Thank you Google

I wanted to share the story long back. Today has made up my mind and putting it on the paper. Google has become indispensable for the internet. Without it you cannot get the information you want. On a simple press of search button after entering the query, thousand upon thousand results are displayed within fraction of seconds. It’s interface deceptively simple. Most of people think that Google is simply a search engine. There are several other applications which are very helpful. Some of these are Maps, Earth, Gmail, Picasa, Translation, Blog and so on.

Now my story. I did my Masters in Chemistry from Panjab University Chandigarh long back in 1975. Many of friends left the country and found jobs there. As is the case, slowly slowly each one went his or her way in search of jobs and settling.

I joined the ONGC, India’s premier exploration and production company in hydrocarbons area. I had a friend who went to USA for doing doctorate in Chemistry. We lost contact and for years did not contact one another.

I remembered him many times. I tried to find him through our teachers and colleagues but got vague indications. I resigned to the fact that it is gone case now.

But then I decided to see if Google search can help. Since his name is also the name of so many other people, searching him using his name revealed voluminous information. Sifting through it was impossible. I knew that he did his research there. I entered the text related to the erase arc papers published by him. Some paper names showed up. He was one of the authors in them. Since he was not the first author, his email address was not given. Then I googled the name of first author and found one article by him with his email mentioned.

I sent him an email politely asking if he is in touch with his co author who was my friend. His reply came within minutes. I had mentioned my contact number also in the mail. He replied saying that your friend shall ring you in 10 minutes. And for sure, his phone call came and I was so happy and we talked for quite sometime.

I was awed at the technology by Google. Thanks again. Many others might have similar happy experiences.

Advertisements

Panvel Floods of 2005

The memory of flash flood on the evening of July 25 2005 and destruction in its wake sends chills in the spine of anyone who had witnessed it. Although it was raining very heavily for three days continuously, although a thick solid sheet of rain was battering the land, no body expected that it would turn into a nightmare. Within minutes the area around Panvel was under 10 to 12  feet of water. It looked as if the Arabian sea has expanded and and gulped the pieces of land lying in its vicinity. The loss of property was huge though human lives were spared by the nature to some extent.

Many a times afterwards, I wondered where did so much water come from. I did some analysis thanks to Google Earth imagery. The area around Panvel is full of geographical features with uneven landscape and so many hills all around. Just after the Panvel town flows a river called Kalundre so named after the village on its bank. It seems like a sinuous ribbon of uneven thickness in summers and winter. It is season river. On tracings its source, it is found that it flows from the hills and is made of two rivers joining together. One is Kundsar lake and another is Panvel lake situated under the foot of Gadeshwar. Water is fettered at both places by barrages. Beyond the Gadeshar are Chanderi hills and one can approach Matheran through this area on a road leading to Dhandheri village from Panvel.

There is another very insignificant river which is known by the name Kirki the origin of which I could trace only to Shedung. I am not sure of that. Many people believe that ONGC colony which is like an island between these two rivers was inundated by this river. This may not be very true, because the capacity of this rivers is very less. I surmise that very heavy rains threatened the dams up the hills and their gates were opened. The another factor was that Panvel being very close to the sea, in the event of high tide which was there at this time made it impossible for the area to bear the brunt of so much water coming like a demon on the town.

Next few days were so bad and depressing, that many people left the colony and searched for the safer houses on the upper floors. It is also a bitter truth that we are ourselves responsible for these disasters. By snatching the land which belonged to sea, where it dumped its extra water in the times of high tide through a network of channels of water all around. We have filled these channels and constructed the houses. Nature does not care about the differentials, its justice is done on an integral scale. Builders make profits and enjoy at safe places whereas the poor people bear the brunt of nature’s fury.