Blog Archives

Steve Jobs – Lessons!

Here is another leader   –   one who created value and made many of us feel “AHA”…………I truly believe that it is a great story to tell your grandkids that “I lived during the times of Steve!!…who made those ipads….”

While many would have read his speech 2005 Stanford commencement speech, this article below  in Forbes magazine reiterates his uniqueness……….

My order of top ten lessons from Steve’s life  goes here………

  1. Never fear failure
  2. Listen to the voice in the back of your head that tells you if you are on the right track or not
  3. Find the most talented people to surround yourself with
  4. Expect a lot from yourself and others
  5. Stay hungry, Stay foolish
  6. The most enduring innovations marry art and science
  7. To create future, you can’t do it through focus groups  (believe in yourselves!)
  8. Anything is possible through hardwork, determination and a sense of vision
  9. You can’t connect the dots forward, only backwards
  10. Don’t care about being right. Care about succeeding

Here is the article………The Top Ten Lessons Steve Jobs Can Teach Us – If We’ll Listen

ENJOY reading and INTROSPECT how much applies to us!

Sean Maloney – Inspiring!!

I could not resist sharing this article with many  –   It is a truly inspiring story and I am amazed on how much the human will can take control of one’s life……….This is an article in CNN’s money about Sean Maloney  – head of Intel China.

This is an article in CNN’s money about Sean Maloney  – head of Intel China.

When he lost his words due to stroke, he had only his will power to get back  –  “I’ve trained the right side of my brain to take over speech, normally a function of the left side. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done.”……….so, you can train your brain to do what you like….:)

His advice to all…..”Never give up,” he says. “No matter what anyone says, you can attain your goals if you never give up.”

Inspirational!   Makes us take responsibility of our life!

Intel’s Sean Maloney: The man who couldn’t speak

Indian Women – Addendum to Chetan Bhagat’s article!!

This Times of India article from Chetan Bhagat has been well read across India……..I got it forwarded from my collegue who thinks it is real nice quirky….Coming from Chetan ,  it has to be!  – you should read Two States to see what I mean, he indeed has a quirky sense of humour ……..

When I read this article first, I had an immediate good feeling  –  ‘oh-so-good’ of a celebrity guy to appreciate what a women goes through and give suggestions to be stress free…..  To make the ‘oh-so-good’ feeling last for ever…..i had to edit/ add to Chetan’s suggestions…

  1. It is nice of Chetan to make women aware of their power on  mother in laws……:) ….Be aware that women are all powerful  even beyond their mother-in-law….and always remember, with Power comes responsibility…
  2. Absolutely agree with Chetan…….do remember, doing A GOOD JOB is the key….once you understand the key, this law applies to all genders…..
  3. Financial freedom is a bliss… again,  expand your boundaries beyond your mother-in-laws and husband…… women got to be economically independent to say “go take a hike” to far more people beyond their husband and mother-in-law…..
  4. I am sure Chetan meant good when he came out with suggestion for the “STRESSED” women at large…. Still, I find it tough to stop thinking on why this suggestion for women to be less competitive on this gender inclusive world?? …..remember women are much smarter species of homo sapiens and wired to multitask…as long as women can prioritize their responsibilities, they are fine….Women still will be a
    A+  in that one thing (or many)  they want to be, if they want to be!!…….Set your goal and go for it, girl!! 
  5. When it comes to tiffin dubba and  diet, I agree with Chetan…. For me, Indian women think much beyond tiffin dubba and looks..…….and  women  are COMPETITIVE as they want to make a better world for themselves than what it was yesterday……..Just that  they compete on things which are larger than their tiffin dubba and looks ………..…so, let women keep that competitiveness with themselves……losing it may end up giving more stress!!

I may be biased too   (may be it is an Indian thing)……. for me, Indian women at large fight beyond mother-in-laws, husbands and bosses…………

I read  that in a recent survey India ranks as the fourth most dangerous country for women to live in (Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan ranks above us)….….

Indian women are the most indomitable as I see   – they definitely need the spirit of competitiveness –  they will continue to be compassionate ..

Create an environment of inclusivity for the Indian women at large…….consider them as equals (in our heart, we know they are FIRST among equals) … that will take their stress away!!


Japan – Earthquake, Tsunami & Nuclear exposure!!

There are lots and lots of news on Japan!!   But for some five minutes on the first day, I hardly watched any TV on the happenings ain Japan.  One of the reasons was that my little one was visibly upset the first day about this news  –  he had doubts about if Tsunami can come to the first floor (we live in first floor!)…… I later learnt that even AM’s Lil D was extremely upset on this…! So, i consciously avoided watching Japan on TV!

Nevertheless, I read a bit of news on the net….and these two newsitems were indeed very absorbing…….

When i saw this 10 minute video at disastar prediction net  –, it was very spooky!!   So, someone could predict this earthquake so accurately –  if you see in youtubue, you can see that this video is uploaded on 9th March itself!!!  So, made me get that spooky feeling!!

And later, I was searching for the meaning of the word Stoicism in the net and i hit on this article  –

When i finished reading it, many things about Japanese made sense to me   –  I have always wondered why they are not smiling, why they are not so very democratic, why they are not taking things easy, but then…”That is not the way Japanese people are”!!!

My heart goes to them!!  I am confident they will come out of this crisis much more stronger!!  God bless!!


Category – History ; Rating  – 3.5 ; Comment – Choice of Freedom is with the individual!!

Ok, it was the Daniel Craig factor to start with  –  ofcourse, who will not recognize the Bond….James Bond!!    When the movie progressed, all I saw was the strength of the Jewish leader who had so much positive outlook and humanity even during the toughest times of second world war!!
Adapted from Nechama Tec’s book “Defiance: The Bielski Partisans”, this movie gives the account of the life of Bielki Partisans. They were led by four Jewish brothers who saved the Jews during the tough world war 2 days in Poland

While the entire movies plot is available readily in Wikipedia if you care to read, the following are something you will notice when you watch the movie
Leadership skills  –  When you put others in front of you, you become a leader in no time                                                Theories of Viktor Frankl  –  Everything can be taken from a man or a woman but one thing: the last of human freedom to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way
Concept of Right and Wrong –  While Tuvia wants to be a fair leader,  his younger brother Zus gets carried away and joins the Soviet  –   while it looks bad, Zus strongly exhibits the school of thought that what matters is the END and not how we reach there;
Love for life  –  When they initially decide to ban newborns into the camp and when it actually happens, the way they react –  again establishes the fact that women are much stronger than men!!  🙂  

A movie to watch!!!

The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch

Short notes & good quotes

“The Park is open until 8 pm” – I am trying hard to practice this – in my communications (official as well as personal). It indeed was tough to start with, but by and large it has become a habit and a challenge when I sit down to write a note.

“Pouring soda in the backseat “- I want my children to understand me like this(who is more focussed on the children’s happiness) and also want them to be like that with their children. I believe in it.

“Look for the best in everybody” – is it not the same what the short story in Mahabaratha talks about – you can choose to see the rose or the thorn in a rose plant. I agree and again it needs lot of practice to make it as a habit.

“All you have to do is ASK” – well said and is always true and it took me some time to personally practice it

“Dream big, achieving your childhood dreams, time is all you have, and you may find one day that you have less than you think, start by sitting together, earnest is better than hip, no job is beneath you, we cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand, you have a choice to have fun”– good quotes to remember and practice

To be honest, I found it very difficult to go over the book as it brought back memories. Given a choice, I would not have picked up this book by myself. But, after completing it, I felt indeed it is a good book, which I could have missed but for receiving it as a New Year gift!

Count your blessings!

The nuances and intricacies of Carnatic music are many, it may need multiple lives to master the art. This tamil month of “Margazhi”  (mid December to mid January) in Chennai  is a great time for the Carnatic music lovers –  people in and around Chennai , people from other states in India and even people from abroad flock Chennai during this time to enjoy the music season  – veterans in the field and the budding artists perform in various ‘sabhas’ (theatres) in the city.

While witnessing a live event is the best way to enjoy any performance, viewing the performance telecast in a television has its own advantage –  we can continue with our daily schedules and catch up these telecast in our own living room.  Jaya TV , a regional TV in Tamilnadu has made it possible for lakhs of viewers across the country to listen and view the performances of many great Carnatic music artists.  Every day during this month, they have a telecast of one hour of these concerts titled as a program called “Marghazhi Maha Utsavam”.  To make it more interesting, there is a short interview with the performing artists of the day – the questions are pretty much standard  –  your best moment, worst moment, etc.

Last week (having taken a vacation from work), I was watching the performance of Aruna Sairam. For beginners, Aruna Sairam is one of the greatest Carnatic musician – what makes her unique is that she started her career very late (After she married off her kids and completed her so called “parental duties”) and made it to the top in no time.  She was completely involved in her singing which catches up on the viewers also.   She looked so cheerful and happy!

Towards the end of the program, there was the short interview session – one of the questions was “What is that one important blessing you have got without asking?” and “What is that one blessing in your life which you are still awaiting to happen to you?”….She did not even wink a moment before she answered – she said “there was this sportsperson who won the highest order of the country and later in his life became bedridden at his young age.  One of the reporters asked him “do you feel bad that you have ended up in this situation after all your successes in life?”  The sportsperson said “No, I never questioned when I was the best sportsperson and how can i question now?.  I can never question now and no rights to complain”.   I also feel the same way.  I think whatever I have got so far in my life are all blessings – you as the carnatic music fans are the best gift andthere is nothing like which I can ask for more.”  –  She reinforced that we can only COUNT OUR BLESSINGS!!!

note  – this video is in the regional language ‘Tamil’

Though it is a well established fact to celebrate the blessings, it is always nice to hear it again – proved that her smartness reflects in things outside her art also!!  God bless!!  🙂 🙂

Life – the best teacher!

When I was in my college years, I thought that IIMs in India are the best educational institutes and anyone who is graduating/studying in IIM are extraordinary.  Probably this perception (!!) was mostly the result of being parented by two profs at home!!  Education, University and all those academic related stuff was really overrated at home and was default given the highest priority!!.  I still believe they are important, but then the past twenty years have taught me that it solely depends on how an individual is utilizing the education he got in his life!

Over the last twenty years, I have slowly realized that an individual’s capability to face real life situations is not much to do with the educational institute he/she has graduated from  –  may be, this is after the careful analysis of the IIM graduates whom were my bosses,  my reports and my colleagues  – i very strongly believe now that an individual’s learning is mostly determined by how open he is for new ideas, his level of risk taking and interpersonal skills, than by who taught him/her and where he/she graduated from.

My belief was reinforced today, when i came across this article about Siddarth ” what all this IIMA grad learnt after his degree”.   A very inspiring true life story!  I am adding his book  “EAGLE SPOTTED, MESSAGE DECODED”  into my list of books to read!

Life definitely is the best teacher ever!!  And we ought to be thankful it gives us all these experiences to make us complete!

To quote Siddarth, “There were many lessons from IIM-A that might have helped me during my crisis. It teaches you to deal and live in pressure, race against time and win most times. But one thing that come to my mind when I look back at my years at IIM-A, I feel my course would have been complete if I was also taught life skills. How to deal with people and their inflated egos, how to lead and make people see the bigger picture as you see it. Education needs to  go beyond careers, placements and packages”.

Good luck, Siddarth and Nidhi!  God Bless!!

Intentions and Actions

I continue to have this challenge  –  converting my good intentions to actions!   While it can be called as procrastination, i know it is more of my habit to get carried away by my  ‘ doing bigger things in life’  and ignoring the small immediate actions.   I came across this tweet this morning  TTrangarajan says “Intentions are nothing unless backed by actions. God will judge your intention, while man will only judge your actions”

While i was mulling over it through the day, I saw this  in my inbox from Indiblogger promoting the school meal program.  My first reaction was  –  “ok, one more mass philanthropy movement and a good marketing idea!”.   I honestly did not think much when i read it  –  but then, when i saw the details that one blog post will end up feeding 50 children, it struck to me why not i also write about it… –   So here I am making my little effort by willfully getting over my “doing big things” attitude…

Akshaya Patra Foundation was inspired by one of the ISKON gurus (while I am not much of a knowledgeable person when it comes to religious organizations like ISKON, I sure know that the ISKON temple in Bangalore is a must visit for his architectural beauty).  They started ten years back as an independent movement, but later gathered momentum in 2003 with the support of Ministry of Human Resources Development, India.

Today, they feed around 1.2 million children everyday  – what is unique about the whole program is the vision of the program  –  the program is just not a simple focus on feeding hungry children, but the vision is to “No child in India shall be deprived of education because of hunger.”

What is surprising is that for feeding one child for the entire school year it costs only  Rs.525 (approx $11.2)      .  You can donate online also here   –  Akshaya Patra donations.

Let me close my day with a satisfaction of doing a small deed!


Actions become involuntary when you do it so many times – our body operates just with our subconscious brain control – like driving a car.

For me, raising the car windows when the car stops in the cross road signals, is almost an involuntary action.  Reason:  – to avoid the group of transgender who are seeking alms.  While I am not against giving some small amounts to the beggars on the road, I had valid reasons to avoid these transgender (atleast, I thought so!)

I pass through this cross road signal on my way to work, every day. Having the luxury of a chauffeur driven car, I normally start on my work the moment I get into the car. Laptop is on, connected to the network through the broadband (thanks to Reliance Netconnect) and I start clearing my mails and plan the day at work. It was one of those days where I was very intently composing a response to a critical email, unaware of the car stopping in the signal.

Suddenly a transgender puts her hand through the window and places it on my head (blessings is what I gather later!).  I was so startled with this suddenness, I almost dropped my laptop. While the person is waiting for me to give some money and here I was so startled, that I froze. After a minute, I took a 2 rupee coin and gave it – but then, it was so vehemently refused and all I could make out with my knowledge of local language is that I am being miserly and bad. Seeing that I am lost and confused – with a considerate tone, the transgender says that minimum is ten rupees.  I still continue to be in my dazed state and pick a ten rupee note, so that I can get off from this situation.   Once the money is paid (it is actually 2+10), the person is off to the next car. I felt that I was being extorted – though it was 12 rupees, the way it was requested (!) for and the suddenness of someone extending their hand into the car with such ease, made me cringe.  It registered in my mind as an unpleasant experience and next day onwards, I am so conscious that I open my laptop only after this signal and keep the windows up.

It is more than six months since I had been into this routine of being ‘careful’ in the signal.   I keep seeing them every day; they cajole/bully the vehicle drivers/passengers, confirming the fact that there are others also in the general public who are uncomfortable with this.  While there are beggars galore in the streets, these transgender are bit different – they are so well decked up (nice clothes, makeup and flowers!) and they demand the money (not beg!).

To be precise, I almost have forgotten about their existence during my growing up years, though when I was a kid – back in my hometown – we had a specific festival celebrated in the village temple which attracts all the transgender to our small sleepy village(it is actually the developing Annamalai University campus in mid 70s). It is the local temple festival (Pasupadeshwarar temple) during summer vacation every year – the transgender come there for two days from all over the state – they spend two days in and around the temple – I remember it is called ‘ARAVAN’ festival.

I vaguely remember the story goes like this (as told by locals) – In Mahabharata (one of the great Indian EPIC), Arjuna’s (one of the pandava princes) demon son –  Aravan is to be sacrificed to Goddess Kali.  This is done to please Goddess Kali so that the Pandavas can win the battle of Gurusekhthra against their cousins Kowravas (100 princes who were brothers).  The precondition is that Aravaan wanted to be married before he was offered to Kali.

As no women wanted to marry a person who is to be sacrificed to God the very next day of their marriage, Lord Krishna took the form of a lady (so, this should be the transgender connection) and married Aravan.

The festival captures this spirit – it is a ten day festival and on the last two days the transgender folks from the nearby towns throng into the temple – day 1: they all are beautifully dressed as the bride to Aravan  Day 2:  their husband is sacrificed to God and they are turned to the hindu widow attire.

With summer holidays underway and the campus so sleepy, this festival was a major timepass – almost all the kids were in and around the temple those ten days  –  watching every small happenings.

I was no exception – used to be always out with my friends………..and that is the time I have observed these transgenders when I was a kid – parents were obviously skeptical that we kids spend so much time watching them and coming up with curious questions on whether they are girls or boys?

Many parents have put in the fear with their children that these transgenders may kidnap them –  but then, I was undeterred – I always sneaked out to watch them, wondering about their way of life!  I got an image that they are nomadic – enjoying their life!  When they arrive at the temple during this festival, they are so well dressed up, laughing all the time, handling the teasing of local thugs, dancing and singing………even for a kid of my age at that time, I could clearly remember that I felt that they were enjoying their life

Over few years when I grew up, I slowly started realizing the challenges the transgenders face – how lowly they are treated by society at large  –  I also started focusing more on my other interests and my festival visits to temple were very limited  –  with family for an hour or two on the festival day.

I almost forgot about the existence of transgender in the years between, till I came across a senior in my classical dance training classes. It happened that the famous guru thanjavur kittappa pillai was our neighbor and there were no excuses resuming my classical dance training with him  –  While the Guru was a very soft and nice person, he was very strict when it came to the discipline and practice sessions  –  he never let one wrong step pass through.  During those strenuous training was when I started noticing the senior in the dance class  – very keen on the classes and was so focused  –  I figured out it was Nataraj ( I have to mention that I am so happy to see the progress Narthaki Natarj had made in these years  –  I just googled his name and was amazed to read about the acheivements! narthaki natarajl)  –   a transgender and a dedicated disciple to the Guru.  I was again inquisitive and use to observe if there is anything I need to notice – apparently, all I saw was complete dedication to the art.


That is when it struck me that the transgender are individuals like me, but they have an enormous challenge of establishing themselves as normal human beings – and it kind of settled on me that if not helpful, we got to be empathetic towards them!

All my noble thoughts on being empathetic towards trangender were never once tried and tested in the years in-between till the recent episode  – and I did not even remember about my past noble thoughts, but ended up being averse to the poor ‘alm seeking’ transgender in the cross road signal!

Recently, on one of those busy mornings, I am at the cross roads (Default the car windows are up) and was looking out.  There was a guy sitting in a motor bike just next to the car – I could not see his faceas he wore a helmet  –  but could make out that he should be a guy in his late twenties and probably working for a IT company (he had the Targus Dell laptop backpack).

As the routine goes, the transgender were all around asking for alms  –  one of them came to this guy and asked money  – this guy took a ten rupee note (so, he knows the minimum amount!!) and started talking –  as his demure was too cool and the transgender was smiling and responding, I became curious on what they can be conversing.  I slightly lowered the window to overhear the conversation –  the conversation went this way – this guy enquired about how they are making a livelihood  – I can hear the transgender sharing that it is a tough life as they are not accepted for regular jobs and their families do not accept them  –  the guy listened, but still closed the conversation suggesting that they should reach out to NGOs and find a decent livelihood and not beg on the streets  – he still gave the 10 rupees and said he will not give any more in the coming days –  the transgender again thanked and went away  –  this guy picked up his mobile and started coversing……

It just hit me  –  how natural this guy is  – probably he is  10-15 years younger to me –  probably he never had any so-called ‘noble’ thoughts of being empathetic towards the transgender, but then  –  he treated them as his equal –  as part of the society  – neither was he angry nor was he looking down (sympathetic) with them  –  but I felt he was empathetic!!

He was treating them ‘matter-of-fact’  with such a maturity of the mind.  I felt at that time that there are people who are human and it comes so natural to them to be a human  – they do not have to have noble thoughts and then translate them into action  – they just act!!

I  wished in that beautiful morning that this guy should protect his humanness in the years to come –  he should have a good life and I felt that somewhere in between the growing years, I have more and more noble thoughts, but not real opportunities to test whether they are implementable!

It is the feeling of being blessed to witness something so natural  –  showing me that being noble does not just end in thoughts, but live in these simple actions!

I learnt something new again that day!

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