Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I have decided to Run for education, #Run4Bhumi , Run with me #TWCM

I am one of the co-founders of Bhumi, one of India’s largest independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations and the recipient of the ‘Leader in Volunteer Engagement Award’ conferred by iVolunteer. Bhumi as a platform will enable over 5,000 volunteers in more than 10 cities across India volunteer for causes like education, environment, animals, community welfare etc. in 2014. Bhumi volunteers primarily work amongst over 15,000 underprivileged children in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Telengana, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Delhi NCR  with the aim of providing children with quality supplementary education to enable them become responsible and productive citizens of the future.

Bhumi's growth has been made possible by the time, energy and contributions of several thousand great individuals like you across the country. Bhumi has also been supported by some CSR initiatives over the years. Both Bhumi's growth and our supporter base has continued to grow exponentially each year. But this year due to the withdrawal of some CSR funding we are facing a fund crunch that is curtailing our investments in education. So, I have decided to do the 10K Run for the education of Children at The Wipro Chennai Marathon #TWCM on Dec 7, 2014.


38 days to go for the Marathon I have started my preparation and fundraising with a target of raising at least INR five lakhs for Bhumi.
  • For every lakh or part of it I raise for our cause I pledge to be stay vegetarian for a month.
  • I will practice running at least six days a week until the marathon, and for every week I am unable to do this I will add another week of vegetarianism
  • Additionally, If I succeed in raising at least five lakh rupees for our cause I will run with a funny hat or costume at the marathon
I am running for education, #Run4Bhumi , Run with me at the #TWCM
Support Bhumi

There are other volunteers who are running for Bhumi in the Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai Marathons. You could support them too (Details to be updated soon)

Practice log
  1. 38 days to go | 2.21 KM | 29.57 Mins | 78.6 KGs
  2. 37 days to go | 2.50 KM | 27.29 Mins
  3. 36 days to go | 4.00 KM | 36.49 Mins


Friday, April 11, 2014

Beware of Spicejet via MakeMyTrip

Second bad experience with lack of information of rescheduled Spice Jet flights booked through MakeMyTrip. That's two out of two in six months!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Chennai Auto fares fixed after seven long years

We at Bhumi started a campaign on www.Change.org on June 25, 2012 to fix the auto fares in Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu. 16,632 people signed the petition and we met the government several times, it has all finally paid off

The government of Tamilnadu have announced the revised Auto meter fares today


I received a call from the Transport Minister an hour back (Aug 25, 10AM) with the following details

  • Minimum fare for the first 1.8 Km is Rs.25, and for every additional Km is Rs.12.
  • Between 11pm to 5am the charges would be 50 percent in addition to the fare.
  • Waiting charges for 5 minutes would be Rs.3.50 and for an hour it is Rs.42.
  • Complaint mechanism helpline 'like 108' will be established
  • It's the first time in India that the GPS electronic meter is going to be used, which would record the details of the journey travelled and has a panic button, that if pressed by the customer would alarm the police.
  • GPS electronic meter will be issued for free by the government free, at a cost of Rs.80-90 crores
  • From the news: Drivers charging extra will get their licence suspended or the auto will be seized.
  • From the news: The corrected fares comes to effect immediately and the final deadline to the fix meter is October 15th. 
  • Reference - Relevant Government Order
Lots of people to thank: 
  • Our Chief Minister Ms.J. Jayalalithaa
  • The Transport Minister Mr.Senthil Balaji
  • The officials of the state transport department 
  • The 16,632 people who signed the petition to make this happen. Our voice was amplified 16,000 times because of you! 
  • Members of the press, especially The Times of India - Karthikeyan Hemalatha
  • www.Change.org - for creating the platform, esp. Surendran Balachandran for all the guidance & encouragement
  • The awesome team at Bhumi, anything is possible as a team!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Who is dividing India?

The BJP was ruling at Gujarat and at the centre when a four day riot killed 2000 Muslims and Hindus in 2002. Despicable, yes!

The Congress and the UPA are rule at the centre over the last 9 years has been charcterised by communal politics targeted at the Muslim vote bank like setting special courts for 'terror cases involving Minorities' and irresponsible statements portraying themselves as the self proclaimed guardians of minorities.

So, who's polarising the country more? A one decade old incident or every day divisive anti-national politics?

There are hordes of politicians from the congress, the BJP and every other teeny weeny political party who have been playing caste based vote bank politics with reservations, inter-caste rivalry, honour killings etc. There seems to be hardly any difference between the British who divided to rule us before independence and the majority of the current political class.

Doesn't Modi who has never played any caste based politics stand out as a Beacon of hope?
Have we as a nation forgotten that it's unity that gives us strength?
Doesn't this great nation deserve better?
INDIA deserves to be MODIfied... starting 2014!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amusing political drama with an Italian Twist

Hundreds of fishermen from Tamil nadu have been killed over the last few decades by the Sri Lankan Navy (530 according to wikipedia). The fishermen might have been fishing in Sri Lankan waters as claimed by their navy; but killing them for an economic offence can never be justified, the same way their Military can never justify the Genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils for political reasons.

In Feb 2012, when Italian Marines shot at an Indian fishing boat off the coast of Kerala killing two Indian fishermen, they were imprisoned and legally prosecuted. Since then, the politicians of Kerala including those in power have consistently demanded justice and raised (crappy) nationalist sentiments.

Surprisingly, of the two fishermen killed, one was a Tamil and a year on, not a whimper from any of the major Tamil politicians!

Now that we have let the Italians off the hook due to our stupidity, they join a infamous list of foreigners whom we deliberately let off the hook like Ottavio Quattrocchi, Kim Davy, Warren Anderson etc. (PS: No disrespect for Supreme Court here, but the Italians simply played their cards better!)

Suddenly all this nationalist ruckus in the parliament, calls for economic sanctions against Italy and prosecuting the Italian Envoy! I can't feel a tinge of amusement at all the political drama and disappointment that our shameless Tamil Politicians despite sharing power at the centre for a major part of the last two decades did nothing concrete to put an end to the killings.

Shame on you... Shame on us!

PS: All this drama is unadulterated politics, majority of Indian Politicians who matter do not care about people suffering/dying etc. If you think otherwise, go laugh at yourself.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Rape by touch

Some time back on board a local AC bus, where all the seats were taken except one next to a young lady with a kid, a 50 something old man got in and the conductor asked him to occupy the empty seat. For 2 minutes the lady started yelling about how she can possibly sit next to a male... blah blah... I was sitting next to a lady, so I offered to exchange my seats with her ending the ruckus.

Last week, on board another 'luxury' local bus that has two rows of double individual seats just like the AC bus, a 20 something girl asked a 20 something guy if he would mind her sitting next to him, he immediately jumped out leaving her to occupy the seat. Chivalry? Yeah, and he stood for the next half hour beside the door. I think more of foolishness and immaturity.

I'm sure if you had traveled by the local bus you would've noticed women demanding, fighting for the ladies seats on the left side of the bus while other women are occupying seats in the left half of the bus.

While I've seen several such 'scenes' with much amusement in Tamil Nadu. I've never seen this happening at any of the other places I've visited... Only in Tamil Nadu it seems, people can be raped by touch!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Please sign my petition to Rationalise Auto fares in Chennai on Change.org

I often board the Airconditioned MTC bus from T.Nagar to Kanchipuram to get to work. The 70KM journey from Saidapet to Kanchipuram costs me Rs.100. Today I wanted to get to the Saidapet Arch Bus Stop from Chamiers Road and started waving down autos. The less than 3km journey took less than 5 minutes, yet the auto rickshaw driver wanted Rs.100 for the ride!!

I hardly ever use the Auto Rickshaw because I hate haggling with these fellows who expect at least Rs.20-25/km but whenever I'm forced to, it has been a bad experience every time. The Auto rickshaw rates are yet to be revised in almost five years while fuel prices have gone up several times, so I've started a petition asking the Transport Commissioner, Transport Secretary and the Transport Minister, Govt. of Tamilnadu to rationalise Auto Rickshaw fares.

Please sign the petition and share the link with all your friends. Let's spare two minutes for the Chennai we love.




Thank you.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Are we a nation of mediocrity?

When my patients, who are predominantly rural, return for a review, I ask them if their eyes good, often I get a response that they're okay. When I quiz them further about why they're just okay and not good, more often than not there is no answer...

There's a restaurant that I frequent to get my daily dose of caffeine, I'm so regular that most waiters just bring my type of coffee as soon as I walk in even without me even gesturing to them. One of the regular waiter there asks me every time 'Sir, is the coffee average?' I respond it's good. To this day he unfailingly asks me everyday if my coffee is average!

Is this a suburban/rural phenomenon reflective of the general mindset of the people? Is it restricted to Kanchipuram or is this how all our people think?

Composed this on my mobile while waiting for my coffee and here comes my favourite waiter, gottago... :)