Sunday, July 23, 2006

Rajini, Madhav, and Me

After the question on tagline, the conversation picked up quickly. I relied on my mental tape to record the conversation.

I have stored the essence of the conversation and am trying to put forth what I heard as accurate as my tape has recorded. Since I am not sure of exactly recalling the entire 'One hour and twenty five minute conversation' word-to-word, I would prefer to write this post more in the prose form than an actual interview. I don't want to misquote. :)

Over to the interview...

Opinion on Failure: The question was pretty abstract to both of them. I reframed: If some one does not perform in the team, what will be your move?

Madhav and Rajini share the same opinion on this: They talk to the team member first, find out the problem which stops him from doing the best, give suggestions to the team member, and ensure he is comfortable working on what he is assigned. If the team member still does not perform,he is given a chance to exhibit his skills in any other stream in the office.For all you know, the person might be a good performer in some other stream.

They appreciate this flexibility of moving from one stream to another.Everyone is good at something. All it takes is to identify the plus point.

According to Madhav, Attitude is important to work in a team. No one without Attitude gets through Madhav's interview session.He says 'Even if the skill set of the person does not meet the expectation, Attitude has to'.

Rajini seconds this opinion. He is himself a person with an Attitude that one has to observe and learn from.

Opinion on Success:
The question was reshot back to me. According to me, Success is doing one's best. Madhav wanted to know how I measure it. I said, "I do something, to the best of my ability and satisfaction. If I don't have the luxury of really taking enough time to do my best, I say that it is not upto the mark".

Madhav's turn: Rajini spoke for Madhav. It was nice to see how appreciative Rajini was about his boss Madhav. "He commits a date and that is it. Commitments and Promises are meant to be kept according to his principle.He ensures that the timelines are met come-what-may. That is Success to him". Madhav gave an approving smile.

In Rajini's own opinion, 'Do what you promised to do. In software development, there are usually many phases, each one dependent on the other.Never let some one else skip deadlines because of your bad adherence to your own commitments'.

Their success mantra as I conclude is: Promises are meant to be kept. Never put some one down because of your own flaw.

Number of hours at work determines the success of your work. Yes or No?

Rajini says, he stays long hours at work because there are some unreasonable demands most of the times. Given that he has his principles, he stays late hours to keep them up. According to Madhav, most of the times, it is the imperfect processes that cause this whole 'late sitting' business. He is appreciative of his team who also understand the situation and put in their best. Again he cannot compromise on his principles either.

Every thing boils down to 'Commitment' in Madhav and Rajini's work place.

Define Workaholic. Where do u stand in a scale of 1 to 10 on workaholism?

Madhav defines: On a holiday, where there is no pressurizing work,if some one is in office, then he is a classiied workaholic. He says he stands at 1 or at the max 2 in the scale.

Rajini says, 'I am at 8'. I was taken aback when Madhav said, 'No Rajini is not a workaholic'. Rajini gave him a look which clearly said ' Come on.. don't you know?? or what do u mean?'. Madhav, quickly clarified: 'Rajini is hardworking but not a workaholic. There had been no days when he was at office if there is no work. It just happens that he is loaded enough to work on holidays. That is not workaholism.'

Rajini agrees that he had once been a workaholic when curiosity to know what is happening in the software world took the better of him and his weekend plans. He agreed that he has come out of workaholism according to Madhav's definition.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Rajini, Madhav and Me

The day seemed hectic at Madhav's paradise.Well, there was nothing unusual about it. With Rajini and Madhav frantically working on their computers, I almost decided that the interview I was hoping to have with them that day, was not happening. I did not even want to ask them. The least I could do for them was to just keep quiet which is very rare... If you know me , you would admit that.

Well, my favorite and tested saying: 'Expect the Unexpected' proved true, for the umpteenth time, when Madhav actually asked me if I remember about the interview appointment that evening. Thrilled beyond limits, I readily re-slated schedules at my end and geared up for the interview. I had prepared the questions about a few months back with Rajini in mind, but then, thought it is okay to have answers heard out from both Madhav and Rajini on the same set of questions. There were just a few questions, as I had always seen them with their 'Busy' tag on their forehead. I firmly believe that "if people are busy then do not expect them to be attentive when you talk". So after ensuring that the horizon was clear at Madhav's paradise I went over to talk. Rajini joined us with sandwich parcels presumably their evening snacks. On the 8th Floor of our office, over sandwiches, we settled down to talk.

There were butter sandwiches, egg sandwiches and veg.sandwiches. Now, table manners and etiquettes demand that everyone around the table eats. Some book that I had read back in school or college reminded me dutifully. Don't refuse anything point blank.Look for alternatives.[ Amazzzinggg memory power...!!!!that reminds you of things that do not concern with academics.I am not complaining,just 'thinking out loud' of how partial the mind can be.]

I hate Butter and Egg and the vegetable sandwich was definitely not very tempting at the moment. Took a quick decision to taste Butter sandwich though I didn't like it. Angel Etiquette smiled. :):):) I smiled back secretly.

Madhav and Rajini : I can write a whole new post on what I observed from these Gurus.So let's drop the stylistic introduction I would very much want to give, like all those high sounding magazines do on the stars of the interview.

I thought it would be a major effort to get these Gurus to talk, but then it was easier than expected. The interview quickly shifted to conversation mode and time flew very fast. Heavy rain outside was playing Rock Music ( I like Rain but not Rock Music) on the asbestos sheet over our heads. As if the music was not enough, the building's power control machines were roaring just behind us.. ( God knows what all it controls).

Nice atmosphere, I thought. I was glad all the same because, I was not sure, if I would have felt comfortable in Madhav's paradise where every second minute there was a phone call for Rajini or a crisis call for Madhav.

There have been times when I have stood there and found myself wondering if they built the TITANIC's Control in his paradise, and the mechanism conked during the ship's first voyage, and few thousands of people died, and my office was sealed close, and all of us were arrested. Or if that didnt sound serious enough, then you could imagine a rocket launch failure... Remember, you built the rocket funded by the World Bank!!!!...... even if that didnt sound serious to you, then sorry, I am not able to paint the picture of the tension in Madhav's paradise right. Now read on.

Rajini - 'Patience and Patience unlimited' is the tag line I would give him.
Madhav - 'Perfection and Perfection unlimited' is the tag line I would give him. He says if others were to give him a tagline it would mostly be HITLER. He is perceived by most people almost always, to be strict, and ever-looking for perfection..

I have never thought this way, though I keep off from him when things just don't seem right at his end. Ideally no one should do that ( Books say, Don't go away from people when they are in trouble), but then in an office atmosphere, when there is very little I can do about tensions at higher level, all I do on most days is to just keep off both of them ....You see we are in different teams and we have different levels of work pressures, mine always less than his. :)

I have always wondered how people can carry themselves so well when nothing at all seems right. I can't help comparing my own attitude at times with that of these Gurus. Madhav, over two years into Management and Rajini, just into Management share their views on Work place and the way they handle it without any icing... It was a 'plain-cake talk' basically. They spoke straight out of the heart and I felt I had chosen the right people to get opinions on the subject I am researching on for my article - Work place and Paradise.

By the way, these Gurus have gained promotion as my friends over the last few months. So it was basically a cool talk with friends than that of an interview, but I still had a paper with questions printed, so I don't get into the casual chat mode without any purpose. You see, I am not supposed to waste their time. Remember, they have gladly taken off their' Busy tags' just for my questions.

The story will continue in the next post....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Dont know what to write.......

You are reading it right...I don't know what to write... Right now, I am at work reading a document that does not make any sense to me.The writer in me wants to understand the content and write about it, but then the document stares me straight on my face with all its confusing points...

When I repeat the line, I actually find that the fault is actually mine.. It is entirely my problem if the document's points are confusing. Some one has put in the best of efforts to convey something. Obviously, there has to be a reason why some line is there in the document. It is upto the reader(me) to try and find out what it means. I think I am confused because of the heavy lunch I had in the afternoon which is draaaaaaaagging me off to sleep..So the document is not making sense.

I can relate this directly to almost all the books and articles we read each day. If our mind is clear we might enjoy every thing we read. Ofcourse we all have comments to make, but it does not mean that we can call some author or the book uninteresting.

If we are not in the right mood, then anything we read will be Nonsense... The author writes it from a point of view that may or may not be same as ours. It is entirely his right to write what he wants to. If we dont understand something that someone writes, it is entrirely our problem. If we dont like something then it is entirely our opinion.

When I criticise some write up the next time, I hope to remember this. I thought I would put it down for any blog traveller to read.. Again, it is entirely upto you to take it or leave it...

If you choose to take it, you will not have to check your Blood Pressure as often as you might need to otherwise.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Dawn - flash

During my visit to Kerala last weekend, I met an old man. I spent few minutes talking to him.

His view point:

All of us work on computers. In a computer, you run anti-virus software that saves your machine from virus related problems. You clear up your folders and arrange files once in a while. If there are files you do not need, you take time to delete them.

If you are taking so much care to keep your computer clean and safe, why not put the same effort to keep your mind safe ?

Your mind is your brain which is equivalent to a computer.

Anything that happens within you is due to the brain and anything that happens outside gets straight into the brain. Now, if you choose to retain only those points that give u knowledge, happiness, confidence and other such positive notes, then 'your computer' will remain healthy. Mental Health leads to physical health and happiness.On the contrary, anything that causes anger, worry, and other such negatives are to be deleted instantly from our minds.

Keep reflecting...

Until the next flash,

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My friend weds..........

Ever been to a wedding where you have the invite but without the girl's name?

That is exactly how i felt when my friend called me up to announce that he is getting married. He has given me the date, the place and said that i am invited for the wedding.

He has also said that I may or may not know her.. may or may not get shocked to see her as his wife...

These were the clues he gave me among others that i am pretty confused about.

The point is, the very idea of attending a wedding knowing that you know both the girl and the guy, but are left with guessing the name of the bride till the date of exciting.

My friend is one of the very few who can come up with such strange ideas... strange as it may seem, it is great if you try to imagine one such invite.

I am still wondering if i should go ahead and guess. Why not go for the wedding and then wait for the bride to appear on stage ??

Let's see, will let u know about this experience and whether or not i could crack the Queen Code.

Picture perfect bedroom vs Sound sleep

Cool blue colored walls
Soft carpet to match the ceiling color
Dark colored drapes on the windows
Room freshener
Cozy bed
Cozy blankets
Spongy pillows
Teddy Bears
Soft music
Pleasant Wall painting
Night lamp
Bedside Table with a bright table lamp
A nice book

These days people have all these, but they are unable to sleep. This whole picture-painted bed room flashed in front of me, when i was held up last evening in the bridge at Kodambakkam High Road ( one of the renowned places in Chennai for traffic jam and prolonged 'Red' light on the Traffic signal post.).

For those of you who are unable to imagine what Kodambakkam high road looks like in the evenings, i will try my best to picture paint this place here.

A bridge that connects one busy cross road with the other. Both the signals have at least hundred vehicles waiting for the 'Red' light to turn to 'Green'. A hundred other vehicles cross the bridge. It is a two way traffic. This means there are two hundred vehicles approximately ,crossing the bridge at a time.

There are shops and office buildings on the roads parallel to the bridge. So if you are on the bridge you can see the first floor of shops and offices. The evening sun on July day, may not be as soothing to your skin as you want it to be. Chennai does not fall in the list of those cool climatic zones you know of....There is a mosque, college,wedding card shops and all shops that you can practically think of. Then there is the perennial cell phone buzz, the vehicle horns, the constant yell of the people, and the cool chatter of the kids in autos coming back from school.

You cannot miss one or two jam-packed Pallavan buses (City transport is named Pallavan) where typically every waiting minute( is it 'hanging minute'? , because you don't really get to find place to stand upright. Almost always, you will stand over some one else's foot or if you are short, you have the luxury of hanging onto the holders on the bus's ceiling.) So, every minute inside the bus is spent yelling over each other, or grumbling about the news of the day - ' Chennai is bad, Climate is hot, People are ridiculous, watch your language' and other such NOISY stuff. There is lots more that you can possibly hear, but I have not mentioned the exhaustive list here.. :).

There is the 'one -stop-shop' Shekar Emporium in this prime zone which is flooded almost always with people. I have never stopped wondering about the shopping spree of people.. That is a separate avenue altogether.

That is a view of Kodambakkam High Road for you on a July evening. Now, tell me, is this place a picture-perfect bed room? Definitely not.. But, I saw a man sleeping
peacefully on the terrace of one of the buildings .. (God knows if he was drunk, but then since I am not too sure, let's just say 'He was sleeping peacefully')... which is why I could not stop thinking about the picture-painted room that most people seem to have and still are not able to get a sound sleep.

So, the next time you think you are not able to sleep, think of Kodambakkam High road, the next second you will go off to sleep.


With new opportunities also comes to fear and self-doubt. How can we navigate these very strong forces in order to reach our fulfillment...