Saturday, March 22, 2008

Smaller than the smallest fly

Bangalore, March 22, 2008 - 6.18 am (IST)
- Ramachandran Subramaniam lost his long protracted battle with leukemia and passed away in his sleep. He was 67 and leaves behind his wife Laxmi, two daughters Chithra and Radhika.

Los Angeles, March 21, 2008 - 5.50 pm (PDT)
- Gracy and Warren Chang are thrilled to have their first child, baby Michelle. 7.3 lbs. Mother and child are both doing well. The first girl child in the Chang family for over 30 years.

Sydney, March 22, 2008 - 11.38 am(AET)
- Rev. John Miller pronounced Cynthia Bates and Derek Johnson man and wife. The open air ceremony was attended by 40 close relatives and friends and was conducted with the beautiful Sydney Opera House as a backdrop.


You look closely, these are three events that took place in three different places but at roughly the same time. Some of these are true and some are totally fabrications of my mind. But they are fabrications, only in that the names and locations are wrong. As you read this, there would be so many people in this world going through the entire gamut of emotions as listed above.

Makes you feel so insignificant, doesn't it?

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Barak Obama for President

The guy may be completely inexperienced. He may not have political savvy for things. But, man, the guy can make a speech!!

Just the transcript is so moving. I am sure there's a YouTube video floating around of this speech. Would be wonderful TV, and if it's not remembered for years after this presidential campaign, I think there's something seriously wrong with American society.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Law of unintended consequences

So, the housemaids of Pune have formed a "labour union". This article doesn't have the details, but the inner pages of the Times have the rates something like this.

Cleaning Dishes - Rs. 80 (per person in the family)
Washing Clothes - Rs. 70 (per person in the family)
Cooking - Rs. 1200 (for a family of four)
Cleaning - Rs. 60 (per room)

So, our maid, if she were to join this union, would make something like Rs. 460 (Cleaning 5 rooms + Dishes for 2) from our house. Currently she makes Rs. 450, so no major change, but I digress. This would definitely help maidservants in joint families. So, a general rule that she works in 5 houses in our building, she'd probably make about two thousand more with this plan. Plus, there's other benefits like pension and gratuity also being thrown around. So, all in all, a great deal for the poor women who are basically doing the things that we should do, but would not do it any more simply because we deem it not worth our time. Who could possibly say that this is bad?

I am not saying this is bad, but I am not sure that this is necessarily good, either. And here's my logic.

- Card carrying members of the union seem to have the liberty of striking up employment opportunities on their own. Thus, any potential maid can go to a "house" and work there of her own. If there's now a union, the union should guarantee that the security of the house is guaranteed by the union. Thus, there should be agreements between housing societies and the union to provide services. Otherwise there's going to be complete chaos.

- Unless there are two parties to the agreements, homeowners are not bound to choosing folks from the union. Needless to say, every potential maid would not be a member of the union. If someone is willing to work for cheaper than the union rate, at the same time ready to forsake gratuities, pensions and bonuses, I'd rather go for them as an employer. You don't want a union with members but no work. Prices of maid services will fall rather than go up, the union would have to work on cheaper rates, there'd be great dissatisfaction and a wonderful idea will go down the drain.

I'm not saying that this would happen, but there's a grand chance that it would. Classic case of the law of unintended consequences