The New Normal.

Work From Home has changed many things and fortunes and here is one aspect of it. Hyderabad is not the only city affected. Other cities with high concentration of IT establishments are equally affected. Pune, my home city is as badly affected as are Mumbai and Bengaluru.

It is not only homes that have seen loss of tenants. Businesses too have found that it is more economical to operate in a WFH system. They are giving up office space all over India as this report shows.

Here is another report about one of India’s largest IT companies that gives a clear indication of what lies ahead.

I personally know of some youngsters who have moved back with their parents in other parts of the country to work from home and save on rent. Employers too are happy with this option as WFH also gets more man-hours per employee than before.

A major change due to this one single development of WFH is the reduction in traffic in the cities most impacted like Pune for instance. Parking space is readily available as is commuting time for others. Peak hour traffic is so low that it does not look like peak hour at all.

These two factors alone should improve the quality of air in our cities and reduce fuel consumption which in turn will impact the automobile industry all over the world.

Domestic consumption is likely to stay at current levels where people have learned to do with less and this is likely to affect consumption and therefore production and therefore employment. Footfalls in Malls and Cinema Theaters are reduced and DTH is rapidly taking over entertainment which in turn affects traffic and related consumption patterns.

So, some industries will scale down while others will scale up and quite which will become clearer as we go along.

There are many other factors that will come into play as the Covid impact lessens and those will become evident as we move further into the year and 2021.

The most significant change will be in our lifestyles which will never again be what they used to be pre pandemic times.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by me. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Is COVID The Only ImmediateThreat To Mankind?


This is a guest post written at my request by my close confidante and friend Koushik Sekhar with whom I have discussed this topic threadbare on a number of occasions. He is more articulate than I am as the post will reveal and hence my request to him to write this post for this week’s 6 on 1 Friday blog post.

Over to Koushik.

Covid is not the immediate threat to mankind. Covid is merely the messenger.

There is a more serious threat to mankind- a kind of epistemological disaster and Covid related problems is only a symptom of a deeper malaise . It is a steadfast refusal by the elites of the world to acknowledge the value of knowledge generated by earlier societies and to accept that the generation of knowledge does not have barriers of time, space, race etc. Moreover there is an attempt to eliminate or suppress knowledge that does not generate wealth for the few or which threatens their power.

Decades of globalisation has made it so that these elites are no longer define-able by geography or a political affiliation or education or race. Hence taking aim at the root of problem is no longer so easy as the threat is amorphous and not easy to target and work upon.

This attitude that ‘all conjectures are conjectures but my conjecture is more science than yours’ is deadly for the future of man especially when the conjectures are failing badly. If this isn’t deadly enough, the way institutions are used to muzzle the spirit of enquiry among the outsiders of the systems makes it a larger threat to the world. And lastly , an attitude that ‘all vested interests are vested interests, but mine is more science than yours’  is also prevalent. I am not sure which is causing more damage to society as the competition is lively and tremendous.

To name a few, the new class of global elites have no answers for huge problems we face:

1. How to maintain a happy society with constant economic output or even if economic growth is not possible.
2. How to have social stability in a society where technological advancement is seen as the goal and highly disruptive, to society, technologies are unleashed at a rapid pace.
3. How to handle societies which have become destructive and want to spread their ideologies to others who have better solutions using any means fair and foul.
4. How to manage highly heterogeneous societies which want to have separate rules for each of its constituents.
5. How to guarantee rights to people when they have near zero duties
How to leave the world as we found it.

The attitude of these elites has been that if we pretend that these problems do not exist they will go away. They have spurned knowledge that did not come from them or came from sources unacceptable to them. But these problems have become too big now and the chickens are coming home to roost. Propaganda is no substitute for logic nor can it solve problems created by a long history  underlying such propaganda.

As I could not phrase it any better, I am quoting from this excellent blog on the topic.

Quote

‘pratyaksham hyetyormūlam kritantai etihyorapi, pratyaksheṇāgamobhinnah kritanto vā na kinchan’,

essentially meaning that ‘in case of a conflict between direct evidence and inference/scriptural evidence, direct evidence shall prevail because it is at the root of both inferential evidence and scriptural evidence’.

Adi Shankaracharya, the first Shankaracharya said: ‘gnānam na purushatantram, kintu vastutantram’ — knowledge is not derived through word of command, but though objective reality.

UnQuote

We need the intellectual vigour encapsulated in the Indian proverb which states that ‘truth spoken by a fool is preferable to lies spoken by the great Guru Brihaspati’, also known as the planet Jupiter, the giver of all wisdom.

There are serious epistemological problems in the world today. The Aristotelian logic is no longer adequate to understand reality and solve problems and is at the root cause of many of the problems we have today. We need to understand nuance which is ever present in nature and reality and our logical systems should be in consonance with that.

More here

and here.

We are increasingly becoming exclusive instead of being inclusive.  Many of our values are driven by ‘either or’ rather than by ‘and’.  For example : the framing of the LGBT issue as one being either pro-LGBT or anti-LGBT is seriously deficient. The truth is that society has to be both pro and anti-LGBT at the same time. Pro LGBT as far as providing them safe spaces are concerned and providing them protection and avenues for self-sustenance; but society also has to be anti LGBT in so far as it being discreet and not impeding the lives of other people.

Today’s elites consisting of bankers, businessmen and politicians have become equivalent to those that tried to punish Galileo for his heliocentric theory and a lot of mainstream scientists are tagging along as they get their share of the booty. Such scientists are not scholars in pursuit of the truth.

Truth doesn’t need advocates or us. We, the mankind, need the truth as it helps us manage our societies and avoid making disastrous and irreversible decisions regarding environment, family, culture, food, education which can set us back by 100s of years. In the last 100 years, we have done a lot to move the clock back. It is not clear how far we can push in the wrong direction without being able to turn back.

I am an optimist. I believe that this too shall pass and one day our descendants will look back and see how foolish we were about so many things. But right now it is imperative that we do not believe things at face value that are fed to us and question what is right and wrong. We need to look for ideas, concepts and hypotheses that provide alternate solutions to the prevailing wisdom as the prevailing wisdom is not working. We need to have only one permanent affiliation namely that with the truth and all the rest our affiliations and associations of political, material and religious kind are only the means to that end.

We also need to update our epistemological tools drastically.

The steadfast inertia/ refusal to not do these things that is perhaps a greater threat to mankind than Covid. In fact the impact of Covid itself is much larger than what could have been because of this mindset and this will reveal itself as the efficacy of various successful approaches taken by the discredited ones all over the world come to light after the Covid storm has passed.

The pursuit of truth has taken a backseat for a long time now and its cumulative consequences are amongst us. This is the most serious threat to mankind.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

My Latest Social Media Correspondent.

She is all of nine years old and when the school reopens will be at the last term of her Fifth standard. She is the daughter of my niece in Hyderabad and since the lockdown, has decided that I am fair game for her smart phone shenanigans.

She is totally adorable and I love the banter and enjoy our exchanges but this post is not about our relationship. It is about this little girl’s dexterity with the phone.

She texts fast and her responses to my messages are in half the time that mine are. She uses emojis widely and never uses a wrong one to convey any particular emotion. She chides me for being slow! And there I was thinking that I am a fast typist!

She recently produced an old photograph of me with some others and asked to point out which was me. Before I could respond, she sent the same photograph back on whatsapp with an arrow superimposed on it pointing to me with just ? in the comments section.

I have been trying to figure out how to do the same thing since then and am still to come up with the technique.

I dread imagining a future full of these children as adults using all technology at lightning speeds and leaving us oldies gasping for breath.

Globalisation Versus Tribal Nationalism.


According to WHO, globalisation can be defined as “the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and countries. It is generally understood to include two inter-related elements: the opening of international borders to increasingly fast flows of goods, services, finance, people and ideas; and the changes in institutions and policies at national and international levels that facilitate or promote such flows.”

I am all for this provided, the spirit of the policy is implemented without any reservation but, in practise, that has not been the case as the next choice comes into play.


“Tribal nationalism more popularly called right-wing populism is a response to worries about immigration and national identity, coupled with genuine social injustices including economic hardship and unemployment.”

I live in India.  We have gone through a partition of the country that divided us into two and now that has become three with some elements of the division still troubling us.  Unlike the post world war II Europe, where full exchange of ethnic minorities took place, we did not due to what is now felt as stupidity of the then leadership of the country and we have an effective fifth column operating here.  We have a major problem of illegal migrants from our neighbouring countries encouraged by this fifth column and  some of our short term oriented politicians for vote bank politics.  There is also a sixth column which is the leftist  elite leftover from our experiments with socialism which, while on the retreat is also causing much damage to our youth.

Our Tribal Nationalism therefore is very appealing to people who are proud of our heritage and history who are unashamedly Indian and who are the cause for the despair of the English Speaking Left Intellectual Mafia as they are now called.  I have no hesitation whatsoever to confirm that I am a Tribal Nationalist who is willing to accept Globalisation which will treat us exactly as it would like us to treat it.  With respect.

I would therefore have preferred to call the title with an “And” instead of the “Versus” suggested by Shackman.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Shackman. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Are People Intelligent Or Stupid In This Pandemic Situation?

I suspect that this topic has been inspired by this photo and the article about it.

My response is simple. Most are intelligent and will follow sane advice on preventing the infection while some will be stupid and trust either religious dictats or false propaganda.


Some will insist on being super stupid.

My response is using images during the current pandemic but, such behaviour is all but human and reflects mankind in general in all situations. How many smokers have kept on smoking saying that many non smokers get cancer of the lung and many smokers do not?

Finally, I leave it to my readers to come to some conclusion about the topic after reading this article.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 6 On 1 blog post topic. The other five bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumRaju, Shackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Raju. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.

Unplugged.

This topic was very likely to have been chosen after reading this WhatsApp forward.
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My tryst with unplugging started in the good old days of car batteries overcharging and being advised to unplug the battery from the alternator. I did not connect to the modern usage of the term as defined below.

This is a different ballgame altogether and something that needs a different approach to one’s daily life without any electronic gadgets. Can you imagine such living?

I have a lot of experience unplugging during the pre mobile phone phenomenon.  I used to regularly attend ten day meditation camps where contact with the outside world was completely denied and have benefitted immensely from those retreats.  I doubt very much that I will be able to attend one of them now, having settled into a different life style completely.

I know some people who live without modern electronic gadgets and who seem to be blissful in their lives. I do envy them their bliss. I can’t however dream of being without my mobile phone handset and computer with an internet connection, particularly now in the lockdown sans newspapers and crossword puzzles. It is also very comforting to see that all my contacts on the  also are using them to avoid climbing walls I suppose.

Having now taken a fresh look at the phenomenon and the message right on top of this post, perhaps, after the lockdown is lifted and some semblance of sanity is returned to our lives, I should give unplugging a shot to see if I will survive such an experience. When and if I do, I shall certainly make it a point to post my experience about that in this blog.

This is my take on this week’s Friday 5 On 1 blog post topic. The other four bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Sanjana, PadmumShackman and Conrad.  This week’s topic was suggested by Padmum. Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they have to say on the topic. Thank you.