Monday, September 28, 2009

A driving experience in Mumbai

I am writing this letter in the hope that it will reach out to a large set of car owners in Mumbai and they will be able to benefit from my experience.
A couple of days back I was driving from home in the evening in my ALTO and was crossing Bandra on Linking road. Suddenly a person crossed the road and pointed hurriedly at my bonnet and mentioned the words sparks and "aag". I didnt pay much attention and thought that I had misheard the person. Then another person on my left came out and again pointed at my bonnet and mentioned that he could see severe sparking.
I panicked and ground the car to a halt (near the amarsons petrol pump). A third person came out of a parked car and said that he too could see the sparks. By this time I had switched the engine off and was pushing the car to the left hand side of the road. This person then asked me to open the bonnet and start the engine. I opened the bonnet and went to start the engine and to my horror I could actually see sparking near the battery of the car.
The person mentioned that he knew of a maruti service station near by which would be able to do the needful. Leaving the car with my colleague, I walked to the petrol pump but the service station was closed. There was a person however standing outside it and was carrying some sort of tools on him as well. He agreed to look at the car and help out. Upon inspection, he mentioned that the "alternator" was problematic and had to be serviced. He was not able to give a clear indication of the costs though.
For some reason I called up my mechanic at that point in time and he immediately warned me of this modus operandi of fooling people. What had actually happened that a team of three identify cars of old make and target them. Upon opening my bonnet, when I went to start the engine, one of the members loosened the battery wire which links to the "coil" because of which the sparking occurred.
The experience was quite traumatic and I was compelled to write this mail when some one again tried to pull the same gag on me at the Bandra-end of Bandra Worli Sea Link.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Effective way of improving productivity in India?

One of the biggest changes I have felt in my life since I moved from Kolkata to Mumbai was the concept of 8'o clock in the morning.

In Kolkata, 8'o clock means BRIGHT sun and daylight. In Mumbai 8'o clock is pleasant and chilly. While 7 pm in Kolkata almost means dead of the night, in Mumbai I am just about leaving office and there are still some hints of sunlight.

So now I think, is it important that the concept of 8'o clock be uniform across the country? Would introducing two time zones in the country aid it in any way ? I think it would lead to better work co-ordination and help tremendously in an increasing global economy. Agree it would lead to massive confusion in the beginning but people would learn to adapt. It might just spur a mini economy of its own with people coming out with new products to help others adapt to the time zone. Imagine, going from Mumbai to Kolkata, we would adjust our watches!

Think of the situation today. If some one from the North East wants to schedule a meeting then he would probably be most productive at 8'o clock and want to keep the meeting at that time with his western India counterpart. On the other hand in Western India, 8'o clock would be when people would start to get out of their homes. (This I am assuming that people will adjust to the solar clock and instead of having a 9to5 office timing will have something like a 7 to 3 office)

If my assumption is "incorrect" then we are already in a big bowl of pea soup. People would start their offices at 9 but by the time it would be 5, the skies would be pitch dark as the sun would have set by then(in context of Eastern India). Which means, that they would need to make special arrangements to travel in the dark. It means more electricity consumption for lighting up street lamps, car headlamps etc.

The SUN drives everything. Humans tend to carry out maximum activities in daylight and in its absence we wait for the next day to begin (ya, i know not much nightlife for me!). Isnt this why Benjamin Franklin introduced Daylight "Saving" Time (come on, I know you saw National Treasure, even though you hate the guts of the producer) so that the extra long hour of the day could be used productively?

Anyways, as per MapsOfIndia, India's longitudinal expanse is from 68degrees 7 and 97degrees25 east. Theoretically, with a change in 15 degrees, half an hour should be added / subtracted from GMT.

Now, the part which baffles me - When we look at US, there are 4 time zones and when you look at China they dont have a time zone as of now. (they used to have 5 time zones half a century ago)

This is one point I am not able to understand as China is doing fantastic in terms of productivity and all the global economy stuff without having multiple time zones?

What do you people think ?