Sunday, December 27, 2009

N D Tiwari's THE END

N D Tiwari's alleged sex scandal in the Raj Bhavan with 3 ranis gave scope for some fun and frolic. I am sure humour columnists and cartoonists will have a lot to write and portray. Anyways... here is my contribution as well :-)

1. 3 Idiots of Rajkumar Hirani making news all over. I am more keen to watch 3 Idiots of N D Tiwari!

2. Who says Governors are only rubber-stamps and have got not POWER?

Why did N D Tiwari resign citing 'health' issues? Because he did the 'unhealthy'

4. After his own version of '3 Idiots', N D Tiwari is contemplating a change in surname from Tiwari to TEENvari or TRIpaThi or TRIvedi or TRIvari.

Which is N D Tiwari's favourite movie? TEEN Deviyaan.

6. What would N D Tiwari's favourite movie be if he had non-platonic relationship with 3 men? TRIdev.

Andhra Pradesh's Raj Bhavan will be renamed to 'TEEN Moorthy Bhavan' commemorating NDT's CONTRIBUTION in the Raj Bhavan.

8. Citing 'Health reason' NDT resigns. Actually it is not 'Health reason' but 'Unhealthy relation'

9. What would you call NDT's resignation much ahead of his term completion? 'Premature ejection' (Ok. Now thats not original. It is the headline of Times of India website)

NDT's adventure reminds me of a 'sher' - "Kaun kehta hai ki booDhe ishq nahin karte? Yeh toh humaaree naadaani hai ki hum un pe shak nahin karte". After NDT's episode 4 letter word ISHQ can be replaced by one more word with same number of letters.

11. Which is NDTs favourite Tea? '3 Roses'

12. What would have NDT told after his 'adventure'? "Just loved it!"? NO! "Just did it!"? NO! It's "Awesome threesome"
Now my serious take on this.
There are many N D Tiwaris in the political arena. It is just that he is exposed, we single him out. Why only political arena?? Take the civilized society, students, professionals, industrialists etc etc. So many scams..., both sexuals and otherwise go unearthed. NDT is any day better than DGP Rathore!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bang Bang B A N G A L O R E.... Bang Bang!

Had a good Sunday with one of my old friends who was my college-mate in Mangalore. We were supposed to make it for lunch and had decided to meet on Brigade Road. I reached opposite Eva Mall a bit early like I always do and my friend called me up saying he would be late by another 15-20 minutes like he has always been doing! I stood there gazing at passerbys and in less than a minute I had been the discussion topic to the rickshaw-wallahs and corn-wallahs. Not wanting to look too suspicious, I thought of exploring Brigade Road-MG Road more than I did so far.

I walked on Brigade Road (where you have KFC, McDies, Levis et al) and took a left to enter Church Street. I had been earlier there as it houses Oye Amritsar and Oye Shava where we had been a couple of times. But this time I was alone and observed some things closely which I hadn't observed earlier. One of the beggars had denominations of 50s and 100s with him. Some well-dressed girls were even taking 'chuTTa' from him! I was taken aback by the progress this 'profession' has made even during recession (or just post-recession) Looked like Bangaloreans have too much money. Soon I was proved wrong. Again some well-dressed people, this time some guys were bargaining with a book-vendor who was selling books on footpath. This vendor had everything - from Satanic Verses to the Verses of the Lord, 2 States to Imagining India. One side we have Landmark and Bookmark which is always crowded, on the other these street-vendors - both places are thronged by the same sophisticated people. Strange!

Then there were hotels - Punjabi, Chinese, Andhra and the most popular, 'Indian Cafe House' - darling of the 80s people of 'Namma BengaLuru'. This street also had a lot of pubs, in fact I felt there were more pubs than people. There was some kind of chaos as well. Contrary to the noise and dusty atmosphere, there was 'Parisara Bhavana' which houses Karnataka State Pollution CONTROL Board. Given the kind of chaos, CONTROL should be replaced by CAMPAIGNING as it best suited the atmosphere. I reached the dead end of Church Street and guess what I had NOT found - A Church. Or may be I hadn't explored enough to find one, quite possible.

Some more observations. Most cars were parked on the wrong side or at times even at inconvinient places or opposite to gates. Some also occupied half the footpaths, forcing pedestrians to opt the roads for walking. Speaks lowly of the rich and the affluent. Jay Walking already looks to be a norm on Brigade Road. You are an alien if you walk briskly. Oh yeah... even the 40 plus and 50 plus have become fashionable. They too were in the latest trendy clothes from UCB and Levis. Great transformation I must say. Why should Youth have all the fun?? Also, every guy had a girl with him and every girl had a guy with her. Now I know why guys don't fight over girls these days, everybody has one. Such fights were too common during my college days in Mangalore. Soon we might be blessed to see every boy having a boy by his arms and same with girls. We are just 90 odd years away from 22nd century. There were too many foreigners as well, a lot of chinkies too giving a neck-to-neck competition to our Indian babes.

But one unknonwn voice spoke loud & clear, it is a place for gala-time for the rich, wealthy, ameer baap ke garib beTe, if you succeed to hook on yourself to a welathy guy, those who are well employed in IT-BT sector. There is nothing much to count on for the not-so-privileged-people in terms of wealth. Anyways... thats always the case in India.

Oh... soon my cell rang and I was off with my friend to a Mangalorean's Hotel to have some Mangalore style fish curry. Had missed it for long time now. MOMMAAAAAAAAAAAAA.... Will be on the dining table soon!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Straight down the ground.... into the stands she goes!

It was a day after my 'Middle Stump debacle' (refer the previous post). A Sunday, which is a 'getuplate&donothing day' ever since I've joined IFIM Business School (OK. I do go shopping and mall-hopping at times) Somehow the 'blow' that I had got the previous evening was still hovering in my mind. I had made it an issue for myself, thinking about it (and of course thinking about 'it' as well) the whole night. For me it was an issue of more seriousness than the Hiroshima & Nagasaki blasts back in the 1940s.

Cricket match with our Faculty the previous day had charged me up again and from being 'as dead as a dodo', I was back to that mood which I used to carry during school and college days. But like it happens with most of them, corporate world asks had forced me to break ties with some friends, Cricket being the one that topped the chart (We blame every damn drawback on 'Corporate World' on one side and eulogize 1991 economic reforms. We want education like IITsque or IIMsque and work like 'SARKAARI DAFTARsque') Add to it the gift (lower back pain) I earned for myself by over-exercising during my 'exile-in-daylight' i.e. the 6 month gap between Wipro and IFIM, ensured that I restrict my Cricket adventure only upto Cricket commentary and nothing beyond that. But now that things had gone well and with battery charged (why does 'battery' remind me of the 'blow' I got the previous day while batting?), I thought I must join my friends on their usual Sunday routine of a Cricket match. So did I - my shelf-ridden track-shorts came out and so did my dust-driven sports shoes. Soon I was ready and up to face the challenge :-)

I snatched the bat and asked the juniors to bowl at me from short distance. It was fun to defend the ball or jab it back to them. Was doing it after a long time and wanted it do it for some more time. But then we got into the game straight-away. It was a Juniors v/s Seniors match of 10 overs each. We won the toss and elected to bat. It also meant that I would sit aside and watch the regular players bat, those who are known to hit big sixes and fours, in short - Big Guns of our batch. But things went differently that day, our good start punctured in between and with wickets falling like a 'bicycle in a bicycle stand at Rajendra Talkies in Patiala', it opened the doors or me to get in during the 7th over. Another wicket fell by then and by the end of 7th over, we were 49 with 2 wickets to go and Juniors with their tail up and wagging. The last 2 wickets seemed to be a mere formality but Anshul and me had different ideas. I told him to hit hard but along the ground, our predecessors had fallen by lofting in the air or with some reckless freeing of the hands. But playing in the slog overs, prevented me from following my own advice. I heaved one over mid-wicket for a six and a loft over mid-on for four in the 8th over. The 9th over saw one more big six from me, just clearing the ropes. The 3/4th part of the bat had enough meat in it to clear the man who had just been sent from mid-off to long-off after 2 lofted shots in the previous over. The tenth and the final over witnessed a blitzkrieg from me, close to 26 runs came in that over, 24 of them coming in the last 4 balls, courtesy to the 4 sixes, 3 over midwicket and 1 over long-off. From 49 in 7 overs, we had moved on to 100 in 10 overs. The last 3 overs saw 51 runs coming, me alone hitting 6 sixes and 1 four. I was a hero to my team-mates! We won that match, though, the juniors gave a good fight. They scored close to 85 in 10 overs. It was a good match for me. The last 4 sixes I smashed seemed to make the difference, since we had won by just 15 runs. I had also almost engineered a run-out, with a direct throw to the batting stumps from mid-off. The batsman was running like an Indian three-wheeler, but he had a narrow escape. It was a decision that could not be made through a naked-eye. Hence, the batsman got the benefit of the doubt.

We played one more match. This time I got a batting promotion. From a tail-ender in the 1st match, I had become a Rahul Dravid in this match. I was sent into bat at No. 3. I did well again, this time played cautiously. 3 sixes came, one of which made us hopeless of retrieving the ball. I fell this time after going for an ambitious pull, my favourite shot. I got a top edge to the wicket keeper, but had scored some 25 odd runs by then. We batted badly in this match. We were all out for 75, not playing full 10 overs. It was a chaseable score on our ground. But our bowling and catching in this match was exceptional. The Juniors were bowled out for a little under 40 in 7 odd overs. We had clean-swept the series 2-0. I was proud of myself and my performance. After a long time I had played and had a good 2-match as well. It proved as a refresher too, especially after what I had to go through the previous evening. There is always a correlation between doing great and feeling great (unless & untill you are a Ramalinga Raju)
Started blogging for a reason which is secret plus as a pastime. But getting a lot of favourable responses to it. Thanks to all my friends for appreciating my write-ups, my cousins Shesh and Sand for uploading some of them in their websites. All this means a lot to me. Thank you once again :-)
Saw Sachin Tendulkar take the catch in the last over and the run out he effected in the penultimate over. Wonderful to see his involvement with the game even when he is not in business. The catch if missed which otherwise would have gone for a four or a couple did impact the result majorly. Oh yeah...! Who says he must contemplate retirement. He just 36 years YOUNG!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

'Hostel Day' (which could have easily become 'Hospital Day' for 'Mr. Hostelite'!)

Exactly an year back, we were all cribbing and complaining. Be it the roads or water supply, be it power or food - each day was providing an avenue for us to complain. Every step or decision of the Institute was equal to stirring the Hornet's Nest! There wasn't anything that the Institute thought of and we accepted it gracefully. It would require nothing less than a noisy and a chaotic 'Open House' with the CEO and a perseverance of the highest order to convince us that whatever they intended to do is in our best interest. It took a term to prove us right, atleast me, when my GPAs started skyrocketing like the indices did during the stock market boom! (Trust me - my indices since then have no clue about a downturn)

Now it's an year or more - things have changed drastically. From an erratic to a minimum 23 hours free flow of power & water, from Hostel food to the much awaited Ho(s)tel-like food, from an internet connection that proudly worked like a 'Non-Executive Chairman' to a '25MB YouTube video downloadable' speed - it has all undergone a sea-change. If at all a promise that has gone unfulfilled, it is the ROAD which is still in a dark tunnel with no much hopes of seeing it in daylight. But we need to compromise on that, since we live in a country where many people who have been casting their votes for decades haven't seen roads till date :-)

So with most things put in order as promised and the complaint box carrying very little issues (so did the Facebook Wall aka 'Grievance Cell' of many a hostelites) and having completed over an year in the Hostel, our plans of celebrating 'Hostel Day' materialized on 04.12.2009. We were all there - The CEO, Administration Dept., IT Dept., Faculty members, Hostelites and a few Day Scholars. Special lunch was arranged and all the bigwigs of the Institute queued up with the students, waiting for their turn to take food. It was a 'between moderate to sumptuous' meal which was relished by everyone. That was followed by a casual chit-chat between me and Parwez along with the CEO, sharing a few jovial talks, our initial days in the hostel and some of the pros & cons of being in the hostel which is miles away from civilization! Soon the rest had gathered and it was time for the 'Hostel Day' proceedings to start. The CEO, Director-Research and GM-IT were seated on stage and lit the lamp, a traditional way of starting any event at IFIM. The mood amongst the audience was upbeat as usual and add to it, the CEOs inaugural speech, which normally reflects intellect as well joviality.

The programme then began with a much awaited (to finish) prayer and soon it was time for the Holly-Glitz (Sounds similar to Bolly-Glitz? But here it means 'Hostelwaalon ka naach gaana') I don't recall much as to who did what since basically everyone did the same. But let me try my best tickling the memory chip - Yeah! There was a solo song by Bharath Shenoy, a 'Hinglish' solo by Richard (Hinglish because it was a Hindi song in an English accent), a solo dance by Paulomi... Hey hang on! Her solo dance stole the show (and of course the peace of that 'scapegoat' whose name was yelled at every other pelvic thrust of Paulomi). Basically, the whole song was all about what she doesn't need - as if she were to say "I care a zilch". Some of the lines of that song were "Mujhe dil vil nakko tera deva.... baD-baD nakko, maTT-maTT nakko..... pak-pak nakko.." (To put it in simpler words, she danced to the tunes of 'Aika Dajiba', a Marathi album song). Nithya came out with another classic number from 'Murder' (Dil ko hazaar baar roka roka roka). But standout performance of the noon was from Anindita (I hope I am right with her name) who sung "Wherever Whenever" of Shakira - ditto to Shakira's voice. TTs came up with a mini-dance to the tunes of "Say na say na...." from 'Bluffmaster' - BTW, by TT, I meant Tanaya and Tanistha.

But there was a twist in the tale, when the students rallied behind our Finance Professor Dr. Raju Indukoori. This man has got a physique and dance steps which would put even the youth like us to shame - and he did exactly that when he entertained the audience with a jig to the famous Prabhudeva-featuring-song "Mukkala, muqabla...." (Listening to that song now) Varun and Sijin managed the show with their MC-ing, some of our omipresent MCs too popped up every now and then, did enterPAINED the crowd :-) But who can forget the 'dark horse' Amit Pandey, my buddy, my bhai, my duet-partner in bathroom singing (adjacent bathroom) - his mimickry of several Professors and a few buddies of ours. He just rose to fame with his sublime act. That was followed by 'Rose distribution' as a token of welcome to the students of November 2009-11 batch - Most guys missed a chance to give a rose to their current favourite girls from the November batch. I could see a grim on a select few faces as their favourite girl was being hijacked for a moment by others!

Then it was time for the Cricket match - Faculty v/s Students. The Faculty team went into the match as underdogs, but soon started giving nightmare to the students who bowled first. Sixes and boundaries never seemed to dry up even after the power-play - It was only powerful-play! Ace-pacers like Dipayan, Tabarak, Laloo were leaking runs. They were being driven, cut, hooked, lofted, glanced. Star-packed Students' team were in the backfoot even before halfway of the Faculties' innings. Finally, they ended their innings with around 80+ score in the alloted 8 overs. It was a daunting task for the Students who had to save face in front of a full-gallery girls who were viewing it from their Hostel galleries. The innings of the Students did not begin with a blitzkreig as they kept losing wickets at regular intervals. After 2-3 wickets and with still little under 25-30 runs on the board, it was me who walked into bat, oozing with confidence. To deliver was Dr. Indukoori with me on strike on a legstump guard. He came with a nice rhythm and bowled a FULL TOSS and then BANG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was on target and the first ball I faced hit me on MY MIDDLE STUMP!! The blow made a noise 'ChhaTTT' and I was down with terrible pain in my OBVIOUS and the abdomen. It proved to be a laughter-bit initially, but, soon did everyone realize that my condition was serious. I was not able to stand, hop, buckle, walk though I did everything of those!! I was surrounded by all, leaving little space for me to breathe. As I was on my knees, running came Dr. Indukoori, the culprit, saying "Rub IT, rub IT". I was now under the threat losing the POWER completely, forever, with no results from the much-acclaimed advice of Dr. Indukoori to RUB! ;-) (My 'Eligible Bachelor*' status message was under a potential threat) I had to discontinue batting with just a ball faced. We eventually lost the match with a huge difference. The underdogs beat us like cats and dogs :-)

We were back to the Hostel now. It was time to wrap up things and the prize distribution followed. Those who performed were given mementos. Winners of various sports events that were conducted earlier that week were also rewarded. After the Cricketing debacle I had earlier in the evening, I was surprisingly given the 'Mr. Hostelite' title. There were strong contenders like Vikas, Sijin, Sunny, Moses et al. But guess it was given to me as a consolatory prize (with due respect). Research is still on to ascertain why was it conferred on me. But I have taken it proudly. After 2 narrow escapes earlier during the match (one was the bouncer that hit me on my ear during practice session), I had something to cheer for. That's exactly what the CEO also told me while giving away the title which I accepted with a wide grin. Afterall, I had emerged out as a 'dark-horse' against a bunch of strong contenders. The 'DJ Nite' followed soon and the hostel was lit up as if we were to celebrate an early Christmas/New Year. Girls dressed exotically and boys surrounding them, foregoing no opportunity to dance with them. Some hearts might have been exchanged already, some are lost, some might be broken. How about me? Naah....! Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya...........

* - The 'Eligble Bachelor' tag has remained safe. There hasn't been any nerve disfunctioning. EveryTHING is still symmetrical ;-) (Yippeeeee!!!!)
Not able to upload videos. Most videos are above 100MB which cannot be uploaded in a Blog and rest are of 0.5-1 minute.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Marketing lessons - Salesology

Given various options in Marketing, Sales would perhaps be the last choice by any MBA graduate. Apart from other profiles of Marketing like Advertising, Product Development, Branding etc., Sales is something which can be easily measured. The efforts you have put in every case will go flying in thin air, if, at the end of the month/quarter/year you have underachieved your target. Hence, Sales is a challenging, yet dreadful career for many. On one side of the spectrum there is always a sword hanging over one's head, and on the other, there are mouth-watering incentives in cash and kind.

Having spent more than 2 years in Sales and currently specializing in Marketing stream in my PGDM course, I am sure, I own some authority to share a few tips on Sales. These are purely based on my experiences and could work depending on the situation. There is no thumb-rule in Sales but some generally accepted and followed principles are as follows.

1. Let Sales not be a one-time process
Very often we make a mistake of forgetting our customers once the Sales cycle is completed. It is a CRIME and against 'Sales ethics'. Whatever may have been your experience with the customers, never forget them. There might have been issues like delay in payment by the customer, delay in delivery of the goods by you leading to conflicts, service issues, escalation by the customer to your higher authorities - the list can only go on. But be courteous enough to remember them. A visit to their place regularly, a courtesy call or an e-mail, sending pleasantries during festivals, New Year will always keep you and your organization on 'Top of the Mind', thereby increasing your 'recall value'. The more you isolate yourself from a customer, stronger will be the competitors' rapport with them.

2. Spend time with your (prospective) customer
A vendor-customer relation is like any other relation. The more time you spend with the customer, stronger will be the bonding. You might not be entertained at your prospective customer's place, you might get an appointment for only 5 minutes but no tea might be served to you, you might not get any business from the prospect in your first few attempts. But there is nothing to get disheartened. Remember, it all started with a simple "Hi" to a girl and today she is your girl-friend. You might have asked "How about a coffee this evening?" hesitatingly to her and today she pesters you every weekend for shopping and lunch. It's the same with customers. Once the relationship is built, you are a welcome guest at their office without any appointment. Your customer will then trust you, you enjoy a high credible status with your customer.

3. Be a 'Consultant' than a 'Salesman'
Be that to a customer what doctor is to a patient. Do we ever dispute a doctor's claim? Never!! Whenever the customer is need of something for his organization, may you be the first one to be called. Let him share his dilemma with you first. Let him seek the solution to his worries from you. You give him the appropriate solution. Let consultation with other vendors be a hogwash. In short, be a consultant and not one of the many salesmen. But for this to suffice, the above two needs to be followed. Do you trust your close friend or one of the many friends whom you came across in school, society parties, social networking sites etc.? Be that 'close friend' to your customer. He will then trust you blindly!

4. Promise less and deliver more
Always promise only 80% of your ability to the customer. Certain contingencies might sometimes hamper you from delivering fully to the customer as promised. But deliver 100% of your capability. That way you have over-delivered which will create a better image about you in the minds of your customer.

5. Customer is your best friend at times of crisis
Often, the price cleared by your higher-ups and offered to the customer might not be possible to honour due to reasons like increase in the cost of raw materials, change in the statutory regulations, dynamic economic environment etc. In these cases, chances are high that you will end up in a conflict with your customer. But nothing to worry. It is not the end of the world. Just make it to your customer's office or call him up and inform him of the situation. His instant reaction would be a yell on you or a disappointment, which is natural for anyone to react so. But once he calms down, sit with him and explain him the entire episode. Point out the reasons for your inability to honour his order at a pre-ordained price. Depending on your relationship, chances are ripe that he will pay the extra buck to get the order honoured or will not mind receiving the shipment late. In worst case, he might cancel the order and re-place it on another vendor. In cay case, you need not get disappointed. You have dealt transparently and things beyond your control are (mis)fortuitous which can happen with anyone. Your higher authorities know you have put the efforts in that case. You also have the satisfaction of being honest in your dealings and approach.

6. Never start your meeting by speaking 'business' directly
You don't have to be too formal when you meet a customer. Never start speaking the issue/reason for which you have come, straightaway. Instead, settle down first. Greet him and speak highly about his organization. Congratulate him on his organization winning the best employer award or on having a beautiful campus. Speak highly of his Chairman/MD/President/CEO if they are someone like a Narayana Murthy or a Azim Premji or a Vijay Mallya. Your customer will always feel proud. As salesmen, that's what we have to do - massage our customers' ego! We do not lose anything doing that, right? However, do not make the initial talks too personal. Never make the blunder of speaking to your customer about his shirt, hairstyle, resemblance to well know personalities etc. It will put him in a spot of bother, he has never given you that space, especially when it is a first time meet!

7. Never depend on one person in any account (account means an organization)
In an organization, it is never a one-man-show when it comes to decision making. There will be multiple people coming together, though the degree of influence each one has on the final decision making authority may vary. Try to get as many 'decision influencers' as possible in confidence. Finance Head is a strict YES-YES and also the final decision-maker's PA/Secretary/close aid et al. Being in regular contact with the Purchase Dept. Head is always better since you have a high chance of being very early into a case (i.e. whenever the customer has a requirement) But remember to keep some things within you. Never disclose to the Purchase Dept. Head that you know their budget (which you might have got to know from the Finance Head) It will lead to conflicts internally and you stand at a risk of losing a vital information provider.

8. Some basic etiquette
Be formally dressed whenever you make it to a customer place. Give and receive visiting cards with both hands and strictly not one. Ensure your cell phones are on a silent mode or better if switched off if you are meeting a senior person. Speak softly when you are within your customer's campus. Comply to all requisites like a security check, parking your vehicle at the appropriate parking place, removing your footwear outside the cabin of your customer (if mentioned, happens in a few PSUs) Carry a notepad and a pen (that writes) always. Never make a mistake of asking pen from the customer. It is a very embarrassing situation. Never write anything on or behind the visiting card of your customer. I know of an incident where a customer felt offended when a sales person wrote something behind the customer's visiting card and the customer actually took it back! Pay attention to details. Listen carefully and never cut your customer short, very often, we in a hurry to convey things, barge in before the customer finishes speaking. Always wear your ID card while meeting the customer. Be polite even to the peon or a janitor at your customer's place. You never know who will give you vital information. Finally, remember, whatever you do, it does not earn a bad repute to you as well your organization. You are the face of your organization and any undesirable act by you is a bad mark on you as well as your organization. This could even lead to escalation to your higher-ups and put you in soup.

I guess this is sufficient for now. Hopefully I have covered enough points. I am sure these are not an uphill task to follow. Just need to make a conscious effort initially and then it will run in your DNA. All the best for your sales career :-)

Happy selling!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sangh Parivar Top Order tumbles as Gandhi Parivar opts Final Power Play

Forget Indians making merry of Mendis and Murali at Kanpur, the stranded but the most-awaited climax of the Sangh Parivar v/s Gandhi Parivar is back to action as the country closely watches. In what could be a decisive blow to the NDA in general and Sangh Parivar in particular, the Congress opted for the Final Powerplay which led to the nation-wide attention back on the 17 year old unfinished match between the Sangh Parivar and the Gandhi Parivar. Sangh Parivar top order and stalwarts like A B Vajapayee, L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi, second fiddle players from Shiv Sena and substitutes from the Bhajarang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad were at the receiving end from Justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan Commission, with adjectives like 'pseudo-moderates' coming their way. Naturally, the publicized report has opened up a stern debate from Parliament to any of the YOU NAME IT 'patli gali' in India.

The report has not got any 'surprise-surprise', the involvement of the Sangh Parivar leaders, particularly L K Advani's role in instigating the mob, which till yester-morning was a popular belief, has now been justified, which will remain as a dark blot on the Sangh Parivar. Though A B Vajapayee's indiction has surprised many a people, getting his name cleared by further process, if any, will not do the Sangh Parivar a world of good. Already shattered by internal disputes, lack of leadership & alliance and recent electoral debacles, the Sangh Parivar has now got to face the brunt of the judiciary, not to forget the wrath from the public, particularly the Muslim brethren.

What options do the Sangh Parivar now have to choose from as face saving exercise(s)?

1. Concede it's stand and accept defeat, which is highly unlikely
2. Rake up the 1984 anti-Sikh riots
3. Rake up the Bofors scandal and eviction of Quattrochi which would hit the Congress where it hurts the most, i.e. the Gandhi family
4. Dig some big but relatively low-profile scams like the Madhu Koda scandal and Spectrum scam
5. Hold the Govt. at 'gunpoint' on the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai
6. Rally behind the Govt. on the Afzal Guru hanging and Kasab's speedy trial
7. Others?

Except for the 1st one, all the others share a equal possibility.

Amongst all this chaos, what is surprising is the issue of farmers' sugercance pricing that has gone under the carpet. Could the unity in the opposition camp over the sugercane pricing episode be a valid reason for the Liberhan report to be 'secretly publicized'? It's a tough call to take, especially, when the PM is on a high-profile visit to the USA. Assuming that the untimely leak of the report was not intentional, which is what the claims are from the Home Ministry and Justice Liberhan, it speaks highly (?) of the level of secrecy and security maintained by our system when it comes to reports that are of national significance. How can one trust that the records pertaining to our defence, high-profile criminal and terrorist records will be safe in the custody? Such questions will go unanswered amidst the helm of political vendetta.

The report is also likely to draw stark criticism for the reported eviction of the then PM Mr. P V Narasimha Rao, who remained a mute spectator to the entire episode on and before December 6 1992. The debacle was followed by claims from the Congress Govt., that, they had gone by the assurance of the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Kalyan Singh, to provide full security and safety to Babri Masjid which never happened. Though the report now suggests that there was nothing Mr. Rao could do constitutionally to stop the axing of the Babri Masjid, he, being the head of the country, did have to own up moral responsibility and prevent the situation from deteriorating. Sadly, that did not happen and even more sad is, he has been let go scott-free. But the report terming the demolition of the Babri Masjid as 'Neither spontaneous nor unplanned' would ensure that the top brass of the Sangh Parivar are up for some dreadful nights for the next few weeks.

With December 6, which is observed as 'Black Day' by the Muslim brethren and 'Vijay Diwas' by the Sangh Parivar just round the corner and the Liberhan Commission report out and accessible to the public through electronic media, the possibility of unruly behaviour as the debate takes centre-stage cannot be completely ruled out. As responsible citizens and understanding the real challenges of the nation like terrorism from cross-border, poverty, corrupt leaders, lapses in administration by the bureaucracy, the onus of remaining united at this crucial juncture lies solely on the civil-society. A divided house and a vulnerable civil society is indeed detrimental and will only attract further attacks from the enemy. Unity amongst the Hindu and Muslim brethren would be a fitting reply to the 'Mandir-Masjid' politics.

Jai Hind!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A few good (wo)men!

"All the world's a stage....", said Shakespeare. Very true. We come, play our part and then depart. But we do encounter many a 'co-actors', whose 'acting' would touch us. It creates a special bonding with those people. Nobody is averse to this. It is the same with me as well. Thought of taking this opportunity to record my thoughts on 'A few good people' whom I have come across so far in my life. The list skips the obvious people - Parents. They would top the charts of anybody, even Kasab's for that matter. So here I go -

1. Kasturi Ma'm - She was our Headmistress in School. I have never seen the 'Iron Lady' Indira Gandhi, but without any iota of doubt, I can say, Kasturi Ma'm was just a replica of her. She was headstrong, pouring with wisdom, straight-forward, authoritative but at the same time co-operative, disciplinarian and honest. She was the one who held our School together during it's initial days of inception when we had nothing more than a room, 40 odd students and one peon. From such a relatively paltry situation to 500+ students, one peon to 30 odd faculties today, a mere 2 classes to a full Schooling system and +2 courses, our School has come a long way. Thanks to the foundation of Integrity, Honesty, Values laid down by her. Of course, students feared her, so did their parents, but it has all been for our better tomorrow. Most events that happen with me or around me today, reminds me of her teachings. Someone who made it mandatory to call the 'Care taker' as 'Akka' and not by name, to instill the courtesy in us to "Treat others the way we would want others to treat us". Nothing holds me back from declaring that she is my 'Second mother'. Truly inspiring lady, even my dad would stammer while speaking to her. Now she has retired, but continues to be with 'Future of tomorrow' by way of taking Bhagavad Gita classes at a very small Krishna Mandir.

2. Dinesh Bhat - He is our family priest but more like a family friend. I have been seeing him for around 20 years now and he is still the same as I saw him then. Very down to earth person. Softspoken man and very humble. A self-made man as well. At a time when priesthood has been commercialized, he considers it as a service. Charges a very meagre amount from those who are not financially sound. An ardent philanthropist which only his close mates know. Like they say, your right hand should not know what your left hand does when it comes to charity, he is a live example for that saying. Very polite in speech and action. But very hilarious and has a good sense of humour. All in all, a simple human being.

3. Prakash Kamath - Prakash Kamath aka Pakiya, is a very good and close friend of mine. He is elder to me by some 6 years, but our wavelength matches. Has got a very practical approach about life and relationships. Simple person who lives his life low profile and doesn't interfere into others' life. Though our dads are also good friends, we have become more close than what they are. He has got an affinity towards cuisines and photography. In the last 10 years that I have known, I have got some very good advice from him and have understood that, whatever he means, he means it by heart. I can count on him any time.

4. Vivek Pai - Vivek and me were of the same age-group, knew each other from the time when we both were 12-14 years old. We became good friends very soon, given our common passion towards Cricket and girls! He was an excellent fielder. I had never seen him dropping a catch or missing the stumps. But his drawback was his ANGER, which he could seldom keep under control. He would easily put up fights with strangers and get into squabbles which at times also turned physical and violent. He was a DOER, solid as a ROCK. Though he basically hailed from a small town in Kerala, close to Mangalore, he soon settled down in Mangalore, some time in 2003-04. Life after that changed for us. He, his brothers, me and 2 other friends would always meet in the evening, discuss the day's happenings, discuss about girls as well!! Sundays would be an adventure for us. The noon would be spent playing Cricket and in the evening we would zoom our bikes to the beach where we would enjoy to the core, pulling each other's legs, playing pranks in each others and playing our version of 'Who dares wins!". We were in our teens and all this went on for 2 more years, until tragedy stuck one fine day. It was Holi after an annual festival at a local temple in Mangalore and Vikki got his hands entangled with an electric wire meant for illuminating the temple premises. I saw him struggling with wire in his left hand. My first reaction was LAUGHTER, I do not know why I was doing that, but that is what it was! It took me atleast a minute to realize that what was happening in front of me was something serious. We were surrounded by atleast some ten thousand people who had come to celebrate the conclusion of that grand festival. After a minute or so, the wire was put off his palms and we friends immediately rushed to the nearby hospital carrying him. He was tested by the nurse there and what she uttered next is still fresh in my ears!! "He is Dead on Arrival!!!". It was February 16th 2005. Life changed fully after that. I finished my graduation in April 2005 and got into Wipro in June 2005. There hasn't been much fun and Sundays haven't been so frolicsome ever afer that day. Have got lot many friends now but once a day my mind gets diverted to those days. It's been 4+ years since his departure but the reminiscences still seem fresh like yesterhour. Got lot to speak but he isn't around. I will always miss him dearly!

5. Sheshagiri & Sandeep Shenoy - Both are my first cousins, however, our interactions with each other has always been limited. Got to know Sandeep a bit during my stay in Mysore, otherwise, regretfully, we haven't been like all cousins. One sits in US of A, the other in Mysore and both of them run a website for the promotion of Kannada language and literature - - There is not a single penny income from the site, but only expenses (If asked, Sheshu would surely say "For income, I have a job bro!") In today's busy life, when we hardly have time for our own family and self, here are two brothers who are selflessly thinking of what most of them have forgotten perhaps. 'Kannada'. Mind you, I am writing only facts and this is not a eulogy because they are my cousins!

6. Roshan D'Souza - I have never met Roshan. He works in USA and is basically from Mangalore. Our interactions so far has been only through mails. A gem I must say. Like my cousins, he too runs a website, dedicated to all his fellow Mangaloreans - - The highlight feature of this site is, it's unbiased reporting. Reporting Mangalore incidents aren't as simple as said, where most issues are always communal in nature. Yet, Roshan and his Team have maintained very high standards of journalism. Hats off to him and I hope to meet him personally one day.

7. Susheelakka - Not my sister, not related to me any way. She was a peon in our school and knows me as much as my parents and teachers know me. She has dedicated all her life for selfless service to our school and children studying there. Very dear to all parents and children and is a well respected lady. Someone who has taken good care of us during our childhood days, be it from cleaning our wet shorts to dropping me home when my dad was late to pick me up. She never had any complaints about maintaining the entire school all alone or cleaning the washrooms - she has done it all. A rare case of dedication and committment towards a job, however paltry it might seem to the privileged ones. Will always remember you Susheelakka!
Meanwhile, today is Vivek's birthday. I started typing this piece 3 days back and somehow I could not complete it on time. But as I was typing about Vivek today, it struck to me that it is perhaps his birthday today. I took out the 'Obituary' photograph (which is always in my purse) which had featured in the newspapers a few days after his departure. Yes! It is his birthday. Destiny always has different plans. Wonder why!
Some day I must write about our teenage adventure, I am sure I will have a lot to type with Vivek in the forefront and rest of us playing second fiddle to him. It will also make an interesting read.
What spurred me to write this piece BTW? Last week, I was reminded of a quote made by my one of my favourite Professors - "One can see greatness in every walk of life"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Wanted for immediate joining - BCCI


Your dream of representing Team India has shattered after 4 ODIs in 3 years and 1 Test Match? You are not being entertained for the position of an assistant-coach even by KPL teams?? Tired of coaching school kids on summer vacations??? Then this is where you should be!

BCCI, India's sole and ultimate Governing Body for Cricket, is looking for talented professionals for immediate joining. Following are the details -

1. Job Profile - Lower Order Batting Consultant

2. Job role - Mentoring and instilling common-sense in the lower order batting of Team India.

3. Job responsibilities - Plenty, copious, mammoth, uphill, myriad, tedious. To mention a few -
  • To upgrade the current scores of the lower order batsmen from less than 5 to 10-15.
  • To work closely with the lower batting order to teach them forward-defence.
  • Responsible to make them understand the importance of defending the last ball of the over when there is a specialist batsman at the other end.
  • To remove the myth that by exposing the stumps and going for a blind heave doesn't make them Adam Gilchrist.
  • To motivate them to score some runs by giving examples of batsmen who have given a breakthrough to the team when needed or have filled the lacuna of the 5th bowler most times.
  • To ensure running between the wickets doesn't look like mommas running on Parents' Day at kids' school.
4. Job location - National Cricket Academy, Bangalore. However, the Consultant needs to travel with the team.

5. Eligibility criteria -
  • Age - No bar
  • Experience - Scored minimum 10 twentys or 4 thirtys or 2 fiftys in First Class Cricket in any batting position below No. 7 (Candidates with century in University Cricket need not apply)
  • Applicant must hold a valid passport.
6. Salary - Rs. 5,00,000-7,00,000 p.a. + Incentives (depending upon the performance of lower order batsmen) + Travel benefits (Economy class ONLY)

7. Interested candidates can send their resume to

Note - Reference from IPL Team Franchisee owners, Sports Minister, Sharad Pawar will be an added advantage. Any previous affiliations with ICL will be liable for rejecting the application.

S Sreesanth.
Recruitment Team (Demoted for bad behaviour),

Saturday, November 7, 2009

(Heart) Breaking News!!!

Of late, News Channels (NCs) have become our daily mates. News programme has come a long way over the last decade or so. From the Hindi and English news on DD-1 at 8.30 PM every evening of the late 80s and 90s to the hourly news for 2 minutes in the late 90s to combat the advent of satellite television to the modern day Big Fight, Devil's Advocate, The News this Hour - News programme has indeed been a paradigm for sea change. If you think only Sachin Tendulkar or Vishwanathan Anand have fans and followers, you should do well to know that even the Sardesais and the Thapars and the Goswamis have created a niche of their own. If braveheart for you is only Indira Gandhi, then Barkha's achievements so far are copious enough to prove you wrong. The 'monopoly' situation of DD-1 has transformed to a 'many sellers-numerous buyers' situation - thanks to the advent of private NCs like NDTV 24x7, CNN-IBN, Times Now, Aaj Tak and the likes!

With a plethora of NCs coming into the forefront, an obvious economic terminology too gained prominence - COMPETITION, in fact, a cut-throat one. Each channel wants to prove itelf as faster than the fastest NC and also increase it's TRP ratings. This gave rise to the concept of 'Breaking News' which was an alien in the DD-1 era. A 'Breaking News' most often is not something by hearing which you will break your heads. It's just that every NC wants to grab attention of the viewers and get them glued on to their channel, for which, they are glorified. Don't you worry with 'Breaking News' - sun will still rise in the east, birds of the same feather will still flock together, it's the female gender that would still carry. So one doesn't have to be chaotic to 'Breaking News', most often atleast.

NCs now have become yet another entertainment channel, atleast for most part of the day. Say for example, at 6 in the evening, you might get to watch a programme "Amitabh ko Jaipur mein thanD aakhir kaise lagi?" or, could be even "Gufa mein chhipe booDey bangaru!". It would not have created furore with the world economic growth, of course, not by any means would it weaken our 'Mixture of regional parties' alias 'Central Government' in anyway. On any given day, when India wins an ODI, be prepared to watch a special show with 'our experts', titled, "Trinidad mein Tiranga!". If you have bet your fortune that NCs are pro-Indian Team, do be prepared to watch "Sydney mein shikast" the next time India loses. But yes - it is indeed 'Breaking News' :-)

Media plays a vital role in a democracy. Unbiased information is what we seek. It is anyone's guess if we obtain them or not. Earlier this week, it was shocking to read in 'The Hindu' that, several regional newspapers 'sold' space to political parties for a certain sum. If this is not an isolated case but has spread like a virus, then, it reflects the detriorated journalism in the nation. One such instance of 'heinous journalism' I came across was some 10-12 days after the death of Aarushi Talwar. In a television interview of Nupur Talwar, Arushi's mother, the reporter's question went as follows - "Aaj agar Aarushi hoti, toh woh 15 saal ki hoti. Magar woh aap ke beech mein nahin hai. Aap ko kaisa mahsoos ho raha hai??!"

I can go on and on and on with many such bitter instances and sub-standard journalism. But at the same time, I give due credit to them who have always given us real-time information, made news-watching a pleasant experience, exposed several issues which otherwise go unnoticed. At the same time, the fall in the ethical standards too need to be restored to regain it's lost glory. Plenty can be said and plenty can be written, but the fact remains that NCs today have become a part of our lives. What condoms are to a newly married couple, NCs are to the society - SIMPLY INSEPARABLE!!!

Laptop HP ke saath, samvaad-daata Nagendra, Straight from my Heart, Bangalore :-)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sach(in) is our Life!!! - Heartbreak at Hyderabad :-(

As Praveen Kumar scampered for the 2nd run and fell short, India fell short by 3 'mammoth' runs. It was one more 'So near and yet so far' situation for a team which has seen several such situations in the past. We were almost there... every boundary of Sachin, especially after his century was an assurance that we would make the impossible possible.... every six of Raina ensured that the difference between the balls remaining and runs required contracted.... every confident stroke of Ravindra Jadeja instilled a confidence into the game... But alas!!! All this went in vain as India managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It was a mixed game... But more sorrow and less joy!

As usual, Facebook walls and G Talk status messages have become a platform to express anguish over the defeat. e-Debate forums witnessed a lot of 'Cricket experts' suggesting what Sachin should have done and what Raina shouldn't have. Thanks to Christ, India is not Saudi. Most fans in dismay have requested to behead Jadeja. Like always, everyone including the author did find a scapegoat for defeat. Public opinion (or outburst) indicates, it is Jadeja.

But spare a thought for a man, who for the past 20 years has been walking out to bat with a bat in hand and a whole nation's expectations. Sachin Tendulkar - Once again he proved a jinx to the Aussies. Aussies are a bunch of hard men and it needs a rock to face them. Who better than Sachin could it be! The first 4 matches of the series weren't so encouraging for Sachin and his fans. The opposition had scored, his team-mates had scored. But somehow he wasn't able to corss the 30-40 run mark, which by his standards is nothing short of 'mediocrity'. He had a point to prove, not that he was the Numero Uno, but that, the man who walked to bat with Sehwag in the first 4 ODIs was Sachin himself. He had a point to prove to Ponting, who termed him as 'a run accumulator' and 'not a threat anymore' after the 4th ODI. He proved yet another point - India's fortune is yet to come out of the shadows of Sachin's fortune. It is still Sachin that holds the Indian Team together. As challenges keep mounting, our expectations move from the Yuvrajs and the Dhonis to Sachin. Every time India has been in a 'Do-or-Die' situation, the focus has been on Sachin.

Congratulations to Sachin Tendulkar on scoring 17000 ODI runs, of which 11000 runs have come on foreign soil. And about his prolific 175 of 141 balls? It is for the Sachin critics to comment on it this time! ;-)

Su(chi)n never sets in the English empire..... and Australian, South African and Indian as well.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Maha Circus in Maharashtra - Shiv Sena surpassed, Congress suppresses BJP, MNS surprises all!

A part of the title could be debatable. Has Congress suppressed the BJP?

If the Lok Sabha polls earlier this year were a clear indication of the rising wave in favour of the Congress, the recent polls in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh were an icing on the cake. After drubbing the BJP severely in the Lok Sabha polls, the State polls proved to be a cakewalk to the Congress. When it easily retained the majority in Arunachal Pradesh, it emerged as the single largest party in Maharashtra and Haryana. Though a minor setback in Haryana should make the Congress wary of overconfidence, overall it is time for the Congress to celebrate, much to the dismay of BJP, once a potential threat to the Congress but now a mute spectator to the Congress glory.

Of the 3 states that went into polls earlier this month, Maharashtra, was the closely observed state for all reasons. First, it houses 48 Lok Sabha seats making it the 2nd largest Lok Sabha state after UP which houses a mammoth 80 seats. So, naturally the State will have a large number of Assembly seats as well which is 288. Stakes are always high in the MH Assembly polls for it's 3 major parties- Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Shiv Sena. BJP has always been in the shadow of Shiv Sena in MH, unable to create an identity of it's own in the state. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), a new face and a break-away faction of SS, though has performed impressively on debut, will still have a long way to go.

Let us focus on the result of MH Assembly polls. The Congress-NCP duo leads the chart by winning 146 seats compared to the 135 seats they won in the previous polls, meaning, they have garnered 11 more seats to their previous tally. BJP-SS duo on the other hand, as expected, came a distant second, with 90 seats, compared to the 122 seats they won in the previous polls. What does it imply? Assuming that the elections have taken place with full transparency from all parties (no liquor, sarees, TVs, money distributed), it is clear that the BJP-SS duo has been rejected once again. The Hindutva/Marathi/Nationalistic agenda is not being able to connect the masses of MH. If BJP-SS feels that they could run through the elections by chanting the Marathi Mantra, then they are living in the bygone era. It is an era where youngsters too follow politics closely, thanks to every piece of information available 24/7 on TV Channels and online. They would now prefer a party which speaks of development, job creation, inclusive growth and such terminologies. But then, the Devil's Advocate in me, pinches me only to remind me that the MNS which chanted the Marathi Mantra, has won 13 seats on debut and gained acceptance as of now. Voters are like Indian wives, you never know which way they turn. Indeed! (Some modification to a Sidhuism)

Lets speak of the MNS now. A party which started with nothing less than controversies and then moved ahead with controversies ONLY, has now emerged as a surprise package with 13 seats on debut, 6 of which are out of the 34 seats in Mumbai alone, which makes it an 18% stakeholder of Mumbai. Truly an impressive performance I say. Moreover, it has also won the prestigeous Nasik constituency of SS. So the nephew of Bal Thackeray, whom he so verily underestimated, has also played spoilsport in the BJP-SS ride. But then again, it is too early to pass a resolution that all the odds are favouring the MNS. It would take another 2-3 large scale elections to bet on MNS as the next big party of MH or the next big threat to BJP-SS (or even Congress-NCP)

Let us focus on the BJP now. The MH pre-poll scenario and the results were a replica of the Lok Sabha polls that took place earlier this year. Be it the agenda bankruptcy or a weak alliance, or the lack of confidence - It was all the same and the result was also a s(h)ame-s(h)ame to the BJP. Marred by in-fighting and lack of a 'credible' and strong Central leadership, the masses had lost confidence in the BJP. It looked like the BJP had conceded defeat during the election campaign itself. When there was business as usual at the Congress-NCP camp, there was nothing much within the BJP-SS camp. Especially, the BJP, was never in headlines unlike the Congress, NCP and MNS. They were nowhere to be seen on news channels as well. Hence, the result was that the Congress, NCP and MNS emerged as top 3 gainers.

To conclude, it is very evident that BJP is on its knees. Congress has taken the mindshare of the masses as well as the market-share. The inside turmoil is indeed a boon to the BJP in disguise. It is upto them, as to how soon do they settle their differences and wriggle out of the shock with a revised agenda and a revamped leadership at various levels. Sooner the better. In a democracy, two situations should NEVER arise. One, same party ruling for more time. Two, a weak and a divided opposition. To our misfortune, we are witnessing both at the same time.

Back to square one. Has Congress suppressed the BJP? Ask any political novice, even he or she will give an unequivocal "YES!!!"

Monday, October 19, 2009

Joy of giving

"The joy of giving ... discover it this festive season... Instead of blowing up money give it to the needy ... Show that you care ... Every little bit helps ..." read the Facebook status message of the CEO of our Business School.

Took me back to my school days, where, listening to the 'Kabir Ke Dohe' seemed so interesting. Every Doha had a meaning, most times, related to what we do in our daily life, how we act or behave. This status message of our CEO reminded me of yet another 'Doha' from Sant Kabirdas. Here's how it is -

BaDa hua toh kya hua, jaise peD khajoor
Panthi ko chhaya nahin, lagey phal ati-door

Meaning, a date plam is of no use to the traveller, though dates are sweet and tasty. Since the date palm doesn't have any branches, a tiring traveller cannot rest under the shade. He even cannot enjoy the delicious dates since the date plams have a towering stature, thereby making it impossible for the tired traveller to enjoy dates.

Similarly, in vain is the wealth, property, knowledge and wisdom if it is not shared. Knowledge and wisdom in particular, do not extinct upon sharing them with others. Neither can someone steal them or deceive us of them, like it can happen with wealth and property. "Vidya dadathi vinayam, vinaya dadathi paatratam, paatratwa dhanamaapnothi, dhana dharmam tataha sukham", meaning - Through education/knowledge one attains humility, humility makes one eligible/worthy, this eligibility/worthiness assists one to earn wealth and then, utilizing this wealth not only for self but also for philanthropy/needy/deprived makes one attains joy, pleasure, happiness and bliss.

Thank you Mr. CEO for that wonderful status message on Facebook, after a long time I found a noteworthy status message on Facebook. Thanks a ton once again :)