atul jha


Menu Close

Tag: people

Shipmaker who traveled across Africa and Gulf #faces

Isa Ismail















Name: Isa Ismail

Place: Mandvi, Gujarat

Occupation: Ship architect [wooden ship]

In my quest to discover how ships are built at the backwater port of Mandavi, I came across this 60 year old stalwart individual.Isa bhai, as I respectfully call him had a flourishing career in building wooden ships, a trait he instinctively inherited from his forefathers. Mandavi is a small township in Gujarat that was once famous for building wooden ships at its serene beach.

Over a cup of chai on a makeshift wooden ship which was currently under maintenance, Isa bhai shared his story with me. He tells me that today the market for wooden ships is bleak and so survives on  maintenance of existing wooden ships that are brought to him for servicing. The maintenance of a single ship can take more than five or six months to deem fit. They only work for 6 months in a year due to the influence of extravagant weather conditions. With a team of 25 odd carpenters and helpers, Isa bhai is currently working on fixing a wooden ship traveled from Oman that is in a sort of pathetic condition.

I was eager to explore the ship, but Isa bhai disapproved my request advising me to do so at my own peril. It was a good forty minutes spent discovering the ship and understanding the craft that goes into making a wooden ship.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.


#BJP lost Delhi assembly election but why?


After a crushing defeat in the Delhi elections, #BJP top leaders are reexamining the results to determine what hit them. The tidal wave of the #AAP has swept the #BJP in an unrivaled act by #Kejrival and #AAP.This landslide victory for #AAP routing the #BJP and #INC is casting a spell of #AAP magic on the upcoming elections in UP and Bihar? We have to wait and watch.

As a citizen of India following politics of the country, I can only pen my analysis as follows. Here are some points which I believe proved crucial to the #BJP defeat and I’m hopeful they learn from it.

Never ignore local leaders.
It was surprising to see Kiran Bedi projected as the potential CM candidate instead of HarshVardhan or Vijay Goyal. Both these leaders have been in this party for ages and seemed more deserving especially since they are deeply connected with the party workers.With her political background in question, it seemed ironic for BJP in this election to flaunt Kiran Bedi as the face of the party.

National & state politics are run on different agendas. BJP should acutely focus on some local states agendas like the water issue in Rajasthan or electricity and law & order in Bihar.

Stop mocking/mud shedding opposition.
Every politician especially after this poll result will realize that in any election rally mockery and insult will not win votes. People are not fools, they need answers & solutions from their leaders.

Stop over spending on media and ads
Media acquisitions and ads are all catchy, but that is not money well spent. Social media is available to reach out and connect to the masses, not humiliate or turn hip overnight. Whoever is responsible for handling the media should pay more attention to positive outcome. I suggest to spend the money in helping youth cadre of the party to reach out to locals.

Avoid indulging in ridiculous controversy
Ridicule statements from party leaders opposing women to not wear jeans or every hindu giving birth to 4 children is what binds the BJP in contempt. The public is intelligent and as literate youth of India, this kind of absurdity is not entertained.

It should be noted that BJP vote bank is still intact but avoiding the above could have positioned them better in Delhi Election.



Chacha 80 year old with a heart of gold. #Faces









Name: Nadir Khan aka Chacha

Location: Rann, Gujarat.

Occupation: Retired, caretaker of a tea shop.

If you’ve ever been to Rann Of Kutch, Gujarat you would immediately associate this place to the wild west due to its rustic charm and desert ambiance. Surrounded by the mighty Thar desert, there is no dearth in colour. In the midst of the arid air, we encountered a warm hearted individual with a twinkle in his eye, we call him Chacha affectionately named by the locals around. I would say Chacha sits at a small tea shop  just about 5 kms before entering the desert and serves just the kind of refreshment you need before stepping into the desert – a piping hot cup of chai( or tea).

Chacha, a 6.5 foot tall 80 year old gentleman instantly makes contact with us enlightening us with a broad welcoming smile. I walked upto him and instantly greetings were exchanged. He tells me he is enjoying retirement and is now the caretaker of this tea stall owned by his two sons who are gazzetted officers with the Government.

In conversation, I came to know that Chacha is quite a celebrity.  He  worked as a darban(gatekeeper) across major cities in India and sternly believes that home is where is heart is, right here in Kutch. Interestingly,he tells me that he was featured in various documentaries & had short roles in few Bollywood movies. Politicians & superstars know him well as they stop by at his tea stall on the way to the desert.

He is an ardent fan of Modi and thanks him profusely for Runn-Utsav for bringing job opportunites to the desert laden region of Gujarat.He informs me that religion is unbiased, everyone welcomes each other’s faith and lives in peace and harmony with barriers and casteism.I was curious to know his secret to health and happiness, he answers me “I see truth, speak the truth, listen to the truth and then eat the truth” There is no fooling around with this kind of assertiveness for sure.

In the intensity of meeting a man with a heart of gold in the midst of

our conversations varying from politics to life and enjoyment, we hurriedly forgot to pay him for the tea he generously served us. On our return journey from rann-utsav, we asked him why he did not remind us to which he politely says he did not want to stop us after we said goodbyes and all in the name of Rs20.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.


A driver i met in Bhuj. #faces


Name: Ganni Bhai

Location: Bhuj, Gujarat

Occupation: Driver

Story: I met Ganni bhai through his brother who picked me from the bus stand and drove me to my hotel on (date) at (time) of the night in Bhuj. Ganni bhai picked me at 9am the next morning for a trip to the white Rann of Kacchh. That was when we started talking.

Ganni bhai has two daughters and he wants to educate them so that they can do well in life. He is also taking care of his father who has been in a coma for over 2 years & stays with him.

His family lost a lot of their assets during the Bhuj earthquake of 2001. Yet Ganni bhai never stopped smiling, which is something that is very rare these days. Those few days that we drove around Bhuj and the Rann, Ganni bhai was my guide and friend. He ensured that I tasted a variety of sweets from Bhuj while providing his terrific company.

We got talking about the state government and Ganni bhai was all praises for Narendra Modi. Modi’s idea of a “Rann Utsav” for the region has attracted a lot of tourists to the city, thus providing a source of livelihood for many like Ganni bhai for those three to four months.


Here i am for final sign off from Bhuj & Ganni bhai dropping me to bus stand.  If you are planning a trip to Bhuj, Rann of Kacchh let me  know i will give you his number.

Footnote: This post is part of #faces series i am working on.



#Faces : Ordinary people with extraordinary efforts.




Before I begin, credit for this goes to my friend Jugal Mody It was his suggestion while i am traveling i should make notes about interesting people i meet in my overall trip.


The route map.















During this 20 days trip I met over 7-8 people, who are amazing in there own ways. I am going to add individual post about each one of them. I will also add why they are awesome. So just Stay Tuned need to add few more here, will do it in coming days.


Ganni Bhai











Isa Ismail

Isa Ismail













Deepak bhai



Mahesh Bhai













People(tech) would like to meet before i die

Linus Torvalds 

The man who wrote Linux kernel & maintains the overall project. He is also behind a distributed version control and source code management (SCM) system. I know many people hate him because of his response to devs in kernel mailing list.  He has his own unique way of addressing issue.

Eric S. Raymond

ESR is wrote The Cathedral and the Bazaar and how to become a hacker, which changed my life & got me in the world of free software. I have contributed a chapter about same in open advice title “Life Changer Documentation”.

Steve Wozniak

The guy who invented apple1 & 2.

Tim Berners-Lee

Tim is responsible for this blog/http/www.  🙂

Guido van Rossum

The man behind one of the most popluar programming language python

Jimmy Wales

Better known for wikipedia 🙂

Larry PageSergey Brin

For what they did to the web technology one after the other starting with the google search.

Elon Musk

For what he did to e-commerce with PayPal & now with Tesla.

Adrian Cockcroft

Adrian is the guy behind the tech/cloud stuff at Netflix. He is responsible for running one of the biggest service on cloud. We don`t have Netflix yet in India. I often address him as “Cloud Daddy” 🙂

Simone Brunozzi

Well Simon is one of the best guy in business.  Anyone who wants to become an evangelist should for sure read his blog its absolutely brilliant. I follow/admire him for the passion & devotion in his work not for whom he works. 🙂

Sean Parker

I am not sure about the tech background of Sean but i admire him for what he has done in such a young age. Also not to forget the guy who got Facebook $$ intially for what it is now. He does everything in style not sure about his marriage ceremony though which created hell lot of controversy.

NOTE: I know i have some friends/people i follow on twitter must be knowing them. It be awesome if they will help me in meeting these folks. Also i will keep adding this list as time progresses or reducing/MET  tag incase i meet any of the guys above. HELP ME

UPDATE: In Aug 2016, I got opportunity to join Adrian Cockcroft for lunch.








© 2017 atul jha. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.