Archive for October, 2009

How many Indias?

Posted in India with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by samudranb

3000 kms of riding through India changes many things in you. Some changes were expected. Many were not.

The most surprising change that happened, was in my opinion of the Indian govt. Surprised?

I got to see many many faces of India on my trip, which existed previously only in my imagination. And with this “actualization” of the many Indias, came a new found respect for the government. Specifically, the Indian Government.

Why, you ask?

Do you know how many people India has?

Do you know how many different people you have met in your ENTIRE life? If you are pretty sociable, a few thousand.

Try and recall the most number of people you have ever seen together, at a single moment. Probably a lakh, if you have been to a live cricket match.

Now multiply that by 10000.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is still less than the population of India. More than 116 crores.

If you met 1000 new people every day, it would take you more than 3194 years to meet them all.

Oh, and thats hoping that they are not reproducing at the rate of 1.548%.

Do you know how many roads there are in India?

Do you know how much you commute from your home to your office/college? 5 kms? 10kms? 15 kms?

Now imagine doing that 10 km commute 6500 times. That will give you the approximate number of National highways in India.

But oh wait! That only constitutes 2% of the entire road network. So that makes it… umm… 3250000 kms of roads all over India.

If you covered 20 kms everyday, and never covered the same road twice, you would have to be on the roads for more than 445 years to cover it all. Assuming of course, that the Indian govt does not build any more roads in the meantime.

Do you know how many villages there are in India?

Do you know how many villages you have ever been to, in your entire life? Zero? 1? 5? 10? 20?

If you visited a new village EVERY SINGLE DAY, it would take you around 1749 YEARS to cover them all.

Yes, there are 638,365 villages in India.

Do you know how many people do not have access to electricity in India?

According to this, 47% of the rural population are still NOT using electricity as their main source of lighting.

If everyday, 1000 more people were given access to electricity, it would still take around 1096 years to reach all of them.

Yes, there are 400 million in India, without access to electricity.

Do you know how many languages are spoken in India?

How much time did it take you to learn a new language, the last time you tried? 1 year? 2 years?

If you learnt 1 new Indian language every year, it would take you more than 262 years. Assuming you already know English.


And the Indian Government is supposed to take care of ALL of this?! While we, the “intelligentsia”, sit in our comfortable homes, twiddle our thumbs, and accuse it of not-functioning?

Yes, I know it is slow work. But it IS working!

Yes, I know it should do more. But it IS doing SOMETHING!

Yes, I know criticism is just a way of pushing the changes forward. But cannot WE do something more too?


UPDATE: Really liked this video. Click here.


The Luckiest Day of My Life

Posted in Accidents, Biking, Lessons, Life. Or something like it. with tags , , , , , , , , on October 6, 2009 by samudranb

So I was cruising the absolutely fantastic ghats coming down from Munnar, Kerala. The scenery was so fantastic, it could make you stop and stare. The roads were so brilliant, you could die and your biking heaven would be right there. The weather so pleasant because of the rains, you wished to stay there forever.

And thats when it happenned.

Fingers moving? Check.

Toes moving? Check.

Arms moving? Check.

Legs moving? Check.

Able to open eyes? Check.

Anything wet anywhere? No.

Woohoo!! I am alive!! I think.

Someone removed my helmet.

Someone gave me water.

The driver of the Tata Sumo did not come out of the car for 10 minutes. Someone later told me he was praying that I was alive.

After I stood up, I looked at myself through the horribly scratched helmet visor. My gloves were torn. My raincoat was torn at many places, exposing the protective elbow and knee pads below, which were themselves badly scraped.

My bike had a bent handlebar, amongst the many bent things. The headlight visor, the headlight housing and footrests were amongst the broken parts. It  must have had taken some bouncing around, judging by the scratches and bends on both the sides.

I tried to recall what had happened. Of course, it had been mostly my mistake. I was cruising down smoothly, must have been doing around 50 (around 10-15 more than I should have) , when I saw the Sumo coming right in the middle of the road. I braked hard, and my rear tyre skidded to the right. And then it caught on something, and I was flying through the air. Landed head first. Straight on to the path of the oncoming car. The driver had hit the brakes by this time, and I only went and hit the slowing car. And bounced off it, to go straight into the guard rail at the edge of the road.

I think it sounds worse than it was. Or maybe not.

Why do I still consider myself lucky?

Because if the guard rail had not been there, I would have fallen some 150 – 200 feet down the steep cliff.

Because if the driver had not slowed down his vehicle, I might have been run over.

Because if I had not been wearing my helmet, I would have had a very pretty face. At least.

Because if I had not been wearing the protective pads, I would have had at least a couple of broken limbs.

I just hope I do not have to be this lucky again. 🙂