आज आनंदी आनंद झाला – Google Transliteration

मी आज खूप खुश आहे आणि याला कारण म्हणजे गुगलनी नवा टायपिंग चा फंडा विंडोज वर उपलब्ध करून दिला आहे. Transliteration च्या माध्यमातून आणि त्याला शब्दासंग्रहाची जोड देऊन आपण लिहीत असलेल्या नेहमीच्या रोमन लिपीतल्या मराठी शब्दाना आता देवनागरी लिपीची जोड मिळाली आहे. आता मला मराठी भाषेत लिहिणे खुपच सोपे झाले आहे मला खरेतर इन् स्क्रिप्ट कीबोर्ड येत होता आणि त्यावर माझा स्पीड पण चांगला आहे. पण रोज इंग्रजी मध्ये टाईप केल्याने त्यात फार काही वाढ होत नव्हती. माझी आहे तीच सवय कायम ठेऊन त्याला तंत्रज्ञानाची जोड देऊन गुगल ने मराठी आणि इतर आणखी काही भारतीय भाषा भगिनींना जागतिक नकाशावर आपला ठसा उमटवणे आणखी सोपे केले आहे.

मायक्रोसॉफ्ट असाच काही प्रयत्न अरेबिक भाषेकरिता करत आहे. आणि मला खात्री आहे की या शर्यतीत ते मागे राहणार नाहीत. स्पर्धा कायमच तुम्हाला काहीतरी नवीन आणि चांगले करण्यास भाग पाडते. आणि त्याचा फायदा जर जगाला होत असेल तर त्या बद्दल या अमेरिकी कंपन्याना धन्यवादच दिले पाहिजेत. आज या कंपन्यात हजारो भारतीय काम करत आहेत आणि त्यामुळेच आपली आणि आपल्या भाषांची दखल घेतली जात आहे. या साऱ्याचा फायदा आपल्या देशातील असंख्य लोकांना, ज्यांना इंग्रजी भाषा येत नाही किंवा जुजबी येते, अशांना संगणक साक्षर होण्याकरता नक्कीच होईल आणि या कारणाने भारताची प्रगती आणखी कैक पटीनी वेगात होईल असे मला ठामपणे वाटते.

आपणालाही जर माझ्याप्रमाणे मराठीत टाईप करायचे असेल तर गुगल च्या या पानावर जा. आणि हे सोफ्टवेअर डाउनलोड करण्याकरता या पानावर जा.

Puneri Pundit Voted

Puneri Pundit voted in the Maharashtra Assembly elections 2009 but unfortunately 50% of Puneris did not cast their votes leaving me wondering as to the reasons behind this. One thing I feel is that when the government declares holiday and that to on a day like Tuesday, lot of people from metros jump on this opportunity and take leaves on Monday to enjoy a long weekend and desired break from work. So the measure from EC to ensure high voting percentage did not work. On the other hand it does bring in a doubt in my mind that was it an intentional move from government? The MNS support figures from urban areas were worrying the ruling party as well as opposition and most of these voters were new and young voters who would typically go on long weekends on any such opportunity.

Whatever may be the reason, 50% of the urban voters said they are not interested in voting. Now if we look at the share of votes by all winning parties, they typically get about 30-35 % of the total votes which means about 15-18% of total voters. Does it really make sense to declare these folks are winners in the election? How should we reduce that fractured voting and ensure that the ruling party really represents majority of us? One idea comes to my mind is that the losing candidates should declare support to top candidates from any constituency until the winner gets 50% of the casted votes at least. This will then show the inclination of the small time players in the field and also let people know as to who was supporting them really from behind.

Another way I feel is that the elections should be conducted on Sundays. The reason I believe they conduct them on weekdays is to allow candidates connect with voters on the weekend. But by conducting the voting on Sunday we can really get a better turn out and hence better representation.

I am happy that since I have voted, I can talk about the government, politics and other issues where I feel we deserve better.

Can Pune Municipal Corporation Sustain CYG Beautification

With the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 Pune Municipal Corporation got ample funds to improve the roads and infrastructure. There are lot of traffic signs everywhere, streets are beautified, reflectors, lane stripes are now clearly visible. The city has a refreshing look. All good work so far.

Now the question is, for how long will this last? Does PMC has enough funds to maintain this? Or will it be the same story again within few months? We in India have habit of painting our homes on festive occasions like Diwali. Later all that enthusiasm goes down and we keep pushing the maintenance to lower priority till the next festive season.

Apart from PMC’s responsibility, do the citizens of Pune feel themselves responsible in maintaining the infrastructure that is also a big question. This responsibility includes not to misuse, keep watch on PMC and it’s contractors, not allowing general public to misuse. All this expense has been done out of tax payers pockets and that means everyone in the country. Not just income tax payers. Everyone pays taxes indirectly.

Let’s make all, who are part of the city or visiting the city, aware that it is in our interest to maintain this infrastructure so that the income is spent to improve/ add new infrastructure and not just maintain the existing.

Bomb Hoax in Pune

India has no doubt one of the most craziest people in the world. Just a few days back one person walking on Pune roads saw two young men riding on a bike dropping a packet on the sides of the road. The bike apparently did not have a license plate. Cautious due to recent bomb blast modus operandi of the terrorist, he alerted the police. They in turn called the anti-terrorist squad(ATS). The story is normal till this point.

In most of the Hollywood movies we have seen this hundred times that one of the bad fellas or a cop fires gun and the crowd in the public place starts running around, scared to get killed. We never thought this is wrong. This is normal human reaction.

But here is what sets India apart from the rest of the world. When the Bomb Difusal guys arrived at the scene in Pune, instead of running away from the place to save their lives, there was a huge crowd to see how they guys defuse the bomb. Really… this is not a fantasy. People actually did not think twice before gathering at that place. Have you ever seen such people elsewhere?

However, as the mob expected the so called bomb turned out to be leftovers from some student’s kitchen.

Traffic Improvement Awareness Campaigns

While the traffic situation in Pune is still not improving, lot of volunteers and NPO (Non-Profit Organizations) are coming forward to improve the situation. Government and traffic police department is also spending a lot in creating awareness.

Most of these campaigns are focusing on the safety aspects of the traffic rules. For example:

1. Wear Helmets

2. Follow traffic rules and avoid accidents

3. Don’t use mobile phones while driving

All these are good advertisements, it does not connect with me (as a common man) because I know the probability of meeting with an accident every day is not that high. Almost 99% of the time I am troubled with too much of traffic and delays due to traffic jams. Common cause for this is undisciplined drivers who do not follow lanes, do not obey traffic signals, believe that by driving on wrong side of the road they will reach early and so on…

If I have to do a campaign, I will do it to address these issues. I can use video clippings of disciplined traffic. I will focus on the cumulative benefits on time saving. I will focus on cumulative saving on oil (this is current hot topic as well).

Just to give you an example, let’s say if 4-5 errant drivers create a traffic mess to save two minutes of travel time. This would save them let’s say two rupees of petrol. Total saving for these guys would be not more than 20 rupees. Now once they land in mess, they get stuck for 10 minutes each. But they also cause a traffic jam due to other similar drivers going on wrong side of the road. This causes a delay of 20 minutes to about 200 vehicles at least. Now if each vehicle spends petrol worth 5 rupees each (roughly 100 ml) in those 20 minutes, the cumulative waste for 200 vehicles is about 1000 rupees compared to saving of 20 rupees.Is this not a reason enough for those 4-5 drivers to go a little slow and spend those 20 rupees rather than wasting 1000 rupees for all of the vehicles?

I don’t have enough connections and networking to take this up. I hope somebody reading this has. Even if they don’t, at least we can implement it for ourselves. One thing I do regularly is to give way to another person crossing my road before there is a line behind. This causes me 10 seconds may be but avoids a traffic jam or halt of 2 minutes later for at least 50 vehicles. There are many ways to improve speed of traffic on the road. Discipline can actually make traffic faster and still safer than today.

Fight for your own right

For past few days I am going to office by car rather than the company bus. More and more I travel by car, I have observed that the traffic jams in Pune are caused primarily by drivers driving on wrong side. On a 4 lane road, you are going at good pace as there are not many vehicles on your side and suddenly you find that one of the rash drivers from the oncoming side is driving on the wrong side without any provocation. I say "Hey! that’s my side you are driving on!" A typical Puneri answer you will get is "What’s the problem man? You have some much space further to your left! Why don’t you give us some space"

Am I responsible if there is so much traffic on your side, I say. I have every right to drive on my side of the road. I finally have started doing one thing. I just keep my side and stop in front of the errant driver’s vehicle. This causes lot of anger on their part but I keep my cool and do not abuse anyone or say anything. At least I am resisting and not letting these guys go. My wife says, why am I wasting my time on these people, but if no one resists, people will keep doing wrong things. Isn’t it?

This reminded me of something that we used to do when I was in school. Remember in our geometry box we have something called as divider? A small tool with two pointed needles? It was not just a tool for geography. We had wooden benches in those days. So this divider was used to divide our desktop in two halves and the bench partners would fight for their share of the desktop. I was not allowed to move my book on the other half of the desktop and I did not allow my partner to do that as well. You know… fighting for our own area was in our blood. I am sure this trend is still there in school children. Why not use that same spirit on the roads? Will this not better the situation? One of the foremost thing that needs to be implemented in Pune traffic is lane discipline. I am using my childhood learning to do my bit.

Most broken traffic rules

Breaking traffic rules is many time not very obvious to Punekar’s. They don’t even realize that they are breaking the rules and if you try to stop them from doing it, Punekar’s get very cross. However, rules are rules and five most commonly broken traffic rules in Pune are

1. Driving on the wrong side of the road when the road divider strip is continuous: When the road dividing strip is continuous, it means that you are not suppose to cross it and go on the wrong side. When it is double and continuous, it is even stricter. But still people casually cross this line.

2. Cutting the corners: While taking right turns, most of the people do not realize that they are cutting the corner short i. e. they are on the wrong side of the road. Lot of people think that if there are 5-6 oncoming vehicles from the other side, taking the turn early will help then go quickly. But in reality it happens the other way.

3. Crossing the stop line at signals: Punekar’s are always busy looking at other sides’ signal. If they are in the front row, they are so lost in thought that they slowly start coming forward when any other side gets green signal. I have never understood this. When the signal is green, the additional 10 meters that we have crossed when we were waiting hardly matters. Do we do something really significant in the time saved? Also most of the time when crossing the stop line we are preventing the pedestrians from crossing the road. These pedestrians then are caught in the middle of the traffic and cause more hindrance.

4. Driving on the wrong side of the road when the divider does not have any opening nearby: If you do not have enough money to drive extra 100 meters to go to other side of the road, why do you buy the vehicle? Should having enough money to buy the vehicle be the eligibility criteria or should having enough money to buy the fuel be the eligibility criteria?

5. Recognizing other people’s right to way: Everyone on the road has right to way. When some other vehicle is trying to cross the road or trying to take turn, most of us rush in as if we will be losers we give way to others. Many times giving way to one crossing vehicle allows everyone to go in quick time. We do the same to pedestrians as well.

Problem solving PMC way

Pune University square is one of the busiest crossings in Pune. It connects at least 3-4 major areas – Pune University, Aundh, Pashan, Senapati Bapat Road and has few major landmarks around – again the univ, Chatushringi temple, Raj bhavan, Rural Police offices, schools like Loyola’s & St. Joseph’s. During the rush hours this area is completely packed. Until few days back, the flyover work in this area was creating more chaos than what it was trying to solve. But people tolerated all this because the flyover was going to be complete soon and the speed of the traffic was going to increase.

So finally about a month back the flyover was complete and opened for traffic. Everyone was happy and then suddenly someone found out – “Hey! the traffic in this area is too fast and it is dangerous for the pedestrians”. Once again there was some noise created in the Pune Municipal Corporation and the result…

There is a speed limit of 40km/hr in this area.

You spend so much to speed up the traffic in the area and then what do you finally do? Impose speed limit! Wow! what a way to solve a problem!