Test Testy

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Avatar - My take

These days almost all the movie, novels, articles seem to be directed in the same direction - selfishness of human beings, how they have/are destroying Earth, and different kinds of possible endings and how forces of nature would stand united etc etc.

Right from Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Matrix, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 and now Avatar. More or less all of them are saying that life will not be as what we are experiencing in future and the continuous digging into nature's resources and breaking the energy chain is gonna lead to some kind of disaster.

James Cameron, with Avatar, took this game to a different planet. So there is nothing great about the storyline. I can see so many parallels from which he must taken inspiration. What is more awe inspiring is the way he made the movie, it is amazing. I have watched in 2D and now decided to watch it again on 3D. I would say it is a must watch.

Every one of us, given a chance, would say will behave like the main character of the film. He made the hero so simple and relatable and he convinces that skills of a human can come handy in a distant planet.

Nothing in the movie comes out of the blue but the imagination and being able to bring it live on-screen is what Cameron managed to do successfully and he has done it in a fantastic way. One worrying thing that occurs to me from all the above message movies, books etc is that while the human species seem to be a harmonius one by nature but the kind of needs we have developed are building a artificial barrier.

I really don't know if I need this blog but I am using it and will keep using it as long as it is available. And that's the concern - I am doing something, which I am not really sure if I need it and at the same without understanding what is price I am paying for it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Conscious Action

As a living being, we all keep doing so many things at a sun-conscious level. But as a species endowed with the advanced faculty of thinking, analysing and assimilating, we can further ourselves only through conscious action.

In so many situation we keep belittling ourselves and end up in a state of disappointment and distress. If you remember Newton's third law - Each action has an equal and opposite reaction; and if you understand that your action requires certain amount of energy and therefore it will have to result in another re-action equaling in energy to that of yours, you will understand the power of your conscious action. One should also keep in mind that focusing the energy on a specific action is critical as directionless energy gets scattered and one cannot see a visible re-action. Instead focus your energy on whatever action you decide to take and you would be able to clearly see the re-action. The re-action could be the result that you desire or something else but then if you direct your action correctly you can expect a correct re-action.

So next time you want a certain outcome, don't just sit there and think in scattered directions, think in a clear direction and focus your energy and action in that direction. That's the first step to achieve a successful result.

I have not discriminated good or bad here as energy has no such distinction, however I believe that life itself is a positive force and therefore trying to do something that one believes is bad would be against our nature and therefore will result in negative energy on us.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Do we need Telangana?

As a guy born in Warangal and bought up in Hyderabad, I keep wondering who will get benefited from the new state of Telangana, if formed. Only the politicians, bureaucrats and lawyers come to my mind. In India, we as the subjects always want to catch up and join the ruling class as we believe that leading a normal life is impossible. So we keep searching for opportunities that can give us an opportunity to be the leader. In our view, leader is the one who gets all the privileges without having to do anything.

Surely our thinking needs to refreshed. We have an excellent country well balanced in everything. The biggest problem we seem to be having is that of population (nothing wrong with this, India has the most conducive climate for reproduction, I suppose) and lack of general direction except if difficulties.

In case Andhra Pradesh gets divided, all I can visualize is the amount of infighting that will get started, which in turn will drive away all the investments from the state. Rather if Telangana people believe that they are not being treated fairly, they should demand for specific things rather than fight for a state. Where were all the so-called Telangana intellectuals all these years. Why couldn't they bring out the problems people are facing till now. Where were they hiding. Why were they not ready to fight for issues of downtrodden. When farmers were committing suicides, where were these students, politicians and intellectuals hiding. Why couldn't they conduct the agitation that they are conducting now, where was the unity and social responsibility hiding then.

Similarly, the so-called Samaikhya Andhra supporters, were sleeping till the time the Telangana issue became hot? If they were sympathetic to issues being raised by the Telangana leaders, why couldn't they bring out the issues and create a platform to discuss and create action plans for elimination of the same.

Personally, I feel that this is an attempt to bring down Rosaiah from the CM post. One plausible solution is to make a Telangana guy the CM and appoint two Deputy CMs - one from Rayalaseema and one from Andhra. Let this apex political team identify the regional issues and how it can balanced in favor of all. As a larger state, AP has greater possibility to balance out the differences, Andhra region will continue to be the agricultural belt, Telangana can be made the Industrial belt and Rayalaseema can be developed as the mining area, legal and not the illegal Reddy types. Focus on creating education opportunities and distribute the funds in proportion to the population and not by any other measure.

End of the day, Hyderabad is a central city. Despite the fact that it has some water problems, it is geographically well connected by Air, Road and Railways. Trying to create three states out of one will be a major disaster. Let the so-called intellectuals sit across the table and come up with a solution that has no incremental cost and is pareto efficient. Jai Telugu Talli, Jai Andhra, Jai Ratanalaseema. Manamandaram Telugu vaallam, manalo tedalu undavachu kanee mana bashe mananu kalipi unchagalugutundhi. Mana rashtram lone manam ila tannukunte, bayata deshallo unnavalla paristhithi emito alochinchandi, ippatidaka telugu vallam ani cheppukunna vaallu, repatinunchi, memu teluge kani maadi telangana, maadi andhra, maadi rayalaseema ani cheppu kovalsi vastundi. Baagupadedhi Raajakeeya Naayakulu mathrame. sorry for getting into Telugu but the matter can be better expressed only in mother tongue.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Visit to Hyderabad

I am traveling to Hyderabad tomorrow and would be there for 3-4 days. It would be good to catch up with all my friends.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

A tough day for an Idealist

Yesterday was a tough day for me. I can call myself a pragmatic philosophical idealist. I started as an idealist, expecting perfection in everything including myself, got frustrated, accepted that there is friction and inefficiencies due to transactional issues, became pragmatic but my search for meaning made me philosophical.

However I never stopped being idealist, only learned to factor in the practical issues and view the result in a philosophical way. But the mixture doesn't seem to be perfect as the idealist keeps pushing things even as the pragmatist keeps warning and the philosopher keeps smiling.

Day before was an eventful day and I got see all the three roles and pros and cons of each one. Idealist caused the maximum trouble but without him it would have been uneventful and lifeless. Pragmatist tried to adjust but was falling short in digesting the Delhi attitude. I met a store manager who believes that all educated guys in Delhi are arrogant and that his internal process is important than listening to the customer, met a Sardar who believes he cannot be bullied by anyone and can bully anyone, saw a security guard who was believes in establishing peace in a peaceful way, a customer care executive who fully realizes that the customer is making a rightful claim but can do nothing about it, and a businessman who believes that selling cheap is the best way to succeed in India.

Idealist pushed it hard, pragmatist tried to control the situation but only when the philosopher took over did the whole thing resulted in a amicable resolution. Egos were clashing, voices were raising, tempers were flaring but finally, only when the philosopher intervened, everything calmed down. The Manager got colored by the shop guy and took it personally but only when I got ready to give up, he saw the truth and when he saw the humility, he could accept the truth. All in all it was an experience from which I managed to clearly see the three roles clearly

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Books and my thoughts

I wonder how people survive without reading books. For me it is no less essential than eating food and sleeping, you can postpone them for sometime but you cannot be fine without them.

I have just finished reading 2 States by Chetan Bhagat and it is worth the money. To extract the maximum value, I am planning to approach the 2nd hand book seller for an exchage. I have the Rick Riordan's final book lying with me and I am confident I can get two old books of my choice in exchange of these two new books. To be honest, I don't think it is necessary for every reader to buy a new book. I have survived because of lending libraries, and Hyderabad second hand book market. I can confidently say that there are few writers who start writing for their livelihood and I am also sure that they wouldn't mind if more than one person reads one copy of their book. I don't know why Delhi has no lending libraries. As a reader I am willing to pay 10% of book price to read it and will pay another 10% if I like it and if I want to read it again and again, I would go and buy that book. If the publishers take cognizance of this, they would save lot of paper without loosing much money. I am sure good authors wouldn't mind for this kind of arrangement.

Though I have been reading soft copies in pdf format, I don't like them much mainly because of lack of flexibility to carry and the lighting effect of LCD screen. I don't I'm ready yet for a Kindle or any other ebook reader.

I'm currently reading "Happiness" by Matthew Ricard and the second one is A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and it is so interesting to see the connections between all these three books. As a human being, endowed with the ability to think, analyse, assimilate, theorize etc etc, we are obligated by nature, life and God (if present as a separate entity) to do something different than other living species, something better not detrimental. Instead of simply eating, sleeping, mating, dying and evolving (and adapting) like other animals, we should do more than simple physical evolution. We should evolve in certain other dimension, people keep talking about emotional and spiritual but I'm not yet sure about what they exactly mean.

This is what keeps me going and makes life interesting, not the money I make or the things I achieve(d) or the things I possess. This process, if you want to call search for meaning or continuous evolution or spiritual journey, is the only thing that keeps me engaged these days. Does it mean I'm satisfied with what I have, I don't think so, I keep thinking about so many things I want to do in future. This happens to be the most interesting phase of my life till now. Hope it will be so forever from now on

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Diwali Wishes

Wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous Deepavali

Friday, October 16, 2009

My learning - 1

Most times you feel that the current problems are no different from the ones you faced in the past and therefore past solutions would work fine. This may be true to some extent, in spirit, all problems or hurdles are same, they are challenging you on your path, but nevertheless it will be foolish to think that the same old trick will work all the time. In reality, everything, except in your thinking, might have changed. It is better not to get carried away by past success and go back to basics and give a fresh thought.

Recall the great enjoyment of planting a new seed and watch it grow, it's the same with overcoming a challenge. Why spoil the fun by using the old solution, which might have got rotten by now. Use your senses along with common sense


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Delhi Rains

Two days of incessant rains has caused havoc to all the Delhi Roads. They have become worse than village roads and driving car on them reminds me of bullock cart ride in my village fields. Summer this year has been quite sever compared to last year, July was the worst and August was irritating, I hope the winter will not be severe.

I managed to pay a visit to Golden Temple in Amritsar lat and planning to visit Jaipur sometime next month. I loved the Ghee dripping halwa prasad. Visit to the Langar and having food there was a great experience. Kesar Dhaba was a big let down. Despite the fact that there was so many people thronging the place, it is poorly maintained. However dessert was very good.

Work has suddenly peaked and for the first time I have spent a completely sleepless night yesterday. Did some focused work that was quite satisfying; similar to one of those nights spent of Adv Corp Fin assignments.

Happened to watch an excellent ad after a long time - Ad of Teri's Solar Lantern, amazing lyrics, music and concept. Unable to find the video online but it is a must watch. All said and done, first 3-4 years post-MBA is a testing period and I hope to utilize it for Deliberate Practice

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Two Banias

It is mere coincidence that I have been reading stories of two banias who influenced modern India. In my view it is also coincidental that the two happen to be banias; however even as they appear to taken two completely different paths one cannot help notice the the striking similarity between the paths. To begin with, for both of them, their way was the only way, both started their career abroad and came back to India to pursue their dream, for both of them children were a part of achieving "their" dream, role of their spouses, though not recognized as deserved, was very important, both developed huge following (both pro and anti), they both loved being called bhai and so on and so forth. If you have not guessed it by now, I am talking about Mahatma Gandhi and Dhirubhai Ambani.

Both the stories happened to have little more of whatever I was expecting and they both did disturb me a bit, in fact they left me a little unsure about the path I am treading now.

As I have started this post with mention of a particular caste, I would also like to make my views about caste also clear. I don't belong to the bania caste and I never consider myself of any caste except that I come from a peasant family. I enjoy anything related to agriculture, anything related to production and value creation in general. I have never used my caste for any favorable benefit and even dislike people using it for favors. I believe in equal opportunity and fully believe that given enough time and opportunity, any individual can achieve what any other individual has achieved if he wants to. Extreme cases may come to mind immediately but then don't take in the literary sense, look at it from a macro view and you will appreciate it.

The stories of the two banias did teach me that to achieve goals one has to be relentless and should persevere and never forget the beginning. Like Glinda, the Good Witch of North advises Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, "It's always best to start at the beginning." Let's get started

Sunday, August 2, 2009

My Friends

As everyone else is celebrating Friendship Day around, I thought I would celebrate it by writing about my "Friends."

I am the eldest in my family and me ad my brother grew up at separate places except for few years, which meat we never strongly bonded in childhood, today we rather share a friendship than brotherhood. This meant that throughout my childhood, I was making friends anywhere and everywhere. I would not try and describe each of my friends but just try and list them in a chronological order; may be I will attempt to write about few in later posts.

Before I start listing down, I, with my whole heart, thank GOD for giving me such wonderful friends, who stood by me in difficult times despite my shortcomings and foolishness, who stand by me, if not physically but with a shadow of their soul hanging around me. As an extrovert, it was never difficult for me to make friends; one can always see me in the open hands posture for a new friend. Some of you might say that friendship develops over a long period of time but for me it is instantaneous and few of you may say that it must be mutual but for me it need not be. I don't know where I read this but I vaguely remember that it is from Gita that God is present in every living being including oneself and from that moment I tried experiencing it and despite being a judgmental person in nature, I started regarding everyone as a friend even if I had a reason to hate/fight them.

Let me get started with the list now:
1. Earliest of my friends is Mahendra from Govindaraopet, Warangal. He studied along with me till class 3 at Kakatiya Public School
2. Suraj was the next friend I can remember. I met him at United High School, Adarshnagar, Hyderabad
3. Next I remember Raghu who provoked me to study hard and come first in class in class 4 again
4. Then come my friends who are still closely in touch with me - Allam Praveen Kumar, M Srikanth, Chandrasekhar (chandu) and M Srinivas from Unique Public School, Suryanagar, Hyderabad. Two female friends Kavita Bandari and Praveena Reddy, I will never forget in my life
5. One of my closest friend with whom I share an intimate relationship - Amuda Vijaya Partha Saradhi, my diploma classmate
6. Ravi Kumar Popuri, a very generous friend and Ravi Sankar, my intellectual friend again from my diploma days, Sampath - a confused friend
7. Another friend, to visit whom, I specifically traveled to remote locations, Siram Srinivas, is special one. He stood by me in one of the darkest hours of my life. I can never forget the question I asked him and the reply he gave. He stood for what he believed and from that answer I built a new life
8. Ramakrishna Pavuluri - a colleague but more of an uncle and friend, MAS Charyulu-again a uncle friend colleague from Bakelite Hylam days
9. My boss friend - Rajendra Kumar Kandikonda
10. My guru friend - Nanduri Jagannadham
11. My enlightened friend - Sadanandam, all the above from Bakelite Hylam again
12. Trimurthy Ragi, a friend from whom I learnt how to live life
13. Sivakumaran - a dear colleague
14. Rummy Sharma, Rohan Kashyap, Ritu Raj, Poulomi Ghosh, Shibabrato Ghosh, Sawan, Satya Prakash, Chidanandam, Bhaskar, Srinivas Reddy, Prashanthi, Suryanarayana DSN, Sireesh KK, Ram Goutham from Middle Earth Consultants, Hyderabad
15. Venkata Raman Govada, a special friend again from Bakelite Hylam days
16. From ISB, if I have to list there are many but those who come my mind are - Rao Korupolu, Suhail Abrol, Anandram Narasimhan, Gauravjeet Singh, Sudhanshu Bankata, Viswa Kirti, Nidhi Reddy, Sonali Sighal, Ratnakar Gore, Arun Kumar Singh, Alka, Amit Goel, Ankur Agarwal, Ashish Naredi, Dhiraj Kumar, Dinaz Vervetwala, Karthik Polasani, Krishna Chaitanya, Narayanan Krishnan, Nisha, Deepthi and Sumit Gared, Parag Rastogi, Pradeep, Pradyot, Swati, Pavana, Shikha&Amit, Shallabh Pal, Varun Khullar and many more
17. Deeptha and her husband (who helped with my AIMA project)
17. Aman Tripathi (where are you)
18. Peter Ballem, Rajeev Kumar, Rajender, Pandyan, Rimjhim, Shirisha Boda, Sarat Sahu, Sujata Joseph
19. P G Venkateswaran and family - my dearest friend
20. Sravan Dasoju - a friend who showered me with his goodwill
21. Sunil Godavarthy (AIMA friend)
22. Anil Rawal, Anil Chilukuri and Abhishek Ranjan from ADAG
23. 100g - a special friend

If I have missed someone, I apologize but if I recall a name, will append this list. I once again thank each and everyone and many more for making my life a worthy one.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Can we think differently

As an ISB classmate put it, what I gained after ISB is perspective about life. I am reproducing a small reading from ET for you, which I found different and interesting. Do read it and leave your comments, if any

Benjamin Friedman

OUR conventional thinking about economic growth fails to reflect the breadth of what growth, or its absence, means for a society. We recognise, of course, the advantages of a higher material standard of living, and we appreciate them. But moral thinking, in practically every known culture, enjoins us not to place undue emphasis on our material concerns. We are also increasingly aware that economic development — industrialisation in particular, and more recently globalisation — often brings undesirable side effects, like damage to the environment or the homogenisation of what used to be distinctive cultures, and we have come to regard these matters too in moral terms. On both counts, we think of economic growth in terms of material considerations versus moral ones: we weigh material positives against moral negatives.
I believe this thinking is seriously, in some circumstances dangerously, incomplete. The value of a rising standard of living lies not just in the concrete improvements it brings to how individuals live but in how it shapes the social, political, and ultimately the moral character of a people.
Economic growth, a rising standard of living for the clear majority of citizens, more often than not fosters greater opportunity, tolerance of diversity, social mobility, commitment to fairness, and dedication to democracy... when living standards decline, most societies make little if any progress toward any of these goals, and in all too many instances they plainly retrogress.

My Comments: From a micro perspective, economic growth is relevant only till the survival goals os a human being are met post which over focus on economic growth slowly grows into an excess. However corporations/firms are created mainly to drive economic growth, expecting anything else creates distortions but then we need to know what level of importance we need to give them in the modern society. Do we want our civilization to be known as the one that printed money and got lost in that mirage?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Business Ethics

This post is an outcome of a random chat with an acquaintance. The random chat after the initial rounds of pleasantries moved towards a controversial topic, which is Business Ethics. Phrases like "healthy competition," "drama of bidding," "business ethics are not applicable for every thing you do," "if i talk about ethics i wont grow," etc were freely used to justify the way contractors engage actively to form a cartel. I tried to argue but then quickly realized that it is difficult to convince a person about ethics in a chat conversation, they have to built on a much stronger foundation.

This conversation also bought along with it another question - how does the current generation regard ethics and morals? In my interaction with many acquaintances, I generally found that people are generally good by nature and would want to help others but then when it comes to things such as ethics that are created by humanity while creating the society, opinions swing widely. But I can clearly say from my past experience that sticking to certain basic principles and ethics is NPV positive in the long-term and long-term means a time horizon of 2-5 years. Many times who take shortcuts quickly loose out but then they never realize that it is their deeds that resulted in their side-tracking; rather they keep blaming luck, situation and unfairness around, which in fact they have been actively contributing to.

The person with whom I chatted also called me idealistic but then without ideals, would we have the so-called civilized society and the life that we all are trying to lead. How does it sound when two thieves divide the houses that they are going to steal and how ethical would it be if two rapists starts sharing who they would be raping next; sorry for the harsh words but then that is how I felt when the person started justifying sharing of contracts between the parties that are supposed to be competing, which is nothing but sharing public wealth (tax payers money) privately.

I have not been blogging actively, which is not because I've been very busy rather it is just the opposite. Corporate world has failed miserably in engaging me while ISB was exemplary in that. Just learned that a batch mate is joining a Phd program in US, which I think might be for similar reasons. Having spent about 5 years in Training, academics do pull me but then hardcore academics may not be for me. I'm trying to engage myself by coming up with ideas and discussing with classmates but then overcoming the laziness to develop them into full-fledged B-plans is proving to be a tough thing but I'm working on it. One of the biggest pains post-ISB has been the steady payments to be made for education loan. I am just weathering away the dull times while trying to bring in some cheer. Hope Varuna, the Indian Rain God shows some mercy on us and shower us with his blessings and the much wanted rains. Good bye

Sunday, June 21, 2009

After Harry Potter, it's Percy Jackson

Since last 10 days I've been engrossed in the Percy Jackson's series after reading a book review in Business Standard. While this series is completely different from the Harry Potter series, lot of similarities can be noticed in the vocabulary. Both the Heroes have similar character and they would easily give their life for their friends.

I've just bought the final book - "The Last Olympian" and eager to finish it but at the same time concerned a bit that this is the last book.

Coming to personal life, my office got shifted from Nehru Place to Gurgaon - 7 kms becomes 15 kms. This is one development I don't I would like despite the fact that I've been given a separate cabin.

Work otherwise has been a roller coaster ride. Working with a company that is serious about a specific sector is a great advantage. You go deep but then as the sector is in nascent stage, things wouldn't be smooth. I never thought I would be thinking about Energy, Power and Electricity after leaving Bakelite Hylam but then God always has a plan. Last week I received a mail from an old colleague with whom I worked for very small period. But this guy managed track me, get my mail id and sent me a message. There are many more Go-Getters out there who are making things happen.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Right time for an IPO

With the equity markets in a upward swing, I think this is the best time for an IPO. Situation is similar to the one prevailing Reliance Power IPO issue. Everyone is bullish and demat penetration has gone up significantly, which means lots of applications. If other things are taken care, any IPO in the next few days, though procuderally very difficult, will be a big hit.

I have decided that instead of trying to write long and in-depth posts, small thoughts can be easily shared and thereby keep the blog active.

The current upswing can be explained only in Indian terms as normal valuation models fail to explain the fall and rise. What changed in two months - a stable government, mixed signals from US (minimum impact from Obama's taking charge), some stock specific signals, lots of big investors missing the election-results rally making them go after midcaps, etc etc.

Real estate is still precarious, trust levels between the developers and buyers at an all-time low and job-loss worries at an all-time high in the IT sector. But the prices have still not come down to reasonable levels and therefore better hold for some more time before taking the plunge.

Class of '09 appears to be placed fully now and I hope this placement season acts as a warning for the modern day gold-hunters, who assume that just by getting admission to a good B-school would ensure a high-paying salary.

Having run around for 14 years, I have decided it is time to hit decelarate button for sometime and allow others to go ahead and instead spend time on more important things in life. Lot of time is now going in to reading fiction, playing squash, watching movies with family, buying vegetables etc etc.

Delhi weather is becoming more agreeable and I think coming weeks would be much better

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is amazing, it works

Technology works, not to create magic or inconceivable stuff but to remove the hindrances created by bureaucracy. When I first saw Jaagore ad, I was impressed but not motivated. It was a kind of cheek-slap ad but then we Indians have been taught to show the other cheek (we follow it not because we believe in the principle behind it but rather due to laziness or due to the marginal effort required (MBA stuff).

But then the Jaagore team kept on slapping, throwing cold water on sleepy faces in different ways. In the end I decided to give it a try. First I visited the site and created a form, which is quite simple. But then the biggest value addition is the mention of the ERO details alongwith with a mobile number. I tried calling the ERO but the response was that they have closed enrolment due to ongoing assembly elections and that he doesn't when they would open the counter again, my motivation went back to square one (system doesn't work). During this time, I explained all this to my colleague, who too registered online but then did nothing after that (average Indian). After couple of months, I received another follow up mail from Jaagore saying that enrolment in Delhi is ON and that I can do it now.

The Go-getter in me woke up. I called the ERO who didn't respond but then I used my Google skills (my perception about googling is that by now people have developed so many ways of googling, some efficient and some inefficient that there is a need to conduct Certified Training Programs, basic, advanced specialist etc in googling skills) and found out the landline number (someone will lift the phone, no caller ID hehehe) and found out the location where I need to submit the form BUT then the person said that the date for submission is gone. Alas, after so much effort, it's back to square one again. But then the go-getter wanted to finish it on some action note, so I mailed to Jaagore.com explaining what all happened and request them to check if what I found is true and if something could be done. I received NO RESPONSE. Average Indian Initiativee, after all, at that point it appeared to me that Jaagore's effort are limited to backend and to achieve real success we need local support too. I told about all this to my colleague who happily blamed the system once again like an Average Indian and I joined. After all the blaming, we decided to check with the ERO of his constituency and found that enrolment is open there.

I finally decided to physically check the whole thing and the next day turned up at the place where forms are to be submitted along with all the proofs. After some teething issues, I managed to submit my form and get an acknowledgement, which neither has a number nor a due date. I finally decided to rest the issue and came back. All this happened a month ago.

I kept searching the Delhi online voter list, which is hopeless as everytime I give my name, it brings me back the list of ALL VOTERS in the constituency. I nevertheless tried to check my name but it was useless (the data was as of Feb but I was hoping in vain that it will be updated regularly). Finally on last Saturday I wanted to give it a try again and visited the website of Delhi CEO (interesting abbreviation) and found a number where I can call to check the status. I called the number, gave all my details and then WOW, it worked, I got a alphanumeric number of EPIC (Election Photo Identity Card, :) ). Equipped with this information, I wanted to see my name in the voter list, I visited the site with no positive result again but found a link to a form in which I can punch in may mail ID along with my EPIC number and I'm supposed to get my voter details. I did everthing necessary and expected a mail by evening but looks like even the system is on Holiday.

But then the reason I titled this post "This is Amazing, it works" because at precisely 9:56 AM someone in the CEO office clicked on send reply to all mail requests and I got the enclosed mail along with my voter details, yuppie.

I now can confidently say, in India, world's largest democracy, systems work and that I am gonna vote this time. For those who missed the deadlines and lost motivation, I must say, there is hope. Once the elections are over and the new government comes in, you should finish submitting your Form-6, we don't know if the current political leadership will handle the hung situation like P V Narasimha Rao handled and avert a repoll. Both ways you will be a winner but till then let's Hope for the best.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Election <ceo@mail.nic.in>
Date: Mon, Apr 27, 2009 at 9:56 AM
Subject: Voter & Ps location details :UBV1xxxxx6 at 27/04/2009 09:56:03
To: kiran.aalla@gmail.com

Voter & Ps location details UBVxxxxx6

Attachment: 090427r001s6717.html (removed)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Test Blog

I'm trying to experiment with the new feature blogger has come up with. Considering that I get most of my ideas at work, I suppose I can beat the proxy settings and keep posting on my blog. If this works, you can expect some very interesting posts coming your way shortly


Saturday, April 4, 2009

It's Graduation Day at ISB

It's that time of the year again, when 400 odd ambitious and smart youngsters (some oldies too) look forward to receive their graduation certificate (though a dummy one) and toss their Hats in unison.

Lots of people have been asking me about how ISB Class of 2009 has fared in placements and I think last weeks newspapers covered it clearly and adequately. This batch, only after the founding batch has faced problems with placements, thanks to financial melt down and the bearish outlook. But according to me, this is best starting for a long and successful career, a career that is built on one's real capabilities and "Reality" and not on someone's bullish exuberance.

Campus recruitment is a market place in which it is the Employers (buyers)who should be desperate to get a right person for their organization but I don't think it is a place where a student targets a company or two and gets into them. I am not complaining about what happened to our batch last year but then I wouldn't have complained with what happened this year too.

By the time FT reaches this batch for its annual rankings after 3 years, I would bet that this batch would be atleast as good as other batches if not better. I wish each one of the Class of 2009 batch a great success in the year ahead. I hope that Class of 2010, which would be getting started sometime next week, keeps this in mind and doesn't focus on placements but rather focus on building capabilities to handle tough situations.

Feeling good that I have been able to finally finish this post. See you all shortly

Friday, April 3, 2009

Vote for

It's election time in India; slowly but steadily election fever is drawing away eye balls and air-time from the financial meltdown and recession

My tryst with voting this time got triggered by Jaagore. Though the Jaagore initiative didn't quite meet my expectation, it triggered action, which I think is a great achievement in the social space. I finally managed to locate my ERO and submit my voter registration form.

Other dimension of this election is that my earlier boss Shri Dr. Sravan Kumar Dasoju is contesting from Secunderabad parliamentary constituency (Andhra Pradesh). I had sensed this when I met him before moving to Delhi. This person has the energy, passion and guts to take a decision and follow it up with action. He was Head HR in ca reputed IT company in Hyderabad but then he listened to his calling. I hope there are more candidates like this.

With his background I'm sure he would add great value to national skill building initiative. He is so passionate to help people from rural background and those from backward sections, which I happened to witness during my short stint with him. Hat's off Dr. Sravan.

Very few believe in what their heart is saying and very few act upon it. By giving opportunity to such a person, Chiranjeevi, Praja Rajyam Party President, has done a great job. I wish people of this contituency recognize the opportunity to elect such a person who can positively influence livelihood of many sons and daughters of the country.

A website has been set up to support him and I urge all the voters of Andhra Pradesh and Secunderabad constituency visit this site Dr. Sravan's web page and learn more about him.

I located his speech on Youtube, which I think is average and doesn't fully convey what this man really is.

I wish him the best and wish that more people, who believe they can contribute through politics, take such step and change this country.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

My thoughts, mixed randomly - 2

While I have abandoned the translation thing, I thought I would share something other thought that occurred to me while at ISB and is still with me.

My question was: How long would firms try to outdo themselves and analyst forecasts, quarter after quarter. And in this mad rush what exactly are they achieving or ending up doing. For me most of the business (and even human) world grows by exploiting nature. There are very few businesses that don't draw from nature. Human beings, as individuals are less potent than they are when they are organized into societies and further into focused institutions called business organizations.

Till a certain extent one can draw from the nature without really impacting the overall picture but as the exploitation crosses a certain limit, there will be impact, small but slowly growing into a devastating one. Once the damage is done, it is difficult to comment whether it can be reversed to any extent. Government, an institution that has been established by society to manage the common activities of the human society surely takes advantage of the authority and keeps on imposing taxes as a price for exploiting nature. But what is government made of? Nothing but other human beings; would these guys in government think differently than those in business? I doubt. They to respond to the situation and react in a way that at least doesn't harm them if not benefit them.

Nature, which we are exploiting without even blinking for a second, is slowly but surely undergoing significant change, definitely a damaging one. For an individual, life is normally in harmony with nature but organized business distorts the harmony and separates the individual from nature and in a certain takes away the sensitivity to Nature and the natural balance.

In our attempt to prove that Markets are perfect and that we can value anything intelligently, we are bothered about discounting the future cash flows and more about the underlying assumptions. And as far as I know, none of the analysts or financial modeling experts consider sustainability or impact of nature while determining terminal value unless the effect is substantial and is well known at that time.

We keep coming up different fads but I really don't see the conviction and belief to take decisions that have very little impact in the short term but have great impact in the future. Somehow we seem to be too selfish and don't care much about what happens after 20-30 years forget about 100-200 years or a 1000 years.

The ad on oil conservation in which the boy comes up with the idea of setting up a cycle repair shop when he grows is a nice depiction of our day to day behavior. We keep acting as if someone else has to come and tell us what to do. This is true even for the top men leading countries and corporations, they too are expecting to be told. If we don't tell ourselves what to do, surely nature will come up with another tsunami or a drought or a hurricane or something far more devastating and unexpected to give the message.

There is nothing wrong in leading a happy life but acting aggressively with Nature is not the right way to happiness.

May be on the extreme side but nevertheless with some truth in it, Stacy Blackman rightly says Did B-Schools Create the Financial Crisis?. Click on link to read more.

My closing thought is this - may be it is time for us to think and decide if what we were trying to do in the last few years in the name of different ideologies is correct or is there are a need to fundamentally change our approach towards the connection between life, business, nature and society and factor that into the day to day life.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pics from Agra Tour

Some pics from my recent Agra Tour

My thoughts, mixed randomly

A deep thinking classmate of mine recently shared a link through his gtalk status message. The link led me to arecent post about the commencement address delivered by J K Rowling at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association.

It's a great piece of reading and inspired me to come back to the blog that I have been ignoring for quite sometime. Coincidentally I came across a piece of paper on which I scribbled my thoughts long back, really long back, back then when I had no idea about what I would do in life.

I thought it would be idea not just to share the link that I could relate strongly but also share how my thoughts were long back and still are. Here it goes:

Victory brings delusions to our mind on the other hand failure brings wisdom and development of personality. Person who didn't experience is like the Lord who doesn't know truth. Failure hits truth on your face. Difficult situations evoke divine qualities such as humanity, empathy, unity etc. Great are the chances for a person to become a demon while in pleasure, for thinking to go bizarre and lead to destruction of the man.

Don't blame difficulties rather listen to silent lessons from them. Pleasure is a kind of intoxication. If you are weak, don't surrender to pleasures rather enjoy and let other enjoy life; don't become a pleasure addict. Not everyone may not be able to speak truth all the time, if you are like that too, at least accept the truth, you will slowly realize that only thing permanent is truth. Heart is like a horse, unless you tie the right blinders, it run towards the truth. If you don't do that, it will start wandering and start getting lost in the unreal illusions.

Huh, I never knew it takes so much effort translate something from my Telugu to English. So I take a break now and would come back later. Meanwhile go through
J K Rowling's address and give it a thought.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

ISB ranked 15th by FT

ISB has proved that it is no one-day wonder by climbing up in the latest FT rankings to 15th position from last year's 20th. Check out FT Rankings 2009.

I'm sure all the ISBians are greatly elated. While none of the ranking mechanisms can fully capture the picture completely, it can act as a proxy. This would surely attract more number of international students adding to the diversity at ISB.

India surely needs more schools such as ISB considering the Human Resources and the demographic dividend that we boast of. We seem to be moving in two extremes - on one side we have countless number of colleges that offer MBA's or the equivalent there are only few colleges that produce MBA's who count. Either the existing colleges tighten the belt and start treating MBA as a course not similar to MCA or some other course or let new colleges that understand the essence of MBA be set up.

The over focus we have on the result that too the short-term puts too much stress on the system. Even though ISB or the other top colleges give no assurance of placements, I can safely claim that more than 80-90% of applicants believe that admission to ISB means a salary 20% more than the average (interesting statistic, isn't it).

We need more and more entrepreneurs and I hope the system becomes a facilitator rather than being the enormous hindrance, which is what it is now. To get into a job, you need no license but to get into a business, you need 101 clearances and to acquire them you have to graft the officials. Lots of energy gets drowned in overcoming the system. It is further more funny to see the politicians claiming the achievements of private sector as their despite the fact that the private sector not only has to earn and ROE but also to pay for the grafts.

This time placements at ISB would be a different game compared to last year and I hope that the challenging times would bring out some bright entrepreneurial diamonds. Good luck Co 09

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Random Musings

Last week was fully occupied by Satyam scam, most of the time being spent in jumping to extreme conclusions - one that says Raju confessed the truth and that Satyam is in trouble and the other being that he used the confession letter to start another scam and that money has been siphoned to Maytas/property buying, so Satyam may recover.

I have quite a few close friends (apart from ISBians) who are with Satyam and Maytas. Incidentally both the sectors these firms operate in have been hit hard by recession already and this scam comes another major blow.

Only reason that I could come up with for Raju's action is that as one climbs the ladder of success, he starts attracting too many close people around, who may not be connected to the reasons of your success and in the noise of their advise, rationale is lost and results in this kind of disaster.

I have traveled to Lonavala near Mumbai on an official trip. The most horrible thing is the Mumbai traffic. During this trip I managed to finish Arvind Adiga's "The White Tiger," and it's effect on me is this - it amplified my hatred towards the luxury car owners of Delhi (though Honda City, which is used in the book, is not a luxury car).

Traffic in Delhi is always a Prisoner's Dilemma situation. Everyone wants to go ahead but knows that following rules in a normal situation is the best behavior but then in Delhi no day is a normal day, so breaking the traffic rules is the only way to reach your destination. Always stay in the wrong lane, better in the middle of two lanes so that you can turn to the one that is moving fast. Every time I enter a traffic signal situation, almost invariable the car from the left cuts me and zooms ahead.

Every other car driver (or owner) thinks that his car is a Ferrari and every other car has to give way.

The other book I'm reading a little slowly is the Biography of Warren Buffet, written by Alice Schroeder. The author reiterates time and again that Warren Buffet has made much higher returns than the market while taking less risk. I have read little about Buffet earlier and I am relatively new to the Market, but from what I read, I felt that Mr. Buffet was taking unsystematic risk in a systematic way, there could've been a gain or loss. This must be the way to beat the market - take unsystematic risk in a systematic way and insure yourself.

Delhi's winter has been horrible and I am sure that the summer would be too. I am planning to visit Old Delhi and take long walks as I used to do in Hyderabad before the weather becomes really hot. Would appreciate any guidance.

That's all for now. See you again shortly

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Working as an Employee - Risks and Rewards

My father was an entrepreneur and this always made me believe that entrepreneurship would be my way too. However by the time I finished my diploma engineering, I had no option but to take up a job, may be I could've still tried to start something but then entrepreneurship was not my priority, there were many other important things for me in life. So instead I took up a job.

One of the biggest problems in a jobs is that one is controlled by another human being. However intelligent or smart a boss is, unless he behaves as a human being instead of the artificially created "boss" character, it is difficult to work under one. Fortunately I ended up with some very good human beings as bosses, except the second one who was too caught up with being a boss.

The risk reward equation for me so far as an employee goes like this - you give your best, you may (70 - 90% of the time) get the best, you be mediocre and you'll get the average (90 - 100% of the time), you do mistakes and errors, intentional or unintentional and you'll get fired (0 - 20% of the time) but then when a bolt strikes in some form you can get fired (0 - 100% of the time) and when you want something to happen,it rarely happens( happens only 0-10% of the time). So you've to be patient enough to make things happen and persistent enough with your effort to reap the reward but you can surely laze around and stay far from the firing line in a job.

But the biggest risk of factors that you have no control over affecting your fate is the biggest risk. You feel I've given my best but why has this happened and sometimes I am ready to give my best but then would it be enough.

I joined Bakelite in a very interesting way. After losing my first job, I was desperately trying to get a full-time job and doing everything that I could think of. But then, back in 1994, there were few job advertisements forget about job-sites to post your resume. On one such day, I received a letter forwarded from my village that was sent by Bakelite, Nacharam unit asking me to attend an interview in week. I never knew Bakelite has some openings nor I sent my resume to them, later I learnt that Bakelite guys have picked up addresses of the top to students from our college and sent us interview letters. After two rounds of interviews I managed to get that job.

I finished 14 months of the 24 months training period, during which time my immediate boss and his manager were both impressed with my performance. Around this time there was a change in the management and there was a directive reduce costs. The HR manager also had a target, he could do nothing with the unionized staff so he decided to transfer or throw out the trainees and newly joined supervisors. And this news leaked out to us. For the first I experience the risk associated with a job and how one's life is in control of someone else. I was very frustrated, I questioned the HR manager - why he couldn't foresee this and why did he recruit us.

You trust someone in good faith and if he happens to be not in control of events but his actions/inactions affect your future; this is what is happening at Satyam with all the employees, I feel.

One thing I learned from the Bakelite episode was that there is always a risk of loosing your job due to a reason that you have no clue or control about. And due to this you may end up in a very bad position even if for a short while. Even though the probability of such thing happening is close to zero (not zero actually), as one wouldn't like to go through the distress situation and wants to keep that probability to zero (not close to but actually and firmly to zero), everyone who is taking up an employment must be prepared to face this risk.

Some risk mitigation measures would be actively pruning your Resume, having savings worth 6 months expenses all the time and actively maintaining relationships.

As human beings, the worst thing to happen for us is to live in uncertainty. We would like to know what is happening, if not about the next 100 years, atleast about the next 100 days.

"This too shall surely pass," however I wish that every Satyamite (not just employees) is favorably blessed by the God.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Management and Handling Ambiguity

Before I joined ISB, I received feedback from my Manager (s) that I need to improve my ability to handle ambiguity. They even said that as you go up there will be more and more ambiguity and that one has to learn to handle it.

I could understand that ambiguity increases as you go up, I never really understood how they were handling ambiguity and how their actions were improving the situation. Everytime a unexplainable decision was taken, they blamed "Management."

It is very interesting to note that this is the same thing I observed even in the old economy firm that I first worked with. Everything was blamed on the elusive and invisible "Management." At that point I was in the junior cadre and thought that the senior managers formed the Management and used to get little surprised when the senior managers themselves blamed "Management." But then when I saw the CXO level also blame the "Management" I couldn't stop myself from wondering where/who the hell is this "Management." But Mr. Ramalinga Raju of Satyam, by taking complete blame on himself has kind of answered my question that the "Management" lies at the top and now where else.

How foolish does he expect the shareholders by stating that he and he alone was responsible for all the non-sense. He may have given the okay for all the decisions but then every other top manager must have known what was happening and had all the opportunities to raise alarm. To this a classmate of mine said that who knows if someone has raised an alarm and he was stopped. But then raising alarm is to get attention and unless you get enough attention and thereby some action, you shouldn't stop.

May be this is a reflection of our behavior. As someone said, we are ready to fire anything as long as it is over someone else's shoulder; we will never take responsibility and I think this explains why the "Management" Devil never dies - it doesn't matter if it is old economy or new economy. We have so much pressure to comply with the boss that we are afraid to talk against the decisions that may harm the company forget about taking decisions.

In my view handling ambiguity is not sitting there and waiting for ambiguity to get cleared; instead everyone in the management has to work to reduce ambiguity at each level and give decisive direction to lower levels. I had seen that very few managers actually accept ambiguity and talk about it lest try to reduce it. In fact their behavior adds to the ambiguity.

What I would like to say is that every employee at every level is part of Management and that they have take responsibility to the possible level and reduce ambiguity in company's business and take decisive action towards performing company's business. This is what would benefit all the stakeholders not the shareholders who just give the money. Only then can we expect to rise against the tide not just along with it.

It is a day of great importance to India and to all the so-called Corporate Managers and Leaders. When I read Mr. Raju's letter, it appeared to me like a suicide note acquitting everyone else from any responsibility.

I must share this small discussion I had with my colleague who is active in the stock market the day-before-yesterday about Satyam. He was saying that since the company had cash, he would buy the stock if it falls to Rs.100/- as at that price it would be lucrative for other companies to takeover; my comment was that one cannot be sure how the money would be used and that may be the reason no one is yet making a serious effort to takeover and now that whole cash has vanished in to the past. We can only wait and watch what happens to MAYTAS (reverse of SATYAM)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Very Happy New Year

I always wondered why do we celebrate a New Year. Strongest association I have with a new year is that I would keep wrongly writing the year part of the date for sometime. Apart from this the zillion number of times I would repeat wish you happy new year. It feels nice that we have some reason to gift a wish and smile to each other as we tend to make good mornings formal and serious very quickly even at any place. In the bigger scheme of things I don't know how a year matters but as human beings we tend to make any kind of measure seriously and a year seems to be an important one.

Last year at ISB, I wasn't very happy with my performance, despite my diversity, dean's list, success in the most-participated-at-ISB-competition, I wasn't shortlisted by any of the consulting companies but then I have learnt my lesson in life that your plan and God's plan need not be the same and if your plan fails, God's plan will prevail - nice and easy way to excuse oneself of any sort of failure. After all human beings are supposed to be thinkers to make sense (awkward phrase).

2009 promises to be a year of different kind. Mankind screwed itself in a big way and created a catastrophe of a different kind. Will the collective intelligence succeed in coming up a with a text book solution and be able to implement it as meticulously; would be noble-prize or other-great-prize winning intellectuals be able to predict how the future would like; would be growth again or will it be sustainability or will it be the Green agenda. Lots of questions but no answers, in fact I don't think even the most powerful man can predict what route humanity is going to take in 2009.

We can take respite in one thing atleast. 2009 cannot be as bad as we are expecting it to be. Take my own case, my firm has been awarded the first ever license to build and operate a transmission line on the first day of the year and the project is going to take off even while three other project bids are under process. For me it's going to be year completely different from 2008. 2008 despite bringing me the most success in terms of money and fame has been a disappointing one from learning perspective but 2009 is already promising.

My reading has picked up and I'm reading a wide variety of books. I am reading Snowball, Stories by Sudha Murthy, some nice Telugu literature, apart from all the random readings. I have just started Snowball and I don't know why but I see lots of similarities between this book and Godfather (by Mario Puzo). Let's see how I would feel as I move further.

2009 is a year of challenge - it's going to test each and everyone of us on how we are going to take it up and handle it. Just keep the phrase "This too shall pass" in mind if you ever get bogged down