24 July, 2008

It is unwise to pay too much, but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money, that is all. When you pay too little you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the things it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot, it cannot be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for something better. There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell for a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only, are this man's lawful prey.

- John Ruskin

14 July, 2008

Mosquito repellent

Right, so I was riding to office as usual, except it was close to seven in the evening. There's a lot of farmland that I ride past if I take a shortcut, which I did. Now, near one such farm appearing to grow what was tobacco (Coimbatore does have a few small farmers cultivating tobacco as a seasonal crop, but very limited amounts as the major crops are almost always sugarcane, paddy, bananas, coconuts and maize), I saw what was a huge bonfire with a lot of smoke coming from it outside the huts of the peasants who work on that farm. On going closer it smelt familiar, yet I couldn't put my finger on the smell. When I was upon the fire I recognised that one of the peasants was stoking it, adding more leaves into it. Tobacco leaves. When I asked him about the leaves with a look of stupendous amazement, he said green 'baccy leaves are great mosquito repellents! I didn't hang around to argue that since the whole village got high this way, a few mosquito bites wouldn't go noticed. No sir, not at all. This would be a guy who, despite being nearly at the lower end of the financial strata of society, would still have access to newspapers at his local chai and grocery store. Don't vernacular newspapers carry stuff such as how tobacco is harmful to health?