June 30, 2009

The Bandra-Worli sealink opens tonight

The highly anticipated and much discussed Bandra-Worli sea link will opened to the public at midnight today. Some sort of pre-inauguration happened today morning with dazzling lights and lasers, fireworks as well as thousands of onlookers. It will be officially inaugurated tonight by Smt. Sonia Gandhi. It is being touted as being the pride of not only Mumbai, but also India as it is one of the first sea bridges built here. It took 10 years for it to come real, 5 years more than expected and after much resistance from the local fishing community.

The bridge has managed to generate much hype and attention, with potential commuters already thinking toll plans to be taken. The bridge will operate toll-free from July 1 to July 5, a politically motivated move. Also, just 4 out of the 8 lanes will be operational for the first 6 months from now. So, the bridge will be 'fully' operational close to New Year.

At 5.6 km length with 8 lanes, the bridge promises to cut down the daily commute time between Bandra and Worli from 40 minutes to 7-8 minutes. A lot has been said about what a gigantic engineering marvel it is - steel rope as much as the circumference of the earth, weight of nearly 50,000 African elephants and what not. But what is most noble about the bridge is its purpose - reducing traffic on the congested Mahim Causeway and providing a quick and comfortable ride to Mumbai's harried commuter.

What will be interesting to see is how the average Mumbaikar reacts to all the infrastructural changes happening around. The sea link is only the beginning - the Metro is in its first phase, skywalks are mushrooming everywhere and the Link Road from Mira Road to Santacruz is 90% complete. The Mumbaikar will notice how Mumbai's landscape has changed dramatically over the last 5-6 years. Open spaces are being eaten up, roads are getting congested and trains have not improved much in spite of the quadrupling of tracks and all. In 5-10 years from now, Mumbai will be completely different - for better or for worse!

Here's s nice map for you to pore over - though it is a bit old one at the time of this writing - the sea link is under construction in this map!

June 25, 2009

SSC results out

SSC results are out and Latur is in the spotlight again. After all, a state topper with 98 odd percent never goes unnoticed. What's more interesting here is that Mumbai is the third last among the eight divisions in Maharashtra with a pass percentage of 78.66%.

Read the newspaper and you'll see figures and comparisons, interviews and quotes from toppers, teachers and principals. And don't forget the 'special' kids - Down syndrome, night schools, you name it. But what really takes the cake this time round is Kapil Sibal's announcement about scrapping Class 10 board exams altogether. That is some news!

Eyebrows are being raised over Mumbai's dismal performance this time. It is believed that students with Marathi as primary medium have fared poorer than those with English. That does not indicate anything. What is credible is, as the principal of a Vidyalaya in Dadar says, is that children in cities are more focused on 'all-round development', not as much on academics.

Now, that 'all-round development' term is synonymous with 'distraction'. It is plain - children now are much more distracted than say what we were, six years before. I don't say that we 2003 passouts were a very studious lot. But, a peek into the lives of Mumbai teenagers today, and you'll say that's a lot stuffed in there.

There are coaching classes. And that too, 2 or 3 of them for each.With a school duration of 5-6 hours and 1-1.5 hours for each coaching class (or private tuition), there's not much time left even to have a proper meal. I recently taught Mathematics to one SSC student, (I went to his place and taught twice a week) and I was his third Maths teacher after the school teacher and a Private Tuition teacher. I was required for "additional guidance" in Maths, and that too from June! Allegedly, the student was not "motivated" enough in Maths. He had to appear for two Prelims in school, weekly tests in each of his 3 private tuitions (Maths-Science, Hindi-Marathi, English) and "additional guidance" from me and one other. WTF! The student had lost all interest in life and constantly fought with his mother in whatever little time he spent at home.The student was in such a bad condition by January, I just quit. I told him, "Dude, you have 2 months. Go for a vacation!"
Who's to blame for all this? Sshhhh!

I called him up yesterday to ask about his results. Don't worry, he had not committed suicide! He had scored 75% overall, with a "not-so-good" 100 out of 150 in Maths and 78 out of 150 in Science.
I said,
"Yet, you managed 75%".
"Yes, 147 in Social Sciences".
"Whoa! Great! Good going! So what are you planning to do?"
"I am not. Mom is."

My father was SHOCKED on hearing the 98.61% aggregate of the topper in the news. Calming down, he said it's all a part of the liberalization by the state board to keep up with the other boards.
"No, dad, look! That's Latur, not Mumbai!"

All the best to the Indian Cricket Team!

The India vs West Indies ODI series begins tomorrow and I just cannot wait to see the Indian team in action again. Although there is no Zaheer, Sachin, Sehwag and even Irfan, it certainly is THE strongest team in ODIs.

The thing I am most excited about is the performance of the new players. Abhishek Nayar is a very exciting prospect as seen in my favourite IPL team Mumbai Indians. His almost-match-winning innings in the humdinger against Rajasthan Royals with that extra-cover six off Johan Botha is still fresh in memory (his dismissal the very next ball also is!). Ravindra Jadeja has till now been seen only in T20 - it will be interesting to see how he plays the ODIs. He is more valuable as a bowler and fielder than a batsman and Dhoni will keep that in mind always after that disastrous innings against England in the World T20! Pragyan Ojha is one of the best spinners in form, and along with Harbhajan Singh, the duo can be a handful. In fact, Harbhajan Singh is one of the best middle-over bowlers in ODIs.

The players who have been in the team for quite some time need to pull up their socks. Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni need to get their act together in batting - Yuvraj seems to have sleepy body language while Dhoni needs to look more for the boundaries - simply trying to increase one's batting average to be counted among the best is a folly for the team. I am not saying that he is not a team player - it is just that he must bat better than what he is now and not many will disagree with me on that. Gautam Gambhir is surprisingly in bad form (after all, he is a human!). Right since the IPL, he does not seem to be timing the ball well. The ODI format will serve him right to get back in form. Rohit Sharma's lazy elegance has deserted him as of now but he is a class player and will bounce back.

You may say that the Indian team is not the best team right now, keeping in mind the World T20. But, writing off a team for just 2 losses on 2 bad days would be a folly. India WILL shine in WI and win the ODI series. In spite of the renewed confidence of the WI team, I feel that WI will not be up to the task (Gayle likes ONLY T20 anyway and so does the team and the nation). Their bowling will be taken apart and their batting, though promising, may just win them a match at most.

So, here's wishing WI all the best, and India all the matches!

June 5, 2009

Hello and Welcome!

Hello, reader!
Welcome to my first full-fledged blog. I just gave the last exam in my Bachelor in Engineering (I.T.) graduate course last week and am feeling free and relieved. My experience with the Mumbai University syllabus and education system was a mixed bag and I would not like to recount even a bit here. Though I must mention one thing, "Aptitude does not necessarily translate into good grades" here in Mumbai University. (Many of my more illustrious friends and bloggers will testify to this fact.)
My posts will mostly be tech-based - although I will be providing links to my other programming blog(s) (if at all I make one) as and where necessary. So you must not be caught unawares anywhere. You may find my posts inclined towards some major topics (Google, Windows 7 maybe), so I'll try to categorize them for ease of reading.
So, that's it! Hope you have an enriching time at this blog and Happy Blogging!