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Vélib Bikes | A firsthand experience of Paris' Bike Sharing Scheme

Micro-mobility has always fascinated me. Back in April 2019, I test rode various Yulus which left me amazed by the concept and the ease with which I could get across town (relatively) carbon-free and cost effectively. When I was in Stockholm on an exchange trip in late 2019, I couldn't help myself but try out Bird and Lime scooters despite it costing quite a bomb. Though I can't quite remember the exact amount I paid but I remember it being upwards of 50 kronas/5 euros/400 Indian Rupees for a short 10-15 minute ride; something that was very expensive considering that I had a public transport card that allowed me to take unlimited trips across the city and to most of suburbs an hour or two away. A Vélib stand a stone's throw away from the Eiffel Tower While Bangalore has cheap modes of transport to get around the city, be it the buses, auto-rickshaws, cabs the metro or even Yulus and Bounces, one cannot say the same about cities in Europe. A single use ticket in Stockholm co

Kicking off a 'political career' in an idea-based, grassroots level political party

Despite having been following politics for the longest time, and now studying it full time, I never joined a political party. When people used to ask me "who do you support?", my answer was standard, "no one". Luckily for me, ever since turning 18 and being eligible to vote, there hasn't been an election in which I'd be forced to cast my vote and tell people that I have made a definitive choice about a particular political party. At a time when politics has become ever so polarising and dirty, I couldn't be happier to associate myself with the BNP. It was in February 2020 that I was introduced to the Bengaluru NavaNiramana Party. I found their vision, leadership and ideas incredibly refreshing. Though I was aware of their launch/ kickoff meeting that took place in Freedom Park in early 2020, due to a friend's TEDx talk taking place simultaneously, I could not attend. Then, between Board Exams and the lockdown that took us all by surprise, I forgot ab

The Young Adults Series at the Bangalore International Centre

 November 2020 With France reimposing lockdown restrictions, closing universities, and restricting people's movement to just 1 hour per day, I decided to fly back to India. My rationale was simple; rather than attending online classes in a foreign city, with no roommates, no extra-curricular activities during which I would have usually interacted with people, and it being illegal to meet anyone you are not living with, it made more sense to return to a safer environment in which I could enjoy more freedom, as Bangalore was in a pretty good state, at least compared to France.  While waiting to board my flight at Charles de Gaulle Airport, I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and came across a post published by the Bangalore International Centre . Clickbait-ly titled  'MUN Ki Baat'  (for those who don't get the reference: PM Modi has a monthly radio show called 'Man Ki Baat'), it piqued my curiosity, and I found myself watching a recording of it. When I in

A few questions we must ask ourselves about the situation surrounding the Babri Masjid/ Ram Mandir controversy

August 5, 2020, was a historic day in India for two reasons. First, it was a year since the special status of J&K was revoked, and the state was converted into Union Territories; it resulted in it being directly controlled by the Central Government in Delhi and no longer controlled by an elected government under the federal setup. It was simultaneously followed with a year-long (and still ongoing) internet and communications blockade. Second, it was a day celebrated by right-wing Hindu nationalists because of the  ground-bre aking ceremony (Bhoomi Pooja/ Puja) that was held to begin construction of a temple for Lord Ram; a temple being built on a land where a mosque that was demolished by close allies of the BJP in 1992 lay. Reaching this point was not easy. It was a struggle that lasted for decades, multiple cases in court, contributions from the Archaeological Survey of India, claims of Muslims invaders building a mosque over a temple etc. The court finally ruled in favour a temp

Visiting the Kasturinagar (KA-03) RTO - a tumultuous but manageable experience to get a Learner's/ Driver's License without an agent/ driving school

Ask anyone, and I can guarantee that they will have a story (and in most cases, many stories) about their trip, or rather, numerous trips to the RTO for something as simple as getting a Learner's License (LL) or a Driver's License (DL). In this blog, I hope to make your life a tad bit easier by guiding you through the entire process, which may seem easy at first but is full of (overcome able) challenges if you know what you are doing. I turned 18 in January this year, and besides cutting a cake, I worked on my LL application online. I challenged myself to complete the entire LL to DL process by myself and without the help of an agent or a driving school, unlike what the majority do. The lengthy application process and multiple visits to the RTO, impressed upon me why most people decided to pay a little extra to get an agent to do it for them. Still, I was determined not to pay a single rupee more than the official cost. I succeeded.  Do note that this answer is concerning the K

Ministry of Railways 'Disposes Of' my RTI request regarding deaths on (Shramik) trains

Similar to the Vande Bharath Mission that was launched by the Indian Government to repatriate Indian nationals stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic (when regular flight operations were banned across the country), the Government of India launched the much-needed project to enable reverse-migration of its nation's most destitute - our migrants. Migrant labourers who are typically from rural parts of India, due to a loss of income, livelihood, coupled with a fear of catching the virus and 'wanting to die at home', began walking back to their villages, at times 1000s of kilometres away. With all trains and buses ceasing operations, their journey was on foot, in back of trucks, and has resulted in many deaths. At the same time, it has shown their grit and determination with heart-breaking stories of people like the 15-year-old girl who cycled 1200 km with her father to reach home. After not even acknowledging the problem for over a month, the Government launched special

Why I am not writing my remaining ISC 2020 Exam, and you probably shouldn't too

Updates as of last editing this blog: The Supreme Court has asked CBSE to consider scrapping exams. CISCE has issued a press release making exams optional. The petitioner in the Bombay HC, represented by Adv. Arvind Tiwari raised concerns about the transparency of the formula based marking process. They have stressed on the need to be fair and transparent. The methodology to assess one's marks will be finalised, hopefully by Saturday (21st June, 2020), and shared with schools on Saturday. The same will be heard in court on Monday (23rd June, 2020). A communication regarding the extension of dates will be sent to all Principals today. ------------------ It's been almost 3 months. 3 long months since the Council for Indian Secondary Education (CISCE) abruptly postponed all remaining ICSE and ISC exams indefinitely. Barely 3 hours before the commencement of my  last  ever school exam, CISCE saw it fit to postpone our exams indefinitely and provided no clarity on whether they would