A few months ago, it was time to replace the water purifier at home. The present one was difficult to maintain – the model was discontinued and its replacement parts were no longer available.
We thought it would be a simple task of selecting from one of the popular brands (like Kent or Aquaguard).
Little did we know that it would become a whole big project that required deeper research and evaluation of many alternatives based on criteria. Our task was made easy by the details available at achawater.com – a comprehensive site that covers water purification in great depth.
Typical impurities that need to be removed
As the first step we had to figure out the possible impurities to be removed. Our water is supplied by the municipality in Bangalore (BWSSB).
Passports were earlier used as travel documents, to establish the holder’s country. With time, a passport has also increasingly become a proof of identity and address.
However, passports have an expiry date, and upon renewal, a new passport is issued with a new passport number. This is extremely inconvenient, as one now needs to remember the new passport number while filling travel documents (every time one enters and exits a country) and sometimes at other places in a foreign country. Additional mess can be created if the passport renewal date and travel dates are close to each other, or there are valid visas on the old passport (to which passport number is the visa attached? :=( ).
My driving license number remains the same, even when it is renewed. So does my PAN number with the Income Tax Department. My Aadhar number will not change when I apply for a renewal (due to change of address or replacement of my mugshot). So, why can’t my passport number remain the same over my lifetime, as long as I continue to hold the passport of the same country?
Many of us who work in offices sit for more than 8-10 hours a day. We sit for our breakfast, we sit during our commute, we sit for long stretches at our desks, we sit with our coffee/ tea during the breaks, we sit for our lunch, we sit in meetings, we sit on our way back home, we sit during dinner and watch TV while sitting. And many times we sit continuously for more than 2 hours without getting up.
Being able to sit is also a status symbol that displays higher education and higher income / wealth. People who are more educated typically have jobs that require them to be on desks; richer people do not walk to bus stops and train stations, nor do they walk to shopping centers or coffee shops.
Over the last few years there has been a concerted movement in some countries (like Australia) to encourage people to sit for lesser time during the day, reduce continuous sitting, and increase time standing and moving. However, this movement has not yet picked up any steam in India.
Summary of the Findings
Prolonged sitting has been linked with multiple health concerns like obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood-sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. It also seems to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Sitting more than 6 hours a day may be as bad as smoking a pack of cigarettes every day.
Where do the heavy-sounding corporate statements come from?
You may have often marveled at the corporate leaders’ ability to spew wise-sounding, inspiring statements in presentations and speeches, and wondered how they can construct such sentences with heavy-sounding words, effortlessly.
Well, wonder no more, because the secret is out! They get their phrases and sentences from websites that generate such statements on demand. In the next meeting, you too can go armed with your set of phrases, and insert them at an appropriate point to impress everyone.
Here are some websites that generate corporate (bs) statements on demand:
So, what happens when these inspiring speakers ‘retire’ and there are no corporate captive audience to listen to them any more? They become spiritual leaders for people seeking ‘meaning’ in life. They expound profound theories in which the listeners look for hidden meanings.
These spiritual leaders are now assisted by a different set of websites that generate statements with the right set of keywords.
People who regularly travel by air are well aware of the strategies adopted by low-cost airlines (we shall refer to these airlines as ‘CheapAir’ in this article). Some things that they already do, allegedly to compensate for their cheap base tickets are:
Charging for food/ drinks in the flight
Express check-in queues where you pay extra for faster check-in (last time I managed to complete the check-in faster than those who paid the extra amount – I smirked a ‘bye, take your time’ to the folks in the express queue 😉 ).
Special, variable charges for many of the seats – seats in front, aisle seats, window seats, emergency row, etc.
Lowering the limits of free baggage and being strict about charging for excess baggage
Reducing the weight carried by the aircraft to reduce the fuel consumption by:
Getting rid of ovens from the aircraft (no warm meals)
Making seats lighter (and making them thinner to accommodate 1-2 rows more)
Hiring crew with small build (I have also noticed on one of the CheapAirs in India that all cabin crew members are always of one gender – I am not sure whether this is discrimination)
More than a strategy to recover some money, I think it is a strategy to project themselves as really cheap (low-cost or budget), so that the travelers do not critically look at the ticket prices (which are sometimes higher than the ticket prices on ‘full-service’ airlines).
More to Come?
Here is what else you can expect from CheapAirs in the not so distant future:
Free weight limit will be based on the total weight (weight of the traveler + check-in baggage + hand baggage) and the free total weight limit will be really low (maybe 50Kgs?). There will be weigh-in and payment facility at the boarding gates, and special charges for ‘express weigh in’. As this may make people serious about losing weight, the CheapAirs will be partnering with weight-loss industry and getting a commission from them.
Eventually, after everyone shrinks and carries little baggage, the CheapAirs can add more seats and use the baggage hold area better too.
Use of toilets on the aircraft will be charged. The charges will have to be paid before you enter the toilet. The charges will be based on the time that you plan to use the toilet. At the end of the paid time, the toilet door will open and the honored guest (passenger) will be ejected. There will be no refunds for non-usage or reduced usage. All toilet material (water, tissues, loo-paper) will have to be purchased on a non-returnable basis. Used toilet material will have to be carried back by the guest to reduce the cleaning cost/ garbage disposal cost for the CheapAirs.
Eventually, as people get used to not using the toilets, the toilets space will be used to accommodate more passengers (I don’t think that they will make the passengers sit in the toilets, but will modify the aircraft to replace the toilet cubicles with seats 🙂 ).
Garbage clearing and cabin cleaning charges. Every passenger will charged for the amount of mess he/ she leaves behind. A refundable charge will be levied on the ticket and the balance amount will be refunded as a credit for the passenger, to be used towards future travel.
Passengers acting as part-time cabin crew. For a fee, travelers will be able to role-play cabin crew members for a flight. The fee entitles them to a cabin crew uniform and free meal and the privilege of experiencing the glamorous profession of airline crew. Breakages and complaints from other passengers will mean additional fines for the part-time cabin crew.
So, one passenger seat saved and one less cabin crew member. And fees collected from part-time cabin crew.
The CheapAirs are also contemplating disposing rubbish from the mid-air. I think a pilot study is already on, going by the reports here and here.
Eventually, there will be less load to carry, less cleaning cost and faster aircraft turnaround.
A leader in innovative pricing in the ultra-low-cost segment is Ryanair. Here is a video highlighting their ‘ultra cheapness’.
If the video does not load, click here (you will be charged a viewing fee that is computed based on the dynamic market demand-supply situation) :-).
Please share your thoughts in the space below for comments!