Friday, February 27, 2009

Maybe...this is just what you need...!

Incredible write-up, this!! Thanks to Prashant for sharing it. It moved me....actually, shook me up. I knew I had to share it with my readers as, to my mind, this 'poem' or whatever else you may want to call it can change the way you think...the way you look at life! No idea who the author is...but God bless her/him.


Maybe. . we were supposed to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that, when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe . . . it is true that we don't know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Maybe . . . the brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past; after all, you can't go on successfully in life until you let go of your past mistakes, failures and heartaches.

Maybe . . you should hope for enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, and enough hope to make you happy.

Maybe . . . the happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most ofeverything that comes along their way.

Maybe . . . the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

Maybe . . . happiness waits for all those who cry, all those who hurt, all those who have searched, and all those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of all the people who have touched their lives.

Maybe . . you should do something nice for someone every single day, even if it is simply to leave them alone.

Maybe . . . there are moments in life when you miss someone -- a parent, a spouse, a friend, a child -- so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real, so that once they are around you appreciate them more.

Maybe … giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but, if it doesn't, be content that it grew in yours.

Maybe . . . you should dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go, be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you dream of, and want to do.

Loved this....!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Message from a Social Organization


Once in a while, I receive mails from social activists who are looking to find people willing to help those in need. I've received one such request from Sara Wilson of the The Fresh Air Fund.
I do not have any personal knowledge of her organization, but the least bit I can do is pass on the message and allow people who are in a position to follow up to do so. Please take a look: (below are excerpts from Sara's mail)


The Fresh Air Fund is in need of host families this summer. I've set up a news release which explains everything:

Thank you so much,
Sara Wilson,
The Fresh Air Fund

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Eknath Easwaran's blog: -

When one is rising, standing, walking, doing something, stopping, one should constantly concentrate one’s mind on the act and the doing of it, not on one’s relation to the act, or its character or value. . . . One should simply practice concentration of the mind on the act itself. – Ashvaghosha

There is a close connection between deep concentration and love, and with the practice of one-pointed attention we can greatly increase the precious capacity to remain loving and loyal no matter what the vicissitudes or circumstances we encounter.

We can practice this one-pointedness throughout the day by doing one thing at a time, and giving our full attention to whatever we are doing. While having breakfast, for example, we can give our complete attention to the food and not to the newspaper. If we are listening to a friend, even if a parrot flies down and perches on his head, we should not get excited, point to the parrot, and burst out, “Excuse me for interrupting, but there’s a bird on your head.” We should be able to concentrate so hard on what our friend is saying that we can tell this urge, “Don’t distract me. Afterwards, I’ll tell him about the parrot.”


Makes me wonder. The world we live in today believes multi-tasking is an essential 'skill'. Information glut leaves us with very few options but to be distracted by information coming at us from every possible direction. Interruptions arise from almost everything around us - phone, email, messages, web alerts and what not. So, where are we headed?

Monday, February 23, 2009

KM News for the Niece...

I can't stop wondering how almost every other conversation I have with a young niece or a nephew (of which I have many) is either enlightening or hilarious or, well, amusing. You might consider me lucky in this regard....or maybe you could take into consideration that it is a good idea for an adult to let herself become vulnerable when having conversations with children. Being seen as vulnerable by children allows them to open up, be bold and speak their mind. They propose the weirdest of ideas without batting an eyelid and if you play along, you may very well end up being influenced and inspired enough to contemplate turning your life upside down/changing the course of your life. As you can see, I am getting carried away. I'll stop myself and get back on track; come back to the purpose of this post. It is to describe a conversation that may not have been life-altering but it nevertheless provided me with food for thought.

So, it all started with this little telephonic discussion that I was to have with a cousin and her daughter, my 10-year-old niece. My niece is normally busy watching Tom and Jerry or one of the other cartoon shows and rarely finds the time to talk with me. If she does find the time for a quick chat, we limit ourselves to our respective experiences of a particular Tom and Jerry episode - which is a common area of interest. This time around, she apparently had a lot of time for me and in the bargain I discovered her ability to drill people down to the components of their soul.

The conversation, right from the time it began, was, er, largely controlled by her. She started with a series of questions and continued with many more series of questions that had me exercising my lethargic weekend brain cells more than I'd have otherwise been capable of. I was caught unawares but went on to answer her questions like my life depended on it (I wonder if she was able to appreciate that though). Sometimes the questions were a lot faster than I could handle. Her Mother, meanwhile, was (I heard later) wringing her hands, sighing and hoping that there would be a day when the phone would be passed on to her.

One of the key portions of the, er, interview was when my niece questioned me about my work. Now, this isn't new to any KMer worth her salt, spice or sugar. Every KMer I know has wondered at some time or the other about how she ought to explain KM to her Mother, Grandmother, Child, Aunt's Sister-in-law and other such near and dear relatives. Coming to how I fared in this particular context, despite the fact that I'd never ever rehearsed it, I was glad I did not draw a blank.

The first question was "So what do you do? What kind of a job are you on?"

I said "Knowledge Manager" with as much dignity as possible

The next question was the inevitable one. "What does that mean? What exactly do you have to do?"

I pulled out a random answer that presented itself to me at that moment "I help people in my office learn"

I thought she sniggered but it must have been my fertile imagination. "But people in organizations are all educated!"

I smiled what I assumed to be a wise smile "No...employees need to keep learning. They need to be told to learn. More than you children are asked to"

She seemed stuck on the previous point "But the employees' bosses will not employ them unless they know most of the things they need to know"

I furrowed my eyebrows and said "Even bosses need to learn"

She retorted "And you? What about you?"

I had to stifle a laugh before answering that one. "Me too..."

I thought she would pause here and consider the complexities of making a person like me learn...but nothing seemed to stop her. She was a rolling juggernaut and I was a poor but inviting object on her path.
" you help your organization learn, do you?"

"Yes....I help them learn...!" I don't know what she would have said if I'd not continued but I'd like to think I had a narrow escape. "When you have some homework or assignments to do at School, what do you do? You check out the books, or surf the internet, or ask your parents or maybe get together with your friends for a discussion. Right?"

She murmered in agreement "Mmmmm"

I went on with a satisfied expression (unjustified, I admit) on my face "Well, we make it possible for folks in our organization to do something similar while at work...we make knowledge available to them, connect them with people who can answer their questions etc!"

I don't know if I imagined it but she seemed quite satisfied that I was doing something worthwhile at office. While one part of me wanted to grind the whole thing into powder and get further down into the details and show her I meant business, another part of me knew it would be suicidal- "You should be glad she is happy with this answer", this second, wiser, part told me. Better senses prevailed and I paused for a few seconds, which naturally led my niece to pose another series of questions about other areas of my blighted life. I answered them all. Every single one of them. My cousin, much later, wanted to know if I'd like her daughter to be the author of my biography (after which she, unnecessarily, added "Not that she'd make any money out of it though!").

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Pi-a-thetic in a way....

I just finished reading Life of Pi. Knowing that it was a book about the adventures of a boy and a tiger, I was hugely looking forward to it for two reasons - I love animals and I was reminded of the similarity between the protagonists of the story and my favorite cartoon strip, Calvin and Hobbes. Even as I started reading it, I was quite sure I'd enjoy it. But...I was not completely right.

Let me not beat around the bush....I definitely think it's an extraordinary book. Three things I'll never forget about the book - for the right reasons - the author's wacky sense of humor, his unique and creative use of language in certain parts of the book and nuggets of spiritual wisdom (both hidden and obvious). But I could not, unfortunately, enjoy the book. The reason why I couldn't is something I may never forget but would like to - It is the description of the protagonist's (Pi's) isolated days in the Sea which is what forms the heart (and most) of the book. Being a pure Veggie and an animal lover, I found it utterly gross and gory to read the descriptions of how the Hyena ate up the rest of the animals on the boat and how Pi himself survived later (I don't feel like recalling anything of that bit of the book). And I'd also secretly expected to read a story of a supernatural friendship between the tiger and Pi (C&H's influence, perhaps), which was not really the case.....

I am almost certain that any Veggie or animal lover is bound to skip many chapters of the book in order to avoid reading the gory details of what and how Pi fed himself. So, that's that. Before I got to the chapter where Pi's story gets quite gross, I had a highlighter with which I colored sentences that were brilliant (for the language or for the spiritual message)....but I later ended up jumping paragraphs just to avoid reading things that would have definitely disturbed my mind and stomach. I think I let this fear dominate my intentions to extract the brilliance out of the book for most parts of it. I could hardly take these portions out of my mind and concentrate on the underlying thoughts and messages as most of the book was anyway about Pi's experiences in the Sea. What an extraordinary story of faith, intelligence and determination. But somewhat wasted on me. Sad but true.

Any contradictory views or thoughts to make me realize I could have chosen to have a different kind of experience? Any points that you'd like to share with me so I can salvage some effort that went into finishing the book?


Found a link to this article in my twitter network. There were too many tweets to keep track of this morning...around 600 odd, to be precise. Thanks to the Oscar and Slumdog Millionaire mania. So, I just managed to click on some of the links accompanying the tweets and then ended up impulsively clearing my overwhelming tweet list - thus making it difficult for me to trace the link back to the appropriate tweets/tweeple. Apologies for not being able to mention the names of the folks who shared this link...! :-|

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Weekly Updates as Blog Posts....

Why would it to be good for organizations to make use of blogs as a substitute for weekly reports and updates? Imagine how much of a difference it would make:

1. Search would be possible (No need to look through email folders and worry about misplaced emails or lost emails)
2. Tags would make it easier for people to locate updates related to a particular activity
3. When the employee or her manager leaves, the new person who takes over will have a wonderful record of the project's history and milestones/challenges etc!
4. Would be easy to invite third parties to take a look at project progress when the need arises

Why Should I Share?

I found some time this morning to catch up with KM discussions on the Indian K-Community website. Got into a responding spree and added my thoughts to quite a few conversations I came across. One amusing thing about KM is that we do tend to go back to fundamental questions time and again...Web 2.0 and its ilk can wait.

A question that employees often ask is: "Why should I share? What will I get out of it? What's in it for me?"

Here's what I put together to respond to that question:

1. When you share, you actually learn! Because you are forced to be sure of what you need to share. You can't talk/write about something you are not sure of. Well, you can still voice your thoughts and confusions, but that's in a different context. A lot of people go ahead and bravely commit themselves to writing papers or making presentations because they end up learning during the process of teaching! If you want to learn something, then try sharing/teaching it with/to or mentoring someone.

2. The cosmic law of give and take says you only get as much as you give!

3. People who share are generally well-recognized, appreciated and respected.

4. It's only when you share what you know that the world will even realize that you know something. An expert is never a person who sits quietly in a corner, away from the rest of the world. An expert is one who communicates, interacts, learns, and shares! She is one who lets the world know that she knows as well as is willing to learn and evolve.

5. Leadership involves sharing, mentoring, and engaging others. KM, in a way, is the foundation for leadership! Someone who goes up the corporate ladder is, more often than not, someone who has taught others, learned from others, shared with others and engaged with others.

6. Sharing with others, as a leader, means you are making others capable of acting (empowering them) which in turn means the efficiency of the overall team goes up. Improved efficiency means a much easier life for everyone. After all, we want life to be easy and great and success in today's world is more of a collective parameter than an individual one.

7. Organizations that are known for collaboration and sharing are known to have lower employee attrition because there is a strong sense of belonging and higher employee satisfaction!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


You may not be ready to indulge in pure Gibberish, but you could possibly try this. Discovered the link in one of the mails I received this morning. I'd imagine that it'll be quite entertaining to try it with a Wodehouse book or a C&H book.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Potential Recipe for Success

Downturns are when employee morale is likely to be at an all-time low. I think this is the time when organizations should create and use communities to engage employees in some conceptual thinking, meaningful internal projects and some long-term ideas (on business operations, strategic objectives, process improvements, tackling the downturn etc)!

I have a strong belief that people who have a sense of belonging and go the extra mile to contribute to the organization are likely to be the ones forming a strong and passionate community. And positive energy from such people, inevitably, rubs off.....leading to a happier environment! :-)

'Good' communities, in short, have the wherewithal to handle adversity. Ergo, I am inclined to think that KM programs must focus on creating and establishing communities in the current scenario. They can surely supply the motivation and ideas needed to chug along...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gangad Jokloz Yomosh?

I am not really sure exactly when it started or for that matter, how it all started off (Something tells me I'd make a very poor historian). It must have perhaps been an accidental innovation that was derived out of some normal slip of the tongue talk. Anyways, all I remember is that it all started while I was in School. My sibling and I let our tongues roll and move in every imaginable direction and uttered some meaningless 'words' at the rate of 120 per minute and gradually thought it was a cool thing to do. (For example - Tumbliko jhodu makaram kloti umbrasta hikas dinga dunga takka pikir rokol gushti ambala eli wotta qot dishu polim and so forth) A common friend and often mute spectator was not sure what to do and how to react but did give us the feeling that she, however, found it quite hilarious. So, it became some sort of a habit to kill time. When we ran out of topics to discuss on the way back home from School, Gibberish would come to the rescue. It was the only language we knew which let us express emptiness but with random emotions. The only language before speaking which we did not have to think. The only language that let us concentrate on emoting rather than making sense or being understood.

Everything in life has to evolve. So, we also invented a variation wherein we would sprinkle Gibberish with strategically placed English words and phrases that could be strung together (connected) to give the listener the feeling that we definitely had a message to convey. Thus, we went on to occasionally practice Gibberish for a few years in School. But I am not sure we were famous for it.

And then, our priorities in life changed. We had to learn to handle the real world gibberish...

The 'tumbliko's and the 'gopol's and all the other absolutely innovative words we concocted out of nowhere were not to be heard for a long time. (But , as some of my friends would interrupt to say, I guess I did continue to entertain people with slips of the tongue.) I resorted to Gibberish only when with kids, who, I discovered, for some reason enjoyed it immensely.

On my first job, two friends who were equally excited about Gibbersih joined forces and we had some serious Gibberish conversations at tea time. Another friend who was ignorant about the context and our 'wicked' ways, heard us having one such conversation and was convinced that it was a valid foreign language. She immediately wanted to know what language it was and we played along and challenged her to find out. After a few days, she gave up and asked us to name the language. So, I told her the truth. And guess what? She was not convinced at all. She refused to believe us and told us she was not happy we were not telling her which language it was. Moreover, she wanted us to teach her the language as well. We continued trying to prove that we were telling the truth and, trust me, it took us a long time and one desperate dialogue to finally convince her. But she never managed to learn Gibberish. Her tongue was too disciplined to slip into meaningless talk.

That's that. Anytime in life, as long as you are not too conscious about appearing like a mature adult, indulging in Gibberish can be real fun. But it can get you in difficult situations as well. Consider what happened to me. A neice calls up when I am busy in a meeting at office and says "Nimmy Aunty, can you please talk rubbish talk?" You must be well equipped to handle such public embarassments as well. Don't tell me I did not warn you.

And, if you have a pet (especially Dogs) at home, rest assured that they will completly understand every single word of the Gibbersih language as long as you back it up with appropriate expressions and actions.

If you're looking at other important ways in which you can use Gibberish, here is another idea - it could be one way of saying "This discussion is over!" when you're with people who are unwilling to wrap up a one-sided conversation. Use just 4 Gibberish words of your choice, say it loud, emphasise every word and sound as stern as possible. You get the idea? If they don't, just get up and walk after you've delivered your statement.

Finally, you could even aim to be a better human being by replacing all the four letter words in your lexicon with brand new inimitable Gibberish words that could be equally relieving while not embarrassing others. :-) This idea is, btw, not my is borrowed and is based on best practice from Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin's Dad, of all the people.

Cartoon strip from - Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

OK. Gangad Jokloz Yomosh? Jikalo Tikalo Ringa Binga Amuso Blah!

Friday, February 13, 2009

No Kidding...

No kidding! :-) This is a brilliant example of paradox thinking..! (In other - Hindi - words, kya bath hai!*) Calvin's certainly one of the most insightful kids I've ever come across. A few days back, I pondered over my lack of paradox thinking and wondered why I have not even observed it happening around me (which I normally do). So, this is intellectual Manna from Heaven..

A perfect weekend post as far as I am concerned. ;-) Warning: Do not try to imitate Calvin. And don't ever show it to your doggy if you have one - when push comes to shove, your doggy is bound to recall this gem of an idea while you yourself are likely to have forgotten it altogether.

*kya bath hai - Hindi exclamation that reflects appreciation of something!

Cartoon Strip sourced from -

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Come Unity

Have you read this one before? Emphasis mine...


Liz Strauss - (Update: I had no clue that this is actually a blog post by Liz as I received it via Email from one of the forums/email lists that I am a member of. But thanks to Google and the Internet...Liz found this post and has brought it to my notice while thanking me for sharing it with the readers here. So, here is the link to the original blog post - - Her blog has a whole lot more such wonderful thoughts and inspiring write-ups! You may want to check them all out... :-))

Life — it's what we do between the time we get here and when we go. We only get one, and despite what other folks might suppose, it's ours to determine what to do with it. We don't measure life in hours and minutes. We measure life in memories and moments. What do you think of when you read this sentence? "It was the time of my life." We don't say that often enough. Life either happens to us, or we take hold of life and live it. Here are 10 ways start living your life.

1. Give yourself permission to claim your life. You're the only one who can decide you're in charge of your life. Turn off the editors, the "shoulds, have tos, and musts", and the rules that didn't come from you.
2. Define what living means to you. Picture yourself at the end of your life looking back. What words would you want to describe how you lived and who you are?
3. Stop living in the future. Every time you think "when I have time I will," stop. Ask yourself, "Why not now?" Choose your life every morning.
4. Surround yourself with people who enjoy living. They've obviously discovered how to have live. Why not hang with the pros?
5. Lay down your pain and your anger. Carrying them around makes living harder and less fun. It doesn't bring anything, and it steals a lot.
6. Let the other guy win. Don't argue about things that you don't care about. Unless there's a threat, let folks prove what they need to prove. Why waste living time trying to fix what doesn't matter?
7. Create energy. Jump to forgiveness and love, then figure things out. Most conclusions we imagine are both wrong and negative. Negative conclusions lead us to prepare a defense. Being defensive isn't living. It's hiding from life.
8. Learn the physical symptoms of when your head and heart become disconnected. We know when we're behaving badly. Key into to how it feels physically. Know the symptoms, and you can stop the behavior. Living will feel safer because you won't be shooting yourself in the foot.
9. Take small risks that push your boundaries in every way. When we stretch just a bit intellectually, physically, emotionally, we grow. Living is growing. Even our cells know that.
10. Value and protect the people and places you care about. Let the people you care about come first, and let everyone know that you do. Re-read numbers 1 and 2.


I just went and lost my cool this morning, raised my voice and argued aggressively with a team member. It was a cumulative expression of pent up anger and frustration. But, the silly thing that I am, the timing was absolutely inappropriate....enough to perhaps make the opposite party wonder whether it is time to refer me to a good doctor. I think I do best when I have energetic and enthusiastic people around me...people who want to be the best at what they do and are extremely passionate about and have a strong sense of purpose in what they're doing. Sometimes I can perhaps be such a source - rub it off on others - but at other times it is a fuel I look forward to from others. No wonder communities are so important - communities are a realization of the fact that one person cannot perpetually create magic. Being a part of a community mostly made up of people who are capable of taking turns to create magic and supply positive energy can make all the difference in the world. Blessed are the organizations that have even one such community...!

Does that sound like an irrelevant rant in the context of this post? Could be....but some of the points above help me recover from my silly mood. :-))) The tags are going to be funny - Life and Communities - or maybe not!? :-)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Handling the Hippo

Ahem! I am back...! :-) Thanks to all of you who left comments/messages on my recent posts. It is nicer to be back when you know you have friends waiting to hobnob with you! :-) true Wodehouse style, Tinkerty tonk to you and all that rot!.....What ho?...I hear you're here!....How have things been? etc You can take your pick.

My break was both good and bad...or should I say, good and challenging? Irrespective of all that, breaks are more good than otherwise. And coming back home is also equally good. I'd like to have a cheerful disposition towards everything see!

As expected, coming back to work after a break is always overwhelming. The backlog looks like a huge Hippo waiting with an equally huge - no, proportionate is more like it, eh? - and open mouth. I must allow myself to be 'swallowed' (or consumed?) by the backlog rather than loiter around and let the illusion of the Hippo linger on too long for comfort. It may start snorting for all I know. Hippo snorts are not that pleasing, as you may be aware! Speaking of which, I mentioned several drinks of water and deep breathing as my primary occupation during the break...but I must admit that I did neither. On the other hand, I probably feasted like the huge Hippo I speak of, above, in the metaphoric sense.....whenever the opportunity presented itself to me and I was in a mood to let the stomach rule.

I guess this post's only intention is to let you know that I hope to be back with a worthwhile tidbit or thought once I settle down and have handled the Hippo. Here I go....ZOOm...! ;-)