President Donald Trump again made history this week.

He withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, which was signed by 195 countries, including the U.S. It was a signature achievement of President Obama, working closely with other world leaders. The U.S. became a leader in effecting positive climate change under the auspices of this historic climate agreement, in close cooperation with countries such as Germany, France, China and India.

Now, the biggest Carbon emitter of the world is leaving this agreement.

President Trump stated that the agreement was unfair to Americans. He promised to walk out of the agreement during his campaign, and he has done so, without so much as consultation with energy academics and the industry.

Good. Now the global climate leadership shifts to who else, but China. Increasingly, China is finding itself in leadership roles due to the vacuum created by the U.S. and it is happily grabbing the same with glee. Why not? Europe is looking for replacing the U.S. with China, and it is already happening this week, with the visit of the Chinese Premier to Germany.

President Trump needs to realize that he does not need to keep all his campaign promises. He is now President of the U.S. and the U.S. has a global obligation not to walk out of agreements that it has signed on. This is notwithstanding the fact that the Paris agreement is non-binding. Once signed, it should stay signed on for ever.

Climate change is for real, and if the global temperatures rise by 2 degrees there will be disaster. I am wondering how come the vaunted U.S. academics in the field of energy and environment did not make serious attempts to influence the thinking of the U.S. government and President Trump on this most critical challenge confronting the planet.

In any case, now that the damage is done, what next?

The world will go on, now with only 194 countries supporting the climate agreement. Who are the three dissenters? Nicaragua, Syria and the U.S. Does the U.S. want to be in this glorious company of nations? President Trump needs to think more carefully about making such critical decisions for the welfare of his own country. It is a wrong and completely misinformed decision.

I am sure that the decision will be reversed. If not by President Trump, by the very next President.

Coal is out of fashion in the environment conscious world. Citizens want clean energy. They want clean air and clean water. Fossil fuels is not the way to go. It should be nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy, et al………the world is changing, old habits are dying, new habits are taking root with the young demographics……….how can anyone refute this positive momentum coursing throughout the world?

When China and India signed on to this agreement after arduous negotiations, the world heaved a sigh of relief. The most difficult country was India which did not wish to sacrifice economic growth and jobs for the sake of signing the climate agreement. Compromises were made and finally India signed on and the world celebrated, and now the U.S. which applied so much pressure on India to sign, has exited the agreement.

What kind of message does this U.S. action send to India, China and the rest of the world?

Let us hope no other nation exits the agreement.

Climate change is for real.

It will affect the future of our planet earth irretrievably.

If we do not take much needed actions today and strictly control carbon emissions.

So, let us all execute what our respective nation has committed to honour via this agreement.


Vijay Srinivasan

03 June 2017


The damage to Chennai

The huge, incessant rains in Chennai and surrounding areas have caused huge damage to Chennai city and to its reputation as a place which works with business efficiency and with a better transport logistics compared to Bangalore (now known as Bengaluru).

It is the first time in my memory that the rains in Chennai last week have become a global topic of discussion – even as remotely as France, when the French Foreign Minister issued a statement in support of Chennaites who are suffering big damages. The U.S. offered support to India to alleviate the problems caused by the floods in Chennia.

Some of the pictures and videos of Chennai rains and floods are unbelievable. Never have I seen anything like this in all my life. There could be many reasons, but the most prevalent response from experts and critics alike is the El Nino weather patterns, which have been causing environmental weather damages all across the world. Some people said that the torrential rains are due to unexpected cloud bursts. Whichever way you look at it, getting one month worth of rains in just 3 hours is way too much for the poor citizens of Chennai. I understand that this is the biggest rain ever in a hundred years in Chennai !

The social media like Twitter and WhatsApp played a big role in communicating the nature of the disaster, and directing help to deserving folks who were stuck in the middle of the floods. These invaluable tools continue to perform yeoman service to people in Chennai, and there are fantastic souls going around the city in waist deep water, trying to render assistance based on emergency calls. The true nature of human beings came out over these past few days in Chennai. Everyone tried to pitch in, and many people opened up their “safe” apartments or houses to complete strangers irrespective of caste, religion, creed, or colour. That was an absolute delight to learn, especially when one is in a farawy land. It was amazing to know that people help each other in calamities like this, and this is exactly what would create social cohesion and not division and intolerance.

I was surprised that there was no activities in Singapore to collect donations and contribute to the people of Chennai to reduce their pains. Government efforts are of course forthcoming, but these are never adequate. People like us have to contribute to save poor people from hunger and distress. As is the usual case, the prices of milk and vegetables have skyrocketed, as profiteers exist in every chaotic situation trying to make huge profits from people who desperately need the goods that these profiteers offer. I hope that the Government of the day acts against these profiteers and make daily goods available at regular prices.

The very poor infrastructure of Chennai has now been exposed, and the Government should not lose any time in rectifying these defects. My guess is that it will take not less than a year for the Government to fix all the infrastructural problems in Chennai, by which time the next big rains will come. There is just no time to lose, and there is also no time for politicking and wasting time. Get on with the real work at least this time, with the help of the Central Government. Let us create a better Chennai which can withstand future attacks by rains.


Vijay Srinivasan

5th December 2015

Rain, rain……..go away

Being a tropical location, Singapore has rains all round the year.

It sometimes bugs you as it is difficult to forecast rains, and the rain can be intense over a short period of time. It sometimes fools people into changing their plans, although people who know Singapore also know that rains here do not last long.

These past few weeks, it has rained almost every day, and on few days, the rains have lasted for more than an hour or so. It is annoying sometimes as the roads can really get very wet.

Many people here have their small umbrellas ready for deployment, but the small ones are not at all effective in shielding one from the intensely angular rains lashing out. Even big ones cannot cover you well and you will discover that your pant edges are wet, your shoes are very wet, and any bag that you may be carrying get wet as well.

The funny part is that most people walking on the pavements and streets walk with their eyes down rather than facing up and so we have to be careful with the big umbrellas. The density of the population in the town areas is very high and you can imagine if everyone carries an umbrella and the rains are getting to be heavy, especially during lunch times.

The one good thing is that most MRT Stations and Bus Stands have covered walkways attached to them, and so for most part, people are shielded from rains. Every bus stop has shelter, but that is not a guarantee from getting wet, as the rains can get rather fierce sometimes.

I even now dread walking on polished marble or granite walkways or corridors which are wet, as it is difficult to see the water on such walkways. There are many buildings whose entrance adjoins the pavements which have marble flooring (cannot understand why they build it that way). One hard fall with a slip which cannot be forecasted accurately can land most people in medical trouble, as it happened to me in December 2005.

So, I am always careful when it rains and try to avoid walking out when there are incessant rains lashing out. Better safe than sorry, I guess !


Vijay Srinivasan
01 December 2013

Welcome the Rains !

I was in Mumbai as well as in Singapore recently.

Both cities had their first big rains recently – Mumbai last week and Singapore earlier this week.

While Mumbai rains are well known for bringing the city to its knees every year, what was surprising to me is that the Singapore rains almost managed to do that in a city which always works. There was an incredibly long line of people waiting to get taxis, the vehicular movement on the roads slowed down, and most surprising, the MRT system got clogged.

There were hundreds of people waiting to get into the next train at MRT stations, which I personally witnessed. This was most unusual, I have never seen that kind of situation in the past. The trains were completely jammed with people, with no space whatsoever even to stretch one’s hands.

Well, well, such situations were unthinkable in Singapore in the past. I guess one reason is that the city has grown very fast, with more people utilizing public services than in the past. There are now more migrants than ever, and there is obviously a strain on all public services.

Notwithstanding the same, I was surprised that systems could get slowed down by just one single big rain.

I don’t understand, this is very unlike Singapore that I had known in the past. Things always work in Singapore for everyone. It is the most efficient city in the entire world. There is not even a close competitor, Hong Kong comes in at a distant second with regard to operational efficiency and execution. There is no city in the Western world which can compete with Singapore.

I am still trying to understand, and will closely watch the next time there is a massive rain.


Vijay Srinivasan
08 June 2013

Outdoors at Reno

Reno in Nevada State of the U.S. is for the outdoor lovers.

I met several people whose passion revolved around trekking, hiking, skiing, and probably hunting !

Reno is surrounded by beautiful mountain range, which leads up to Lake Tahoe at 6,200 feet. I had the opportunity to visit this famous lake as well, and I will publish the write-up and photos in a separate blog post.

Last weekend, we went hiking in the hills around here (not far from the hotel where I was staying). The air was crisp and cold (around 10 degrees C at 10 AM), and quite refreshing. Since there was no humidity, there was no problem walking for a long distance – the only challenge was going up the hill on the narrow trails (and sometimes, there was no trail whatsoever).

Though a bit strenuous, I enjoyed the hiking – especially when you are with great friends, it is a pleasure to engage in a joint activity like this – and took in the views of the Reno city from afar. There were a number of houses built on the slopes of the hill – big and expensive, I was told.

We walked up some 300 feet, enjoyed our break-time conversations, and then walked back. Walking down a hill is a bit tough, but this hill was not that hard. I was told sometimes there could be some animals around here – like a huge cat, may be cheetah – but they do not come around when there are groups of people.

The whole experience was fantastic, and we reached back to our car without a sweat (!), after some 90 minutes or so. Such outdoor experience is difficult to get in the metro cities of India – we have to drive quite far to get a similar experience in the hills of Lonavala for example (near Mumbai).

The weather has worsened in terms of temperature now – dropping to negative 5 deg C today. Probably today was the coldest day during my stay here at Reno. But, still enjoyable to walk around if you protect with some heavy winter clothing ! Not as severe as the North-Eastern states of the U.S.


Vijay Srinivasan
14th December 2012

The Missing Monsoon

This time around the big rains have been missing in Mumbai.

Yes, it did rain big couple of days, but only for a few hours. Yes, it did bring the city down but that is more because as usual the city administration was caught unprepared, though they keep loudly proclaiming that they are readier than ever to face the onslaught of the monsoon rains.

But the ferocity was lacking. It has been very much like this last year as well, but now it appears that the current year may be the worst ever. Not even 60% of the usual rainfall has happened, leading to doubts about the water supply sustainability to Mumbai city and the success of the crop season. The health of the Indian agricultural economy, and in fact the broader economy, depends on the monsoon season’s rains.

We are already well into the middle of the monsoon season, and the situation does not seem promising. August is the only month left for the rains, and everyone is hoping that the rains will resume. Just some big showers for some 30 minutes is not going to help at all.

On the other hand, even this meagre rain has damaged the city’s roads in many places. The city administration just cannot manage the requirements for efficient management of the city’s roads and the environment. I happened to see vast amounts of refuse in key roads of the suburbs – not removed for many days, it appeared. The kind of diseases that could spread due to the lack of cleanliness, especially during the monsoon season, is simply dreadful. No one seems to be taking notice of the challenges that the city faces, despite the fact that there is no shortage of funds, given that Mumbai is the richest city administration in all of India.

One can clearly see the lack of planning and execution all across Mumbai, if only one cares to look out. The traffic jams resulting from even a minor rain are uncontrollable, and yesterday’s train strike led to chaos all across the city and especially in the Western suburbs. No driver was even respecting the traffic rules or the traffic signals. The whole area of the Western suburbs starting from Bandra onwards presented a picture of utter confusion, in the midst of a heavy rain drizzle.

So, there we are – lack of rains badly needed and collapse of road system (and the train system as well). Hope rains would resume in full force soon. The city needs the same, and India needs rains as well.


Vijay Srinivasan
21st July 2012

First Showers

Mumbai received its first monsoon season rain showers this week.

It has been so hot these past few weeks, people have been waiting with bated breath for the rains, which are yet to come actually – we only got a few showers. But those few showers was good enough to transform the mood of the people around !

Yes, rain always brings cheer to people all around, especially in a hot country like India (well, most of it is hot at this time of the year !). Though the skies darken with clouds, rain has been playing hide and seek these past couple of days in Mumbai. News about the monsoon hitting the Southern Kerala State was received well here, as that would mean the monsoon would also come to Mumbai within very few days.

The latest forecast mentions that the rains are likely to come by tomorrow, 10th June. But, looking outside at this afternoon sky on the 9th June, I am not so sure. The Indian Meteorological Department does not have an outstanding track record, not to blame their expertise here, but what can they do when they are deprived of radars ? The all-weather, Doppler radars from China are yet to be commissioned, or if they have been recently commissioned, their ability to predict the weather is probably under a question mark.

Usually, from the middle of June till the end of August is monsoon time in Mumbai, with big rains flooding most roads. People like the rains, but also get prepared in full gear to combat the flooding and the resulting traffic chaos. Every year it happens, so people in general are mentally prepared for the challenges.

For instance, people are covering the balconies of their apartments with plasticized blinds (the external side has plastic sheet for tackling rains) to reduce the impact of the rain water on their balconies and potentially, their living rooms ! All the open areas behind the kitchen and the bathrooms (called as “dry” areas in Mumbai apartments) are getting covered with plastic sheets (not in all apartments, only those with anti-water programmes !), and umbrellas/rain coats are becoming standard accessories while on the move.

The important thing is to provide an additional 30 minutes of travel time for any appointment – there will be traffic issues when it starts to rain heavily. And, while driving on the roads, one may not know where the ditches and the holes are, leading to slowing down of all traffic anyway.

But then, these are annual problems – people carry on with their usual spirit, as nothing can deter them, can only slow them down a bit.

So, we are all waiting for the rains now – may come anytime next week. And when it does come, it pours with an intensity that is unbelievable for the first few minutes – people get dazed for some time. As the dust vapour rises from the ground when the rain comes down, one can smell the freshness of the rains – it takes a while to take in the whole scene and absorb the pleasure of the rains after many weeks of scorching son.

Let us see how this monsoon is going to be, we will know very soon !


Vijay Srinivasan

9th June 2012


What a Summer !

I was visiting Chennai last week.

From an average of 34 deg C in Mumbai, the increase was to the extent of some 8 deg C in Chennai ! While I am not a newcomer to Chennai, it was made clear to me (by my relatives and friends) that I had landed in what was the “Agni” week of the Chennai Summer. “Agni” means fire !

The simmering heat during the peak sun was barely bearable, but the worst thing was that the electricity board cut off the power supply to residential premises for some two hours every day – different parts of the city have the power cut at different times of the day. In my house, it was from 2 PM to 4 PM. In some areas, it was from 8 to 10 AM and in most other areas, it was from 10 AM to 12 Noon. You can imagine the torture when you are at home or office and the air conditioner stops working !

I noticed that most residential premises have invested in a unique contraption – the “inverter”, which provides electricity during the power cut for a duration of 2 to 4 hours (depending on battery capacity and the number of rooms/lights/fans to be covered). The approximate cost of such a device is some INR 12,000 (USD 220) for addressing the needs of the living room and one bedroom (an approximate estimation only). So, in Chennai, a family has to invest in such devices, import water (as water supply is equally erratic) at high cost, pay for inflation in fruits and vegetables, pay one of the highest prices for petrol in the country, suffer the heat, and still sustain one of the highest real estate prices in the country !

This is not to complain – Chennai is far better organized than most metropolitan cities in India, has better quality roads, is in the process of completing the metro rail network, has a booming IT (Information Technology) economy now supplemented by a fast-emerging automotive industry, has a conscientious workforce, and is challenged with much less crime than other States of India. In devising its model for development of the State, the Tamil Nadu State comes only next to Gujarat. So, overall, the situation is good and should improve vastly if the State Government manages to fix the power situation and continues to provide incentives to the manufacturing and IT industries.

But, can we buy the weather ? Of course, not. The prudent thing is to ensure continuous power supply to both residential and industrial customers across the State.

Now, I am back in the 32 – 34 deg C Summer in Mumbai and surely, I did not feel the heat wave during the day though it was slightly uncomfortable if one is over-dressed !

Welcome to the Summer ! Enjoy it with cold buttermilk and fresh juices !!


Vijay Srinivasan

28th May 2012


Hot Winter

I live in Mumbai which is a constantly “challenged” city.

It has a number of problems which makes living difficult for its denizens. However, it is also the most creative and professional place in India as a whole. The competing cities only specialize in certain areas or certain industries, none of them have the vastness and the depth of Mumbai.

It is also a fact that the city has a constant flow of immigrants and huge number of slums around the city. There is huge shortage of space and so it has the maximum premium in the country. Traffic is just short of horrendous and the infrastructure is creaking under the heavy weight of a growing population (of people and vehicles).

Over the past couple of years, the city has also been affected by global warming of sorts. We are in December now, and the day temperature has persistently stayed well above 30 deg Celsius. Today the maximum temperature is reported as 34 deg Celsius and the minimum is 24 deg Celsius. Forecast for the next 10 days is the same, and this is far higher than the usual temperatures in December. As I was travelling on the roads today, I could feel the heat which was more penetrating as the body’s expectation was different.

What do you call this phenomenon when the temperatures are at least around 4 to 5 deg Celsius higher in what is supposed to be winter season ? Actually there is no winter, it is just it should be a little less hot than normal !

Delhi is having its real winter, with temperatures at 10 deg Celsius lower than those of Mumbai. As we enter January, the day temperatures in Delhi are likely to be in single digits.

What we are experiencing in Mumbai is nothing but the impact of global warming. The impact of the sea and the winds has changed over the past few years, leading to higher temperatures.

It is not a great thing, and could be harmful in the long run as the sun’s harsh rays are going to have a bad impact on our skin. What can be done ? I haven’t seen much of a commentary on this phenomenon in newspapers and that concerns me.

So, we at Mumbai are having a “hot winter”.


Vijay Srinivasan
4th December 2011

Doing Business in Rain

Mumbai is an amazing city.

It has been raining cats and dogs for the past few days. The rains have been successful in filling the water catchment areas just outside the city and also very successful in creating multiple continuous craters on the poor quality Mumbai roads.

But no issue with rains as such. Business life goes on in Mumbai without stop. I was amazed to see the mass of working folks who were walking on the roads in pouring rains after close of work. There was the usual traffic jams in the expressway, no surprise there – in fact, when it rains even in small quantities, the Mumbai traffic starts to crawl. You can imagine what happens during the big rains. Like today’s rains – it has rained non-stop from last night, all of today……and it is still raining heavily at 11 PM tonight here in Mumbai.

But action goes on. Everyone goes about his/her task as though things are perfectly normal. Cars are accelerating when there is little less traffic on the roads, irrespective of the wetness of the roads. People cross roads nonchalantly, carrying umbrellas, and completely oblivious of the oncoming traffic, absolutely sure that nothing will happen to them. Big lorries carrying all kinds of stuff are moving in and out of the city, during the only hours that they are allowed in. Buses are running as usual, again completely ignorant of all traffic rules.

And, that is the spirit of Mumbai. Rain or no rain, business goes on, and has to go on, as this is the financial and commercial HQ of India. When I walked out of a five star hotel recently, I was surprised when someone approached me and asked whether I would be interested to see the inside of the Aston Martin car parked in the driveway. Though I was a bit taken aback, I also noticed the proactive approach made by the driver, in the hope that I might be interested in a test drive. Well, I was not, but that is a different matter altogether. The fact is that, even in pouring rain, someone approaches and asks if we can do business ! I am sure that this kind of thing does not happen in other cities of India that easily.

Mumbai has a way of working and that is a non-personal, non-emotional, practical way of conducting business and affairs. Entirely professional and non-partisan as well. So, it is no wonder that Mumbai stands tall amongst the cities of India in terms of the professionalism and ease of doing business.

Well, I started with rains and ending with conducting business ! And that is the way Mumbai moves on and ahead. Welcome to Mumbai…….in the rains !


Vijay Srinivasan
27th August 2011