Monday, February 16, 2009

e-invitations

Last week I attended the marriage of my friend's sister and it turned out to be a grand function. My friend didn't come to my home with the invitation for the marriage. That is the traditional way of inviting people to any function here in India. But I received the scanned copy of the original Invitation via email from my friend before the marriage. Being a person of this generation I didn't mind about the e-invitation and was determined to attend the function in any case. But my friend was kind enough to give me a call and invited me for the occasion. But it didn't matter for me. I would have gone anyway. Many people here are still not prepared to accept this modern way of inviting for any function. They consider the traditional way of inviting by visiting their home as a mark of respect and the e-invitation as being a negligent attitude shown towards them. Conducting any function is hard work and distributing invitations is one of the most difficult part of it. We need to make sure that no one is missed and also deliver it on time so that the visitor can make arrangements for their travel well in advance. All this can be fulfilled by electronic invitations. People are still not able to approach this trend with an open mind. May be there are a lot of emotions involved and truly it is a different feeling when someone invites you personally coming to your house. Making use of technology is fast and easy but human values and feelings can never be compromised. It is not just the difference between reading a book and its e-book version. But it is a matter of pride and love for most of us. I have mixed opinions on this issue but still one has to say that the traditional method is more Indian and more close to the heart. It doesn't even matter for people like me though.....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chennai more vulnerable to quakes

Experts have said that Chennai will have to be reclassified as a more susceptible area for earthquakes. Chennai is currently placed in Zone III in the seismic map. Ongoing studies have indicated an increase in seismic activities and the non-uniformity in the soil characteristics across the city. Therefore the city will be placed in a zone higher than Zone III.

The GSI have been conducting extensive geo-physical surveys and mapping Chennai's soil strength and composition for the last one year. The results point to parts of North Chennai more at risk to quakes than South owing to higher thickness of sediments made of clay and sand. A similar study performed by Anna University a couple of years ago marked places like Guindy, Vadapalani, Nungambakkam, Vysarpadi and Adyar as high risk areas. The enduring mapping process by GSI will be completed by 2009 and after that the BIS will assign new ratings to the city.

The State Government has already realized the plight of the city and is taking measures to prevent possible mishaps in the future. Training is going on for officials of the state at the National Institute of Disaster Management in Delhi. Civil engineers, architects, masons and bar benders will be made aware of the quake-proof construction techniques. The PWD will join hands with the IIT to conduct visual screening of old buildings and perform ultrasonic pulse velocity testing to identify the weaker buildings. Anna University is working on a quake simulation software for disaster mitigation and management. The private builders should also co-operate with the government and assume responsibility towards welfare of their customers. So next time you buy a flat or a home for yourself make sure that the building is quake-proof.

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