Review: (Tata Motors) Vista D90

So, a few weeks back I got to know about the Vista D90 promo being run jointly with Blogadda, and one thing led to another, with my eventually getting to spin the Vista D90 around for a couple of days. T&C – few tweets and FB posts, followed by a blogpost reviewing the car. Expressed intent behind the initiative– instead of the “expert reviews”, the Vista team wanted a “user review’ of the car and they wanted to reach out to bloggers who apparently have a decent enough reach and audience. So, if you were to search right now, there would be a fair number of bloggers (about 30 I believe) who’d be talking about their experience with Vista D90.

So, to cut the long chase short, what did I think of the car and the experience? [Album Link]

The promo itself, I believe, is a great idea. Subject to you having enough clarity about your target audience. It’s a contest that should work quite well for the younger audience where a sizeable number might be looking to buy their first car. That’s the point where the opinions of people around you matters a lot. And I believe that me having posted random tweets and fb statuses and pictures about the car would at least remind you that there is another car that you may want to look at within your consideration set. Irrespective of your existing opinion of Tata’s car-set.

Two suggestions for the program – 1) Give a letter to the participants stating that the car has been issued to them by Tata Motors for the assigned period. I had a minor run in with a traffic policeman who wanted to understand how I, without being a Tata employee or a dealer employee, was driving this car around. 2) The promo mentioned 3 days, but in effect, it was about 48 hours or so. I am not complaining about the duration, except that the mismatch should be avoided. Even two days is good enough! 😉

The car now. Bunch of positives. Few negatives. And from there, it would depend on the relative pricing within the segment, and a bit of customer friendliness.

On the positive side, the engine is powerful, and delivers good acceleration. The thrust you feel, if you’ve been driving Maruti all your life (with the exception of Swift), might rattle you the first time. The car spikes on you in traffic. And that is the single biggest USP of the car.

The handling and control you feel while navigating stiff traffic is also very zippy. It’s a good car if you want to drive rash. And explains why most Indica/ Vista drivers on the road are so rash. It’s makes you feel comfortable as you cut your way through the traffic.

The car feels very solid and stable, especially at 40+ kmph speeds. All of you who have grudges against Mumbai roads where the smoothest of the roads isn’t smooth enough, and your car makes you feel that vibration quite a bit, this one holds you quite stable and still. I also liked the seat. The lower lumber support is helpful.

Compared to the earlier Vista variants,  this one seemed a little sharper in design. Slightly longer nose, and somewhat better rounded outer body. The alloy wheels looked good. More importantly, the turning radius was good. Had no problems taking sharper U-turns in and around the place. The ground clearance (which becomes a factor if you drive a City or a Cruze or one of those cars) is right, given the number of speed bumps it avoided near my apartment. It still needs to be tested in Bangalore though! The triple barrel headlamps looked quite impressive, though the same cannot be said for the depth of light in high beam mode. Good fog lamps. OVRM, follow me home headlamps, blah blah – technical razzmatazz to position the car as a premium hatchback against jazz et al. And most of them have been executed well. The dual color design also can be used as a way of keeping it interesting visually. Instead of the black that you can see in the image alongside, if it had been white, it would be pretty wicked, right? The USB/Aux points are conveniently located (I hate how they are located in my City by the way). And there is an additional charging point for the back seats, which is a rather nifty addition.

The dashboard is a major improvement on most cars in the segment I’d think. Definitely way ahead of Maruti cars and Polo. I haven’t driven Brio so I cant compare. Better than Santro/ i10 for sure. It’s almost a big car feeling, the way it is designed. My guess is that it has been adapted from the Manza.

The integrated Bluetooth works very well. Easily paired, it tends to connect well with your address book for instance. And the call controls are on your steering. The volume is good, loud and clear. The mic tends to avoid catching too much interference. And the car has been sealed rather well to cut out most of the outside noise. And it offers you a numeric keypad in case you want to dial a number from your memory rather than having to scroll through a handbook, for instance.

The mileage is good. Having done a fair bit of the 140odd kms that I clocked on this one inside Mumbai traffic (including areas like Goregaon, Jari Mari, Kurla, Powai, etc.), coming out with a mileage of 14+ is respectable. Considering it’s a diesel car, the economics are in your favor.

On the negative, The first thing that you’d is the overall space. Not bad, but not the best in class. It’ll probably not be a choice for taller people. And if you are tall family, it’s a no no. Because the passenger seat has a space issue. The storage box comes quite low and tends to hit your knees if you’re tall. The back seats are average/decent leg space, which will work for an average Indian family. The boot space/ dickie is small. Smaller than the Santros/i10s of the world I’d think. One way to overcome this is a smart move  from the guys – a 60-40 seat split at the back, So you can fold away 60% of the back seat and create extra storage space for a 3 member travel.

The car feels very heavy at lower speeds. A typical diesel car phenomenon, but in the case of VistaD90, its enough to put you off. The initial acceleration is quite noisy as the engine makes a bit of a rattling sound. Once the engine settles down, it’s a lot more pleasant, but the first few minutes might push you on the negative side.

It is definitely not a car meant for women. Even though I come across as a sexist saying this, but that level of effort at gear 1 is not something that I have seen most women appreciate. Most of them tend to prefer cars that respond well to them at low speeds. That’s also going to be one reason why the conversion rate between test-drives and sales might end up on the lower side for this car. If Tata’s provide test drives they should ensure that people get to drive it on a secluded stretch at least once. Once you’ve taken the car to 80-100 range, you start seeing the real strength of this car.  But most test drives tend to stop at <40kmph, and in that range, this car will not impress.

The interiors need some work. The cup holders are tiny. They won’t hold a bottle. And incremental small stuff storage space is negligible in this car. Even my Maruti 800 had better storage options a decade back. The side storage in the doors is good for toll receipts, some papers, etc., but not smart enough to either hold CDs very well, or a bottle of water. People sitting in the back have no holder options.

The music experience is average. With 3-4 presets, you almost invariable want to switch off the presets and listen to the base. The bass is bad, and at louder volumes, the sound cracks. The speakers are in-the-doors, and the overall acoustics is not that bad. I just think that they should have gone in with better speakers and audio systems to maintain the premium feel.  A small noticeable glitch – typically, when my phone is paired with a car, and I am navigating on the maps, then the directions are audible through the car stereo. Here, you have to switch to BT streaming to be able to hear the instructions. Which also implies that you have to switch away from the music, unless you use your phone to stream the music as well. Perfect for iphoniacs, but not for everyone.

Probably because of the newness, I felt the gear transmission between gear 1 and 2 to be quite stiff.  Also, the reverse gear. But that should improve.

Endnote: The real USP of the car is the power and thrust. The stability, responsiveness in traffic etc only add to the experience.  The real negative is the early stage noise/rattling sensation and the space issues. Otherwise, for people looking for powerful drive at a reasonable value for money, this could be a decent buy.

Happy to drop more points if someone is interested. But overall, good fun experience.

IQR 2013 – The Reading Challenge

I have decided to sign up for the IQR reading challenge. Through blogadda, booklovers, etc. I have been getting access to some Indian authors’ work, which I might have skipped earlier. Despite my initial complaints, the quality and quantity are both improving with each passing day.

So, the target’s going to be,…. well.. I guess about 12 books by Indian authors this year. If I do more, good for the writers 😉

Review: Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola. Mera Man Nahi Dola

The movie reminded me of Harishankar Parsai’s brand of satire. Or, Orwellian Animal Farm. Where probably every prop symbolizes something bigger, something political. But that and Pankaj Kapoor are the only two saving points of the movie.

The movie is a classical proletariat vs. bourgeoisie setup, with significant doses of leftist sentiments, political buffoonery, and enough set pieces to navigate from one subtle comment to another. The everyday references galore. The dual personalities within most – one that does what seems to be “success” and the other that lives to uproot it all to find true happiness (especially after being a few drinks down). The JNU educated leftist who’d use Mao as the symbol for his revolution, the red color for his flag and messages. The commentary on media that talks about UFO sightings and highlights “pet mein murge baang de rahe the” kind of breaking news journalism, the daaru brand, the pink buffalo, the money taken for education loan from the village biggie, the Zulu tribe slaves who don’t realize they are slaves, and so on. MKBKM’s pink buffalo reminded me of the Kala Bandar of Delhi 6. A prop with great possibilities. And this time, it’s executed much better than the Kala Bandar. Vishal continues to project his love for Shakespeare with lines from Macbeth thrown in for good measure. Fair is foul and foul is fair! That being said, you can see general doses of smartness thrown, rather wasted, on this movie.

Because, in short, the movie is extremely slow and patchy in its execution. The songs end up being troublesome the way they pop up. That’s one that that you wouldn’t have blamed Vishal Bharadwaj for in his earlier movies. While Khamakha, Badal Utheya are brilliant vishal-ish composition, Oye Boy Charlie has the raat ke dhai baje feel. Vishal’s music, brilliant though, is becoming predictably formulaic. You can draw parallels between Kaminey and MKBKM track by track. Special mention for Prem Dehati’s rustic voice must be made.

The thing that raises this movie from being a well below average affair is Pankaj Kapoor. He lights up every frame that he’s present in. It’s a shame we don’t see him in more roles. This gentleman is worth more than half the actors in the industry. Maybe more. If there’s one reason why you may come out of the theater not feeling bad, it will be Pankaj Kapoor.

Vishal’s movies have had some amazing moments in the past. There are these moments where two of the actors get to show the world how brilliant they are. Even Shahid Kapoor managed to fool us. Remember “hum mein gooda hai” or the Konkona-Saif scene from Omkara. Or the tiny little scenes in Maqbool – miya pyaas nahi lagti tumhe aajkal kinds. And Vishal has set the bar on those critical relationship moments so high, that anything that tends to take the essence away, seems like that leering paunchy desi on a south goa beach. In this movie, you can blame it on Imran and Anushka.

Both of them have upped their game considerably. But Anushka is not a good serious/troubled weeper. She cannot get the nuance of that father-daughter moment before the wedding. And not surprisingly, Pankaj Kapoor nails that scene without saying much.
Shabana Azmi is good, goes without saying. And wonderfully self-deprecating. The others are adequate. The eunuch in the movie is another standout act, and the little blind kid.

In summary, the movie has an insanely brilliant premise, and a storyline that seemed worthy of Vishal’s direction, yet the editing and the screenplay fails the movie. Too many loose ends, and too much of indulgence. But Vishal will be back, one hopes! I will recommend that you wait for the DVD/ TV screening of this one.

Gardish (गर्दिश में बे-मकाम फिरे आज हम ऐ दोस्त)

गर्दिश में बे-मकाम फिरे आज हम ऐ दोस्त।
होते थे कभी ख़ास, हुए आम हम ऐ दोस्त।।

थी वक़्त से इक जंग , थी चैन भी रक़ीब।
अब आज उनके हो गए मेहमान हम ऐ दोस्त।।

गलियों में ढूंढते रहे खामोशियों के घर।
हुए अपनी ही ख़मोशी से परेशान हम ऐ दोस्त।।

हर रोज़ ढूंढते हैं नया नया चेहरा नूर सा।
चेहरे बदलते हो गए तमाम हम ऐ दोस्त।।

सुबहा खिली थी धूप नयी, था नया सा रंग।
ढलने लगी हैं रौनकें, फिर शाम मेरे दोस्त।।

हर रात ठहेरते हैं, नया बुनते हैं इक ख्वाब।
हर सुबहा किया करते हैं इल्हाम हम ऐ दोस्त।।

शतरंज की इक बाज़ी बिछा बैठे हैं शायर।
हाथों में है तलवार-ए-सुलेमान मेरे दोस्त।।

Gardish mein be-makaam phire aaj hum ae dost
Hote the kabhi khaas, hue aam hum ae dost

Thi waqt se ik jung, thee chain bhi raqeeb
Ab aaj unke ho gaye mehmaan hum ae dost

Galiyon mein dhoondhte hain khamoshiyon ke ghar
Hue Apni hi  khamoshi se pareshaan hum ae dost

Har roz dhoondhte hain naya chehra noor sa
Chehre badalte ho gaye tamaam hum ae dost

Sub-ha khili thee dhoop nayee, tha naya sa rang
Dhalne lagi hai raunaqein, phir shaam mere dost

Har raat theherte hain, naya bunte hain ik khwaab
Har subha kiya karta hain ilhaam hum ae dost

Shatranj ki baaji si bicha baithe hain shayar
Haathon mein hai talwaar-e-sulemaan mere dost

The Ultimate Question

Albert and I were walking on the street. The conversation was simple. Albert wanted me to tell him why I slapped the man in the corner. “Because he was smoking”, I said. Albert didn’t think it was reason enough. So I explained.
“See Albert. Tum log bilkul bhi dhyaan nahi deta hai. Udhar chota chota bacha log hota tha. Uska saamne galat impression padenga ki nahi? But more importantly, humko gussa uska cigaratte peene par nahi aaya tha. Humko gussa isiliye aaya kyonki udhar ek gaana bajta tha. With a cigarette in my hand, I felt like a man! Tow hum bhi bola ki aaj iska manliness ka bhaaji paav idhar hi kar dene ka. You see. The whole fault is that of the song. Gaana nahi bajta to humko gussa nahi aata. Humko gussa nahi aata to hum us man ka do laafa nahi maarta. Understand?”

I was silent the whole way back after that. Once I reached home, the moment Jenny opened the door, I told her.
“Jenny, I know the answer. Saara problem ka cause music hai. Gaana, you know!”
“What answer Albert?”
“You asked me this morning na? Albert, Pinto ko gussa kyon aata hai?”

Majorly inspired by Narendra Shenoy – the man is a killer! 🙂

Suggestions and Thoughts for The Justice Verma Committee

Honorable Justice Verma,

The recent events around the widely reported Delhi Gangrape incident have brought to the fore not just the sentiments of an infuriated nations, but also several glaring shortcomings in the way our law and order infrastructure is setup and operating. Amongst the precious few steps taken by the elected government, one was to set up this committee under your guidance and invite recommendations and suggestions from citizens of the civil society towards the amendment of laws. I welcome this meaningful gesture, somewhat late and inadequate as they may be.

While the public notice invited only recommendations around the laws, I have included two sections in this document – the first section includes my recommendations w.r.t. to the laws the way I understand them, and the second section covers certain other recommendations  that I feel would be crucial to avoiding such incidents in the future.

Section 1

  • Need for Special Courts
    • Separate courts for crime against women need to be setup. Again, the classification on whether a particular case needs a fast track action should be driven by the category of the case and not by the gender of the defendant. However, in the case of women, we as a nation need to recognize that the odds are heavily stacked against them – right from their ability to report an incident to their ability to fight for their rights. The number of times they are abused, violated, beaten up, burnt, killed etc and no action is taken is not insignificant.
    • Fast Track Courts for Special Cases-
      • We need to put a definition, and a set of metrics around what we mean by fast track courts. I believe that a fast track court should be defined by cases that should be resolved in less than a month.
      • Independent benchmarking – We need to have real and acceptable benchmarks for measuring the efficiency of these fast track courts. For instance, a one month turnaround on cases of rape and violence is a reasonable fast track performance. The identity of the rapists, the physical and medical examination that allows sufficient evidence to be furnished, the forensic evidence collection, etc. can be easily done in this window. The tracking down of the culprits and booking them could take time. However, an active and intent police machinery will be able to track down the culprits, is my belief. Furthermore, the evaluation metrics for fast track courts should be closely integrated with the evaluation metrics for the entire law and order machinery linked to that case. This would include police and the investigating agencies as well.
    • Escalation Courts: There should be a court where complaints against the government officials handling a particular case can be registered. This could take some cues from the consumer protection forums where cases have been addressed purely on the basis of a letter on a post-card as well. Intent counts. People should be able to write in with the specific date/time/scenario where a government official/ police person, etc. harassed them or did not fulfill his duty in the most professional manner.
  • Stronger and Relevant Punishments – I do not believe that a death penalty always serves the best. However, criminals involved in cases that lead to the death of a defendant or such bodily harm that the defendant is not able to continue with a normal life (like the case being discussed right now), are worthy of no lesser punishment.
    • It is important that the judiciary revisits the several varieties of punishments that are currently codified in the books of law, and ensure that they are harsh and compensatory enough to act as a deterrent. For instance, while a penalty of 1000 rupees for talking on your mobile while driving acts as a deterrent for individuals, the confiscation of the mobile phone may act as a stronger deterrent.
    • In this case, maybe, financial punishments to the tune of 30-40% of a criminal’s existing wealth/possessions/bank balance, etc in addition to 30-40 years of imprisonment with labor (and with no possibility of sentence reduction) might be a form of punishment worth considering.  Chemical castration in case of rape, death in the case of murder, etc. might be punishments that can be evaluated by the judiciary. However, the underlying theme should not be that of revenge (a form that general public opinion might take) but that of a deterrent  for future cases.
    • Enlist experts’ support – I am not so well versed on criminal psychology or criminal law as to be able to suggest the best punishments for corrective action/ future deterrents, but I believe there is a need to enlist a body of experts in such areas. These experts need to come from four different areas – government, judiciary, academia and citizen groups. The debate and the outcome of the same should be available to public.
  • Handling of Traffic Offenses – Impound vehicles, licenses with multiple reports. The frequency and magnitude can be discussed, but the frequency cannot be more than once a month and the overall magnitude cannot be more than 5 mistakes over the lifetime. An impounded license holder or vehicle should not be allowed to operate for an year, at least. A failure to observe so can be immediately considered for imprisonment.
  • Laws about Juvenile Criminals – I think there is a need differentiate between adult franchise and juvenile crimes. A little boy stealing from a store can be called a juvenile crime, but a young lad of 16 years age raping and brutalizing a woman cannot be called a juvenile crime. I believe that when it comes to violence against women (sexual, physical, mental), children (less than 13 years of age), old people (retirees), etc. we should have a strictly low tolerance policy. I believe young ones in the age group of 14-18 need to be treated differently, and for certain case categories, treated with almost the same standards as are used for adults. A 16 year old is sensitive and aware enough to understand men/women differentiation, law and order (through the study of civics as a subject since the age of 10, I think), and societal values. There is no element of accidental mistake in the case under public attention. Moreover, the law should create a provision for special consideration of cases such as these so that the non-adult criminal is not let off without adequate punishment
  • Judiciary should open itself to criticism.
    • On cases that are pending across the nation, can the judiciary, for once, commit to clearing the entire backlog of pending criminal cases over the next 12 months? And hold those accountable who are holding back the process?
    • The judiciary needs to assess its workload. Simple enough cases take years to get decided on. As a civilian I have heard lawyers talk about how extending a case forever ensures more money to them. I have heard stories about underhanded transactions to expedite the course of action. If it is possible, it should be established a process. And these need to be aggressive goals, not passive goals.
    • Work with the bar council and other relevant bodies to act against the lawyers that impede the process of justice.
  • Bring about transparency in judicial processes.
    • The complainant should have complete transparency into the action taken on their complaints, right from the assigned police person, to the different evidences, confessions, interrogations, etc. While certain aspects need to be reviewed critically, I believe that greater transparency will ensure ore action.
    • The mugshots of all apprehended criminals and their details should be available for public with their identities on a central website. Anyone who’s been booked under such offenses should be shamed publicly.
    • Expected Turnaround Time by Case Types
      • Depending on the case type, TATs need to be defined upfront. These expected TATs should be clearly defined. A murder case that takes three years to solve, most likely, has lost most of the core evidence already,
      • The ETAs for the police and the investigation agencies should be clearly mentioned and reported to the public.
      • Under RTI, any reason for delay should be available for further explanation.

Section 2: Other Thoughts and Recommendations.

  • Enable better and easier reporting of crime
    • Every police station should have women officials for responding to complaints from women, registering the FIRs, etc.
    • Setup hotlines for specific complaint categories with dedicated mobile units at the back-end to reach the scene of the crime as quickly as possible.
    • Take the FIR registration system online where an individual can request to register an FIR and provide supporting evidence if any online. Why should the system expect a victim who has been harassed and abused and violated to reach a police station, get harassed again by the policemen and still not be able to report their case.
    • The verification layers should be built in the form of approved identity papers (such as Aadhaar, Passport, etc.) and a mobile number based verification of complaint so that the system is not abused by stray criminals as well.
    • Simplify the process of registering an FIR. We can take cues from the consumer protection forum, which has occasionally taken actions on letters on a post-card even.
  • Financial Support –
    • In such cases of brutal violence against individuals, the state should fund the medical and rehabilitation expenses for the individual. At the highest quality institutes of healthcare. Without requiring media intervention.
    • These numbers should be readily reported to the individuals and a centralized repository where RTI activists, NGOs, etc have access to the information (without requiring a 4 week lag).
  • Policing the police
    • Police stations should be monitored through video surveillance as well. The video records should be made available for any case where the role of the police is suspect.
    • A clearer explanation as to why it took three weeks for the police to file a chargesheet in this case. I believe that this process should be brought down to 24 hours.
    • I believe that amendments to a chargesheet are an allowed process, and hence the murder case could have been brought at a separate point. But the first chargesheet should have been filed much earlier.
  • Independent Reporting and Benchmarking
    • Independent group of bodies for benchmarking the performance of different police stations should be setup.
    • It should include the number of walk-ins to the FIR desk, the number of FIRs registered, the number of cases open vs. closed, the distribution of cases by number of days they’ve been open, or have taken to close, the number of cases that are discarded, the number of cases that were closed due to the lack of evidence, etc. Break them by categories.
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs should step in to evaluate these reports which are published in major dailies across the country for public consumption as well as localdata being published in the city editions of top 10 largest circulating dailies on specific dates in a quarter (to start with).
    • The Ministry of Home Affairs should respond within a week to report on the identified weakness in the system, and the recommended follow-up.
  • Technology enablement
    • Deployment of video surveillance cameras with capability to take high speed photographs of the license plates, process it, and issue challans or raise SOS flags – especially in the more sensitive areas.
    • Centralization of criminal/crime database. While law and order is a state government subject, there are elements that need to be centralized for the better safety of the citizens, and for providing an air of comfort and well being in our country.
    • Put data warehousing, analytics, and reporting systems in place that are capable of aggregating information, analyzing it, and in many cases be able to identify the hotspots of criminal activities, the time of the day when such activities peak, and so on. It is a long process which will become better with time and more information being fed to the system, but we need a starting point.
    • All PCRs, traffic vans, etc. need to be centrally integrated so that the criminal databases are available to all at the scene of investigation itself. One should not be allowed to roam freely in Haryana if they have a murder case pending against them in Gujarat, for instance.
    • Move away from paper-pen challans to electronic challans. This will also ensure better tracking of incidents, culprits over a period of time.
    • We need better integration between telecom providers and police so that an SOS signal/call coming to a hotline number can be immediately tracked to a location for rapid action. We  cannot expect a dying person to always call and report their exact whereabouts and what condition they are in. Strong SOS trackers are a good investment. We need these SOS mechanisms to be advertised heavily through all channels of communication.
  • Police force strength/ staffing –
  • Assessment of staffing levels of police in different coverage areas. Furthermore, compare it to the crime rate (reported) in that area. Build a classification system that identifies the area as safe to high risk. Accordingly, adjust police personnel deployment at the field leave. Increase beat durations, frequency, and number of personnel as required. Let there be no other city to get the dubious distinction of being the rape capital. Let there be no area in the city where the civilians are scared of walking around. It is my country and it is my right to walk around in the city even late in the night without fearing for my life.
  • Geographic areas need to be clearly demarcated for police action. One of the case facts has been the debate between various police stations’ PCR vans about whose jurisdiction area the incident comes under. We lost precious few hours that could have saved the victim.
  • Availability of backup medical and support units if needed. Mobile security units with superceding authority to take action in any area beyond their immediate jurisdiction for swift action.
  • Upgrade the police force – in their ability to use technology, move rapidly, create enablers at short notice to deal with a crime scene. I think that the bus and the criminals in this case could have been tracked and apprehended within the first hour of the incident

The timelines for such initiatives cannot be several years. The technology for several of the above recommendations is already in place globally, and we need to work with international agencies, maybe, to get these deployed in the swiftest possible manner.

A New Year Post

The end of the last year being what it was, hope is one thing we should always hold close. So, with a lot of hope on a lot of things, let’s begin the new year on a positive note. And here are the ten few I hope to revisit at the end of 2013 and say yay!

  • Now that the cooling off period is over, I hope I am able to put some of my thoughts and ideas and plans in action and see them succeed or fail.
  • I hope that in the next three months, I am able to finish the drafts of the two different books that I am working on. One of them is an easier one, but the other one is giving me sleepless moments (on that note, there aren’t too many things that give me sleepless nights)
  • Become better and staying in touch. There was a time (and some of that perception still sticks) when I was expected to be in touch with everyone. With work, and changing (deteriorating) habits, I have not really been staying in touch. I was never a big fan of facebook as a source of knowing what your friends are doing, but have succumbed to its ways over the last few years. So, all you long lost friends from school, college, TCS, Inductis, Diamond – don’t get surprised by that sudden call from an unknown number. One of them could be just me wanting to say hello.
  • Anger Management. From being someone who had 1-2 severe angry moments in an annual cycle, I have improved to 1-2 such cycles every month. Maybe more. Need to watch that. I don’t have any specific reason singled out for the lower patience level these days, so I guess the road ahead will be harder.
  • I hope to take some concrete steps to further my interests in the education/teaching area. The biggest barrier – serious teaching requires a PhD. Education, however, does not as much.
  • This year, I want to pick up the guitar again, and get back to practicing regularly. I don’t think I am going to take the stage again (you are welcome!) but the therapeutic effect of playing an instrument is something that I miss.
  • I want to mentor 2-3 startups this year. Over the years, given the workload, I have always shied away from or taken only peripheral interests in the startups that friends, juniors, team members have invested in. This year, I want to do away with that excuse. And by mentoring, it could mean anything – right from helping review and evaluate the idea, help bridge the network gaps that many early startups face, to, if possible, financially support them.
  • Last year and a half were tough on the personal front in a few ways. I hope that all those problems are over now, and I can continue to be positive about everything. And that takes me to #9
  • I need to seriously start taking care of my health before it completely breaks down. I have had instances of back pain and flares, and the problem from eons back continues to bother anyways. Plus, the bags under the eyes with all the stress, the extra weight and fat that needs to be donated to the almighty. So, much to be careful about, rather than spend a lot of time caring about them later on.
  • Leave the comfort of the armchair and be more active in the community. This is going to be tough. It’s convenient to opine on everything from the comfort of your living room. It’s difficult to stand in the sun and make things happen. A lot of small communities that I was a part of earlier have taken a backseat. Excuse is the same, but I must take the blame. I need to get back in action, in short.

There are about 1543 other things that I want to do, but I guess this list will be a good reality check at the end of the year. Till then, keep reading, supporting, and most importantly, being a friend!

A Very Happy New Year To You. May this new year give you the strength to achieve your dreams, the courage to take the difficult decisions, the tenacity to follow through with them, the joy of giving to others, and the satisfaction of having lived a life of no regrets. May you find inner peace.

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