Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lisa's Bangalore connection

Tinu, 7, hyper-active; fond of chicken biryani; wants to grow up to be a policeman.
(below) Santosh,12, quiet; noodles; engineer.

They are among Lisa Morais' 39 children she came to 'adopt' during her volunteering stint at a Bangalore orphanage last summer. Her work triggered the spirit of giving in the public-spirited Suresh, who messaged Lisa, saying he had decided to donate part of his pay for the uplift of the orphans and the disabled.
Other messages : 1) I am relocating to Bangalore and interested to do some voluntary work for children and senior citizens - Nash.

2) I am a montessori teacher;want to help disabled work for them. Where I can go for this, in Bangalore - Shanthi

3) I want to stay with and teach orphanage students,doing a day job to earn my living - Kamal

Who is this Lisa ? A New Hampshire school teacher who did four months of volunteer work at an orphanage in Bangalore. The experience so impacted Lisa that, on her return to the US, she organised fund-raising events, made slide-show presentations, and set up a blog to spread community awareness about the orphanage.

Vincy (eight months)
The senior most, Sugandhi,16

Bangalore-based Grace Fellowship Charitable Trust runs a home for 39 orphaned and abandoned boys and girls. The youngest is Vincy, eight-months; and the senior most is sixteen-year-old Sugandhi. Lisa lists them all in her blog, with photo and thumb-sketch of their personality traits, their likes, interests, and aspirations. Sugandhi, described as calm, caring and helpful, loves noodles, and wants to be a teacher. So do eight others.

Mini,12. abhi,11.

Others in the orphanage wish to be doctors, engineers, pastors and policemen. Maybe, their exposure to a host of other professionals, such as scientist,aviators,techies and fashion designers, would widen their worldview. Kamal, Nash, Shanti and Suresh would do well to mobilise their professionl contacts to visit the orphanage and interact with the children.
The Bangalore-based Volunteers could work with the orphanage trustees to orgnise group visits of these children to offices and factories to give them a feel of various workplaces. Periodical visits to old people's homes can widen children's horizons.

How we connected with Liza

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Are we really world's largest democracy?

Two news items around the same time should make every Indian feel ashamed.

First, an international study shows that India ranks fourth corrupt country in Asia which is headed by Indonesia followed by Thailand. This is a matter which shames a Nation, but need not, as one of our Prime Ministers once said famously, as corruption is a universal phenomenon and one need not feel ashamed about it!

Secondly, as part of ‘Declaration’ of their assets, most of our politicians have made their wives ‘super- duper’ rich, after a short span in power. No matter which party they belong to, some of the candidates are either ex- convicts or have cases pending against them. But candidates of all parties without exception, have assets disproportionate to their known sources of income by at least, a mile, add or take away a furlong or two! That during the period involved in ‘public service’ they have amassed so much wealth, which, they have coolly transferred on to their wives’ names, who most of times are either illiterates or have hardly involved in any job or vocation .This is the real shame of democracy which our media have largely ignored or have not shown the interest to question these so called ‘Leaders’ how they amassed so much wealth in so short a time. It is so disgusting and amusing to read, some of them with crores as their assets, claim they do not even own a car!

What kind of leadership these selfish, corrupt ‘leaders’ can provide to the Nation? Are we really the worlds’ largest democracy or the world’s largest rogue’s gallery?


Monday, April 6, 2009

A rajpal's plug for Reva

Arunachal Pradesh Governor, General (retd) J.J. Singh drives a Reva on the Raj Bhavan estate at Itanagar. The Raj Bhaven maintains two electric cars. And they have done 20,000 km each.

Though the Bangalore-based car makers have been in business for nearly a decade there are less than 3,000 Revas on road worldwide. The car, they say , can do 80 km on a charge - suited for today's city mobility. It doesn't pollute; it is sized small enough to work its way through Bangalore's traffic jam; has space enough to fit in a family of four - two kids,mom and dad. Reva has an onboard charger, for easy plug-in into any 15 Amp socket at home or at work.

And yet, the urban middle-class hasn't taken to it. Reva is seen, not so much a utility vehicle, as a fashion statement by green-minded freaks . Bangalore, they say, has fewer Revas than London. The car is sold in United Kingdom, Italy, Malta, Cyprus, Norway, Spain, Ireland, Japan, Srilanka, and it has been test marketed in Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, and Nepal. Marketing the car in India is about changing middle-class mindset. Besides, Reva remains positioned as the second car in a two-car family.

China, they say, is poised to develop its electric car; and they do things on a massive scale. This development has raised the question whether mass marketing electric car is indeed a green option. In China, 80 percent of electricity comes from coal-driven power plants. And putting electric cars on road would only shift carbon emission from city roads to the areas where power plants are located . Besides, China is associated with dumping its products, cheap in foreign markets.

Where does this leave Reva, which has plans to step up its production to 36,000 cars a year, from its current level of 6,000 cars? Reva can find its future in a solar-driven hybrid car, with provision to plug-in when it gets cloudy. Maybe they are thinking in these terms. Reva's CTO Chetan Maini, in his university days at Michigan had raced a solar electric car from Florida to Michigan. He was also in the General Motors sponsored World Solar Challenge, a 2000-mile drive from Darwin to Adelaide, Australia.