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Pragati Maidan Makeover Plan Looks Amateurish January 30, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Delhi , add a comment

My first recall of Pragati Maidan is of Asia 72, I was barely 7 years old and I remember there was space pavilion and something about Man on moon. My creativity and story telling made me tell numerous stories about how I saw soil from moon and thus formed a relationship which kept on getting renewed year after year.

We have been hearing about a makeover of Pragati Maidan since ever, but now it looks like things are firming up. Am I loving it, no. And this is why?

A makeover of 126 acre Pragati Maidan would have an underground parking provision of 5,000 cars, something is wrong. Either someone doesn’t know Delhi, or Parking Issues or footfall in Pragati Maidan – maybe all the three. Planning anything less than an underground parking facility of over 50.000 cars would simply be too myopic a plan to execute. One hall absorbs more than 10,000 cars, someone is absolutely out of sync with what happens every year during trade fair (IITF)  and why Autoexpo had to be moved to Greater Noida.

Coming to space created, it would have only 1.2 Million Square feet of space, which translates to FAR of 1:.25, on such a large project it is a gross wastage of space. The project must plan over 5 Million Square Feet instead of 1.2 Million Square Feet being planned. They are planning one convention center to accommodate 7,000, why not three more for 5,000, 3,000 and 2,000 respectively. Very few international capitals have this huge exhibition space in the heart of the city, using it to its fullest has to be a priority with the government.

This project envisages bringing iconic architectural marvel like Hall of Nations down, what is the point. It has been a Pragati Maidan identifier and it has seen progress happen and enabled progress to happen. It is a great design and there is no need to raze it now. There is enough free space and you can always add, why destroy to add and build anew when space is not a constraint.

I hope better senses prevail and heritage is not destroyed just for the heck of it and a new form and shape is added for it to stand apart as one of the great exhibition grounds in the world.




What makes me love a Pizza? January 30, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Food , 1 comment so far
Making of a great Pizza

What makes me Love a Pizza

  1. Crust: It has to be thin crust. I don’t want to eat a bread or a piece of cake, just because it is called a Pizza.
  2. Fresh: Everything has to be fresh, except the dough. Nothing canned or processed, even the cheese.
  3. Hand Tossed: Just roll it and toss it.
  4. Base: No burnt base please, I don’t eat charcoal, brown is good.
  5. Dough: At least 72 hours before it goes into oven. Made today, served today dough doesn’t bring in the natural tang, which I love.
  6. Cheese: Fresh mozzarella.
  7. Chicken: Marinated with herbs and grilled.
  8. Tomatoes: Flavorful Husky Cherry Red Tomatoes or any other flavorful tomatoes.
  9. Basil: At least an inch long fresh basil leaves
  10. Sauce: No canned or processed. Fresh sauce made with tomatoes, herbs and crushed red chili in Olive oil.
  11. Red Chili: No flakes, just smoked & baked with the Pizza red chili cuts

Two, three, four 6″ pizzas please, 8″ would also do, but nothing more than 8″ in size.


An Indian’s Choice of First 20 Smart Cities January 29, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

Just being Indian, I would’ve loved to see these twenty cities as the first 20 smart cities in India. No religious, no political, only an understanding of what may work best for India has guided me to put this list on my blog.   These cities can act as counter magnets and also would cover and develop skills for all kind of cities.

  1. Srinagar – This city has least grown in last 30 years, need to bring it up to speed and take it ahead of others.
  2. Tirupati – Look at amount of people who go there every year. Exposure to people from all over India on how a smart city works would encourage others to take initiative in their cities too.
  3. Chandigarh – Fairly smart, serves as a hub to three states.
  4. Delhi East (NO, I stay in Delhi west :) – This is the worst Delhi among 4 broad zones, barts of it are probably among the worst in India. Bringing it up as a role model is needed and would be a huge learning curve for concept of smart cities.
  5. Gurgaon – Among all new cities. this one is most broken and most inspirational. Making Gurgaon work would mean giving India a global image.
  6. Ajmer – Again it is people and people from all walks of life and all religions, lot of transit population and a historic city to boot.
  7. Gwalior – Small city, great opportunity, can be a counter magnet to Delhi in its own small way.
  8. Varanasi -  oldest living city in the world and the city which has given us a Prime Minister.
  9. Agra – If Agra works smartly, it can pull 20+ million global tourists on its own.
  10. Gaya – Let the Japanese come, let the Chinese come, let Buddhists from all over the world see this city as their spiritual capital.
  11. Darjeeling – Tea tourism can bring wealth and lift up this whole region, specifically Sikkim and north Bengal.
  12. Shillong – Beauty of this city and the opportunities to make it happen are immense, the Cherry Blossoms need to be seen.
  13. Naya Raipur – A brand new city, a brand new capital – if it made smart now, it will grow very fast.
  14. Vishakapatnam – How do we manage our coasts, this can be the show window.
  15. Mangalore – What is Karnataka without Bangalore? Let Managlore develop as a food hub and recreation hub not only for the messed up Bangalore but also act as a counter magnet to it.
  16. South Goa – Preserve pristine beaches and make it an elite tourism destination and a big money earner for the state.
  17. Gandhi Nagar – A city which refuses to happen and is always playing a second fiddle to Ahmadabad.
  18. Kochi – Did I hear somebody say PPP, this is where it will come and grow.
  19. Portblair – Not many know it is India’s outpost in the Indian Ocean. Let us get Singaporeans, Malaysians, Indonesians make it their favourite destination to explore the Andamans.
  20. Madurai – Has potential to develop around the whole of south south of India.





Open Letter to Arvind Kejriwal Ji and Aam Aadmi Party January 27, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Uncategorized , add a comment

Dear Arvind Kejriwal Ji, & functionaries of Aam Aadmi Party,

I am an “open vote” AAP voter and have been called an Aaptard and all other sundry names, hundreds of times on Twitter. Some people consider me an AAP active member, which I am not. I am definitely a 3 time AAP voter and a disillusioned citizen of Delhi who was fed up with corruption and deterioration of his city under State Government run by Congress and MCDs run by BJP. I saw a huge opportunity to make my Delhi rise and shine again. Today, here are a few observations which I would like to share. There were some tweets done  which other AAP supporters were kind enough to RT and forward to you. Here are some of those tweets and some more thought through challenges altogether in a hope that it can be professionally looked at.

I can’t say about all of Delhi, but for two constituencies of Vikaspuri & Janakpuri things are getting from bad to worse. Vikaspuri MLA is Shri Mahender Yadav and Janakpuri MLA is Shri Rajesh Rishi.

1. Unauthorized commercialization is on rise.
2. Encroachment over public land is on rise.
3. Slum clusters in Vikaspuri are becoming multistory
4. Number of hawkers on footpaths have increased considerably & most footpaths are 150% encroached – 50% of road and 100% of footpath.
5. No new infrastructure development has been rolled out or announced.
6. Congestion and unrecognized/ illegal markets are expanding, worsening traffic situation.
7. Delhi is hardly a Swach Delhi and safai karamcharis are still missing.
8. Parking contractors still harass drivers and car owners.
9. Street food hygiene remains an issue and is still unlicensed and opening a business in a minute even today. I am told, nobody comes for “hafta” anymore, now “hafta” goes to them.
10. Not even one person has been arrested for any of the above. Corruption still work?

I am confident that between the three parties, you guys are still the best bet we have, but the gap between you and Congress BJP on all fronts is narrowing. I am sure, you would say, this is with center and that is with center, but then that always was and even if it has been added now, negotiating with center and making it work for Delhi is your job too.

Get some results on ground, let our hope and vote work.

Thank you

Simarprit Singh
Resident of Vikaspuri & an entrepreneur operating from Janakpuri, Delhi

Why People Commit Suicide? January 19, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Health , add a comment

Why People Commit Suicide? This is a question which crosses my mind often. It keeps on running all around me when any news of a suicide grabs media’s attention and lives around me for a couple of days. These days two suicides are big time tragedies being talked about in integrated media – TVs, Newspapers, Magazines, Apps, Websites and instant media like WhatsApp and debated across Social media platforms with almost everyone taking a pole position. One is of a Uttar Pradesh girl who committed suicide in UP over blackmailing post gang-rape and the second news is about the Dalit (SC/ST/OBC?) doctorate scholar committing suicide. Unfortunately both tragedies have taken political hue. Political parties, those in power and those in opposition are trying their best to use it to their advantage.

Disclosure: I am not a Doctor, I am not a psychologist and I am also not a student of psychology or an anti-suicide activist. What I am sharing here is what is known as “loud thinking” or using my blog as a sounding board. I am also writing with my being an Indian, a Punjabi, a Sikh and a 50+ global traveler with hundreds of flights and millions of miles of exposure.

Here are some random thoughts.

  1. People who fail to identify that they have challenges of mental health, and if they do identify, they live in denial of there consequences are more susceptible. Acceptance and treatment works wonders and works magically and quickly.
  2. People who have very few true friends, or they may have true friends but don’t trust them to the core find themselves internally broken with no Plan B. So end of the story becomes their plan B. Trust friends, be fair and it is never too late to make great friends, life is best lived when friends are by your side. If it is a friend who is a reason, changing the friend, works.
  3. If one gets into building a web of lies and feels too weak to be confronted and pay for the same, pressing escape to exit looks easier, which it definitely is not. Confessions and counseling are twin tracks and they are the way to rebuilding, prospering and moving on.
  4. People at times feel that their purpose would be better met by their “sacrifice”, really? Battles are won by winning, battles can’t be won by losing and that also losing life.
  5. A lack of achievement also pushes people to consider taking their life, but how can taking something be an achievement? It is always a myth that you are giving your life to a cause. Reality is that one has to live ones life for a cause, it will be experiential and incremental. If there is no cause to live, you haven’t started living yet, so get up and discover and adopt a cause.
  6. Health? Point of no return? No way, science is moving at a a faster pace and at multiple locations simultaneously. Medical solutions are almost always around the corner and if in a peculiar case they are not, see how you can bring them to this world quickly.  Join those who are working on that and joining means joining just in any way, even identifying them and re-tweeting them is joining.

I will add more as more random thoughts come knocking.

Aam Aadmi Party Must Dodge A Scoial Media Disaster in Punjab? January 14, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

It looks like that  Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is doing a tactical blunder by giving importance to Arvind Kejriwal over the spirit of AAP. In Punjab and in all other states, what AAP needs to sell is AAP as a concept and not Arvind Kejriwal. Arvind Kejriwal is sold and sold well. He cannot be CM of 10 or 20 states. Overselling Arvind Kejriwal is going to damage AAP, exactly in the same way overselling Narendra Modi damaged BJP in Delhi and Bihar and also to a large extent in Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir. In J&K if BJP would’ve projected a Muslim CM candidate from day one and in Mahasrhtra Devendra Fadnavis, game would have been very different. Even in Delhi had they opted for a local BJP leader, for that matter even Vijay Goel, they would have performed better.

#HopeofPunjabKejriwal is a brain damaged #tag. Instead of this they must consider #AAPDaPunjab. Everyone knows that it is not going to be Kejriwal who is going to run Punjab, sp why project him larger than the party.  If AAP has to replicate BJP’s mistakes on social media, it will get the same result. If they project Sucha Singh Chottepur or Bhagwant Maan, it would create a very strong wave in favor of AAP, both are CM material and well respected in the state. Both have worked very hard since they got elected as MPs. They can even think of some other candidates who could be the face of AAP for Punjab. In the run up to the elections, Arvind Kejriwal must consider leaving post of Delhi CM and Getting Manish Sisodia to run Delhi. This would have a mind blowing Social Media impact and would put him at par with Narendra Modi Ji or even ahead of him in Social Media warfare. AAP must also consider pushing a CMDelhi Twitter account and FB account completely independent of Arvind Kejriwal. That account can later in the day be utilized to position new CM.

Social Media is a 100x Chessboard, if you don’t keep backups, game is over before it has started. The way AAP is currently handling its social media, it looks highly influenced by BJP’s strategy which was initially put in place, that strategy is no longer working for BJP hence has no chance to work for AAP. AAP must develop a strategy around itself, keeping its constraints in mind. AAP needs to be less vulnerable and more encompassing.Congress has tried to counter BJP but has failed misreably, AAP has had tremendous success so far, but it may run out of luck if it runs out of sensibilities.

AAP also needs to project itself as more inclusive, which is a surprise anyway and may not have been a need if SM would have been inclusive as the party claims itself to be.

Waqt Ka Tu Intezaar Kar January 14, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Poems , add a comment

This poem is in Hindi, I am sure a friend would volunteer to stitch it together in English. This came together as a response to a Jigar Moradabadi’s poem shared by a dear friend. I wrote it under my pen name Simar Patialvi.

Waqt ka tu intzaar kar…

Dil ka kaya kassor hai

Dimag be dastoor hai

Mahoobat be daag hai

Yeah ek adbhoot aag hai.

Is aag ko roko mat

Jasbaat ko toko mat

Waqt hi inko fuslaae gaa

Kuch naya geet soonaae gaa

Jawani ka yahi kasoor hai

Duniya ka yahi dastoor hai

Mahoobat pae yahi daag hai

Yehhi ek adbhut raag hai.

Is raag ko bajne do

Is aag ko thamne do.

Waqt hi inko tokay gaa

Kisi nayee aag main jhonke gaa…

Kisi nayee aag main jhonke gaa..

Waqt ka tu intzaar kar…

Waqt ka tu intnzaar kar. –


Let us wrap up Nehru, once and for all January 13, 2016

Posted by simarp in : India , add a comment

Looks like someone in the Government sincerely said that we must look at folding up or renaming or re-positioning all Government organizations, establishments and autonomous bodies associated with Nehru-Gandhi family. The work has started in all earnest. 2.5 lakh Nehru Yuva Kendras are being repackaged. The repackaged Nehru Yuva Kendras would have Vivekananda’s soul and Pandit Nehru’s body. Yes, I reconfirmed that is what the new packaging is all about. So Pandit Nehru’s soul has a challenge bigger than how he looked, looks are OK, soul is not. Interesting! India is being divided, in a subtle manner, Pandit Nehru’s legacy is being contained by his being a Congress party representative and  Swami Vivekananda’s legacy is being claimed by BJP as one of its own. Rani Laxmi Bai, Shaheed Bhagat Singh & Chandarshelhar Azad are all being claimed by BJP. To add to the secular flavor, BJP is claiming legacy of Ashfaqullah Khan also. I am sure someone was sitting with a checklist:

Multiple Hindus? Done Sir.

One Muslim? Done Sir.

One Sikh? Done Sir.

One Hindu Women? Done Sir.

No Christian? Right Sir.

The way India is running now, we are inventorying almost everything and dividing it. Amazing, how tolerant we as a nation are.

Next in the line can be Jawharlal Nehru Stadium, now the body would remain Pandit Nehru’s but soul may belong to Rajvardhan Singh Rathore, of course all those who are alive can keep some of their soul with them and lend the remaining for a noble cause, and here is no need to even claim, he is a BJP man anyway.

Jawharlal Nehru University can do with the soul of Dinanath Batra (same way Batra Ji can keep some of his soul for remaining years), the legendary Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti  founder, after all he succeeded in convincing Penguin to pulp Wendy Doniger’s, The Hindus: An Alternative History.

We must also consider Nehru Park in Delhi, can it have the soul of Nathuram Godse?

Jawhar Vyapaar Kendra would do much better with the soul & spirit of Dhirubhai Ambani.

While we are at it, Jawharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) can get soul of Bangaru Laxman, his soul must have stopped searching itself any more.

This is an enriching exercise, identify an organization, park, city, auditorium, stadium, hospital, airport, seaport – whatever which has a government connection and Nehru in its name and bring in a new soul. Why develop a new institution, just replace the soul, brilliant, quick easy and tremendous mileage and good business. Only sending one photograph to each of the 2,50,000 Nehru Yuva Kendras is a business of minimum 50 Crores. Helps printers and art-framers, raises employment. Moreover the government is sure that there won’t be any corruption scandals or mishaps or delays which creating a new institution must live with.

Once they are done with keeping Jawhar Lal Nehru’s body and replacing his soul in over 500 institutions, buildings, roads, ports and awards, they can start on Indira Gandhi and once done with replacing Indira Gandhi’s soul they can focus on replacing  Rajiv Gandhi’s soul. Between these three around 5,000 + institutions & roads can have new souls. Lot of work for a government to do in four years. They would have to be careful to keep Sanjay Gandhi’s soul intact, his soul has no issues as its soul keeper Maneka Sanjay Gandhi is a revered BJP Minister.

Great! Wrongs can only be done right by doing more wrongs. Brilliant! Lesson learned. India is a great and progressive country where there is no victimization and new development begins from renaming, new letter heads and new photographs.



Patanjali and Us January 12, 2016

Posted by simarp in : Food, Marketing , add a comment

My this post is a kind of comment/response to an article by Ravi Ananthanarayanan – Patanjali mountain or molehill? Article was published today in Mint.

Baba Ram Dev’s brand is definitely entering households, it is a slow and steady multi product entry. For my family it has entered our kitchen and replaced one FMCG brand – Dabur and two “any brands” would do to Patanjali is better. We have moved from Dabur Honey to Patanjali Ayurved and we have moved from “brand doesn’t matter” Amla Juice and Aloe Vera Juice to Patanjali Ayurved brand Amla Juice and Patanjali Ayurved brand Aloe Vera Juice. That is about Rs 1,500 per month of FMCG spend from a total of Rs 15,000.00 – Rs 20,000.00 spend. 10% share in our household which has no pro Ramdev sentiment is great for Patanjali Ayurved. All the three products are recommendations by my wife’s dietitian and endorsed by me. So, it is a word of mouth for us.  We definitely use over 300 products in our home in four FMCG lines which Patanjali Ayurved operates in, mostly brands and almost all bought at least 3 times a year. So out of 300, Patanjali Ayurved has a 1% share. Patanjali Ayurved’s two of four categories have us as buyers, Juices and Food. We don’t buy any cosmetics or any Ayurveda medicinal products from them.

One FMCG major has lost about Rs 12,000.00 p.a. account, that is Dabur for Honey, which has been built over 3 decades or more. That business has moved lock stock and barrel to Patanjali Ayurved. For juices, we don’t even know who the loser is, we bought what was available at a local grosser or a chemist or a modern retail outlet.

Here are some questions I landed putting to myself. Having done that I flipped my laptop around and sat on the opposite chair to answer them inline.

  1. Are we inclined to move to Patanjali from MDH if they come to Masalas? No, we are happy with MDH quality and price for this range doesn’t matter.
  2. Are we likely to move over  tea & coffee purchases to Patanjali as and when their products are freely available? No, it has taken us ages to get our combinations and tastes right. We know when we need Bru and when we need Nescafe and when we need premium brand because of a particular roast. Same with tea, Aap Ki Pasand handles our Super Premium Tea needs since two decades or more and Tata and HUL largely take care of our daily tea requirements.
  3. Would we move our Atta away from ITC’s Ashirwad Sharbati? Very very unlikely. That is what we need.
  4. Would we move our laundry detergents and current soap brands, largely HUL to Patanjali? Even ITC couldn’t succeed here, Patanjali has almost no chance.
  5.  Our lentils? Tata Shudh has just started making an entry, local brands are getting replaced, looks unlikely that we will move.
  6. Chips from Lays? Cold Drinks from Coke & Pepsi? Regular juices from Tropicana & Real? Cookies from Britannia & Parle G? Almost impossible.
  7. Ice Cream from Amul, Mother Dairy, Kwality Walls, Naturals and Gianis? Are you joking. too tough, 5 brands dominate our house because of particular flavors. At best if Patanjali comes with some Amla-Mango ice cream and it tastes nice, it can become a 6th brand, that’s the best chance.
  8. Amul & Mother Dairy Milk? Amul, Mother Dairy and Britannia Cheese? Mother Dairy and Gopalji Paneer? Mother Dairy and Nestle Curd/ Yogurt?  Mother Dairy & Amul Lassi/ chhach? No way.
  9. Chef’s Basket Pasta? Maggi Noodles? Knorr & Keya soups? Probably after next seven generations ;)
  10. Nonveg? Are you kidding? Patanjali won’t enter that section ever.
  11. Cadbury’s Chocolates? Bournvita? Horlicks? Too toucgh for Patanjali.

I think they will replace in our household things like Hamdard’s Roohafza, Dabur Chawanprash, Organic India’s Tulsi, Dabur’s Pudinhara, Hamdard’s Sualin, Dabur’s Hajmola. Broadly the Ayurveda connected FMCG, other that odds are firmly against them. Patanjali Ayurved as brand has been developed around Ayurveda and for it to be a universal FMCG brand would be a challenge.



Twitter as a tool to instigate violence January 12, 2016

Posted by simarp in : News, Twitter , add a comment

I am not sure whether ISIS is behind it or there are some disillusioned and half-baked, probably paid, social-media-agents  but # tags like #BurningBengal are made for purpose tags to destabilize India and to trigger violence. By no yardstick West Bengal is burning, yes there is a localized violence in one district and that also in a town which is famously called India’s fake currency capital – Kaliachawk. It is not the first time that there has been violence in Kaliachawk, instances of violence against Government are common, definitely there is some degree of communal color which has been added to it and that is on expected line in an election bound state. But to go all over the world and to hire instigators to push the # tag BurningBengal is unfair to West Bengal and to India. Rather it is criminal.

How do #tags work?  # tags on Twitter are considered as linking tools and those which are trending are highlighted on the left side. Now the challenge is those who trust Twitter immediately look towards trending tags to identify what is important happening world over or their zone of interest.  A tag like #BurningBengal at number one and number two position immediately raises eyebrows and questions – Is Bengal really burning? A discovery on twitter opens up negative accounts after negative accounts (those accounts where following number is far higher than followers number) and anonymous accounts after anonymous accounts. This when supported by lack of news in main stream media is a very worrisome hacking and cyber crime.  This means the accounts which are indulging in fake #tags have a purpose of instigating violence and are creating a sentiment which gets rumors being believed and circumstances created to disrupt peace.

Fooling around with # tags is fine but using them as a criminal tool is completely unacceptable. This needs to be investigated as a cyber crime, unless some people are arrested and put behind bars, Twitter and other tools are bound to be used to instigate violence and create unrest.

All social media evangelists must act against these crimes and take a zero tolerance stand to counter them.