Friday, December 20, 2013

Yogendra Yadav from Aam Aadmi Party visits Bangalore, 19-DEC-2013

Following are the notes from the session that I could capture and post the live on FB and such. Putting them together here (not necessarily in the chronological error).

But first the details of the next event below -

AAP invits u 2 a session with PrashantBhushan. Sun,22Dec,3-5PM. JainTrustHall, WoodStreet, Opp.BrigadeTowers, AshokNagar,BLR.

The link to venue is below. Please spread the word. This is the finest form of participatory democracy we have seen. Come by!


Also before the notes please go through why we are so hopeful about AAP and wish to support it. A friend (Rajesh Golani) has written about it -

"Hey Guys, I used to be a fan of Modi once, and I still regard him better than most other politician. But after spending some days with AAP, and I realized it was at another level. They had all the answers that you wanted to know. Every effort is made to put everything online, and make it as clean as possible. Ofcourse they do make mistakes, but I see lot of intent to fix things. 

Then when I started comparing with BJP, I realized there are lot of things which are grey. They don't disclose their source of funding. I dont find anywhere how much did they spend on elections in Delhi. What are they planning to do about wide scale liquor and cash distribution. Most importantly I want to know what kind of deal they are working out with Yedurappa, and what investigation they have done regarding Nitin Gadkari for murder of 7 year old kid in his car. They may all be non-guilty and fine, but what is the point in not making it clear. 

First time when I went to AAP, I was told that you don't have to only campaign for AAP but you have to campaign for all the good clean candidates of BJP and Congress. Please disclose all our strategies in public, dont be afraid, if other political parties can employ them it is only going to help. The fight is not to come to power, the fight is to clean up politics. Force other parties to field clean candidates, fight elections with white money. If that happens AAP does not need to exists. I really identify with this cause. If BJP/Congress really wants to do something of that sort, I would love to volunteer with them. I have tried contacting them multiple times, but I dont get any reply, maybe am not writing to right people. 

Further as far as Modi is concerned, yes he maybe better if you compare with other BJP/Congress leaders. But if BJP wins, and we have likes of Gadkari and Yedurrappa in cabinet, how are we expected stricter anti-corruption laws, women's safety. I am scared of all the Senas who seem to think that they are authority on Indian culture and how women should appear in public else they would start beating up people. If Modi does not raise voice against them now, how are we expecting him to do so once he forms Government. Would it not become even more difficult. Maybe BJP has already thought about these answers but I dont seem to see or hear about them anywhere. 
Secondly I would request all the BJP supporters to compare Gujarat before and after Modi. That would give idea of the progress. Am looking for data in that regards, if anyone has it, please share on this forum. I am from Baroda, and except Government offices being efficient, I dont see much difference in Gujarat pre and in era of Modi. So I feel Modi has done good work, but that has been exaggerated to remarkable extent. 

Can we all not get together and seek these answers of BJP, does anyone have any email or phone number of BJP that they reply to. (Ofcourse I have same concerns with Congress as well, and seeking answers from them)

The idea is to pressurize Political parties to be clean, and lets try to do that in our capacities. Cant we get together and make things better."

The Notes follow -


#AAP we are in decision mode. No discussion please

#AAP YY - "sincere apologies for being late. Apologies for not knowing kannada the language has more gyanpeeth awards than other languages.     Will speak in hindi and english." There is request for Kannada translation. Summary translation requested by YY despite residence 

#AAP Never in the history has a runner up spoken about to this extent! :-) man if the year award,  Newsmaker of the year award, etc. People are treating this a victory! :-) yeh ek naitik jeet hai! :-)

 #AAP the big apartments would not let us in. The watchmen said, "I will vote for you but I can't let you in! :-)" The huts let us in, gave chai and contributed 10/- they are the reason this happened! :-)

#AAP We are faced with challenges. A party only of delhi/metro. Honesty is not the monopoly of people living in the cities. They can't handle such responsibility. They are a party of north India. 

#AAP the politics has become like companies - Devegowda and sons, rajiv gandhi and sons, wives, daughters and son in law and company. AAP is not a company! :-)

#AAP no party in the history of India has ever requested the people not too vote for their candidate. AAP did this for one candidate as there was a FIR against him on domestic violence. The case hadn't been heard but the candidate did not disclose this case so he was asked to withdraw. It was late to withdraw so this announcement went that despite the jhaadu sign please do not vote for him. Not one media covered it! :-)

#AAP the manifestos were made in open with discussion public. Who should be there leader. Calls like i will get you 20000 volunteers just get me a seat. They respond "why don't you get the volunteers and do the work. When the time to choose the candidate comes you will be chosen based on your work" they never heard from him again! :-) such things are unheard of! :-D

#AAP hum ek nimitt matr hain. We are a vehicle to this change. If we think we are the pen wiring history the arrogance will be the end of AAP! :-)

#AAP we shouldn't waste even a minute congratulation ourselves. We now have a challenge and we need to work towards that. We have a glimpse of what an ordinary person can do. Now is the real work. Bade kaam chup chap hote hain. Choti choti cheezen will lead to an extra ordinary result! :-)

#AAP we have been sitting in dark for an hour now and wonder is the power has been but to this place specifically? :-) The session moves nevertheless! :-)) 

#AAP Please don't have railway compartment mentality. We have a huge responsibility at hand, a huge opportunity and we are so tiny! :-) Itihaas ne bahut bada avasar hume diya aur hamari jholi choti hai. Choti soch ke liye koi jagah nahi hai. We have to make friends even people who criticise is if they are capable. Join hands with them. Ticketaarthi log aayenge but we have to be very careful. There is only one way to get ticket - chappal ghisso! :-)) is there someone better than me for this. Get that person. He is the one we are looking for! :-) like Rajani Kothaari who accepted a professor at a higher place than himself in his own institute! :-)

#AAP the volunteer that does the quiet job even so of giving receipts! :-) not the one who gets into the frame! :-D there is an advantage to not have experience! :-) we innovate, political parties don't do surveys, we did. 

#AAP Expand, organize, innovate and finally we need to learn! :-) Parnab asked what did you learn. YY "i learnt how little i know about politics" :-) we need to learn from the people! :-) 

#AAP 30000 people have a registered as members in the last 9 days. Maximum contribution from Bangalore and now you can clap. When people say we are hindi wala it hurts - We are india wala! :-) Karnataka is the place we are looking forward to. People should never tell Hindi wala again! :-)

#AAP we will change the politics, we will create a future for our children and in the process become better people than we are! :-)

#AAP Even this place has not been booked. Donated by the owner. The power is not there. The meeting continues unhindered. Thanks to the volunteers! :-) I wonder if the power was cut intentionally. Someone is scared perhaps! :-D a fine example of persistence! :-))

#AAP We have surprised then in past
We will surprise them in future! :-)

#AAP YY explains the current situation with AAP with this story “There are a father and son with a donkey. If the dad walks and son sits on the donkey - they will say cruel son doesn’t care about dad, if son walks they will say - cruel dad doesn’t take care of the son, if they both sit they will say “cruel people poor donkey” and if both decide not to sit then they will say “look at these donkeys - they are not using the donkey”! :)

#AAP one of the lady volunteers "jab baby hua job chhod diya, jab delhi main election hua toh baby chhod diya! :-)"

#AAP YY "aristotle said that politics is the highest virtue for the human. In sports there is a decathlon and politics is that..."


The video above showing the work of Arvind Kejriwal from 12 years ago! :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Vaidolai at Chaukul

I always thought Chuna consumed in the form of pan or directly is injurious to health but this talk by the local Vaidya got us thinking about all such notions we carry.


It is one of the cheapest freely available remedy for a lot of ailments. Someone asked if there is some pure version and the Vaidya said that it is so cheap that it would be hard to find an adulterant cheaper than Chuna! :)

He said that a pinch of Chuna taken with 4 spoons of water can help -

1. Combat acidity : When you have acidity all you need is some alkali material to soothe your digestive tract. Chuna is an excellent remedy taken in the diluted form as suggested above. It is calcium carbonate and tackles the acid giving instant relief better than the ENO and such that we fetch. Cheap home remedy.

2. Fight Dental Caries

3. Takes care of the worms

4. Deal with Calcium Deficiency - is an excellent calcium supplement unlike Sandoz it is a natural form and doesn't hurt the system. If you take higher amounts in other forms it might cause troubles associated with excess calcim - blockage of arteries that leads to heart attack <>. Chuna on the other hand is used only in the necessary quanties and excreted otherwise.

5. Reduce hair loss and improves the texture of the hair. At this point all the ladies in the audience were like - I beg your pardon, what was that, etc! :D So he goes on telling what is good for the hair and recommends khopra oil (kaccha highly). This he recommends oral consumption as well. It is an excellent remedy for Dry Cough. When applied with lesun (garlic) aids in healing pains. Garlic needs to be heated till it turns black and then use it with the oil. Mustard oil is also good for pains. There is a mention of maala good for throat - garlic kaadha.

Taking Chuna as indicated above early in the morning on an empty stomach is recommended highly.

Jaggrey mixed Chuna makes an excellent plaster that can be used to form a cast for fractures and sprains. If Chuna is applied directly to the sprain it helps heal faster.

Q. Isn't pan bad for health? All that we keep hearing about Supari?

Pan can be very good when it has Chuna, Supari and Katha without the scented ingredients. Supari (without saccrine, scent, unprocessed and sundried) is actually quite good. Katha helps fight blood diseases. In fact it is a good remedy Naksir (Nose Bleeding) - just two drops brought close to the nose (Even Hariyal Ras helps - 4 drops). A good pan consists of Chuna, Katha, Saunf, Long (Clove), Gulkand & Dried scent free supari. Next time you eat one you can ask them to make it without all the jazz!:))

Rai and Ajwain are very helpful in dealing with aches when taken with warm water. Turmeric and ajwain (or rai) when taken with Dhup ka Dhuan is very good for cold and cough. It also helps with Stomach ailments. The Dhuan can also help with non-healing wounds when exposed to the smoke.

Burnt Cowdung Toothpowder Ingredients -
Cowdung Ash (200g) + Alum (2 spoon) + pepper (1 spoon) + camphor (1 spoon) + salt (4 spoon) - 5 ingredients make an excellent tooth powder to keep away all dental ailments. Use your finger to clean the teeth and massage your gums well. I have tried this and it appears to be very good - there is no minty flavor in the mouth like the regular toothpaste but you feel your mouth has been cleansed well - this is subjective of course! :)

Since honey was being sold in the gaanv haat (pure honey from vilagers on sale) we asked the advantages of Honey. He said consumption of Honey in the morning with _cold_ water helps cut fat (he warned not to use warm water unless prescribed by someone knowledgeable. He talks about Panchamrit - honey + ghee + doodh + dahi + sugar (misri not processed).

Constipation - take 8 spoons of copra with garam paani

Hariyali is another useful remedy - couldn't catch the other name for it and forget the uses now! :(

These are remedies used for over 100 years with no known side effects and yet people are happy to go with Allopathy medicines which might have side effects worse than the problem they solve at times! :)

My faith in the alternative medicine only increases...

Hope this helps.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

21.1 kms and 1 paper cup later...

Had a nice time at the Kaveri Trail Marathon - such a beautiful trail - I can't believe I haven't run so far! It was great to see so many smiling faces after a long time in a run. Bangalore runs are becoming very serious and competitive types. Not that this was any less competitive but there was such warmth in the air! :) Extremely inspiring runners in the full marathon runners (also in the half marathon troupe). Some of them made running look so effortless - hope to get there sometime! :)) Rachel the lady who was the _winner_ today was like gliding along with hardly any pressure on the feet.

Lovely weather - I was almost tempted to stop and start clicking - anyways the barefoot shoes were a little painful today! :D All running was on forefoot today but had to walk a lot after 12th kilometer due to lot of discomfort in the left leg. Towards the end around last 3 kilometers I just got rid of the ear phones and the shoes, went to the stream dipped my legs in the cold water (what relief! :)) and ran - that was the best part of the half marathon today. The timing went for a toss but I improved on Auroville timing (3:15 mins). Need to work on that and importantly the comfort of the feet! :)) I am coming to believe that no shoes is the way to go.

Karthik (the pic above!:)) did much better barefoot - ran most of the trail on forefoot and finished in under 3 hours! :) I am thinking I will chuck shoes for running fully barefoot very soon! Already did a 5 km barefoot on tar. Might do the coming Wipro Spirit run 21K barefoot or at least in the Vivo shoes without the sleeve (the sleeve was a big mistake!!!).

Glad to see so many people turning to barefoot footwear. Saw at least 3 runners with no footwear! :D This is a heathy trend indeed. Shoe making companies will get into trouble and so will the doctors that recommend knee replacement like nobodies business (actually their business!!! :D).

KTM and Auroville remain close to heart. Notes to self -

1. Carry a hydration bag - holding that one paper cup was not pleasant but later I figured just rotating it in the hand kept me going actually! :)
2. Reach start point on time and not rush through the start!
3. Eat healthy night before - ate some very delicious Andhra food at RRR - looks like they use soda in the unlimited meals. Lotsa trouble during the run! :D

Look forward to clocking more miles err Smiles! :)

Happy Running,

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Tomatoes for thought - La Tomatino

Some things to ponder about -

Population of spain
- 2010 estimate 46,030,109[1] (27th)
- Density 93/km2 (106th)
231/sq mi

Population of India
- 2011 census 1,210,193,422[8] (2nd)
- Density 365.5/km2 (31st)
946.6/sq mi

Anything we do be it Holi or Tomatino we need to be aware that the resources we use are going to be limited. What some others possibly can afford - probably we can't.

Why are we having the festival? Somebody can make money - will they be buying the tomatoes from farmers at a fair price or will it be another profit making venture where costs will be cut at any cost? :)

Will they organize this event responsibly?

What happens after the event to the tomatoes - composted or wasted?

Point to those against the ban favoring democracy (are we really? Is it not a money making venture end of the day? Might as well sell dope/sex legally? Why is burning currency illegal?)

Point to those requesting for a ban - please retain this energy when Holi comes around and million other things that lead to wastage! :)

The trouble is it becomes a nice money making venture we will have more of it as it we don't have enuf of such things already - ganesha festival for example.

What is my take - no take - might as well do something more fruitful! And yes I will stay away from any such 'celebration'! :))

PS: I do celebrate Holi moving to natural colors slowly and using the same pair of clothes or those that are torn out - trying to reduce the amount of water used but yes it is scary (rather scarier) that it has a scale much larger than La Tomatino and nobody will notice loss of water like loss of food - water being a more important resource!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Creating an ecosystem - making NGOs self reliant

In the many years of volunteering with several NGOs we realized one thing that is most important to an NGO is their funding and effective use of the same. One children's home in particular comes to mind - Indira Gandhi International Academy - a nice write up about the place can be found here. When we visited the place long back it had several problems. The kids managed most of the things on their own. We used to get distress calls about funds every now and then. The Bright Society hardly managed the place well. If they got funding all of it was used in making food - a complete sink. Old clothes and toy collection drives helped them now and then. The problem nobody could support them for long as it is a life long process.

What could be done?

Generate Income

There are several ways NGOs make their own income. A lot of them are into creating craft items and make a decent amount of money through the sale. The children could be trained in some of the crafts which will be good learning and the products if made well will have a good value. A friend trained kids at an orphanage in making ganesha idols and it later was attempted to help them make money via terracota products. Focus needs to be shifted from raising funds to generating income!

Cut Costs

One of the biggest problems in most such places is efficient use of resources. A lot of the NGOs I know don't have a dearth of space (as they might be remotely located). If it is a residential place like the IHAI children's home this place could be used to grow their own food. The kids not very bright at studies could be trained in such initiatives as terrace gardening or home garden - growing their own food - new methods like hydroponics could be tested though that is debatable. This would at least bring down part of the costs. Fuel/lighting are other ongoing expenses which where alternatives could be looked like solar power. A lot of corporates would rather fund something which will sustain than a months ration.

Waste Management

It was probably a tradition to donate cows in the past and something that can be looked at for a place like this. The cows takes care of the dairy product needs to some extent. Again if the kids are trained a lot of the kitchen waste generated can be fed to the cows. The part that can be fed (cooked food) can be composted to create good manure to be used for the terrace/home garden.

Cow urine can be used to make panchagavyam or sold as is for a price that is higher than that of milk. The training of kids in this area can serve as vocational training probably more useful than a lot of the conventional education which a lot of children may not have the aptitude for. If there is funding (more likely for such a cause) a biogas plant can be setup to cut the costs of fuel in the kitchen which is significant (if solar cooker is not feasible that is). If not bio digester there is alwasy the option of vermi composting which has an increasing market today or can be consumed in their own garden.

Going a step ahead we can setup a complete liquid waste management from the toilets and kitchen. This would generate income once the project is stable.

Rainwater Harvesting

Water requirements if currently paid for can be curtailed to some extent by storing the rain water. Minimally recharging of ground water is important. The space that the NGO has could be put to very good use.

Tree Plantation

Planting trees has become a cliched initiative for most corporates. But if you club it up with planting fruit bearing trees and such for a NGO might just interest them. There is an animal shelter Krupa in Kengeri which has 300 acres of space. The funding for animal care is often limited and their expense is mostly the care takers. Most of the above methods could be put in place for the same. With tree plantation the care takers can make some income for themselves. At a place like IHAI if the kids are trained - could be supplementary stuff for them to eat or sale of the same can help raise funds. Taking care of trees is an effort that needs to be put in place of course - the advantages several as a much needed pleasant side effect -

Approximately 300 trees can counter balance the amount of pollution 1 person produces in life time.
A single tree produces approximately 260 pounds of oxygen per year. So two mature trees can supply enough oxygen annually to support a family of four.
One tree removes about 1 ton of CO2 per year.
One person causes about 10 tons of carbon dioxide to be emitted a year.Planting 10 trees per person will remove each person's carbon debt for the year.

Info from -

Making the org as self sufficient as can be with these efforts is far fetched as some of these require funding/resources but the way things are going Corporate CSRs are interested in doing something different and interesting. These are just some of the methods in creating an ecosystem. If we create one successful prototype - others can follow suit.

We are trying some experiments at Krupa Animal Shelter & Sri Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind (SRMAB). Both the places have some cows. The expenes of LPG cyclinders at SRMAB is around 36K per month. This can be reduced significantly with a biogas plant setup for the 18 odd cows they have. Currently all the gobar is just lying there losing the methane to the atmosphere!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

No more in the side lanes

The following was the original draft with hyperlinks in place for an article in the Hindu - (A copy towards the end)

When one hears Bangalore most people think of the many parks and gardens some possibly think "Oh the IT capital" but few know that Bangalore is one of the most happening cities when it comes to biking. A community that had a mere 150 members in May 2008, the Bangalore Bikers Club today has nearly 2800 members with upwards of 6000 discussions. I have watched this community grow 20 fold in 3 years since I joined it and this can be attributed to the efforts of various biking initiatives like Bums On The Saddle(BOTS), RideACycle Foundation(RACF), Go Green Initiator(GGI), etc and increased access to better bikes.

Spoilt for choice, are we?

The Bangalore Bikers Calendar is always bustling with activity. Just this weekend we had a Bangalore Bikers Championship race on Rajankunte road with a good turn out where other cities struggle to get bikers come out on a Sunday morning. Another group that organizes cycling tours, Cycling and More, is just back from their ride Green Aisle 2. They organized a second one due to the many registrations and now they need to organize a third which will be in July. Yet another such group, Tandem Trails, has opened their registrations for The Great Malnad Challenge - 800+ kms. Last but not the least, 4th Edition of the most coveted cycling event, Tour oF Nilgiris (TfN), has been announced and is already overbooked. The tour will take 100 bikers across 1000 kms of very beautiful and challenging terrain in the hills of the South. Hardly a weekend goes by when you don't have bikers blazing trails.

It's different!

Things have changed drastically from what it used to be a few years back. One had to probably wait 2-3 months before (s)he got a bike of choice. Today one can go into any of the dozen stores and in all possibility find a good bike with the right size. There are several players in the market and the prizes of high end bikes have come down significantly. Mr. Rakesh Shah, owner of RR International Bikes, told that the sales of Roadstar which was one of the highest selling bike in the 90s has gone down significantly in the last few years but since the advent of high end bikes the business has been flourishing. A lot of people who can commute to work are now considering using these cool bikes to go to work. We have conducted over 50 workshops in various corporates, colleges and apartments to encourage biking to work and otherwise. The traffic and pollution are more a threat for people on motor bikes comes as a surprise to many. The various tours have helped mitigate the myths surrounding biking as well. The many renting options help also since people can now try bikes before the make hefty investments.


Biking is also becoming a serious sport with the many Bicycling Championships and the Bangalore Brevets. There are several racing teams competing in these events and with the Brevets many riders are testing their grit and determination to the fullest. I remember a post, when I was new to group, discouraging newbies to try very long distances without training and now some 120 odd riders go to Nandi as if it were a picnic on a month end long ride. Stats from the brevets - a distance of 200 kms was covered by 100+ riders under 15 hours, around 40+ people did 300 kms in under 20 hours, 30+ did 400 kms and 20+ riders did a 600 km ride in under 40 hours. If your jaws haven't dropped yet there is soon going to be a 1000 km brevet. Even as I write this, a serious rider, Samim Rizvi is cycling 3000 miles (4800 kms) across America in The Race Across America(RAAM) in about a week - Hey Raam! It won't be a surprise if we had a Race Across India very soon.

About me

I have been cycling for as long as I can remember. Started with a BSA champ in 2nd grade and dreamed of buying cool bikes and cycling everywhere when I grew up. Now I am living that dream. I worked with RideACycle Foundation(RACF) on a 3 month sabbatical and that's where I got into evangelizing biking. Been part of most of the workshops conducted to encourage biking and love the growing numbers of the bums on the saddles - we plan to work in a more organized way to increase the same with the Wheels of Change program. Always loved this quote -

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." - H. G. Wells

These numbers give a high but nothing beats the kick you get when you beat your own limits. My favorite ride was from Manali to Leh last year covering 420 kilometers - we had a blast. A more rigorous test was the Tour oF Nilgiris (TfN) with 800+ kms covered in 7 days. Hoping to do the MTB Himachal this year.


The article in Hindu -

No more in the side lanes

Mayank Rungta sporting his favourite gear
Special ArrangementMayank Rungta sporting his favourite gear

The Bangalore bikers' calendar is chock-a-block with activities

When one says ‘Bangalore' most of us think parks, gardens and possibly ‘IT capital'. But few know that Bangalore is one of the most happening cities for biking. A community that had a mere 150 members in May 2008, the Bangalore Bikers' Club today has nearly 2,800 members with upwards of 6,000 discussions.

I have watched this community grow 20-fold in three years since I joined it, and this can be attributed to the efforts of various biking initiatives like Bums On The Saddle(BOTS), RideACycle Foundation(RACF), Go Green Initiator(GGI) among others, and increased access to better bikes.


The Bangalore bikers' calendar is always bustling with activity and hardly a weekend goes by when you don't have bikers blazing trails.

Just this weekend, we had a Bangalore Bikers' Championship race on Rajankunte Road with a good turnout.

This, when other cities struggle to get bikers to venture out on a Sunday morning. Another group that organises cycling tours, Cycling and More, is just back from their ride — Green Aisle 2.

Yet another group, Tandem Trails, has opened registrations for The Great Malnad Challenge – 800 plus km.

Last but not the least, the 4th edition of the most coveted cycling event, Tour of Nilgiris (TfN), has been announced and is already overbooked.

The tour will take 100 bikers across 1000 km of very beautiful and challenging terrain in the hills of the south.

Things have changed monumentally over the last few years. Earlier, one had to wait two or three months before (s)he got a bike of choice. Today, you can go into any of the dozen stores and find a good bike of the right size. Better still, the prices of high-end bikes have come down significantly. A lot of people who can commute to work are now considering hopping on to these cool bikes. We have conducted over 50 workshops in various corporates, colleges and apartments to encourage biking to work and otherwise.

Biking is also becoming a serious sport with the many bicycling championships and the Bangalore Brevets. There are several racing teams competing in these events and with the Brevets, many riders are testing their grit and determination to the fullest.

Even as I right this, a serious rider, Samim Rizvi, is cycling 3,000 miles (4,800 km) across America in The Race Across America (RAAM). Hey Ram! It won't be a surprise if we had a Race Across India very soon.

(Mayank Rungta is an avid biker and works with RideACycle Foundation and is a self-professed evangelist for ‘Bums On The Saddle'.)