Tuesday, December 29, 2009

touching lives...

Recently attended a course on performance engagement skills from a really affable trainer. The course was good and I was able to interact with colleagues from different backgrounds, lines of business etc. One of the aspects that I was part of as a side discussion was the fact that there is a scope for each one of us to touch lives in some form or the other, however small, in whatever tasks we are involved in.

At times this means volunteering to help someone without they asking for it, at times it means sharing your feedback in an open manner truthfully with the facts laid out and helping someone to improve. All of this needs courage, more importantly it requires time too. Can each one of us spend the required amount of time, well may be not, but we can definitely make an attempt to create and carve out pockets on our busy schedule that can be dedicated to helping others, touching lives!

A youngster on my team today morning walked up to me and said they would like to teach English to the facilities staff who have expressed their desire to learn English, my eyes lit up and I felt happy and mentioned of my support to it wholeheartedly. Again touching lives!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

26/11 ...Let us never forget

Its going to be a year now, they came and did what they set out to do.

I was trying to compile like any other hapless and helpless citizen what have we done to:-
a.) prevent an attack like this again on our soil
b.) bring the accused to book, through a trial in the court of law
c.) ensure preparedness if at all another such gory incident happens people are aware how to react to it

Unfortunately in a true Indian way of doing things, we have bought 2 new boats for the Indian coast guard, we have set up 2-3(may be more) institutions to find out what and how things happened last year on 26/11. We still do not know for example if the bullet proof jackets used by our officers were of quality grade to save them from the attackers bullets!

What we have done isn't enough on all 3 counts that i was looking at. no prevention, not fast track booking of criminals in hand, no preparedness of our people.

Are we expected to forget 26/11 like any other attack that we have been asked to forget after its taken place reminding us the resilience of the people (of Mumbai in this case, could be anywhere in India though).

I feel sad, i feel angry and i feel we should not forget 26/11, at least till we have done enough on the 3 counts or prevention, justice and preparedness.

Let us never forget 26/11, till each one of us is convinced enough has been done.

Tact and me.... a failed combo :(

There have been innumerable incidents now and in spite of my trying to be tactful with people close to me, i think i have really not been able to make it up in any significant way!

A very recent example of this failure is when i was supposed to pick up a friend from near a hotel close to their place. I saw someone standing by the hotel entrance but felt it looks to be someone else and stayed in the car for a while thinking my friend is definitely not as dark and also not put on as much weight as the person standing out there.

I stayed put in the car for almost 10 minutes and much later figured out, after a phone call that it was my friend :)

The worst was yet to come...I also told my friend about why i first did not notice and thought that it was someone else :) I spoke the truth again and got into some sort of trouble... for...
a. Not being able to recognise a friend from a distance of 10 metres
b. Indirectly calling the friend dark, though my friend is anything but dark
c. Suggesting in a way that my friend has put on weight

I wish i could be a little more tactful, i must actually thank people around me for accepting me as i am, else i might have had no friends by now, with all the sense of tactlessness that i have displayed for dozens of years now!

Thanks Friends. I owe you all a lot...a lot lot more

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

History of the Internet in a nutshell

The first "network" was set up in the late 60's, almost 16-17 years before yours truly was born!
My first brush with the net was while i went along with a friend who was applying for his MS in the US in the mid nineties and decided to email a piece of information. It cost him about INR 100/- or even more for a single page! :)

Email in itself was a big thing and to be able to send messages back and forth in real time was an amazing feeling coming out of college! Me and my roomie Rajesh would send each other messages sitting just next to each other in the computer room in our first organization after college.

It was seen as an dramatic phenomenon when i opened the "times of India" on the computer in my office and showed it to my Manager. It was jaw dropping. Today it feels great to see my ex Manager and Mentor send me messages over email.

The Internet has come a long way and its history is captured here for the keeps, interesting read,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sachin Tendulkar - 20 years and still not out!

Sachin Tendulkar the Master Blaster!

His most lasting contribution may not be the thousands of runs he has scored against all cricket playing countries and in practically all forms of the game all around the world. It actually would be that he made complete non cricket guys take on to the game.

Sachin also brought a nation together when he played i could see the hostel TV room other wise a fertile ground for fights (debates rather) over language, region and programs tune into the only thing of common interest for all and sundry. It could drive away all class, mass divides, everyone was one. I am even able to recollect a Victory rally that was once taken out by the students when he got India thru with one of his marvellous and aggressive innings.

Sachin, you would be remembered as not only a great cricketer, but someone who made significant contribution in keeping us smiling ans happy too, NOT many cricketers or sports stars could ever be able to achieve this part, isn't it?

Got this peice written some 21 years back by Harsha Bhogle, from a friends blog. Nostalgic, worth a read - http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/434247.html

The Great Indian Language Debate!

The recent debates over language somehow make me uncomfortable and also fearful of the time to come.

The whole language thing was a good debate when in the old days there was barely any migration across the country. Today, with immense amount of migration, one simply cannot assume and more importantly force a certain language on people.

I am a Maharashtrian by birth can speak decent Marathi, born and brought up in suburban Mumbai, grew up with Tamil brahmins as my best friends (some of them friends for life now), spoke Hindi (Bambaiya, tapori Hindi :))

I always wrote in Hindi, thought in Hindi and then moved on to Gujarat, i almost fell in love (with the place and the language too). I can speak Gujarati and can do it well too. I was in Karnataka for some 9 years and could pick up bits of Kannada and like the language, but was a little difficult for me to pick up.

What language should i know, assuming that in my profession i am well versed with English which gets used as the language of operation?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"Birthday Friend" from Kerala

We have known each other for some years now and known each other well, we have helped each other with pep talks and in other possible ways.

It would not be correct to say that we are in constant touch these days, nor do we speak or write to each other frequently.

There is one day in the year when I know for sure, I can expect a pleasant email and that is my birthday, never has it been forgotten.

Makes it special every year and this year was no different. Thanks for this and all the years in the past.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

The race...where do we stop

As anyone who started life in the pits, I personally, perhaps have had a dream run over the last few years - personal as well as professional front! AND then there have been tough times, real tough ones, tougher than i feel i could have really thought and imagined them to be! :(

I have always wondered and at times given a deep thought as to where does this stop, how would this end some day?

It took me a while to realize that life does have its own way of slowing you down when you are going too fast, when you are at times thinking you are doing good for some one/some people, but actually are misunderstood or are understood right but people just would not want to believe that's how things are with you.

The slow down needs to be a feature that one must be prepared for, it would almost always last a little longer than one's patience and determination can bear! A TEST is how i have always termed it and dealt with it.

Quite successfully as well. I must admit... So also tells a good friend and an ex colleague of mine, That i inspire people like them to do more, fight issues and problems harder and make the most of what's on hand, with out losing out more than what is required!

I have always ensured that when the times are tough, there are more things that go wrong and also there are more people who stand out there and are trying to either find faults or at least appear to be doing that to us.

The trick really is to keep at it, never lose focus, be realistic with your decisions and also be truthful in accepting what is on the plate. NEVER ever loose your self respect, at all costs, its not worth it never ever!

Don't stop, Believe in yourself, Keep fighting, have good friends around who can keep the spirits (some times with a little bit of spirit for the tummy as well :)) high. The race is never really out, it sometimes gives you a break, that's all the luck one can ask for :)

Building Self Confidence

I recently decided to speak to people on our team on how to build self confidence!

I had couple of alternatives and all of these could have been fit and fine since the team is known to me and i possibly could get away with a little bit of a here and there kind of a talk.

I gave it a thought and decided to make it a picture/image driven presentation, well it took me a while to create, since i had to do some work on getting the right images and pictures to fit with the 8-10 point that i had on the slides.

I felt the picture/image driven presentation worked well, the informal feedback i got was positive and i have now begun to think that messages stay a lot longer and have a better impact when passed on with images and pictures that go well with the words.

It's build my confidence in presenting better with pictures and images :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze...Dirty Dancing fame

I am a tall guy standing 6'2" with a average frame. Dancing is not one of my virtues!

It was only after watching the brilliant P Swayze that i could make myself believe in the act. I did manage to shake a leg, once in a while if the situation so demanded.

Dirty Dancing was a brilliant movie and P Swayze and the rest of the cast did a fab job of it.

Years later i had a memorable experience of watching Dirty Dancing II, that had a cameo from P Swayze. Apart from P Swayze the movie was memorable because of the way i had watched it that Saturday morning with a 100 lbs of sweet load on my back...Do ya remember?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tough times...Tough decisions(?)

Almost all of us go through difficult times, at different stages in our careers and lives!

The important thing is that each one of us has a different way of looking at problems, creating solutions, managing emotions, fighting temptations to give up mid course, sacrificing value/value system, focusing on the immediate gains like money, giving up self respect etc… there are a host of things.

What defines the decisions that we make during these tough times?

From my personal experiences of many(J) such incidents, events is that we typically are driven by the following:-

a. Upbringing and the values that are imbibed on the “young” mind

b. Events that have shaped one’s thinking

c. Maturity in thought processes

d. An attitude to be revengeful, bite back with a vengeance after one has been bitten!

e. Company/Circle of influence

f. How far is one from the saturation point, peak load when the point of breakage is close!

g. A mind that is easily swayed by the “bucks” - $$$

I can quote examples where people have failed to live up to expectations, I too have been a victim at times of believing into someone, at times knowing that the person next to you is trying to con you into something, we have gone thru and suffered. It ideally is the case because we just got swayed by one of the above points.

I keep getting butchered by friends and family about my lack of understanding on money matters, I always promise them that next time I would take care, it’s been 32 years now and I still am the same when it comes to my thoughts on money – Once an idiot…..so goes the saying!

The only solace one can have is one has never had to lie, trouble someone, lose self respect for money and hope it remains that way…forever!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Followers

Many of us go to others websites, check out profiles, read about people, try and understand the personalities. Many of these are no celebrities, but ordinary people like us!

I have some people following that i notice thru the traffic analysis of my blog and other profiles on different websites including more professional ones too.

One of them probably wants something from me, i am not sure what NOW...May be information on some juicy bits and parts from the past, may be something to help decide an important part of their life...I am not so sure...is not a direct close friend of mine, but definitely an acquaintance, of some relevance...

So come out and speak up please, if you think its critical and important...I am always there...

Don't just "commute"...Do "Communicate"

STOP spending on oil from the Middle East

It's not a fanatic or a mistaken nationalist speaking here.

My analysis shows that all of us (each and every one of us in the world) would be better off and well served in the future if we stop buying oil from the Arabs.

Every $ or Re that we spend on oil that comes from the Middle East in an indirect way does find its way in to the hands of sympathizers of the larger and mistaken alleged cause and that many a times turns into the ugly terror attacks that we all see in places around you.

This reliance on oil could not come down immediately but could be expedited thru a set of policies and investments over the next couple of years.

Go Green and Beat the terror as well!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Being ahead of the rest...As a team

India won the recent Nehru cup and the teams effort was evident in the event.

Lot of things went into getting to the hat trick and every member of the team has contributed significantly in his own way.

The most important aspect of this success is that the team played around one or two of them, essentially “play makers” and contributed to the strategy. Each member had a role defined, the team members played their roles to the word and when a team is able to do this, it’s highly unlikely that the team would have a result any different than what the Indian Football team saw as part of the Nehru Cup.

Wayne Gretzky is another example that comes to mind. Wayne was a super player who could anticipate where the puck would be and place himself there in advance! Great player, but a lot of his hits were successful because someone would help with a pass at the right place at the right time and that is team play.

Team play is a key and therefore far more crucial than it could possibly be in these tough times when each one of us is required to sacrifice a little bit of self, for the larger good of the team. This applies to all walks, whether you are a manufacturer, a manager, a teacher, a community volunteer etc. The power of team play is evident and visible in many forms.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A TV actor accused of child abuse!

Just in.

Saw the horrific news, a child is being made to work at home as a maid/labourer. Worst the child is also abused and the marks on the eyes, hands clearly demonstrate the amount of abuse.

Now come to think of it and its allegedly done by some educated and "famous" personality who works in the television industry and is a young actor.

What kind of abuse is this?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shahrukh Khan detention @ Newark, US

Most of us who have travelled to the US post 9/11 understand the importance that is attached to security procedures.

I find the whole Shahrukh Khan episode a major blow up by the media and it now appears more a circus than anything else for the sake of entertainment. The only concern in the whole episode is that it took 2 hours and Shahrukh wasn’t allowed to speak to his friends over the phone during the 2 hour long ordeal.

I have had a firsthand experience of being in the same(?) room at Newark, as Shahrukh many years back when it was my first trip to the US. The whole questioning took 10-15 minutes and was a fairly smooth affair.

Let’s not blow these incidents beyond a point and make the whole thing a ego trip for a Superstar (did I miss the word “Global”…err.. sorry Shahrukh King Khan).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Of Passwords and passcodes and pin numbers and ids and ....

Of all the passwords and pin numbers and pass codes and key numbers that one has to remember today, I feel technology has somewhere not been able to help here beyond a point.

Take me as an example, an average professional with couple of bank accounts (mostly legacy). I have a credit card that needs a pin, then there is the telephone pin, there is also a user id and a password for online access and there is a transaction password for the transactions too. Before I integrated the credit card and the back account, all these were repeated for the debit card too!!!

Now just multiply these with the no of bank accounts and credit cards and debit cards you carry, one can choose a common password, but one can never get to keep the characters same since there is no standardization (perhaps there should not be one, for security reasons!) on what characters are acceptable under each institutions security policies. Then there are some who have permanent passwords, for some you need to change them every 2 weeks (my trading portal for instance).

My office secure id card needs a pass code and each of my email accounts needs one (to my horror someone had even broken into one such personal email a friend had created for us few years back!). The fall out of that was that I stopped having all those email accounts, I just have one official email and then there is one to send personal mails to people, that I access once in a month or two.

I do not remember the passwords to my bank accounts, credit cards, debit cards, emails, secure cards any more. I am not sure how this is going to change my life in the future.


But I personally feel it’s time for technology to move on and create a more universal yet secure identification for all of us!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson - Beat it!

Michael Jackson – KING OF POP is no more. I am not sure about the current generation, but for those of us who grew up in the 80’s, Michael Jackson was a big star, larger than life.

Michael did not do his fans a lot of good in the recent times with his brush with the law suits et al. Nevertheless Michael is Michael and as fresh in our memories as it can ever be!

We love you Michael and may god provide peace to your near and dear ones.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

IT as an enabler for egovernance

I had an issue with my PAN Card and I was quite skeptical as to how I would get the stuff changed on the card.

Like any other person with a work and home to take care of, I too had a challenge of being able to spend no more than a few minutes on this, also since it was not critical , it was not a show stopper.

My name on the PAN had been spelt incorrectly , it was how one would pronounce my last name in Gujarati J. I wanted it changed and the address too was a place I am not sure even exists today J

I just happened to do a Google search and figured out that the government of India has enough mechanisms to do all of these things and to my surprise, many more things online at a cost!

I was happy but was still skeptical about the response and I was pleasantly surprised with the response, it was amazing, within couple of days of my sending the application form thru’ courier along with the required documents, I had my new and classy and corrected PAN card with me.

IT has and is changing governance in India significantly. Did you have any such experienced with the Government agencies of late!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How much of a social networking person are you?

Are you on facebook?

Do you tweet?

You blog?

Familiar questions! There is a great chance that you heard these and many such questions from unusual quarters. I have heard these and similar queries from my neighbors son who for all this while was a teenager I thought was focused more on sports than studies.

What’s mind blowing is the amount of headway most of these social networking sites are able to make with in no time of their launch. Take a look at the statistics and you will wonder, what the heck!

Most of the top sites actually boast of 100 million+ users! I also happened to see a cover on TIME last week.

So, How much of a social networking person are you? How do you answer these questions from curious teenagers around you?

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno... End of an Era

One of the few TV programs that I loved watching was the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.

Funny to the core, the special effects that Mr. Leno added were a treat. The celebrity guests on the show were chosen well and I must admire the staff for it. For 17 long years Mr. Leno took the stand up act to a new level – performance of a sublime kind.

I often liked the music at the end of the show as well. For many years it had been something that I looked forward to catching up over the week end.

Conan o’ Brien who has taken over the show would need a lot of effort to get to where Mr. Leno took the show to. Big shoes to fill in for sure.

All the best Conan!


Sunday, June 07, 2009

What's happening in Australia?

What’s happening in Australia is appalling and any citizen of any country would feel insecure if the attacks continue as they happen today.

The law should take its course and most importantly the executive and the legislative in the respective country should ensure the citizens and immigrants feel safe and are provided adequate safety. The sad part is the attacks are not just on the professionals but on students too!

There are larger issues that come up when we think deeper about these attacks.

Why are 90,000 students from India in Australia?

Does the country not have decent educational institutes of repute to host and train 90,000 of its own youngsters? What is the government doing about it? Are we still fighting over petty chapters in history books that need to be added/modified/deleted to appease certain sections of the society? Can we not set up many decent institutions of higher and secondary education with in the country modeled perhaps on the world renowned IIT/IIM/NIT’s.

Why are professionals still leaving the country?

Exposure is one part that I personally have felt is significant when it comes to a career in a globalized world and being an expat provides with the much needed opportunities for this exposure. But if one looks at the salaries, Indian salaries have risen significantly especially in the growth sectors like services.

What about the self respecting Indian? Are we able to assert ourselves?

YES, especially over the last few years the surge and growth in the economy has made a lot of Indians confident (some over confident too!). We, as the Australia example shows are able to stand up, protest and demand what is rightfully ours.

Let the Australia incidents of protest against the injustice serve as an example to Indians in other parts of the world and call for their conscience and self respect. We need to see this in say the gulf countries (at least some of them) where hordes and hordes of migrants from places like Kerala are forced to work in inhuman conditions, where the “Sheikh” is served before anyone else even if he is the last to arrive, passports are snatched for a year(?) so you are bonded to the employer….

Let us rise, awake and demand for a humane treatment of our kids studying abroad and our bros and sisters working away from the country!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

From hand written memos to emails

I have been writing for some time now and it seems to come easily now and it looks like I can write just a little better than few of my peers.

Well I am talking emails!

Yes, in the corporate set up, you are now so used to typing emails and some of us are so adept at it, we can do few hundred in a day’s work!

One to one discussions culminate in a parting statement asking each other to email the stuff back. Big shots close the meetings asking for an “send me an update presentation” by email. Team meetings end with a minutes of the meeting created and circulated over email.

We are writing emails all the time. I come from the time when I was required to send a hand written memo to the next department and also keep a Carbon copy of the same on the log! J No, I am not that old, I am talking just about 12-14 years back time frame – mid nineties!

Let’s see what happens to all the emails we are writing today, with advancements in technology and newer more nimble tools coming in!

Processes - Gate Keeper or Enabler

Read this piece on “Gatekeeper or Enabler” and could not help add my views, I have been in the process world for some time and been keenly following some of the relatively newer development on the process front actively.

One way to look at it, like Neel mentions is to put yourself in a more rigid and at times an academic position where you do everything by the “BOOK”.Well from my own experiences of defining processes, running them, implementing them for others I have over the years come to well and truly become a believer in them.

I have a simple theory as to how and who should create these processes and I have seen it to be working well.Most times when something is created by “others” and thrust upon you, it just does not seem right, even though you might have ended up doing the same thing yourself, considering the constraints etc. It hurts more when these processes are created by “others” who are also “amongst the management”.

Processes that are customer facing need to be created by people who have been there, done that and over and above critically reviewed by people who have a sense of the customer business and ways of working. I would put business before the processes and Business value ahead of regulation (unless it’s a legal, compliance related process).Internal processes must be defined by people who are less arrogant, flexible and understand the intricacies of the business, these must be reviewed by people who typically are hard to please, a bit arrogant.

When one is looking at implementing these processes typically try to expose people to the changes as the stuff is being created, see the feedback, test the waters as they say. Any sudden change is a thing that most people do not wish to take up, so bring it slowly but surely and do not retract once you are sure that you have the right process and can back it up with a business reason for doing something!

Monday, May 25, 2009

The "Right" Mandate - Elections 2009

The Indian elections are a major “mahotsav” and the sheer size and volume of the electorate make it the biggest circus that takes place in our part of the world, every 5 years.

The election commission does a fantastic job of ensuring seemingly free and fair elections in large parts of the country with a coordinated effort supported by the rest of the agencies of the government.

Results day for most elections is much awaited and this time it was no different. The expectations were that the incumbent UPA would get closer to the mandate but would really have to struggle for seats.

What the results actually proved was the fact that the ridiculous policies of the left front were not only thrown out but also did not find any connect with their so called bastions of West Bengal and Kerala. The mandate was hugely in favor of the UPA and against the communal agenda of the Right wing NDA and the policies of the left front.

A “Right” mandate indeed. Kudos to the voters of the country and many thanks to the founding fathers of the constitution for creating such a vibrant democracy. We still have a long way towards development that is inclusive, but I believe we are on the right track and must cherish our democratic process!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A true contributor!

One often wonders what or who a true contributor is!

In the professional world that I have spent donkeys years in, value add and contribution have assumed different meanings at different times.

In my own career these have been everything from operational customer centric transactions to creation of high end consulting solutions and transformation approaches.

In effect who is a true contributor that deserves respect and love(?), admiration and adulation from the team and peers as well as subordinates and superiors at the same time?

I may not be 100% accurate here, but from my observations over the last few years, I have come to believe that a true contributor possesses certain attributes that stand out in the crowd.

One would NEVER ever miss those!

  • ROI is unquestionable – Always gives more than what he takes!
  • Results may not always be guaranteed, but the effort, commitment can never be questioned!
  • Quick learner and extremely flexible when it comes to aligning with the larger objectives!
  • Dependable to the core…Trustworthy!
  • Loyal to the cause (of the team), Puts the team before self…always!

Last but not the least, a true contributor always draws some bits from the past experiences of his predecessors, his seniors, makes the best use of his current capabilities and competencies and prepares for the future success of the team and self by planning ahead.

No wonder that a true contributor need not have a certain kind of experience, need not possess a certain management degree, need not also be of a certain age and grade/role/position. One just merely needs to display the frugal qualities of a good team player and a true CONTRIBUTOR!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Leadership in recessionary times

All of us irrespective of the industry, role, experience and age are faced with a multitude of challenges emerging from the current spate of changes due to the existing environment.

Recession or depression or slow down whatever name we may suit the situation, it definitely needs each and every one of us to think differently.

How must a leader behave in these times?

Tough question for a tougher situation, well yes!

A leaders body language and handle on the situation, point of view and grasp of the subject play a significant role in shaping the outlook and engagement of the team towards a host of new things that the team would want to take up as a counter to the times.

Can doing the same thing over and over again give a different result? NO…NO…NO. It does not and it cannot.

A leader therefore is required to push his team to think different, take up seemingly impossible tasks and direct, guide them towards achieving these in a relatively short time frame.

Difference between bravery and foolishness

There is a thin line, when something comes off its seen as a great successful strategy, when it does not it seems like a foolish thing to do…hindsight.

A leader ensures there are enough backups for a strategy in terms of risk mitigation, contingency etc. This helps since you do not want the team to see grand failures when the times themselves present a grave picture because of the impending gloom.

Can everyone on the team align to the objectives, tough targets.

A leader has to ensure everyone on the team understands the new objectives, targets well and truly in the spirit and book. He must ensure everyone aligns to the objectives by reinforcing these during discussions, team meetings and also making them part of the performance evaluation. A positive reinforcement typically comes with the rewarding of a behavior or work that is in alignment with the expectations. Eventually people who do not align have to be dealt with a firm hand and it must be made very clear to them that there cannot be tolerance for poor, sub standard performance emanating from a lack of understanding or alignment with the objectives.

Soldier “Sir, we are surrounded”

Captain “Good, We can attack in all the directions”

A leader has to be optimistic and has to ensure the team though aware of the crisis and the tough times is able to carry the optimism with them as they go about doing their work.

Finally people who are committed and happy deliver better results, Look for committed individuals, trust them and you will see the results, as desired.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Launch of the Nano - 23rd March 2009!

Dear Mr. Ratan Tata,


Sir, I have the utmost respect for your vision and leadership. I feel proud to be an Indian and you have made it special for many of us.

The amount of respect and awe for India as a country has significantly gone up. Launch of the Nano has definitely made it special for all of us!

You and your team at Tata Motors has demonstrated that a clear vision and leadership could help take up technical innovations to the highest levels of efficiency and cost.

It’s heartening to see that a sub 3000$ car is today, not only a reality but something that could potentially change how the rest of the world views India in the years to come.

Thank you for your leadership and effort. Kudos to the Nano team.


Yours truly

A fellow Indian!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Power of Women - Women's Day

Women can create a significant impact in the society, I strongly believe that a woman with the right attitude and mindset can transform any impending situation into an opportunity.

I have always had a significant part of my upbringing around strong women, all the women in my family have been strong individuals, upright and straight. All of them women with a lasting and strong value system and strong women with independent, clear thoughts.

I have always been blessed with friends around me, many of whom strong women (even those much younger to me) have always proven that they can withstand bigger problems, face dire situations without hassles. I have learnt a lot from friends like these and believe me, quite a few of them can be exemplary role models.

A good number of my colleagues in the office too have been strong women, my team has >50% women - all motivated, extremely talented and potentially better performing than most of their peers in other groups. I have had my favorites and they have always happened to be people who are young, consistent performers, go getters, never say die attitude and a strong value system – No surprises here that quite a few of the spots right at the top are taken by WOMEN!

This Women’s day I pay my tributes to all the strong, committed women around me who have made me personally a stronger human being and allowed me to rise above petty things and move ahead.

Let’s celebrate Women’s day and continue to contribute to the betterment of the society!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Unknown Number - A technology issue in my daily life!

Technology has become pervasive and has provided many a benefits to mankind.

Our generation has been one of the most significant beneficiaries of the evolution and adoption of technology. Take mobile phones for example, today they have reached every nook and corner of the country and have given accessibility a new meaning altogether.

Technology could also create problems!


My phone for some reason has been having this strange problem where is shows perfectly known numbers (phone calls from family, friends and colleagues) as “Unknown Number”. I can do nothing other than just watch the call drop off. I am unable to pick up the call, call back the number since there is no number displayed. Am getting a new set and hopefully it would help with the problem, but I am not sure if it’s the hardware or the software that’s causing the trouble!

Did you face issues like these with technology in your daily life? Do write back!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Are you a "Spoilt Customer" who demands better customer service on every transaction!

I remember the good old days in my home town in Suburban Mumbai when I would wake up early to ensure that I am at the bank before many more arrive and apply for the demand draft that I need for some entrance exam fees so that I am not driven away saying “Come tomorrow and collect the draft” or “Come after 12:00 noon, From the back door!”

I have also observed the same bank officials make fun of people like me when they have dared asked about certain slips and forms to be used for the transactions.

This essentially was the Customer Service I had gotten used to. For years!

It was in the mid nineties that I moved out and started to bank with a Private Bank and I almost had tears of joy in my eyes when the bank executive told me that my draft would be ready within 10 minutes. I even had an ATM card to pull out money anytime I wanted. It was a sea change, I could not believe all this to be true! I now have more or less got used to the fact that good and proper customer service goes a long way into making customers happy and ensuring a continued and repeat business at a higher level.


Few days back I had an interaction with a bank executive whose bureaucratic habits and tone reminded me of the good(?) old days of customer service. It was a terrible feeling, more so since I could clearly make out that this person was a complete misfit in the changed ways of working, one who was embarrassing his peers with his behavior and someone who was unable to comprehend the vision and objectives of his organization.

I felt pity but soon I also realized I must report the incident, I got calls from the executives from the bank and the issue was sorted out, with the person apologizing for his behavior and rendering the service he was supposed to provide as part of his job.


Do we ask too much under customer service since some of us are “spoilt customers” demanding too much! What are you?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Famed Mumbai Taxis to be taken off the road by the government...

Last heard, the famed Mumbai Taxi’s, the good old yellow and black Premier Padmini cabs are going to be off the road soon.


The state government has made this decision based on the age of the vehicles, the emission levels.. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Taxi_in_Mumbai.jpg


How would the urban landscape look, when these socialist era relics are off the road?

Wish you all a Happy New year 2009!

Dear friends,


As I write this email, I reflect upon some of the hits and few miss-hits of 2008. I personally closed the year with an excellence award and recognition from the organization for my team.

The coming year presents new challenges. Challenges that will test each one of us on the professional front and perhaps on the personal front too, challenges that will stretch some of us to the limit.

I feel excited and confident that most of us would overcome these challenges and surpass most expectations. What makes me confident is the faith and trust, commitment and dedication that most of us have known to show, especially in difficult times.


I wish you and your near and dear ones a very happy new year and hope all of us have a fulfilling, energetic and upbeat 2009!


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has" - Margaret Mead


Warm Regards

Naresh Choudhary

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Satyam Scandal - India's Enron

The news flash on Wednesday morning as I returned to my desk after a brief meeting was shocking to say the least.

A colleague showed me the flash on his laptop and I could not believe it was true till someone opened the candid admissions of R Raju on the letter faxed to the stock exchanges and the Board (BORED?) members.


Why would seemingly smart and accomplished people do reckless and stupid things? For the thrill in it out of the risks involved? Why does this consume some of us in its fold while leaving others out of it?

I read in an issue of TIME(http://www.time.com) sometime in 2008 that the coding is in the brain and neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin play a role in the thrill- seeking behavior. Not all risks are serious some could be a lot less damaging like bungee jumping.


The problem perhaps is that high-sensation seekers tend to under estimate the risks and put themselves and a whole lot of others into deep s**t as we have seen in this case. Many a successful individuals have fallen hard by trying to think that they are step ahead. Meteoric careers have ended within no time, people who had it all seem to have thrown it all away in brief moments!

What could have prevented this? A model, framework like Baldrige, a Board that was not Bored and did its duty, a management that had its feet on the ground and was willing to be truthful and still do extra ordinary things by being honest with themselves and the rest of the world, an audit firm that could have potentially looked at the records and done what was expected of them – raise the issue, shout.