Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Paradox of Life

This is a thought-for-the-day from the Eknath Easwaran group. It goes with my fascination for paradoxes. 'Ought-to-be-Blogged' stuff in my perception. How difficult this is to adopt, though!
In truth, to attain to interior peace, one must be willing to pass through the contrary to peace. Such is the teaching of the Sages. - Swami Brahmananda
To a great extent our modern life is built on instant gratification: we are conditioned to go after what pleases us now, without even questioning what the long-term results might be. Spiritual disciplines like meditation are just the opposite. They are permanently beneficial, though at the outset they may be rather unpleasant. In fact, for some time they may be downright bitter.

I once asked my grandmother, "Why shouldn't we go after pleasant things, Granny? It's only human. And what's wrong with wanting to stay away from unpleasant things?" She didn't argue with me. She just told me to eat an amla fruit.

It was easier said than done. The fruit was so sour that I wanted to spit it out, but she stopped me. "Don't give up. Keep chewing." Out of love for her, I did, and the sourness left. The fruit began to taste sweeter and sweeter. "Granny, this is delicious," I said.

"But you didn't like it at the outset. You wanted to spit it out." That is how it is with spiritual disciplines.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Rely on whom? - Reliance

Dhirubhai Ambani must be turning and tossing in his grave. Man's desire for power (and maybe money) is wreaking havoc. Read a nice summary of the Ambani-Reliance issue on Gautam's Blog. To be frank, at one point in time, I thought Reliance was invulnerable. I thought the brothers would have no problems carrying the torch forward! Unfortunately, it was not to be so. Will one of India's strongest, most-respected and richest company be broken into pieces? I hope not! I wonder how Mahatma Gandhi would have sorted this out - what would his win-win approach advocate?

Sempatti and the knowledge revolution

Came across this piece of news on NDTV and was impressed.

Here we are, trying to evangelize KM in organizations only to be sometimes stared at and brushed off as the least important thing to do amongst activities like coding, delivery, bottom line, top line, operating margin and customer satisfaction (though I still have no idea why some people see these as unrelated to KM or rather KM as unrelated to any of these).

While, in a remote village corner, there are people making use of technology to share and learn and improve their lives. Maybe the ROI bug that always bites the management anywhere is very easy to see in this scenario. If the village folk (the women folk to be specific; because this knowledge revolution seems to have been heralded by the women of the village being discussed) get to set up a nice little supermarket, then the entire revenue and deal was because of the knowledge sharing that happened between the city 'experts' and the villagers. The very proposition exists because of the concept of knowledge-sharing. A very nice system that will help them learn and manage this knowledge will be looked at as a god-send! Imagine the drastic improvement that this system could bring about in their standard of living! India would leap-frog into the developed countries category if each village were to take up such efforts to learn from other parts of the country and utilize it well enough.

Subroto Bagchi's Speech @ IIMB

This is Subroto Bagchi's (COO of Mindtree Consulting) speech - delivered at IIMB. It will touch your heart. Values! That's what matters! (Got this from a colleague)

I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was and remains as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled. My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep - so the family moved from place to place and, without any trouble, my Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a matriculate when she married my Father. My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system which makes me what I am today and largely defines what success means to me today.

As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the Office, so the jeep was parked in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government – he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep - we could sit in it only when it was stationary. That was our early childhood lesson in governance - a lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way, some never do.

The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other member of my Father's office. As small children, we were taught not to call him by his name. We had to use the suffix 'dada' whenever we were to refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a driver by the name of Raju was appointed - I repeated the lesson to my two small daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju, 'Raju Uncle' - very different from many of their friends who refer to their family drivers as 'my driver'. When I hear that term from a school- or college-going person, I cringe. To me, the lesson was significant – you treat small people with more respect than how you treat big people. It is more important to respect your subordinates than your superiors.

Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother's chulha - an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting where she would cook for the family. There was no gas, nor electrical stoves. The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served, Father would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman's 'muffosil' edition - delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was larger than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite having studied in an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine. After reading the newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly. Father taught us a simple lesson. He used to say, "You should leave your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it". That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins and ends with that simple precept.

Being small children, we were always enamored with advertisements in the newspaper for transistor radios - we did not have one. We saw other people having radios in their homes and each time there was an advertisement of Philips, Murphy or Bush radios, we would ask Father when we could get one. Each time, my Father would reply that we did not need one because he already had five radios - alluding to his five sons. We also did not have a house of our own and would occasionally ask Father as to when, like others, we would live in our own house. He would give a similar reply, "We do not need a house of our own. I already own five houses". His replies did not gladden our hearts in that instant. Nonetheless, we learnt that it is important not to measure personal success and sense of well being through material possessions.

Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected twigs and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The white ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This time, they bloomed. At that time, my father's transfer order came. A few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only benefit the next occupant. My mother replied that it did not matter to her that she would not see the flowers in full bloom. She said, "I have to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited". That was my first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself, it is what you leave behind that defines success.
My mother began developing a cataract in her eyes when I was very small. At that time, the eldest among my brothers got a teaching job at the University in Bhubaneswar and had to prepare for the civil services examination. So, it was decided that my Mother would move to cook for him and, as her appendage, I had to move too. For the first time in my life, I saw electricity in homes and water coming out of a tap. It was around 1965 and the country was going to war with Pakistan. My mother was having problems reading and in any case, being Bengali, she did not know the Oriya script. So, in addition to my daily chores, my job was to read her the local newspaper - end to end. That created in me a sense of connectedness with a larger world. I began taking interest in many different things. While reading out news about the war, I felt that I was fighting the war myself. She and I discussed the daily news and built a bond with the larger universe. In it, we became part of a larger reality. Till date, I measure my success in terms of that sense of larger connectedness.

Meanwhile, the war raged and India was fighting on both fronts. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minster, coined the term "Jai Jawan, Jai Kishan" and galvanized the nation in to patriotic fervor. Other than reading out the newspaper to my mother, I had no clue about how I could be part of the action. So, after reading her the newspaper, every day I would land up near the University's water tank, which served the community. I would spend hours under it, imagining that there could be spies who would come to poison the water and I had to watch for them. I would daydream about catching one and how the next day, I would be featured in the newspaper. Unfortunately for me, the spies at war ignored the sleepy town of Bhubaneswar and I never got a chance to catch one in action. Yet, that act unlocked my imagination. Imagination is everything. If we can imagine a future, we can create it, if we can create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of success.

Over the next few years, my mother's eyesight dimmed but in me she created a larger vision, a vision with which I continue to see the world and, I sense, through my eyes, she was seeing too. As the next few years unfolded, her vision deteriorated and she was operated for cataract. I remember, when she returned after her operation and she saw my face clearly for the first time, she was astonished. She said, "Oh my God, I did not know you were so fair". I remain mighty pleased with that adulation even till date. Within weeks of getting her sight back, she developed a corneal ulcer and, overnight, became blind in both eyes. That was 1969. She died in 2002. In all those 32 years of living with blindness, she never complained about her fate even once. Curious to know what she saw with blind eyes, I asked her once if she sees darkness. She replied, "No, I do not see darkness. I only see light even with my eyes closed". Until she was eighty years of age, she did her morning yoga everyday, swept her own room and washed her own clothes. To me, success is about the sense of independence; it is about not seeing the world but seeing the light.

Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the industry and began to carve my life's own journey. I began my life as a clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee with the DCM group and eventually found my life's calling with the IT industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life took me places - I worked with outstanding people, challenging assignments and traveled all over the world. In 1992, while I was posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and was admitted in the Safderjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to him - he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck to toe. The Safderjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One morning, while attending to my Father, I realized that the blood bottle was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In that horrible theater of death, I was in pain and frustration and anger. Finally when she relented and came, my Father opened his eyes and murmured to her, "Why have you not gone home yet?" Here was a man on his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own state. I was stunned at his stoic self. There I learnt that there is no limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what is the limit of inclusion you can create. My father died the next day.

He was a man whose success was defined by his principles, his frugality, his universalism and his sense of inclusion. Above all, he taught me that success is your ability to rise above your discomfort, whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about building material comforts - the transistor that he never could buy or the house that he never owned. His success was about the legacy he left, the memetic continuity of his ideals that grew beyond the smallness of a ill-paid, unrecognized government servant's world.

My father was a fervent believer in the British Raj. He sincerely doubted the capability of the post-independence Indian political parties to govern the country. To him, the lowering of the Union Jack was a sad event. My Mother was the exact opposite. When Subhash Bose quit the Indian National Congress and came to Dacca, my mother, then a schoolgirl, garlanded him. She learnt to spin khadi and joined an underground movement that trained her in using daggers and swords. Consequently, our household saw diversity in the political outlook of the two. On major issues concerning the world, the Old Man and the Old Lady had differing opinions. In them, we learnt the power of disagreements, of dialogue and the essence of living with diversity in thinking. Success is not about the ability to create a definitive dogmatic end state; it is about the unfolding of thought processes, of dialogue and continuum.
Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world." Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a widowed Mother, no more educated than high school, married to an anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rupees Three Hundred, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity - was telling me to go and kiss the world!

Success to me is about Vision. It is the ability to rise above the immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about giving back more to life than you take out of it. It is about creating extra-ordinary success with ordinary lives.

Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and Godspeed. Go, kiss the world."


Got to know about ChangeThis recently.
And here's what I want to change - The World

We're all trying to make the world a better place to be in. Just for our own selfish selves or for our near and dear ones or, in very few cases, for the whole wide world. There are parts of the world where people have their morning cuppa in style and then complain about how they need to take the small car when they would have preferred to take the luxury car to enjoy a chat with fellow millionaires in the neighborhood club while there are parts of the world, where people wake up to the scary realization that they might not have enough food to eat and water to drink that day of their life. This proposal ventures into a dream of an ideal world where lives and values are more important than anything else! This is a proposal to make the world a better place to live in by creating a world-wide organization that will leverage on collaboration and knowledge-sharing across the globe to improve living standards in the under-developed countries! A proposal to get the world on the same page!

Nice Story!


Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain. He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter.

Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag. If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven. If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven. But if she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.

All the villagers were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles.

As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag. Now, imagine you were standing in the field.

What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

1. The girl should refuse to take a pebble.

2. The girl should show that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.

3. The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.

Take a moment to ponder over the story. The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between lateral and logical thinking.

The girl's dilemma can not be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend to the Girl to do? ;;;;;;;

Well, what she did was :

The girl put her hand into the moneybag and drew out a pebble. Without looking at it, she fumbled and let it fall onto the pebble-strewn path where it immediately became lost among all the other pebbles.

"Oh, how clumsy of me," she said. "But never mind, if you look into the bag for the one that is left, you will be able to tell which pebble I picked."

Since the remaining pebble is black, it must be assumed that she had picked the white one. And since the money-lender dared not admit his dishonesty, the girl changed what seemed an impossible situation into an extremely advantageous one.

MORAL OF THE STORY: Most complex problems do have a solution. It is only that we don't attempt to think!

Friday, November 26, 2004


See what Blogging and Blog-surfing has brought to me! :) A window to Swaminathan's articles!
I just love his articles esp. because of his no holds barred style of writing!

Confucius and Wisdom

One of my colleagues sent me this quote today. Came across it for the first time...and decided to put it on my Blog first thing.

By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is the noblest;
Second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and
Third, by experience, which is the bitterest!
- Confucius

Blogging certainly helps with the first method! :)

A Young Lady-CEO! :)

I am a feminist. And I love this piece of news.
When will the women folk rule the 'best' Indian companies ever? :-)


Blogs Galore

Here a Blog, there a Blog, everywhere a Blog Blog...!
The world of Blogs is sucking me in! I'd never ever have the time to read 50 Blogs a day, but I ended up visiting as many Blogs as you could imagine today! I think it is amazing! One actually gets to walk into so many mystic, amusing, smart, funny and what-not minds! Would this ever be possible without technology? Anyways, here's a wonderful quote I picked up on my way into the sea of Blogs....

Some people go through life trying to find out what the world holds for them only to find out too late that it's what they bring to the world that really counts. OR It's not what the world holds for you it's what you bring to it-- Anne Of Green Gables

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Leadership? No Leadership?


A longish interview with a thought leader; author of a book that talks about the 'myth of leadership' - Jeff. Food for thought. It would be fun to work with an organization that believes in the concept advocated by Jeff. I have this strong urge to work with an organization that has broken all the rules and is crazily innovative. Got to do so before I retire. (Maybe I should found such an org.! Wonder if I'll have anyone risking their lives with me! ;))

Monday, November 22, 2004

Gandhi's Wonderful Words of Wisdom

The first time I came across these words of wisdom, I was in complete awe of its depth and the values that it exhibits. I continue to be inspired by it...

The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice. --Mahatma Gandhi

Creativity, Ideas

I was groping around for some good stuff on PKM (Personal KM) when I stumbled upon this article on how to generate ideas. Good read. There are 3 books mentioned in the references, that seem interesting!


One can't rely on URLs (this Blog URL is an exception I hope! ;)) for ever. So, here are the books.
Flash of Brilliance: Inspiring creativity where you work by William C. Miller. Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1999.
Cracking Creativity: The secrets of creative genius by Michael Michalko. Berkeley, CA. Ten Speed Press, 1998.
101 Creative Problem Solving Techniques: The handbook of new ideas for business by James M. Higgins. Winter Park, FL: The New Management Publishing Company, 1994.

Sunday, November 21, 2004


How easy is it to learn something? How effectively can one learn? Is it sufficient if one simply has the attitude to learn? (let it be remembered that, that BTW doesn't come easy at all and is probably one of the scarcest attitudes to be found). It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that I was a little scared when realization dawned upon me that even if one were to have an attitude to learn, the mind (here, I refer to a mind not less than 25 years old) tends to only absorb, process, interpret and make use of information that it finds familiar, understandable, and to be gelling with only those the mind already believes in. All that the mind finds to be new, disruptive and against already existing beliefs is thrown out of the window even before it is given a proper and deserving glance. So, where does the concept of learning come in? Especially if it is true that learning also involves a process of unlearning!

One would only find oneself adding to already existing knowledge and strengthening one's existing values, and beliefs even if they were only worth being discarded. It would take a mighty inspirational talk/situation/person to help a person unlearn/learn new things. A person that has lived more than 30 years would most probably reject and prevent fresh thoughts from even entering her mind. Sad and unfortunate though this sounds, one of the best possible ways for a person to unlearn would mostly be through biting experiences that leave unforgettable scars! To add to this is the NIH (not invented here) syndrome doing its work on the egos of people (not) wanting to learn from others.

Going off on a tangent, all this makes me wonder if childhood days are the most important part of one's life. And what happens then is more or less irreversible. Seems obvious and banal at times. But we try so hard to change things only after we've grown up! While, almost everything that matters for the rest of one's life gets determined and shaped when one is young and tender! Parents and teachers do own all the responsibility! (Parenting is tougher and more complex than one thinks. It isn't all about providing and supporting but also leading!)

How many people that you know have changed beyond recognition after they've crossed their 'early' years? And if they've changed, how long does it last? If they've changed for good, then what did it take?


I've now got my own GMail account! Yippeee! Thanks to some networking!

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Calvin n Hobbes...fill yourself till you drop dead

Discovered a Calvin 'n' Hobbes Wikipedia Site that's got some mouth-watering pictures of the 2 lovable rascals :). Just go to www.wikipedia.com and search for Calvin and Hobbes and you'll not only get these pictures but also a whole lot of information on the two as well as Bill Watterson...

Friday, November 19, 2004

Paradigm shifts in Management!

Yo! I am furious…..with I don’t know who! I typed one whole Blog out and pushed the Publish button only to find that something had gone wrong. The post did not get Blogged! Would you believe it! After all that stuff I typed in! I lost it – it is neither in my drafts, nor in my recent posts, nor anywhere else! :(

I was wondering whether I should let it go and be careful the next time on, but I just couldn’t sit still. The post was too ‘important’ for me to let it go. So, here I am – typing it all out again! It is surprising how different your posts can be if you were to go back to them and type them out again. Only hope it is for the better! ;)


I was channel surfing on my mobile (FM radio) yesterday evening on my way home when I heard the phrase “paradigm shifts in management” being uttered and stopped to listen. It was on 107.6 MHz. It was apparently a programme involving a discussion between a practitioner and some students on the subject. It was good that I stopped to listen, coz I learned a few things!

The first talk that I listened to was on the paradigm shift from USP to PoD as in marketing jargon. For the uninitiated, USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition and PoD stands for Point of Difference. It was surprising (come to think of it, maybe not) to learn how much away I am from some of the contemporary theories. The term USP was bandied about to the extent of losing its significance by us at the MBA School. I had no idea such a thing as PoD existed. Anyways, the theory and experience is that it is becoming increasingly difficult for products and their companies to talk about USPs as all products are similar and it is extremely difficult to differentiate between each of them. PoD on the other hand accepts that most products are similar and the only thing companies can do is try and highlight the minute differences between the features and the like. This got me thinking and here’s what me thinks! If companies were to innovate, there should be no necessity to run away from USP! There would be no need to resort to PoD! It would be a cake-walk to talk about your product’s USP. I don’t know about the international context, but in the Indian context, companies seem to be shying away from innovation! What a pity! It probably is because of the risks and investments (some would say costs) it calls for! But to be honest to myself, I wonder if I would hesitate/think twice about investing my life’s savings in one innovative idea that I had! ACTUALLY, I guess I would! After all, if one is extremely passionate about one’s idea, all other things in the world resemble a speck of dust. It’s not tough to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to them. Reva – any experiences? (Reva is probably the only battery-operated car in India)

Okay, going back to the programme, the other paradigm shift that I heard about was the shift from market-share to mind-share. Interesting, eh? Herein, the anchor (management prof/practitioner?) spoke about the trend wherein companies no longer focused on market-share but have moved to mind-share. Market-share focus could get many buyers but they’d mostly be one-time buyers. Focus on mind-share gets the company to think about the relationship it has with its customers rather than just getting them to buy the company’s products. It is obviously something that has long-term and sustained returns. Gaining mind-share of course involves branding. The topic crept into the ethics of branding (one of my favourite topics) and sometimes, what a company resorts to, to gain mind-share. That reminded me of the Hamam story. HLL’s soap, Hamam, has a brand that I like a lot. Hamam is branded to be synonymous with Honesty. But the other day, I heard from one of my friends that she’d read an article in a popular magazine that Hamam had chemicals that were apparently harmful for the skin. I am not sure if the article spoke the truth or was the work of competitors @ work, but it made me think about the sensitivities of branding and the need to be genuine. One wrong step and the brand (or rather the product) will surely die a sudden and gory death…

But commercial organizations have to be acknowledged for the challenge they face. Make great products, differentiate them from the rest, brand them, understand customers’ requirements and….fancies, and what not...but for God's sake, make pots of money at the same time, for we exist for, by and of profits! All this in a dog eat dog world. No wonder compromising on values comes easy for most of them.

Raaja and RDB

I am getting to discover new Blogs almost everyday. Discovered a colleague's Blog (He is apparently a Microsoft aficionado). I was pleasantly surprised to see that he he shares my love (nay, obsession) for Ilayaraaja's and RD Burman's music! He's got 2 links to them...

http://raajangahm.com/ (Raaja; Has his background scores that you can listen to as well)

http://www.panchamonline.com/ (RD Burman's)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Another of my definitions of KM

Knowledge management is a versatile and diverse discipline that involves policies, procedures, practices and tools that help make optimum use of organizational knowledge for the effective and efficient execution of business goals.

Each time someone asks me to define KM, I seem to come out with a different choice of words, though fortunately, the gist of the message is still the same.. ;)

Decision Making

Jumped from Passion Catalyst to a visualization exercise that apparently helps make decisions. Sounds intriguing. Must try it out...


You may want to have a friend or career counselor read the following imagery, or you may want to read through the exercise first and then imagine it on your own.

Find a quiet, calming place to close your eyes and relax as you imagine...
You are walking along a path...it could be in the woods, on a beach, in a valley...whichever is your favorite place in nature. As you walk along feel the air around you...notice the smells...be conscious of the sounds...take note of any plants or vegetation around and what the path feels like under your feet...Ahead you notice the path divides in two different directions. You take the first pathway that represents the first option you are considering. As you go down that path, experience that option. Try it on fully. How does it make you feel in your body...your heart...your mind? Notice everything inside you and outside you and what is happening...
Walk back to the fork in the path and try the other pathway that leads to your second option. Experience that option fully. How does it feel to experience this option?

Walk back again to the fork in the path. You suddenly see a third path that you had not been able to see before. You take the path and experience a solution you had not thought of before. What is it? What does it feel like?

Return back to the fork and then back down to where you originally started. You feel clear about something from these experiences. You take a deep breath, open your eyes, and come back to the present to write about your observations.

Write down your responses to the following questions:

What is your reaction to this exercise?
What feelings, thoughts or experiences did you have?
What did you realize about yourself and your plan that you did not realize before?
How have you or your goals changed as a result of this experience?
What goals would you like to set for yourself now?
If you are not ready to set a goal for yourself, what additional information do you need?
What are any barriers that are preventing you from setting a goal?
What can you do about these barriers?


Catching up with some Blogs

I've just started catching up with some of my favourite Blogs...It's been a week or so since I went into them...Feel the need to link you to some nice stuff...

Reading Raj's Blog - http://perspicuous.typepad.com/niranjani/
and found this on his Blog - http://www.nilgiri.org/
It's a nice website from Eknath Easwaran and there is this particular section wherein you will find enormous food for inspirational thought; go take a look! - It has passages from all over the world, covering all religions and philosophies. http://www.nilgiri.org/nilgiri.cfm?pageid=3000

I managed to read a few of them now (got to catch up with work as well! The company ain't paying me for just reading good stuff!). Need to go back some time soon to read it all! Eknath also has a Thought for the Day that you can subscribe to!

The other Blog that I caught up with was Passion Catalyst - http://curtrosengren.typepad.com/occupationaladventure/. I loved the recent posts that talk about sustained passion and trouble being an opportunity in disguise.... He finishes off the second Blog that I refer to by saying "So the next time you find yourself feeling thwarted, ask yourself what opportunities are being presented to you. Try following them, and see where they lead. You might just be surprised. "

Dreams-By Jim Rohn

Good one...

By Jim Rohn
While most people spend most of their lives struggling to earn a living, a much smaller number seem to have everything going their way. Instead of just earning a living, the smaller group is busily working at building and enjoying a fortune. Everything just seems to work out for them. And here sits the much larger group, wondering how life can be so unfair, so complicated and unjust. What's the major difference between the little group with so much and the larger group with so little?Despite all of the factors that affect our lives--like the kind of parents we have, the schools we attended, the part of the country we grew up in--none has as much potential power for affecting our futures as our ability to dream.Dreams are a projection of the kind of life you want to lead. Dreams can drive you. Dreams can make you skip over obstacles. When you allow your dreams to pull you, they unleash a creative force that can overpower any obstacle in your path. To unleash this power, though, your dreams must be well defined. A fuzzy future has little pulling power. Well-defined dreams are not fuzzy. Wishes are fuzzy. To really achieve your dreams, to really have your future plans pull you forward, your dreams must be vivid.If you've ever hiked a 14,000-foot peak in the Rocky Mountains, one thought has surely come to mind "How did the settlers of this country do it?" How did they get from the East Coast to the West Coast? Carrying one day's supply of food and water is hard enough. Can you imagine hauling all of your worldly goods with you . . . mile after mile, day after day, month after month? These people had big dreams. They had ambition. They didn't focus on the hardship of getting up the mountain.In their minds, they were already on the other side and their bodies just hadn't gotten them there yet! Despite all of their pains and struggles, all of the births and deaths along the way, those who made it to the other side had a single vision: to reach the land of continuous sunshine and extraordinary wealth. To start over where anything and everything was possible. Their dreams were stronger than the obstacles in their way.You've got to be a dreamer. You've got to envision the future. You've got to see California while you're climbing 14,000-foot peaks. You've got to see the finish line while you're running the race. You've got to hear the cheers when ou're in the middle of a monster project. And you've got to be willing to put yourself through the paces of doing the uncomfortable until it becomes comfortable. Because that's how you realize your dreams.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Back to Blogging

Back from a short break (or on second thoughts - long break, as we rarely have 5 continuous days off). It was one of the most unplanned and unexpectedly hectic breaks ever, I guess. I did not know what I'd be doing till I did what I did...oops. Okay. Despite the weather and the bad health, we decided to venture into the hills. All because I wanted to not let the holidays slip by. It's one thing to enjoy the holidays you get and another to steal it from office. The second might sound very tempting and satisfying, but the work that awaits one when one takes such a holiday can be enormous as the rest of the office is at work.

Anyways, we went off to Thekkady and Munnar for nothing more than 2 days. Thekkady and Munnar undoubtedly deserve a minimum of 5 times the time that I got to spend there. But things don't happen the way you want them to. The trip to Thekkady went off without any major incidents except some of the amazing views that I had at the window. As the bus whizzed past Bangalore and into Hosur, I saw some awesome Diwali fireworks through the (surprisingly) clean glass window. It was almost like I was being welcomed into Tamil Nadu with the works. 4 AM and we were nearing the guest house where we were to camp. The bus left us looking into an unnervingly silent and pitch-black road. Luckily for us, the night-watchman was awake and alert and guided us to the guest-house. We slept for a while and were up by 7 AM to drive to Thekkady. (The breakfast was quite heavy at my Dad's friend's place; Idly, Dosa, Sambaar, Chutney, Milk Sweets, Vada and Coffee. Though I appreciated their hospitality, I began to wonder why they even imagined we could eat so much! :) )

We were in Thekkady by 11.15 AM. And it started drizzling a little. While I ran around trying to drink the nature in, I kept hoping that it wouldn't rain heavily. Dad bought the boating tickets for 2 PM and we went off to have a not-so-interesting lunch in what seemed to be but was obviously not a good hotel. Anyways, that didn't seem to matter so much. After the quick lunch, we drove back to the central tourist spot and lined up for the boat ride. The boat ride summed up Thekkady. It was a phenomenal ride! I simply loved the view....sailing on crystal clear water, with forests all around, deers grazing in some spots, huge and bare but cut tree trunks jutting out of the water, birds settling down cosily in the nests that they had made for themselves on the tree trunks, cool breeze caressing the face and comfortably chill weather! It was a nice long ride that lasted about a hour and a half. The only disappointment was the scarcity of animal-friends. We managed to catch 2 huge elephants almost at the end of the ride and another lone and sober baby elephant just a few minutes before landing. (Thank God for at least those). The ride was like a dream. A treat of magnificent proportions for nature-lovers. I recommend it strongly. I would have loved to try out the guided tour to see the birdies had I had the time...!

I'll stop here and come back when I have more time to explain the rest of the trip...including the one to the paradise called Munnar.. :)

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Thoughts that touched my lungs (!?)... :)

Trying my best to keep myself up and about...the weather is playing spoil-sport and my lungs aren't taking in enough oxygen. But these words that I came across today are filling in for the O2....

Just finished reading this book called 'From Copernicus to Einstein' by Hans Reichenbach and loved what he says in the last chapter - He actually quotes Schopenhauer
"Truth is allowed only a brief interval of victory between the two long periods when it is condemned as paradox or belittled as trivial". I feel dazed (got nothing to do with my current state of health). There were many things in the book that my mind did not grasp but fortunately I managed to learn at least a few things. ;)

Another thing I just glanced through just now is an interview with Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, 'the only Indian to bring home a silver medal from the Athens Olympics' (shooting category) in today's newspaper. He recalls 2 things that have helped him - what Keanu Reeves says in The Matrix - "Life is all about choices. You make a choice and open a door". (This, he recalls when asked about the matrix of winning) and another from an American psychologist who apparently wrote to Rathore when he was upset about something and said "Situations have a way of changing. Don't expect help. Help yourself. The day you help yourself, it's your first step to success"

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thought for the day...

Root cause of the various problems in life, when analyzed honestly is
almost entirely a lack of proper thinking and acting. When not handled properly, our wrong thoughts,often coloured by prejudices and narrow mindedness lead to a defective vision of the world and a very chaotic relationshipwith it. If we can only improve our thinking, we can mend and make the world a better place to live in.

Hobbes...on opportunities

Hobbes on opportunities to learn...

I read this Calvin and Hobbes strip today and just couldn't help feeling overawed by it. Goes a long way to show that cartoons are probably one of the best ways to convey even philosophical (positive) thoughts!

HR, Rewards and KM

There are some awards being doled out by the org. for individual excellence as well as team-performances. That got me thinking about the impact of rewarding individuals Vis a Vis teams.

What damage does rewarding individuals do to the attitude of team-work, collaboration and collective-thinking? It might certainly provoke some amount of greediness to grab the limelight and make oneself look great and outstanding. It pampers one's reflection of oneself and contributes to individual recognition as against attitudes of caring and sharing. It arouses, in others, a competitive spirit (that's precisely why these awards are given out I guess).

Whereas, awards given out to teams make the team as a whole feel great and celebrate. But there might be problems here as well - every team-member might, for lack of wisdom, think that he/she deserves the award more than anyone else and it was because of his/her contribution that the team made it big. But a wise team (a rarity) would understand that everyone is important and so is everyone's contribution.

This could probably be handled well if individual recognition were to focus on caring and sharing rather than performance per se. That is, recognize individuals who help others and nurture others. Recognize individuals who share and contribute to the team's success rather than just their own tasks. An individual who is rewarded just for the way in which he carried out his task is bound to continue doing so rather than contribute to the higher goal/purpose. Continue to give out rewards for individual excellence as well as team-performance. But individual excellence should be based on collaboration and contribution to bigger goals. This would get everyone to vie for such an award rather than just take care of their own interests.

Does this mean that we are being manipulative? No! Ultimately, the organization has a higher purpose and an organization that works in harmony achieves much more than one where there is a lot of internal competition. And when the organization does well, it flows down to its employees anyways. And anyway, are we all here just to help ourselves or fight for higher purposes and make the world a better place to live in? Focusing on just individual accomplishment will leave the world in the hands of the power-hungry and that will not help make the world a better place to be in! Will it? Where would the world be like if not for people that decided to look beyond themselves? This philosophy holds good not just as in social causes but also in organizational causes. Owww....there I go again....philosophyyyyyyy! Screeeeeeeeeeech.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


As I go deeper into the sea of blogging and discover more n more thinkers, the more overwhelmed do I feel about the storehouse of knowledge that's there for the taking...Thanks to Gautam - I now blog, subscribe to blogs through the Bloglines RSS, and have registered on Blog Explosion. While filling in my Bloglines subscriptions, I added Tom Peter's Blog and here's one of the many posts that I related to therein...he says:

Certainly, this is nothing new to Tom Peters readers, just a
reminder that leadership by intimidation and micro-management may seem to get
the results you're looking for, but in the long run, the best people will leave
you and look for someone who leads by inspiration and empowerment.

Monday, November 01, 2004

A collection of my articles

Just thought that I could as well create branch blogs for my articles (the long-winding published ones): Will come back and update this post as and when I write new articles...

Here are two articles to start with -

- the story of the knowledge square (to be published)
- bless the bloggers (pubished in knowledgeboard.com)
(the second and better (I'd like to believe so ;)) version of this is ready now)

Links coming later -

- collaboration for the creation and exchange of knowledge (published and presented at the KM Challenge 2004 conference @ Sydney)
- the km experience @ CG-Smith - how we rolled the dice in the KM game (published and presented at the SEPG QAI 2002 conference @ Bangalore)

This post was last updated on: Nov 1st, 2004

Letter from GOD

Letter from GOD. Got this as a forwarded email....worth the Blog:

Quit Worrying:Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry. Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you? Or do you just enjoy fretting over every little things that comes your way?Put It On The List:Something needs done or taken care of. Put it on the list. No, not your list, put it on My to-do-list. Let Me be the one to take care of the problem. I can't help you until you turn it over to Me. And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all, God. I can take care of anything you put in My hands. In fact, if the truth were ever really known, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize.

Trust Me:Once you've given your burdens to Me, quit trying to take them back. Trust in Me. Have the faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials. Problems with the kids? Put them on My list. Problem with finances? Put it on My list. Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For your sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask.

Leave It Alone:Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here." Why do you think you are feeling stronger now? It's simple. You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them. I also renew your strength and cover you in My peace. Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started? Leave them with Me and forget about them. Just let Me do My job.

Talk To Me:I want you to forget a lot of things. Forget what is making you crazy. Forget the worry and the fretting because you know I'm in control. But there's one thing I pray you never forget. Please don't forget to talk to Me - OFTEN! I love you. I want to hear your voice. I want you to include Me in on the things going on in your life. I want to hear you talk about your friends and family. Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me. I want to be your dearest friend.

Have Faith:I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are. Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing. Trust Me, you wouldn't want the view from My eyes. I will continue to care for you, watch over you, and meet your needs. You only have to trust Me. Although I have a much bigger task than you, it seems as if you have so much trouble just doing your simple part. How hard can trust be?

Share:You were taught to share when you were only two years old. When did you forget? That rule still applies. Share with those who are less fortunate than you. Share your joy with those who need encouragement. Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in such a long time. Share your tears with those who have forgotten how to cry. Share your faith with those who have none.

Be Patient:I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many diverse experiences. You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs many times, learn many trades, travel to so many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much. How can you be so impatient then when it takes Me a little longer than you expectto handle something on My to-do-list? Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect. Just because I created the entire universe in only six days, everyone thinks I should always rush, rush, rush.

Be Kind:Be kind to others, for I love them just as much as I loveyou. They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love you all. Please try to get along, for My sake. I created each of you different in some way. It would be too boring if you were all identical. Please know I love each of your differences.

Love Yourself:As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself?You were created by Me for one reason only - to be loved, and to love in return. I am a God of Love. Love Me. Love your neighbors. But also love yourself. It makes My heart ache when I see you so angry with yourself when things go wrong. You are very precious to Me. Don't ever forget that!

Diary Vs Blog

I was off to Chennai 2 days back and made good use of my time on the way there. Took a print out of an article on KM, Blogging and Storytelling and lapped it up on the way. T'was a good compilation of various views and perspectives on the topic, I thought! Frankly, I've been very excited about the prospect of leveraging on Blogging for knowledge sharing and KM...and the authors of the article I read were too. I was getting carried away with the article and wondering what would be the link like between KM and Blogging a couple of years down the line, when I looked up at the green fields we were passing by and something in my mind gave in to gravity and fell with a thud. Blogs might be a highly celebrated concept amongst many of us but in reality all they are can be expressed in a simple equation:

Blogs = Diary + Technology (Sorting, Linking, Grouping, Subscribing, and Searching)

Of course, a Blog that has been thrown open to the world will vary in its content Vis a Vis a personal diary and can allow for comments that improve/challenge one's perspective. Anyways, all said and done, the clear differentiator here is technology. Technology here not only plays the role of an enabler but also helps change the rules altogether by evolving the very concept of introspection and associated global connectivity.

In this article that I read, the authors quote a Blogger who says that Blogging helped her realize her own interests and more importantly made her value her own point of view highly as she found herself considering her own opinions and ideas and realized how unique they were.

How true! :)

Another thing that this article made me think about was the difference between a personal Blog and a public Blog. I've been Blogging for months now and only recently decided to throw it open to some people whose opinion I value. I already sense a difference in the way I Blog and what I Blog. Before throwing it open, I rarely spent a second in thinking about whether the contents of my Blog would create controversy or be appreciated or criticized. All I was doing was prying open my own mind and questioning myself and telling myself things. Now, I also feel the need to pass on information that I think others might find to be useful and not just introspect. I find myself thinking just a little more about whether I should be saying some things or not (not really sure if that's good ;)).

PS: The article - Grassroots KM through Blogging - by Maish Nichani and Venkat Rajamanickam - appeared in elearning post on May 14th 2001.