On Litter

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"A thorough analysis of the problem will help in better, long-lasting solutions"

Bangalore is a city of contrasts. On the one hand, we have multi-billion dollar MNCs and have common litter problems on the other. Primarily, there are two sorts of waste issues in Bangalore. The first is the garbage problem and the second is litter.

I find the litter issue to be easier to manage. I was travelling by bus the other day when I happened to look at the ground at a bus stop. I noticed quite a bit of litter. On looking at the individual pieces of litter, I saw a pattern emerge. The bus began to move, and I started observing litter along the way in all subsequent bus stops. It was interesting to note that most of the litter belong to the following categories:

Gutka and Pan Masala (Pan Parag) wrappersCigarette boxes and match boxesPaper cupsPlastic water bottles
From this, we can conclude a few things. Customers can procure most of these items from the same sho…

Perception Management

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"It is not always about what you are. It is also about what others think you are..."

I was introduced to the term Perception Management when I read David Baldacci's novel, The Whole Truth. Wikipedia defines Perception Management (PM) as:

Actions to convey and/or deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning as well as to intelligence systems and leaders at all levels to influence official estimates, ultimately resulting in foreign behaviours and official actions favourable to the originator's objectives. In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover and deception, and psychological operations.
[Full Article:]

I started paying closer attention to the dynamics on social media to understand what Perception Management is after the recent Indian strike on the terror camps…

On Peaceniks and War Mongers - The Pulwama Aftermath

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Strong leadership is the key differentiator between success and failure"

On February 14, 2019, a terrorist attack on a CRPF convoy resulted in the martyrdom of over 40 CRPF soldiers. Citizens of India felt a familiar punch in the gut. It is not the first time that India has experienced terror attacks on our forces, and we know the bitter truth that this will not be the last.

The terrorist group, JeM, claimed responsibility for the attack. The entire nation mourned the loss of our brave-hearts. It was depressing to read about the kith and kin who were left behind - newly married and now widowed, just-born infants without a father. The stories are gut-wrenching and tear-jerking for anyone with empathy.

The nation wanted payback. And, in my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting revenge for the deaths of these soldiers.

Pakistan has historically been the petri-dish where it grows and nurtures all strains of terrorists. Many people pr…

On Feedback and Perception

Swami Gulagulaananda quoted:
"Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it"

I have been a huge hater of auto-rickshaws for a while - Not because they are noisy and unstable, which they are (like their drivers), but because of the irritating quality of the auto-drivers - Price haggling. The drivers often refuse to go where you want, act like they are doing you a favour and continue riding along. And in the rare chance that they agree, they demand a fare over and above the meter charge - Sometimes spouting random numbers which is more than twice the actual fare.

I have captured my frustration in several cartoons, two of which are added here. Here's a comical account for your reading pleasure.

Clearly, citizens who are irritated by this incessant torture of the auto-drivers are going to look at ways to avoid them. Many choose to use their own vehicles while others travel by buses. I had taken an oath of sorts to never board an auto (Unless I was with someo…

Hierarchy of Needs

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"I thought. I shouldn't have..."

I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and looking at pictures posted by friends. Happy photographs of couples driving down to view sunsets, posing in front of lovely beaches, new homes that they had bought, fancy cars - You get the picture.

As I looked at these, I had a strange thought. A philosophical thought. A thought that I should not have had, now that I look back.

Most of us are working in some company - an MNC, a start-up or something that we are running ourselves. We work with the intent of earning money. We earn money so that we are able to lead a good life. But how do we define a good life? A life where we live in a comfortable house with amenities like a TV, refrigerator, air conditioning, washing machine and other gadgets like a home theatre system, computers, tablets among others. A good life also means that we own a car, travel to various places, eat out...

But we aspire for more. With a d…

Wealth of Nation

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"The herd is powerful when they are together. They can be an army or a mob..."

I am reminded of an old story where a king decided to run a charity drive where all citizens were requested to donate some milk. A giant vat was placed in the centre of the capital and citizens were requested to pour a glass of milk into it. A miser decided to pour a glass of water, for who would notice a glass of water in a vat of milk? The citizens arrived one by one with their vessels and emptied the contents into the vat. The miser was jubilant that he had gotten away with it.  The king checked the vat in the evening and was baffled when he saw that it was full of water...!

I had an interesting conversation with a cab driver recently. The driver was explaining that he only runs airport routes and prefers it to rides within the city. He told that it was economically preferable and was less of a headache. During his elaboration on his expenses, he revealed that the sig…

The age of data

Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"If you like this post, perhaps you will like this post"

We live in an era of data. We use technology every day - To make phone calls, to navigate, to check our email, spend time on social media, read the news or get that weird query answered. The interesting aspect though is that almost all of these services are free. And we know that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

How do these companies make money? We know that companies such as Google and Facebook are primarily ad-driven. I wonder how many people would use Facebook if it was a paid platform. Ads have been driving these businesses for a very long time. But ever since machine learning has taken the world by storm, companies have been steadily working towards the collection of data. If you want to know someone's likes or dislikes, you need to know more about them. A person who likes Harry Potter is likely to enjoy Lord of the Rings.

But just knowing what someone likes isn't adequat…