Sunday, 23 December 2012

QT 13

The only way...

Here is something to mull over.

Do write your comments if the above cue has triggered any thoughts.


Saturday, 8 December 2012

International Anti corruption Day..

..9th December.

I understand that 9th December is observed as International Anti corruption Day. Here is a message from the Secretary General, UNO, Mr Ban Ki Moon.


Sunday, 2 December 2012

Insane Insaan!

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 34; the thirty-fourth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following">Blog-a-Ton
. The theme for the month is "Of-Course, I'm insane"

Insane Insaan!
The name plate at the door reads,
Prof. Sundar, PhD
And the door bell is awaiting Neha to reach at 7 a.m. and to press it.
But let us see what is happening inside the house.
‘Where from did the Sun rise this morning? How come the Professor is awake so early today, on a Sunday?’ enquired the wife seeing Prof Sundar emerging from the bedroom.
‘Where am I early? In fact I am running behind schedule…’
‘That is not new, It is your daily routine. Very cleverly you have used your position of being HOD, not to have the first period in the morning for yourself..’
‘Don’t cut me off like that and don’t start taunting me early in the morning. Prepare some nice spicy Upama for Neha quickly. She likes it, so, as soon as she comes, hand it over to her. As long as her mouth is busy eating, she will not talk. Otherwise she is unstoppable. And she keeps asking very awkward questions. Like father, like daughter. Amit, during our college days, would bring some funny ideas, and even act on them! One day he came to my room when we were all playing cards and he spotted some library books on my table I had borrowed the year before. He said he had attended a talk by some people from Moral Re-Armament the previous evening, and since then was doing self search to find out wrongs he had committed so far in life. And seeing my old library books he said he too had not returned the books for the past two years. The next thing we heard was that not only he returned the books paying fine, but also went to the principal and apologized..’
‘Now you stop talking. Leave me alone in my kitchen, and go, start getting ready first. It is almost 7 and Neha must be reaching soon.’
‘Yeah, this is one girl who always keeps up her timing, unfortunately. …I think let me start with shaving..’
‘Think of the devil, and there she is.. It must be Neha, on the dot. I don’t know how her husband will tolerate her when she gets married..’
‘Ding-dong..Ding-dong….Uncle!..Prof Sundar.. Open the door..’
‘Yes, yes, I am coming..’, and Prof opens the door.
‘Oh, Neha…, please come, what a pleasure to see you early in the morning. One thing you have learnt from your dad- always be punctual’
‘Yes, uncle, but aren’t you ready? We…’
‘O! come on Neha.. I will get ready.., what’s the hurry? In fact I was about to start shaving, but first have some breakfast. Your aunty has prepared Upama for you.’ And Prof brings a plate of Upama for Neha.
He starts humming in front of the mirror at the wash basin, ‘sub se pyara Hindostan hamara hai…..’, and in between strikes some small conversation with Neha as he applies foam on his face.
‘So, Neha, how is Jamshedpur? You just came back last week from there, no? How is your dad? Does he still return the library books…ha,ha,ha,ha..’
‘Uncle, Jamshedpur is fine. Yes, I was in Jamshedpur for the Pooja holidays… and you know what? My dad has become a CEO of a company now and he gets all his work done without paying any bribe at the Govt departments… Perhaps some connection with his returning the library books back then?...But what did you throw out of the window?’
‘Oh, nothing, it was just the old blade.’
‘Will it not hurt somebody? You should not litter places like that..’
‘Neha, giving lectures is my job. And how will that piece of blade hurt somebody? We have ordered our watchman to sweep the area three times a day, daily. Otherwise what work does he do?
‘Uncle, that tap is on for a long time.. a..,lot of water is being wasted..’
‘I am shaving, can’t you see? And you are getting me into long conversations…so..’
‘But uncle..’
‘I know, I know.. you will start quoting Prof Rajagopalan on environmental crisis and..’
‘No, no uncle, I just wanted to tell you we must save water.’
‘Ah, don’t worry Neha, in these flats we have no problem. We have two bore wells, a large sump, and I have also installed a loft here. We get 24 hours water. No problem!’
‘But uncle we are getting late. We must move soon..’
‘OK, I will save water for you today. Program of taking bath cancelled, happy?’
‘No uncle, you will s..s..smell..’, said Neha making a face and gesturing closing of the nose.
‘Oh, don’t worry Neha, I have also learnt to use de-odorants and a perfume.., isn’t it called chemical bath? It saves time too,’ and Prof Sundar sprays lavishly his torso from some tin at the dressing table.
‘Let’s move,’ says he, showing urgency. Neha tries to take her plate to the kitchen, but Prof stops her saying what for does one get married, if wife cannot take up such small chores.

Reluctantly Neha starts moving towards the door, but not without pointing out that the lights, TV and the fan in his room were all on.
‘Neha,’ Prof starts explaining, ‘your aunty will switch off the lights when she comes out of her kitchen. Let her do some more small chores, otherwise she will put on some more weight. The TV is her connection to the world. She may not understand anything, but if TV is on, she knows the world is on. Whenever you come home, and if you find the TV switched off, it would mean your aunty is not home!’
‘..And the fan?’
‘Neha, this is something interesting. You know, Bangalore has become very warm now days. Even Jamshedpur must be hot, no?  This is where I acknowledge your Prof Rajagopalan about what they all say..’
‘Global warming..’
‘Yes, yes, Global warming. I don’t understand it much, but I have found out my solution..’
‘What? Local solution to the global problem?’
‘Yes. And you can also adopt it. Very simple- keep your fan on when you go out. When you come back, it is cool…In fact I am going to install an air-conditioner too, soon..’
‘What an idea sirji,’ said Neha sarcastically.
As soon as they reached the car park, Neha screamed with excitement, ‘new car?’
With air of superiority Prof Sundar shook his head in affirmation. ‘Has your father bought a new car in the last five years? This is my third one.’
‘But, how do you manage it, uncle?’
‘Oh, there are many ways to get extra cash. Admissions, tuitions, favouring in examinations.., but you and your dad will not understand it. You are all ethical people, where as my motto is-live, and let live.’

As soon as they settled down in the car, the Prof switched on the music system loudly. Neha just switched it off saying, ‘why would you disturb your neighbours now?’
‘Oh, it is not a disturbance Neha, it is an announcement to them all that the Professor has got a new car, yet again! Neighbours envy is my pride…, something like that was an advertisement years ago, no?’
‘Uncle, now let us move quickly. Put on your seatbelt and switch on the engine.’
‘Heh,heh.. Why seat belt? No one can tie me down, not even your aunty.., and for whose safety? We are safe inside here, people on the road are not safe..’
‘Professor, now MOVE! We have to reach The School of Ancient Wisdom,’ quipped Neha.
‘What? It is near Devanahalli.. Beyond the new airport! 50 kms from the city!’
‘Yes, Yes, Yes..That is why I had asked you to be ready in time. The program begins at 9.00 a.m. sharp, and we will not reach.’
‘Oh! Don’t be upset Neha. In our country, if they say it is at 9.00 a.m., it means any time after 9.00 a.m. Check every office, every function, every event… it’s an Indian Stretchable Time my dear. You have not seen much of the world yet.. You start working and you will fall in line… And this is my new car, I will reach you, don’t worry. Just let me fill up some diesel.’
Neha quipped,’reach me to the School of Ancient Wisdom, not up there’, gesturing the point finger heavenwards.
And the journey to the destination continued to be eventful for Neha. Professor filled up the diesel for Rs.1000/- but took the bill for Rs.1500/- saying he gets it reimbursed by the college on actual basis, whenever he attends a seminar, workshop or a talk. He jumped the signal twice under the pretext that every one does it, and they had a genuine reason- they were late! And he reasoned that if at all a police man catches; just palm him off with a few tens of Rupees. Make a win-win solution. Professor freely used his mobile phone while driving, explaining to Neha the true meaning of the word mobile. He criss- crossed the lanes cursing the vehicles ahead of him saying they do not know how to drive. Prof even embarrassed Neha by stopping the car on one side on the way to ease himself saying he drinks a liter of water in the mornings for health improvement!
 His verdict was, when they reached the School, ‘ Neha, India will never improve. How much ever we desire. You saw all the mad people on the road, no? It was my driving skill and this new car’s capability that brought you here. We are only 10 minutes late, and I bet, people are yet to come for the program.’
‘Uncleji, people must be already in the Agastya hall, and Swamiji must have started his talk after the inaugural formalities. You know uncle, he is speaking today on the topic- “India I Care”..’
‘What? Swamiji? He should restrict himself to the religious discourses, and leave all other such topics/ subjects to people like us! He must be insane if he thinks he can change the country! Anyway, let us go in and see what is going on..’
The hall was full to the brim and Neha and Professor had to stand at the periphery. White, flowing bearded Swamiji seemed to have spoken something just before their entry, and wondering why there was a pin drop silence.
Swamiji stroked his beard and gave a deliberate glance in slow motion to the people across the hall and spoke-‘Let me repeat my question. Have you seen any insane people in your life?’ and paused to get response.
Professor whispered in Neha’s ears-‘ shall I tell him how many mad people we encountered on road while reaching here?’
Neha stopped him saying that the Swamijis talks will have deeper meaning.

One elderly gentleman hesitatingly showed his hand and every eye in the hall got glued to him. He narrated his child hood story as to how an old lady with unkempt hair in old, torn saari, sitting on the parapet on the way to the market would keep screaming at the passersby, and frighten the children. ‘Perhaps she was a mad person I have seen’, he concluded.
Encouraged by the Swamiji’s appreciative glance, a few more people shared their encounters with people who dressed up in funny ways, and got into the acts of regulating traffic where there was none, or laughing or crying out loudly in public, or who spoke incoherently, threatened people without any provocations and so on and so forth..
Swamiji gave another appreciative glance across, and said,’ I am glad, you are at least acknowledging the presence of insane people in our society. Now let me give you a definition of an insane person-
An insane person is one who has many great desires, but he does very little, or nothing about it, and yet expects his desires to get fulfilled.
Swamiji repeated his definition, and then asked another question,
‘How many of you love this country, and would desire that it becomes corruption free, disciplined, punctual, healthy and law abiding one?’

Instantly all the hands went up.

Swamiji gave a pause, and said, ‘once again answer my first question- have you seen any insane person in your life?
Neha looked at the Professor, and Professor whispered,
‘Ofcourse, I am one, among all!

Dilip Patel
 The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked">here</b>
. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following">Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: NET BROWSING and CHANCE, Participation Count: 02

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Nokia Apptasting Indiblogger meet...

...In Bangalore on 11th Nov,2011.

This is an account of a blogger past 60.

I was curious, it was my first occasion to participate in a bloggers meet.

I had a hunch, I would be outnumbered by the youth, the Indigo generation born after 1980. I was proved right. But I did not feel out of place. All the youngsters on my table showed courtesy and curiosity about me. They showed interest, and respect. They were full of life, and technology.

The hosts, Rajiv Makhni and Vikas Khanna charmed the audience with their gift of the gab and instant humour. They displayed both, width and depth of human understanding. The Nokia apps they demonstrated were fun.

Cross section of bloggers who went to the stage for the 30 seconds fame gave a glimpse about their nature, purpose of blogging and their leanings. Some were introverts, some find blogging as a medium for expressing their feelings, some use blogging as a tool to connect with desired section of the global society, some one blogs to win prizes and some one blogs on sex!

There were photographers, story tellers, poets, foodies, techies and social platform creators.

I knew they will have reserved slot for the senior citizens and I got that opportunity to expressed myself. And that was the moment of fulfillment for me as I could speak a few sentences about my purpose of blogging- India I Care, rebuilding the Character Bank of India. Vikas Khanna thought my presentation deserved a prize! But the real prize for me was a lot of young men and women showing interest in India I Care theme. I have found some of them already exploring the blog.

May be, all the readers would like to explore this concept of starting to make 'deposits' into their account in the Character Bank of India, and reduce 'withdrawals' consciously so that the depleted bank account starts rising in the net credits. The tag of 'a corrupt', or 'a dirty', or 'undisciplined', 'unpunctual' or 'insensitive' country etc. must go. Please explore-

Thank You All


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Stepping in Another's Shoes.. celebrate the pinches!

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 33; the thirty-third edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following">Blog-a-Ton
. The theme for the month is 'Celebrations'

It was Navarathri celebrations invitation from a very dear friends Sampath and Kalpana a fortnight ago. Driving to the other end in Bangalore is not exactly a pleasurable experience. However,an exhilarating Bharat Natyam performance by Sathyanarayana Raju at their home was worth going through the hassles on road of worse kinds. Two main performances, one conveying the story of Krishna's childhood and the other depicting Hanuman in Lanka in search of Sita were mesmerising.

Two things touched my heart. One, this, Bangalore's highly celebrated male Bharat Natyam Dancer Sathya's humbleness, and two,an insight given by a young, talented NID alumnus Ramya about design from the performance of Sathya.

Kalpana's mother, in her '80s, suffering from crippling arthritis had met Sathya last 25 years ago. He was not a celebrity then. But now, riding the wave of his popularity and lime light, he fulfilled the desires of this old lady in the wheel chair by coming home and regaling her with his dazzling performance. It was the performance for only the eyes of Kalpana's mother, rest of us only filled up the extra space. Sathya's gesture and humility touched my heart.

Ramya got excited as she could 'understand' now, after several years of leaving NID, the premier Design Institute of India, what her professor had asked them, the students to learn - to 'Design what is not seen (absent)'.  Sathya, in his both the story-song performances could make all of us 'sense' the presence of the related characters in the story such as small new born baby Krishna, giant river, witch Putna etc in Krishna story, and Sita, trees, fire etc in Hanuman story, even though these characters were not being portrayed by any other dancer on the floor. It was a solo performance by Sathya. And I learned it from Ramya without going to the NID!

It was pretty late in the night, and so, I slipped into the chappals in the darkness and left in a hurry. I experienced some obstructions from the chappals while pressing the cluch and brake pedals in the car. Somehow I managed reaching home, and hit the bed only to wake up late in the morning.

   But as soon as I slipped my feet in to the chappals in the broad day light I felt some strange sensations in my feet.Something was not matching.  The depressions of the heels and the toes on the chappals were not 'mine'! As I looked down, I found that, while the brand and the design of the chappals were the same, what I had bought was no.8 where as presently I had stepped into no.11. Big chappals for my feet! Obviously I had 'stepped into another's shoes', so to say! They turned out to be Sampath's chappals. Now, Sampath is a globally acknowledged trainer/facilitator in values and business excellence, and I had stepped into his 'large' chappals. I decided to walk a few miles in his chappals.

Last 15 days, while in Sampath's chappals, I have become aware of my sensitivities, adjusting the inadequacies and remain aware of the present moments!

Now that is what I call 'Celebrating triple learning"

I will return Sampath's Chappals with thanks.

Dilip Patel

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked">here</b>
. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following">Blog-a-Ton. Introduced By: browsing the net, Participation Count: 01

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Corruption in India

An interesting article from The Economist...

In Vinod we trust

India’s unlikely anti-graft tsar speaks his mind

THE lobby did not have much security for a government building in Delhi. In the main office on the fifth floor, a television broadcast live pictures of Anna Hazare, a fasting anti-corruption campaigner whose huge public protests are at last losing steam (four days later Mr Hazare was to disband his movement, although it may yet morph into a political party). A worn, annotated copy of India’s constitution lay on the bookshelf. Behind the desk was an Important Indian Official—some say the most important of all.
He is Vinod Rai, and unlike Mr Hazare he is not famous. His title evokes merely tedium—the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). Mr Rai gamely details the many good works of his organisation, which employs 45,000 folk, most of them checking the book-keeping and compliance processes of the public sector. But in truth that is no longer the main event.
Instead, the CAG has become a source of hope at a time of growing despair over India’s rotten governance. Under Mr Rai’s tutelage since 2008, the office has evolved into a scourge of graft and wasteful use of public resources. It has issued a series of explosive investigative reports, the most devastating of which came in late 2010, detailing a multi-billion-dollar scam over licences for 2G mobile-phone networks. The rot appeared to reach the very top, and the minister in charge is now facing trial. The ruling coalition led by the Congress party has never recovered.

In 2011 the CAG turned its sights on graft and ineptitude at the Delhi Commonwealth games and on a Mumbai property scam cooked up by top military officers. New reports are due soon on murkiness in land deals for Delhi’s new airport and on the dubious award of coal-mining blocks, another potentially huge scandal which police are now looking into.

The CAG calls its investigations “performance audits”. In fact, they amount to an assault on cronyism, which many, including Mr Rai, feel has got worse since the mid-1990s, when India began to be governed by coalitions. “Each coalition party has its own cronies,” says Mr Rai. “There can be a multitude of cronies squabbling to get a slice of the cake.” Since coalition politics are here to stay, Mr Rai says, it is crucial to put a stop to the carve-up.

How does the CAG dare play such a role? The constitution puts it on a par with the Supreme Court. It sends its reports to Parliament but is not answerable to it. The CAG’s boss has a six-year term and may only be removed by impeachment. Backed by these protections, Mr Rai has interpreted his task broadly. Public resources can best be protected not by nitpicking over myriad cases, but by concentrating “on areas where the risk of misgovernment is the greatest”. Mr Rai also wants the CAG to communicate with the public, not just send reports to Parliament.

All of which is a fine way to make powerful enemies. Asked if he has ever been threatened, Mr Rai laughs, “At no point.” But he admits that when the CAG began the 2G inquiry, it had no idea what it was in for. With 2G and now the coal report, he says, “our independence and clinical objectivity” are being put to the test.

Parts of the government machine respect the CAG. For instance, the oil-and-gas ministry asked it to examine state contracts with gasfield owners, including Reliance Industries, India’s biggest firm. The idea that mining licences and mobile spectrum should be auctioned, not given to government friends, is widely held. Yet there are also critics who argue, variously, that CAG has exceeded its mandate, is incompetent, and on an ego trip.

In June a member of the Planning Commission, a body chaired by the prime minister, made private remarks to investors. He pooh-poohed the CAG’s estimates of losses from 2G scams, arguing that “most of the scams are misrepresentations”. It led, this critic complained, to an “effective political siege”. He said officials were not making decisions for fear that they would “end up in jail”; the effect was badly to damage the economy.

Mr Rai dismisses that argument as “totally specious” and “an alibi sought by non-performers”. Other criticisms of the CAG seem unfair. Along with the Supreme Court, the CAG has expanded its role to fill a vacuum created by years of political drift. On the whole, that is no bad thing.

There is a chink in the CAG’s constitutional armour, though. Its boss is picked by the government. Mr Rai, who has no doubt bitterly disappointed the present lot, is due to stand down in 2014, just before the next general election. He claims that the CAG’s new spirit, combined with right-to-information laws and public anger over graft, means that the risk of his successor being a political poodle is low.
With luck, he will be proved right.

 That evening, stragglers outside were wending home from Mr Hazare’s rally—perhaps his last. They looked a bit deflated. Institutions not just crowds must be part of India’s fight against the abuse of power.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

QT 12

I am posting after a while.

Think about these words of Buddha, and send your comments.


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Hi, There..

...A letter to myself

I chanced upon a very interesting blogging contest last night on It asks you to write a letter to yourself. Suddenly all the high level training programs that we conduct at Initiatives of Change, Panchgani came alive to the mind. For, starting from the IAS officers down to mid-management officers in private and public sectors we train in ‘Ethical Leadership’ and ’Effective Living’, the last process we ask them all to do is ‘to write a letter to the self
But, to tell you the truth, I had never done this exercise for myself.  This contest prompted me to at least brood over it. I did not get sleep for a long time. I had just seen, in the serial Balika Vadhu, how Jagya splits into many, and talks to all his different selves. The NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programing) technique of seeing self from ‘outside’ as a third person also crossed my mind. After all, I should use my being NLP practitioner for myself too some time! Zzzz...,and, early morning as I woke up, I had decided to bite the bullet. So here I go…

Hi, there…(this is the closest I could reach in addressing myself),
     I tried to call you, on your mobile phone, but every time I tried, it gave the same message, ‘the person you are calling is busy at the moment. Please call after some time…’, hence I thought I will write a letter to you. However, I am in a dilemma. As I separate from you, and look at you, I see a big crowd in you. You are not one. You are an entrepreneur, a citizen, a counselor, a trainer, a father, husband, brother, son…You are a writer, a public speaker, a photographer, a zentangler… Whom do I address? You are a big crowd!
     You understand what is a crowd, don’t you? A large congregation of people, with no common goal is a crowd. Very noisy, undisciplined, destructive at best, are the characteristics of a crowd. A crowd has lots of energy, but no direction.  And I have the audacity to call you a crowd! I have seen you struggling with the multiple roles that you have cut out for you. I am sure you would have experienced all the ‘qualities’ described above while juggling with every member within your crowd
     I have also seen you attempting to make a transition from crowd to a group..At least the group would have discipline, and perhaps no destructive tendencies. Yes, each individual member of the group would still have individual goals, but you can manage with the energy distribution..
     I think the time has come for you to transit into a ‘team’ from the group. Yes, you cannot appoint just one role as a permanent captain; rather, you may have to create a rolling captaincy based on the context. Say, at a party, chief, or father in you cannot be given captainship. The fun loving guy within you has to take the lead! You will not spoil the parties then! All your energies will be channelized well and a lot more purchase you will be able to get from your life.
     You only have one, and make the best out of it. It’s too late now, go to sleep and wake up tomorrow as a captain of the winning team!

Yours …Always.

This post is part of the contest A letter to yourself.. on

Monday, 17 September 2012

India I (don't) Care..

A hard hitting truth staring in our eyes..

A damning article we can not ignore.

As INDIA I CARE clan, can we take up the gauntlet ? Do we have alternatives? Please read it thoroughly, Pick holes if you can, but also accept what stares in the eyes as the truth.
Just yesterday I read a beautiful poem by TTT. The relevant lines in the context of this post goes-

"Have I become
a part of your life
So much
That you forgot my existence ?

You notice my wilted flowers
You rush inside
to get a glass of water
The world news on the TV
catches your attention
and the glass of water
remains by your side"

May I urge you to get engaged in the act of REBUILDING THE CHARACTER BANK OF INDIA. Please do make commitments and declare them here on this platform.


Sean Paul Kelley is a travel writer, former radio host, and before that an asset manager for a Wall Street investment bank that is still (barely) alive. He recently left a fantastic job in Singapore working for Solar Winds, a software company based out of Austin to travel around the world for a year (or two). He founded The Agonist, in 2002, which is still considered the top international affairs, culture and news destination for progressives. He is also the Global Correspondent for The Young Turks, on satellite radio and Air America .

 If you are Indian, or of Indian descent, I must preface this post with a clear warning: you are not going to like what I have to say. My criticisms may be very hard to stomach. But consider them as the hard words and loving advice of a good friend. Someone who’s being honest with you and wants nothing from you.  
These criticisms apply  to all of India except Kerala and the places I didn’t visit, except that I have a feeling it applies to all of India , except as I mentioned before, Kerala.  
Lastly, before anyone accuses me of Western Cultural Imperialism, let me say this: if this is what India and Indians want, then hey, who am I to tell them differently. Take what you like and leave the rest. In the end it doesn’t really matter, as I get the sense that Indians, at least many upper class Indians, don’t seem to care and the lower classes just don’t know any better, what with Indian culture being so intense and pervasive on the sub-continent. But here goes, nonetheless.  
India is a mess. It’s that simple, but it’s also quite complicated. I’ll start with what I think are India ’s four major problems–the four most preventing India from becoming a developing nation–and then move to some of the ancillary ones.  
First, pollution. In my opinion, the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don’t know how cultural the filth is, but it’s really beyond anything I have ever encountered.  At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump.  
Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul, as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi , Bangalore and Chennai, to a lesser degree, were so very polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all too common experience in India . Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter, was common on the streets. In major tourist areas, filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways, you name it. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight.  
Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far to few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be, how dangerous the air is for one’s health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. 
The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum –the capital of Kerala–and Calicut . I don’t know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India ’s productivity, if it already hasn’t. The pollution will hobble India ’s growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small ‘c’ sense.)
The second issue, infrastructure, can be divided into four subcategories: roads, rails and ports and the electrical grid. The electrical grid is a joke. Load shedding is all too common, everywhere in India . Wide swaths of the country spend much of the day without the electricity they actually pay for. With out regular electricity, productivity, again, falls.  
The ports are a joke. Antiquated, out of date, hardly even appropriate for the mechanized world of container ports, more in line with the days of longshoremen and the like. Roads are an equal disaster. I only saw one elevated highway that would be considered decent in Thailand , much less Western Europe or America . And I covered fully two thirds of the country during my visit.  
There are so few dual carriage way roads as to be laughable. There are no traffic laws to speak of, and if there are, they are rarely obeyed, much less enforced. A drive that should take an hour takes three. A drive that should take three takes nine. The buses are at least thirty years old, if not older.  
Everyone in India , or who travels in India , raves about the railway system. Rubbish. It’s awful. now, when I was there in 2003 and then late 2004, it was decent. But in the last five years, the traffic on the rails has grown so quickly that once again, it is threatening productivity. Waiting in line just to ask a question now, takes thirty minutes. Routes are routinely sold out three and four days in advance now, leaving travelers stranded with little option except to take the decrepit and dangerous buses.  
At least fifty million people use the trains a day in India . 50 million people! Not surprising that waitlists of 500 or more people are common now.  
The rails are affordable and comprehensive, but they are overcrowded and what with budget airlines popping up in India like Sadhus in an ashram, the middle and lowers classes are left to deal with the overutilized rails and quality suffers. No one seems to give a shit.  
Seriously, I just never have the impression that the Indian government really cares. Too interested in buying weapons from Russia , Israel and the US , I guess.  
The last major problem in India is an old problem and can be divided into two parts that’ve been two sides of the same coin since government was invented: bureaucracy and corruption.  
It take triplicates to register into a hotel. To get a SIM card for one’s phone is like wading into a jungle of red-tape and photocopies one is not likely to emerge from in a good mood, much less satisfied with customer service.  
Getting train tickets is a terrible ordeal, first you have to find the train number, which takes 30 minutes, then you have to fill in the form, which is far from easy, then you have to wait in line to try and make a reservation, which takes 30 minutes at least and if you made a single mistake on the form back you go to the end of the queue, or what passes for a queue in India.  
The government is notoriously uninterested in the problems of the commoners, too busy fleecing the rich, or trying to get rich themselves in some way shape or form. Take the trash for example, civil rubbish collection authorities are too busy taking kickbacks from the wealthy to keep their areas clean that they don’t have the time, manpower, money or interest in doing their job.  
Rural hospitals are perennially understaffed as doctors pocket the fees the government pays them, never show up at the rural hospitals and practice in the cities instead.  
I could go on for quite some time about my perception of India and its problems, but in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone in India really cares. And that, to me, is the biggest problem. India is too conservative a society to want to change in any way.  
Mumbai, India ’s financial capital is about as filthy, polluted and poor as the worst city imaginable in Vietnam , or Indonesia –and being more polluted than Medan , in Sumatra is no easy task. The biggest rats I have ever seen were in Medan !  
One would expect a certain amount of, yes, I am going to use this word, backwardness, in a country that hasn’t produced so many Nobel Laureates, nuclear physicists, imminent economists and entrepreneurs. But India has all these things and what have they brought back to India with them? Nothing.  
The rich still have their servants, the lower castes are still there to do the dirty work and so the country remains in stasis. It’s a shame. Indians and India have many wonderful things to offer the world, but I’m far from sanguine that India will amount to much in my lifetime.  
Now, have at it, call me a cultural imperialist, a spoiled child of the West and all that.  But remember, I’ve been there. I’ve done it. And I’ve seen 50 other countries on this planet and none, not even Ethiopia , have as long and gargantuan a laundry list of problems as India does.  
And the bottom line is, I don’t think India really cares. Too complacent and too conservative.