Monday, May 12, 2008

It has become a bit too tough to maintain more than one site at the same time. So if you are here, and would like to read some more of the stuff, visit me at

There's a lot more variety and craziness in what you will find there. Hope that doesn't disappoint you. :-)) Expect to s you soon, and hey, if you tumble in, let me know what you think of the experience. Good day, pal! :-)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

This Is What I Gave Up My Lavish Lifestyle For.

Please don't laugh. Please. But since you are my friend I will forgive you even if you did. What I am going to say just might tickle you a little bit. I told you sometime back that I quit a very well-paying job in the glitzy, glamourous world of advertising to change the world. It's been two weeks now. People around me had started getting nosey. Everybody wants to know what I am doing. So yesterday I did it!

Yesterday I've started a group on called, 'Chennai ReSurrection - The Birth Of An Enlightened Community.' With this I intend to encourage the emergence of more active citizens - people motivated by an interest in public issues, and a desire to make a difference beyond their own private lives, especially in Chennai.

If you have finished laughing, stay with me for a little more time. Please. Thank you. :-)
I strongly believe that active citizens are a great untapped resource, and citizenship is a quality to be nurtured. Here's why:

1] A way of tackling large public issues.

Public issues such as child labour, homelessness, pollution, old age and such will only be effectively addressed when public participation is available. A few individuals or organisations trying to tackle the issue, while laudable, is not enough. Atleast not enough to create visible difference. Active citizens can make their neighbourhoods free of suffering with an ease and speed unthinkable by any other institution or even a state government.

2] A way of solving local problems.

When people become involved in their neighbourhoods they can become a potent force for dealing with local problems. Through co-ordinated planning, research and action, they can accomplish what individuals working alone could not.

When people decide they are going to be part of a solution, local problems start getting solved. When they actually begin to work with other individuals, schools, associations, businesses, and government service providers, there is no limit to what they can achieve.

3] A way of improving liveability.

Citizens can make cities work better because they understand their own neighbourhoods better than anyone else. Giving them some responsibility for looking after their part of the town is a way of effectively addressing local preferences and priorities. Understandably, boosting citizen participation improves liveability.

Cities are sources of potential conflict, between government and citizens, between different citizen groups, and between citizens and special interests such as real estate developers. Greater citizen participation in civic affairs is one way of reducing all of these conflicts. In particular it can prevent the firestorms associated with changes brought about by growth and renewal.

4] A bridge to strong democracy.

When citizens get together at the neighbourhood level, they generate a number of remarkable side effects. One of these is strengthened democracy. In simple terms, democracy means that the people decide. Political scientists describe our system of voting every few years but otherwise leaving everything to the government as weak democracy. In a weak democracy, citizens have no role, no real part in decision- making between elections. Supposed 'experts' assume responsibility for deciding how to deal with important public issues.

The great movement of the last decades of the twentieth century has been a drive towards stronger democracy in corporations, institutions and governments. In many developed countries, this has resulted in neighbourhood groups being formally recognized as a link between people and municipal government, and a venue for citizen participation in decision-making between elections.

5] A little recognized way to better health.

In the late 1980s, following Canada's lead, the World Health Organisation broadened its definition of health to account for the fact that health is much more than then absence of disease. The new definition recognizes that only about 25% of our health status comes from health care, the rest comes from the effects of adequate education and income, a clean environment, secure housing and employment, the ability to control stress, and a social support network.
Understandably, public health professionals have become some of the strongest advocates for more active citizens world over.

6] A way of rekindling community.

Active citizens can help to create a sense of community connected to place. We all live somewhere. As such we share a unique collection of problems and prospects in common with our neighbours. Participation in neighbourhood affairs builds on a recognition of here-we-are-together, and a yearning to recapture something of the tight-knit communities of the past. Neighbourhood groups can act as vehicles for making connection between people, forums for resolving local differences, and a means of looking after one another. Most important, they can create a positive social environment that can become the best features of a place.

Now, don't think this is what I quit my job for. To start a group on

No, my dear friend. This was just a moment of inspiration. I have much bigger ideas. A complete business entity named 'BigMojoInc' is already in the making. It will be officially launched on the 15th Oct., 2007. Or maybe, by the over ambitious research that is going into it, it may be delayed by a week too.

BigMojoInc ( will be based in Chennai and bring together the collective power of the government, corporates and the residents in making Chennai a better community. If it sounds impossible, it is. But there is a new, untested way of doing it. And I am banking on that! (Wish me luck!!) Talks are on with some hot shot, well-meaning corporates on how they can participate in more community building activities. Once the site is up, it will give the residents an interface to participate. I intend to write a letter to the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu and seek his wholehearted co-operation soon.

There are many of us out here and out 'there' who feel strongly about the issues that plague our society. I invite your participation too. We've passionately spoken and written for a better society, better life and better future. They have my greatest respect for being outspoken about their convictions. However, the need of the hour is action. I would appreciate all your support in taking our collective energy to the next level - the level of action. The moment of 'truth' as I call it. When one's words have to match one's deeds.

If you are a resident of Chennai, be sure to join in this movement. If you are not, but know someone who is, please let them know of the group on called, 'Chennai ReSurrection.' That is the least you can do today to be part of the solution. From the very bottom of my heart, I thank you.

Please leave your comments, suggestions, and words of encouragement. God Bless and Peace!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

A City Celebrates! :-)

What makes a city a community? What makes it special? Is it its history, its streets, its food, or its people? There can be many opinions but the fact is every city has something to celebrate for itself. Here is one ready to celebrate her people! :-)