Sunday, June 25, 2006


In 2 months time I need to finish off my PhD. Time is running out soo fast and I am no where near completion (Thanks to my nature of keeping things to the last second). So decided to take a forced BREAK from everything including blogging for another 60 to 75 days.

Will be back with a BANG on the day I defend my PhD dissertation.
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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Want to become an Engineer? Write Kerala Entrance Exam

Just glance through these facts:
  • Every student who gets 10 or more marks out of possible 960 marks gets to the engineering entrance rank list.
  • During last year the last rank that was published by the engineering entrance commission was 36,940. The guy who secured 36,932 rank got admission for applied electronics (15 years back you need a rank of less than 100 to get into applied electronics in Kerala).
  • About 2500 seats in private engineering colleges remained vacant last year since the supply (seats) was more than demand (eligible students).
  • Earlier you needed 50% marks for Maths and 50% marks for Physics and Chemistry combined together to be eligible for writing entrance. From this year that rule has be taken off so that more students can write entrance and less seats remain empty.

Private engineering college management wants everyone who appears for the engineering entrance to have ranks so that they don’t have to keep any seat vacant. This means those who get negative marks will also get through.

There was a time when Kerala Engineering Entrance had a great standard. The first rank used to go to someone who scored about 50% of the total mark. One has to have a good knowledge of the subjects to get a good rank. The fact that there were less than 10 engineering colleges made Kerala engineering entrance exam one of the toughest in India.

Now what is the state of Kerala entrance exam? Even if you get above 90% you are not sure of a good rank in Kerala entrance. The standard of questions has come down so low that you don’t have to have any understanding of the subject to get a good rank. I was shocked to see the question paper of Kerala engineering entrance for Physics. Almost all questions were the direction substitution of values to the formulas. One question I remember well is given initial velocity; final velocity and acceleration, find time. When we wrote engineering entrance (1993) we wouldn’t get a question like this at all.

Now if you need a good rank in Kerala engineering entrance you have to get trained in a professional coaching institute. The coaching classes know what type of questions will be asked; so they make students do hundreds of questions like those. When these students appear for entrance exam, they are able to recollect answers just by seeing the questions. I feel even a parrot if it attends these coaching classes regularly will get a good rank in Kerala engineering entrance. In short students who can afford good coaching even if they have nothing in their head make it to the top and kids from poor families who cannot afford coaching get low ranks.

Intent of this post is NOT to get into any of the controversies going on in Kerala regarding engineering entrance. Intent of this post is to take you 10 years into future when all graduates in Kerala will be an engineer.

Scene 1- Auto stands any where in Kerala:
Now in Kerala we see lot of graduates driving autos. Come 2016 and most of them will be engineering graduates. They will be cursing their engineering degree and driving autos.

Scene 2- Malayalam Film Director Rajasenan’s House
Hit filmmaker Rajasenan is writing a sequel for the super hit movie CID Unnikrishnan BA B.ED. The name of the movie - CID Unnikrishnan B.Tech.

Scene 3 – Railway station in Trivandrum
A father and his son waiting to board into a Chennai bound train. The reason- the boy just passed plus two with high marks and he wants to do bachelors in Maths. Since every one started joining for engineering all arts and science colleges are closed in Kerala and if you need to get a degree in arts or science you need to go to Tamil Nadu.

Scene 4- Any Government office in Kerala
All the peons, clerks, and typist who joined that office in the last 5 years have either an engineering degree or have attended engineering college. If their boss asks the peon engineer to buy a tea, his engineer ego is hurt badly but continues to work there because it is a Government job. Remember Mohanlal in movie Nadodikaatu.

Scene 5- An announcement through public address system attached to a car going through the length and breadth of a city in Kerala.
“Classes about to begin for 3rd semester engineering for colleges affiliated to Kerala University. Come and Join ‘New’ Tutorial. Regular and Suppli (slang for back papers) batches start tomorrow. Come and join New Tutorial and make your dream of becoming an engineer a reality. All classes in ‘New’ Tutorial handled by Engineers.” Following the principle of evolution all tutorial colleges in Kerala will be changed to tuition centers to coach the morons who get into engineering.


Hope at least this won’t happen.

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006


32 people commit suicide every day in Kerala, highest rate in India and may be in the world also. This is happening in the most literate state of India!

It seems like people of the most literate state love to commit suicide. The government on its part is encouraging suicide by waving of loans of people who committed suicide. This has resulted in more people committing suicide in recent days. The people who commit suicide think that if one commits suicide at least his family will be free from debt, thanks to government.

Let me come to the point. Waving the loan taken by people or giving them more time to repay the loan won’t solve this problem. Many people criticize the Government for these suicides. The media as usual create sensation by branding all those who commit suicide are “farmers”. I have a question. Are all these suicides ONLY due to policies of government? Isn’t also because people these days forget to live within their means? Are all these people really farmers?

Let me narrate a true story to prove this point. My native village (in MC Road on the way to Kilimanoor from Trivandrum) was a self-sufficient village till the early 90’s. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts this village was very beautiful with rubber plantation on one side, a stream and paddy field on other side. Sandwiched between those were all the houses.

Very few had a Government job. Most of them worked on their land. They had a local market, which operates from 10 am to 12 pm daily. People bring their stuff there, sell it and with that money buy stuff for their house. For example one person will bring about 3 jackfruits, sell it and using that money buy vegetables (grown in our villages). I have never heard of any suicide in that village. Everyone seemed to be happy with what they had.

Then came 1990’s - Consumerism took over that village. They cut down rubber trees, filled the beautiful stream and paddy fields and started using only products you see on television. Going to market and selling/buying stuff become a thing of the past.

I recently heard of a person who committed suicide there. He took Rs.50000 as agricultural loan. He had only about 25 cents of land and how he managed Rs.50000 as agricultural loan I don’t know. He told the agricultural officer that he wants to cultivate plantains. The reason he took the loan was to convert the roof of his house from tile to terrace because terrace houses are the present day fashion.. He was a person working in a teashop and earning about Rs.3000 per month. Till that time he was living happily. Now he had to pay back more than Rs.2000 per month, which he couldn’t afford. He fell into debt trap and never recovered. He started borrowing from others (read money lenders who impose heavy interest) and finally committed suicide. I now hear that he has a debt of over 10 lakhs.

People take loans for one reason and use it for most unproductive purposes. If this is stopped most of the suicides can be prevented. “Show offs” have become part of societies in Kerala and that is the driving force for people to take loans these days (Kerala marriages are the best example). If the Government could come out with a detailed statistics of how the so-called farmers who committed suicide used their loan amount, it would definitely throw light into the spending (show off) pattern of the people of Kerala.
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Friday, June 09, 2006


This advertisement appeared in the back cover of the schools notebooks sold on at Kerala Secretariat Staff Co-operative Society No 2620(thanks to Thanal I came to see this). Advertisement is by a government agency – Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB). For those who don’t know Malayalam here is the translation of it.
Burning plastic covers and bottles is not dangerous but it is a necessity.

Plastic bags are produced from polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene. Plastic Bottles (PET Bottles) are made from polyethylene teraphalate. Ingredients of these chemicals have only carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Burning these chemicals produce carbon dioxide and water.

When plastics contains chlorine (like PVC) are burned unscientifically then only poisonous gases like dioxins are released.

Plastics dumped into the environment pollutes it
So reuse it. Or give it to someone who reuses it. If you can't even do that simply burn it.



“Ingredients of these chemicals have only carbon, oxygen and hydrogen”. There are hundred of organic compounds having just carbon, oxygen and hydrogen in it and highly poisonous. Take for example Benzene(C6H6). It has only carbon and hydrogen. Can the director of KSPCB please inhale this and prove the theory that any organic compound having oxygen, carbon and hydrogen is safe for human health?

Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (
CIELAP) in its study has found that “burning plastics at home or cottages cause release of cancer causing dioxins, furans, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, benzene, heavy metals and other pollutants into air. These harmful products fall back to earth and contaminate plants, soil and water”.

US Environment Pollution Agency (
US EPA) in 2002 reported that burning of plastics in backyard is the largest source of dioxin and furan emission in US.

Researchers also found that toxic compounds inhaled during burning of plastics may cause hormonal imbalance and sex behavioral orientation of new born according to a report published in

The facts are clear as daylight that burning plastics of any kind is harmful to health. But why KSPCB came up with such an advertisement?

How can a government agency distort facts and publish an advertisement like this? Now I have a genuine doubt that KSPCB is for controlling pollution or spreading pollution. Or do they have any vested interest to promote. Western world has progressed a lot in banning lot of poisonous substances like DDT, asbestos etc and here we have a government agency promoting something which cause harm to human health.
Don’t you think the officials of the agency have the responsibility to double-check the facts before bringing out such an advertisement? At least now they should correct their mistake.

NOBEL PRIZE FOR CHEMISTRY 2007 GOES TO Kerala State Pollution Control Board

They discovered and popularized a new theory, which will reduce Kerala population by at least half very fast. Don’t they deserve a Nobel Prize?
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Thursday, June 08, 2006

First Class Cricketers - They Deserve Better Treatment.

How many of you following Indian cricket can recognize this cricketer to your right?. I think hardly any of you can. His name is S Sharat, former captain of Tamil Nadu cricket team. He is a middle order batsman, has played 127 first class matches till now and has a batting average of 52.81. He has won so many battles for Tamil Nadu and has had played a great role in many of Tamil Nadu's victory. But did he ever get the recognition he deserved? The answer is a big NO.

It is high time we appreciate the efforts of first class cricketers who have contributed much to the cricket of their respective state. They couldn’t get the necessary recognition just because they were not selected to the Indian team. Ananthapadmanabhan, former skipper of Kerala cricket team was one of the best leg spinners India has produced, but never got a chance to play for India. Luck was never with him as his career almost started with that of Kumble who happened to be a better bowler than Ananthan. When I see the fame and recognition Sreesanth gets after playing just 3 test matches I think about Ananthan, Ramprakash, Jayaraman and other few great Kerala cricketers. They played for their home state with full passion and never got any applause from the cricket loving crowd.

Have you ever heard of Kanwaljit Singh. He has been a great offspinner who have taken 369 first class wickets. He played for Hyderabad till the age of 40 (20 long years). Raju and he spun Hyderabad to lot of victories. How many Hyderabadis know this name or recognize him?

The point I like to make in this post is people consider international cricketers as God. Whatever they do becomes news. They earn millions through various endorsements. But what about the state players, isn’t it high time we recognize and appreciate them the way we do with the international players?

This discrimination is prevailing throughout India. See this list of players-AA Muzumdar (Mumbai), S Badrinath (Tamil Nadu), CC Williams (Baroda), Praveen Kumar (Madya Pradesh) , SS Lahiri (West Bengal), Joginder Sharma (Haryana) . They have scored maximum runs or taken maximum number of wickets for their state in the last edition of Ranji Trophy. But how many are household names in their respective states?

I believe this lack of recognition of state players is one of the main reasons which prevent India from being the best cricket team in the world. The gap between the national and international cricket team is huge. So a player coming into the Indian Team suddenly finds himself on a different level. We Indians should learn from the Australians. The Australians follow their domestic cricket with the same passion and zeal with which they follow the international cricket. The players are proud to represent their state team and they get instant recognition in their state as a first class cricketer.

But what about India - Public are not ready to accept these players who sweat out for their home state. The companies who spend millions in sponsoring the national team are not ready to sponsor the state team. I believe as long as we don’t recognize the state players, lift their morale and create a feeling of pride in them for playing for their state, India can never be World No. 1 in cricket like Australia.

Board of Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) has understood this need and started giving importance to first class cricketers by providing them with better playing conditions, travel facilities, better pay etc. Now it is the turn of the cricket loving public to show their support.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Monsoon = Suffering Time for Few; But Why?

Monsoon has hit Kerala and last few days have seen heavy rains in Kerala. As usual lots of low-lying areas are under water and affected people were shifted to relief camps. Since many schools are used as relief camps, government postponed reopening of schools from June 1st to June 5th.

Scene 1- Houses near to sea shore belonging to fisherman

The people to suffer worst as usual are fishermen who live very near to the sea. For them sea is their mother and cannot live away from seashore. Time and again as monsoon comes we see that their huts get destroyed by angry sea waves. Every time this happens I hear a minister declaring that sea walls will be constructed throughout the coast in a war footing. This time it was the turn of the Fisheries Minister S Sharma to declare that construction of seawalls are the top priority of the new government. This makes me wonder "How long will we have to hear this crap from Ministers when rainy season hits Kerala?"

I feel this is one of the things, which the new government should take as a priority. Food, cloth and shelter are the basic needs of mankind and it is the responsibility of government to provide those to underprivileged in the society. Construct seawalls across Kerala seashore where there is a change of flooding so that fishing folks don’t have to suffer and they can peacefully sleep in their house during rainy season.


Scene 2 - Flooded housing colony in Trivandrum City

If you happen to watch TV during floods in Kerala you can see some housing colonies in cities, which are fully flooded. If you go deep into why these colonies get flooded one can understand that these colonies are constructed filling paddy fields. I remember one colony in Trivandrum, East of Karamana Bridge. The whole area was a paddy field on the banks of Karamana River. Now multi-storied houses occupy the whole area. During the rainy season there were instances when the water level rose to above 8 feet. I don’t feel sad seeing the plight of those people in TV or reading about that in the TV. I believe this is the way Mother Nature shows its anger towards those who disturbs her eco system.


Scene 3 – Flooded village on the outskirts of Trivandrum City

My native village in Kerala is near Kilimanoor in M C Road. It is a very beautiful place amidst hills (with rubber plantation), streams and paddy fields. During my childhood I have never seen any floods during the rainy season. Paddy fields and streams are capable of holding almost all the water that falls in that tiny village. Now you hear news of flooding during rainy season from my native village. Reason – all the paddy fields gave way to houses and there are no more hills or rubber plantations.


photo courtesy: Kerala Kaumudi

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