Friday, December 25, 2009

Safari @ Kenya

Nairobi - Giraffe Feeding !

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Safari@ Kenya - Nairobi Local

Nairobi is very much like a third-world city-capital, with its slow traffic, pollution, predominantly lower middle class/poor people rushing around trying to make both ends meet... The average person on street lives a life insulated from the inflow of trourists, for over four decades now. Sadly, whether the colonial rulers or the invaders from other parts of world or even their descendents, have not helped country to go up the 'real' development-curve.

The animal orphanage was our first stop. Any 'orphanage' is a sad story, this no different. The animals were in zoo-like conditions. It had cheeta, lepord, (not so) wild buffallos, ostritch, birds and few monkeys....

The tired looking big-cat was not an encouraging sight. A lepord was hyper-active. The birds were beautiful!

But the big, pleasant surprise was the twin-lepords which sprinter Usain Bolt had 'adopted'... they look as majestic the great athelete himself !

Safari @ Kenya

Waiting for boarding announcement, after clearing the formalities of international/ late-night travel, sat down to clear personal mails. The timing was perfect-as a mail read 'Tourists robbed in Kenya'. Just few days ago, there was a newspaper report on tourists killed in Nairobi. Also, the surprising reaction from all who came to know of my destination (Kenya!!). Of course, when I checked the mail, full of expectation of 'some gory details', it turned out to be a troop of monkeys helping themselves with the luggage atop a car ! Of course, the monkeys found some of the clothes most intriguing !

The flight from Dubai, on time thankfully though at 130 AM, reminded me of Jetairways back home. Smaller aircrafts, but very friendly and professional staff on-board. Night travel is quite unbearable... nothing to beat the comfort of a bed !

Reached Nairobi 'very' early morning. The airport is quite old, the new wave of airport-improvement-projects have not hit Kenya yet (despite a prominent presence of Chinese construction entities) ! The staff at immigration were very friendly, surprisingly. They greeted, completed the process slowly, but always engaging us talking about cities/states of India, including 'God's own country' ( my native state), 'Bhopal' (my passport issued from there), etc. I wonder, why immigration staff at almost all airports are serious and give all incoming passengers a suspicious look! Professional difficulty !! :)

Checked into a hotel. Nothing worth mentioning about the hotel, hence identity of property withheld!

After getting ready, we set out to discover Nairobi.... :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sachin's 96 at ODI

We have got one more point to 'discuss' !!

Karthik should have tried to give strike to Sachin and facilitated Little Master to reach the milestone.
But it was more important to win the match and Sachin should be happy with the 'winning knock'
If he was keen on 100, he would have accelerated the scoring rate when in 80's, as commented by Sunil Gavaskar

Perhaps, Sachin (his critics may not beleive) actually does not play for records!

Good for him, for the game and the spirit of any team Sport

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Back from vacation !

William Osler - "We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life." (Source-Gmail)

Back from vacation. Just got busy @work and catching up on couple of pending things on the personal front. Lots of thoughts and experiences to share from Kenya@Safari. 

But more importantly, our leaders and elected/non-elected representatives at Copenhagen are showing no signs of visionary, responsible, representative and matured leadership. While the future of Earth is in their hands, they are clouded by their egoistic and narrow minded ( at times, related to the country they represent). It is time to rise above and do what we need to save the earth for future generations. Our children will not forgive us if we miss this golden opportunity to get back-on-track. The silent majority need to voice their opinion. The few protesters at Copenhagen are being treated like street-criminals. Most shocking.... 

We need decisive action from the world leaders...on climate change at Copenhagen.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vacation @ Kenya

Holy days... holidays !

Off to Kenya, for holidays. A new continent, a new type of holiday... after all vacations @ home, spiritual and a glimpse of a glorious past at Egypt !!! Now, it would be animals in their natural habitat.
(For my son, who has not been to a zoo at all, this will be a memorable experience!)

Virtually everyone, who checked out my holiday plan, reacted' Kenya?.......Why Kenya?....   What?....' etc. My response was consistently, 'why not?' :)

At Dubai airport, await boarding spite of the slump in market outside,the airport is buzzing with activity.. so much of life and speed. Dubai's energy is inspiring... Just as amchi mumbai!  0100 hrs,  quite unholy... full night travel is not a great beginning... Hope rest of it turns about to be one great experience...

Stand by for more updates....

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Cyclone Phyan

Cyclone Phyan ( =cherry fallen off a tree, in Burmese language!) skipped Amchi Mumbai...thank God !

Yet another 'Malthusian' way to remind us about our responsibility to our environment!

Food for thought....

PS: Tum Mile, set in Mumbai floods, due for release this week!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Vacation... contd

India gate at Southern tip of Mumbai is beautiful, at sunrise...

Wah Taj

late evening, checked into a hotel, near Taj... The sight of the imposing structure of Hotel Taj brought back the sad memories of 26/11. All those precious lives, guests, cops, employees et al. Terrorism is the curse of our generation. The world needs a lot more positive vibrations through prayers, service and sheer spiritual love, to make it better...

Friday, October 30, 2009

South Mumbai Bound

17 Sept 09:
My new leg of the journey started on 17th evening. We were flowing against the traffic, still the flow was not very smooth. But it was a different experience to get onto the Worli Sea Link, for the first time. It looks majestic and was a great experience. I wounder why it took so long for Mumbaikars to come up with such a world class infrastructure ! Mumbai, like other major urban centers in India, desperately needs more such structures, quickly too.

On the Peddar road, with its usual traffic speed ( or lack of it), I saw a big poster of Jagjit singh! Needless to add, it usurped my attention! It was about a concert by the ghazal maestro at Nehru Center. Earlier I had the opportunity to listen to Dr Balamurali Krishna at the same venue. It was out of world experience! The venue, with its ambience and accoustics, complement these great talents. I made some checks and grabbed two tickets (self & wife) and rushed to the venue. On the way, while the yellow-blue taxi made noicy progress on the beautiful marine drive, we observed the date of concert was next day and I was moving to the venue exactly 24 hours in advance !!!  We were not very far from a small restaurant where I had many business lunches, with Jagjit ghazals in the backdrop !! 
There was no way we could make it next evening, as we were to be busy with a Self-development session!!! I missed the concert...During the next 24 hrs, tried few friends, but no one could make it due to their prior commitments. Essentially, the tickets went waste, I regret to add... But it was for a good cause, Human Rights, thankfully!

'Yeh daulat bhi lelo... ' !!! my mind played the song, as the taxi took a u-turn and moved towards our hotel near Gateway of India!

JOY of Vegetarianism

World over the month October is celebrated as the Vegetarian Awareness Month. It kickstarts with Oct 1 being World Vegetarian Day.
Started by a group of North Americans, this movement is picking up slowly and surely. The meat industry produces more greenhouse gases that all automobile, planes and ships put together ( acc to a UN Study in 2006). That is a strong reason for us to GO Green.... All the indirect cost and trauma of all the health problems/diseases are not even quantified. Let us save the Earth, save the animals ( for meat)... Let us spread the JOY of Vegetarianism
And... that is part of Living, Spiritually
Check out :

This falls in the same month when world celeberates Oct 2 as International Non Violence day. Gandhiji deserves more than a mere token gesture. The world deserves more of that definitely !

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diwali Greetings

Happy Diwali.... Belatedly :)

Last year I had posted a belated greetings too ( But things are quite same... the impact of global slow down continue to affect the common man. The impact of climate change, fear of epidemic swine flu, natural calamities, terrorist attacks, etc have only made the world 'darker'... Hence, the Festival of Lights more relevant now.

Personally, this Diwali was different for me... esp from a spiritual angle. So, the personal resolution is to retain the spirit of diwali for another year. Both spiritually and otherwise ( But then, 'everything is spiritual'). Tamasoma... Jyotirgamaya

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cars our cricketers drive- News- Zigwheels

Check out the cars our popular cricketers drive... Courtesy, Zigwheels-ToI

While we knew Sachin's preferred machine was his red Ferrari, MSD's passion is beyond his Hummer ( now bought over by a Chinese company!!!)... Gambhir is yet to buy his dream machine ( waiting for a 'gift' for a big performance...a la Yuvi's Porche ?!)

Cars our cricketers drive- News- Zigwheels

Shared via AddThis

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Spiritual Re-charge

12 Sept:
India is truly a Spiritual Center ( want to actually write, Spiritual Capital – do not want to take sides!). There are some spectacular places in Incredible India !
I am at Prashanthi Nilayam ( abode of peace) for my re-charging my spiritual batteries.

16 Sept:
Five days … great experience. Feel light and Free... Though the soul is reluctant to leave, just as mind, body and spirit gets aligned to the spiritual vibrations. Leave reluctantly, with a hope and prayer to come back soon and for a longer stay too.
If Mumbai airport was ‘better’, Bangalore airport is very good. From a common man’s perspective, it looks well-designed and spacious, though the connectivity from city is very poor. Food court in the departure launch is good, though it seems to add to the crowd and clutter. Of course the surprising element of the air travel was the professional service of Go Air Business. They were courteous and professional to the point, I did not miss my favourite brand, Jet Airways ! I am sure, jet will have to work a bit harder to get more customers back, after their strike.

Though I was forced to cancel to avoid the uncertainty of the flight status ( on 12 Sept), when I called them they said they would not make full refund. That is unfair. Strike was not called off as of 12th morning, though things were limping back to normal by the time I returned ( 16th). Back at Mumbai and its traffic jams and also sultry weather !


10th Sept 09

Homebound… few hours away from amchi Mumbai, as I wait for boarding…
A local friend/colleague mentioned he just finished a book, Gandhiji’s autobiography. He comes across as one of the few who has read a lot on Bapu and appreciates/respects and is inspired by the teachings and life of Gandhiji. I was wondering how many of our own young Indians, both resident and non-resident, share that kind of respect and awe for him. I am reminded… ‘For generations to come…’ that seem to be already happening already !

Against this backdrop, it was great to hear President Obama’s response to a grade-9 student – given a choice, among all the greats who are alive/dead, the President would opt for a dinner with Gandhiji. The influence of the non-violent movement on their own civil rights movement was highlighted. If the most powerful man on earth is inspired by Gandhiji, world has hope…surely…

Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well - Mahatma Gandhi
Very recently, there was another report how youngsters would go to any extend to get a dinner meeting with a top-notch CEO. But the Chinese are going a step further. The young Chinese students, yet to enter the corporate world, are already going for plastic-surgery to improve their marketability ! They don’t want to lose out in a close race… We were complaining about excess focus on grooming, metro-sexual , et al. While the world is already going crazy to ‘look younger’, these developments are quite surprising !

In the final analysis, all aspire for success and peace. Bapu’s advise on the spiritual peace is: Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well

Too lazy to continue…. Signing off for now ( will ‘post’ later though!) Next post will be from Amchi Mumbai!!!


Friday, October 09, 2009

Vacation, at last...

Sept 11
It was great to land at Mumbai, though on Sept 11...( a day, few years ago, the world made a paradigm shift, for the worse!)
The trip was comfortable, no sign of any extra-security at Mumbai airport. Thanks to the projects to upgrade airports in India, finally things are moving in the rifht direction.

But only for the air-travelers, and not for the common man on the street, not yet!

Sad to observe the state of our road infrastructure. On a personal level, the western express highway, for last 9 years has failed to clear the bottlenecks. While few overhead bridges for pedestrians were a welcome sign, the traffic moves at snail's pace. The bridge at ToI, Malad may enter guiness books, for the sheer delay. And at what cost !!! Central and state govts have been unfair to Mumbai by failing to provide the transport infrastructure. In spite of the spirit of mumbaikar, these gaps add to loss in productivity.

It is election time... Once again time for politicians to make empty promises. Mumbaikar's life will go on as usual, with all its inherent struggles !

At 8 AM, the city was bustling with energy. Even after 9 years since making Mumbai my home, the spirit of mumbaikar continues to inspire me. Mumbai rocks...

Nobel Peace Prize for President Obama

The Committee definitely surprised all by conferring this prestigious prize on Prez Obama. The doubt people have 'was it too early? '

Going by his track record as President, perhaps it is too early. ``His extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and
cooperation between peoples,'' the Norwegian Nobel Committee said, citing his outreach to the Muslim world and attempts to curb nuclear proliferation. That is very fair.
He is one of the few real hopes among the contemperory world leaders...He could make a difference to our generation, and thus may be for our children.
He has inspired many people to dream big. You can not forget that big contribution...He will continue to inspire many underprivileged to work hard to join mainstream.
For us Indians, he may not be the most India-friendly president. But, his belief in Gandhian values shows his character and value-system.
Lastly, this will inspire him to look beyond mere American interests and work for the larger interests of humanity.

PS: He may have to talk to fellow Nobel peace winners, such as Dalai Lama. :) Also, just read a report,A Failure to spread wealth by Tony Allen-Mills on another laureate's efforts to 'improve' lives of the poorest through micro-finance

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Jet Airways Strike

We were always proud of the brand Jet and the way they transformed flying in India. I have had the opportunity to interact with few seniors at their corporate office, while working in Mumbai ( Jet was one of my key accounts and one of my favourite). As I grew in the organisation, I reached the Platinum level of their frequent flier program. Even here, in gulf, while trainers would talk about the service quality at Ritz Carlton as an example, I always gave the example of Jet, even if the local listener(s) were not familiar with the brand.

I personally do not look for any travel option other than Jet, for my family & self. At times I have ended up paying a premium, but I could count on the professional service of Jet.

Sometime back, I was delighted to spot Mr Goyal at Mumbai intl airport to flag-off his inaugural flight to Gulf!

This episode is taking away all the goodwill and reputation they have built over the years...Going by the press reports, both sides are sticking to their unreasonable stand, at the cost of the passengers.

Thankfully, as I travel to India today, I am not booked on Jet. But after two days, I am...keeping fingers crossed ! This annual vacation could hinge on Jet flights sticking to their schedule, a factor I had always taken Jet for granted ( to be punctual!)

A reminder to all at Jet, from their website: Jet Airways launched its Yellow Rose campaign. People are like roses, and like the flower they require friendship, warmth and caring.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Life is a Game...

My son sent a sms checking if he could buy a computer-game... I was in the middle of something serious at office... and he was seeking permission after his shopping for clothes, a MJ CD, etc. I replied, 'LIFE IS A GAME, PLAY IT.... BIG!

He would have expected a prompt & simple, Yes or No...Usually I say 'Yes', unless it is a real unreasonable demand. It was more due to my frame of mind, that I responded so...I was not in favour of a 'Yes' and as always, reluctant to say 'No'

Part of my value system as a parent, minimise the number of 'NO' to the child. I am conscious to ensure he does not take advantage of it...

He did not give up, asked for the meaning of the phrase. How can anyone explain through SMS

how life is a game, that we have no choice but to play ( can't be mere spectator)
how critical it is to play it well,to the potential and the right/fair way... and
how to play BIG! A Sachin/Tiger/Federer in this game too...that is minimum benchmark.

Keep Playing!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Being Vegetarian

Saw a blog on Times of India, about the dilemma a bong-guy to find a vegetarian bride!! (

The blog was a dissappointment. But some of the comments were interesting and more to the point. I am a converted veg, my wife & son are non-veg. Life, family/marital, is more than mere food-habits. When a die hard non veggie ( I used to eat four times a day, same as our pet dog!) opts for veggie for spiritual reasons, the whole perspective changes, which has to be experienced. Also, we overcome one of our weaknesses in life, least to a great extend. Living in Gulf, it is difficult. More disgusting is when people at big brands (When asking for veg meal, employees at McDonalds/Pizza hut, etc0 looks at me as though I am from outer-space. couple of times I have reacted for their insensitivity, with little impact on them.

We are what we eat.
Our teeth, unlike that of animals, are not originally designed for eating meat.
We kill ( check out how Sushi appears on the dining table).
The impact on environment is tremendous....

Still, let me add, it is a personal choice and we should respect.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Thursday Thoughts, Spiritually

Someone asked, why spiritually is specifically added to my weekly (Thursday) posts, esp when I maintain everything is spiritual.

Everything is 'spiritual', but the fact is I (we!)am not always spiritual, at every moment. And that is the goal, for sure. We forget our true nature, which is of happiness/bliss or Sat-Chit-Anand. To be in that constant awareness is being truly spiritual...

One more Onam is behind us... Last year, I was in India, enjoying my vacation. Looking back, had posted this ( Happy Onam @ My feelings/greetings are no different this time either. The spirit of Onam just got more relevant today, compared to last year...
But this year, we lost two dear people ( one in family & other closer than family). Hence, as per custom 'no celebration'... So, I chose it to be more spiritual! Not only on the day of Thiru-Onam, but the 10 days before that. It was beautiful...

Festivals, as a child, was more of fun, food, new clothes and family get together to play with cousins and friends ( with no pressure from parents to 'study'!). Later on, it became religious. But it was Onam celebration at PSN I re-discovered the true spirit of Onam. Of course, my perspective of all festivals, of all religions and faiths, changed for ever, for better.

The reign of Mahabali was one when all were equal, there was no crime of any kind .... and all were happy. Today, when Mahabali visits his favourite kingdom, once a year on Onam-day, he would find it shocking! He would be tempted to call off his annual visits!!!

The Golden age, which each of wish, is within our reach. It starts with us, with ME....

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ethics & World of Finance at SSSU

Financial system, world-wide, is put to severe test.
When we look back, it dawns on us how we messed up the banking system and created this near-GD type situation.
We can attribute to several factors: failure regulatory agencies, over-trading, non-compliance to credit/risk norms... etc. But if we further analyse it, it boils down to individuals, Leaders and the members of the teams. It is leadership failure, no collective/individual responsibility.

Across all levels, we just failed to stick to the basics of banking and prudent norms. Short-term goals for organisations and individual-level (eg hefty bonus) were the drivers. Sadly, what goes up has to come down.. in such cases it comes down with a thud, not a smooth landing.

Not surprisingly, Islamic banking has been relatively insulated from the vagaries of this crisis. .The strong fundamentals of the concept and the general passion to implement same in letter & spirit, being the contributors to the success

In this backdrop, it is most appropriate the senior bankers in the country assemble at SSSU to deliberate on Ethics & World of Finance. The five human values (Satya, Dharma, Shanthi, Prema, Ahimsa) are the integral part of Sai Philosophy, including the educational institutions. 'Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara' is the motto of the university.

Throughout the educational-journey, students are inculcated values such as
Money comes & goes, Morality comes & grows...
Education is for Life, not for Living...
Love all, Serve all/Help Ever, Hurt Never

SSSU is the right platform to deliberate on this.

This must have been an eye opener for the senior bankers too, having got the opportunity to 'reflect'.

Mumbaikar takes home the lowest, UBS Study

Acc to a study by UBS, Price & Earnings 2009, employees in Zurich & Geneva take home the highest net wages in the world, amchi Mumbai at the lowest ! This is based on the study which compares the income and purchasing power of employees in over 70 cities across the globe.

This may come as a surprise for the Mumbaikar. But, that is the reality!

But the study does not evaluate or measure the spirit of the citizens... on that front, Mumbai must be right on top...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Jaswant Singh's Book on Jinnah

Indian politics always throws up its own twists and turns, like a soap opera. The latest episode is sarrounding Jaswant Singh, his book on Jinnah, his expulsion from BJP and in the process a lot of proverbial washing of dirty linen in public

The book will sell a few thousand extra copies thanks to all the hue and cry. The author plans to travel to Pak to promote the book. The Indian/Pak diaspora itself can help the publishers generate a decent sales numbers.

We can not and should not deprive Jaswant Singh of his freedom of speech and expression. Let us be matured enough to look at the book purely from the final product. What is important is the quality of the work. How much of research has gone into it and does the book give references to the research-sources ?

(ICHR) Chairman S Sabyaschi Bhattacharya has said, " There is nothing novel in the book. Many authors and historians have already stated that Jinnah was not in favour of partition or creation of Pakistan,"

Unfortunately there is lot of bad-mouthing of our national leaders, Gandhiji, Nehru and Patel, apart from Jinnah. Again, let us not forget what they have done. They also may have committed mistakes. Also, we need take cognisance of the volatile situation at that point of time. Let us analyse so as to learn and move on. These events should generate the right debate so that the two nations mature as democracies, true to the dreams of their founding fathers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Best sportsman

In his article, "IN THE ERA OF WOODS, FEDERER, THE LITTLE CHAMP STANDS TALL", Sunil Gavaskar says Sachin is the best of the lot. While all the three and many others have reached the pinnacle in their respective sport, Sachin stands out for his character on field.

I agree with Sunny, with the pressure that is on an Indian cricketer, Sachin's composure is truly saint-like. Cricket is supposed (used ?) to be a gentleman's game. But in contemperory cricket, Sachin is a true gentleman. A gentleman, with that kind of record, makes him one of the all-time greats.

Thanks to the credit crunch and other stress on our lives, there is a change in our behaviour and response-patterns. We can look around to see the change, while the experts do an extensive research. In such situations, sportsmen like Sachin inspire us to remain cool and be the best.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ten years of Blogging

The art of blogging is ten years young... ! 10 yrs is definitely a milestone, for anything that is on such a popular, free-to-use and evolving medium.

The medium has evolved from pure text-based to picture/video etc.

While most of bloggers took it up as a hobby, there may be few who are doing for other personal reasons. For me it remains a hobby, a medium to express my thoughts/feelings/views, take a stand, and not be part of a silent majority...

Thursday Thoughts

A relative celebrated her 84th birthday. She is loved and respected in the family, and beyond. Society, because she was a teacher by profession and a devoted one. As for the family, she was loving and kind to all. Relatives are happy, but with a tinge of sadness... While she remains physically fit(thanks to God), she has lost her memory totally. She is second in the extended family, both from same generation/branch of family-tree. After seeing the snaps on Picassa, I mulled over it. Yesterday, at the lunch, discussed briefly with cousins, all from the same 'tree'...

Any spiritual question lingering in our thoughts gets addressed to, sooner than later. But, I was surprised to hear a talk on the radio on the brain, this morning, in line my earlier thoughts on relative.

A neuro-surgeon from Australia spoke eloquently regarding the rapid strides being made by science through research in the area of human brain.
When asked on how to take care of the brain, he stressed the importance of physical and mental fitness in our lives.

Mental fitness is as important.
1. For that, physical fitness is the basis.
2. Mental activity, without stress.
3. Mental exercises( eg Sudoku)
4. M E D I T A T E

We live in a far-more complicated world and are more stressful. The impact on our system can be bad, with likely future complications.

I would summarise, Spiritual Living is the key. The doc gave a good example, how he would go beyond his normal call of duty.

He quoted Einstein, 'Spirituality begins, where science ends'. Master corrects, both are one & Divine...

Monday, August 17, 2009

Life of a Forced Bachelor...An Autobiography

I have been getting some queries on mail/sms/phone, 'how is life, being a forced-bachelor?'. Family is away and I have to manage:take care of myself, my peculiar food habits, poor time management and few pets... all alone!( Spiritually, I am NEVER alone!)

Last week-end was lost, courtesy flu/fever. Thankfully it was a simple flu and fever and I am back on track. With Swine flu et al, the world population has moved into high risk zone. I am no exception. Hence the big responsibility to take care of myself (mom keeps reminding, almost on daily basis). I am no social animal. This situation has given me the option to withdraw further into the cocoon of home and do things I prefer. Poor pets are at risk though!

Pets include five hamsters ( plus couple of new born!), two fish tanks ( one belong to a friend's family, enjoying vacation in Eastern coast of India)and my dog (needs no intro though). Also, the birds I feed every morning, outside. The sheer responsibility to feed them, bathe the dog every week, keep things out of reach of dog which picks up virtually anything to chew... pretty tough on my puny shoulders ( I am reminded of Wooster of PGWodehouse. He had the luxury of Jeeves, how lucky!)

Years ago I chose to become a veggie. I am almost knocking at the door of being a vegan and a strong supporter of anything that resembles PETA/environmental impact/satwik, etc. Now that makes it impossible to eat out! So while the stock in refrigerator (courtesy a caring wife) lasts, I may not lose weight dramatically!

Trying to catch up on some of the things on hold - music practise ( poor pets have to put up with my cacophony!), writing, reading, etc. Reading two books now, one on management and one spiritual ( more of it for later posts). Struggling to find time for meditation, my no.1 priority ( need better proof of my time management skills?). Got delivery of three books from amazon this morning... ( cost of book is less than shipment cost!) But now more pressure on time, to read these books asap!

To top it all, last night I discovered cooking gas was over#$%@$*!! Back to hot plate...:( Slow food and every thing slow is fine, but not slow tea-making & slow cooking! Thankfully, gas cylinder delivered today and I am back to tea-making and some cooking, with a revenge !

Stand by for more updates...So, boring you with a bit of autobiography ! Just for a change... Feel free to comment :)

PS: Studying in Hyderabad, it was common to tell when someone gets into a self-dabba mode, 'why don't you write an autobiography, so that I can read at my leisure'!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Khan detained at US Airport

Our media has got yet another topic to sensationalize. After Swine flu all these days, the media can highlight how SRK was detained at a US airport.Someone was doing his job and we should appreciate. I liked the comment of a UP Police official who appreciated the work-ethics of the cops in US.
Thankfully over 70 % on ToI polls felt we were over-reacting. Media can pursue more pressing topics even at the cost of few TRP, in service of the nation. ( We just celebrated our ind day!)

We do not want anyone to be treated badly, including our popular stars. But let us not over-react either. esp Govt of India, pls.

It is unfair to complain cops in US are picking up on our khan only. Bob Dylan went through a similar experience on Saturday !

Talking about responsible reporting by media, the concluding episode of Witness on Al Jazeera International, on Super 30 at Patna, was very inspiring... How couple of people are making a difference by enabling the aspiring students from poor background to reach I I T... hats off to the channel and people behind a noble ventures such as Super30

More interestingly a 12 year old US kid is in the process of building an on line tv empire which will specialise in reporting only that is good. Food for thought for the entire media fraternity, world over ! Google ' US kid embarks on good news dream' for more info.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Independence Day

India celebrates Ind Day... Indians world over celebrate being Indian ! Wow... you become more patriotic when you are out of India. Three cheers to my motherland... maa tujhe salaam....

years ago, my dad suggested how about me following his footsteps and joining defense services. Somehow I was not very keen. Thankfully, he did not persuade me and gave me 'the freedom' to choose my career path. One of the reasons was I wanted to be independent. Having seen army-life very closely, I thought there was limited freedom once you opt to become a soldier. But today, after years in corporate life, I confess, 'being independent is very relative'!

I am aware 'being independent is a state of mind'. It has nothing to do with my job, my environment or anything external. True independence is when I am not a slave of my mind, body, senses...

PS : In that context, army life would not have been a bad idea, I would have been physically fit and strong too...

Friday, August 14, 2009

Time Management

After some posts on spiritual/current affairs, etc I am in a mood to reflect on a different aspect, Corporate Life. We spend most of our time @ work, so what we achieve/under-achieve there is of great relevance to our Journey of Life, Spiritually, as always!

A forward of Robins Blog, No Idling-$2,000 Fine, caught my attention. How true....! We have no luxury to waste time. As suggested, we should fine ourselves for every moment wasted and I would add, when we did not give our very best. Afterall, every moment is Divine.

Master gifted one of His devotees a wrist watch. This devotee, a senior army official, told Master, 'I don't waste time'. Master said, 'I know, I know'... Perhaps the underlying message was the army officer still had opportunity to save time. If so, all observers/devotees had a long way to go...

Robin Sharma's concluding message is You can't idle and get to great. Make a choice.
Procrastination is very natural to us. The choice is ours: good or great. And how we manage time is of great relevance.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Thoughts, Spiritually

It is Swine Flu all over... India joining the bandwagon, Pune sadly gaining the slot of 'epicenter of swine flu' and all cities virtually hit in varying degrees...! This just when the world finally seem to be shrugging off depression-like blues. Germany and France are officially out of it, China & India are leading from the front!

There are whole lot of natural disasters, now happening a lot frequent. The world is definitely getting 'less cool'. I am troubled by the thought, most of it is just because of me and my fellow world-citizens :( We can not blame nature or any one else.

With the swine-flu vaccine still a few months away, other options are being talked of. Apart from the hygiene and improving fitness level, other suggestions include homeo medication, vitamin c, to take gifts of nature such as tulasi leaves/garlic and also camphor!.... As always, fitness of body and spirit is what matters. Our immune system can handle any flue if we just get our basics right. While body can be taken care by exercise & food habits, spirit can be taken care by genuine spirituality. Rather, look at every thing holistic and spiritual ! The world badly needs more spiritual vibrations...

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Journalists freed:Release of Laura Ling & Euna Lee

My previous posts were on Friendship Day (an international celebration) and Raksha Bandhan ( more Indian-specific). Thank God, I am in a position, physically/mentally/Spiritually, to appreciate NOW & HERE. It is against this background I look at the release of these two journalists from North Korea.

International relations are beyond the comprehension of mortals such as us. But the outcome... kudos to all the parties involved, including on the Korean side. A brilliant job by President Clinton.

What is important is we learn the lesson from this episode and move on, and not to try to win brownie points/blame-game. That is the way we should handle all problems. Then this world will be a lot better place...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sister's Day Raksha Bandhan

My previous posting was on the friendship day, when I tried to connect with many of my friends...I am a mail-guy, not a talk/phone guy. So, the option to 'pen' thoughts on my blog and try to reach out to as many friends possible was a natural thing to do. Thanks to all those who responded. Also, for the encouraging words on my new obsession, blogging :)

Rakhi is very special... very different. So beautiful !

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Friendship Day

World over, first Sunday of August is celebrated as Friendship Day. Like many other similar ‘days’/celeberations, the origin of Friendship Day is traced to US too! Way back in 1935, people felt a need for a friendship day !

Few days back, while driving my son to the pet shop ( one of his favorite destinations), he asked me about friendship. His best friend had gone to to stay with his grand parents and continue his high school. (Then, we had brought home a pet dog to help junior ride over the grief!) Earlier to that, some other friends had gone off to Canada, Kolkotta. Now, at the beginning of a new academic year, his current best-friend seem to be on his way out… . Naturally, he was feeling let down by God!

I spoke generally about my friends, my concept of friendship, etc in a language that he would understand. But, on the eve of Friendship Day, when I got couple of advance-greetings, I remembered the thoughts… hence sharing!

There are several things in life for which I am very grateful to God. One of them, wherever I went, I always had some very good, dependable, true friends. For a introvert, moody, ordinary guy like me, it is nothing but sheer Grace… Also, as a teetotaler, inability to share a drink has its own disadvantages.
I have always tried to remain connected with my friends, Very early in life, I would write letters to friends. Much later, it was SMS and e-mail. (Except on some rare occasions, when I shot off physical-letters to some friends, after watching Dil Chahta Hai, etc ) There have been so many who were out of touch and got re-connected!

Over the years, I have got spiritual with my idea of friendship too. Satsang is an integral part of spiritual journey. I have become very selective about new friends… Master said, ‘ Tell me your friend, I shall tell you what you are…’. Also, ‘friends are passing clouds…’ Of course, the main reason is the strong feeling & aspiration, God is my only, true friend. That helps me to be dispassionate about things generally, and detached about literally everything.

But a true friend endures. A true friend understands, inspires, helps to be the true self/without pretentions …. A BIG T H A N K YOU, FRIEND! The world needs more friends like you, for a lot more people like me... God Bless You.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday Thoughts, Spiritually

Had shared this thought with someone very close... the thought remains, hence sharing.

Today, it is tough times for a lot of people. Earlier people were running in pursuit of their dreams. Today struggling to stay afloat. The tragedy is this new development has had a cascading effect on a whole lot of others. And the fear of an uncertain future, with its global implications, has made it worse. There are a whole lot of new people pulled into this twister-like situation - parents, spouse, children, in-laws, friends, neighbours, etc... So, we may find people around us behaving strangely as we are not aware of the complications in their lives.

Of course, we have become too 'sophisticated' to share
(Remember: share sorrows= sorrows halved, share happiness= happiness doubled!)

It is time to reach out. It is necessary to be empathetic. The society needs all the positive vibes, badly.
A very simple thought we may feel... But then, everything was quite simple and straightforward. We complicated things!!

Social networking trends

Bill Gates has deleted his Facebook account, after he found it impossible to handle the requests for connections, and also… getting thousands of mortgage refinance requests due to the sub prime crisis and thousands more friend requests from non friends. He had some advise for others who get hooked/addicted to all those tools to stay connected through network.

It was reported, a popular brand had put a contest to exit facebook to qualify for prizes.

This is the latest craze, obviously. Like everything else, when used within control, no harm. Too much of anything is bad!

Bill Gates may inspire many more users to quit such platforms and utilize time more effectively. I am definitely one of the candidates !

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Akal Takht & Mumbai Rubbish

Akal Takht, the Sikh religious body has called upon the Sikhs to GO GREEN- they have reminded the followers it was their moral and religious duty to save the environment. Great! We can always count on the wonderful Sikh community to implement this. We need more religious groups to embrace save-Nature as part of their prayers and other related activities. Only a spiritual movement can save the environment.

Mumbai's famous, recent high tides threw up over 600 tonnes of garbage, back on to the city. The sea has been accepting thousands of tonnes of garbage all along... perhaps that 'return gift' was a gentle reminder to us. . . Mumbaikars always displayed highest standards in work ethics. We now need to use that value-system for saving Mumbai's environment. The spiritual-oriented Mumbaikars need to take up the environment cause quickly, before it is too late... The city of Mumba devi/Mahalaxmi temple/HajiAli/Siddhivinayak/Elephanta/Mahim Mosque and Church/Shirdi Sai... need the staunch devotees to take up the environmental responsibility NOW!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday Thoughts, Spiritually

Few legends are in focus, in my recent posts- MJ, Dr Kalam, SMG (Gavaskar), Sachin Tendulkar, Nelson Mandela... Some others have not been mentioned, Gangubai, Tiger Woods, etc. I wonder what enable them to reach the pinnacle...
SMG was asked recently, the secret of his success: He said,
  1. God's Grace
  2. God also gave a lot of Determination and Concentration (Source: Gulf News, Gavaskar Special)

I felt that was cool! Inspiring, spiritually ! If we are able to dedicate all success and failure, happiness and sorrow, disease and good health, etc then all these dualities will disappear. There will be pure JOY only!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sach ka Samna

Frisking of Dr Kalam was the, it is 'Sach ka samna' both Vinod Kambli's comments and the objection in certain quarters to the very concept of the program.

Kambli's comments came as a big surprise!! As Pres Obama told a group recently, 'the destiny is in our own hands'. If Kambli failed to reach the level of Sachin's accomplishment, he has to get into interrospection and it will dawn on him what went wrong. It may be too late to make yet another come back, but he can play a second-innings in what he is good at and what he enjoys best. He alone is responsible, no one else. It was a question of focus, perseverence, character, value-system, hard-work .... that makes one. Sadly, Indian/World cricket lost a talented left-hand batsman ...

I always quote the example of this jodi for success vs failure, to my son, colleagues and others. We all fail to reach our best because somewhere we lost track.....

As for the furore in LS and media, let us focus on more pressing problems. A piece of advise for press is to avoid prime time for such programs, just as I suggested to a leading daily to take vulgarity out of their home-page at least ( when feedback was sought on the new design of their website). Yes, we have the option to switch off, ensure our kids do not get exposed and use time better.

Our Destiny is within our own hands....

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Frisking of Dr Kalam

I got some reactions about my earlier post... it was evident many people are upset about the whole episode. For 'frisking our former pres'/'humiliating a great soul such as Dr Kalaam'/'for doing that to an Indian,South Asian,racist'/'biased'/etc.
I was surprised at Continental's earlier stand, 'it is our policy'!! And their reluctance to be empathetic to the feelings of the Indians, their customers, current or potential!!
Now, they have come up with a feeble apology, perhaps more due to the outcry.

Let us put this behind ourselves and focus on more important issues. One such issue is the hot debate in Karnataka - making kannada official medium in primary schools and SC's timely and appropriate intervention. Thanks to SC for that.
If we really love and respect living legends like Dr Kalam, let us handle issues close to his heart better: children's education as part of his Vision 2020 for India

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Frisking of Dr Kalam

This is one of the hot topics today...MPs from various political parties were on their feet, raising the decibel levels at Lok Sabha, on this issue..! Reports say, 'an unrepentent Continental Airlines' has said every passenger is treated 'equally' and will thus be subjected to 'frisking', before boarding their aircraft.
Air-traval became less safer wef Sept 11. Thereafter, the three recent air-disasters, have made all more paranoid. If C A's rule says so, perhaps they were right in frisking Dr APJ.
I wonder what is Dr Kalam's stand ? The reports confirmed he went through the formalities, 'politely'. True to his way of doing things... He might be feeling silly being in the middle of an unnecessary 'controversy'!
Last couple of days, I have been tracking reports on MandelaDay celebrations. No doubt, he is a great leader and truly God's gift to mankind, Africa and RSA. We indians like him due to the Gandhian connection.
I was looking at our own list of prominent contemperories. I had recently posted about our inability to acknowledge the living legends! Few names came to my mind - Dr Singh, Dr Kalam, Atalji, Pt Jasraj, Lataji, SMG/Sachin, Amiabh, Pt Bhimsen Joshi, Vishy Anand. . . ( I am keeping our Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sri Sri, Mata Amritananda Mayi, ... out of this list) I felt Dr Kalam is comparable to Mandela. He is embodiment of what India stands for.
A frisking incident will not affect people of Dr Kalam's stature. He is much more than a former president for us. It is beyond the grasp of Continental Airlines...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Our Pet Fussy2

Make over of our Fussy2 :)
Check snaps, bottom up...SMILE. !

Pet Airways

Now our beloved pets can 'fly in the main cabin, not in cargo' ! How sweet !

My earlier pet-dog, travelled with us from Hyderabad-Ottapalam-Trivandrum-Mangalore-Neemuch(MP). All travels in train, cargo div. At end of each journey, she would have fallen ill, minor though.

If Pet Airways start in India, as a affordable airlines, it would help so many pet-owners. It also rhymes with JET airways... they could do a brand extension too... PETA must be happy ! Three cheers to the people behind PA... ensure five-star service...

check out commercial :

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hillary Clinton in India

This morning, as I was in a hurry to get my (King's) breakfast, I quickly checked out NDTV... nothing worthwhile reported on Hillary's visit.

At lunch, it was interview with Barkha. Late evening, at tea, it was again the same interview. Before, dinner, it was yet again Hillary and Barkha. Now, just like the interview with Priyanka Gandhi and some other similar scoops, NDTV will keep telecasting so often we would be able to rattle out the interview, as we used to memorise dialogues from Sholay..

I kept checking out CNN... surprisingly, they had better (!) news to cover ! Not even once I saw them reporting on Mrs Clinton visit !! Earlier Rev Jackson and now Fareed al. But no India or Hillary! ! ! It is as much America's loss as it is India... While Rev Jackson quoted some depressing statistics about the plight of blacks and President Obama reiterated 'the destiny was in their own hands'... I felt, dalits in UP were lot more empowered, despite Mayawatis/Rita Bahugunas/Mulayams/Rahul babas....

Nothing concrete has yet emerged from the high-profile visit :( I hope she sets tone for some key issues: Terrorism, nuclear support, climate change, tie-up at corporate level, etc. We look up to Hillary and her President to lead the world's political leadership out of the current mess, on all fronts... !

Indian minister, Jairam Ramesh, might have raised a mini-storm by talking about 'US pressure on India', on climate change. I would rather say, we should take the initiative to show to the world, we care for our environment. We owe it to our children...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Now TV Banking too...

The idiot box just got less idiotic !With TV Banking launched by ICICI Bank, you can get all info regarding your loans, accounts, deposits etc while watching TV ! Seemingly you don't need internet connection ( thanks to Satellite TV), it is available 24 X 7 and ZERO CHARGES (that is quite surprising, how come no service charges! May be an introductory offer :) ! )
For more info, check out

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thursday Thoughts-Karkidaka Masam/Month

This Thursday is different, as today (Friday) marks the beginning of a new month as per Malayalam calender, Karkidakam.

Karkidakam falls at the peak of monsoon ( thankfully, update from my native village in Kerala is it has been pouring, of late). The rains are considered to be the grace of God. Abundant rains mean good crop and a contended life. (Unfortunately, our great civilization still depends on the vagaries of monsoon !) So, earlier when the fields were flooded and most of other economic activities were in pause-mode, people 'looked inward'. Hence, this month was also known as Ramayana Month, a month dedicated to reading Ramayan.
Accoridng to our scriptures, there are nine types of Sadhana-one of them being Parayanam.
Naturally, when the going is bad it is ideal to shift to simple diet, porridge of all essential nutrients (karkidaka kanji). This period is considered to be good for ayurvedic treatment, because of weather conditions and also (may be) it used to be low cost treatment based on natural remedies and practitioners used to be families passing on the knowledge to generations...
This month, we remember our ancestors too...

For Sadhana, any month or moment is ideal. Any of the nine methods/combination thereof, fine. The idea is to be in God-consciousness...So, let me not miss this Ramayana month to BE Near and Dear to My Ishta Devata

I always loved books. It has been a source of inspiration, knowledge and also escape. I belong to a generation which treated books as symbol of Goddess of Knowledge. So, my affinity to books continues to stay on as a part of my ethos. A library, a booshop or a personal-bookshelf always usurps my attention!

It is very late in my life that I am exposed to the fantastic concept, I have been hunting for couple of books. Did not get them in India Egypt, Dubai or some other parts of Gulf. Just to name one of them- Amitav Ghosh's book on Egypt, In an Antique Land...So, finally I placed order for three books. Lateron added three for my son, Percy Jacksons. The process of enrolment, placing order and response to queries has been just fantastic. Finally, I tried to combine the different shipments to get the benefit of lower shipment-cost. Was unable to, due to their genuine difficulty. I sent a mail to them. I get a quick response, they give me a solution- to treat the packages as one in terms of cost, and give me the refund ( though I would get more than one package!)

The sheer speed of response, the keenness to resolve and refund - I am delighted. It is not the quantum of amount ( refund), but their genuine focus on customer service that impresses me. I showed the mail to my son, so that the young teenager gets his lesson on customer-service very early in his life. It is doubtful if I would ever walk into a bookstore hereafter. Would try to divert as much purchase to ( I may prove to be a worthy acquisition & retention for them)

I have heard so many people/trainers talk about different brand experiences. I am personally passionate about customer service. Have heard of Ritz Carlton as one of the shining examples from some international trainers. Robin Sharma's couple of recents posts mentioned too: one about the coffee experience at an airport and room service at a hotel. I have faced such situations in hotel too - also, their reluctance to serve vegetarian food to my satisfaction. Though all hotels across world should conspire to push vegetarian habits to their customers as part of their go green strategy...

Tata Nano

This is a small step for Tata, but a big step for automobile industry! And a proud moment for the customer, and his folks. For Mr Ratan Tata it must be a dream come true. It is his dream that will enable the thousands of middle class commuters move up from a two wheeler/public transport to own a car. Few years back, at a town in MP (Neemuch), when my family ran into my customer who had just availed car-finance told my wife: 'hum jaise be-caar ko inhonhe car-wala banadiya'!
The world is watching... the next, important step is, how the car will actually perform on the road ( and not under ideal test conditions!) That is more critical from the automobile industry point of view, more so with the current slump in auto industry.Last but not the least, Tatas must a find way to tackle the environment concerns. One simple way is to sensitise every customer/dealer staff involved. Tata should convert Nano campaign into a GO GREEN campaign and work on it. Tatas have the credibility to take such a stand and execute. Best wishes to the Team-Tata...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Incredible India This Week

Loads of action over the last week....
  • The recent events brought an end to the excessive obsession of Indian media, TV channels to be specific, to the recent court ruling on gay rights. We have so many problems to handle. But, media will always ensure they don't miss an opportunity to give extra focus on a 'hot' (sic!) topic. Is TRP everything ? Shame of channels like NDTV which has mastered the art of playing sickening topics (gay rights) and visuals of a sad story (Professor Bhatnagar being carried away after the attack) again and again... Is this responsible media ?

Sadly other developments were no source of relief ! But at least media has a new topic(s) to focus on to keep up/improve their TRP

  • Tragic accident at delhi. Delhi metro is one of rare symbols of modern India's engineering excellence. We all are proud of it. The way the project came up, in the heart of dili-ke-dil, chandni chowk, is a brilliant proof of professional execution, at its best. The way Mr Sreedharan opted to quit is an example of true leadership. Let us hope the project, despite the post-quake-tremor-type accident, cranes coming down today, the project moves ahead...
  • Another unique leader is cornered -Kerala CM, VS Achuthanandan. CPM politbureau has dropped him from PB and not taken any action against Pinarayi Vijayan. Achuthanandan, another popular leader in the mould of Nayanar, Achutha Menon and the great EMS, would have preferred a more respectful exit ( whatever be the provocations !) The former LS Speaker (Somda Chatterjee) fought back professionally, completed his tenor with near-perfection and stepped out in style. Let us hope VS also takes a similar path. He owes it to the thousands of his supporters... India has very few political leaders of their stature.
  • Chattisgarh has just witnessed one of the worst Maoist. That is no communism, what Karl Marx and Lenin prescribed !!
  • More painful is the ruling on a murder of a professor at a university in Ujjain. Our tradition is Acharya Devo bhava. But a guru is brutally killed in the holy city of Ujjain! I had seen a budding politician at Nagpur airport, few years back. Today, he is the Union HRD Minister. All his plans for our is of zero value ( Zero, courtesy another great Indian!), if we do not base our education and educational institutions on our core values - respect for culture/elders, etc. A silent majority of educated Indians are demanding justice...
  • Last but not the least, hoonch tragedy in the land of Mahatma !!! So there is a parallel liquor industry thriving in this state where booz is banned. It causes deaths! Gujarath's political leadership should either implement the ban on booz or bury it so that the state does not lose precious lives and not-so-precious tax on liquor! ( Hard choice??)

Testing times for Political Leadership of India!

Friday, July 10, 2009

SMG turns 60

The oiriginal little master, SMG, turned 60.
Best wishes to him and wish him many more such happy, healthy and spiritual milestones.
He is celebrating at Prashanthi Nilayam.
His descipline, dedication and focus helped him to reach the greatness. We have had several greats in Indian Cricket. But the first and original is SMG. He is a living legend!
PS : Photo courtesy: ESPN

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Living WITH God is True Education
Living FOR God is true Living
Living IN God is true Spirituality
--Sri Sathya Sai Baba ( Source- RadioSai)

This should be guiding motto for us, at different stages of our Purusharthas.
As a student, we should be ideal student-focus on studies and all other responsibilities of a true student....
As we enter the next phase, we should be living for God-do all work as offering to God ( without expecting or influenced by the fruits thereof), work within the Dharmic principles...
Living in God is the only way & true 'living' !
PS: This could be linked to stages of Purusharthas. But, we are students for life/continue to lead active life till last breath/spirituality is at all stages of life... all three relevant at all stages also.
Spiritual Food for Thought :)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tribute to MJ... King of Pop (contd)

It is the final journey for the King of Pop.

It is after his death, he is remembered more and missed badly. This is a common phenomena. We fail to appreciate a living legend...

I am able to connect with MJ and his music/dance now, more than before. It is nostalgic for both me & wife. But, it is my son, with his interest in music and dance, who has discovered the genius. He goes around with a hat, in the middle of his term-exam-preparations, trying out MJ's steps.

He was so much innocence in his early days and such a fantastic dancer. I feel ( though no expert), he was more gifted with his dance, than his singing/lyric/music etc. Indeed, he lost that somewhere as he went up the success ladder. So sad...A lesson for all...Worth not emulating!

Some of his popular numbers ring a familiar tone. But, I fondly recall his We are the World. And, I am now more able to connect to his Earth Song. The message of his Earth Song is more relevant today ( & will surely be tomorrow and thereafter). He always had a passion to address the common issues around him. Worth emulating!
A fitting tribute to the King of Pop is if all his fans can live by these ideals of making this world a better place to live...

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Board Exam for 10th Std

The new HRD minister, Kapil Sibal, has kicked up a debate on this hot topic.
He has held the bull by its horn.
One of the strengths of our country is its education and the value we accord to education.
  • One of the first quotes that I read and internalised at the beginning of my early school-days was, 'vidhya dhanam sarva dhanaal pradhanam', in my mother-tongue (mallu!), crudely tranlated the most important wealth is the wealth of knowledge.
  • Years later, towards the end of my student days, I evolved to more encompassing quotes: Education is for Life, not for living and The end of Education is Character - Sri Sathya Sai Baba
  • But all along I was haunted by the need to memorise, and vomit at the exams.Every board exam was a nightmare.
  • A lower middle class back ground ensured education was given the most important part responsibility and every other activity was linked to classes, exams and performance. While I excelled in all extra-curricular activities and enjoyed thoroughly, as I moved up the education-ladder, I had to give up my interests and focus on studies. Given a choice, I would have been happy to be a musician, sportsman, writer.... anything other than a banker, that I am!
  • No regrets... More0ver, I believe in Karma...
  • But, my only child enters 9th std, he is forced to get into the same 'junior-rat-race'. As a parent, it is my dream he pursues a profession of his choice and dreams... Thank God, I can afford it!
  • But, with our education system remaining unchanged over the decades, can he ???
  • It is in this context, Kapil Sibal's announcement is most exciting. I hope, he and his government takes it forward and implement immediately. WE NEED TO FREE OUR CHILDREN FROM THE PRESSURES OF XTH BOARD EXAMS... We have suffered, let us ensure our children are rescued !

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A tribute to MJ

The world woke up to the shocking news of the death of M J. It marks an end to an era in the history of world music . Yes, his music was universal. He brought out one of those paradigm-shifts in the musical world. He will be lovingly remembered for his contributions to music. His 'Thriller' had a universal 'thrilling effect'
While Beatles and others belong to another era, MJ was our contemperory. He was at his peak when we were growing up. I was personally not into the fast-paced western music, but more of the original Hindustani/Carnatic music or ghazals. But there were so many friends who were die-hard M J fans. So, it was always part of the growing up years....
Watching the young MJ on CNN I wondered... He had a very unique boyish charm, he was different. The innocence, the confidence, and of course the exceptional talent, were very evident even at the beginning of his musical journey. I wonder when and how did he lose those characteristics!! He came to be known for his controversies, eccentricities, debt, etc. Sadly he was unable to fulfil his promise to his thousands of fans for 'one last stage performance'!
He will always remembered as a musical genius... May his soul rest in peace...

Monday, June 22, 2009

West Bound

20 June: I have hit the western coast...sea side is beautiful!

As I walked across the corridor to the last room in the floor, my heart missed a beat!! Did they allot me a suite ? Afterall, I am a proud memeber of their loyalty program. It turned out to be a room, next to the royal suite ( though nothing royal about my room - with an extra door separating the suite and my room, my room is more of a servant-quarters, from the location point of view !!)

The view from 7th floor room ! The sea is majestic. ( I hope with all the impact on environment by us, irresponsible inhabitants, the world remains beautiful and majestic for many more future generations)

Some things don't change (yet!). Why such premier properties don't respect my vegetarian preference for food. (If all these hotels got together and had more veg food, they will be making this world 'greener'. )

Then the preference was to get a good night's sleep, ahead of class room sessions next day ( quite tough to sit quietly and listen!)

Late into the night, I was rudely awakened when someone walked into my room.... !!! I heard the noice and immediately sat up. For a moment, I thought it was a dream! ( I am not into noctambulation!!) But the 'intruder', looked quite a gentleman and not one of those filmi-villians, was equally shocked to see me and made a quick exit ! Indeed, I had forgotten to put the additional latch/lock! I got up, locked up and got back. Then I realized, I was a bit shaken !! It was 0230 hrs of 21 June ! A day I will not forget too soon...

As suggested by friends, made a complaint at the 'guest services' counter of their loyalty program,three times over next two days. They have been religiously noting down the complaint, and not giving any satisfactory feedback.

Again, after sometime, I heard someone calling out, for over ten minutes. I had no choice to get up and check out. It was room-service trying to feed the occupants of the adjoining suite... at 0330 hrs !!! The room-service guy forgot there could be occupants in the servant quarters also ! How insensitive :(

At 53o hrs, my alarm woke me up for the third time! I had forgotten to change my weekly alarm at 530 hrs !!!

So, off to a poor start, borrowing sports-language. Things can only improve from here !