July 2006


Medical Mafia

It was a horrifying investigation that was presented in CNN IBN yesterday. There is a proverb in Tamil that we should never lie to doctors and advocates and they are treated so noble for the simple reason, the former saves our lives and the latter acts as agents of national security and integrity.

But the presentation in CNN IBN, entitled Beggar Mafia,really shook up the entire nation with the horrifying scam conducted by alleged medicos going hand-in-hand with the underworld dons in making healthy persons kidnapped and thier limbs amputated and deployed into public places for begging.  We should really appreciate CNN IBN and DIG Team for thier brave efforts in bringing this horrendous crime to limelight and now it is upto the Government and the law-enforcing authorities to wake up from their slumber to see that these accused are punished to the maximum extent possible under the law, instead of they trying to escape because of sluggishness of the administration in India.

This is not the first time that medicos are erring in India. Sometime in 2001, Bangalore was staging a huge kidney transplanation racket when people were lured by doctors for some healthcheckups and thier kidneys were stolen. Sometime in 2002, it was Dr. Prakash from Anna Nagar, who was an ortho by profession, involved in a deadly sex racket, to the extent of even publicizing all the victims photographs in many websites.

Do you know an erring doctor in your region? Let Indian Medical Association know about it.

****UPDATE ON NOVEMBER 26, 2006–FROM AN EMAIL OF ELANGO34@HOTMAIL.COM**********

[Apollo Scam]

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High Profile Comedy in New Delhi (7 Race Course Road)

It has been never uncommon for any of us for having escaped through the clutches of the various security measures and checks being subjected to us by national administration authorities, in the various cities of India, at least. Yesterday night, when I was flipping through the channels of Aaj Tak, there has been an interesting news of two young girls and a guy, gatecrashing into the high security zone of 7,Race Course Road, New Delhi, hosting the Prime Minister’s office-cum-residence.

Interestingly, the PMO office had about seven tiers of gate, it seems and these gatecrashers have almost passed through all the gates with almost negligible stoppages by the Special Protection Group (SPG) Force. Just before the entry to the PMO office, one of the security guy, asked them whether they had appointment. They have replied that they were commoners and would like to meet the Prime Minister and were turned back.

The trio were supposedly in an inebriated state. But a group of journalists who were waiting for a briefing on the Union Cabinet meeting  were surprised by flying kisses given by the journalists and went the car crossed them intercepted it and demanded a reason for thier mission of entry.  The trio had replied that it was for a casual meet and drove way, creating a flutter.

It was only when journalists, who are routinely subjected to tough security checks at the PM’s residence, raised the issue with the Special Protection Group personnel that the security men realise the seriousness of the situation and alerted the Delhi Police. The cops then flashed a message across the city to trace the car, following which the three youngsters were detained.

It is a real shame for the cops to subject poor common man for so many security checks when modern persons just play pranks on them and escape majestically. Time alone can heal this situation.

Safety and Security of School Children

It is almost July and almost all schools would have been opened for the academic year 2006-07. While commuting from Tambaram to Guindy, I witness the phenomenally heavy school bags that these students carry along with them.  At least with respect to Chennai, the bus services are acutely in shortage and hence the buses overcrowd. With these, are we training the kids for porter services or professional careers. It is just six hours of schooling with a period ranging about 40 minutes and 20 minutes break in between.

Does the schools really need to have the students carry back and forth a minimum of 15 per cent more heavy bags than thier body weight. This brings in a lot of health hazards, which is as described in the Indiatimes Health article here. I think, schools can really make plans to lighten thier bag loads.

Also, the traffic police has to be vigilant near the school areas as also the bus operators. Darting across the roads by kids should be strictly prohibited. Such actions are very much discouraging and dangerous for the following reasons:

  1. Should they encounter vehicles at the vicinity while crossing the roads, the kids might not have enough of presence of mind to manage through the mess.
  2. In the most unfortunate case of encountering an accident resulting in loss of life or limb, it is great loss for the parent and the nation. Damages to limb of young people may render them incapacited for all life along. Should we not take enough care to safeguard our tiny tots?
  3. The young minds should be taught and moulded to obey traffic rules and disciplines. If they start learning that darting across roads throwing the rules to air is no problem, then they would start getting used to it as they grow old too.

Parents should be careful with the money or valuables that these students carry with them. Why should a student have more than five hundred rupees per month in hand even if he is staying in a hostel? Excess Pocket Money would make them go for watching unsolicited movies and spending in hotels and inviting much of health hazards and security hazards as well. Thieves and robbers might fleece them by extortion etc. There might be instances of drug addictions too. Should we leave our tiny tots to succumb to such perils? And mobile phones are strictly no-no. Thanks to Anna University Vice Chancellor that he brought a restriction for dress code and mobile phone use in colleges. All schools should also take the initiative in implementing them for the benefit of thier students and future prospective national citizens.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Schools and parents see thier kids as mark-minting machines and only target them to get more marks in the examinations. As a result, parents deny permission for even a half an hour play after the schools. In schools, even the regular PT (Physical Training) classes are borrowed by other subject teachers particularly in tenth and twelfth standard. This should be strongly discouraged. There is a famous poem by Bharathiyar which tells an advise to the kids:

Odi Vilayadu Pappa Nee Oeyndirukkal lagathu Pappa.
Koodi vilayadu Pappa Oru Kuzhandhaiya Vayyathae Pappa.

The meaning of these lyrics are:

“Dear. Run and Play. Good play is good for physique and mental growth too. Play and interact with others and do not cultivate habit of fighting with anybody and avoid developing enmity with anyone”

The next important thing that must be concenterated in the infrastructure of the school. To develop a potential student, careful infrastructure has to be planned. A school must at least focus on the following infrastructure:

  • Well-Stocked Laboratories and Computer Lab (preferably)
  • Moderately Tariffed (without burdening the parents’ wallets)
  • Well-Stocked Sports stuff.
  • Protected Environment against rain and shine besides emergencies like Fire and Floods. We all remember that missing emergency evacuation procedures in a nursery school in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu resulted in death of more than 83 kids. Check out the news here.

At the start of academic year, let us try and spread the message to various schools and educationists in helping them build strong pillars of the nations.

Fate of Freshers

Before we go ahead with the post, I would like to disclaim that this post would majorly epicenter around the academic and career environment in India.

Ten plus two and a four year degree programme. This confers you a professional degree from the university. With that, the next stage in your life starts. If your budget affords, you can go for a future higher education abroad. But for most of us, the target that would be greeting next is looking out for some work to support the family. At least with respect to India, this is what is the most commonly observed trend. Academic institutes also, nowadays heavily support in getting thier students placed in good organizations via what they call as Placement and Training (PAT) centers. However, a good and significant number of students are still left on thier own to venture and find thier opportunities on thier own.  The just passouts use a diversified strategies to catch opportunities and with the smile of Lady Luck at the right time and the right moment, they nab the opportunity. Some of the most common ways a fresher out of college uses to find opportunities are:

  1. Classifieds columns of Newspapers.
  2. Friends working in organizations helping them with referrals.
  3. Walkins
  4. Career Websites
  5. Employment Exchanges either run by private operators or by the government.

But does it all go through perfectly. After observing the amount of turmoil one of my friend is undergoing and fondly recalling my own mental agony, just thought I would jot down as a post which would be helpful for any other HR personnel and for others to help out future freshers.

Thanks to the various big organizations in Chennai and reputed job sites like TimesJob that the problems to freshers are slowly dwindling down since the screening and scrutiny of the resumes are now in multiple hands and one person rejecting his because of his mental attitude is now a very isolated task.

First and foremost thing a fresher is very much afraid of when seeking out opportunities is that they are confronted with the Required Experience and I have observed a plethora of HR consultants employ this as a illicit weapon to deter the freshers, even though he might be having an academically excellent track record and high calibre professional with highest amount of aptitude and a very positive outlook and attitude towards work.

The small companies in Chennai adopt a very disgusting trick towards freshers. Just because they are freshers, they exhibit a lot of pressures on them. The phrase lot of freshers might not be enough to describe it. I would rather put it as kotthadimai (in Tamil) or bonded labors. One of my friend went for an interview after seeing classifieds in Mylapore. He is put up at Tambaram. I really don’t know how much God is going to punish that HR personnel for his sadistic attitude shown towards him. He was literally shunted back and forth for three rounds of discussions and then he was said that they are looking for ‘some experience’. Quite interestingly another girl was taken in without much of interview since she carried a recommendation letter from the chief’s friend. This was in 2006 for my friend.

I had a different experience in 1999. It was so disgusting at the end of each day to find out how efforts turn futile to find an opportunity. One company, Vectra Systems again based in Mylapore (behind Rangachary Stores) and thier training institute is running in Javer Plaza, Nungambakkam High Road, by name Advantage Pro.  For the post of programmer trainee, the freshers were expected to join a hardware course in the training institute, complete a MCSE certification and then join thier organization. There would’nt be any pay for the period of six months and then based on performance you might be eligible to continue or quit. In the middle, if you want to quit, you are expected to pay an amount of one lakh to them. Here are my questions to the world –>

  1. Do these shacks intend raising capital by recruiting such trainees?
  2. Instead of further torturing the students by Reservations etc, why can not Human Resources Minister concenterate on such shady organizations and bring them to limelight?
  3. Is the ministry waiting for another round of scam like benefit fund and mutual fund scam or something like fake passport or visa rackets? Why can not the national administration be more proactive instead of always being reactive?

That is one part of the story. The next part of the story is after somehow getting on board a good organization, what would be the life of a fresher. If by luck, the fresher joins a reputed and a big organization in the country, he is in safe hands. If they join a smaller organization, all types of problems, hazards and hassles start there.

Since it would be a smaller organization, mostly the senior employees would also be ‘trying out’ frequently now and then. When a fresher lands up, the following are the perils that are waiting to prey upon him.

  • There is a very high possibility that he would be swamped with too much of work — work that is out of his scope also. For this reason, most of the small organizations in Chennai do not mention the full scope of job descriptions in detail in the offer letters. Most of them would be like Citibank India Credit Cards fine prints.
  • Though the fresher does most of the work giving his blood as sweat, the credits might be thieved by the seniors there surreptitiously, so that the senior tries to get the credit instead of this poor chap. Things improve or get saved rarely, if the management is prudent and/or know each and every movement in the organization and when they are able to place ‘checks’ appropriately and at the right moment.
  • If the fresher is a female, at least in Chennai, there are handful of organizations that look her as a rich flesher too and solicit her into all sorts of similar activities, which my Views and Reviews policy does not allow me to describe here.I am leaving those things to the widest of the wild speculation of the readers. At least with respect to the educational institutions and workplaces in Chennai, this is not uncommon. You can see one example where Superstar Rajinikanth brings out this sad plight of our society to limelight in his award-winning film Baasha. Check out the YouTube trailer here:

I hence thought of having a post on this topic at least to set the ball in motion and set the thought process on, which would make the consultants and organizations think about the aspirations of the budding freshers. Everyone is a fresher and then they mould into experienced professionals. Just because at that point of time, they do not possess required experience, they should not be washed away.

Here are a little FAQ about the apprehensions and some information I researched in various HR websites.

  1. Training cost of freshers is exorbitant.Albeit the training cost of freshers may look exorbitant in the start, I would put it as a healthy investment since the organization  might be in the path of setting up an excellency center in the particular domain or specialization.
  2. Delivery Deadlines are short.This is almost the problem of project managers too. Somehow to ‘catch’ a project, program managers would be promising to complete even a ‘Sethu Samudram project in a week’. It is the problem of planning and estimation.A careful planning and meticulous execution and along with appropriate risk mitigation strategies might give better results with freshers than with experienced professionals. Remember the attrition rate for an experienced professional is high unless he or she has a higher degree of loyalty and affinity.
  3. Project ExcellencyBeing a fresh graduate, with careful planning and schedules, the work of freshers would be more excellent and closer to ideal standards than the ones of experienced professionals who would got accustomed to realtime adjustments. Hence a careful balance of freshers and experienced professionals to guide would greatly enhance the project or product quality.
  4. Pressures of ManagementAgain this is the test for the project manager and the way he could substantiate the setup to the top management and also guide the organization in the proper way. With a careful guide like a light house, the ship would reach the desired shores safely.

Note: At least in India, if you find a people behind harassed, here is the website of National Human Rights.

The above post applies to any industry. If you were reading this specifically for software, then you may also consider taking the assistance of NASSCOM.

Let us make our nation powerful in any industry that we venture. It depends on solidarity and peer to peer respect that we give.

A Good Magazinal Advertisement — Thanks to Tamizh Osai

Whenever you travel down the road from Chennai Airport towards entering Greater Chennai at Kathipara Junction, it is greatly advised to stay focused only on the roads without looking at the sides and particularly the hoardings and posters. The salient reasons are the following:

  1.  The traffic is very heavy in the GST (Grand Southern Trunk) Road and every fraction of the second needs to your greatest attention for the most safest and comfortable journey.
  2. About seventy-five percent of the posters have about vulgar and obscene films being advertised.

There are known theaters near St. Thomas Mount, which only screen adults-restricted movies and for this reason, the area is filled with posters of diversified nature literally seducing the curious onlooker to watch over it and attract them. I would put it as a greatest tapas to escape from these distractions, which are the most choicest of the dragnets to derail one from ethical life.

On Tuesday, I observed some guys were posting some advertisements for a new Tamil Magazine caled Tamizh Osai, which is being released shortly by a publisher in Chennai. Since they could’nt find space, they had to stick the bills over the obscene posters itself. This had one latent benefit which I could comprehend. The obscene posters were hidden off from public view.

While a section of the people could object supporting the action of sticking of bills claiming that it defaces the public view, I would put the defense as if obscene pictures could claim a reign of supremacy all along attributing a more acute degree of defacement to Greater Chennai views, I think, a good public renaissance Tamil Magazine advertisement, I humbly feel, is a good antidote to the abovesaid poison. What do you feel?

There is one more good coincidence to the above. The word Tamil Osai has a poem associated with it. A poet had sung his aspiration

“They Madhurath Tamizh Osai Ulagamellam Paravach Cheithal Vendum

(The meaning of this line in Tamil is: “We should strive the spread the glory of Tamil and Her sweet literature and greatness through out the world. That is the most noble service that we render to our mother tongue.”)

I feel by sharing this thought, let us take a small step of abstaining from the like distractions enlisted and focus on the noble service to our motherland.

Cops or Con Man

Sometime last week, I was bit late to my workplace and hence alighted at Meenambakkam Railway station and decided to take a quick auto to Kathipara Junction. While attempting to cross the road at the GST road junction, I noticed a traffic cop harshly negotiating with the tender cocunut seller for free tender cocunut. This is quite common. Sometime about three months back, I have described a similar incident in T. Nagar. Check it out here.

Well! I could’nt just but control the laughter and crossed the road. No later than I crossed the road, I could see a big thud of sound and the traffic on the arterial road came to a screeching halt. A speeding autorickshaw hit a middle-aged woman. She resembled to be a construction worker and she was hit badly and almost fell unconscious in the middle of the road. The wind shield of the auto had literally flew off in the air, littering the area with glass pieces strewn all around the road. And, as typical to the Chennai agencies, the road had been cut short thanks to rampant digging up by agencies. The speeding auto had landed almost topsy turvy on the piles of rubbish that these agencies have dug on the side of the road.

One more cop (the colleague of the person who was fighting with the tender cocunut wala) was standing near a tea shop. He came rushing. In the melee, the public gathered. The woman was taken to the side of the road and somebody had hired an auto to have her taken up for some medical assistance. The traffic cop was again found haggling around with some dumb questions to the auto driver. His expected behavior was to take the auto to the nearest police station and issue a notice to the driver. The public were discussing that he would take about some hundred rupees and in less than an hour, the driver would walk out majestically and literally scot free.

This is one such incident. The actual thought of writing this post carries another interesting behavior of cops in Chennai. It is said in any place that to travel to lonely places in untime is not secure since there would be waylay robberies. If you travel through places like Vijaya Nagar Taramani Link Road, Tambaram MCC Railway Gate (opposite Hindu Mission Hospital), Tambaram (New) Railway Subway, you can find these as a salient proof. Besides these, the trucks and the vans that help passengers in commuting to main areas by complimenting the bus services are awfully fleeced by the cops too.

I have personally witnessed the cops putting thier hands for mamool and in one instance, I have found my van driver say to the cop “Tambarathilu Koduthen pa”. And after the van travelled a little while, he told to us “How many times can we give these fellows mamool. They stand for every one kilometer. We have to only say something like that and escape. This is worst than the way lay robberies”.

While this is one side of the story, when we brought about incidents about strange people roaming around in our area (Rajakilpakkam) to Selaiyur Police Station, the cops have not taken any measures to beef up security in this area or to redress the resident’s grievances. I think, the Chennai Commissioner who proudly talks and has tall claims about expaning Chennai Police district upto Tambaram and have changed the police station boards to reflect “Greater Chennai” should also focus on the ethics of thier cops.

If they fail to do it, the line of demarcation between cops and con man would eventually disappear. Public would be confused on who is cop and who is thief? Kids play a came called “Police and Thief” (Thirudan Police Vilayattu) where one kid would act like a thief and other as a police. The latter would chase the former and if we catches, he would get one point. The game would repeat by exchanging thier roles between the kids. We are really afraid whether this game is getting into reality. If it happens then I think the greatest efforts the previous government took in abolishing the Kanthu Vatti, Meter Vatti, Katta Panchayathu would go to drain and con man would again reign supreme.

I think it is high time that the Police High command and State Administration cum security infrastructure of the country concenterate on the parasitic stuff that is prevailing in the country and enforce proper law and order for the welfare of the public.

Routing blogspot through PkBlogs and Inblogs

It is a pity that Indian bloggers can not see thier direct blog posts. The Government is in a state of hapless helplessness to demonstrate that it is doing ‘something’ to show they are doing some corrective actions against the terrorist activities. And ISPs are in a next level hurry accompanied by technological ignorance on not knowing how to block URLs and to blacklist the entire domains. They just wanted to cut into the race of satisfying the government in showing that how fast they can showcase thier ‘loyalty’.

The net result is that bona fide bloggers from India are are at dark as thier blogs are rendered blank. All bloggers are very much indebted to PkBlogs and Inblogs, as they really render an invaluable service to Indian Bloggers in allowing them to see thier blogs.

It is painful and we humbly hope that these clowns sitting at CERT-IN and DoT soon realise thier folly and lift their bans or at least instruct their ISPs to narrow down on the particular offending URLs instead of blacking out the entire blogosphere in India.

This, as far as I could recall, is the second major IT folly that Government of India is doing. Sometime back, they blacklisted YahooGroups for anti-national stuff and the ISPs cited the same reason. They don’t have the knowledge to block access to particular URLs and hence they are forced to block the entire domains.

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