Thursday, 25 February 2016

Importance of PRESENCE OF MIND - Some Witty Answers

Whether you call it 'presence of mind' or simply put 'smartness', it helps in coming out of tricky situations. These wisecracks will also bring a smile on your lips.

Contributed by Mr.Balakrishnan :
 Importance of PRESENCE OF MIND in difficult situations

Not only our academic & technical knowledge helps, but also common sense & the presence of mind to give the right answers at right time spontaneously and also to wriggle out of difficult situations.

Even if you don't know the answer for a question, just confuse the questioner(s) and/ or make him/them spellbound by twisting the question or the answer to your perspective.

Questions and the Answers given by Candidates in competitive examinations:

Q. How can you drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it?
A. Concrete floors are very hard to crack!

Q. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it?
A. No time at all its already built.

Q. Approximately how many birthdays does the average Japanese woman have?
A. Just one. All the others are anniversaries.

Q. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in the other

hand, what would you have?
A. Very large hands.

Q. How can you lift an elephant with one hand?
A.. It is not a problem, since you will never find an elephant with one hand.
Q. How can a man go eight days without sleep?
A. He sleeps at night. .

Q. Why it is impossible to send a telegram to Washington today ?
A.. Because he is dead.

Q. If you throw a blue stone into the red sea what will it become ?
A. It becomes wet.

Q. What often falls but never gets hurt ?
A. Rain

Q. What is that no man ever saw which never was but always will be?

Q.. What looks like half apple?
A. The other half.

Q. What can you never eat at breakfast?
A. Dinner.

Q. What gets wet while drying?
A. A towel.

Q. What 3 letters change a girl into a woman ?

Q. What happened when wheel was invented ?
A. It caused a revolution.
Q. How is it easy to weigh a fish?
A. Because it has its own scales.

Q. Why does a bike rest on its leg?
A. Because it is too tyred.

Q. Bay of Bengal is in which state?
A. liquid

Interviewer said "I shall either ask you ten easy questions or only one really difficult question.
The probable thought for a while and said, "my choice is one really difficult question."
"Well, good luck to you, you have made your own choice! Now tell me this. "What comes first, Day or Night?"
The boy was taken aback to reality as his admission depends on the correctness of his answer, but as he thought for a while and said, "It's the DAY sir!"
"How" the interviewer asked,
"Sorry sir, you promised me that you will ask me only one difficult question!" He was selected.

Some anecdotes:

It was an instance during morning walk. One day we were walking and started discussing about benefits of wearing caps and to have minimum heat transfer to head, what should be the color of cap. We stared discussing properties of colors and it was told that black color is maximum absorbent of heat and white color is best reflector, In view of this the cap color should be white. On this, I told my
friend instantaneously, who is a doctor by profession, that he need not wear any cap, as he is having all the hairs on the head and all of them are perfectly white, hence no heat will ever get absorbed by his head, while walking in sun light.
I remember two instances where my presence of mind helped me to get out of embarrassing situations
One was with our records section in drawing office at Central Office. We were placed in a branch office from where I went to get some reference drawing. The man in charge couldn't locate it. Being too young and inexperienced I gave him a piece of my mind for being so careless. He profusely apologised, went in and after a bit of search came out with a crumpled paper, smoothened it out and
showed me that one Mr. Vedamoorthy has taken it and not returned so far. Quickly realising the consequences of exposing myself, without blinking an eye, i told him that this Vedamoorthy sits in my branch and I will take it from him and gracefully walked out unhurt.

The second was on the streets of Ghatkopar. I was in my own thoughts and crossed a busy road without looking at the road. Suddenly a taxi screeched to a halt near me with blaring horn. The driver put his head out and shouted at me saying " andha hai kya अंधा है क्या ?" I immediately put my hand behind my ear and asked "kya bola क्या बोला?". The driver couldn't react and he drove away saying " behra hai, sala marega Kabhi बहरा है, साला मरेगा कभी"

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Dosa Economics and Thermodynamics

A recently published news item was cause to revival of interest in Dosa. It took off from Economics to thermodynamics to some tips on the culinary art of making Dosa. 

(Revised and new items added on 29/05/2016)

As per the news, Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said "dosa economics" shows how inflation can be a silent killer.

Dr Rajan used the example of a pensioner buying a dosa to explain how he can have more dosas today despite earning lower interest on his savings in bank deposits, as long as inflation stays low.

He said, the retired person is getting more for his buck today. He does not realise that "because he is focusing only on the nominal interest he gets and not on the underlying inflation which has come down even more sharply, from about 10 per cent to 5.5 per cent."

And so, "dosa economics." Here is how Dr Rajan explained his point:

"Say the pensioner wants to buy dosas and at the beginning of the period, they cost Rs. 50 per dosa. Let us say he has savings of Rs. 1,00,000. He could buy 2,000 dosas with the money today, but he wants more by investing.

At 10 per cent interest, he gets Rs. 10,000 after one year plus his principal. With dosas having gone up by 10 per cent to Rs. 55, he can buy 182 dosas approximately with the Rs. 10,000 interest.

At 8 per cent interest, he gets Rs. 8,000. With dosas having gone up by 5.5 per cent, each dosa costs Rs. 52.75, so he can now buy only 152 dosas approximately. So the pensioner seems vindicated: with lower interest payments, he can now buy less.

But wait a minute. Remember, he gets his principal back also and that too has to be adjusted for inflation. In the high inflation period, it was worth 1,818 dosas, in the low inflation period, it is worth 1,896 dosas. So in the high inflation period, principal plus interest are worth 2,000 dosas together, while in the low inflation period it is worth 2,048 dosas. He is about 2.5 per cent better off in the low inflation period in terms of dosas".

Dosa and Pizza in economics evoked some interesting reactions.

Recently a news item in TOI involving our RBI governor Raghuram Rajan became a rage with Internet stories Dosa was invoked by him to explain  the relation between  interest rate  and  inflation !

Dubbed as Dosa economics,  to complaints of Getting lesser  number of dosas with interest earned on principle, because of falling interest rates, he seems to have explained that we must be happy that along with that the inflation is coming down and the value of our Principal is going up, so more dosas on principal!

Amirthya Sen, our Nobel laureate economist, who first linked human satisfaction as fundamental to GDP and other economic jargon, when asked to explain his theory, said ' a person in a restaurant ordered Pizza ( normally cut to four parts), and added, cut it to eight pieces, I am very hungry!'  as explaining his theory!

Apart from dosa and pizza, a story with cockroach, is doing the rounds now with our Nadella,  the new boss of Microsoft, since he was here recently.
The story told by him on how to achieve success.

In a restaurant when a cockroach made all the ladies jump and scream when the cockroach flew from person to person, a waiter asked one victim to be patient,not to react, and when the insect settled , gently swept it away, with Nadella  concluding, we mostly REACT and do not RESPOND to problems, which is the real problem!

Makes a lot of sense, I thought!, Since Reaction is in the realm of mind and Response is in the realm of Intellect and wondered why The intellectuals took the Most mundane to explain the Most complicated  to the ordinary mortals! Are we  taken to be that dumb!


Anand Ghare (Myself)
Relating a seemingly complicated issue to some everyday experience is one way of attracting attention. Media gives headlines to such news items. Perhaps that means it works.  I had also once tried to explain development of technology with example of my experience in making Idlis. It also attracted some applause along with some criticism, because people think differently. Both are perfectly acceptable.
So  we can ignore Dosa and Pizza economics as meant for a different audience and enjoy the funny looking titles.


For the philosophically minded, Idli can be a great teacher!
Idli, by itself, does not have any taste. The taste comes by the company it keeps, like Sambar, Chutney, Gothsu etc!
and also the partner it acquires, as  in  the famous Idli-Vada sambar!
The Tawa is an object of great learning. I recall a lesson sheet issued for staff, explaining the difference between film boiling and nucleate boiling  (and also tricky issues of heat transfer) all by  observing water sprinkled on a hot Tawa!
The relation between Tawa  and Dosa is very temperamental. At the right temperature and consistency, one can evenly spread the dosa on the Tawa. With some error somewhere, the patter will stick to the spreading spoon and will not take the Tawa, or , while trying to remove, refuse to part from Tawa, all ending up in a jumbled upma instead of a crisp dosa!

On the whole the iddli cannot be taken up lightly for reverse engineering,  and dosa can be a great topic for forward engineering as Raghuram Rajan Ji has said.


Mohan Rao:
Reference to nuclear boiling and film boiling made me reminisce a little bit, having done five long years of research on it for my Masters and PHD. Best approach to cook with tawa (Chinese call it wok) is to turn the heat down such that the heat transferred to the item on the tawa is linear (heat versus delta T) and predictable. Given sufficient time, enough heat gets transferred to the contents in the tawa and you can cook, boil, stew or whatever you wish to achieve. If you wish to cook at nucleate boiling fluxes, better have a teflon-coated tawa since nucleate boiling becomes array-like parade of bubbles and predictable in terms of nucleation sites with teflon. With a plain tawa and if the item is watery, you get into two classic instabilities, Taylor instability and Helmholtz instability once the film boiling sets in, when the vapor phase and the liquid phase fight for space on the tawa and if you keep increasing the heat at this stage, chances are you will vaporise all the watery stuff (you should be able to see vapor columns rise out of the tawa like chimneys) and burnout the Tawa.

Taylor instability is what decides rippling of the water layer, and breakout of water column to relieve steam from the ripply water surface and Hemholtz instability is what decides how much vapor you can release through these vapor columns before the instability ruins orderly patterns and renders the phase transfer process chaotic. This is what you try to avoid. Result will be a gooey mess on the plate and you may need some patience to clean it up. Slow cooking and good monitoring, there will be nothing to worry about.


I had read the article on Nucleate Boiling-Water heat transfer.  This is possible only in the convection phase of heat transfer. The heat transfer between the tawa n dosa will be mostly conductive type, however the dosa surface may conduct the surface heat to the air by convection currents, but nucleate boiling can't happen between the dosa n air due to its viscosity n quick phase change. Disclaimer: I have not done any masters or Phd, JUST common sensing. All in lighter veins, Sirs, बाल की खाल उतारना.

Mohan Rao :
Every heat transfer situation could involve conduction, convection and radiation. For convection models to work, you need a liquid medium so that there is boiling to talk about. In case of just frying solid stuff, you are right. Conduction would be the dominant route for heat transfer. Viscous stuff does impede convection and in highly viscous stuff like thick syrups, one has to be cautious to decide which would be the dominant mode.


Thank you Sh Mohan Rao for your expert input in day-to-day Dosai cooking.
1. How to correctly determine the time- when to turn down the heat from high to medium ? Is low setting better than medium.
2. The practice of wiping the hot tawa with a wet napkin? Is the turning down of heat still required?


Anand Ghare  (Myself):
I have observed how some master cooks make Dosas and have also tried my hand (out of just a bad habit of putting my finger in every pie) at that, with uncertain and partial success. While I completely failed in getting Dosa in perfectly round shape with symmetrical patterns on it,  I could take it out of Tawa in one piece and it tasted yummy!
Coming to thermodynamics, I think the salty water sprinkled on the hot Tawa a split second before pouring the syrupy mix gets quickly evaporated with the typical hissing sound provides a liquid cum gaseous phase . I have been wondering why Dosa looks smooth like a sheet of paper and Utthappa gets big holes and looks like the craters on surface of the Moon! Is it because of film boiling v/s nucleate boiling or just dissolved gases formed during fermentation escaping slowly? To add more chaos what happens to the chopped onion spread on top of Onion Utthappa? Does it receive water molecules escaping from Utthappa mix and give out water molecules from its own store in the process of getting cooked?

Why bother as long as it makes a tasty dish?  However, if you think about it when the Dosa or Utthappa gets spoiled due to burning or sticking to the Tawa, you may be able to improve your technic. Getting a perfectly round shape of absolutely uniform thickness is an art or skill of high order and is not at all easy to master. Hence, Mr. Natarajan may not agree with me, and I agree with him on that count, but reverse engineering also works, at least partially!
Just for fun and time pass!!!


Mohan Rao :
I appreciate your perseverance for mastering Dosas. It takes a little experience no matter what. In childhood, we used to have a Quiz: Who is the granny with a thousand eyes? Answer: Dosa.
The pattern of holes on a dosa depends on a phenomenon called Taylor instability which characterizes the rippliness of the Dosa mix when you pour it on the tawa. When you increase the heat, the peaks of the ripples break to produce so called ‘eyes’. These eyes generally have a pattern depending on the characteristics of the mix such as surface tension, viscosity, density etc. In the case of the Uttapam, because of the nature of the mix, Uttapam tends to be thicker and people usually turn up the heat to cook the stuff properly. This leads to increased vapor generation which tries to escape in random columns breaking out through the mix. These columns themselves tend to be unstable (called Helmholtz instability in fluid mechanics literature) and break out into blobs of vapor coming out of the Uttapam which results in the big holes and the looks of the lunar surface that you observed. To get an Uttapam which is properly cooked and sans big holes, the trick would be to turn down the heat a little bit and take a little longer to cook it and may be flip it once to ensure that both sides are properly done. This theory of hydrodynamic instabilities I talked about apply in the onset when the dosa mix is still liquidy and once it solidifies will follow a different model depending on conduction of heat rather than convection. In either case, if the heat is not properly controlled thru vigilance, the result will be sort of chaotic vapor outcome which may ruin the beauty of the dosa or the uttapam, although the ruined product may still taste yummy as you noticed. Another trick may be use a good oil (vegetable oil or olive oil) or desi ghee before you pour the mix on the tawa and spread it nicely on the tawa with a spatula which prevents sticking and adds a little greasiness to the dosa making it tastier. For removing the dosa/uttapam from the tawa use a sharp-edged metal egg-lifter (also called spatula) and should there be some sticking, adding a few more drops of oil or ghee at the edge of the dosa/uttapam will help in dislodging it without ruining it. All these take some co-ordination between the tools, eyes and the nose and developing a skill of dealing with the mix and the final product once done.
For masala dosas, a pre-prepared curried potato-onion mix preperly reheated can be added onto half the area of the top of the dosa, allow it to heat up a little bit to the temperature of the dosa and flip the other half of the dosa onto the previous half, let it simmer for a minute or two and voila, the masala dosa is ready to eat. Use some sides like a chutney or a sambar to spice up the dosa as you eat.
In the case of the uttapam, it is customary to add chopped tomatoes and onions directly to the mix. They fry as the Uttapam cooks and add to the flavor of the uttapam.


Mohan Rao : Specific to Querries raised:
Q1: If you use a cast-iron pan, what I would do is add a little oil or ghee on the pan and spread it first before you start heating the pan. When the pan is ready for pouring the mix onto it, you will notice oil being hot by the vapors on the pan. That is the right time to add the mix. If for some reason the pan overheats, simply turn down the heat for a minute or two and then add the mix.
Q2:I personally do not wipe the tawa with a wet napkin. I would imagine it may make the mix stick to the tawa. A napkin greased with ghee or oil would be better. Turning down the heat would give you better control than using a napkin.
I personally use a cast iron pan for dosa-making. I do not have a tawa and cannot definitively say which is better. Tawa will have less thermal capacity than a cast-iron pan which generally is heavier and can store more heat. A cast-iron pan will even out heat supply analogous to an engine with a flywheel evening out mechanical power. A tawa may need closer control of the stove instead.


Addition on 29/05/2016

Almost everybody who reads newspapers and these group mails would have read about of Mr. Raghuram Rajan's Dosa Economics. How many of them have read and understood it? The old news is given below for their information.

The RBI governor said he often gets letters from retired people: "The typical letter I get goes - 'I used to get 10% earlier on a one-year fixed deposit, now I barely get 8%, please tell banks to pay me more else I won't be able to make ends meet.' "

However, he said, the retired person is getting more for his buck today. He does not realise that "because he is focusing only on the nominal interest he gets and not on the underlying inflation which has come down even more sharply, from about 10 per cent to 5.5 per cent."

And so, "Dosa economics." Here is how Dr Rajan explained his point:

"Say the pensioner wants to buy dosas and at the beginning of the period, they cost Rs. 50 per dosa. Let us say he has savings of Rs. 1,00,000. He could buy 2,000 dosas with the money today, but he wants more by investing.

At 10 per cent interest, he gets Rs. 10,000 after one year plus his principal. With dosas having gone up by 10 per cent to Rs. 55, he can buy 182 dosas approximately with the Rs. 10,000 interest.

At 8 per cent interest, he gets Rs. 8,000. With dosas having gone up by 5.5 per cent, each dosa costs Rs. 52.75, so he can now buy only 152 dosas approximately. So the pensioner seems vindicated: with lower interest payments, he can now buy less.

But wait a minute. Remember, he gets his principal back also and that too has to be adjusted for inflation. In the high inflation period, it was worth 1,818 dosas, in the low inflation period, it is worth 1,896 dosas. So in the high inflation period, principal plus interest are worth 2,000 dosas together, while in the low inflation period it is worth 2,048 dosas. He is about 2.5 per cent better off in the low inflation period in terms of dosas".
Let us examine it:
"The typical letter I get goes - 'I used to get 10% earlier on a one-year fixed deposit, now I barely get 8%, please tell banks to pay me more else I won't be able to make ends meet.' "

That person who was getting 200 Dosas on the interest @ 10%/year on Rs.1,00,000 of investment in the earlier period will now get only 152 Dosas in a year. Are they enough to make both ends meet?

One would need at least 4-5 Dosas per day just to survive and if the cost of food is even 50% of his total expenditure, he would need equivalent of 8-10 Dossas everyday that is about 2920 -3650 Dosas a year. He should have invested about 15-18 lakhs to get that much of interest in the first year and about 20 lakhs or more to make both ends meet in the second year. If he has to also support his spouse, he will need double income (about Rs.400,000 per year) and needs to have double amount (more than Rs.40,00,000) to invest. Then he will have to also pay income tax and his net income will reduce further. Obviously, this economics is not for a common man.

"But wait a minute. Remember, he gets his principal back also and that too has to be adjusted for inflation. In the high inflation period, it was worth 1,818 dosas, in the low inflation period, it is worth 1,896 dosas. So in the high inflation period, principal plus interest are worth 2,000 dosas together, while in the low inflation period it is worth 2,048 dosas. He is about 2.5 per cent better off in the low inflation period in terms of dosas".
The Dosas are meant to be eaten and consumed, whether they are 200 or 152 or less in number. There is no point adding them to the buying capacity. The fact remains that at 5.5 % rate of inflation rate he will get only 1896 Dosas instead of 2000 in the earlier year and against 1818 at 10% rate of inflation. That means he is still poorer but to a lesser extent.

If we continue Rate of Interest as well as inflation at 10%, the number of Dosas that can be purchased out of Interest and the principal year after year would be as given below:
182, 165, 150, 136, 124, 113, 102 ................... Interest
1818, 1652, 1502, 1365, 1241, 1128, 1026, 932 .......Principal
If we continue Rate of Interest at 8% and inflation at 5.5 %, the number of Dosas that can be purchased out of Interest and the principal would be as given below:
152, 143, 136, 129, 122, 116, 110 ..... Interest
1896, 1796, 1703, 1614, 1530, 1450, 1374, 1303, 1235, 1170, 1109, 1051, 997 ...... Principal
He is not a gainer in any case, only the rate of his becoming poorer is slower in the second case.

If he does not eat any Dosa at all, meaning adds all the interest to the principal and then convert that amount equivalent to Dosas the numbers will be as follows.
If we continue Rate of Interest as well as inflation at 10% the number of Dosas that can be purchased out of Interest and the principal would be constant at 2000.
However, If we continue Rate of Interest at 8% and inflation at 5.5 %, the number of Dosas that can be purchased out of Interest and the principal would be more by 2.5 % every year. He will become richer evry year.

In short, if a person has other sources of income and his savings are not consumed at all, he will gain at lower rates of interest, but higher than the rate of inflation.

The person solely dependant on the interst income for making his both ends meet is doomed in both the cases, sooner in the first case and later in the second.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Wheel, Idly, Dosa and Technology

This is about a year old item.

Wheel was one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind that changed his life for better. Wheels were used for making carts, drawing water from well, grinding grains, making earthen pots etc from time immemorial and is one of the basic parts used in most of the machines of modern technology. So any talk of attempt to reinvent it now would appear meaningless. The idiomatic metaphor 'to reinvent the wheel' means to duplicate a basic method that has already previously been created or optimized by others and would be considered a waste of time and scarce resources.

People have to make a 'Buy or Make' choice very often in their lives, be it at home or office or factory or even at National level. Buying also includes 'sub contracting', 'off loading', 'outsourcing' etc. When you decide to 'make' something, instead of buying it, you need to possess or develop the know how for that purpose.

One approach to make progress in that direction is to duplicate what is already done by others and follow them. It also means to lag behind them. Another approach is to leap frog in to what others are planning to do in future, if it is possible. You need a strong base for that. The first one is often derided as 'reinventing the wheel', but it is considered a cautious alternative, with less amount of uncertainty, to invest your scarce resources. If you do not even know what the others have done and have difficulties in finding it out, the reinvention effort is also full of excitement and hardwork. They say 'Neccessity is the mother of invention'; It also applies to reinvention in such a case.

I had written an article on making idlies ans Dosaa at our home to illustrate my interesting experience. It could also be applicable to other things at higher levels. It is given below.

We were permitted to eat only home made food items in my childhood days, due to the traditional customs and beliefs. Eating in the not-so- good eateries in the small town was considered bad and harmful, almost on par with drinking in a liquor den. So nobody from respectable families would visit them. An entrepreneur from South Canara opened an Udupi hotel and started serving Idli and Dosa when I was in school. That was probably the first time when people in my town tasted these new food items. However, since we were not allowed to eat any outside food, we were still unaware of existence of these tasty food items.
Once one of our guests from Mumbai took a bold step to break this barrier. He coolly went to the Udupi hotel and brought home a lot of Idlis and Dosas. Since our elders did not want to hurt his feelings, they allowed children in the house to eat that stuff. Some elders also took a byte after a lot of pursuation but some stuck to their traditional convictions. Since this was a one time exception, the ban on bringing outside food in to our house continued, but children had once tasted Idly and Dosa and liked those items and they wished to eat them again and again. So my mother decided to cook them in her kitchen and fulfill the wishes of the children.

She had closely observed the colour, texture, softness, smell and taste of the Idlis and Dosas and guessed their ingredients and likely process of manufacture. Idli was similar to steamed dumplings such as Modak and Dosa looked similar to Amboli, our traditional items. My mother probably consulted other ladies, including wife of the owner of the Udupi hotel and got some hints. She connected the dots by her own R&D efforts and completed the picture.

As she continued her R.& D., She tried use of different ingredients, soaked them for different time periods, ground them, fermented, cooked or baked them for different time periods at different temperatures for establishing the process. Each step was required to be repeated several times to optimize the parameters. She finally succeeded in making Idlis and Dosas almost as good as in the Udupi hotel, after several attempts with small sample lots. It may be also noted that she did not have any of the modern gadgets like gas stove, mixer grinder, pressure cooker etc and had to use conventional utensils, grinding stones and firewood choolha. This was an example of 'reverse engineering' I had seen, when I did not even know these words.

We shifted to a new building in a remote place soon after our marriage. There was no hotel or canteen nearby and plying of autorikshas also had not started in that locality. We were required to go to a rather far off place for eating out, whenrver we desired. It was not at all convenient.  So we started our attempts of making Idlis and Dosas at home.

A number of cookery books were available by this time and our kitchen was equipped with gas and electrical gadgets.  Moreover, there were South Indian families in the building to advise. So we could start making reasonably good Idlis and Dosas in fewer number of attempts, as compared to our mother. This time there was no reverse engineering or re-invention, just some trials and acquiring skill through training and practice.

There was a lot of simplification of the processes in the subsequent period, when we started getting various mixes from MTR, Gits etc. Just open the pack, follow the instructions printed on the cover and make idli and Dosa in a jiffy.  Almost anybody who has preliminary knowledge of appliance in the  Kitchen could do it. Neither great skills nor deep knowledge was required.

Now we have many good restaurants near our house. We can either go there or order Idlis and Dosas by home delivery. We can buy ground dough paste or MTR packets from our grocer. We can now use any of these methods to get our idlis and Dosas.

However, the spirit of innovation does not die easily. We still occasionally experiment with different new ingredients and make minor changes in the processes to get different results. For example, Oats Dosa was recently prepared in our kitchen. Perhaps it was another re-invention of some sort!

This article got a good and varied response

K.Natarajan commented as a perfectionist would do:

You are making it sound very light, one of the greatest intricacies of South Indian culinary delights. After 50 years of struggle, we, in our home, are still not very sure whether the idli-or dosa -will turn out to be alright! Sometimes the dosa will not come out of the pan,  and will have to be served along with the pan, and if you struggle, you will end up with uppuma instead of dosa!.

All idlis are not idlis. It must be fluffy and have a spongy touch and should melt in the mouth. You also may end up with a hard, round stuff, meeting only dimensional requirements, but nowhere near the quality requirements, as stipulated above.

It is a difficult art to acquire.

Krishan S Chopra :
Beautiful, the way you have put in the reverse engineering. This spirit in man was always there. Is it not a wonder how the early man experimented and wrote volumes of scriptures like Pitanjli Yog sutra essentially study of human brain functioning .  

Anand Ghare (myself):
 I agree that making soft idlis and round crisp dosas of consistent quality standard is very difficult, perhaps as difficult as firing every bullet right into the bull's eye. However, our objective was limited to get some good snacs. Achieving high level of perfection is another matter.

I saw some similarity in our indigenisation efforts and  developing technology (not art) of making idli and dosa at home. Qualities such as strong will, determination, patience, experimentation, keen observations, grasping capacity, logical analysis and quick decision making was required in both cases, though to a different extent, in initial stages. Certain innovations and improvements were made to cut down time and efforts in both cases as the infrastructure was developed.

If I would have written about the story of our development of Dhokla (instead of idli and dosa) at home, perhaps somebody might have written "Jenoo Kaam tenoo Thaay, beejo kare to gotaa khaaye". This is another point of view. It helps in making the challenge more attractive. I end with recalling a quote, "If it is (considered) impossible, it is worth trying." That is the human spirit I wanted to stress in this article.


Mohan Babu :
A North Indian friend had been brought up partly in the South and had acquired a taste for idlies. When he married, he and his wife learnt how to make perfect idlies without a wet-grinder for the batter, with only the usual blender (the dear "mixie").

At times reverse engineering can surpass the original! (Leap frogging?)

Sunday, 14 February 2016


I had to pick up these gems and pebbles from what was called by some body 'the battlefield of Panipat', but I thought it was worth attempting it. It started with an interesting statement "I am within you but not you". This was termed as 'Oxymoron'. It was commented as "Synecdoche, I thought, would be a better fit." 

I had never heard any of these words, so went searching their meanings. I am already having problem in differentiating between commonly used simple words paradox, irony and contradiction. These figures of speech were new additions to my vocabulary.

As per the dictionary, An oxymoron (usual plural oxymorons, less commonly the Latin-style oxymora) is a figure of speech that juxtaposes elements that appear to be contradictory. Oxymorons appear in a variety of contexts, including inadvertent errors (such as "ground pilot") and literary oxymorons crafted to reveal a paradox.

A synecdoche (/sɪˈnɛkdəkiː/, si-NEK-də-kee; from Greek συνεκδοχή synekdoche, meaning "simultaneous understanding") is a figure of speech in which a term for a part of something refers to the whole of something, or vice versa.
Kiran Dixit gave some information on term "Oxymoron"

Meaning: A figure of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction.

A few common examples in daily use:  Brief details, Accurate estimate, Final draft, Original copies, Ballpoint, Once again, Solo concert, Assistant Chief (Manager or Engineer) etc. (One may add more examples) and off course INCOME TAX

There are many examples in Literature. Below is an extract from the play " Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare

“Why, then, O brawling love! O loving hate!
O anything, of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! Serious vanity!
Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms!
Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health!
Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!
This love feel I, that feel no love in this.
Dost thou not laugh?”
Ravinder Mago explained:
Oxymoron: a figure of speech by which a locution produces an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect, as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly.” Rhetorical oxymora (e.g., “bipartisan cooperation” or “business ethics“), on the other hand, are expressions composed of words that are not inherently mutually exclusive but express an opinion that the two cannot occur together, usually for satirical intent.

SOME EXAMPLES ( starting with A )

A just war
A little big
A new classic
absolutely unsure
abundant poverty
accurate estimate
accurate stereotype
acrophobic mountain climber
Act Naturally
active retirement


A.K.Malik added:

The dictionary defines an 'oxymoron' as a combination of contradictory terms. For instance, a 'sensitive boss' would be an oxymoron! Here's our pick of the best ones ever heard or used.

50. Act naturally
49. Found missing
48. Resident alien
47. Advanced BASIC
46. Genuine imitation
45. Airline Food
44. Good grief
43. Same difference
42. Almost exactly
41. Government organization
40. Sanitary landfill
39. Alone together
38. Legally drunk
37. Silent scream
36. British fashion
35. Living dead
34. Small crowd
33. Business ethics
32. Soft rock
31. Butt Head
30. Military Intelligence
29. Software documentation
28. New York culture
27. New classic
26. Sweet sorrow
25. Childproof
24. "Now, then..."
23. Synthetic natural gas
22. Christian Scientists
21. Passive aggression
20. Taped live
19. Clearly misunderstood
18. Peace force
17. Extinct Life
16. Temporary tax increase
15. Computer jock
14. Plastic glasses
13. Terribly pleased
12. Computer security
11. Political science
10. Tight slacks
9. Definite maybe
8. Pretty ugly
7. Twelve-ounce pound cake
6. Diet ice cream
5. Rap music
4. Working vacation
3. Exact estimate
2. Religious tolerance
1. Microsoft works
Another addition: A strong Rumour.
Another example :
The only thing that is permanent in this material world is " CHANGE " .

Ravi Rustagi added
In Hindi a similar term- Virodhabhas Alankar- Not contradictory, yet looks contradictory. Examples-
Jameen Aasman जमीन आसमान
Main Nadiya, Phir Bhi Main Pyaasi मै नदिया फिर भी मै प्यासी
Dipak Tale Andhera दीपक तले अंधेरा

As this blog is on the word Oxymoron, the context of its origin is immaterial and ignored. However, a poetic comment is reproduced after a bit of editing.

"At one end we root for net neutrality, the right to access any point of view, and yet even in this closed circuit, we wish to censor.
I like the wit that prevails,
the diverse points of view
the creative chaos it generates
the mental agility
the praise and criticism
that's life
lets not enter our coffins,
before we are put in them."

Another comment was "A (nice family) group is formed by inviting people and now there is a talk (or need) of censoring their comments."

Another exchange of interesting conversation:
"To agree is becoming a Default mode in this group. Let us honour this positive approach at home too."
"After retirement, we all agree to each other. If all of us would have agreed, this much during our workplace,  certainly it would have been better."

A very interesting and thought provoking response from Shri Mohan Rao:

I am really amazed at the number of responses received on the subject of oxy-morons and they still keep coming. It seems to have caught the fancy of the people in our community.

I tend to think that the oxy-morons have their root in a certain kind of mismatch between the brain (or mind) that provides the thoughts for the speech and the flow of speech itself. It is somewhat akin to the synchronizing of the turbine system to the grid. We used to play around with this on the simulator. When the two are out of phase and you try to connect, the turbine system trips. It takes a little practice to synchronize the two watching the synchro-meter and when they fully get in phase, bingo, you can lock in the turbine to the grid, no problem. May be a poor analogy, but it now excites me to think that way.

When we talk, the speech has its own rate, and without timely input from the brain, we tend to stutter (it was one of my problems in childhood), or fill the gap with ‘ahem’s, ‘aah’s and ‘ooh’s, or some such thing. Alternately, speech may also use some quick fixes or near-alternatives to fill the gap, which although   may meet the immediate need, turn out like a stale joke afterwards at best.

Oxy-morons have power nonetheless on what we say and what we do. One example that comes to mind is the word ‘safe’ that is used ubiquitously when we talk about nuclear systems. For example, we had the word ‘safe disposal’ for long term management of spent fuel or high level waste underground repositories.
The word fell into disrepute when people started pointing out the ‘oxymoron’ in that scientists can never be sure about waste being safe when we have to manage these wastes over thousands to millions of years. Some in the business later changed the word from ‘safe disposal’ to ‘permanent storage’ and then several switched to ‘continued monitored storage’. In fact that is where we are at after 50 years of R&D, which is still in progress. Nuclear power plants store their spent fuel at their own sites in pools or concrete casks. awaiting R&D, site studies, public acceptance etc.

I started surfing the web to find if  there is a solid psychological or other explanation for the oxy-morons. I came across some that point to procrastination on the part of the brain to be the reason for oxy-morons.  If true, the solution seems to be to have all the answers ready before we open our mouth. In hindsight, I think that is what got me into introspection when someone pointed out an oxymoron in one of my mails on the web that seems to have started the chain of ‘oxy-morons’ on the web.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Inequalities of Wealth

A news item that hit headlines of almost all news papers some time ago stated, "The World's Richest 62 People Now Have as Much as Poorest 3.6 Billion". This was as per the latest Oxfam Report.

It was also said to have been given in that Report that the Top 1% people owned 99% of the wealth and the rest of the 99% population owns only 1%. This was very disturbing. So there were some angry outbursts, obviously against the super rich persons as well as nations, holding them directly responsible for the plight of the poor. The pet socialist or communist line of thinking that rich can become richer only robbing the poor and making them poorer!

However, the total wealth in the world does not remain constant, it has been growing steadily. Actually part of the earlier wealth is consumed or gets destroyed and new wealth is created all the time. If that newly generated wealth is unequally distributed, it is another matter. We cannot blame stalvarts like Jamsedji Tata, S.L.Kirloskar or Narayana Murthy for making poor people in India poorer. They have in fact helped many people in improving their living conditions.

Emperors, Kings, Czars, Nawabs, Shahenshahas, Rajas, Maharajas etc. ruled almost all parts of the world almost throughout the history of mankind. They and their Ministers, Generals, Sipah Salars, Senapatis, Jagirdars, Mansabdars etc also were very few in numbers but lived in palacial houses and owned huge wealth in terms of Gold, Diamonds, Ruby etc. and also lands. So this phenomenon of unequal distribution of wealth is not new. Whoever holds power manages to get much bigger share. Might is right is the law of nature.
 However, this is certainly not fair and the struggle for equality goes on and on and is necessary to maintain some balance. The thread on this subject evoked good response from readers and finally ended only on the note of inequality in spirituality.

Ashok Malhotra wrote:

As per the latest OXFAM Wealth report, 1% of the population owns 99% of wealth.
    This looks like any ordinary innocent data, but what it really means is that only 1% of the  world resources are left for 99% of its population. This is what the modern market economy, driven by the  modern education, information systems combined with the capture of the world resources have ultimately formulated for the mankind.  But what the rich conveniently forget is that, as the history teaches us, remember the French revolution, the Russian revolution, the Chinese revolution,  liberation of many nations from the colonisations of the west, burning of the Alexandria etc that, whenever the majority of the world is overexploited, the empire strikes back. So beware.


 Ashok Malhotra:
 Actually the business and political have either merged into one entity or are mutually supportive in
 their endeavour to corner the world resources and wealth. But the moot point is "What's the way out".
Mohan Rao :
I have a different viewpoint. I agree with the fact that 1% is controlling 99% of the wealth. What exactly does it mean? All that it means in general terms is that the 1% have succeeded in building the large corporations, multi-nationals or whatever and simply have got to a point where they make and sell 99% of the worlds needs (maybe cars, may be canned food, maybe aeroplanes/jumbo jets, etc etc). They get to control them till being owners. What happens to the money afterwards? They put it back in
 the banks or reinvest to make more money, some may give out in charity, some may put the money back into schools, universities and hospitals and lot more money into government treasuries in taxes. Do these so-called rich eat 99 burgers instead of one? Do they drink 99 bottles of beer instead of one? Do they ride 99 cars instead of one? What I mean to say is: Gentlemen, let us not disparage the few gooses that have laid golden eggs. Let us not be jealous. Do they hide the money under pillow? No. The money is back in circulation doing whatever the money is supposed to make in the economic system. Jealousy leads to communism, despotism, bloodshed, cold wars, and a toxic world. It is totally unnecessary to call it a scourge or whatever tempting word you may come up with. The fact is, Capitalism with all its stigma of “scourge” has been the only political system that has uplifted so many people, increased the net wealth. So much money has been doled out by the rich countries to the poor ones over the decades. All the scourge-mongers have produced in return is bad blood, further poverty, corruption, etc. We have been through this cycle. Let us not repeat it. The OXFAM report is out to lunch.

Shah Nawaz Ahmad:
 But does this not give them too much power to control our lives through bribing bull dozing mafiaizing (if there is such a word) bulldozing away the needed investing in our needs Surely so much concentration of power,financial in this case, but political or other is bad news for all of us
 Was not democracy meant to devolve power to the larger population But still Mohsn Rao saheb your argument is persuasive.
 So the exchange is fun, the way life should be.

Taswir Singh:
 The 1% 0f super rich are no more ordinary capitalists of Adam Smith time.
 They are controller of  world politics and fuel of modern day Imperialism. The political outcome of this is total crisis in middle East and terrorism almost everywhere.

Mohan Rao :
Although I would not go into the political issues (crisis in the Middle East, terrorism etc) resulting from the super-rich, I am hopeful that the ages of violence, wars, oppression, exploitation will be over one day and a new age will arise where non-violence becomes the international norm, freedom, international co-operation and globalism prevail, and the world becomes a better place for our children and grandchildren. With various means of self-destruction (WMDs etc) available world-wide, the alternative is imponderable. I still think that the larger population has the power to change. I really do not know how much of power-brokers the super-rich are, given the current state of democacy and human civilization. I think there are enough checks and balances to rein in the super-rich if you think they are the culprits.

Guntur Nageswara Rao:
 Shri Moha Raoji's optimistic balanced view appears to be close to reality than too much helpless disturbing apprehensions.
Ajay Chakrabarti :


Puran Dev Sharma:
 In my view all political or governing systems are as good or as bad as the people who run it. History is witness to this fact. When military took over reigns of Pakistan they did wonderful job in changing the environment of Lahore and people loved it. After achieving the set task they retreated to the barracks. Civilian system took over and within short time rampant corruption set in as before and socio-economic degradation was the result. People prayed for the military to come back and it did come back but with a devastating results; the military personnel assumed power nay ABSOLUTE Power and adopted methods to improve their financial status. Both times the military coup was led by General Ayub Khan.


In my view there is no problem if some people have amassed a lot of wealth. In a healthy democracy every one has equal opportunity,only some with foresight are able to take advantage of the ystem.There are cases where people have risen from the scratch.Indians go to U.S.A for higher studies,start business and amass wealth using their ideas and hardwork.Wealthy persons should be appreciated and we should be proud of them if:
1.They have created wealth using legal means.
2.Paying taxes honestly.
3.Contributing to the growth of country.
4.Creating jobs.
5.Helping society through philanthropy.
6.Taking care of welfare of employees.

Raghuvir Rustagi
I wd agree any political system does not provide a lasting solution in all situations. Human frailty is to look always for a short term answer, then we forget the dynamics pf long term problem.
It really does not much depend on the people who are burdened with day to day bread and butter issues. Once in a blue moon a super leader comes to give proper direction to the masses. FDR was one such US president in recent history- he really pondered over long term issues of the common men.
Such leaders are not born out of wishful thinking, or a gift from the heavens.
In the final interpretation of karmic laws, the whole society has to be responsible- quality is definitely related to quantity.
India's freedom movement in the 1930s 1940s is a beautiful example of this class. I was a small kid then but I have heard stories of rampant patriotism.

Ajay Chakrabarti

Raghuvir Rustagi
Sh BB Narangji's thinking reminded as if I am attending an online lecture on Carnot Cycle, the ideal heat engine. Thank god, there was no exam. As we know, a practical or actual engine is different. Engineers still try to approach the design objective to match the ideal. I remember in the college in Delhi, my professor Sh Bhimrao would ask us to pre-calculate the Carnot efficiency, to compare the actual efficiency, and list the reasons of shortfall. It was a nice learning system. Those were the days to remember, similar to Tasvirji’s rustic poem about life in Punjab.

The ideal in life has value, has inspiration, and is worthy of worship- regardless if we can reach in our lifetime or not.

The example of Bhagwan Ramchandraji, hero of Ramayan, is hailed as an ideal person- ideal son, ideal brother, ideal husband, ideal father, ideal fighter, ideal winner, ideal king, ideal ruler, ideal in life as well as in death, ideal in this world, or in Baikunth dham beyond.

It will be a wonderful world if the rich people perform on all or some of the 6 fronts you listed- if
1.They have created wealth using legal means.
2.Paying taxes honestly.
3.Contributing to the growth of country.
4.Creating jobs.
5.Helping society through philanthropy.
6.Taking care of welfare of employees.

In the Anand Bhawan days in late 1970s, early 80s my mom used to live with us, and she will walk to Sadhubela temple in Mahalaxmi daily. I had not realised the value of an honest central government officer until the head Swamiji invited me in his private chamber on the top floor of the building. There were many rich and famous business men of the Bhulabhai Desai Road and Pedder Road areas waiting to get Swamiji’s darshan. They would visit the temple to donate a fixed percentage of their black money. Swamiji’s blessings will convert black to white, it was their belief.

So, in the last 40 years, things would only go more south……This is an American slang.

In conclusion,  we must not lose hope; whatever is unjust is unstable, and it must change. I said the other day, mere wishful thinking is not enough. Each one of us has a role to play, to perform our act in right ways- then we are slowly and surely reaching the ideal goal.

Anand Ghare:

I can appreciate the pain and anger expressed by Shri Ashok Malhotra on the reported terrible inequality of 1% people owning 99% of the wealth on the earth leaving only 1% for 99% people. He has sighted revolutions in France, Russia and China as a result of glaring inequalities and expressed
an apprehension of history repeating again in a horrible form. We have seen violent revolutionary incidents on local scale in the film Nishant. We have also seen the discontent among villagers around project sites because of the 'islands of affluence' created amidst the sea of poverty. Though they
did not take violent turn they was simmering for quite some time and needed major PR exercises.

I have not read the Oxfam report and have no desire to read such voluminous document. However, I have serious doubts about whether such measurement of wealth and identifying its owners is reasonably possible because of following reasons.

1. All the land, mountains, lakes, rivers etc. on the earth are not owned by individuals. Even now maximum portion of them is the property of Governments and there are also many No man's lands. The next major owners are Corporates, whose ownership is distributed into millions of shareholders. We know that Tatas and Birlas have made several trusts who own the shares of their companies. So their names do not figure in the rich peoples' lists.

2. Value, cost and price are different entities. Cost is historical, price is determined at the time of sale and purchase transactions and value is almost indeterminate in monetary terms. Which one is taken by Oxfam for their calculation and how?

3. We read about prevalence of  black money, Benami properties etc in India and they may be prevailing in other parts of the world also. These properties will be out of any official records.

4. Different countries have foreign exchange rates determined by their Governments and not by market forces. So there is no uniformity in prices converted in $s.

5. Prices of urban real estates are blown out of proportion by builder lobbies and can crash if events like 'Mortgage scam' in USA take place. Similarly share prices are also artificially jacked up by people like Harshad Mehta and the bubble can burst any time. The share price indices have already reached pre NM levels.

6. Major industrial establishments such as railways, shipyards, power stations, other public sector companies, Defence production units and assets of all these are owned by the Governments in India and all socialist countries. Hospitals, schools, colleges etc. are owned by the Governments or charitable trusts. Archeological buildings, sculptures, paintings and monuments etc. are simply invaluable.
So in my opinion only a small part of the national wealth of our country is owned privately and 99% 1% distribution does not apply. Since the Oxfam report is for global assets and if we think globally, most of the points mentioned above would be applicable to some extent.

Considering these factors and the fact that the population of the world in Billions, how is it possible to say for sure who owns how much? I hope conditions are not as bad as they appear to be.

We should also look at how and where these assets ae used or are they lying idle. If they are put in business as productive assets, it is good for the society, no matter ho ons themIf that money is simply taken out of circulation, it may not cause much harm. The real danger is if it is used for bad use like smuggling, gambling, getting political power etc. the issue is not as straight forward as it is made out to be.

Ashok Malhotra:
The doubts raised by Ghare are pertinent in theory for any one, but we are not the accounting people and so I would rather leave their validity or resolution to them.
       To my mind, the Oxfam consider only the tangible assets in the denominator for the 100%. To estimate or to even evaluate the total assets of the universe or even the earth itself for the denominator, would be a never ending problem. More over the assets of nature, lying idle, that belong to nobody, can not be ascribed to anybody.
Guntur Nageswara Rao :
Thanks for a very simple lucid narration of assets and truth  of real ownership. Ideally every one should be able make decent earning for the work one is performing with out being exploited  by others.
Real concerns are earning with out contribution, not able to earn even after working hard, not able to get work to earn, earning through cheating, corruption or disproportionately earning for the traits like acting, singing etc which have no tangible contributions. No violent revolutions ever in the history solved the problems of exploitation of the situation by some.
We are fortunate to have got associated large portion of our lives in the company of decent people and continue this cemented association. Let us be happy about it with good impressive narrations being given by talented few in our group.

Mohan Rao:

With the discussion of the OXFAM Report that we all started with,  the 99% in hands of 1% has become the elephant in the room. The inequities that result from such a distortion of wealth distribution is nothing new, and the governments who might have benefited from this ‘ism’ thing have not turned a blind eye to this issue in my view. I agree with you that the issue of who owns what is a never-ending one. Over time the governments all have developed social security nets, healthcare, financial assistance to those who are old, homeless, disabled etc. minimum wages,  as you all know and the process is a continuous one, improving over time. In U.S and Canada where I happen to reside, no one really cares that a few people have billions; what they care is whether the government is doing the right things for the citizens and if they, on the whole are succeeding in life in terms of family life, rearing of children, education, health, opportunities etc. There may be countries who are left out of the wealth have the right to get rich, take control of their resources and self-manage them and
safeguard their sovereignty from those who may be trying to exploit them.

The world is a system. There are international systems specifically to help global economies, education and various items where co-operation can be brought to bear. Having said, the 99% in hands of 1% issue is a moot one and no reason for a paralysis. 1% may have all the wealth, but 100% still
have all the power in the world to change especially electoral power to have the governments act the way they should.
Ashok Malhotra :
I pray to God for India to achieve a GDP of $55000 like the US or even $45000 like Canada from its present miserable $ 1700 or so, so that I can also appreciate these views from a vantage point.

Anand Ghare :

I had visited some factories in UK around 1984 in connection with my official work. One day I was taking lunch with the manager of a small factory making very high precision components. He was also a mechanical engineer of my age. We started discussing our lives. Though it is not considered good manners, he enquired about my salary income, perhaps out of pure curiosity.
I told him, "Look, instead of that let us compare how do we live. I am living in a 3 bedroom apartment on 19th floor of a skyscraper, where do you live?"
He answered he lives in an apartment of about the same size.
I told him that I am having all the modern gadgets like TV, fridge, washing machine, mixer, oven etc that are needed by my family. He also had almost the same, in addition he had a couple of cars. We also cooked sufficient amount of good food for our daily needs and went out to a restaurant once in a while for a change. My sons were attending good reputed schools and we had reasonably good medical facilities (CHSS).
I told him "You must be coming to office driving your own car. My company provides me transport."
In short my standard of living was not much lower than his though my salary converted into £s would be about one tenth of his monthly income. From then on I stopped feeling bad about the much publicised disparity between per capita incomes.
I also told him that he can visit India any time he wants, by spending less than his one months income, where as I could not have ever seen UK from my savings, if I did not make that official tour.
That meant our daily lives were comparable, but accumulation of money through savings was hugely different. Our incomes almost matched our expenditures, but Balance Sheets were vastly different. There was a huge disparity between his net worth and mine, but I did not feel jealous of him.
Economics has changed afterwards and air travel became affordable. I was able to visit UK, USA and go on a Europe tour out of my accumulated savings.

Ramesh Kumar Suri:

Disclaimer: My personal views, not based on published/authentic data.

We are more familiar with Exchange rate Say 1$ =67 ~68 Rupees. However there is one more (not so common Exchange) rate called PPR i.e. Purchase parity rate.
Here you consider normal day to day necessities ( including food, shelter, clothing and common  gadgets like TV, fridge, washing machine, mixer, oven etc.(not very high end type) Consider the cost for these items in rupees (local currency) and compare these with $ or currency of rich country.

You may be surprised to note that PPR of 1 $ works out to be 4 to five rupees.
This means that a person earning  45000/= rupees a month can have life style of 10000 $ (Approx) a month in US (excluding savings) including notional salaries (Wages) for aid serrvant/ driver/ plumber/ carpenter/ cleaner/ electrician

Difference comes when you convert your $ saving in Indian Rupees.

There is great consiperrency in keeping international value of Rupees and other similar currencies low priced compared to $. and we are also happily doing it. You require $ to purchase what you do not have. So you purchase $s $s are in short supply in poor countries so $ is costly.
Supply/demand Rule. America can Print $s. To sell local produce more you want your Currency to be cheaper so that you you can export more compared to others.

Consider this:
If PPR us 4 to 5 rupees a $ then you are selling goods wort 68 Rs to earn a $ where as In PPR you earn 1$ i.e. 4 to 5 rupees worth local consumables.
China is reducing its currency rate to export more and forcing other countries to devalue their currency. Oil Rich countries are flooding markets with oil so that they can earn
more $s compared to other smaller oil  producers.
Consider this:
If you flood market with cheap goods (e.G. oil) you get less $s (30$ a barrel of oil) If you cut oil production you get more $s for same amount of oil (.>100$ per barrel of oil)
This is a systematic looting by Rich countries and we are happily encouraging it.

I feel (most of you will feel that I am wrong) do not sell your resources material resources at throw away prices like iron ore/oil/metals.

Sell your services which uses man power/brain and you get over valued $. and you will have more $s (less requirement of $s and Richer) By earning $s (By seling services/brain power/manpower/muscle power and not material) and converting to rupees your life style improves Now We are Comparatively better off with our foreign exchange reserves.
Stop exporting Iron Ore In Next 2  to 3 years you may get double the price in $s for iron ore.
Sounds impossible?
Ashok Malhotra :
I was a bit surprised to read your remarks that the Rs value of $ based on PPR comes to Rs 4, but based on the World Bank data for India this conversion factor has been constant at 0.3 since last 18 yrs. Accordingly this, value will be 1$=68×0.3=20.4Rs and not 4 to 5. Please review, as we
are not the accounts people.
Ramesh Kumar Suri :
Pls. see Disclaimer stated by me: My personal views, not based on published/authentic data.

Even at rates quoted by World Bank data, bulk of content of my mail are still valid.
Are we selling 68 rupees worth of Indian material and getting 24.3 rupees worth foreign exchange in Indian context
Can we stop official plundering of our national material wealth/Raw material. When British people were sending cotton to Britain we were calling it loot by the Britishers.
Now we are encouraging same by willful depreciating of Rupee. And Remember in 1947 , ONE  Indian Rupees was approx equal to 1$

Ajay Chakrabarti:


 Mohan Rao :
 I think the nations have to draw a line what to export and what not to. Exporting resource and strategic materials (uranium, thorium) has to be carefully considered as to what is in excess and is marketable at fair prices. On the other hand, marketing services (IT, technological, economical) seem to be the money-makers and in this age of technology, computers, financial etc) have a lot of potential in nations with educated/skilled manpower. Textiles, Indian cuisine-related goods, film-related (Bollywood) have a niche in the international market as well.
Sending cotton to Britain was a historical exploitation which Gandhiji and others fought so well and might have had an immense role in the independence movement. In the case of China, the country encourages production of goods for international buyers (such as Wal-Mart) and has a strategy of developing a highly planned economy (different towns/villages specializing on different goods and dumping the goods on the international markets). It may not be suitable in the Indian context.

Raghuvir Rustagi:
1. The east coast of America is experiencing the first major snow storm of 2016. Today Sat. 23-Jan, everything went standstill. I didn’t see a single soul, nor any car on the street, no push or pull, simply obeying Newton’s first Law of motion. We cooked, ate, watched movie in home theatre, and had fun a lot. Kids, elders, and seniors- had their own ways. For a change, no body discussed politics of America or India. Complete peace within and without.

2. At the time of writing this e-message, it is 9:00 p.m. I am looking out of the window at the playful snow stream more clearly in the close vicinity of street light, and not seeable at all a yard away. Snow has accumulated 2 ft or more on the front of the house, and on the cars standing on the drive way. Yet the open deck and green bushes in the backyard are telling a different story- the large deck is almost bare, untouched of snow, only a few small bushes near the boundary line are thickly laden.

Is it not reminding us? Of what?
The Lord is ever present everywhere in the form of unending snow. We catch the glimpse only if we happen to be
i) near the light
ii) oriented or poised in the right direction, and finally
iii) pure or empty

3. The New Year in America is also a renewal of the Medicare enrolment and health insurance for all seniors 66+. No body really likes, as if it sounds like a renewal of the marriage vows each year. Anyway, the good news is we can switch the old private Insurance company with the new, we can drop the old benefits and sign up for the new, which appear to save some money due to lower monthly premium, or more benefits without more premium. We are given a month or so open enrolment in December to make up our mind. It is very confusing for senior folks to sign up online or send a paper application by mail. Too many choices- the husband can have a policy, his wife does not know about and vice-versa. Privacy law- you know.

But now comes the interesting part!
The Insurance works if all the following three terms and conditions are met, else we run the grave risk of no health insurance-
i) you have to prepare or send the application yourself, or authorise someone to do on your behalf with formal power of attorney
ii) you have to pay the monthly premium each month by the deadline date- zero tolerance policy
iii) you have to satisfy the co-payment amount, before the insurance benefit kicks in

Why don't we use the same day to day experience in our routine relationship with the supreme lord?
Godly grace is like an insurance payment. We have to be responsible on our part, then and only then we qualify for His grace.

4. Finally, let us dwell on the Inequality clause where we started.
I am reading BG Chapter 6 Sankhya Yoga. The commentator Swami Prabhupadji says, “in the age of Kali, if only 1% of population becomes truly Krishna Conscious, we can achieve the turn around in our favour”
So friends, there will always be a disparity among haves and have-nots, not only in the material world, but in the spiritual world too. Still the have-nots share a bigger responsibility in the God’s democratic scheme. No need to feel pale. Godly grace never gets empty. My son wonders if the Medicare funds will be still available 25 years hence??