• Recommended Posts

  • Browse By Category

  • Browse By Timeline

Give the Gift Of Water


(An Example Check Dam)

Hello Friends,

Vasundhara Sanjivni Mandal is Urgently seeking funds to finish the construction of three check dams before Monsoon in Murbad Shahapur region. Each check dam benefits 4 to 6 families and provides job to about 35 people. Considering current water shortage, this is going to be life line for some villages and families.

If we can collect Rs 3 lakhs, they can finish one dam.
If we can collect about 10 Lakh, they can finish all three dams.
Please consider donation. If you cannot donate, please consider making interest free loan.

I am attaching a form where you can mark your donations.


Once we have enough donations, I will send out the details for money transfer (Bank account and IFSC code).

Please pass this on to your friends,



1. Description of the Project
2. Pamphlet of Vasundhara Sanjivani Mandal with all contact info.
Description of the project:

Following works in the Murbad Taluka have been already started with financial aid from Rotary Club and Deutsch Bank. These works are costing Rs. 60 lakhs and are expected to be completed by the end of this month.
1. Repairs and desilting of existing bandhara (small dam) opposite Ashramshala(Hostel School) at Talavali (19 km from Murbad )- cost 35 lakhs

2. Construction of a check dam on upstream side of the existing bandhara at Talavali – cost –16 lakhs

3. Construction of Gaibian bandhara on another stream on upstream side of the existing bandhara at Talavali – cost – 9 lakhs

In addition to the above, following three works of check dams are proposed to be started on priority, so as to complete them before the onset of monsoon:
4. Check dam in survey no.138 of Talavali village ,Taluka Murbad

Length – 16 m,Height – 3 m with Estimated cost Rs. 7 lakhs

About 50000 cft water is expected to be stored in this check dam

5. Check dam at Umbarpada of Talavali village ,Taluka Murbad

Length – 10 m,Height – 1.5 m with Estimated cost Rs. 3.5 lakhs

About 15000 cft water is expected to be stored in this check dam

6. Check dam on Kanikhira river by side of Karsoda Road of Talavali village ,Taluka Murbad-

Length – 10 m, Height – 1.5 m with Estimated cost Rs. 3.5 lakhs

About 15000 cft water is expected to be stored in this check dam

After construction of these proposed three check dams,about 70 acres of land is expected to be irrigated. Moreover, ground water table is also expected to be improved making their water sources more sustainable. Local Farmers are expected to cultivate more crops like vegetables, certain pulses etc. due to increased availability of water. They are also expected to start activities such as Poultry, Sheep breading and Dairy, to support their livelihood. This will also generate opportunity for local employment.

Each check dam is expected to benefit 4 to 6 families and generate employment for about 35 persons.

The ultimate aim of all these activities is to enhance the socio-economic development of the area.

Before deciding these three works, meetings with local teachers, farmers (holding 3 to 5 acres of land) and Panchyat Samiti office bearers were held seeking their cooperation and wholehearted support. They have committed to undertake the desilting of these check dams every year.

Preliminary survey at 20 other sites has been carried out and these works are proposed to be taken in hand next year.

We have also planned a programme of plantation of trees, along the streams, on upstream and downstream sides of these check dam sites.

Vanarai Bandharas, each costing Rs. 8-10 thousand will be constructed in the month of November and December 2016, on the upstream side of these three check dams.

If you have any further queries on the subject matter,please feel free to write to me.

Thanks and regards,

Milind Kelkar

A Link to Vasundhara Sanjivani Mandal Setup

Vasundhara Setup

How To Build an Electric Vehicle Charging Point in Mumbai

Hey all,

After a long hiatus, today a post on somewhat different subject.

For a while now I have had this obsession with electric vehicles. I can’t seem to stop dreaming about the whole world using electric vehicles and solar energy. Can’t stop dreaming about that feel of clean crisp air in my lungs when I take a deep breathe, that so far I get only in deep mountains. Can’t stop dreaming about clean rivers and lush green forests, bustling full of plant and animal life.

Some point I will buy an electric vehicle for sure. But I have been hanging out with this cool group of electric vehicle enthusiasts in Mumbai and one thing they seem to be working on is spreading charging infrastructure. We are brainstorming some ideas of how to spread the infrastructure, but I decided to dip my toes in by, well, by creating a charging point in my parking spot.

Here I am going to outline the steps I needed to take, from start to finish to create such a charging point. Hope this helps others when they try to do the same.

Step 1: Take necessary permissions. In case like mine, talk to the secretary of the housing society.


I live in a co-operative housing society like most of the Mumbaikars. If you do too, you will need to take an extension out of your electricity meter to your parking spot. And unless you own both these spots and the path between them, you are going to do some modifications in common property and permissions are necessary. In my case, it was as simple as giving a hand written application on which our secretary, the kind gentleman, stamped “approved” right away and gave me green light.

Step 2: Talk to a good electrician nearby.

In a nutshell, to put a charging point for electric car in your parking space, you need a socket with 15 amps rating with earthing. I have been told by knowledgeable people that this should be sufficient for any electric cars in the market today and most likely even cars in future. It’s pretty standard. Because I was going all this way, I also threw in a 5 amps charging for electric bikes and such.

A good electrician nearby gave me an estimate of close to 6000 Rs (as of May 2016 in Mumbai.) If you live away from Mumbai, it might be cheaper. I can’t imagine any city in India costlier in Mumbai.

Step 3: Talk to a good electrician friend and/or PluginIndia folks. Review the specs.

Everyone has one, right? Also log in on PluginIndia.com and make friends there and consult if necessary. After some discussions with the said folks came the best recommended specs. (Even though what the electrician recommended to me at first would work, it’s a bit of perfectionist inside me that wanted to get every detail perfect.)

  1. 15 amps socket with earthing and 5 amps socket with earthing
  2. For encapsulating the wire running from the meter to the parking space, use standard black pipe instead of plastic strip (as shown in the images)
  3. 20 amps MCB at the meter and at the charging point
  4. 4 sq mm Polycab wire
  5. Wooden box and concealed lock

Here is a bit more explanation.

About Encapsulation: When it came to encapsulation of wire, the choices were pipe and plastic strip. I felt the pipe was stronger. And since you put money in something like this just once, I went for pipe.

About wire: The electrician had recommended 2.5 sq mm wire. But I went for 4 mm. Polycab is the brand that seems to be trusted.

About MCB: As my friends from PluginIndia explained, the car like E2O, 15 amps  are more than enough. E2O uses 10 units in about 5 hours, so 2 units/hour. 1 unit is 1 Kwh = 1000 watts.

So 2 units = 2000 watts being used at around 220 volts, (say 200 volts for simplification), that means 2000/200 = 10 amps current flowing. So getting a MCB that trips on 20 amps is good enough.

About wooden box: I had requested metal box but the box they had didn’t fit the sockets and I didn’t want to go for custom made box. So wooden was fine with me. I was expecting a standard lock bracket and lock. But the electrician recommended concealed lock because that’s much harder to break. Make sure to paint the box, that’s better for the wood.

Step 4: Tell the electrician to make it happen.

When the person comes to do the work, keep an old electric bill handy. Because you will need to identify your electric meter from the whole jungle of meters. Your electric bill should have the number.

FullSizeRender (2) Putting pipe all the way from meter to the parking space.

FullSizeRender (1) Making box ready in parallel.

Do you see the car in the background? We had to cross that parking lot. That was one lesson learned. Do the work preferably when people have gone for work. That way if you have to cross some parking lots owned by other people, you won’t have to ask them to move the cars so the people can work smoothly.

Step 5: Inspect the finished work.

FullSizeRender (3) Here the wire comes out of my meter closet from the top.

FullSizeRender (4) The wire comes to my parking space. Ends in the box.

FullSizeRender (5) Inside the box. 15 amps socket on left, 5 amps on right.

Step 6: Buy a electric car or bike.

Or invite a friend to test your charging.

Step 7: Continue your dream

Dream about clean, pollution free air, green forests, rivers with clear water, chirping birds in the trees, and a beautiful world. A world where abundance is created by living with harmony with nature, not by exploiting it.

Open Letter To Rahul Gandhi: No Such Thing As Absolute Freedom Of Expression


Dear Mr. Rahul Gandhi,

Some JNU students chanted slogans wishing destruction of India and when action was taken against them, you and your party took their side citing the cause of freedom of expression.

I would like to point out two things about Freedom of Expression.

First, freedom of expression is not a wild card or a blank check the way you are imagining it. It does not give you right to yell “Fire” in the middle of a packed theater or “Bomb” in the middle of a flying airplane, neither does it give you right to shout “I will kill you” at a fellow human being without repercussions. The chants of “Death to India” are exactly that, a threat.

Second, freedom of expression indeed gives you right to express freely provided you use this for betterment of community that bestows such right. It comes with an implied responsibility to earn trust of the said people. With chants of ‘Death to India’, those who chanted those slogans have directly threatened the country and lost the country’s trust and henceforth as a country, we are not willing to tolerate their actions and if we choose to retaliate within the premises of law, it is within our right of self defense.

You are more than welcome to use freedom of expression to cast doubt, provide constructive criticism or share a different perspective and thereby add value to the discussion. But what happened at JNU is abuse of such freedom and must be dealt with in strictest possible terms.

You see Mr. Gandhi, India does not exist so that freedom of expression can be practiced. Freedom of expression is permitted in India because that creates necessary environment for progress of Indian society. And if at times the expression turns and threatens the very country and community that nurtured it, it has to be curtailed. We are not alone in curtailing it. In Europe you can be jailed for denying Jewish holocaust. In USA, you can be denied entry to board a plane if you write articles in support of Islamic State. In Saudi Arabia, you an be jailed for praising any God other than Allah.

Not just freedom of expression but advocating practice of any noble value like non-violence or compassion or forgiveness IN ABSOLUTE is dangerously delusional. These values have to be practiced in a balanced manner in order to ensure survival. If you decided to practice absolute non-violence, it dictates you kill no plant or animal, thus pretty much sealing starvation and death as your only fate. That might be OK for some saints, but that’s not OK for me or my family or my friends or my community. Same goes for freedom of expression. If freedom of expression thrives but India dies, it is of no value to me.

It has indeed happened in the past.  Blindly followed good values have caused destruction of the very people who followed them. The American Indians welcomed the Immigrant Europeans with open arms as guests, only to lose their land and people in the end. Persian kings fought with Chengiz Khan following “the noble code of warriors”, only to have the entire nation of Persia looted and the people massacred by Khan and his armies. I have no desire to add India to that list.

Moral of the story. There is no absolute freedom of anything anywhere. And India does not need to be an exception.

Yours Sincerely,


P.S: You are deeply traumatized by your massive loss to BJP and you are behaving like a headless chicken. All of your actions are coming out of that traumatized feeling and they make no sense for our country. Please gather yourself.

Quantum Identity

Before some days I read about a quantum experiment. Scientists were able to separate a particle from it’s properties and send the particle via one route and the property via another route till they merged at some point again. The most commonly cited anology was that of a Cheshire cat from the story Alice in wonderland. In that story the cat vanishes but it’s smile remains visible.

Another poor anology was cited at some other places was that of an airline passenger being separated from his luggage. I don’t think that’s appropriate because luggage is not the property of the passenger.

I think the more appropriate example is, let’s say if someone was able to separate your height from you and pack it in a box. Until that box opened, no one would be able to know your height. You travel via some route and the box travels via another route. On the way, no one is able to measure your height until you are separated from the box. But once you reach the destination and the box arrives as well via different route, you open the box and voila! Now suddenly you and everyone around you can know your height.

That sounds bizzare, right? Welcome to the world of quantum mechanics.

Now that makes me think. What if we separate multiple properties of the particle. What if we separate all observable properties of the particle and send all the properties by route A and the particle without properties by route B. What is really traveling by route B? Does the particle have any existence without all it’s properties? What is a particle if it does not have mass, volume, density, speed, etc. etc.?

If I see one particle here and if I see another exactly same particle there, all I know is that they have same observable properties. But what is beyond these properties that is same or different?

Applying the same logic, if I see a friend pass me on my way to work, and if I see exactly the same person pass me again a little further down, I will conclude that the second one cannot be my friend. May be his look alike. Because my friends already passed by me some time back. But if I cannot rely on observable properties to be associated with their owner, what is really same in same things? And what is really different in different things? If a particle’s identity cannot be fixed, how can we fix the identity of things made of such particles?

I pin the external identity to observable properties. I pin the internal identity (which I am only able to experience for myself) on a state of consciousness that contains continuity of memories. Since I can never know anyone elses’ consciousness, what am I left with if I don’t have properties to rely on?

It’s just an identity crisis on a whole new dimension.

May be I understand quantum mechanics. Or may be I don’t.:):)

Immigrant’s Guilt – When Love Masks as Hate

“Can you believe that story in newspaper? Every time I read something like that, I don’t want to go back to India.”

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this remark. In coffee shops, at water coolers, on online forums and so on. The news in question changes. The ultimate conclusion remains the same. “I don’t want to go back to India.”

I always felt there is more to these words than what seems on face. Then one day I read about immigrant’s guilt. The sense of guilt and shame an immigrant person feels. I have always felt that. But I always thought they were my personal feelings. I never thought they are so broadly shared. It makes sense in retrospect that this feeling is so common.

This reminds me of an cognitive dissonance experiment I read a while back. Some researchers made a group of people do a boring job for a while. Then the group who did this job, were told to lie to other group and tell them that the job was exciting. The first group was paid to lie. Different people were paid different amounts.

What was funny was, those who were paid least were most likely to lie very forcefully and convincingly. Those who were paid more were less forceful in lying. Isn’t it ironic? If you are paid more to lie, shouldn’t you feel more incentivised to lie emphatically? No. If you are paid enough, your mind has a rational justification for lying and lying feels less conflicted. If you are not even paid properly, your feeling while lying are very conflicted and you are more likely to make yourself believe your lie to minimize the conflict and thus result in more forceful lying.

The same principle is applicable here. If you are immigrating from a war torn country, you are at peace with your own decision of immigrating. But if you are coming from a reasonably stable country, you feel more conflicted about immigrating and you are more likely to highlight the negative aspects of your home country and reinforce them in your mind, so as to justify your own immigration to yourself, so as to cope with your conflict.

But there is something unfair about these comments. We should face up to the feelings of guilt and conflict upfront and work on them constructively. We should not hide behind the coping mechanisms. We should admit that the more negative we feel, it’s because stronger the conflict. The conflict is strong because we have a strong bond with our motherland. So in a very ironic way, the more critical our comments are about our motherland, the more love we have felt. It’s love masking as hate.

Happy Birthday America!

What does American Independence day mean for someone like me?

For me, its not so much about Patriotism. I wasn’t born here. I like this country. I have lived here long time. I am still not a citizen. There is a long and rigorous process to get there. America wants to make sure I am worth granting the citizenship. That is perfectly alright. It’s just that if America wants to keep open an option of kicking me out, then even I will try not to get too attached here. But that’s hardly an issue for day to day life. I can do pretty much everything an American does.

My very first introduction to the word America was perhaps when I was few years old and my uncle got me a book of picture of trains. Nice looking trains passing through mountains. Someone told me that it is America. Since then me and my sister thought America was name of the train.

Then at some point Mickey mouse entered our life but we didn’t know he was American. Because he spoke Hindi on Indian TV. Also we didn’t care. At that age the ideas of nations and nationalities were not fully grasped. All we knew was he was funny and so were the other characters he hung out with.

Then later it was Pop music and Holleywood movies. Before we knew America had entered our life.

Fast forward few years. I was boarding a plance to USA.

I moved here mostly for practical concerns. Good standard of life, etc. My journey was not as dramatic as some others. But still it was very dramatic and anxiety provoking for me. But as of today, my respect and love for America is not even for this practical matter. Well it is in part, but not the majority part.

I wasn’t planning to live here. Part of me is still unsure.

But with what I saw and learned here, made me a better person. It was here that I

Alan Watts has said “You should learn about another culture not because anything is lacking in your culture, but because unless you learn about some other culture, you don’t understand the basic assumptions you are making about your own.”

Over the years I have come to know and question a lot of basic assumptions about my home country, my own religion and myself. Over the years I have developed more mature, more balanced perspective on this world. And America and American values have contributed to this inner journey immensely.

That’s why I am thankful to America. My gratitude is for things that are far less dramatic, far less tangible, but far more pervasive and far deep and enriching in my life.

This is pretty good country with lot of friendly people. When Americans mean racial equality or individual freedom, they mean it. Obviously they are not perfect. But they mean those things more than other people who say similar things.

To all my good American friends. Cheers !! Long live USA.

When Guns Are In Law, Gun Are The Law

There is one famous phrase in America, “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns”.

Churchill once said that “Lie gets halfway around the world before truth manages to put its pants on.” He was absolutely right. Lie can indeed get around the world if it can ride a catchy phrase, like “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns”. I have seen too many arguments hijacked by this catchy phrase and turned a very important subject, which makes life and death difference to some, into a reality show. Just to bring back the rationality of the argument in such cases, I am going to throw a new one in here.

When guns are in law, guns are the law.

Let me be clear at the beginning. I am not against guns. I do think guns have a place in society. In fact I think my home country, India has too tight laws that need to be relaxed and make guns access more easy. However, like all other things, guns are best used in moderation and it makes sense to have some common sense gun control laws. Importantly,we need to be able to carry on a rational debate about it using statistics and critical thinking and not just resort to catchy phrases.

About the phrase “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws have guns.” What you call guns is a wide range, from small hand guns and itty bitty pistols to fully automatic guns, armor piercing guns and anti aircraft guns. What you call the action of outlawing is a wide range again, from regulations and restricted access to complete ban. And what you call outlaw – the people – is wide range again. From small pickpockets or shop lifters to major drug cartels.

While the statement is true for a small range of guns, small range of actions of outlawing and small range of types of outlaws, the statement is false for majority of the range of guns and majority of the ways of outlawing them and majority of types of outlaws. And even when it’s true, (case in point – fully automatic weapons are banned but you can sure find drug cartels toting them), it’s rarely used for the purpose we are all afraid of – a random person committing mass shooting in a public place. For the most part, the drug cartels use those weapons to fight among themselves or to take on major law enforcement agencies, which are equally or better equipped than the cartels.

In colclusion, when-guns-are-outlawed phrase is wrong more times than right and even when it’s right, it’s irrelevant to the main argument. There is a legitimate argument on both sides of gun control. But it’s not the when-guns-are-outlawed… phrase.

It’s truly fascinating to watch an argument on gun control or any other hot political topic. There are rarely “independents” here. The people have already formed their stance. The debate revolves around very familiar points. Constitution, gun accidents, mass murders, mental illness, self-defense.

However when it gets into catchy phrases, the debate degenerates from thereon.

So if someone says to you “When guns are outlawed, only when outlaws have guns”, feel free to say “When guns are in law, guns are the law.”


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 537 other followers