Scientific academic Research in India

In democracy taxes is not the extortion by autocrats to maintain their lifestyle but a pooling by citizens for collective good of the nation. Take a look at your tax filing, there is a Krishi Vikas Cess for Agriculture improvements, there is an education cess for academic breakthroughs. Then there is cess for infrastructure etc. etc. Government has built a war chest through this excesses but has the spending/quality kept pace with the tax collection?

  1. Extra Mural Research Grant ( used to be the largest source of fundamental research in the country. (average funding of 35Lakhs and no cap on the size of the proposal) Earlier it used to be open all year long, three years ago it got a renewed focus and was renamed as Core Research grant. Naturally one expects that would mean extra focus, visibility and better branding for the scheme. However, the opposite happened. It immediately stopped accepting application year long and set up 2 six monthly windows. (31st July and 31st Dec). Then it 2017, without any rationale the December 2017 “Call for proposals” was cancelled. (( The fund disbursement for the July 2017 is also not complete. As a result there are scores of lab equipment that was ordered but never paid for, research assistants who have become disillusioned because of lack of salaries. Some are still bootstrapping out of passion, but the youth is questioning the merit of pursuing a career in research.
  2. GIAN Initiative (Global Initiative for academic networks) This scheme was aimed at foreign scholars and inviting them to take up courses in India. Last summer there was the first round of proposal submission but the funds for the same is yet to be disbursed. Nobody is yet talking about the second round for the initiative.(each institute has its own site and my alma mater’s website is Some institutions taped their own resources to reimburse their guest faculty, but most of them issued an INR IoU which has been overdue for almost a year. Rather than fostering a healthy cultural exchange and flow of ideas, it only
  3. IMPRINT: It was launched with a grand vision of 1000cr across 10 domains for result oriented research in Nov 2015. People who were selected and signed the MOU for the first round are still waiting for the disbursements. Lucky ones have got ¼ funding. However, its beginning of 2018 and yet the second round is yet to be announced. (


Policy uncertainty is the biggest political risk in any eco-system. It breeds nepotism and corruption by giving bureaucrats power to selectively enforce norms/disburse rewards without any compliance or sane rationale for the same. The proposals get sandbagged because the suppliers (researchers) need to recoup the loss and make provision for uncertainty/withholding without rationale by the grant commission. The equipment manufacturer, lab technicians become disillusioned with the delays in payment and often move to industry where the volumes are high and there is a considerable repeat use of their wares/services. In the end the nation ends up with expensive substandard R&D which is partially able to solve the problems faced by the industry a decade ago and has little novelty or practicality in today’s world.

A friend of mine who spend several decades in Indian manufacturing had one said “Indians are good only at ppt making, trading and an occasional reverse engineering. They will have lofty visions but no concrete steps, roadmap or actionable plan to achieve it.” The state of Indian R&D research seems to concur with the hypothesis.

Simple homebrew beer recipe

Preparation time 20-30 minutes

Brewing time 10-14 days


  1. 3 Liter mason jar with a tight screw lid/plug
  2. Airlock
  3. A grommet gasket or foodgrade plug with 7-8mm inner diameter
  4. A steel pot (at least 5 liters)
  5. A hydrometer (optional)
  6. Swing top glass bottle (6 x 500ml or 3 X 1L)
  7. Food grade siphon tube (1.5m) Preferably one with a automated pump and a steel mesh filter.


  1. Malt extract: 450gm
  2. Purified water (RO or bottled) 3 liters
  3. Brewing Yeast: 1 tea spoon
  4. Hops to taste (3gm to 10 gm)
  5. 1kg ice (from boiled water)
  6. Gelatin and Bentonite clay
  7. Sulfur less sugar 6 teaspoon (or brown sugar)
  8. Campden (sodium bimetasulphite)
  9. Iodine solution 5% (few drops)
  10. yeast nutrient 1/2 teaspoon

Steps 1: Prepare wort

  1. Near Boil at least 2 kg of water
  2. Add malt extract: stir it to prevent it from sticking to the bottom and caramelizing
  3. After 15 minutes of continuous boiling
  4. Take a few drop of this wort and test it with iodine solution. If it turns purple then you have unmalted starch residue and 15 more minutes of flame is needed.
  5. Add hops: Continue boiling for additional 5 minutes (more if you want bitter taste)
  6. Take the vessel out of flame and plunge it in ice bath.
  7. Chill till room temperature is achieved and then filter to make your wort.

Step 2: sanitize

  1. Use diluted campden/iodine solution to wash & soak all equipment and surfaces (at least 5 minutes of soaking of the mason jar)
  2. Rinse it with sterilized water to remove any residual taste/color of the disinfectant.
  3. You might have to use a hot nail to puncture the lid of the mason jar to insert the grommet gasket & airlock.

Step 3: kickstarting fermentation

  1. Pour wort in the mason jar, take the hydrometer reading
  2. Oxygenate (use a hand blender or manually shake vigorously)
  3. Add yeast: After ½ and hour you will see bubbles forming in the wort (if not then add some more yeast and wait)
  4. adding 1/2 teaspoon of yeast nutrient is good to give your yeast the natural boost required to finish the task.
  5. Seal the lid and attach the airlock
  6. Store it away from sunlight in a cool dark place and check periodically over next 7 days.
  7. Towards the end of fermentation you can add 1/2 a tablespoon of Bentonite clay and gelatin for clarifying your beer otherwise it might look closer to stout (it takes 24 hours for the process)

Step 4: bottling

  1. Wait till bubbling has stopped completely (usually 7-10 days depending on ambient temperature) also a thick layer of yeast has settled at the bottom
  2. Taste & take the hydrometer reading to check for any unfermented sugar (sweetness)
  3. (optional) Chill or Refrigerate your mason jar to near freezing temperature. Add some dissolved gelatin to further clarify your
  4. Sanitize the swing top glass bottles & rinse off the disinfectant.
  5. Use a siphon tube to pour your beer into the Bottle & add 1-2 teaspoon of sugar for natural carbonation
  6. Seal the cork tight and store the bottles in a cool dark place for natural carbonation
  7. Serve chilled in a glass mug. (Homebrew is never drunk from the bottle directly because of the yeast deposit at the bottom) BTW this yeast is completely edible, in the whole process you haven’t added anything toxic.

You can visit for any help & supplies for your homebrew. Also they conduct classes every 4th Saturday of the month to help amateurs.

Sharbati Wheat Malt

Commercial Wheat malt is often made from cracked HRSW Hard Red Spring Wheat which is another way of saying wheat fit for lifestock consumption. Indian Whiskey is often made from molasses. Hence a homebrewer seeking quality often has to rely on making their own malt. Here is a step by step guide:
Step 1: Immerse the wheat in a water bath. Any pest, infected wheat should float and should be removed.

Step 2: Overnight soaking in a strainer. The volume of wheat should also grow by 50% in the process. If you can crush the grain between your fingers then the wheat is adequately soaked.

Step 3: Put your soaked wheat in the sprouting basket. An ideal sprouting tray would have a lid to keep mold and pest away, perforated base to drain excess water and ensure a healthy air supply. To get the optimal yield you need to ensure uniform sprouting, which means in spite of bulk quantity, all grains should get uniform temperature, air and light. Try tasting the wheat, it should be soft and sweet.

Step 4: Wait till the spouts are there. You know the sprouting is complete when two germs are visible and the length of the longer germ is equal to 1/2 of the grain length (as seen in photo). Waiting too long will lead to loss in malt weight as the sprout will start feeding over the starch. Waiting too little will lead to incomplete enzyme action.

Step 5: Stopping the germination. You could do it by drying it strong sunlight, freezing the malt which leads to bursting of cells and releasing the sugars and enzyme for good action. Industrial batches can be lightly roasted to achieve the same.

Step 6: Crush the dried grain between the fingers to remove the sprouts. It contains no ferment-able sugar and most of the protein. hence removing this will greatly improve your wort efficiency.

Step 7: Say hello to grunt work. 2 Hours of roasting with enough churning to ensure uniform caramalization of sugars. If the wheat starts making cracking noise, add a little water to ensure darker caramels without risking burnt grain. I typically watch a nice bollywood movie alongside this process.

Step 8: Break your malt into three lots.
a) lightly roasted cracked wheat malt which is ideal for light beers. It also makes an excellent porridge which is healthier than the market Daliya/broken wheat.

b) Medium roasted malt great for most recipes.

c) Dark caramelized wheat malt for stout beer.

Step 9: Aerate: Apart from the malty flavor this grain will have a lot of foul smells and storing it in paper bag for 2 weeks helps reduce the unwanted odor and retain the pureness of nature.

Step 10: Crush (not grind) in a pestle mortar. Essentially reduce the size allowing efficient sugar dissolving

Step 11: When you boil it into a wort use a few drops in a refractrometer to guage when to stop. A hydrometer is cheaper but you need to cool 50ml every time you take a reading.
Happy homebrewing.

If you want to outsource all this trouble, then you can buy home made malt at Arishtam

Classic Insults

A UK member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.”

“That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”


“He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr


“He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright.


“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill


“He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends..” – Oscar Wilde.


“I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend, if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill.

“Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second … if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response.


“I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” -Stephen Bishop.


“I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb.


“He is not only dull himself; he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson.


“He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker.


“Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain.


“His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork..” – Mae West.


“Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde.


I am not saying I hate you, but you are literally the Monday of my life


I am really sorry if I hurt your feelings by calling you stupid. I really thought you already knew that.

I was hoping for a battle of wits, but you are apparently unarmed.

  • You are the kind of guy to take to the cinema when I want to watch the movie.
  • Philip of Macedon-If I win this war, you’ll be slaves forever. Sparta- “If!”
  • Mark Twain-Politicians and diapers must be changed often and for the same reason
  • A conversation between a drunk man and  the American poet, Dorothy Parker: Drunk man-I can’t bear fools. Parker- Apparently your mother could.

pros and cons of 2-row & 6-row barley:

During my homebrew experiments, I was faced with the epic question of using Indian Barley or imported barley. Using 6 row barley malt or 2 row malt etc. Here is some literature that I could dig out on the same topic.

Six-Row Pros:

  • It has more protein, less starch, and a thicker husk than two-row.
  • Six-row is less expensive per pound, and allows further cost cutting through the higher use of inexpensive adjuncts to offset the high protein levels.
  • Six row is locally available, which means lesser logistic hassle and uncertainity.
  • Higher protein levels may help speed conversion to fermentable sugars. This is important to homebrewers using high mash-in temps; more conversion would take place than otherwise.
  • Six-row has higher enzyme content for converting starch into fermentable sugars. More enzymes means it can convert adjunct starches (which lack or are deficient in enzymes) during mashing. Offset this with more (less expensive) adjunct grain use, and you know why so many large breweries use six-row.
  • Supplementing two-row malt with some six-row malt might increase extraction, conversion time, and fermentability, particularly if you have a high percentage of adjuncts.
  • Six-row yields more per acre, the true reason for its affordability.
  • Those thicker husks improve the filter bed for lautering.

Six-Row Cons:

Enzyme and protein levels are high enough that a brewer probably doesn’t want to use six-row barley exclusively in a recipe. (Adjunct grains are cheaper.) Unmalted cereals (corn and rice) are often mixed in with malt to compensate for the higher protein levels in six-row barley—up to 40 percent of six-row grist can be adjunct. New malt strains mean adding adjuncts is no longer necessary, but it’s economical and, in the case of some large breweries’ beers, traditional.

  • Six row is more susceptible to the formation of dimethyl sulfide, a process begun through protein breakdown in malting. Some DMS is acceptable in some beer styles, but too much may contribute to a cooked or sweet corn flavor.
  • Higher protein content can result in more break material during wort boiling and cooling, which can cause protein haze. Pay attention to this extra hot break for coagulation and removal.
  • Six-row husks are high in polyphenols (tannins), which can contribute to protein-polyphenol haze, and can impart an astringent taste.
  • Higher protein content often indicates less starch for conversion in malting. Six-row malting barley contains from 12-13.5 percent protein, whereas two-row has 11-13 percent. Malting doesn’t change the protein levels much.
  • High protein levels can lengthen steeping time in the malting process, which causes erratic germination, particularly if low- and high-protein barleys are mixed to meet protein limits for malt. (And I was worried about controlling what went into my malt extract…)
  • High proteins can lead to other beer quality issues like color control.
  • Syrup adjuncts and six-row: Syrups are prepared by enzymatically hydrolyzing corn starch into fermentable sugars. It’s added to wort in fermentable form, which can take the wort over acceptable enzyme and soluble protein levels if you’re using six-row barley cultivars.

Two-Row Pros:

  • Greater drought tolerance
  • You can make more beer from two-row than from six-row malt; its lower enzyme content, lower protein, greater starch content, and thinner husk make it better suited to higher extract. This is less obvious at the homebrew scale and more a concern for large breweries.
  • Arguably gives beer a mellower flavor than six-row.

Two-Row Cons:

  • The lower diastatic (enzymatic) power of two-row becomes an issue when a large proportion of unmalted adjunct grain is used.
  • Two-row tends to be more expensive per pound.
  • Big breweries generally use far more adjunct grain than they strictly need; large amounts of adjuncts tend to have little body and less maltiness.

Economical punching bag installation: piñata style for amateurs

This post is meant for amateurs only who are operating at a shoe string budget and constraints on space.


Why you need a punching bag?

After a stressful day at work, who does not like a piñata to beat the crap out of. Want to clear your mind: just stick the picture of your least favorite person on a bag. This is what prompted me to install a punching bag at home and I soon realized that it’s actually a good cardio exercise and a compact practical tool as well. Cycling, treadmill and most cardio exercising machines focus on mainly leg muscles but this bag gives much needed toning to the upper torso. Also a few lessons on self-defense are like swimming, you never know when you need them but can be lifesaving when you actually use them. MMA Pads occupy the least space, if you are unsure of your fitness goals. However, you would need one dedicated person to hold the pad and coach you for the pads to be of any use. Hence a suspended bag is preferred.


Let’s talk business: Why you need a punching bag, How to fill your bag, how to install it, and what protective gear to use.

How to fill your bag?

The most expensive punching bags have 5 layers of concentric cylinders. The outer most will be leather (vinyl or canvas if you opt for a cheaper version) then gel/fluid to prevent knuckle bruising, followed by a layer of dense scrap fiber or high density foam/mattress filling. In the core there will be high mass sand column encased in a PVC/cardboard tube (5th and 4th layer respectively). If you are at an amateur level, most likely you will buy an empty sac and fill it yourself. Here are a few tips:

  1. Inspect the seams and buckles of the bag carefully for any damage.
  2. Make sure that the outer bag is not of cheap vinyl. It can withstand at least 6 months of brutal assault by your fists and feet.
  3. Buy a roll of duct tape and reinforce the seams from inside. This will lengthen the life and prevent dust/fiber bits spraying after repeated blows. Also patchwork from inside is much more elegant than any repair you will do from outside.
  4. Avoid sand. The inner material will invariably leak and sand only makes a mess. If you are looking for a really heavy bag, go for rice/grain instead. They are homogenous enough to pack tightly, and large enough to absorb blow, yet not leak from the seams.
  5. Always encase your heavy material inside a bag/cardboard case. Else they will breakdown into powder and settle at the base. Sand/flour settling at the base is an issue because the bag will not be homogenous and also will make you more prone to injuries when you kick the bag. If you can stack it as thin long packets, duct-taped into a tube, it will be the best.
  6. Raid your old garments, old mattress to get the filling that you are looking for. Make sure that it is sundried enough to prevent any mold infestation. You could use paper shreds also to supplement. The ratio of width of inner dense core to softer filling depends on how hard you want to train and your endurance levels. For kick-boxing you could even use low density saw dust which is ideal for beginners.
  7. Remove any plastic, metal esp. buttons from the garments before filling. Try to have uniform packing from all sides and press as much as you can before adding a new layer. Keep in mind the intended heavy bag weight that you want to achieve before you seal the bag.
  8. Take care of the zipper and seams. Try to paste a duct tape on them to prevent them from spraying dirt when you hit them.


How to Install:

Most websites will recommend you to install the punching bag through the ceiling. That is great if you have access to a shed where there is a beam (timber or steel) to loop through and hoist your bag. If you have a dedicated MMA (mixed martial arts) room, then you could probably remove your ceiling fan and install a punching bag instead. However, most condo/apartment dwellers don’t have such a luxury.

Also most ceiling fan hooks are 10 feet high making the boxer to invest in an expensive long chain (default ones are usually only 1 feet long and ropes are susceptible to breakage) You could buy a boxing stand and attach it to the wall, but that is expensive and is going to be a permanent fixture.

What I did was install a simple door frame pull up bar on my door. (you could use it for pull ups and exercise as well) and install the punching bag on it. It has a few advantages:

  1. The bag will be low enough to allow you to kick without the extra expense of an extension chain.
  2. You can easily remove the bar and the bag without leaving any tell tale signs of being a fitness freak.
  3. You can install it yourself without need of any drilling machine and tools.
  4. Make sure that there is enough space below your bed/behind it to stash away the bag & bar when not using it.
  5. Also the bag swings a bit more than the ceiling mount, but a bit of rope can arrest this movement.
  6. When you want to do “round horse kick,” move the bag to one side of the door frame. During punches/jumping kicks move the bag to the center.
  7. Kick-Boxing is an intensive sport that allows you to tire every muscle really rapidly. Be mindful of the door frame when you exercise. Kicking/punching wood accidently could seriously harm you.

Protective gear:

Luckily most boxing/mma gear is useful only when you go for actual combats or learn defense. Punching bag can only teach you offense and right padding on wrist is usually enough. Go for wraps (atleast 2m long and not more than 5cm wide) and boxing gloves with good amount of padding. Wraps tightens the small delicate bones in your hand to prevent carpal/arthritis/bone shards in the future. The cushion of the gloves prevent knuckle bruising and wrist damage due to impact. So one cannot compensate for the other.

Best of luck for your training and post pictures if you find the tips useful.