Fostership – Taking care of each other as your own

Fostership – the act of parenting, or raising up or taking care of someone like your own child has forever been revered as a great act of humanity and kindness.

In today’s highly connected world with disconnected minds, where everyone worries about setting their comfort boundaries, wary  of their conveniences, sharing their likes and dislikes, the basic act of humanity is oft set into it’s limited boundaries. We convince our conscious by remembering to ‘give donations to xyz charitable organization, give alms to the beggar on the streets, send blankets for relief funds, go for blood donation camps’. These acts of charity, as in Islam must be done compulsorily; taken as a duty of every human being. But, how often do we talk to our neighbors,  have conversations with old couple in the building, talk to the widows, or interact with the financially troubled families living in our neighborhood. How often do we ask them how they are doing? Do we make a conscious effort to see if they need any repairs in their house which they cannot afford, have high medical expenses, are they living in unhealthy conditions. How often do we think about uplifting the conditions of our neighborhood families.
Prophet Muhammed SA always metaphorically instructed to ‘make more gravy when we cook meat. So that we can give our neighbors.’ He always asked us to lookout for our neighbors, treat them like our own, foster them.

The Dawoodi Bohra spiritual leader, our beloved Dr. Syedna Aali Qadr Mufaddal Saifuddin Saheb has raised a call for action. Asked us to take time off from our busy lives, away from the endless stream of world news flooding through our facebook, twitter and whatsapp feeds and look around our neighborhood. Look at the state of our neighbors, how many live in damp homes, live in unhygienic conditions, have medical ailments, need help schooling their children, going through some financial hardships, or have adamant children who fight and argue, need some shoulder to cry on, need counselling to tackle some situation, need constant help, see how you can help uplift them. Efforts can start from small like repainting their walls, changing their old beds, forming small groups to collectively meet financial costs of gifting them new kitchen ware, replace a broken fridge, or help them take care of their children’s school fees.
Dont stop at financial help, foster them, tell them you will help them to collectively solve their problems continually, hug them and keep them close.
The call from Maula is not to jump out from our comfort zone, complete an act of charity and dust our hands off. The call is to raise your conscious to forever look out for someone who might need your helping hand. The dua/blessing received from the deepest recesses of these hearts will bless your life in ways you cannot imagine.


Knowing what to educate myself

It is when one reaches their mid-twenties, they can clearly deduce that school/elementary education plays only a part of all the knowledge needed to be a productive citizen of society and a confident responsible individual of his kin. It is not the whole sum.
Then why do our young minds loose hope or commit suicide if they are not able to get into a decent college or just not pass their Board examinations.
Is it because the concept of BOARD exams in India has been over-hyped and been elevated to a level of a SPARTAN-enunciation ceremony as benchmark of identifying if a person is Useful or a complete fool. Spartans or in current times the Masai Mara tribe had traditions where a boy on reaching adulthood would venture in the wild alone, weapon-less and bring back the head of a wild-beast slain by him. Only then can he be accepted into the society.
Are we doing the same to our children with these BOARD examinations and Entrance tests?
I do not refute the concept of these exams. Just like steel needs a blacksmiths hammer to become a sword, exams give students a driving force and a competitive purpose in their otherwise care-free childhood. What I absolutely regret is the ideology of these exams are the final hurdle one has to cross to be acceptable, and to have hopes or aspirations from. While those who fail should wither into non-conformity and inferiority complexes.

One hat cannot fit all heads, similarly our education syllabus cannot satisfy the infinite variances in mentality, talent, and skills that kids are born with. Hence, students should understand that if they fail to pass an examination even after all their hard-efforts, life does not end for them then and there.

Taking my own example for explaining better, I had interest in Science – Physics, Chemistry, Biology but it was limited to understanding how these laws work in nature and all about the cosmos which I belong to. But, Deducing Integrations of all the photon values of Plancks constant giving a hyperbola of 10 to the power of negative thousand hertz of gamma rays was beyond my interests. My true passion lied in Computer Science where I had self-tutored myself many different languages and design tools such that the whole idea of coding a machine to make decisions on its own was a huge turn-on for me. I played God in my own little mechanical world.

So now I ask the question – Do I need to force myself to study those volumes of Calculus & Boron Rings. Why should I overload myself with Board tuitions, then TIMES, then KOTA to pass my ISC & JEEE & AIEEE so that I get an opportunity to study BTECH in Computers and then and only then can I be a good IT engineer and software developer ?
I started asking questions to many seniors in their mid-twenties, if Engineering was the only way forward and through 1 out of 10 sources I came to know that doing a Bachelors in Computer Science will give me enough skills to pursue a job in IT. They advised me to study hard ONLY for my ISC as that is the right thing to do being in school.

Few years later the humour of this whole theatrics came to light when I saw batches after batches of Electric, Mechanical, Chemical engineers joining the same IT companies that we were working in after a year of our induction. (BCA is 1 year shorter than BE/BTECH). So why did they have to go through his whole hell hole. Job opportunities are less I understand but then whole & sole batches of non-computer Engineers moving into IT is something unusual. The world needs Electronics & Auto mobiles & Synthetic Polymers as much as software.

I appeal to all students who sit through back-aching and ‘cigarette-forcing’ hours of entrance-tests after entrance-tests preparations to ask yourself now in your teens what you want to be. Follow your passions and not what is more lucrative. [ Certain marketing /sales professionals earn thrice more than a qualified IT/Auto mobile Engineer]. If you are good at it then you shall earn your bread & butter.

Knowledge is the wand for grasping the whole picture, keep questioning the traditions and be sure of what you need. And if you do ever fail in these tests, please do not waste a whole year applying for them again, without questioning yourself if you really are made to be an engineer. You shall grow up,work for their corporates for years, floating through time like an unattached balloon and curse for never being happy in that role. Do not end up living like that just to earn a living. Have courage.

What happened in the mobile industry in a decade

If you reflect back over the last twelve years you will see several companies that climbed to the top only to crash and burn.
Twelve years ago, Motorola Mobility was the leader in the development of the cell phone industry. It invented the flip phone and took the market by storm with its super thin RAZR driving it to a peak market share.
As Motorola sizzled Research in Motion slid into the number one position with its Blackberry. Corporations quickly embraced the phone. Blackberry dominated the corporate cell phone market as road warriors stayed connected to the office. In the nineties, Nokia began to fade from U.S. markets, though its share in China remains strong. As the smart phone fad took off, Nokia seemed to be grinding to a halt. The Nokia phone is still tops for basic cell usage but it is failing to develop smart technology to keep up with the frontrunners Apple and Samsung. The race was open for a new leg to start running when Motorola and the Blackberry fell from favor. Apple positioned itself strongly with the iPhone, creating a completely new experience with a touch screen. Apple in a brilliant move gave AT&T exclusive rights to iPhone sales. AT&T ran ahead of its competitors Verizon and Sprint Nextel.

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Lg Optimus One P500

LG P500 Optimus One

The November’10 product released from the LG workshop brings back a future for consumer’s belief in Mobile products from LG. What was earlier a debacle in a Cookie, Lg’s reputation in the Indian Consumer market was swindling as people downsized in product quality. Comparable to nationalised brands of Micromax and Karrbon, LG needed a product which could lift its hope of creating a brand image in smartphones and new entries in Mobile technology. The Android running LG P500 Optimus one does just that.

The LG Optimus One may not be your average killer gadget, but it sports a tempting pricetag, solid build, a nice looking set of features and Android 2.2 Froyo. And with the Optimus One in your hand, you are free to mock and tease those seemingly superior phones, which are still stuck on Eclair – now that’s priceless!

Indeed, the Optimus One offers an awesome price-to-features ratio among modern Android smartphones. With 1 million units sold already, the LG Optimus One P500 seems to be a popular option and it’s not difficult to see why.
True, it’s only got a moderately clocked CPU running at 600MHz, but with the performance boost from Froyo it feels reasonably fast and responsive most of the time and the plenty amounts of RAM give it enough app-toggling punch. that is 512 mb if you twiching your eyebrows.

The TFT capacitive touchscreen, is pleasing to the eye. Sharp colours and good contrast makes the display more appealing. Expecting to compare it with the picture sharness and colour depth with Iphone would be fool’s gold, but nevertheless Divx movies and youtube vidoes look good on its 3.2 widescreen. I had plugged in a hollywood movie “Deja Vu” while on an overnight bus ride, the sufficiently wide screen did not trouble the eye and the 129gm phone hardly was a bother holding it for 2 hrs straight at video viewing level.

The touch reception is very surprisingly good for a phone in this range , and playing Angry Birds is a treat. The lag if ever there is because of the little juice the phones graphics acceleration lacks, but not cause of the touch screen

The Great Indian Railways

Jules Verne did a splendid job immortalising the early days of Indian Railways in his “World No. 1” Around-the-world-in-80-days. When Phileas Hogg landed in Bombay Port he boarded the boasted Great Indian Railway from Bombay Port to Calcutta Port (Native Name Hoggers, i’m not going to call Mumbai and Kolkata cause of its non-existence then).
Nothing much has changed since the railways then, except that we now have options of swanky Duronto (Khaate peete jaldi Ghar Pahuchade). Hooligans or Train-Daakoo then, are now replaced by “eager to lift ghagra” eunuchs who harrass coins out of meek labourers and youngsters. But about the “Nicer” things that havent changed is the scenic beauty for which i sometime prefer buying the SL class than “glassed in” AC compartments.

After rolling with close to twenty odd express and hundreds of stations across the length and breath of India including Gitanjali express, Ypr-Hwh Express,Coromandel, Jammu – tawi, (Never forgetting stinking) Punjab Express, Jan Shatabdi, Duronto and Mails & Locals & one Swanky Central Railways Engine, I narrow down to two train routes which enrich the phrase of Incredible Ind-Yeah for its sheer natural beauty, rugged terrain and “Bhai Waah” moments.

1. Short leg of Pune-Mumbai
Tunnels,  broad gage, diesel chugs and cliff edge rolling, this train route has it all. And if you happen to travel this leg of the journey during a sunset or sunrise, beta aapka to paisa wasool.

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2. Coimbatore se Bangalore Jaane wali Express.
Nilgiris oh Nilgiris!! This journey starts with distant views of these relatively short hills, brushes through plains with lush veggies and farming and then the awe-someness starts when its starts rolling around the hills. Unlike Pune-Mumbai where the train climbs up to couple of MSL metres, here you enjoy ground-level views only. If your’e the blessed one and cross this terrain at sunset when its also drizzling the ominious cloud patterns, meek sun-rays filtering through hopeful gaps and dark silhouttes of the hills on magroves dotted with juicy fruits, so close you could hope to pluck them right off.

Majani Life!!