Sunday, March 30, 2008

Releif, Appeal, Movie.

This week the school exams for the kids got over, needless to say it was a great relief for me and Lalitha. More so when last Monday, my daughter took the math exam,(She is in Grad 10th school final) I was never more never as anxious waiting to hear how she did it. The past 4 weeks was mostly spend following their progress of their performance. The sad part was the Indian school exam system has not changed much over the last 30 years, (The time I took the school final exam) it all boils to memory recall and vomiting it on the answer sheet. The real test and practical aspects come much later and the kids are confused in the absence of good guidance and maturity. The syllabus was far too much and it all boils down to luck that questions are straight forward. Wonder, when this will change??

So much engrossing was John Grisham's Appeal, that I burned midnight oil and finished it within 24 Hrs of purchasing the book yesterday evening. Wonderful story how agencies, justice can be manipulated by the power be. Wonderful book, brings out more questions!!.

With Kids enjoying their first day of holiday from today, they rented a DVD and watched the movie Tarae Zameen Par(Star on earth). I was invited to watch the second half of the movie and I obliged. (after I finished Appeal). It was a touching movie touching up on Dyslexia of a 9 year old kid and how it is handled by the Teacher who takes special interest. Good effort worth spending time.The kid has acted very well. Will it get Nominated for Oscar??, lets see.

By the way, At last for my forthcoming Europe trip,I got two year Schengen entry visa, This should remove my agony and grouse of endless documentation submission every time I plan a Business trip to the region and applying for visa, with a need to meet unique documentation requirement of Each of the member countries.!!!. I wonder, when the visa free travel or some biometric effort would materialize for genuine Business traveler?. Not in my life time, I guess!!!.

Till Next week, take it easy and take care; Live consciously.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kichadi, Innocent Man, Playing for Pizza, Terminal 5.

3 days holidays have just flown it is time back to business. Of course, I have had a busy and anxious week with kids having their exams(Both kids have the dreaded Maths exam tomorrow, Monday) and exams get over this Friday.

After ages(almost 5 to 6 months) I had been inside the kitchen to cook lunch for the family as Lalitha was busy coaching children for the exam. I usually cook the Gujarati Kadi and Kichadi with Lijjat Pappad turned out well. Yes, Lalitha must be complaining of inventory management as the stocks must have plummeted.

Ok, I finished the book Innocent Man by John Grisham, It took me 10 months to finish the book and it was always lying near my bed all the time (with 90% to finish) and I decided enough was enough and finished at one shot (350 pages) last night. If you beleived that law is an ASS(H...) your views would be consolidated by this. To imaging this as non fiction is more horrendous. What a tragedy!!!. Yes, It might be still happening in the great US of A and everywhere else in the world. Yes, at the same time, I believe that if you stay away from evil, you are not affected. Ron was not doing that, things took a turn for the worst. Excellent must read book. Ofcourse, Grisham takes the plot in a masterful way.

Of course, Friday was a holiday, I had finished Economist, Fortune, HBR (Skimmed thro) (The week was of less sleep due to heavy jet lag). I took the book "Playing for Pizza" by Grisham and finished in 3 Hrs. Since I had seen a bit of super bowl during US visits and had been to Italy 3 times, I could visualize the scenes. A thoroughly enjoyable book. Ofcourse, Grisham also takes us through the Italian cities to give a tourist's overview. Agree totally on the good Italian food, even as a vegetarian, I had enjoyed the Olive oil, Bread and the Parmesan cheese. Of course the Egg plant roast in some of the restaurants (Eggplant Parmigiana) are a delight.

With the Hyderabad new International Airport opening last night, and Bangalore in limbo (expected in 7 weeks!!!!!) both will have connectivity issues with the mess of the traffic jam. In that situation, I look forward to the opening of Terminal 5 at London Heathrow, this week on Thursday(27th). This brings all BA flights under one roof and no longer the steeple chase (for the last 12 years for me) to catch the terminal bus, rush for security checks from Terminal 4 to 1 or vice versa for connecting flights to USA and European cities. I hope the terminal lives up to the pre opening hype. Let's see. I must be hitting there in the next 2 to 3 weeks for my next European visit.

I leave you with some of the thought provoking articles I read this week.

Does your commitments match your convictions, has generated some sparks and Aha Moment in me. Very insightful article from HBR.

Local Memoirs of Global manager Gurcharan Das of P& G. Think local and act global. Yes, the local way is some times the best way. great Article.

Ok, till next week, Take it easy and take care; Live consciously.

Friday, March 21, 2008

3 in one.

Today is a very significant day for people with secular outlook.
Today is Holi the festival of colour. This marks the beginning of Spring in India. Today is also Good Friday. Also the Islamic festival of Miladi Nabi (Birth of Prophet). While we have 10s of festivals every year, cant think of any time when all the 3 religious festivals coincided on a day. I take this opportunity to wish you all a great festive time.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

32 Years wait, Artisanal, Lounge value.

Sorry about the late posting, I was away on a 48 Hour Personal trip to New York city and was back Monday Morning.

It was a wait for about 32 years and when it ended it was worth the wait. While traveling on the BA flight Thursday. I accidentally scanned the movie library and to my delight found the movie "The Godfather" (sequel 1,2,3). I read the famous book by Mario Puzo in 1979(Heard about it in 1976) when I was an annual school vacation to Bombay during my 11th grade. After that never had the time or opportunity to see the any part of the famous movie and things just drifted. So it was great delight to watch all the 3 parts in the 4 legs of flight to and from NY. Al Pacino and Marlon Brando at their sublime best. It also gives a great exposure to Italian way of life which I had seen in person during my travel to Italy. More so it also reflects a quite a lot of similarity to approach issues.
( The scene in which Robert Di Nero(GF II as Don Carleone) pleads with house owner to let her neighbor stay. That is exactly the way we would do it in India.)

The direction by Francis Ford Coppola is fabulous with the right mix of present and past in the movie and bringing out the best in actors. I guess a good director is like a good leader, bring out the best in people. The music by Nino Rota is classical.I also could sense where Kamal Hassan picked up hints in his role in Thevar Magan. (The tamil movie has lot of resemblance to God Father).

If you want to see various kind of cheese on display at one place, I suggest you visit the Restaurant, Artisanal on park Avenue, NY. I never seen so many varieties. I was there for lunch,Friday. WOW. The food itself was very good.(Even for a vegetarian!!).

I fully appreciate and value of the Business lounge that Airlines offer. As this was a personal trip, I was always looking to see if I can save a penny or two. ( I always consider that any business travels are not worth the extra effort to save a penny or two. That is the price the organization pays for we being away from our family of dear and near ones for the time we are away!!. I also don't buy the BS of considering official spending as considerate as personal spending. I guess official and personal styles are different and they should not and could not match. I think I am the other way around as personal spendings are more liberal than official ones!!).

So, I could use the BA lounge Gate 1, coupon, Sanctuary, shower spa facility etc as well as helped myself to sumptuous food in the lounge. My guess is that I would have saved anywhere about 100US$ for this trip as well as the indirect benefit of overcoming the jet lag quickly too. That is some saving from personal expenses. I am thankful to them. I look forward to seeing the BA Terminal 5 which opens in 10 days time.

Ok then, Till next week, Take it easy and take care; Live conciously.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ronaldo Lapuz How to Manage your boss, Lemon Tree

I am sure many of you would have seen the performance of Ronaldo Lapuz, in American Idol. I was accidentally sitting in front of the TV while kids were watching the show, during the III week of January. This guy got my attention. Out of curiosity I watched his performance. It was great,, he was very passionate in what he did. Although he didn't make it to the next round (I am not sure if judges were consistent, I wonder!!). This is also a case for where you don't have to be a winner to remembered for Stellar performance.

I Came across, a practical management article, How to manage your boss in the HBR(1980 collection). Although the article in about 30 years old, all the aspects like synchronizing your goals and objectives, understanding your boss's work style etc are very fundamental aspects to your success and still hold very relevant.

During my visit to Pune, I happened to stay in the Hotel Lemon Tree, (More by again accident as the reservation at the hotel I usually stay was goofed up!!!). They are chain of hotels coming up all over India. The hotel is away from the city traffic if you are to visit Software firms which are in Hinjewadi area. The food is good and room amenities are reasonable and value for money. (Tariff around US 130$ a day which is cheap by Pune /Bangalore standards). Only one issue was that the walls were too thin that I woke up in the middle of the night when the telephone in the next room rang!!.

Because of travel over the last 3 weeks, I am way behind on catching up on podcasts and reading magazines. Hope to catch up soon. The fact that Europe Internet access are very expensive and my data cord was charged in MB download charged in Euros. I didn't download much of information in the last 2 weeks.

Ok then till next week, take it easy and take care; live consciously.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Sujatha: May his soul rest in peace.

I was trying to overcome the Jet Lag, from my Rome trip at home, early this morning and was surfing the web to catch up the web news updates in India over the last 2 weeks when I stumbled up on the passing away of the great scientist/ genius Tamil Writer Rangarajan alias Sujatha last week at the not very old age of 73.

Not only he was a great scientist who was one of the mastermind behind electronic voting machine but a great Tamil writer who brought science to the illiterate. His story telling was amazing and riveting. I still remember his weekly serial "Nirvana Nagaram"(Naked city)in Dinamani Kadir, in the Mid 1970s,the suspense was no less thrilling than a Stephen King or Lee Child. He gave insight to the people of that generation an opportunity to understand science and literature. His story telling interesting but well within limits in everything. Too bad that Tamil journalism has stooped so low bordering yellow journalism,that I cant recollect when I laid my hand on Tamil weekly magazine( Good 10 -12,years I guess!!!!).

Yes, Time comes for everyone Death needs to be faced. But people like Sujatha would live for ever through their creations and characters. (Jeevarasi, Ganesh, Vasanth etc). He was also classmate in St.Joseph's college, Trihcy with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. He was 3 years senior to my father at the same college.

May his soul rest in peace. It is always an irreparable loss to a wife and Sons.

Camp: Pune.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Italy, No country for old man.

I am back home from Rome this morning. It was a great trip in a business sense. We had good network sessions and worked out stock take as well as way forward.
I had a fabulous experience at Rome Restaurants, being a vegetarian finding food itself is difficult. My Boss, Anthony Wareham made sure whatever I missed out during the day sessions in terms of average food, he made it up by working out exploring Rome and find top class, affordable restaurants. Yes, 100% he also took care of the food bills too.!!!!.
The Otello ( I had been there before in October last) is a good place. So is the Costanza near the theater of Pompy. Try it out great food when you go next time.

I am attaching some of the photos of Rome visit. This is my third visit to the great place and I never got tiered seeing them again and again. May be that is the secret of History. You always learn new things and are able to correlate events.

On the flight back home, I took time to watch the Oscar winning movie "No country for Old man". I had decided that I will not watch movies and spent time on catching up on reading Economist and Fortune ( More than 2 issues piled up). The temptation to watch the movie was so much I did that at the fag end of the 9 hr journey.(Didnt watch one on the way to London!!!). A must watch movie and a classic theme, though not new.
My video of Vatican.

Ok, Then till next week. Take it easy and take care; Live consciously.

John McCain.

#329 Very sad to wake up to the news of passing away of Senator John McCain aged 81 (4 days short of his 82nd Birthday).  He was a true ...