Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Two plants - true story

Around four months ago I had been to Lalbagh. I picked up a drumstick plant and a pepper vine from the nursery. These were planted in the garden and soon enough the drumstick plant started growing. The rate was astounding- a new leaf in the morning would be grown into a full fledged one by evening. I kept wondering how high this plant would eventually reach. At the same time the pepper vine showed absolutely no signs of growth. It remained as it was on the day it was planted. The only saving grace was that the leaves were not drying up. While this was going on for a couple of weeks, disaster struck the drumstick plant in the form of a bandicoot which routinely digs up our garden. It had been uprooted and the roots destroyed. My wife tried to transplant it into a pot but it was of no use. That was the end of a great promising beginning. On the other hand the pepper plant continued its hibernation....
Just a couple of days ago after several months and several rains, the pepper plant has stirred to life and finally given out shoots!
Moral of the story is ...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Beasts of burden

I am referring to school going children of-course! My son goes to a reputed school in South Bangalore. His classroom is on the 5th floor and everyday he has to struggle up and down the stairs with a load of 5-7kgs! This has been on my mind for some time and I was grappling for a solution. There is a concept called "Value" and "Value Stream" in Lean. From a book publishing and distribution point of view I guess it makes sense to package the complete 1 years syllabus of a subject in one book. However from a learning/teaching point of view the unit of values is the one lesson that is currently being taught. While this point may not impact the teacher so much it does result in the huge burden for the student since they need to literally carry the "muda" or waste of all lessons just because that is how text books are published and sold!
We see a clear conflict in the value definition from the perspectives of the two value streams - publication and learning. Considering that the final customer in this whole process is the student and the objective is learning it is important that the production value stream is transformed to meet this objective. This is a challenge as well as an opportunity. I can see possibilities such as print chapters on demand from an online source, text books with detachable chapters - more ideas welcome!
P.S. In case of my son the school agreed to him carrying photocopies of the relevant lessons instead of entire text books. It is an extra cost but a good enough work around for the time being...

Car parking at KSRTC busstand (KBS - Majestic) - dont!

On Oct 24th I had to make a day ‘s trip to Hassan. Since I was starting early in the morning (5AM) I planned to come to KBS (Majestic) by my car and catch the bus. I was surprised on reaching the bus-stand to note that parking beyond 4 hrs costs Rs250! However I had no choice but to park and make my trip. I ended up paying as much as my trip to Hassan by bus for just the parking! A few years back I had found parking in the bus-stand a good option to avoid the steep auto fares but it does not seem to be so any longer. Is the steep hike meant to discourage long term parking considering the shortage of real estate in that area; Bangalore Metro taking up some of their space might have added to their woes. Or KSRTC's way of discouraging cars in the heart of the city (the way Singapore or London has a congestion tax).

In any case it was a good lesson for me. I should check out if the satellite bus stand on mysore road has reasonable charges as earlier – one can park there and take a shuttle service to Majestic.
So bottomline is if you plan to park for more than 4 hrs - Majestic bus-stand car park is not an option!