Saturday, December 19, 2009

Questions- Or How to Stay on Target

Questions- Or How to Stay on Target: "

question mark In How to Make Goals Happen Pt. 1 – Goalbox, we discussed a very simple visual trick for keeping the execution of your goals foremost in your mind. Now, in part two, let’s talk about the value of a few well-used questions to act as compasses to guide you towards your success.


As with part 1, this isn’t especially hard, and yet, if we don’t work at it, we won’t execute on our goals in 2010 without this. You can use this method for business as well as your personal goals.


How to Stay On Target with Questions



  1. Come up with three to five very brief statements that summarize your goals. Try to make them SMART goals. For instance, your goal might be “Get 3000 blog subscribers by June 2010.” That’s specific, measurable, attainable (one hopes), realistic, and timebound.
  2. Write very simple questions that reference these goals. “Will doing this get me 3000 subscribers by June 2010?”
  3. Ask yourself these questions before committing to any request. Be relentless. If you’re asked to help organize a new meetup in your community for other bloggers, will this get you those 3000 new subscribers? Maybe, but that’s up to you to decide.
  4. Take action accordingly.
  5. Repeat.


Learning how to say no will keep you much more focused and will keep you tied into those goals that matter most to your development in 2010. As I said before, you can do this for business goals: “make $140,000 in revenue per month by March, by closing 5 sales a month” is your SMART goal and “Is this helping me get more sales prospects?” might be the question. The more times that answer is no, the more times you’ll realize that you’re not working on what matters to your goals.



Speaking of Questions


It’s simple, but does it make sense? Have you tried something like this? What do you think it’ll do for your goal-setting in 2010?


Photo credit burning karma




"

Have tried this - well have started the process and given up in one or two weeks. Guess the key is repetition and being relentless.
One tends get carried away by the flow responding to the pulls of the day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A True Hero


The sensational triple murder last week , which sent shivers down many a spine, got solved in style within 3-4 days. That speaks volumes about the innate ability of our Police Force. Something which can be proud of.

At the same time one cannot praise enough the man who single handedly tilted the scales against the criminals. Here was a constable who was touched by the utterly repulsive nature of the killings and, immediately acted on it.

In his own words he never expected to nab the criminals so soon but the moment he got the lead from his informants he followed up on it. He could have just as easily expressed his inabilty to meet them at such a late hour.
We have to be thankful for these few good men who are willing to sacrifice their comforts for the common good.

This incident captured the attention of most people whom I interact with on a daily basis since we stay very close to the area where it happened.

I am doubly grateful to this Hero of the Day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Identifying discomfort

When you identify the discomfort, you’ve found the place where a leader is needed. - Thus spake Seth Godin - the web2 Zaratustra.

Where there is discomfort you might find a leader working away quietly sifting through grime to find the solution to the discomfort. But more often than not it might be a few 10 years before his leadership in the said field gets recognized and he gets acclaimed if ever.

Where all are the modern day discomfort zones ?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Diwali on Twitpic

Friday, September 11, 2009

Heading for a Hothouse

During the ecocene era which was 10-50 million years ago - the temperatures at the poles was 10-20 degrees centigrade. the tropics were at an average 40 degrees.
Imagine sitting on the sandy beaches of the arctic. sunbathing under the perenial evening sun. Balmy winds thru the year.

The tropics might be just deserts. Perhaps the Sahara might stretch right upto the china sea. Wait a minute or would it be somewhat like the amazon - rains lashing contnuously due to the heavy evaporation - Floods and typhoons might be the order of the day.

Global warming scenarios that are being peddled around look like jujubee - compared to this scenario.

Earth time is up. Paaaaack uuuuppppp!!!!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A case for Children Staying in Apartments

I was dismayed to read a notice today on the apartment wall - from the President of the Committee. Telling parents not to allow children to run, skate play ball or do anything on the corridors.

Now one would assume that if the children are not to play in the corridors - then they would have been provided ample space to play. In the form of a childrens play area.

But that is not the case. The childrens play area has been potted - thanks to the brilliant initiative displayed by the apartment owners living in the immediate vicinity of the (childrens play area) CPA.

Now there are parents who dont want their children to play.And that is fine. There might be n different reasons for that.

But, I am only concerned about the children who want to play and who are being progressively denied avenues to do that.

There seems to be a delibrate attempt to muffle children. Which isn't good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Conversations 2



Nowadays at home topics invariably revolve around Swine Flu , H1N1 .. you get the drift.

Yesterday at dinner out of a whim I put this question ..

Me: Why do Pigs Fly?

Y1(5yr old): (without batting an eyelid) - because they have swine-flu.

___________

Sunday, August 16, 2009

How to turn the heat up on flu

How to turn the heat up on flu: "The rapidly circulating swine flu infection in the country has sparked a rush to install thermal scanners at airports and malls."

Swine Flu


If people are panicking there seems to be a reason.

A week ago 100 cases and 2 deaths. Now , 27 deaths and 1500+ cases. And , new locations - chattisgarh has opened the account with 2 deaths.

The News is that the private hospitals(Bangalore) that were roped in to lessen the pressure on govt hospitals - were refusing patients with flu like symptoms and referring cases to RGIMS - which already severely stretched.

There are instances where the test results are arriving after 3 days - so if a person is infected - even after admitting he might have to wait 3 days before the relevant medication starts.

In these circumstances the only option is prevention - don't get infected.

And dont let your children to schools because - whatever the authorities say - containing the spread in schools with 40+ children in a classroom - is just not feasible.


Well, it does'nt get bigger than this.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Life Explained


Life Explained: "

TWO WOLVES

One evening, an old Cherokee Indian, told his grandson about a battle
that goes on inside people.

He said, 'My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us all.

'One is Evil - It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed,
arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false
pride, superiority, and ego.

'The other is Good - It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity,
Humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth,
compassion and faith.'

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his
grandfather: 'Which wolf wins?'

The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'
"

Sunday, August 9, 2009

unkal


Thats how my neighbourhood vegetable vendor refers to me and i have been a regular to his store for 4-5 years now.

Along the way I transformed into the supermarket type opting to buy "fresh" refrigerated vegetables from the neatly laid out displays. Except that these vegetables did not happen to be fresh most of the time.

Plus the religious que's in front of check out desks manned by semi skilled faces that happened to change with the frequency of the moons - drove me back to this gent. He was only too glad to see me back and fussed over me with grating squeals of "unkal" .

Yesterday, as I bought vegetables from his shop I wondered -
would I have received a better fare in an XYZ retail outlet. Probably, the vegetables may have been fresher, and even the prices cheaper (though that is contrary to experience), the store designs would have been appealing and perhaps there would have been a very youthful face at the counter.

But, can all these compensate for the for the familiar face across the thela.
And, why deny a honest man his livelihood - just to pander to our westernized preferences.

Ans who knows someday this man himself might save enough to set up a small store with refrigerated displays -

Friday, August 7, 2009

Conversations


Morning over breakfast this took place with the elder1

L1: Appa.... I want to go to a boarding school.

Me: Well .. they might not take you as a boarder in your current school(her school has a few boarders) as we stay in the same city. Perhaps we can send you to a good boarding school in Yercaud or Ooty.

L1: Sheepishly ..... oh no ... I dont want to be too far from you ..

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Swine flu


The pune teen who died recently turned out to be the class mate of my nieces' neighbour. This bit of news was frightening.

Till now with no known instance of a death related to swine flu - the danger never really concerned us. 10 days ago when the elder1 was down with fever and body pain - it never even occurred to have her checked for swine flu, and neither did the doctor suggest anything of that sought - the most we feared was chikungunya.

But, this latest bit of news has set the alarm bells ringing.

As parents , What are we supposed to do. What precautions can we take. Easily, children are the most vulnerable section as they have lesser resistance, plus , they come in contact with a lot many other children.

Do we refrain from sending them to school ? Especially considering that the current weather is ideal for the spread of flu's and colds.

To start with I am trying to keep myself fully informed about what to look for in the symptoms and just plain being vigilant. The good part is that it is curable - provided if detected early. The bad part is that most of its symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of other common flus.

Here a few links on the pandemic :

1.http://www.swinefluindia.com/

2. Indian preperations

3. wikipedia - Asia

4.bbc news

Friday, July 31, 2009

Do it once


I have a friend from college who in his entire 4 year stay never touched a cigarette.
While all other lesser mortals like, yours truly , fell into from one vice to the other - wallowed in a life of debauchery , so to say - our man stood out like an epitome of discipline and straight forward living.

Today, I got in touch with him after a long gap - and I was in for a surprise . We were on call and I casually enquired what he was doing - and he mentioned he was out for a smoke. Apparently our good friend has turned out to be a regular smoker.

That set of a train of thought. As to how this gent while all others were experimenting with life, while in their late teens and early twenties, - was an example to us on restrained living , after 20 years has got the habit. Call it time lag or phase difference or whatever - .

For close to a year now I have been coaxing him to come on Facebook and his standard response is - that he is prejudiced against the social networking sites.

But I am sure ( and he agrees ) that after we have finished our experimenting with all social sites and moved on .. our Friend might one fine day - discover Facebook.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Cat Crossed My Path Today


A Cat- Crossed My Path today
and - Nothing happened
I stopped a moment
and continued to walk
Thinking about
The innumerable days
That had gone bad
when the Cat had'nt crossed
And the many wonderful days
when it had....
But the very fact
I spent so much time
thinking about
A harmless feline
Running across a 50 feet wide
road, with cars zipping by
At stake its lives, all 9
Speaks volumes on the effect of
inane beliefs ....on our thinking ....

Monday, June 22, 2009

Inviting Danger




Today morning while on my usual walk/jog I saw a watchman sitting on a ledge - not more than a foot deep around 6 feet above ground level. It was a dangerous pose - if he slept even a wink he would have lost his balance and fallen as there was no support - just a plain wall without any grip.

I wondered if it was his way of keeping himself entertained.Nothing compares to the monotony of a watchman's job. As I thought about it some more - I felt that by inviting a little danger upon himself he was actually doing his job better. Afterall who would want to fall half asleep from 6 feet up - but this way he was keeping himself awake. Not exactly a "Eureka" moment but - insight neveretheless.

So often we find ourselves to be more alert and awake to our surroundings when we perceive danger. In my own case it happens when I take up clients in entirely different businesses from my core areas.

But, In our pursuit of security we enclose ourselves in a cocoon - of known pathways - eschewing any event or path that may lead us into unknown territory. In the process we never get to test our instincts - there is no real need for us to develop the kind of alertness which kicks in when we are thrown into peril.

Staying away from danger is good. It helps us to stay alive.

But, zero danger ?

Would it not be better for things to go wrong when you are fully alert and aware - rather than when you are in your comfort zone - relaxed - and at peace and all of a sudden something goes wrong out of the blue.

It would be better to get into situations which involve risk - much like - jumping into the unknown with your senses on alert you would land on your feet or perhaps you might even latch on to something as yet unknown for support and make a safe landing.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Car towed



Yesterday I went to a Client meeting. I parked the car in an area where already a few cars were parked and went off.

Came back after an hour to find the Santro missing. And so were all the other cars.

For a brief moment my mouth went dry. Just a week ago I had deactivated the center locking ( pulled out all the wires leading to the siren) and the thought of increased chances of theft was in the back of my mind.

Just then I looked up to see the No Parkig sign at a distance of 40-50 feet.That raised my hopes. :) . I checked with a couple of guys - they did'nt seem to be aware of any police towing. A third guy, sitting in a triwheeler for handicaps, correctly informed that a Santro got towed and would be available at so and so location.

So off I marched to this place. Got greeted by a Traffic sub-inspector gleefully sipping tea. In fact he offered a cuppa to me , which I politely refused. The bill 400 bucks.

As the transaction progressed he took my details and on knowing my Profession he revealed that his son-in-law who had finished Masters in SW in London was back in India in search of a Job.I gave my usual dope on doing whatever best I could to help his SIL.

As it turned out his son and Daughter In Law were both in well known Software firms.
I was quite surpised. My views of the Traffic Police moved several notches in the positive direction.

In future when I have an opportunity to interact with a member of this tribe I might give a genuine smile.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Attacks on Indian Students in Australia


Is this a straight forward case of Racial Attacks or is it something deeper.

I am not condoning the attacks but have the Students brought it upon themselves.

While speaking to a relative who is currently settled in Australia - a different picture emerged. The students who go to Australia are a moneyed lot, who enjoy flaunting their Latest Laptops and Ipods.

Hardly surprising that they have been targeted for these attacks.

The Indian Media as usual in its hunger for sensationalism has queered the pitch , without going deeper into the story.

A straight forward question is why Only Students.If it was racial attacks it should have affected everyone right from the start.

This question deserves an answer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

On Bigness

Does Larger size mean being more competetive. I was reading Bank Mergers an article that talks about the Formation of Super Banks and the resultant concentration of Risk - when the above thought occurred.

A line that stands out in the post is - " why it is in the country’s interest that 65% of the depository assets are held by only a handful of banks " . You can name these Banks - CITI , BOA , Wachovia ... handful and all have to be bailed out by the US govt.

These giant Banks did not all grow organically - their Giant size is the result of multiple M&A's along the way.

There seems to be a pattern here - You grow a bit too fast taking advantage of the overall favourable climate and then you are too huge to manage to be able to respond to the environment.

My question is does this apply to other industries. In so many cases we come across firms buying out the competition or merging in name of building efficiencies and economies of scale.How do these Mergers Pan out.

Are there instances where in companies have merged to form resulting firms that became even more competitive. Perhaps there are such instances - but a nagging thought remains - can large organizations retain their efficiencies by mixing diverse Corporate Cultures.Not just cultures it would be different ways of doing things, different procedures , different mindsets.

Buyouts are different - there one company just rides roughshod over the other.

But, in a coming together of equals - which till some while ago would have been at each others throats -can they become one and still retain the competence.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Running out of Ideas

We might be having positions after 2/3 months, we will get in touch then.

This has been the constant refrain of all my prospective clients over the past six months. And still continues to be so. When will we see some real recruitment.

Over the last quarter and half my role of recruiter has transmogrified to that of a Business Developer or mostly a Sales man. Without much success :(.

the political scene has seen a sea change. From the Sabre Rattlings of a Fourth Front to a thumping victory to the incumbent.What more could businesses have asked for.

The markets seem to have settled again on a Bull track. But, whats happening with Recruiting.

The poor souls in recruitment seem to be living on a Prayer. And Good God they'll sure settle for Merci-drops - showers seem to be so far away.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Public Speaking


Spent 10 evenings- not all of them fun filled - in learning to speak in Public.

The course was being organized by a Redemptionist Preacher. He spoke with a booming voice when he came to the lectern after the Sunday mass , to talk about the course and well I was taken in by his confidence and decided to join.

To a large extent Fr Frankie( the Redemptorist) followed the learning by doing method. In which we were made to talk on different incidents that touched our lives.

The feedback was critical and immediate and it was upto us to imbibe what ever we could and to incorporate the improvements to our Public speaking.

Some who were more mature or just plain scared gave their best shot. while others just had some fun. Overall got to meet some entirely off beat crowd. Generally I would not have been able to interact with them in the course of my job. Hence a really worthwhile experience.

Made some good friends , and not the least of all a Good contact in Fr Frankie whom we can sound out for any clarifications / doubts on Public speaking.

Fr is extremely knowledgeable , great temperament and fantastic voice and diction.But, more than a trifle quirky.

First he was very particular about alloting everyone roll Numbers. On the very First day He kept asking us to remember these numbers.

Then during every class we used to undertake the exercise of getting new numbers for the sequence in which to speak. And this was not as simple as it sounds. First the numbers were alloted based on seating arrangement, then on any given day he would decide to go only with odd numbers or even numbers. Then either the odd or the even numbered students were asked to speak out their sequence -first odd , 2nd odd , 3rd odd and so on.... And it didnt stop here. Now he used counters - similar to the on es used in Housy to pick a random number - That number becomes the speaker. Then another random number becomes the next speaker. Then another random number - becomes the evaluator.

Confusing ? Well you bet it was. We used to get so confused - that sometimes this counting used to restart.

No wonder our last class went on right upto the dinner bell.

On top of the counting were the Prayers. On a couple of days we got all that was to know about praying Techniques.Later on we came to know that Father was taking aseries of Classes for the seminarians a week after ours got over - so apparently he got it mixed. I guess we could excuse him - he was touching 80..

So, overall a different and very useful experience

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Watching TIME drip by....

Just watching Time drip by.......

Came across this fantastic picture on Flickr.Yet to check any of the other snaps from the same photographer.

But this one was way too good.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

IPL Frenzy



THE IPL is on and is in Full swing. Like last year this year too all other schedules are in disarray. Sleeping at 12:00 AM is now the norm - I am an early sleeper otherwise - in bed by 10:00 ( latest).

We are half way thru and last years winners are again finding their. My team - CSK are back in the top 4 while Royals dont seem to be far behind. These are the teams to watch no doubt. While Delhi and Deccan might be the other favourites.

Why didnt Knight Riders click again? As a friend mentioned - Who is the Clot in KKR - is it SRK or Buchanan?

RCB had an upsurge - with Kumble providing good leadership. But, if your entire Batting lineup fails - one cant do much.Why Bring Wasim Jaffer? ( Just my thoughts)

The Less said about Mumbai Indians the Better. There are too high expectations riding on a few shoulders in MI. Lets see how they fare in the remaining matches.

Someone needs to pull up Warne for his negative tactics. He seems to have a discussion with his bowler after every ball. A fall back to the older Australian - mind games.

Whichever way it goes - You cant help getting sucked in

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter


Just scratching the surface of history throws up very interesting insights.
Take for instance Easter - the celebration of The Resurrection of Christ Jesus.
Have you ever wondered why we have this concept of Easter eggs and Easter bunnies.I have'nt. Possibly because while young I don't ever remember this being mentioned.

But, in the West you cant possibly have an Easter celebration without Easter Eggs and Bunnies.

That brings us to the question - What does Easter have to do with decorated eggs? Apparently, thats is an interesting story.

The term Easter is arrived from or should we say a distorted version of Isthar a fertility Goddess of the Ancient - of Assyrian origin.

Ishtar(Assyrian) - Ashtaroth( Hebrew) - Astarte(Pheonician) - Eostre( Teutoninc) - Easter( Anglo Saxon).One equate them to the different Avatars of the Indian Mythology.

These are all different names for the same Fertility Goddess of Assyrian/Canaanite origin.The celebration of Ishtar during pre-Biblical times included coloring the eggs an ancient symbol of fertility. As expected Ishtar finds mention in the Bible though as an abomination.

As regards the Easter bunny once again you don't have to look far. After all rabbits are renowned for the ability to multiply.And the phrase rabbits foot can be traced back to here.

Some more historical stuff..

Wonder how we got the terms "Hot Cross Buns"?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Travian


Recently got hooked to the browser based strategy game Travian.
Since its early stages I am totally onto it. Infact yesterday night I woke up at 2:00 AM to give some commands.

Hopefully this level of involvement would wear off.

Quite a cool game where you use your resources to add various infrastructure,troops etc and carry out raids or peacefully trade with your neighbouring villages. ot avenues to occupy your mind.

If any one is interested all you have to do is go to Travian create an account and login.

And Voila!! you are ready with a Village and an advisor to take you thru your baby steps.

Do join in.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blog Burst

Today I received a mail from Blog Burst which read like this :

Hello Prakash,

We are pleased to extend you an invitation to the BlogBurst Network. As you know, BlogBurst is a news service bringing quality blogs onto
highly-trafficked, high-brand mainstream publisher sites like the
Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, USAToday.com, and Reuters.com.
We are very excited about including your blog in our service, and
look forward to working with you.

Thanks for helping us show off your blog!

Best Regards,

The BlogBurstTeam

Wow!!!

So after a gap of close to 30 days - the first post

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ragging

Having been a part of Ragging both at the receiving and the giving end dont really know how to react.

A boy has died. The Parents are inconsolable. The principal has resigned taking Moral responsibility.

What about the Boys who were involved . Were they the villains in the piece.They too are 19-20 year olds. Did they cross all limits.

Something broke down somewhere. It doesn't look in any way premeditated , or planned to give such grave injury.

The authorities need to take the blame to a large extent, for not heeding the complaints. Perhaps if the boy had been away from the Hostel for sometime this could have been averted.

Other Articles 1. The Hindu - A Hard Look at Ragging

2. The Hindu - Antidote

3. A Look into the darker side of Ragging

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Made in Italy


It doesn't cease to Surprise me How much of Christianity as we know it today is "Made in Italy".

You would have thought the Festivals that we Celebrate would have some Biblical Reference. They do, But , not entirely. Take for instance the period of Lent( It Falls in March) that comes just before Easter Celebrations. Supposed to signify a period of 40 days when Jesus went through some extreme temptations and fastings.

Apparently, the Month of March(Martius) was devoted to and named after the Roman God of Mars. It used to be so filled with Festivities that a special day in the Month was allocated for Rest from these Festivities. There were both Happy Occasions and also fasts and blood letting. There was even a parade of pines and palms. Sounds Familiar?

Apparently, its a case of an Existing Period of Roman Celebrations being given a Coat of Biblical Paint.

Not a very Flattering way to put it.Agreed.

( Taken from Ancient History Blog )

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jaiho Bikes


How about "Jaiho Bikes".Came up with this name as I passed a Freedom Parked by the Roadside. What caught my attention was the name "FREEDOM" cast into the handle bar assembly. I am not sure if thats the norm for all the Bikes. My Hero Honda CD-100 does'nt have any such inscriptions.

So, why not Jaiho - a catchy name especially if targetted at the 30k segment. I mean the lower end.

Cant imagine a 175 or 250 cc "Jaiho" Bike - doesn't seem to gel. What do you think?

If I were a college kid living on my Dad's money probably I would like to ride the latest craze. Besides,I might not mind being identified with the Slumdog Millionaires.

Plus , For All the aspiring Slumdog Millionaires this could work like a lucky charm.

What say Guys?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Service Tax back at 10%


Image : taken from The Hindu

Good Sense prevailed or let be an Election Sweetner.

Service Tax has been reduced to 10%. Thats Good News.

You might wonder whats the Big deal about a puny cut of 1.8% ( effective ).

It isn't all that small. For instance on a 1 Lakh bill the service tax will work out to 1800/=(equal to one months mobile bill).

As an aftermath to this announcement S&P is considering to lower India's Credit rating to Junk.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Slumdog

So the Slumdog walked away with 8 oscars. Some intellectuals felt that all 8 may not have been deserved. Perhaps they were right.

But hey man !! Its not about the numbers - India got featured right up there on the Global stage. Any actor of reckoning aspires someday to hold that statuette.

Happy!! Happy and proud of all those kids from slums who walked this exalted stage so coolly. What self assurance. I guess that must have been one of the reasons they got got them the role. But what confidence. They would have put the best Private School Kids to shame.

AR Rehman is in a different league all together. I guess if anybody was expected to make it to that list it was him. So no surprises there. This post says it best.
Ella Pughazhum Iraivanukke.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pondicherry Saturday

Recently I went to Pondichery thanks to a Marathon at Auroville. Had almost a complete day at hand roaming around alone, so did the best that came to me and that was snap away at the sights afforded by a sleepy town.

Pondicherry is known for its French connections and quite unique in that respect. It is quite low on traffic and meticulously planned. The roads intersect each other at right angles. This was only my second trip and that after over a 10 year period hence this sight intersecting roads took some time to sink in.

I just shot away with my camera whenever I reached an intersection. It was not only the meeting but also the distances to which you could see down the road - must be easily half a kilometer. But this was only near the beach area.

As you moved away it wore the look of a typical town in TN.

Got down from the Garib Rath at around 11:00 , came out of the station studiously avoiding the clamour of Autodrivers though they werent as bad as in Chennai. Walked a few steps and took a few shots of the garishly painted Sacred Heart Church.

From PONDICHERRY


The Next hour or so was spent in search of a Room as all the rooms were taken up - it being valentines day.

From PONDICHERRY
One doesn'nt come across such signs in Chennai.

Finally checked in at Devi's Garden on the Beach Road. This seems to be a new joint and is very well maintained. Had a good stay. If you are planning a trip to Pondi check this place out.Rents are reasonable ( 1000-1500 ). What takes the cake( or Biriyani ) is the restaurant - Anjappar . Food is fantastic - try out the Country chicken Biriyani.As I type away my mouth has started to water. Infact that was my preparatory meal for the evening prior to the 1/2 Marathon.
Well, after a quick check in, and bath , changed and headed for the beach and pointed my camera at whatever quaint sights that came my way :

The Beach with rows of Benches
From PONDICHERRY


Doesnt get straighter than this
From PONDICHERRY

Monday, February 16, 2009

Auroville Marathon


You can't have a better experience running a Marathon than you would at Auroville.I can vouch for that.
Had a mind blowing experience yesterday running in this mini forest at Auroville.

You could call it a one of a kind experience. Away from anything to do with the city life. Running almost entirely amongst trees of different kinds, on tracks which were totally dug out at certain stretches and at some they were just or maybe less than a foot wide.
The trees or shrubs almost brushed your head as you ran.
The whole event was well organized. I had made a visit the previous evening to collect the number and Bibs. Since there is no organized transport here one depends on the good will of the Auroville residents, which, generally overflows in abundance.
On the event day,though, I did not want to test the Good will too much , so played safe by taking an Auto.
Reached the venue at 5:45 AM sharp. Hung around for a while, answered to the roll call, stretched a bit - peed and was ready.
At around 6:05 we were off. The route was well marked so no problems with that,absolutely.
All one had to do was put the head down and jog. 10 kms per hour must qualify as a jog. A marathon Jog. By the 3 km mark each was on his own.
I followed someone who wore only socks.I did that for quite some distance assuming him to be good runner if can do a long distance run without shoes.
After a while, felt I could loosen a bit and overtook him. From then on I was on my own for long stretches. I went past some and some runners overtook me. My guess about the sox runner came right as he overtook me, about five kms before finish line, at a mighty good clip.
I was enjoying myself running, listening to the birds - I could make out at least 4 different varieties. Even heard a peacock(what sound does a peacock make?).
Around the 6 km mark there was a good bit of revelry in the form of Drum beating a la Pune-Marathon.
Till around the 12-13 kms mark there were no problems. At that point I was feeling fit for another 20. But the pain started building up just around that time.
Tried walking for sometime as my legs felt heavy and a couple of times I had banged against stones jutting out - losing my balance in the process.
On a 1km stretch which was particularly trackless I decided to walk it. As I walked quite a few runners went past.
Well, that kind of re-motivated me to start running again. Which I did- again putting my head down and just looking at my shoes.
It was quite satisfying to see the ground move under my feet. Otherwise, when you looked up you saw the next closest guy was a good 300 meters ahead of you , well that can be demoralizing.
Around 3 kms from finish a pretty lady in a cycle egged me on telling me it was very close adding that there were only beautiful paths ahead.
Soon enough the path became very narrow and enclosed with low hanging branches - at times I was running between the bambooed fences on the backyards of tiny huts.
Further down it opened out into a field and I was onto a metalled road and I knew it was close.
I just made a dash for it.

Next year I am sure to be there.

Planning on bringing the entire family along.


Recently added a video of the event

Image courtesy - Ram Viswanathan

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A simple Life



On the Eliots Beach Chennai.

Took this snap of sparks flying out from the coal stove used to roast butta.A saleswoman stood next to the stove turning over the corns on the flames.

The value of an ear of Corn or whatever its called is 5-10Rs. this lady might be selling a 100 such corns in a day. Her cost would the cost of fuel Mostly coal.
At the end of day she might take home a 50 or 100 Rs.

Without getting into the economics of it dont you think its a pretty uncomplicated and simple life.

Just a thought.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Abortion - Parental Say


The priest yesterday during sermon touched on the topic of abortion. Mentioning quite vehemently that it was a devilish practice.

He went on to add, that people were killing children in the name of medical expedience, stating reasons like chances of physical or mental handicap.

Did'nt quite agree with him, since, I feel this is a decision that is best left to parents. After all it is their responsibility to bring up the child and expecting that their the child would grow upto be a healthy and normal human being would be every parents dream.

Going on those lines the knowledge that a baby is not properly developing should be a perfectly legitimate reason to discontinue a pregnancy if the medical situation warranted such a course.

One must remember that it is the advancement in medical technology which has enabled us to save many such infants who otherwise would not have been able to survive.But, their are instances wherein the deformity might be such as to leave the infant with either very little chances of survival or put the parents under tremendous financial burden attending to the cure. In such a situation should it not be the parents call what decision to take.

Last year the Nikheta Mehta case in brought this issue to the fore.

Wikipedia - Abortion Law

Cartoon credit:Cartoonstock.com

Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentines Day - the True Story


In spite of what you have been told by everyone, the truth is that
Valentine's Day originated hundreds of years ago, in India , and to top
it all, in the state of Gujarat !!!

It is a well known fact that Gujarati men, specially the Patels,
continually mistreat and disrespect their wives (Patelianis). One fine
day, it happened to be the 14th day of February, one brave Patelani,
having had enough "torture" by her husband, finally chose to rebel by
beating him up with a Velan (rolling pin to make chapattis).
Yes....the same Velan which she used daily, to make chapattis for
him.... only this time, instead of the dough, it was the husband who
was flattened.

This was a momentous occasion for all Gujarati women and a revolt soon
spread, like wild fire, with thousands of housewives beating up their
husbands with the Velan. There was an outburst of moaning
"chapatti-ed" husbands all over Anand and Amdavad.

The Patel men-folk quickly learnt their lesson and started to behave
more respectfully with their Patelanis.

Thereafter, on 14th February every year, the womenfolk of Gujarat
would beat up their husbands, to commemorate that eventful day - the
wives having the satisfaction of beating up their husbands with the

Velan and the men having the supreme joy of submitting to the will of
the women they loved.

Soon The Gujju men realised that in order to avoid this ordeal they
need to present gifts to their wives..they brought flowers and
sweets. This is how the tradition - Velan time - began.

As Gujarat fell under the influence of Western culture, the ritual
soon spread to Britain and many other Western countries, specifically,
the catch words 'Velan time' !!! In course of time, their foreign
tongues, this got anglisized to 'Velantime' and then to 'Valentine'.

And thereafter, 14th of February, came to be known as Valentine's Day
and now you know the true story of Valentine's day.

Some more losing ....

Continuing the take aways from Richard Bransons Losing My.. here is one from chapter 21.

"The sky was pitch-dark all around us.I scarcely looked out of the capsule but concentrated on the instruments. As I sat there with Per Lying comatose at the bottom of the Capsule, it seemed clear that we were going to die.With just three fuel tanks we would run out of fuel some thousand miles off the American Coast and have to ditch in the sea.We would have to fly this balloon for another 30 hours if we were going to live.I knew that the only chance of us living was for me to fly the balloon right to in the core of the jet stream.I put all thoughts of death out of my head and for the next 10 hours concentrated intently on the dials.

I do not believe in God, but as I sat there in the damaged capsule, hopelessly vulnerable to the slightest shift in weather or mechanical fault, I could not believe my eyes.It was as if a spirit had entered the capsule and was helping us along. as I watched the instruments and calculated our ground speed, it became clear that we were begining to fly very fast, close to the necessary miles an hour.Before we had dropped the fuel tanks we were flying at 80 miles an hour, which had been very good progress.Now we needed a miracle.
I slapped myself across the face to make sure that I wasn't hallucinating but each fifteen minutes the speeds grew faster: 160mph,180 mph, 200mph and even 240mph. The increase was astounding....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Are you Not Afraid ?


Came across this Question on the QA section of Linkedin - "Are you not Afraid".

The question was posted on the Staffing and Recruiting section so meant to elicit responses from the Recruitment industry professionals.

Some very good responses came up and one of them I really liked - that was " - The only thing that we need to fear is fear itself. "

Most answers revolved around the point of being " Not Afraid ". It obviously sounded like a self conscious effort to sound brave.

If your mandates are down to 10% of what they were 6 months ago. If your clients who were hiring in Bulk are now letting go people - you have pared down your billing targets by 2/3rd - What do you do?

Well you will do more Business Development try to reach out to more clients , harden yourself to listen to greater number of "NO"s from prospective clients , reduce costs.

Yes, that is what needs to be done - but wont there be some fear too . I mean , isnt it fear that drives up survival instincts and forces us to reach out into the unknown. Fear has to be there so why why be in denial. It is fear which drives us and throwing us into a high gear.

Question is are we willing to Face our Fear or are we going to turn from this fear and run. This is where the earlier answer makes it so meaningful - " The only thing that we need to fear is Fear itself"

Somebody said - "Fear and Courage are Brothers". What is courage if there is nothing to fear. Infarct one can say that there is no courage without fear.

The general assumption is that a courageous person does not experience fear.

Offcourse he does. But he is willing to let go of the familiar and willing to plunge into the unknown - that is why he is courageous.

Uncertainty can instil a very deep fear that strikes us and leaves some people unable to respond in a rational manner. At that point we are lost.

But some of us have that something which picks us up and carries us.

It is Fear’s counterpart Courage. Where you find one, you will find the other.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Where did the Money Go?

Great presentation on The Guardian

Click here

A strange contrast to the Satyam case.

Private Virtue - Public Vice


This is attributed to Keynes - in the context that excessive thrift on the part of you and me will only help in prolonging the downturn.

Harish Damodran in the article " How Rational Behavior Begets recessions " on Business Line touches on this very Topic.

The question is when people around us are losing their jobs (returning Newly bought cars ) and livelihoods , would you be interested in going out and Buying a Flat even if the prices are rock bottom and even if there is a Mercedes thrown in with the flat. You get the drift - its not likely to happen.

So the current policy of the Government here and elsewhere to decrease interest rates might not see any immediate revival in spending. People are scared , they were exuberant 6 months ago now they are scared - fearing for their jobs - so the medicine will take sometime taking effect - if it really does.

The other option for the government to increase public spending - which is investing on infrastructure projects in a Big way - is a stronger medicine. But, for this medicine to work the our system should be efficient. Which it isn,t. Much of Government spending tends to land in private pools.

So what are the options?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

BJP's Predicament



Featured on The Hindu - 29/1/09

This cartoon sums up Beautifully the current predicament of BJP in Karnataka.

Barkha Revival

This Barkha Dutt episode refuses to die down. Apparently some two days ago NDTV filed a suit on Chetan for ranting about Barkha post nov 26th and maligning her name.

Obviously this didnt go down too well with the Twitterville & the Blogosphere. There were literally 100's of tweets on Barkha/NDTV.

I did some Barkha bashing of my own , but not to pleased about it. Not that I regret just not pleased - I dont watch NDTV BTW.

About time I buried the issue. Guess its not my thing.

Article on Hindu questioning the media role

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Losing My Virginity - 2

Been some days since the last post on the Book. As I continue to read at my quota of an hour a day - spent the last few days reading chapters 10-14 which mention the 10 year period from 1974 to 1976 . Felt like I was reading a soft porn Novel. So really didnt have much to post - there is too much of that stuff on the Net already .

Perhaps there is this one funny incident which stands out :

Their boat Duende had filled with water and as they waded around salvaging whatever possible " one of the neighbours shifted a box and a large Vibrator fell out. When it hit the ground, it turned itself on and started to vibrate.Buzzed around and finally fell into the canal, where it zipped around for a while before vanishing from view". wonder how all this can happen only to Richard Branson.

1984-1986

While Thanking his Fuel sopnsors Esso - prior to the Blue Riband race - he thanked BP instead of Esso.Realising the mistake only after finishing the talk -

The Esso execuitves looked at me with horror as if I was a ghost.I fell down to the floor and crawled under the table.

"I am sorry " I croaked, and started to spit and polish their shoes.



What would you call it Clowning around, Humility , contrition.

Whatever, can't think of any other Multi Millionaire capable of such antics.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Parenting Anger

An altercation with wife was about to make, an otherwise pleasant begining to the day, Frosty. It happened Like this :

Wife: (Referring to the republic day celebration from which we had just returned - the time - 9:15 Am. She was Speaking to the elder one who is 9yr old) .

All the other children were fresh , well dressed and bathed. And here you are not even brushed your teeth.

Me(interjecting): Well those children were woken up by their parents and prepared for the Function.We did not do any such thing.

Wife: Leave me alone.You dont tell me how to deal with children.
(Some 2 days ago I had responded with the same line when wife had interjected to somthing I had told the younger one )

Well obviously I didnt much appreciate the rebuke. And Frost was starting to spread.
I wanted to say something harsh - after all why blame children for our inefficiencies - but managed to keep quite and went on practising a new song on the Guitar.

Luckily I had an opportunity to go out to buy some provisions and as I drove This dialogue was running in my head and spinning out of control. Then a thought struck me why not make a post out of it - it would provide a good avenue to vent out steam and help to put things in perspective.

Infact the moment I decided on that - my mind cleared. The Frost left in a jiffy.
Bought what I went for and got some additional Sheek Kabab.WEll I guess wife appreciated the gesture and a semblance of normalcy returned to the household.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Birthday Party

Yesterday evening Got invited to a Neighbors Birthday party.Went with family and got treated to a strong dose of preaching, charismatic healing and Bible reading + songs.

WTF ?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Losing My Virginity - Richard Branson


Take aways from the Book - Loosing my Virginity":

I am currently reading this book and thoroughly enjoying it so I thought why not share the great quotes right away instead of waiting for the book to get over and then do a write up. Since I devote less than a hour each day reading the book this post is likely to be long in content and time frame.

"I just pick up my phone and Get on with it "

" My parents encouraged us to give our views on many things "

" I just wanted to have have enough cash in the bank to print the next issue and pay for the bills"

" At the prison I vowed to myself that I would never again do anything that would cause me to be imprisoned, or indeed do any kind of Business deal that wuld embarass me."

" My parents had drummed into me that all you have in life is your reputation: you may be rich, but if you lose your good name, then you will never be happy.The thought will always lurk in the back of your head that people dont trust you"


" the next 2 years were a crash course on how to manage cash. from being completely relaxed we became obsessively focussed. We used every penny of the cash generated in the shops, knowing every pound we earned was another pound toward opening up another store , which in tun was another pound toward paying off my customs and excise debt."

Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inspiration

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Touching Lives

Today went to pay the Electricity bill. The guy there enquired about Anil.

Amazing how many lives Anil has touched. Apparently Anil had met him some 3-4 days before regarding the Electricity Bill name change.

Tears welled up in his eyes as he mentioned but he controlled himself.

May God Bless his soul.

Childhood is short, Maturity is forever

Came across this quote from Calvin & Hobbes strip on Yesterdays TOI Strip. It is stunning in its simplicity. Actually when one thinks about it - Childhood is all of 10-15 years.That's just a fifth of our lifespan, maybe lesser.

A pity. Such a short period of life and so much of it is spent preparing for adulthood without enjoying the freedom of just being a kid.

As a child things are so simple. You like something you take it - you dont want something refuse.If you are young enough you can even afford to throw tantrums and get away with it.

We spend so much of our time trying to control the behaviors of our kids, do this do that, dont do that , pick , pick , pick.With all good intentions trying to confirm them to our perceived norms of the society.

A quote like this jolts one to the foolishness of our efforts.

Perhaps someday I will learn to accept the kids as they are without fretting over their current behaviors.

By then they might have turned into Adults.

Friday, January 9, 2009

In Lalu rests India's Redemption from Recession

Is Lalu the answer to India's Recession woes ? 

This thought hit me right between the eye as I read an article which talks about the importance of  investment in high speed rail for the US & the pitfalls that Mr. Obama faces if he does'nt take certain steps. 

- excerpts :
" One area that is ripe for such investment--and that is not, from what I have seen, a declared priority of the Obama administration--is high-speed rail. .... They would be the most energy-efficient and quickest means of getting between places like Boston and New York, or Los Angeles and San Francisco. But they would require a massive investment. .......... " 

Cut to India ,  Thanks to Mr Lalu the Indian Railways has turned around to the extent that among other plaudits Deutsche Bank in its sectoral review of 2006, mentioned -- " IR's competitiveness will increase substantially vis-à-vis the road sector". 

Can the current problems of the HCV segment traced to this ?  

Imagine if we had a highspeed rail linkbetween Bangalore & Pune - the time taken might be 5-6 hrs assuming a 120 km/hr speed. Chennai - Bangalore  might be just over a couple of hours.

Probably Mr Lalu can give it some thought. Especially when Government spending seems to be the Need of the hour , why not? We need some drastic measures to get the economy moving, the engineering/manufacturing sector - the  stimulus packages might not contribute much to raise the current level of Business confidence and may be just - drops in the ocean

High Speed rail links in India was in News as far back as in 2007.There is this article in TOI mentiong plans for HS links between Delhi - Howrah & Delhi - Mumbai 

There is another mention about  high speed rail corridors in the South but, nothing else hence.

Perhaps this is just the right time for it. 

What do you think? 

(Lalu's image- credits to helloji)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ramalinga Raju Quits

In retrospect The Maytas buy would have been the best thing to have happened to Satyam. It could have saved Satyam from the present mess.
In his Letter Ramalinga Raju mentions the logic behind the deal. Today he forwarded his resignation claiming sole responsibility for the irregularities in the Account Books.

That the 4th Largest Software firm in the country having 53000 employees and 185 Fortune 500 firms in their clientele , should fold up in such a manner. Thats alarming. Leave aside the comparisons with Enron & Ken Lay. $1Billion  was fictitious , how could it happen. There just might be some other skeletons in the closet. 

Mr Mohandas Pai has come out with a strong statement on punishment of Fraudsters. Its likely that even the other leading Sw entities will come under a thorough scanner. In such a situation even minor incongruities may get blown up.

It would be interesting to know how the whole thing was managed.Getting into the bare facts and triggers may take some time. Might take some time.A fraud of such magnitude could not have happened without active connivance from the auditors. Already PwC is feeling the heat.

Heads are set to role. 

Some die hard supporters of Ramalinga Raju have launched a website in his support

From a Billionaire to Fraudster. It seems ironic. Obviously one cannot  easily slight a man who has almost single handedly built a Billiondollar empire. But, this man from Bhimavaram has lost so much that he might never be able to rebuild something which he would most cherish - his reputation.


Monday, January 5, 2009

The passing away of a Thorough Gentleman

Recently a Neighbour passed away due to a heart attack. A thorough Gentleman, his kindness touched many many lives. Our apartment block still hasnt come to terms with this loss. 

Events such as these jolt, one out of the usual thought processes. I had known him for just over 3 years and that , not very closely. And though on certain apartment based issues I found myself opposed to him, I held him in high regard. 

In these 3 years I had never seen him raise his voice at anybody though he held a Key post in our flats. Ever obliging to people who went to him for help especially the poor. Infact after reading the obituaries I realised that he has touched many thousand hearts with his smile and kindness.

A few lines in his memory : 

45 years 
Ever cheerful,
Sensitive, to everyone’s concerns,
Loved kids, got adored in return
wonderful organizer,
enthusiastic participant in every event.
abundant source of relief to the poor
Model human being
Anil Dias
No More.


Friday, January 2, 2009

2008 - Learnings


As I take the first steps towards immersing myself in the routine, post the vacations - I felt like reminiscing a bit about the year gone by - 2008. 

Personally & professionally this turned out to be a very satisfying year.

What was most satisfying was that I set out some learning goals fro myself & managed to achieve 2 of them. I learnt to swim & to play the guitar

Swimming I picked up during the summer in a 5 feet deep pool at our apartment.Its been 6months since I last took a dip but I guess I can still manage on my own.


Guitaring was more recent. As of now my repertoire consists of 10 chords and a an equal number of songs. Not bad for a 38 year old.

Both are work in progress and I dont expect to Master either anytime soon. But the very fact that I even reached this level is a source of tremendous satisfaction.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year


I am a trifle late in Posting this , but Happy New Year Everyone. I wish the Very Best for you and your Family in 2008. 

Just back from a 15 day vacation. Longest in more than a decade. Can't call it hectic we just stayed with our relatives had lunches dinners , slept a lot, got drunk and  watched some movies. The childeren seem to have really enjoyed this. My four year old asked me after we had returned why we had to leave Chennai and come back to Bangalore. A good period for bonding amongst cousins.