18 June, 2008

Traffic management

option 1: Option 2:
Option 3:
I think that the government here is trying hard with number 1 (massive infrastructure investment), but what is really needed is number 3. That is all I have to say about that.
I have not been able to come up with something very interesting to write about for the past few weeks, may be that is just a reflection of life these days. Staid, plain, mundane, routine are the words which come to mind.
Workwise, things are ok. A few clients and a few potential clients. The gathering inflation rain clouds have managed to take the joy away from the early showers / timely monsoons. Things will get worse from a business point of view as the government takes steps to dampen demand. However, since we are a tactical marketing arm and not really into branding, we should be hit at the end. When tactical spend is getting hit, things are going to be so bad anyway that it wont matter.
Personal life wise, things are just about ok. Things are moving and not moving and all I want to do is to do the right thing. Doing the right thing implies taking a decision. Decision making, by my definition, is 1)selecting option out of many, 2)based on a predetermined set of criteria, 3)using the best possible information.
The information can only be best possible, because perfect information would mean that there is an equation which has to be solved, not a decision to be made.
I guess the reader and author both by now have realised that the author is in a rut!

02 June, 2008

Tips to save energy!

I went through some information on energy saving on a US website here, and have contextualised it for an Indian audience below:

The energy we use at home accounts for quite a bit of India's contribution to global warming. As incomes rise and consumption increases, this energy and co2 will only increase.
This means making smart choices at home matters, not only for saving on utility bills, but also i helping reduce global warming.

Heating and cooling
This is a top home energy user, with the average household producing about four tons of heat-trapping pollution a year (in the US, data for india not available) . It is heavily influenced by weather. Warmer summers increase greenhouse gas pollution from heavy air conditioning use.
Even as the weather varies, your choices can help spew less global warming pollution.
• In summer, keep shades drawn to keep the cool in.
• In winter, open shades to let the sunlight to help warm rooms.
• Use water coolers in the first few months of the summer when the humidity is not high. An air cooler is much more enery efficient than an air conditioner and it saves you electricity bills as well
• Buy air-conditioners whic have an energy star rating only
• Buy air-conditioners which can be programmed to be at a particular temperature.
• Temperatures of upto 28 degrees are comfortable. Every degree higher will translate into energy savings, less electricity consumption and Co2 reductions.
• Clean or replace the air filter on your air conditioner.
• Plant trees around your house to cut cooling costs in summer if you can. They help the local water table (which can reduce the cost of water pumps)
• Insulate your walls and ceilings.
• In case of a house, use a light-colored or reflective paint on the roof.

After heating, refrigerators and freezers are generally the home's next two big energy eaters. Other appliances follow closely. Together, these items account for nearly eight tons of heat-trapping emissions per household per year.
• Upgrade to Energy Star products. Not all appliances are equal. Whether you're in the market for a new fridge, toaster or air conditioner, look for Energy Star choices, which offer the best energy savings.
• Size counts. When in the market for an appliance, make sure you buy what suits your needs. Items too large or too small waste electricity and your money.
• Unplug. Your electric meter is often adding up kilowatt hours when you don’t think you’re using an appliance. Unplug toasters and cell phone and other chargers when they’re not in use.
• Use power strips and switch off the whole strip: Cable boxes and video game boxes, and to a lesser extent TVs and VCRs, use almost as much energy when they're off as when they're on. Make it easy to turn them all the way off—plug them into a power strip and turn off the whole strip. Consumer Reports also offers more detailed ratings and green buying guides for appliances, from vacuum cleaners to laundry machines.


Lighting accounts for about fair amount of enery consumption after heating and cooling have been accounted for. In terms of heat-trapping pollution, that means the lights in the average household produce just over a ton of carbon dioxide each year. Here are a few steps to lower those numbers.
• Use energy-efficient lights. Changing just one 75-watt bulb to a compact fluorescent light cuts roughly 1,300 pounds of global warming pollution(Again a US number, but I think that apart from power cuts, the number woul be the same in India). They also last up to 15 times as long and save you money.
• Turn off lights. A good chunk of lighting expenses is from rooms that stay unnecessarily lit.
• Use natural light. Open shades and use sunlight to help light rooms.
• Install motion-sensors so that lights automatically turn on when someone is in the room and turn off when empty. (A very US oriented tip, however, such technology is now available in India and is cheaper than you think!)
Other energy efficient choices for your home
• Use the energy saver cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when full.
• Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.

And a really big one:
Raising animals for meat is more co2 intensive than using the piece of land for crops.
Going vegetarian helps the environment as it cuts out the middleman (Meat!). This one will be a tough nut for me to crack.

01 June, 2008

Oh Calcutta!

So I went to 'Oh Calcutta' yesterday for Lunch. There were four of us and I was the first one to show up, so I had some time to look around. This one is built opposite the Satyam at Nehru Place (which is a new movie theatre built on what used to be a parking lot) and has quite an expensive parking lot (Rs 50 for 2 hours). I parked outside on the road and then made my way inside. The maitre'd was nice and quickly got me a table. He was quite helpful. I had mentioned that I was waiting for three others, and I saw him ask quite a few groups of three poeple they were looking for Saurabh.

Back to Oh Calcutta!

What were the other things nice about the place:
- the restaurant is well spread out and they have not tried to cramp the place up
- there are various seating options - tables for 2/3/4/5/6/8 (I think!)
- The service was prompt. They did try to upsell (regular water or bottled water and the like), which is something I personally dislike, but managed to sound very genuine.
- The prices were reasonable. Actually, I do not really know as my friends paid for it (A resounding round of applause to the Jains and to AR). But I think the buffet was around Rs600 (including taxes)
Some astute readers might have realised by now that the restaurant review has overlooked mentioning the food so far. Good point, I will say. Well made, I can add to that. The central theme here is Bengali food. Since I have not had too much Bengali food (all my bong aunties used to make sure they were well stocked in chole-bhature every time I went to their house), I can not be an authority of the quality of the jhol or taste of the steamed Hilsa.
However, since many a large meal have passed through me, I know a good one when I get one. Overall, the meal was fantastic. It was very mild and had the taste/look/feel of home-cooked food. I had the fish curry, the lamb and the prawn curry. The prawn curry was labeled 'thakurbadi', which means that it had been cooked as it used to be cooked in Tagore's kitchen.

I would recommend Oh Calcutta! to people who like normal north indian food - rich in variety and flavour, low in oil, lots of courses etc.