About Narayan

When I first stumble on a blog, I love to read the about me page.

WordPress sent me a notification when Narayan liked a post on my blog. His about me page is one of the most breath-taking page I’ve read in quite a while. I think anything more I write here is just keeping you away from reading that page.

Cyclone Nisarga Effect – Pune

Yesterday, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra addressed the State about the upcoming cyclone likely to hit the coast of Maharashtra today (June 3).

The address was in the native language, Marathi. Above is the link to the Twitter thread of the address in English.

There has been torrential rain since 3 pm yesterday. The rain subsided late yesterday evening and was since a drizzle. We went to check that our vehicles were secure. We put the two-wheelers on the center stand.

Today morning there has been no rain but has been particularly windy. I recorded a short video of the fast moving clouds I was noticing since today morning:

Cyclone Nisarga Effect

People have been used a site called Windy.com to follow the storm. Friends and relatives shared the link to the site via WhatsApp and Twitter. The site is built by a few people in the Czech Republic and seems to perform well even on mobile. I think that’s the reason why it has become quite popular.

While we brace for the storm, I hope you stay safe too.

Vertical Urbanism

This was originally posted on my blog http://pradx.posterous.com on December 25, 2011. Found this post on the Wayback Machine.

For the last few days, I have been hunting for two things – various clubs/hang outs/societies related to Geography and how I can become a professional geographer. In my search, I found out this beauty of a website that speaks about the geography of flyovers and walkways of Mumbai. The website is an effort to document these features by Andrew Harris of the Urban Labs at the University College London.

It contains lots of photographs and sound recordings from various parts of the city.


This article originally appeared on my blog http://lifeofpradeep.wordpress.com. I recovered the post using Wayback Machine.

During preparations of WikiConference India 2011, I had wanted to do an OpenStreetMap workshop. Lack of internet stopped us from doing it at the Conference venue as well.

After the Conference, I’m now trying to learn and edit OpenStreetMap myself. As I thought of basic things that could be mapped, I was reminded about my frustration of not being able to put a different (and correct) pin code for my locality in Google MapMaker. I have stopped editing Google MapMaker since there are a few issues there that are still not being sorted out. That’s a different blog post.

So, I started asking around on Twitter on whether there was a list of pincodes for all states of India. I found this from Gautam John via Sengupta who remembered that this data had been shared on a Googlegroup called Datameet.


I have now uploaded the same onto Google Docs (thanks to Mehul Ved for reminding me this existed  ) where I have enabled public editing of this data so that we can geotag it (i.e. get latitude and longitude of the post office) and then perhaps even add it on the town/locality’s article on Wikipedia, where I hope the data will be useful.

Use this short link – http://goo.gl/c9ksz – to share the data set.

How this data can be edited and utilised is being discussed on a Google Group that I created for this purpose. Do join it if you like.

Google docs also allows you to download the data so that you can play with it as well in a format you like. Do play with it and let us know on the Google Group.

Road to Minimisation

I have written on various platforms – Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and
Posterous on various issues. This is another blog that seeks to reduce
all of my writings and put them into one place whether I like it or
not. It also simultaneously will act as a reservoir of my move to
minimization in other aspects of my life whilst I work on moving
things to another repository.

This is my road – my road to minimization.

Swimming Pool in Chembur

I have been around in Chembur since 1992 or so. Since then, the town has changed a lot. The municipal swimming facility in Chembur, now called General Arun Kumar Vaidya Swimming Pool. This was part of the overall naming and renaming exercise undertaken by the right-wing Shiv Sena which swept into power in 1994 in the state of Maharashtra. I do not recollect what this pool was called before being named so.

My experience in this swimming pool has not been great. When I tried to learn swimming here as a kid my skin got discolored and as a result I lost interest in swimming. From then on, I have passed in front of the pool several times without caring to learn its proper name (something I am interested in but not of importance since people just call it Swimming Pool). Hence for a very long time, this pool and its activities didn’t have my interest.

Recently, there was a news report in the local newspaper, Mumbai Mirror reported that there was a danger that the pool may be handed over to private parties through improper channels. The pool has apparently not been used for the past two years and the municipal corporation is spending approximately Rs. 16 lakhs. The picture is murky and RTI activists are digging for information.

This revived an interest in swimming and also revived an urge to spread the word about what was happening to this public space. The first thing to do was to find out what it is called. The above report swaps the names of the two pools at Chembur and Kandivali. The one at Chembur is called the General  Arunkumar Vaidya taran talav. An interest arose in learning more about the General and I reached the Bharat Rakshak website and found the information I was looking for.

The General has served India during the Indo-Pakistan Wars of 1965 and 1971 and as Chief of Army Staff he planned Operation Bluestar. Like Indira Gandhi who ordered the Operation, the General was also assassinated for his role in the Operation in Pune in 1986. The General was awarded the Maha Vir Chakra and the Padma Vibhushan.

Interestingly, in the early 2000s, a Sikh businessman operated his hotel out of the premises when the swimming pool was in the name of the General. I am not sure if he knew about the General or his role in the Operation. The hotel did not have good food and so even that didn’t provide me a reason to go there. It inevitably closed operations. Now, the fore ground of the swimming pool is being used for parking vehicles.

Typhoon in the Philippines

Preetam Rai of Global Voices reports:

Cathy Bythesea is asking her readers to help her collect a thousand bears for Bicol. Bicol region was badly hit by the typhoon Reming. “Stuffed toys have been known to be effective comfort givers in times of extreme stress and fear. To children, stuffed animals are more than toys, they’re imaginary friends who are always ready to give comfort or play. They provide a certain amount of security in a sometimes scary world. Though it may be a small act, my heart’s desire is to bring as many stuffed toys – ideally friendly looking teddy bears to the children in the Bicol region. I am hoping to raise at least a thousand bears that I can send to the Albay province in time for Christmas