Thursday, January 29, 2009


How to impress your boss (Not recommended)

- Be selfish.
- Help no one.
- Talk big, and say you will do everything even if you don't.
- Keep your boss updated of all your small or big tasks, and even your personal difficulties, so that he feels you sacrifice a great deal to complete your work.
- Send 10-12 mails a day to anyone and everyone in the team, and keep your boss in CC so that he feels you are very busy & efficient.
- Stay late at office everyday, it's okay even if you come at 11 AM or 12 noon.
- Change the author name of documents prepared by your junior and put your name in. (Call it review and approval)
- When it doesn't really matter, praise your junior in front of your boss, so that boss thinks you are a very good senior.

Ayn Rand books & her philosophy

Here is an excerpt from Ayn Rand Institute website:

Man—every man—is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. He must exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself. The pursuit of his own rational self-interest and of his own happiness is the highest moral purpose of his life.

Objectivism was a new thought. Something that had never crossed my mind. That it was possible to think about man's Ego.

When I read Ayn Rand's We the Living a number of years ago, I wasn't impressed. So I did not attempt any other book by the same author. About a couple of years ago, a friend told me about The Fountainhead. His exact comments were, "Amazing book! We cannot imagine that such a man could exist." Needless to say, I wanted to see why that 'man' was special. So I got hold of the book - and was hooked. The inevitable next step was Atlas Shrugged.

The theme was the same in both the books. The terms "Ego", "Selfishness" that we always associate with a negative person suddenly took on a new meaning.

Ayn Rand calls her school of thought "Objectivism". I do not claim to understand all of it. But I do recognize it as a different approach altogether to all that I have seen and heard so far.

I will add more on this topic soon, there are some text that I would have to copy and paste, perhaps in a different post.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


"I do not smile much", he said. "I laugh a great deal, though."

I wondered then whether it was possible to laugh without smiling. That was fifteen years ago.
Since then, I have met about five or six people who could do that. Laugh, and not smile.

Definition of a likeable person

One who...

- Has a ready smile
- Has a pleasant face
- Is courteous to all
- Is ready to acknowledge (Smile and say "Hi") any known person of any level in any circumstance
- enjoys a good joke, and shows pleasure
- replies to all mails received
- knows to show displeasure or anger without offending another
- shows openness to all comments and discussions
- does not speak ill of others
- shares his knowledge with pleasure
- is understanding, and listens to others
- has the ability to make others respect him without demanding respect

One who doesn't

- ignore others consciously
- order juniors to drop everything and come running to them when summoned
- try to please everyone and speak ill behind their back
- always point out the failures and never applaud any positives of others

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Think Positive

When you start a work, you should have the end in view. When you place the first brick to build a house, you should have the completed house, even its colour of paint, in mind. When you initiate a study about a topic, you should see yourself making a presentation before the top management of your organization.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bangalorisation of English

I do not fancy my English was exceptionally brilliant when I came to Bangalore a few years ago, but it definitely was passable and the grammar was fine, all picked up from school days and nurtured with the lot of fiction (American, British, translations from Spanish, Hindi Bengali,..) I used to read. And also complemented perhaps by the innumerous movies along the way. But English in Bangalore was a revelation. A jolt. A real disaster. I had curiously observed the warped usage of the people with whom I had occasion to interact, but never realised the depth into which I myself was sinking and the deterioration beyond recognition of my own precious little knowledge of the language.

It took me more than a couple of years to realise that my perfect grammar was almost history, my vocabulary was becoming extinct, and I had begun to speak like the rest of them.

"For what this is?"
"What you are doing?"
"Where you are going?"


It took two of my friends to poke me awake, make me sit up and take notice that my language was decaying and if I did not take hold of it now, the Queen's English will be non-existent in my life. But these two friends to whom I am indebted, do not know how they have influenced me. So began my journey to revamp my vocabulary and here I am, clinging to the little language I grew up with, but determined to salvage it. I haven't the least idea whether I will be successful - but I believe I have made a good start by realising that my language is not currently the best.

This thought was triggered by an article in the Times of India a couple of days ago, and the following internet link I came across.

This site sums it all up.
"Indians from different parts of India, especially those who learnt another language before English, speak English as a translation of their own mother tongue using the same grammatical rules."
Well said!

Hey, don't rate my English but would certainly like to hear your experiences on English in the Indian soil :)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Presenting a Presentation

She came in - breezed in, rather - looking perfect, resembling Kareena Kapoor whether she is aware of it or not, eyebrows up, regarding without interest the mere mortals before her, who have come to ogle at her and pretend to listen to her.
Oops! Mistake #1. People may admire you while you speak but that is not why they waste their time and attend your sessions. Well, not always. So you might as well show a little humility.

And when she spoke, Mistakes #2 to #10 followed.

"I don't know" is not an unacceptable answer when it is followed by "I am sorry, I will check and get back to you" or something to that effect. It is not "I-don't-know-so-it-is-a-foolish-question".

One does not mock a person for asking a question, however dumb it sounds. Give it due seriousness and clarify the answer as best you can. I remember once in a session related to Y2K in 1997-98, the presenter was asked a question, "What did we do in the turn of the last century, when a similar problem might have occurred?" The answer was very, very obvious. There were no computers in the 19th century. He could have laughed out aloud. But he did not. He answered gently and appreciated that someone has thought about this. The person who asked the question perhaps realised later that it was not a very bright one, but was grateful for not being snubbed in public.

A man from the audience asked a question.
She said, "Ok, the guy here - what's your name? - has a question.... " Uh-oh. Doesn't sound nice. It may be okay while in casual talk but before a crowd, such references can be avoided.

Another talk recently given by a colleague, quite a young man, comes to memory. He spoke too fast and ran through the slides so that no one could make out what he was trying to convey. Everyone left the room confused.

It would be ideal to stand before a mirror several times before presentations, - forget the topic, just imagine you are talking about anything under the sun - and talk. Imagine some queries coming your way. Pretend you are really in a conference hall and answering it. Use the same gestures you would do before the audience. See how you look when you answer.
Are you being arrogant in the way you handle queries? You can polish your expressions and keep a smile while talking.
Is there clarity in the way you put a point across? It does not hurt to repeat a point if the questioner does not look satisfied. Do not move to further slides or queries before this person is satisfied.

Another important thing to look out for is repetition of phrases. In the nervousness of standing before a lot of people, one is not conscious of what he says, so phrases tend to repeat. Perhaps a good way to identify this is to record one of your talks and play it back later.

Attitude always matters. Even if you are one hundred percent clear on the topic you handle, if you do not put it across in an amicable way, people are not going to be satisfied. And your attitude is going to make you a better presenter, more than anything else.

Remember, being a good speaker does not happen overnight, neither can it be achieved by reading a book on presentation skills. It takes a great deal of effort and trial-and-error.

Keep talking!
Good Luck!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Speed, Matrix and Déjà Vu

Speed is a movie that thrills me even today, after watching it around 7 or 8 times in the last ten years. I had an occasion to see it again in TV last week, after a while. Yes, I know the bomb doesn't explode till the people are off the bus, nevertheless I find myself perched on the edge of my seat. One of my favourite scenes is the bus approaching the gap in the freeway. The police vehicles that accompany them give way and stand by to watch the jump and everyone's face is tense as Annie and Jack floor it... oh! even as I write this, I feel the hair rising, in thrill.

But as we see it over time, the loopholes slowly poke their heads out. It is up to us whether we choose to notice them. Such as, Annie manages to never hit a single person during her long driving stint, despite jumping red lights and getting on to the pedestrian pavements, always keeping above 50, till she enters the airport runway. She thinks she hit a baby once but it fortunately turned out to be a stroller full of cans.

Another interesting movie that I could see in bits and pieces was Matrix Reloaded. Yes - Keanu Reeves again. Quite by chance, I assure you. I haven't been able to make head or tail out of the Matrix movies but then you aren't expected to. Just keep watching, go out and make yourself a cuppa tea and be back and then continue. Finally watch Neo put his hand inside Trinity and make her heart pump again.

Déjà Vu was not what the name suggested. Not exactly. I expected something and got something else. The name led me to expect something akin to "Premonition" starring Sandra Bullock. But no, it was a trip to the past. The only trouble was, the Denzel Washington who travels to the past dies, and a new one comes. Well if the body is destroyed,... you think. But otherwise how could they have accounted for the presence of two Denzel Washingtons? Since there is no way you can go back to the future where you came from, to change the past. This movie, having watched late into the night, left me with a confused mind that kept looping around trips to the past and someone watching me through a satellite camera, till clarity arrived with the morning.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Experiences of a Lifetime

I hated school three times in my life. First, when I was introduced to it as a toddler, but I learnt to get over it by the time I graduated. Next, when I introduced my son to it I despised it along with, and much more than, him. The third time when his daughter started hers, I was there to give her a hand in abhorring it.

A human life thus cycles three times the same set of emotions, the same affections and afflictions and fears. Their shades vary with the position of age but the underlying cause remains the same.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

By Choice

I would never have believed in hereditary characteristics obtained from working for the same company. The enlightenment came when I, on several occasions visited the Bata footwear stores across the sub continent. I found that irrespective of the city or the state, the salespeople in all Bata stores across the world wear uninterested expressions and had no inclination whatsoever to sell their footwear. If the customer is interested, he can buy it. If not, don't.

Bata. By Choice.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


People in general, are not as negative or... pessimistic as you think. Remember, a birthday of a child is a celebration of his birth & existence, not an anniversary of his mother's delivery pain.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


"You look quite young", he said.

"Depends on which side you are looking from", I relied. "If you are over forty, you will find me young. If you are in your twenties you will find me quite old."

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New year's day

It isn't daily that you get to start a new blog. The date has to be important. Hmm.. why not on the new year's day itself.

"Happy New Year" seems as clichéd as all the hullabaloo about the day and the midnight screams and crackers, but then there should be celebrations for the young ones to take forward. Something for them to show their young.. and so on!

All the prosperity and peace and happiness that your dear ones wish you on this day does not - could not - really exist. Has anyone ever seen a year without a dip? Even the mercury dips several times a year. And this year, as economists predict, does have more than mercury dips in store. So my wishes to all would be for a calm mind, strength & courage to face the dips when they come, and the health to enjoy the ups, and friends that see you through the thick and thin.