Sunday, April 19, 2015

You don't need to save the Internet

There have been a lot of one-sided opinions on Net Neutrality catering to the end-users point of view; here is my endeavour to explain Net Neutrality from the business and free market point of view. Most of you must have watched the 'fear mongering' AIB video on Net Neutrality. For a change, the ribald jokers of AIB have come up with something meaningful instead of their usual crass and obnoxious videos. It is pretty convincing but is misleading and far from the truth.

Now what is Net Neutrality? As AIB explains, Net Neutrality means all internet content is equal, must be equal and allowed to be charged equally. But is all internet content really equal? Internet content can be divided into four broad categories:
1. Browsing
2. Video Streaming
3. VoIP (Skype etc)
4. Downloading big files (movies).

In all these categories, the traffic load on the server is different. For example: When you open FB, it quickly fetches the page from the server while consuming data in KBs but when you watch a YouTube video the server is constantly busy, consumes your data in MBs and needs a 'dedicated bandwidth'. Similarly, a VoIP chat or downloading big files consume more data and keeps the server busy for a longer duration. Currently, the charges are levied by averaging out the above categories. If you don’t watch videos but only browse, you still pay for videos. If charges were levied by segregating the content as above, consumers will be charged based on “What You Use Is What You Pay” thus a person who only browse will end up paying less than what he or she is paying now.

AIB uses the example of Airtel Zero tying up with Flipkart which will be accessible at high speed compared to the rival sites like Amazon whose access will be deliberately slowed. This is incongruous and misleading as Airtel Zero is not what it is made out to be. Here is the explanation of Bharti Airtel CEO, Gopal Vittal "If the application developer is on the Airtel Zero platform, they pay for the data and their customer does not. If the developer is not on the platform, the customer pays for data as they do now. Companies are free to choose whether they want to be on the platform or not. This does not change access to the content in any way whatsoever. Customers are free to choose which web site they want to visit, whether it is toll free or not. If they visit a toll free site they are not charged for data. If they visit any other site normal data charges apply."

Airtel Zero is a similar technology like toll free numbers, which enable the customers to make contact to the company without being charged for the call.. When customers call the toll free number they are not charged; it's the company which pays. Countering the arguments on Airtel Zero providing differential speed and access to applications, which are not on Airtel Zero platform, Vittal said that the same treatment will be provided to all irrespective of their presence on Zero platform. He blamed such arguments against Airtel Zero as a deliberate effort by ‘some quarters’ to confuse people.
P.S Snapdeal, rival of Flipkart, is an official sponsor of AIB.

The Rights of Business Operators:-

Consider Internet to be a huge mass of land. The Government has divided this land into 22 circles (Delhi, Maharashtra, Mumbai, Kolkata, West Bengal, West UP, East UP etc). The DoT (Dept of telecom) invites private companies to bid on electromagnetic spectrum available for these circles. For example, in the recently (March 2015) concluded 'fiercely competitive' spectrum auction of 420 MHz in which GoI fetched ₹1.1 lakh crore, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Reliance Communication and Tata Teleservices were major bidders. Each of these circles is allocated with certain spectrum frequency (further divided into 200 kHz blocks) based on the demand. Now this 420 MHz of spectrum is divided into 'frequency bands' of 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz.

The private players bid and the highest bidder gets the licence to operate in the circle. For the Mumbai circle which has 7.5 MHz of the 420 MHz spectrum, Reliance Jio and Tata Teleservices won the bid at ₹909 crore per block (which is of 200 kHz) in the coveted 800 MHz band. Now calculate the price for 7.5 MHz if the cost of 200 kHz is ₹909 crore. The seven operators who won the bids had to pay an initial amount of ₹28,872 crore within 10 days, with the rest in installments after a two-year moratorium.

The DoT has sold a small piece of land to an entity for a huge sum and granted a monopoly via auctions. Now looking from the company's perspective- you can't question the owner's right to do what he or she wants to do with that monopoly. It's like you buy a land in a posh area, pay a hefty price, set up a business and someone else decides the price of the product or services. Let the market decide the price. If the price is feasible, the consumer will buy the product/services else they will move to other sellers. When mobile was introduced in India, incoming calls were charged at ₹10 and outgoing at ₹17. But with more new entrants it is now where it is - cheapest in the world.

The brouhaha on Net Neutrality is a classic example of Marxian mentality- a mentality of proletarian caught in a bourgeois' net. If the telecom companies, during the advent of high speed Internet, had started charging different prices for the contents, nobody would have bat an eye. Don't we pay an exorbitant price for ₹20 popcorn tub at the multiplexes or the hefty price for ₹10 samosas at the airport or haldirams? Doesn't Tata Sky charges premium package for entertainment channels like Colors and Star Plus. Don't different vehicles pay different toll charges for using the same road or bridges?

Credits: -
1. DoT website for statistical data
2. Guru Prasad for the categorisation.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

To write or not to write...

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words all being there, written in invisible ink and clamouring to become visible."

Writing is a process that institutionalizes your broken thoughts into complete ideas. It gives life a meaning that prevents burnout, boredom and other sorts of cimmerian darkness. Moreover, it's good for you! It builds healthy self-esteem which automatically enhances your confidence in all other areas. Writing is a 'characteristic' movement from fear to confidence, from difficult to easy, from incompetence to competence. There is a reason why legends had advised to maintain a personal diary. Writing activates the second tool of comprehension; reading being the first.

Yes, Writing makes me happy. I don't know why but sometimes I feel I should chronicle each and every events of the day; words and pictures keep shooting in my head. When I read my old blogposts, Facebook statuses or tweets, I feel proud and good about myself.

Have a problem? Write it down. You will come up with a better solution. Have a crush on someone? Write about that person. You will be able to express better (and may become a chic magnet) A good sonnet becomes an extraction of intense feeling from the ore of emotions (try poetic flirting). You will possess the art of persuasion with delicacy.

It will help you to clarify thoughts about love and life, about right and wrong. Writing is directly proportional to thinking. The better you write, the better you observe. The better you observe, the better you think.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Celebrating togetherness...

They looked into each other's eyes
Little longer than usual
His thoughts reflecting in her dark eyes
Her feelings mirrored in his innocuous heart

They kissed
Her lips pressed with burning passion of his heart
His fingers in sweet conversation with her soft skin
In a long night of togetherness

Is this your first kiss, she asked
Yes. Am I that bad? He inquired embarrassingly
No, She whispered in his ears
Your lips had been savouring the passion all this while

He smiled in triumph, in deliverance
She bent forward with her eyes half closed
They kissed again, till eternity
In a long night of togetherness


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Memoirs of Cricket

Those were the days when life used to be a second priority against Cricket. The only thing which we look forward to the week was Sundays. The span of time between the Saturday evening and the Sunday morning, mostly, went dreaming of either taking wickets on every delivery or hitting sixes on each ball.

Train of cricketing thoughts used to board at the platform called sleep, only to be alighted at the station called Cricket Ground. Awaken on first sound of alarm at 4 am on chilly morning and frenetically calling friends to ensure they are all up and rushing.

Some used to steal themselves from their parents' eye, some unyielding as granite to their parents' chide but all as active as quicksilver used to march on the cricket ground on time.

Be it a freezing morning or an overly heated afternoon, nothing would matter except the lethal leather ball in the hand and the three wickets infront of the eyes. And whenever the sound of timber (wicket) reverberated in the labyrinth, like Alexander the Great, there was no more world left to conquer.

Oh! The mini heart attack when the ball missed the bails
Oh! The long cry of unfairness
Oh! The illusion of hope when trailing
Oh! The wild jump of elation when victorious
Oh! The crazy celebration, popping soft drink bottles after winning the match
Oh! The bitchy discussion on the way home- hailing the hero, chiding the villain

And the idea of relaxation after the match was to play more cricket matches (on terrace).

If Life could have been summed up in two syllables, they would have been "Cricket", if four then "Cricket, Cricket", if six then "Cricket, Cricket, Cricket”

Cricket taught us how to handle success, how to handle failure and how to fight back adversaries. We didn’t know while enjoying our first priority we were learning about the second.

Sometimes winning is everything| Wake the spirit| Leave your mark| Take a stand| Play with pride |Kill doubt| Choose a high| Live your dream |Now or never| Make waves| Never say die |Conquer your fear| Take risk| Erase boundaries| Beat the odds| Trust your instinct| Its your time| Taste Victory

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Strike

Like John Galt, Mamata Banerjee has called for The Strike and will stop the motor of the Parliament on Monday to protest the arrest of Sports & Transport minister of Bengal, Madan Mitra who is allegedly involved in Saradha Chit Fund Scam. But the difference is - Galt did for liberation, Miss Banerjee will do for destruction.

Miss Banerjee remarked, "I must tell those who are in power — stay within your limits or you will face the music"

There is nothing new when every word uttered from her mouth sounds like realm of malevolence- overbearing and threatening. The shriek of her hysterias is evident when her speeches, devoid of any logic, contain stream of profanities (shoving a bamboo in posterior of the PM). After the arrest of her minster, she is feeling weightless Earth and seeing starless Sky (She said, it’s the battle for survival now).

The school in which she went did not care to teach her to live by Reasons. Here are few reasons she must try to understand before agitating:-

1. It’s not the Modi Govt but the Supreme Court of India which handed over the Saradha scam probe to CBI after the initial inquiry revealed that 1.7 million investors (mostly poor) lost their money out of which 14 investors committed suicide.

2. The CBI is working under the watch of The Supreme Court of India (not under the watch of Central Govt).

3. Madan Mitra was produced in the CBI court whose judges are appointed by the state govt(not by the Central Govt).

4. Like every politician who is accused of crime, Madan Mitra also had the mysterious ability to fall ill when CBI wanted him to question him on the scam of Rs 4000 cr.

5. “There are reasons to believe that Mitra was involved with Sudipta Sen, MD of Saradha group, in plotting a conspiracy that ensured phenomenal growth of Saradha Realty within a period of two years at the expense of investors," said a CBI officer. Saradha Group’s biggest land assets were in Bishupur which is the constituency of Madan Mitra. Hence, there are prima facie evidences against him which is why CBI went ahead with the arrest.

6. Mitra had publicly endorsed Saradha Group, saying it’s MD Sudipta Sen who had shown “How to make ocean from a drop of water.” Mitra’s son reportedly got a Ferrari from Sudipta Sen.

It’s time for Mamata to face the music as lot of skeletons will come out of the closet in the near future. The next in line is probably the Rajya Sabha MP, Derek O’ Brien who had allegedly made fortunes when he was appointed as special consultant to Railway Minister during UPA II (Railways portfolio was with TMC from 2009 to 2012).

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Penumbra

Her voice echoes
In the empty chambers of my heart
Whose walls once cemented with love
Beaten, black and blue

The abuse of silence
The equation unbalanced
Everynight is a fight
Between you and your memories

The attack of desultory thoughts
Mixed in anger and regret
In the reflection of dying fire
Refuses to die

Every drop of pain, moving
In search of palliation..like
A raindrop on a glass window, moving
In search of elysian happiness

Oh the ostentatious laughter
Oh the misery of acutest kind
Oh the pretentious smile
Oh the impatient longing

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A lot can happen over coffee..

A beautiful monsoon weather sans rain. Here I am, sitting at Starbucks KP, observing people.

Next to two empty tables in front of me, a young couple, perhaps in college having heated discussion on a unique topic- Positive Attention! Wonder what does that mean..

Idle brain is devil's workshop and I decided to eavesdrop.

Broadcasting Live..

The upstairs of this store leads to a balcony with few coffee tables.

Two children are playing beside me, banging the big glass wall to get their mom's attention; their mom is sitting on the other side of the glass. They are making it impossible to eavesdrop. Also too much of honking on the street, difficult to concentrate on the couple's conversation. I have to improve my listening skills.

The young girl has shifted her topic to crushes and confession pages. She says some kind of confession would have had made her day.

She likes music and books. Great choices!

The girl is garrulous. The guy is suave. The guy is wearing a geeky black specs. I cannot see the girls face as she is sitting facing the guy. She is wearing blue top and has her hair untied.

Ok here it came- the topic of marriage! The guy just said "You change the diaper and I feed" The girl is definitely leaving, I thought. Or atleast will defend but to my surprise she is not defending but giving an example of probably a distant relative of how he literally changed after marriage, emphasising on the word literally.

Conclusion: the girl is not a feminist vampire and is relying on reasoning.

Thankfully the children have gone but the honking on the street continues.

Next topic - How relationship works! Both giving examples of their friends. The girl asked if he has any fears. Fear of water, he said. Embarrassed by his own answer, the guy tried to take sweet revenge and joked if she watches Fear Factor too much.

Now the guy starts his favourite topic! He mentions one of his favourite songs whose lyrics is all about sex. Coincidentally, the girl has listened to this song. They are unanimously talking in one voice now.

This topic has lead to parenting and openness of society.

"The more open the parents are, the less mistakes their children make", said the girl.

Interesting quote! Have to ponder if it holds true. Her mother is very open minded, she chirped.

She is 17, too young. Her birthday falls on 16th October 1997. I was wrong they must be in school.

The new generation (at 17) talking about sex, marriage, relationship, parenting et al.

I wonder what I use to talk when I was 17? Got the answer! Cricket it was.

Time to go! My coffee is over!

Oh, and the girl is wearing white shorts.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Why Modi Should Become The Prime Minister

According to Economic Times, at 63, Narendra Modi is clocking more than 100 rallies a month with an average of 4 rallies per day. Unlike the chaos that usually marks an Indian election campaign; a typical day in the life of Narendra Modi is a meticulously planned affair. His travails start at 5 am with Yoga and end in bed by 1 am. In between lays hectic campaign to blossom 272+ Lotus thereby dismantling the adamantine wall of Congress.

The element of conjecture and speculation surrounding in the media is that if Modi becomes PM he will steer economic policy, titivate foreign policy, lit up fire in Cimmerian darkness and what not. It cannot be said with certainty whether he can do this or cannot do that but one thing is sure that his work ethics will instill faith in millions of passionate young Indians.

Faith when blended with passion can produce wonders.

His meteoric rise from nobody to somebody will make an 18 year old of impatient desire cock-sure that one doesn’t need to be born with a silver spoon; with hard work, dedication, and determination one can achieve what he/she wants in life. Unlike uninspiring leadership of Manmohan Singh, his leadership is ardent and self-assured laced with great oratory skills. With a carte blanche style of functioning, he will ensure bureaucrats do not underestimate themselves and ministers do not overestimate themselves as had happened during UPAs regime.

His critics have had left no stone unturned to sustain fictions for several years. For 12 years (still on), the general prejudice against him in the media was so violent that it needed a miracle to place him in an amiable light. He has strained every nerve of his to fight the loathsome campaign against him. He has shown how to handle success; how to handle failure; how to handle criticisms; how to ignore hatred of shenanigans; how to bask in love of supporters and most importantly how to turn adversary into realm of opportunity.

The figure on the sand of times has reached a substantial sum; 10 years of little growth would suffice for a generation to become impatient. Before the abdomen of youths, heavily charged with molten lava explodes, the nation needs a good keeper to ensure that the country is not set on fire.

Will he become the Prime Minister?

After 16th May, the answer to this question will serve as a pointer to the future.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Choices I Had

I thought of becoming a Doctor,for one-I had handwriting & I knew the difference b/w pulmonary arteries & pulmonary veins. Then XYZ sex determination chromosome(punishable) forced me to quit

I thought of becoming a Lawyer,for one-I had good vocal cords and argumentative skills. Then I realized I cannot become a lawyer as everyone understands what I say

I thought of becoming a Gambler(share market),for one–I had the recipe of success : analytical skill, probabilistic skill and tenacity. Then I realized recipes don’t work without salt. Salt=Luck

I thought of becoming an Indian Novelist,for one–I had naturally occurring grammatical erring skills. Then I realized constructing a perfect sentence is the not the easiest thing in the world

I thought of becoming a Comedian,for one-I had timing and content. Then I was too strong to make fun of myself or too lean to make fun of others

After failing in the above vocations, I become an Engineer and got an IIM tag

*IIM= Indian, IT and Male

Saturday, February 1, 2014

'Red' Face of Arvind Kejriwal

When Gopal Krishna Gokhale said "What Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow" he had AAP in mind. Delhi and West Bengal are locking their horns to take each other's idiosyncrasies. Delhi is hell bent to become Bengal while Bengal always wanted its pride of having the capital - Rape capital, if not capital. Let’s see some core policies of AAP.

Fight against Corruption:- The loudest noise on the streets of Delhi today is the silence of Kejriwal on Shiela Dixit. Justice Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party has come out with a list of corrupt politicians which includes names like Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi et al. The certificate distributing university of AAP didn’t include Shiela Dixit’s name, who was indicted by Shunglu Committee which investigated the CWG scam. Furthermore, the 370 pages proof which Justice Kejriwal himself had submitted to the Police before Delhi election was not enough for Mrs. Dixit to make the elite list. It’s only a matter of time when in Delhi Courts, the white statue of blindfolded Lady Justice holding a weighing scale and a sword will be replaced by the statue of Justice Kejriwal, wearing AAP cap and holding broom in both the hands. Within one month Delhi has been declared corruption free but Kejriwal doesn't have any legitimate evidentiary support to back his assertion rendering it incongruous.

Mohalla Sabhas :- There is little difference between Mohalla Sabha/Area Unions and Trade Union of Bengal or Khap Panchayat of Haryana. All are known for its vigilante justice. Mohalla Sabha is an organization of unelected mobs who are supposed to do bear the torch of doing justice without being held responsible or accountable. It leads to chaos culminating in dangerous and brutal society. What happened in Birbhum gang rape case? A 20 year old girl was brutally gang raped by 13 men on orders of Panchayat as punishment. Delhi health minister, Satyendra Jain dismissed the existing hospital management societies, the Rogi Kalyan Samitis, and that Aam Aadmi Party volunteers, with their trademark caps, were conducting inspections and helping out with administration in government hospitals, apparently without formal orders.

Look at the incident of Somnath Bharti's vigilante style raid on African nationals at Khirki extention. Delhi has always been xenophobic and even considers people of North East India as intruders (ban on the word Chinki by SC). May be few Africans were involved in sex/drug racket but arresting women(without warrants) at night and branding the whole African community as nuisance creator is obnoxious. Recently, an Arunachal Pradesh student (son of Congress MLA of Assam) was beaten to death by a mob in South Delhi, in an alleged racist attack. This directionless enthusiasm will create a fear among expats and migrants hurting the image of India globally. Governance is certainly not a de rigueur for AAP but dharna which holds a state to ransom, is its birth right. With mindless dharna can anyone have his way? Aren't we setting a dangerous precedent? The latest AAP theatrics had carried an immense security risk around Republic Day but thanks to law of diminishing returns, faced by hamletian dilemma- To Hold or Not to Hold, Kejriwal called off his dharna asserting false victory in front of media shutterbugs which provides oxygen to AAP.

Subsidy: - Subsidy is justified to be an effective instrument policy when it promotes not only equality but also growth. AAP’s water subsidy fails on both fronts. The intelligent acrobats had announced subsidy of 666 liters of free water a day to households who have meters but no free water for a large chunk of households(generally poor) who don’t have meters. Secondly, for a 3 member family 666 liters of water per day is more than enough and to believe basic human nature, anything free will be over consumed and wasted. But for a family of say 8-10 people, 666 liters of water won’t suffice and the said family ends up consuming less and paying more as any usage beyond 666 liters shall be charged. This decision was obviously political opportunism than sound ratiocination. AAP had made many false promises which they need to fulfill by hook or by crook. They never had any policies hence took succor in easiest way of governance –providing subsidy. Swaminathan Aiyar, a known critic of Narendra Modi, had showered encomium on Modi for solving water problems (Read here and here) in Gujarat which is a drought prone state, with 70% of its area classified as semi-arid and arid. Moreover, AAP promised to cut the power bill by 50%. The rationale provided by Kejriwal for increase in power tariffs was corruption in power companies. Instead of eliminating corruption, he took the easiest route and provided power subsidy. Isn't this self contradictory? Well hypocrisy is supposedly post-colonial. Shouldn't he had waited for audit of power companies to complete instead of burdening the exchequer?

Until now Kejriwal has been judged by prism of his good intention. But however a good intention may be, a bad idea is a bad idea. For example, if management of private corporations implements a bad policy, the company goes bankrupt and its shareholders take a hit. In case of public policy, if government implements a bad idea then the taxpayer bears the brunt. In both cases, the role of intention is redundant. Time and again Kejriwal has taken stands only to relent. AAP’s popularity is rapidly fading among middle class voters and is left with support base of only urban poor – auto rickshaw drivers, daily wage laborers et al. The much celebrated celebrities (Meera Sanyal, V. Balakrishnan ,Gopinath, Mallika Sarabhai) who joined AAP with media fanfare have either hibernated themselves or openly critical of the party’s functioning.