I expected from the book too ;-)

Then, one fine day Siddhartha decides to explore alternate path to the same goal (of eternal salvation) by living with learning from the Samanas – the mendicants. The closest present day cult is of the Naga-Sadhus who visit the Prayags (confluence of rivers) during the Kumbh Mela. Siddhartha spends many years with them. [This is another aspect of the book that I liked... that which is not important is not elaborated. The whole samana story is hardly 3-4 pages ;-)] Again, Siddhartha is unhappy the way things are going. By now, he has already realized that any sublime realization can not come through teachings. No matter who preaches it. Yet, for Govinda’s sake he listens to Goutama Buddha.

In any other story, Siddhartha would have become a Buddhist monk – just like Govinda. How could any other doctrine be better than that of the Buddha himself? Hindus now consider Buddha so perfect that he is hailed as one of the incarnations of Vishnu himself. So, teachings of Vishnu as Buddha should be held with same respect/reverence/belief as we hold his teachings as Krishna (which is immortalized as Bhagavadgita). That would have been a perfect book about Advaita. Wouldn’t it? Siddhartha having numerous dialogues with none other than Goutama and the world would understand the Gita though their conversations.

But Hesse gives lot of importance to self-learning. May be Richard Bach took a cue from here for his Illusions. What good would it be if Goutama taught Siddhartha every thing he knew? Would the book remain timeless? People would not believe in Goutama once he is no more. So Siddhartha had to learn from something or someone who is timeless. If Vishnu (or anybody else equally credible) came down and taught him, it would be mythology and would not appeal to the rest of the world. So, Hesse invented the river – River as a teaching prop. Although, towards the end, Siddhartha reveals that any object in this world (air, leaves, pebbles, people) could have taught him exactly what he learnt from the river. Hesse’s choice is excellent. It satisfies all qualities to be universally accepted – timeless, does not have boundaries of state or religion, beautiful, determined. But not every one who sees the river knows that some thing is there to be learnt. So Vasudeva comes into the picture. He shows Siddhartha how to let the river teach you. He shows Siddhartha the art of listening... listening to what the river says... what a mountain, a flower, the leaves have to say.

I have yet to understand the reason behind introducing Kamala... was it only to have the son later in the book? To show that a man as detached as Siddhartha can also fall for that affection towards a son? Or was it just a cue to let go of a strict samana like Siddhartha down the slippery track of the Laukika and get caught in the endless misery of the Samsara? If so, then what better character could have been chosen than Kamala to lure him to the Samsara? But still, I am not too clear on her role in the novel.

I have one difference of opinion with Hesse. Siddhartha says he loves every material object because each one of them is the Brahman (or on its way to the Brahman... or something like that). But he says words, ideas, thoughts are outside this concept and hence not interested in them. I wonder how any thing can be outside the Universal. Just like the pebble, the flowers, the mountain and the wind even thoughts, words and ideas should be part of the Brahman. Isn’t it? Hesse seems to have taken E=mc2 to be the eternal truth and matter (and matter alone) can change forms and some time temporarily be formless in the form of energy. It is only then, we can not account for ideas and thoughts... Words can even then be seen as some form of sound energy. But, ideas and thoughts need something more than just E=mc2.

Best one liner of the book was: “I can think, I can wait and I can fast” – Siddhartha

Monday, April 24, 2006

Illusions by Richard Bach

Illusions by Richard Bach.

This is my first Richard Bach book. Yes, I have not read the Seagull book yet. Did I like the book? A definite "Yes"”. The first few pages are handwritten... a nice opening touch. The book is written in first person... that adds a personal touch. And yes, there is a book inside a book. Another fundoo gimmick. So full points for excellent composition of the book. Never gets boring.

Now coming to the content, Anand (of the anandanubhava fame) gave me the book with a caution that it is all about Maya. Maya means illusions. So I knew what to expect. Sometimes it felt like reading the screen play of Matrix. Some of the Neo-Mopheus dialogues looked so not-original after reading Richard-Donald dialogues regarding the 8 3/4 inch wrench. Here is what I liked about the book

>> Consistency. From the time Richard meets Donald till the end, even though Donald is the "“Guru"” it'’s a process of self learning. Richard asks a question and later comes up with the answer himself. Not once did the author take the easy approach of Donald telling the answer.

>> The biplane. Authors use many props to get their story across. Richard'’s knowledge about bi-planes seems to be in-depth and impresses people like me who can not still tell the difference between Richard'’s and Donald's planes... except that one does not need fuel to run :-)

>> The Messiah Handbook. Again, one of Richard'’s appropriately used magical prop. That which cannot be blended in with the rest of the book... that which can not be thought out by Richard himself appears magically in the handbook. Wish I had one...

>> Parts Left Unexplained. Some concepts are left unexplained... or at least I missed them. This is kind of good since you get to formulate your own theory. Many parallel universes, man shall have planets to live on as long as he wants them... and so on. He has left for the user to either believe it or not... If he believes it, then he has to formulate a theory by himself.

>> The ending. Everything in this book could be false.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Needless Pursuits

Please read the anandanubhava’s comment to my views on Alchemist here.

My reply being:

That exactly is my point. This book does not deserve the "original" adjective. But for that, it is a very gripping reading. Going some where, wanting something... and finally coming back to where you are was also taught to us by a fable which goes like this.

A mountain rat sees a king riding an elephant. People on both sides are throwing flowers at the king, which are all falling on the elephant. The rat thinks it would be very nice if it were king's elephant.

Immediately God turns it into that elephant, he enjoys the flowers. But soon realizes that the king is actually the boss. The elephant needs to go where the king tells him to go. So, elephant thinks it would be good if he were the king. Soon, the roles are changed and the rat takes form of the king.

As the king happily rides the elephant, there comes a point where the Sun is so strong that the king had to put his head down. Shameful he felt. Now he wanted to be the Sun so that he could look down up on the entire world. No body could look back at him. God obliged and made him the Sun.

Sun was shining brightly; just when a thick cloud was passing by and he could no longer torment the people below. Sun felt helpless and wished if he could be a cloud that could even block the rays of the Sun.

God was in a benevolent mood, and obliged. Immediately, cloud began flying every where under the sun smiling back at him as if to say "Sun, you are no longer the most powerful". As the cloud was following the Sun, there came a huge mountain and the cloud could no longer follow the sun. The cloud was hopelessly shattered and it started to melt down as rain.

Now the rat (which has taken the form of cloud) wished it were a huge mountain that could humiliate a mighty cloud. God turned it into a mountain. Mighty mountain crushed all clouds coming its way and was having the time of its life. Just then, a small rat bore a hole at the base of the mountain and started living there. Mountain could do nothing about it. Today there was one... and months later there were many many rats each one of them capable of boring a hole in the mountain.

Now the mountain wished it was a rat that could bore a hole in the mighty mountain. Suddenly it realized that it was a rat to begin with. It felt ashamed about its own pursuit of power from being a rat to an elephant, then the king, the sun, the cloud, the mountain and back to being a rat. It realized, God had been so good to it by turning it to what ever it wished only to teach this lesson. "Most of us already have what we search for all our life"

Very similar to "The Alchemist". Even in being a fable, it’s not original.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

I had heard that this is a great book. My friends who read that book were decent enough not to reveal the story line. I am not that decent. So if you have not read it, and do not want to know what it is all about, STOP here.

Alchemist is a person who can turn anything to gold. In the medieval ages, alchemy formed the ultimate goal of chemistry. Just like perpetual motion was(is) the holy grail of physicists. That apart, this book has very little to do with alchemy... Not even close. This is about choices you make invariably in his life. It is about those choices which you now think you should have made. Those choices you think you were forced to make, although it was your and only your conscious decision. It's all about "Listen to your heart" crap. But how much of it is practical. The boy (hero of the story) always chooses to do exactly what a practical logical person would do with the limited information he has already. Yes, the author knows the future and hence at the end of the book, even the reader may feel that all his decisions were the best. This reminds me of that episode of Seinfeld where George decides to exactly opposite of what his instincts tell him to do and as a result gets a job at the Yankees. But, in real life - would that ever work?

In the middle of the book he talks about understanding the "universal language of the world" - that language which animals also can understand. The Wind, the Water, the Sun, all speak this language. Some how, I can not digest that it was Paulo's creation. Such versions of universal language and being one with the five elements already existed in Hindu mythology. Pointers to Akashavaani (voices from sky), Divya dristi (ability to see past, present and future), Elements being portrayed as human beings all over the place in our culture. He has just adapted it into his story. Ironically the story is set in the deserts of Egypt, the land of Arabs. Right theory, wrong place.

The boy, Santiago, wanders in the desert for two years, goes through unbearable miseries and finally finds the treasure right below the tree where he had slept 2 years ago. In these two years, he learns a lot. He learns to speak Arabic, he learns to cross the desert, he learns about the culture at the oasis, he learns about the desert battles, he meets Fatima (love at first sight), he meets the alchemist who becomes his Guru (much like Karna met Parashurama) and what not. At the end he realizes that may be it was his destiny to do all those things and then... only the he would find the treasure. At regular intervals in the book, Santiago meets this person who seems to be GOD. Paulo carefully avoided calling him God even though he had supernatural powers of seeing the past and set things up for Santiago's future. May be he did this to make the book appealing to followers of religions that do not believe of GOD in human form.

Greatest book ever. Not at all. People who have some knowledge of the Hindu culture can not go past one chapter without getting a Deja-vu feeling about having read something like this before - although they were all in different books.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Being Sarvajna.

Sarvajna is a great thinker. He never had any formal education. Neither did he live a grand famous life. He had his followers who enjoyed his 3 liners in kannada. These 3 liners usually conveyed the most complex wisdom using extremely simple words. For example the one on the right says - "He who does good things without telling others about it is considered to be good. An average person does good things, but tells about it. Despicable are those people who tell stuff, but never do those good things"

Over the years, Sarvajna's 3 liners have become very famous and makes a very good reading as well as learning. However, they have also been twisted and turned (although in good spirit) by common people to convey their message masquerading them as if it came from the MAN himself. Like this one from my colleague Badarish.

Last month has been a crazy one at office. Appraisal time is always like that... Fill up appraisal forms, hope that your manager does not disagree with any of them, then hope that there is enough budget to satisfy your demands. This 3 liner from Badarish says - "That employee who says he done a lot even without doing is the best. Average are those who tell not more than what they have done. Those who do a lot and do not tell are real monkeys." True. Isn't it?

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Mantra Chanter - Divine Gizmo

I am impressed once again. This time by the creativity shown by the Indian Small Scale Industries. There is nothing new in the technology... or even in the application. It can play back pre-recoded sounds at the click of a button. But there ends its mundane properties. We have seen many such instruments in toys and greeting cards.

What's unique about this is that it plays 9 different hymns (about 9 different Hindu Gods) in a loop. No changing batteries, No tapes getting stuck. This takes technology to a whole new level of acceptance. My mom is already planning to gift one of this to all her sisters and brothers. I think my grand mom would love it. Anybody's grandmom would. Mind you, these are the kind of people who would never buy a talking greeting card or an expesive toy that says "Good Morning, How are you?" every time you tickle its belly.

Another great convenience is that it can be plugged into any socket just like one of those mosquito repellents. It does not require any batteries. Its very hard to find a reason why one would not buy this if it were available in a village fair.

Truly, a genius application. We need more of this kind.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I am impressed!!

This happened today.

10:10 AM : My father called BESCOM (previously KEB, humoured as Karrentu Ellada Bordu) and complained about power connection problem at our house.
10:25 AM : Line men arrive at our house
10:30 AM : Some part (most probably fuse) replaced at the Khamba (electric pole) and light is back on.

Unbelievable. Isn't it?

Now to top this:
The line men walk away smiling after my mom refused to give them any money.

Its amazing what privatization can do even to a pukka babu organization like the state electricity board!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tadiandamol - again

I went to Tadiandamol again. You can read about it here if you would like. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My first chalan (traffic ticket)

Yes, I did get my first traffic ticket. I am one among them now.

At 9 O' clock night yesterday, a constable asked me and another scooty rider to pull over to the side at Bhashyam Circle, Sadashivnagar.

As any body's first reaction - I also said "It was only yellow when I crossed the line". But the constable was no mood to listen. Especially during the Road Safety week (how many of you knew about that?). Well, in hte next 3 seconds I weighed all my options

-> Shout vehemently that it was definitely amber when I crossed the intersection and challenge the Asst Sub Inspector (can you believe it... the *sub* inspector himself has an assistant..) on facts. It would be my word against that of the Constable (the ASI was busy writing some other chalan anyway) I had no chance of winning that battle.

-> Submit myself sheepishly to the ASI and negotiate a bribe. This had 2 risk factors - If the ASI was an honest man, thenI would be in deep trouble. Second, I would lose the right to talk about morality for ever. So this was a definite no-no.

-> Do not stop, just run away. After all I drive a sports bike (seriously that is what Fiero F2 is classified as). Even if the old 50 year old ASI decided to follow me on his modified Hero-Honda, I could have gotten away. But Sankey road does not have too many cross roads to "sink". As it turned out, there was a lorry accident on the Sankey road and the traffic was moving dead slow. It was a correct decision to stop. I stopped.

-> Pay the fine (what ever it is) and go home and see "Mukta"

I chose the last one.

The constable asked for license and took me to the ASI. As he went aside to catch a few more, he kept on advising me about the ill effects of rash driving. I gave him the look-who-is-talking-look and went on. As the ASI started to write the chalan, the Constable promptly reminded him to trigger the bribe negotiations. He said "Saar, bill haak beka bedava keli saar." (Sir, first ask him if he is OK with cutting the chalan) ASI smiling said, "he will give...". This (for a man who is ready to bribe) is an unequivocal cue to start pleading guilty and bribe his way out with out a ticket.

I was furious, but I was in a tactical disadvantage. ASI had my license, My vehicle was parked and its number already noted... If I did anything smart, I would in deep soup. Here is where technology could have helped. If I had a mobile phone that records sound at the click of a button, then I could have had proof about the ASI/Constable's intent. Believe me I would have gone the distance if I had such a proof.

Well, since I did not stop the ASI, he gave 2-3 more looks and hesitatingly wrote the chalan.... When he finished, he said that I have to pay Rs200/- He added another baseless charge of "obstructing free flow of traffic". Absolutely untrue. But who could listen to me.

Now it got more interesting.
I did not have Rs 200/-. I offered to go to the ATM (which is 500 mts away) and get cash. Again, it would be of great convenience if chalan money could be paid through ECS or Credit card. But the ASI needed proof that I would come back... I offered by duplicate license (which has all my details) until I come back. But he did not accept it... He took my helmet... I got the money and paid him. Now my question is "If the ASI instructed me to ride 1 full kilometer without helmet, is he culpable?"

My charges against him do not end here. After paying and signing the receipt in triplicate, the ASI struck the whole thing off (see the picture). Is this a common practice? He said, it means that I have paid. Even though it is written separately in words that I have paid. Striking off could as well mean that the whole incident never happened and ASI pockets the Rs200/- I gave. My next question is "Is there a way I can ascertain that the fine paid actually goes to the exchequer?"

The last one is a killer. I am certain that the old man on the scooty was caught with me was of the brining kind. Although I did not listen to his conversation with the constable, I got a sense of what was going on. And he was not there by the time I returned from ATM (which had taken 5 minutes max). The ASI who took 10 minutes to write my chalan could not have finished with him so soon. Also, I do have my chalan number. There must be a "scooty-rider-above-50" chalan next to it. If not, then we all know what could have happened there. "Does any body know how to check all this? Is the new Right-to-information act of any use here?"

Last, to be utterly cynical about the Police (I do have reasons to suspect after the Telgi Scam) "Is this receipt real?"

All this happened when there was utter traffic chaos at Kaveri theatre just 500 mts south of where I was and a lorry accident 200 mts north of it. Our police definitely need to get their priorities right.

Prashanth Kota

 Posted by Picasa