Idiots in the aisle

Here is an unpublished fact of shopping. There are idiots in the aisle.

They keep the cart in the middle and shop around or simply chat with each other. They create traffic jam and slow down shopping for other shoppers.

Yes, stores don’t want to argue with them because they are customers. Customer is the king, after all!

But hey! What about a bicycle bell in each trolley? Within customers, there should be a republic, right?

Exercise machines inspired by horse (animal) gait

I am always fascinated by quadrupedal-ism as an exercise option.

My logic is, our body has genes that predates bipedalism by millions of years. That means our ‘natural’ build is quadripedal.

I was reading about horse gait. If we go through all the four gaits on a bicycle kind of a machine with four pedals, entire abs, back, chest, arms, hands, legs and feet can be exercised very well, inclusive of muscles of asymmetric movement!

In other words, if I aspire to be as strong as a horse, I have to run like a horse – literally.

It is possible to come up with cheap gym equipments by just using bicycle machinery. Has anyone tried this? Can someone send a pointer to such equipments?


Gandhian way of home cooling

“All exploitation is based on co-operation, willing or forced, of the exploited. However much we may detest admitting it, the fact remains that there would be no exploitation if people refuse to obey the exploiter.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I think annoying sunlight in Indian summer is somewhat similar to exploitation. We suffer from it because we accept to suffer from it.

We first let the sunlight hit our buildings and heat them up. Then we run air-conditioners, which in turn burn electricity, which in turn burns coal, which in turn makes summer worse.

This vicious cycle can be broken easily by rejecting sunlight.

I conducted an experiment in 2008.

I took two brick enclosures of cube shape of 3 feet sides each. One of them was covered with normal roof tiles. The other one was covered with roof tiles overlaid with waste CD’s, reflecting most sunlight back to the sky.

When the temperature rose to 36 C in the non-reflecting cube, the cube beside was just at 32 C!

CD’s are no great reflectors of light. Had I kept aluminum sheets, my results could have been even better.

That is it! I refused the excess of the nature and I had a comfortable day!

It is a great business idea for the one billion population country where temperatures raise t0 >50 C and most people don’t even have electrical power in summer days.

Wonderful thing called refrigerator

I never ceased to wonder about refrigerators. Over the period of time, I have seen them going greener and greener.

There was a time when it started in the house, entire neighborhood used to come to know as it drew a lot of power. It also caused so much noise that even dead used to wake up. It also needed defrosting every week. Back side of the fridge used to be nearly a wildlife sanctuary with all kinds of spiders and other life forms living there.

Then slowly the frost was directed in cooling the compressor and power consumption plummeted.

I still find we can squeeze more out of that fridge! The backside of a refrigerator is still pretty warm.


  • If you live in India, you know that the best mangoes are purchased raw and then kept in a corner without air circulation. Indian summer heat ripens them to the best fragrance. [If you are in the US, you eat what looks like mango but tastes like poor papaya.]
    • I could accelerate this ripening significantly by hanging mangoes in a cloth bag – behind the fridge. What normally took 3 days, now takes 12 hours.
    • The same trick can be used to make bananas sweeter also
    • And Chickoos! [Oh, my American friends, have you ever eaten chickoos? Ask your government to let you import some!]
    • And Seetaphals! [Why, why do we have import restrictions on good food in the US?]
  • Once again, if you are in India, you ferment your own curd (yoghurt). [Once again, if you are in the US, you eat what feels like cheap imitation of Indian curd Dahi.)
    • Taking a clue from my success, my wife has started fermenting curd in a bottle, once again hung behind the fridge. Bacteria like it so much that the curd frequently turns sour!
  • Health consciousness is growing and more and more sprouts are eaten. In colder environments, sprouting takes longer.
    • Encouraged by the curd success, my wife has started putting the sprout maker also behind the fridge and we can eat good sprouts even in cold winter


The purpose of a refrigerator is to retard biological growth by keeping things cold. In daily life, we do not want to retard biological growth everywhere. We might also want to accelerate growth in some cases!

That is why, I think my refrigerator lacks its counterpart – “Keep-warmer”.

Conventional heat sources in the kitchen – gas, heaters, ovens and microwave – are used for cooking. Keep-warmer, on the other hand, can be used for slow heating, not aimed at cooking but at biological growth.

So, Keep-warmer would be useful in:

  • Warming up (the food items coming out of refrigerator)
  • Ripening (fruits and vegetables)
  • Fermenting (curd, dhokla, handwa, idli, dosa, uttapa, tofu, …)
  • Sprouting (beans, wheat etc.)
  • Culturing (cheese, wine etc.)

The beauty of Keep-warmer is that it would improve the quality of life without using energy!

Can anyone suggest how I can make this idea reach to the bigwigs of consumer durables – GE, Maytag etc.?