Sunday, November 27, 2011


#POST 0037


Ever since I saw the old Jalebi ad on Anant Acharya's Facebook wall, I have not stopped thinking about Indian Television and the shows/advertisements/jingles that we used to watch in ’80s and early ’90s. If you are like me, then it is likely that you miss these old times much more and can’t wait to catch a glimpse of these.
(Btw...the two kids above are now known as Shahid Kapoor and Ayesha Takia)

1. Ek Titli Anek Titli - An old song that talks about the strength of unity.

2. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara- 
The objective of the video was to instill a sense of pride and promote unity amongst Indians, highlighting the different linguistic communities and societies that live in India. Created in 1988 by Doordarshan.

3. Humara Bajaj Ad- Buland Bharat ki Buland Tasweer
We hardly get to see such genuine, patriotic ads these days!
4. Jalebbi  (Dhara Oil)  - 
Its hard to decide what is more better, the Jalebbi, the kid or life itself

5. Old Classic Indian Ad for Cadbury - Kya Swaad hai Zindagi mein !!
Cadbury sure still continues to make lovely Ad's...but this one propelled the love for what we called Anniversary Bars

6.Pepsi - Yeh Dil Maange More was coined
SRK, Rani and Kajol fresh after Kuch Kuch Hota hai, and a rather slim cute looking kid (recognise him as Shahis Kapoor)
7. Piyo Wonderful Doodh - Sparkling the White Revolution
 Garmi mein daalo doodh mein Ice...

8. Jungle Book - Chaddi pehen ke phool khila hai
The time when Mowgli was the only cartoon we knew of

9. Doordarshan - Signature Montage
The time before Zee TV, Star Plus became the norm. When "Sorry for the Interruption" was a norm
10. Old Fevicol Ad - Fevicol aise jod lagaye, acche se accha na tod paye
....and u recognise this man now as Rajkumar Hirani
11. Chal meri Luna 

11. Pan Parag - Pan Paraag Pan Masala
The legendary Shammi Kapoor, Ashok Kumar et all

12. Dabur Lal Dant Manjan - Raju tumhare daant to motiyon jaise chamak rahe hai...

13.Bajaj Bulbs - Jab mein chota Baccha tha, badi sharart karta tha...

The Monkey Story - Pictorial Decription

#POST 0036
The Monkey Story - Pictorial Description - courtesy Anuj Daga

Friday, November 25, 2011

How cultures are formed, and why we should learn to question

#POST 0035

There was this cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage there was a set of stairs leading up to a bunch of bananas hung on a string.
Now the monkeys, when they saw banana’s hanging at arm’s length in front of them, tried to run towards it and grab it. However, whenever the monkeys went up the stairs and tried to grabs the banana, chilling ice-cold water was poured on all the other monkeys in the cage.

This happened every time a monkey ran to grab the bananas. Very soon, the monkeys begin to associate touching the banana with being sprayed with ice-cold water on all of them. Thus whenever any of the monkeys tried to go towards the bananas, the others prevented him from trying to get the banana by pulling him back and beating him up.

After some time when one of the monkeys died, he was replaced in the cage with another monkey, who didn’t know anything about the cold water. This new monkey inevitably tried to get the banana, but the other four monkeys attacked him to stop him from doing so. Tired of getting beaten up, he stopped trying to get towards the banana, without bothering to know the real reason.
Sometime later another of the old monkeys died and was replaced with a newcomer; this newcomer also tried to grab the banana. Again all the monkeys including the previous newcomer also gladly took part in beating him in order to prevent him from climbing the stairs to the banana.  Neither the previous new comer knew the reason for beating up, nor the new monkey. It just became a custom to beat any monkey who tried grabbing the bananas.
Again, a third old original monkey was replaced with a new one. The new tries going to the stairs and is attacked as well. 

Two of the four monkeys that beat him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey. 

Slowly, all the original old monkeys died and were replaced with new monkeys in this manner
After the cultural prohibition against “going for the banana” had been established the cage owner put away the cold water. He now did not plan to shower the monkeys with cold water to prevent them from grabbing the bananas
But, the cage is now totally filled with monkeys that know nothing about the ice-cold water.
No monkey ever again approaches the bananas. Why Not? Because as far as they know, that’s the way it’s always been around here.  
They will all not try to get the banana and continue to attack any monkey that tries to do so.

And that is how a company’s culture is formed: Acceptable and unacceptable behaviors are initially established in response to important external events but, over time, all that remains are strongly-held notions about what is and what isn’t acceptable behavior. The origins of these beliefs vanish with the departure of the members of the group who were present when the patterns and standards were initially established. In a long-lived organization, there might be no members left who know why a given behavior is considered acceptable or unacceptable. Yet all members of the organization are quick to enforce whatever the cultural standards might be.

It is always necessary in any given circumstance to ask the question “why?” before doing or not doing anything.
Don’t be a monkey. Challenge all assumptions.” 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Immorality of Silence - Manmohan Singh is watching the Chirharan !!

#POST 0033

Draupadi’s question (on the dharma of a king) also brought home to me the immorality of silence. Vidura accuses the nobles, kings, and the wise elders—all the less-than-mad-Kauravas—who stand by silently as Draupadi is dragged by her hair before their eyes. When honest persons fail in their duty to speak up, they ‘wound’ dharma, and they ought to be punished according to the sage Kashyapa. In answer to her heart-rending appeal, Bhishma ought to have leaped up and felled Dusshasana to the ground instead of arguing over legal intricacies.
A similar conspiracy of silence diminished the office of the President of India in the summer of 2007. The official candidate for the office was a woman Congress Party leader, Pratibha Patil, against whom there were extensive charges that were widely reported in the press. She had started a cooperative bank in Maharashtra whose licence was cancelled by the Reserve Bank. Her bank had given ‘illegal loans’ to her relatives that exceeded the bank’s share capital. It had also given a loan to her sugar mill which was never repaid. The bank waived these loans, and (it was) this which drove it into liquidation.... Six of the top 10 defaulters in Pratibha Patil’s bank were linked to her relatives.

In July 2007, the nation had a Bhishma-like person of unquestionable integrity in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But he remained largely silent, deferring to his party’s choice of the presidential candidate. In passing, he called it ‘mudslinging’ by the Opposition, and the nation believed him. In any case, the Congress Party had the votes and Pratibha Patil dethroned perhaps the most upright and popular president in Indian history. After that, the charges were never investigated.
Draupadi’s example is an inspiration to free citizens in all democracies. Her question about the dharma of the king should embolden citizens to question the dharma of public officials, especially when they confront the pervasive governance failures around them. These failures are commonplace and they range from sending troops to fight unnecessary wars in places like Iraq or the absence of school-teachers in government schools in India. They test the moral fabric of society. When there is no other recourse, citizens must be prepared to follow the Pandavas and wage a Kurukshetra-like war on the corrupt.

The Difficulty Of Being Wise - Is Anil Ambani akin to Duryodhana ?

#POST 0032

Duryodhana had many flaws but the most dangerous one was envy. He could not stand to see the Pandavas succeed and his envy is the driving force of the Mahabharata—driving it to war, death and destruction....
The sort of envy evinced by Duryodhana was not unfamiliar to me when I was growing up in Simla. My mother had a great and unrequited desire to be a part of Simla’s fashionable society. She envied those who belonged to ‘the club’, the glamorous Amateur Dramatic Club. She must have transmitted this to me, for I grew up with an acute concern over my position in society, comparing myself to those who had things that I did not possess, boys who were more attractive to girls than I was, and especially those who made it to the school cricket team....
In 2007, Anil Ambani was the fifth-richest person in the world according to the Forbes list of billionaires, but he was consumed with a Duryodhana-like envy for his more accomplished older brother, Mukesh, who was placed a notch higher on the list. Each brother had his Shakuni, who was happy to rig a game of dice in order to win the prize and destroy the other brother. Sibling rivalry within India’s wealthiest family was the longest-running soap opera in the country, having mesmerised millions for the past four years. It mattered to the nation because the enterprises of the two brothers accounted for three per cent of India’s GDP, 10 per cent of government tax revenues and 14 per cent of India’s exports. Millions of shareholders worried if their epic fight might devastate their life-long savings. I saw in this corporate and family feud a morality play and I wondered if the Mahabharata could shed some light.

Anil’s envy of Mukesh is as dangerous as Duryodhana’s. He cannot bear the fact that his brother has more fame than him.
The first scene of the play opens in Mumbai’s Kabutarkhana in 1964. The Ambani children are growing up in a single room in a fifth floor walk-up ‘chawl’ along with six members of their family. Their father, Dhirubhai Ambani, has just set himself up as a trader in synthetic yarn in the Pydhonie market. The son of a modest schoolteacher from a village near Porbunder in Gujarat, Dhirubhai has returned from Aden with Rs 15,000 in capital. He discovers that the demand for nylon and polyester fabrics is monumental whereas supply is scarce because of rigid government controls on production and imports. This is due to India’s socialist, command economy, created by Jawaharlal Nehru. Businesses have to contend with dozens of controls in this period, which Indians wryly call ‘Licence raj’. Dhirubhai takes great risks and soon corners government licences in the black market, and begins to make large monopoly profits. His competitors cry ‘foul’; his critics call him ‘corrupt’. He understands what Leftist politicians do not—polyester is destined to become a fabric for the poor whereas they tax and control it as though it was a luxury of the rich. Hence, the mismatch between demand and supply and a black market.
Act Two: Dhirubhai ploughs his profits from trading into a technologically advanced factory to make synthetic textiles, which is up and running in record time thanks to his proximity to prime minister Indira Gandhi’s secretary. The village boy soon becomes a master gamesman of the Licence raj, manipulating a decaying and corrupt regime of controls to his advantage. He integrates backwards to create an outstanding petrochemicals company, which first makes the raw material for the textiles—polyester fibre—and then basic polymers and chemicals, until he reaches the magic raw material, petroleum.
By now his sons are grown up. They are back from business school in America, and have plunged into his company, Reliance, which is growing at a scorching pace. Opponents predict its fall after the economic reforms in the 1990s, but Reliance continues to expand and it is soon India’s largest company instead. It builds the world’s largest oil refinery in the shortest time, thanks to the project management skills of Mukesh. Next, the company begins to explore for oil and gas. As luck will have it, Reliance makes the biggest petroleum find in the world in a decade—a mountain of gas off the shore of Andhra Pradesh. It is monumental and holds the promise of easing the import burden of a fast-growing, energy-starved nation. From the ‘prince of polyester’, Dhirubhai has become the undisputed king of industrial India.
In ’07, India had a Bhishma-like person on the throne. But he deferred to his party’s choice of Pratibha Patil as President.
Act Three opens in 2002 when the ‘king’ is dead. Three-and-a-half million middle-class shareholders (the largest in any enterprise in the world), who have become rich beyond their dreams, mourn his death. He leaves behind two highly accomplished sons, and power passes to the older, more sober Mukesh. The younger, flamboyant Anil marries a film star, Tina Munim, a girl with a past. He loves glamour and cultivates powerful politicians, and this does not go down well with the serious, older brother. Mukesh tries to marginalise his brother, but Anil retaliates. Filled with monumental envy for ‘the new king’, he launches an attack on his brother. In the fight, governance failures are revealed for the first time (about the family’s shareholding and the ownership structure of their new telecom venture). The stock plunges and the country watches in fear at the unfolding of an awesome tragedy. Finally, their mother—an anguished, Kunti-like figure caught in the middle—intervenes and splits the kingdom like Dhritarashtra. Three years later, both have prospered beyond their dreams and the value of the empire of each brother is more than double of the undivided kingdom.
The Ambani saga raises troubling moral questions. It is a classic rags-to-riches story—the ascent of a simple village boy who against all odds created a world-class, globally-competitive enterprise that has brought enormous prosperity to millions. But it is also a tale of deceit, bribery and the manipulation of a decaying and corrupt Licence raj. Ambani’s defenders argue that since his enterprises brought so much good to society, what is the harm if he manipulated an evil system and bribed politicians and bureaucrats? The government itself realised it and has been dismantling the system since 1991. But Ambani’s opponents counter, saying that it is never justified to break a law. Ends cannot justify the means. Other defenders believe that the uncertain business world is full of danger and surprise, and a certain amount of deception is necessary for business success.
Anil’s envy of Mukesh is as dangerous as Duryodhana’s. He cannot bear the fact that his brother has far more power and fame than he does. He burns inside each time the media extols Mukesh’s awesome managerial skills. Had the mother not intervened, the rivalry might have hurtled over the top towards a Kurukshetra-like war, which might have destroyed the whole enterprise, and with it the lives of millions of people. The drama is by no means over. In 2009, Mukesh had moved up to being the third-richest person in the world while Anil had slid to being number seven. There continued to be a huge amount of bad blood and dozens of court cases were pending between the two brothers.
But envy had certainly driven Anil to perform to great heights, and the value of the enterprises of each brother was far greater than if they had kept united. Dharma draws a fine line between the positive and negatives sides of competition, and it is easily crossed as we have seen recently in the global financial crisis in 2008. Competition did put great pressure on investment bankers, rating agencies and other players to bend the rules of decent conduct in the market for US housing mortgages. But when they justified their acts as rational behaviour based on the healthy competition, they slipped into the arena of self-deception. To meet the relentless demand of the bottomline and the incentive of a huge but unseemly bonus, many senior executives compromised their character.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Manmohan Singh's role in India's economic ruination

#POST 0031

It was the excessive spending of the 1980s that eventually led to a balance of payment crisis.
By the 1980s, the Indian government had become dependent on foreign aid and loans. If it was not the US, UK or the former USSR that the government approached, it was the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.
These loans made it worse for the economy as the Bretton Woods system had set up the World Bank and the IMF in such a manner that the former colonial powers would benefit from the resources of the developing countries.
Aid was always “tied aid” and was contingent upon purchasing goods and services at arbitrarily high prices from specific American and European corporations and non-profit groups. Many times, these goods and services were of little use and even frivolous in nature.
Thus the corporations and non-profit groups in the West received the money from aid programmes while the recipient nations received only goods and services. However, the recipient nations had to repay these loans in cash to the IMF despite IMF not being the source of the money. This was an onerous task since the nation never received any money that could be used to invest and grow the economy.
In addition, the IMF always violated the principles of the free-market system and forced the recipient nations to hold their interest rates and exchange rates at artificial levels that stifled economic growth but ensured that the interest paid to the IMF had a high value.
The conditions removed all risks for the corporations benefiting from the programmes and at times even forced the recipient government to use public funds to guarantee profits for the corporations. These measures typically devastated the economies of the countries that received IMF loans.
Many times, American politicians pressured the unwilling leaders of developing countries to sign up for IMF loans as they viewed the loans as opportunities to transfer American taxpayer money to certain corporations.
Thus the Bretton Woods system merely legitimised the 18th century ‘mercantilism’ with the addition that the American taxpayers as the major donors to the aid programmes were also victims of the system.
The economists who advised the IMF and the World Bankclaimed that excessive spending on imported consumer goods would make India a wealthy country and that India should spend beyond its means. Professors from Harvard University and Columbia University claimed that spending sprees, inflation, being in debt and running up deficits were the keys to economic prosperity.
The Planning Commission followed these prescriptions during the periods of the Sixth and Seventh Five Year Plans and India saw high inflation and an influx of consumer goods. Manmohan Singh, who as the governor of the Reserve Bank of India was responsible for the inflation, was the secretary of the Sixth Plan and headed the Seventh Plan.
The Sixth Plan promised to tax, ban, control and regulate a number of economic activities and asserted that “the commanding heights of the economy must continue to remain with the public sector”. In the document containing the Seventh Plan, Manmohan Singh called the planning process a “precious gift of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the people of India”. Predictably, the socialist system combined with the binge spending led to a balance of payment crisis.
The first signs of the crisis were visible when India’s current account went into deficit after the the Sixth Plan. By the end of the Seventh Plan in 1990, a desperate India sought yet another IMF loan.
It would be wrong to blame only the Bretton Woods organisations and their partners for preying on conditions favourable to them.
The conditions in India had been created by politicians who were willing parties to the transactions with the IMF and who pursued socialism with a great zeal. Rajiv Gandhi as prime minister continued the socialist policies of his mother and his grandfather and stated at the Qinghua University, “The focus of our socialism is the uplift of the poor, succour to the weak, justice to the oppressed and balanced regional development. To attain these ends, we believe the State must control the commanding heights of the economy...”
As the 1991 elections approached, the manifesto of Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress party promised another heavy dose of socialism. 

As India resigned itself to its plight, an unexpected sequence of events would propel Narasimha Rao to power and he would then set in motion the changes in the country’s economy.

While many people have credited prime minister PV Narasimha Rao’s vision for India’s economic reforms, others have claimed that the government was merely following the diktats of the IMF. 

To understand the reform process, it is important to note that it consisted of two prongs — liberalisation and globalisation. The ministry of industries handled liberalisation, and the finance ministry took care of globalisation. The policies related to globalisation were based on IMF conditions and were in the interests of IMF’s partner firms.
Manmohan Singh’s first speech as the finance minister focused so heavily on pleasing foreign firms that he mentioned the words ‘foreign’ or ‘international’ over 30 times while there were no references to benefits for India. His sole reference to the removal of licences in India was related to removing import licences to help foreign firms enter the country. As a surprise inclusion in the cabinet, Singh was clearly unaware of Rao’s plans to move away from socialism and expected to merely implement the IMF policies. In his budget speech, Singh declared, ‘Markets can only serve those who are part of the market system. We need direct credible programmes of direct government intervention focusing on the needs of these people.’
Among other enablers of the globalisation process were Raja Chelliah and Jagdish Bhagwati. Chelliah helped restructure the tax system and was working with the IMF when the Rao government came to power. He advised the government to expand the tax base when people were already overburdened by various taxes including the notorious inflation tax. The aim was to service foreign debt, a euphemism for paying IMF.

Bhagawati of the Columbia University openly represented the interests of international organisations and equated free trade with trade managed by these organisations. At one time, his writings on property rights, inheritance laws and appointments in the private sector had read like inflammatory communist pamphlets, but he changed his tune after he started working for mercantilist organisations like the IMF, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and WTO. He claimed that holding one’s savings in gold was a ‘social waste’ and opposed people buying homes. Instead he said India needed to import consumer goods from the West. Even his suggestion to privatise PSUs was dubious as his aim was to raise money to pay foreign organisations.
The cynical policies of the globalisation process resulted in several controversies. One policy guaranteed 16% profits to several foreign power companies that invested in India. Another policy attempted to impose unfair patent laws upon the country by forbidding farmers from sowing seeds from the previous year’s harvest of certain crops and mandating them to purchase seeds on an annual basis from MNCs that were World Bank partners.
The firms in the West would also own the rights to turmeric, neem and other Indian food and medicinal items. Sanity returned only after farmers destroyed a unit of Cargill Seeds.
Meanwhile, the liberalisation agenda was starting to take off under Rao, a shrewd politician who had taken control of the Congress. He retained the industry portfolio and the new industrial policy removed the requirement for many types of licenses.
The first effects of the liberalisation program soon became visible across the economy. With new competition, the Indian automobile industry quickly improved the quality of its vehicles. The software industry became an oft-quoted example for positive effects of the lack of controls. It benefited by both liberalisation within India and real free trade at the global level that was not under the management of international organisations. Soon, other sectors followed suit.
While Rao took the first steps in reforming the economy, the process intensified under Atal Behari Vajpayee, leading to the widespread improvement in the lives of Indians. These changes showed that removing controls at the national and international levels were beneficial to the economy. More than 50 years after the British left the country, the economy had finally taken off and India had arrived on the world stage.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget !!

#POST 0030

This is a story written by the awe-inspiring Kent Nerburn. Enjoy and share it with others if the story touched your heart.

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.
It was a cowboy’s life, a life for someone who wanted no boss.
What I didn’t realize was that it was also a ministry.
Because I drove the night shift, my cab became a moving confessional. Passengers climbed in, sat behind me in total anonymity, and told me about their lives. I encountered people whose lives amazed me, ennobled me, and made me laugh and weep.
But none touched me more than a woman I picked up late one August night. I was responding to a call from a small brick fourplex in a quiet part of town. I assumed I was being sent to pick up some partyers, or someone who had just had a fight with a lover, or a worker heading to an early shift at some factory for the industrial part of town.
When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.
Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, then drive away.
But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation.
Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself.
So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.
After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80?s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.
“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.
“It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”
“Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, then asked,
“Could you drive through downtown?”
“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.
“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
I looked in the rear view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.
“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”
I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.
For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.
As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”
We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.
“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.
“Nothing,” I said.
“You have to make a living,” she answered.
“There are other passengers”.
Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.
“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.”
I squeezed her hand, then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.
I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly, lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?
On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.
We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Insert a Little Pareto Into Your Day

#POST 0029

‘Pareto Principle,’ is named after the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who observed that 80% of income in Italy was received by 20% of the Italian population.

We’ve all heard of the ‘80/20’ rule – books have been written about it, and the Pareto Principle has been applied to all sorts of things, such as:

· 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of your effort

· 80 percent of usage is by 20 percent of users

· 80 percent of problems come from 20 percent of causes

· 80 percent of complaints come from 20 percent of customers

· 80 percent of sales will come from 20 percent of sales people

· 80 percent of work absence is due to 20 percent of staff

· 80 percent of your time spent on this website will be spent on 20 percent of this website

The relevance of Pareto’s principal is obvious enough – focus on doing things that produce the best outcomes for you, whatever that might mean.It’s not obvious though, and it goes against the grain of much of what we have been taught.

Usually, people have a tendency to believe that they should focus on what they do badly in order to improve. And there is some sense in this – some skills (driving a car, for instance) can be improved a lot by practicing. But continually focusing on what is weak instead of working on the ‘bright spots’ can be a fatal mistake since it can cause you to neglect that which you are good at and which you enjoy.

Imagine if Michael Jordan had thought he was pretty good at basketball and had focused on improving his golf game, instead. Or if Tiger Woods had spend time trying to improve his basketball. We would have had two people who were quite good, but not great, at either game.

You can apply the Pareto Principle to your own life in all kinds of ways.

Reduce the amount of time you spend doing any job you don’t like. I know people who work long hours at a job they don’t enjoy. They might say they have no choice, but in reality there is always a choice – unless you work on a production line, you probably have some freedom in how you approach your job and you can restructure things so that you’re spending more time on what you are good at.

Increase the amount of time you spend doing what you love. You’re more likely to be productive when doing what you love, so focus on this. We sometimes have a tendency to think that enjoyment is a bad thing; if we’re not ‘working hard’ then we’re not giving value for money. This kind of thinking is self-defeating – doing what you enjoy will increase your productivity.

Delegate Delegation is not the same as ‘passing the buck,’ or getting rid of your dirty work. It is getting a job done more effectively and leaving you more time to be productive.

I Failed , that's why I succeeded !!

#POST 0028

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career, I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over in my life. And that's why I succeed!" - Michael Jordan

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Packaging Matters - Why looks are important

#POST 0027
Published in Corporate Dossier ET, July 23, 2010

The sage Uttanka stood in the middle of the desert.  He was suddenly thirsty. He remembered a promise made to him by Krishna long ago, “I will bring you the nectar of the gods whenever you genuinely yearn for it.”  Yes, that is what Uttanka genuinely wanted at that moment: nectar of the gods.   He shut his eyes and wished for it.  He opened his eyes expecting a smiling Krishna to stand there with a cup brimming with sparkling nectar.  There was no Krishna. There was no one, just a vast sandy emptiness stretching to the horizon.
Uttanka was irritated.  He shut his eyes once more and wished for nectar and remembered Krishna fervently.  This time when he opened his eyes, he saw a beggar covered with filth holding a dirty stinking bowl in his hand. It contained water. “Drink,” said the beggar, “You look thirsty.”  Uttanka turned away from him, repelled by his ugliness. The beggar went away.
Uttanka was now parched. In fury he yelled, “Keep your promise, Krishna.”  A voice boomed from the sky, “I did. I forced Indra to offer you a bowl of nectar.   He just did. And you just refused.”  It dawned on Uttanaka that the filthy beggar who offered him a bowl of water was actually Indra offering him nectar.  He had assumed how Indra should look.  He had paid a price for his assumption.

There are many Uttanakas in the corporate world, men who believe packaging is an indicator of content.

Prashant is one such Uttanka.  He is the owner of a medium sized BPO.   One of his young executives, Suhas, came up with a wonderful idea of shift rotation to improve performance and reduce attrition. Suhas was a young man of twenty-six who had spent five years in the BPO learning the ropes.  He did not know English but that did not matter since the calls he serviced were for the local market.  He was not even a graduate; he could not afford to go to college and needed to work.   He was hired by the organization because he came very cheap. But despite his background,  Suhas was extremely sharp and sensitive.  He recognized the problem that the BPO was facing and came up with a deceptively simple way of overcoming it.
Unfortunately, when Suhas presented the solution to Prashant, he found himself being dismissed.  Prashant did not even hear him out completely because he assumed someone as young, poor and barely qualified as Suhas could not possibly solve his problems.  A year later, Prashant hired a consultant.  After six months of investigation, the solution that emerged was exactly what Suhas had come up with almost eighteen months earlier.  Prashant kicked himself for not listening to Suhas as he signed the cheque for his very expensive consultant.

Sandeep, however, has accepted the existence of  Uttankas in the market place.  He has to deal with many governmental agencies. He knows that whenever he asks for an appointment, he will not get it.  He will be shunted from one desk to another. Ministers and bureaucrats simply give him the run around.  In frustration, he came up with a rather shallow idea.  He hired Bob, a tall blonde big built bearded Australian youth, who was keen to gain some experience in third-world markets. Bob was given the designation of Chief Consumer Strategist.  Every time Bob called the government agencies, he was given appointments. Sandeep knew it was because of his Australian drawl.  Every time Bob entered the offices, along with Sandeep, he was taken straight to the minister or the senior bureaucrats, the very same people who never gave Sandeep the time of the day.
In wry amusement, Sandeep observed how everyone ignored the fact that Bob was too young to be a Chief anything.  Bob gave a small speech after which Sandeep made the real pitch. Invariably, the deal would go through. Sandeep was very happy.  One day, he told Bob, “They are so eager to impress the white guy that they are willing to sign on any paper.  That makes you a very useful tool for my business.”  Bob did not feel bad at the racist jibe; he was learning an important lesson in marketing.  For some people what matters more is the packaging, even at the cost of the content.

 - The writer Devdutt Patnaik is the Chief Belief Officer of Future Group

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

...Just for an extra bedroom - A sad bitter reality

#POST 0026
Every person who is far away from their parents, for jobs should read this heart touching story!!!


A Bitter Reality
As the dream of most parents I had acquired a degree in Engineering and joined a company based in USA , the land of braves and opportunity. When I arrived in theUSA , it was as if a dream had come true. Here at last I was in the place where I want to be. I decided I would be staying in this country for about Five years in which time I would have earned enough money to settle down in India . 

My father was a government employee and after his retirement, the only asset he could acquire was a decent one bedroom flat. I wanted to do some thing more than him. I started feeling homesick and lonely as the time passed. I used to call home and speak to my parents every week using cheap international phone cards. Two years passed, two years of Burgers at McDonald's and pizzas and discos and 2 years watching the foreign exchange rate getting happy whenever the Rupee value went down. 

Finally I decided to get married. Told my parents that I have only 10 days of holidays and everything must be done within these 10 days. I got my ticket booked in the cheapest flight. Was jubilant and was actually enjoying hopping for gifts for all my friends back home. If I miss anyone then there will be talks.. After reaching home I spent home one week going through all the photographs of girls and as the time was getting shorter I was forced to select one candidate. In-laws told me, to my surprise, that I would have to get married in 2-3 days, as I will not get anymore holidays. After the marriage, it was time to return to USA , after giving some money to my parents and telling the neighbors to look after them, we returned to USA . My wife enjoyed this country for about two months and then she started feeling lonely. The frequency of calling India increased to twice in a week sometimes 3 times a week. Our savings started diminishing.

After two more years we started to have kids. Two lovely kids, a boy and a girl, were gifted to us by the almighty. Every time I spoke to my parents, they asked me to come to India so that they can see their grand-children. Every year I decide to go toIndia … But part work, part monetary conditions prevented it. Years went by and visiting India was a distant dream. Then suddenly one day I got a message that my parents were seriously sick. I tried but I couldn't get any holidays and thus could not go to India ... The next message I got was my parents had passed away and as there was no one to do the last rites the society members had done whatever they could. 
I was depressed. My parents had passed away without seeing their grand children.

After couple more years passed away, much to my children's dislike and my  wife's joy we returned to India to settle down. I started to look for a suitable property, but to my dismay my savings were short and the property prices had gone up during all these years. I had to return to the USA ...
My wife refused to come back with me and my children refused to stay in India ... My 2 children and I returned to USA after promising my wife I would be back for good after two years.

Time passed by, my daughter decided to get married to an American and my son was happy living in USA ... I decided that had enough and wound-up every thing and returned to India ... I had just enough money to buy a decent 02 bedroom flat in a well-developed locality. 
Now I am 60 years old and the only time I go out of the flat is for the routine visit to the nearby temple. My faithful wife has also left me and gone to the holy abode.

Sometimes, wondered was it worth all this?

My father, even after staying in India , Had a house to his name and I too have the same nothing more. I lost my parents and children for just ONE EXTRA BEDROOM.  Looking out from the window I see a lot of children dancing. This damned cable TV has spoiled our new generation and these children are losing their values and culture because of it. I 20get occasional cards from my children asking I am alright. Well at least they remember me.
Now perhaps after I die it will be the neighbors again who will be performing my last rights, God Bless them. 

But the question still remains 'was all this worth it?'
I am still searching for an answer...... ............ ..!!!
also waiting for your answer eagerly