Thursday, November 19, 2009

India's 100 richest are 25 pc of the GDP: Forbes

The Billionaires Club of India almost doubled from last year to 54 members up from 27, aided by a rebounding stock market that gained two-thirds in the past year and an economy growing at six per cent.

According to Forbes Asia magazine, the country's 100 richest people have a combined net worth of $276 billion, which was almost a quarter of the country's GDP.

Last year, there were only 27 billionaires on the India Rich List. This year, the number has almost doubled to 52-two short of what India had at the peak of the stock market boom in 2007.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Highly Employed Poor Peoples

Note: Taken information from wikipedia...

With the recent economic slowdown some of the new's that keeps coming often is how lots of peoples are loosing their jobs and unemployment rates are in the rise. I was curious to know the unemployment situation of the world and did a small search. I came out with the following chart which is a compilation of the world unemployment rate from CIA figures.

World rate of unemployment

Now I was surprised to see that India is comparable to most of the developed nations in terms of employment. Even surprising was we were better then the United States. We have an unemployment rate of ~ 7.5% as compared to 10.2% in the USA. Well that's like doing really good. But the hard fact is we are still a long way to go to provide proper employment, and also proper healthcare and food. I was now more interested to know how do we fare in poverty. So I went ahead and checked the poverty statistics. The first chart I checked was that of people below the poverty line as defined by the respective countries. Now we start showing up being not so good. We are just better then the African nations and comparable to the developed nations. The developed nations fared really well in uplifting their peoples above the poverty line. China surprisingly did a really good job, partly because their poverty line must be really on the lower side.

% population below national poverty line

A better way to compare countries is to put them in the same scale. So when I looked into such data I found one which gives the % of population living below $1.25/day. And the statistics revealed the status of our population. 40 - 60% of our population falls in that category. Our neighbors line China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and developing nations like Brazil did much better with 6-20% of their population being in that category. There is a lesson to learn, we India has a long way to go. Though comparing at a single level of currency is not a proper way to look at things and we need to look into purchasing power parity, this still gives us an indication that we are a "Highly Employed Poor Nation"

% population living below $1.25/day

Earth 'heading for 6C' of warming

** Earth 'heading for 6C' of warming **
CO2 emissions rose by a quarter in the last decade, setting the course for a world up to 6C warmer, according to research.

Emissions rose by 29% between 2000 and 2008, most of it came from the developing nations though a quarter of it was driven by demand and consumption in the industrialized nations. This alarming finding reiterates the need for urgency in political discussions.

China's new found development has ramped the CO2 emissions in recent years. The study said there are still possibility of reaching 2C if things are done urgently, but at the current pace - 6C is a reality we will have to face.

Friday, October 16, 2009

India adds 30 million people to hungry list in the last decade

** Food Day praise for Brazil, China **
Brazil and China are praised, and India criticised, in a new report on efforts to tackle hunger, published on UN World Food Day.

In a latest published report, India has been criticized for not doing enough to tackle hunger. When other developing nations like China and Brazil has done lots and have reduced its number of hungry people, in the last decade, India has added 30 Million more people in the hungry list.

Here are some pictures from "International food policy research institute" on global hunger index.
India is ranked as alarmingly hungry, which is in the league of the African nations (shame on our economic development).

Countries like Brazil has done a lot to reduce its hungry population as shown in the figure below.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Missions to moon:

With India’s big leap into the league of countries aiming for the moon via its Chandrayan program, I was exploring the web to look into the history of mankind’s attempt to touch our only natural satellite. The complete history is given in the following link from NASA website.

Some interesting observations:

Russia started the lunar race in late 50’s. USA finally overtook them and landed the first man at the moon in 1969 10 years after it all started. USA stopped most of its work in 1972 after its Apollo-17 crewed landing. USA is the only country to have people landing in the moon (having done it 7 times).

Japan entered the race with “Hiten” flyby and orbiter in the 90’s. The European space agency did a lunar orbiter in late 2003. China followed it with a lunar orbiter in October 2007. India did it in October 2008 one year after China.

India thus joined the elite group of nations to leave their mark with journey towards the moon. Well that’s what makes me extremely proud.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ten Healthiest Sports

This are the set of 10 Healthiest Sports as taken from Forbes Website:

The site rates each one of them (in a scale of 5 points) on the following catagories:
- Cardiorespiratory endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Flexibility
- Calories/30 mins
- Injury risk

So if you are fucussing on something specific (among the above listed ones) , you can choose to play one accordingly.


The preferred game of Wall Street has convenience on its side, as 30 minutes on the squash court provides an impressive cardiorespiratory workout. Extended rallies and almost constant running builds muscular strength and endurance in the lower body, while lunges, twists and turns increase flexibility in the back and abdomen. "For people just getting into the game, it's almost too much to sustain, but once you get there, squash is tremendous," says Paul Assaiante, head coach of the five-time defending national intercollegiate champion men's squash team at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. Assaiante recommends a regimen of yoga, sprinting and distance running for preparation. Be wary of groin pulls, torn Achilles tendons and your opponent's racquet.


One of the few non-weight-bearing sports, rowing works wonders for cardiorespiratory health, muscular strength and endurance. Sliding seats in rowing shells and on rowing machines provide a total-body workout, building lean muscle throughout. "Most good oarsmen are strong but thin," says Steve Wagner, head coach of the men's crew at Rutgers University, who notes that proper technique in the legs, backs and arms, not strapping shoulder muscles, is the most important part of rowing. While Wagner notes that most rowing injuries occur "outside of the boat," those suffered inside are typically minor, such as tendonitis or overextended back muscles. Plus, it's a great argument for investing in waterfront property.


Provided you don't tumble to your death, climbing is excellent for everything but cardiorespiratory health. It's anaerobic, relying upon bursts of energy to get from one rock hold to the next. While that won't do much for your heart, it's great for strength, endurance and flexibility everywhere else. "Climbers develop long, lean muscles from stretching, then contracting," says Ivan Greene, who runs the climbing program at the Chelsea Sports Center in New York. Though weight training and pull-ups are good preparation, the only way to develop grip strength is to grab a rock. Don't let the slow pace fool you. Notes Greene, "At the end of a long day of climbing, I feel like I've been wrestling Mack trucks."


The importance of technique can't be overstressed in this total-body winner, which scores in particular for cardiorespiratory health and overall muscular endurance. "It's difficult for people to maintain proper technique for 30 minutes straight," notes Michael Collins, a coach with Irvine Novaquatics, a Masters Swimming group ( in Irvine, Calif. "Without good form, many swimmers just coast through their workouts without getting any of the benefits of strength training or weight loss." Collins recommends interval training--swim two lengths, break to catch your breath, repeat--to maximize those benefits, as well as supplementing with core exercises, weight training and yoga to help maintain body alignment and awareness.


Though there's not much new or sexy about cross-country skiing, for a total-body workout it's tough to beat. Shushing through snow taxes every large muscle group, while varying terrain and conditions provide great interval training. "Just the process of the body warming itself in cold weather fires up metabolism and increases calorie burn," notes Gregory Florez, a personal trainer and CEO of the online coaching outfit who teaches cross-country skiing near Salt Lake City. Though the legs remain in a steady range of motion, there's good flexibility for the thighs, back and shoulders. Of course, you can't always count on the weather, but that's what stationary NordicTracks are for.


Like an impenetrable zone defense, basketball has just about everything covered. Continuous movement works the cardiorespiratory system and melts calories, while quick anaerobic bursts of jumping, directional changes and fast-breaks build strength and endurance. Even flexibility can improve through hands-up defense and lunges for loose balls. The downside, alas, is the high rate of injury from stops, starts, twists and turns. And yet, "basketball doesn't have to be high risk," says E.J. "Doc" Kreis, the speed-strength and conditioning coach for the UCLA Bruins. "Most of what you see is knee and back problems from older athletes who've been away for a while and try to jump back in." Kreis recommends a holistic approach of preparatory conditioning work with an emphasis on weight training and "a healthy mind."


With major benefits for cardiorespiratory health, body composition and muscular endurance, this non-weight bearer is the aerobic activity of choice for many who want to avoid the injury risks of running. Funny, then, that cycling has one of the highest injury rates of any sport--accounting for more than 500,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. While most of those are suffered by the 15-and-under set, the potential severity of tumbling off a bike shouldn't be underestimated. Nor should the hazards of unpadded bike seats. As with running, cycling won't do much for leg flexibility or upper-body strength, so plan on supplementing with some cross-training.


The ur-sport offers splendid benefits for cardiorespiratory endurance, the lower body and the circumference of waistline--provided you do some distance. "Long-distance runners burn plenty of calories, but if you do a few miles a day a few times a week, you won't lose much weight," notes Suzelle Snowden, a program director for former Olympian Jeff Galloway (, who now operates training programs across the country. Running provides little flexibility for the legs and nothing for the upper body, so supplementing with cross-training such as swimming or weight training is key. So too is moderation, as injuries like stress fractures, shin splints and dreaded "IT Band Syndrome"--overworking the iliotibial band that stabilizes the knee--have stopped plenty in their tracks.


From the precision of pistol shooting to the balletic endurance of fencing to the lower-body demands of equestrian jumping, this holdover from the 1910s challenges as few sports do. Modeled on what a liaison officer might face behind enemy lines, modern pentathlon isn't as trendy as triathlon, but it has merits. Swimming (200 meters) and running (3,000 meters) offer cardiorespiratory benefits, while round-robin swordplay tests flexibility and endurance. Shooting from 10 meters demands focus--and you can't get much healthier than on the right end of a gun. Horse jumping, meanwhile, "is always the critical event," says Elaine Cheris, owner of the Cheyenne Fencing Society in Denver. "Horses are chosen by lot, and riders have 20 minutes to get intimate with an unpredictable beast." Sounds like good training for cold calling, at least.


If you don't mind the occasional fat lip, the "sweet science" is a knockout for cardiorespiratory fitness and muscular endurance. Indeed, dancing around the ring for a few rounds "is like nothing you've ever felt in your life," says Devon Cormack, a three-time World Kick Boxing champ and boxing coach at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., who admits he tries to "take the wind out of students in the ring." Actual time inside the ropes is just part of the boxing regimen, which includes running, rope jumping and punching mitts with a trainer and against the bag. Though punches have more to do with alignment and efficiency than strength, your upper body will get a good workout. Watch out for ruptured biceps, strained rotator cuffs--and that roundhouse right!  

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sports Injury

Sports are something most of us must have been played during some part of our life. In India, sport is an active part in our life mostly during the school days. With age, most of us take our self out of it and actively involve in building ones career (sports as a career is still not very lucrative in India).

I have also been into active sports during my school days. And with sports comes injury. According to some statistics, more then half of injury in children can be related to sports. As I grew up, I took myself almost out of regular sports, and in some case, completely out of it.

So why am I writing this now? Well I am back into some sports very recently. Having an active team in office makes life quite easier. We involve our self in some kind of sports in office. Cricket being the most popular sports in India; it’s a clear winner with us too. We do play soccer sometimes. I injured myself during a friendly soccer match in office. The injury kept me limping for almost couple of weeks. I wisely realized how some sports are more prone to injury then others.

Chances of injury are of course higher in sports that have direct or full contact of the players. High-speed sports also rate high on injury. I then started wondering, if there are any sports that will probably have near-zero chances of injury. Well, hmm… what comes to my mind now is Chess. The only way you can injure yourself in chess is: if you blow up your brain, fall asleep and drop from the chair, hold the pawn for 1 hour in the air before you decide where to place it. Jokes apart, most of the sports do come with some risk associated with injuring our self.

It is always advisable to go for a warm up for avoiding injuries like spraining muscles. Playing physically demanding sports without proper training and physical fitness will result in muscle damage. Most of the other sports require wearing of protective gears (martial ones, American football etc.). Knowing your limits does help.

Professional sports person do go for sports injury insurance. Healthcare coverage and loss of revenue without participation is a big overhead and insurance can bring lot more peace to mind.

As a regular guy like me, all you need to care is do play something even when you are busy with your office or business. You need not be regular, but do play sometimes. And of course keep yourself aware of the risk of injury associated with any sports you play. So PLAY and HAVE FUN… STAY SAFE.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

“Runners High”…. Can we feel it?

I have always heard people talk about this term “Runners High”. Reading though the Internet I figured out this is something that is not generally accepted to exist by general community. I do not exactly know what it feels like to be on a High when running. But I guess I will write down something that I felt during my longer distance running. I cannot exactly call myself a long distance runner, as I have just done some 10k runs.

When I initially started running in the beginning I wasn’t at the best of my shape for that. I usually get tired real fast and had to stop after just running a small distance. After few weeks I figured out that if I can overcome the initial resistance offered by the body (which begs you to stop after some distance), I actually continued to run a much longer distance then I thought I could. If feels like the mind has overcome the body – “Not sure if this is what we call a runners high”.

There was one day when I was feeling tremendously depressed with something. And I just felt like running (I remembered the elated feeling I have during running). I actually went out running at 8:00 pm in the night to a nearby park. And to my relief I actually started feeling much better mentally. May be I was feeling the “Runners High”.

I was watching the news in the morning today. It was showing peoples running for Mumbai Marathon. A nice feeling ran through my body, with some occasional goose bumps. May be I felt good just looking and peoples running, and relating myself to the good feeling.

Whenever I go home to Assam to visit my family, I make it a point to go out in the morning and go for a small run (however small it may be). It makes me feel good for the whole day.

I don’t quite know if the “Runners High” exist, but I do know that running makes me feel good (though tired) and it definitely is a mood enhancer.

Some of this further reading will be of help to you. Go through the links below.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Planning for a trekking? What should you be carrying?

Ever wondered before your first trekking expedition what to carry in your rucksack. With every grams of additional weight in your back adding to your pain while walking uphill, knowing what to carry what not will make your life a lot easier.

I am not a very avid trekker, but I do have done some trekking. I will try to pen down some of my experiences here of things to carry and what is a waste which might be a starting point for an armature trekker. I would still advice you to talk to few experienced people to get more insights. This will not be sufficient for trekking to the Himalayas though J

The kind of things that you carry depends on what kind of trekking you are planning to have. Does it include overnight camping and campfire, what time of the year, how is the landscape of your trekking spot.

Lets start with few must haves:

-          Water: Basic thumb-rule, carry as much you can. Every liter of water adds an additional kg of weight to your luggage. So it is always good to check if there are any sources of water available in the trekking route (and what are their locations). Is the water potable? In one of our trek (to Kumar Parvata), we had prior knowledge of water spots and we saved lot of pain by carrying limited water. Walking without water is not advisable (you keep sweating) and with overnight camps, you have additional needs (cooking, washing, bio-needs). An average human needs 2 liters of water per day, so carry accordingly and share the load. You will soon figure out that water makes almost 1/4th of your weight at rucksack.

-          Rucksack: Its good to have a good backpack. A rucksack (can be rented out from some adventure shops) is a good thing to carry. A balanced load at your back can make your life really comfortable.

-          Medical kit: Carry your medication. Basic must haves: Pain balm or spray, Band-aid, Cotton, Antiseptic. A cramp bandage comes in handy. A sunscreen.

-          Eatables: Carry some energy bar (low volume and weight), fruits, and biscuits. Anything you are comfortable eating is fine. For night stay things like ready-to-eat (MTR) and Maggi is comfortable to cook.

-          Shoes: Wear shoes for the trek. This is basic I know, but a bad pair of shoe will make your life horrible. If a shoe does not fit well or cuts, don’t ever think of wearing it. Have some good grip.

-          Dress: Comfortable clothes. Warm ones for night stay (hill tops are colder then the valleys). It is not really important to carry additional pair of clothes and the space can be used effectively otherwise. An additional pair is advised for wet trek (water bodies on the way, rainy days).

-          Camera: I don’t think you want to miss your moments. Carry spare batteries.

-          Light source: A torch is a must if you expect an overnight stay. LED ones are small and bright.

 Luxury takes, or things to carry depending on the type of trekking: 

-          Tent and sleeping bag: If you are planning for an overnight stay, it’s a must. Camping location should be at a place where there is not much wind (there are instances of tent being carried away by wind, with peoples inside).

-          Small tool: A Swiss knife would be a good enough tool. A dense jungle might require a bigger knife.

-          Cooking tools: For overnight stay, you need to have food. Take one utensil for cooking. Paper/plastic plates/glass/spoons is a good carry. You typically get firewood at trekking spots, but carry some kerosene/petrol, matchbox/lighter and newspapers for assisting in starting the fire. Block the fire from wind.

-          Guide: There are some treks that are not advisable without a guide. Check for guides in local peoples. Some blog posts by previous visitors might be of help.

 Some dos/don’ts before, during and after the trek: 

-          Tune yourself for the trek. Go for some brisk walks/jogging in the morning at least a week before the trek. If you are an active person it will be okay, else you will end up in severe cramps. You will not only spoil yours but also others trek.

-          Make a to do list a day before the trek (things you need to do or carry for the trek, like tents, food etc). You won’t end up forgetting things at the last moment.

-          Always try to start your trek early in the morning. Its comparatively colder and your body can be active.

-          During trek keep yourself constantly hydrated. You also reduce the weights you carry by drinking your water.

-          Start your camping at least 2 hrs before sunset if possible. You can also collect firewood’s at this time. Things become doubly difficult after dark (though with sufficient torch lights supporting you, its okay).

-          Give yourself time to enjoy the sunset and sunrise. Waking up early one day does not do any harm J

-          Check for animals in camping locations.

-          NEVER put up your camp in very windy place, or very close to end of cliffs. Being safe is more important than being adventurous.

-          Keep viewing distance between team members. Important specially in dense jungle treks.

-          Walking up is safer then coming down. Watch for loose rocks. Have good shoes.

-          Know your limits before trying extreme stunts.

-          BE SAFE.

 There must be some things that I might have missed. I will try to add them up at a later date in a different post. The one thing to remember is its always fun to trek with zero weight at your back. So carry the limited necessities.

 Happy trekking and HAVE FUN…

Monday, January 5, 2009

Trip to Kalavaarahalli betta (Skandagiri)

I have been there before, and I knew this was good. So when my friend called me up for a trek and night camping at “Kalavaarahalli betta”, I said YES without hesitation.

Kalavaarahalli betta OR Skandagiri is a place ~ 70 kms from Bangalore near a small town called Chikkaballapura. Trekkers mainly trek here overnight to view the splendid sunrise in the morning.

There are two routes to reach this place. One is to take a turn towards Nandi Hills and go further to Kalawara Village crossing Muddenahalli. This is shorter route than the one from Chikaballapur. Second one is to go to Chikkaballapura and then to Kalawara Village. From Kalawara Village ask for Omkara Jyoti Ashrama / Papagni Mutt. There is a shiva temple and vehicles can be parked there. This is at the base of the Hills.

We were 4 of them: Me, Pankaj Jaiswal (Jassi), Jyoti Prakash Deka (Deka) and Sikha (Deka’s wife). We planned to trek to the peak in the evening (and possibly see the sunset) and camp there for the night. See the sunrise the next morning and then trek back. We decided to go on our bikes. The plan was finalized with all the logistical details and each one of them was assigned their part of the preparation work.

We started from Bangalore on 3rd of January in the afternoon @ 3:00 pm. We all got together at the outer ring road flyover, which turns towards Hebbal from K.R.Puram. After we redistributed our weights, we started our journey towards Chikkaballapura. The roads until BIAL was really good. We had to take a left turn in Chikkaballapura town (near a temple) that lead us to the Papagni Mutt. Bought some water on the way. We finally reached the base @ 5:15 pm.

After quickly freshening ourselves, we started on our trek towards the Kalavaarahalli betta peak. The bikes were parked in the base (its quite safe). There are guides easily available (if u need one), but we didn’t take any. The loads in our backpack had become quite heavy with the tents, sleeping bags, water and food in it. With none of us in our best of physique, we got tired soon and had to take frequent breaks on the way. The trek path is well marked and frequently visited. We finally reached the peak at ~ 7:30 pm after almost two hours of trekking. We missed the sunset by quite some time.

Now its time for some surprise for me. I saw vendors at the peak selling tea and snacks (which was missing the last time I came here). There were even campsites and firewoods on sale. We were pleasantly surprised (and also annoyed at the exorbitant pricing). We took some bread omelet and went to a campsite the vendor showed. It was a nice cozy place, a bit protected from the heavy winds that were beating the peak at that time. Temperature started dropping fast and we quickly had our tents erected. With enough of woods available, we started a campfire and made some lemonade. People were hungry and all gulped the Biryani’s we packed from Hyderabad House in Bangalore. The campfire continued afterwards with occasional lemonades and baby corn barbecue along with roasted potatoes. Believe me that was fun. As the wind started getting stronger, we decided to take shelter into our tents. We had a tough sleep at night with the gust of wind constantly beating the tents to wake us up throughout the night.

Woke up early in the morning (5:00 am) and re-lit our campfire. Had a quick session of lemonade and some cup-noodles. It was still quite dark. After the sky got brighter at 6:30 am, we moved towards the viewpoints for seeing the sunrise. It was extremely misty and foggy and the visibility level was very low. We quickly lost our hopes of seeing a sunrise. The chilly wind was really hard to bear. But to our surprise, the sun smiled at a height above the clouds and the fogs cleared. We quickly got it captured in our camera.

It was time to get back. We packed our bags and the tents. Collected the garbage we created to be thrown at a common place for disposal. Cleared the bills with the vendor from which we took the snacks and firewood.

We started our trek back to the base. Captured some pictures on our way back. After reaching the base we redistributed our weights on our backpack. It was time to drive back to Bangalore.

On our way back had a stopover for lunch at Green Park restaurant. Food was average. Finally reached Bangalore @ ~ 2:30 pm.

The whole trip was an wonderful experience, much better then the first trip I had because of the wonderful overnight camping and the campfire.

Important information:

Location: Kalavaarahalli betta (Skandagiri), ~70+ kms from Bangalore

Routes: There are two routes to reach this place. One is take a turn towards Nandi Hills and go further to KalawaraVillage crossing Muddenahalli. This is shorter route than the one from Chikaballapur. Second one is to go to Chikkaballapura and then to kalawaraVillage. From KalawaraVillage ask for Omkara Jyoti Ashrama / Papagni Mutt. There is a shiva temple and vehicles can be parked there. This is at the base of the Hills.

Others: You get some tea and bread omelet at the peak, but mostly carry your stuff. Medical care will be possible at the Chikkaballapura town only.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Assam Blasts (Not a beginning I expected for the year 2009)

GUWAHATI: Terror struck on the first day of 2009 in Assam where three serial blasts in as many hours triggered by suspected Ulfa militants left five people dead and more than 60 injured in Guwahati.

The explosions took place a few hours before P Chidambaram flew in for his maiden visit as home minister to review the law and order situation. He was escorted to the Raj Bhawan from the airport under heavy security, past one of the blast sites.

Terrorists appeared to mock a heavy security bandobast put in place for the New Year in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai carnage and for the home minister's visit. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi admitted as much. 

``There were security lapses. Our police force needs to be modernized and trained to deal with such terror attacks,'' he said, echoing something that's become obvious since the Mumbai attack.