Thursday, December 30, 2004

My A&N Trip - Post #2

My escapades in A&N - 15th Dec to 21st Dec (I'll be putting up a link to this post later)

PS: At the time of writing this, it is disheartening for me to mar this otherwise joyful recollection by also mentioning that we at home have just been watching the horrifying news of the earthquake in Indonesia and the subsequent tsunami waves across coastal areas in India including the A&N islands, on TV. Seen in this light, my narration might almost seem in bad taste. The irony is that I admired the sea and was fascinated by it so much just a few days ago only to now see it undergo a scary transformation into some thing that has swallowed so many lives. So unexpected. So devastating. It cuts the heart like a knife, to see the video footage and thousands of people being washed away. Can’t help thinking of what might have happened if we had gone a little later than when we did or extended our stay or for that matter, if the tsunami/earthquake had struck earlier! Why did this have to happen? Why were so many innocent lives claimed by the otherwise charming sea? I just can’t go on….please pardon me for the timing of this post. Or, on second thoughts, I will not put up this post for some time to come. Sometimes, reality sucks. I wrote most of this – let’s say 60% of it – before the tsunami struck terror in the hearts of so many thousands of lives. I went through an unexplainable experience finishing the rest of my experiences in the trip as every word seemed to have another meaning. I just couldn’t utter words like serene, and joy, for example. Even for the reader, these words would sound almost sadistic. Whatever positive the feelings I went through during the trip, the change of circumstances has made them seem sadistic…I hope I'll feel better enough to put up the link to my original escapades in A&N...

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Training and its opportunities

I was in a training prg. for the last 2 days. I simply love attending training prgs. I feel gloomy if I don't get to attend training prgs. at least once in a while like say once in 2 -3 months or so. And why? It gives me the....

a. opportunity to learn something new
b. opportunity to recall, reiterate and update some 'old learnings' as well
c. stimulation to think per se and think afresh
d. opportunity to meet new people from across departments, organizations, countries (depending on the prg.) (and learn from them)
e. opportunity to question (it is extremely easy to pose questions in a training prg as the very objective there is to learn and people are anyways encouraged and even given a specific time-slot to question)
f. opportunity to stay away from routine work. This means more time to think of things you want to do, think of solutions for some problems, think creatively et al
g. opportunity to answer. Esp. if the trainer asks a lot of questions and makes the session interactive. I love the feeling of getting an answer right in a few seconds. I love being challenged with questions.
h. opportunity to ponder on how to apply what I've just learned...

The A&N Trip

I've been working on my Blog post about the A&N trip that we went to between the 15th and 21st of December. The idea was to omit no detail whatsoever and give the reader a blow-by-blow (ouch, that sounds bad given the current context) account. On Sunday, I was half-way through my long story when I heard the TV channels screaming about the tsunami. It was such a shocking news that I, not surprisingly, did not feel like going back to my narration. I was filling it in with so much of joy till that moment and suddenly found myself at a loss for words. I discontinued writing but have just some more to go. But frankly, I don't feel like putting up the post right now, even if I am done with it. It might seem to be in bad taste to recollect the fun that we had. Ironically, I admired the sea so much when I was there. I've started my narration describing the view that the sea treats one to. And now, all I that comes to me is its fury and wrath! Ouch. What a drastic change in the scenario. What a twist of fate. What a terrible thing this is.....!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Passing remark

"We are more ready to try the untried when what we do is inconsequential. Hence the fact that many inventions had their birth as toys." Eric Hoffer

Methinks - Picking up just the first part of the quote - That's why people who are fond of being innovative/creative and wanting to explore new areas ought not to be told that they have to prove that there is an ROI. Do this and we start thinking of the consequences rather than letting ourselves go wild with innovation/creativity. Talking about this, here's another thing that I read in the papers and was impressed by - Geeth Sethi in his autobiography says that life is not about targets and numerical standards but JOY! - Happiness and joy.

Curt's Blog

I loved this post by Curt. (Like I do most of his posts)

Half my ideas are stupid (and that's the way I like it)
By Curt Rosengren on Creativity

His previous post on an article that he came across - 50 mind, body, spirit mistakes - is also interesting and useful!


What is the cause for misery? Why are there so many people baying for each others blood? Why do people care so less about others? Why do people want to get what they want over others bruised if not dead bodies? Why do people rarely lend out a helping hand? Why do people have people-problems? As I went out to fill my water bottle a few minutes ago, these questions sort of popped up. Don’t ask me why! Are these the answers?

What would happen if people were to be happy, come what may? What would happen if people took the rough with the smooth and never wallowed in self-pity? They wouldn’t expect anyone to come and help them! They’d be happy all the time. Plain happy. They’d be ‘okay’ with everything! They’d know that the roughest of phases would pass. They’d know life is about responding the right way to what cannot be changed and change what can be. If one is not unduly worried about oneself all the time, then one obviously has more time for others. More time for altruism. More time to make the world a better place to live in. On the other hand, there are those who don’t wallow in self-pity or don’t really have too many of their own problems to tackle; they just love to create problems for others; they have a sadistic approach. Maybe they are the ones who’ve got everything in life from the time they were born (reiterates my belief that those who go through harder times are the ones with character). The ones who haven’t seen sorrow. The ones who are naturally inclined to destroy and cause problems. What can be done about these? Only hard times that providence treats them with can probably help them realize that they are on the wrong path. Thus, the second category of people is the one where the more difficult of the two problems lie. Eh? Ramble. Ramble. Ramble. But as someone said, it takes all kinds to make the world! (Err…should it really?)

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

I'm back...

This post was written 5 days before the Tsunami struck terror. My trip lasted 6 days between 14th and 21st of Dec.

It's been a week since I blogged. And, pray, why was there this period of silence? Coz me was on out on a holiday! :) And where to, dumbo? To the Andaman and Nicobar Islands! :) (This was no less than a dream come true. I finally made it. Worth the spend folks. If you love water, the sea and beaches. If you can put up with food that doesn't pamper your taste buds. If you are not used to a life of luxury when out traveling) It was a cool vacation with its fair share of irritants. Will come back and give you a blow-by-blow account soon. Till then, hold on! It would suffice to say that things have undergone a 'sea' change! ;). Life seems to be all about being at sea and knowing how to deal with choppy waters. I still have the feeling of bobbing up and down; left to right and back to the left... ;)

Monday, December 13, 2004

Moving into a new role/job?

Conversation on the ACTKM EMail Group! Sound advice for anyone taking on a new role, joining a new office.

-----Original Message-----
Dear knowledge members,

I will be contracted as a strategic assistant in company with all their culture and complexity in next couple of days. The person who isworking in the position at the moment is going to leave in January,that means he has only 20 days to learn me what he “knows”. That givesme a kind of uncertainty because tools for knowledge transfers are notcommon. Only older reports which he made he was able to pass to me andI will participate on meetings! Surely the people will not expect thatI will start where he left in the first month, because the base isstill out of sight, but I want to use the 20 days as “sufficient” aspossible. I am reading this forum now for a while and know that there is a lotof practical and knowledge “out there”. Therefore, i am keen to knowabout your experiences and opinions how the knowledge transfer couldbe managed on a good possible way in the next 20 days! Thanks!

Regards, ..........


Dave Snowden responds:

Twenty days is not long, not even a fully monthly cycle
My advice would be as follows:
1. Buy yourself a digital tape recorder fast and record everything you are told - keeping notes means that you will miss significant "weak signals" in the material. In six months time you will be asking "Hang on, there was something about that but I can't remember it".

2. At the end of everyday don't transcribe the tape, but chuck it into sections and catalogue it with a simple text description of each item "the annual report saga" or similar - something that will trigger your memory and is no more than a line.

3. As a part of that review identify a set of questions that you want to ask the next day and get them written up for the next day

4. Set up a set of structured interviews around the rhythms of the job - what do you do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. People normally work to calendar cycles and asking them to go through it around that cycle is more likely to trigger memories

5. Create a list of “key people I need to know” and get introductions, ideally get a meeting fixed along with the person whose job you are taking and get them to reminisce about the work they have done together – best moments, worst moments, most amusing, near tragedies etc. The idea is to look at the extremes so that things pop out of the middle.

6. Get the person to think about significant events during their time in the organization – who did they work with, what made things work.

7. Create a social network map of the persons contacts - those they go to for information, where they go for help if they don’t understand something or there are difficulties, where they have good or difficult (never say bad) relationships. Keep that map as a diagram (people in boxes with in and out arrows) and link to the digital tape recorder output – make sure you have material about all of the contacts, what they did and how they did it. These are the people who will fill in the gaps for you and you need to know who they are and also to be introduced.

8. As part of the social network map ask them for people or roles that they would like to have had contact with to make a difference to their jobs – keep prompting for this as you will have a golden opportunity to create these links as a new person

9. Get the war stories – there is more knowledge hidden in that everything else,

Dave Snowden

Creative Writing? :)

Creative writing! HA! Actually, it ought to be a guffaw - HA HA HA! Before you think I’ve lost my mind or maybe just kept it aside (did I hear you say “If it exists in the first place”?), let me clarify. I love creativity. I love writing. So much so, that my sentences can be longer than acceptable. So, what’s it about the two together that makes me go ‘HA’ing? Err…shall we say that it’s all about my previous attempts to get creative while writing? The first ever time I was given an opportunity to put pencil to paper and get creative was at school. (You’d rather ask my teachers to narrate the story of how they fought the urge to get me hanged to death. And I can’t help wondering if they ever went back to giving students this kind of an opportunity after seeing my work.) There was no turning back for me since then, literally. I’d hate to show my face in school now. From those good old school days to the not-so-good office days– a huge jump in the story but the in between phase is better left unsaid – my job has given me plenty of opportunities to kill. Wait. With my creative writing abilities, that is.

Well, okay, let’s get serious. ;) Let me cut the faint jokes out and get down to reality. Here’s the truth, only the truth and nothing but the truth. I write to express myself. I write to communicate. I write to connect. I write to make people smile (if not laugh). I write to change minds. I write to influence. I write to coax. I write to motivate. I write to inspire. I write to help people share. I write to help people innovate. And sometimes - I write to exist. I write for myself.

PLUM (P.G Wodehouse) has been the most inspiring force in my life when it comes to writing (as well as humor). I might worship the ground he walked on if given the opportunity. I’ll probably have to be born again to reach his levels of writing and mastery over the language. But then, I also believe that he is inimitable! The simple philosophy that I have when it comes to writing is to have a unique style and keep it simple and easy-going rather than complex and verbose. There are some excellent writers who do have what it takes. But then, it also takes a dictionary to understand them. Not a human. I am, admittedly, in awe of writers who seem to know just about every word in the English language and more (don’t ask me how) and dole them out in no small measure in their writing. But it’s anybody’s guess as to whether that kind of writing just happens to be a show of vocabulary or touch hearts & evoke emotions! It’s okay to brush up the vocabulary and make use of it in every possible situation, but not at the cost of losing one’s audience. Having said that; let me now introduce a paradox. Bill Watterson (The creator of Calvin and Hobbes) is another favorite of mine though he uses up most of the vocabulary in the language. Maybe, he’s a rare example of how a writer can capture one’s audience despite the complexity of the language. And, what probably helps him is the fact that he is a cartoonist and not a storyteller. His artistic abilities (the pictures) and his extremely good sense of humor provide the necessary fun quotient and minimize the stress on the reader due to frequent dictionary-references.
Okay. Enough of the rambling. Let me jump back to my style of writing (whatever that is!?). So, what do I want anyways? I want to capitalize on my passion for writing and help address cultural issues. I want to use it to change things for the better. I want, in short, to change the world through my writing. Like it is said, the pen is mightier than the sword and I’d like to wield it better. Blogging, I hope, will help me pursue these dreams.

CavinKare-CKR-And My Friend

I came across this quote that reportedly inspires CK Ranganathan (CMD, CavinKare). “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe, and enthusiastically act upon, must inevitably come to pass” – Paul J. Meyer. No wonder this David of a man took on the Goliath HLL.

Whenever I read anything about CavinKare, I am reminded of one of my best friends (in MBA School) who kept track of a face cream that was a product of CK Ranganathan’s family business before he left to start CavinKare. She was so convinced of its superior qualities as a product that she had this extreme urge to help them market and position the product against popular (well-branded) but not of equal quality (according to her) products from MNCs. She even approached them for a project and was offered a job as well. It’s a pity that she had to refuse it finally due to personal predicaments. What a good marketing/branding manager the company couldn’t make the most of and what an opportunity to pursue her passion my friend lost. L. Some things are not meant to be. Why does it hurt me so to realize that the potential for a good employer-employee relationship has been wasted?

Black Beauty

I feel like I’ve just been forgiven a sin. The sin of not doing something that my right brain has been yearning for - for a long time. I finally struck a chord with it. Literally. J. Till a few hours ago, it was quite some time since I’d practiced on my guitar. My black beauty (my guitar) had been lying in the corner of my room for months altogether silently and beseechingly staring at me. Just asking to be played (no strings attached I guess ;)). Making me feel guilty almost every day. But somehow, I’ve been spending most of the weekends reading, watching TV or going out. Today was the day! I finally almost pounced on the guitar, wiped the dust on the cover clean (ouch) in one quick move, and pulled out my song-book and played for an hour. It felt good. J Though, my fingers got slightly blistered at the end of the hour because of the longish gap. Sometimes, things don’t really go your way. My guitar classes which were on Saturdays suddenly got shifted to Wednesdays because my teacher couldn’t make it during weekends and I haven’t been able to practice and learn new stuff ever since! L I’ve decided that I’ll at least spend time with my black beauty once-twice a week even if it’s only practicing the same old songs. Experimenting, of course, is another thing I should be doing. Sorry, black beauty. I ought not to give you another opportunity to make me feel guilty.

Friday, December 10, 2004


Catchin' up with the latest post on Crossroads Dispatches by Evelyn Rodriguez. (Thanks to Gautam again! :) I jumped into Evelyn's Blog from Gautam's Blog).

I hopped on to an article that Evelyn refers to on Fast Company -
The 6 Myths Of Creativity and heard a loud bell ringing in my head. The article reflects exhaustive research that helped the author conclude that creativity doesn't come only from the 'creative types', it isn't money that makes people creative, neither is it time-pressure or fear that gets the creative juices flowing, and finally, the last two points - it isn't competition or a streamlined organization that promotes creativity. I agree with almost all the points except one - sometimes, even negative emotions like sadness do result in creativity - ask the poets!.

But anyways, that's not what I want to highlight here - what I want to talk about is the loud bell that I heard when I read about the creativity myth - Competition Beats Collaboration! - Here's what I'd blogged some time ago on this very topic....!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Zig newsletter

This 'Zig' newsletter is one of the juciest in recent times...(not that the rest are not as good, just that I am able to relate to these contents so much) :)

Krishna Vs Rama (I am a little confused)

This article appeared in the Economic Times last week. I think the article is a nice attempt to look at leadership and learn from the epics. But I'll have to admit that it leaves me a little confused about what's the right thing to do and what's the right way to be!

Krishna is manipulative and can trick people to do what is Dharma. Rama suffers for something that wasn't Dharma (Kaikeyi's wishes)! Rama is the ideal man. Krishna is the ideal strategist. Rama was emotional and obeyed his parents. (But yes, Rama did suspect Sita post return-to-the-throne). Krishna was anything but emotional. Rama was loved by his subjects but I am not sure if he was considered a leader. He belonged to the 'great man' category! Krishna was loved by the Pandavas and of course the girls and cows too! But I guess he was more of the charming guy rather than a goody-goody one. What disturbs me most is the talk about the means not being as important as the ends (given that the end aimed for is justified). Or have I been conditioned to believe so?

Will someone throw more light, please? (If you're not an Indian or haven't heard about the Indian epics - the Ramayana and the Mahabharata - I apologize. This post might not be understandable. Suggest you Google and get to read the gist of these EPiCS somewhere on the web. Will try and post some good links on these as soon as I can)

Krishna: the best example of a leader SAMPAT SINGH AND S MANIKUTTYTIMES NEWS NETWORK [ FRIDAY, DECEMBER 03, 2004 02:18:27 AM]
The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two great masterpieces of ancient Indian literature presenting two philosophies of life. Valmiki’s Rama represents idealism and Ved Vyas’ Krishna, realism. In 1970, Osho Rajneesh published a book titled Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, in which he compared Rama and Krishna. Ram is a character. Krishna is an actor; he involves himself without being involved. He is a catalyst energising others into action. He refuses to circumscribe his life with ideas and ideals. For him life is larger than all ideas and ideals put together. They are for life; life is not for them. It’s the same mind that gives rise to both good and evil, virtue and vice. Both aspects are different transformations of one and the same energy. Krishna doesn’t deny these dualities. A mirror reflects everything that appears before it, but unlike a camera, it doesn’t retain impressions. A man of mirror-like consciousness will relate with people and things, but he won’t enter into relationships involving attachment. Rama is a doer; he acts for his ideals and is therefore called marayada purshottam. Krishna on the other hand, is an incomparable actor; he turns the whole world into his stage. He plays a friend and a foe without being involved in friendship and enmity. Krishna is called leela-purshottam. He accepts all contradictions and ambiguities of life. He isn’t afraid of them. That is why he’s called complete, or, purnavatar. Krishna’s mission of life was to uphold dharma. His whole life is like an open book. He wears no mask. Whatever he is, he is. He doesn’t deny anything; he is transparent. It’s true that life is full of contradictions and absurdities. To Krishna all that doesn’t justify escapism. He does what is situationally appropriate. Since it’s not possible to remain a mere witness, it’s better to act with complete self-knowledge and moral courage.

Creative destruction There’s one event in Mahabharata, which generally doesn’t catch popular attention: the burning of the Khandava forest. After the plan to kill Pandavas failed, Dhritarashtra was forced to give them a share of the kingdom. Keeping Hastinapur to himself and his sons, he gave a little-known town Khandavaprastha to the Pandavas. On a hot summer day, younger members of the Pandava family with Krishna’s family went for a picnic to the nearby Khandava forest. There they drank, sang and danced. Suddenly everyone saw that the forest caught fire and Krishna and Arjuna together guarded all sides so tightly that no creature fleeing from the blaze could escape. Furiously driving their chariots, the two slaughtered everything in sight. Fire consumed almost all vegetation and life. It’s not known how the fire really started. But, the question remains: why Krishna and Arjuna acted so ruthlessly and so mercilessly? Of course, the Pandavas were planning to build Indraprastha, a city bigger than Hastinapur, which they did. And, they may also be trying to fulfil the duty of a ruling king to provide more land for cultivation. Forests had to be cleared for human settlement and entire region made rich and fertile.

Swadharma as ordained by swabhava Krishna makes a distinction between ends and means. Ends can be idealistic. But if means are absolutely pure, they will soon become ends and the distinction between ends and means will disappear. Is a pure end ever fully achieved? It’s always there as an ideal. Often at times the problem is to choose between greater evil and lesser evil. If it’s found necessary Krishna breaks his own vows. Violating the kshatriya code, he once even ran away from the battlefield because discretion could sometimes be a better part of valour. His elder brother, Balarama, decided to remain neutral in the battle at Kurukshetra. Krishna knew great issues were at stake. He was also aware that both sides looked at him as a friend. Neither side was totally right nor totally wrong. The way he divided himself is extraordinary. He told them they had two options: he or his army. It’s obvious if one is anxious for victory he wouldn’t choose Krishna without his army and, more so when he says, he wouldn’t fight. The Pandavas chose him because they knew he was a great strategist, at one moment a sober statesman, but very often also the shrewd manipulator bent upon achieving his purpose irrespective of means employed. He manipulated killings of all outstanding warriors of the Kauravas’ army. They knew his presence was more important than his participation. Krishna is perhaps the best example of a leader as a catalyst available in world literature. He has no interests, no position, no power. Yet on almost all important occasions when great events occur in Mahabharata he is present. He does nothing, his presence makes things happen. The word Krishna means centre. He is the centre of attraction. He stands for certain values of life and wants to destroy all those who make other suffer. Unlike Rama he doesn’t try to walk on a straight line. He deviates when it is situationally appropriate.

Success and Wisdom

These thoughts ocurred to me this morning... I wonder if I've got the 'equations' right! ;)


If you're not innocent, it is difficult to have faith (you know the truth, you know what works and what doesn't, you know how bad the world really is, you understand where others are coming from and don't trust people). If you don't have faith in anything, it's difficult to succeed. So, success will have to start (and continue) with innocence. It should be possible to retain one's innocence even with increasing success!


If you believe that you're not ignorant and know just about everything there is to know, then you don't want to learn or rather you don't think there is anything to be learned. If you don't learn, you're not gaining any wisdom. So, you need to start with ignorance to gain wisdom. It should be possible to be ignorant and wise at the same time.

Monday, December 06, 2004


I am trying to learn how to meditate. I've made efforts before, kept it going for some time and then have given up due to lack of guidance and not knowing what was the best way of going about it. I am back on the meditation track again - thanks to some inspiring books and people. In this context, here's something I need to pass on for all those who are into meditation or trying to get on to it! Stumbled upon a small pocket book on meditation that is fascinating; It is called 'Meditation is easy' and the author is Greer Allica. Try and get yourself a copy of this book. It is quite a cool read and surely motivates one to start meditating. Some techniques that are shared through the book are fascinating and fulfilling...

Every page in the book is exciting. But here's one sample for you -
Create a scene in nature that is real or imagined, or both. It could be a
meadow. Place yourself in it. Don't observe it. Visualize every detail, and use
your inner senses to bring it alive. Make it a special - a place of refuge. Know
that you can return to the meadow often.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Zig Ziglair Newsletter

Given that we’ve stepped into the last month of the year 2004, here are some questions that the latest Zig Ziglair newsletter suggests that we ask ourselves. On the lines of new year resolutions probably. Check out the newsletter for the entire list. Here are the questions that I wanted answers to immediately. So, now, I am asking myself these questions….the answers will not be recorded completely ;)

1. What will make you more effective in 2005 than you were in 2004?
(Time management, learning what NOT to do and concentrating on a few important things rather than too many things at the same time)

2. What one change in behavior will give you better results? (Being less emotional)

4. What can you do while you are off the job that will better prepare you while you are on the job? (Enjoying life while away from work. keeping the mind fresh in preparation for the job)

6. How are you better today than you were yesterday? (I am less emotional!)

9. What opportunities were missed last year? (Do I even know whether I’ve missed any? For, if had I seen them, I would have certainly grabbed them! Right, Nimmy?)

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Patently Unfair

This article appeared in the TOI Middle on 27th Nov and is by the director of NISTADS. The article is on India's TK (Traditional Knowledge), and the problems with the current patent laws. I like the language, the tone and some of the arguments presented. Good read. The KM lesson in it is to do with the necessity of documentation when it comes to proving the origin of ideas.

NISTADS, I found out is the National Institute of Science, Technology and Development Studies and is part of CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research)