Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is art alive in India?

India must have once been a land where art and architecture, science and commerce, spirituality and hospitality, lived in every mind at work. If not, how do you explain the Mysore Palace in all its grandeur and eye for details, built years ago?

The intricate art work, the wooden carvings, stone sculptures, and the paintings tell us so much about the artistic talent prevalent in the olden days. There surely must have been an entire clan well-trained in the art work or may be there were people with in-born talent in art work on various media - Wood, Stone, Canvas, Wall, Metal and Fabric.

Makes me wonder - With almost no automation back then, how did people manage to build master pieces without a single blatant flaw? How did people manage to paint segments of a picture in multiple card board/canvas/wood sheets and fit these pieces into a complete beautiful picture on the ceiling of the palace? How do paintings as old as few hundred years stay fresh and alive till date? Has anyone in India patented the ivory art on wooden pieces?

Makes me wonder - How come today's wooden sofa sets with some much less intricate designs are not as perfect?

Just think : If we were to construct such a palace today ( assuming the money is just flowing in whenever you need) do you think we'll get such a perfection, even with the machines and design plan or whatever else you can possibly have? I think 'No' because in olden days people took pride in their work, were sincere than we can all imagine, cared for perfection, and were very honest.

It may not be practical to expect the same level of perfection and passion for art and architecture these days ( where is the drive for it?), but then it is sad that art and architecture talent is almost dying in India.... occasional art exhibitions and small scale art businesses in village are oases in today's city desert. There are some good talents in India, but they rarely get the attention and hence the encouragement to pursue it further.

Most of us Indians, are ready to pay sky-high price for a dress ( would take fifteen minutes in all to cut, stitch and pack) at Lifestyle, but never willing to buy an art piece without bargaining on the well-deserved price.

Why?

Have we lost taste and interest for art? Or are we too bothered about the worth of the purchase? Is art still alive in India as much as it was in olden days? Can't say...

Is art and architecture supposed to be captured only in cameras and history text books? Is there any way we can get back to the artistic mode again? Will that help bring in some long lost niceties in us and some forgotten culture back to India..? Don't know... but worth a thought I would say...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Abhiyum Naanum...

Abhiyum Naanum (அபியும் நானும்) is the recent clean movie that has hit the screens. The movie begins in a park where a young father is playing with his daughter. He meets an old man and they strike up a conversation, the common subject being parenting. The old father recalls little joys and some lovely moments in his life, as the father of a very sensible girl.

Since this is a very recent movie, I am not getting into the script of the movie. If you are a young father, you'd love to walk with the movie. If you are an old father, you'll agree about few things and won't agree with most others. If you are a son, you may not really appreciate the movie, unless you want to understand parenting.


The movie portrays the affection between a father and daughter. Right from the day the kid is born, till she gets married, director Radha Mohan has chosen some very common, very simple incidents that can make wonderful memories for any father. The father Prakashraj's affection for the child is crazy and easy to imagine. There are some really cinematic shots, but we'll end up giving credit to the script writer's imagination. The daughter Trisha adores the father, but it is surprising that she does not let him know about her love for Joginder, a Punjabi economist. Aishwarya plays the Mother character, who is very practical in all situations.

Radha Mohan deserves appreciation for the simple reason that the movie is clear off item numbers, inappropriate dialogues, obscene language, worthless jokes, over-acted stunts, random fire shot, murders, bloodshed, deaths, and other harsh realities that usually get woven into the movie script.

Abhiyum Naanum has been pictured in Ooty. Some shots in the hill station's roads, a park, Coimbatore Airport and a hill top villa are the shooting spots in this movie. You really do not need to spend crores on imaginations that mandate you to take a flight to France or Rome or some Foreign land.. Preetha's photography is excellent.

Vidyasagar has done a good job on music, with Vairamuthu taking the crown for the lyrics. Some of the songs are good enough to be remembered in the years to come.

Prakashraj has done a good job as a father who simply cant say 'No' to the daughter.. Some of the shots were too dramatic and some very casual.. There is a touch of comedy in the seriousness of parenting... It is not to be taken as a futile attempt to infuse comedy into the movie, but a successful attempt to make the story sound light.. else this delicate subject of parenting can be a workshop full of sentimental tears...

Aishwarya is a nice choice for the mother's role.. The movie shows the situations when a mother is very practical and the only situation she is not able to handle - the daughter's wedding. Somehow fathers are very practical when it comes to seeing off the daughter with the groom while the mothers always feel so much when she waves off a bye to the girl.

Prithviraj, the young parent, Thalaivaasal Vijay and his wife, fit into the story well. The character named Ravi Shastri brought in a lot of sentiments, but I guess it was needed to show the lovable nature in the family.

The director has given thought to social responsibility as well in the scene where he brings together a lot of affected people as Joginder's family. Trisha's husband Jogi is a good choice, a thought very different from the rest of the movies.

Final take: Abhiyum Naanum - A beautiful and different painting, worth a watch.

If you are old enough to understand people and patient enough to spend time talking to people, then go ahead and make a booking for this movie, else you better not watch the movie.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Give and Take policy

In a conference, there are times you welcome a tea break.. It all depends on what kind of session you just came out of. On one of these welcome tea breaks, I was very busy chatting about random technical and non-technical subjects with a friend. This friend Mr.K, was one of the senior members in my professional community. His friend Mr.S, also a senior, joined us for a quick minute to talk about the quiz competition that was to be held that evening.

The quiz committee had told us to find our own team members for the session. Mr.S told Mr.K : "I want you to be my in my team, so I can, ... okay, so we can, win the contest ." [ Smiles all the time...]

Now, this is a very casual and simple statement between two friends.. alright.. but then if you look close enough, rather think a little, it will bring a very understanding smile to yourself.

How often have we actually told someone, I need you to be in my team for us to win? Very Very rare.... It takes us all generally a while to acknowledge and appreciate the other's strength. More often than not, we just decide to keep to ourselves in situations when we know we can seek help... just because we don't know to explicitly appreciate some one's strength and cant bring ourselves to ask for help.

Sure enough, Mr.S and Mr.K were in the same team and did manage a win :) The Give and Take policy won.

The strength that an appreciation gives, nothing else can possibly give. It is not just about this quiz and its win that I am talking about. Of course, the winning in the quiz is not the prime thing in life....In a larger scheme of things, appreciation does matter and brings a lot of rewards to you and the recipient..

Christmas is about ...

December is all about Winter and Christmas..

Christmas is all about care and share..
Christmas is all about prayers and wishes..
Christmas is all about colors, bright and beautiful. .
Christmas is all about cakes and sweets..
Christmas is all about chocolates and wine..
Christmas is all about presents and visits..
Christmas is all about love and people..

I guess most of us either know or agree with most of these....

Yesterday I happened to visit a friend. It was a Merry Christmas day in their lovely home...

I noticed love and care filled the air all the time.... its not very often you get to be in such company outside your own family... My friend's family had invited about four of us for lunch. They are five in the family. So, in all nine of us plus their birds and our maid who helped us all had a wonderful Christmas lunch..

Just think people... To cook for so many of us, a meal that satisfied every one's tastes on Christmas day - not forgetting the time spent in prayers, the decorations, the Christmas presents for the family, the visits to friends and relatives place to wish Christmas.. the talking with all of us, the table clearing, the kitchen cleaning, the fireworks and well, the 'and' list.. keeps going on..

It takes an extra nicety to be truly nice to guests. It takes an art to make your guest feel at home.. It seemed like everyone in my friend's family had it as an in-born nature to be nice to people.. It is a must-learn attitude for everyone.

If we have been fortunate to be in such an environment, I guess we have to be thankful for the chance and be nice to everyone..

If we have not had the chance, we should start by sending an invite once to people... at least to appreciate the fact that it is not easy to host a party...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

To visit or not to visit

I met a friend, after what seemed like ages, on Google talk yesterday. It is Christmas vacation and I asked about vacation plans....

" I want to stay home, spend some quality time with my family, this vacation. " was the prompt response...

Now, if you know me enough, you surely understand that I would have been surprised beyond limits.... To think that a software personnel getting two weeks vacation like a school kid is in itself rare, and to think that someone actually wants to spend all that time at home is more than just 'RARE'...

I wanted to know the 'why' of it, then and there. So I asked " If not planning trips outside your town, are you not planning a few visits to your friends' places?" He said: " You should either be close enough to share work or your friend should have people to help with the arrangements for party, lunch or dinner...and not everyone you visit is comfortable with you helping out, and not every other house has someone to help with the arrangements and clearing up. In short, it is more of a causing the other person more trouble when you visit people in their houses".

There might be a thousand reasons for this decision that my friend chose to take, but the response I got made me think....

It is true that we need to be prepared to share work with the host or ensure that there is someone to get your host's house cleared up in time for the next week's morning work/school rush.

The next time you plan to visit someone, here are the points we could consider :

- Suggest that the host orders food from outside.
- If that does not work, offer to share work.
- Do not plan to cook exotic dishes if there are too many people around.
- The idea is to spend time together and not eat or drink like there is no tomorrow.
- If there are kids, let them do their bit for the party, so tomorrow when they have to host or take part, they'll know to host and to offer help.
- If your host has a baby, consider making your visits short.
- Even if it a party invite that you've got, and even if you are forced to think that it is your host's problem to clear the place, the least you can do is keep things in a decent order before you leave.
If that does not work, the best you can do is leave early, and let them work in peace.
- However tempting it does sound to stay on and continue talking or partying, remember that everyone has his priorities the next day.

If you are the host, do not expect any of these from your folks.. They are in your place to honor your invitation.. If you are the types who doesn't understand that after a party, it takes about a day or two for your house to function in routine, its best you don't host one. If you still have to, accept any help [major/minor]that you can get.

There is no point in creating an aftermath scene in the house that kills any interest to host another party.
There is also no point in making your host secretly say: This is the last invite I would send this person.

Merry Christmas :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vaaranam Aayiram1

Vaaranam Aayiram, Soozha Valam Seidhu....( வாரணம் வாரணம் சூழ வலம் செய்து ...)
That's how a Thirupaavai ( திருப்பாவை ) hymn begins. The Thirupaavai is the set of hymns recited by this young girl Kodhai ( கோதை ) also known as Aandal Naaichiyaar (ஆண்டாள் நாச்சியார்) to praise the Lord Krishna. She lived in Srivilliputtur, South India. This town was her world and the temple of Lord Vishnu, her paradise. Her father Periyaazhvaar ( பெரியாழ்வார்) did not know that Aandal tried on the floral garland, that was meant to be offered to Lord Krishna, on herself once every day, before she offered it to God. Unless she is satisfied that the garland is perfect for her Krishna, she would not offer it. This is much against the usual practice where we dont offer flowers that we have tried on already to the God whereas the reverse practice is usually considered the norm. It is said, that one day, when Periyaazhvaar refused to take the already 'tried-on' garland and got a fresh one done for the diety in Srivilliputtur Temple, Lord Krishna appeared in his dreams to tell him that he missed Aandaal's garland that day.

This devotee sang the Thirupaavai in the name of Lord Krishna in the month of Maarghazhi ( மார்கழி ). Even today, every South Indian vaishnavite temple has theese verses resounding in the air in the early hours of 30 winter days. One of these verses begin with Vaaranam Aayiram... (வாரணம் ஆயிரம் ...). It means 'Herd of thousand elephants'... and the hymn goes on to talk about the Lord Vishnu with a herd of thousand elephants, whom Kodhai whole-heartedly loves and trusts and believes in.

I know what you are thinking.. How does our movie relate to the title?
The movie is about Surya, a Major - Indian Army, who had to fly out on a very important mission, while his father is very ill. The Army base calls him up to say that his father, Krishnan, is no more and if he can manage to continue with the mission. Surya says 'Yes' and tries not to lose control.. While trying hard to fight emotions, his mind launches off into a flash-back mode where he recollects everything about his life with his Dad. His school, sports, college, work, setting the financial position of his life right, first love, his visit to the US to meet his girlfriend, her pathetic loss, the disastrous turn of his behaviour, his father's illness, his success at the attempt to find a kidnapped child, his second girl friend, his interest in Army, his marriage and baby, and his last meeting with his father - all come as a slide show in his mind. He finishes an important rescue operation and heads home straight.

Later, his mom tells about this hymn Vaaranam aayiram... which implies....that her love for his father Krishnan is just like the love Kodhai had for Lord Krishna. Since he had grew up seeing this love and the affection that Krishnan had for his family, he must be able to lead a life, the way Krishnan would have liked him to, always... and that Life must go on whatever happens...and its time to smile.

That's about the story...

There is something about Gautham's movies and gunshots, army, police kind of a set up. All his movies so far with such pitches have been good because the focus was different. In this movie however, the focus was home and Dad, so the Army mission didn't really seem to fit in well... You know it already that our hero has to win the mission.. we surely know that the director would not have killed the hero in the story because Sameera, the first girl friend is dead already.. another murder in the story will be a devastating hit in the box office.. So you kind of knew that the mission was going to be a hit and that was never the focus of the movie anyways.

Quickies :
Could have done away with the Army mission.
Could have given some importance to the second girl friend in par with the first girl friend.
Music is awesome.
Direction is good, but surely could have been better.
Nice story line, but then the play somehow didn't match the title.
Could have had a different title.
Costumes for the hero Surya and Sameera are casual and good.
Costumes for the hero Krishnan ( Star, Surya here again)and Simran ( late 70's costumes) are a good attempt, but we have never ever seen them in such costumes before, so didn't quite seem to suit their frame, but the eye for detail there deserves applause.
Surya has done a good job. Career set for the star if a nice stage is given.

Final words: Slow, emotional, cool, interesting, brings a lot of smiles, musical and serious. Not a movie for a dull day to help you recharge.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Zen Moment

I chanced to attend this very interesting session in one of the conferences yesterday that said, Look for the Zen moment always...

Ever seen a flower bloom?
Even seen one petal fall off a flower?
Ever watched the moment you understood a concept in class?
Ever kept tab of the moment you understood a joke?
Ever watched the flutter of a butterfly?
Ever taken time to watch the color of a sunrise change?

These are some of the heavenly/interesting/wonder filled moments that cannot be defined, however much a wonderful prose writer or poet you are. It is that one moment ( could be less than a second ) that turns around your perspective towards something... It is called Zen Moment.

Though Zen sounds slightly philosophical there is a lot of practicality in this.

Every day is a new day with new challenges at work. Most of us easily rate the work after a few years of experience, as 'Just the usual' or 'Nothing unusual about it'. That's when work becomes a monotonous and stressful job that we may not be able to handle for long. Instead, if we strive to look for the Zen Moment at work, we can enjoy every minute of work.

Now, if you are trying to ask me what kind of a Zen moment is possible, am not the right person to answer..and this blog is not the right place to look for answers either. No one other than you could be the right person to define your Zen moments in life.

I personally relate it to those moments that you cannot define in words and can only relate to when you have been through it..

Attempt explaining the fall of a petal from a flower to someone.. You will be outright called 'Boring' :) by most people...
Attempt explaining a joke to someone who didn't get it the first time... Even if he understands it later, he surely missed the beat of the Zen moment and it is never the same...sometimes, never a Joke at all...

Zen moments are to be realized and cherished and valued and can never be imparted. Let us always look for such moments in anything we do.

Keep watching out for the Zen moments in life to experience the beauty and wonder of YOU as a creation.

Thanks :
Heard the concept in the session, Zen and the Art of Technical Writing by Mr. Narasimhan of Commit India, in the Society of Technical Communication Conference in Pune. Everything written in this post are what got registered in my mind and may not be an exact interpretation and definitely not a word to word write-up of what I heard.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Fashion

Fashion.. That's a movie for people who can handle some reality check in everyday life.
Meghna Maathur is an educated girl from Punjab. Her father is talking about an articleship with some Chartered accountant while she is keen on pursuing her teenage dreams of becoming a model. Much against the will of her parents and with some help from a friend of friend, she takes this bold step to go to the city, which she, like everyone else believes to be the Fashion Destination in India.

It was a very hard time for a town-bred girl to handle the 'just-no-way-out-of-it' situations in the fashion world. She made friends, lost some good friendships, gained some not-so-great-friendships, mistook some relationships, gave up some in-born, home-bred and precious values, drifted from her principles, did things that didn't quite agree with her as a person, tasted success, struggled to handle the lime light it brought, became high-headed, changed her self to remain on the spot light always, lost in love, lost sense and composure, and then....... understood people, gained the lost confidence, got back to the limelight once again, this time, as a more composed, understanding, caring, loving and lovable person.

It is a brilliant make I must say.. Though there are challenging questions like what will a teenager take away from the movie?? Is it: Pursue your dreams come what may, even if it means putting yourself and your loved ones into deep trouble, because all that matters is that confidence in you about you that you can achieve. Is it : Never go against your parents, because they know the world better than you.

Another angle is for the parents: Should I encourage just about anything that my son or daughter wants even if I know it is not good for them? What is good parenting? Is it: Follow your dreams my child, I will help you realize it. Or is it : Even if it is a dream that you want to realize, just understand that few things may not be what is good for you.

Fashion world has a complete different challenge: Is the Fashion world as bad as depicted in this movie? Now, if someone wants to be a model, is she given similar treatments? In India, a land of heritage and culture, how is this kind of society tolerated? What is happening in fact? Is it: Fashion world is too high for a common man to follow. or Is it: Fashion is a nice profession, but the people in there have some serious attitude and behavioural issues. Or is it : This is what Fashion is, if you cant handle it, this profession is not for you.

Excellent direction. Every star has done a fantastic job. Though at every other fashion show we cant help thinking that the costumes could have been better for the kind of hype that show claims, I must say, it was a good attempt. Priyanka Chopra has done her best.

There was this shot about how one of the improperly strapped costume strips open on the stage during the show and how the model handles the minute with a bold look that completely camouflages how she feels. It was a brilliant performance by Kangana, the model in the scene. The expression on her face on this particular scene is hard to forget if you attempt to relate to the woman in her.

Priyanka fits into the role very well and has given her best. The music is good and is a good fit in the movie. Its all about her and her life. All supporting stars have done a good job as well, to compliment the neatly crafted story.

Final take : Stunning, Brilliant, Interesting, Emotional, and Realistic portrait that is too much to handle for people below twenty three and people above forty three years of age. That 23-43 band is purely my take. If yours differs, am sure it will be just by a few numbers plus or minus. Am sure you admit that this movie can drive age groups less than 23, confused and age groups above 43, unsure of what they have to say about the movie.

Friday, November 28, 2008

New entry in the list of Natural Calamities........

Well, am not really going to write some content for a school book on what natural calamities mean, but then looks like we'll soon have to add Bomb Blasts and Terrorism to the list of the other disastrous natural calamities.....


How else would you explain the terrorism attacks happening in India today?


Just like we have no hold on Earthquakes, High-tides, Cyclones, Flood, and Volcanic Eruption, it seems that we have no hold on the Bomb Blasts and Terror attacks that shake the country today.


Not a single day goes by without some news of bomb, terror, fire and attack. Every paper and news cast has one of these words on their news item all the time. Children grow up seeing and hearing of these things. We go to a movie theatre and there the situation is worse. Not a single movie in town today is clear of attack and stunts. Don't explain that a commercial movie needs such things to me.....At least once in a while children should get to watch things that meet the standards of their mental age. Today, the only option is to watch Tom and Jerry cartoons.

Every one including me, here in this blog are talking about it, but none of us is quite able to do anything much... The thought aches....

No one is to blame.... Unless we all collectively come to a conclusion that the way things are going is not good for our school going kids, and do something about it, we surely will have to face a day when the child reads out aloud from one of the text books/Internet:
List two natural calamities : Earthquakes and Bomb Blasts.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Classic Project Management - Indian Wedding Muhurat

I was talking about Project Management to a senior friend of mine....He told me about the most striking analogy from a lecture that he once attended on Project Management.

The lecture goes to say that the best example of Project Management is the Indian Wedding Muhurath. [ pronounced as 'Mo' as in 'Move'[Mu] , 'Who' as in 'Whose'[Hu] ' , 'Ru' as in 'Rumble'[Ra] , 'th' as in 'thrive'[th].

I am sure you can 'google' the word, but to put it in simple words: Muhurath is the chosen moment when the bride and the groom get married. Different customs are followed to mark this celestial moment of matrimony. In traditional weddings, a number of elaborate rituals precede and succeed the 'Muhurath'.


The bride's parents and the groom's parents agree to get the wedding done on a specific date and time. For the guy and the girl, this event means 'Engagement' where they get formally engaged to be married on the set date. The wedding date is usually set three to six months after the engagement to take care of all the wedding preparations.


The 'Things to do' list in a typical Indian Wedding :


  • Shopping for the Bride's attire and a huge list of accessories
  • Shopping for the Groom's attire and usually minimal accessories
  • Making a list of guests for the wedding from the bride's party
  • Making a list of guests for the wedding from the groom's party
  • Arrange for invitations [ 3 in number: traditional invite for relatives, modern invite for friends and colleagues, an invite for the reception, if you have more money to spend, then many more invites]
  • Arrange for the Pandit ( Prohit - Priest ) who will take care of the ritualistic procedures
  • Send email invites to people spread all over the world
  • Reserve a wedding hall for the special day
  • Calculate the approximate number of attendees
  • Arrange for accommodation for the people who might need it
  • Arrange for stage decoration and the like
  • Shop for return gifts for the attendees
  • Ensure that all plans work out as per the charted outline
  • Take care of travel and commuting needs before, during and after the wedding
  • Maintain the list of phone numbers in case of follow-up needs...


Hey, the list doesn't seem to end anywhere here... So lets just conclude that so much and more gets done for a wedding Muhurath.


There is no formal Process, Design Document, Development, Testing, Integration, Documentation and Release Plans like we have in Software Development. Still, there are inherent unwritten rules that govern this Mega Project -Wedding Muhurath and its amazing to note that people work in absolute sync to get this Project done.


Lets think about it....
  • Everyone thinks of one goal : THE MUHURATH.
  • Right people are posted at the poles to take care of the proceeds.
  • Everybody agrees to disagree on something that will not work out.
  • People in the group seek advice whenever needed.
  • There is no 'try' in most of the situations.
There could be ( am sure there are ) many more aspects to it, but the best and the important ones that came to mind are these seemingly simple but very difficult points.

If the Project Management works this way, there will never be any hassle in getting any project out on the set timeline.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What is the poiint??

  • What is the point in sitting in a class and not listening to the lecture?
  • What is the point in writing something without comprehending the meaning?
  • What is the point in going to a party without the enthusiasm?
  • What is the point in teaching without knowing the concept?
  • What is the point in managing without knowing project management?
  • What is the point in buying more and more when you don't want to 'give' away things you don't use anymore?
  • What is the point in earning money when you cant save some of it?
  • What is the point in asking questions when you don't want to know the answer?
  • What is the point in eating when you cannot appreciate the dish?
  • What is the point in saying 'yes' when you want to say 'no'?
Simple : Time pass!!! :) and appropriate pay off in terms of experience in each of these instances :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Quantum of Solace

I went for this movie yesterday not because am a great fan of James Bond movies, but because I can catch up with some of my friends.

I read the movie reviews upfront and got a sea of mixed review comments...

Time to write my own.. I am not a major fan of English movies, and definitely not of Noisy movies, still I can say this much about the movie : basically Good, very Noisy, moderately Intelligent, and extremely Tiring.

I surely expected more for all the hype it had created among the fans.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Weekend....

What are you doing this weekend? Now, do you have a single answer to this question? Most of us will have more than one appointment fixed for the weekend...

Tailor... Should ask him whatever happened to my dress that he's been promising to return....

Lunch with a friend... Yeah, we've not been able to catch up for quite long now.. Should meet this weekend..

Call up someone... Everyday I pick up the phone to dial, something or the other keeps coming in between... I should positively return this call over the weekend...

Visit Auntie... Sure, will be there over the weekend... For lunch?? Not sure, but will surely give a try.

And to clean up the room, to wash clothes, to meet friends, to invite friends, to read a novel, to go to the temple, to attend music class, to attend a birthday party, to attend a wedding, to shop for the week, to buy a gift, to service the car... and the list is endless :)


Most of us, if not all of us, have more than what we can handle, planned for the weekend.... And at the end of it, we feel so much exhausted that we don't really want to get to work the following week. If at all we do, it will be for a change from our weekend schedules :)

Often we see ourselves and most people who work, blame the Work for not being able to stay in touch and we tend to move all appointments to weekends... And in the weekends we blame the appointments for not being able to take time for ourselves and have a relaxed time...

Most people today are just not able to strike a balance between their Work, Family, Friends, Social appointments, Banking and Money matters, Errands that are used to getting postponed to the weekends, Compulsive obsessive nature towards cleaning, washing, gardening, gymnasium, and classes to learn something or the other..... if we have to handle all of these on every weekend, then 24 + 24 hours is surely not enough ...

I know of a family where they spend one day of the weekend doing the key home chores, some errands, prioritized visit/invite/party for the weekend.. They juggle their ' Over to weekend' tasks according to their priority and need of the day......never never attempting to do all on the same day...

Day two is completely their time.. they do what they love doing the most.... and generally have a relaxed time..

Know when you need rest and stop to take time to relax.... Do not blame work for everything... It is also up to you to adjust routines and handle it all :) Such a practice gets you geared up better, for the next work week and weekend.... There are times when everything seems important... but then always give it a thought and handle only what needs to be and what you can :)

People should start thinking about it.. I have :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Innovation and Marketing : Quick look

There are only two steps to success in Business..
1. Innovation
2. Marketing
I read this when I visited one of the banks in my home town.

People have this tendency to compare... I guess it is an inborn nature... So, if you are into business, you surely have to do something different from the rest of the world to be able to make that comparable difference...

Now, that you have put in a lot of effort to make a difference from the rest of the herd, you need to tell someone that you have done it and done it exceptionally well... If not inborn, you should be able to learn the art of boasting about your work modestly to people...

Only if these two happen, will your trade and commerce work best for you. Next time, you see someone doing very well, you can place the reasons easily : Innovation and Marketing.

If we give it a more careful thought... this rule applies in all walks of life..... including your hobbies and work.....Some one should know what you are doing and you should know what it takes to make that difference...

The next time you taste good food, see a nicely decorated table, shoppe in a famous super market, see a nice outfit, sit on a comfortable sofa, or admire a painting, take a minute to observe that it is the change from the routine that catches your attention and the brand on the work becomes important in most items...

Innovation takes Mindset : Marketing is an Art : These two efforts together equate to success anywhere and always.

Monday, September 29, 2008

திருவிழா.....

Remembered this rhyme when I was walking on the road one rainy evening in Bangalore.....

வானத்திலே திருவிழா
வழக்கமான ஒரு விழா

இடி இடிக்கும் மேகங்கள்
இறங்கி வரும் தாளங்கள்

மின்னல் ஒரு நாட்டியம்
மேடை வான மண்டபம்

தூறல் ஒரு தோரணம்
தூய மழை காரணம்

எட்டு திசை காற்றிலே
ஏக வெள்ளம் ஆற்றிலே

தவளை மட்டும் பாடுமே
தண்ணீரிலே ஆடுமே

அகன்ற வெளி வேடிக்கை
ஆண்டு தோறும் வாடிக்கை

This was the tamil rhyme I learnt when I was six years old... It is about a rainy day - Thunder takes the role of music, lightning takes the role of a dancer, sky becomes the stage and frog enjoys singing in the rain... The rhyme ends saying : This fun-to-watch event happens every year.

I do not remember the poet's name, but I surely remember the verse-speaking sessions with this rhyme, every monsoon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

May I help you?

That was the sign at the help desk of one of the popular, plush, high-end, prestigious, and seemingly over-friendly banks in the city.

I stepped into the bank on a bright Saturday around 11:00 A.M. After I got my bag checked at the gate, I waited like most other educated, civilized professionals in the long queue to collect the service token number at the desk that said : May I help you? Finally, when I got to the head of the queue, I gave my reasons to be there and got the Service Request Token number plus a few forms to be filled and taken to the counter.

A lady with the sweetest of smiles ( I would prefer to call it stapled smile) came over and asked if she could help me. I repeated my reason for being there and she said, " Please take your seat in this bay or the other side, watch out for your token number on the monitor over there. " The bank was packed with people and I had no choice but to stand/walk around waiting for my number to be displayed on the monitor... I am still looking for some writing desk or a seat to start with my forms.

Another gentleman walks up to me and says, 'Ma'am, yes, what brings you here?'.. I repeated the story to him and he said, "Please wait for your turn. The counter clerk will come here to announce the number in case you miss the track on the monitor."...

Then, finally I managed to find a comfortable seat.. Filled up forms.... Then sat back and looked at the monitor.... My number was not seen anywhere.. The prefix on my token didn't match the ones on the display, so I had to continue the wait.....The only thing that was missing was a steaming hot coffee or tea to make you feel like you are there to relax or to spend your excess time-off from work that weekend...

Watch was ticking... People came, gave you that brief ten minute company, found their counters. finished their brief!!!!!!! work in the counter, and were directed to a different counter, the phone banking booth, the online kiosk, or back to the bay. If nothing of these, they went to the Exit door. I sat there watching the latest trends in clothes and accessories, the gentle men and ladies with stapled smile, the counters.. and of course the monitor too....

After quite a long wait, I approached a 'May I help you', smiley girl and asked her if she thinks my number has crossed the queue, and she says, " Looks like it has... Were you filling up some form? I guess you missed your turn.." Now, that was not very helpful.... I did fill up a form, but then if its something I could have done at the counter, why didn't someone tell me earlier?..

Well, I had to wait until two others finished their work at a specific counter, and while the clerk was trying to take a break, I had to jump in and help myself to a seat and get my work done....My watch smiled: 1:45.P.M.. My stomach grumbled: Find something to eat in another few minutes....!!!!! and I rushed home immediately...

Murphy's law says : When something can go wrong, it surely will... By a modified version of Dr. Murphy's law: If you don't want something you will surely get it..., I didn't want to visit this bank at all any time again, and I ended up having to go there for four consecutive Saturdays between 11:00A.M and 1:00P.M to resolve some banking issue or the other.

Agreed, the bank intends to be customer friendly, but sorry to say, work just does not get done as easily as it should, in most cases...If I had known that I would need to make these repeated trips, I would have attempted to strike some conversation with all others with me at the bay and make some new friends/contacts..... I saw more than a few of the same faces every weekend... All of us were clearly not very happy about the shuttles to the bank every Saturday morning....

I remember reading this quote : Help ever.. Hurt Never... Will bank authorities do something about getting work done efficiently more than making life easy for the bank?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Big Bazaar

Big Bazaar is one of the fast-growing supermarket chain in India. I have visited Big Bazaars in Mumbai and Bangalore.

At least three storeys, about 15+ assistants on every floor, good service, dedicated shopping sections and networked computerized billing counters, just about everything you need for your household, too many varieties to choose from, and a ten thousand ideas to spend your money are some of the credits that this super market chain holds in cities.


I chanced to see a sharp contrast to this in my semi-urban town last week. The name of the shop was 'The New Novelty Big Bazaar".

Now, about this Bazaar - Housed on Ground Floor, Mud flooring, Three aisles to serve as walk ways, a section each for clothes, linens, plastics, stainless steel kitchenware, bags, and rexene purses, manual billing, about five assistants, no fan, one water can and good service.


Makes me think.. I am not sure if the owner of this place is even aware of the Big Bazar chain in the cities, but he surely has dreams of Making it as big as the 'Big Bazaar' some day :)

In business, it is all about Dreams.. Hard work makes it happen :-)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Floral Carpet in Workplace

Onam , a festival popular in Kerala, South India, is known for the beauty of the floral carpet, the delicious food, warm regards and prayers, and an aura of prosperity.

With whatever little idea we had, we managed to bring some color to the regular work day at office, on Onam day with our Pookalam ( Poo - Flowers, Kalam - Carpet ).
The floral carpet in a typical Kerala home is very different from what you are seeing here. The floral carpet as you see seems to bring a feel of cheer, color, beauty, prosperity, satisfaction, peace and happiness.
I firmly believe that festivals need to be celebrated in work places to bring in a change from the usual routine, bring out the long lost talents, get people together, instill the thought that team work pays, and bring lot of smiles that last till the next team event...
Management hint here I guess is : Keep the team happy.. Work cannot be made lively with just another code segment, another marketing assignment, another document, another meeting, another project plan, another team lunch, another drink, another appreciation talk, another appraisal, another increment, and another bonus...
Look for and ensure 'Liveliness' in the team to meet all Goals.. Festivals give you one more chance to maintain that zeal for work among the team members. This way, work will always be a floral carpet ( without thorns) for your team.

Monday, September 22, 2008

How are you?

That's the question I heard from Ms. A to Mr. B.

Here is the conversation that followed:

Ms.A : Hey, How are you? Long time...
Mr.B : Fine, thanks :) Am on my way out!!!
Ms.A : That was fast... Where are you off to??
Mr.B : Am off to XYZ software company.
Ms.A : Good.. When is your last working day here?
Mr.B : Day after tomorrow.. :) Will send a mail.
Ms.A : Thanks, stay in touch :) All the best!!! :)

So, if you have not met someone for long in a software company, don't be surprised if you hear such kind of response to your 'How are you?'... Life in software industry is like this of late :)

At work, spend time with your friends and remember to call if you do not see someone in his cube for long.. For all you know the person would have left the place permanently.. :-)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Wednesday

This is a 1:45 hour movie in Hindi, that certainly qualifies as the one-of-the-few, out-of-the-herd Bollywood movies.

If you are looking for unnecessary stunts, noise, music, songs, planned comedy and are against using your already over-working brain while in a movie theatre, then may be you should postpone watching this movie.

As with all advantages/positives, there are some disadvantages/negatives that is of course dependant on individual perceptions. I choose to talk only the positive aspects and not taking the role of a psychologist/teenage counsellor who might have a different opinion of the story line. :-)

The movie is about what happens in Mumbai between 2.:00 P.M and 6:30 P.M on a bright Wednesday afternoon.

A very clam-faced old man calls up the Chief Police Officer in the Mumbai Police Head Quarters and informs about the explosives that he has planted in five locations in the city. He asks to speak to one person who can make a decision without having to go through a thousand procedures ( processes in today's work terms!!!). That was his request and the police have no clue whether or not to take it serious. This talk lasts for a minute. From then on, there is a series of calls from this unknown number and the police have very little choice but to do exactly as directed by the unknown caller. The last call was around 6:00 P.M that exposed the reasons for the old man's directions and the motive.

Watch the movie to know more..

The end of the movie : The police officer meets the man, greets him, offers him a ride home, knowing well that this was the man whose calls have been eating his peace of mind that afternoon... he is unable to arrest the stupid common man, because his plot was carefully crafted and the intelligence was unmatched for the police to handle.

Quick thoughts:

  • When it comes to decision making, most people in authority go one step backward.
  • There are executives who can decide and act, but processes do not permit them to do so.
  • Senior people or experienced people need not always be the best in terms of execution of any activity.
  • Effective work force is one that has people who get angry, who don't get angry, and who can control anger. With one of these segments missing, the work force may not be efficient after all.
  • Emotions definitely come up on the face of danger whatever be the strength of a man gained from his profession : police officer, terrorist, common man, press reporter
  • Unspoken string of friendship can exist between people travelling together in a one hour ride by train or bus each day.
  • Reports do matter whatever be the situation in life.. for some reason that is beyond our understanding, people keep asking for reports, then and there.. whether or not, they are going to be able to change things... The Chief minister asks for a report on the whole incident ( movie ) on Thursday!!!!

Noteworthy :
  1. Anupam Kher's composure
  2. Nazrudin Shah's casual performance
  3. No songs and dance
  4. Strong dialogues but never too loud
  5. Simple script
  6. Neat action
  7. Quiet and sharp turns
  8. Closing talk by Nazrudin Shah
  9. Nice ending to the eventful Wednesday

Nut shell : Short, Strong, and Rare make in Bollywood for all audience who love to watch something different from the usual Hindi movies.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Traffic!!!!!!!!

Not a new word for people in crowded cities. On my way back from office, I got caught in heavy, peak hour, evening traffic. Of course I chose these words very carefully. Heavy because, you cannot move an inch in whatever vehicle you are in; peak hour because all software companies are off at the same time; Evening traffic is worth mention because everyone wants to reach the same place, on the same road, and at the same pace as you!!!

A quick chat with a very interesting friend last week made me understand that there is no point in cribbing about things you can't change... traffic being one of the lot. She told me how she enjoyed the music from some Festive procession while it was causing a very heavy traffic jam on the route.

I was beginning to get irritated with the long wait, but remembered the recent lesson and tried looking for something to enjoy.... Here's what I noticed:

  • From what is written on the sides of auto-rickshaws you will learn at least one proverb, a philosophical quote, or a two line romantic poem.
  • You'll learn new names from the cars.
  • You'll notice nice paintings on the windows of the trucks.
  • You'll chance to listen to the songs from the latest movies, blaring from the player on the adjacent vehicle.
  • You'll see the latest phone models and Ipods. People have really begun to take traffic jams easy!!
  • You'll see trends in formal and casual wears.
  • You have the chance to note down a real-estate office's number.
  • You can note down contacts for your house-hold work: plumber, contractor, cleaner and electrician. It is all on the advertisement boards on the sides.
  • You can find out the website that lists the latest eateries in the city along with the reviews.
  • You can spot an old friend struck in the traffic. You've lost touch for the simple reason: Out of sight is out of Mind. So, you can catch up on a quick phone call and make an appointment for the same weekend.
  • You can answer all your missed calls if you care for courtesy, else you can message back saying: "Am sorry, I was in a meeting... Can we talk this evening?" if you really are the types who loves to stay in touch.
  • You'll note the new cars and bikes on road.

There might be a lot more.. but so much is quite a number for a long wait in heavy,peak hour, evening traffic. So, just may be, the next time you are held up in heavy traffic on you way home from work, you must consider really looking around for such facts that often matter most to us.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Niceties

''Keep your voices low. Remember, you are seated close to a Work Area' . This is the standard saying that we would have come across...

'Silence' in a doctor's office...

'Please switch off your mobile phones in the temple premises' in a temple or a place of worship.

'School zone, No-horn please' on the walls of schools whose class room windows overlook the busy road.

When all over the place, such messages need to be posted to let people know about the basic niceties that they ought to keep up, the nicety of my office cab's driver, is worth a mention here.

Driver M loves to play the local FM radio channel during the long drive from and to our office. Whenever anyone in the cab gets a phone call, he always remembers to lower the volume of the Radio. No one needs to tell him or put a sign-board. He knows it too well. He is a calm composed person who has never lost patience in Bangalore traffic, never yelled at the fellow bikers or drivers.. if you know what it is like to drive or just watch what is happening on Bangalore roads on peak hours, you will be amazed at the niceties that this Driver M has in him.

Niceties need to be learnt... They need not be made mandates as in most places today...It would be nice if all of us can just adapt to these signs and act accordingly even without sign-posts that place requests for such 'need-to-have' manners.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Land of Billion sparks - Speech by Chetan Bhagat

Inaugural Speech for the new batch at the Symbiosis BBA program, Pune - 23rd June, 2008
- By Chetan Bhagat

Good Morning everyone and thank you for giving me this chance to speak to you. This day is about you. You, who have come to this college, leaving the comfort of your homes (or in some cases discomfort), to become something in your life. I am sure you are excited. There are few days in human life when one is truly elated. The first day in college is one of them. When you were getting ready today, you felt a tingling in your stomach. What would the auditorium be like, what would the teachers be like, who are my new classmates - there is so much to be curious about. I call this excitement, the spark within you that makes you feel truly alive today. Today I am going to talk about keeping the spark shining. Or to put it another way, how to be happy most, if not all the time.

Where do these sparks start? I think we are born with them. My 3-year old twin boys have a million sparks. A little Spiderman toy can make them jump on the bed. They get thrills from creaky swings in the park. A story from daddy gets them excited. They do a daily countdown for birthday party – several months in advance – just for the day they will cut their own birthday cake.

I see students like you, and I still see some sparks. But when I see older people, the spark is difficult to find. That means as we age, the spark fades. People whose spark has faded too much are dull, dejected, aimless and bitter. Remember Kareena in the first half of Jab We Met vs the second half? That is what happens when the spark is lost. So how to save the spark?
Imagine the spark to be a lamp's flame. The first aspect is nurturing - to give your spark the fuel, continuously. The second is to guard against storms.

To nurture, always have goals. It is human nature to strive, improve and achieve full potential. In fact, that is success. It is what is possible for you. It isn't any external measure - a certain cost to company pay package, a particular car or house. Most of us are from middle class families. To us, having material landmarks is success and rightly so. When you have grown up where money constraints force everyday choices, financial freedom is a big achievement. But it isn't the purpose of life. If that was the case, Mr. Ambani would not show up for work. Shah Rukh Khan would stay at home and not dance anymore. Steve Jobs won't be working hard to make a better iPhone, as he sold Pixar for billions of dollars already. Why do they do it? What makes them come to work everyday? They do it because it makes them happy. They do it because it makes them feel alive. Just getting better from current levels feels good. If you study hard, you can improve your rank. If you make an effort to interact with people, you will do better in interviews. If you practice, your cricket will get better. You may also know that you cannot become Tendulkar, yet. But you can get to the next level. Striving for that next level is important.

Nature designed with a random set of genes and circumstances in which we were born. To be happy, we have to accept it and make the most of nature's design. Are you? Goals will help you do that. I must add, don't just have career or academic goals. Set goals to give you a balanced, successful life. I use the word balanced before successful. Balanced means ensuring your health, relationships, mental peace are all in good order.

There is no point of getting a promotion on the day of your breakup. There is no fun in driving a car if your back hurts. Shopping is not enjoyable if your mind is full of tensions.

You must have read some quotes - Life is a tough race, it is a marathon or whatever. No, from what I have seen so far, life is one of those races in nursery school, where you have to run with a marble in a spoon kept in your mouth. If the marble falls, there is no point coming first. Same with life, where health and relationships are the marble. Your striving is only worth it if there is harmony in your life. Else, you may achieve the success, but this spark, this feeling of being excited and alive, will start to die.

One last thing about nurturing the spark - don't take life seriously. One of my yoga teachers used to make students laugh during classes. One student asked him if these jokes would take away something from the yoga practice. The teacher said - don't be serious, be sincere. This quote has defined my work ever since. Whether its my writing, my job, my relationships or any of my goals. I get thousands of opinions on my writing everyday. There is heaps of praise, there is intense criticism. If I take it all seriously, how will I write? Or rather, how will I live? Life is not to be taken seriously, as we are really temporary here. We are like a pre-paid card with limited validity. If we are lucky, we may last another 50 years. And 50 years is just 2,500 weekends. Do we really need to get so worked up? It's ok, bunk a few classes, goof up a few interviews, fall in love. We are people, not programmed devices.

I've told you three things - reasonable goals, balance and not taking it too seriously that will nurture the spark. However, there are four storms in life that will threaten to completely put out the flame. These must be guarded against. These are disappointment, frustration, unfairness and loneliness of purpose.

Disappointment will come when your effort does not give you the expected return. If things don't go as planned or if you face failure. Failure is extremely difficult to handle, but those that do come out stronger. What did this failure teach me? is the question you will need to ask. You will feel miserable. You will want to quit, like I wanted to when nine publishers rejected my first book. Some IITians kill themselves over low grades – how silly is that? But that is how much failure can hurt you. But it's life. If challenges could always be overcome, they would cease to be a challenge. And remember - if you are failing at something, that means you are at your limit or potential. And that's where you want to be.

Disappointment's cousin is frustration, the second storm. Have you ever been frustrated? It happens when things are stuck. This is especially relevant in India. From traffic jams to getting that job you deserve, sometimes things take so long that you don't know if you chose the right goal. After books, I set the goal of writing for Bollywood, as I thought they needed writers. I am called extremely lucky, but it took me five years to get close to a release. Frustration saps excitement, and turns your initial energy into something negative, making you a bitter person. How did I deal with it? A realistic assessment of the time involved – movies take a long time to make even though they are watched quickly, seeking a certain enjoyment in the process rather than the end result – at least I was learning how to write scripts, having a side plan – I had my third book to write and even something as simple as pleasurable distractions in your life - friends, food, travel can help you overcome it. Remember, nothing is to be taken seriously. Frustration is a sign somewhere, you took it too seriously.

Unfairness - this is hardest to deal with, but unfortunately that is how our country works. People with connections, rich dads, beautiful faces, pedigree find it easier to make it – not just in Bollywood, but everywhere. And sometimes it is just plain luck. There are so few opportunities in India, so many stars need to be aligned for you to make it happen. Merit and hard work is not always linked to achievement in the short term, but the long term correlation is high, and ultimately things do work out. But realize, there will be some people luckier than you. In fact, to have an opportunity to go to college and understand this speech in English means you are pretty damm lucky by Indian standards. Let's be grateful for what we have and get the strength to accept what we don't. I have so much love from my readers that other writers cannot even imagine it. However, I don't get literary praise. It's ok. I don't look like Aishwarya Rai, but I have two boys who I think are more beautiful than her. It's ok. Don't let unfairness kill your spark.

Finally, the last point that can kill your spark is isolation. As you grow older you will realize you are unique. When you are little, all kids want Ice cream and Spiderman. As you grow older to college, you still are a lot like your friends. But ten years later and you realize you are unique. What you want, what you believe in, what makes you feel, may be different from even the people closest to you. This can create conflict as your goals may not match with others. . And you may drop some of them. Basketball captains in college invariably stop playing basketball by the time they have their second child. They give up something that meant so much to them. They do it for their family. But in doing that, the spark dies. Never, ever make that compromise. Love yourself first, and then others.

There you go. I've told you the four thunderstorms - disappointment, frustration, unfairness and isolation. You cannot avoid them, as like the monsoon they will come into your life at regular intervals. You just need to keep the raincoat handy to not let the spark die.

I welcome you again to the most wonderful years of your life. If someone gave me the choice to go back in time, I will surely choose college. But I also hope that ten years later as well, your eyes will shine the same way as they do today. That you will Keep the Spark alive, not only through college, but through the next 2,500 weekends. And I hope not just you, but my whole country will keep that spark alive, as we really need it now more than any moment in history. And there is something cool about saying - I come from the land of a billion sparks.

Thank You.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Onsite

Did you think the term on-site is associated/patented only to software industry??!!!??

On-site opportunity for a software engineer is to go to a customer's place preferably to a different country...

On-site opportunity for a military doctor is to go to a war field to treat a wounded soldier...

On-site opportunity for a chartered accountant is to conduct financial audits in a company rather than working on some mathematics at his work desk at the base office...

On-site opportuntity for a Caterer is to cook at the customer's place to meet the catering needs for a a very important social event...

On-site opportunity for a vegetable seller in the market is to go to a specific place in the town to sell vegetables...

On-site opportunity for a painter is to be at a construction site instead of handling the in-house painting jobs at the contractor's base site...

On-site opportunity for an electrician, plumber and other building technicians is to go to a house to solve related problems...

On-site opportunity for a circus comedian is to get a chance to perform in a month-long circus events in a town...

Every profession has its own on-site opportunities....

A news item on today's Eclipse made me wonder what would be the on-site opportunity for Astronauts...... Space Expeditions??.. May be... :-)

This aside.....
Can't help thinking.. If Software parks move to moon, then what will be the on-site opportunity for the software folks?? Assginments at the Earth??? ...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Better to stay-out-of-it

You know that a conversation falls under the better-to-stay-out-of-it category:
  • if you get a smile for an answer
  • if you get a "well... may be.. may be not " for an answer
  • if you get a quiet stern look that asks "Why do you want to know?"
  • if you sense a quick change of topic
  • if you get an indirect " as much as you.. or not as big as people think it is" answer

I have noticed that people are not comfortable talking about Money, Property, Weight, Age among other things.... And once people who take these topics seriously get into this kind of a conversation, it is just never the same between them.... Wonder Why??!!!???

Courtesy : yesterday's road side conversation when A was keen on knowing how much B got for a hike, and he drilled him very casually ( hard to notice if you didn't know the context) and found out exactly the amount he got for a hike... :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jaane Tu yaa Janne Naa

Maane Tu yaa Maane Naa....The girl in the movie, Aditi, is a typical fun loving, adorable college student.

Nice movie... That's a blanket statement I would give just like most others who watched the movie would say..

The story is simple... Two friends think that share nothing but friendship but then later decide that there's more to their relationship than plain friendship. The story is world-known, but the way this movie has been made is very different from the regular Bollywood films.

There is a lot of fun and nice dialogues that take you back to your early college days... There is good music.. Thanks to Rahman... :) There is lot of English and socialization in the movie, thanks to today's way of life in most metros.. :-) There is a lot of noise and cheer and fun and laughter.. :-)

On the surface look, this movie is a cool time pass. On careful thoughts, you will notice a few pointers that never get explicitly called out anywhere in the movie... These have been left for the audience to explore.

There are scenes that tell you how it is important to notice that children are not as happy as you think they are, how talents in kids go unnoticed simply because you do not care to notice, and how inherent skills/attitudes surface some day or the other... Could be my interpretations, but you will surely notice it too..

For an analysis this is a good movie..
For a causal mind less time pass, this is a fantastic movie..
For college goers, am sure this movie is sure to kindle a lot of hard-to-justify thoughts..
For fun lovers this is great..
For people who are looking for a change from the usual Hindi movies this is a definite hit..

A nice mix of old story in a modern canvas with colourful palette of music, dialogues, and fun. A rare make in today's film industry.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Caution : Potential common sense failure

You step out of your work desk to enjoy the picturesque scenery created by the gentle rainfall.The granite steps that lead to the office reception is wet.

You spot one of the housekeeping staff members in your office with a bucket full of water and a mop. She is mopping the hallway.

What is obvious in these two cases ? Wet floor!!!

And no one needs to tell you that in these two scenarios... I have got so used to the sign boards in my offices : Caution! Wet Floor that I think one fine day even when the place is obviously flooded with water and there is no Caution board, I might slip on the granite floor...

It is said "Commonsense is not common always.." If we have such kind of boards stating the obvious, then our common sense will cease to exist one fine day and we will never be able to Think in the first place, forget the ideal " Think beyond the obvious "... :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

IT park in Moon

Yesterday a thought quickly crossed my mind... What if all software companies migrate to Moon someday....

Dress codes may change and I think will be more formal for sure, due to the temperature conditions in Moon.

People may not work long hours as they have to travel back to their homes in the Earth the same day.

All fast food corners on Earth will open only on weekends. All software engineers go to work to the Moon during the week and they don't have time to have junk food. They get to eat only twice a day. Due to the differences in the environment, they may not feel hungry in Moon. So its likely that they stay out of junk food during the week.

The Passport office will have a new wing called Pass Sphere that issues permits and identities to the software employees.

The conveyance between Earth and Moon will be expensive. There will be no need for any cafeteria or food in Moon, so the companies can cope with the travel expenses.

The software engineered in the Moon will have to comply with ETEPZ ( Extra Terrestrial Export Processing Zone ) rules where all the software has to be sold at a definite rate to all the businesses run on Earth for the benefit of every one.

Appraisal schemes will be revised to have only two codes - IN and OUT. If you manage to be IN, then you are eligible for a standard increase in pay package. If you are OUT, you can never get a Pass Sphere again for five years. That means you can get back to software industry after you clear the Pass Sphere procedures again after five years. In effect you will be jobless for five years. However, if you are smart enough you can get into other industries to earn a living. The ETEPZ rules admit you into software industry again even if you have served in non-software domains for five years.

These are some of the quick crazy thoughts that crossed my mind.. What is your thought.. Keep adding... :)

Outage

  • Today is a Friday. All email vendors have decided to observe a day's outage period. So is the decision with the major mobile service providers. Tomorrow and day after are holidays. How does this impact you?
  • If power fails for one whole day in the world, what according to you are two major impacts?

Money thoughts.....

1. You operate ATM today and find one billion dollars balance. What are the first three thoughts that come to your mind?

2. You have one day to spend one million dollars.. What would be the break-up of your expenses?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thin lines...

It is said that there is a very thin line between certain two closely placed aspects on the life line...sometimes it is very hard to really demarcate the two. Some of them I gathered are :

  • Think and Worry
  • Stress and Tension
  • Competition and Rivalry
  • Criticism and Jealousy

When you read these terms separately you are sure of their definition. When you put in a careful thought, you really are not sure of the aspect you are referring to at any point in time...

Not clear ?

  • Try to figure out if you are stressed or tensed?
  • Try to identify if you are thinking or worrying?
  • Try to see if you are competing with something/someone or do you have a rivalry situation?
  • Are you trying to be a critic or are you being jealous?

Honestly, it is difficult to tell... Give it some thought.. If we manage to keep these two aspects separate, am sure all our professional and personal lives will improve for good.

Use the web reference or any dictionary reference to find the word meaning, but connect with yourself to find out if you can clearly distinguish these thoughts....

This is one of my recently gained insights.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

An integral segment of IT highways and IT parks

If you are an IT professional and your office is in one of those IT parks, you wont deny the fact that one of the happiest business man in that part of your town is a Pan shop owner... Every compound/fence of IT company/IT park has all these : A driveway with Entry/Exit Boards, the gate guards who look at you like you are the next person whom they expect to bomb the building down, the security folks who are ever so sweet to let you know that you can't walk on the driveway as per the sign board , the gardens and fresh flowers, spic-span walkways, the rear gate which is always busy with some traffic of trucks, trolleys, buses, that you never have the time to spend to understand....and then there are these cabs or buses neatly parked.. they have to be taken out of the building on time when the employees get out... (or is it the other way??... the employees get out of office on time because the buses leave at a definite time... ) and then there are these Pan shops situated at a Strategic business point just outside the huge building... They form the integral segment of the IT facility I would say.... :-)

Pan shop owners don't spend a lot in putting on interior decor make up to their shops.. It is typically a shed of sorts with an asbestos if an old timer or a canvas/kakhi shamiano( the kind that is used for tents) if the guy is testing waters in business in this particular IT park/company. Then there are a lot of things neatly arranged on the small counter..I have no idea what are the things but from the known IT traffic to the shops I can say Pan, cigarettes and chewing gums, are sure items on sale. Some of these are in sachets and they are hung in such a beautiful pattern that they give quite a decorative ambience to the shop. Since the shop is frequented only by IT folks who are supposedly posh , care for cleanliness and just the idea of looking neatly dressed and are well mannered, there are no loud talks and no bargains... there is no need to tell people to use the dustbin and no need to appoint someone to clean the place after a high-tea is done... By the way, in more organized Pan shops by the IT bay, you will also get to see a small table and few chairs, giving the setting a truly high-tea friendly spacious look.....

In my few job hops, I have always seen that this Pan shop owner is a happy man catering only to the software guys.... there is always one shop.. at the most you will see two shops in the vicinity of an IT giant.....

I have always wondered why the IT parks and company authorities never complain about a not-so-posh shop dotting their posh office..
And why IT folks complain so much if the AC is off for a few seconds in office, while they don't mind taking walks outside office to the Pan shop in sweltering summer heat.....
And how is it that the Pan shop owner always smiles and our folks always have a " This is too much to handle" look on their faces....
And why the IT guys don't read what is documented on cigarette boxes "Smoking is injurious to health".. but coming to think of it, most of them don't read emails and official documents properly as well... So lets just leave it at that :-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

IT folks decide to move out of IT......

I have been hearing this often for quite sometime now.... " I want to quit life at a software park and move into something else ".... Some of the interesting thoughts that I came across...

I want to start a chain of Fresh fruit Juice centers... I want to make it a business empire out of it... I do not know anything about selling fruit juice, but I want to learn in another few years, so I can move out of IT. I believe I can meet a lot of people during my work day.

I want to become a farmer... I have no idea about farming but I want to learn it in another few years, so I can move out of this IT profession. I believe I can make a difference to the world this way.

I want to become an agriculturist... I have an admiration for agriculture, but have no idea what it takes to become an agriculturist... but I want to move out of IT into agriculture. I believe I can stay in touch with Nature and its beauty this way..

I want to own a tea shop... This has to be in a a hill station. I can stay connected to the nature's beauty, observe people and enjoy the peace and quiet of the scenic beauty around.

I want to teach in college.... I love teaching. I want to quit IT life and teach young and ever energetic student crowd.. Will make me grow younger each day.

I want to write for a greeting card company... I want to put in some emotions into my work to make it a nice adorable piece of art... I want to quit IT after I have made money...

I want to teach kindergarten kids... They are such lovely teachers, wonderful friends whose innocence can make my work life interesting... I want to quit IT and move into a K.G school so my life becomes more cheerful and I can smile every minute....

I want to produce a movie... I want to play a small role in it.... I am sure it is more interesting that IT anyday....

I have heard all these so far. Last week I heard that some techie in a very reputed company chose to move out of IT to pursue his interests in Agriculture... He wants to make use of his programming knowledge and acquired knowledge in agriculture to come up with something nicer and profitable for himself and India at large.. He and his family have moved into a small town in Tamil Nadu to start work on this. Coming to think of it, I am sure it takes a lot of strength to give away a plush office space, swipe cards, identity cards, recognition in the name of the company, high-speed computers, ever-available Internet, city traffic, international schools, metro environment, immense bank balance, some five cards - both debit and credit always packed with cash to spend, luxurious life style - party, gifts, drinks, expensive wardrobe, Inox theatres, music and dance, Pepsi and Pizza, posh car, mobile phone that is less of a phone and more of a camera, player, computer, and recorder today... and anything else that you can think of that characterizes an IT professionals' life today.

They say " You have to give up something to gain something ".. May be such a sacrifice will bring big gains to the community.. May be it will involve a lot of struggle.. May be it means a total change in lifestyle... but it also means lot of happiness at the end of the mission..

May be some results are worth sacrificing comforts of IT life... May be it is worth a thought.... May be everyone should consider doing something other than their tried and tested profession someday...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Splash on Job

  1. Never make your hobby your job...suddenly, at some point in time, money will seem to matter a lot.
  2. Love your job.. If you don't, find ways to love it.. If not, move on.
  3. All jobs get interesting with nice managers.
  4. The most interesting job can get irritating with a bossy manager.
  5. Aim for and work towards perfection in your job, but remember to forgive yourself of your mistakes at work, because no one else will.
  6. To love your job, compete with your past record in the same job.
  7. To do a thorough job, all you need is the fundamental belief that you can do better than the best.
  8. Take time to appreciate the job you have done... often that improves your performance.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Splash on business

- Bees are the busiest...


- Business tactics needs more of practice than of an educational qualification...


- It is important to be stern, friendly, composed,excited all at once in business...


- Business demands investment of time in people more than investment of money....


- It is good to mind your own business to avoid alarming effect at the end of the first quarter...


- Follow-up is one of the keys to successful business empires....

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Make a difference......

Andhra mess..... Once quiet, but now a noisy little food joint close to my office caters to the IT folks who crowd in during Noon for lunch.

We are a group of friends who frequent this place once or twice a month for sure. We all have different preferences in meal usually. One friend of mine loves peanut powder, another does not have curd, I don't usually take rice, instead ask for extra Rotis, another friend likes to have sugar soon after the usually spicy meal.

Usually we place orders for "All Veg meals" and when the waiter comes over to serve, we give out our preferences.

I never knew that he knew our tastes by heart... He ensured that sugar was kept on the table, extra rotis were brought in, and peanut powder took a place in our table. We are all still amazed about the memory power that this person who serves close to hundred people a day has and how much of an impact it has on us, his valuable customers.

Later when we were talking about it, we realized that a lot of us meet a lot of people in shops who knew our tastes exactly and would give us what we want. These people do not get any rewards or benefits, but just the satisfaction of having done their jobs, rather mastered their jobs...

I cant help thinking about people in high-end jobs who do not really master this art of remembering to think about the other person's interest... still they get paid much more... appreciated much more... cared for much more...

It is the same set of people who fail to recognize the small niceties extended to them by people who have not been fortunate enough in life to be their peers in terms of money and work style.

I think we all should start appreciating the niceties extended by a shop keeper, baker, fruit seller, grocery storekeeper, launderer and other people without whose services our own work life would majorly get affected.

I have seen people complaining about cost for all these services sky-rocketing... Think about it... We all wont mind a reasonable big number as salary hike every year .... :-)

So lets pay due respect and appreciate all those who make our life easy, although be it in a very small way. This will probably make someone's day.....

They say , "Small things make a huge difference most of the times"..

This article is on Bangalore mirror dated November 10th 2008.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Rasam

Any meal gets interesting with this South Indian speciality 'Rasam'.. I am tempted to talk about it today as I had made Rasam this afternoon and all of us had a hearty meal with Rasam receiving applause:-)

It is wonders of wonders coming to think of the simplest tactic of making water as tasty as it can get :) Rasam has water, tamarind, chilli, asafoetida/garlic, sugar, a special powder that has a lot of spices and grams, tomatoes and coriander... If you want to learn to make Rasam contact the nearest South Indian home... if there are no South Indians around, try Google. :-)

Rasam in Today's Tamil language means "Juice", in Malayalam means "nice and entertaining", in theory means "taste".. Hey, wait I have not had a chance to Google this.. these are just my thoughts.. :)

Karnataka, India takes the first place in making Rasam.. followed by Tamil Nadu...

Northern India has a dish called Shorbha which seems to belong to the Rasam family...

In some of the South Indian homes, no meal is deemed complete without this dish called 'Rasam'.

It is a South Indian equivalent of today's soups... a good appetizer... :)

Rasam is the first dish that any South Indian baby is introduced to after the regular Farex stint gets over.... :)

There are so many varieties of Rasam.. I know of a house where they make at least fourteen varieties of Rasam .. So in effect you get to have the same kind of Rasam only once in two weeks... :)

Rasam has medicinal values... If you have a bad cold/fever and you are in a South Indian house, you will get to have Pepper Rasam for sure...

People love Rasam so much that they have managed to add pineapple pieces in it thus making a new, " not-bad-after-all" Rasam called Pineapple Rasam..

Rasam although simple to make, is an art... as much as coffee making is... :)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Outlook in Life...

Yes, right... I am talking about Outlook... the role of Microsoft Outlook in work life..

Yesterday when someone asked me, if I would be available on Thursday morning for a discussion, it took me a while to realise that I had no idea whatsoever of my appointments on Thursday.... I had to rush to my desk to look at my Outlook calendar to say "I am free on Thursday morning"...

I sat back thinking about this... Its never happened with me... I am known to remember my appointments, phone numbers, task lists, email ids and of course birthdays....I once used to argue with people that if you prioritize 'People', you cant really forget these things...what's happening now?

Outlook is everything at work....
You have a task to finish, enter it in Outlook..
You have a birthday wish to send, mark it in Outlook...
You need a contact number, look it up in Outlook...
You want to see a message from a friend, check your Outlook...
You want to write to a friend, compose it in Outlook.....
You have to meet someone, save it in Outlook...
You have a discussion, etch it in Outlook and send invites to people....
You have to store some information, scribble it in a draft and keep it as long as you want...
You want to remind someone of something, flag a follow-up on Outlook....

So, everything.. just about everything that you need to do, is dependent on Microsoft Outlook.. The Outlook, kind of, defines how much people are working these days...

Every day....
  • An over-flowing mail box with two emails from friends, one of which is usually a forward and the other is a "hello, how are you? Long time.. no see/hear.. what's up?" email....
  • An Outlook calendar with back-to-back meeting appointments, some of them important, some of them name-sakes, some of them which are usually bound to get cancelled/postponed and some of them which can be skipped....all of which are usually accepted most of the times...
  • A task list which usually runs to lengths....
  • Reminders that pop-up as the system clock ticks by each day....
Without these, life at work is not complete...

What if one day, just one day, for some reason unknown, Outlook stops working in companies all over the world... ????

No emails, No notifications, No reminders, No phone calls, No meetings : No one knows the task list, No one has any clue about meetings, No one has any phone number recorded anywhere else, No one has any information on what happened to all the work that they finished...

If Nothing of this happens, there is practically NOTHING that happens at work desk in a software company... so also, I guess everyone will be on a paid holiday, much more relaxed and will use the native super computer - that is, the BRAIN much more..... Life at work will change for the better.. :-)
I also am tempted to mention:

May be, the "whatever" council/body/committee will declare "Outlook day" where Microsoft Outlook will not be functional in their offices.... I have to admit that there will be an email flood across the world saying : " Tomorrow Outlook will not be functional. Please take proactive measures and send all emails that you would need to send tomorrow by End of the Calendar day ( 23 hours 59 minutes) tonight. Request you to ensure that your business does not get affected. Have a happy "Outlook Day". Thank you for your cooperation. Best regards. "

And one will end up thinking " Why on earth do I have to put up with this ? Just do away with this Outlook free day and I'll be better off with my own mails, task lists, calendars and contact lists and spend less of my brain.....:-)

All said, it is Outlook that makes my life at work better, just because, the moment I come inside office, my brain instructs me to open my mail box.. Now that my brain is tuned to Outlook, I guess, I salute Microsoft for its Noble work as I am plunging into the whirlpool of emails today..... :-)

Wonder what my superiors think of their email boxes?? :-) May be : Behind every manager's success there is people, attitude, and of course Outlook. :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

IT Highway

This morning, when I was commuting to office in the company-provided deluxe bus ( High platform, Cushioned Chairs, Comfortable leg-space, Air conditioned, the local FM radio channel ) I was curious to see how much longer my bus has to wait in the heavy traffic. So I stood up and gave a quick glance to see that the road was completely packed with buses like the one I was travelling in. There were a few cars, quite a number of city cabs, a very few bikes and a few maxi cabs. No cycles or pedestrians in this part of the city at this particular time of the day, as you just cannot expect to wade your way by a bike or walk, through the very heavy, heavy-vehicle traffic.

I was glad that I don't drive a car - as in this city's traffic, you would be one among the rare herd of people who love to drive to work in an office that is out of the city - and certainly am not the kind.

I also noticed that people in most of the cabs, cars and buses dozed off... I wont blame them for it as they probably wake up very early to take the bus to office at 6:45A.M and catch up on the lost sleep in the bus. But coming to think of it, where is the morning freshness, where is the morning briskness, where is the morning speed and efficiency that we have all been taught so much in school?

While I was still wondering about the missing early morning enthusiasm in most of us, - thanks to IT life - my bus reached my office and it was time to get down the bus and get into the wonderful office space that I have. I get down the bus and didn't fail to notice the slow walk and dull faces and extremely slow paced ID swipes... I try not to question.. but can't help at times...

Why is the speed so low?
Is it traffic? Is it work? Is it life style? Is it practice? Is it home life? Is it chilling out? Is it relaxed mind state? Is it weather? Is it the I-don't-care attitude? Is it I-don't-have-life-outside-work nature? Is it plain boredom?

As a contrast, if you look at people working in other sectors, there seems to be a better briskness expressed, among the very fewer luxuries that their work life has to offer them. There is no plush office space, there is no transport, if at all there is, there is definitely no AC transport, there is no flexible working hours, there is no Friday evening excuse, there is no.. let's just say, a lot of other things..

I have no clue what fits into the description of a very slow IT professional with all the luxuries.. But I surely know that IT highway today got me thinking...and that this kind of pace is not good for the supposed-to-be young and energetic crowd.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gulab Jamoon in Bangalore

I know you picked up this topic because you love Gulab jamoon or are curious to know what this post is all about....

Last Saturday, I was in a shopping mall in Bangalore. After a two-hour long roam, my friend and I decided to eat at the food court. We chose the juice and dessert corner and placed orders.
While I was still waiting for the sugar cane juice that I ordered, I was scanning the display shelves. It is a nice past time if you are the kind who will appreciate decor.

Wall papers with fruits and cake pictures, glass shelves with fruits made out of wax, a display shelf with lots of freshly baked cakes and some sweets....I stopped right there... it was not just another sweet.... it was my favorite Gulab Jamoon.... :-)

For people who do not know about Gulab Jamoon, it is an Indian sweet which at its best, is brownish red in color, soaked in Sugar Syrup, very soft to bite into, and tastes very sweet usually. It takes about an hour to make 30 pieces of this sweet and costs INR 6:00 to INR 10:00 in any restaurant or a shop that sells sweets. Google can help you better on this reference..

I love Gulab Jamoons... There is no limit to the number I eat at a time and there is no definite time of the day or night when it comes to tasting Jamoons.

For a minute, I was tempted to buy, though I knew it for a fact that among the other things that I have ordered that evening, this sweet would add too many calories and it may not go well with the rest of the items... While I was still thinking, I happened to glance at the price of the sweet. It was Rs.49( seven times!!!!!!! more than the usual price)...

I picked up my sugar cane juice, sat down at a fair distance from the shelf and pondered about the cost and the fact that many of the customers were willing to pay that high a price for a sweet that can cost upto 20 rupees at the maximum.

May be this is how the calculation was done:
Pro-rated cost of Air-Condition in the mall + Pro-rated cost of the glazed glass name plate stating "Gulab Jamoon"+ Pro-rated cost of refrigerator display shelf + Pro-rated cost of maintenance of the sweet corner+ Pro-rated making charges + Pro-rated cost of the bright lamp in the display shelf that made the Jamoon look truly attractive + Cost of the actual Jamoon = Rs. 49!!!!!

May be, just may be this is how the cost Math was done, otherwise, I don't see any other work- around to arrive at this huge number for my favorite Gulab Jamoon.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Splash on Confusion

  • Realising that you are confused takes you close to the solution.
  • Five steps to solve confusion : Identify, Confirm, Prioritize, Think, and Act
  • Confusion is more like a muddy puddle of water.. It takes some time to sediment.
  • Confusion implies that clarity is round the corner.
  • Re-check if it is really confusion or just an interesting problem that needs your time and attention.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The joy of satisfaction.........

I chanced to visit a village (About 100 km from the city) recently. When I was about to leave, I asked if there is any transport from the village to the nearest town from where I can take another bus to go to the city. The villager was very helpful in directing me to the bus station. There was no bus shelter as such, but from the crowd there, I guessed it should be the bus station.

The villager went on to tell me about the "nice school" ( the only school there), the "main hospital" ( the only health clinic in the village where nurses were always available and doctors come in at a definite time), the regular buses, the future plans to have a doctor's office and house after the ongoing temple construction ( One Crore budget) gets over, and that the village will soon become a town.

The sparkle in his eyes, when he said this, showed how much he loved the place and how satisfied he is in the current promise that the future holds, for the village and its residents. They all were permanent residents, though the children of the households are currently settled in cities and some, even out of India.

The villagers had their own mini vegetable garden and every house had a well. For their shopping needs they took the bus to the nearest town. The bus plies between the town and the village, every two or three hours. So they are very happy to say that they have a means of transport to reach the town. They have a school that had teachers teaching all days and a hospital which as the villager put it, is the best, one could trust for treatments.

I stood there amazed..... It is said, Ignorance is Bliss.. I did not know the context, nor do I want to Google for it now, because I think I understood the context now....

We live in cities where every lane has a school, every cross road has a hospital and every second lane has a bus stop.We people know so much about what is happening in the world today and we know the ways and means to improve our knowledge, which makes it difficult for us to stay contented and happy.

This villager did not know or is ignorant about the scientific, economic, and social advances outside his own village. So he is not aware of the benefits or qualms that they bring in. Thus he is a happy man.. :-)

The urbanite knows all that he wants, knows the advantages and the 'not-so-good' aspects of the socio-economic-scientific advances, knows that he needs to grow and keep growing, but does not know all that he has. The villager lives a contented life as long as he is alive as he does not know that there is more to what he thinks he has.... it is a bliss that he is ignorant..

When I was still thinking, my watch showed 10:15A.M and the bus came in, just at the promised right time. Not even a minute's delay.. You should have seen the pride of happiness in the villager's eyes!!! that went on to say " That's about the punctuality in my village "... :)

I am not advocating rural life, but I surely would say, it is good to visit these places whenever chance permits, to see what life is like in a village and feel glad for our gifts and learn to be happy from a villager.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Splash on Mistakes

Allow new mistakes everytime....

It is okay to make mistakes, but important not to repeat them....

Forget your mistakes, but never the learning....

Every mistake you make can change the way you look at things to a large extent....

Mistakes are the best teachers....but the lesson from a careless mistake might be too late to learn.

Mistakes are usually not fatal if they do not come under the category of 'Careless mistakes'.

Edhu? or What?

ஆசை எளியது. அடக்கம் வலியது. வறுமை கொடியது. உண்மை கசப்பது. குடும்பம் கூடுவது. கோபம் சிறியது. ஒற்றுமை பெரியது. நட்பு நிகரற்றது. பாசம...