Monday, November 05, 2007

They asked what is freedom to me…

Not only the existence of a human being makes him alive… it’s his freedom to be himself – to express himself, to do what he believes in. Being a social animal, of course, this freedom comes with a share of rights and duties. But being an Indian woman the word freedom has a different meaning to me. More so, as many-a-times a woman in India is deprived of the essence of word ‘freedom.’ Forget about the freedom to do what she wants, she is not even allowed to express herself in matters concerning her own life. Be it education, employment, marriage or other issues, she often dwells in the shadow of her parents, guardians, brothers; ages as the responsibility of her husband and die as a dependable on her children, actually sons only. Somehow the facet of modern India is witnessing a swift change, with the rural India yet to evolve.
I call myself a privileged soul, being born in a family that is liberal and has made me to enjoy the freedom to carve my own way, take decisions, voice issues and also the responsibility of mistakes I made. I realize the importance of this freedom bestowed by my family and urbane society with a great sense of responsibility. Be it the society that I am part of or the professional world; freedom cannot be defined without a set of responsibilities.
When a woman seeks freedom her self-responsibility increasing by manifolds. The limitations are must to be self-imposed while enjoying the liberalities. Recently news-screens flashed a story of a young girl employee with Wipro, Pune, being raped and killed by a cab driver. This horrendous incident again reminds that we women live in a society where the freedom exists within defined boundaries only.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Another Leap for Automotiv Industry - Corrosion Prevention Audit

Casting heavy financial effects and in-a-fix situation for equipment, corrosion is a devil that causes major degradation process. Even in developed countries the loss due to corrosion is quite high to the extent of 3% to 4% of GDP. In India also, an estimated loss of Rs.36000 crore (US $ 8 billion) occurs every year due to corrosion.

Corrosion of assets and environment degradation are issues which directly or indirectly rust an important area of each life, not only the material things. Corrosion makes components and structures in industry and infrastructures fail prematurely and cause significant economic losses. All metals corrode over time when exposed to moisture and in a tropical country like ours; the intensity of corrosion is very high at some places. The metals are subjected to the slow chemical attack due to high humidity, exhaust emissions, sunlight, seasonal temperature variations, industrial chemicals, etc.

To keep corrosion at bay, the industry needs to pay due attention to maintenance of the plant and equipment. On a serious note, if neglected, the damage inflicted by this devil, named corrosion, can go so far as to necessitate the complete replacement of the installation. At times, this can lead to sudden burdening of the company with non-planned investment, besides, production outage and, consequently, considerable financial losses along with other far-reaching consequences. Strict vigil and timely action through regular corrosion prevention audits can only avert the hazard. these audits that asses every accept of rusting and corrosion initiating aspects, is a great leap in thge direction of corrrosion prevention.

Another dimension to gala festive season

India is known as the land of rich culture and heritage. Be it Eid, Deepawali, Durga Pooja, Gurpurabs, Christmas or Lohri, each festival has its own charm. With celebrations becoming more important than the occasion itself, the essence of traditional celebrations has been lost somewhere down the line.

My eight-year-old niece, Tanya Sethi, who is elated to be part of pre-Deepawali celebrations, with mom getting her dresses and guest list prepared, papa busy buying gifts for everyone, grandma planning the pooja ceremony, and elder bro burning rubber to buy best of crackers… there is complete festivity around!! But when I asked Tanya if she knows why we celebrate Deepawali, her reply was: “Its party time and something to do with history. (After a pause) God Rama. I remember I had an essay last year in my syllabus.” That’s where we seem to have lacked in passing our culture to the progeny.

No doubt India has succeeded in keeping the traditions alive but not maintaining the status quo, amidst the consumerism and globalized celebrations. It’s a healthy sign that the tradition has seeped into globalization. Sweets are exchanged on Deepawali not only between friends and family but also corporate sector, firms and clients. But not sweetmeats, rather Swiss chocolates or labeled mithais are preferred. The tradition is same but the trends are ever-changing, instead of silk clothing, we all prefer branded labels. At times, the corporate sector also miss uses the occasion by giving costly gifts as legal bribe to the influentials.

Apart from the auspicious time and effervescent mood, which manifests itself in a high propensity to spend, there are some critical drivers of the ‘festive phenomena’ which are pivotal in enabling this increase in consumerism. Not only high and mighty, but also middle and upper middle class want to enjoy the temporary increase in disposable income, courtesy the Festive Bonus.

Adding fuel to this extra purchasing power is the ignition provided by heightened activity by market players offering alluring schemes and irresistible purchase offers. This results in an explosion of purchase and consumption pattern.

Interestingly, this change in consumption patterns is associated with intrinsic traditional rituals of specific purchases like utensils and home appliances on Dhanteras. Deepawali, Durga Pooja & Gudi Padwa are focused not only around new clothes but also largely around giving ‘homes a makeover’ by spring cleaning, fresh wall colour, furniture and furnishings. Vijaya Dashmi is a time when automobile sales spike. While a majority of festivals see consumers go into a self-indulgent mode with acquisitions for self, there are also those festivals which arouse a generosity of gifting to others – Eid, Deepawali and Christmas.

Let’s introspect whether we are celebrating the festivals in their true spirits!

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