Sunday, February 14, 2010

Raise our walls

In the backdrop of cowards once again exposing our nation's security chinks there are two famous Khan's leading a campaign each. While the "Incredible India" campaign wants us all to look inwards and display pride in being an Indian, there is the other campaign asking for more co-operation & collaboration with a rouge neighbor. I want to see India grow in strength and very strongly feel that this is not the time to think about friendship with such neighbors. It is high time we look inwards and introspect much more than we have ever done before. It is time to think what will make each one of us proud of ourselves. Have we thought what our generation's contribution to the country is?

And so this is the time to raise our walls as high as it can be so that we need not worry about these neighbors bothering us. Let us shut out all access and bilateral trade with this neighbor. Of course we will need to take care of the ones dependent on trade around the borders but unless we close ourselves to this neighbor we can never hope to focus on our internal problems.

The union budget is due within a couple of weeks and it is time for Dr. Singh & Mr. Mukherjee to take the cue and allocate more resources to seal every plug around us. At the same time we individuals should look a little more inwards and act with greater self respect. Lets live with pride, let us live in peace.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The new crop of parents

Oh well...This may not be just my observation but this is something I have been wanting to write about for a while now. Initially I thought this was a phenomenon I was seeing happen in my extended family. I thought while most of my generation is trying to improve in this competency (I know I'm getting good at it) they want to provide an early start to their kids. But these days this thing is just getting rampant; so much that I'm just irritated with almost an entire generation of parents barring a few exceptions here and there.

Oops I didn't yet tell what I'm getting irritated about. These days I get a helluva irritated with this legion of parents who can only talk to their kids in goddamn English. Before I rant further, I want to excuse people who want to argue that this blog itself is in English and those who want to say that who I'm today is in part due to my English skills. By no means am I against English. I (coming from the South) will be the first to accept that English is what is binding India together to a certain degree and I also strongly feel that this skill gave us the first mover advantage vis-à-vis the low cost global delivery model (GDM).

But why are things thus. May be because a lot of us go to an office where every communication with your boss, the client and the janitor happens in English. In fact a friend of mine told me some years back that his English improved a lot after he started thinking in English (!!!). But what we probably don't realize is the fact our success to a great degree in business or elsewhere has got to do with the empathy that we have for other people, cultures and languages. The learning of our native languages fosters unique ways of structuring communication and creates indigenous thought patterns that is found no where else on earth. When Google wants to move the Indic way why do we need to go the English way and let our native tongues wane out.

My two paisa: Wake up parents - I know you want your kid to be successful in life. And for that speaking/knowing good English alone is just not enough. Teach your kid 2-3 languages. Develop empathy and language neutrality in them and see them grow into responsible individuals.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Accountability travails

Over the last year the world has been debating a lot about the Obamanomics of bail out plans, the failure of economists in predicting the recession and the way i-bankers self serve to get fatter bonuses. We are certainly going to see many more business cycles and many more versions of bashing and counter bashing. In my opinion, the recession that we may just be leaving behind was here because no one wanted to accountable. The key lesson learnt is that it is not always possible to leverage and securitize.

The markets seem to be picking and sometime soon the sentiment will become a wave. Let us all make use of the good times to progress but let us remember one thing. Every one of us needs to get accountable. Wherever we invest ourselves (in our professions or in the markets) let us take a conscious effort to measure how accountability is being ensured. Speculate but also moderate and finally don't let greed overtake the desire to be right.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Going Green

A friend bitten really hard by the 'Going Green' bug had a big confusion. Is the usage of electric powered hand-drier a greener alternative to using a paper napkin?

But I had a different viewpoint. He better carry his own handkerchief or better still why to wash hands every time :-)

Oh BTW, this happens to be my 100th blog post.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


Personality types have always intrigued me, well my own self and the ones around me. In my search to understand the way people behave and react to situations I have devoured a number of books ranging from the usual Linda Goodman to some obscure Fourth way system literature. I will accept that I have not been exceptionally successful. But over the last few years I have been noticing a new dimension of human personality, something that never existed till this decade.

I have to credit one of my friends for generating this curiosity in me. He is one person I have known for quite sometime and ask anybody you will come to understand that he is a man of few words. But all this was only till he added me as a friend in his Orkut list. His profile indeed came across as a whiff of fresh air and he started to come across as a stylish and expressive young man. I never thought that this guy had such a sassy side to himself. His status messages were witty, his pictures dapper and to top it all he had women throng up the scraps.

I did met him sometime later. He was still the same guy, nice and quiet. I could not manage to ask him what made him play Remo in cyberspace, and never will I.

And this is not one random observation. I have now started noticing scores of people demonstrating sides of themselves I never knew, albeit only on cyberspace. Well, we all have read about chat forums making people more expressive when incognito but this I believe is new phenomena. My conjecture is that social profiles are helping people be what they want to be and may be at times gives them more time to react, than when in real life situations. And for God's sake this is not MPD. I don't know if this is already a subject of research in universities. If not, may I request the world of well qualified psychologists to please start taking note.

And before I sign off this post, let me muster up some conviction and do a first ever coining a term thingy - a person's digital personality shall henceforth be known as 'digipsyche' :-)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rebrand Terrorism

So Mumbai happened !!! It pains me so much that these morbid infiltrators could sneak into my country. Television channels are rife debating over what needs to be done to combat terrorism. There is a lot of talk about heads that need to roll and how the security apparatus should change etc. I agree to all of these. At the same time I think we should attack this at a more fundamental level. When I say fundamental I'm talking about the general psyche of the common man and these terrorists themselves.

My two cents is that we should stop calling these heartless insane acts as 'Terrorism' and stop calling these guys as 'Terrorists'. The word 'Terrorist' is a very powerful word that evokes sense of fear in the minds of anyone who hears it. It is only natural that the common man feels weakened and let down when he hears about terrorist attacks. At the same time this word really boosts the morale of these insidious elements. They are proud of the fact that they are perpetrators of terror and this is a vicious cycle.

I wish the governments, media houses, PR agencies etc. from around the world come together and decide that it is time for a re-branding. Let us decide to call these terrorists as 'cowards' or 'spineless bastards' or something to that effect. I believe that when we start hearing this from the media over and over again it will definitely debilitate the morale of the terrorists. And not to mention it will surely have a positive effect on the psyche of the common man. Is someone listening?

Monday, November 24, 2008


If there is one quote I wanna live up to it is this one.

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Robert Heinlein

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sister Stella

Early this morning granpa complained of wheezing and I made my first hospital visit in Pune. I was expecting to see some things different in Pune hospitals, based on the kind of customer service I have received so far, across the board. But guess what, the experience was exactly similar to what I have seen in Chennai all the time. The first person to greet us in the hospital was a Malayali nurse and true to my expectations she did everything right all through the day. It is always great for us mallus in Chennai because we see hordes of mallu nurses in any hospital we go. I was not really expecting that to happen in Pune. But from today's experience I think I can safely conclude that mallu women have made nursing their bastion everywhere.

Then I pondered why on earth mallu women do so well in nursing. Is it because they are more service-minded than women from other communities. That didn't sound right. No one can question the motherly qualities that women of every race hold. Does the literacy level of women in Kerala help make nursing easier to learn? May be not. More thought let me to conclude that the matriarchal system is what is responsible for this. The matriarchal system in Kerala is the reason for the empowerment of women in Kerala (we all know that Kerala has 1000+ women for every 1000 men). I know not all women empowerment experts would agree that women in Kerala are fully empowered. Nevertheless, nursing is a demanding profession and more than just service-mindedness the women need to be courageous. There is so much pressure, so much responsibility and very often you need to work really odd hours. All these require a level of maturity and boldness and I seriously believe it is here that mallu women score better. Comments?

Anyways for all non-mallus apart from the great service there is assured fun when they start talking in english. Listen to this audio-clip if you have not had any first hand experience so far.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

New York New York

Well I'm back to blogging and back from a short trip to US. The first one week of training at Chicago was an incredible networking opportunity. MBA consultants from US, European schools and ISB came together for the one week orientation. Impressive pedigrees once again (Kellogg, Duke, UCLA, Rotman etc.) and I got a pretty good picture of what the firm's true strengths are. An added incentive was the opportunity to attend the firm's 25th year celebrations at the Field Museum, Chicago. That weekend I rented a car and drove to Champaign, IL to be with my aunt and cousins. Good fun overall.

And then I reached New York. I was put up in a nice swanky apartment one block away from the Lehmann Brothers office (Anyways the signboard just changed to read Barclays Capital) and a three blocks from Times Square. Living in the financial district and walking to work early in the morning is quite refreshing and inspiring, if you understand what I mean. Meeting my clients was the primary agenda and all the planned meetings went very well. Now they will know who they are talking to. My counterparts in the NY office are a nice bunch of people although there is a bit of crib from everyone about running ongoing sales operations.

New York is really vibrant. Times square is incredibly lit up and is buzzing with activity even on a regular weekday midnight. It is a pity that I could not go and attend any broadway show. Hopefully I'll go again soon enough and get to watch one of them. That week the New York office celebrated the 25th year celebrations (I'm being branded as a party animal for making it to celebrations in three offices) and the venue was the Plaza Hotel. Now that is an amazing venue, the place where Michael Douglas married to Catherine Zeta Jones and one hotel that is featured in lotsa Hollywood movies. One more slice of luck :). Champagne flowed freely once again but I somehow find Gourmet food rather plain, need to develop a taste for it !!! Walking across the Rockefeller center and Waldorf-Astoria etc made my day everyday.

The weekend was dedicated to visit the patel points like Wall Street, Statue of Liberty etc with my friend from Infy. The Statue of liberty is definitely one of the best sights in the world. I stood spell bound at the base for a full 15 minutes. The statue is at once enigmatic and grand plus the copper blue hue gives it a sublime bliss. I could not help but compare it to the "Veiled Rebecca" in the Hyderabad Museum for the amount of detail that has gone into its making. A lunch at Saravana Bhavan also happened and I just can't forget the badam halwa. Overall a fruitful trip.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Taxi Driver - 1976

I have never done a movie review, not even for Kamal's Dasavatharam. But today I watched Taxi Driver and decided that I better write something on this outstanding movie. In this 1976 movie Robert De Niro plays the lead as a mentally unstable war-veteran. This is by far one of the best movies I have seen. Let me make an attempt at doing a review.

Martin Scorsese has in this timeless classic shown the world long ago the seeds of psychotic abnormalism. The character of Travis Bickle captures every dimension of human decay. The war veteran is somehow not really part of the society and we cannot attribute one single reason for this. May be some sort of suppressed sexuality, may be some effects of the Vietnam-war or plainly a lack of identity. His insomnia doesn't help either. He takes up the job of a night cab-driver and the nights in New York are best described by his one dialogue "All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets".

Travis develops a strong crush on Betsy(a campaign volunteer) and on their second date takes her to watch a porn movie (I can hear u scream, Holy ....) and very obviously she drops him. It is after this that we realize that his schizoid behavior is actually coming out of the fact that he is searching to find a purpose for his life. A fellow cabbie introduces him to guns and Travis decides that he is going to clean up the corruption and dirt around him. He meets Iris, a teenage prostitute played by Jodie Foster, and tries to convince her to get away from prostitution and fails in his attempt. He works hard on his marksmanship and he continues to grow violent and more alienated.

The story moves on as Travis makes another failed attempt at assassinating Palantine, the presidential hopeful for whom Betsy volunteered before all his repressions finally culminate in a gory gun battle to save Iris. What is more poignant is the fact that police and Iris's parents eventually construe that Travis saved their daughter and helped get rid of some dangerous gang men. Well, we are forced to think that at last Travis gets some meaning out of his life. But there is nothing in the movie that proves that the incident changed him. When Betsy happens to ride on his taxi later he says "Papers always blow these things up".

The movie ends here leaving you wondering if this man will strike again. It is a strange feeling I bet you. But do watch this movie...silently with no one disturbing you...The BGM is one of the best I have heard. The melancholy saxophone can bring out the deepest and darkest feelings inside us and I was shocked to read that Bernard Herrmann, the composer passed away a few hours after he finished this score.

For now listen to the BGM here