What is your lat-long? Bole to location kya hai? kahan ho? God knows. And in which direction are you headed? How many degrees from the magnetic North? Pata nahi. So go figure out your x,y,z before talking big and looking small bhai.
It is difficult to achieve great things in our country. Because there is no greatness in our thoughts. We are too engrossed in arranging the basic amenities for just living: pani,bijli, chhat,roti. Sadly, the internet revolution has not been able to change the bottomlines for the majority of the Indians. And we are only as prosperous as the lowest rung on the ladder. The weakest person in the chain is an indication of our maximum strength. So we are neither being able to achieve the bottomlines nor the toplines, since the bottomline, the foundation is not in place.
The online shop is shaping up. We now have above 200 maps in the shop which is huge, considering that we hovered at a figure of 88 for a very long time. We are still working on the interface ( I remarked to the team that it looked like a chandni bar from chandni chowk. Not in good taste I must admit). And all the other aspects including the description of the maps. Some tasks are very boring, specially the description. Slowly but surely, we need to cover that distance.
We have submitted the report of a site in Mumbai to AAI. I think we have done some good work there. No error in calculations, a near perfect integration of various high end technologies to arrive at correct conclusions and last but not the least, no spelling mistakes in our Report (Wow, now that is what we call great work!). Ab koi tariff nahin karta hai to khud hi kar leni chahiye.
Working on another difficult site. And yet another.
Appu performed on stage yesterday and it is always a joy to watch her express herself through dance. Her entire personaity changes on stage and she and the dance become one. And to watch her and the dance merge is a very spiritual experience. Proud of you bebu. Keep it up.
There are three women working in three shifts in our house. Unimaginable. Quite a crowd I must say. But given the ‘chuttis’ that these women take and the sub-quality work that they are able to produce, this is the only way to have some manageability in our lives.
Sometimes when my car is surrounded by huge trucks in the night while returning back from work, there is fear. I could be crushed in the fraction of a second. Similarly, sometimes when I am surrounded by all these confident men with property,parents,wives behind them, I feel scared. I feel I am nothing. I am not even in the race. A push, a shove, a strong adverse wind and I am gone.
The report for a site in Mumbai where we are asking for shielding benefit using stereo pairs of satellite images and the technology of photogrammetry is complete. Good work from Chandrakant. Good support from Chandan, Rahul and the rest of the team. Rahul has stood up to manage the office at a very critical time. From opening the office to managing its water supply, he has restored my faith in the current generation ( Gen-X). Thank you Rahul. The brochures designed by Appu on our work in the field of aviation safety are stunningly beautiful and smart. We distributed them to DIAL (Delhi International Airport Limited) after a presentation (we worked overnight to create one). We will also present them to senior members of MIAL (Mumbai International Airport Limited) who have scheduled a meeting with us tommorrow in Mumbai. Thank you Bebzer. Love you. I am sorry I could not do anything for your birthday this year. There was just too much on my plate. That is not a valid excuse but there is nothing else that I can say in my defence.
We sold two maps in the online shop. Amazing. Awesome. An amount of Rs. 534 was transferred to our account. Unforgettable. We were waiting to earn Re. 1 from the shop. Abhi to Rs. 534 aa gaye. Congratulations team. Well done. Good beginning. We are on the way. IP. In process. Party time.
Tried understanding the concepts of photogrammetry for the presentation scheduled in Mumbai tommorrow morning. 20% hi samajh aya hai. Ok, have to appear for the exam with 20% knowledge. God. Abhi ‘God’ yaad ayenge. jab waqt hota hai padne ka, tab yaad nahin aate. Ok. deal. God please help us this last time. Next time onwards, we will study all the time (what a lie!).
Need some time to be alone. To be quiet. To be with myself. To figure out where we are and where we are going. To chart out the direction in which we are moving and whether it is worthwhile at all?
Black. The color this summer.water in black. gas cylinder in black. electricity in black. The basic utilities. NA. Not available. In the capital of the country. More than half of the time, money and energy is being spent on arranging the basic amenities and that also in black. Where is the time to do the actual work. Living itself has become so difficult. I wonder why we should pay taxes. We are getting water from private tankers in the office as well as in the house. We have to depend on Inverters, UPS and generators for electricity. The booked gas with the agency never comes. We invariably have to buy gas cylinders in black for the office and the house. The black rules. Everywhere. Everytime.
The detailed report for two sites needs to be filed with the GRC in AAI. With the analysis done from height data generated using photogrammetry. Fingers crossed. Need a miracle more than tehcnology to prove our point. The online shop is crawling forward. We are adding maps. one by one (the revenue will also happen one by one, God, itni patience nahin hai!).
The pre-dominant feeling over the past fortnight has been ‘fear’. ‘fear’ of not being able to take care of the people in the office. ‘fear’ of not being able to support Appu. ‘fear’ of not being able to pay the bank instalments. Need to replace ‘fear’ with ‘faith’. And breathe. Breathing is the only activity which is not taxed.
Need to lose some weight. Mamta Banerjee is right. Obese people cannot work and cannot make money. If you cannot look good, you cannot make money. Not anymore. Not in these times. where packaging is everything,, let me correct that, it is the only thing that matters.
‘manthan’, ‘catharsis’, ‘revolution’, call it what you will. We certainly need one. And fast. A complete destruction of our current values, culture, beliefs and mission statements to evolve to a higher level of thinking,achieving and living. where money can claim its rightful place as ‘means to a living’ and not ‘the purpose of living’. Where intellectual property’ holds more sway than ‘property’. And where ’excellence’ is the’ rule’ rather than the’ exception’.
‘Vicharon ka Manthan’.
We have a team. Seriously. As of now. We have work. But no money. I wish I could say that this was true vice versa. Of course tommorrow is always another day. Another life. And we have practically lived off miracles. So let us say that we are waiting for a miracle. Again.
The survey of the control points using DGPS is complete. The stereo satellite images are being worked upon for the extraction of building heights. Fingers crossed. We are doing this for the first time. I mean using this combination of GIS and photogrammetry to depict the shielding benefit as laid out in the guidelines for aviation safety. We are sincerely hoping that our calculations will be ranked and accepted based on their technical merit and not on history and prejudices. Chandrakant is having a tough time.
All the maps in the online shop are being re-worked upon. Chandan is scrutinizing each map and is not satisfied with the quality of most of them. So we are back to zero. In terms of products. I guess the ’India maps’ are OK. The rest are under the scanner. Here is wishing best of luck to him and his team (yes, we have a team!).
I had a lovely ‘Mothers’ Day’ (which was thankfully on a sunday) recently. Appu did not allow me to work in the kitchen the entire day and night (specially the cleaning and scrubbing part). She bought a lovely mug for me ( owing to the muliple cups of tea I have morning and night, I mean I am not allowed to have cigarettes, right?). She also booked a pedicure for me and forced me to go( me and pedicure, strange combination) followed by a movie. And when I returned home from the movie hall, I find this lovely cake that she had baked for me herself. I was completely overwhelmed. And she had done quite a professional job of it too. With all the right ingredients and the temperatures and the icing. Thank you bebzer. I have not had such a lovely time in ages (decades) now. I do not know if I have been as good a mother to you but I certainly felt like one that day. Thank you for making me feel so special bebu. Love you. It is lovely to have daughters( except that one is constantly worried about the fights that lie ahead of them for pursuing their dreams).
Appu also reminded me of a very powerful concept. ‘Everything is not about money’. When I told her that we had no money to run the next month, she was quite OK about it. She said that people could respect us for our work and that was a huge thing. Yes. ‘Respect” is a good thing. ‘Dignity’. Cannot buy it overnight. Or with turnovers.
And where is there ‘ dignity’ without ‘honesty’?
Dignity without honesty.
Not happening son.
Not happening at all.
The wait is over. The stereo satellite images have come. A miracle. So finally, we can begin work on the project. The GCP’s have been maked on the AOI and their x,y,z coordinates will be collected by DGPS survey for ground truthing and rectification of the image to enable us to achieve greater accuracy in horizontal and vertical scale. Chandrakant is in control of the project as of now and hopefully, he can and will steer us to victory. The antivirus scan is being done on all the systems today. The online shop is getting in shape with Chandan working on the maps and Rahul on the web interface and backend optimization. The bills have largely been paid. I mean we still have the rent and the electricity bill pending but what the hell. yeh bhi ho jayega. The MTNL guys have not yet sent us the bill. jab ayega tab dekhenge. OK. Breathe. sab theek hai. For this moment in space and time. Tommorrow. Who knows. Tommorrow is another day.
Let us run the drill. atta hai. gas, vegetables, fruits, cleaning of the fridge, watering the plants. Appu has her dance class today. A presentation has been scheduled for the coming week on the use of various technologies of GIS, Remote Sensing and Photogrammetry for aerodrome planning and management. Tough one. We have been singing this song for a long time now. Now we have a chance to sing in front of the decision makers. And we are scared. How can we encapsulate such large technologies in a matter of a few minutes and in a few slides? And will it make any impact? OK. we just need to do our best. Suit up, Boot up and show up. Whatwever happens, we have to show up. Not quit.
I had kept my hair short to save on water, time, energy, shampoo. Now I am trying to grow them. To match my age. But it is very irritating. Right now they are neither short, nor long. Just like our life on the professional front. Neither here, nor there. Looking for an accountant, guard and admin guy. I think we should place these recruitment advertisements on our cars. Just like the radio taxis. Will save us time and money.
Appu says I am a cleanliness freak. Probably I also have many other obsessive complulsive behaviours. So it is difficult to be around me for a long time. Maybe I should wear a protective covering so that the harmful rays emanating from me do not harm others. Quite a thought.
The house, the office, work, Appu and HP.
The circumference of my life.
Hariom has left. Got a ‘sarkari’ job. Never mind that we invested in him for three months and put everything at stake. Never mind that we got no output from him. Not even one module. He only took from the company. Maybe that is what he was good at. Just taking and taking. He had nothing to give. And he is the best example of a typically educated and completely self centered man of our times. Gagan has left. He joined when he had no job offer. After two months, he suddenly realized that the online shop was not his cup of tea. That the online shop was just about uploading and downloading of maps. He could not make it work. And in place of doing a SWOT analysis, he dumped the project as useless. This is the current educated Generation X we have created. Its all about me,me,me,mine,my life, my money. There is no ‘us’ in their dictionary. The ‘selfishness’ is just very tiring. Very irritating. Re-start the computer. Re-start the project. Again and again. Talk about trust.
The news of a gangrape disturbs me. Why do we ban drugs of all kinds and yet promote addiction to sex? What are night pubs for anyway? Why is it not possible to ban them? Pubs are where girls and alcohol are used to boost and satisfy the male ego. What kind of entertainment can they provide? We are connecting sex with money. Then why ban prostitution? Why was the girl employed in the pub? Mainly to entice and accompany single men. At a cut. At a cost. My guess is that she refused the advances of a few men who took revenge by gangraping her. A man knows no other way of taking revenge from a woman, specially if his male ego has been compromised. And yet we claim that we live in a civilized world. Let us face it. We live in a jungle where mostly men rule. A woman must know her place, must behave else she will have hell to pay. Just like the girl who has been gangraped in Gurgaon. She was raped and slapped around. So it was not just about sexual violation. It was also proving to her as to who the boss was. No, I do not think I would like to be born as a woman again. No. Its too damn tough.
The bad: A single project in hand. Cash flows which are next to nil. The accountant wants to go home.
The good: Pradip patel has joined us in a senior position. Another trainee is arriving from Afghanistan for a months’ training. The IIT batchmates have committed to providing support.
The ugly: Appu is not talking to me. She is fed up of my unavailability. The pump in the house conked off and it took a lot of money to get it repaired.
The weekend, weekly rations, calls, homework for a project.
The repairing of things.
Leaving no time for the repairing of the soul. The most neglected task of the lot.
‘Repairing of the soul’.
OK. Hold your breath. This one is unbelievable (but when have believable things happened with us?). The payment gateway of the shop has been successfully integrated and it is working fine!! Just when we had given up hope of it ever working fine. Just when we thought that our e-commerce venture would go down the drain, that it would never work with all the technical glitches and the fiasco with the last team( I mean so many have happened, right!). So the shop is technically and financially open and we should be in business soon( I mean not even one of our maps has been sold as yet but what the hell).
Thanks to Hariom and Gagan ( who has recently joined and is a fresher). Thank you guys. For winning this one.
Hariom is also very near to testing the logic to be used in the software for the calculations with reference to the surfaces and the instruments for a single airport. Chandrakant is doing some reverse engineering for a site in Mumbai and he will also need to visit it very soon to collect a few coordinates. Amit has joined us in accounts and OmPrakash in administration. Let us see. Fingers crossed as always. The beginning is good. I have already shouted once (or maybe twice) and they have not quit. Hope is a good thing anyway.
It is so difficult for us to just manage the office ,bills,clients,meals. Wonder how HP manages the earth with its rotation and every miniscule life on it. It would be good to exchange notes with HP. I mean free of cost of course. Why would HP charge us? It is only man who cannot think of anything without charging.
A lot of potential team members are reading the blog. Sone pe suhaga. I mean why would they like to join after knowing all the nitty gritties of GC? A million dollar question. Kya hoga tera kaaliya. I hope it cannot get any worse. That the worst is over ( we have said that many times in the past too).
I don’t think I am writing intelligent stuff. I should pack up. One of the tyres in my car is punctured and that will need changing before I can reach home, hopefully before the time freezed by Appu which is 1:30 pm ( in the night of course). The team packed up early today (which means by 9:30pm) and that is amazing. They have only been able to leave by 11:30pm or 12:30pm in the past few months.
‘Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence,
And I am learning, whatever state I am in,
therein to be content.’ – Helen Keller
IIT ke naam par ‘dhabba’. I used to think it applied to me you know. Because I had not been able to anythng spectacular. Anything pathbreaking. But I can change that opinion now. I may not have done my alma mater proud but I am not a ‘dhabba’. And the change has occured yesterday as I met Alok Shekhar, a junior batchmate from IIT Kanpur who is sitting in a senior position in AAI. The meeting was scheduled for a technical discussion. We had done some research on the inherent error introduction in the transformation of coordinates from WGS 84 to Everest and the effect it had on subsequent analysis and calculations for permissible height calculations. I tried explaining to him how the maps prepared by AAI were incorrect by two to three seconds. Also there were errors due to the fact that they were made by hand. By a draftsman whose hand could shake. I tried suggesting that using high resolution satellite imagery or using the technology of photogrammetry could give better results but to no avail. His whole deal was ‘chalne do’. ‘ yeh to sarkar ka kaam hai. sarkari tarah se hoga’. And of course he was more keen on talking about his holiday in the backwaters of Kerela. Aise log desh chalayenge. It pained me. To see an intelligent mind in such a complete wasteland. He came across as a brain dead man. The bureaucracy, the large cabin, the titles have gobbled him up. He is in a coma. And what is the point talking to a comatose guy. He should stop saying that he is from IITK. He has allowed the sytem to kill him. Too much of comfort and food and security ensures that a dog will not run, not bark, not do his job. And that is what has happened to these ‘babus’. All of them are ‘dead’. ‘Rotting’.How can they run the country? It is beyond me. Sorry Alok, I expected better from an IITK guy. Even Appu who was with me understands that there is loss of information when data is transferred from one format to the other. But then her mind is still alive.
I then tried meeting S.N.Sharma (AGM-NOC) who sits in the NOC department and is supposed to interact with the public for their relevant cases. I tried showing the researched documents and information to him. He pushed the papers away saying that I could take them elseware. That he did not need them. I felt disrespected and humiliated. I told him that if he did not need the information, he could throw it in the dustbin. To which he replied, ‘yahaan mat aaya karo’. I told him that the public could come here for clarifications and justifications but he continued to be rude, arrogant and demeaning till I chose to walk away. It was unfortunate that I had asked my daughter to accompany me for this meeting and she was a witness to this humiliation and disrespect. And after watching this we want our children to study. To excel in academics. What gives S.N.Sharma to humiliate anyone just because he is sitting in that ‘sarkari chair’. Does he know it all? Is there no need for him to learn after getting a government job? He has complete knowledge just because he is sarkari? And our research is useless because we are hungry for knowledge, for our daily bread and butter. Because in their eyes we have ulterior motives? Oh come on, grow up guys. We run because we have no government funding. We are lean and mean and we have to keep learning else we will die. You guys are neither living, nor dead. You are in limbo, in some kind of dream, just as shown in the movie ‘Inception’. Mr. Sharma has shown the levels to which a ‘Sarkari officer’ can fall. Dis-respecting women. Dis-respecting technology. Shame on you Mr. Sharma.
We are still struggling with the software. I argued with Hariom, with Chandrakant, with the entire team. The basics, the fundas need to be clear. We used to say in our graduation days ‘funda gol hai’. we are still struggling with that. ‘Funda gol’.
Chandan is doing a great job of getting the constituency maps uploaded in the shop for the upcoming elctions in U.P. I mean we are late but as they say, better late than never. His focus is clear and he is working with a single minded devotion. ‘Arjun ki aankh’. Like a laser beam. Maybe the shop will generate more money than our other projects. Inshallah. God willing. Best of luck Chandan.
Ritesh is sorting the technical glitches in the shifting of domains, websites and the SSL certificate. The energy levels are high. And we are all running.
We are running our race.
End of the day. Very hectic. Two meetings ( as if a lot is achieved in meetings), one conference call and in the end a discussion with the team. I hope we have achieved the ‘aaj ki dhyadi’ today. Labourers that we are in the realm of GIS. We have to earn our daily bread. The traffic, the noise, the road rage. The intolerance of people. The lies. The manipulations. That is where the real tiredness lies. Not in the actual work.
We are nearly done with the pre-feasibility reports of a few sites. Chandan has uploaded the UP district maps in hindi along with their scale, description and price. Waiting for the first sale to happen on the online shop. Hariom is finding his feet and has inched forward in the application we are developing using open source GIS. That is a huge breakthrough. Just the fact that we are moving forward and are not stuck, at least technically. Emotionally and financially, there are still miles to cover.
We have found a decent cook for the office and everyone is happy about the quality of food being served (Thank God!). The rats are being taken care of and the office is clean. Quite an achievement.
We are approaching the end of the month (Do I need a reminder?). And that means the beginning of next month. Need I say anymore. The excel sheet is damn scary. The outgoing being much higher than the incoming (which is a trickle). Time to hand over. Surrender. Time to just get on my knees and ask for a miracle. Again (How many times can God do a miracle for us?).
There are successful people all around. Seems like they have it all. But cannot compare their outsides with our insides. They have their race to run and we have ours. There is no competition at all. Hence no need for feeling resentful. We are where we are supposed to be. period. Take it or leave it.
I am glad the day is over for today. Have not been feeling too well since morning. Appu also needs a visit to the doctor for her toe which has been hurting since she went to Pune for her performance. Tommorrow. Tommorrow is always another day.
Another lease for 24 hours.
Dew drops glistening on the grass in the sunlight. Beautiful sight. One that can stay in the mind for a long time. It felt good to be able to go for a walk after a long time. Without the pressure of an impending meeting or critical bills hanging over the head. At least for now.
Chandrakant is in Mumbai today to pick up the coordinates of a few sites. ‘Coordinates’, the be all and end all of our existence. Our life depends on it. And of course he has flown and was very excited about the trip (specially the part where the air hostesses come in). Chandan has uploaded the district maps of UP in hindi. Quite a feat for us. The testing of the payment gateway integration for the online shop finally seems to be moving towards completion. Hopefully it should be complete by the end of this year. We need to start selling the maps. Revenue, revenue. Think of ways and means to generate more. and more. Jo jeeta wohi sikander hai bhai. Keep earning.
Hariom is figuring out a way to run spatial queries for detecting the surfaces where the site lies using open source GIS. He is moving. Sometime just moving is enough. At least we are not standing still.
Appu is back. It was a tiring trip. She could not really gel with her group ( most of them indulged in binge drinking and ogling at boys occasionally). So it was not entirely an ‘unforgettable trip’. But it was an experience. They came third and were loudly cheered during their performance. She is glad she is back and I am glad too. Too much ‘aloneness’ leads to ‘loneliness’.
We have four housekeeping guys in the office. Two in the morning shift and two in the night. We continue to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, all cooked in the pantry of the office. A tall order by any means. Its tough to arrange the milk, vegetables, curd on a daily basis. The weekend is here. Which also means it is time to get the weekly rations. My God. I mean the week has ended too early. Two meetings lined up for this evening (late evening, night hi bolo). Have kept no meeting for tommorrow. Just need to be. To not have to rush every minute of the day. To not have the mind think continuously about the next task on the list.
Kya paya. Kya khoya. Pata nahin. What did we lose? What did we gain? Do not know the accounts as yet. I guess the balance sheet will be prepared in the end. When is the end? Or is it every moment? Or at the end of each day? Before the next day begins?
Hisaab Kitaab. Accounting. of time. of good deeds and bad. Of kindness and cruelty. Of honesty and dishonesty. Too complicated for human beings. We can only handle the accounting of money. Our 2D thinking cannot go beyond it to the realm of multi-dimensional accounting. Toh chod do. So let us leave it to the universe.
The story of our lives.