Sunday, November 06, 2005
Saturday, October 22, 2005
What is the quality of these institutes?
The quality in most of these institutes that thrive in and around the Ameerpet area is bad. I was one of the unfortunate ones that had to endure a one weeks training from a faculty from one of these institutes. The organization that I was working for was looking to train a bunch of developers on Microfocus COBOL and this course was not being offered by any of the recognized training institutes. We then found one institute in Ameerpet that was supposedly doing the course in their institute and was willing to do a one week course for us. The faculty that came consisted of some very junior COBOL programmers that had textbook knowledge of Microfocus COBOL and by the third day agreed that they were just teaching us what was in a Microfocus Manual. Some of the faculty who I have met that teach in these institutes have no real world knowledge of what they are teaching and also are of a quality that will not get jobs in the industry. Given that this is the quality why do people flock to these institutes and that brings me to my second question.
What are the reasons for these institutes to thrive in this city?
The main reason these institutes thrive in the city is because there is a need that these institutes are meeting. The need is for training in the software world that is not imparted in our colleges and universities and students believing that once they are trained in that skill it’s a ticket to see the world. It’s so unfortunate that most of the people that go to these institutes just do course after course hoping that one of these courses will get them that ticket to ‘nirvana’. I once had a guy who walked in for an interview and he said that he knew Java, I told him that I did not have any openings in Java and that I had openings in .Net and that if he had any of his friends that knew .Net he could refer them, this lad then asked me if he had to learn .Net and I sat with him for the next half hour explaining why he had to stick to Java and master it since he had already trained himself in Java for 6 months and had to just wait for the break.
The other reason these institutes thrive is because the industry wants people with experience and there are only so many experience people floating around so there is a shortage in the industry. What these institutes do is that they train the candidate in a skill, they then cook up projects to show that they have been working with them for the last couple of years or so and they then send these candidates to recognized software development houses around the city for interviews and get them placed earning a fee from the candidate for guaranteed placement and earning a fee from the software development house for being a consultant. Now these so called experienced candidates when they are placed in situations where you hope their experience will help the project get done come up lacking miserably and there by affecting the credibility of the organization and the industry as a whole. Coming to my last question
Are these institutes good for the image of the software industry in the city?
I have just two words to say “Absolutely Not!!!” I think I have given enough reasons till now to substantiate why I have such a strong view towards these institutes.
What can we do to stop this? Shutting them down by force is not the answer. We should cut out their livelihood and that is the students from going to them.
First of all I think the Universities and Colleges should change their curriculum to keep up with the industry. There is no use teaching subjects like COBOL, Pascal, dBase, Lotus 1-2-3, DOS and so on. The universities and colleges should work with the industry to understand the needs of the industry when coming up with the curriculum for the courses. That way the industry gets trained candidates that can be productive as soon as they join.
Secondly the universities and colleges in association with the industry should offer courses that are one off such as a course in “The Java Programming Language” as opposed to “Basic Java” or “J2EE Course” as opposed to “Advanced Java” that is offered by the institutes. These courses should be conducted by trained staff from the industry and should lead to certification by the relevant bodies in the industry. That way the education centers continue to play the role that they are meant to play and churn out students that are aware of the technologies that are needed by the industry.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Friday, September 16, 2005
Let us consider the system to be the road network. In this network the speed at which the traffic will flow will depend on the speed of the traffic at the narrowest portion of the road. So if someone asks a question how many vehicles will move in an hour from Point A to Point B, its fairly simple, find out what is the size of the narrowest portion of the road between point A and point B and calculate how many vehicles can get through there in an hour and you have your answer.
The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad has been doing a spate of road widening activities of late – matter of fact I think they have gone berserk – cutting through peoples compounds (alas they supposedly cut through the chief ministers compound too), bringing down commercial establishments and worst of all cutting down the trees that have struggled to grow braving the drought, the bulls, the people and the pollution (but could not survive the MCH that’s supposedly growing them).This road expansion is not being done in an even manner. When the road widening has to touch an influential persons property (except for the chief ministers – his property is already been used for widening the road – guess he has to act as the road model – or is this why he has built a new house – food for thought) or a religious place of worship the road stays as it is.
So my question is - what is the use of widening the road when the volume of traffic the road can handle would be the same as it was before the road was widened. Why is this so? This has a very simple answer if you have not already figured it out. The volume of traffic the road can handle is the volume that can flow through the narrowest portion of the road and that is the width of the road at the place where it could not be widened which is the same as it was before it got widened.
So what did we achieve through all the road widening? Nothing! We just spent crores of rupees and created more confusion on the roads. So what am I trying to say? Widen the road with a plan to widen it consistently otherwise don’t widen it.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Lets say you are interested in buying a house that costs about Rs. 22 lakhs and you plan to take a home loan of Rs. 20 lakhs.
In the case of the new house the Rs. 20 lakhs is shown to you in the form of a sale agreement for just the shell and a construction agreement for completing the house. and this is usually done in the ratio of 30 - 40 % for the sale agreement and 60-70 % for the construction agreement (in our case it works out to 7 lakhs for the sale and 13 lakhs for the construction). Now the registration is done on the value of the sale agreement and hence the cost of registration drastically drops.
On the other hand when you buy a house on resale there is only one loan agreement for the whole Rs. 20 lakhs and hence the house needs to be registered on that amount and that works out to a phenomenally high registration fee.
So what is the advise...? I was told that in case one is going to buy a house on resale one has to have a lot of cash in hand and the amount of money taken on loan should be on the lower side. And in case one wants to buy a house with a high loan amount then you should go in for a new house.
I am not sure if this is the right advice so if there is anyone out there that can substantiate if this is correct that would be nice.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
I admit we have got ourselves into a mess in terms of bad city planning, lack of regard for zoning laws, frivolous FSI, rampant bribery in the roads and buildings divisions and arbitrary decisions being made trying to solve the problems that exist. Due to all these things we have a transportation issue on our hands which would not have existed (hopefully) if all the above had not taken place.
What I am stating is that we are only making a bigger mess by taking short term decisions by widening roads and building flyovers. We are doing the same mistakes that the west made in building a large network of roads and playing into the hands of the car manufacturers and oil companies. This is not the way forward because in a couple of years that road and the flyover that got built at the cost of thousands of crores of rupees is clogged again.
Instead of spending crores of rupees in building new roads and flyovers build a network of transportation systems which work together. Let me try and put such a hypothetical system in place. Let's say the existing MMTS system is the heart of the transportation system. From some of these MMTS stations there should be a skybus/Metro/any other Mass Rapid system that runs in an arterial manner outwards to the MMTS line. Let us call this the arterial system. From the stations of the arterial System there should be busses, autos, cycle rickshaws, tongas, and what ever else. The timings of the trains of the MMTS and the arterial system should be coordinated in such a manner that would allow a person to move from one system to another with a minimal waste of time. The ticketing system should be common so that once a ticket is bought it is applicable throughout the journey irrespective of the system used. Its only when we have something like this will the congestion on the roads decrease as people would be looking at this as an alternative safe and quick way of traveling.
Yes it is going to cost... but so is laying new roads, widening existing roads and building flyovers. There are talks of laying a new road parallel to the Begumpet road - instead of laying a new road why cant we put in place a mass transporatation system and tell the people to use it. It might cost more but it can be expanded to carry millions of people instead of being clogged by cars in a couple of years with one person sitting in each car.
I am not trying to advocate a costly Metro system - I am only saying we need a mass rapid transportation system that is well connected and user friendly. This system has to be a combination of transportation systems that work together in an efficient manner. And according to me there is no way around this.
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Sizzlers, Steaks, Russian Salad... Do these dishes make your mouth water? If the answer to this question is "Yes" then I know just the place that you can have this food to your hearts content right here in Hyderabad.
On Road No. 12 Banjara Hills right next to Pizza Hut is a hole in the wall kind of a place - it has about 4 tables on the mezzanine floor and 2 tables and the kitchen on the ground floor - the sizzlers and the russian salad are really good. You would have to put up with the fumes while your food is being cooked but its worth it. There is an option to order take-away too but I am not sure what would a sizzler taste like when eaten 10 min after it has been sizzling so my advise would be to have it at the restraunt itself.
Friday, September 02, 2005
As a follow up to my last article on how road widening and building bridges are very short term solution I would like to answer some interesting thoughts that an anonomous comment has raised.
The first fact that was raised is "Each year, Hyderabad city is adding about 2 lakh vehicles." - well you can't dispute fact. But lets ask ourselves why are there so many vehicles being added
And then the comment goes on to list as to why is there such an increase in vehicles and that is -
- "This increase is not merely because there is no public transportation system. It is to a significant extent because of credit markets."
- "Hyderabad is being redesigned for the enjoyment and profiteering of some 1 per cent or less of the urban population. And nobody objects to this because most people imagine that they will somehow be within that one per cent if not today, well then very soon, they think they will get there. "
We have moved along from a socialist economy of the 60's to a capatalist economy of the new millenium. In a captalist economy most things sell merely to fill a need and without going too much into Maslow's Theory of Needs I feel that vehicles on the streets of Hyderabad are also there to fill that need. And most of the time the need for transport is a physical need which is the most basic need.
Let me put a question to you - Let's say you have a family of a husband, wife and 2 school going kids and you have to all travel to different parts of town what would be the mode of transport would you have all used in the current situation. Would it have been some public transport or private transport ? I think the answer to this is pretty obvious given the choices that we have in the city today.
The problem that we have is the lack of a credible, trustworthy, quick means of public transport and without that there is no choice but to use private transport. Are people buying vehicles because there are easy avenues to get money - I truly doubt it. If you ask anyone who drives in Hyderabad they will tell you "Driving in Hyderabad is a nightmare and if you can drive in Hyderabad you can drive anywhere in the world". According to me the reason people buy a vehicle is to get around easily - to meet the basic need of transportation. If a public transportation system can meet that need you will automatically see a reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads.
Let us take for example Mumbai, what would have happened if there was no suburban rail system there ? No one would have lived in the suburbs, they would have all lived in the city close to their work place. They would have all had vehicles if they could afford it or if they could buy it on credit. Wouldn't the city look awfully similar to Hyderabad ? The difference is there should be an alternative and right now there isn't one here in Hyderabad. The existing public transport limits itself to busses and MMTS which just does not meet the need.
The comment goes on to talk about the capital needed for a metro rail or a MMTS project. The answer to this is yes we do need large capital for such projects but we need to make the sacrifices to put in this capital. Other cities in India have successfully started implementing metro projects such as Delhi, Chennai and a lot before everyone else Kolkatta. I don't see people in any of these cities complaining. Is it used only by the top 1 % of the society - I really dont think so. Not with the rates of the Delhi Metro Rails as follows. Capital investment in large infrastructure projects is the only way problems as large as what we are facing today can be solved. Once we provide a viable alternative such as a metro rail system you can tax the private vehicle users you can increase tolls for parking and using the city's roads and bridges, but until you provide a viable alternative there is nothing you can do.
The world over a good public transport has worked in almost every metro why shouldn't it work here?
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
First of all there are two people out in the world that read my blog and posted comments. A big thank you to them and I will try and reply to your mails as soon as I get some time. When people post comments it has a ripple effect - it motivates me to keep writing and it also gives me new topics to write about. So all you people out there who happen to read my blog do keep your comments flowing in.
Secondly my blog introduced me to another person who happens to be in Hyderabad and have exactly the same name as me - yes he also goes by the name Sudeep D'Souza. Well, its quite wonderful to know that in this world of over 6 billion people there can be someone who has the same first name and last name as yours and also live in the same city.
And the third reason is that I got myself into google. Feels pretty good to get listed there although I know it is pretty far fetched that someone would type in "sudeep D'Souza hyderabad". And I am sure there are many of you out there that might say "What's so great ? Google can search for just about anything". What ever - it feels good to be listed there when you seach for something and secondly it seems to be the only thing that has brought some traffic to my blog.
So to the two of you that commented on my blog I dedicate this blog entry to you and thank you for making my day.
Friday, August 26, 2005
Let me first tell you the drawbacks of road widening
- They are taking away space from the driveway of the building. So where does every one exit their vehicles - there is just one place the road.
- They are reducing the parking in the buildings - so where do you park your vehicle - just one place the road.
- They are removing the sidewalk - so where do you walk - just one place the road.
As you can see that the road that just got expanded at the expense of the tax payer has got used for all the things except what it was meant to be used for. This is a story played out on so many of the roads that have been widened yet there are more and more proposals to widen roads.
Road widening is no solution. To a lesser extent building flyovers does ease traffic but as every large city in the world has realised that building flyovers never really reduces the amount of traffic. They are expensive and very short term and the cost does not justify the duration of their utility.
The other reason is that the number of vehicles is not going to reduce so very shortly the little space that got added in the road widening and the additional space that got created due to the fly overs is used up. We built flyovers about 6 years ago and widened roads constantly but it still does not ease traffic and we have never sat back and wondered do these measures solve our problem?
So what is the solution? There is only one solution to an urban transportation issue and that is a well planned and well co-ordinated public transportation system. What I mean by a well planned and co-ordinated public transportation system is that all the government agencies should come together and devise a comprehensive plan where they complement each other when it comes to urban public transport and not compete against one another. These agencies function using the tax payers money, I have no idea why they cannot come together to build a system that would benefit the tax payer.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Biryani - A must have for all those who visit Hyderabad. There are a lot of places that serve biryani and in all the years that I have been in Hyderabad I have never been to two places that serve the same kind of biryani. There is a biryani that is called Hyderabadi Biryani but to be frank I never really made out the difference. For all the historians that are food lovers here is one version of the Biryani Story. But then for those that want a Hyderabadi twist to the story here is another version. Well I did a search of Google and I got another story altogether. Enough about the history - let me get down to where one can find some good biryani to eat.
The best Biryani to date that I have had at a price that would hardly pinch your pocket is Cafe Bahar. Its address is - Cafe Bahar, Old MLA Qtrs Road, Hyderguda, Hyderabad. The best way to enjoy the biryani is to take the biryani home and eat. The place is not the cleanest place you would want to be eating your food and neither does it provide the ambience unless you are willing to eat with a zillion people milling about you among a cacophony of voices around. The biryani is excellent and is worth trying out.
Another good place to try out for some excellent biryani is Bawarchi. Its address is - Bawarchi, 66, Alambad Industries Area,RTC Cross Rd. This place has a multi-cuisine restaurant a roof restaurant and a restaurant to just eat as quickly as you can. Once when I visited this place a guy came in ate his biryani and did not have the money to pay and the guys in the restaurant started to abuse the poor chap and the best part was everyone around the man continued eating their biryani's as if nothing was happening around them. That’s how engrossing their biryani can be.
In the old city around the historic Charminar are quite a few places of repute. One of them is Hotel Madina and another is Hotel Parwaaz. But if you happen to go to this bustling part of town there are enough of small road side joints that offer you the best biryani around. The problem with most of these places is that they do not have a decent place to sit and have the biryani but don’t let this deter you from trying out the stuff.
In the Secundrabad area there is always Paradise. The biryani here used to be excellent but of late its kind of gone lower in my list of places that give the best biryani. Nevertheless it is worth trying out and they have different restaurants to cater to your pocket and taste from a garden to a multi-cuisine to an open kind of a shop.
For a more Andhra kind of a biryani there are a couple of places in Ameerpet that are worth mentioning and one is FishLand for is fish and prawn biryani and Anupama for its chicken boneless and fish biryani. Be warned these places have fiery hot biryani guaranteed to give you a Fiery Hyderabad Belly.
If you really don’t feel like leaving the luxury of your home then you can order for the biryani to be delivered to your doorstep. Hyderabad House delivers Biryani and other Hyderabadi delicacies to your doorstep or you can also go and pick it up at the numerous outlets that they have around the city.
For those of you that think you may have missed out Biryani during the day - well don't worry. Green Park at Begumpet provides you some of the best Hyderabadi food that there is to offer during the night. Their Midnight Buffet starts at 11:30 and goes on till the wee hours of the morning and the center of this buffet is a lovely biryani. This is an experience worth checking out.
Phew - This is like just the tip of the iceberg of places that serve good biryani. Now once you get here what kind of Biryani do you have - well that’s for another article on another day.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
An evening out on Hussain Sagar Lake is something that most visitors that come to Hyderabad have to experience. In this article I intend to outline as to what would be my schedule for an ideal evening by this lake.
I would like to start my evening at around 5:00 in the evening and that would be at the Lumbini Park on the banks of the lake. From here there is boating (speed boat and a launch) which provide one with magnificient views of the Buddha Statue that is located on an island in the middle of the lake. For the more adventurous para-gliding is offered. The children have ample space to play here with a jungle gym, swings and a small toy car that goes on a track around the park.
After spending a couple of hours at this park I would head for the musical fountain show that is to one side of the park. This is located in a well constructed amphi-theater but one needs to make sure that they are not sitting in direct blast from the rather large speakers that belt out desi hits to which the fountains dance. There is also a lovely laser show which walks us through the history of how Hyderabad came into being and where we are now. This show goes on for about half an hour.
From here one can then head to the NTR Gardens that is situated on the other side of the road to where Lumbini Gardens is located. This park has some very well laid out gardens and it also has a water slide that is set in a large fake tree. There is a toy train in this park and getting onto this train will pretty much give you a train eyed view of the entire park.
By now it should be about 9:00 in the night and you must be thinking of food by now. From here head to the Necklace Road to a food plaza called Eat Street that is located on the banks of the river. Here you can get pretty much all the kinds of cuisine that can be had in Hyderabad from the Hyderabadi-Indian-Chinese to the Chat and the Idlis/Dosas/Vadas combination and the ever so mouth watering Biryani. But my choice would be the chat.
One can then choose to stroll along the banks of the lake enjoying the serenity and the soothing of the cool breeze. There are lovely well maintained lawns to relax in. This is a long strech of road along the lake that connects the two cities namely Hyderabad and Secundrabad. Almost the entire strech is well developed with lovely walkways to stroll away the evening.
Some things to keep in mind when here
- Preferably avoid the place on weekends as it gets extremely crowded. There is enough room for a lot of people but if it can be avoided then that is advisable.
- There is food available at Lumbini Park and at NTR Gardens but I would try and avoid it until I get to eat street that has a much better choice of food.
- You will face a lot of beggars, hawkers, auto rickshaw drivers and if you are very lucky a eunauch. Just walk away unfazed and they will eventually leave you alone. In case of any issues there is a police station situated on the Necklace Road.
Monday, August 08, 2005
About 25 km outside Hyderabad towards Gandipet lies a peaceful serene and beautiful getaway called Alankrita. It's developed based on the ethnic theme and the surroundings and the ambiance reflects the theme. What's nice about the place is the greenery around and you can actually hear birds chirping which is a real pleasure when you consider that the only things you hear in the city is the cacophony of horns.
They have different types of rooms - they have double rooms to cottages. The cottages are nicely tucked away in the trees and there is a lot of privacy offered. They are quite spacious with a nice luxurious bedroom with a small dressing room and a pretty large bath. Even the rooms are well laid out with nice views to be had.
The place has three restaurants pretty much serving all the different kinds of Indian food that you can wish for. We did not try out any of the continental or Chinese fare on offer. Two of the restaurants are partly open air and one of the restaurants is indoors. One of the restaurants is vegetarian the other restaurant is tandoori food and the third restaurant is multi cuisine. There is a lot of fresh juice on offer.
There is a lot to do here. They have snooker tables, carrom tables, a swimming pool that is covered so it is never too hot to get into the water and there are table tennis tables and a ground where a larger group can play field sports. So there is never a dull moment. There are a lot of lawns and walkways around the place to just go out for a stroll too.
For those that are more adventurous there is an ayurvedic massage parlor. I had a massage myself but to tell you frankly it was not that great. Maybe from all that I have heard about massages I was expecting to feel rejuvenate and relaxed but I did not feel anything like that. I am not sure if I was expecting too much. But it is an experience that those that have not experienced may just want to try out.
On the whole it was an enjoyable weekend. Would I go back ? Definitely would be the answer in one word. Would I recommend it to someone to get away for the weekend. Definitely - would be my answer again.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Now you might wonder what happens if you dont start and wait for the traffic signals to start again or a cop to come and direct the traffic. There are few of the many things that may happen - you may have to make an appointment with the ENT specialist to get your ears checked up due to the cacophony of horns behind you or you might just get run over or worse the traffic would just reach you and surround you from all sides like an octopus wanting to give you that all encompassing hug.
Why do we kill ourselves this way - its something that I have no answer for. Is it the uneducated that cause this - absolutely not - its the most educated guy who shows his power of causing the jam.
Is it any better when it does not rain. Not a hope in hell. The Hyderabadi motorist thinks it is his god given right to drive the way he pleases -
jump a traffic light (so what), drive on the wrong side of the road (so what), drive looking the other way (so what). With the ever increasing traffic volume it does not get any better. The roads are the same size, the roads can only take so much in terms of number of vehicles, the public transport is the saddest and the traffic sense is abysmal.
Is there a way out of this. I think there is (if only we can do the following)
- We need to get better traffic sense. Almost an impossible thing to do but then if its for our own good we better try and perform miracles.
- Have better and well demarcated footpaths and foot bridges so that we get people off the roads.
- Invest heavily in a good public transport system.
- Get all the government working from outside the city so that they can come and go as they see fit without inconveniencing anyone due to stoppages in traffic.
- Build public parking facilities in all the commercial areas.
I do not see anything changing by widening the roads and building flyovers that are just going to get choked as quickly as they were built. We tried that out a few years ago and it has just not worked.
This is what happens when the road is widened. Since the road widening eats up into the set back of the building which used to be used for people getting out of their vehicles in the building and for parking in other buildings now that this place is gone the people do the same thing that they used to do in the buildings on the road now. The footpaths are all gone so the people start to walk on the road. Hence by widening the road no one has achieved anything other than the contractor making a handsome profit and the local bureaucrat lining his pocket.
Are we going to do something about this - well I think it is upto each one of us to try and do something before I write my next article stuck in traffic !!!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
For the last few days I have two teams that are battling it out over a problem. Each of the teams has their own way of doing it and both solve the problem and both have their pros and their cons. I belong to one of these teams. The deadline is drawing closer and closer and both the sides are getting desperate for their solution to get selected. And the best part is the two teams are seperated by 6000 miles in two different continents and their only medium of communication is telephones and emails.
We have been arguing so much over which is the best way to solve the problem that it is becoming evident that both sides are getting fed up of each other and both the sides are succumbing to the "whatever" route. The result of this is that we are losing focus on solving the problem and we are ending up with a "whatever" kind of a solution with no clear winner and with both the sides feeling down.
The question is "How do you salvage such a situation and get the best solution selected ?" This looks so awfully similar to the situation exercises that one gets when you attend a Managemet Training Program. But now this is real life for me...
Will let you'll know how it went....
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Some of my thoughts on this is that a blog closely resembles a public diary of the individual - the individuals thoughts and actions. And why do people write blogs is maybe because they want to capture images of their life and their thoughts in words. Sounds very logical to me and that is exactly what i want to do. I just want to capture some of my views on things and just be able to collect them in one single place.
Why do people read blogs - I have no idea. Why do I read blogs ? Some of the titles that the blogs have interest me or pique my interest and then I go in and read a few pages - do I go and read every page the user has written - well I have read only one bloggers every single page and the reason is that he writes things that are very practical and you can learn a lot from his thoughts and actions.
In case anyone happens to read my blog well post all your thoughts on why do you read blogs or why do you write blogs I would love to learn about this.
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