Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Limited Canvas Unlimited Paints

I am not a painter. In fact I am really bad at using colours.

Whenever I see a painting a thought comes to my mind about the unlimited nature of our imagination, sentiments as against the limitedness of the canvas on which the painter represents his emotions. A canvas is more a kind of a snap shot of what the painter was feeling and experiencing within him/herself at the time when he/she was producing the piece of art. Can it actually be an exhaustive depiction of one's thoughts and feelings? Or rather to put it this way, if I am feeling joyous and decide to paint, can the end of the canvas put an end to my expression of this emotion of joy as well? I seriously doubt.

To draw an analogy with life. If I consider this life to be a canvas, then as any individual who is alive today, my aspirations, deep concerns, sentiments would be depicted on this canvas through my thoughts and activities. One day this canvas will suddenly get over without giving any clue to this painter(self in this case). Thats one difference that I see between this canvas and the painter's canvas.

The other difference that I can see is that with the end of this canvas of life, my thoughts and feelings will also end.

This makes me impatient to use all possible colours in the best way possible :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vada 'Pav'litics in the Financial Capital

Can you guess what this food item is?
(Close your eyes and then answer)
Did u say Vada Pav??
No. There is a difference. This is a political vada pav. Shiv Sena yesterday decided to woo another section of its vote base- this time comprising of people preparing and consuming Vada Pav. (I am surely a big fan of this delicacy :)) Uddhav Thackarey- the next head of the political group- Shiv Sena launched the 'Shiv Vada Pao' (I am wondering how many other products would get similar prefixes as the competition for Marathi Manoos's votes increases).
This tactic is aimed at appealing in two directions-
1. The producers would be getting their interests served since only Marathi speaking junta will have the license to prepare it (I know you would guess it correctly and hence no points to you :) ) and
2. A huuuuuuge population base which depends upon this simple yet tasty food item for snacks and breakfast would get to savour a differently flavoured vada (politics is the new flavour of this vada). But it surely doesn't increase my reverance for the political group :(. Thanks to the 'masterminds' to go an interesting route to further exploit the weakness of democracy.

I wonder what Obama would have done had he contemplated a counter strategy in Maharashtra. Imagine what the world would feel about him had he decided to counter it by this one
I am sure he would not have done anything similar. But this is just to remind you of the journey that politicans in India have to cover in terms of true Leadership.
By the way, I didn't understand what Uddhav was trying to prove when he stated that this new version of vada pao would challenge the legacy of the McDonalds of the world. Simple message for him......... local political gimmicks don't work in global markets. There would be no audience to these statements. Please keep these tactics in your backyard.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

State tightens its grip over IIMs

IIM All Yours!

Another case of the muscle headedness and high handedness on the part of the State to stifle the autonomy of higher education in India. The victim in this case is the group of premier Management Schools in India.

When will the politicians understand that true leaders believe in empowerment. Holding power to oneself and using it in a high handed manner is a sign of supreme insecurity and evil tendencies.

But when has HRD Minisiter Arjun Singh cared for these voices!

Hail Google!

I love the way Google keeps on looking at its own services in terms of improving them constantly. There is always something new to surprise us . I can't recollect any organization which comes up with creative ideas at such a pace that too in the realm of services.

Sometimes its the new browser or mail services with additional features, picassa with added benefits, search facility with new options and so on and on. I don't know how these features would look like in say 2010 but I am sure I would be using them and would continue to love them since they will be better then what they are today. :)

We all love creativity when it comes to us. This is one of the most visible organizations which has made it a part of its culture. And its just amazing to see how we feel like grabbing whatever new it has to offer simply because there is some incremental benefit, some advantage to the way we work or may be simply something different.

This ability to break habits of people and to make them acceptable to new features or functions is a great attainment, which I guess has a lot of lessons for how work or life in general can be made more exciting and productive.

Hail Google!!! Hail Creativity!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Observe your Inferences for its all that matters

The entire world where we exist is a product of decisions that mankind has taken. From coming up with hospitals, to waging wars, to spreading love, educating people, discoverting new things, implementing policies etc etc. In that case this existence is the manifestation of decisions that have been taken in the minds of billions of people since ages.

The underbelly of decision making is the capacity to draw inference. If drawing inference be the driver of what we do and what we don't, should our entire learning be focussed on being more capable in drawing inference. How to draw inferences without allowing any of our prejudices, biases or notions to colour our view points. To consider the impact of each decision on generations that are going to come to existence.

Its a great skill to have I guess and of supreme importance to society too.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The better we are placed, the more visible we become

When we have plenty of anything with us, our real character surfaces.

To explain my point, when a child takes birth in a prosperous family, the level to which he or she can make use of this life of convenience, decides the inner substance; similarly a politician who has highest authority to take decisions would show his intellect and character by what he/she does with that power; again when all means of communication are available to us, our interest in communicating with people indicates the presence or absence of interest in conversing with them.

Another way of understanding this is by studying people who could achieve much more with certain limiting conditions. That would give a comparitive viewpoint to the possibilities of human spirit.

Its only when we are short of certain conditions that we feel like attributing the blame of our state to external factors. The moment these external limitations are gone, there emerges the individual with his strenghts and frailties of mind. An image which is no more veiled by limiting circumstances.

Thus if you have to test the potential of any person, give him all that is required to work comfortably. His work will then be his true signature.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Incisive thoughts on the dangerous religio-politico waves emerging in the country

Pratap Bhanu Mehta once again brilliantly analyses the threats of the present day dangerous politics that is a part of our lives now.

Quoting the way he ends his thoughts:
We are now like characters in the Mahabharata: the accumulated weight of past misdeeds, and the formations of our nature have reached such a point that simple solutions seem unimplementable. The burden of our pre-commitments makes us unable to make any simple gestures of hope. Solutions are easy to propose. More than solutions, we need some deep thinking in the sense that Hannah Arendt mentions as an antidote to evil: the kind of thinking that is not lazily waiting for someone to propose solutions, that can penetrate to the roots of our psyche rather than remain trapped in entrenched divisions and superficialities. It is not overdramatic to say that we are nearing a precipice, and only something quite drastic can prevent our steep fall.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A case of negatively reinforcing loop for the weaker cities

Interesting article on municipal financing in the JNNURM project.
It makes a strong case on why the government approach is flawed in favouring the cities which already have the capacity to pull investment from the market. The government needs to play a role of putting more weight behind cities which need its support and which are considered to be unattractive by the market due to various reasons.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Canteen at the origin of better organization culture

I was speaking to a friend of mine this morning and she mentioned about a very simple idea that she had heard from someone on building better relationships with your colleagues in your organization.

The idea is to have lunch with one new person in your organization every week.

(The duration of the implementation of the idea would be a function of your continuity in the organization and the number of people working there )

I am sure the creative minds would be able to work around this idea to come out with several interesting variants.

I loved the idea ! :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Food Policy as the nucleus

Michael Pollan successfully uses systemic thinking to bring to the fore the challenges in front of Barack Obama for tackling the problem from the right end. He has very interstingly brought to the fore the importance of conceptualizing a strong food policy that would have implications on alternate energy options, health policy and lead to steps towards cleaner environment.
Very insightful article
The website is highly recommended for people who are interested in ecoliteracy and ideas towards making it a way of life.

Unfettered heart

The beauty of selflessness as against the ugliness of selfishness.
Check this out

Just as there is no limit to being cruel and apathetic towards everything around, similarly there is no limit to being generous and caring for unknown .

The other beautiful thing is how this lovely act, triggered to create an entire foundation aimed at doing more such wonderful things. Love and hate both have such strong multiplier effects.

Its always our choice, what sentiment we want to nurture in our hearts...........

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The many deaths that ideals will die on the altar of Indian politics

Our politicians will keep on setting low standards of character from day to day. Mar'Great' Alva has been with the Congress for donkeys years. Now when her son Nivedith was declined a Congress Party ticket from Karnataka, she has decided to revolt against the party by becoming a whistle blower. The party has also decided to part ways with her considering the damage that her words are doing to the party image.
Not a single media group has been able to write about his credentials to contest elections. After all the party heads have themselves set standards for the supreme importance of the science of genetics as against the 'trivial expectations of governing a nation that too like India.'

(Don't miss out on the interestingly ironic image of Obama on one of the ads on the left side of that webpage. It seems he is laughing at the abysmal state of the ways of our netas)

Though cronyism and nepotism in both the national parties is hardly a shock, but when such words come from the torch bearers people do stand up and take notice.

Had her son got the ticket, she would have happily continued to do whatever she was doing. In that case it would have been all acceptable to her. Probably she was nurturing this expectation to get a ticket for her son since long and hence it has come to her as a major disappointment. If something is wrong ethically in terms of ideals of a democratic polity, it always remains wrong irrespective who benefits from that wrong.

Seriously speaking these instances that emerge from time to time just reflect the moral bankruptcy that is plaguing our politicians. They are as thick skinned and insulated from ideals as anyone can get.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Economist backs Obama

A very balanced Statement of Preference for Obama's candidature for the position of US President from The Economist.