Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 30, 2009

Calling back "phoren" academics

Reading this news piece, I am quite happy that atleast the govt. is doing something to offer these "phoren" academics some incentive to return back to our country. But merely offering them the right package and position is not going to be enough. In order to bring them back to the country where education is not a priority, they will have to be offered more than money. Although the news piece does claim that the UGC has received "hundreds of emails" enquiring about opportunities in teaching profession, I am sure once the finances improve abroad, they would make a beeline for the phoren shores.
The only way to retain them is to provide an environment that is conducive to education. Reservation has to go. Arjun Singh has been left out of the Cabinet ministry which is good news. One hell of a good news. But that does not mean the reservation law will be reverted by the new govt. who won votes because of its pro-poor and "pro-castism" policies. But atleast no other bull shit law will come from the tainted mind. Coming back to the point, if reservation is removed, we will see a spate of eligible, intelligent, willing and satisfied student communities who will gain positions in the colleges based on merit and not on caste, donation etc.
Only then will the academics think of contributing to the knowledge base of India. Only then will the academics consider Indian universities to be worth their knowledge and experience. Until then you cannot expect them to leave the havens of knowlede and moolah.

Thoughts ridden by kash

Day before yesterday, I went to a cinema hall to watch a movie called New York. The movie can be deemed “watchable” once. But it is not extraordinary and tends to project the Americans as heroes which is not entirely justified. I am not writing a review on the movie. My post is related to what happened before the movie.

My wife and me headed for the main entrance of the cinema hall, holding the tickets in our hand. Due to the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, security has been beefed up at most of the public places. So we had to pass the metal detector test. A security man with a formidable moustache, signaled me to stop. I stopped so that he could frisk me for WMD. No, I am not exaggerating. He frisked me as if terrorists always carry WMD or Big Visible Weapons that Kill Hundreds(BVWKH). A cursory swish of the hand holding the metal detector proved that I was not carrying anything which must not be carried. I speak of BVWKH here because only those kinds could have been detected in the manner in which he frisked me. I could have easily taken three to four handguns by strapping them to my legs. The person used the hand-metal detector to just check my waist. That’s it. It made me wonder whether I would remain alive to see the daylight again.

You might have noticed that security check at airports is much higher and thorough than at places of public gathering. This happens despite the fact that people travelling in airplane would be much lesser than people in hospitals or maybe, a mall. A big mall at any time of the day would probably have around 1000 people roaming around. Though terrorist strikes won't come at a time when the damage is low, so you can expect them to strike such public places on a Sunday, holiday or some day designated by a cleric as the day of rebellion. So why isn't the security even tighter here? Is the hijacking of the planes the only mode of terrorist strike that needs to be taken care of. Whenever there is a terror alert, you hear in the news that security was beefed up at the airports. But what about other parts of the nation where protection is required. Do we employ extra personnel? Are more police allocated on patrols? I have many reasons to doubt that this never happens. Its only the common, innocent public who dies. Not the politicians. Those are bodies which are heavily protected even though they are worth a cent. Why am I saying this? Have you ever heard a politician die in a blast except of Rajiv Gandhi? Yes, I agree they need security since they are the "rulers" of India. But is it not their duty so form guidelines for implementation of greater security controls in the country?

Another thing that piqued me was that my beautiful wife was not touched at all. No frisking, no touching. Doesn't terrorism have women's rights bill? Is it that our country allows women to become terrorist in the name of women's reservation? Why do we not have a lady being frisked? When I posed this question to my wife, she said only security lady can touch her. Not a male. Amongst the fits of laughter that I had in reply to that answer, I could not help but wonder about the Indian culture of security personnel. There is a decree in the books of Indian culture that a lady shall not be touched by a male hand unless she is allowed by a priest. In other words, she is touchable only after marriage. Would it not make women a safe haven for terrorists operating in India? I have seen this happen in my wife's company. Thought IT services companies like hers do not allow people to carry their own laptops into the office due to client legality reasons. Her friend actually carried her laptop into the company and because she was a lady and there was no female security lady, her bag was not checked. Wow! Is that not discrimination? Do we need to come out with a men's reservation bill soon?

Makes you wonder ne?

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Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 27, 2009

I remember him as the one who "pissed" off

Whenever he goes to pee in his own home's bathroom, he is reminded of the greatest pop star of all time. Yeah. He must be thinking here is another one who did not know my regional language and peed in my bathroom. How despicable! He must not be allowed in my region again. How dare he sing in English when he is clearly performing in my region.
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Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 24, 2009

Young MPs, you say?

Have a look at the statistics quoted in the Business India, June 14th edition.

Number of MPs in the 1st Lok Sabha who were in the age group of 25 – 40: 112

Number of MPs in the 15th Lok Sabha who were in the age group of 25 – 40: 79

Numbers don’t lie. Our parliament is growing old. Whether we require young politicians or not is still debatable. But that we require educated and guilt-free ones, is certainly not debatable. It is in fact, a dire need. A need much greater than age. An interesting statistic or information would be the genuine degrees held by all the parliamentarians. It should be interesting. Though education would not classify them as good politicians but the probability of them turning out to be successful and country-development-centric would be high. Do you think so?

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 23, 2009

Technology usage needs education

The subject of my post is this news item on TOI. Chennai police has introduced a novel system to allow civlians to "text" them their grievances/suggestions etc.
To receive complaints via message, phone, post or email is one thing. But acting upon them is another. Not criticizing every good initiative by the government, this does seem like a good idea. But do all cops know English? Or do they understand Hindi? Are all cops adequately educated to respond to English text messages? The reason why I raise this questions is because if the text message received is interpreted wrongly due to poor language skills of the cop, then we are in for chaos and wasted effort. As such we have limited a police force who cannot provide security to almost 100 cricket professionals, so wasted efforts in misinterpretations is certainly not desired.
Cops in Maharastra atleast would prefer not to speak in Hindi or for that matter, anything other than Marathi. Will texting them in English, most preferred language on phones, make any difference? Or will MNS require the text messages to be in Marathi only in order to warrant action?
For the sake of information, all state goverments as well as the central government have grievance cells to act upon civilian grievances. If these cells were efficient enough, would so many PILs or RTI cases arise so frequently? I am not entitled to throw guesses about the efficacy of our govt. but one cannot help but express.

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 22, 2009

Winds of Change yeah?

Amazingly the BJP party heads are now starting to realize that religion politics won't work. It cost them 5 years. Can it still afford to go on the Hindutva bandwagon? Its never too late to get rid of the rot. Mr. Advani, before your second leg ends up in the grave, please use your rational thought to atleast change the way the minorities think about you. And yes, you cannot prevent "any narrow, bigoted, anti-Muslim interpretation" unless you get rid of the fundamental problem which is your Hindutva policy. Divisive politics won't work anymore, as proved.
Yeah. The headlines in the TOI have the right text "Tweak-Hindutva-BJP-leaders-told". Tweak, they say. Witty ain't it?
Makes you wonder what makes politics tick in our country.

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 21, 2009

Why Sunday?

Its Sunday today and I thought why is it called that. Easy answer. Its the day of the sun. Have a look here at the Wikipedia page. Its clear from the page that Sunday can be considered either the start of the week or end. But I prefer it to be called the end. Why? A good time does not have a happy end. Neither does weekend. Why? Because you don’t want the good time to end. That makes you unhappy because time does not wait for you. So Sunday definitely is the end of week for me.

Enjoy your day while it lasts.


Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 20, 2009

Testing a Windows Live Writer plugin

Downloaded a plugin to add templates to a post automatically. Test post. I created a template which is my signature. You may signatures added to my earlier posts. But in the recent posts, you might not be able to see it since I had been posting using my Windows Live Writer. Now I just realized that the signature did not get posted. So here it is.

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Thoughts ridden by kash

Power porn

Here is something that I came across on the Personal MBA website. The caption of the picture on this post is interesting. I quote the same below

How much time do you spend reading about what Richard Branson is doing vs. actually doing things

Yes. We do read a lot of biographies about people who have done great things. We try to get inspired by the thought and the deeds that they have done. But is this reading worth it? Do we ever implement the good sides of these people? People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs dropped out of college to do something that they always wanted to do. They carved their own path. But is everyone the same? Should I also drop college or leave my job to do something different? Is the risk worth taking? If everyone got inspired and started a business, then who would work in those businesses? If everyone got inspired and became a CEO of his own company, then who would be the watchman at the gates? I believe it is one thing to read and get inspired and it is another to actually do something. Real life has more problems than we actually can think of. The Force did not gift every individual with the same ability in order to allow mankind to create and maintain ranks.

Think and you will know why you are still doing that same old boring job.

Thoughts ridden by kash

Necessity is the mother of creating space

The picture below explains the title of this post. I clicked this one while sitting at the back of my scooter, which my wife was driving.

Have a look at the picture below.

Overcrowded rickshaw

Though I could not get the right angle to display the “full strength” of the autorickshaw(AR), but I guess you can get it.

This photo does bring various thoughts to my mind. First, the AR owner here is definitely trying to squeeze every rupee out of every drop of petrol that the AR uses. The meter rate of the AR is quite high in Pune. For more information you can refer here. The AR owner picks up students from home and drops them to the school and vice-versa. And in his free time, drives the AR in the city making even more money. So moneywise, he should be making a decent amount. Given the rising cost of living(another post on it later) in Pune, he has to squeeze that extra rupee out of his meager resources. If you think in another way, the parents of the students who send them to school by such “spacious” AR, are also trying to save money on many areas and this is definitely one of those areas. But I am very thankful and happy that they are at least sending their children to school.

If I am correct, this AR is probably carrying 12 - 15 children. You can see three layers here. The base layer of children are supporting the second layer of children sitting on the laps of the base layer. And another layer who is just standing. And of course, in this sweltering heat, God save them though they are probably used to it out of no other option available.

I am not sure I can guess the damage this heavy loading does to the AR but it does affect. The AR’s lap time to breakdown would surely shorten if it continues to drag such heavy loads, for which it was not designed originally. But I am impressed with one thing. The AR owner does know how to manage his space. That’s something we all must learn here. We should be able to harness the power of less. It does feel good or maybe, satisfied to know that I at least own a car, larger in size than a AR, which would be able to use to drive my children to school. Its all in the books of good fortune. I thank the Force for it. We constantly look for a larger home, bigger car, everything bigger than it already is. But looking at the picture here, you can be thankful for whatever you have got.

But anyways, these things won’t change here in India. At least not in the near future. Makes you wonder yeah?

Ride the thoughts with me in the comments.

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 16, 2009

Business and Traffic habits – Part 3

Cross roads

TB: Cross roads are those points where normally two or more roads cross each other and one has the choice to choose the next direction to take. Once the choice of direction is decided, you look at every side to check for any traffic before you make your move. Major crossroads have traffic signals that make it mandatory for you to wait. They allow the traffic to be regulated and function normally.

BB: In the business world, interpretations of cross roads can be in many forms. One which I can think of is - It is a time in a company’s life when it comes to a standstill and does not know in which direction to head. The product or the services in which it has spent most of time and money, is now no more a monopoly. They need to diversify and change direction. Or divest and focus on their core competencies in case of a big multi-business companies. A company at crossroads would choose a direction of play, it would check for downfalls (TB: check for traffic), check for competition (TB: traffic), consult professionals and take calculated risks and plunge onto the new path.

Traffic signals on roads can be compared to government regulations and obstacles that often hamper businesses from prospering (TB: speeding down the crossroads). Here, from the point of view of businesses, prospering means surging ahead of others with great speed. Most of the times greed grows at the same rate as prosperity. That greed, more often than not leads to unlawful practices. Unlawful practices includes bribery, tax evasion, customs duty manipulation etc. When its unlawful, the law protectors have to step in. The extent to which the authorities performs its duty or remains lawful (not accepting bribes etc.) is something that only the authorities can decide.

Therefore, crossroads are points in traffic or business, where calculated risks are calculated and all contingencies are planned for. And thus, we can relate them very closely.

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 11, 2009

Business and Traffic habits – Part 2

Accidents involving people other than yourself

TB: Whenever there is an accident involving one or more vehicles on the road, you can expect mild to severe disruption in traffic based upon the size of the vehicles involved and the severity of the injuries in the accident. In these accidents, the fault lies with some vehicle owner who created the circumstances for the accident to occur. Either he took a wrong turn, swerved onto the path of an oncoming vehicle, got a flat tyre causing the vehicle to go out of control etc. Whatever maybe the reason, the main focus here is the disruption of traffic leading to hours and hours of lost productivity and frustrated minds. In such cases, people who got caught in the traffic are just simply unfortunate and others who took another road or passed by earlier were luckier. The traffic, that gets created as a result of the accident, needs to cleared by some way or the other. That is where the authorities come in. The traffic policemen try to clear the site of the accident and accordingly direct all the stuck vehicles.

BB: Analogy to a road accident involving others would be similar to what I believe to be the present financial crisis. For no fault of your own, your business got stuck in the mire that the mortgage lenders created. The credit lines dried up taking with it the major source of funds for most of the businesses. Although you contributed nothing to the cause of the crisis, you still got affected by it. Someone somewhere made wrong and rash decisions without thinking of the consequences, and brought all of them down with themselves. All banking majors got involved in the “accident” some way or the other and it brought us all to the present state. After that the government stepped in with its bailout package(TB analogy: Policemen trying to clear the accident) to save the sick companies. The bigger the businesses involved in the “accident”, more severe the effect (TB analogy: Accidents involving trucks take more time to clear than those involving two wheelers). Also various arms of the sick companies or the companies themselves are bought by “healer” companies who can turn around the “sickness” in the companies by whatever means suitable (TB analogy: Injured persons are taken to a hospital where they can be healed and vehicles involved are taken to the garage)

Accidents involving yourself

TB: Road accidents happen all the time. Thousands of people die every year in road accidents. In an accident, you may or may not be at fault but you are involved nonetheless. You are at fault when you, due to carelessness, ram into another vehicle or person. People like speed. “Speed thrills but kills”. “Better late than never”. One often reads these warnings on roads and understands them but never implements. Driving your vehicle with a lot of speed gives you the high as well as makes you reach your destination earlier. Often speed is accompanied by rashness. Many drivers who drive fast, often think that they are in control of the vehicle. They feel that they are at the top of the world and nothing can stop them. That’s when either an accident occurs or a policeman stops them to give them a speeding ticket. Rashness on roads includes speeding, dangerous swerves, car or bike drifting etc. The list is endless but core point is rashness.

When it is not your fault and you get involved in an accident, it is nothing but your unlucky day. There is nothing much you can do to prevent that except, of course, curse the stars. J

BB: Accidents involving yourself compares to the closing down of business. A business closes down when it runs out of money, cannot contain its costs, no longer has a product to manufacture, no longer can afford to give services etc. I will consider the case where the business closes down to due to wrong decisions taken by the higher management. When a business is growing at high speed, the higher management often assumes that they are in control of the situation and whatever decisions they take, there is no one that can stop them from becoming the number one. They are often blinded by success. In such situations, more often than not, the management tends to take some rash decision which ultimately leads to the downfall of the company. The money is growing at such speeds that sometimes the upper echelons of the company strike a venomous deal whose poison slowly seeps through the entire company and brings it down. The lure of the green moolah often drives the company to manipulate accounts, evade taxes, switch to unlawful practices etc. And that’s when the authorities such as Income Tax dept., Sales tax dept., Customs dept., etc come in and pose as obstacles. These are authorities that can ultimately force you to close your business. (TB analogy:  When you are speeding in your car and thereby breaking the law, you are stopped in your tracks by the policemen.)

In case the business party, to which you sell your goods, goes down for some reasons, it can also bring you down. Such would be the case when your major customer goes down and your business cannot be sustained without that customer. (TB analogy: Someone rams his or her vehicle into yours for no fault of your own).

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 7, 2009

Business and traffic habits - Part 1

Driving my car. It’s a passion that I pursue passionately. Whether it is driving on the escarpments or on a straight road, it is always a pleasure for me. The vvvroooommmm of the engine, hiss of air conditioning, squealing tyres, shifting from low to high gear are some of things that make driving a passion for me. Long drives, with my wife sitting besides me, is my idea of a romantic drive.

On the other side, business drives the passion inside me to think beyond. It excites my mind to go out and do something different. It drives me to increase my confidence, take calculated risks and of course, earn a lot of money.

Coming to main idea behind the post, it’s interesting how your driving behavior can be compared to your business behavior. In a series of posts, I will attempt to make some comparison between everyday human behavior in traffic and similar trends in business.

For simplicity of explanation, I am not including two-wheelers, cycles, bullock carts or for that matter, anything smaller than an autorickshaw. The idea of this post was conceived some days ago when I was driving home from office in the evening. The traffic had increased beyond its normal density which allowed me to slow down my car and think about some idea to blog about. That’s when I had this brainstorm or maybe call it a revelation, which I thought would be interesting. So here it goes.

Anyone and everyone into a job or a business know about competitive environments and how to cope with it. In a professional job, one would look for advancement in career, a coveted promotion, much needed or desired hike in compensation, an increase in more responsibility and power etc. In a business, one would look for higher profits and revenue, expansion of business, race ahead of rival businesses, to become leader in innovation etc. By careful thought and analysis of these wants, you can infer that be it business or a professional job, you want to go ahead, race ahead, be the first. And that is exactly what you do when you are driving in a city. You always try to go ahead of the car in front of you. You accelerate and overtake the car ahead by careful examination of the oncoming traffic. In effect, you are going ahead, racing ahead.

To describe it clearly, I will take up each of the traffic habits and compare it to those of business.


Traffic Behaviour (TB) : As I mentioned earlier, when you try to overtake, you are essentially trying to get ahead of some car or vehicle blocking your way. When you decide overtake the vehicle(V) ahead, you take some points into consideration. You check whether there are any oncoming vehicles, you check for space on either side of V, you flick your headlights or honk your horn to let V know that you want to go ahead, you shift your gears accordingly if necessary etc. These points are something that let you prepare to go ahead of V. And then you make the move.

Business Behaviour (BB) : First let me describe what going ahead in business. Increase in profits, revenue, headcount, products, customers etc can be considered as going ahead. When you go ahead of a rival business, you are becoming bigger, better and more successful. When you go ahead, your business is growing and running well. So when you overtake someone in a car, you can compare that to overtaking a rival business in profits, revenue etc.

Businesswise, when you overtake someone, you grow big. So when you overtake a car, your car should turn into a SUV (You wish!) or a luxury sedan or a truck. Hypothetically, it increases in size and practically, it does not. But you do get the point, don’t you?

More on other habits of traffic and their relation to business in the coming posts.

Till then adieu.

Thoughts ridden by kash

How convinient

It was year 2002 when it started. The aid. The military aid to Pakistan. To fight against terror. We(India) were so naive to believe them. Though we did shout, crib, scream but all we got in return were sore throats. And of course, demands for more “evidence”. Can we not see? Is it not apparent that the neighbour is not interested in cleansing the “terror camps”? Is it not apparent that it is in the interest of US to keep the two countries at war by aiding the weaker, vulnerable one against the supposed giant? Will the new stable govt. see through the translucence that the US has apparently built up? Will we ever improve?

Hopes lie with the new government. And of course, we are looking for the 100 day plan that MMS had come up with before the election. I have written about it before over here. So the new government steps in with a lot of expectations and hopes for improvement. Hope it does.

Thoughts ridden by kash Jun 4, 2009

Indian bureaucracy worst in Asia

No doubts exist about this verdict about the Indian bureaucracy. May God save the Indians who leave the running of the country to the raging millionaires in the form of Indian politicians.