Sunday, February 25, 2007

Surprise call

A call from a long lost friend.Today I was browsing on the computer when Shyamala,my wife, entered talking to someone on the phone and whispered a name to me as she was talking.The name did sound familiar but could not believe my ears and continued with my work.She then said 'Here talk to Ajit 'and told me 'It is Gabale on the phone,Yes Dr. Gabale 'she repeated.

I just couldn't believe it and on saying 'hello ',the other accented voice talked in a bit hesitant Marathi.It was indeed Dr.Deven Gabale with whom I lost touch in the early eighties , when he went to UK to study further after completing his MS in General Surgery from our Grant Medical College.Below the view of the college library and the main JJ Hospital Building in the background from the JJ Flyover.I used to be updated on his progress from other friends.He did his FRCS in Urology in UK and then went to USA .Thats it . No further news for the past almost 25 years till today's phone call.

We exchanged a lot of news just like any long lost friends.Our kids are almost similar age groups and we both wished the next generation do get to know each other well as the world is much ,much smaller compared to our times.

He is leaving on the 27th night flight back to his home and work as a practicing urologist in Philadelphia, USA and how I wish we had more time to spend. Sincerely await his promised visit this December.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Board Exams

At last the much awaited XII Board exams have started.Today was the first day of practicals for my daughter Supriya. Though most of yesterday was spent in tension , I was happy when she told me in the evening " Papa lets go for a ride,but no going to anyones home or getting out of the car". My wife Shyamala and we planned to take her to Brahmala Lake, which we all had seen except her. On reaching there ,she reluctantly got down but then thoroughly enjoyed the walk around the lake. She was very pleased to actually see the place ,which we used to describe.

From there we went to the Pokhran lake, where we did not get down from the car but just sat watching the people around and entertaining ourselves by commenting on them. We saw a group of oversized girls standing near a bhel- puriwala ,and saw them enjoying every morsel of it ,when a brisk walk round the lake was really necessary instead. We wanted to gorge on peanuts . After a long patient wait for the chanawala, who did not turn up as otherwise they are seen in plenty, pestering us to buy in their typical nasal way of saying "chanaaa --khara singh chanawalaaaa ", we returned home.

Today morning Supriya went in a relaxed way and was more reassured when she met her friend who had already given the practicals a few days earlier. How fortunate these students are to give their practicals in the familiar surroundings of their own laboratories .

I remember, in our times the centers were far away from home and in absolute new surroundings with unknown examiners. I was very lucky to have had Mr.CPN Menon my professor from SIES college as the head examiner for Physics . He was a very good teacher but a terror in the minds of students . He had a reputation of being strict , very precise and also known to ask eccentric questions like ' have you weighed the prism" or "Have you washed the prism " etc, which I personally doubt as I think he was not at all wicked . In these days of power shedding , we really do not know how they are going to conduct the exams as the timings for load shedding are either from 7.30 am to 11.00 am,or 9.00 am to 12.30 noon or 11.30 am to 3.00 pm. Tomorrow is Chemistry and next day Biology practicals . Next week the theory starts and ends on 5th March after which we all will be free.

Best Wishes for all those appearing for exams this year !!!!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

MIN for Mutual Funds

MIN is Mutual Fund Identification Number. This is the latest to hit us all . A person living in India has to have multiple identifications . I just fail to understand why life has to be made complicated . We already have a Voters card , a PAN card,a UIN card , and probably so many more . There should be only one card which suffices to vote , to invest, to operate accounts , etc.

When I went through the instructions given for MIN, I realized that a lot of work lies ahead . From the website I printed out the required forms. I was fortunate to read the instructions carefully again as the instructions page has to be printed back to back to the main form . Good that I read it or else when xeroxing , I would have made a mistake.

Though the instructions are clear , it is going to be very tedious affair. All joint holders have to have their individual MINs . So copies of each ones identity and proof of residence is required. Next in the application form I have to be careful when writing the order of names,middle name and surname. It should match the order in the Folios .

All copies if self attested will have to be verified taking the originals. If not they have to be attested by appropriate authorities. I was wondering if I had to go all the way to Mumbai to submit all the documents , but on reading the web page ,I found that Thane was also a Point of Service.What luck. I have to get on this work now sparing some scarce time for it.

In the participating Funds I did not read about ICICI Mutual Funds.I only pray they wont require a separate MIN, and also spare us from further identities.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

India Shining !! Agencies at Work !!

India shining , so nice to hear those words . As we get known around the world , a look within makes us realize that it is still a long way off till we show our real face than one behind a mask.

A few weeks ago we had a big digging program undertaken by the MGL for piped domestic gas.Their work got over and we are waiting excitedly for the gas to be lit in our kitchens.

Today morning at 3 o'clock the lights went off . The weather being very cool and pleasant , it really did not matter . At 6.00 when I looked out , I saw lights in the buildings around us . I had that restless thought that something is the matter with my house only and I would have to go hunting for an electrician . I then heard the watchman telling someone that the power had gone at 3 am and was restored at 6 am except to our wing . So I was not alone to sort out the problem . At 7.30 a few workers from the Maharashtra State Electricity Board [MSEB ] came and had a look around declaring that there was a cable fault and it would take some time . I then went to my clinic . At 12 noon my wife Shyamala called up , I presumed it must be that the power was restored and it was . On reaching home I had a talk with the workers who said that the MGL people had damaged the cable and they were setting it right . Again the power was shut on purpose and was finally restored at 3.00 pm. I must complement the MSEB for the reasonably ' quick work '

Now the title . Why can't India shine in these small things , we are as inefficient as always were . When the MGL came to dig they should have coordinated with the MSEB , to protect the underlying cables . This was on a small scale , the same happens when work goes on on the main trunks . We were left wondering that after power is restored it will be the turn of MGL to plug leaking pipes for which they will dig and the cycle repeats.

Now the MSEB work itself.I was horrified to see so many people gather to repair that I decided to click and also note down individual work assignment . There were about 3 wearing brown trousers--must be electricians and another 3 who probably were on contract to only dig. One person , not in brown trousers , was just standing watching the proceedings and waiting to contribute his skill . A pick up van made a few rounds to deliver some equipment and articles. When it stopped outside the gates a few people and the driver would come in to chat with their colleagues,have a hearty laugh and go away.

The actual work now. The diggers would start their work, 2 would dig in turns and the third would shovel the mud.The 3 brown trousered ones would sit in the shade talking , chewing betel leaf [ paan ] spit around , attend calls on the cell stretch their limbs and occasionally get up to inspect the digging . At one point the person standing on the sidelines got down in the trench and started twisting and pulling something.As I could not spot the details I presumed he had found the fault.The other 2 got up lazily from the shade,third brown pant was nowhere to be seen.They approached the trench and got in , the previous one made way for him.This one took some pieces of wire , shaved the edges and sat down . I could see just some pulling and twisting actions.The other brown pantwala probably was the overall boss.He did not participate in any activities , but was busy on his cellphone and spitting. Finally all were out of the trench and suddenly the lights were on in the house. The diggers then reversed the work and filled up the trench. Our watchman noticed me clicking photos from the balcony, and made me worry that if he told the workers they may feel offended and abandon the work.

I was wondering , that if this MGL and MSEB were private organisations , how would the work be done. 1 electrician,his assistant and 2 diggers would have sufficed and work would have taken less than 1/4 the time as MGL and MSEB would have coordinated the work. It is here that India should shine , work efficiently with bare essential staff, so no one is left lazying and spitting , in the shade of trees.