Friday, June 29, 2007

Paneer Bhurji

PANEER BHURJI RECIPE



Ingredients:


200 gms Paneer
1 tbsp Oil
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Green Chillies
1 Small Onion
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
1 medium Tomato
1/2 tsp Salt


Preparation:

Chop the onions, tomatoes and chillies finely.
Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan, add the cumin seeds, chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste, fry till brown.
Add the chillies and tomatoes and fry till they are soft and pulpy.
Add turmeric powder, garam masala powder, salt and little water so that all the masalas are well combined.
Add grated paneer and fry for 5 minutes till the paneer blends into the masala.
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot।   

Why is this here?
Because it was my first culinary adventure and it was good. Try it and comment.

Train tales

When we were इन school (my bro and I) summer vacation meant a trip to our native place Coimbatore. Usually we take the overnight train, but the most enjoyable trips were those by the Kovai Express. Kovai express for those in the know is a super fast train that covers the distance of 495 kms in 8 hrs. Simple arithmetic would tell you that the average speed is 62 km/hr. Makes you wonder now if super fast is 62 kms in India what would we call the bullet trains when Lalu इनtroduces them.

Anyway back to the Kovai express, it brings back memories of fighting for the “window seat” so that we may watch the landscape going by. The constantly changing landscapes, the occasional bridges with their thunderous noises kept us entertained till we eventually dozed off in the heat. An additional attraction of these journeys was the pantry car, which was a novelty in those days. I was a big fan of the cutlets in those days and the novelty of eating on the move made it so much more enjoyable. The chair cars in these day trains are in the 3 X 3 configuration and seemed so comfortable to us and as air-conditioned travel was too expensive we had never tried a cool journey.

Today the same Kovai express journey seems to be a drag as 8 hours is too long for my comforted posterior and being used to “simpliflying” I prefer to give trains the go by. My recent memory of this train was when I had to take it to Katpadi / Vellore a few years ago as the bus journey was a nightmare. The ac chair car for all its aspiring luxury status is still uncomfortable and the catering is passable to say the least. I could not wait for the journey to end.

If you are wondering why I’m writing this post its because the other day I saw this scene in थे Central station.





The above is the unreserved compartment of the train. With not enough breathing space in the compartment, those seen in the picture were struggling for a foothold on the footboard. I shuddered at the thought of a journey like that for at least 4 hours with no access to food, drink (no pantry access for the unreserved) or even worse the toilet.

Will the Lalu magic that revived the railways be able to meet the burgeoning demand for seats? Can the Indian Railways bear this load with its creaking infrastructure? And will super fast expresses ever be fast?
I wonder….

SCS flashback

A good picture speaks a thousand words.





Go ahead and take a good look at the picture, it is a gem to be saved for at least one decade when these three characters will be found within one photo unless someone tries Photoshop.

Now that you have looked at the picture and have not got the 1000 words as yet, then let me add at least a few.

L to R

Rajesh aka “Thanni” (SCS 41) after his unending thirst while in Loyola College. Banish all thoughts that his thirst was for knowledge in that exalted environs or even a mundane thirst that can be quenched by H2O or tender coconut, this was the thirst for a higher spirit (s) that can be so uplifting that one will scarcely know what one is doing. Anyway Rajesh’s other claim to fame includes being a good cricket player, a great whistler and above all a reliable friend. You can bank on him in need and he will help you. Completely unassuming with a great sense of humour, he made college fun.

Currently Rajesh is in Toronto and is one step away from his Canadian PR with a Canadian accent to boot and romancing his to be Canadian bride. Eppadi iruntha ivan, ippadi aiyuttaan?

Neil Moses aka “Neil” (SCS 21) was missing during the first semester in college. And my earliest memories of Neil were from a trip to Alsa Mall with friends. Neil was facing the door with a girl before him and when he saw me, both of us realized that we had seen each other but did not realize who we were. Anyway after that meeting Neil became yet another great friend who made college life rock.
What is special about Neil? He is a black belt expert and chief trainer now, but during college was a Black belt second Dan of the Shito Ryu style of Karate and heir apparent to his dad the legend Mr. Moses Thilak himself. If you believe in calling hot-tempered people having a short fuse, then Neil’s fuse would be microscopic!!! Ever the ladies man, Neil could charm women with maddening ease. Despite many girlfriends he remained constant. An ever reliable friend, who never hesitated to spend time, money or resources on his friends and a great guy to hang out with.
To Neil goes the credit of teaching me spatial awareness, direction finding and the ability of finding my way wherever I go. He also induced the joy of late night drives early on when his car would be the best form of relaxation in the days gone by. Our escapades together in the endeavour to find new and unexplored roads in Chennai would befit one long post.

Currently Neil is based in Delhi working in PNB as an IT officer (In case you may wonder it is Information Technology and not Income Tax) and also handling the karate infrastructure that is spread across the country. He is also the chief trainer of karate instructors around the country and is a most eligible bachelor.

Clement aka (well actually it depends on who you ask) (SCS 42) TO KNOW ABOUT ME , READ MY BLOG!

Currently I am writing this blog.


PS: We were from the SCS batch of BSc Computer Science students from Loyola College, class of 1996

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fete de la musique

“Fete de la musique” or the festival of music if you please organized by The Alliance Francais of Madras hosted a rock show yesterday. This is a brief recount of the same.

I like rock music and I like the rockers of old who interspersed great music with some vocals that ranged from the silly, to thought provoking to simply bizarre. However bands of late have found that metal is the best way to fame and they create noise of varying intensities and cause aching eardrums, not to mention a splitting head ache.

Now I do try to visit rock shows for two reasons; One, the chance of seeing live acts and two the chance to hear some home grown bands coming out with their own comps, hoping fervently that one day they may be the next big thing. Anyway I was invited for this show by my friend Mario who was the bassist of the band that opened for the visiting band from France. Being a Sunday and also being a non-ticketed show it was worth a look in so I went with a small group of friends.

The opening act was No Idea, one of the more promising bands from India and one of the better bands from Madras. Their crowning glory was winning the Great Indian Rock Festival, which gave them a foreign gig and a lot of media coverage. Fronted by one of the few female vocalists they are a promising bunch. They played what they called a preview of their forth-coming album and it made for an interesting mix. A few comments about them:

• Any lingering doubts about how they got their name were dispelled yesterday when we realized that we had no idea what the band sang. Whatever few vocals were there, were drowned completely by the music.

• The band had lost the crowd even before the show had begun. The fact that the venue was changed at the Nth hour and also that it was a sit down show robbed the concert of any energy whatsoever. However any showman must play to the crowd, here No Idea did not have any idea about getting the crowd on its feet nor did they attempt to do it with their music.

• The drummer for some reason was not into the flow. I kept getting a sneaky feeling that he was missing a beat or two. And there was a pause in between a song that looked so unplanned that the members gave each other a weird look before recovering to play again.

• The lead singer was fidgety and looked out of place every time there was a guitar interlude, which must happen with monotonous regularity if you watch any band today. I suppose it is the formula for music making. She just kept fidgeting with her long hair, which I suspect, is kept long to keep her busy. But to give her credit she does sing well.

• The wise cracks that the lead guitarist attempted fell flat. The lead singer gave a yelp on stage which we later found out was a giggle. Some where down the line these people have forgotten that stage presence can make or break a performance. Here it did not make the performance.

• Though No Idea is one of the few bands that actually use a keyboard, the keys were missed and I felt that they should have been highlighted a lot more. Maybe the fact that Shane, the keyboardist was known to me or maybe I just like to hear the keys, I felt that the keys were shortchanged. Like wise Mario had very little chances to show us what he can do on the bass guitar. I enjoy short interludes where the various members of the band get a little time off to show their stuff on stage. This helps the omnipresent guitarist / vocalist / drummer to catch their breaths and recharge themselves.

• One of the songs they sang / performed was “Mug” it’s a song about a drunk who is trying to figure out the colour of the mug!!!!!!! At least that was what we inferred from what the guitarist wisecracked. My friend David wryly remarked that the song must have been actually written in the bathroom. Come on No Idea, you can do better than that. If you cannot do politically correct songs that talk about world peace, brotherhood, love or anti-drugs then just play music. Having honed your skills at the Unwind Centre, which promotes a smoke, dope, alcohol free rock environs, much more is expected from you. And yes they also sang “Flavour of the month” which was highlighted as a song for all those who change girl friends monthly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

• Despite all this, if they sounded good it was because they do have good sound. Pity it was not appreciated by the few who gathered there. They play a mix of a few styles / genres that an expert may find a specific name. Personally I find them a mix of new and old rock and a good blend at that. Maybe with a little more work they can sound better. I look forward to the album where technical wizardry will compensate the flaws of playing live.

All in all the first hour was worth the drive, though the fact that no one asked for an encore showed that they could have done a little better.




Mademoiselle K was the French band that played next after a short break. Fronted by a mademoiselle, they started off with some weird vocalizing / humming. I was hoping that it was just the sound check and thank fully it was. They started to play with a bang and they rocked!

Wearing leather pants and boots the lead singer had attitude and tonnes of it and she let it show at all times. Now let me just give a brief description of the band; a female lead vocalist cum lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, a bass guitarist and a drummer made up the band.

The drummer deserved special mention, he was very laid back and he had a lot of flair, constantly twirling the sticks he kept us entertained as well as backed up with some great drumming.

A few comments about the show itself:
• The first apprehension coming after No Idea was the vocals. Knowing that they were a French band, we wondered if we would first hear the vocals and if we did will we understand. Our French is passable at best. All doubts were simply blown away in a matter of minutes, the music was rocking and the vocals simply didn’t matter.

• The band showed that they were performers, first they got the crowd on their feet and next they urged them to clap and enjoy the show. When the crowd was getting lax the vocalist actually screamed “Move your F*@#%^& A!+” and the crowd did. Finally the scene resembled a rock show, probably the fact that the French were in big number and they got into the flow immediately.

• The music rocked primarily because the balance was well done. I noticed their sound engineer spending a lot of time setting up before they started and the result showed, you could pick up the various instruments and you did not feel overwhelmed by any. Also the energy was very high, when two guitarists go face to face and try to outdo each other on the guitars it is such a pleasing sight to see and it enhances the viewing pleasure when the music is good by itself.

• Yes they did have room for interludes and I was really impressed with the bass player, with a beard & a laid back attitude he looked the quintessential software geeks you see often, however he actually strummed the bass guitar to a maddening crescendo. It was good to see and hear.

• Towards the end the band actually went down on their knees for a long musical interlude or song, whatever they may call it, it first silenced the crowd and then it slowly built up into a rocking crescendo, so much so when the band were back on their feet they were greeted with a thunderous ovation.

• And yes the band was politically correct if you do pardon those free flowing expletives, they sang among others a song called “ASD” an anti drug song. Coming from France it was heart warming.

• They ended their show but the crowd did not stop applauding and they came back for yet another F@#$%^& French song that was a grand finale.


PS. One of the most enduring sights of the concert was one rock aficionado who had brought his 3-4 year old kid for the show. The kid had both hands on her ears and she gave us a disdainful look as she tried to understand what was going on at the Fete de La Musique.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

xth commandment

Remember the Xth commandment?

Ok, don’t be embarrassed; it says “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s goods” coming after not coveting the neighbour’s wife, one would expect that this commandment would be the easier to follow.

I thought so till, I happened to sit into the latest Honda Civic. Let me first clarify that D is often pissed when I say that she is my third love preceded by my bike and my car. Now I don’t know how many women will accept this (though I have the sneaky feeling that they may have similar experiences), I believe that I am not isolated among the men.

So I drool over gorgeous women, after all a thing of beauty is joy forever and any creator always will take delight in the appreciation of his works by true connoisseurs. I am one of those connoisseurs and when I see a gorgeous girl I appreciate the work of the Divine creator. Anyway coming back to the topic I drool whenever I see a beautiful car and I do it unabashedly.

So it happened that day when I saw the Civic and I promptly broke the commandment. I have coveted it to the point of feeling incredibly guilty about it. The dashboard of the car is like that of a small air craft and I saw the paddle shift gears and I still can’t forget it. I now know that a new Civic is probably a couple of years away after diligent saving and that is promising.

But meanwhile how do I go on without breaking the commandment repeatedly? My pal David came up with the solution and a most ingenuous one at that. Have you heard any commandment that states “Thou shalt not covet the dealer’s goods?” Now till that day I can always window shop (YUCK!!!!!) at the Honda dealership and covet to my hearts desire.

Friday, June 22, 2007

First date

Hi!!!!!!

Actually another Blogger (http://www.bonappetite.blogspot.com/) whose blog I read regularly inspired this post. She had written about her first date experiences and it just took me into Nostalgia Avenue. So I commented on her blog and then decided that I can expand my comment and save it for posterity, so here goes….

My first date, it was my first actual date, you know the type when a guy and a girl decide to meet, eat and then see what will happen next (no wicked ideas please) kind of meeting happened in my first year of under graduation.

Those were the days when dating happened in Archie comics and not in the average middle class teenager’s social life. Anyway it so happened that one very pretty girl actually wanted to meet me and invited me for an “ice cream or something”. After the euphoria of getting a date with a girl whom my friend and I were drooling over for some time ended, realization sunk in. Where do you go for your first date? Where do you get the legal tender a.k.a. money to pay for it? (Dutch at that time was still a foreign nation.) How do you dress up for it? The questions flew back and forth and there seemed no answer in sight.

One problem that is the finance was handled by my then ATM, my mum who gave me 100 Rupees for a treat with friends, and some money which I had totaled to the princely sum of Rs. 150 or there about. Her ladyship who said that since Nungambakkam was an ideal location settled the problem of the venue, as she had to go to the NIIT nearby for her classes it was finalized as “Sangeetha’s”.

The time was fixed at 5 PM, this presented a small problem for me as my class timings were from 2 – 7 PM, a small problem that could be solved by proxy attendance or a simple bunk. I chose to do the latter.

So accordingly I waited for her to come at the venue muttering a silent prayer that all should go well. She arrived with a radiant smile carrying her files and her college bag which contained some photos. Now I must mention that showing the photos to me was the original premise of the date and the ice cream was incidental.

Then disaster struck!!!!!!! If I have not mentioned it before, I do find it very difficult at times to control my pent up feelings and end up sharing it with whoever cares to listen. Accordingly I informed my class gang of the proposed photo sharing. (We did not have Yahoo then, you see!!!). My gang decided they were hungry and promptly bunked class and ended up in Sangeetha’s.

I had to do the now mandatory introduction and my gang proceeded to take one of the larger tables as they were 5 in number. We chose the only available couple’s seat and as fate would have it it was in full frontal view of my gang. We proceeded to do our respective planned tasks, she and I the photo sharing and my gang eating.

I was so nervous as this was my first date and not to mention in full view of my gang who hidden behind the menu cards were watching the show on hand. She was totally at ease with the situation on hand and was a great conversationalist, tongue tied for words I played along. IF you are in a hotel, you must eat and so we made our orders. Call it nervous ness, cost consciousness, or call it simple madness we ordered the following:

She – Chocolate ice cream in coca cola
Me – Vanilla ice cream in Limca

I still don’t know who ordered these, but I think they stopped making those two concoctions again in Sangeethas. They were so terrible.

And at the end, my gang embarrassed me even further by paying for our bill too. When I called the waiter for the bill which I seldom used to do back then, I was told that it was already paid for.

I will never remember what exactly happened on my first date which actually ended well, but I do know two things that I विल नेवर सुग्गेस्त यू:
1) Tell close friends if I यू are going on a first date
2) Order Limca and vanilla ice cream.

Friday, June 15, 2007

The boss!

Hi! Today is June 15th 2007; the day “The Boss” is rocking the town. Finally Shivaji is being released worldwide and this is supposedly the biggest release ever with the maximum number of prints hitting the screens. This movie has all the ingredients to make it big. A big banner, a huge budget, the biggest star in the country, a world global music director, a blockbuster director with no flop history, a sure hit formula and the expectation of millions are the ingredients for a sure fire success story.

Now if you have watched the English news channels of late all of them have devoted huge airtimes to the Superstar. I was initially puzzled at this hype created by the northern media houses while our local media have downplayed it comparatively. Then I realized that they were trying to come to terms with this phenomenon that is The Superstar and his
Movies. They were just unable to digest that their big daddy of Bollywood, Mr. Amitabh Bacchan has had his thunder stolen and made to look as a mere mortal. One channel actually ran a SMS poll to see who was bigger AB Sr. or The Superstar and the result was a hands down victory for the Superstar with over 82% voting for him. Remember this was a national poll and though the sample may be urban and restricted this gives some perspective to anyone trying to understand the phenomenon.

First the facts gleaned from Headlines Today:
Fan clubs : AB – 20, S* - 63000
Remuneration / film : AB – 3 Cr (or 1 Rolls Royce and 1 Re if you insist) , S* - 35 Cr
No of movies / yr : AB - 20, S* - 1 every 2 years

Also the movie “Muthu” of S* has grossed 3 Mn in Japan and has spanned a legion of crazy fans in Japan.

Frankly if you ask me there is no competition there can be only one S*, all the others are mere imitations. Having put to rest this great debate that kept our TV channels busy I just want to give you my take on this phenomenon.


Why is the Superstar a superstar? Well there may be several reasons but to me there are two.

1) Feel good factor: My HR lecturer during my MBA days used to call his exams as “At home with MBA”, what he was trying to impress upon us at that time was that we should dispel all negative feelings, fears, tensions, worries about exams and be comfortable. All of us have our comfort zones, he wanted us to make exams too a part of the comfort zone. What S* has been doing in his movies is to get us into that comfort zone for that brief interlude of 3 hours from all that worries, tensions, anxieties that we have as part of our daily life. His movies follow the simple triumph of good over evil that is the hallmark of all hero-oriented stories right from the Ramayana and Mahabharatha.

Good music, the thumping of bad guys, a few jigs in the S* way (you still cant call them dance), good comedy (often self depreciating, remember the snake jokes where S* shows his fears), sexy women, some sentiment, no double entendre jokes and oodles of style and we have the perfect mix to take us to the utopia where good always triumphs and where we find that superman will save the world of all its ills, though for a brief while.

2) Now this formula has been flogged to death by so many and even AB Sr has done it but why is it not enough? Because S* has got style baby. He has style and tones of it. Ask any fan and they will tell you. The legendary flip of the sunglasses done by anyone else will look foolish, the flip of the cigarette (now replaced by chewing gum after Mr. Anbumani), lighting the match without a match box, the S* dance (well ok, I’ll make a concession after all he’s S*), the hairdo, all of it speaks style. S* can talk English, walk English, laugh English, so what if it sounds like Englipish he can do it with style. Being a non smoker I abhor smokers but when S* smokes I cant help admiring the way he does, only John Travolta in Broken Arrow has come remotely close. But way to go S* you have now decided to chew gum on screen. And in that you are as good as Jackie Chan.



My takeaway in life from the superstar are the two above mentioned. In my field of work (marketing) we need to use both and I can assure you that these two can be a surefire method to succeed in life too.

Whether it be a client or a friend any good relationship will develop only when both are at ease with each other or feel good with each other. So also in marketing when I meet a new client it helps to do some homework on the client, however a lot can be gained by careful observation. By observing the person and the place various openings for breaking the ice can be found. Often the feel good factor can make or break the deal and so it is crucial. And this will not be taught to you in B-school.

Next is the clincher, style. It is the single most important ingredient that can make the difference between the star and the superstar. Having compared AB Sr and S* let me move to another comparison on the cricket field. Brian Lara and Shivnarain Chanderpaul are both West Indian and both are left handers and are contemporaries, the similarities end there. Both are run getters and both have been the rocks of Gibraltar on which the hopes of Windies were built after the exit of their stars. Ability and talent are available in plenty to both and they can both play an attacking as well as defensive gritty innings in both forms of the game. What keeps them apart is style. Lara is the Prince simply because his backlift and bat swing are so beautiful that they are worth watching again and again. His style is unparalleled and the adulation he commands befits a Prince.

To an aspiring success hunter here is the secret tip. You must have stuff in you (else try to get it in you), you must make yourself and those around you feel good at all times and find your style of doing things and do it so that you are remembered not just for what you did but how you did it.
So go ahead, just do it, but do it with style. As for me let me see how I can get a ticket to Shivaji knowing fully well that all shows for a month are fully booked. Thalaiva here I come!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sports unlimited

This Sunday there was an overdose of good sporting action on the sports channels, notably the ESPN Star Sports duo. After several hours of mind numbing re-runs of the precious few India victories on the cricket field it was a real pleasure to watch three good matches of three different sporting disciplines.

1) The Afro Asian Cup match three: For a tournament that was held with the grandiose promise of “Cricket for Unity” to raise funds for the development of Africa cricket, I wonder how much money was actually raised judging by the sparse crowd that turned up for all the matches and near absence of advertisements that indicated acute apathy to a “showpiece event”. The fact that many of the “superstars” were absent did not rob the final match (in fact the entire tournament) of some thrilling moments. After Shaun Pollock came so agonizingly close to winning one match single handed, the third match was played purely for African pride having already lost the series. The African skipper Justin Kemp after almost going to sleep during the middle overs woke up at the end of the 34th over to realize that his team was in pursuit of yet another 300+ score. Maybe Shaun Pollock gave him a kick up his backside on the sly or maybe he just woke up by himself a flurry of boundaries brought the Africans agonizingly close to victory only to run out of overs to achieve the target. “Early to bed and early to rise…” may make you win a match Mr. Kemp. So Asia huffed and puffed after one slam-bang century by Dhoni and another poetic effort by Jayawardhene the victory was achieved by only 13 runs.


2) The French Open Men’s final: As the newspaper put it, this was a match between two men, one on the thresh hold of history and the other simply trying to get some more silverware to deck up his mantelpiece
(a 3 piece set). To those who missed it, it was the much awaited clash between the Spanish Matador (or is it the Spanish bull?) Rafael Nadal the world No 2 and the FedEx the Master himself Roger Federer world No 1. The commentators repeated that Nadal considered Roland Garros as his second home not dissimilar to Federer who loves Wimbledon. After the first 6 tight games the matador broke the master's serve and promptly wrapped up the set. He went on to loose the second set courtesy a break of serve and surrendered it by 4 games to 6. When it seemed that all seemed even the matador reached deep within himself and found huge reserves of self belief, stamina and whatever he needed to wrap up the match in over 3 hours. Having watched the FedEx steam roll his opponents with sublime skill and beautiful all court play it was with a wicked streak of delight that I watched him being dismantled by Nadal, but good players become great by doing that much more than others and so the French open will not elude Federer for too long. It was a wonderful match and a fitting finale to the tournament.


3) The Canadian Grand Prix: I did see history being made at Montreal the same night (actually it was early morning on Monday IST) when the wonder kid and the rookie of the year of the F1 world Lewis Hamilton claimed his first ever win in an incident or rather accident filled race. After 5 consecutive podium finishes in his first five races of his F1 career it did not need any expert to predict that the big one was just ahead and it was only a matter of time. And so it was sixth time lucky, well luck is such injustice to a perfect drive that Hamilton showed the world. On the other hand Fernando Alonso the two time champion seemed to have some weird liking for the grass on the kerbs and kept making repeated passes over the kerb almost like he was driving a motorized lawn mover and not a F1 car. Having been an Alonso fan, simply because of his daring driving skills my loyalty has promptly jumped over to Hamilton. As Michael Jackson said “It don’t matter if your black or white” Hamilton is the first black to win a F1 race proclaims the Western media, colour be damned, it simply doesn’t matter and a day will come when the first brown (Indian) will win a F1 race too. When nearly one third of the pack kept piling their cars with monotonous regularity on the walls of the race track Hamilton drove one of the most composed races seen recently leading from the pole to the finish. Nico Rosberg was involved in one of the most horrific crashes televised and he survived partly due to the robust cars that are in F1. Though the podium winners raised a few eyebrows,especially the presence of Alex Wurz (who I’m told made his debut in the same place a decade ago) having started from 19th ended 3rd, partly from good fortune and also a good team strategy. Incidentally the Williams are powered by the Toyota engines and yet the Toyota team had the usual dismal performance! (Maybe Mallya will rethink his sponsorship of the team) . But my moment of the evening was the absolutely stunning pass that Takuma Sato of the Super Aguri Honda team made over Alonso. Having watched Alonso do this to many others seeing him at the receiving end was so wickedly delightful. Now please note that Sato pulled off this manoeuvre with a Honda powered car while Jenson Button driving the Honda team car never even left the starting line!

Sports can be a great leveler.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Why employees leave organizations?

D sent me this mail, after hearing my constant ranting and raving of my workplace. After a read I realized that I was not alone!!!! This makes for an intersting read.....



WHY EMPLOYEES LEAVE ORGANISATIONS ?
- Azim Premji, CEO- Wipro


Every company faces the problem of people leaving the company for better pay or profile. Early this year, Mark, a senior software designer, got an offer from a prestigious international firm to work in its India operations developing specialized software. He was thrilled by the offer. He had heard a lot about the CEO. The salary was great. The company had all the right systems in place employee-friendly human resources (HR) policies, a spanking new office and the very best technology, even a canteen that served superb food. Twice Mark was sent abroad for training. 'My learning curve is the sharpest it's ever been,' he said soon after he joined. Last week, less than eight months after he joined, Mark walked out of the job.

Why did this talented employee leave? Arun quit for the same reason that drives many good people away.

The answer lies in one of the largest studies undertaken by the Gallup Organization. The study surveyed over a million employees and 80,000 managers and was published in a book called 'First Break All The Rules'. It came up with this surprising finding: If you're losing good people, look to their manager .... The manager is the reason people stay and thrive in an organization. And he's the reason why people leave. When people leave they take knowledge, experience and contacts with them, straight to the competition. 'People leave managers not companies,' write the authors Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

A manager drives people away? HR experts say that of all the abuses, employees find humiliation the most intolerable. The first time, an employee may not leave,but a thought has been planted. The second time, that thought gets strengthened. The third time, he looks for another job. When people cannot retort openly in anger, they do so by passive aggression. By digging their heels in and slowing down. By doing only what they are told to do and no more. By omitting to give the boss crucial information. Dev says: 'If you work for a jerk, you basically want to get him into trouble. You don't have your heart and soul in the job.' Different managers can stress out employees in different ways - by being too controlling, too suspicious, too pushy, too critical, but they forget that workers are not fixed assets, they are free agents. When this goes on too long, an employee will quit - often over a trivial issue.


Now who said quitters dont win? ; )

Adios ABN

Hey its that time when I have to send my farewell letter to my present employer,in this case ABN AMRO Bank NV and move on. Now I have been flattered before when my joining letter and my farewell letters have been saved by many of my erstwhile colleagues for their future use. Apparently my style was well received, so I thought why not save my letter for my own nostalgia trips later and so here goes....


Hi, Do you know the origin of the term "Good bye"? Let me explain, in medieval England travellers used to go by stage coaches (horse drawn carriages) from one town to another. These stage coaches used to travel during the day time generally for fear of being attacked by wild animals or worse the feared highway men. So whenever people set out on long journeys especially in the evenings their friends and relatives used to wish them saying "God By Ye" (God be with you). In course of time this blessing became convulted to Goodbye.

So every time we say good bye, we infact give a blessing to the traveller. It is this blessing and good will I seek from you, as I take leave of you today. Our paths have crossed and for a brief while we journeyed together but now at the crossroads, it is time to part.

It is said that the best things in life come in small pacakages, and so will I cherish this brief but best time spent here with you.

This world is shrinking rapidly and surely we will meet again at some other crossroad, till that day you can always keep in touch by:
M: 9840080405
Email: clementwill@gmail.com

A small parting gift to you before I leave, this is my favourite poem by Rudyard Kipling and I hope that it will remain with you as my wish for you.

[IF]

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream--and not make dreams your master,
If you can think--and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

--Rudyard Kipling
Dated : 11/06/2007.
Good bye ABN AMRO, it was an interesting 10 months. Thanks for all the good times and the bad. Adios!!!!!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Helmet or HELL met

Hi! Today is the 1st of June 2007 and if you are living in Tamilnadu you must wear a helmet if you ride a bike or even ride pillion on a bike. And surprise, surprise on my way to office I saw the ban take effect almost 100%. The 1% are those fool hardy idiots who still choose to ignore the ban. I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people wearing sparkling brand new helmets prominently displaying the "ISI" mark on them. What gladdened my heart even more was that I saw a few riders have an extra helmet with them on the bike presumably for their other halves when they ride with them. Way to go people!!!


Now let us think about this 1%, well suicide is not permitted by law but I supose if someone is so foolhardy to play with his / her life, no amount of legislation will help. Is the helmet rule or for that matter the seat belt rule so draconian? It simply is not. Wake up. Helmet may not keep you from getting killed but it can minimise the injuries by a great deal. The Hindu Metroplus yesterday (I think) had a wonderful article on the helmets. Apparently one dumb reader had written to the Mumbai Commisioner saying "I ride at around 55 kms/ hr only and at such slow speeds where is the need for a helmet" The reply was a real punchline "At 55 kms / hr you would be travelling at approximately 49 m/sec the same speed at which you will hit the ground if you jump from a fourth floor window...".Period.


I find a helmet as not just a fashion accessory that complements my bike but also a means to escape the stifling heat. To all the sniggering sceptics a good crash helmet with a full face visor not only keeps out the heat and dust but also saves my head. And if sweat is a concern then do the silly baseball caps make you sweat less? Even more funny are "the bandit queens" on the road, those vain women who for fear of the sun contrive to wrap themselves in a dupatta or long towels till only their eyes are seen and then cover their eyes with shades. Ladies your mugs wont last a crash, surely if you pay so much attention to your face then you can spare a thought to your heads. Use your heads before you should loose them. Applies to all guys too.


A few tumbles and falls from my bike over the years have left me unscarred thanks to my helmets but what left an undelible impression on me was an instance a few years ago on Poonamallee High road. Weaving my way through the notoriously heavy traffic on my bike I was suddenly stunned by a projectile that bounced off my helmet. I stopped to see that it was a small piece of sharp blue metal stone the kind used in laying roads. The stone had been kicked up by a tyre of a passing truck and the force of the impact stunned me momentarily. A similar impact had dented the side panel of my car in a later instance. A sharp fast moving projectile is lethal and were it not for my helmet I guess this blog may not have happened.

Despite all these I'm sure that the naysayers will never be convinced. I dont intend to. Just remember that a helmet is a visible sign of responsibility. It is not hard to visualise a boss saying in the near future, "You who are not responsible for big things like your own life, how can I trust you with this job?" or a prospective father in law saying "If you cannot safeguard your own life, how can I trust the life of my daughter in your care?"


Be responsible over your life which is the most important thing, it shows that you can be responsible over much lesser things like your family, work, etc, all of which will cease if you cease to be.