Monday, January 29, 2007

The problem with Emotions

Lets start this with a small mental exercise.

There is this place where there are 2 parallel railway tracks. One track is old and isn't used anymore while another one is live and in use. There are 10 children playing on the live track. At the same time, a single child is playing all alone on the dead track. At this moment, a train is approaching on the live track putting the lives on the children on the live track in grave danger. Far from this place, you see this happening on your monitoring screen. The only control you have is the ability to switch the track temporarily so that the train goes on the dead track instead of the live one. Which would mean putting life of that single child into danger.
What will you do? Make up your mind before reading any further.

A majority of us would switch the tracks to save those 10 children at the expense of that single child. It seems right from the humanitarian perspective, saving as many lives as you can. If you did the same, read on to see this from a different perspective.

Why was that single child playing all alone on the dead track. Probably because he knew that the live track is dangerous. Who was doing the right thing by playing on the safe track? The single child. Who did the wrong thing? The 10 children by putting their own lives in danger by playing on the live track. And in your judgement, who gets punished? The one who was doing the right thing.
Second point - the 10 boys knew that they are on the dangerous track so they might flee on hearing the train noise etc. However, the single child, knowing that he is on the safe track will almost certainly not move and hence is in a much bigger risk.

So what is the moral of your judgement - Follow the crowd, Don't use your own brains to understand what is right.

Sadly, similar is the state of affairs in India. Decisions are not taken on what is right or what is better for development. Instead, its based on what would make maximum people happy. And while it is most fruitful if the general happiness of the people aligns with development of country , it is not always possible to do that, particularly in a country this huge.
Short term efforts are made just before the elections to make general people happy and gather the votes, while long term planning with no immediate benefits are left out.

In democracy, heads are counted, not brains.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Haminasto Haminasto Haminasto

2006 was the year of trips to me. And in what better way could it have ended than a 7 day trip to Kashmir.

Firdaus wasn't kidding when he said that this place is the paradise on earth. Though some people took those words a bit too literally and decided to open a route to directly reach the zannat from it.
Sarcasm apart, it was good to see that military tensions are much less in these areas at this time and our trip went very smoothly.

No amount of words are sufficient to describe this trip. Hence I would let the pictures do all the talking :-)

Gulmarg - Starting off from the hotel

View from the Gondola (Ropeway)

The Mighty Skiers

It doesn't get better than this

Playing in the Snow

Srinagar - Houseboat we stayed in

Dal Lake - Char Chinar

Yusmarg - Heavy Snowfall

All we want is peace

Gulmarg - The panoramic view

You can find all the photos of the trip here.