Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Surreal Cities

As many governments across the world have closed down borders and put in lockdown measures advising citizens to stay at home to fight the invisible contagion i.e. Coronavirus.

Below are some drone footage of various cities in India and across the world which are deserted and few resemble like ghost towns.

Bangalore, India

Pune, India

Mumbai, India

Delhi, India

Hyderabad, India

Guwahati, India

Cape Town, South Africa

London, UK


San Francisco, US



Channel 4 - World's Biggest Cities

Monday, December 02, 2019

~ Reflections on completing 39 ~

Cannot believe that we are already in December of 2019. Thought I shall make an exception on my birthday to put my reflections over a blog post rather than threaded tweets. If you notice this happens to be the second post for this year. Wish I will get back to writing more often in 2020.

2019 probably happened to be my busiest year of my existence. After becoming a parent, in 2017, definitely there has been plenty of changes to my lifestyle as well others in my family. This June we enrolled our daughter to PlayGroup, who now spends 2 hours at the pre-school. Therefore there are plenty of pre and post school tasks that gets added to my daily routine. 

Few reflections on different subjects that matter to me -

Health - One of my objectives in 2019 was to be healthy - mind and body. However, things didn't go as per plan. Was 83 kilos, in April, which was the heaviest that I had ever weighed. Decided to sign up for the Adobe's 5K run that occurs every June, with the aim of loosing weight & also re-start my running. Completed the 5K in 40 mins. With continued elliptical workouts and watching what I ate, by Aug, I weighed 77.5 Kgs. I still would like to shed additional 3 kilos to remain below 75 Kgs. Even though I was a social smoker, I happened to kick the butt for good on 31st Dec 2018 and haven't looked back! Maybe I should write a separate post to share my reading and learning on diet and eating habits, if that helps anyone out there.

Time - The biggest realization of 2019. TIME, is the most valuable currency in life. Prioritize on how you invest it, be it with people or activities that you engross in. Don't waste it, since you can never reclaim it. Some wise men, millenniums ago, had discovered the same and stated watch your breath and stay in the moment. In order to live every moment, one needs to bring full awareness (mindfulness) towards your mundane life activities. Prioritizing tasks, at the beginning of each day, helps in better time management and saving some for yourself i.e. ME-time. Fortunately, everyone in this world is blessed with the same time-scale. Hence, it is left unto oneself on how effectively it is utilized and for a purpose. You can quote me on the below one, if you like it ;)

Time is the best keeper of accounts, of what we do. While Karma is the ultimate settler of scores.

Reading - I love reading books and couldn't read much last year. This year I have set a target of 15 books and let's see how it goes in the next 29 days. If you are interested in knowing what I am reading then hit this twitter thread. Again, the more efficient time slicing shall help in investing for more things one wishes to do.

Environment - Another important aspect for me is, the way we live and utilize the resources during our period of stay on this planet. This has a direct impact on what we pass on to our future generations and also how sustainable the eco-system would be for life itself. Continued with composting for yet another year, the last month hasn't been that effective and should set it right. We planted about 8 trees early this year and hope to improve next year. Discovered water-less cleaning for cars and 2-wheeler in September, which has helped in water conservation. You should give it a try and help conserve water. Another tweet thread ;)

Do watch Carl Sagan's classic - Pale Blue Dot. Lot to soak in and act upon.

Communication - Very essential skill in life and also in my work. Don't try to resolve fundamental conflicts with people, it wouldn't get you anywhere and no one would win. The biggest communication problem is we don't listen to understand. We listen to reply. I think I have improved quite a bit this year and plenty of room to improve.

Save money - For yourself and for your kid(s). I had always known from friends and colleagues, who have had kids, regarding private education being a costly affair in Urban India. Now, am witnessing it when I enrolled my daughter to pre-school. Not sure if anyone else has said it earlier, here's what I think - 
Education is the best contraception

Those who are working should aim for saving at least 25% of your income for their short-term and long-term goals. Have an investment adviser who can help you choose the right investment vehicle based on your risk-appetite. Also having a Chartered Accountant would be a bonus to deal with the IT filings at year end.

Shaping life - The most challenging part of being a parent. As a parent, I feel I shouldn't pass my biases on her and she should explore them as she grows. Even though it's initial years, these are the formative years for my daughter who is curious and exploring things around her. At her age, she will imbibe plenty of habits & patterns based on what she witnesses. Hence, I feel it is very important for myself on what I - say, teach, share - with her. Definitely, she will be influenced by people around and what she watches, as she interacts/spends plenty of time with people during the day & gets approximately an hour of videos in a day. 

Be kind - Mean is easy; kind is hard. Even a teenager can be mean. It takes effort to be kind & hence do the needful. Be grateful. No matter how awful your life seems at the moment, you have something to be grateful for. Gratitude always helps. 

My life now can be viewed as before and after my daughter. "Staying Agile" is the way of life for a parent. No book can ever teach you on how to be a parent, apart from living it. Enjoying my time with the little one! 

Parenting is no easy thing. Hats off to my parents and rest of the parents out there. Also, huge respect to single parents.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed on the above & making me a better person!

Monday, April 08, 2019

~ Delhi Crime ~

Delhi Crime is based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape case that took place in the neighbourhood of Munirka, in South Delhi. The Netflix series follows the story in the aftermath of the gang rape, where Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), South Delhi, Chhaya Sharma (Vartika Chaturvedi in the reel) is tasked to find the culprits, responsible for the assaults and death of the female victim. Shefali Shah has performed the role of Chhaya Sharma very well.

Yes, I finally finished watching the series and it is well made. The anthology on the gruesome gang-rape is written and directed by Richie Mehta, Canadian film director and writer. It presents a view-point on different characters from the Delhi Police who were crucial to the investigation. 

After hearing constant corruption cases and scams involving politicians from different political parties over the last decade, people were very angry at Central government of 2012. Even I was very outraged at that incident and vented my anger against the establishment in a post 'Dance of Democracy'.

In an Insta-Everything-World, people's expectations from - the government, the police, and the judiciary - are such that we expect cases to be solved and justice delivered instantly. After watching Delhi Crime, the Indian viewer is reminded of the reality of we Indians live and operate. The situation depicted of Delhi Police probably holds good for any state police force across the country - under-staffed, over-worked, paid less, lacks infrastructure, etc. Against all such odds, the Delhi Police team under Chhaya Sharma, DCP South Delhi, did do an impressive job and arresting all the 6 accused in a span of five days, under some tremendous pressure and scrutiny from politicians, media and citizens. 

Rapes haven't stopped in Delhi or elsewhere in the country post December 2012. Here's a twitter trail on few of the rapes that I have come across and that's been reported in the media. This is definitely is not complete list, it requires the collective effort from the family and society in the up-bringing of young boys and men. 

We the people have very high expectations from our forces while not considering the factors under which they operate. Unfortunately, our country has been run like this for ages, without much accountability from the governments that have ruled from Independence. Wish the young citizens of the country will change that and ask questions to the governments that seek vote every 5 years -

  1. Why should there be reforms to law, judiciary and governance only when such terrible incidents happen. Why cannot the law-makers, read politicians, work for the betterment of people and forces?
  2. Where do all the funds for the police forces go and how are they spent?

In retrospect after watching Delhi Crime, I feel the Media could have done much better job instead of bashing the police force for other political agenda. Media plays a very vital role in any democracy. However, in the recent years many journalists, TV and print, instead of reporting they also seem to be involved in doing activism leveraging their reach. Thanks to Social Media which has brought some equilibrium in countering such one-sided activism.

Additional reading - 
1. Chhaya Sharma inspired Delhi Crime

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

~ Smart devices & human behaviors ~

Has been a while since I blogged. No, I haven't taken digital detox. 

Even though the smart mobiles have been there since 1998, Symbian Era (1), smartphones became popular after Apple's debut of iPhone in 2007. The success of iPhone, is not because of the smartphone itself. AppStore is the reason behind success of iPhone - Ease of search and discovering apps, app installation & updates, in-app purchases, push notifications, managing devices became seamless and convenient. The rapid adoption and explosion of smart-devices, primarily smartphones, from 2013 till now can be attributed mainly due to drop in prices of smartphones especially in the Android space. iPhone in most parts of the world is still a premium device & while Android enjoys the 84.8% of market share according to IDC report (1). 

We now have more smartphones than the population on the planet - "With 7.7 billion subscribers by the end of 2017, 103.4% of the world population currently hold a subscription to mobile cellular telephony on average" (2)

The primary objective of the post was to write about how slowly and steadily the smart-devices are playing a major role in our daily lives with adopting more & more connected devices within our homes. 

Smartphones have made urban living easy and at the same time lazy. We have an application (app) for almost anything and getting things done without moving inch from the couch.
  1. Shopping - medicines, clothing, books, toys
  2. Streaming content - video, music, audiobooks
  3. Navigating city traffic
  4. Commuting - hailing a cab within Bangalore or in another city within India or outside
  5. Booking - hotels, flights, buses, trains
  6. Ordering food 
  7. Reviews or local directory lookup
  8. Buy / Sell - Used items
  9. Financial - payments, MF investments, trading, retail banking
  10. 24x7 - Delivery or pickup
  11. SocialMedia or Networking
  12. Messaging or Communication - Email, SMS, Video
  13. Video and Photo 
  14. Utilities - Speedtest, Scan, FileTransfer
Most people have a minimum of 1 app per category. In some categories, people install up-to 4/5 apps. With so many apps installed, people use most of these apps for transactional purposes. It's only the SocialMedia apps - Facebook, Instagram, Twitter - which are trigger apps used often and lose track of time. Below is an interesting data point on how 1/3rd of online population find it difficult to break the habit from technology.

Watch this video to find out how Apple & Google have introduced new features to manage screen time per app in their latest iteration of OS. 

Personally, I have disconnected from Facebook in July 2015 and never looked back. However, I do spend significant amount of time on Twitter reading / following various subjects of interests. That's something that I need to work upon myself in the coming months to decrease the screen time.

Below are some insights into human behaviors 

Gen Z: A Look Inside Its Mobile-First Mindset (4)

What online activities do Indians do on their smartphones at least weekly? (5)

The OTT experience: Understanding connected living room audiences 2018 (6)

  • In fact, Americans collectively spend nearly 8 billion hours per month consuming content on connected TV devices—such as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire.
  • Consumers 13 and older who watch content on connected devices spend an average of more than an hour daily, compared to 36 minutes on the computer and 24 minutes on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets 

Always Connected: How smartphones and social keeps us engaged (7)

  • Half of total US population uses Smartphones i.e 155.1 Million people (2012)
  • Primary usage: Text/Message, Talk, Message on FB. All of them are direct communication.
  • Wake up call: Within the first 15 minutes of waking up, 4 out of 5 smartphone owners are checking their phones.


1. Symbian OS 
2. Smartphone OS market-share 
3. Mobile market penetration
4. Gen Z: A Look Inside Its Mobile-First Mindset
5. Consumer Barometer India 
6. The OTT experience: Understanding connected living room audiences 
7. Always Connected 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

~ Top Songs | 2017 ~

Here are the top songs that I have listened to on Spotify -

Alternatively, you can find the playlist here

Saturday, April 22, 2017

~ Future of transportation: Lilium ~

This week, Lilium Jet, successfully completed its maiden flight in Bavaria. So what's special about it? Well, it happens to be "world's first electric vertical take-⁠off and landing jet". While most technology companies are looking at disrupting the transport sector with automated cars, the implementation / realisation of the project has been hindered for various reasons in many cities after initial test runs. 

The Market

As many cities, in the developing countries, have been expanding inorganically due to lack of town planning or sustainable policies from governments & transportation department; the chaos can be very much experienced by everyone who is living or visiting the city. One such city is Bangalore, the valley of South Asia. Anyone who has stayed here for a month or more can relate to the traffic snarls across the town. 

The Disruptors

Compared to other cities in India, Bangalore has decent public transportation system via state-run BMTC & limited Namma Metro coverage. We have on-demand cab & rickshaw hailing services from Uber & Ola. To that, add all types wheelers - 2, 3, 4 & 6 - both the private & commercial vehicles, on the roads of Bangalore. This creates enough chaos which throws life out of gear for moving from Place A to Place B. I feel any new means of urban road transportation will not solve the problem for a population of 8.42 Million people, due to the lack of infrastructure & bad planning. 


Even though the implementation of metro is challenging considering the hurdles of land acquisition & terrain, it offers a more economical option to carry more number of people in the cities.

Electric Jet

Lilium, an electric jet, that can do a vertical take-off and landing could be the key disruptor in not just urban transportation in developed & developing countries. This jet can solve the transportation problem as it doesn't need much infrastructure to land & take-off making it a viable on-demand service. The USPs of Lilium (source: 

Here is the maiden flight of Lilium that happened on 20th April 2017.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

~ Think. Act. Recycle ~

It all began when me & wife visited Lavannya's home 2+ years ago, Aug 2014. Spotted a Kambha in her backyard and asked her what it was. After an introduction to Kambha & seeing the impact of composting at her organic-jungle or rooftop garden we decided to go for composting at home.

A photo posted by Lavannya (@lavannyag) on

A photo posted by Lavannya (@lavannyag) on

I shared the idea with Malhar and we both decided try composting at our homes. Thanks to Malhar who gifted 3T Kambha from DailyDump & our experimentation began. Whenever one tries to introduce something new, it is more often met with resistance & the same thing happened at home. Parents didn't accept the experimentation easily, it took almost 3 months for them to come out of regular process. 

During the rainy spells of Oct & Nov in Bangalore, the maggots used to crawl outside the Kambha and wander all over our backyard. When it occurred the first time, during a weekday, my dad was furious that they were all over the place & they didn't know what needed to be done. After returning home that evening, cleaned up the place & did some reading on how to tackle them. 

The maggots play an active & important role in composting process. They munch on all the veggies / fruits. The video shows how they devour the food waste.

A video posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

After 3-4 months of composting, our first compost was ready for use in the garden. It was mixed in some of the pots and the end results were amazing. The plants responded very well & the harvest of tomatoes, beans, spinach was good. 

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

This June, we spotted a runner in our garden and couldn't identify until the flowers began fruiting. We realised that the runner was actually Musk Melon plant. Thanks to composting, all the veggies and fruit waste that goes into kambha, composting process and eventually into the soil led to the germination of the musk melon seed into plants in the garden. 

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

Composting has some pleasant surprises too.

A photo posted by Vivek (@vevck) on

In the past 26 months, none of the kitchen waste has left our home and has been recycled. It isn't tough process, but requires discipline and 10 mins of your time everyday. Make this part of your routine and it shall become an habit, that makes significant difference to Earth

All the learning happened due to recycling of the kitchen waste from our home. So, recycle & help reduce the wet waste that leaves your home. If each one of does our bit then the burden on city's ecosystem would reduce significantly. 

There are plenty of online resources available for one to learn the art of composting. DailyDump has good resources where one can learn the basicsDon't wait, start today and begin composting at your home.