Monday, March 27, 2006

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Ambanipur? AmbaniNagar? Ambaniabaad?

Special Economic Zone on Arabian Sea
Mukesh Ambani plans a new off-shoot city on the lines of Shenzhen near Shanghai and Jebel Ali in Dubai. There will be a new city in the on the Arabian Sea, across Mumbai, the part of twin Special Economic Zones’ in Mumbai.
ET informs the city will be home to at least a million people, most of them working in hi-tech and service industries such as electronics, contract research, finance, and information technology. The populace will have the best of amenities and facilities on lines of any developed country’s major city. In short, a modern township on the sea is on cards. The project will span a massive 32K acres and currently christened Mumbai Integrated SEZ.
Government has cleared a 140 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and MahaMumbai is one among them. MahaMumbai SEZ is proposed to be joined to Mumbai by a six lane, 22 km long sea bridge. The MahaMumbai SEZ will invite applications from companies (mostly foreign) to set up their offices. The selection will be based on whether they are non-polluting and are mostly be export-oriented. The project has not got off the ground but has already received eight hundred applications.

Is the separate area actually necessary?
The approval of Rs.1 Trillion, the largest ever approval of growth plans, has shown that India Inc has come to terms with globalisation. SEZs are required but if they are made comprising in the existing area and improvement the infrastructure is done, it will be doing double good. But the idea of the separate island on Arabian Sea, though will look awesome and all that, will be like a separate place very different from India. Though there will be many foreign companies investing and all that, but will be like running away from the infrastructure problems being faced in not only tier 2 cities but in tier 1 cities like Bangalore as well. I don’t know how correct I will be to say, to invest in infrastructure in the existing area, rather then reclaiming non-existent land and develop it. The infrastructure development in the existing Economic zones will attract more companies to invest and improve Indian economy. This separate city though will be like a jewel in the industrial revolution crown etc., but shunning the shameful infrastructure and thinking of something non-existing land mass, I feel, is just whim of a billionaire. I am sure there are economists and strategists among us bloggers who can enlighten me further detail if this will have more plusses than what I can see as a layman.

More on SEZs and Ambani’s ambition– ET, TOI, Sify

Friday, March 17, 2006

‘Ring-Ring-click’ sounds the missed call

We do not give a second thought while giving a missed call to announce our presence or to inform something decided upon in person or over a previous phone call. “Just give me a missed call when you reach the theatre, I’ll be there”, rings a bell (pardon the pun), doesn’t it?

Missed call communication is one of its kinds, an invention of the empty-pocket students or some brilliant dough-saving minds. Missed calls have the ability to convey varied messages to varied people with the same ring tone. Missed calls or, as some may call it the ring-ring-click communication, has been around for some time now and we Indians have mastered the art. As TOI / Sify put it, estimate is that around 20-25% of the share of calls on mobile phones are, missed calls. Missed calls do save the customers money, but the phone companies (fixed) do bear the brunt of paying the mobile service provider the interconnection cost and call termination cost etc. When the miss call happens within mobile networks both sides end up paying each other. The user is oblivious to all this.

The news sites call missed call communication as the lack of manners. I differ from them slightly. The missed calls cannot be considered as a lack of etiquette for the reason that, it happens mostly between pals. It is more of a personal, ‘I-know, you’ll- know, what-this-missed-call-means’ thing, rather than a meaningless and manner-less interruption. Though the falling call rates have reduced the number of missed calls, they are here to stay till the students are stuck with zero pocket money and the first of next month hasn’t arrived and every rupee saved is valued.

Rrrrring-Rrrring-Click!! Ah, a missed call, got to catch up with a friend. See you soon.

Monday, March 13, 2006

R.I.P Marshal

Nothing is permanent: Life, least of all.
Twelve years earlier, I pleaded and begged my dad to get me Marshal, my very own German Shepherd. He obliged and on my birthday, I had this three month old puppy ready to woof at my command.
In time, he was the best pal I had. Teaching him tricks for treat was my thing for months on end. By the time he was one year old, he towered over the other dogs in the locality and was sort of the king of the neighbourhood dogs. His extremely expressive eyes, naughty nature of chasing any other street dog and trying to go near and bark at the cows on the roads, though afraid of their horns, can never be forgotten. Marshal’s tail was his pride, the bushy tail when kept straight, touched the ground: the check for an original German Shepherd breed. Pull his tail and he’ll turn around pouncing on you. This was one of my ways to poke fun at him and one of his ideas of playing with me. Throw him a tennis ball to fetch, he’ll fetch it but never give it back until you throw him another one to make him drop the first one. Give him something to guard and you can make sure, it will be taken care of. People, thinking of his terror, called before coming home asking us to keep Marshal in the kennel before they actually were came. Intelligence shone through his eyes. There was no one who met him, who failed to appreciate his intelligence.
The fun loving and efficient Marshal is no more. Twelve years of loyally guarding the house day and night and being another sibling to me and my sis, he has now retired from the world and left his earthly form.

Rest in Peace, my most beloved pet. Rest in Peace, Marshal.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Le voyage vers la France

(Category: Travelogue. Watch this space for pics and Disneyland blog later, cause blogger is acting wicked atm)
Writing en route from Paris, cruising at 34K feet above sea level and looking at the intoxicating view on the western horizon, where one of the most beautiful sunsets was being painted in hues of orange, yellow, red and blue, I am happy this scribble on a magazine has made it to the blog. After being embraced by the most romantic city in the world for four days, I am already awaiting another chance of being in Paris.

Many ‘yeahs’ and ‘nays’ later, the trip was decided and the visa materialised on the passport and we were off for fabulous land called France. Charles De Gaulle Aeroport displayed the lean and mean Concorde proudly, the only mach speed passenger jet (decommisioned). Paris Hilton stood proudly outside the airport and could be seen from the runway (ahem..ahem…Hotel Hilton, Paris). Sit on the metro and feel the India like civic sense. Reach main Paris and you are overwhelmed by the beauty, the India-like traffic sense…wither way, feel at home. The historic city has lion’s share of artistic and architectural wonders.

During the day, climb up the Eiffel tower and gape at the extremely well-planned city sprawled under you, and you feel like Gulliver on his travels. The Trocadero on one side, Hotel Versailles, Opera de la Bastille, radio stations, Paris statue of liberty et al are studded like gems in the jewel called Paris.

A railway platform converted museum, Musee De Orsay, showed off paintings and sculptures from various artists from France. Louvre Museum pompously displayed Da Vinci’s Monalisa, Virgin of the rocks, Aphrodite’s statue and plenty more original and beautiful works of art. The intriguing smile on Monalisa’s face and her eyes which follow you wherever you go in the room, sure is a masterpiece and attracted much of the crowd. While wondering at the mysterious smile, you could almost hear Dan Brown say, ‘Didn’t I tell you, it was so....teehee’. Dan Brown’s masterpiece starts to unfold right when you enter louvre from the glass pyramid. (And the icing on the cake, a very attractive girl with the most beautiful smile like in the paintings, sitting on the ticket counter, allowed me in the museum for free. I thought she had fallen for me, but alas, it was free for all who were under 25 years of age, on all Friday evenings.)

Notre Dame, one of the most famous of churches, is one architectural masterpiece not to be missed. With all its statues of Jesus and followers and all the other pantheons of Christianity, Notre Dame stood overlooking River Seine.

As soon as you come out of the metro at Etolle, you see the mammoth monument ‘Arc De Triumph’ and you gape at it for sometime and then you devour the beauty of it. Built like the India Gate, it stands gallantly reminding the Parisians of Napoleon. A seemingly never-ending fleet of spiral stairs takes you to the top of it from where you can see the amazing spectacle called ‘Paris’. Twelve massive roads meet at the Arc De Triumph junction, which at night can truly display the glitter of the city. One of the roads being Champs Elyseés, the posh(est) road in Paris, inviting people to loosen their purse strings. The best part was the Renault Formula1 Bar on Champs Elyseés. The other exhilarating treat to watch is the illuminated Eiffel tower and the beacon of light rotating on top of it, lighting up parts of the sky, on all directions in quick succession.
If you are vegetarian in Paris and want to grab an inexpensive bite, you just have to be content with French fries. Not even McDs serve vegetarian. Night life in Paris is again tops the list in the Europe. Simply walk down the Champs Elysees or sip chardonnay sitting in the restaurants on the roadside, every moment will be enjoyable.

Though I am put off French fries for months to come, Paris is an experience which Paris alone can confer.