Of bumpy rides and sleepless journeys

Thanks to the economic downturn and the year end shutdown, got a loooong break for 11 days πŸ™‚ . Came to Hyderabad and then thought of going to my grandmother’s place for two days. That’s when the problems started. The two day trip supposed to be a pleasant one turned out to be a back breaking  nightmare πŸ™ .

When going from Hyderabad, we would have almost missed the bus. Though we were 30 minutes before the departure time, the bus had wrong service number on it and we thought the bus hasn’t come yet. Just at the time when the bus was about to start without us, we checked with the conductor standing over there and that’s how we came to know that the service number was wrong but the bus was already there waiting for us. Now the condition of the bus could not be described. It appeared as if few pieces of scrap metal were welded together and wheels attached to it. After an hour of journey when the bus stopped for a break, the driver was saying that the bus was actually removed from service and because of shortage of buses, it was taken out of garage and put on service 😯 . That’s the plight of our APSRTC. We pay for what is supposed to be the best service (Hi-Tech) and what we get to travel is on a bus that was removed from service πŸ™ . On top of that the driver was so rash and road’s condition so bad that we could not sleep for the whole night.

That’s one part of my story. The real problem started on our return journey back to Hyderabad. We got tickets in the last row of the bus and when we got into the bus that’s when we realized that the bus in which we came from Hyderabad was much much better than this one πŸ™ . This bus was full of dust, seats weren’t good and window glasses broken. This was another bus straight out of the garage. When we asked the conductor about this, he didn’t even care to reply πŸ™ . That’s the pathetic state of the buses and the employees. And after sometime in the journey, some creature was moving over my leg and I had no clue what it could have been. At one point of time, I was so vexed up that I felt like shouting at the driver and the conductor or go to a consumer court for such pathetic service. The whole night, I was not able to sleep and just wanted to get out of that hell asap πŸ™ . My cousin who was along with me was saying Indians are know for their tolerance but this is like testing it to its limits πŸ™‚ . The worst part is that we have no clue whom to complain or how to get this to the notice of concerned authorities. That reminds me of TIA (This Is Africa) which can now be safely modified to TII (This Is India) πŸ˜€ .

Unwanted change

As a kid I always wanted to have glasses. Whenever I used to have headache or felt some strain in my eyes, I used to ask my parents to take me for an eye checkup hoping to get glasses. But I guess that fascination of mine for glasses was only till 11th or 12th standard. By this time you would have guessed what is that unwanted change in my life πŸ™‚ . I no longer wish to wear glasses and that’s when I had to πŸ™ . Yeah the new unwanted change is that I have got +0.5 power…..astigmatism to be precise and I need to wear glasses now πŸ™ .

It all started a week back when my eyes used to pain a lot and then I had headache by afternoon. It was only after taking a tablet or sleeping for 2-3 hrs, I used to be back to normal. It went on for four days at a stretch and finally yesterday I decided to go for a checkup. After a long wait for an hour and then four rounds of testing for about 2 hrRakeshs the doctor finally says “the reason for your headache is this error in your vision” and then he prescribed glasses for me. So, finally on December 6th 2008, my childhood fascination for glasses became a reality. You can see my new avatar in the pic πŸ˜€ . It feels strange to have glasses. Whatever I try to see now, I look through the lenses and also through the gap between the glasses and my face. And I have tough time while walking on the stairs or while eating food πŸ™ . Looks like its going to take me few more days to get used to this new change. Right now it appears as if I have got some burden over my face. Though the power is less, I will have to wear them always to avoid the headache or strain in my eyes πŸ™ . So, finally I will be back to normal after a gap of 6 days πŸ™‚ .

TED talk on Biomimicry by Janine Benyus

This particular TED talk by Janine Benyus is all about Biomimicry wherein we imitate or take inspiration from nature to solve the human problems sustainably. The last few statements of the talk inspired me to write about this particular TED talk. It goes something like this – These organisms figured out a way to do the amazing things they do while taking care of the place thats going to take care of their offsprings. When they are involved in foreplay they are thinking about something very very important…..having their genetic material remain ten thousand generations from now. And that means finding a way to do what they do without destroying the place that’s going to take care of their offsprings and thta’s the biggest design challenge. Luckily there are millions and millions of geniuses willing to gift us with their best ideas…..good luck having a converstion with them. For people who haven’t seen the talk yet, when the speaker refers to organisms, she is actually referrring to the creatures around us on the planet and they are the geniuses she is referring to towards the end.

She illustrates her ideas with just 12 sustainable designs inspired from nature. In fact that’s the title of the video – Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature. I liked the ideas so much that I was thinking of getting hold of a copy of her book also. A few of the ideas that she mentions in the talk are – a locust’s ability to avoid collision within a roiling cloud of its brethren informs the design of a crash-resistant car; a self-cleaning leaf inspires a new kind of paint, one that dries in a pattern that enables simple rainwater to wash away dirt; and organisms capable of living without water open the way for vaccines that maintain potency even without refrigeration — a hurdle that can prevent life-saving drugs from reaching disease-torn communities.

I think its high time that we start exploring alternative ways of manufacturing before all the fossil fuels are completely depleted and environment polluted to alarming levels. After watching the video I was just searching for more information on biomimetics and was surprised to see that there is so much going on in this field already. I found a nice featured article in NGC site as well that talks about biomimetics. That was a pretty long article and at the time of writing this post, even I haven’t read it completely πŸ˜€ .

Some other interesting TED videos that I came across can be found in my forum. I keep updating it whenever I find some good videos.