Dressing Smartly – and weather friendly

Posted by in Asha for Eduction, Index, India/Kerala, Society

I was just reading an essay by Sachidananda Murthy on The Week of 22 Jan 2006. He writes about the changes in weather and the pains in dressing appropriately. He goes on to talk about some smart technology being developed by IISc and other Indian organisations. Somehow reading it, I felt amazed at how trivial in some ways we have become. Smart wardrobe – sounds great – but when you read more about it – its ridiculous I feel. I live in a country that has extreme climates. Just yesterday I went to a place that recorded -25°C this winter. And in summer we have temparatures hitting 40°C. Also in addition to these changes – the fact that almost every room or enclosed space – houses, transportation, offices, restaurants etc. all are heated. So the change in temparature duing winter is drastic from outside to inside. So there is a need to dress for both situations at the same time – and I think the wardrobes here are suited to this situation. Same way I think generally speaking the wardrobes in India too have evolved to suit the situation (no heating for example!) But the point is about investing time and resources appropriately. Here especially during Spring and Autumn, the weather can alter drastically from a superb sunny day to hopelessly cold and grey rainy day. Very much like the situation that Murthy talked about in his article. But what is amazing is how much has the weather forecasting evolved here. I can today know the current weather of my village, along with forecast for the next five days – broken down to early morning, late morning – noon, afternoon, evening and night. True none of the forecasts are 100% right, but they are more correct than they are wrong and a huge majority of people rely on these forecasts to decide on what to wear, what to take and how to travel (an umbrella or take the bus instead of the car etc.) Somehow in India I think we mistake the weather forecasts shown on BBC World and CNN to be the best and follow that instead of taking technology down to the masses with information that matters to them – that they could use. There are excellent examples where this does happen – like the now famous echaupal by ITC. But shouldn’t more of these innovations come from some of our great institutions rather than from the private sector? It seems NIC (National Informatics Centre) has now set up a website for each district in India. Some of the sites are looking very promising. But it is almost impossible to find easily information that is meaningful to people. I can’t help but compare it with the India700k project started by few enthusiasts at Asha for Education. The dream is to create a website for every village in India – with information relevant to development work. A few enthusiasts have managed to do with almost minimal resources something amazing. Why can’t agencies and instiututions with lot more resources try and achieve such targets? I am not being very cynical, but its a question that has dogged me for a long while now. I know that we Indians have the ability, the capcity and the resources to achive what we set out to

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achieve. But we just don’t seem to be setting out to achive much that makes sense to the common man. Am I missing something?

Some more about the India 700k Project.