Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Day of Happiness

What does happiness mean to you? Tell us about the simple things that make you happy.
This question leaves many dumbfounded, looking for a perfect explanation. However, the question answers itself. It’s those simple things that you enjoy doing that lead to the happiness galore.

Image Source: Coca Cola
The greatest deception is that money makes one happy. By that logic, the natives of Qatar, Singapore, and Brunei would be the happiest. Similarly, people living in Andhra and Maharashtra would be called the happiest.

But is that so? The answer is NO. 

The answer lies elsewhere. Its those simple little things that we do on a daily basis that make us happy. For me, it's being with the mountains that makes me happy. It's being with my wife by the end of day that makes me happy. 

Believe me, there is nothing better than being in the mountains (the places you love) with someone you love. No GDP figure can beat that moment.

A couple of days out in the wilderness with your beloved can make you forget all the worries and pains of the monotonous 9 to 5 life.

And its not that you feel happy and contended only when you are out in the jungle. Happy moments lived together with your family and dear ones is the best thing that one can look forward to by the end of the day.

Personally, I love to spend time together with the family and when I am not with them, I always crave to go out and meet my other family; the extended Himalayan family that always greets me whenever I visit them.

Why I Love These Mountains?
George Mallory, the great British Mountaineer, when asked why he wanted to climb the Mount Everest, quipped, "Because it's there."

The divine charm of these mountains is something that can't be described in words. A casual talk with the mountain folks, a nice Himalayan symphony, a walk across the treacherous hilly slopes, a day spent in the lap of the Mother Nature; all these little nothings of life help us value our life even more.

The way mountain folks lead their simple lives and spread smiles among their visitors is something to look up to. Their lifestyle and their needs are minimal but the amount of happiness they possess is infinite.

All this, all little sweet nothings of life, which we ignore otherwise hold great importance in our lives. This TVC by Coca Cola summarizes the idea of happiness in just under 30 seconds.

Watch happiness dancing on your computer screens. And remember that it's sweet little nothings of life that count in the long run. The idea of happiness is not to run behind the mirage. Once we start valuing sweet little nothings, everything else falls in place automatically.

Be Happy!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Idea of #DigitalIndia

Technology helps every single stakeholder because it brings accountability into the picture. A document drowned in the ocean of files in a public office might take years to come out in the full public view but a comment posted on a Social Media Page, or an email sent to the Office Bearer is always traceable.

Image Source: Intel
The Public Officer Connect

A couple of months ago, I had to visit the local SDM Office for the routine task of updating my driving license. It took me three weeks to get the job done. I ran out of patience after one week and tried to meet the office in-charge, the Sub Divisional Magistrate. But he was outstation, as one of the ministers was in the town.

So, what did I do? I took to Facebook. 
The Facebook of the District Deputy Commissioner that was launched by the Chief Minister of the State only a couple of weeks ago. Within three hours, I was given the copy of my license.

Afterwards, the SDM himself got in touch with me and specifically asked me to help him setup an online page for his office as well.

Technology helps bridge such gaps, the gaps between the general public and the bureaucrats, the gaps which have unfortunately grown so wide that only technology appears to be the last resort of filling those voids.

There are many such stories that we come across various social media platforms, where government officials interact with the public. Ministers, Police Commissioners, Passport Offices; everything is online. The public can talk to those who matter any-time, all you need is a working Internet Connection.

There are online complaint redressal systems. One doesn't need to go to through the painful hierarchical set-up of meeting the clerks, babus, and Officers in person

Another example of how e governance systems work. Have a look!

  1. You have a grievance but want not to reveal your identity, file an online complaint.
  2. You want to raise a demand but don't have the time to visit the head office, file an online demand. 
A single click will do the job. #DigitalIndia is rising fast and we all are a part of this ongoing process. 

The Public Government Connect

And it's just not about the complaints any-more. It's no longer 'We against the Government' scenario any-more.

The moment new PMO Portal was launched, I wrote to the Prime Minister. And the reply was beyond my expectations, within 24 hours.
Such proactive steps help build trust in the governments. When the people trust its government and the government addresses queries, one common objective of Nation Building becomes achievable.

A cursory glance through the eGov website and you'll understand what I', trying to say. There are real people participating actively in the campaigns organized by the government. There are ideas flowing all around, which are being implemented by the government in the real time.

There are new things coming out of the closet of our new tech savvy government, like the Digi Locker. A one step solution for carrying all your documents at one place. Like the newly designed web-portal of IRCTC. With the ever increasing reach of mobile phones in India, technology is not only going to bring accountability but it will also help us save a great deal of effective man-hours.

In 2013, it was reported that the Indian mobile subscriber base was a whopping 795 millions, which was estimated to go past the 1100 million mark by the end of 2020. And with our new government rolling out a new interactive portal for public participation and opinions, things are going to move in the right direction only.

The first step towards a great relationship is trust. If the government and public relation is backed by trust founded on the strong foundations of technology, a bright future certainly awaits the Indian horizons.

A digitized India is going to be a reality soon. All it needs is active participation of each one of us.