Saturday, May 31, 2008

Old vs new conventions

I was driving from Delhi to Jaipur yesterday night and one of the trucks in front gave right indicator and moved left and gave me side. Reminded me of old highway convention and how half of the Indian drivers are still following it.

In old days many 'highways' in India used to be a one lane road that was supposed to be used for traffic from both sides. There wasn't much automobile traffic and life was cool :) When the traffic increase these highways were upgraded to two lane highways where one lane was available for traffic going in either direction. Some readers will notice that most highways still fall in the two lane category though one can easily see four-laning of all major highways is in progress and some of the highways are already four lane.

Coming back to driving conventions on one or two lane highways. Blow horn and Wait for side were the most common slogans on the back of vehicles (It's a different point that the popularity of these slogans haven't decreased much). On one lane highways 'passing' a vehicle coming from other side meant taking one of your tyre on the shoulder and the other party would do the same. On both one way as well as two way highways overtaking was done with cooperation from the vehicle being overtaken (hence wait for side). Here is the whole process:

1. The vehicle interested in overtaking (Let's call it A) will blow horn (as requested by the vehicle in front; B for.)
2. B (or the driver) will check if another vehicle was coming from the other direction and signal with hand whether overtaking can be done. He would also signal if overtaking can not be done (though it was not mandatory)
3. A will follow B's suggestion and execute the overtaking maneuver.

Vehicle's were still manufactured with indicators that were used for turning and lane changing indications in rest of the world. In India lack of lanes (and hence lane changing) combined with 'cooperative overtaking' fueled the indicators being used as a signal to allow overtaking. As my smart readers will notice this is the exact opposite usage of the one originally intended.

On Indian highways both old Indian convention and the new convention (using indicators to signal lane change) are being used and one can't be sure if a right indicator means vehicle in front will move right or left :)

PS: I found hindi translation for word overtaking in Shimla. It's अभिलंघन :)

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Friday, May 30, 2008

Affluent borrowers now struggling with loans and debts

According to a recent report there has been a turnaround in the type of consumer contacting debt charities and agencies, with more affluent people now contacting these agencies in order to get help with their loans and debts. The global credit crunch has resulted in a huge surge in the number of middle class homeowners who are now struggling with their debts, and are therefore contacting debt advisors for assistance.

According to one debt charity, Transact, the number of people seeking debt related advice in some affluent areas has risen by around 100%, whereas the rises in lower class areas has not been anywhere near as high. In the past most of the people seeking this sort of advice have been unemployed or low income people in less affluent areas, but now it seems that even the fairly well off cannot escape the problems that the credit cards crunch has brought with it.

One official from the debt charity said: "In the past it was almost uniquely people on benefits, people in social housing who went to debt advice agencies. Since the credit crunch started, they are seeing a big increase in professional people and homeowners coming to seek help, who have just been pushed over the edge and now can't cope with their outgoings. These services now with the credit crunch are being overwhelmed by a whole new breed of debtor: middle-class people. But what that means is there is much less debt advice to go round."

One advisor working in an affluent area said: "We've seen probably almost a 100% increase in clients. This time last year we were really quite quiet." She added: "I've had at least two clients sit in front of me and tell me they would have killed themselves if they hadn't found out we were here."

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Body Building Desi Shtyle

I don't know where I heard this concept for the first time. I sincerely hope it was not in my dreams but here is a cool way of body building and increasing weight lifting capacity. Here are the steps:

1. Get a buffalo ( you can earn money by selling milk and you can get a supply of milk for yourself; remember we are talking about body building etc. )

2. Get the buffalo to mate with the male counterpart (you don't have to take active part in this activity, you can outsource it to other experts)

3. Wait till it gives birth to the calf (this takes time so you can use the milk during this time and some exercise won't hurt)

4. When the new calf is born, pick it up.

5. Pick up the calf everyday and as the calf grows bigger and heavier you will find that you can still pick it up.

You are gradually increasing the weight and hence will be able to increase your weight lifting capacity :-)

6. Don't kill me !

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Reasons to Pursue a Career in Farming

I reached office early morning today and found myself free enough to check a few photoblogs that used to visit regularly. I found a very good one at Kathleen Connally's Photoblog. She takes some beautiful pics of her town and her Photoblog is aptly named A Walk Through Durham Township.

The photo I liked most was of a wall that had several reasons to pursue a career in farming. I would like to see a similar campaign in India to highlight farming and agriculture as a career option but government has to make it as good career option first :)

Anyways, you can see the photo here.

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