Are Birds close to Reptiles













Few days back I watched a show on discovery channel which tried to establish a link between dinosaurs and birds, it said that possibly birds evolved from dinosaurs. It showcased many reasons for the same. Mainly the similarity between the skeletons of the birds and dinosaurs was too convincing, such similarity to the dinosaurs is not scene in any other living creature on earth.Also dinosaurs are believed to have respiratory systems similar to modern birds.


 As the dinosaurs are said to be reptiles ( As they had no fur, laid eggs, their skin had scales, and many of their species were cold blodded )  after watching that show, I started wondering whether birds are close to reptiles, though birds are not technically reptiles as they are warm blooded as opposed to reptiles which are cold blooded. But there are many similarities, which are following

  • Birds and reptiles both lay eggs
  • Birds and reptiles show some skeletal similarities
  • Birds have feathers, which are said to be modified scales
  • Birds feet have scales 

Even whether dinosaurs were reptiles, is too debatable, as it’s still not sure whether they were warm blooded or cold blooded. Till the mid 20th century it was believed that dinosaurs were cold blooded, slow moving creatures, but later research has found that they were very active animals and could have been warm blooded. This issue is still debatable.  Also one dissimilarity between dinosaurs and reptiles is that the legs of dinosaurs were directly below their hips, like in mammals and unlike in lizards.


So, the conclusion of the above is that there are similarities between both birds and reptiles and dinosaurs and reptiles, so scientists established a theory that both birds and reptiles had a common ancestor in dinosaurs. But there are many who even believe that birds are not evolved from dinosaurs but birds are dinosaurs.


Many may think that why I’m discussing such a topic, or how does it matter if birds are close to reptiles. But it matters to me because I used to like birds and used to not like reptiles. In fact I hate reptiles, I become restless if I spot a lizard on the walls and cant live in such a place. So, now after watching that show on discovery and analyzing similarities between birds and reptiles, I didn’t really enjoy this fact.



Gandhis and Bachchans






Recently there was a buzz in the media when reportedly Sonia Gandhi came for the Rescue of Bachchan family when some antisocial elements dragged them into a controversy and tried to ban their films illegally. The buzz was about thawing the ice between the relations of the two families. But what’s so special between the two families that media is so obsessed with?


It’s well known that once Bachchans and Gandhis were as close as a family. The two families are among the most respected in India, and both belong to Allahabad city, it was where their relationship started. Harivansh Rai Bachchan is regarded as one of the greatest writers of Hindi Literature and was the professor of English at Allahabad University, also he was the first Indian to pursue doctorate in English literature from Cambridge University.His son Amitabh Bachchan is among the greatest actors of Indian cinema and is regarded as the biggest superstar of all time.Whereas Gandhis are the most influential political family in India and have given three Prime Ministers to the country so far, and have traditionally lead Congress, the biggest political party of India.


The relations between the two families started with Dr Harivansh Rai Bahchan working in India’s foreign ministry as a Hindi Officer, where he joined after quitting from the university. Nehru was very impressed with him, and respected him for his literary genius. Also, while living in Allahabad, the families of Nehru and Harivansh came close.Harivansh’s wife Teji became close friend of Nehru’s daughter Indira.  Later when Bahchans moved to Delhi, Teji Bahchan, got fame as a social activist, and her friendship with  Indira Gandhi became deeper, their friendship remained very close till Indira’s assassination in 1984.Their relationship continued in the succeeding generations too, Amitabh and Rajiv Gandhi were childhood friends.When Sonia came to India in 1968 as Rajiv’s fiancée, she was put up  at Bachchan’s residence and Teji acted as Sonia’s god mother and made her accustomed to Indian culture. Also during marriage of Rajiv and sonia, as the bride is not supposed to live with the in laws before marriage, Sonia used to live at Bachchan residence in New Delhi.Teji  was like mother to Sonia Gandhi, and did  “Kanya Dan” of sonia in her marriage with Rajiv. 


But what happened that now that when Taji Bachchan passed away few months ago, Sonia didn’t even attend the funeral. The relations between the two families are sour and it all started with Amitabh joining politice in 1984, mainly to support Rajiv Gandhi.That time congress desperately wanted the Allahabad constituency and wanted to defeat H N Bahuguna, which seemed impossible.

Rajiv Gandhi convinced Amitabh to contest. Amitabh contested and won the election with record margin (he got more than 68% votes) in the history of independent India.But Amitabh quit politics and resigned after three years when a newspaper reported his involvement in Bofors scam, this was the beginning of soaring of relations between the two families, though later Amitabh was declared clean by the supreme court. The relationship between the two families worsened after Rajiv Gandhi’s assessation in 1991, when Gandhis felt, Bachchans left them alone in distress, and when they relied on bachchans for taking every decision after Rajiv’s assassination. Also it’s said that Sonia didn’t take it kindly when Amitabh consistently advised her not to join politics.


Whereas Bahchans have point that Gandhis brought them in politics and left midway in trouble and also didn’t help them during the financial crisis after collapse of his company ABCL. And this was the time when Bachchans came close to Amar Singh, of Samajvadi Party. It’s not that Bachchan was not acquainted with Amar Singh before. In fact Amar singh was a very old friend of Bachchan , but when he helped Amitabh during financial crisis, the two became very close and later Jaya Bachchan was nominated to Rajya Sabha as a Samajvadi party member. As congress used to be rival (it has changed very recently) of Samajvadi party in Uttar Pradesh, the relations between the two families were bound to worsen.


In 2004 Jaya Bachchan remarked about Gandhi family not helping them during crisis and left them midway after bringing them into politics. She even said that  Gandhis betrayed bachchans. Then Rahul  Gandhi replied to Jaya’s remarks and said his family didn’t deceive any one, and termed Jaya’s remarks as bundle of lies.Finally Amitabh came to control the situation and said the the relations between the two familes stood on strong emotional ground and struck deep roots from the time of Nehru and Harivansh Rai Bachchan, and when  neither Jaya nor Rahul nor Paryanka were around and hence they don’t understand it. Amitabh said he could neither forget those relationships nor tolerate any comment on them.Those relationships were between the two families. He said, he has nothing but respect and goodwill for the Gandhis.


Above is the all I could write about the subject. I don’t think there is going to be any change between the relations of the two families now, and of course it doesn’t matter to any of us general public other than writing a post about it 🙂 I wish all of them good luck in their future endeavours.



Why Audits are Essential


Audit is a routine activity in any organization, while last month I was taking the audit on behalf of my department, just casually the head of the audit team asked me that what I think about audits, and are they necessarily required, I replied to him, but at the same time it spurred lots of thoughts in me, and I wrote something about it, and thought I could even publish it here


In the dictionary the term “audit” means inspection or examination. It’s a practice of various institutions and organizations to conduct audits within their structure. A culture of conducting audits boosts the efficiency of an organization as it’s human tendency to become attentive in the sight of an inspection or examination, though in professional world, audits doesn’t necessarily mean like said above, but undeniably they inspire the audit receiving team to enhance their standards of performance.  


Audits are important in any industry, be it manufacturing, IT, media, banking or construction. But I believe in industries like banking and construction, they serve the most important purpose.Banking is all about finance of hefty and astronomical sums.While giving loans or issuing credit cards banks have to be very careful, and that’s mainly because of quality of their agents. The agents themselves don’t bother to follow the rules fixed by the bank; I receive many phone calls and am assured a new credit card, even without address verification and other formalities. Even the staff of the bank in their eagerness to sanction loans, become very soft towards the guidelines of their bank.  Then in an industry like construction where a large workforce of unskilled and less educated workmen is involved in constructing the product, I feel it must be very hard to maintain quality standards. If audits are not performed timely in these industries, then for sure things will go out of control.


Audits may be internal or external, and both are equally important and effective. Frequency of the audits in the form of a calendar should be fixed and followed religiously to maintain the effectiveness of the same. The selection of the auditors is also a key point and only very experienced professionals who understand the gravity or triviality of all micro and macro level activities and processes, should be assigned the job. 


There comes a feeling that audit’s are not required as everybody in an organization knows his or her responsibility and people are mature and sincere enough to perform their responsibility flawlessly. But looking at the other side of coin, though people in any organization are capable enough but there are lots of micro level activities, which may not be executed up to the mark. A systematic schedule of audits ensures that all micro level activities like timely updation of all the records, all the documentation, etc are performed in the best possible way and also all the standards followed by the organization are met up.  


The audits can be made more successful if the Auditees take it as an opportunity to enhance their quality of work and not as an inspection imposed on them. The most important part of the whole audit process is the corrective action being taken by the audit receiving team. If a team receives an audit in true spirits and is enthusiastic about implementing the corrective actions, then only the very purpose behind conducting audits can be deemed accomplished.


Is India a soft state?


The nuclear deal between India and the US has been finalized, finally. The other day I saw news that, Pakistan is also willing to have a similar deal with the US, but the US denied it (So far at least 🙂). US secretary of state Ms Condoleeza Rice said that India’s case was unique, and that’s because of  India’s history.


So, what’s about India’s history that Ms Rice is talking about, I guess it’s about India’s record as a non aggressive state, rather a soft state. No one can imagine India attacking another country for any purpose. Even during the Kargil war of 1999, when Pakistani troops invaded India; in the process of fighting with them, Indian armed forces had a clear-cut instruction not to cross the LOC. So India avoided crossing borderline even for self-defense.


Second thing is that India is a successful democracy; the democratic values have been firmly embedded in the culture of our country. There has never been any fuss in the power exchange after the elections. The armed forces and intelligence are under very much control of the union government, and them taking any step without Government orders is beyond imagination.  


Only time when I felt exception was in 1998 when India conducted nuclear tests despite international pressure. And before that in 1975 when Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India announced emergency in the country following a judgment by Allahabad High court banning her from contesting any election for next 6 years. But, she called off the emergency in 1977, and announced fresh elections and that election of 1977 was the biggest defeat of her party (Congress) in the history of independent India. Democracy was in India to stay, and all that was the result of  the democratic traditions and values, which were entrenched in the political culture of India and which is the legacy of Indira Gandhi’s father and india’s first Prime minister Pt Jawhar Lal Nehru. Nehru in his tenure of 17 years as first prime minister of India made it sure that India is always going to follow the path of a responsible democracy.   


Everything about India being non-aggressive, and democratic country is fine, but many feel that India is a very soft state, which means just too non aggressive, which sometimes is not good for the country.

We have faced terrorism sponsored by nearby countries for a long time and still it continues. Kashmir, once known as heaven on earth is today among the most insecure places in the world, India’s Punjab state has faced terrorism for over a decade, and today terrorism is spreading in many major metros of India but still there is lack of any aggression on part of India to do something about terror camps flourishing in our neighbor country. Then there has been incidence of Kandhar plane hijack where we very calmly released the terrorist as per the demand of the hijackers. Also there was an incidence of our soldiers being humiliated by Bangladesh and there was no strong reaction from India.These are just some of the examples which come to my mind, and i’m sure there are many other such incidences.


It seems, on international level, India has developed an image of a very soft state, a state that can never become aggressive. It has it’s benefits and losses both, but I wonder whether benefits more or losses??