Friday, December 18, 2009

Indian's view of Human Rights

"Every citizen in the country has a right to live with dignity;".

This is taken from as a statement from President of India. Nothing new in it. But, the president stating this means, the country's administration should take it seriously.

Clean air, potable water, a shelter to stay, hygiene facilities - are all very basic rights the Government should guarantee for a new born. I think India has provided these to some extent though corruption is wide spread. This area is acknowledged by everybody and slowly India is improving. However, I feel Indian citizens do ignore about other human rights.

It is also the right of a human being to have level playing field. It starts from basic education. Rich poor divide will never pass. However, a poor kid and rich kid must be able to get education at same knowledge level. Rich kids in air conditioned class rooms with projector and the poor kids sitting under fan-less classrooms with blackboard & chalk is acceptable. But, what is not acceptable is the knowledge level provided to the kid. There are talks about uniform syllabus for all schools, but the fundamental point is missed here. It is not syllabus that is the problem. It is the lack of skills or lack of exercising the skills in Government schools is the problem. Right to get educated well is not taken so seriously here and the vast majority just ignores this.

Another area that people just accept are the intrusions in various forms. Until Do Not Disturb (DND) is mandated by the Government the telecom companies simply ignored our cries to stop marketing calls and SMS. What is more disturbing is that many people did not find it as a violation of rights of an individual.

Another area is regarding competitive practices of conglomerates. It is quite common to see a movie being promoted in the TV channel for far lesser cost among group companies. If an external party goes for same level of promotion, the order may not be taken at all or it may be at exorbitant cost. There doesn't seem to be any law to regulate this. In developed world, this would very well be considered anti competitive practice. This again I see as violation of human rights to go ahead and succeed in business ambitions. But, many consider this not as a violation at all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some pleasantness with Indian Government Services

Looking up needle in the haystack is difficult; In case we do find that needle, it boosts our positive spirit. There are some good experiences with Govt services among the haystack of bad experiences.

I dreaded transferring Ration Card from my native to the current residential location. When we went to the Civil Supplies office, the experience was contrary to the expectations. We just made two trips to the office. Once to submit and the next time to collect. They gave a small slip with the Ashoka seal, signature & the due date clearly written. On that due date, the work is done. No touts, no "something", not any unnecessary trips. I can say, I was shocked for having done that so easily!

Getting a driving license was so easy as well. Nothing extra was paid and no intermediaries. The inspector really evaluated the driving skill and within half a day got the license. There was one police man took a 30min session about traffic rules in a class room kind of setup. Simply amazed.

Recently there was some public nuisance in our area. We called patrol police at 100. Can you believe? The police came in 10min and the problem was immediately solved.

I have been postponing my visit to Passport office. Reached a stage that I can't postpone it any more. After the recent arrest of some officials, there appears to be some change. Everything seems to go in some order though chaos and heated arguments plenty. Dogs walk freely into the building, they climb stairs and walk through the rooms they like, unmindful of the higher breed - the human beings. The worst thing is that the security guy doesn't yell at the dog but yells at people! There are severe problems related to over crowding, lack of space, under staffing and the complex process involved in proving your address and your nationality. However, the work got done in one visit and within half a day.

I have received tax refunds promptly so for!

There are countless bad experiences people can share based on their experiences, especially when India is downgraded from 72 to 84 or 85 in the corruption index by Transparency International. Sometimes bad experiences are "easier" than good experiences. Anyways, Change is possible but it requires time and collective action from people. Achievable! I WANT to believe that!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Indira Nooyi

The following is from Indira Nooyi's biography.
"Friends in the United States convinced her that she should apply for admission, and Nooyi mailed her application off without really thinking it would be successful. She was not only admitted but was also offered financial aid. Despite societal pressures, Nooyi's parents got on board with her plans. "It was unheard of for a good, conservative, south Indian Brahmin girl to do this," she told Murray. "It would make her an absolutely unmarriageable commodity after that."

Indira Nooyi passes on a opinion that it was hard to be educated being born in a Brahmin family. I only wonder whether any other sect (BC, MBC, SC, ST) offered much better choice than a Brahmin family for a woman to be more educated in her era (She was born in 1955) !!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fresh grads searching for jobs

I come across some fresh grads who search for jobs. Some are able to clinch few jobs in a week and some try for months, even years - yet not successful.

In my experience, the single most factor contributing to success is confidence & keen observation of the environment. Knowledge, aptitude, attitude, etc. are also influential in clinching a job but in lesser degree though. All skills are essential for performing a job well, so there is a need to do continual improvement on skills.

My tips here for freshers searching jobs.

Before appearing for a job interview, try to live through the job. Talk to couple of friends who are already in that job. Ask for all the work details including trivial matters.
  • What time everybody comes to office?
  • What is the dress code and how much people adhere to that?
  • What is the attitude towards gender? Do people easily mix and go for lunch together? Or, is it like boys on the left side and girls at the right side?
  • What sort of work they do first? What are the business activities a person need to perform in a day? Do you need to work fast? What are the most enjoyable / easy / annoying / difficult tasks? What if you do your work very well? What if you make a mistake? What are the appreciations and scoldings ?
  • What are the kind of business phone conversations / e-mails?
  • What are the business conversations with the boss? Does the boss get involved in lighter moments and laugh?
  • What do they talk with peers? Do they go for movies or play cricket with colleagues?
After learning all these, think of yourself in that job and dream of you living through the every actions of daily routines. This will provide a virtual experience in the job and that will build comfort in performing the job. This will boost your confidence and the interviewer would notice that!

And, one more thing. Research findings state that the single most factor influencing happiness is "Confidence". Why not you spend effort on boosting confidence?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Connecting through bizare incidents

In a cool and bright summer morning, I was enjoying my morning walk. The street had very few people but lot of parked cars that gave a feeling of chillness with the moisture deposit on them. It was a business trip, as usual, that trip demanded 96 hours of work per week. It was somewhere in London suburb. I watched a pigeon flying fast towards a shop, dashed in a glass window and fell down. It was just two or three seconds. The pigeon was dead. Another lonely stranger on the street watched the same. We both could not contain our feelings caused by this and almost instantaneously started, "see, what happend?".

It was an evening walk in Sai Baba colony's Bharathy park, a posh area in Coimbatore. It has very big beautiful bungalows. A well fed, but stray dog was flexing its muscles. A cyclist selling tit bits was standing about 12 feet away. He must have been a friend of that dog. He took something like biscuit from his merchandise and showed it to the dog. It was still lazily flexing its muscles. He called the dog couple of times. It decided to walk finally. It moved slowly and smelled what he showed and turned its face slightly. The cyclist had to say, "take it, take it, why are you not taking it" - almost in the tone of a father asking a sleepy kid to eat something kid usually enjoys. The dog finally decided to take it and walked away - lazily, with that biscuit in its mouth. And then, when the cyclist disappeared, the dog put that biscuit on the ground. It felt like the dog did not want to hurt his friend!! A passer by lady and myself saw this incident and we could not contain our amusement. What a "bandha" this dog shows!? - This was exactly we both expressed at the same time.

Monday, August 17, 2009


Life is perishable. Well known, proven truth. The bitterest one though. A person who was smiling, sorrowing, helping, troubling, thinking was gone and the body mingles with the mother earth. The "memories" & "actions" of a person may stay on depending on the impact they have made while living. I guess this "memories" & "actions" are referred as life-after-death by sages. Human minds probably twisted that into mythics.
Living life without worries is a beautiful thing. Worries may fall under two broad categories - physical based & purely psychological. Some people on earth may be lucky not to have any physical (money, health, etc.) worries. Is there any common man (excluding the people who go spiritual way) on earth who has no psychological (fear, guilt, frustrations, depression, etc.) worries? I doubt it. Is it possible to get rid of psychological worries? Logically, looks like it is possible and easier to get rid of psychological worries than getting rid of the physical worries. Because, psyche is within a person's mind. No external help is required to change your own thoughts. The formation of a worry within a mind can be solved by not letting the mind to form it. Yet, it is elusive to get that freedom from worries!
Life is perishable and unless life is lived to the fullest without worries, life feels a waste. Whatever may be the achievements or failures.

India's infrastructure

India's infrastructure could be frustrating and amazing at the same time.

I think we have great fundamental infrastructure. The post offices, hospitals, rural schools, the ability to take electoral votes from every nook and corner, the railways, the ration shops, police stations, agricultural offices - are all pretty impressive.

All it requires is little more effort to make the government staff work more. If Postal department has effectively run courier service, so much of the private couriers' revenue will be Government's now.

I think, India can become 60% better just by making Government staff work as they would work in a private company. Even if the corruption stays at its current level, just by making people work will bring a great difference. Making Government Staff accountable for errors itself will help us to go to a better state.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

US security & the controversies

Ex-President Abdul Kalam was security checked by an US airlines in India. The well known Bollywood actor Sharukh Khan went through secondary security check in Newark airport in US... The latest controversies.
It is understandable that US has every reason to impose security procedures. However, US seems to be either provoking or not so amiable in treating Indians.
Quite often I have seen Indian security officials thoroughly checking foreigners. It is quite a wrong perception that Indian security personnel are liberal with westerners. Westeners are treated amiably by Indian security personnel though. However, western political & business leaders also get more respect from us than given to us.
Being Indians, we go through somewhat not so amiable procedure in some airports. There is "Channel B" in Singapore airport for Chennai bound planes. We need to go through extra security check. A caucacian fellow passenger from Belgium next to us may easily pass through Boston airport immigration, whereas, we, with Indian identity will need to answer lot of questions.
Treating Abdul Kalam same as ordinary citizens is not certainly right. If US wants to impose their security procedure on India's high profile leaders, ofcourse they can do it, but with protocol specific respect. India should ensure that the US provides the right protocol specific treatment for India's leaders.
Sharukh Khan not being a political leader, he need not get any security exemption compared to ordinary citizens. However, his security clearances could have been made easier and not so frustrating for him considering the fact that he is a well known artist from India.

huh.... the weight of a nation outweighs the virtue of individuals... Huh...

Monday, May 4, 2009

Good old times

Every now and then we come across people who say the older times were good. The view of the world through past events looks indeed good in all angles.

The dinner in the wedding ceremonies are quite different from the "good" old days. Now, you get to experience noodles, salad, curd rice on banana leaf. Sounds international. In "good" old days, it was biriyani, fried side dish, halwa & payasam - more authentic and well known to taste buds.

Think of traffic. Good old days had lesser cars and lesser two wheelers. People who had two wheelers and cars were really proud. Traffic was manageable and there was pride. Cars and two wheelers are the items of necessity now. The very thought of traffic makes you feel tired and sleepy.

Then, the facts of being an IT professional. Good old times provided air tickets and accommodation in 5 star hotels, $200 per day for meals and drinks ! Now, it is train tickets or bus for the worst, stay in bed & breakfast like guest house accommodations on shared basis and Rs. 200 per meal. To top it all, travel is permitted only on weekends. Weekday,week mornings, week evenings are all for the company.

After all, there is truth that good old times are better as one gets older. I just notice that young people (less than 14..) are not very nostalgic... How nicely they just enjoy the new toys and not worry about the broken toys of past?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Srinlankan Tamils

It is heartbreaking to see people are on the streets. It is even more heart breaking to see people confined in camps.

As human beings, we claim that we are civilized more than ever and we are technologically advanced in unprecedented way.

Why aren't we able to solve such problems especially when everything is controllable by collaborative brains !!

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Nano - the cute little car. Everybody who have seen it, praised it.

This is somebody's experience on booking Nano through ICICI bank's web site.

The ICICI bank's web site says the following ( )

- Simple online application procedure.
- Fast Processing.
- Almost zero paperwork.
- No long queues.

You know what, after doing your clicks and a confirmation screen, you may think everything is done so easily as promised. Then, an e-mail arrives from ICICI asking you to fill few forms and go in person with the originals to prove your identity, residence, and so on. Read the above again. It says "Almost" zero paperwork. Except this "Almost", no other warnings were given while you were happily doing the clicks.

When you have booked online on 25-Apr-2009, and the e-mail arrives with instructions to submit all the documents "in person" before 24-Apr-2009, you realize the truth !! You have lost your precious time and money!

There are other usual problems of the internet links. In the e-mail sent, ICICI bank said the following link can be used to find out the list of ICICI bank branches in which the documents can be submitted in person. But, that link returned error message. [ ]

My question now is who benefits from this non-refundable amount? Is it Tata or ICICI bank?


I'm editing this blog on 16-Aug-2009. There were lot of communications later from Tata giving options to respond.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Being an Indian with no interest in Cricket, Movies

If you are NOT interested Cricket & Movies, then, life as an Indian is kind of vacuum.
There is nothing to talk with your colleagues. The weekly magazines, news papers and TV channels are centered around these two topics. If you disagree with me, please do post your comment.

Why are Indians so fond of Cricketers and Cinema people? It is quite common to see people with big paunches ardently following Cricket. Is munching potato chips and watching Cricket more fun than playing by oneself ? Is watching Cinema and following the styles of "artists" more fun than enjoying doing art work for ourselves like photographing, painting, writing,... ? I don't say cricket and movies are evils. But, it occupies more than required in Indians life... to the extent of making some feel as outcasts !!

Innovations from unexpected avenues

Entrepreneurial innovations of corporate world get noticed and lauded by media. Some innovation or the other happens in unexpected way every day from unexpected corners of the world as well.

I visited Coimbatore over the weekend and this is what I heard. A vegetable vendor, most probably owns a small farm has found a unique selling model. He loads farm produce in his truck and drives to city by himself every week. The price is fixed at Rs. 20 and the number of vegetables is fixed at 9. The quantity and the choices of vegetables is variable based on the season. He will come with a chart that will clearly state the vegetable name and the quantity for that week. If you give Rs. 20 and your basket, that will get that filled with a week supply of vegetables for a family of four. It is truly a win-win model. The farmer does not waste any time and money on packaging, preservation, etc. People are extremely happy getting a week worth of vegetable for Rs. 20 (approximate 40 cents). Entrepreneurial innovations are not just the mantra of corporates !

Monday, March 30, 2009

A.R. Rahman's Oscar & Slumdog Millionaire

It is more than a month (23-Feb-2009 morning time in India) since the 81st Oscar ceremony. It was a curious moment to know whether A. R. Rahman would get the award or not. I desperately wanted him to get it though I'm not such a great music listener. I saw that win as a confidence booster for millions of music enthusiasts in India and other developing nations.

Just the day before the oscar ceremony, induced by the media coverage, I watched Slumdog Millionaire. I liked that film. The story line was good and the movie held my interest. Various incidents were sewn well with the story. It was a good film though a sad one.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Election time in India

If anybody doesn't believe in God, just bring that person to any part in India and make him observe the surroundings. I'm sure, he'll come to a conclusion that unless such divine power exists, it is impossible to run the wheel of India. Otherwise, how can so many people be alive when they travel through hanging cables, extra large hoardings on weak poles, center median cut-outs unexpectedly and automatically changing its axis,... well, leave the traffic violations of our fellow citizens. After all they are in hurry to earn their livelihood. God will save them!

Election times are challenges to logic. Well, Indian Politics challenges logic always. But, it is lot more obvious in election times. One such interesting 'logical' thing I saw in the news paper today was the initiatives to reduce the Pub culture. The Government owned liquor shops (known as TASMAC) are overflowing with crowd. Pubs are less crowded and frequented by wealthier people in comparison with TASMAC shops. It is an obvious logic that closing TASMAC shops will bring higher benefits than this pub thing. But our cabinet minister's logic is unsolvable by me!

Friday, January 2, 2009


Ooty is a hill station on the Nilgris mountain of Tamil Nadu. It is nature's gift to the people of the tropical terrain. It was a great pleasure to see so much of green and experience the refreshing chillness. Every now and then, eucalyptus aroma touch the nostrils so mildly and so naturally.

The most distinct characteristic I noticed was the politeness of people. In any tourist centric areas, there are always some sort of uneasiness and fear of unknowns. Ooty felt like home town. The auto-rickshaw drivers are quite different from Chennai drivers. They are polite and ask only resonable fare. Thanks to the strictly enforced auto fares by Tamil Nadu tourism department as well. A bajji maker on the pavement was generous and asked his customer to pay later and take the bajji. I don't know why the customer could not pay.. But this kind of gesture is not so common in the plains.

You ask anyone for direction. Whenever there is a decision to be made on your path, we say Left, Right or Straight. In hills, people say, go up or go down! It took few seconds to catch the direction instruction from locals.