Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
And before you start dubbing me (rightfully) publicity hungry (or some such adjective) let me tell you that my demands are perfectly valid. I am demanding for a new state on the same basis as all other new states are being demanded.
I want a new state for the areas of Kondapur and Madhapur in Hyderabad. (See map if you are not aware of the geography.) We call it 'Makonchal' . You will appreciate that this name follows the naming convention of North Indian states like Purvanchal, Mithilanchal, Uttaranchal. (MAdhapur+ KOndapur+Anchal see how ingenious!)
Below are the reasons why my demands must be met:
1) Since there are so many North Indians in this area, culture and language of this area is different from rest of Hyderabad and even from rest of AP/Telangana/Rayalseema/North Coastal AP/South Coastal AP/other 432517 divisions of AP. And how dare you suggest that we can live in harmony with rest of people who don't share these extremely critical properties of Humanity! If Garos and Khasis living in Meghalaya can demand for separate states why can't we. (Umm I guess number of Northies in Hyderabad would roughly be same as total population of Meghalaya..)
2) These areas are mostly occupied by upper and upper middle class people, so state gets more revenue from these areas which is 'diverted' to other areas of city and not utilized in 'development' of these areas. (Ignore the fact that most of the people here don't vote during elections!) No, I won't accept that analogy that Mumbai supports rest of Maharashtra. Call us selfish but our money is JUST our money. (You see the money from these areas is going in pockets of netas of other areas. What is this? Our money should go in the pockets of netas of our own area na!)
Now you see my point? Aren't my demands perfectly valid?
Umm, did I mention that I am ready to bear the responsibility of being the CM as well!
Written 12:02 AM by Abhishek Asthana
Saturday, December 05, 2009
Simple! Wasn't it :)
Written 7:20 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Monday, November 02, 2009
All set? Become a fan of DYPC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@dypc) AND do atleast any one set of the following (the more you can do the better !):
1) On facebook: Invite others, put DYPC URL in your status, become a fan of DYPC on facebook.
Written 9:09 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Monday, October 19, 2009
Written 11:31 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Friday, September 18, 2009
"Wanted" a "Pokiri" review?
Written 8:24 AM by Abhishek Asthana
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
This one was for Eye Donation Awareness camp, organized by Sakshum. People liked it but I feel I could not implement the idea I really had! Anyways Sakshum took printouts of this one and used it as flyers as well.
Ora Revels is undoubtedly the biggest event organized by Oracle Volunteers Hyderabad. It is designed as a platform for employees to interact with representatives and kids of many of the NGOs being supported by Oracle Volunteers. So on the day of event, there are lots of stalls for food, games etc. apart from the stalls put up by NGOs to sell stuff and show their work.
This one was for Magic Show in Ora Revels 2008. The sole reason I like this mailer is the 'Graffiti' image, which was generated by using the jMaki Flickr 'Word' widget in Netbeans IDE. A little shadow effect by Photoshop and it was ready to go!
Hmm... not a great tagline but I like the image of the cup. For souvenir sale in Ora Revels 2008.
Ahh... this one was never sent! Bhima Rao was our company's security incharge. Raghu declined to send this one and with very heavy heart I had to remove the defintely catchy heading with a boring 'Security guidelines for Today' :(
This one is one of the favorites. Sent on the morning of the Ora Revels 2007, it grabbed sufficient eyeballs.
Repeating the calendar was a gamble, but I was so hopelessly behind schedule for designing mail for announcing Ora Revels week 2008, that something had to be done. I got this calendar from my former roomy, shot it in office and guess what that 'Ora Revels week!' was written in Photoshop!
Ora Revels changed name and became Ora Fora. With a new logo and theme! I did only this one mailer for the D-day. Took the screenshot of that day's TOI and changed the headlines and masthead. Funniest response was from Naresh, who called me to tell that he can't read the text in paragraphs! (Raghu teased me over use of Blue and Red, calling it sponsored by Times Now!)
Adopt a Child Educationally is another scheme being run by Oracle Volunteers since past 1 year and has entered its 2nd year now. This mailer was somewhat inspired by Toyota's Amir Khan ads.
Repeating any campaign is difficult. I thought very hard for some idea for this year's ACE campaign. This one struck me when I driving to home from office. Once again, I felt that I could not implement it as well I would have wanted, the final version was much better that first cut, thanks to Raghu's motivation!
Though this one was for Premalayam's Vote Campaign, it was sent to Oracle Volunteers as well and was appreciated for its different take on elections!
Written 7:10 AM by Abhishek Asthana
Thursday, July 23, 2009
(Read this post in Hindi: माया का स्वयंवर)
Written 11:10 AM by Abhishek Asthana
Saturday, June 27, 2009
industry'. Sample this: IIFA 2009 for best editing has gone to a movie which is Three and a half hours long and was much mocked and criticized for its length (Ballu Saluja for Jodha Akbar).
Sure this beats even Bachchan bahu winning Star of the Decade award. (To ensure there is no real life 'Abhimaan' in the family her hubby dearest was nominated in 4 categories and managed to 'win' one of them for 'Dostana'.)
Everybody knows that Indian film awards are just 'events' tailored for TV channels to be shown, when they are not showing sobbing bahus wearing few kilos each of jewellery, vermillion and khaandaan ki parampara or sobbing young girls wearing, well a bit fewer kilos of jewellery, vermillion and khaandaan ki parampara. So there are awards 'invented' to please every corporate by associating its name to some award and to please every actor (and their dads) by giving them that aforementioned award. (Greenply 'chalta jaaye, chalta jaaye' award goes to Amitabh Bachchan or 'Centerfresh zubaan par lagaam lagaaye' award for Tushar Kapoor in 'Golmal')
But when you go to foreign lands and declare among your song and dance routines that you are honoring the best in Indian cinema, should you not be bit more inclusive?
I have said this earlier and I say it again, why is Hindi film industry made synonymous with Indian film industry when quite a good number of films are actually remakes of south Indian superhits. And even if there were no remakes, should we not celebrate the variety and diversity of Indian cinema by bringing together all these different language films on one stage? (Afterthought: Why is it that UTV World Movies channel shows movies from around the world but not Indian regional language films? Yeah I know, watching a French or Iranian film sounds more sophesticated that watching a Teugu or Marathi movie. So Maya Sarabhai-ish)
Why is it that every year when there is this much loved and equally loathed ritual of selecting Oscar nomination, 'Indian' media (read Hindi and English news channels and papers) start throwing names of Hindi movies, how much ever crap they may be (case in point: 'Eklavya')? I agree that Hindi is the national language and have highest viewership among all other Indian languages and that's why Hindi stars are adored across the country and Indian diaspora as well. But just because Dainik Bhaskar has highest number of readers, is it the best in print media?
We take pride that India has world's highest number of languages and dialects spoken, then why can't we flaunt these languages on celluloid? Maybe event managers don't approve of the plan!
Written 9:29 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Monday, June 22, 2009
Well, even an ordinary pit can be called a RWHS, since it stores the rainwater and lets it seep in the ground and increase the moisture level of the surrounding earth. However a major concern with rainwater harvesting is the quality of water that goes underground since if groundwater gets contaminated it can't be purified.
1) What is the source of water you will collect? Rooftop water being directed to the pit through PVC pipes is most common option.
Second option, bit more difficult but cheaper, is to do the landscaping in such a manner that water falling on the ground flows to the pit.
Rooftop water is much more cleaner and the design is less intrusive since pipes can go underground and cause no hindrance to occupants of the building.
In this article I will talk about using PVC pipes for collecting water.
2) What should be the dimension of the pit? We had dug a 6x6x6 pit since it was a small school. This size would be sufficient for a standalone 3BHK house or a multi-story with 3BHK flats. For bigger buildings, you will need to talk to a contractor.
3) Dug the pit, what next? OK, now we need to fill this pit with stones and sand which will act as purifier layers. In our simple design we will have following layers:
a) 40 mm metal: This is the first layer (from bottom) and is half the height of the pit. So in our case it was 3 ft. See in the picture below.
Below: 40 mm metal being dumped.
b) 20 mm metal: Second layer, half the height of first layer. (In our case 1.5 ft.) These are the pebbles used in road construction. See in the picture below.
Below: 20 mm metal being dumped
Don't worry if you don't know about these stones. You will need to find a stone supplier and he will supply these stones.
3) Sand: Third and topmost layer which is about half feet high.
You will notice that we have not filled complete pit, 1 ft is still remaining. Yes we have left this space purposely, so that during the rains, water coming from the pipe doesn't spill over and is collected in this empty space before seeping down.
The pipe coming from roof top has to be directed to this pit, half ft under ground, which means it will be just half ft above the sand layer. In the above pic, see that pipe is below ground level.
The 1 ft of the pit walls which are exposed can be plastered. This will increase the longevity of the walls by guarding against soil collapsing during the rains.
Special case: If there is a handpump or borewell in the vicinity
By making small change to the design, you can not only make your RWHS more effective but also recharge the handpump if it has dried up, due to water table getting depleted.
We had a handpump in the school which we wanted to recharge, so we dug the pit with the handpump in the center of the pit. A handpump has 2 concentric pipes. The internal pipe about 2 inches in diameter is called riser pipe which actually draws in the water from ground. The outer pipe is just plastic casing about 4 inches in diameter which is called bore hole casing. It is used to protect the internal pipe. Both pipes go fairly deep in ground.
After we removed the soil around the handpump, we had six ft of bore casing exposed. In the below photo the white pipe that we see is the casing. (The steel pipes and rods have been put to support the pump.)
We drilled small holes in the bottom 1.5 ft of the casing. This is done so that water being collected in the pit can enter the bore casing and go deeper easily.
The holes have to be arranged in straight vertical lines on all four sides of the pipe, each about 3 inch apart. (see the photo to understand)
A thin wire mesh was tied around the pipe in this area to cover the holes and avoid any mud/soil/tiny pebbles getting in. (see the below photos)
Remaining process of filling the pit remains same.
You will have to cover the pit with an iron grill so that people using this pump do not step on the sand.
Budget: Stones and sand are purchased according to 'load'. For our project we had purchased 2 loads of 40 mm metal, 1 load each of 20 mm metal and sand. 'Load' is the capacity of the truck which dumps these materials.
40 mm metal costs Rs. 1100-1500 per load.
20 mm metal costs Rs. 2500-3000 per load.
sand costs Rs. 1100-1400 per load.
Problem is that even though we don't need that much sand or 20 mm metal, we can't order in fraction (like half load).
PVC pipes are available in a range of prices depending on the thickness, diameter and brand. Thicker the pipe, sturdier and pricier it is. We bought 80 ft (4x20 ft) 4 inch diameter pipes of an ordinary brand, which cost us Rs. 1500. You will have to buy joints (elbows or Ts) according to structure of your building. Add to this shipping charges. All these things cost us nearly Rs. 1900.
Apart from these you will need a bag of cement for plastering which will cost about Rs 400. You will need a plumber for doing pipe fittings, a mason for plastering the pit or redoing any concrete that you break. If you don't dig the pit yourself you will have to hire at least 2 labors also.
There you go! I have mentioned almost everything that you need to know about construction of a good Rainwater Harvesting System. All you need now is a motivated team (I had the greatest team one can have!) and a good plan to go ahead.
(I have tried to be as much discreet about things as possible. If you have any questions or think something can be better explained, let me know through comments.)
Written 11:38 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Monday, June 08, 2009
HOME is a spectacular movie, and I think that is understatement of the decade. More beautiful than I ever saw anything on NatGeo or Discovery, this movie shot almost entirely in slow motion and more often than not from very high altitudes gives an amazing view of our home, the earth!
It's about how we have changed the planet in last 40 years. Not going stats-heavy like 'An Inconvenient Truth' but still giving the details about how things are changing and how we may be affected. Often accompanied by very sarcastic (and impressive) quotes and stark comparisons between lifestyles.
One of my most favorite sequences is about Dubai. The camera already perched high, starts from the bottom of a sky scraper and continues to move towards the pinnacle while background score (once again terrific throughout!) reaches a crescendo! Awe inspiring and frightening at the same time.
Watch Home, on YouTube till 14th June. Even if you don't care about planet, may be you will once you realize it is SO beautiful.
Written 10:20 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Monday, May 18, 2009
"Why?", shouted back Nandu.
"That path goes to the valley."
Shucks. This was second wrong path that we had taken this night and for the first and only time a trace of fear swept my mind, are we going to fall in front of finish line? Not that falling was an option. Metaphorically as well as grammatically! While the latter would have been obviously more damaging physically, the former would not have been any better since we had to reach Sinhgarh before sunrise and the impending scorching heat.
Earlier we had tried to take a path around a hill, because one of the guys was '90% sure' that it was the right way, only to come back and climb that hill.
We had started from Katraj at about 9.30 and were supposed to walk all night and reach Sinhgarh crossing 13 hills on the way. It was 3 or 3.30, in the morning (or night, how ever you take it.) We had been "walking" for 5 hours now and still there was a debate whether we had 3 hills remaining or 'there is a small 4th one'. The red signal on a tower at Sinhgarh was closer now but it still demanded all the mental and physical strength to reach there.
Earlier we had started with a lot of enthusiasm, easily divided among 'Hyderabad group' and 'Pune group'. Each group having a lot of easy camaraderie among itself. My primary concern at Swargate was food. Are we not going to eat anything 'proper'? Just 3 chocolates and Parle-G-for-genius didn't seem to me such a genius idea after all. Two bottles of water each also seemed somehow insufficient but I understood we can't carry water tankers with us!
The climb had started with a bang, rather a burst from our 'trek leads'. After this unpleasant start, the group was divided meticulously into smaller groups with sweeps and leads and these groups and sweeps and leads got dissolved and lost equally meticulously within first half an hour. There were many teams trekking on that route that night and each had torches and it took us a long time to understand that every torch that we see in that vast expanse might not be one from our group. Actually torches were used for most of the time only for marking presence and signalling to other 'torch bearers', since it was a moon-lit night there was sufficient light for walking.
The first major challenge came at the descent of second hill. It was a near 70 or 80 degree steep incline and lots of tiny pebbles didn't make things any easier. First thing that I did was to keep my camera in the backpack and then did a combination of slow climbing down holding stones and sliding where ever standing was dangerous. To be honest my legs were shivering by the time I got down. We were told that first couple of hills are steep and after crossing this one we thought that we had put the worst behind, but descending kept on being difficult for a major part of the journey. Rathi gave such descents a not-so-pleasing nickname: 'Suicide Point'. The climbing always seemed easy but even before climbing, imagining the descent gave goosebumps!
During the entire journey the glittering Pune city kept us company. Even at 1 the lights didn't seem to dim and someone wondered aloud 'don't these people sleep'? Another element that accompanied us for a major part of the trek was wind. Heavy wind. Quite cold at times and though I was getting quite irritated due to constant howling in ears, it was due to this wind only that we didn't feel the heat or the sweat.
In the last leg of the journey, most of the group was left far behind and there was no trace of even the 'leads'! There were no visible trails and so we decided to do the easier thing: take a crow-flight route to Sinhgarh. Just cross all the hills on the way. This was easier said than done because the first hill to stare us was a nearly 70 degree incline ( We climbed this one in 9 minutes flat!) and by now the moon had moved so we had to climb in near darkness. I decided to hold my torch in mouth (thank heavens, it was a slim Eveready) and use both my hands for climbing faster so that I had enough momentum to move forward. I am still surprised that none of the shrubs scratched my face because almost entire way-up it seemed I was bumping into one!
By the time we reached top of last hill, it was 4.30 and sky had started acquiring whitish shades. Sinhgarh was almost at an arm's length (read 6 km). A small walk (towards a sound that sounded like waterfall) and we reached the Sinhgarh road. After a brief photo session on the vacant road, we walked again for about 3 km to Sinhgarh fort.
I had survived the toughest trek of my life, ready to face tougher ones!
Written 11:04 PM by Abhishek Asthana
Saturday, May 16, 2009
'Karat'-and-stick policy didn't work. Hammered in Kerala and sick-led in West Bengal demands are now rising that Karat be 'left' out.
Unfortunately you can't have elections as many times as you want, that's the difference between installing-demolishing-reinstalling statues. The only party in the country to contest ALL 543 seats could not even beat Congress in UP!
Lalu Prasad Yadav (RJD) and Ram Vilas Paswan (LJP).
Formed a grand '4th Alliance' with SP (in UP). Lalu played safe and contested from two seats and managed to win one of them. Paswan was not so lucky and lost from Hajipur, a seat from where he had won by a record margin some years ago.
Forget being kingmakers, Paswan is not even an MP, his party LJP stands at nill. And I don't see Lalu being invited to B-schools anymore.
J. Jayalalitha (AIADMK)
Her price for support: suspend DMK Government in Tamilnadu. With DMK's tally a double of AIADMK, her only exploits were flowers from Modi, a day earlier!
It's thumbs DOWN actually to the best spokesman LTTE never had in Sri Lanka. Lost miserably and now planning for the job there but unfortunately his would-be-employers have already shut the shop!
(My questions about post-results scenario: here.)
Written 10:13 AM by Abhishek Asthana
Friday, May 01, 2009
Written 11:41 AM by Abhishek Asthana