Sunday, April 27, 2008

Chelsea, Marriage. Heart rendering, resume updates

I had never seen my son so overjoyed, emotional and elated as yesterday when Chelsea beat Manchester united 2-1 to keep their premiership title hopes alive. He now says, even if they dont win the EPL, it is enough that MU were beaten, that is good enough. Reminds me of my days as a school boy that beating Pakistan in cricket is good enough. Winning against Rest all teams does not matter.

I attended a marriage ceremony in the family today. The boy is from our community and got married to a girl from the local community (Kannada) in their tradition. It was different style and it was an experience to go through the protocols and rituals. Yes, the food served was also different.

I was appalled and outraged to read that tourists are paying money to see cows being killed by Lions as entertainment. Where we have come to. I think the moral and ethical values are hitting a lowest of low. I believe, god sees the truth, but waits. Every one who was part of the event as a witness or organizer, have to answer him one day!!!. The pity is that they wont realize that when their kith and kins suffer, they cant correlate that to their deeds (Or misdeeds??) as usually the kith and kin pay for their misdeeds. God help them.

I am glad to see that Mike and Mark have fulfilled the long standing need of folks form the manager tools forum. They have commenced the resume review service. At 50$ it is worth every penny as even the mediocre resume companies in India charge 40$ for review and comment on resumes. Some Indian sites charge 200US$ (Thats eye opening even for an Indian!!!!) Worth the try. I plan to get my done in the I week of May.

I was delighted to see now you can search for specific file type in google. (PDF, DOC etc). So should help pick some useful files to read or save.

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


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Praveen Angre, Strengths Finder 2.0, HBR green, Whiskey, 100,000

I wanted to thank Mr. Praveen Angre, one of the Chef at the BA Terminal Four BA Gate 1A Lounge at Heathrow. Praveen dishes out the requirements of the passengers based on their needs, thus customizing the food. Considering Hundreds go thro the menu and request, this is great service. More so, when there are vegetarians like me whose special needs are to be attended to (Like he prepared a Schezwan noodles with Veg ingradients when the menu item is under Meat). Great customer service. Thanks Praveen.

Sorry to see the heads roll at Terminal 5 fiasco. Read an interesting article by Vir Shangvi in livemint as to how BA is fast loosing its market share and that Indian Airliners are making a dent in to the west. I agree with him, the Jet and Kingfisher are making huge wave with their great customer service. I am also seriously contemplating the switch, it just the fact that No international flight of Jet Airways flies out of Bangalore that is holding me back to BA.

On the other front, I completed the Strength finder 2.0 yesterday, though I purchased the book 4 months back, I could find the time yesterday. This is an updated version with more practical and customized inputs. There are 34 Traits from which the top 5 manifests.

My Top 5 Clifton strength finder Characters (Talent)were

The Top5 Strength finder 1.0 when I did in 2006 were
Self Assurance.

So more or less consistent. I guess I have mended a bit with more responsibility of family and stability taking the priority !!!!.

Read a very interesting article in HBR by Daniel Goleman which made me think a lot, this was on Reawakening your passion for work.

Also read / heard a very thought provoking podcast / article on HBR Green by Rakesh Khurana on "Should managers take a Hypocratic oath?. Kept me thinking. I think the MBA degree or universities are slowly loosing the final objectives. They tend now to focus on short term aspects rather than long term vision and gains for the individual as well as to the society.!!!!.

I was appalled at the news article that the Wine and Whiskey lobby is pressurizing the government to resume serving alcohol on Domestic flights. Knowing the way our folks behave and having personally been a witness to the misdeeds of couple of folks on international flights with Air hostess, this will be a disaster. Many of the Indians have an attitude that when it is free, you may as well rip it. So I hope the common sense prevails and nonsensical decisions on the affirmative don't happen.

Finally, I was amazed to hear that my wife's colleague paid Rs. 100,000(US$2600) as donation for her 4 year old baby for admission in to Lower Kinder Garten (LKG). WOW!!!!. That was at least Rs. 35,000 more than the entire amount I had spent for my Education from 1st standard in 1969 to my masters degree in 1985 in India (From Madras to Coimbatore). I just did a quick check and 65,000(US $ 1700) was the total expense as education fee. Add may be another 20,000 for the Hostel fees and the bus travel expenses!!!!. Still less than Rs. 100,000 (We call 1 lac in India). So as economy prospers, so are the educators who form the basis/ foundation. Make the hay while the sun Shines I would presume.

I also look forward to spending the next 4 to 6 weeks at home as no travel is planned.

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


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Trieste, Pizza, Terminal 5, Day of the Jackal

I was away on Business travel to Trieste, Italy. Trieste is a beautiful small town of 250,000 people on the Adriatic coast near Slovenia and Austria and 140 Kms from Venice.
The town is famous for its long unspoiled beaches of the Adriatic sea. It was an undivided stretch of atleast 5kms. Great to walk and enjoy the dashing waves.
The castle of Miramare, is located, built by Maxmillan the emeror of Mexico. It is worth spending 30 minutes there.
The visit also gave me the chance to taste, Italian Pizza। I never had time or chance to visit such resturants to order one. When I expressed a desire to my Italian team, they immediately fulfilled it. The famous story of Margarita Pizza.(The colour of Italian flag of Red, Green, white by tomato, Basil, and Cheese) was a classic innovation. Trieste has some very good restaurants too.

With great reservations/ skepticism of delays and chaos in Terminal 5, I worked this trip through London Heathrow(Via Munich to Trieste). It was not as bad as I thought, as more than 10 days has passed since the fiasco of March 28th Inauguration nightmare. Still some of the elevators didn't work so were some of the toilets. The terminal 5 is good 25 minutes by bus from Terminal 4 where most International flights land. No wonder! they have postponed the Full move of other BA flights from Terminal4 to 5 till June. You should keep good 150 minutes for flights connecting from terminal 4 to 5 or vice versa. Yes, the shopping experience, Galleries Lounge are all too good. I guess it is a question of couple of months before order would be restored. The Lounge at Madras (I took the flight from Madras to London)

By the way, 30 years after, Reading the classic by Fredrick Forsyth's Day Of the Jackal, I got a chance to watch the movie during the flight back from LHR to Bangalore. This is also a case where the essence of the movie was captured fully. I also watched the movie Kite Runner a story set in Pre Taliban Afganistan. This movie is also from a book from the same name. Worth watching.
Ok, then till next time, take it easy and take care; Live Conciously.


Kumbakonam Fire Tragedy

I post this special post to pay our homage to the Children who perished in the Kumbakonam School fire tragedy in 2004. We visited Kumbakonam (See last post) and took time to visit the school in which 93 children lost their lives. Our anguish was indescribable seeing the unsafe way the school was allowed to run. I hope this is the last of such incidents. Will the authorities learn a lesson on implementing school safety norms? I doubt!!!!!!.
I reproduce the poem of APJ Abdul Kalam, the then president of India.

Prayer for departed children of Kumbakonam

Oh dear little ones! Oh dear little ones!
For you, parents had glorious dreams !
And you were all immersed in your own dreams
Yet, Agni engulfed you and all of those dreams
Taking you to Almighty's divine presence
Usually, departed old parents are buried by sons
Whereas, Kumbakonam, saw a sad scene!
Crying parents burying their little ones!!
Oh Almighty! show Your grace on those little ones
And keep them all in Thy Holiest Presence!!
Oh Almighty! bless those parents wilting in grief
To have the strength to bear this great loss
May Thy compassion and grace pervade all souls
And bring down the pain and wipe away the tears
Oh Almighty! show Your grace on those little ones.

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam


Swamimalai, KS Mangalam, Vellankani.

Ok, It is Good to be back to Blogging. I am planning to make up for the last time this week.

We had a good holiday time. We had been away to our home town, Karaikudy. En route we visited some of the interesting places.
Our first stop was Swamimalai, a small temple town about 10 miles from Kumbakonam. (Near Tanjore). We had to offer prayers there for my son. There is a form of worship called taking Kavadi which my son performed. My son is named Swaminathan (Family name) after the Lord here.

The hotel we stayed in Kumbakonam, (ARK Lodge) was mediocre. The services was below average. Added to the insult was some construction work from which the noise was unbearable.

We then left for Vaideeswaran Koil which is about 75 min from Kumbakonam. This visit was also long overdue(17 years) and from there we proceeded (after a long debate in view of time constraints) to Velankanni. The road to reach the place was a traveler's nightmare.(Potholes and diversions). The town like The small Church over the years has grown in to a big shrine. (I visited Velankanni then a small unknown hamlet in the early 1970s). I always have secular outlook to religions and we offered our prayers to the virgin Mary there. The 4 Hour drive to Karaikudy was good, the roads were excellent. Karaikudy wore a festive look in view of the visit by Sonia Gandhi that week. I experienced the frustration of being stuck in a traffic jam of 1 Hr the day she visited on 5th April.(An impossible event in a town of 100,000).

We also visited the Family Deity at Karisuzhntha mangalam which we try to visit atleast once a year. The photos of the deity Kalahasthiswarar (The temple was inagurated recently) and Godess Ganambigai. The town is 20 Km from the famous Halwa sweet making Tirunelveli town.

I plan to post more posting for the day.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Sorry being away

I was away on Holidays and business travel out of India to Italy. Sitting now in Terminal 4 in Heathrow on the way back home. Passed Thro Terminal 5.
Will catch up this weekend and would make up. Lot of thoughts to share.
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 ...