Saturday, December 20, 2008

I am booked

After a long long time, I picked a book to read and fell in love all over again. I am reading Suketu Mehta's 'Maximum City' since the last 2-3 days. I am done with just 50 out of the 500 odd pages, that is about 10% of the book. I am not just in love with this book, but somehow the whole idea of 'reading' over 'watching' seems to grip me again.
Since morning I have been wondering what could probably make writing so much more connecting than a film. Surprisingly, I found the answer in my MBA, in MIS (Management Information Systems). The message should pass through minimum people to retain its true meaning. The writer writes a story, the director interprets it and tells it through the medium of actors. Actors being the thinking human beings they are (well at least the good ones), interpret every scene their way and present. Not to forget the prejudice and perceptions that the screenplay writer, the dialog writer and even the music director hold while they add their flavour to the original story.So what we watch is ultimately the amalgamation of all these hopefully unidirectional biases and thoughts. Thats what screws up the story in a film sometimes.
Reading, on the other hand, is direct communication between you (the reader) and the writer. The only weak link is the competence of the writer with language. There is no other 'person' involved in between that can alter the flavour of the story.
I hope you are getting me. :-)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Prime Time Terror

After 26/11, I received number of forwards into my mailbox, proclaiming 'enough is enough', 6 steps or 21 steps the Govt. should take to combat terror, stories of martyrs of Mission Tornado, gory images of CST shootout, interviews of film stars and celebrities and every conceivable gossip possible (I am awaiting a forward on Kasab's love interest). Everyone has a good topic discuss now, at bus stops, coffee shops, at the dinner table and may be even daaru.
Media has given this incident prime coverage. Relatives of victims have spoken on television before the first tear rolled out of their eyes. New channels especially the Sabse Tej ones have even broadcast the journey of a bullet from a terrorist's gun to a soldiers chest. And we all have watched it in amusement on TV. We all have been scared. We all have been stirred. We all have been shaken.
Thousands of people gathered at the Gateway of India to protest the inefficiency of the Government. They had catchy slogans written on their T-shirts and on placards. The crowd enthusiastically clicked pictures, shouted slogans and gave media bytes. All so much filmy, so much Rang de Basanti. Now, what next?
Change in leadership at the state level, that too just one state. Will we wait for attacks on other states to bring about a change there? Are we going to be reactive only? Scared, stirred and shaen, but has the incident really woken us up? Or do we still thin that candle light and peace marches are going to solve the problem. Have the parents of Indian youth woken up enough to support their child's entry into politics? Have the Indian wives woken up enough to let their husband take up a lesser paying job, give up the luxuries of a sedan and that lucrative onsite trip just because their motherland needs them more? And above all have WE, the responsible citizens of free India, understood where every small penny spent on bribe, LPG cylinders in black market, pirated music/movies, cash payment of rent and property purchase is taking our country? Are we awake to the fact that black money from this market funds terror? Are we ready to sacrifice petty individual gains for the larger good? Stop blaming the politicians for their corrupt practices. They are just worthy representatives of who we are.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I have joined the Indian Army

Now that I have your attention, let me get on with the actual post:

Here I sit today in 'Sanket' position. Sanket, my dear cousin, sits in the bean bag at mid-night with his laptop on his lap; I call this the 'Sanket position'.
Well too many things happening today. Lets take 'em up one by one.
I begin a new assignment at my workplace. I will probably end up giving a lot of consulting gyan but hopefully with some substance. Thats what it appears from the couple of meeting I had today.
I went swimming at our company's health club today. After a couple of rounds of the pool I discovered that there was a formal coach available. Not that I don't know to stay afloat, I have manage to do that for the past 20 odd years. But those are crude methods of swimming that come to you by mere survival instincts. I wanted to learn formal swimming where in the movement of my limbs could be classified into either strokes (currently it looks like the dance of a headless chicken). So here I am tired with an hour of swimming.
Dear wife is not home today. She has gone to Goa on a 5day trip and boy am I missing her. Not that she hasn't gone before and I haven't missed her before, but just saying it. So, I come back from work and cook with the help of my cousin. Three toast sandwiches and a couple of pegs of Vodka and the film starts looking interesting.
Oh I guess I didn't tell you about this. I am watching 'Shaurya' - a Hindi movie. KK Menon is a man who will hopefully carry the legacy of NaseruddinShah forward. I don't know if I have mentioned it on this blog earlier, but here I go: “Naseeruddin Shah is the best actor in th world”< period>.
There are two actors today who can carry forward the legacy: KK Menon and Irfan Khan. But imagine the strength of Naseerji's acting, it takes two contemporary actors to carry forward the legacy. No wonder, I want to be a Naseeruddin Shah when I grow up! :-)

Good night.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

This is where our taxes go

Penpricks are alert. See what they got for us...
If ministers and government office bearers are going to use up tax payers money for family picnics, I am not sure how far we will go with development.
Go...read on

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anil Bidarhalli - Bengaluru

It has been almost two months since I met Anil while I visited Bengaluru (Bangalore) during a weekend trip around the independence day. That was the first time I met him, but the man has left a lasting impression. I had mentioned to him over a cup of coffee about my idea of this series. I never called him in the last 2 months because I wanted to fulfill my promise first. I am free to call him now :-)
Anil has a calmness that is very unlike people of his age. A maturity that one gains after seeing a lot of the real world. He has been successfully running a computer hardware sales & service business since last 4 years or more. At the age of 28, he has bought himself a Sedan, a Mac and has sufficient wealth to take care of his family (he is single and lives with his parents) and pamper his little sister :-). But wealth is only one aspect of Anil's business. His real kick is in vision.
Anil started his business without consciously starting a business. Well, that is how he likes to put it. He has just got over his +2's and he was helping his friends with their hardware problems. Gradually he thought of doing it professionally. After running it on the retail consumer mode for a couple of years, he thought of going the corporate way. But for serving corporates, he would need to be formally registered as a firm. That was the trigger point for the birth of his firm 'XYZ'.
Anil currently runs the show with a full time staff of 6 people an has clients who swear by him for service. His 'Anil touch' is evident in many instances. His office space is very unlike others. He has rented a house as his office and keeps garden chairs for his customers to relax while they are visiting his office. His office is not in a busy commercial area. It is in a quite neighborhood. Anil's emphasis is not on creating more sales figures but rather creating a space for himself in his customer's mind through consistent and personal service. His commitment to service is evident from his long and untimely calls with his customers. Some of his customers are 70 year olds who take his word for anything in computers.
Going forward Anil wants to get into software development as well. For that matter he had also tried his hand at it an year ago. It was an enterprise sales software. But he stalled the project as it turned out to be a non-profitable venture at that time. Anil intends to understand the Software development business better and get back to it. From whatever I know of him, he sure will get back and make a success out of it.
Here are the excerpts of an e-mail interview I had with him:

What made you get into business?
I was always interested in business since my school days. I regularly used to read economic times and news papers like that. I was a regular reader of Brand Equity and Corporate Dossier. The strategies and the boardroom discussions used to drive me crazy and I used to enjoy every aspect of the business discussed.I had planned to start business after my study is completed and have some years of hands on experience, little amount of money in the bank account. Then start business. I had my punch line " make things possible" ready long before i started my business.

What were the major challenges you have faced in your business till day? especially since you are a first generation entrepreneur?
the challenge was to find right kind of clientele as my way of doing business was not conventional wherein the targets are set and performance is analysed by the balance sheet. i do not contradict that balance sheet reflects the company but it was not for my kind of business in the beginning.I have evaluated my business by way measuring the satisfaction I have given to my clients. I have always suggested my clientele what to buy and also where at times. this sincerity of thinking about the client and his money has kept me ticking in the business so far.
as a first generation entrepreneur i initially had investment crunch and slowly i have reinvested the money that has been earned through my business. even now I am in need of investment and there are investors ready to invest in my company. I am being choosy, whether to take it from them or go ahead on my own.


What are your future plans for your business?
More services related to technology and bring all of them under one roof.

What advise would you give a first generation entrepreneur who wants to take the big leap into a business venture?
I am not that big a businessman to give advice but I can share what i should have done to make my business better. Before plunging into the business i should have planned little more and secured some investment then things would have been much easier. But the thing which made me continue my business is the urge to provide service to people.

First Generation Entrepreneurs

The idea of having a series of posts on first generation entrepreneurs has been on my mind for quite some time. It amazes me how people without any background in business and almost nil support from their forefathers (in terms of experience as well as finance) manage to take the leap of faith. From my personal experience it is a very crucial and adventurous decision for a first generation entrepreneur to decide to be so. I have met and closely known various such businessmen across industries. I will share the journey of these men and my thoughts about them & their business in days to come.
I hope I am able to maintain some consistency and write on at least one entrepreneur every week. Look out for my posts with label FGE aka First Generation Entrepreneurs. :-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Its here!!!

Guys you wont believe this!!!!!!!!! Ubuntu is here ...on my laptop!!!!!
You can judge the degree of my excitement from the number of exclamation marks I am using!!!!!!!!!
Actually I initially decided to borrow a copy of Ubuntu CD but couldn't find one with any of the 1st degree contact. So I thought of buying a magazine that would have a complimentary CD of Ubuntu. But I couldn't find that either. Next option was to download and burn the OS on a CD. But I learnt from their portal that one could order an original Ubuntu CD and it would be delivered to my doorstep by a distributor from Bangaluru for as little as Rs. 250 (handling & shipping charges). That for me was like receiving a DVD of Amitabh's super-hit Don signed by Big B himself. I was so excited when I received the CD yesterday that I even took pictures of it so that you guys can have a look at it...



The installation was a breeze. It took hardly about 30 minutes to install. The only knowledge one needs to install Ubuntu is that of English knowledge. Here is the first screen-shot after installation.



I hereby declare Ubuntu as the best operating system I have ever used!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Refresher!!!

I was nearing a pathetic weekend, where nothing seemed to be falling in place. Too many household chores (mostly those irritating types) and no excitement at work. I was so damn pissed off with the whole weekend stuff.
But then I came home yesterday and my mood has been on the upward. It all started with a nice Fish cuisine dinner yesterday. Then the movie The Last Lear. Went to sleep at 1 at night. Today morning at 7, there was a group cycle ride planned. And this ride has been physically so consuming because of the terrain, but has done wonders to my mood. It wasn't exactly a 'group' ride per se. We were just two guys. Sundeep on his kool Merida was my companion on this drive. This collegue of mine has amazing fitness level (of course when compared to me, even a tortoise would look agile). He has been jogging and running for last 7 years and has taken up cycling recently. He bought this expensive bicycle just couple of days back and has been cycling at least 20 odd Kms everyday. Amazing fitness this !
Here is the route we took.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cycling around the city

Pune, it seems was once a city of bicycles. This non polluting environment friendly vehicle was a prime mover in this city. But not now! Now Pune is a highly polluted city bustling with two wheelers and cars. There are close to a million two wheelers in this city. Many economists may look at this as the great Emerging India Phenomenon, but that is so myopic.
To come to the point, a few weekends back, your truly decided to take a tour of the city on my Hero Ranger Swing. It was a cool 25 Kms trip that lasted around 4 hours with a lunch in between.
I started from my apartment at around 12 in the noon and was back by 4 in the evening. Starting from my apartment in Bavdhan, I climbed and descended the small hill of Chandani Chowk. Then just around 4 Kms away from home came my first break. I felt dehydrated immediately and understood how important it is to carry water with you while cycling. Ater cooling off for 5/10 mins and having a glass of lassi, I pedalled further. With minor interruptions from rains, I managed to take Paud road, Karve road, diversion at SNDT college, KNP, Prabhat road and coming out in Good Luck chowk from Bhandarkar road. This was one leg of the journey. A fact worth noting was that despite the halts and the cycling speed, it took me just 5 minutes more that it would have taken me in Car.
Wadeshwar is a restaurant you must eat at when you are in Pune. They server authentic South Indian food. Especially their Appes are just yummmmm!!! Having a good meal at Wadeshwar with the better half, I proceeded further. This time on a different route.
I crossed the entire length of FC road and touched the University road near Sahakar Sankul Junction. From here, it was a relatively flat road via E-square, University chowk, DRDO, Pashan circle and back home. I had decided on may way back that having consumed sufficient fluids at lunch, I need not take any breaks. Thankfully, I stuck successfully to my resolution. Not to mention I was all dead tired at the end of this journey. But the effort was really worth the exhilaration it provided.

Update: I found this sexy website that allows me to post a map of my rides. Not only that, it also calculates the distance I have cycled. Isn't that amazing!!!
Check out the route I took:

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I do this from Suse 10.1

Did I tell you the story of a guy who was blessed with a bit of too much? Well, here go...


There was this fella, just got a job with a fat pay check, all married and all, bought a cool desktop for himself planning to have broadband connection so that he could blog his way to glory. ;-). The bloke gets blessed with a laptop of all things. Now he also has a broadband connection (at a whopping speed of 2 MBps). having resources including time at his disposal, he decides to try his hands at Suse 10.1.


Now my friends, I am using the inbuilt application in the OS to post this entry. I have also downloaded the latest version of scribe-fire which will work with the latest version of Firefox. Poor me has so much on hands now, that I don't know how to install these updates.


Video is not working as well so I have downloaded real player 11. Again I dont know how to install that as well. I hope I will make all things work over this weekend.


I had a small personal trip to Bangalore over the last weekend and have lots to share about this trip. It was one of the most enriching trips of my life to say the least.


Take care...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Scribefire the great

It has been a long long time since I blogged and the primary reason for that is lack of blogging access from my workplace.
I had installed ScribeFire on my Firefox a long time back, but it didn't seem to authenticate my blogger account because of the firewall settings. A random try today however just clicked and now I hope I can blog at will.
I have a lot to say so keep watching this space...

Monday, April 21, 2008

My Soul is alive

In the comments I received on this post, an 'anonymous' said that the first inference he could draw from the post was that my Soul was alive ...& kickkkking!!!! :-) And that is when I realised, how true it was!
The primary sign of a living soul is unrest. Once you stop thinking about what you are doing, you are so dead. One may not know 'exactly' what one wants, but she should be always challenging the status quo. The day I come to terms with my existence,my work, my life I will know for sure that a fire deep within (not of acidity) has seized to exist.
The comment has suddenly made me realise that this very unrest will make me do something interesting some day! Something that will make the world think I have achieved, and make me realise that i have taken the first step, increase the unrest within, and strive for more.
Thank you anonymous!!!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

RSS - an answer to the caste discrimination

One of my old post on Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh drew a comment today. It posed a few question about the stand RSS takes on the issues of caste system in our contry. The reader also asked if RSS could be a possible solution. And this, my dear readers in the fuel for this post.
Let me put forth some facts about the organisation called RSS right at the beginning.
  1. RSS is a social organisation. There is no formal registration and participation is completely voluntary.
  2. It is not a political, religious or profit making orgnisation.
  3. There are no posts, there are only responsibilities (in fact that what they are called).
These facts make it clear that this is a place where entry and exit is pretty easy. There are no costs involved with either. Which means there is no-one who can tell you that he will get you registered with the RSS and do you a favour. RSS is for everyone. In my opinion it is a perfect place where caste ism cannot exist. There are no reservations for a certain community. The Sangha (as I would like to call it henceforth), believes only in an individual and not the community one comes from.
The Sangha cannot force anyone into not believing in the caste system since it does not control any individuals thoughts. However, it certainly practices non-discrimination. For example, I have been to a shakha which is like a grassroot level proceeding of the sangha. Here I have taken instruction from a non-bramhin, had food with, bathed, prayed and lived with lower caste individuals. It is what I practiced as a swayamsewak. The Sangha will not issue a diktat or a fatwa. It will merely preach by practicing. So more the number of people who start going to a shakha the more they will stop believing in the caste system.
Go through the facts I have mentioned about the Sangh and you will realise it is no different from Orkut...but the sangha comes with a purpose, with an ideology and with some discipline.
To sum it all up, RSS is as biased as Orkut, when it comes to an individual's caste. :-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

India Fund

On my way back home, during my bus ride, as usual, India's Nehruvian rate of growth struck me and I was trying to find a solution to many problems.
Democracy gives importance to numbers. Mere numbers. Crooked politicians manipulate these numbers to gain absolute power. They use tax payer's money like their own and use it to gain popularity with the numbers. Bestow them with free education (not loans) and barter votes for favour or cash. The taxes we pay go into a pool and are (mis)used by the politicians.
How do I as a tax payer ensure that the money I pay as taxes goes where I want it to. Here comes the solution:
The government of India should float an India Fund. The sectors of investment should be education, health, defense, infrastructure etc. Every tax payer should be allowed to pay his taxes by directly putting his money in either/all of these sector funds. This way rather than the vote, every tax paying citizen will have a direct control over how his government allocates funds. He can then use the vote to ensure that each of these funds are spent judiciously.
The government will of-course want to do something for the poor. Then the government should earn its own money by providing value added services.
If the tax payers see that they are not reaping the benefit by 'investing' their taxes in a certain sector, the corpus of that sector will start decreasing. This is an indication to the government to increase the efficiency.
If the government wants to start a new project in a certain sector, they should bring out a detail project report which should be made public. The project report should be such that it should attract tax payers to invest in the sector. We can also provide a little flexibility by allowing a certain percentage of fund to be transfered from one sector to the other.
It may seem at first that the general tax payer will not invest in sectors like education and health as he can avail the facilities from private suppliers. But the tax paying citizen also gets a certain benefit from the education and good health of the people around who cannot afford private services. Hence everyone will certainly make some contribution to the 'uplifting the poor'.
Sole intention is to have some control over where my tax money goes. What do you think?

Sunday, March 30, 2008

27

As the clock struck 17:05 on 29th March 2008, I completed 27 years of existence on the 3rd rock from the Sun. I cant call this journey successful yet as the end objective has not yet been achieved (the end objective has not even been set yet for that matter :-) ). But the journey has surely been a pleasure. I have decided to zero in on short term and long term objectives for myself. I tried living each day as it comes. But the pleasure seems to be momentary and short lived...only for the day. I guess setting goals for oneself and achieving them over time will give more satisfaction. It is just another thing I want to try.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

A political party with a stand

I came across this full draft of a speech by Shri Adavani (leader of the opposition, Lok Sabha) which he delivered at FICCI.
As one of the comment says, the victory in Gujarat has lead to a change in the BJP. They now know for sure that development CAN be a valid issue for fighting an election and more importantly, winning it. All BJP needs now is fresh blood that can see the party do wonders for the country.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why people break rules

This is a topic I have been thinking over for some time. It is disheartening to see that breaking rule is becoming a norm across our country. As per a recent news article that is what even the government is observing. We dont need anybody's statement to testify this as we see it all around us. This post is an attempt at understanding why the law of the land is broken?

Let us first try to understand why laws or rules are brought into place. A rule is an attempt to make the playing field level. It identifies a set of criteria based on which decisions will be taken in a system. Forming a queue is the simplest form of rule. It identifies first come first serve basis for serving a person, no parking zones are meant to be kept free for free traffic flow so on an so forth. Becauase rules are more like cartels. The member who deviates has an incentive to do so than what he would achieve by staying in the cartel. There are certain market conditions in which cartels work. I will not get into the details of what cartels are (follow the link for that).
But lets see how industry avoid or tries avoiding breaking of a cartel.
First of all and most importantly, every member can be a whistle blower. Which does not happen efficiently in case of rules or laws. Every law abiding citizen should bring to light a violation because it is more like someone is reaping the benifit of breaking a cartel and stealing a part of the common public good that a cartel pomises. Secondly the cost associated with breaking of a cartel should be very high. A part of the punishment should be that you shouldnt be taken back into the system untill you spend sufficient time outside it or pay a hefty financial penalty. For example if you are seen building an extra floor over and above the permissible limit, your construction license should be cancelled for say 5 years. The punishment should be greater than the benefit one derives out of breaking a carltel.
Why do you think this wont work?

Friday, February 08, 2008

They still divide and rule...

What the British and the Indian National Congress did for centuries together, the new age political parties are still doing the same...Divide and Rule. Only positive part is that they seem to be taking a clue from history.
Maharshtra Navanirman Sena - formed by a young politician Mr. Raj Thackrey, whose political aspirations made him come out of the shadow of his mentor and Uncle Mr. Bal Thackrey, is all out to break every skull that is not Marathi. Why? Because it has no real issues to raise. The Big T (of the Thackrey) did the same thing a few decades ago and became a major hit with the Mumbaikars. Once popular and in power, he skillfully shifted the line of divide from Marathi v/s Non- Marathi to Hindu v/s Muslim. Reason? arithmetic. Only Marathi votes can’t get ShivSena to win seats. So be more inclusive and garner hindu votes a superset of Mrathi votes.
So what’s Raj upto? Poor soul had broken away and was losing mind-space in the voters. Out of sight is out of mind. He had to do "something" to regain some media space. He referred his old notebooks and came up with a sure shot trick Uncle had taught him.
He and his men will now be arrested, he will give impressive media bytes, break the Hindu vote bank further into Marathi and non thus eating into the same cake that BJP and ShivSena already claim as theirs. Final gainer? Indian National Congress.
But, do not forget that Congress has a incurable disease. That of dissentful leaders. There is Mr. Rane who earlier broke away from the ShivSena to join INC who is right now in the dissent mood. So one can not overlook a possibility of an alliance between Mr. Rane and Raj.
Welcome to Indian politics...


Update: Read Atanu's Post and an article in Times of India by Tarun Vijay - editor of Panchjanya, a Hindi weekly brought out by the RSS.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Scott..

I have been following this bloke eveer since I joined the IT industry couple of years ago. I admire him no only for his funny bone, but also for his ability to make his passion his profession.
Dilbert, which till now was a part of my feeds, is now an official widget on my blog. Keep visting this space for your dose of corporate humour and my banter.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How to know what you like the most

Have you ever been in a situation where you take up something because you like it and then after doing it for some time you find you are no longer happy doing it?
That's what exactly been happening with me all along. Engineering, MBA, Banking, IT consulting, IT consulting with a fatter pay check. My dearest friend thinks I am cut out for an independent businessman. My mother and wife are in no mood to listening to a "I just quit my job" news.
Now I have serious doubts about my interests. Do I switch jobs with full information or are they out of mere curiosity? Am I to be called a fickle mind? How do people know right from the age of three what they want to do? Can't there be someone who wants to try out a couple of things before he settles down on something!!!
Right now I am hell bent on getting into acting. But now I am playing mind games with myself. What if I gt bored there? What next?
I want to find an answer to this question "How to know what you like the most...without actually trying it out?"
Mind helping me with the poll?