Thursday, 23 April 2015

Net neutrality- NOW or NEVER

The recent debate about net neutrality in India has managed to catch some eyeballs. It has been making news the world over, and the AIB video of save the internet has garnered the appreciation of many.
Well done boys!

For people like you and me, net neutrality essentially means that all the apps you download from the internet, no matter whichever service you are using will be equal. It means that with your net pack,  you don’t have to pay extra for using WhatsApp or installing snapdeal on your phone. The amount of money you use for your phone will skyrocket.
Okay.....sounds far-fetched? Imagine you are in a class, you need to verify something and instinctively you type Wikipedia on your phone. But you won't get it. Then you check your internet pack. You have enough money.Then why???? Because you haven't paid extra for using that app. It is one of the Over-the-Top services, and you can't access it unless you pay for it separately. So yeah!!! Pop! There goes your Candy Crush, Saavn, Superbeam, Times of India, Dictionary,  Book My Show.......you have to pay extra for every single app you download. And along with them all other start-ups, who don't have an account in the Swiss banks.

But the question is; how many people actually care? I thought many did, and I was in for a horrible shock. A friend of mine, Raunak sent this video to me asking me to see it and to sign the petition.  I saw it,  glad to know that I could.....we could... actually stop TRAI from going ahead with its devastating plans. I sent my email and with great hopes I posted it in every group I knew, and sent it to everyone I could. Made it my status for over a week. And the response I received was lukewarm. Oh wait. It was cold. No one responded. A few heard about it, but were content to be mere spectators when we were raging an all out war. I doubt how many people actually checked it. Something that I hadn't expected from our generation, which is known to be tech savvy.

  When after India’s loss at the World Cup mean, disgusting and demeaning jokes about Anushka Sharma can spread like wildfire on the social networking sites then surely something that threatens the very meaning of internet should not have received the treatment that it received. 

The greatest irony of our times. Over 200 million internet users in the country, and TRAI receives less than 10 lakh emails. Causes a gut wrenching pain. 

This post here is more of a request. What has been done, cannot be undone. Our future of internet in India hangs in balance as we await the decision. Deadline ends tomorrow. We cannot shirk away our responsibility like this.  Maybe we lose. Maybe things will take a turn for the worse. But the answer is always no unless we try. Just by proudly saying 'My vote rocks' doesn't mean your duty ends there. There are probably a thousand decisions that we don't take directly for our country, but when an organisation goes ahead and puts something forward for our suggestions, someone out there writes a fitting reply; and all we have to do is to just send it.......It becomes mandatory for us to do that.

Probably I should have written this post a bit earlier, but better late than never. And I gotta thank my brother for suggesting this to me. ;-)

Its now or never. Log in to www.savetheinternet.in to send in your support for net neutrality. 


(Images and cartoons in this article are not mine.)

Friday, 3 April 2015

MY TRYST WITH RAILWAYS- PART 2

Hey there! I agree......my last post was a bit all over the place. I tried to write about all my experiences in a single article. Probably not a good idea.  Blame it on my excitement.  The mere thought of writing about an institution with which I grew up proved to be a bit overwhelming and gave me an adrenaline rush. So this time, I'm gonna stick to what I do best- write about little incidents which teach me something.

For those of you who don't know this.....broadly there are three rungs of administration.  The lowest, grassroot level is any normal town or place(called SECTION). Then a few sections constitute a DIVISION. Subsequently a few divisions constitute a ZONE. 
I have been fortunate enough to experience all the three levels.

At Jharsuguda, which is a small bustling industrial place, mostly the basic level of work is done. Loading and unloading of goods is an example. I feel as if people out there are more comfortable.  You know it had a life of its own. Everyone knew each other. The evening resounded with the laughter of children. Neighbours and friends were more than family.  Years after we moved out, I still love visiting whoever's left. There seemed to be an unexplained ease with which communication and conversations were carried out. 

Then my mom got transferred to Bhubaneswar, which is the zonal headquarters of East Coast Railways.  The railway settlements are beautiful, with trees and parks and high rise buildings- with a layer of security.  But there was an uncomfortable air around. Don't get me wrong - I met some really nice people and I have some amazing memories.A few people are my family now. What I meant was there was this social etiquette that you had to follow, even if you didn't understand.  Busy and self-restrained people, I presume. Kids used to play in the evening,  but with a strange difference.  Those were interesting times, genuinely speaking.

Tick tock.....and my mom is again transferred to Sambalpur which is a divisional headquarter. Some might say I have had a lot of cliques....but its true. 
Maybe I entered the town after the age of smart phones had set in. I had great friends, we used to play badminton and cycled together to school. It was fun while it lasted. I won't say there were no boundaries like Jharsuguda, but at the same time, it wasn't as cold as Bhubaneswar.  Somewhere in the middle.

What I noticed is people tend to get a bit sophisticated as the standard of living rises. The level of education seems to be having an inverse relationship with social interactions. Strange but true, the above mentioned incidents are today's reality. I don't know what is good for us, and I would refrain from giving any kind of judgement. There is no clear cut right or wrong. It just varies from person to person. How you perceive things. Much as I hate moving, I think it is necessary to help you have an outlook on life. It is painful no doubt, but necessary.
This is the Institution's biggest gift to me- making me a much more aware person.  I have met all kinds of people; good, bad, gentle, loving, shrewd, cunning, selfish, selfless, amazing and wonderful. I am sure that somehow this has crafted the person I have become and this journey of meeting people will only get better.