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Ready for the warm, prepared for the cold January 15, 2011

Posted by aglakadam in aglakadam, Life and all, Management.
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Small things matter much, specially under extreme situations. I am sure all of us must have experienced at least one such situation in life & got a lesson out of it. Imagine that you are travelling in a train on a cold winter night and the window has a slit which allows the cool breeze rush inside! The kind of cold torture one will have to go through will chill you even in your imagination. True, minor actions (or inactions) can have major implications!

Its really the tough art of extrapolation to foresee extreme eventualities and be prepared for those. In cold countries houses are built in such a manner that the snow does not stay long on the roof, the cold breeze does not enter the rooms through pores or slits, the water supply is through conditioned pipelines so that the water temperature is maintained. Not so in India, because we rarely face these extremes.

Recently most of India has been in the grip of a cold wave. As per a news release, over a period of seven days at least eighteen deaths across the eastern India had been reported because of cold! India is a typical hot temperature land. Summers are mostly pretty hot in most of the regions. Winter is generally not so cold and that’s precisely the reason that many people are not really prepared to take on the extremes of winter season. Surely those who died out of cold would have been the poor ones who did not have enough to manage clothing and medicines to prevent from cold. However the point is that even the well to do and affluent houses are not really well equipped to manage the rare extremes of seasons in India.

We the people on earth are very good at managing inventory of our proactive preparedness. We prepare ourselves on a demand basis. We tend to be more prepared for what is most repetitive in nature and least prepared for what is less frequent, though may be devastating at times! For example earthquake! So much of building – construction is piling up across the states in India but very less of this infrastructure would be equipped to take on a rector scale of 6 plus points! Yes
earthquake does not happen every month, but how can we forget that when it happens, nothing remains the same there after!

What applies to India happens even in the other parts of the world. By the yardstick of infrastructural growth, London is one of the most advanced places in the world. However even in London there are so many lapses in preparedness. You will be
surprised to know that most of the metro rail services in London, even today, are not ready to take on extreme heat, because they do not have an inbuilt air-conditioning system! If the peak summer temperature reaches 35 degree centigrade plus in London, it becomes so uncomfortable and suffocating that people are forced to avoid the use of metro! Thanks to the global warming & climate changes, off late the administration authorities have ventured into replacing old air-condition less compartments with the new well equipped coaches!

One more example of the short sightedness & lack of preparedness is the fate of most of the railway platforms in India. Over years India has seen an ever increasing traffic demand and as such we were forced to add more and more number of bogies to every single train. Eventually at most of the railway stations in India, the last few rail coaches have to rest bare platform. Passengers go through a risky endeavor to alight & board the train in all such bogies!

The message which I intend to drive at is that we should be prepared for all kind of situations. As is said, we should hope for the best but be prepared for the extremes! This applies to every wake in life. While we get ready for the current challenges, we should also have an eye on the likely hood of probable extremes. Had we been better prepared, might be a few deaths out of cold would have been avoided, people in London would have been better off in metro even in hot summers, the pains of thousands of passengers alighting and boarding the last bogies of Indian Rail even at relatively smaller stations could have been ameliorated, some loss on account of earthquake could have been avoided. The only mandate is not to write-off the probability of extremes and be well prepared. Eventually it pays.

Ajit Varwandkar
Managing Director
FS Management (I) Pvt. Ltd.

Email for feedback : info@fsindia.in