Friday, January 28, 2005


Our perceptions don't easily change; do they? And how much of this has got to do with branding? Here's a situation. Analyze for yourself!

I come to office by the office van and we get to listen to the radio every morning in the van. (This makes the trip to office in the morning very rejuvenating and energetic and gives me enough ammunition to last the day). The driver always tunes into Radio City FM 91. And as most of the Bangalorians know, Radio City mostly plays Hindi Music, esp in the mornings. It is primarily a Hindi Music Channel and rarely plays Kannada (the local language) songs. This morning, I was listening to Radio City on my mobile as the driver hadn't switched on the radio in the van. And at that point in time, surprisingly, a Kannada song was being played. After about a few minutes, the driver did switch on the radio in the van only to hear the Kannada song playing and immediately toggled to the next channel which was playing a Hindi Song. It was later apparent that he thought he had tuned into the 'wrong' channel only because it was playing a Kannada song! Was that because he did not expect Radio City to ever play Kannada songs based on his previous experience or was it because of the Radio City brand image? These two might seem like the same question, but there is a subtle difference. That between one's own perception of the world and the perception that one is forcibly driven into because of the branding of a service/product.
Nothing profound here...just found it amusing enough to be blogged! :)

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Three Ideal Ways of Living

I am currently reading a spiritual book called Freedom’s way by ZT Bloch Jorgensen. Have been reading up on different spiritual philosophies for a long time and have been trying to consolidate my thoughts on the topic. But have been clueless for quite some time. Just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t know if it’s that from an oncoming train though! ;) Read a small article about a community called Swapathagami that one of my colleagues introduced me to. Has triggered me off into thinking harder. The community is about folks who go their own way. they call it walking out and walking on. They don’t subscribe to the commercial way of living. Took me to a different plane altogether. Thoughts flowed. Jotted them down. Don’t know if it will make any sense to you. I have been searching for long for the ‘best’ way to lead one’s life. A life that teaches, A life that can be enjoyed every minute, a life full of peace, a life that is bliss, a life that makes a difference. Very aptly put, like Gandhi said – ‘my life is my message’ – a life that’s a message. Sort of put everything together now and then split it into 3 heads. These are three IDEAL ways of living in my perception. There’s more that I will learn down life’s alleys and maybe I will come back to add to this. (It’s already late. Can’t keep filling my mind with thoughts and leave life in a void. Will have to apply these principles.)

I am- As if life leads me and I go along with it without any complaints, wishes, aims, goals, desires, nothing whatsoever. I am happy come what may. Not affected by sorrow. Nor affected by joy. Life is bliss. I am not indifferent, but I am detached. I have no agenda of my own. I am happy for life. I love life for its own sake. I experience life the way it is. I am selfless, I am egoless. I don’t think about myself and my needs. There is no concept of ‘I’. I accept and absorb both the joys and sorrows of life. I am not affected by them. So, nothing can kill me. I will teach those who come to me. I am spiritual in the sense that I am life’s perfect ally and partner. (Ramana, Buddha, Other Spiritual Gurus?)

I will be – I am part of this world. I am affected by what happens to me and the world. The fact that I am affected makes me want to do something for the greater good. I radiate positive energy. I understand why things happen. I will not complain, but I will do whatever possible to help. I might sacrifice my ‘life’ for the world. I am clear about what I want to be. It might be an earthly goal. It may be a goal that could be related to phenomenal achievement and accomplishment. I will contribute to my own standing as well as the society. I might lead a great company. I might serve the country. I might discover something. I might invent something. I am creative. I am talented. I know. I have a goal. I have an ambition. I will expend my energy to find out how I can get to my goal. I will not give up. I am a rock of self-confidence. I will not indulge in petty things. All I see is my goal and how I can get there – but by taking the ‘right’ path. I am affected by joys and sorrows, but I will do whatever required toward the joys dominating the sorrows! I will let joy and peace have the upper hand over sorrow by doing my bit. True to my conscience. I am spiritual in the sense that I live for a higher goal. (Jesus; Gandhi; Einstein; Mother Theresa;)?

It’s my own world – I have no ambition or goal. Instead, I have a vision. A vision that transcends the world. I look inward for the vision. I don’t look outward for my sources. I am a recluse, but I love the world. I am within myself as well as beyond myself. I have my values and will stick to them even if I get killed for it. My vision is not for just myself but for the world and its inhabitants. I want to contribute to the world. Spiritually. But I look within myself for the strengths. I search for my talent. I want to know who I am. I want to know where I belong. I have no worldly ties. But I will lend myself to reducing pain in the world. I can be seen as eccentric. But that doesn’t worry me. I will live for myself. I will give to the world even if it doesn’t understand me. I neither am affected by joys and sorrows nor do I absorb and accept them. I lose sight of them. They are invisible to me. Because all I see is my vision. Everything else is a non-entity. I am spiritual in the sense that I rely on the divine forces to make me lead my life. (Bharathiar?)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Karna and his identity crisis

These days, ET is coming out with this really interesting series of articles on Indian Epics and Leadership/Management !

Friday, January 21, 2005

Spirituality in the Workplace - Wisdom and Fun

Spirituality in the Workplace - Wisdom and Fun

A few months back, I finally started the practice of storytelling to share and disseminate knowledge - officially that is. I wrote a longish story to talk about KM per se to start with. I sent it across to a friend & colleague for review and he came back and suggested that we send out short stories to the organization about KM. That seemed to be a good idea as people don't really have the time and patience to read anything lengthier than a page! I've sent out stories, on knowledge sharing, collective thinking, listening, documentation etc. I've lined up another story today and in the process went looking for some relevant and inspiring quotes. That's when I hit upon this site above! It's a very nice one. Let me splatter here some of the quotes that strike me hard....

Inner commitment to your own excellence is the stuff of which miracles are made (Everyday Wisdom)

There are no mistakes, only lessons - Growth is a process of trial and error (experimentation). The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiment that ultimately "works".

Quality rather than appearance . . . Ethics rather than rules . . . Knowledge rather than achievement . . . Integrity rather than domination . . . Serenity rather than acquisitions (Everyday Wisdom)

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Knowledge increases in proportion to its use; that is, the more we teach the more we learn. - H. P. Blavatsky (1831-1891)

Give the World the Best You Have People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered; Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today, will be forgotten tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable;
Be honest and frank anyway.

Give the world the best you have to give and you get kicked in the teeth; Give the world the best you have anyway.
— Ken Keyes

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Reflection-Momentum-Doing the Opposite

Running away to come back with a bang! (Ya, Ya, I need not tell you...should I?....that it is a paradox)

BTW, I also got to know that Zen is all about paradoxes! Which reminds me that I should be catching up with that book - Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance!

A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran

January 18

Put your heart, mind, intellect, and soul even to your smallest
acts. This is the secret of success. - Swami Sivananda

One of the practical reasons for meditating is to tap its power
to solve problems that come up throughout the day. It is very
much like getting momentum in a track event. While watching the
Olympics on television for the first time, I was surprised to see
how far back some the athletes went to get a running start. In
the pole vault one chap walked up to the bar, then turned around
and strode so far back that I thought he had decided to go
home. If you didn't know about the pole vault you might think,
"What's the matter with this fellow? Instead of competing, he's
running away." He's not running away; he's going back to get the
momentum he needs for a really big jump. That is the purpose of
meditation, too. Instead of getting out of bed and plunging
directly into life's maelstrom unprepared, you sit down for a
half hour in meditation to get a good start. Then when you go
out into the world, you have a good reserve of energy and
security on which to draw.

Sam Pitroda on Gandhi

Finally found the article I was looking for, for a long time! I'd read this last year, liked it, and saved it on to my Laptop. Wanted to go back to it this year but couldn't retrieve it till recently. A little re-organization and Copernic Desktop Search did the trick!

Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, worked for the independence of the country and mobilized the masses, ultimately leading India to freedom. That was 50 years ago, and now he is essentially forgotten in India. We have put Gandhi up on a pedestal to look up to once in a while. Contradictory as it may sound, if you ask average students in India who their role model is, they would most probably say Gandhi. Yet, because Gandhi is so high up in concept, you really cannot relate to him. Until Richard Attenborough’s movie was released, Gandhi was forgotten in the Western world as well. The movie made people aware of the Gandhian values and principles, not just Gandhi the person, but Gandhi the phenomenon. There are several critical elements of Gandhi that we need to revisit today.


Gandhi was the greatest communicator that ever lived. Using very simple symbols and actions, he communicated very complex messages to create a mass movement. Even in this age of high-tech communications, our leadership fails to communicate their vision, whether it is at the political, social or even corporate level. Gandhi knew how to master media. Going forward, several messages need to be communicated, for example,“India going to be a software giant,” “It will be a global economic power,” and “It will be completely liberalized.” These messages can be simplified, packaged
differently and conveyed, as Gandhi did. The message must appeal not just the media-aware elite, but to the larger masses, in their own language and style.


Gandhi constantly emphasized equality, breaking up of caste, gender and age barriers and abolishment of untouchability. He showed love and companionship with people from every part of the society. Everyone had a place in his scheme of things. Today in India, we must remind ourselves that nothing and no one is inferior. Even in the business world, the boundaries that have been created around businesses are no longer needed. Today, a competitor could be a potential partner; employees and suppliers can be share-holders. The more we focus on these concepts, the faster will be our rate of growth.

Take the mission-critical case of literacy and education, for instance. In India, religion could play a key role in this endeavor, but has not. Why can’t all the temples, mosques and gurudwaras begin to provide literacy classes to the people, knowing that such a large percentage of people are illiterate? Indian people have such great faith in religion, which can be utilized towards this
cause if the religious leaders take this as a task. This is an extension of Gandhi’s tirade against the concept of untouchability.


Gandhi never gave up. He got beaten and had blood all over, yet he stood up and did the same thing over again. Once he made up his mind that we will fight and get freedom, he just kept at it. I don’t think we have made up our minds that we want to modernize India. The perseverance that is required to be able to galvanize the country died right after Independence. The same values that got us independence are required to build a modern nation, but they have not been channeled toward this goal. China, for instance, developed a successful four-point program for modernization; the only difference here is that they just kept at it for 25 years! India doesn’t show that tenacity, whereas it was all in Gandhi.


This was perhaps Gandhi’s greatest characteristic, and it is extremely relevant to India’s situation today. Simplicity is not about wearing white khadi clothes. Consider our politicians today – they have five commandos around them wherever they go. Simplicity is about people in public offices minimizing personal requirements until the people around have reached a minimum standard of living. Extravagant living by people in public office does not go unnoticed. Simplicity amongst corporate leaders in India is equally important because the difference between the top and the bottom level is much larger and noticeable than in other countries. For example, in the US, employees who sweep the floor or take out the garbage may also have a car, a TV, and other amenities that workers of similar profile in India don’t have. It is difficult to expect high quality work from someone who perhaps lives in a slum, barely survives with the salary he gets and travels one and a half hours to get to work, sweating in the heat. Companies need to bring the standard of living of their employees up to a point that they can begin to appreciate the quality of life before bringing quality consciousness in their work.

Related to simplicity is the concept of self-reliance. This trait is often misconstrued as closing the doors to the outside world. Self-reliance is about adding values at home — completely using what is already available. When we were working at C-DoT to produce the rural telephone switch, people said: Why do we need to develop this in India, when it can be bought cheaper outside? Well, by that thinking, we need not produce anything since pretty much anything can probably be bought cheaper outside. But the technical talent was available in India, and we had to give it a mission to create something unique and useful. This was the concept that Gandhi promoted,
though during those times, the symbols used were different — he urged people to burn foreign goods. More than anything else, that was a communications exercise, yet it created an environment of self-reliance throughout the country.


Gandhi stood for truth and absolute truth. With information technology, this becomes a greater reality because it brings in openness, accessibility, connectivity and information for everybody, anywhere. The confluence of truth and information is going to be the foundation for a modern India in the new millennium.

In the final analysis, Gandhi talked of rural development and a self-sufficient community, two things that we could not translate or fulfill after him. As a result, people from villages moved to urban areas for jobs, power, water, transport, and other advantages. With the Internet and other information technologies, I think it is possible to make rural India self-sufficient. If you look at the history of the last 100 years, most of the new towns were built along the railroad. In the US, businesses bloomed near the convenient eight-lane highways. The next round of prosperity will come from Internet highways. Creating new Internet infrastructures that run through rural India will enable people to do work and business from where they are, reducing the load on several already stressed systems. By using new technologies to provide everything on the fingertips, we may see people moving back to where they came from, and to the advantage of cleaner air, uncongested streets and a better way of life.

Gandhi is more relevant today than ever before. Gaining independence from the British was simpler — the enemy was clearly identified and was essentially external. Modernization is much more difficult, because the enemy is unidentifiable and part of the system. Just as the drive for independence was made into a movement by Gandhi, modernization needs to be provided the same breath and force of a movement, a missionary zeal.

Gandhian ideas cannot be taken lock, stock, and barrel today. But we focus on his ideas, we will find several important, fundamental issues that will help us today, some of which I have discussed above. To understand and follow these, you don’t have to wear khadi, or abstain from an occasional glass of wine! Gandhi is one element that can help us focus our efforts towards modernization, and we should use it as much as possible.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Interesting....and about time too!?

Now, B-schools teach spiritual values January 12, 2005

With many businessmen landing in jail for violating professional ethics and
government regulations, major business schools in several countries have included lessons on spiritual and ethical values in their curriculum, a report said on Tuesday. Spirituality has so far been an alien concept in MBA programmes, where many students are obsessed with getting jobs that pay six-figure salaries and require marathon workweeks.

"MBAs learn plenty about quantitative values. Now, more students are getting lessons in spiritual values as well," The Wall Street Journal reported.

........What they want to teach students is the importance of remaining true to their convictions--whether rooted in organised religion or personal morality--amid the conflicting demands and temptations they will likely confront later.

"It was taboo for so many years to talk about workers' spirituality. But people are suffering by not being able to address that part of themselves and lead a more integrated life. We have seen the exponential growth in anti-depressants as people search for more meaning in their lives and their work," Thierry Pauchant, who holds the chair in ethical management at the HEC Montreal business school, said.In his ethics courses, Dr. Pauchant covers the spiritual or "existential" dimension, which he defines as "individuals' freedom of beliefs and the development of their deepest aspirations at work," it said. The corporate scandals of the past few years, said the Journal, prompted many schools to create courses on business ethics, which sometimes touch on religion and morals.

At the Instituto de Empresa business school in Madrid, students' religious beliefs come into play in ethics class when they discuss the marketing of RU-486, the so-called morning-after or abortion pill.

At Columbia University Business School, Srikumar Rao teaches 'Creativity and Personal Mastery.' "You need the work you do to express your values and be of benefit to the larger society. This is very, very important, but is not acknowledged at most business schools, let alone addressed," Rao said.In Rao's class, students bare their souls in classroom discussions, a weekend retreat, their personal journals and other assignments.They also learn breathing and meditation techniques and must participate in "total immersion exercises" that Prof. Rao calls "as if's."

For example, students might be required to treat every single person they meet as if it were that person's last day on earth, the report said.At Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, literature serves as the springboard for spiritual exploration, William "Scotty" McLennan, Dean for religious life, teaches "The Business World: Moral and Spiritual Inquiry Through Literature" towards the end of the two-year MBA programme when students are thinking most about their future.They read such works as Hermann Hesse's 'Siddhartha' and F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' and share their personal dreams and failures with each other.

As You Think So You Reap!

A Thought for the Day From Sri Eknath Easwaran

All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
- The Buddha

The Buddha is saying that we made the circumstances we find ourselves in today. We got ourselves into them by all the deep-seated ways of thinking that led us into the actions,
plans, behavior, and situations whose sum total is our lives. But our destiny is in our own hands. Since we are formed by our thoughts, it follows that what we shall be tomorrow is shaped by what we think today. Happily, we can choose the way we think. We can choose our feelings, aspirations, desires, and the way we view our world and ourselves. Mastery of the mind opens avenues of hope. We can begin to reshape our life and character, rebuild relationships, thrive in the stress of daily living, become the kind of person we want to be.

Thursday, January 13, 2005


Listen and learn; it is the secret of expanding ourknowledge and deepening our understanding.Learn to listen and grow into new dimensions ofthought, feeling and action, then expand. This self-growth is one of the paramount responsibilities ofevery one of us. We must constantly strive to growand find therein we have won fresh abilities to better serve the world.
- Swami Chinmayananda

Any experience of joy or sorrow cannot remain the same. The intensity is bound to reduce, change. If we can recognise this fact, living in this world of change and accepting change, we can be free from sorrows or joys created by change.A wise man accepts this fact and moves in the world.
- Swami Mitrananda

What is Luck?

Came across this today:

The 4 things to do to be 'lucky' are -

- Listen to your gut instinct -they are normally right.
- Be open to new experiences and breaking your normal routine.
- Spend a few moments each day remembering things that went well.
- Visualize yourself being lucky before an important meeting or telephone call.

Luck is very often a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Knowledge@Emory - Servant Leadership


Nice article on servant leadership - by Unilever's CEO for Russia/Ukraine - Arjan Overwater. It draws from Gandhi's philosophy and values. Would make interesting reading for anyone with a spiritual and philosophical bent of mind. Overwater says that a leader ought to have two things - a vision/calling and a set of high standards-principles of morality. Mind you, this comes from a business chairman. He goes on to say that we need to make time for reflection in an organization. We need to have real conversations...Go on, read the full article.

Gartner Prediction (KM implications)

Got this from a colleague. From Gartner:

Prediction: By 2015, collective intelligence breakthroughs will drive a 10 percent productivity increase.

Collective intelligence is a collective (rather than hierarchical) approach to making decisions. Knowledge workers choose to allocate their time and resources to tasks where their skills can best be used, based on corporate needs. This more-efficient use of resources can increase the quantity and quality of work output.

New technologies driving collective decision making:

• Wikis — simple text-based collaborative systems for managing hyperlinked collections of Web pages that enable users to change pages or comments created by other users.

• The open-source movement — a cooperative group of contributors with no single central authority.

• Prediction markets work on the principle that the aggregation of information from members of a broad network enables better decision making for less money and in less time as the market pulls
together strands of information on an issue.

Corporate Environment Implications

• Collective approaches will dramatically improve many group document-creation and decisionmaking activities.

• For applications and business operations that can benefit from it, identify how to integrate collective responsibility into traditional procedural workflows and establish new types of reward systems for the corporate environment.

• Early indications are that individuals working in a collective environment can allocate their time based on skill and availability better than can be done via a central management approach. With
communication, decision making, resource allocation and accountability operating in a peer-to-peer fashion, the need for management roles will be significantly reduced.


P G Wodehouse, the uncrowned King of the English Language said - "The gift of listening is more valuable than that of easy speech". Need more be said? But well, all of us want to say something rather than listen to what others have to say. Isn't that what the 'problem' is all about? :)It's going to take me too sometime to learn to listen better.

The ego does the talking. (Didn't someone say "Empty vessels make more noise?"). It takes an enormous amount of faith in oneself and confidence in oneself to listen, I guess. Because there is this constant urge to show the world that you know! And anyways, in today's cut-throat world, many of us are under the impression that the person who talks knows more. It is a paradox in reality. Those who talk less know more! Because they've gone out of their own circle and garnered knowledge from the world. They are always trying to garner knowledge and that's why they are always listening. Maybe, those who listen a lot finally get down to make a book of what they've learned! Is that why those who listen more are such great authors? (PLUM, Ernest Hemingway....). SO, there, you still get an opportunity to voice your thoughts by writing a book! (And you have your Blog too) I am rambling a little too much here I guess. Here's my conclusion:

Listening requires humility and self confidence. Listening teaches. Listening makes one popular. Listening is difficult. That's why it is worth it. :) I am going to learn to listen more and talk less. And whatever comes on to my Blog would be from listening - both - to the world as well as, sometimes, my inner voice.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I love this...!

If God answers your prayer, He's increasing your Faith..............
If He delays, He's increasing your Patience..........
If He doesn't answer, He Knows You Can Handle It.

Zig Ziglar - Newsletter - Creating your Character

Zig Ziglar Full Newsletter

Another of Zig's newsletters that strikes a chord in me! I love the 'Creating your character' section a lot...


By Jim Rohn

Could creating your character be likened to an artist creating a sculpture? In my opinion, I believe that character is not something that just happens by itself, any more than a chisel
can create a work of art without the hand of an artist guiding it. In both instances, a conscious decision for a specific outcome has been made. A conscious process is at work.

Character is the result of hundreds and hundreds of choices you make that gradually turn who you are, at any given moment, into who you want to be. If that decision-making process is not present, you will still be somebody. You will still be alive, but may have a personality rather than a character.

Character is not something you were born with and can't change like your fingerprint. In fact, because you weren't born with it, it is something that you must take responsibility for creating. I don't believe that adversity by itself builds character and I certainly don't think that success erodes it. Character is built by how you respond to what happens in your life. Whether it's winning every game or losing every game. Getting rich or dealing with hard times. You build character out of certain qualities that you must create and diligently nurture within yourself.

Just like you would plant and water a seed or gather wood and build a campfire. You've got to look for those things in your heart and in your gut. You've got to chisel away in order to find them. Just like chiseling away the rock in order to create the sculpture that has previously existed only in your imagination.

But do you want to know the really amazing thing about character? If you are sincerely committed to making yourself into the person you want to be, you'll not only create those qualities, but you'll continually strengthen them. And you will recreate them in abundance even as you are drawing on them every day of your life.

Just like the burning bush in the biblical book of Exodus, the bush burned but the flames did not consume it. Character sustains itself and nurtures itself even as it is being put to work, tested, and challenged. And once character is formed, it will serve as a solid, lasting foundation upon which to build the life you


I guess being a consultant is a great way to travel, learn, acquire confidence and change! I want to be a consultant some day. The only probable downside (which might depend on the business deal) is that you might not have the ownership of the initiative and might not be around till the 'end' comes - positive/negative.

Have We Got What It Takes?

There are, I believe, two things that one needs to do really well on one's job. Everything else will surely follow suit. For sure. Irrespective of how well you have done in school et al. Passion and Common Sense. If you're doing something you love and you're passionate about, you will fnd out ways of doing it and doing it well at that. You will breathe it, eat it, sleep it, drink it and live it. And when you have this kind of an approach, there's not a single opportunity that you'll miss! You will make heads turn, you will catch people's attention, you will inspire, you will influence and you will change things! And then comes the second part - Common Sense. This will prevent you from getting too carried away by passion! ;) What?

Monday, January 10, 2005

KM - Beyond 'within organizations' to 'between organizations'

MORE HEADS ARE BETTER... The Hindu Business Line
While mid-sized IT firms are forced to compete with the top five consulting firms for projects that were earlier considered `too small', new projects are no longer rewarded solely on the basis of cost arbitrage or brand equity per se.

There is a new buzz in the IT world. No longer is ruthless competition the key to growing market share. Knowledge sharing, leveraging vendors' expertise and collaboration make up `Ecosystem' — the new mantra of the IT industry. A lexicon defines ecosystem as the "basic functional unit in ecology: the interacting system of a biological community and its non-living environmental surroundings. These are inseparable and act upon each other". In the IT segment, an ecosystem is a consortium where companies pool knowledge and spearhead technological innovation or gain new business or both. Be it a Microsoft, an Intel, Veritas or Tier II names like Caritor and Allied Digital, consortium is key. While the concept of a consortium has been present in the US for some time now, last year saw the IT consortium come into its own in India with the formation of the Indian Semiconductor Association (ISA), the Indian chapter of the SNIA and the Microsoft initiative for a developers' community.

Explains Bimal Raj, CEO, Allied Digital, "These days people (companies) from multiple strengths are coming together to bid for a project. This has become necessary because we end up bidding against the top five consultants, who have got into system integration. Allied Digital itself, a modest-sized systems integrator, bagged two large deals (read multi-crore projects) after being part of a consortium during the last two quarters, and is bidding for six other projects.
For SMEs, a consortium would be an ideal forum to pool knowledge and expertise. Perhaps this explains the eagerness with which mid-sized firms are joining a consortium as a means to increase business.

Within a month of its formation, ISA had 35 member companies 40 more are expected to sign on this year. ISA also saw rivals Intel and AMD coming together to generate awareness about semiconductors and take it outside the generic IT umbrella. Says Sanjeev Keskar, Country Manager, AMD Far East, "Even though we are rivals there are always common issues and a common forum helps iron these out. It is not always possible to have a one-on-one interaction. ISA, for instance, can be useful in dealing with (common) difficulties in VLSI engineering."
In the US, Intel and AMD are funding several such research projects addressing engineering complexities. Gopal Krishna, GM, AMD India Engineering Centre, says that consortiums are active in pre-competitive collaboration, especially in research. "In the US, as part of the semiconductor research consortium, Intel, AMD and Alliance Semiconductor have invested in in-depth research studies. One interesting research project in VLSI design involves shrinking the transistor feature size to 65 nanometers and 35 nanometers, and developing a suitable circuit design for them."

Blogging Tools (The Hindu)

Some desktop Blogging tools...I wonder if this is required when one (Blogspot Bloggers) has BlogThis!

Tsunami and KM!

Thanks to Bala Pillai for this article!

*Early warning? Ask Nicobar's stone-agers*
*By Ranjit Devraj

NEW DELHI - Stone-age tribes living on India's remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands not only survived the devastating December 26 tsunami - triggered by an undersea quake whose epicenter was close to their homelands - but may actually have a few lessons in reading natural
early-warning systems for their less perceptive Asian neighbors, say scientists.

While close to 150,000 people have been confirmed dead on the coasts of a dozen countries around the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea after being caught unaware by giant killer waves, the Onges, Jarawas, Sentinalese and Great Andamanese who live in the archipelago escaped unscathed because they took to the forests and higher ground well in time.

"These tribes live close to nature and are known to heed biological warning signs like changes in the cries of birds and the behavior patterns of land and marine animals," V Raghavendra Rao, director of the Kolkata-based Anthropological Survey of India (ASI) told Inter Press Service (IPS) in a telephone interview.

Based on reports from his field staff on the badly devastated archipelago of 550 islands, strung out between Myanmar's main port of Yangon and Indonesia's Sumatra island, Rao confirmed to IPS that there were no known casualties among the five tribes - although there are unconfirmed reports of a few missing Onges.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have a population of about 500,000 people, of which the tribals form less than 30,000. Of the tribals, the biggest group is the Nicobarese, at about 20,000.

Confirmation of their safety also came from the Indian Coast Guard, which carried out surveys over the 60-square-kilometer Sentinel island last week in low-flying helicopters, which were greeted with arrows and spears by the hostile Sentinalese.

The director general of the coast guard, Vice Admiral A K Singh, said on Monday that he was relieved to see the hostility because it was sure sign that the Sentinalese were fighting fit and not interested in receiving outside help after the tsunami. He had pictures of Sentinalese
aiming arrows at his chopper to prove the point.

Rao and other ASI experts believe that the tribes may hold the key to building a resource base for a reliable and cost-effective coastal warning system against future catastrophes.

Experts around the world have blamed the unusually high human toll from the tsunami, which was spawned by a huge undersea quake in the northern tip of Sumatra, on the absence of a reliable early-warning system, such as the sophisticated Pacific Tsunami Warning Center based in Honolulu, Hawaii.

But top Indian scientists think that such a system may not be practical for the countries of the Indian Ocean, where tsunamis are extremely rare. "Building up a tsunami-prediction network for the Indian Ocean will be a gigantic effort - after all, we cannot build shelters against
25-foot-high [7.6-meter] waves to cover hundreds of kilometers of coastline," said S Z Qasim, India's best-known oceanographer and vice chairman of the Society for Indian Ocean Studies.

"As soon as things settle down we are planning to document the vast and valuable indigenous, intangible knowledge and survival skills that exist on the islands - not only on impending catastrophes but also on herbs and medicinal plants," said Rao, one of the few Indian officials authorized to speak on the subject..

"Immediate documentation is important because we also need to record how the tribes that live by hunting and foraging adapt to the major geomorphological changes wrought to their habitat on the islands by the December 26 events," he said.

The tribes have origins reaching into the Mesolithic and Upper Paleolithic eras (between 20,000 and 60,000 years old) and efforts at scientifically studying their unique genetic characteristics have been made in collaboration with the Hyderabad-based Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

DNA studies carried out by the CCMB have shown the Onges, who inhabit reservations on Dugong Creek and the South Bay of Little Andaman Island, to be the most primitive of the tribes and closely related to African pygmies. That also makes them the most endangered, with fewer than a 100 individuals now known to exist, partly as a result of catching diseases such as hepatitis from contact with outsiders that began under British colonial rule in 1886.

Another Negrito group, the Jarawas on Great Andaman island, suffered not only as a result of diseases introduced by outsiders but also because of punitive expeditions carried out by the British and the Japanese, who occupied the islands and built bunkers and fortifications on them during World War II.

Since the construction of the Andaman truck road connecting the administrative center of Port Blair with Diglipur, on Great Andaman, the Jarawas have been increasingly coming into contact with Indian settlers who originally came to build the road but then stayed on as encroachers.

The Sentinalese, who are believed to be originally an offshoot of the Onges, live on North Sentinel island west of South Andaman and are probably the last of the world's Paleolithic people that have no contact with the rest of the world because the island is completely out of bounds to outsiders.

Scientists believe that because of the extreme isolation of the Sentinalese, this tribe has become biomedically valuable. They warn that these tribespeople, in the future, could be targeted by bio-prospectors for valuable genetic traits that may have long ago vanished in other ethnic or racial groups.

Apart from the four Negrito groups, the southern part of the archipelago (Nicobar group) is home to tribes of Mongoloid origin, like the reclusive Shompens, numbering 300, and the more sophisticated Nicobarese, who may have migrated from Indonesia's Sumatra island nearby.

Most of the tribal victims of the tsunami were Nicobarese and as many as a quarter of their population of 20,000 people, who are mostly coastal farmers and followers of the Christian faith, may have perished when the killer waves struck.

After the tsunami, Indian authorities have refused permission for international volunteer agencies seeking to go beyond Port Blair to carry out relief work on the grounds that they do not want the aborigines to be disturbed in any way.

Besides the need to protect the aborigines, the Andaman and Nicobar islands bristle with defense installations and have since 2001 supported a joint-service command involving elements of the army, navy, air force and coast guard under a single commander.

(Inter Press Service)

The Paradox Game

I am back with my paradoxes -

Came across this in a book entitled "Freedom's Way" (By an Australian Author - Zeph) - "Surrender requires faith"

Another from Steve Goodier : (For some people) "the knowledge that they will die someday actually motivates them to live more fully!"

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Einstein on Life

This quote by Einstein is something I swear by!

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --A. Einstein

Life is one exciting and joyous journey when one gets excited and enthusiastic about the 'smallest' of things! When one learns to appreciate and enjoy the small things in life, there will never be a dull moment! A bird chirping, the early morning sun shining through buildings and trees, the trees swaying slowly, the rain dropping down on the road, the dog watching you with a slightly tilted head, the child asking you a very simple question....the list is endless! How I love life! Irrespective of the imbroglios and conundrums that it sometimes throws in...

Speaking of A. Einstein, here's a page with many of his quotes...

Asmi - The Ad

I like this print ad for Asmi (Diamond Jewellery from DTC) a lot!

When did fear go away...
And passion replace it?
When did the boundaries disappear...
And horizons look near?
When did the world matter less...
And your inner voice more?
When exactly did you begin to believe
There is no one
You would rather be than you...

All in a day's work

I cleaned and re-organized my Book Shelf and my Dress Rack today. Feels good to see them look neat and nice! But it remains that I need to be kicked. You'd be shocked to know the number of books that I am yet to read and number of dresses that I haven't been using. It hurts my conscience!

I discovered some stuff that I thought I'd lost. And it's sort of funny to think that the more organized one is, the more difficult it seems to be able to find what one wants. I am sure I'd be groping around for some of the stuff (that I don't use often) that I've stacked up in the corner of the shelf after a few months.

Yesterday, I went to a movie after a long-long time! Swades. I liked the movie. Though, some sections are beyond logic. The music is good too! Most of the 'jokes' in the movie are sort of silly but funny! :) SRK as well as Gayathri (the Heroine) do a good job!

Values I relate to...

I read something really nice in the papers today...

"One good heart is better than many good heads" (Is this another duel between positive emotions and rational thinking?)

"Forget the statistics. Enjoy the game!" - Boy, do I agree! This, btw, is the title of Ayaz Memon's regular column on cricket in the Times of India. I simply love the way Ayaz Memon writes. His language and style is extremely cool!

I might sound crazy here but I don't care - I sincerely believe that more and better things would get done if only we were to deal with work this way - "Forget the numbers and the bottom line, enjoy the work!" Focusing on the numbers and the bottom line all the time takes away the attention from actual work. It takes away the passion and love for work per se. Creative thinking doesn't happen with people always trying to make money. Of course, an organization exists to make money, but at least, let the management mind its own 'business'. Let it not harass the employees with its talk about making money all the time. Let the employees get creative. Give them the money they need to keep their passion intact and to explore and invent! Good things don't happen by only focusing on what should be coming in (profits) but also equally or maybe more importantly, on what's going in (investments). My fear - is the service sector doomed to look at the money alone and not get as creative as, say, the product makers?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Listening Quotes and Proverbs

Listening Quotes and Proverbs

Excellent quotes! My favourites:(Of course, they are KMish)

There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation - James Nathan Miller

Every person in this life has something to teach me — and as soon as I accept that, I open myself to truly listening.

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force...When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand. Ideas actually begin to grow within us and come to life...When we listen to people there is an alternating current, and this recharges us so that we never get tired of each other...and it is this little creative fountain inside us that begins to spring and cast up new thoughts and unexpected laughter and wisdom. ...Well, it is when people really listen to us, with quiet facinated attention, that the little fountain begins to work again, to accelerate in the most surprising way. - Brenda Ueland

Wisdom is the reward for a lifetime of listening ... when you'd have preferred to talk. - D.J. Kaufman

It is the province of knowledge to speak And it is the privilege of wisdom to listen. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something. - Wilson Mizner

My A&N Trip - The Whole Story - Dec 15 - 21 ('Twas Before the Tsunami)

Every time I set out on a tour, I watch the world with a renewed sense of wonder. Especially mother nature. It’s amazing what just a good number of trees and a huge reservoir of water can present to the eye. An overwhelming sense of being a part of something that enthralls even as it makes one feel like a non-entity in comparison. It was a long-awaited tour. A tour for which many a ‘battle’ had to be waged. A dream come true. A trip to the magical A&N islands.

I shall not recollect the events in chronological order. For it not only strains my weak memory but also makes the whole thing a tad boring. Random recollection is what I shall resort to. That is what gives me the thrills. A recollection arising out of impressions and connections. Imagine having a whole sea to yourself! Imagine having a conversation with the sea all by yourself! Lucky me. I don’t have to imagine.  For I had the opportunity. (Do you see green?) Let me tell you what happened. It was the Baludera beach. It was nearing 3.30 PM when we reached the Baludera beach at Baratang after having seen the mud-volcano. There was a vast stretch of land with narrow strips of water finding its way through here and there in front of the beach. There were 2 native ladies fishing in a narrow stretch of water and there was a very nice-looking wooden-logs bridge leading to the beach. We took the bridge and went up close to the beach. I then collected my book (PLUM – Summer Moonshine), camera and CD player and went over to where the water had made up its mind to come till. On the way, the ornithologist in me cocked an eyebrow on seeing a flock of small and cute birds in search of food a little distance away from the shore; in another narrow strip of water. I ran up bag and everything only to see the birds fly away.  . When will I learn to be a professional bird-watcher and not scare away birds? I ventured back to where I’d decided to deposit myself till I’d be allowed to. Sat down on the sand, plugged into the music, opened the book and (actually) stared into the sea. There was a group of trees to my right and to the left the sea seemed to have no end. There were a few people having a swim and splashing around in the water. Not a typical crowded beach you might see in a city, mind you. It was around 4.15 when I realized (to my joy) that most of the people had walked back to the bridge and a nearby shelter. I was almost left alone with the sea. In a few minutes, even the couple of people who were still there, left. I was alone with the sea. What a feeling that was! Absolutely no noise except the soft clap of the waves. (this sea unlike many others that I’ve seen seemed to be extremely modest and quiet). I was listening to some of Illayaraja’s old (70s) songs and felt like there could have never been a better experience than what I was going through. The waves on close observation I felt were certainly dancing to the music. I wanted the moment to last forever. I did not want to move from the spot. I wanted to turn into stone at that very spot. But it was not to be. I was almost rudely awakened from the dreamy moment by my folks calling out to me that it was time to go. It was 5 PM. And it gets dark by 5 in Andaman. I wouldn’t find my way back to the car if it got dark, I was told. I had to leave. Did I hear the sea say something as I was on my way back? While this was an occasion when I had a long chat with the sea all by myself, there was another contradictory occasion when I met the sea in a different disguise at a different place for just a few fleeting moments.

This time the sea had a simply cool look. It was awe-inspiring. It was breath-taking. I was mesmerized and dumb-struck when I laid my eyes on the beach just behind the Dolphin Resort at Havelock Island. It was an occasion when words don’t suffice to express one’s feelings. What was so special and different here? It was just the colour. And the water-based flora. But it made all the difference to me. The sea was green in colour. A bright yet light green. And there were a couple of trees that had grown in the water just a few meters away from the shore. There were also some barren branches jutting out here and there. What a view that was! The problem here was that we were given only 10 minutes to get back to our car. Because, we still had to visit another beach and return to the ship that was to leave Havelock for Port Blair. What a pity. But the scene continues to remain in my mind’s eye. Needless to say, I clicked away to glory on the camera and the photographs that have come out are there to remind me of the view. But the photographs are only a weak reminder of the real scene that touched most of my senses. Let me rewind a little to go back to the experience I had on the ship journey from Port Blair to Havelock. It was a cool experience. It came at the right time. Just when I was beginning to think that it was a waste for me to have lugged along my books with me on the trip. Whenever would I get the time to read books? Well, this was it. 4 hours on the ship – M.V Ramanujam – and nothing else much to do. I paced the decks on the ship for the first few minutes and then settled down on the metal stairs leading from the upper deck to the lower with a cup of coffee (bought at the ship’s cafeteria) with my book. I read my book for about 2 hours with breaks in between. The breaks were utilized to stare at the sea of water all around me and a little bit of ship-exploring. Nice experience altogether. The other beach that we went to in Havelock was the Radhanagar beach. It was, we were told, the most popular beaches of all. The water was, I later learned, turquoise blue in colour. But personally, I did not see anything extraordinary in the colour of the water here. It was extremely crowded unlike all the other beaches we had visited through the trip and maybe that was what made it less fascinating for me. I love solitude. Or maybe I hate crowds. ;) Anyways, I ventured into the water here and got myself a lot wetter than at any other beach. After which, we only had time to have a very quick lunch at a place called Dreamland Restaurant. The food was pathetic and I just had the Dal and the Rice and left the rest of the food untouched. On the way back to the ship, we saw a lot of ducks quaking and waddling around. They were so cute. I wanted to get off and play with them, but then, the ship wouldn’t wait for us. The ride down to the harbor from the beach was something I enjoyed. The greenery, the birds and the quietness of the roads reminded me of the English countryside that Enid Blyton describes in some of her books. It would have been a great experience to walk on those roads rather than whiz past them in a car.

What do I talk about next? Let me go through the rest of the Baratang experience. Rewind. The trip from Port Blair to Baratang, BTW, was the high drama part of the whole trip. This calls for some talk about history and culture. Andamans has its share of tribal population. There are supposed to be 6-7 different tribes that inhabit certain parts of the island. Their population though has apparently dwindled over the last 7-8 decades. These tribals still lead an unbelievably laid-back and ancient life. Some of them are hostile while some others have just got convinced that we aren’t dangerous or have learned to ignore us (we - people who pass through their territory). So, where were we? Yes, the trip from Port Blair to Baratang involved passing through a dense forest inhabited by a tribals called the Jarawas. These weren’t said to be very hostile but the Andaman government still took the necessary precautions, had a set of rules – the Dos and Don’ts, that is. At the beginning of the forest the rule was that we were to wait for a particular number of cars to come together. Then, the fleet of cars were escorted into the forest by policemen occupying places in the car/van that went in first and the one that went in last. Obviously, they were armed. The van that went in first sported a red flag while the last one in had a green flag. There were 12 cars I guess and we were probably 8th in the line. We were instructed not to honk, not to scream, not to call out to the tribals (were we to come across them), not to offer them any food/clothes etc, not to open the windows etc. I did gulp a little before we began the trip into the forest, not knowing what was in store. What if the tribals were looking out for some bespectacled human to sacrifice at the altar of their God?  what if they’d just invented a new poisoned arrow that they wanted to beta test?  I was reminded of the Phantom, and Tintin comics and felt a tingling sensation in my spine. Hey, but I exaggerate…slightly. ;). We went into the dense forest and kept our eyes and ears wide open for tribals. We’d covered almost the entire distance when we heard noises. There were 4-5 kids from the tribal community standing by the side of the road and screaming. One of the kids had a stick and a clot tied to it with which he hit all the cars passing by. We saw two adults (women) as well. Both of them were wearing dresses made out of leaves, twigs and some kind of beads. That was all there was about the tribals as far as our trip was concerned. (we did not sight them on our way back to Port Blair the next day). Now, we’d left Port Blair at around 6 AM and once we reached the end of the forest, it was around 9.30 AM and time for breakfast. There was a small motel near the sea backwaters that we were facing and we had a few minutes to go for crossing the sea backwaters by boat to the other side – Baratang. The motel was as dirty as you could imagine. But people (all the 12 vans/cars that crossed the forest together) didn’t seem to care. Everyone expect me had breakfast there. I made do with a packet of groundnuts and chips. The boat that transported us across the sea backwaters was a strong and sturdy one that actually carried the cars; 4 at a time. We got out of the car and stood by the side of the boat and reached the other side (Baratang) in about 10 minutes. It was a cool ride as the water was covered with Mangroves on either side. We landed at Baratang and realized that it was a small village with just a handful of houses and shops. We were to stay in a hotel for the rest of the day and only return the next morning. So, we walked up to the hotel which was just 2 minutes away from the place where we got off. Two rooms had already been booked by the tour operators that were handling the tour for us. We were to stay in a deluxe room. You’d be amused to see what the ‘deluxe’ room was like though!  The room next to ours was a ‘super deluxe’ room and the difference was in the flooring. Oh God! I had a nice laugh seeing the rooms and thinking of how they were referred to. Anyways, after relaxing for about 30 minutes, we left to see the caves that were famous for Stalactites and Stalagmites. This was almost an hour’s ride from the place we were staying into the sea backwaters. We went by a small boat that was ‘navigated’ by 2 young men. When we’d been in the boat for about half an hour, we saw one of the men get a bucket and collect water that had got into the boat through cracks and pour it out!!!!!!!!!  we were traveling in a boat with holes - that let water in!  I don’t know how to swim but this was somehow very amusing and hilarious. I looked around at my folks and, not surprisingly, saw some bewildered expressions! ;). Anyways, the most exciting part of this journey was when we reached the mouth of the caves. The water was completely covered with mangroves and there was a small and narrow path that had been made out to reach the land that had the caves. It was so exciting to get in between the mangroves and navigate the twists and turns. Once we got to the land, we had to walk up for about 10 minutes to see the caves and the stalactites and stalagmites. It was just cool. Some of the stalactites and stalagmites were white and glowing, some brown with age and some still dripping wet.

Later that night, in Baratang, we ventured out for a walk just before dinner, encountered some local people chasing a centipede, went to a small Ganesha temple atop a hill, and asked a small motel chef to make Dosas for us for dinner!  (That was a favour because only Rotis sell there and Dosas aren’t made at all)

The next day morning, the trip back through the forest and out of Baratang went off without any tribal encounters. Once we reached the end of the forest toward Port Blair, we had breakfast in a roadside hut-hotel! after breakfast, we were just wandering around waiting for the driver of the car, when I spotted a really cute bird to my utter joy!  It was a bird with feathers of 3 colours. Blue, Orange and Black. I ran up to the car, got my camera and crept up to the small water tank where the bird was perched with hope in my heart and a grin on my face. I caught him on the camera twice and crossed my fingers and hoped the photographs would come out well. you ought to see the snaps. Err….they’ve come out well, but you’d have to be a keen observer to spot the bird in the photograph. (I couldn’t have gone very close to the birdie as he would have certainly flown away; remember those birds in Baludera)

Rewind to day one. We went to a beach called Corbyn’s cove. It was absolutely deserted except for some tired and hungry street or shall I say, beach dogs. The beach was great. The shores were lined with coconut trees and there were a couple of steps leading to the water. Hard to describe with my limited vocabulary. Thanks to all those trees, it was a nice and shady beach. The dogs came looking for food and refused to budge. Gave the dogs some jellies but they smelt the jellies gave me a ‘are you crazy?’ look and refrained from eating them. Even before reaching Corbyn’s cove, we stopped on the way at a temple overlooking the sea. The view was superb as there were small rocks in the water that the water was crashing against. There were some cows and a calf which had deposited themselves beside the sea on the road. All of them were lazily chewing cud. My dad’s colleague’s wife and I went and patted the calf and then came off as he threatened to return the favour.

The other place we went to (in the evening on day 2) was Chidiya Thapu. Now, here is the context - we did not know that we were at Chidiya Thapu! All the driver had mumbled was that this was another picnic spot. This place was quite different. A spot at the southernmost tip of Port Blair, it had still and just knee-deep water for more than probably half-a-kilometer into the water. We picked up a lot of shells here and waded into the water and stood staring at the water, the sky and the trees beyond. After gaping at nature for sometime, we decided to go back to the car only to find that the driver had disappeared. It was around 4.30 PM. That was when a truckloads of tourists turned up. We were wondering where our driver had disappeared to, for almost 20 minutes. He finally turned up after a while and then we left. Just outside the tourist area, there were a few shacks where Bajjis and tea was being sold. We drank tea and dug into some tasty Bajjis. It was a little after 5 PM and people were watching the sunset. I did not get out of the car though and managed to see the sun through the window from across the road. Well, guess what, the next day, we got to hear from people at our local guest house that the place we were taken to on the previous day was Chidiya Thapu and it was most famous for birds chirping around and the sunset! I was almost seething with anger. We did not know, else we would have, of course, endeavored to step into the nearby forest to spot birds and would have waited long enough to see the sunset from the ‘beach’ and left after 5 PM. The driver had disappeared even without telling us what this place was all about! I was pretty upset for a long time after that and will never probably forget to feel bad about this. Some things as I’ve mentioned elsewhere too are just not meant to be.

Another wonderful and small island that we went to was Ross island. It is very close to Port Blair. We went by the regular jetty. Stepping into Ross island, we discovered that it was a very small island where the Indian Navy had a base. It was once the Britishers’ base too. Most of the buildings built by Britishers there were all destroyed and razed to the ground, apparently during a Japanese attack. There was one spot on the island where the sea waves were hitting a broken wall quite wildly! We then walked up a steep road to also see the somewhat attractive remains of a church. After that, was a cool flight of open-air stairs that led to a lovely beach below in the rear of the island. There were plenty of coconut trees and tender coconuts that had fallen off. In the same jetty that we went by was a big gang of people from Rajasthan. They seemed to be having a whale of a time at the island (And why not? What a refreshing change for those folks from a hot and dry desert!). They also went on a coconut-breaking spree and went on guzzling down coconuts! I was surprised that they seemed to be enjoying the coconuts more than the sea. (But then, neither do they have access to tender coconuts in Rajasthan). We came back to the Jetty-boarding area through a graveyard (created during the Britishers’ time) and saw some deers! We had 30 more minutes to go for boarding the jetty back to Port Blair and spent time just sitting and lazing around and playing with one brave deer that came looking or rather demanding for food. After we left the place (and the place became deserted) and just began to make our way back to Port Blair on the jetty, we saw a peacock making its way through to the place where all of us had been sitting, apparently hunting for food!

The last island that I have to talk about is North Bay. It was about 45 minutes away by jetty from Port Blair. We went up there already aware that it was a place meant for snorkeling and had no other attractions. The jetty was stopped a little away from the shore. Once we got off the jetty, we were taken in batches to the shore by a smaller boat. I had to wait for about half-an-hour before it was my turn to go snorkeling. I had a little bit of a problem wearing or rather learning to breathe through the tube that was to provide the path for oxygen into my lungs. Also, I had to remove my glasses to wear the water goggles and started wondering if I’d be able to see anything at all. Anyways, I managed to get used to it and went snorkeling though only for a few minutes. As I was just beginning to enjoy experiencing the underwater world – the corals and the fishes – the guide guided us back to the shore.  It was a great and thrilling experience. I felt like I’d hit the corals with my feet but, of course, the goggles were what made it seem like the corals were very close to the surface of the water. After snorkeling, we just sat down and relaxed till it was time to head back to town.

I have only written about my experiences with water. Let me quickly run through the rest of the places that we went to. It is not fair to sideline them altogether - water does seem to be so charming and make land and its attractions seem less appealing. We went to a science museum that was amazing. But I did not have the time to go through every counter there. There was one section called Fun Science that was simply cool! It would undoubtedly be a great place for school students to learn and understand Physics. I swear. In another sea-life museum that we went to, I saw a board that attempted to explain the basics of sea life and read something that amused me  . The board trying to explain the concept of the underwater food-chain read ‘the greatest of activities under the sea is eating’. 

Another great place we went to was Mount Harriet. This was on our way to Port Blair from Bratang. Mount Harriet is the highest peak (or is it the second highest?) in Andamans and needless to say, the view was breath-taking. We could see the sea, some beaches, lighthouses and a few small islands. In Mount Harriet, we also came across some cute, cuddly and friendly cats! 

The two other places we visited were the Gandhi Park and the Marine Park. Gandhi’s statue in the former was very artistic and inspiring! In the latter, there was a nice statue of Subhas Chandra Bose. This park was facing the sea and had a nice little wall along the sea where one could seat oneself and watch the water. I stole a few moments here and listened to some instrumental music. I still remember the lovely sea breeze and the music that I was treated to.

Kaala Paani. How can I forget the cellular jail??? Would I be forgiven or for that matter would I forgive myself if I did not mention this? On day one, we saw the sound and light show at the Cellular Jail. It was a recorded show as narrated by Naseeruddin Shah. The programme was conducted using sophisticated audio equipment and moving lights. It was in the open air and slightly cold. . Before the programme began, we were seated and had to wait for a few minutes during which I had a great time. It was wonderful. It was around 7 PM and not knowing what to do, I just looked up at the sky and almost gasped for the sky was beautiful with a multitude of twinkling stars! As everyone was waiting for the show to start, it was very quiet and I enjoyed those moments immensely. We couldn’t look up the cells in the jail, on the same day and went back to see them only on the 4th day of our vacation. The cells were as one would expect any jail to be like. We also saw the eerie gallows. What was great were the various galleries. One of the best things that I liked and felt nostalgic about was the Aug 15th, 1947 paper – the statesman. There were advertisements by the Tata Industries, Bajaj, Hindustan Motors, and a few other companies whose names I am not able to recall. There was an advertisement for nail polish and an advertisement for shaving cream. The advertisement for the latter was something to the effect that one should look smart to be able to do good business!  (Big deal; now its about wooing the girls)

Finally, coming to the last few reminiscences of the trip, the guest house that we stayed in was a very quiet and secluded spot. We stayed in the first floor of a building atop a hill and the view was quiet nice though the sea wasn’t to be seen from there. The view presented many small houses, a small and peaceful-looking temple and huge groups of arecanut trees. It was, overall, a serene place. We did not really get to spend a lot of time in the guest house except on 2 days when we returned early from our local trips. On the day that we left for Bangalore, I went up to the temple and said a quick prayer.

The car driver who took us around claimed to be a Tamilian whose ancestors had settled down in Andaman. He said his name was Subramanian but he was known as Chotu. The name Chotu is explained by the fact that the Andaman people spoke Hindi even though the population was very cosmopolitan comprising Bengalis, Tamils, Malayalis etc. Finally, we had access to some good meals at the restaurant called Annapurna. 3 Lunches and 1 dinner was had at Annapurna, 3 Dinners at the guest house and on the remaining occasions, we had to make do with food available in roadside shacks and motels.

BTW, I think I’ve said it all, omitting no significant detail whatsoever. Just hope you aren’t saying that somebody should have stopped me. Well…anyways, the trip will remain etched in my memory for years to come. For both the good and the bad reasons. I am just hoping that I don’t continue to feel repelled and imagine a tsunami coming when I see beaches, for ever, after having loved and admired them so much.

Internal Customers

Why is that organizations are always talking about customer satisfaction but don't seem to care so much about internal customers? Why is it that we need to deliver the best of products and services to our customers but rarely want to invest money, material and (wo)men in internal initiatives? Why is that we don't want to be innovative and spend more time and money in making our Intranet a cool portal to visit? We want to make money, but we want to plough it back for customer assignments and not for internal initiatives as much. Why? No RoI? Why do we have to be so RoI focused?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

KMWorld Magazine - Knowledge management�Past and future

I've got nothing to add to this article, right now. Just putting up the link...

Interesting Article - Sent by Bala Pillai on Act KM

Read the bit about the knowledge of the ocean making all the difference between life and death in Thailand and about animals' sixth sense.
That reminds me - NDTV had a story of how a dog saved a boy (his master) near Pondy from the hungry Tsunami. It was so touching! The dog was no Cocker Spaniel or Dalmatian or Doberman, mind you. Just the dog next street! His name - Silva Kumar! :) Silva was extremely cute and modest about the whole thing! He probably did not understand why (the hell) people were all over him... :) All the folks in the family that he lives with and the boy that he saved were fondling him and boy, did I feel like joining the party! :) Here's hoping that Silva lives a king's life! :)

Why should organizations invest in KM?

I started this Blog with the intention of talking about KM 24*7. But then I found that I couldn't stay away from other aspects of life and err...I think I have been speaking more about life in general and less about KM! The poor thing. So, lemme go back to a little KM - Here's something I was asked to think about today...and here's what my grey cells generated in response...

May not be well-organized or well-written though...!

Why should organizations invest in KM?

1. A mammoth company with tens of thousands of people will obviously have varied customer segments. Which means the requirements are varied. Which in turn means, the tools and enablers have to be different, customized, tailored etc. Which boils down to having resources that can cater to each of these customer segments. Roughly, the number of such customer segments would be # of verticals*5

- Therefore, what we require are – more people - more support; more servers;

2. KM is all-encompassing and evolving; We need to catch up – actually lead the way; There are new tools being developed across the world; We should be developing new tools to cater to customers’ requirements or at least catching up with the latest tools;

- Therefore, what we require are – more people who can design and support such new tools

3. KM is seen as an intangible initiative; The benefits are hard to see for many as it is difficult to measure; It is a cultural challenge to get people to participate in the KM movement; What this means is that it would be critical to retain people who have been influenced and convinced; in today’s hurry-burry world people want tools and applications that work very well, are easy to use and are very quick. If they have problems using the tools, they don’t come back and also spread the word thus ‘jeopardizing’ the work done till then

- Therefore, we need more people to support; close bugs; build enhancements;


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Spiritual Ladder

Some thoughts...that ran mind

This is not how it happens. It's not a step-by-step approach. Neither can people be categorized and compartmentalized this way. It is a complex matrix....

  • You (start by) do(ing) what you want to - no values - no nothing
  • You (continue to) do whatever you've been doing, but begin to realize that there is something wrong and start treading carefully
  • You analyze what was it that was wrong and where you should have stopped
  • You keep it a secret
  • You start admitting to people that you've gone wrong and need to correct yourself; You are open about it; You start advicing people while telling yourself the very same thing
  • You advice people knowing that you have mastered it all; You are a Guru

:) Does it make sense? Or am I in my own world!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Spiral Dynamics

Interesting read! Which meme do you belong to? :-)

Spiral Dynamics: Evolutionary Theory of Culture and Consciousness presented by WIE

Analyzing Failure

We need to analyze the Tsunami as we might a failure. Not that the Tsunami can be classified as a 'failure' as much as an unexpected natural disaster. Though, I am given to understand that there are things we could have done to avoid the disaster that was to some extent. The warning systems, the quickness of action, the preparedness etc can still be classified as 'failure'. We failed to be proactive, act upon information, and foresee possibilities of such a calamity. I watched the re-telecast of a programme called Tsunami on Nat Geo yesterday wherein they showed a Japanese city hit by a Tsunami in the early 90s act upon it by building a 35ft wall around the city and also install warning systems. I hope that we never ever encounter a Tsunami again and so it may be; but we still need to invest the time, money and effort to ensure that we are armed to tackle another, GOD forbid, Tsunami. We need to learn from the cities that have already been through this. It calls for knowledge sharing and collaboration with countries like Japan. I was extremely glad to hear that an Asian committee is being set up to discuss this calamity. (There is also a world committee.) The next SAARC is probably going to be hogged by the Tsunami. In the context, here's an interesting article that I want to share with fellow-bloggers-

By Dr. John C. Maxwell
Failure is either your friend or your enemy--and you choose which it is. If you play a dirge every time you fail, then failure will remain your enemy. But if you determine to learn from your failures, you actually benefit from them--and that makes failure your friend.

Anyone can make failure their friend by maintaining a teachable attitude and using a strategy for learning from their mistakes. To turn your losses into profits, ask the following questions every time you face adversity:

1. WHAT CAUSED THE FAILURE? You won't learn all you can unless you're willing to find out what went wrong in the first place. Were you in a no-win situation? Is there a certain point when things broke down? Can you pinpoint one central mistake? After his near death experience on Mount Everest, climber Beck Weathers admitted, "When you're up that far, you get high-altitude stupid."

2. WHAT SUCCESSES ARE CONTAINED IN THE FAILURE? My friend Warren Wiersbe says, "A realist is an idealist who has gone through the fire and been purified. A skeptic is an idealist who has gone through the fire and been burned." Don't allow the fire of adversity to make you a skeptic. Allow it to purify you. No matter what kind of adversity you experience, there is always a potential jewel of success contained in it. Sometimes it may be difficult to find. But you can discover it if you're willing to look for it.

3. WHAT CAN I LEARN FROM WHAT HAPPENED? Unfortunately, many people react to adversity the same way Peanuts character Charlie Brown does in a comic strip I once read. Charlie is at the beach and has just finished building a beautiful sand castle. But as he stands back to admire his work, his masterpiece is pummeled by a huge wave. Staring at the smooth mound that had been his creation, he says, "There must be a lesson here, but I don't know what it is." People that approach adversity like Charlie Brown become so consumed by the events that they miss the whole learning experience. But there is always a way to learn from adversity and mistakes. The key is to always maintain a teachable attitude and embrace the idea that Lord Byron once conveyed: "Adversity is the first path to truth."

4. WHO CAN HELP ME WITH THIS ISSUE? Generally speaking, there are two kinds of learning: experience, which is gained from your own mistakes, and wisdom, which is learned from the mistakes of others. Admiral Hyman Rickover said, "All of us must become better informed. It is necessary for us to learn from others' mistakes. You will not live long enough to make them all yourself." As much as possible, glean wisdom from the wise counsel of others. Seek advice, but make sure it's from someone who has successfully handled mistakes or adversities.

5. WHERE DO I GO FROM HERE? In their book Everyone's A Coach, Don Shula and Ken Blanchard state, "Learning is defined as a change in behavior. You haven't learned a thing until you can take action and use it." Make a new commitment to learn something from every mistake or adverse experience in your life.

The lessons are there for the learning. But failure won't reach out and teach you. You must be willing to make failure your friend by seizing the opportunity to learn.

Tsunami !-!-!

Waves of death…
Taking away many a breath!
Waves of destruction…
Beyond any imagination!
The mammoth wave,
Challenging even the brave,
For many, a close shave!
Nature showing another face…
Destroying a whole race!
Who could even imagine?
The sea turning overnight into sin!
In shattering life with its deadly kiss
The earth was an accomplice!
The otherwise lovely beaches, one hopes,
Don’t turn out to be whammy…
For one wants to erase the memory of this tsunami!