Posted by: tanujit | May 7, 2007

What do you do ?

A very simple question that we often answer nearly everyday of our lives is “What do you do ?”

To which we often answer without even blinking out eyes. But here is an article by Penelope Trunk where we are forced to think that it might really be a good idea to devote more time in figuring out the answer of this question.

“What do you do.”
They want an “elevator pitch” — one or two sentences that
you could get out in as fast as an elevator ride.
It’s a very short answer, but that’s why it’s so hard.
Because we think of ourselves as so complicated and multidimensional,
but the answer must be simple and straightforward.

She goes on to say that investing time and money in your answer to this question is worthwhile, since in one form or another we are subjected to this question everyday. I don’t know about the money part, but definitely my time and effort are worthwhile investment on this question.

Posted by: tanujit | May 4, 2007

Like me… Me Like…

“Everyone thinks of changing the world,
        but no one thinks of changing himself.” 
                                               – Tolstoy.

Well there is one question which has always been at the back of my mind, and kind of bothered me every now and then.

What should be the work that ones does ? Should it be in the field that one likes (i.e should one make a career out of ones hobby or something one is good at) or should one be in a field that earns him a decent bread and butter and leave the hobby to be just that … a hobby.

One would have his own views regarding this subject. Being part of the typical Indian middleclass where becoming a professional (read Engineer, Doctor, MBA) and getting a job ( read with a decent pay, though the bar has been raised quite a bit now thanks to the Information Technology boom) is the highest priority in ones life right from the time one is put in the realms of the education system. Oh also in the above list if you are an employee of the Government, then the measures are quite different….akhir security bhi important hai na bhai !!

Well in all this ruckus of shaping you future, the hobby is almost non existent or takes a back seat ( more like the last seat in the bus of life). Anyway’s by the time one has climbed a few steps in the tall ladder of career, makes a decent living and has some time for himself. The other problems of life(er…you can guess) and office politics engulf him and there is still no time or energy left for that elusive and distant hobby.

Others may counterpoint by saying that they have kept their hobby alive despite all the things that life throws at them. Kudos to these people for being so resilient, but for the average Joe (me being one of these) this is bit too much of an ask.

There are many examples of people who have been very successful by just doing the things that they like the most … follow you dreams. Not to be a pessimist or anything, but that is a again too much to ask, what if the only dream is that of survival ? Finally all we do is our work and learn to very good at that, but it may not be the thing that interest us most in life, and being in India one still cant go about and follow ones dreams without starving. So what is the solution for this problem, well “compromise” … “Suakh se bhi kisi ka peth bhara hai kya !!”. We continue to live in the little world that we have created for ourselves.

So what to do about this situation ? Well we cant the change the world, if we don’t change ourselves.

Taking the advice will start with myself…

 

P.S : Still trying to figure out how to do that …

Posted by: tanujit | May 2, 2007

The "Oxymoron" that India is…

Reading the following article once again highlights the stark contradiction that exists in life in India. At one end we showcase the “India Shining” it rising ~9% GDP growth, the growth and spread of the IT behemoth and on the other hand we have the farmer suicides, which is a shame for a nation that took pride in the green revolution. Given that we are the largest producer of milk in the world and also that we are a food surplus country, but then why this predicament of our farming community and the agricultural industry as a whole ? Why when the Dy Chairman of Planning Commission tells to an jubilant audience that present rate of growth (>8%) India could well become the world’s 3rd largest economic power by 2020 and India will be able to eradicate poverty completely.

Well that  is good news or is it ? If this is really the case then why do we not see any of this in the real India and its day to day life.

For starters…What is the definition of poverty ?

For me a family that can provide for its basic needs for living… food, clothing, shelter, education for the children and be able to access to the basis public utilities like drinking water, electricity and hygiene would be one that was not in poverty.

Well for the government the definition does not encompass these at all. For them the definition of poverty is equivalent to only how much nutrition the person requires to stay alive. These rules were defined by the Morarji Desai government in 1970’s and since then neither the figures of nutrition (i.e the rule states that on average an Indian requires 2,400 calories in rural areas and 2,100 calories in urban areas) have been revised nor the rules for measurement have been changed to include other parameters. In money terms this works to about Rs 500/month !! This is some sort of joke …no wonder there will be no poor people in India by 2020, but there will be hell lot of people starving and living their lives in derelict conditions as if someone has done them a great favor by just letting them live.

The oxymoron that India is continues to live and die at the same time…

Also please read the wonderful article …. “Sanjhi Virasat”. Just reminds us these days of false masquerading in the name of religion, culture and what not, was this really the case before. Well read the article to find out more.

Another interesting place I found out. Check out www.nationalinterest.in. Also check out the review called pragati here.

Posted by: tanujit | April 30, 2007

Mujhe ghar yaad aataa hai…

A wonderful piece of writing…Just made me remember my current predicament.

 

mujhe ghar yaad aataa hai

simaT kar kis liye nuqtaa nahiiN bantii zamiiN? kah do !
ye phailaa aasmaaN us vaqt kyuN dil ko lubhaataa thaa?
har ek samt ab anokhe log haiN aur un kii baateN haiN
ko’ii dil se phisal jaatii, ko’ii siine men chubh jaatii
inhiiN baatoN kii lahroN par bahaa jaataa hai ye bajraa !
jise saahil nahiiN miltaa

maiN jis ke saamne aauuN mujhe laazim hai halkii muskaraahaT
meN kaheN ye hoNT “tum ko jaanta huN”, dil kahe “kab jaanta huN maiN?”
inhii lahroN pe bahta huuN mujhe saahil nahiiN miltaa

simaT kar kis liye nuqtaa nahiiN bantii zamiiN, kah do!
vo kaisii muskuraahaT thii, bahan kii muskaraahaT thii,
meraa bhaaii bhii haNstaa thaa
vo haNstaa thaa, bahan hanstii hai, apne dil meN kahtii hai
ye kaisii baat bhaa’ii ne kahii, dekho vo ammaaN, aur abbaa ko hansii aayii
magar yuN vaqt bahtaa hai tamaasha ban gaya saahil
mujhe saahil nahiiN miltaa !

simaT kar kis liye nuqta nahiN bantii zamiiN kah do!
ye kaisa pher hai, taqdiir ka ye pher to shaayad nahiiN, lekin
ye phailaa aasmaaN us vaqt kyuN dil ko lubhaataa thaa?
hayaat-e-mukHtasar sab kii bahi jaati hai aur maiN bhi
har ek ko dekhta huN, muskuraata hai ke hansta hai
ko’ii haNstaa nazar aaye, ko’ii rotaa nazar aaye
maiN sab ko dekhta huN dekh kar Khaamosh rahtaa huN
mujhe saahil nahiiN miltaa !

Miraji

Translation by M.A.R. Habib from An Anthology of Modern Urdu Poetry

I Remember Home

Why, I ask, does the earth not shrink to a point?
Why at first, did this wide sky lure the heart?
All around are strange people, strange words:
Some slide over the heart, others pierce it.
On these waving words flows the heart’s vessel,
Which finds no shore.

Whomever I meet I duly greet, smiling, but what lips affirm
In “I know you,” the heart denies with “I don’t.”
I move on those waves
And find no shore.

Why does this earth not shrink to a point?
What a smile, my sister’s smile, my brother laughing,
She delighting in his wordss,
Delighting in our parent’s laughter !
Yet time flows on, the shore a spectacle.
I find no shore.

Why does th earth not shrink to a point?
Perhaps this cycle lies outside of fate; why
Did this wide sky once lure the heart?

The brief life of all things flows on; and I
Watch each one, smiling, laughing,
Weeping.
Watching, I am silent.
I find no shore.

Yet the boat goes on and on and on….and i find no shore.

Posted by: tanujit | April 27, 2007

What is it all getting at…

There has been a lot of argument and debates on the “reservation” v/s “general (aka merit)” seats in nearly all walks of life in India. Be it for positions of employment in Government, Public Sector Units or for admissions at Colleges (Engineering or Medical), Universities  etc. There has always been two sections of people…the “pro-quota” and the “anti-quota”.

Here are some interesting facts about the OBC’s that has been brought forward by Prof. Madhukar in the articles below

    1. The Merit of Reservations
    2. Who are the OBC’s
    3. Reservation/Quotas and “Meaning of Merit”
    4. Quota/Reservations : More “Reserved” than Others

The major points (which I didn’t have any idea about) are…

  • 76% of India’s population falls in the category of OBC,SC and ST and that was according to the Mandal Commission Reports which came out in 1979.
  • The definition of the OBC’s was based on 11 criteria covering Social, Educational and Economic parameters contrary to belief that it was based on “hereditary”.
  • The states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have had 50% or more reservations in higher and professional education for many decades.

My view are the founding fathers of our Nation made the idea of “Reservation” for the underprivileged to bring up the social status. There are many people who have benefited from this, then why should they continue to get the benefits of the reservations ? Shouldn’t there be some system along with the “Reservations” that gives the certification of “OBC” or “SC” or “ST”. That according to the “conditions” laid down for classification are no longer valid and you may be moved now to the “General Category”. Agreed that one generation may need the benefits and it is an onus on our people to provide them with the opportunity. But why should they be getting the benefits for generations to come, Why not have periodic reviews to check whether those conditions of classification still holds true or not. The idea was that we make this distinction for the upliftment of these people, but if their situation is improved then don’t we all become the same people, why should the classification based on the caste or tribe or for that matter on the economic condition still hold.

My question then is that “Why has the recommendations only been for inclusion, what about the recommendations of exclusion ?”

Do we open another “Pandora’s Box” then…

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”
                                                          – Mahatma Gandhi.

Posted by: tanujit | April 26, 2007

Sometimes I “Wonder” too….

Sometimes I wonder about many things that could have happened but didnt and what my life would have been had those things happened. Well sunshine has written a “wonder”ful post on these questions….read it here.

I wonder too –

1. Why i was the only fat boy in the school bus, so that i was the object of everybodies “affections”.

1. Why i was never really good at any sports, not one !!

1. Why when it comes to saying or doing something that seems obvious, i always screw up.

1. Why i was teased so badly one day, that i returned home crying.

1. Why i always seemed to be the outsider in my class, always considered the “good boy” and never part of anything fun.

1. Why i didnt get 2 more marks in chemistry in 12th.

1. Why i cant seem to any words out of myself infront of a girl that i want to talk too.

1. Why i missed the last year of college so much.

1. Why the prof screwed up my marks in the 7th semester and took away something for me for which i worked really hard.

1. Why i will never get to wear sunglasses and maybe be bit better looking.

1. Why i never got to tell her i feel about her.

1. Why we do something sometimes, but then you feel so bad about it.

1. Why i cant go back and set everything straight.

“Time is like the grains of sands in your hand,
the more tightly you try to hold onto them,
the more faster they slip out of your hand…”

 

Posted by: tanujit | April 23, 2007

“Employment” – The Indian Perspective.

These two posts are a must read.

The future of employment in India – It is harsh truth of the facts put forward that strikes us in the face. It shows the vast disparity that we have in the “India Shining”. At one place the growing businesses make a promise for employment and on the other side is that the growing shortage of “employable” people to make the right fit. Also that the organized sector is just a small contributor to the employment needs of the country. What we need a sea of change in the unorganized sector.

Quote :

“The “unorganised/informal sector” contributes to
60% of Net Domestic Product
68% of income
60% of savings
31% of agricultural exports
41% of manufactured exports
…and 92-93% of employment (or, livelihood for the about 2/3rd the population)”

Striking figures those…

The Maya of “Employment Generation” through SEZ’s – The real face of the employment generation that takes place through the SEZ that the government is really so hyper about. A must read.

Posted by: tanujit | April 19, 2007

Making a “Fortune” from the “Unfortunate”

Management guru CK Prahlad has an interesting article about the way the new age companies are moving towards making money from the 4 billion less fortunate people on this planet who work very hard to make their ends meet.

His take is that in “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid” is that companies must innovate with products that are less expensive to produce, distribute and market. Move from the “Economies of Scale” model to the “Distributed model”. Instead of reducing manpower, increase it, though the manpower that is talked about is in the unskilled variety so that cost would be kept less. Companies can’t now afford to neglect the Tier 4 market anymore due to the intense competition and reducing margins in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets.

He gives some interesting examples of how Hindustan Lever and Nirma have innovated to bring in products for this market. How the packaging and marketing strategies have paid off. Interesting to note here how Unilver (parent company of HLL) used the knowledge gained from HLL for trying this out in the market in Brazil, where the same initiative has also paid off. Another example cited is that of Amul of the functioning of the distributed model and the success it has become.

The argument is that to create purchasing power in the Tier 4 population, they must be made available to easy credit, though the stress is more that the credit be given so that the livelihood of the people improves. The example of micro credit and Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has been presented. Though my thoughts are that the availability of easy credit is going to solve any problems. Among other things that has been highlighted is that the use of technology must be made available and within reach of all these people.

Though the thinking in the article is really a nice read and considering that things are already being done in this regards.

But Prof. Madhukar has his own reservations. Here he highlights why CK Prahlad has got it all wrong. He argues that as a Management strategist there are the human aspect that has been conveniently forgotten about. He highlights that the lives of the Tier 4 does not improve if the consume more, rather it will improve if they produce more. The example of Lijjat (a co-operative run by women) and a manufacture of biscuits, focusing at the BOP, but there is vast difference in the footprint of “bettering lives”. Other questions put forward is that corporations are more bothered about how they make profit not how they make the profit and that wealth creation is not the same as making profits.

Looking at both the perspectives put a sort of ironical situation to the whole problem.

Posted by: tanujit | April 17, 2007

A Consulting “Paradox”

A wonderful paradoxical situation is presented here by David. Here the question put forward is that often in industries consultant are hired to make things better, the top level management wants the consultants to show their subordinates how to make things better.

But most of the times the ground zero reality is much different. As the article points out, the people are very resistive to the change, sometimes because things are going on smoothly and they dont want to disturb the ryhthm, and at other times using the WIIFM – “What’s in it for me”, they will filter out what ther perceive as anything not benefitting them, often not thinking from the perspective of the company.

So now the consultants are faced with the unique problem when the top management is saying “teach my people this method” where as that “method” is not in the best personal interest of the sub-ordinates. This leads to the sub-ordinated viewing the consultants as “management agents” and offer further resistance to the changes.

So in this situation how do the consultants handle this situation ?

hmm….

Posted by: tanujit | April 16, 2007

Parivartan…..

Here is an really interesting presentation by Scott McLeod about the times we live in, how things are changing so fast around us, and that “shift happens” !!

First few points in this presentation is purely from the “U.S” perspective, though the message is more global and thought provoking. The strength of China and India in terms of the demographic dividend is really mind boggling, but the presentation presents it in a rather scary way, without looking at the other perspective. Being an Indian and looking at the situation in India, there is still a long way to go, before we even begin to harness the benefit of this advantage, but at present it is a source of lot of problems and anguish in our part of the world.

The other point about the technological leaps and bounds that we are taking in the present day, and that the knowledge that our students of the future gain may become outdated even before they begin to use it is frightening. The numbers presented if truely represent even a fraction of what is to come in the future, makes one to sit up and notice. We are moving towards a “paradigm shift”. The mention that the computational capability may overtake that of the human race reminds us of the moive “Terminator” and how “Judgement Day” could even become a reality. These thoughts leaves ones throat a little dry !!

But the good side is that all technology has always been improving the lives of human race (if used in the correct way of course), so we can expect improvement in the quality of life that we live.

To quote from another article, which reviews this presentation, and which influenced me a lot.

“We must prepare to live/survive/excel in a world that will be changing more rapidly than ever. And in a world of change, it is the person who has learned how to learn who will have the advantage. We need to stop focusing on teaching fact/figures/answers, and begin to embrace the ability to analyze/sythesize/adapt.”

Here is the links to the origins of this line of thought.

thefischbowl, Scott McLeod.

Most of the predictions in the presentation are from Ray Kurzweil’s research on “The Singularity“.

“The only thing constant in this world is change itself…”

Your thoughts ?

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