A strategic difference between sane and insane- a Radio perspective


“Akashavani, aap sun rahe hein Subah Prasaran” those golden and lovely words formed the starting sentence of a morning broadcast of All India Radio and what is primarily being broadcast even today but only to a very few listeners. The divinity of the morning is brought in by the announcements that came in from the morning braodcast till ten years ago.  What we have now in this radio set on the cell phones is the raucous sound from the film music that is played to wake up the listeners.  There has been a paradigm shift in the way radio has earned its listeners and it is the trend that is causing the disturbance. The FM channels, that ‘manufacture’ the  noisy ‘wake up sessions’ have a lot to learn from the traditional Akashvani or Vividh Bharti. What forms an important part of transmission in the morning is presentation of ideas or music in a presentable and enjoyable manner. No trumpets to wake up listeners please!

Jockeys, the other name for announcers of yester years All India Radio have been busy using their mouths as instruments to drill holes into listeners’ ears. From the beginning of the day, there seems to be an endless jabber about some of the most insignificant issues to society and in general, everyone. But you may say, that’s not the purpose of the radio. I disagree and do so with reason. There is a responsibility that lies on the shoulders of every information disseminator towards the society. If there is just some directionless talk, then the purpose is a prodigal one. There is every need to have a meaningful and definitely enjoyable means of broadcasting on the FM medium. And this is what makes the Akashavani so special, that,10 years ago had a great listener database, that was and is, its pride. What FM channels aim for is cheap publicity that can be proved by the programmes that they continuously, on a daily basis,  broadcast. Akashvani programmes were meaningful, helpful and most importantly, inspiring to the women and children in particular and the public in general and were a companion to the listeners. There were all kinds of programmes involving science for the children to morality expressed by plays and audio-skits and jingles. They were scheduled for a time every week and were worth the wait.

The announcers of Akashavani had pleasant tones and their way of making announcements or replying to listeners’ letters was a beautiful experience. But today’s jockeys have the motto of causing pain to the ears by using high notes of their voice and make a mess of the issue they want to talk about. It, for all reasons, irritates the listeners and sometimes even causes pain to the feeling of several listeners. The trend that has been observed for the recent few years is a disturbing one and the listeners ought to check this trend by giving positive feedback on the way the Jockeys perform their ‘so-called’ duties.

Jockeys have their own way, and I strongly refer to a personal of speaking about issues that concern general public. Radio has been a source of information and has always called for informative and thought provoking discussions and debates- Courtesy: AIR New Delhi, but today’s FM channels have caused much trouble by bringing up issues that are totally meaningless and just for cheap fun all the time. Radio has to be a friend one must cherish to carry along with oneself. The moment the Jockeys start speaking, it is just like a train that runs past at 80 mph speed and nobody was able to get a glimpse of it.

Providing information in a melodious tone was the motto of Akashvani and FM Jockeys should learn the same. Do not try to lose listeners by making them lose the attention and giving them a tiny attention span. Learn the basics of announcing on radio and do not try to be overbearing on the listeners. Listeners would react if entertainment is provided in a balanced and presentable way. There’s a lot to learn from the Announcers of Akashvani- those working and retired.

Electron Microscopy and its uses in Nanoscience


Nanoscience, in crude terms, is the analysis of a nanomaterial in the nanometer range and its applications for making stronger materials. It involves the use of very precise instruments for the observation of nanostructures. These useful instruments or rather equipments are called Electron Microscopes. They can be Scanning Electron Microscopes, Tunneling Electron Microscopes, Scanning Tunneling Electron Microscopes etc. Each of them are used for specific purposes and they can be used together for doing nanostructure characterisation and subsequently, analysis.

In using these equipments, one not only requires the understanding of the working of the equipment, but also the skill to operate them. India has many such equipments in prestigious Government and Institutional facilities but there is a great dearth of skilled manpower to handle them. This was what I could deduce from the speech given by the Ex-President of the Electron Microscope Society of India or the EMSI, Dr. R P Tandon. In order to make students more technology-aware, the EMSI had decided to start zonal chapters of its society in New Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Kolkata. It would be a boon for students interested in getting hands-on experience in handling these equipments. The society plans to increase its memership and also conductworkshops that would produce more students skilled in operating the equipments for characterisation purposes of nanomaterials.

The International conference on Electron Nanoscopy EM50, organised as a part of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the EMSI in association with the DMRL, Hyderabad was a right step for India to make a mark in the IFSM(International Federation for Societies on Microscopy). Inter-continental research in the field of combining microscopies would be a great effort to bridge the divide between nations actuvely involved in nano characterisation. The conference was a great attempt to make India an even bigger participant in the International Microscopy scenario and the President of the IFSM Prof. C Barry Carter has suggested that India follow the steps of China to make a greater contribution in the field of Microscopy. China, which has started as a active member in the IFSM, has now become one of the world leaders in the field of Electron Microscopy.

If there is one thing that we can learn from our large neighbour, it is the active interest and breakthrough research it conducts in the field of Science and Technology using Electron Microscopy. I hope India becomes a leader too and Nanoscience attracts many more individuals than it does now.

Politics of Anti-corruption!


India has been a tolerant nation for long and it now wants to shed this image especially in wake of situations being tackled by certain individuals like Anna Hazare and more recently, Baba Ramdev. Anti-corruption campaigns have been on the rise in the nation’s capital and in several states. It is clear from these that citizens are motivated by these individuals and want to take the issues that have more relevance to their lives into their own hands. Baba Ramdev, the ‘sage soldier’ Yoga Guru’s planned hunger strike in New Delhi has drawn the centre’s attention and it has made a plan of action- a great one too- to appease him and not let him go ahead with it! With top officials and cognoscenti at the government’s disposal, it should work on being realistic and solve the problem of corruption instead of appeasing people going on hunger strikes. Wastage of resources for saving its ill-gotten reputation has been the priority of the government for a while now. The set of demands, presented by Swami Ramdev may be tough to achieve immediately but what the government can do to mitigate the problems that can arise if these are not met is to be truthful to the public and let them know the assets illegally stashed away in the safes in Swiss banks. Truth is a powerful weapon and the quicker the government realizes this, the better. Instead of playing petty politics on a single individual who is raising voice against the government, the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh who is considered non-corrupt and who has the decision making power of the country in his hands, should react reasonably and solve this crisis by putting forward the face of truth.

The  hut with swiss money

To mollify a single Baba Ramdev is foolish on the part of the government as it would not solve any purpose and as many Baba’s are in the queue for hunger strikes against the corrupt schemes of the Indian polity. An ideal solution that can help achieve transparency is to involve the public by launching a Centralised Forum to address the complaints and queries like we watch in the ‘ever-inspiring’ Bollywood movies. It is high time that the government realizes the mistake it is committing by going to individuals who are in no mood to accept defeat on the issues that have now become a raging fire in the public. Providing accurate information to the public about the assets that have take shelter in Swiss banks and the ways in which public money is being spent are very important tasks that the government has to tackle immediately. Citizens of this nation have the right to know how their tax is being utilized and it does not take time for the government to put this information on a website which the public can visit and monitor the status regularly. This has to come from the Central decision making team of the government and transparency would be achieved.

When the Sun and Rains fight for space in Manipal skies!


It is a blessing when this happens as most usually rains win over Sun in the battle. The first spell of the south-west monsoon during the end of a semester(and the end of the last semester for me ) is always pure bliss. Though the meteorology department has predicted the SW monsoon to hit the coast by 31st May, Manipal seems to have some aura that attracts monsoon early. It has been very welcoming to the monsoons and they just can’t wait to lay their hands on Manipal:)! The few spells of shower during the nights brought down the humid, hot weather of summer down by a lot of degrees. Thank you monsoon for making my last days at Manipal memorable! While all my juniors are struggling with end of semester examinations, we 4th years are bizzy giving our final project vivas and report submissions. The campus looks lively only when juniors come out of their nests for giving exams. It has been a very thrilling experience- studying at Manipal. I feel I made a very good decision by doing my project here at MIT Manipal.

Cloudee ski
Cloudee ski

Coming back, the rains have given a sigh of relief from the horrid torrid climate. They have always been a Manipalite’s escape to Paradise. The semester beginning with a spell of rain has captured many hearts and has even struck some chords and induced love! Manipal has turned from a heat sink to a blooming fantasy. It is my last few days in Manipal and I wish it rains like never before. Manipal has always been about the rains. We have enjoyed the rains to the fullest but they are always welcome. The pleasant and awesome climate welcomes yet another batch of students for the new academic year. Good Bye Manipal and Welcome aboard Newbie Manipalites! Have a true experience that is “Inspired by Life”!

Successful campaigning for a 2nd consecutive week!


We, at Voluntary service organisation, Manipal University plan to keep the city of Manipal very clean and I, as a coordinator for the campaign will mak sure that I do all that I can to make this happen. Our Clean Manipal Campaign Phase 1 week 2 today was a success, thanks to all volunteers of VSO who made this possible. We kept shouting slogans saying ‘Keep End Point clean’ and ‘I won’t be here every Sunday but the dustbuns will be’ and such to make the public aware of keeping the environment clean at End Point.

Siddharth Sethi at End Point during Clean Up Manipal operation
A volunteer eagerly waiting to educate visitors at End Point about the environment

We concentrated on educating people by speaking to them and telling them why they should keep End Point clean. It is the only natural ‘resource’ that Manipal has been left with and it won’t be long before the place would become like any other place in the center of the city with huge buildings being erected all around the place. Work is already going on near the district collector’s office and a large area of green land has been cleared for the purpose of the so called buildings. The beauty of end point is no longer going to be intact. Nobody realises how much they’re going to miss the old end point that was so peaceful and full of greenery. We are trying to contact officials high up in the Manipal University to help us at least keep the place clean.

Gloves and garbage bags provided to volunteers for the campaign by MSFM
Gloves and Garbage bags

The government has already burnt large amounts of ‘plant’ed area and is planning to get some office buildings erected and the route to end point has completely become dusty and there are large earth movers and other land clearing equipment that are such a big pain for the eyes. It is really sad that government does not appreciate the end point’s beauty as much as a fellow citizen does or a foreigner who visits it does. but there is simply nothing we can do about it. We, at VSO are doing as much as we can to keep the place clean and we hope more students help us in the process and make it their responsibility to keep their birth country clean, be it Manipal or Hyderabad.

A clear message from the Notice board on the sidewalk- mostly unnoticed
A clear message from the Notice board on the sidewalk- mostly unnoticed
The green notice board asking visitors to keep 'our environment' clean
Not noticed anymore, the board stand witness to tourists' littering and official building constructions that leave it sobbing and tired of getting to be noticed by people. It lies on the sidewalk from China Valley to End Point and outside the DC's office.

An evening of worth ! A Case Study of End Point, Manipal


Today I organised the Phase 1 of the Clean Manipal Campaign at the End Point in Manipal along Siddharth and Soumen. I and a group of 13 other volunteers met at the China Valley and had a little discussion about how we would like to start off this mini Pilot project and let it take off. I provided the volunteers who grouped themselves in twos and threes, a survey sheet that had questions that we wanted to ask the general public and get a feedback about the ways they use to keep their homes and surroundings clean and a garbage bag to pick the plastic lying around. We were motivated by our own volunteers, who showed a lot of enthusiasm and came up with so many ideas.  Even in the public, we have found some very responsible people who not only follow but also encourage others to follow and on the other hand we also found youth that were very irresponsible and did not follow our advice of throwing the empty plastic bottles in the dustbins. Some of the people talked to the volunteers (us) for quite some time and congratulated and thanked them  for doing this for a better society. There was a lot of discussion about ways to implement this campaign successdully in all parts of Manipal. Some of the senior faculty who came to End Point today for jogging gave us the suggestion to ask the shopkeepers to charge for the plastic bags that they provide the customers. If plastic is made costly, then people would get their own carry bags and that would save a lot of polythene and prevent non-biodegradable substance from entering our environment.

Clean and Green road
End Point of yore

We had a lot of positive reviews and feedback from the warm people who came to End point for a stroll or for spending time with nature. It is saddening though, to see that youth are the major polluters of this beauty spot. We ourselves are not serious about our surroundings and therefore the need for such campaigns. A foreigner has given us a great advice saying there are not many sign boards asking people not to litter around and that in his native country there were not only sign boards which asked people not to litter but also dustbins at very regular distances on the sidewalks of the roads, where people could throw  the trash into. If we can spend huge amounts of public money for building satellites then why not use some for sanitation too. Our surroundings define the way we present our country, so take care of your surroundings and when you have the energy to walk a few meters to reach a dustbin, please do, this is a service you are doing to keep the country clean. Act responsibly, be better citizens.

I thank all the volunteers who have turned up for the drive:

Siddharth Sethi

Soumen Adhikary

Anudeep Kaur Jassal

Areeba Basit

Sana Farooki

Sanjana

Malvika Patil

Poonam P K

Anjali Singh

Shital Mittal

Yukti Sareen

Subhraneil Kalita

Jehon Nojez

Harsh Kabra

I thank Savita Ma’am for the support and encouragement she gave us and the confidence she instilled in me to go ahead with the campaign.

Nanotechnology in Cancer research!


We are all aware that Nanotechnology is an inter-disciplinary field and it deals with the smallest particles in nature- atoms. The use of nanotechnology in various fields is also known to us. The application of Nanotechnology has reaped huge benefits and the most exciting field of research in the field of Nanomedicine is the cure of cancer. This kind of integrated approach where engineering and medicine can be worked upon in collaboration is the research of this generation’s scientists. Working in the field of Nanotechnology is not only exciting for its bright prospects but also due to the overall results it can produce after implementation.

Cancer research extensively can produce results and it’s definitely going to blow the minds of everyone when the cure is found. Cancer is a dreadful disease that has claimed many lives compared to lives lost due to other diseases. So it is high time we start fighting cancer. Cancer cells have the size of 10000 to 100000 nanometers and the nanodevices engineered in the laboratories are of smaller size in nanometers. So there is a great possibility that these devices attack the cancer cells and destroy them before they cause damage. This is a potentially high research-sensitive area and the final product can be obtained only after testing and product manufacture. Scientists are already working on nanobots and other nano devices that can carry anti cancer drugs to attack the exact site of cancer cells in the body.There is a lot of prospective study and research that is needed to come up with a drug that can act with the utmost precision and relieve the patient’s distress.

Roadies- don’t make it the way of life!


I watch Roadies just to see how Indian youth are being plundered of their talent in search for a virtual reality on TV. Truth is that the youth are wasting their energy for some quick money and some fame that they think would get by being on the TV. It is a totally prodigal  attempt and I do not feel that’s the way anyone in their young age behave. What the Roadies reality show is looking for is just TRPs and making money by letting people watch their show. True, it’s a great stunt by MTV but it can be used to bring our the pluck and valiance in today’s Indian youth. The example of youth creating a lot of change in most Arab countries stands exemplary to the world that is mostly constituted by youth. A lot of revolution has been brought about in the Arab world, thanks to the dynamic young people who have mobilised millions to raise their voice against the tyranny of the Dictators. I wish Indian youth focus their skills tin the right direction and use them for a noble purpose rather than wasting their talent in the TV shows that have surfaced recently. India can see the end of corruption if the youth take an initiative and have the courage to enter politics. That’s what I’m going to do after my higher studies when I return to India. We need dynamic people who can take good care of our country and not someone who cares more about their pockets. It would be a great deal if the TV is used as a medium to inculcate sound body building skills and exercises for a fit and healthy body development of youth, sound rational thinking skills and tactics for survival as suggested by the great Leader of Modern Age Swami Vivekananda himself. If the kind of youth depicted in shows like Roadies(especially) is the role model of a country, then it’s high time we change the scenario and grow up. If the kind of passion depicted by the so called ‘Roadies’ exists in the youth for the betterment of their country and not for some fame or money, then we would surpass all the evils that are hindering India’s development. A very good example of youth using their skills for the right purpose is the Teach For India initiative, which recruits talented students as teachers for school children, the perfect source where the flowers can bloom. There are several more examples of youth creating a change, however small it may be, in India. It is time that we take it to a higher level and start using our skills to a higher cause. Please do not encourage shows that emphasise on the kind of wasteful activities. I strongly suggest Raghu, Rajiv or whoever the person incharge of Roadies is to switch to a better concept of training youth towards a better future. Now why should they listen to someone’s words? It should come from an individual’s inside to do some fruitful work for their country. Producing shows that test the talent of youth would just give them temporary fame. Working for a country is an entirely different way of leading a life. I just hope to plant this seed so that people change their mindset and start behaving responsibly. Roadies was just a small example that I have considered as it is  popular with the youth but PEOPLE, please think before you even try to represent what the show stands for!

Movie Review 1


I have watched the movie titled “Ananda Bhairavi” in Telugu recently and I liked it for its simplicity and the concept picturised by the Director, Jandhyala. I liked the scene in which “Narayana Sharma” the famous dance guru and expert in the Kuchipudi dancing style asks the parents of the Lower caste child to give their child to him in order to train her in the Classical dance form. The scene truly depicts what the state of the art at that time was and how women were not allowed to learn or perform the dance form in the society. Going against the rules and regulations set forth by the Temple authorities Narayana Sharma trains the child who goes on to become a great Kuchipudi dancer. She brings laurels not only to her guru but also to the village. The love between the son of Narayana Sharma and the lower caste Kuchipudi dancer was also beautifully conceptualised. Classical dance forms take a lot of practice/Sadhana and are most respected in foreign countries too. We must be proud to learn them and perform them so that future generations do not discontinue practicing these dance forms.