I miss my friends...
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Some major devlopments coming my way soon. I have to look to my past for my future. Reasons unknown.
Life... always two steps ahead, always putting you off-balance. Just when I think I have made my decisions, it pulls me back from being who I am not.
Why? Why? Why? Why must it be me? Hell, I am not even ambitious. I don't want to rule the world. Why doesn't the world let me be?
Im quite happy being the little guy out of the spotlight.
Neeram kuda yedri aagi vida...
Swamigale, ungal arul taan yennakk kaaval... Ungal arulla taan vaayundhindh irukken... Ungaloru pech taan ketindd poindd irukken... Kai vitturadengo...
I won't give up.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Let me gaze at you one last time tonight.
Let me imagine the mellow sunscape through a glance.
A quiet gaze, let me cast over you,
Let me look, till eternity, at that wonderous smile.
Not daring to blink my eyes.
An untold look, an unspoken thought, an undefined feeling.
What is it you do to me?
I cherish today, because you deigned to smile,
Because the memory of that smile will ease my dreams.
Night, morning, night.
There is no time when I look at you.
Memories, oh memories, such sweet sorrow!
O silence, my friend, I embrace you.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Good morning India.
Tonight, as the whole world sleeps, I try to visualize my dream for you.
It's a vision of hope, hard work and optimism.
It's a vision of progress and equality.
It's a vision of peace and prosperity.
It's a vision of education and opportunity for all.
Looking to the past gives me courage and hope.
Looking to the future leaves me with many questions, but I know we will make it.
Don't you cry tonight, there's a heaven above you.
The clock ticks by and our destinies become more intertwined.
Imagine a world of togetherness and happiness.
Imagine all the people living in peace.
The promised pure land. We can have it all. We shall have it all.
We are but mere pebbles in the cosmos.
But we shall strive to make the best of what we are, of what we have.
We have but one life. But many destinies to fulfill.
Look up India. See your shining star.
We might be a few aeons away from reaching it.
But we will try till the last breath.
And never give up on reaching there.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Its surprising how after for sometime outside ones country, one feels like one can't wait to get back home. To ones family, the life left behind, to learn skills, to keep up ones health.
The countdown begins... 2 months...
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Theres this nice Italian restaurant called La Stella in Ikebukuro, enroute to our guitar class. We (Manish, Pankaj and myself) eat there quite often on our way to or from the class.
A few weeks back, we trid an antipasto: Baguettes with Mascarpone and Gorgonzola Cheese. Today, I tried it again and I loved it. So guess what! I bought mascarpone and baguettes on my way home. Didn't find gorgonzola cheese, but then we are Indians, no? Chalta hai...
So, ladies and gentlemen, tonight's late night snack is: baguettes with mascarpone, pepper and salt! Enjoy!!!
Don't tear down brilliance. You can't. Instead, enshrine mediocrity. Thats the mantra of Ellsworth Toohey in "The Fountainhead", which is my favourite book. It's a mantra that works because when the majority is bent towards mediocrity, then it becomes the de-facto standard and any attempts to shift the axis is met with extreme defensiveness and hostility. It worked in the book and it's the way it works in real life as well.
I work in an industry that is driven by serving the developed nations by taking the low-level work off their hands and leaving them to do more thought intensive work and creative work. In the process, jobs are created in India and we Indians work on less than 5% of what the foreigners get for the same work. And we are expected to be grateful for it.
I agree with the business and economic concepts that since India has so many people to support, we must take anything we can. But my mind refuses to accept this doctrine when it applies to me. I am not a secondary citizen of this world and I should not be judged by the country I am born in.
My grouse is that, as an offshoot of being a developing nation, our standards are very low. A majority of our graduates are unemployable (as shared by NASSCOM chief with the vice-chancellors of major Indian universities last year), we neither have the drive to get out of our lucrative low-level IT nor the guts to get into product and manufacturing roles. We see an Apple coming out with an iPod. It says: Designed by Apple in California. Made in China. My laptop, camera, GAP tee: Made in China. The chips in the Apple products come from Samsung (Korea). There are Korean and Taiwanese companies working in the chip design, solid state devices, flash memories business and they are major suppliers to the biggest industries in the world. And India? We still do IT services, fleece our employees and felicitate our (already super rich!!!) industry doyens. A Tata Nano might pop up from time to time. But thats about it.
Even within the scope of my job, when I try to innovate, it is met with stiff opposition. When I have an idea that will benefit our product, I have to sell like I am a salesman trying my best to meet the quarterly target. Inspite of your most sincere efforts, they shoot it down mostly citing delivery commitments or purely because of their lack of understanding. And I wonder, what the hell is wrong with the world?
Im not saying Im a brilliant technologist. But Im better than average. I bring a tenacity, will to learn and ability to pick up things fast, ability to see the big picture and grasp the fundamentals of a system, ability to have a knowledge of change and impact on any part of the system. I know all this coz Iv slogged my guts out. Think working 18 hours a day x 7 days x 6 months.
Around me, I see people doing all sorts of crap. They either are only interested in their work deliverables and care a damn for team problems, think about offloading responsibilities, just dont take any responsibility, treat a problem as someone elses problem, care only for their KRA and not about how some change might cause a non-maintainable state of the system, work less and show more et al. It SUCKS!!!
And Im told: learn to adjust. WTF???
What adjustment do you want me to make? Compromise on quality of analysis? Take up and do the work of 3 people when I already am doing the work of 2? It is here that the sustainability of mediocrity and its power takes full effect. By twisting the facts and indulging in groupism, often the mediocre elements have their say in the final decision making.
Adjustment is Ok as a temporary phase. But continued mediocrity is unsustainable. It harms the project, the product and ultimately the customer. I am not bothered about working 18 hours a day. Im old-fashioned. I will follow blindly the people I believe in and trust. But when you are correct and able and it has no positive impact, it is disillusioning. And when the customer is knowingly impacted, when a person coming to maintain the project will have a super-tough task ahead of her/him, it is not acceptable.
What is my crime? That I choose not to be mediocre? Or that I want to do my best and it takes effort on all our parts to do that? Or that I work in Indian IT?
Im not unhappy with my work. Iv done very well within the limited opportunities and I always knew I would. I have the respect of most people and their silent acknowledgement of my abilities.
Im just not able to understand why we deliver substandard products, follow substandard processes and keep doing it again and again.
P.S: I wanted to take this post in a completely different direction, but I guess the quality of my writing is going to the dogs. Paradox eh???
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The hardest knocks in life often come when we are our most vulnerable. Its just to teach you that life cannot be taken for granted. Its also to make you learn how much depth you have. You cannot outrun the moment. And the reason maybe unknown, but in the end, your ego, your complacency, your innocence is knocked back a little and replaced with a little more humility, carefulness, cynicism. Iv learnt not to question it. Iv learnt not to ask. Its pointless. Coz only I can find the answers to my questions. Coz only I can live my life.
I often think about leadership and management. The way they are perceived by society and industry. The concepts that encompass the said entities. I ask myself: Is what is common, the right way to do things? Is what you see right in front of you the only yardstick to measure great decisions? What constitutes sound decision making and what constitutes poor ones? Can one learn to lead even in non-ideal environments? Can one compare individuals as managers? Can one emulate individuals we look upto and succeed? Does being a clone guarantee success/failure?
It's a complicated discussion you know. Coz there can be frameworks to follow, but no guarantee of success or long lasting impact of following the said rules/steps. Down the years, there are companies that have left an ever-lasting impact on industry an society.
How easily we remember the Golden Arches of McDonalds or the association of Coca-Cola with anything remotely a soft drink. The treats at Taj that one talked about in college or the quaint presence of the Strand Book Stall. The roar of a Ferrari to the magnificence of Singapore Airlines.
There are companies that leave an impact on the conscious of an entire nation, an entire generation. Surf with Lalitaji or a generation immersed in iPods. Do you wonder how Airtel has brought India a call closer to each other?
I really think about the people behind these great companies and wonder about their styles, motivations, experiences that they bring to the table.
To me, leadership is sacred. It's about taking the people forward together, leading from the front, being able to be the shield for your team and take a disciplined, but humane approach to business. I don't know about how the pundits perceive leadership: dictatorial, servant et al, but to me the leader is one who stands out for his/her thought-leadership as well as man-management. Today, leaders seem to manipulate their way to get work done, but ideally, I think good leaders would have people willingly commit to their vision.
Above everything, to me leadership is about taking responsibility and being committed to the task/vision/outline, irrespective of whether you can always grasp the big picture or not. It is about standing stead-fast to the norms of what constitutes "correct" in ones own eyes rather than having a committee decide for oneself. It's about being serious about doing a good job that might go unnoticed, rather than a quick-fix that shines, but falls flat later.
I wonder many times where I stand. How good a person/manager I will be in the future, what legacy I will leave behind.
And then an inner voice saying: "You'll do just fine man. Work hard and leave the rest to Me."
Built to last...
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I should have been brain-damaged 24 years ago. But I survived (Some people might debate that :)
I should have been blinded 24 years ago. But I survived.
I should have been dead 24 years ago. But I lived.
At birth, there was an accident made by the doc and I would have been all or some of the first 3 statements made above. But I have lived. And what a life it's been!
It's been a life littered with many failures and disappointments in the professional and personal domains. And yet it's been a life I wouldn't live any other way.
Just coz, losing so many times has steeled my resolve to succeed in life. I know the pain of failure and it helps me succeed gracefully each day. It helps me love the people who love me more each day.
And besides, isn't the life I have a super-bonus that I should be thankful for?
This post is dedicated to Archie. Never give up. The world has to bow in favour of your dreams. There is no other way it can be. Just want it with all your heart. And if you don't get it, work harder.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Am I capable of revisiting my old self? Or will the new-found steel be my ally for this lifetime? I want to go back, but the cold fear of the experienced fills me with dread and it's as if the present limbo is bliss considering the supposed price to pay.
Life always seems 2 steps ahead. Never allowing you to catch up. And just when you think you have it all, there is a void that not even "having it all" can fulfill.
As always, life wins and we stand as bystanders, watching in third person as it swings past. The amazement over its reach and absolute mastery is spell-binding. One must, but marvel at such dexterity. Such precision, such absolute devastation that the human mind wrecks over itself. Winning was given up a long time back. Just holding on seems to be a herculean task.
And then, I will wake up tomorrow.
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Our destinies are intertwined with our countries. Because our lives are left behind. Living elsewhere is living an incomplete life. Because our love is left behind. Money, fame, adulation, success. The world is still seven seas away. Everyone loses. It's what I have learnt from life. It's what I have come to accept from life.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
It is said that well begun is half done. Today has been one of the best days of my life... Today is the start of the new year... I begin this year with hope, optimism, happiness and a positive outlook towards life...
Thank you God.