Today is May Day!

Today is Labour Day, or May Day, as a symbol of unity of workers worldwide. Here is another round of random reflections for your perusal:
  • Most Indian cities are crowded and chaotic. Unplanned growth and informal settlements make urban planning quite a challenge. However, Ahmedabad seems to have made these challenges into practical opportunities. The city is clean; its pavements are used by pedestrians; and, traffic on the road does follow some rules. It can be said to have ‘disciplined informality’. As a UNESCO Heritage city, Ahmedabad is living up to its name. How can other cities become so ‘smart’ too?
  • I have been observing that urinals in public places seem to have no standards. In my visits to restaurants, railway stations, airports, offices, cinemas etc., I find each men’s room has its own design for urinals. I am a man of average height—5 feet 6 inches. But, I find some urinals too high, some too low, some very wide, some not so. Likewise, the partitions between urinals are also of varying heights, designs, sizes and materials. I do not whether such realities exist in women’s toilets, but surely such necessities of life can be standardised?
  • Much concerns have been lately raised about privacy of personal data on Facebook and other social media. It seems that mere acts of saying hello or clapping result in ‘pulling out’ of all of one’s genealogy, history and mailing lists. Being connected is a huge risk today. Is isolation a solution? Or, we return to hand-written notes through ‘snail’s’ speed, mail system? At least, our private love letters would remain private? And choice of one friendship need not be in ‘sight’ of others?
  • As a city, London is perhaps the most inclusive place for all nationalities, cultures and foods. It has a certain charming way of combining the old and the new. Many historical sites and neighbourhoods, popularised through English literature over the centuries, have been ‘re-created’ in contemporary comfortable forms. Despite its urban expanding concrete, it has maintained its parks and gardens for access and use by all. No wonder, many young people from around the world gravitate to London.
  • Many sports have been a part of English life over history. But soccer occupies a special status these days. UK is one of the few places where mechanisms for betting on matches and players are legally well established. One can bet on the soccer ground before the start of the match by simply filling short form and making a payment. One can bet on winners, goal scorers, time of scoring, etc. etc. And, the practice seems to be very popular not only for soccer but for all sorts of events. It is one sure way to reduce illegal betting and associated match-fixing that goes on in other countries like India.

All the very best

Sincerely

Rajesh Tandon

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