Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best Wishes!

I wanted to write a big post about the year and its highs and lows and even got the outline ready but then decided that I will share with you my mail that I had sent out today to all my business contacts.




Hi,

As we stand at the threshold of a New Year, we may have mixed feelings, some good some bad, but in a few hours we will start the New Year with the greatest gift of mankind – Hope!

I would like to share with you two poems from my list of favourites as a small New Year gift.

1) From the Gitanjali, written by Rabindranath Tagore, even 61 years after Independence, freedom is a distant dream for many. Battered, bruised, wounded, scarred be it in Orissa, Kashmir or Mumbai in the past year let our country awake into a new beginning….

Gitanjali 35


1 Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

2 Where knowledge is free;

3 Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

4 Where words come out from the depth of truth;

5 Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

6 Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

7 Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action --

8 Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.



2) The greatest question that faces us, the question that can be the source and the solution to many of the challenges we face everyday – What if…?

Rudyard Kipling answers a few questions… (yes, it is on my blog)

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!



Best wishes for a Happy, Prosperous, Grace-filled and Peaceful New Year.

Regards,

It looked a lot like Christmas...

As you enter our colony you will be greeted by our live tree, as it is getting taller you can see how difficult it is getting to string the lights!

Our star is in the balcony as fear of the rain brought it indoors a couple of years ago and it continues...

Our bigger artificial tree, normally we put up two such trees, this year I thought one is enough after all Christmas is not about a plastic monstrosity. Maybe next year I may scrap it altogether

Our crib, created by D. A good job I may add.

The reason for Christmas...



and yet this year it did not feel like Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas time tag!

I've been tagged!
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Like the person who tagged me, I haven’t had egg nog. So, I will go for hot chocolate.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Back then Santa was fun , but now gifts are only from my loved ones and often from whoever picks me as their Chris Child

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?
We have a real tree that is atleast 15 feet tall and every year we drape coloured lighst on it, but I think that next year I will give it a rest. Christmas did not sprout from a tree

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
No mistletoe. Haven’t seen one except in Tom and Jerry, when Jerry kicks Tom under it

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Usually at the start of advent, now D does it when she can

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
Biriyani any time, holiday or not

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child:
Going to my grand parents place in Coimbatore and having fun with cousins.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
I guess early on when the guy who played Santa for a Christmas do pulled of his mask when he had his break

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Cant remember getting a gift wrapped present on Christmas day in recent years, so I don’t remember

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
The usual stuff, lights, trinkets etc

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
The snow I have seen is nothing like what I see on TV, so no comments

12. Can you ice skate?
Nope.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?
Today, D got me a watch, it ranks right up there

14. What is the most important thing about the Holidays for you?
Family, friends, food, fun.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?
Ice cream holiday or not

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Sleep late

17. What tops your tree?
Star.

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?
Both.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?
Joy to the world

20. Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?
Don’t know haven’t tried one.

21. What do you want for Christmas?
World peace?! (I’m with Bungi on this, others follow)

22. Do you attend an annual Christmas Party?
Guess if, I’m invited by good friends, yes.
23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs?
I dress normally. Add a jacket for night mass, if its cold.

24. Do you own a Santa hat?
Yup, been searching for it though, haven’t found it this year.

25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with?
Family and friends.
And I tag Trinity,Lemonade, Oxymoron, Rowena, Fletcher and anybody else who wants to play it...

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Guide to entrepreneurship

Note: This post is my personal comment and it is not intended to hurt anyone.


A gloomy market is like a glass half filled with water. It is either half full or half empty depending on how you look at it. Looking at the option of opportunity can make people believe that this is the time for the entrepreneurial jump.

Now what are the options available? Plenty but something that has spread like wild fire spanning the spectrum from cottage industry size to a multi crore, multi location even spanning continents, and mass employment providing operations is the business of religion. Your read that right, the business of religion is booming like no other and the CAGR if somebody were to do it in absolute numbers would make many hard nosed business men salivate.

But why the business of religion? Simple, for starters you need no investment except oneself, many of the corporations started of f with or by a bright spark. A bright idea and good use of the basic four P’s of Philip Kotler and you have a killer service. The variety of services is mind boggling and I am happy to present a few:

For starters you can teach people to breathe, yes, if you know the better way that is or you can teach people that living can be made an art, not a bad thing after all, pity that this art cannot.

Next you could build an outrageous house of God and to make sure that it is eye catching you can build it as the highest, widest, costliest or in a funky shape or you can plate it in gold and live off the starry eyed tourists who come to gawk at this decadent show of wealth and whose fervent prayer will be to ask divine grace for a bit of the wealth. An entire travel industry has been spawned by these must see places.

You can make your own God or if that is difficult, you can say that God lives in you (you aren’t lying anyway) or even better you can call yourself God or if you a little modest about yourself you can simply say that you are an incarnation of God. It never fails, you can even debate this on TV.

Or you can render fiery speeches and use faith to heal every disease known and unknown, when the movie actors say, “God is great!” with a sad voice to highlight the gravity of a hospital scene you know where it came from.

If healing is not enough you can rent a huge stadium and fill it up with a mega sized troupe of performers singing catchy music and when the fervour is at it height you can probably make people swoon, sometimes the Hand of God may be necessary here to ensure that the people swoon. (With Maradona in the country, I couldn’t resist)

You can make fiery speeches and evoke the hidden fervour of some who embrace the K word and set about setting fire to the world. The K word is of course Kalashnikov the favourite toy of most misguided maniacs. K also is for Kill every non believer.

You can have more discourses and make a big song and dance about it, now with the all invasive media you can talk to every faithful and of course you can tell them the various means to send the funds to aid the cause. By the way you must be immaculately tailored and your suits must at least match up to Mr. Shivraj Patil’s wardrobe.

You can do ceremonies and other activities that no one will understand but will surely give them what they want either a gift from above or reparation for earlier deeds. One such entrepreneur even went to the distance of divining the location of hidden treasure also got 5 women killed in the bargain.

You can build resorts or retreats if you please where you can take a contract from shampoo companies for your extraordinary hair style and do your bit for the propagation of the faith through the multiplication of members by procreation.

You can do something new also…

What are the earning possibilities?
Limitless according to your ability and your ingenuity after all there are so many people who search for the fundamental truth that they already know but refuse to believe, millions more want avenues to wash off their sins and are willing to try something new, some more who like to be with the trend of the day, some who just like to try something new, the list goes on. The chief income stream of course is the humble donations that can be collected from a humble dumb box to start with and then you know. Merchandise is another chief source of income and let me not forget the tickets that are charged to see or have a glimpse of the almighty.

So if you think you have a killer idea and a good USP, go ahead the world awaits…


I leave you with the lyrics of a song by Joan Osbourne, whatever her religious leanings, it is worth a read

If God Was One of Us Lyrics

If God had a name, what would it be
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question
And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home

If God had a face what would it look like
And would you want to see
If seeing meant that you would have to believe
In things like heaven and in jesus and the saints and all the prophets

And yeah yeah god is great yeah yeah god is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if God was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
He's trying to make his way home
Back up to heaven all alone
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome

And yeah yeah God is great yeah yeah God is good
yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
What if god was one of us
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home
Just trying to make his way home
Like a holy rolling stone
Back up to heaven all alone
Just trying to make his way home
Nobody calling on the phone
Except for the pope maybe in rome

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Digitus secundus (Index finger)




Take a good look at the picture. What does the image of a pointed forefinger bring to your mind? Many things I would guess, but has it ever brought the fact that no less than three fingers are pointing backwards.

When things go wrong, the most used or abused finger is this forefinger and the most ignored are the other fingers that are telling an untold tale, the tale of the often silent accomplice. How much of the issue was cause by him whose hand the fore finger belonged to?

The question is not, what did I do to cause 26/11, but is there something I could have done to prevent it...

Also Indiblogger has come up with a good initiative. It’s called The “Rebuild India” Mission. Check it out.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Terror



By now the media would have numbed you with their incessant reportage of the incidents of “26/11”. Much has been said and much more will be said by every one who thinks he / she has an opinion to matter. I have my opinions too, but they are not on 26/11.

Yes a bunch of motivated, misguided young men created havoc and it spurred endless chest thumping jingoism for all and sundry. We have also heard enough of the “Spirit of Mumbai” that is attributed to the ability to recover each time. Pause for a moment and look at all this with a cynical eye, I did and I think it is silly.

Firstly these men have killed around 200 and wounded double the number in the space of 4 days and they are terrorists, hordes of men killed innocents in Orissa with simpler and cruder killing devices and they are rioters or religious zealots. I ask you for the victim cowering in fear is there any degree of terror, do the flames evoke lesser fear than bullets and grenades? Just because they cannot afford to dine in swanky places and not worth media reportage are they any lesser than those who laid down their lives? Blood is after all red for one and all and there is no blue blood except in books. For many of us far removed from these spots all this is just another gory soap opera, pause and look inward: how many people are killed or maimed by bad drivers, be it a Blue line or MTC bus, a BMW, the ubiquitous Tata truck or any other vehicle every day? The weapon of death may have morphed from a sword or a Kalashnikov to a harmless looking vehicle but the end result is death plain and simple. For such angels of death the law is so lenient that it is a joke.

And coming back to the “Spirit of Mumbai”, as I commented in another blog earlier it is a fallacy and a big joke. Mumbai gets back on its feet and life goes on because people simply do not care. You loose a loved one and what do you do? Cry for a few days, feel dejected, come back to your senses, get back on your feet (in many cases), and carry on. If the deceased is an acquaintance, feel sad for a few hours or minutes then carry on. If the deceased is just a statisic…I think that this Spirit, the Spirit of “I don’t care” is universal, after all we all have our jobs to do, families to take care of, bills to be paid, a life to be lived.

If we really feel bad about it, lets stop the blame game and do something about it. Just see what the power of the people is doing in Thailand otherwise lets get back to work.


Just received by SMS:
“An Olympic shooter wins Gold (only a game) & Govt. gives him 3 Cr + awards. Another shooter dies, fighting with terrorists, (saving our country and our lives) & Govt. pays his family 5 Lakhs. Truly great India?!?
(Pls fwd to all all Indians, that it somehow reaches the President, PM, CMs, IAS & all concerned)”
- Thanks Fletcher and Nitin Naik