About Nayan Goenka

Sep.16

Today I’m a believer

This is highly personal for me. The fact I’m writing it on Engineer’s Day speaks volumes for itself.

All of you who know me, even remotely, know that I am a pure logic and reason person. Zero tolerance and acceptance for BS. Absolutely Zero. If something isn’t supported by facts, I simply don’t buy it.

But today, I incline to. This is a true story that turned me into a believer today.

So I don’t think most of you know but my dad got a brain stroke last month rendering half his body (right side) paralysed and speechless. Just like what happened to Abhishek Bachchan in Guru. Same stuff. He couldn’t move, talk. Only shout as the restless beast inside him wanted to do things but couldn’t. Even after suffering moderate brain damage in left side, and completely destroying his language centre in brain, which also destroyed the motor functions (movement of right side), He was active and conscious. I rushed to Pune from Mumbai within hours of getting the news, darted straight in the Neuro-ICU he was in. Doctors had stabilised the damage and performed Thrombolysis, the best treatment available, they say, for this condition (some costly injection they put in your body to kick-start blood flow to brain), I was angry and restless. After grilling the doctors for each and every step they took and still doubting, ‘was that the best they could have done’, he said, “if PM Narendra Modi was my patient today, I wouldn’t have done a thing differently”. When I saw my dad, he was fully awake. A person who never got admitted to hospital in his life, always restless and wanting to do something, he was helpless. He tried to get out of bed and I had to sign a consent form for the hospital to sedate him and bind him to the bed. 5 bouncers at the hospital were trying to contain him and keep him from falling down the bed in ICU. I understood what he wanted to do, Go Home, but that simply wasn’t on the table.

I started doing what I am good at. Google. Within a couple hours, I educated myself with everything there was to understand about what all the doctor and the file on his booth read, in the closest medical and layman terms. Understood why it happened, how it happened, what’s the damage and what’s the best available treatment in this situation (Thrombolysis, costly but not much you can do). That night I was on guard duty in the Hospital. Walking the corridors all night and trying to infuse myself with as much caffeine as possible. That was all I was allowed to do since he was in Neuro ICU and they don’t let anyone near it. That night in the hospital, hundreds of scenarios started playing out in my head. Some positive ones, lots of negative ones. Playing out all sorts of contingency plans, timelines, remedies, worst case scenarios and everything. The Engineer inside me was in full burst mode. Leaving nothing to chance. Doctors aren’t giving me a recovery timeline but only tentative ones based on what they see with other patients. No one is looking me in the eye and saying this is the recovery timeline and this is what will happen in next few days. No matter how advanced medical science is, when it comes to brain issues, its a huge Gray area. Within those 24 hours, I realised one very important thing, Science is still in a bent-knee backstroke sideways position when it came to the natural phenomenon and body’s healing processes. Brain damage cannot be reversed. Period. They explained to me that its a part of hard drive that’s fried. So a 1TB hard drive is suddenly a 800GB one since 200GB worth of circuits internally do not exist anymore. Even by some magic, we un-fry those 200GB, the data is still gone. So the circuits in his brain, that hold the data to regulate his body to speak, understand, move are fried. Even if the brain somehow regenerates, it needs to be taught everything again. Like a child.

Course of Medical action was to be under strict observation for next 2 weeks, from Neuro ICU to normal ICU to a private room, and physiotherapy to help his body gain strength and send signals to brain to relearn the use of the body. We spoke to every famous doctor we could get our hands on for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, nth opinion. All saying the same thing, its a game of ‘wait and watch’. But they didn’t know me, I don’t do ‘wait and watch’. But in this case, I was helpless too. I embraced the lesson of patience. Every mentor and teacher I ever had, told me this one thing, “All is good with you. Just be patient”. In this hour of adversity, I had to kill the Engineer inside me and embrace patience. Become rock solid. Not showing a tread of tear to anyone. I had to be with a heart of stone. My Mom and other family was already melting. Many relatives came to meet, all consoling and patronising. Giving all sorts of advice which I simply took from one ear and let it flow out the other (in most cases). Now many of these relatives knew me. And they tried selling advice to my Mom since they knew their things won’t fly with me. Something my dad advised me a month ago to fix about myself and be open to all types of people (even if they are selling BS and you know it).

So one story came tied to a pigeon’s legs and landed on my mother’s ears. Take him to Butati Dham in Rajasthan, Its a temple where paralysis patients get recovered within 7 days. She got the entire story and what is to be done there and not. When it came to me, it was not a suggestion, it was information that as soon as he gets discharged from Hospital, we’re going there. I was furious on all counts. The Engineer inside me doesn’t buy this. Here is a guy battling for his sanity in a hospital and you want to take him to a temple in some God knows where jungle in the middle of nowhere? We are EDUCATED ffs. We trust the doctors know what they are doing. Its their job. How much ever I was not satisfied with the progress of things, I trust a professional. Always. And I wanted to give the doctors time to do their thing.

We hired two male nurses on a 24-hour shift clock for handling Dad’s chores when he got Home. He couldn’t move from his bed. Everything had to be done manually. Physiotherapy started at home and for first few days, he was simply not cooperating. He is a control freak and this time, others are calling the shots. Doesn’t fly by. Doctors advised us one thing while taking him home, “Be Patient”. That’s it. Physio and Nature will heal him over the time. Still no timelines given.

My family members booked arrangements for Rajasthan behind my back. Till the time they were boarding the train, I was convincing them to not do it as it was a waste of crucial recovery time. No one listened to me.

So this is what happens at Butati Dham. Like in any other temple, there is a morning and evening prayers (Aarti). You got to bring the patient, make him stand in Aarti both times and offer a parikrama around the temple after it. They give you a sabzi and wheat flour for the patient. You got to cook your own Chapati and feed him with the sabzi. All this for only 7 days. All this for free. No extra poojas and stuff. Just be there for prayer and do a parikrama around the temple after it. Now this was over the top for me. One, they are not doing anything medically. Two, they are asking to do normal temple routine like any other guy going to a temple anyways does. Standard protocol. Stand in Aarti, Do a parikrama, Go Home. Simple. The temple is in the middle of nowhere. (Its here actually.)

So Day 1, The Boss (on the wheelchair) is accompanied by two hired Bouncers to lift him and make him stand and do parikrama, his devoted younger brother, his sister and his wife. All people dear to me were there in middle of a desert doing God knows what. I knew even before they boarded the train that some day I’m going to tell them, “I told you so”. I was sceptical and cynical of the highest order on this adventure of theirs. But they got a stronger bond with him than I do. They didn’t listen to me and they cast me away like a child. Let’s give faith a chance for the namesake I say.

So Day 1, two bouncers are loading him in the hired car, at the hotel in a distant town for his first trip to this temple. When they arrive, they roll out a wheelchair, load him up on it, get to the temple hall, hold him both sides of the waist to make stand for 10 gruelling minutes. As soon as the prayers ended, he collapsed on the chair and refused to get up as all his body energy was exhausted. The parikrama is still left at this time. They come down the hall in the parikrama lobby. Again pick him up and start pushing legs for the looooong parikrama of 50m. Took them forever to finish Session 1. Load back in the car, back to hotel (some faraway town), get to the room, and my dad just crashed down on bed to sleep. Never had he done this kind of workout even when he was healthy. Fully exhausted. This routine continued for initial couple days.

I used to call up for updates daily and not get much back. Internally I told them, I told you so. But some part of me I think, wanted this to work (obviously!). So its Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4 with little or no improvement. Now the improvement I heard about was not much. Like moving the paralysed leg from knees and all which I credited to the physical work he was doing. Obviously his body is going to respond to forced electrical signals his paralysed limbs are sending to the brain. Normal physiotherapy, different style I say.

Day 5, I called my uncle for the update and some other matter and he mentioned, there is minor improvement as in it doesn’t take two people now, it takes one. I was like, not bad! Its good.

Day 6, today, I get a call 8:30am from my aunt who’s jumping there in the desert saying Dad is walking. I said, “Don’t pull this off on me on a sleepy Saturday morning”. She says check your WhatsApp, I sent you a video. I was like ‘dafuq is she talking about’. Let me check. I woke up, wiped the sleep off 10%, opened Notifications Drawer, to curse my phone. All the apps in the phone decided to sell me something or the other and in the alphabetical last, there was Whatsapp with two updates. Ahaan posting in work group about some random stuff he found in the night, as he does every morning (which was my last swipe to dismiss), and a notification saying ‘Bua sent a video’. And I wondered, WhatsApp really changed the life of this old generation it seems. Opened the video and there it is,

“Dad, doing his parikrama, touching one side of the temple sanctorum wall, all by himself. Uncle walking slowly next to him, in case he loses balance, and the two bouncers walking behind them, to do what they were doing for past few days, ready to catch if he fells down.”

This is pure sorcery. 12 Hours ago, you guys tell me there is minor improvement. Now there is this. I couldn’t believe it. This is exactly what the temple priests said. Miracle will happen in next half of the week.

I don’t know what to do now. My Engineering didn’t teach me to react in a situation where magic happens. We Engineers always look for the reason behind the magic as we know all magic is an illusion. But here, its something I don’t quite understand. And so here we are, its two hours now since I got that video, and past one hour I am writing this, its 10:36 in my clock. And as of the past 65 minutes, I am a believer. And today this fine morning, I have learnt that there is a lot we don’t understand about nature and human body and life itself. So a little faith is what helps us cross that bridge. And I’m optimistic his Hands and the Speech will come back soon too.

The family tried to explain me that a lot of success stories they have heard and some sort of Magnetic Field is said to be around the temple that helps in recovering paralysis but today I have seen a story. The temple is open to all people, of all caste, religion, creed, sex, background etc. They are not selling this magical therapy. All they ask you to do is stand for prayer, do a parikrama and they even give you free food. My last call before I started writing this was to my aunt, to drop ₹1000 in the temple donation box. They are already distributing laddoos (as promised to the deity), (typical Indian mentality) and I decided to spread the word.

Below is a link to this magical temple.

Butati Dham, Rajasthan

Google Maps Link: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Butati+dham/@26.899062,73.9754158,17z/

I don’t know if it will work for you or your near and dear ones who have been suffering from this deadly medical issue, we did this in first month of the recovery itself. Maybe it worked since it was early, maybe something else. I don’t know. But I suggest, give faith a try. It works. Hundreds of success stories happen their, Everyday.

 

Experiences,Messages

Mar.26

My take on Ram Mandir issue

Hi, today I would like to talk about an extremely sensitive issue, issue that dates back to days even before my father was born. And I feel like talking about it because it is related to a deity I deeply revere and aspire to inculcate some of his values and principles in my life, Lord Ram.

Lord Ram, the ideal man, most honorable of all, a man who’s integrity and ethics is so pristine that even millennia after his existence, it still guides the majoritarian society in this country.

Where I do believe that even a single person should be allowed to practice his/her religion provided it doesn’t harm others, I also believe that religion merely plays the role of a guide in a person’s life in aesthetic sense and it should not be tied down to physical structures. But hey, if a temple is instrumental is uniting the society, why not build it? Build more I say. Put best quality resources in it, spare no costs. But does “spare no costs” mean destroy others’ faiths?

What happened in 1992 with the mosque, was unfortunate and purely unwarranted. Peaceful protest turned into a lynching ceremony of an innocent structure of another faith. For the sake of majoritarian argument, let us hold it to be true that the mosque was indeed a “stick in the face” attempt by an invasion crusader centuries ago to Hindus but it had since grown to be a source of aesthetic dependence for a community who happen to live with us, the Muslims, followers of Prophet Muhammad. 

My justification for the sympathy for the incident is simple, if some opportune facts do prove that my house is built over some previously undiscovered social site, does it give anyone any right to even consider burning my house down just to build a holy shrine on it. Won’t the foundation of the shrine be built on my crushed hopes and aspirations?

Cutting to the current, the Supreme Court has asked the two sections of the society to reach over a peaceful conclusion through a dialogue, in an attempt to maintain peace and stability for the years to come. And I definitely agree to this position the Supreme Court has taken. The last thing we want is for the Court to be painted politically and appear to be taking sides, thus harboring malice in the party who would not be happy when the verdict doesn’t go in their favor. And frankly there is no right answer to even consider a black and white verdict. A verdict in favor of Hindus has the chance of making the Muslims feel they are second grade and open up themselves to social bullying, ultimately resulting in violence from both sides and taking the country back by decades. A verdict in favor of Muslims would result in the majority population losing their faith in the institution of Supreme Court, thus effectively crippling us for decades to come. In short term, violence, more lynching of Muslim shrines and taking us back by decades. 

What I am seeing currently, and I am not sure why this perception is created but Muslim leadership is appearing weak and accepting dialogue process as though they have lost the war and accepting whatever they could salvage from it and save face. The Hindu leadership on the other hand is swelling chests as though they have victoriously defeated some decades long fued, as though they have avenged something when all they have done is break hearts of a major section of society, who by the way, are extremely crucial for the future of this country. 

I wish the dialogue happens, sensibly, honestly, with the country’s best interests at heart and sensitive to everyone’s sentiments. This should not become a business negotiation where either you lose or win. Whatever outcome comes out of a bragging negotiating technique is ultimately an emotional matter, aesthetically important to each and every Indian and ultimately both parties will lose. And why?, because it will set an extremely dangerous precedent, perhaps for decades and centuries to come. Everyone loses. 

There is only one solution to this problem, build a hybrid culture center on the spot. Like we see in Ganpati pandals in Mumbai. Aarti gets delayed for a namaaz bring prayed in the pandal itself and mosque kitchens being used to cook Prasad. In current times, we need to get our priorities right. Do we want to collaborate together, make a transparently robustly mixed and unitedly diverse progressive society or start another round of lynching at each other’s throats and go back to stone age? 

I appeal to everyone to stop throwing tantrums around something that has deeply burned a lot of hearts over centuries in past. This is not a contest. Lord Ram doesn’t teach this. And even if you somehow manage to dominate each other and build a temple, His soul would never reside in a building built over someone’s crushed emotions. This is not what his life was about. 

Build a hybrid culture center where Ram Lala’s childhood can be celebrated. Else, is it even worth it? 

Feel free to leave your views on this. And please no unnecessary lynching of this thought process for your self appreciation. Allahu Akbar! Jai Shri Ram!

Experiences,Messages,Vision,General Thought

Jan.05

Life – A journey

Let us put some light on the days of 1960s-70s life. What did people in India have then? A cycle? Some 10 paisa coins to their names? Did that matter?

Hell No. There was freedom in their heart, Songs on their lips, Taps of the feet, pollution-free environment, and a happy family. Why was that possible? Because, they believed. They believed in something that is called self-preservation. They believed that in order to develop, one must upgrade himself first. Then think about the system provided. Nowadays, the scenario is completely different. Today’s kids have been provided with virtually everything possible for parents. A laptop, cell phone, separate room, AC, heavy pocket-money, Best possible education, vehicles, yet they fail. Reason no one knows. Or it’s rather, no questions asked. There is no good reason to why it changed. Maybe we adopted the western culture in a negative sense. We started looking like them, behaving like them, talking like them, eating like them but what we miss is thinking like them. They think to constantly upgrade themselves. Same thing our parents and grandparents did. Maybe they didn’t get to see cinemas every week, but when they did, it was the true sense of entertainment. You pick up any song of that era, You won’t find a single line in the lyrics which doesn’t make sense. Today, the whole track has maximum 50 words. Senseless it is.

You think this doesn’t justify anything? Check out the education level of the people of that era. Barely able to read and write. But yes, they are still more capable to work in place of dual-degree-nuts. Their brains work faster. They are so aware of everything around them. They have such a nice schedule today. They are so regular and particular about thousands of small and big things daily like diet, reading habits, hobbies, entertainment, romance, work. All we care about is booze and party. Maybe there is something more to that than life. Life is an epitome of free space. The more you explore, the more marvels you see. We have restricted our life in the bounds of our planet. Let us expand. Expand more to our solar system, our galaxy, and constellations across the universe. And see how marvelous this life is. What a gift! It is truly unimaginable, incomparable, priceless and something which cannot be contained within a 4-letter word. We have only one shot at this. Who has seen the future? Who has seen tomorrow? Who has seen the hour that will be ticking about 60 minutes from now? Maybe we no more exist. But yes, if you do what you truly want to do, if you know How to live life. There you won’t have any regrets on the day you die. That day will be truly yours. Everything around you will be at your honors. And that day, when you have your last breath, you can happily sing one of Kishore Kumar’s track. And Express to your near and dear ones,

“Waaah! Kya life thi. Mazaa aa gaya.”

Journey,Experiences,General Thought

Oct.17

Entrepreneurial Nirvana

Being an Entrepreneur is more of an ascetic intervention and not a materialistic one. It has more to do with the way of life and not with the quantity of life.

Let me explain.

Being an entrepreneur, doesn’t mean you would someday have a luxurious palace or a 300-foot yacht. It means people will remember your work even after you are gone. That is the only achievement of an entrepreneur.

Now that we have established the output of an entrepreneurial life, let us look into what would help in achieving the final ‘nirvana’.

Simple Rules of Engagement:

  1. Always keep your glass empty – Be ready to learn irrespective of who or what the teacher is. No knowledge gained is ever wasted.
  2. Be vigilant – Always stay alert on what is happening in your world. Be ready to capitalize on opportunities. And most importantly, be ready to retrospect after every episode. If you can trace why it happened, you would always be able to make sure you do not repeat the same mistakes again.
  3. Know the value of your possessions – You will not always have the same things. You should cherish what you have and make sure you capitalize on them always.
  4. Always keep others above yourself – Always sense what people working with you need. What they like. What they aspire and help them achieve. A happy team is a productive team. Its them who will carry the torch forward.
  5. Always respect what others have to offer – The only thing that is never useless in the world is ‘a contribution’. May that be resources, ideas, thoughts or anything else. The perspective of every contributor may be different, and may not match what you think, but the motive behind it is important. These contributions will later convert into vested equities of a larger legacy.
  6. All-in! – “How do I know what my passion is?”. “Think about the thing that you can do 24 x 7 x 365, without stopping, without complaining, without any expectations and still be happy and satisfied. That is your passion.”. Once you decide what you want to do, it’s simply a matter of All-in! Never look back and keep moving forward
  7. Give Back – Whatever you have earned or achieved is rightly deserved by you and you should try to express your gratitude by giving it back to the world. Be philanthropic by nature. Have the tendency to share what you have.
Journey,Experiences,Vision,General Thought

Feb.03

The PM we never had

Indian-Flag-300x187

 

“Confused about what I am talking? Well now-a-days, the smart people of India have come up with one excellent name that was almost forgotten, “The true Iron Man – Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel”.

Who exactly was Mr Patel? He was the one person in the first government of Free India who always did what was correct and in the best interest of the people of India. Never budged under pressure, may it be from his team or the external forces. Sardar Patel is the perfect title given to this man. I think Iron Man people should be sued for stealing his name. Sardar Patel, what a figure. Single handed cleared 500 princely states to join Free India. He was a living legend, a vicious martyr, the true Prince of India.

It takes real guts to quote such a sentence he did in his tenure as the first Home Minister of India. “Give me 24 policemen; I will wipe out every single intruder from the face of POK.”

Many claim that Sardar Patel would have been a better choice for the first PM of free India. He was like a son to Bapu and that was the reason, Bapu thought that Sardar won’t mind if he named Chacha Nehru for PM. Anyways, Sardar never showed his grief and accepted Bapu’s decisions. He passed away like a true warrior, in service of India, executing his office as the Iron Man cum premiere Home Minister of Free India in full capacity. The History of India will always treasure this man. His soul might have been decorated in diamonds and jewels when he might have entered God’s Hall of Fame in Heaven. Today when he must been peeking below and see that people are now creating his statue, an iron statue, tallest in the world, he must be thinking, “what a waste of resources! Keep me in your heart and use that iron to construct something more useful.”

Anyways, he is going to be the proudest structure in the world in a few years.

Sometimes, I think, what will our freedom fighters do if ever they come to life again and see the politics now-a-days. One thing is for sure; they will give a tight slap to all these corrupt people and then start crying and blame themselves, “This is not the country I gave my life to. This was not the day I wanted to see in Free India. This is not for which we strove hard to gain freedom.”

But Sardar will have a better thing to do. He will take a full automatic Maverick assault, go inside the parliament and shoot down the corrupt politicians. And that is a dream, seeing the strongest man to hold the strongest office in the strongest country of the world. And no one with a corrupt and violent brain will ever try to take a foot outside his doors.

-An Article I wrote on October 31, 2013 for thechaishop.in

General Thought

Apr.18

My Take on Net Neutrality

Let me start with some basic ground facts:

1. I owe everything I am to internet which doesn’t have any shackles of any kind.

2. I have already signed and sent the petition/response mail drafted by savetheinternet.in

3. I am ready to go on an all out war in support for Net Neutrality

4. I have listened to many arguments/ Read a lot of articles written/ Watched all relevant videos (that includes AIB’s video and I have observed a flaw in it which seems to be intentionally presented in a twisted manner) related to Net Neutrality debate which is a hot topic nowadays.

5. I have come to the below conclusions after analysing all THREE sides of the debate.

Here it is.

I would like to start with where it all started. It started with Mark Zuckerberg’s Internet.org initiative. The idea is extremely noble and well understood and extremely important and needed in today’s era. But Mark twisted it by assuming that giving Facebook services free he is empowering the poor and backward communities. If he really wants to have the world online, give a NEUTRAL internet free of cost. So no matter the idea was noble, he took the nobility out of it by just promoting Facebook there. Plus he expected that Telecom Service Providers would just have a change of heart and start giving free service where they have paid millions of dollars just to get that spectrum band to operate on. I would like to quote Vodafone Global CEO’s statement at Mobile Congress in last month.

“Its Like Mark wants to do philanthropy but with my money”

And Airtel CEO’s statement at same event.

“It’s a good idea. Lets do this. Make everything free. Tell the governments to make the spectrum free too”

Now Mark has one liner which he thinks will work on any Indian

“I am echoing Prime Minister Modi’s words of Digital India”

Well Mark, he meant Digital India and not India on Facebook.

When I put up my Facebook status which said,

Mark Zuckerberg is supporting net neutrality. Either he doesn’t know what it means or he is a hypocrite or he thinks everyone is a fool

many people didn’t understand it. It means, Mark has wrongfully assumed that being connected to Facebook is all an individual needs to grow.

Now coming to Airtel Zero.

When Airtel was coming under fire for being too greedy by not giving off free internet, (now this fire wasn’t in public but in internal board rooms. Maybe it was there. Maybe it wasn’t. I am assuming Airtel was coming under pressure because Reliance already opted for Internet.org ), a true Businessman took a decision in Airtel Board Room. They came up with Airtel Zero. Its a concept similar to Toll Free Numbers. All the access to all the phones (in this case websites and data access) will be equal. The difference is, instead of you paying, the website owner will pay. That’s it. That is Airtel Zero. That is what was needed in today’s era where Internet consumption is rising exponentially and people are in turn paying more. This will start a new competition and a healthy one at that. And people will in turn automatically start getting internet on their phones because they will now know that half of their usage will actually be paid by someone else.

This was today echoed by Airtel CEO writing a e-letter to all his customers. It says,

Dear Customer
Over the last few days you may have seen a lot of conversation on our toll free platform Airtel Zero. It has been painted as a move that violates net neutrality and we have been very concerned at the incorrect information that has been carried by some quarters in the media as well as in social media. I wanted to take this opportunity to clear the air and reiterate that we are completely committed to net neutrality. Let me clarify.
  1. Our vision is to have every Indian on the internet. There are millions of Indians who think that the internet is expensive and do not know what it can do for them. We believe that every Indian has the right to be on the internet. We know that if we allow them to experience the joys of the internet they will join the digital revolution.
  2. Airtel Zero is a technology platform that connects application providers to their customers for free. The platform allows any content or application provider to enroll on it so that their customers can visit these sites for free. Instead of charging customers we charge the providers who choose to get on to the platform.
  3. Our platform is open to all application developers, content providers and internet sites on an equal basis. The same rate card is offered to all these providers on a totally non discriminatory basis.
  4. There is no difference between this and toll free voice such as 1-800. When a company selling an insurance product enrols into the toll free voice platform, customers who call the number are not charged but when they call a normal number they are charged. Calls are not blocked or given preferential treatment else our whole business would be jeopardized. Toll free voice helps the business owner engage with their customer. At the same time it provides the customer the benefit of reaching the business for free. Toll free voice is not a product or a tariff plan, it is merely a technology platform. We are simply taking the same concept of toll free voice to the world of data. As a result it is for the application developer and their customer to decide how data charges will be paid for. If the application developer is on the platform they pay for the data and their customer does not. If the developer is not on the platform the customer pays for data as they do now. Companies are free to choose whether they want to be on the platform or not. This does not change access to the content in any way whatsoever. Customers are free to choose which web site they want to visit, whether it is toll free or not. If they visit a toll free site they are not charged for data. If they visit any other site normal data charges apply.
Finally every web site, content or application will always be given the same treatment on our network whether they are on the toll free platform or not. As a company we do not ever block, throttle or provide any differential speeds to any web site. We have never done it and will never do it. We believe customers are the reason we are in business. As a result we will always do what is right for our customers.
There has been a deliberate effort by some quarters to confuse people that we will offer differential speeds or differential access for different sites. This is untrue. After all we earn revenues from data. If there are more customers who are on the Internet the better it is for our business. Our revenues are not dependent on which sites they visit because we charge on the basis of consumption of mega bytes not which site they visited.
In sum our platform is a technology platform and is open to all application developers and their customers. Our platform only provides a choice of how the data that is consumed is paid for by any of the two – the application provider or their customer. Whether any application provider enrolls on the platform or not is entirely their choice. All we have is a technology. We do not have a product or tariff plan that we have launched. We simply have a platform. And every application developer and their customer is free to choose in an entirely neutral way what they want to do.
In conclusion, we stand fully committed to net neutrality to ensure the goals of the Prime Minister`s vision of digital India are met.
 
Regards,
Gopal Vittal
MD & CEO
Bharti Airtel Ltd.
India & South Asia

I was waiting for this letter since last week because I knew, if I would have been understood wrongly and a whole campaign was being run against it, which breached a new idea which had a huge potential, I would have written these exact same words. Good Job Airtel on that one!

Coming lastly to our humor buddies. AIB.

I actually liked the video. They have actually made excellent points on it and most of the video is informative and factually correct. And it was important someone took up the baton to educate people about Net Neutrality when everyone is debating on it and most of them didn’t even know what it meant. The video was good. But they got one thing wrong. And I think they should retract it or at least clarify it to their viewers in some way.

Telecom Companies think that they are losing money because everyone who has innovated is making money on internet which they are providing to their customers by setting up costly infrastructure. They are getting greedy.

Now one point they made is absolutely correct.

That people will obviously go and surf the website which doesn’t charge them for data rather than the one which charges them data. And that young startups will go powerless against big giants.

What they added a twisted fact there is,

Telecom Operators would hamper the usage factor of their non-partnering websites. So The non partners would not be having a smooth service delivery but rather a slow and frustrating connection.

Now this is Against Net Neutrality. Absolutely. And This should never happen. Today I am supporting Airtel Zero but if in future they do this scam, I’ll be the first to lodge a complaint against them.

However their first observation is strictly against Business. They cannot expect everything to be free of charge or think some kind of Robin Hood is going to save the world. They are huge corporations, They have Money. They can afford to provide luxury of free-data to their customers. And that’s the beauty of being a deep pocket enterprise. Else the money will lose all its credibility in business planning. It will apparently become that even if you don’t have money, its fine; you can still run a business. Money is an important resource to have. And it should be used accordingly. It doesn’t make ME money-minded but I believe Money has its importance and it shouldn’t fade completely away from the system. If you are a young startup, it is an added challenge for you to innovate better and beat the huge pocket company at their own game.

Any Tom, Dick and Harry should not open his mouth and say my business shut down because someone bought a corporate data pack from the telecom operator.

Feel free to express your responses!

General Thought

Mar.08

5 Things that no one should have to ever pay for!

Today I was giving a thought about what would be the absolute things that should be free of cost forever in every part of the world. These things define the human civilization as a whole. These things are the fundamental and the most basic version of absolute human needs needed for survival. And these should be absolutely FREE! Everywhere. To Everyone. No rules should come in between these. And by no rules, I mean no discrimination based on status, caste, color, religion, sex etc etc etc. And it is the duty of the so-called government to reach there.

Number One: FOOD

Now people who know me are definitely going to take a jibe that this guy can’t move past thinking about free food. BUT in my argument, Food and Clean Water is the first and foremost need of humanity. That should be FREE! (Includes Restaurants :P)

Number Two: SHELTER

This may sound like Mr Modi’s vision for 2022 but yeah it does make good sense. Every person in the world is entitled to a personal space to exist. That should be a clean and strong and sufficiently spacious house with toilets, water supply & electricity. Home Sweet Home never hurts no one.

Number Three: CLOTHING

Yeah. Food Shelter and Clothing. That makes the most common trio. How Can I miss that? Access to sufficiently comfortable clothes for all season and all weather conditions.

Number Four Four and First Half: KNOWLEDGE (INTERNET)

Now I have changed this from Education to Knowledge. Knowledge is the content of one’s brain. Education is the content tried to implant in one’s brain with no guaranty if it is still there. For illustrations you can look at millions of Civil Engineers who did not make it to their right industry. It was their Knowledge and Not education that is helping them survive today. Similar examples can be found everywhere. My Education would take me 100 miles from where I was. My knowledge took me a way longer than that.

Number Five Four and Second Half: COMMUNICATION (INTERNET)

This can be argued to for why not merge 4 & 5 in Internet in general. Well I wanted to make it 5 points. 4 didn’t look much better. Well let’s do it. I just thought of a fifth one. So I am re-visiting the numerals. Communication to others in an uninterrupted signal which turns on and off at the wish of the user.

Number Five: HEALTHCARE

This now completes the round circle. Every person should have access to facilities to keep himself healthy and save his life. Health is what everyone gets behind in an argument. So let’s give it to them. FREE Healthcare for all.

These Five point something things are absolutely necessary for existing on earth. In short living on earth should be FREE OF COST. Peace!

Vision

Dec.06

Officially Yes, Personally No – I

There are many instances I recall when I had to take calls where either decisions lead with my back against the wall. May it be the decision of restructuring happening in Energy Labs or investing in new ventures where I had no operational experience whatsoever. The thing that sets in motion to such decisions is never under control of the decision maker. And those decisions are often termed as better judgment. When the rewards are green, people tend to bring in all shades of flowery praises but in case of bad calls, they are not even present to criticize you.
Having realized this the hard way, when Swaraksha was on the launch pads and just a push of button away, not a single member of my board was approving except me. In fact they were so paranoid that it lead to their continuing distance from Energy Labs. Even after all commitments were made to all the right and powerful people, they were sitting back and trying to spin all the negative wheels. Still somehow I managed and with few supporters who had no choice but to go forward with it got to enjoy my undisputed support all along the way ahead since we got a rock star success on our first market product.
That blind support eventually lead to the destruction of the next product though. And this time no one is being spotted to take the blame for it. May that be wasting of time, resources or sheer stupidity to feel that they had extra veto powers they took the coward’s way to push themselves out of the door. And this applied to mostly the people who had been there since day one. Because they felt I owed them something which was not the case, things didn’t work out. And for the first time, when we could have earned actual monopoly over something, foolishness and taking things for granted screwed everything up.
When doing business, you ought to keep emotions at home. In order to excel, there is no other way than being ruthless. A person’s ruthlessness can only be seen or judged by another who possess it. It’s not a call for kids to judge a person and his actions when actually they are just sitting in the background doing nothing. Its like watching news channel debates on whether we should go to war with our neighboring countries when they have no idea what actually is the situation there.
My advice to my fellow business owners is to not waver from their officially yes and personally no decisions since personal feelings have no place on a boardroom table. Do what you have to do and don’t hesitate to kick anyone out just because you feel you owe them. Maintaining relations is important but not at the cost of work where you could have actually made a difference. What would be my next officially yes step, I would share in the next post.

Journey,Experiences

Oct.04

First sight

This might feel like a fictional film but yes that’s pretty romantic for me. This is a pretty interesting story.

I was 9 years old. One of most mischievous boys in school and almost a pain in the ass of authorities. While a crime was in progress in school, which involved me taking a loo break from the ongoing lecture, I walked past another class. There I saw a cute girl sipping water from her bottle. When she looked at me, she just gave me an innocent look and turned away. It was like,” OK someone is walking past while m drinking water and I should go inside” Look. I liked her. But I had a crush on other girl so I couldn’t cheat on her. (At least people take such things seriously when they are kids.) So I just simply liked her. Didn’t know her name. Later found out she was new in town. After almost two years I could finally catch her name.
Minding it, we were not the very best of buddies. Honestly we fought a lot. I mean it. A lot. And then when one day we fell for each other, neither of us had a strong memory of that sipping incident. She still doesn’t recall it ever happening. But that image is now imprinted in my memories for long.
I had been on a visit to my old school recently and I had a chance to walk past the same corridor again. N I was trying to recall that incident more deeply. I walked past that window still hoping I would get to see her still sipping on that straw. And yes, there she was. Different face but same cute eyes, hidden somewhere behind the mysterious looks and pompy cheeks, waiting to be noticed.

And what I have learned from this is, no matter whenever and  how many times I walk past that window, I am always going to find her. Giving me an innocent look and still sipping on her bottle. I m going to find her always. I am going to find the sweet girl always there with whom I fell in an ever lasting, unconditional, un breaking, innocent, cute and the most passionate form of love. It doesn’t matter if we are together or not, the mutual feeling we have for each other isn’t going anywhere. It can just be buried like a skeleton, but not destroyed. It can only be dim in our memories but a single spark will put life back in our love. It doesn’t matter if anyone believes it or not. I know it. I can only pray and hope but anytime I feel like reaching out to her, all I have to do is walk past that window.

Journey,Experiences

Sep.15

Life is all about “keep walking”

I don’t know from where but today I would like to talk about what life means to me. Life is all about keep walking. It is an unexpected gift with mysterious loops everywhere. Why I come to this conclusion is because what I am doing today is a combination of my dream and un-expectations. Very few people know about I was passionately trying to be an Air Force pilot some day but what gave me up is my eye-sight problem. Otherwise, I did work a lot towards that and came quite close. Many people know I played Nationals in rifle shooting. That at a point of time, I seriously considered as a profession and I could have done it. Business was in the gene pool and I wanted to be a businessman since start. At an age of 10, I had decided I want to own an IT company and today if I see behind, just like I said before, it is my dream coming true but the way it turned out, was full of un-expectations.

The one thing I am definitely sure about today is, life is never going to stop. It is not running, neither it is dead-stop. You just have to keep living it everyday. Keep breathing. Keep pushing your limits. Keep going ahead. Keep dreaming. Keep living. Keep laughing. Keep working and Keep celebrating. What makes my ideology is life has always been fair to me. Not rewarding and not risking. But fair enough. So I got nothing to turn back to in case of screw ups. And that is what I most appreciate. My family has been supportive of my decisions. They actually let me make my own decisions right from start is one of the biggest boosters. And I have always faced things like playing a game. And one thing that gamer knows is, there is never a game-over.

It is really important that you take responsibility for your own actions because unless you do that, you will never know what kind of person you are yourself. It is actually equally important that you give credit to others for their actions. It can be positive as well as negative for that will define the way you think and analyse things. It doesn’t mean you have to be a moral judge of character and entitled to label people, it means you learn from that. If there is something good, you should definitely try to adopt it. If you see someone screwing up, make a mental note whether you want that or not.

And such compilations make what life actually is. What it means and what it helps you achieve. You were born with absolutely nothing in hands and you will turn to dust someday. What most can you do is leave a footprint behind. And it is damn important you leave some good ones.

Journey,Experiences