December 31, 2008

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, O for grace to trust Him more!

It's the last day of the year.. as it is every year that we reflect and give thanks in the last of days of the year, given the goodness of God in our lives, this song has been continuously going on in my heart.. 
’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, And to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise, And to know, “Thus says the Lord!” 

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more!

King David sings in the Psalms, "Thou crownest the year with thy goodness", but it does apply to all the days of our lives, cos He crowns all of the days of our lives with His goodness.

This year has I've had many blessings, from exploring new places in and out of India, a positive career move, establishing good relationships, while I've also lost few really good friends, and there's a thorn in my flesh as well... 

The good times certainly make me and anyone feel good, and thankful about.. but, I just pray for more of His grace to trust Him more in times of weakness, when temptations take over that I'll still be able to say - Thank you, Lord! 

Wanna wish everyone who's been a part of me, and I've been a part of... A very happy and a richly blessed new year ahead! May His love ever enfold you!

December 25, 2008

Don’t save it all for Christmas!!!

I’ve seen myself, my family and many other families and churches which save a lot of their love only to shower during Christmas time. Well, I mean there’s a lot of giving in ways of giving to each other, giving to the poor and needy, giving to their neighbors among others that can be seen.. But, why does that giving have to wait till Christmas? Undoubtedly it’s the spirit of Christmas and of the divine gift of Jesus that inspires the act of giving in everyone. But, Jesus was born, and throughout His life, He kept giving.. and He never paused, nor withheld, even to the point that he gave His life so willingly… 

Perhaps the message this Christmas is that we ought to give throughout… whatever we can, sacrificially! Not pause, not withhold till the next Christmas!

December 24, 2008

Secret Santa works the magic of Christmas!

A recent fun activity (as a part of our employee relations initiative) at our office has triggered off a lot of excitement, and surprisingly some positive connecting. It was the game of Secret Santa. Unfortunately (we thought) a few had picked up names of people who they either didn’t like, had bad relation with, interacted less.. or the least were not much comfortable with. But, they had no choice.. They had to give them goodies over a week, and exchange gifts on the last day. Well, the Christmas spirit was setting in.. and it was a big hit.. People were getting surprises.. and on the last Gift exchange day, when everyone came to know who their secret Santa was, it was all the more surprise, an ACTUAL SURPRISE. What next, see the way the greet each other from the next day onwards.. there’s a newness to it.. There’s a lot of positivity to it!

Cool! So many secret Santas did work the magic of Christmas!

December 23, 2008

Hate begets hatred, so does terror!

"Bada hoke fauji banoonga... woh logon ko jalaavoonga... maroonga un logon ko", Bada hoke unko maardaloonga", (translated as "I'll be a soldier when I grow up... I will burn them.. I will surely kill them").. These are words of a 5-6 year old who has not even learnt numbers till 10 from Ramesh Sharma's ‘Final Solution’.

‘Hatred begets hatred’, we've all read that. It comes to life as we hear the witness of one or the other terrorist involved in some act of terror quote another act of terrorism against his community in the past which had motivated him to this end. 

While I am in absolute agreement to the fact that there can be no reasoning to committ an act of terror nor to justify one, a look at the various acts of internal terror that infest India show us how, specifically, the extremist and fundamentalist groups create such breeding grounds for terror within. With their hate speeches, acts of  violence like the demolition of Babri Masjid, the rioting that followed across various parts of India, in Godhra. In the midst of all the stones flying, knives, swords and trishuls flashing there’s many a life which didn’t deserve to be treated so, and this one act of terror ignites a spark of vengeance and leads to another act of terror just like the little kid swears in the Final Solution. While these were instances that have come into the notice of international media, there are many such other major and minor acts happening across of which we may not be aware..

These acts of terror are strong indicators to the government, politicians other powerful and influential people in the society to act justly and not be biased on grounds of communal and religious grounds. It’s high time we’ve moved up the ladder socially.

Wonder where has the sanctity of the Great Indian Constitution has gone—

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens: JUSTICE, social, economic and political; LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;


Even as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the constitution during the Republic Day, let’s take a vow to do this from now at least, in all its sanctity!

December 22, 2008

The Sunday before Christmas...

It was the Sunday before Christmas this year, and we had the Sunday School children presenting the special songs, skit and nativity for Christmas.. It was a very 'cute' presentation indeed, just as Uncle Prince David called it..

As he took over the pulpit to deliver the Sunday's message, he gave us a reality show of the nativity and effectively illustrated the then circumstances and the political, social and judicial framework that existed. The essence of it, perhaps was the way he questioned the audience for response in case the same situation today occurred. If one had adequate ability of imagination, it was a virtual re-living of the times of the birth of Jesus.

  • For example, if today there was a call for ‘census registration’, that you had to register at the place of your birth, how convenient it would be to trace and travel to the place of your birth?
  • For women, they had to travel with their husbands to his place of birth; as if her existence and her place of birth didn’t have any significance, at least anywhere on official registers.
  • What financial, physical and psychological impact it would have had on you to make necessary travel arrangements and take leave from your workplace to travel back to your place of birth for registration?
  • Given the rush of travelers, the public means of transport would be running full and all the hotels /  inns would have no space to accommodate you, what would you do?
  • Moreover, you’ve got your wife with you who’s about to deliver a child any time now, what would you be going through?

Amidst all these questions, “the nativity we see in children’s presentation suddenly loses its ‘cuteness’,” he remarked. The meditation went on to examine the gifts wise men brought to Jesus.

Ah! That we were experiencing virtual reality of the times of Jesus’ birth, a few questions went off again…

First— What all security arrangements would we make while traveling with some precious items?  

Specially while journeying in trains, we hide precious items somewhere deep inside the baggage and not only lock our baggage, but we lock them with chains under the seats, and place them where we can keep a watch… Air travelers secure their baggage with insurance as well… So, it must have actually cost the wise men to first procure the gifts that they wished to bring. Also, that they were valuable, they had to perhaps have adequate security arrangements with them by taking along with them necessary guards and sundry… There was a meditation on this for few minutes. The message brought out the difference between a sacrificial gift and a contribution that we make to Jesus; that unless it hurts in giving a gift, it’s only a contribution. Also illustrated by the Pig & Chicken story.

Second— If there were some wise-women instead of wise-men, what gifts would they’ have brought for Jesus?

It was a complete chance for the women to answer, some said Diapers, some said baby clothing, some milk bottle and other necessities they guessed. Given the contrast coming from the responses against the gifts of the wise-men, there was a meditation on the gifts offered by the wise-men.

  • Gold— Given that gold was even more rare and a royal possession, in those days; and the fact that Mary and Joseph had to leave their country and travel to Egypt, which was an unknown land, Gold may have helped Joseph to sustain a living by exchanging it for some money over a period of time. Perhaps one of God’s arrangements to secure their financial sustenance in the days to come..
  • Frankincense— This has a special significance religiously as frankincense was used extensively in performing religious rites, and it also represented life. In Egypt, frankincense was used extensively, and perhaps, this gift received by Mary & Joseph would have not only helped in personal usage, but also as a means for trade in a new land they were stepping into.
  • Myrrh— This too, had a special significance religiously and was highly valuable. It was also used for embalming human bodies after death, this is seen as a gift which was referring to the future of the life of Jesus.

In whole, the three gifts represent royalty, priesthood & life and death… In the midst of how many troubles that surround us, God does take care of our needs at all times..

Well, soon after Church service, we’d entered into a time of Fellowship lunch, and it all ended on a very good note of fellowship!

Unite against Internal terror in the name of God!

There's terror stirring within our nation, within the same brotherhood.. where in the name of religion and 'so-called' injustice one community is turning against another and terrorizing the lives of thousands in Orissa. We've all heard the extremists (led by Sangh Parivar) rioting against tribal people (Christian converts) where many were killed and thousands were forced to flee for their lives from their homes and even villages and districts. There are so many finding shelter in refugee camps living in the shade of the sword, terrorized by a group of extremists who go about seeking their death and strike 'em off from the face of the land.

In a protest (yet again) against the murder of Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati (who was leading the Hindutva / VHP movement) .. extremist groups are planning to carry out a state-wide 'Bandh' (Strike) on December 25, 2008 (when Christians across celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ).

It was on December 24, the last year that these fanatics had entered into clashes with the local Christians during Christmas celebrations and raked up the violence, and even today the impact of that fire of hate can be seen in the hearts of so many homeless and suffering innocent. The violence got even worse this year through August and September which also spread into other states like Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra Gujarat, Karnataka among others. It was a well schemed attack against the Church and innocent Chritstians, and yet this time, they dare to do so. The Orissa government as usual is sleeping over the issue and perhaps will not even awake after any mass destruction (GOD FORBID) that may occur!

Christmas is an event which has changed the course of time, redefined many political, social, legal frameworks for the better.. It celebrates the Divine Gift of God to Man. Love was embodied that day in the form of a child, which was Jesus Christ. And on that day, we seek to hate and kill.

Join in fighting the terror within our nation which is causing a brother rise against another, and creating a hate, violence and disaster struck nation... Pray for the Christians in Orissa and other parts of the country who're constantly facing the threat and live in fear of death from extremist groups who're contributing in no better way but planting seeds of violence and hatred in our wonderful nation..

Raise your voice against this manner of terrorism. There can be no justification for terror, no matter what! To read an account of attacks in Orrissa against Christians by Tehelka, click here: In the name of God

December 13, 2008

Give me your hand..

This slide show was created by my friend Pratsi (Prarthna Dickson)... Enjoy! Yes, don't forget the compliments :-)

The Christmas Message!

I've found the best song of this Christmas season that gives out the Christmas message clear and loud.. Jesus was born to bring love and light to this world. He came as a light into the darkness, to seek out the hopeless, confused and torn.. He is the Savior, he came to seek and save the lost.. He said: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

Trust in Jesus, follow him.. be lit by the light of life..

Lyrics: There is a candle.. Go light your world..

There is a candle..
There is a candle in every soul,
some brightly burning some dark and cold..
There is a spirit who brings the fire
Ignites a candle and makes his home

Carry your candle run to the darkness,
Seek out the hopeless confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it,
Take your candle and go light your world

Frustrated brother see how he's tried to,
Light his own candle some other way
See now our sister she's been robbed and lied to..
And still holds a candle without a flame

We are a family whose hearts are blazing,
We raise our candles and light up the sky,
Praying to our father in the name of Jesus,
Make us a beacon in darkest hours...

You can find the video of the song here:

December 9, 2008

Terrorism teaches us to be just!

"Bada hoke fauji banoonga... woh logon ko jalaavoonga... maroonga un logon ko", Bada hoke unko maardaloonga", (I'll be a soldier when I grow up... I will burn them.. I will surely kill them).. These are words of a 5-6 year old who has not even learnt numbers till 10 from Ramesh Sharma's Final Solution.

You can feel you blood boil and adrenalin pumping listening to the treason, blasphemy, stories and viewing all that hate. Hatred begets hatred, we've all read that. You will see it all come to life as we hear the witness of one after the other oppressed..

I may not be a expert, or a learned man but, what I know is injustice by rulers certainly makes for breeding grounds for hate and the accumulated discontent and frustration among the oppressed vents out in various forms of terrorism - Attacks on prime places, places of worship, murdering, rioting, waging wars among many others...

I wonder if I'd not be wrong to assume, that every terrorist that is, or is in the making has a story of oppression personally, or relating to his family or community. As they say it's never too late; it is actually not late for authorities to start behaving fair and with justice. Perhaps it'll somehow blow chill and cool down the fires of anger and hate that have already consumed many thus far...

How do we often Pray?

We plead for victory when Christ is in us as more-than-conquering life. We beg for Holy Spirit as through He were not already indwelling us, as though He were not yearning for our consent to fill and control us and produce His fruit in our lives. We pray for spiritual & emotional resources as though they were extra bonuses. We forget that they are part of our birthright in Christ.

December 8, 2008

Competent enough to prevent AIDS?

It's was the first Sunday of December yesterday when the whole world observes AIDS day. Just like last year, it was Uncle Prince David who took the briefing on readying each one to prevent aids, and questioned the audience:
  • "Are you educated enough to prevent AIDS?"
  • "Are you competent enough to educate how to prevent AIDS?"
A notable fact he'd cited was that in 2006, the number of HIV positive people was about 5.2 (approx) million, but in 2007 the numbers have dropped to 2.4 (approx). Which was not for any obvious reason that the actual numbers have gone down, but due to some changes in WHO parameters for statistics. The pressing fact of the matter is the numbers are phenomenal by any measure.

Nevertheless, what matters most is how much is the rate of this pandemic spreading coming down by.. Let's all educate ourselves about preventing AIDS, and also become competent in educating others how to prevent AIDS.

December 7, 2008

Give me your hand.. to hold!

The first Christmas programme (Love unraveled, by South & West Delhi ICEU) of the year just ended a few hours ago...

Praise God it was good, and many that attended enjoyed.. There's a moment in all such programmes, where I've had a personal encounter with a special person.. God himself..

Today, it was during the slide show created by Prarthna Dickson, and it was the song that touched my heart.. The lyrics I'm sharing below.. But, what's surprising is.. I saw that slide show yesterday twice, and the newness it had as I watched in the auditorium and the moment of encounter with God.. a truly heavenly feeling.. Thank God for such moments..!

Here's the song:

Give me your hand..

No one would love me
if they knew all the things I hide
My words fall to the floor

As tears drip through the telephone line

And the hands I’ve seen raised to the sky

Not waving but drowning all this time

I'll try to build an ark that they need

To float to you upon the crystal sea

Give me your hand to hold

'Cause I can't stand to love alone

And love alone is not enough to hold us up

We've got to touch your robe

So swing your robe down low
Swing your robe down low

The prince of despair's been beaten

But the loser still fights
Death's on a long leash

Stealing my friends to the night
And everyone cries for the innocent

You say to love the guilty too
And I'm surrounded by suffering and sickness

So I'm working tearing back the roof

And the pain of the world is a burden

And it's my cross to bear
And I stumble under all the weight
I know you're Simon standing there

And I know you're standing there

December 2, 2008

Challenges for Training function & Trainer’s Role in Global Recession

A talk by Dr. M.B. Athreya

Training Needs in a Recession Scenario—

• Strategising for slowdown:
Companies need to evolve a strategy to slowdown their growth in the same manner as they would have planned for robust growth. The market trends may put a real squeeze on the survival of the company and hence a strategy for slowdown is an absolute necessity.

• Rightsizing for survival:
Most of us have heard the terms downsizing, but do not mistake rightsizing for downsizing. While downsizing may be an absolute cut-down of manpower, many a time without much a thought to the aftermath of it, but rightsizing is a much more thoughtful and strategized action with a retention plan for high performers which ensures that an organization has optimized its manpower to see it through the recession times.

• Cost reduction:
The focus of organizations will be great on reducing costs, and training may be one of the functions where budgets may get impacted majorly. Gone will be days when few days of training meant a nice vacation in a hill station or a swanky hotel. The training function also needs to look at this aspect seriously and assist the organization to reduce costs significantly wherever possible by cutting down on the frills associated with training.

• Retention Marketing:
Various market trends and the social disturbances like terrorism attacks have also influenced the consumer buying behaviour, and it’s clearly emerging that companies will have to focus on retention marketing. The focus here is going to be mostly on retaining a customer even if the margins earned are lesser.

• Flexibility for upturn:
In all the various HR measures to the see the organization through the pressures of global recession, the organization with a strategy and action plan for slowdown can retain the flexibility and muscle to revive and take an upturn when market show a positive trend. Organizations must not become so lean and weak in terms of market image that they have lost the ability to take an upturn when trends seem to change.

Trainers’ Role—

• Proactive alert to top management:
Trainer’s role takes precedence when there’s an action plan proactively presented to the management. Training managers must be able to foresee the impact on the organization in the coming times and identify areas where the function can significantly contribute to the sustainability of the organization.

• Mobilising all employees & Create awareness of the big crisis:
With tough times in the economy, and organizations across making different moves, there’s certainly an unrest that creeps into the employees mindset. Therefore, it’s very necessary to create awareness among employees about the recession, it’s impact and the uncertainties anticipated in the near future.

• Low-cost Training & Instant use of the Learning:
A lot of debates have happened on this significant area in the training function - Measuring the results and the transfer of learning onto the job, but in tough times like recession, it’s time to exhibit the results in a more visible manner, and focus on the instant use of learning acquired from various training initiatives.

Action Plan for Training Managers —

• Prepare a recession training plan:
Just as the organization needs to strategize for slowdown, even the function needs to draft a recession training plan to ensure that the function is aligned with organizational objectives and strategy for a given period of time.

• Note/Presentation to Top Management:
A presentation may be given to the top management with the recession training plan to keep the chief executives informed and also to get their perspective and optimize the recession training plan.

• Train mostly with internal resources:
Well focus on cost reduction certainly points out to identifying talent within the organization that can be used as internal trainers or training resources by selecting individuals from various functions and engagements and utilizing them aptly.

• Select external expertise:
External resources always bring in a thought from the world around, and share the best practices from various other organizations, so wherever required, external expertise needs to be employed for training.

• Real time measurement of results:
“The market will discipline the industry”, an expert spoke. It’s time to buckle up tight for the ride where questions on the result of trainings and return of investment will be plenty. The measurement mechanisms of training function also better be in place to justify the same!

Profile of the Speaker:
Dr. Mrithyunjay Athreya (M.B. Athreya) is a Management Advisor of great international repute. He has a doctorate in Business Administration from Harvard Business School, USA besides being a Gold Medallist in Cost Accountancy. He taught at Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, London Business School, and Scottish Business School. He has been Director on many corporate boards. He has acted as Chairman and Member of many Government Policy Committees. Particular mention may be made of Athreya Committee on Telecom Sector, which paved the way for Telecom Revolution of last fifteen years.

December 1, 2008

O Lord of my heart!

Sitting in the church, this song was playing over and over again in my mind.. and I thought I'd share it here with everyone.. It's just a verbalization of my thoughts and feelings.. this lovely old hymn!

Be Thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'ns Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all..