Arranging your thoughts via mind maps

January 7, 2009

Mind map is an excellent method of creating a visual image of one’s thoughts, ideas, planning etc. There are several articles online to understand what mind mapping is. Some of these are:

Once you understand what a mind map is and create few mind maps of your own, you will understand what an excellent tool it is to stay organized and be productive. It is a very good method of linking the main goal with the surrounding ideas in a non linear way. The flexible tree like structure helps in visualization and zooming in on different parts of the subject. Its an excellent method that can be used project planning and brain storming. I will use it for keeping my long terms tasks and short term tasks together in sight all connected together to the common goals.

There are few drawbacks also. Its harder to set priorities to different nodes. Also if the map is very big then it can be tedious to grasp the complete picture in one go. But overall it is one the best tools to stay productive.

There are various mind map software available online like List of Softwares

Charities and NGOs in India

January 4, 2009

I had made a resolution this year to select few charities working for under privileged in India and promote them rigorously. I found a great website that is doing a great job in providing a web platform to various charities working in India. The website www.giveindia.org consolidates and categorizes different charities on a single web page. You can select between different categories like children, education, environment, disabled etc. Charities range from providing dental care to poor to building schools and libraries. I strongly urge readers to check out this website and donate as much as you can. I am told that the feeling of happiness after a selfless doing is beyond a description.

Even though India is rising back to its lost glory, there are still many who can do better. First step to do something about it is to visit www.giveindia.org

Top 10 words we heard most in 2008

December 31, 2008

1) Green
2) Maverick
3) Bailout
4) Recession
5) Iphone
6) Mortgage
7) Jobs (Steve or usual)
8 ) Layoffs
9) Gas Price
10) Saturday Night Live

Are we free or managed?

December 28, 2008

Yesterday during lunch my vegetarian wife and parents accidentally shared a non vegetarian egg roll with me and in the aftermath they were quite persuasive about expressing their disgust about non-vegetarianism. Discussion after steering its way from rights and wrongs of different eating habits rested on the final topic about our morals, beliefs and what we consider rights and wrongs and why. I couldn’t carry on my discussion with them since they were more interested in playing their part in fixing the economy by participating in the after Christmas sale. But I kept on thinking about what is freedom and are we actually free or managed?

From our birth we grow up believing certain things that are right and certain things that are wrong. Usually these belief systems are based on the experiences of our parents, grand parents and the surrounding society. Our morals are predefined for us based on our inherited religion, country or sometimes our race, color and caste. Accordingly a belief system can be defined as the set of rules and principles that an individual is allowed or not allowed to operate upon by his society. In other words a set of actions that an individual can perform without a so called predefined negative consequences or possibly with favorable consequences are to dos of a belief system and opposites are don’t dos. Each task and a consequence are usually paired with an action reaction relationship. Any combination of religion, country, caste, color, race, geographic location etc might generate a distinct set of to dos and don’t dos and hence a new belief system. The diversity of this world is a direct consequence of these unlimited numbers of belief systems.

In modern time when there is unlimited information at ones disposal and as a consequence of a rapid globalization, an individual can come across hundreds of these belief systems. As one moves across these belief systems he or she realizes that certain don’t dos become to dos and vice versa. As eating non vegetarian food is a “don’t do” in my parents belief system but is perfectly fine in mine even though I spent a major portion of my life in my parent’s belief system. But as I moved across and came in touch with different societies I accepted certain rules and gave up certain rules as per the needs of my current society. In a way these belief systems are rule books to manage different societies. A new comer to a society will either have to accept these rules to sustain in this society or will eventually have to leave it. A flexible person tries to adapt to these changes and a radical might want to force people to ensure the existence of his belief system.

Accepting the goods of all belief systems brings the best out of a human being. Deciding what is good and what is bad is a tricky deal. It requires knowledge, calm, flexibility but overall an in depth look of what is best for him and societies he or she cares for but ideally whats best for all living beings.

While thinking all of this I realized that having these belief systems is a good starting point but as we progress we should embrace other beliefs that enable once progress and sustainability in a society. Overall one should never hate or disregard anybodies belief system and should learn to coexist with it. We should remember that even though that belief system might not be a correct system for us, it is managing the growth of some other society. When we all can accept each others beliefs only then can we come to a common conclusion of wrong beliefs and finally eradicate them.

I hope I and you all can remember this next time we are generalizing. Next time we generalize Muslims with terrorism, blacks with crime etc.

I realized that we are all managed but free to choose how we get managed.

Pick me! I’m broke!

December 24, 2008

I found this direct desperation about the current economy during Christmas fair in San Jose downtown :). Look closely on one of the entries; it says “Pick me! I’m broke! I ride the bus!! Please”

A sweepstake for Toyota Prius

A sweepstake for Toyota Prius

War of the Waters

December 22, 2008

In the aftermath of Mumbai terror attack, I had read several publications suggesting that India should renegotiate Indus water treaty to hurt Pakistan. In other words India should use its leverage over Indus waters to threaten Pakistan and demand it to stop terrorism if it wants to quench its thirst. But is it really that simple? I started thinking that if it was that simple then why India didn’t do it a long time ago.
No, it is not so straight forward. The main variable in this equation is “China”. What’s common between Kashmir, Pakistan, Tibet, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Pakistan, China and India? It is the source of all problems in south Asia – water. The control of water and an ensured supply of water for its people and land is what every country is fighting for. Some are fighting it legitimately, some illegitimately and some by force.
The solution of Kashmir lies in the solution of the distribution of the Indus waters. India and Pakistan are trying to resolve this distribution since independence. The water of Indus valley originates in Himalayas in India portion of Kashmir. They flow from Kashmir to Punjab and Sind before converging in the Arabian Sea. Since partition Pakistan had always felt threatened that the fate of its people depends on India due to the geography of the water flow. After decades of conflict the World Bank came up with a solution in 1954 that the eastern tributaries the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi will be controlled by India and the western tributaries the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab will be in Pakistan’s control. Both countries accepted the proposal and signed Indus water treaty even though Pakistan always kept the reservation that the historical usage of water was not discussed the treaty.
Pakistan’s policy of opposing India in Kashmir and Punjab is motivated towards gaining more control of the sources of these waters which have created the largest irrigate area of any one river systems in the world. After liberation of Afghanistan from Russian occupation, Pakistan diverted the Islamic Jihad against India to achieve its ambitions of gaining control of the water. Pakistan was so motivated in its resolve that it resolved all its land conflicts with China to ensure that the China uses its leverage of the Brahmaputra that it controls since China’s occupation of the Tibet.
China’s occupation of Tibet has a lot to do with China’s hunger for energy and resources. China is already planning to block and divert river Brahmaputra, also called Tsandpo in Tibet. The Tsandpo begins its long journey at about 13,000 feet and drops to about 5,000 feet in eastern Tibet, before it enters India. China aims to use to drop as a source of hydroelectric power and a new source of water for the Yangtze River and parched northeast China. Proximity of Tibet with Indus waters also adds complexity to the over all situation. The consequence of this diversion will be huge for India and millions of people will starve to death due to lack of water and millions will relocate from eastern part of India and Bangladesh to rest of the India. If this is to become reality India will be left with only military option and would require a huge international support to give China a serious threat.
For an impartial international community support India cannot do the same to Pakistan that it doesn’t want China to do to it. And hence India has to abide to the Indus water treaty that was supervised by the World Bank, US and UK. The suggestion that India can use its control of water over Pakistan to force it to stop terrorism is short sighted and will hurt India’s position against China. India needs a strategic and diplomatic solution to counter China. If India can be confident to tackle China in the coming years then Pakistan will be of no match to India. We need a substantial injection of capital to strengthen our infrastructure and technology to tackle China, if needed.
India needs to increase its trade relations with China. India needs to ensure that we use highest level of diplomacy to change the anti India mindset in China. We need to find a strong leverage over China that can be used during diplomatic negotiations. But overall we need a stronger India mentally, economically, militarily and diplomatically to cross the tough roads ahead.

further reading:

The Indus Waters Treaty: A History

A published article in UPI Asia by Hari Sud

    Is breaking Pakistan finacially a solution for combating terrorism?

    December 10, 2008

    I recently read an article (http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1212468) from Mr. R Vaidyanathan, professor of finance in IIMB where he argues that hurting Pakistan financially is a solution to solve terrorism in India and he suggests 12 steps to achieve this goal.

    This was my response to him and I am waiting for his reply:

    Dear Professor,

    I just read your article in the times of India news paper and with all due respect to you, I was shocked with the lack of vision that you have portrayed in this publication. You argue that the problem of terrorism can be solved by breaking the financial back bone of Pakistan even though it has been a proven fact that terrorist organization intentionally target financially challenging societies for recruitment. It is hard to believe that Pakistan might be the major funding source for these organizations and in fact these organization seems to have been getting all sorts of support from other middle eastern countries as well.

    Draining Pakistan financially can in fact cause a counter effect for India. Leakage of nuclear arsenal and technology is a key risk in our current time and it can aggravate in lack of proper resources. Lack of money will cause reduction of proper education, modernization and infrastructure which will force general population towards radicalism. A poor and hungry population will become easy target for the ill agendas of the terrorist organization.

    I agree with you that countries selling arms and logistic to Pakistan should hear some music from India and D company and similar others should be brought to justice. You say that Indian companies should be stopped to do business in Pakistan. I don’t agree with you; I would say generating enough employment in Pakistan will stop youth from getting diverted towards fundamentalism.

    I think major steps to stop terrorism in India have to start from within. We have to creating a world class intelligence agency, emergency management team, modernize our security forces and overall make our own people especially minority prosperous. We have to make sure that we have an excellent PR so that we can always have international support. We need to have a three tier plan for combating terrorism, a short term (within 1-2 years), a mid term (5-10) and long term (25-30 years).

    I completely support a strong and decisive reaction from India in wake of current events but not before giving our best effort of diplomacy.

    If nothing works then yes military action is the only action.

    Description of this blog

    December 1, 2008

    This blog is motivated towards discussing my thoughts about various topics of my interest. Some of these topics are politics, technology, gadgets, Internet, globalization, economy etc. I motivate the readers of the blog to comment and give their feed backs. Any views expressed here are solely my views and thoughts and does not represent the views of my family, friends, employer or anybody I know. I want to keep this a place where I can have open debates about topics and any comment or feedback with profanity directed towards any individual or group will be deleted.