Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Green Washing

Sometimes its funny how little thought is put into Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities. I know of an organization that felt the recycled cups that were being used at the tea/coffee and water dispenser machines were not environmentally friendly. They were identified as not being green enough! And within no time, they came up with a brilliant idea – give each and every employee a ceramic or a metal cup. There it is! We just turned green! And then they put up signboards everywhere saying – “Be Green. Do not use disposable cups”.

Now, I am no expert in “Green thinking”. But I guess, by doing away with the disposable cups there is an inherent thinking that using gallons of water to wash cups everyday is environmentally more friendly!

Lets take the average Jane. She drinks 3 cups of coffee in a day. Now, on an average washing a cup takes around 5-10 litres of water. And if you had forgotten to clean your cup after drinking your coffee last evening, then it takes twice the amount. So 3 cups of coffee equals washing the cup at least 3 times ( that's approximately 20 litres of water per person per day). For a 10,000 employee organization, we are assuming that wasting 200,000 litres of water a day is more environmentally friendly than using 30,000 disposable cups a day (please mind – we are not comparing financial costs here). And if we have to be really accurate then we also have to consider the delta effects of the electricity consumed by excess pumping of water, sewage treatment plant etc etc.

I have read similar arguments about the electric car. If you are using your household electricity to recharge your batteries then you have to account for how your electricity is produced. In countries like India where majority of our electricity is produced by burning coal, the environmental impact might be the same for electric or petrol engines.

I hope you got my point.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pack like a pro

I don't qualify to be a globe-trotter or a frequent flier as compared to some of you. But that doesn’t mean that I haven’t done enough research on the internet on how to pack effectively. Over the years I have graduated from being a clumsy packer (the kind who has to sit on the bag to close it) to a suave one-carry-on-bag light traveller. So what is the secret? To summarise my years of searching on the internet it is – roll your clothes!!

Yes!! Rolling has many advantages. Firstly – clothes occupy significantly lower space in your bag if you roll them. Secondly – packing them up becomes easy, as you can stuff them around your bag in every nook and corner. And finally – rolled clothes wrinkle less in your bag!

So here is Girish’s guide to effective packing -

  1. First keep all heavy items towards the end of your bag where the wheels are on the outside. That way dragging the bag in your airport terminal becomes really easy.
  2. Keep all your non-cloth items like toiletries, electronics and other items at the bottom of the bag (in the centre). Put your shoes in plastic bags and keep their sole touching the sides of the bags.
  3. Gradually fill your rolled clothes around these items. And get astonished yourself!

And here is an excellent video for your viewing pleasure:

How to pack everything in a bag for your vacation!

Here are pictures of (almost) my entire wardrobe rolled and neatly tucked in my bag.

My rolled up wardrobeMy wardrobe in my bag

You could argue that my entire wardrobe is small enough anyway (I could only use so many tents!). Well as compared to some of you it maybe, but I definitely got clothes that can last me for more than 3 weeks.

So this was your lesson on effective packing this week. Now go plan a vacation!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Sorry guys. Long time since I scribbled anything here. I have been overwhelmed by the amount of change that is going on in my life these days. All my life I chose to be lazy till now and I have been forced to change so fast. “Change” sounded cool for Obama’s presidential campaign, but it is definitely driving me nuts. Lots of change equates to lots of stress.


To make a long story short – I am back in India for good. And now I am struggling to get everything in order to lead my ordinary unnoticeable life again. I also figured that my creative instincts (or whatever makes me pen worthless blog posts here) don’t work under stress. Also stress makes my head start to peek from under the hair that I had above it before.

Friday, November 12, 2010


For the ignorant few, there is an Integrated Resort in Singapore named Marina Bay Sands. It has got a super awesome swimming pool on the top of the building (57th Floor). I have been to  the top of the building a couple of times, and naturally I felt very tempted to swim there. However swimming in that pool requires that you be their “guest” ( read – spend boat loads of money by booking a hotel room!).

When you got no money to spend, but you still “want” to enjoy the high life, you become – Shameless. So the colleague who got conned, was staying in the same hotel. I figured that the only chance that I had to swim in that pool was to pose as a hotel guest living in the same room as my colleague and then go up there with him. However with my fantastic accent our conversation in office was limited to “Hello?”, “Good morning” and “Wonderful”. Anything more I say and my thick nasal Maharashtrian accent would baffle him out of his wits.

Still I persisted. After various attempts at explaining my wish, I bobbed my head up and down and pretended to breast stroke around the room. Then I pointed upwards to the sky indicating that I wanted to swim in the pool on his hotels’ rooftop. He obviously mistook that action to me referring to birds flying high in the sky. Pat came his reply – “Wonderful”.

Finally, I got another of my colleague (who could speak Chinese – and actually understood my accent) to join us in this adventure. Everything was sorted out. We finally managed to swim in the pool. Am putting some pictures here for you guys to be jealous about. And, before I end, did I tell you that I managed to swim there on 3 different occasions?

Infinity Swimming PoolInfinity Swimming Pool

Infinity Swimming PoolInfinity Swimming Pool

Infinity Swimming PoolInfinity Swimming Pool

I hope you all are green with envy. If you are not, let me remind you – I swam thrice not once!