Monday, August 15, 2022

India at 75 and looking ahead

Today is the 75th anniversary of India's independence. 

As part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, the celebration of freedom, the government announced the Har Khar Tiranga campaign, an exhortation to all Indians to fly the Tricolour at their homes from August 13 to 15.

It generated a lot of enthusiasm and I could see a number of houses, besides government and private buildings flying the Tricolour. Like countless others, we too joined in, got a flag, and put it up on our balcony.


At 75, we can always look at the pitfalls, the cracks, and various other downsides. They journey hasn't been easy; it wouldn't be either.

However, I would look at it from the other side - the achievements we have made in spite of the enormous challenges during this journey of 75 years. 

I really doubt if there is any other nation in this world that is as diverse as India is -- from climate and languages to dress and food; from seemingly infinite local customs based on religion, caste or sub-caste, to a multitude of regional historical legacies. It's just too mindboggling.

This will be evident to anyone who travels the length and breadth of India -- from south to central to west to north to east of the nation. It's a maze of not just complexities but sometimes even contradictions. 

In this context, look at human endeavour in any segment of life -- be it science and technology, sociology, economics, politics, civil services, armed forces, sports or games -- there are countless stories of triumph over adversities.

There are hundreds of thousands of people in every strata -- be they of any state, gender, religion, caste, creed -- making use of the opportunities that our nation provides them. These opportunities have been stepping stones to better livelihood and lifestyle.

It's this progress that gives me the hope that we will continue to do well; the journey will only get better and better in the years to come.


As we look ahead, in this land of extreme diversity, there are a few features that stand out, and bind us together as one nation: democracy, freedom, unity, constitution, legislature, executive, judiciary, and media.

We have them all in robust health. We need to cherish them, nurture them, because they are the assets on which a nation is built.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Avinash Sable: the star of Birmingham Commonwealth Games

Thoroughly enjoyed five hours of sports -- from around 1 pm to 6 pm -- today. 

Indians figured in six events, on the last day of the 22nd Commonwealth Games at Birmingham. We picked up 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze today.

The final tally -- 22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze; ranked fourth among 72 participating nations, behind Australia, England and Canada.

Not the best show by any means. We had done a lot better during the 2010 Games which was held in New Delhi, coming 2nd with a total medals tally of 101.

This time, out of India's 61 medals, 12 were in wrestling, 10 in weightlifting, 8 in athletics, 7 in boxing and table tennis, 6 in badminton, 3 in judo, 2 in lawn bowls, hockey and squash, 1 in para powerlifting and hockey.

There were plenty stellar performances during the 11-day games. 

From the India point of view, my choice of the best performance was the silver medal won by Avinash Sable in the 3,000 metre steeplechase event. 

Kenyans had always dominated this. And they were hoping to get gold, silver and bronze medals this time too. 

Sable's win was the first time since 1994 when someone outside Kenya won a medal in this event.

27-year-old Sable was born into a poor farmer's family in Mandwa village of Maharashtra's Beed district. 

After competing the 12th grade, he joined the Indian Army. Today, he is a Junior Commissioned Officer with the Mahar Regiment of the Indian Army.

This 10-minute clip is worth watching:

If the above video is not available, here's a shorter, 2-minute, version of it:
Wating for the closing ceremony of the Games to start.

Monday, August 1, 2022

When I forgot my phone in the cab

Once upon a time, mobile phone numbers could be saved only either on the phone or on the SIM. 

If the phone was lost or damaged all the numbers would be lost. Then, there would be frantic attempts to contact everyone who matters to us, in order to get their numbers.

If we were just replacing an existing phone, then the entire lot of numbers had to be transferred on to the new phone.

Then came the new feature of saving these numbers in the cloud -- either on iCloud/iTunes or on Google.

This was a huge relief. No phone number is ever lost, unless one lost access to the cloud account.

I always had an Android phone. So, I am not familiar with how easy or efficient it's to have the contact details backed up on iCloud / iTunes.

In Android it's pretty simple. Whenever a new contact has to be added, the default option is to save it to the Google account. If other accounts have been added, they too show up, besides an option to save it to the phone in the good old way.

The big advantage is that when I get a new phone, I just don't have to worry about the contacts. They are all there when I log into my Google account.

But recently it helped me on another occasion. 

I left my phone in the office cab that dropped me home after work.

I realised it when I entered home. 

There was a colleague of mine in the cab. I could call him or even the driver or the cab manager from my wife's phone. But I didn't know any of their numbers.

Google came to my rescue. 

All that I had to do was open my laptop, and go to my Gmail contacts. I took my colleague's number from there, and called him from my wife's phone.

After dropping my colleague home (luckily not too far from where I stay), the driver took the trouble to come back to my place, and handed over my phone.

(Image by Firmbee from Pixabay)