December 1, 2017

Dear Colleagues  
Smog in Delhi continues as I share with you another round of random reflections:

  1. On a heavy smog morning, driving to an out of town conference centre was a hazardous experience. But poor signage on the highway and slip roads made the journey longer and even more painful. I wonder why we are unable to provide clear, large, visible signage in India? Visitors at international airport in Delhi have also complained about confusing signage for e-visa passengers. Perhaps we are still in oral tradition?
  2. All cities in India have some local business families which built their trade, commerce and manufacturing businesses in 19th century. Many have grown and diversified nationally; some others have remained known in that locality only.  Pithalia business family in Raipur is one such example—respected for their business and social contributions in the region. Students of business studies in India seem to learn more about multi-nationals these days than local business histories and practices?
  3. One of the recent moves towards ‘green’ practices is to reduce the use of wood in cremation. Alternatives like electric crematoriums are perhaps more environment-friendly. Famous cremation ground in Delhi—Nigambodh Ghat—has a CNG operated crematorium. It is clean, less crowded and inexpensive. I wonder how many towns and districts have such facilities in the country?
  4. It was a pleasure to participate in cyclothon in Delhi recently. This experience of enjoying a sporting event at Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium was far superior than attending the inaugural function of FIFA U-19 last month. The entry to the stadium was smooth; getting a bicycle was well organised; young volunteers were very helpful; water was provided in neat bottles on the route; hygienic tasty food packets were distributed after completing the course to all—without chaos. Why the difference? The cyclothon was not organised by sports authority of the government!
  5. Many cities in India organise Literary Festivals these days. One was held in Delhi last week. I found a different meaning to ‘literary’ was on display. A large number of authors spoke more about politics of the day than their own art and literary works. Additionally, a large number of ‘celebrity’ speakers were invited who also spoke about contemporary politics and politicians. I was disappointed that those artists who spoke only about their writings had poor attendance.

All the very best

Sincerely
Rajesh