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Monday, August 2, 2010

RE: Something that answers one of my questions

Hi Kiran,

I just have a line or two to describe my thoughts on the question you posed below…

It's like someone sitting on the top of a tree branch & hurriedly cutting it – without noticing the abyss underneath him/her… we are too moved the constant need to outperform us vis-à-vis the competition, that it hardly matters as to the means employed..  maybe it's like … "Ends justify means".. and hence, the means that we are using now-a-days, may result in "The End"

Friday, July 30, 2010

Something that answers one of my questions

I have gone through this small article in yesterday's ET that kind of gave an answer to my question. Actually when I started asking this question, I knew the answer but I thought if no one is thinking like me, then I could be wrong, so instead of going with opinion and solutions, I took this questions to many learned people. They give a wide range of answers and none of them satisfied me; may be I was looking for them to match the answer I have (my own bias), but then it doesn't matter. Now that someone published in the paper, I decided to make my opinion public by agreeing with this article and appreciating the article.

My Question was and still is: Is the current hunger for growth really necessary? If every corporation (incorporating the desires of individual) drives for more and more and keep learning from their failures and become more and more efficient and complex, what would it lead to? Can our Blue Planet support this hunger, can it sustain the man-made changes or will make it such changes that man cannot sustain? Now to the article:

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DEEP ECONOMY

Bill McKibben


FOR most of human history,the two birds More and Better roosted on the same branch You could toss one stone and hope to hit both.But the distinguishing feature of our moment is this: Better has flown a few trees over to make her nest.That changes everything.Now,if youve got the stone of your own life,or your own society,gripped in your hand,you have to choose between them.Its More or Better.Given all that we know about topics ranging from the molecular structure of carbon dioxide to the psychology of human satisfaction,we need to move decisively to rebuild our local economies.These may well yield less stuff,but they produce richer relationships;they may grow less quickly,if at all,but they make up for it in durability.
Shifting our focus to local economies will not mean abandoning Adam Smith or doing away with markets.Markets,obviously,work.Building a local economy will mean,however,ceasing to worship markets as infallible and consciously setting limits on their scope.We will need to downplay efficiency and pay attention to other goals.We will have to make the biggest changes to our daily habits in generations and the biggest change,as well,to our worldview,our sense of what constitutes progress.The old realism an endless More is morphing into a dangerous fantasy.In the face of energy shortage,of global warming,and of the vague but growing sense that we are not as alive and connected as we want to be,I think weve started to grope for what might come next.And just in time.



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Let me know what you think about this.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Suggestion to Banks with online banking facility - HDFC, ICICI and others

I have sent the below mail to one of the banks and wanted to reproduce it in a public forum for the benefit of other banks.

Sub: Suggestion regarding cheque transaction management.

With the rise in usage of cash withdrawal from ATMs and payments/fund transfers through Internet Banking, customers (at least the salaried class and those who are well versed with online banking) are using cheques sparingly. But then these customers are the most prone to not doing the diligent part of cheque payments, which is maintaining the required amount till the time the cheque gets cleared.

I have a suggestion to your Bank to add value to its online internet banking service by helping customers overcome such issue and all the associated (Cheque returned for lack of funds, penalties thereof and reputation risk and the inconvenience in correcting the error) problems.

All the bank has to do is add a new service in the online banking service that can be called "cheque management." This service should work like this:

1. Whenever a customer issues a cheque, he/she can login to the online banking account and click on the cheque management service.
2. Fill the details of the cheque issued - name of the party, cheque number, amount to be paid etc.
3. Then click on the block cheque amount. After confirmation the said amount will get blocked from the customer's account and he/she will not be able to withdraw that amount from any means and the blocked amount will be used only for payment of the cheque indicated
4. In case there is any change in the cheque payment transaction, customer should be able to unblock the amount and do the necessary.

This should be only a voluntary, customer request based service and the Bank should not have any liability of any mistakes in amount blocked.

The information fed in the online account can be used to cross verify the cheque presented and can be used to avoid frauds too.

I would be delighted if the merits of this suggestion is discussed and implemented in a suitable manner. In case any further details are required, feel free to call me (your customer care has my number - hehehe)

Thanks and Regards
Kiran Kumar A

Friday, April 16, 2010

What makes an ocean

I always had a pessimistic view about the CSR initiatives of companies. So when I got a mail from our Branding group to send them a list of CSR initiatives taken up in our vertical, I simply wrote a run-of-the-mill mail to other locations to forward me the details of initiatives taken up them. I just got three points, first one is about a medical camp conducted at some village where our project is being implemented - I thought what's so great about it, next point is about a 5000 rs donation to CRY by a group of employees, I felt that these are better than me, may be they didn't do anything themselves but at least they believed someone to do some useful work and the last one was the most interesting - as a part of our project implementation, we would need access to certain place and we pay crop compensation to the farmer whose crop may get damaged in that process, in one such case, the farmer is a old man and had a paralysis stroke, he got the usual crop compensation, which might be better than what he would have made from the crop (owing to the drought conditions), the story actually starts here, the two young engineers who were involved in this activity decided to go the extra mile, they discovered that the farmer wanted to buy a pair of oxen with the untimely money he got but was not in a condition to visit a market, negotiate and buy the ox, so these guys helped the farmer in identifying an excellent pair of oxen and then did all the negotiations and bought the oxen. When I saw the photograph, somewhere in my heart I felt very good, I surely have a soft corner for agriculture and cattle owing to my childhood in a remote village but then who doesn't like agriculture and who wouldn't appreciate the beauty of the pair of oxen in the photograph. Great job friends, small drops of good deeds such as these do create the ocean of positive energy and I am writing this post just to add another drop to that ocean


Kiran Alla

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Twist or a turn

My quest has led me to a new route. It could be a twist or a simple turn, not sure at this moment even as I start feeling better. But why write these thoughts on this blog - is it an attempt to project myself, is it to gain acceptance from some known and some unknown readers; I know that these are embedded in my actions and whenever I realize it, I would stop writing my thought junk on the blog but then the second principle that I want to implement is making me write this post.

For quite sometime, since the time I became independent, I have been following the principle that I will do no act that will harm others (at least to the extent my knowledge/wisdom goes) and I will not allow or keep quiet if someone is harming me. This has been the guiding principle for me to channelize my energies and to reconcile my actions at the end of the day. The second principle, about which I have been aware for quite sometime but not been practicing as rigorously as the first one, is that my happiness is not something that is limited just to me, it is linked to so many others and other things that if I just focus on myself, I would just remain independent and will be living in an island and would be going in circles.

Finally after about 12 years of experimentation and intermittent implementation I have decided to adopt the second principle in all my actions. Apart from not doing harm to others and not allowing others to harm me, from now on, I am going to spend time in evolving myself and others around me, with the clarity that only effort is mine while result depends on many other things. I have now decided to fully adopt the principle of "Interdependence" that Stephen R Covey wrote about in his Seven Habits book. Not that I have not practiced it but from now on I will make a conscious effort to make every action a beneficial interdependent action.

I would keep sharing my experiences and would greatly appreciate any inputs, reflections.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dynamic websites

My blogging has surely become quite intermittent. This is not because I have stopped having anything to share but because I am trying multiple things but my blog is still like my native place. I have been trying to bring whatever I am doing elsewhere to this blog, so that the regular don't miss seeing my ramblings (those who get used don't care if it is good or bad, I presume they just need the dose).

I would like to share this idea that has been coming back again and again in recent days and after seeing Firefox launching its Personas, I felt it is good time to share this idea.

I keep visiting certain websites on a regular basis, for example - my personal mail, a news site, my bank site, a certain professional body and so on. All these websites are well designed and look great for the first few times you visit them but after sometime they start getting boring - same color, same fonts, same logos.

I started thinking wouldn't it be wonderful if they make the website look dynamic not just customize/personalize. More and more we are living (spending time) on the internet and since the marginal cost going dynamic is small (I am assuming this here), it would be nice if we can make internet more like the Wonderland that Alice went to. This will provide opportunity for the creative part of us to come out on a larger canvas and keep life (internet) more interesting.

Google has been doing this on its home page and I think people like the surprise element of that without loosing the basic nature. I mean to say that websites can become dynamic without changing their basic character/identity. I can try this on my blog itself but then I am not that savvy and even though I tried to get some help earlier, not much actually happened.

I want this message to mainly reach ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, ADB, WRI, different sites hosted on nic.in, even gmail. Let's see if someone is reading

Friday, February 26, 2010

What to do with the extra money FM gave us - Save or Spend?

After a long time, our Finance Minister gave relief to all of us in the salaried class. By increasing the tax slabs and adding another 20k tax free investment in Infra Bonds, he gave 51000 extra money in hand (if your taxable income is 8 lakhs or more) and 6000 reduction in tax payable if you chose to invest 20k in infra bonds.
 
Splurge or Save will be the big question. I hope that I am correct in saying that my reader group has more or less reached a certain maturity level in our careers and that we are all cash positive and we expect to be on a growth path for few more years. My further discussion would be based on this assumption.
 
What to do with the extra income - splurge or save? Before you choose to decide on the correct answer, let me take the fizz out of the question by adding that there is no single correct answer. The plausible answer is "it depends."
 
One has to live in the current moment otherwise there is no life, you would either have memories or dreams. Memories and dreams are not totally unnecessary - you get cheered up when you recall a happy moment and will get motivated when you start thinking about a dream, in fact they are part of present but alas memories and dreams cannot feed us nor can they make things happen. You have to make things happen in present so that you can realise your dreams in future look back at these as past memories.
 
For me, Money is a kind of measurement. Measurement of various things - value, utility, energy, requirement, needs etc. Of these, utility is the most subjective one that impacts our view about money and all other earthly things. What is this utility, then? Utility is supposed to be the happiness (another subjective word) derived by the individual by doing a certain task, physical, mental or emotional and disutility is the unhappiness or discomfort.
 
Utility, as can be observed easily by any one of you independently, can be derived from various things - eating, sleeping, playing, watching a movie, possessing a rare thing, interacting with someone, caring or being cared by someone, reading a book or watching a nice movie, spending time with someone you like, mostly categorizable as satiating different types of hungers and certain abstract things such as meditation, prayer etc. Sometimes utility and disutility go hand in hand and in such situations we think about the net effect and decide whether to do it or not.
 
End of the day, all of us want our day to be a day in which we have gained some utility and thereby experience life positively. If, on a given day, all you experience is disutility, you would wish that you were better dead than alive. What I am arriving at is that on a daily basis we keep searching for utility like a bee searches for honey - searching has some disutility but finding what we want has greater utility, so we are ready to experience some disutility to gain utility later.
 
 
One of the first steps to make life better - is to identify the things that give us more and more utility. But as money is designed to represent the aspects that have common utility to all human beings, it generally can buy things that all human beings can recognize - you can have tasty food, travel to a exotic destination, but some entertainment, indulge in a pleasure hobby etc etc. And the utility money can buy is the easier one though it may not last long and since the disutility of doing the work to gain money and utility that is gained by spending such money are disconnected we never know if it was worth it (disutility of earning money vs the utility gained by spending money)
 
While we need the utility that can be bought by money to live, there are many other things not related to money but can be done if you are alive. My take is that we should keep using money to buy those things that we need to live - food, house, clothing etc but learn to see the real utility. Wearing a 2000 rs branded shirt may make you feel better and superior to a roadside pedestrian but if you look at the real utility, the value of things that 2000 rs can buy will look like a mountain compared to the branded shirt. You can spend 500 rs at a multiplex but if you make effort and plan and meet few friends for a sport, it will give you far more happiness. So learn to understand yourself and your utility for various things. One of the most important activities I have done as a human being is having good friends. Human being is supposed to be the most evolved being on Earth at least in my conscious and spending time with a mentally evolved human is the best thing I can do after my basic hungers are fulfilled. While fulfilling hunger is necessary you have understand the hunger first, why do you desire something so much is a difficult question to answer but you can keep trying.
 
When you save, you are postponing consumption of things that money can buy and it means fulfillment of someone elses utility. If you have got enough utility for the day, then your postponement of that little utility not cause disutility. Thus right amount of saving is a zero utility/disutility activity and knowing this "right amount" is critical.
 
To conclude, it is a good time to do a review because you have that little extra money in your hand (about 10%) without any additional effort. You are not sacrificing anything and therefore you need not feel bad and decisions that are taken when one is stable would be good decisions. Take a good decision
 
I hope I gave you some good utility in writing this mail and sharing my thoughts with such good friends is a great utility for me. If you want to discuss anything personally, feel free to get in touch with me.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Inovative ways for New Joinees Induction

I received a mail on Linkedin from a contact seeking suggestions for new and Innovative way for New Joinee Induction. He mentioned that they do the Following things:
1. Corporate Induction Presentation
2.Sharing with Company's each and every policies in details along with HR
3.Corporate Office/ Factory round.
4. Meeting with Key person (HOD's)
 
My reply, which I felt can be of of help to other HR Managers is as below:
 
One of the first things a new joinee needs is a friendly peer. Seek volunteers in different departments who would like to volunteer for such work and train them a bit on what to say and what not to and during induction introduce these guys a friendly peers and tell them that the new joinee can approach any one of them for any issue. Slowly they will develop good rapport with one or more old employees, which will help them transit smoothly into the system.

Another innovative thing you can do is to conduct a small competition among the new joinees. Give them a target such as making a presentation about the company to an investor or a customer and give them a list of people they can meet to get information.

Regarding policies and processes, give them a challenge of coming up with the most difficult questions they can think of about the policies and create a repository of the same as FAQs. Everytime someone comes up with a new one that is not covered earlier, reward them with something. That way they will go through the policies thoroughly and will also act as feedback to the company. Later let them go through questions raised by previous new joinees.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dear Shri Manmohan Singh

Dear Sir,

I am writing this letter to bring a message from my fellow Indians to your attention. It is mainly related to what they have been expecting since they voted Congress (and you) back to power with much clear majority. Last time they were not so sure but looking at what you managed to achieve even with left problems, they decided to relieve you of that problem and keeping in mind the global crisis they felt you are the best choice to do something progressive as you earlier did (or appeared to) in 1991.

We have already taken note of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi's sacrifice of position. We know that Sonia Gandhi would never like to be in a position of direct power and that she is doing whatever she is doing so as to create a good situation for Rahul to succeed. There is time for this to happen and the Indian population will wait for that. But meanwhile we are expecting little more than just holding the seat for Rahul from you. In the last 8-9 months we have noticed that you had allowed ministers to be chosen not on merit but on a spoils-sharing agreement within Congress and with other parties. But then you are still the Prime Minister.

We have given you enough time to test the pitch and play defensive for quite a bit of time and if you are thinking you can play out the next 4 years like Dhoni tried to and failed to in the test against South Africa, let us know immediately. It is better to act retired hurt and sit in the pavilion rather than being out there and wasting precious time. As the Prime Minister of a country with 1.2 billion Indians, every minute you waste is equivalent to 33 lifetimes and I request you to keep this in mind whenever you chose to waste a minute.

More important message I would like to bring from my co-countrymen is that we have expectations other than those Sonia Gandhi, Congress, allies of Congress etc have from you. We want to lead a peaceful, harmonious, simple life. Majority of we Indians aspire for few simple things and are ready to live with many imperfections.

First of all, we need to have good food. It is good that Agriculture's contribution has shrunk to less than 20% from a high of 60% earlier but the food still forms the major portion of our consumption, at least 40% to 80% of daily spending by an average Indian would be on food. If you now see the way food prices are growing, whether it is the making of Mr. Pawar or it is because middle class Indians started eating more as former US President Bush said, it is becoming increasingly difficult to have two square meals without feeling sad about the amount of money that has been spent on them. How can a average Indian come out the poverty or below average life cycle if he is constantly grappling with the challenge of increasing food prices. All his increase in productivity, innovation, hard work is getting sucked by the spiraling food prices. Please think about this. As the Prime Minister, you have access to all the intelligent brains of the country in various bureaucratic, political and academic positions, brains that were nurtured over a long period of time and brains that keep writing excellent theories for newspapers and if you can put the best brains together, we are sure that you can come up with a pareto solution, which will address one of the basic responsibilities of modern society - opportunity to live.

Second, please stop thinking in terms of stock market rallies or dips and the macro GDP numbers for sometime. If you ensure that all the entrepreneurs are facilitated to achieve their goals in fair means, they will push the GDP enough. Simplify the regulations and taxation and ensure that you don't have provisions through large fish can escape but the small are caught. Treat everyone equitably. Tax income of every individual and organization and ask no more. Don't entertain smart Chidambarams, who come up ideas such as tax a honest man who wants to withdraw his money from the bank. Be fair and try to see if you can keep Gandhi's words in mind while doing this. Mr. Gandhi, if I remember rightly, said that an individual should earn only as much as he needs in his lifetime. Every individual needs food throughout this life, needs a shelter over his head, would like to educate his children, would like to have some entertainment in the form of TV, music, cinema, arts and other cultural activities, would like to help his fellow human beings in need of it. Few may want other goals, let them do it but don't let them lock in the resources in the form of money to such extent that other human beings are starving as they have no opportunity to earn their bread for the day.

Lastly, it would be great if you can keep asking representatives from different sections, representatives who truly represent their section not those who claim to be representing, what is that one thing if changed would impact them in a positive way, not from financial dimension but from societal and economical dimension. Ask the young kids from different regions, ask the bread-earners, ask the bread-makers, ask the mothers, ask the honest, ask the corrupt, ask the responsible, ask the laggards, ask the MBAs, ask illiterates, ask the roadsider, what I mean to say is develop a feeler network. The objective of our democratic society is not to achieve a high GDP growth or a certain level of per capita income or to ensure that the stock market goes up or to ensure that the interests of few are served, it is to eliminate the "might is right" and other similar brutal forces and help human and other living beings leadn a civilised and collaborative life in which there is always a give and take between living and non-living beings.

May be I wrote a little too lengthy letter but I am sure you would have got the message. Please think about this and do something about it. We have high hopes from you.

Regards
A Indian Citizen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wish you a Happy Sankranthi and what exactly do I wish




This blog post got triggered when my friend Satya sent our Middle Earth group a Happy Pongal e-mail.

I must thank him for the wishes and at the same time for triggering some thoughts in me. I am missing the Bhogi celebrations but I guess I can participate in the Lohri celebrations. But I would like to say something about this "wishing" business. While there is nothing wrong and in fact good that we use this opportunity to say hi (actually saying that I am alive and I remember you all), I have never experienced this wishing business till I moved to Hyderabad, a urban city. Similar to what famous poet Sri Sri says in the "Saapatu etu ledu paataina paadu brother" song of Aakali Raajyam movie, there is no difference between Sankranti or Dasara or Christmas in the Urban City, for the common man it is a day when he forcibly takes a day off and spend some his savings on food, clothes and other little luxuries.

And people like us with incomes in the 70 percentile and above range keep wishing each other - Happy Pongal, Happy Sankranthi etc etc, and take a day off to spend time in front of TV or watch a movie and spend time with family, which are our little luxuries. I think it is time for us to research into the roots of these festivals apart from the mythologies attached and understand the social aspect and we should try to reconstruct our culture in these urban jungles and make the festivals alive. Thanks to internet, we have all the information at our finger tips these days

It is time for us to take time off and indulge in activities like kite flying, making rangolis (men too can help), distribute some vegetables and rice (as is a custom in villages even today), have the pongali (a sweet dish made of late harvested rice and freshly made jaggery and milk) and other home made dishes, wear new clothes and meet friends and relatives and pray to god.

I would also like take this opportunity to mention that despite the fact that politicians are fighting over Telangana and Samikhya Andhra, this festival unites all the telugu speaking people in a unique way.

సంక్రాంతి బాగా జరుపుకోండి, ముగ్గులు బాగా వెయ్యండి వెయ్యలేకపొతే పక్క వారి గొబ్బెమ్మలు తోక్కండి, అరిసెలు, బూరెలు, చక్కిడాలు బాగా తినండి (వండటం రాక పొతే స్వగృహ స్వీట్స్ లో కొనుక్కోండి), పతంగులు లేదా గాలి పటాలు ఎగుర వెయ్యండి, ఉన్నదాంట్లో కొద్దిగా లేని వాడికి పంచండి, అందరూ సుఖంగా ఉండండి :)

Photo Courtesy: Chittaranjan's Photostream, Manavata.org

Friday, January 1, 2010

Who is the Third Idiot?

Media is all gung-ho that the Amir starrer is a mega mega grosser. But novelist Chetan Bhagat is crying that he has not been given enough credit and Amir is supposedly blasting him for asking more than what is agreed in the contract. If these two are thinking that people are idiots, they are two of the idiots in the title and the third would be those who believe these media nonsense.

Though I liked the novel and I'm sure that the movie would be gud, the hype is nothing but nonsense. I was originally planning to watch in a theater, now I have decided to watch in DTH. Even the previous Amir's movie Ghajini, which was a remake, was not as good as the first version in tamil and it no where is close to Memento. Memento is a puzzle from the beginning to the end, Ghajini managed to popularize the almost-forgotten Polaroid camera.

I have read all the four novels of Chetan Bhagat and two of them are based on his own life, which are the better of the lot. One night @ call center was a big flop while 3 mistakes of my life is ok. One can sympathize with his Mother that she couldn't find her son's name but Chetan trying to use it in media is a proof that he is trying to live up to the title.

All those who read his book would know that the movie is based on his novel and if it has really sold so many millions then there is no necessity for Vidhu or Amir to acknowledge it. But if Chetan and/or his Mother is feeling bad about not being able to see Chetan's name right after the movie title, then no one can help it.

Hope 2010 will not be full of such celebrity idiots and that they become sensible over time.

Wish you all a Very Happy New Year once again.