Category Archives: General

2010 in review

Apple New Year to all. Thank you, my friends for making this blog popular and providing valuable comments and suggestions. The below is an extract from a mail I received from the wordpress team:

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 9,400 times in 2010. That’s about 23 full 747s.

 

In 2010, there were 36 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 44 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 3mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 25th with 194 views. The most popular post that day was iCon-Steve Jobs.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, alphainventions.com, linkedin.com, orkut.co.in, and twitter.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for steve jobs, poirot, geisha, steve job, and icon steve jobs.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

iCon-Steve Jobs July 2010
2 comments

2

Memoirs of a Geisha August 2010

3

Curtain:Poirot’s Last Case June 2010
3 comments

4

The Labours of Hercules May 2010
2 comments

5

Music-to the ears and soul March 2010

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A KPO/BPO Story

Interview:

“Congratulations. You have cleared all the levels. We are proud to have you in our company. Here’s your offer letter. You join on…”

“Thank you sir.”

Induction:

“New joinees, you will be taken through an induction programme. You will be educated about our company and it’s core values and what it takes to be successful in here. You have arrived at the right place.”

Day 1:

“Team, let’s welcome our new member. He hails from so and so…blah blah blah…” clap clap clap.

Day 40:

“You are doing well. That’s awesome. If if continue in the same trend, you can get incentives.”

Day 100:

“You are in the night shift.” Groan. “Don’t worry. You will enjoy it. You have a night shift allowance and  a free ride back home.”

After reaching home and having scarecly slept for what seems like few minutes-“Oh my God! Time up for night shift. Even if I am one minute late, they will roast me!” A mad rush to catch the evening/night cab.

First Appraisal/Confirmation:

“Congratulations. You are confirmed. Great job. Continue this good show.” Appraisal Letter contains two lines-one confirmation and the other a minuscule raise.

Another Day(Not a very bright day):

“You took leave for two days. These are crucial times. Next time see that you don’t take any leave.”

Said leave was taken for the first time since joining. No appreciation.

Yet Another Day/ Appraisal:

“You are doing well. But wait till the next appraisal. You deserve to be promoted.”

Same dialogue is repeated for two appraisals. Employee in question equates himself to a bonded labourer/machine and what not mentally, cursing his ill luck.

Last Day:

After realizing belatedly that this is not going to work and having gone through some harrowing experiences, employee throws in the towel. Manager has an Exit Interview with him.

“We are sorry to see you leave our team. You have been great and we value your contributions. Good luck in your future endeavors.”

Ex-Employee heaves a sigh of relief and dreams about his next company where he has joined and hopes that none of the past gets repeated.

But….on joining the new company….same process repeats!

MORAL:

Do not join an outsourcing company at any cost.

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Catch them young!

The most important period in a person’s life is the time when he is a student. That too a school student. A school education marks the initial phase of the molding of the intellect and the inculcation of values and skills that define tomorrow’s leaders. But are we up to the mark now?

Recently there have been reports in the papers of teachers meting out punishments to students on trifling matters. Some times the punishments are hard to the extend to cause severe mental agony and leading to psychological problems. Who is to blame? The teacher or the student? Or both?

This point was driven home by the film Taare Zameen Par. The story of a talented dyslexic student who remains in the shadows until a teacher coaxes him out to fame and recognition. How many more talented children are there out who are not recognized properly or are neglected due to lack of time? Are we chasing too much that we are neglecting the true purpose of that chase?

Today’s education system especially the school education system is in shambles with the old values and the teacher-student bond thrown out to the air. Profit is the motto with schools competing with each other offering ‘services’ and demanding exorbitant fees as a reward. I am not including those who are genuine in giving the students a committed, value based education.

Today’s teacher has no time to listen to his/her students’ doubts. He has to finish off the portions, make sure that the entire batch passes out, never mind if they got it right or not. This mentality has grown to such an extend that it has affected the students themselves as they are more shrewd than their teachers in taking the ‘right’ steps in passing out.

As a result, these not so practically applicable mind sets of people enter college and face trouble in grasping the next level concepts. Mostly it is the case of peer pressure of parental forcing that a student takes a particular subject in college. There are very few who venture out to study their heart’s desire but are ridiculed.

And why not will there be a dip in the number of employable students? How many students today relish their school days? How many continue to broaden their mind by constant education? How many research scholars are there? The parents are equally to blame as they do not listen to their wards and encourage them in their are of talent. Let alone encourage them to read. Reading helps in developing the imagination. It also develops problem solving skills as we  are able to analyze a problem in all aspects and come at a solution.

This must change. Right from school. We are touted to be the next intellectual beacon to the world. The present condition doesn’t add up to that reputation.

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CWG-A Retrospect

Whatever might have been the organizers’ intentions in conducting the Common Wealth Games, the ultimate effect is a big disappointment. However we may claim that we are bagging medals like anything, smashing records, setting new trends, it is a black mark on our pride and honor thanks to Kalmadi & Co.

I am not averse to India playing host to any games-let it be the Olympics, but we must be ready to conduct events of such scale. Take the Olympics in Beijing.  Everything was planned to the T and preparations began a year ago. Though we bid for thew CWG games in 2003 itself, the finishing touches were not ready even four days before the opening ceremony. The facts are known to all of us. Added to that the two accidents at a span of 24 hours.

We did save face by conducting the opening ceremony very well-would it been otherwise, then?  But there is not the competition as would be expected in an event of such nature. With half of the top atheletes pulling out, it was an easy cake walk for our boys and girls. Not to say that they lack in preparation or talent, but a better competition would have brought out better performances. And there have been reports of racial abuse and actions which are unsportsmanlike in nature.May be that’s why, in a manner of ridiculing us the NZ TV host made fun of Sheila Dikshit’s name. No offense, ma’m, but the situation prompts such a comment.

Mani Shankar Iyer was right in commenting that CWG is a black mark on our name. The events and conduct of the sports authorities and conduct of senior and deserving athletes make us doubt whether our motto is money and spot light only rather than exhibition of true sportsmanship.

Next time, let us do this(conducting of games) in a professional manner.

 

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Waka waka Gaga gaga!

So that’s it. The fun’s over. The Octopus Paul won his bet, the parrot is gonna end up in a soup bowl over his prediction, we had our share of excitements and danced to Shakira’s tunes. What an eventful month! The season did turn a few into football fanatics and made a few fanatics turn into lunatics. It was stupendous. Not to miss out those superb ads that Vodafone put out. That company is turning out to be quiet a marketing genius with its excellent ads-be it the Zozo to the present football ads. Here go the ads:

Shakira’s ad drew in the crowds and got us all singing waka waka and going gaga over her and the ball. The office ad was even more fun to watch:

No descriptions needed. What a creativity!  Or the next one involving the lovers in the park as below:

I just love the ads more than the games! Which ad was your favorite? Mine is the office guy. 😀

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Language Politics:Lawyers

The timing was perfect. The publicity was perfect. The recent protest by a section of lawyers demanding that Tamil be made the arguing language in  Chennai High Court coincided(?!) perfectly with the World Classical Tamil Conference going on in Coimbatore from 23-27 June 2010.

May be they forgot a few points, but the points were brought to our attention the next day in the papers. It is that most of the Judges in the Chennai High Court are not that much fluent in Tamil. It is a common procedure that all proceedings in the High Court go in English. The transcripts, papers, orders are in English in not only Chennai but in any High Court around the country. The plaintiff/defendant may, if so needed, get a copy of the proceedings in their native language. That too it is surprising that in a nation as developed as we are in this stage, our respectable lawyers do not know(or are they reluctant?) to argue in English. Even if they are allowed to argue in Tamil, some one has to translate to the Judge on what is being said.

This has happened in numerous instances. Ajmal Kasab requested that he be provided the details of the charges in his native language. So have been in numerous other cases. But the pitiable stage is that our lawyers are not fluent in English as they ought to be. Let alone in Hindi which a group of them still shun as being a foreign language(remember the language riots of the 1960s?).

A lawyer friend of mine pointed out this pitiable lack of knowledge in a recent conversation. He further said that most of the lawyers do not even know the section numbers properly, let alone give a definition for Haebeus Corpus.  And they are hailed as the champions of the poor!

Shame. Of course, the law student of today is looked upon as a rioter and trouble maker by one and all. That is the standard image they have earned as a result of their recent activities in Tamil Nadu. The times have gone by when a lawyer was looked upon as a learned man/counselor. Many of our valiant freedom fighters and civil servants were/are law graduates. Now he is but a mere functionary who helps in bringing the case to a quick end and pocket his fees. Morality down down.

Many experts and prominant persons have strongly stressed that it is essential to have at least a working knowledge of the English language. They aren’t asking us to avoid our local languages and dialects. But to have adequate knowledge. If this cannot be maintained, then we are far away from being a knowledge society, let alone dream of being a beacon light for other people. It is not enough if we go on providing BPO and other opportunities for our lads with foreign players. It is essential we are knowledgable inside also.

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The Silver Tongue

The seed to this post was planted in a conversation I had with one of my friends who urged me to write motivational posts. This is dedicated to that wonderful friend.

Every one loves to have a silver tongue. Even better, we are thrilled to have a Golden Tongue. Adolf Hitler, Socrates, Plato, Mark Antony- all had the golden tongue in common. Got the point? Yes, I am referring to the art of, or rather the gift of speaking anywhere, anytime and making the audience sway to your words. All it requires is your 100% confidence and will to deliver from the bottom of your heart.

The silver tongue is the next level to the golden tongue. It means a person who is not afraid of the stage, can speak to any number of gathering on any topic. He is a great orator, can mesmerise anyone by his gift of speech.

So how do we develop the silver tongue? It is inherited by:

practice

and/or

natural talent.

By natural talent, if you possess a silver tongue, you will be the envy of your friends and peers. One can also gain it by constant practice. Only one needs to read a lot and commit to memory.

Let me elaborate on this. I am a silver tongued guy. But I wanted to hone it up further. I selected a book of my choice. I saw to it that the book had 30 chapters for the 30 days of the month. Each day, I read one chapter and reproduced it in my own way without changing the contents of the chapter. Say this chapter tells you about memory, I reproduced the same in my speech, with my own bits on memory which I had collected, relevant to the topic. The important thing is total recall of the things that you have in your mental storage relevant to the topic.

By the 30th day, I was even more confidant, having observed my body language and facial features in front of a glass for the 30 day trial. This further removed all doubts from my mind and the result was pure magic.

Sample this – I attended a Teacher’s Day function in my school. After all the guest speakers had finished, the announcer invited any one from the audience to share his views. I bolted up the steps, without a preparation but with a skeleton plan in my mind. For it was a golden opportunity. I started casually, introducing myself and making my point with pieces of anectodes. To add strength, I quoted a poetry line I read long ago in a book that got imprinted in my memory to stress my point. At the end of two minutes, I received a thunderous applause more louder than any of the speakers received. One of my well wishers had this to say-you stole the thunder! I can quote many such instances in this regard.

Another instance was in a beauty contest in my college(he he). I easily got through the written test and went on stage without preparing anything. My fellow contestants were rehearsing their speeches from their papers whereas I was walking around without a fear in my mind. And lo! I got second place and won the admiration of all present there. I was the toast for a long time after that with complete strangers coming up to me and lauding my speech. Imagine making an impromptu speech in front of a gathering of thousand guys. More than delivering the speech, the feeling when you actually speak is terrific and makes you happy.

Such is the extend one can go if one develops his silver tongue. This has been a great boon to me in many instances.

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