Women’s Equality

Google India plans to get 50 million women in India using the Internet within one year through a new initiative that aims to bridge the gender digital divide by providing women with easier access to technology, the company said.
With more than 200 million Internet users in the country and growing, India is set to overtake the United States as the world’s second largest market after China. Yet only one-third of India’s online users are women.’
From personal experience I can safely say that Indian women are far more sensible than the Indian males; and will be able to use the world wide web, to its great potential. Women world wide remain our greatest resources for development; especially in countries that are entering development, and need to build institutions and enterpenuers, to service human needs. Women can become the creators of the family wealth; if they are given the opportunity, to run independent services. They are quite capable of running services for small fees; in small village or towns, especially services where no one else has the facilities. Adding 50 million to 500 million women users eventually; will transform how the people of India, will live. As more interconnectedness expands, we will see more of ‘It takes a village’ attitude of the female species; where the children and family needs, will come to the forefront. Consumerism and incomes of the females will rise faster than those of the males (partially a catch up effect), as woman become economically independent. With micro finance, crowd sourcing and NGO and venture and public funding should help Female owned businesses to get off the ground and even become success stories for others to follow. Property ownership shifting to women will be the first awakening; that this is startiing, to happen at large. Given opportunities women will rise to the occasion and better support each other; and theri groups and organizations, to succeed.

With the bridging of Solar\Wind\Bio gas\fuel cells\energy sources and the greening of the environment as females are much better husbanders of our natural environment, we will see steady improvement in our relationship with the Earth. Natural produce and distribution systems catering to the family’s need will spring up; as women go more online to find life’s necessities, in an organized market, which will be more open. Banks, markets owned by women will become the new reality as modern logistic systems will be built out using the latest electronic markings and readers will move through automated delivery systems that ensure quality and speed of delivery. A person’s digital foot print will become the story of their lives as food, water, household goods and any output of spending will be tracked; and suggestions provided for what else people bought, who also bought what you bought.
With wearable.devices like glasses, or watch or phone or a bendable tablet; the internet will become ubiquitous in our lives and in cities, cars, trains and airplanes will provide instant access to information. It is how this information is used to form a community and a market place and a business that uses traditional skills and provides employment to the masses will be largely determined by such women entrepreneurs. We have to accept the fact that even in Gandhi’s land, urbanization will happen and women’s equality will no longer be at a lower level than all the other ‘reserved classes’. There is no grand plan that anyone has for this future in India; the closest we can look to is in China; where their cities exploded in the last few decades after Deng. It was of course Mao who established gender equality under communism, at a greater scale than anyone before him. In India the supreme builder is still hidden in the history books of the Taj Mahal or has not revealed himself as the next avtar of the God of cities. We have far smaller land holdings and they are fragmented and do not confirm to modern large spaces; with soaring skyscrapers for many miles, and underground and overhead public transport, to move millions around, required on a scale, unimagined before. Our planning commission and Lok and Rajya Sabha should learn from the scale of the projects carried out by the politburo of the Great Hall of the People. If you want to do something grand then you need to do it, on a grand scale.
Despite the bueauracratic bungling and political posturing in the great houses of Indian parliament; eventually saner heads will prevail, and enough land will be acquired for modern development at an unheralded pace. Modern cities within giant urban areas will stretch out around Mumbai\Pune, Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh etc. Steel, Concrete and Glass will finally rise to challenge the Nilgiri, Aravali and Himalayan peaks; in their own rights, as we have to go vertical. What will this urban jungle unleash; on an already lawless mentality, is a big moral question for our society to consider. Where women are routinely assaulted; and a girl is afraid to walk around alone in her own home town, is not a great society. Gender Equality is not something that can be given lip service to; but will need a complete social upheaval in the attitudes, towards women in society. A land where women are free to worship, learn and work in dignity is essential for a modern society to develop. As Tagore so eloquently ended his famous prayer/poem, I too state to all Indians ‘let my country awake’.
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

To all the publishers of editorials and writers of intellectual writings currently prevlant on the subject of Women’s Equality; I would just like to remind people of the importance of thinking in a great society and learn that the future can be better; if we all think of what we can do, for our country and our women:
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. -John F. Kennedy, 35th US president (1917-1963)

Masters all

‘Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.’ -Claude Monet, painter (1840-1926)
I am telling you Claude, that if this is just another one of your “Lily pond” paintings; then I am just so walking away from here. What is this obsession with the outdoors and water and lakes and rivers and morning mists and evening dusks over tall trees and beautiful colors. Where is the personal touch of elegant maidens and young lovers on an open canvas? Now when I look again at his works; the church and the village and the countryside, all spread-out in his own interpretation of reality (captured forever) on his canvas, with some strokes of oil paints. The paintings are the earliest impressionists that sprang up around this period and spread out across Europe. When one looks at his Impression, Sunrise as shown above; one can feel the rapid brush strokes, and feel of light that he imparted to the canvas, and a new school of impressioism, was born in Paris.
Many artists flourished from the nineteenth century and today adorn some grey halls in storied buildings. The price of art is going through the roof as private collections are gobbled up by large Museums with millions in endorsements. Private capital sweeps in and out of auctions claiming dubious prizes at extremely high prices at the various venues. Still if we reduced it it to its basics these are just strokes, squiggles, designs, colors, texture and intent on a blank canvas stretched tight. The beauty of all art is in how it attracts its viewer into its own world of passion; and view of the given reality. It portrayes the artist’s view point at that particular moment in time; and it may have taken many previous attempts, to get to this one view. Suddenly the light and shade and darkness and the bright palette come together and a masterpiece is created.
We should revere these master pieces that history has left behind; from these magnificent artists, and they are prized as great pieces of art. In the digital world; we can have views of all the masterpieces that are available, on the individual Museum’s web sites. We need to go beyond these fiefdoms of state and country borders like St Petersburg, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London, Amsterdam etc to a unified whole representing world art. Wikipedia is probably the closest we will get to one I guess, for now. To understand a Monet\Van Gough\Gaugin we have to look beyond the presentation; to the man who painted them, and his times. Since this is now beyond anyone’s ability; so instead we gawk at the spectacl, and are hustled, around by guards in white gloves, down halls with statues, and gardens outside the windows with more exquisite displays.
Technology has changed and the current video oriented communication channels; are clogging up our airways, and what happens when we eventually communicate at the speed of our brain. We will have instant access to the network around us; and everything will be connected, whenever we want it to be. When we barely think a thought or imagine an image; and we can create it using a 3D printer, with canvas, paint and a good program. We could reproduce millions of images into a cohesive whole; and then make it storable, searchable, and reusable in today’s world. Do we make the ceiling in our room like the Sistine Chapel; or do we do a dark Monet, full of love? We could transform living space with images like the Cesar’s in Las Vegas, and other Casinos; and they would not be dark and dingy in their interiors, but become alive with life, and vibrant with hope. Great art can help transform even the lowest places; if it is displayed properly, and then it will be appreciated everywhere.
On another note I think the world has forgotten what modern communication can do. President Lincoln used the Telegraph and railroads very efficiently for communication and restocking of the Union Army in the first modern civil war. With Obama care we have the unleashment of the power of the Internet. When 10 million people have signed on for Health Insurance through this portal; then people may finally sit up, and take notice that change is coming in how medical care will be provided in the US. The day we hit the mark of 100,000 people signing up on the same day on the currently beleaguered portal; we may stop following the index, and accept it as a law of the land. The war for people’s health and wellbeing is at stake here, and I believe after the initial glitches, the site will be tremendously successful; and reach ever higher milestones, through a collection of Health Care Exchanges, providing choice, and reasonable costs with preventive care thrown in. There are 36 states in the federal exchange and 14 other states have some form of medical exchanges on their own. Dec 15 and Mar 15 are big dates now, but will soon be a small blip in history, after the back loading.
On a last note we say goodbye to a legend in cricket as 23 years ago a teen age Sachin walked in at the hopeless position of the top order gone at 104 for 4 and only the great Kapil Dev to hold down the fort at the other end. A masterful 119 came off his willow that 1990 day in Manchester, he recorded his maiden debut century, to take the match to a historic draw. Tendulkar etched his name in deep letters into the annals of Wisden’s almanac and other record books at an astonishing pace. Now time has come to say goodbye to this test legend, who stepped out from the park in Mumbai; onto the greatest stage of his time, and did us all very proud!We bow down to all these masters who have come before us.

Life’s Purpose and possibilities

“Our story is the raft we ride in our ocean of life. We cling to it even while we might lament our story because it feels safer to be on the raft than swimming in the currents of possibilities. When you are ready for change, jump off the raft and swim with a different story.” ― Jeanne McElvaney
The purpose of my life is to serve others; and to enable the others around me to be happier, and dream some awesome dreams, for their future. This is especially true for our children; as if I cannot be an enabler for their dreams, then I cannot realize, my life’s purpose. Life only begins when we look outward and see what we can contribute, in the service of those around us. Our children are our most precious resource; as they represent the future, so their betterment, will give me the greatest reward in this life. So I say to them now – please dream that awesome dream again, and I will be here to act as an enabler; in any way of form, that I can share with you. Suddenly in their betterment; my life gets its own purpose, and to be successful we need to just concentrate on what can provide maximum happiness, to them in the future.
This analogy of life’s purpose; can be expanded beyond the kids, to the larger universe when we are ready. The main reason to have one’s purpose in life defined properly; is to first understand oneself, and what one likes to do. What one actually does; is not important in itself, as there are many paths, to the one truth; it is how one does it (attitude\character\quality), that is important. If we do it for ourself alone, then we only get partially fulfilled. If we do it for our family and friends, then we get a little more fulfilled. If we work in the service of the greater good of humanity, all living creatures and the universe beyond; then it makes our life purpose so much bigger. It is up to us to decide the personal role we are comfortable with; and how far down the road, we are ready to go.
My advice to the children is define who you are, what you feel you are good at doing, then decide who you want to do it for. This is the simple start to having a life; that can be examined, and understood and planned for desirable outcomes. If your life continues to give you undesirable results than sit back and examine your approach. If you dedicate your actions to giving compassion and happiness; then you will find that a lot of obstacles, will be removed from your path. Others around you will be grateful for your contributions; and a positive circle will start, that you can build upon. Remember that when you are down and nothing is going right; then your life purpose will come into play, and by baby steps you can get your life back on track. Then it is only be a matter of adding fuel; from those around you (open your heart), and you will see your train pick up speed, and rush towards the twin goals of happiness and compassion. There will be many stations along the way and you will seek and find companionship of like minded society; who also want to make a difference, in our lives. Examine life closely; and make it worth our living, as only then will we make the difference, that we seek purposely. This life’s purpose that comes from within us; will shine the light that will set us on the path, to true freedom and enlightenment.

New age communications

Photo: Rancho garden
Looking at the WWW usage, one is relatively satisfied that the euphoria of peer to peer file sharing; has now become a much lower percentage of the total use, of the world’s network. Japan and Korea still lead overall usage, with about 1 GB of downloads as compared to .44 for the US, and only .08 for fast growing Africa. We have gone from the lawless days of piracy, and reckless exchange; to more structured delivery, of content as seem “In North America, Netflix and YouTube are the main traffic culprits, according to its twice yearly Global Internet Phenomena Report. Combined, they account for 50.31 percent of the downstream traffic during the peak part of the day. By comparison, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu garnered just 1.61 percent and 1.29 percent, respectively.
From the rising information age, the war for the eyes and minds of its consumers has just begun; and this is not even the first Inning, of a long game. We are embarking on a whole new world of the communication era; from the creation and delivery revolution, that will be able to handle ever larger sets of data, and compute and deliver exact results from a library of terra bytes, that we cannot even imagine today. As the storage, retrieval and delivery of these to the human brain become ever more sophisticated; we will become connected to anything we want in the public realm, whenever we want to. Our preferences and viewing habits; will follow into all media, and our shopping and consumption will be all recorded, and we will be provided with location aware information, wherever we go.
We have come a long way from the days of old; when a walk in the garden, and a quite conversation between two or more companions, constituted the height of information exchange. The grace of gardens and statues and public places to walk around; and just talk to one another, is a fading art. The mountain path, or the meander through a valley and its low hills; is now forgotten, as the countryside is sometime visited, but we never stay engaged. What engages us now; is the spectacle of sports events, where humans compete in evolved forms of the basketball\soccer\football\cricket\baseball\wrestling\racing\gambling\porn watching; into one towards, more created content. This titillates the mind, and has us spellbound in complex relationships; portrayed by professional actors and musicians and cinematographers. The world of fantasy and reality will merge; as we watch the world unfold before our eyes, from the farthest reaches of space, to the tiniest molecules vastly magnified, of our space time continuum.
Evolution will take us into new realms, and consciousness will expand; to fit the new reality. The future generations will enjoy a world of connectivity; that we cannot hope to achieve, in our lifetimes. We have just started the trends, and taken the first steps in this nascent technology. A century or more is not even a blimp in evolutionary time and we can only hope that the future remains kind to the development of us humanoids. We have embarked on a new journey and we will see wonders, which were unknown to us before. As we explore the universe around us, we will find that development has to be shared; and compassion is the way to ensure, we leave no one behind. The world and our organization of it will have to be more democratic so that the peoples wishes and aspirations are fulfilled. We are all in this together and must learn to co-exist and flourish together. From each according to his ability, for each according to his need, may have been the failed Marxist dogma; but there is a relevance in maximizing the maximum benefit from our resources, for the people to enjoy. As we step forward into the new age, our progeny will be faced with many choices; but long as they keep compassion in their hearts, they will not lose their humanity.

The white marble art statue will remain as a memorial to the garden; where mother in laws prospected for proper son in laws, for their daughters, in the gardens of love, created for this purpose in southern california. That is real communication, and all else is unreal.

Regional rennaisance

The daily word from the web: pogrom Meaning: noun: An organized massacre, officially tolerated or encouraged, against a particular group. ETYMOLOGY: From Yiddish pogrom, from Russian pogrom (destruction). Earliest documented use: 1891. NOTES: The word is usually applied to the massacre of Jews in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. My earliest memories do not go back so far, but I do remember another such chapter in human history and my parents anguish at becoming refugees in their own land. The mass movement in 1946-48 of the Partition of South Asia into new nations hopefully will remain unprecedented; as millions left their homes on bullock carts, trucks, trains along the roadways to safety. The slaughter that happened between the communities as the division was along Muslim and Hindu divide demanded by Jinnah and the visionaries of Pakistan as a new Muslim nation. A cancer of communal violence; that eats away at its soul even today, as neighbors cannot live or trade in and harmony and peace with open borders. The divisions run deep now; and petty hostility prevails. that stops commerce and prosperity from spreading across these regions. They are soft states that struggle from political crisis to political crisis in an unending circle.
There is of course a better way and that is by breaking down these religious and cultural differences, and to rather embrace the modern reality that we live in a common world; and all of us are in this together. We rise and fall with each other; so it is much better to trade and expand commerce, across the area. If India is to go from 1.5 Trillion to the $ 15 Trillion by 2020, predicted by an economic research team’s recent projections; we will need a radical change is cooperation and openness across the nations. We should build the highways of the future through gas and oil pipelines from the best sources as that is what the third larges economy in the world will need. We need to ensure that Energy from solar, wind, biogas and all renewal forces like hydro, nuclear are utilized to their max, while cleaner coal continues to pay a great role in the mix.
There is a lot of thought leadership and entrepreneurial skill in the region; that is mainly held back, due to political considerations. Artificial constraints remain on the stock markets; and there is no mobility of resources, across the region. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank and other NGOs do commendable work in the region; and they can be leveraged to become the future ambassadors, of cross state endeavors. The ancient Grand Trunk Road at its imagined best; would become a true corridor of communication and logistics from Asia Minor, to the Indus and Gangetic plains. From Samarkand to Calcutta on the safe harbor Sundarban Delta of the Ganges and the Brahmaputra into the Bay of Bengal great waterways and river transports could bloom. The energy and resources from land trapped nations could flow down giant pipelines; providing the needs of industry, that would serve the needs of billions across the region. For such a large bay and larger Persian sea and the expanse of the Indian Ocean; we should have a flourishing trade with container ports, railroad lines and highways servicing the interiors.
The infrastructure build out required; would keep the region busy for the next century, if someone had the guts to envision the cross state proposals, that will truly transform the region. There are trillions of dollars just being wasted on a daily basis because of crony capitalism and feudal living that befuddle the villages and countryside which are the ones who need to transform themselves into the future. Let the people trade and just provide the means to do it efficiently and the people will pay for it with their own effort. There is enough capability and knowledge as shown by the launch of the recent Mars mission and starting of the Russian plant in Tamil Nadu. There are enough natural resources in the region to provide for the next century if we only take the steps to harness them and share them with each other at an economical price.
The question remains that in a region where the huge Bamiyan Statues from ancient Buddhism could be callously blown away, and mosques and temples reduced to pages of history and destroyed since time immemorial; can a region of peace and civility be restored. It is said with the establishment of markers and towns and markets along a broad and smooth highway with no restraints could truly transform the region into an urbanized miracle. This from the region that brought us the Indus Valley civilization, one of the earliest development of urban living. One could travel safely across the GT Road from Kabul to, Karachi, Tehran, New Delhi, Kathmandu, Dacca and Colombo in a matter of days and hours. Civil society and the rule of law is essential for this; with free trade treaties enforced, so no hiccups come in the way. Safety and speed should be the main points of effort and the ability to scale massively for the new urbanized population. Economies can only grow when savings can reach safely and quickly into investments that better the investors. . The infrastructure for communication through use of satellites and towers and new wireless technologies should connect the people as information is a great equalizer.
The ideological dream would be to move away from decades of destruction into a world of reconciliation and progress. The COGM in Colombo could light the way for a new era of development between the Commonwealth nations except for the narrow views of the sub-continent. UK, Canada and Australia would all gladly increase their trade with their traditional partners if we can stop our petty squabbling. As nations of equals there is far more to be achieved than as nations of dividers and regional destruction can at last become regional creation. Let us be creative and magnanimous for our very own development is at stake and that of the greater humanity. An economic miracle can unfold, or we can plod along at our Hindu rate of growth.

The Albatross and his side kick

Long Beach
The Albatross and his acquired side kick; made strange companions, as they dive in the Pacific bay for their daily meal. As the Albatross would rise up and dive in to fish or skim along the waters seeking his prey; the much smaller side kick would cheer him on, and follow and dive along with him. It was a friendship of convenience; as whenever the albatross claimed a prize, the sidekick would nudge in and claim his piece of the treasure. A flock of teals (?) also arrive swimming up the estuary; and they dive for over twenty seconds each swimming under water, to claim their prize from the school of fish that they are following. The sea gulls cry out and dip in too, and then there are the white diving birds, that fly high and scoop into the water and claim their share. The Chinese fisherman casts his twin lines from the rocks on the shore; as the Los Angeles River flows into the ocean, under the overhead bridges. I walked along the shore and the ocean breeze seemed to talk to my very soul; as the Catalina express catamaran, takes the travelers for their pleaasure trip, to the nature preserve over the horizon.
The sail boats are out in the glorious sunshine and their white sails stand out against the blue horizon, as they are carried along by the wind to their destination. The waters are calm in the harbor and the sailing is just nudged by the motor boats plying the bay, and their wake leaves a trail and the waves spread out from their path. I look across the water and see the lighthouse standing tall over the marina, and the buildings and the palm trees line the shoreline view. It is warm enough to go swimming and I decide to take to the heated outdoor pool for a swim, at the hotel overlooking the beautiful view. Beyond the haze the mountains rise and beyond them lay the dry lands and then the dessert of Death Valley. My coworkers have driven off to Phoenix; and then to view the Grand Canyon and finally to sleep in sleepless Las Vegas, before returning back to Long Beach for the grind of the week ahead.
My restless spirit is not interested in the long road trips; as what I seek is not out there, but is somewhere here with me. Last night we were at Second Avenue enjoying some Sushi; as we waited for AT&T to have the time, for the acquisition of an iPhone for one of our group. There were some exotic cars and beautiful people, as after all this is California and the love of the automobile is best portrayed here in the convertibles; that lined the streets along the fancy restaurants. The display of tablets, phones and electronic gadgets is mesmerizing as the world is at your fingertips; if you can just afford the data plan and high resolution screens, which beam social media at you in an unending stream. I browse the Samsung’s, Apples , Windows and other phones and tablets; and am severely tempted by the instant access to all that is available, on today’s world wide web.
Information, Information everywhere, but not an iota of knowledge to think. Information, information everywhere and all the minds did shrink. I know not what I seek; but this overload of information will only divert me from my quest, so I pass on the two year plans and these devices that draw us in are left on the shelf, to beckon to another thirsty browser. In all the myriad data bases; with trillions of data bytes, is buried the mystery of this universe and life. The albatross of parting from this great opportunity on Dhanteeras; hangs heavy around my neck, as these are the vessels of our new age and what better time to buy one than today, as the GPS guides us back to our respective abodes. I feel that the albatross is the endless ocean of information stretching before me, and I am his side kick searching his scraps for knowledge. Facetime, Google hangouts, video chats all connect us now, and what’s up is not a phrase anymore; and my LA woman is immersed in her phone, and the Hollywood Bungalow is just another hot spot, to connect me to her fantasies.
It is just another Diwali in the City of Lights and I will celebrate it, as I know deep down that tomorrow will be a better day for all of us. I plan to go down to the Queen Mary; and watch the fire eaters and the fireworks on this fateful night when good will surely triumph over evil. The colored lights on the white walls of the Maya Resort will become the dispellers of darkness surrounding my soul, and the lights on the palm trees along the walkway will be the path of Ram returning to his rightful throne. Lakshmi will give freely to bless the needy, and Ganesh will bring felicitations and hope to the weary. I feel blessed even though I am alone for I know my family is safe, healthy and on their way to wealth. The festival of lights, in the city of lights, is a grand celebration this year; and my best wishes go out to all my near and dear ones, for hope still lives!