Getting off Twitter

Since June I’ve been reviewing my usage of the Internet and it’s
impact on my offline life. I’ve been collecting raw numbers. In the
past week I crunched the data.

I spend nearly Rs. 300 per week on accessing the Net. Most of this is
used on Twitter and Gmail. I saw that I was spending 6 hrs/day despite
reducing my usage on Twitter. Doing it less often is an option but I
generally miss out on the fun. I specifically took a higher cost Net
connection to force me to use it less.

Even if I can absorb the cost I spend the time I spend here was coming
from time alloted for reading, listening to songs, working on
projects, thinking new project ideas etc.

I’ll keep my friendfeed a/c up and update all the various services. I
think I’ll be more useful that way.

Lunar Analog Research Station – India

My first knowledge of an analog research station was Arctic Mars
Analog Station Expedition or AMASE. A thought process carried forward
with Flashline Mars Analog Research station or FMARS. The Moon Miners
Manifesto’s India Quarterly expanded on the theme and brought the
subject of a similar station for the Moon in India at the backdrop of
the Chandrayaan series of missions to the Moon.

I became a member of the Moon Society this summer and have begun
planing on what can eventually be a lunar research station in India.

I am still reading through papers and worrying about geting people
on-board before begining the actual effort. I’m also working out a
simultaneous outreach and education effort that will focus on the
Chandrayaan series and serve the project’s basis.


My fascination for water started with the lines in my science text
book urging me to drink 8 to 13 glasses of water everyday. I follow
this naturally because I do get thirsty alot.

Fast forward to my under graduate years and it amazes me that we still
use the same 100 odd year old system to bring water from catchment
areas to meet requirements of the city. Innovation has worked only in
bringing water more efficiently in the old system.

Today, we face a water shortage. Would not people staying closer to
the water source claim ownership and sell water to her neighbours than
allow its citizens to die?

An analogy is supplying water to a colony on the Moon.

Games children play

This content originally appeared on Recovered using the WayBack Machine from here.

[These are random posts that I write, occassionally to please myself and occassionally to please others]

This was inspired by the way kids collect on the play ground and what they play today compared to the games that I played in my child hood.

Collecting the kids to play the game is as important as playing itself. It is a place where a group of kids build their social networks with a friend’s family. It is also a place where kids first face prejudice, understand to accept differences in stature or wealth and also gain a wealth of experience in team building and management.

As a kid, I remember walking around the colony straining our vocal chords and calling mates, interacting with parents who make excuses, learn to negotiate your play times, learn a few things about saving money.

Your resourcefulness is tested in the way you organise the games – according to number of kids, weather conditions, apparatus available, availability of grounds etc.

The games itself were physically stimulating and mentally challenging.

Today kids call each other over the phone, play with much more severe limitations like coaching classes, extra curricular activities etc. They are physically exhausted at the end of play time and it almost turns into a chore rather than being a time of conscious relaxation and sub-conscious learning.

Let the elections begins!

This was originally posted on I retrieved the post using the Wayback Machine here.

The Election Commission yesterday announced the dates for the national elections – April 16 through May 13. Results will be announced on May 16. 714 million people will vote with 522 constitutences will be using photo electoral rolls. The elections will take place across 8,28,804 polling stations and will be governed by 4 millions civic officials and 2.1 security officials. The largest democracy in the world swings into action.

The political work outs have already begun with boards, flags, wall paintings, posters on the streets of villages and towns. In party headquarters, the alliances are being forged, the party tickets (the permission to run for a seat on behalf of the party) are being sold and candidates are being finalised. In the Election Commission voter list have been finalised and are running through a list of measures to keep the voting as transparent as possible. Various media houses are running with their own campaigns and coverage to get India to vote and to perhaps create a US like sentiment amng the masses in India. 

A major element for this election would be the newly demarcated constitutencies by the delimitation process. Here’s how Mumbai looks now:

  1. Mumbai South: Colaba, Mumbadevi, Malabar Hill, Byculla, Sewri, Worli (MP: Milind Deora)
  2. Mumbai South Central: Anushakti Nagar, Chembur, Dharavi, Sion Koliwada (GTB Nagar), Wadala, Mahim (MP: Mohan Rawale)
  3. Mumbai North Central: Bandra, Vile Parle, Kalina, Chandivili, Kurla (MP: Eknath Gaikwad)
  4. Mumbai North East: Bhandup, Mulund, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Mankhurd and Shivaji Nagar (MP: Gurudas Kamat)
  5. Mumbai North West: Goregaon, Dindoshi, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Versova (MP: Priya Dutt)
  6. Mumbai North: Dahisar, Borivali, Kandivali, Magathane, Charkop, Malad (MP: Govinda Ahuja)

This time for my first elections, I will be casting my vote along with 43 million other voters electing a representative to the Lok Sabha in the Mumbai South Central constitutency.

Purpose of life

This blog post was originally posted on and was retrieved from the Wayback Machine here.

The purpose of my life is to harmonise Man and Nature.

Well, said like that it sounds pretty lame, eh? But, believe me or not, that statement took 5.5 years to put together. This is a pretty long post and if you want to miss it, feel free to. You would not be missing anything huge. Just some personal stuff.

I think writing this without a full fledged 5.5 year explanation would be leaving it in the air for the reader. So, here it is. Have a pitcher of water by all means. Settle down and start reading.

I was 18 when I started what can be called “The Pradx Project” with the aim of making me an athletic scholar. The name was inspired by the “Blair Witch Project”. The aim here was not to hunt down the Blair Witch, but to hunt down my inner most self and making it to do something – help me become an athletic scholar. 5.5 years down, I’m still fat and pretty a poor front benching student. 5.5 years down the line, one thing is pretty simple – The Pradx Project isn’t successful. There was one part of the project that worked pretty well – reading and writing. The writing section spewed many of the blog posts you read here (now you know why it’s pradx). The reading section was also a great trip starting out with Wodehouse and ending up with some pretty strong stuff.

Take a sip, relax.

Basically, Pradx Project was a self improvement project started by a simple half witted 18 year old. It did some cool things to me that I’m still committed to – reading, writing, SEDS, environment and education. But it ended up doing everything except improving me. The reason for this came to me like it always does during exams in December, 2008 – procrastination. In February 2009, I still have not gotten rid of that demon – procrastination. But, I’ve got lots of stuff in my brain (material) that I can now use in a variety of ways to help me and that way I think the 5.5 years is well spent.

I’m giving you some hope now. Relax. Want to take a sip?

Mom started me on this first. Push. Without starting there is nothing to work on. So, I started to get some very little work done from a sense of total procrastination. If you understand mechanical engineering, this was friction to the motion of the car of procrastination. The breaks have not been applied yet – the foot is going there towards the pedal. Reading and writing were the first agents that provided this friction from a sense of total procrastination. And perhaps, college. So, things look pretty gloomy right now, yeah? Well, its pretty hard to increase this friction without taking the foot and applying the brakes on procrastination and getting to work. This happened in a simple Tweet that Kirk sent me – (to paraphrase) no system would teach you discipline.

Now, drink a long gulp, the next paragraph is going to get long…

Discipline is a sore thumb for me. Krishnamurti and Osho got me worked up on how discipline was wreaking havoc on life. That thought process got on far enough to make me believe that discipline was a bad guy. But, then slowly I began to look at discipline that was being talked about in these lines and realised that they made more sense on external discipline – applied by some external agent (parents, peers, systems, God etc) and not a sense of internal discipline and planning that comes from within. Look at that internal discipline which gets automatically applied in any situation that helps you think it out, relax etc and you see that discipline was not such a bad nut you made him out to be after all. In fact, this ounce of discipline if applied at the beginning of the 5.5 years would have probably changed the 5.5 years entirely. Wow, cool discovery. Nudge it a little more and I found that this system (as spoken of in Zen etc) was already existent in me and I only had to be more aware of it and it automatically adjusted and worked for me. As Ray Bradbury puts it, you only have to get out of the way. Everyone was getting along really well until the I came in between.

Phew. Now, with all of that out of the way let’s get back to the Purpose of Life statement. Yeah, its only starting now.

This whole decade has been one of slowly rising environmental awareness. We’re looking at Nature and acknowledging that we’re not being fair on the Man-Nature relationships. We ought to give more to Nature than we’re taking from it. On the other hand, we’re also constantly improving Man to make him more biologically strong to work on the scarce environment. Hence, we’re working on both Man and Nature and the relationship is created by Engineering. If you have a trouble with that statement, sorry I’m not ready to debate it cause I already spent nearly five years on it and I’m moving on. Spend 5 years and think about it.

The harmonisation of Man-Nature relationship helps me to be fit, to be athletic, to be studious, to be funny, to be a good parent (I’m not yet married – darn I don’t even have a girlfriend yet – applications invitedfor the post of girlfriend), to be a scientist, to be a researcher or even to be a sportsperson. Again, think about it for 5 hours before commenting – I took 5.5 years. The idea is to optimise both Man and Nature as much as possible and when it reaches its optimum to jump to the next planet.

Outer Space provides this huge laboratory to check out Nature which you can look at through a microscope or through a telescope. Since, I really can’t stand up to long names, I prefer to look through telescopes than microscopes. Does that explain my interest in astronomy. A new love is radio astronomy where I hear the heartbeat of the Universe (a whole new world!). So, that’s how I’m checking out Nature.

Energy is a simple and temporary hack for minimising the use of resources created for us by Nature. Think about it.

Primary Education is a way to work on the Man. It’s the best place to work on the future batch of Man-Nature harmonisers, isn’t it?

What’s the program, 2009

2008 has been overall not been too good. I’ve become lazy, stupid, careless, angry, unhealthy, addicted to GPRS and more committed to getting a job in ISRO! But, its helped in meeting more wonderful people, providing great insights into myself (during the lazy bouts), better awareness, a maturity and possibly a philosophy that I can call my own. It’s been wonderful to see all of these things melting together to package my life. But, I guess we always strive for better things in life and I think I could do with a little discipline.

On the agenda for 2009 are a slight weight loss and health gain, less lazy life, addition of interesting information, recapturing old interests and living life to the fullest again. Before today, I’ve never demanded but have always got my things through manipulation and creating under currents. I’ve been a bore because there was nothing working except my brain and you’ve gotta excuse the old bean for not coming up with things that I was doing when I was lazy. :)

So, let’s get to work on 2009, which is coming up in 4 days (assuming today is over and it’s 27th).

Let’s begin from health gain. I’ve never exercised in my life and therefore I’ve managed to grow in several directions and have had a great time being lazy. But, I guess from 2009 for about 30 more years, I’ll be working my ass off to satisfy myself and enjoy life to fullest before retiring and going lazy again! On the works are a spiritual and physical self-training program like no other. The program could have the side benefit of teaching me how to fix my own cycle, which is good in case I go out of a job with the continuing recession and all! It could also make me a master Yoga expert teaching 40 kids how to do Yoga to relieve stress from the work they do. Although, I don’t want to do either, but it’s cool no? This also involves an extension on the ban on fast food to everything. Personally, fast food aids me to lose all my pains. I almost use it like drugs. There’s nothing 2 samosas and a bottle of Coke won’t do for me. But, I’ll try and be off them even if it pains me.

Academics are a painful reality and I’m more than happy to be out of college in 2009. If there’s anything trying to stop me, I’m pretty sure it will not succeed. There’s nothing that will stop me from not graduating this year unless of course I die or if I battle deadly diseases never seen before by mankind or if a beautiful girl elopes with me (hopefully, that girl has enough money for both of us to survive cause I don’t) or perhaps all those other little things which rarely happen.

I almost hate everything that I have to study, so I’ll be taking up some notes that my friend Kirk has uploaded online along with a few books on mathematics, radio astronomy and computers. These will be a self-learning program along with learning many points in law. I think my friend, Raghunandan can help me with some law points. And last but not the least, I plan to do multiplication tables again!

From all the drab world we go to the world of the Internet. 2009 will see more of my life streams going online. My new cell phone enables me to upload videos and photos. If I can I also plan to participate in the 365 Days of Astronomy Programme. Let’s see how that goes. Keep watching this space here. Talking about this space, I have gone back to my old domain – Don’t have to move there now, I’ll only be moving in September 2009 when the furniture there will be ready for all of you and you’ll can come visit.

I plan to work in 3 projects overall. 1 is my final year undergrad project at Air India. The second is the Telescopes of India tour project. The last one is a bit of a secret for now, but I will reveal it at the appropriate time.