Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Mysterious Chill

On one winter night of 2010, I was driving from Jalahalli (my in-laws place) to Jayanagar (my place) at about 9 pm in my two wheeler. It was still early for the night and hence I did not expect it to be chilly. Therefore I refused to wear jacket when offered by my wife who was then staying at her mother’s place.

Imagine my surprise when – after about 10 minutes drive - I suddenly felt real chilly. I started regretting having refused the jacket. I was astonished about the ferocity of the winter even at 9 pm and I reflected that I had underestimated the wind factor combined with the wintry cold. However, there was nothing much that I could do and hence I drove on.

Ten minutes later, the chill was gone and it remained so for the rest of the journey. The temperature was normal, average and bearable – something that Bangalore is so famous for. This too surprised me. How can the winter night increase and decrease its temperature in a matter of minutes? Common sense tells that the temperature drops as dusk turns to night and increases as dawn turns to day.

So, while I was still driving, I started thinking that perhaps it was the environment that was causing the temperature fluctuations. The road where I felt most chill was BEL road, the stretch between M S Ramaiah Hospital and C V Raman Road. This particular stretch is one of the best roads in Bangalore. It still has the old Bangalore charm with its arching canopy of massive trees covering the complete road for over a mile. Its like being in the middle of a forest!

Once I passed this stretch, it was pretty much a tree-free zone (thanks to road widening projects which have axed so many trees in Bangalore) and I was amidst the traffic for miles together. So, the chilly effect in BEL Road was accentuated by the trees and the chill in the tree-free zone was offset by the traffic pollution.

Once more, like so many times in the past, I rued trees getting axed in Bangalore due to its burgeoning population. The above episode is a classic example of global warming. More people means more vehicles which mean less space on road which leads to trees getting axed which leads to an overall increase in temperature which melts the ice in Arctic and Antarctic Poles which increases the overall sea water which will then start swallowing coastal cities and the population therein which spells disaster. Sigh. The vicious circle. Hopefully the Metro will stop the tree felling.

I reached Jayanagar and my musings stopped. Well, something to occupy the mind for the hour long drive…

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Which is Better?

To drink:

Use a re-usable paper cup (that would mean loss of bamboo trees)?
Use a steel tumbler but wash it with water that will be recycled (that would still reduce the already depleted fresh water) ?

To save electricity:

Remind people to switch off lights by pasting print outs on backs of doors (that would mean loss of bamboo trees)?
Allow the light to be wasted and save trees (that would mean loss of electricity)?

Friday, March 11, 2011


Due to expensive cost of living, many urban families now opt for ‘We Two, Ours One’ policy of having a single kid. Some countries are also popularizing having one child in a family to reduce population explosion by way of giving tax exemptions. If the trend continues, the terms ‘sibling’,‘brother’ and ‘sister’ are in danger of becoming extinct.

To understand how the ‘Single-child’ policy assists in controlling the population explosion, let us take an example:

Say, in 1975, two couples got married. Lets call them Family A and Family B. So we have 4 people in 1975.
Say, in 1980, these two couples bore one child each. Family A bore a boy and Family B bore a girl. So, we have 6 people in 1980.
Say, in 2005, the boy and girl met and married one another. So, Families A and B now got combined and now consist of 6 people.
Say, in 2008, the boy and girl bore a child. Hence, in 2008, Families A and B now are 7 people in total.
Say, in 2010, the boy and the girl’s parents died. So, Families A and B now are 3 people in total.

So, what do we get? In 1975, the total strength of Families A and B combined was 4 and 25 years later, the total strength of Families A and B combined is 3. That’s a reduction of 1 in the population in a span of 25 years from 2 families.

Lets extrapolate this to actual figures. Population of the world in 1960 was 3031720298 and 3071626008 in 1961. So 39905710 took birth between 1960 and 1961.

The male-female ratio tips in favour of both parties across decades. Also, one man does not bear children with only woman and one woman does not bear children with only one man. So, for the sake of a simple argument, lets ignore all that and consider that out of 39905710, half were men and half were women and the former half married the latter half in 1975 and they all lost their parents due to some natural calamity and hence, the total population of the world then would have been 39905710.

Now lets suppose each couple bore one child in the year 1980. So we have 39905710 + 19952855 = 59858565 as the total population off the world in 1980 and 19952855 (which is 39905710/2) new people added in 1980 alone. To continue the argument in the same vein, we need the number to be even, so lets suppose one child died immediately after birth. Hence, the new population added in 1980 now is 19952854 and half of them are boys and half of them are girls who get married to one another in 2005 and bear one child each in 2008. So, the new population added in 2008 is (19952854/2) = 9976427 and the total population in 2008 is 59858565 + 9976427 = 69834992.

In 2010, the folks who were present in 1975 all died and hence the world’s population in 2010 would now be = 69834992 – 39905710 = 29929282. This is a reduction of (39905710 – 29929282) = 9976428 people in the world in a span of 25 years. That’s almost a 10 million people less!

In reality, between 1975 and 2010, the population grew by over 2.5 Billion people!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

The 3 Hs

I visit Sri Raghavendra Swamy Mutt (a place of worship) on Thursdays. I have a habit to thank Him for mainly 3 Hs: House, Health and Harmony.

1. House is for providing shelter and for enabling me to own property of my own.
2. Health is for keeping away the illness and keeping the physical body fit.
3. Harmony is for mental peace and a tensionless “I have all I want” life.

I also have a habit of assessing my current state of affairs in a binary manner:

a. Either I am like an infant comfortably sleeping on Swamy’s lap without a care in the world
b. Or I am falling down a bottomless well and waiting for the inevitable end to hit me.

Most Thursdays, all of the above are satisfied and I thank Him for all the Hs.
-So the position of affairs is that of an infant.

Some Thursdays, one of the above is not satisfied and the grouse against it will be occupying my mind and I thank for the remaining 2 Hs.
-So the position of affairs is that of a bottomless well.

Few Thursdays, two of the above are not satisfied and the grouse against it will be occupying my mind and I thank for the remaining 1 H.
-So the position of affairs is that of a bottomless well.

Last Thursday, for the first time, all of the above were not satisfied…

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Good and Bad

Sometimes if something happens that we think is for good, it might well turn out that it is for bad.
Sometimes if something happens that we think is for bad, it might well turn out that it is for good.

Nature's way of playing a joke.