Internet, Social Media Jai Ho

It was a weekday evening. The TV serials were on in full swing. During the commercial break, my mother turned the TV off. A few minutes later, she tried to turn it back on and, lo and behold, it would not turn on. The red light at the bottom of the TV monitor turned to blue like it always does, but the TV did not seem to come alive like it normally does! In desperation, she gave up on the remote and tried the TV’s switch instead. Still no luck. She was distraught, as you can imagine, given the strangle-hold the TV serials have on our people, especially the aged. Promptly, the family queued up to salvage the crisis. Everything from turning off the main switch to slapping the TV on its back was tried, but to no avail. I am sure she had that sinking feeling at the thought of missing “all the serials” of the evening. It’s moments like this that stir people to action. In my mother’s case, she used a rare combination of “shaming” and “challenging” when she said to me, “You studied Electrical Engineering from IIT, don’t you know how to fix this?” Yikes! The first part was certainly true but the second was not, unfortunately. But it was my “izzat ka saval hai” moment. So I promptly fell back on most people’s modern-day be-all and end-all of solutions — Google search!

A few quick searches took me to the manufacturer’s website. As usual, you find all the information that is available except the one you are looking for. A fresh search on Google took me to some discussion groups where I found others who had similar issues. But alas, no solution to the problem. That’s when my better half decided to search for video solutions to the problem on YouTube. And guess what? A fellow TV owner who had the exact same issue had gone to great lengths to describe and demonstrate the solution to this problem! The problem was that two “diodes” on a particular circuit board were busted and needed to be replaced. It’s been years since I had touched a circuit board, let alone replaced a part on it. It was at this juncture that my wife decided that she had more than done her part. “You are the Electrical Engineer, you should know how to do this,” she said, rubbing it in.

Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times

The need for sustained activism and a healthy dose of paranoia

In response to my recent article on Parliament vs. Team Anna, some readers responded by expressing their sense of despair and helplessness over the failure of the anti-corruption struggle in achieving a strong Lokpal bill. “Our corrupt political system is not going to change overnight. Our politicians are not going to turn righteous and pass a strong Lokpal bill. How do we get to our desired end-goal?” This seems to be the popular sentiment among those who genuinely care about change and reform. At the other extreme are the pessimists who say without mincing words, “This country will never improve for the next several generations!”

Sri Sri Ravishankar, in a recent article in the Huffington Post, advocated a two pronged approach. To pass the Jan Lokpal bill, on the one hand, and to create awareness among public about ethical and moral values against corruption, on the other. He rightly says, “An individual alone cannot fight the menace of corruption. Without strong community support, individuals are likely to succumb to corruption. Strong community which would help the weak and vulnerable is most essential.” This sounds like a worthy plan, but getting past the first hurdle of passing strong anti-corruption laws still seems insurmountable.

 Click here to read the rest of the article in The Economic Times