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BUO 2015: Discovering a new spirit and a Sport (Ultimate Frisbee)

June 2015: I flew from Mumbai to Bangalore to spectate a sporting tournament. I had just discovered that Ultimate is seemingly fastest growing sport in the country. Till then I only thought of this game as Frisbee / Disc Flying, that we play when holidaying outdoors.

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(Photos Courtesy: Deepthi)

Event: Bangalore Ultimate Open (BUO) 2015 had 31 teams participate from across the country, with a large number of teams from Bangalore and Chennai.

Venue: Jain International Residential School. I am amazed to see the school that could offer 7 large fields for parallel matches, and that its curriculum is tailored to get young students participate actively in sports through its dedicated Sports Academy.

Uniqueness: The vigour in playing the sport feels comparable to football. And its format combines nuances of rugby, basketball and hockey. What is unique is that Ultimate is a mixed-gender sport, and must have atleast 3 women players, among 7-players a side, on the field at anytime. The sport is self-refereed among the players, and there is a post-match ‘Spirit Circle’ grouping among the playing teams to discuss the game, as one unit. Teams identify, nominate and reward two players (male and female) from the team they just competed with, who they think as ‘Most Spirited Player’ of the opponent team.

Ultimate in India: I happened to sit through the General Body Meeting of UPAI (Ultimate Players Association of India), held openly during a tournament-break. Having been into organizing events and building voluntary organizations, I saw this energetic group very passionate, open and clear about its mission, execution and structure. Particularly, I met Manu Karan who heads College (and School) Sport Development in the country. He offered possibilities to arrange residential coaches, for institute sporting clubs interested to bring in this sport to their campus. IITB junta, lets introduce this sport in our campus.

Note: Thankyou Deepthi (BUO official photographer) for impromptu travel and stay arrangements, and persuading me to write this post.

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[Design Thinking] Holding & Watching a smartphone for long duration

Location: A Local Train in Mumbai
Time: 8.30am, Office Travel Hours

Observation: Mobile phones with large screens now allow users to watch video content, like an entire movie. If you are travelling in a train or a bus; sitting or standing; you hold the phone for the duration of its use. Some of the smartphones weigh between 120-180 grams. Holding this weight in hand for long durations can be awkward and get painful for the wrist and the fingers.

After clicking these pictures, I started to think of some solution. The one that I could vaguely imagine is an assembly with chest strap or a neck strap, with a flexible cantilever to hold a weight at a distance of upto a foot from the eyes. (Till the head-mounted displays become affordable!)

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The distance should be adjustable for closeup view, needed for various viewing distance.

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Lastly, the strap should be flexible for bending in a orientation of choice.

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Do comment below,
If you have ever felt the pain of holding smartphone for long duration?
If you have a design idea on smartphone viewing experience?

[Trekking] YHAI Darjeeling-Sandakphu: An Himalayan Experience

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I had aspired to do an annual year-end yatra
Experience the chilling North India became the mantra

Off we booked an adventurous camp at Darjeeling by YHAI
What a cool experience it was, must express I

Bought a big back-pack to get the proud feeling of being a trekker
Made checklists and filled the bags, as if weight didn’t matter

From Mumbai to West Bengal, journeyed two days in a train
A lot of height up in the mountains, was in the gain
Hey, a broken window in the train gave us an overnight shiver
However, we got all pepped up walking on the Howrah bridge over the Hooghly river

A quick orientation at the base camp gave us some idea of what to expect ahead
Meanwhile, we kept off some ‘excess’ baggage, to get our bags’ weight shed

To start the trek we were first driven to Dhotrey
On the way, we had momos with spicy chutney

All the participants started the walk with enthusiasm
But some of them got a muscular back spasm
After learning to adjust the straps on their bag
The tough going became less of a drag

First halt at Tumling and the delight of a hot soup
Dumb Charades, Antakshari and impromptu dance broke ice among the group

Next leg was a long walk to Kalipokhri
The difficulty level was rising by many a degree
New Year Eve up in the mountains
A lot of fun and frolic, difficult to contain

The highest spot of trek at 12000 feet
An amazing view of Kanchenjunga was waiting to greet
Uphill we climbed to Sandakhphu
Taking unpaved steep short-cut routes quite a few
This one was a daunting part of the 5-day circuit
I got geared to train further and get more fit
A pleasant sunset that evening, and a long-delayed next morning sunrise
Overcame the acute water scarcity surprise

Now it was time for a rolling downhill
Don’t be amazed, this made a few ankles get a kill
Thick forests looked like a green mountain carpet
Gurdum felt so lovely for an amazing evening date

The hospitality of the locals in the lodges at the Highs,
Cheerful smiles, narrow eyes, served us puris and potato fries
Well dressed native damsels were envied by some
The serenity and peace of the Himalayan life felt really awesome

The culmination of the trek was a gentle long walk
I ensured to stroll slow, till it hit 5pm in the clock
Into Rimbik settlements, that have made way in the big Rock

On the return descent off Darjeeling, clouds surrounded our bus
The above experiences would have been different for groups who trekked after us…

~~~
Numb hands and feet in the freezing cold waters
Blissful embrace of the mountains and its memories is all that matters
~~~

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PS: Blog shifted from deepak-malani.blogspot.in

Verghese Kurien: Showing us the Co-operative Way

My learning from the book, I Too Had a  Dream by Verghese Kurien – As told to Gouri Salvi.
 
What does it take to create a Revolution in a way that impacts a million people?
Taking up Challenges, Building Conviction in an idea, Standing firm for the cause – in times of opposition and criticism, and Being Humble all the time.
Verghese Kurien, who championed the cause of Indian dairy farmers, brought about a White Revolution; taking up technological, political, social and cultural challenges; believed in the idea of co-operative business model; and sustained 5 decades of challenging times; to make India largely self-sufficient in milk and milk products.
 
Kurien, who originally wanted to study metallurgy and nuclear physics, landed up in Anand, Gujarat as a dairy engineer on government duty. Alongwith Tribhuvandas Patel, he took up the mettle to establish dairy co-operatives, a dream laid by Sardar Patel. He brought in a professional approach and leadership to nurture and replicate dairy co-operatives. This effort over five decades led to the world’s biggest dairy development program, Operation Flood. He challenged contemporary wisdom, and showed the world to make milk-powder from buffalo milk, and thereupon enabling farmers to own country’s most technology advanced dairy. He understood the timely importance of marketing, championing one of the most popular advertisement campaign, that of ‘utterly-butterly delicious’ Amul.

Indigenous Development

Kurien had a particular dislike towards MNCs, where he sensed maligned interests. He gave stiff competition to Nestle (condensed milk) and Glaxo (baby milk products) achieving indigenous production. To combat the messy milk rationing system, he took up challenge for design of milk vending machines.

Relations
In the book, Kurien recalls several anecdotes highlighting mutual trust and support he received from all prime-ministers during his worklife, from Pandit Nehru to Narasimha Rao. Some of the major initiatives that Kurien took-up were realized due to his ability to derive accelerated support from the relevant Government structure. Vice-versa, many governments were impressed enough with his abilities to make successful co-operative model, that they asked him to replicate the model in rest of country, and sometimes in other sectors. Having said that, he still had tough times dealing with people in the government machinery, who had personal stake in the milk market.
 
Social Impact
The unplanned benefits of the co-operative model included gender equation in rural households. The farmer’s wife, who would rear the milch animals, and earn from selling the milk, would now be financially literate and an equal contributor. In a similar way, the caste prejudices were broken through the model. The milk collection centers worked on first-cum-first-serve basis, where a ‘high-caste’ Brahmin would stand behind a Harijan, because he came after; and deposited milk in the same can. The co-operative model also impacted healthcare among the masses. He setup IRMA envisioning need of professional managers needed to run large scale co-operatives in the interests of farmers.
 
Worldwide Appreciation and Recognition
Verghese Kurien worked with several international agencies, either learning modern techniques in dairy farming or getting support or trading. He worked with dairy institutes at New Zealand, and also dealt with World Bank and UNICEF. He was invited by Pakistani and SriLankan governments to replicate ‘Anand pattern’, where he deeply studied and diagnosed what hindered the co-operative model in those places. Kurien’s efforts were honoured with three Padma awards, Ramon Magsaysay award and World Food Prize.
ImageQuotable Quotes

When you work merely for your own profit, the pleasure is transitory, but when you work for others, there is a deeper sense of fulfillment.

(A family friend to Kurien’s wife) You must always remember that you are Kurien’s second wife. His first wife is the dairy

I have always been an employee of the farmers  

The more monstrous the crisis, the more I am tempted to rush at it, grasp it by horns and manoeuvre it until it gives me what I want!

With our freedom, we had inherited a bureaucracy, which was designed by the British to rule, not to serve.

When you stand above the crowd, you must be ready to have stones thrown at you.

Reposted from Blogger

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