January 31, 2009

Economic Patriotism: Let's try this avatar

I received a mail on Dece 2, 2008 which propagated usage of Indian brands only for economic stability and as a solution to the current economic crisis. I shooed away the idea.
However, looks like the Obama administration has this concept inbuilt for the stimulus package being built in, and the US is propagating the very concept I'd shooed away in a big way. It's called the Economic Patriotism in a story on the CNN that appeared on the Jan 30, 2009. Guess it's time we too donned the avatar and showed our economic patriotism.

Below is the e-mail forward I'd received from my friend, Harsh Upadhyaya-- India, let's do it! I tried it, it's hard.. but, one at a time, we can do it!
(The content below is from a forwarded email. I cannot certify the origins of the email nor the accuracy of the content. This is not intended to harm anyone, only for information however, accuracy as mentioned afore is not guaranteed.)

Dear All ,

You can make a huge difference to the Indian Economy by following few simple steps.
Please spare a couple of minutes here... for the sake of our Indian economy
I got this article from one of my friend, but it's true, I can see this from day to day life,

Small example,
Before 6 months 1 US $ = IND Rs 39.
After 6 months. Now it is 1 US $ = IND Rs 49.

Do you think US Economy is booming? No, but Indian Economy is Going Down.
Our Economy is in u'r hands

INDIAN economy is in a crisis. Our country like many other ASIAN countries is undergoing a severe economic crunch. Many INDIAN industries are closing down. The INDIAN economy is in a crisis and if we do not take proper steps to control those, we will be in a critical situation.

More than 30,000 crore rupees of foreign exchange is being siphoned out of our country on products such as cosmetics, snacks, tea, beverages... etc which are grown, produced and consumed here.

A cold drink that costs only 70 / 80 paisa to produce is sold for NINE rupees, and a major chunk of profits from these are sent abroad. This is a serious drain on INDIAN economy.

We have nothing against Multinational companies, but to protect our own interests we request everybody to use INDIAN products only for next two years. With the rise in petrol prices, if we do not do this, the rupee will devalue further and we will end up paying much more for the same products in the near future.

What you can do about it?
  1. Buy only products manufactured by WHOLLY INDIAN COMPANIES.
  2. ENROLL as many people as possible for this cause.
Each individual should become a leader for this awareness.

This is the only way to save our country from severe economic crisis. You don't need to give-up your lifestyle. You just need to choose an alternate product.

All categories of products are available from WHOLLY INDIAN COMPANIES.

List of Products--
  • Cold drinks: Use Lemon juice, fresh fruit juices, chilled Lassi (sweet or sour), Butter milk, Coconut water, Jaljeera, Enerjee, and masala milk... Instead of: Coca cola, Pepsi, Limca, Mirinda, Sprite
  • Bathing soaps: Use - Cinthol & other Godrej brands, Santoor, Wipro Shikakai, Mysore sandal, Margo, Neem, Evita, Medimix, Ganga, Nirma bath & Chandrika instead of - Lux, Lifebuoy, Rexona, Liril, Dove, Pears, Hamam, Lesancy, Camay, Palmolive
  • Tooth paste: Use - Neem, Babool, Promise, Vico vajradanti, Prudent, Dabur products, Meswak instead of Colgate, Close up, Pepsodent, Cibaca, Forhans, Mentadent.
  • Tooth brush: Use – Prudent, Ajanta, Promise instead of - Colgate, Close up, Pepsodent, Forhans, oral-b
  • Shaving cream: Use - Godrej, Emani instead of - Palmolive, Old spice, Gillete
  • Blade:- Use Supermax, Topaz, Lazer, Ashoka instead of Seven-o-Clock, 365, Gillette
  • Talcum powder: Use Santoor, Gokul, Cinthol, Wipro baby powder, Boroplus instead of Ponds, Old spice, Johnson baby powder, shower to shower
  • Milk powder: Use Indiana, Amul, Amulya instead of - Anikspray, Milkana, Everyday milk, Milkmaid.
  • Shampoo: Use - Lakme, Nirma, Velvet instead of - Halo, All clear, Nyle, Sunsilk, Head & Shoulders, Pantene
  • Mobile connections: Use - BSNL, Airtel instead of – Hutch, Virgin,

Every INDIAN product you buy makes a big difference. It saves INDIA . Let us take a firm decision today.

BUY INDIAN TO BE INDIAN we are not against of foreign products.









We would be sending useless forwards to our friends daily.
Instead please forward this mail to all your friends to create awareness..



Lets do our part by changing our buying habits. No harm in giving it a try.

Jai Hind.

January 29, 2009

LK Advani & Narendra Modi: Dark Future of India

Well, I've always raised my voice against these two dark figures who're standing out in the current Indian politics and seemingly gaining support as well. It's not just my gut feeling, but history that stands witness to these two individuals' marred histories and their motives in the past which can help us give a hint on what motivates them in their current roles and their endeavors. Thankfully, I've come across the blog of Siddharth Varadarajan, the Deputy Editor of The Hindu (one newspaper I've ever admired), who gives reality check on these two individuals. Listing his articles below--
  1. On LK Advani's fame and endeavor in becoming future Prime Minister>> Look up for the article Lifetime achievement of LK Advani, dated Jan 22, 2009
  2. On Narendra Modi's plans to promote Gujarat in Corporate Business & Trade
If you have a dream for a 'Bright' future of India, please do spread the word around!

A Woman's week at the Gym

I couldn't stop laughing loud as I read this... and betcha, you too would.. Read this email forward:
Dear Diary,
For my birthday this year, my Husband (the dear) purchased a week of personal training at the local health club for me.

Although I am still in great shape since being a high school football cheerleader 43 years ago, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and give it a try.

I called the club and made my reservations with a personal trainer named Christo, who identified himself as a 26-year-old aerobics instructor and model for athletic clothing and swim wear.

My husband seemed pleased with my enthusiasm to get started! The club encouraged me to keep a diary to chart my progress.

Started my day at 6:00 a.m. Tough to get out of bed, but found it was well worth it when I arrived at the health club to find Christo waiting for me. He is something of a Greek god - with blond hair, dancing eyes and a dazzling white smile. Woo Hoo!!

Christo gave me a tour and showed me the machines. I enjoyed watching the skillful way in which he conducted his aerobics class after my workout today. Very inspiring!

Christo was encouraging as I did my sit-ups, although my gut was already aching from holding it in the whole time he was around. This is going to be a FANTASTIC week-!!

I drank a whole pot of coffee, but I finally made it out the door. Christo made me lie on my back and push a heavy iron bar into the air then he put weights on it! My legs were a little wobbly on the treadmill, but I made the full mile. His rewarding smile made it all worthwhile. I feel GREAT-!! It's a whole new life for me.

The only way I can brush my teeth is by laying the toothbrush on the counter and moving my mouth back and forth over it. I believe I have a hernia in both pectorals. Driving was OK as long as I didn't try to steer or stop. I parked on top of a GEO in the club parking lot.

Chris was impatient with me, insisting that my screams bothered other club members. His voice is a little too perky for that early in the morning and when he scolds, he gets this nasally whine that is VERY annoying.

My chest hurt when I got on the treadmill, so Chris put me on the stair monster. Why the hell would anyone invent a machine to simulate an activity rendered obsolete by elevators? Chris told me it would help me get in shape and enjoy life. He said some other shit too.

Asshole was waiting for me with his vampire-like teeth exposed as his thin, cruel lips were pulled back in a full snarl. I couldn't help being a half an hour late - it took me that long to tie my shoes.

He took me to work out with dumbbells. When he was not looking, I ran and hid in the restroom. He sent some skinny bitch to find me.

Then, as punishment, he put me on the rowing machine -- which I sank.
_________ _ _____________________
I hate that bastard Christo more than any human being has ever hated any other human being in the history of the world. Stupid, skinny, anemic, anorexic little aerobic instructor. If there was a part of my body I could move without unbearable pain, I would beat him with it.

Chris wanted me to work on my triceps. I don't have any triceps! And if you don't want dents in the floor, don't hand me the damn barbells or anything that weighs more than a sandwich.

The treadmill flung me off and I landed on a health and nutrition teacher. Why couldn't it have been someone softer, like the drama coach or the choir director?

Satan left a message on my answering machine in his grating, shrilly voice wondering why I did not show up today. Just hearing his voice made me want to smash the machine with my planner; however, I lacked the strength to even use the TV remote and ended up catching eleven straight hours of the Weather Channel.

I'm having the Church van pick me up for services today so I can go and thank GOD that this week is over. I will also pray that next year my husband (the little shit) will choose a gift for me that is fun -- like a root canal or a hysterectomy. I still say if God had wanted me to bend over, he would have sprinkled the floor with diamonds!!!

Laughing yet, or still waiting for something... :)

Solving Global Warming: Doing Something about it

Received this in an email forward, which I thought was very innovative and interesting.. Maybe useful for a greater audience!

January 28, 2009

Satan's whores

Sounds really distasteful, right?

Well, I did feel so at first, but when the word lingered on in my mind, I realized, that's what most of us do behave like - A whore, Satan's whore. Well, reference to 'Satan' may make it sound too Christian, but I guess, it's more to do with what is wrong or sinful... or even not doing what is right..

We keep making promises to ourselves, and some people make resolutions, a few even say prayers and promises to God saying we won't repeat the mistakes, but then, Satan comes to tempt us even as we pray 'lead us not to temptation', and we yield to that... Bingo, Satan's come, used you like a whore for a while even as your pay-off is received. A little while passes and there you are spurned, mocked at by yourself - Satan's whore!

He's got the whole world in His hands...

This year, I had led the Praise & Worship in our little Church - Butler Methodist Church, Dwarka. It was the first Sunday of the year (Jan 4, 2009) and though I wasn't prepared, I couldn't have had foregone the opportunity to thank and worship God for His goodness throughout our lives.

The night before Sunday, I was with a friend who's confidence was shaken due the current global financial crisis and how organizations were resorting to fire employees with no reason at all. I've written that all here. In the watch-night service 3 days before that, we had Uncle Prakash Rao sharing the word of God how His deliverance in the past, His promise of protection for the present also inspire hope for our future (complete message). All I could think of is one verse from the Bible, as the psalmist proclaims in Psalms 20: 7 - Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Later, when Barack Obama sworn in as President of United States, Rev. Joesph Lowery in his benediction also had emphasized the same claim articulated in this manner: "Because we know you got the whole world in your hand, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations. Our faith does not shrink, though pressed by the flood of mortal ills."

Well, without fear, I do say "Trust in the Lord", cos the psalmist promises in Psalms 34:10- "The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing." Cos, He's indeed got the whole world in His hands!

January 26, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire - What's the fuss all about?

Yea.. finally I saw it - the 'Slumdog Millionaire'

As the movie unfolded, I really was questioning myself, if this police investigation style was as bad as Ghajini's where the police has forgotten their duty and got more interested in the personal life of the hero. Thank God, it wasn't.

The next disappointment was of the style of Anil Kapoor, playing the host of 'Who wants to be a millionaire'. In all his 'art of acting', he never came close to the actual host - Amitabh Bachchan, but, he made his character loathsome, by his demeaning modus, tone, expression the way he calls Jamal (Dev patel) a chaiwallah, which in our current evolved media, none would think of. Just when we thought Indians have started acknowledging equal rights of an individual irrespective of his occupation, caste, we had to see this in international media. Huh!

Well.. the vulgar 'MC' was used as if it was a common slang and.. well, I really do not know if the script is as sacrosanct as the novel describes, but I guess it is safe to assume this one distorts the book version just as many other movies have done. The portrayal of the characters seem to be exaggerated. However, the way the movie unwinds and describes the slum life, the creative construct of how Jamal knew the answers to the various questions, the art direction among others is plausible.

Well, towards the end, it was enjoyable, but it was as typical as any other good bollywood movie would be. I guess Rang de Basanti (RDB) was much better when measured this by its theme, characters, art and class of acting, music and quite a few other significant parameters if you will. While RDB is top of mind, I'm sure there'll be many other deserving movies others may think of. What's the fuss all about? My question here is - Why couldn't 'RDB' or even 'Taarein Zameen par' make it to the Oscars? What did this have that the others didn't? I guess it has to do with the name of Director, the scale and level of promotion and the orbit of the directors' influence if nothing less..

Nonetheless, if not by Indian directors, Indian cinema surely has come of age by virtue of Hollyood making the Indian cinema and showcasing it in their land!

Let's see.. if the play on an Indian slumdog also sweeps the Oscars and also win the 'Best Picture of the Year'... Congrats to A.R. Rahman.. and many more for awards already won.. And for the Big Day of Oscars, Best Wishes team!

January 24, 2009

A state of peace

During the 2nd Saturday Delhi EU-EGF central meeting this month, I met Philip, who shared his learning on the extensively used (more these days) profound word 'Peace', from Prof. Nicholas Wolterstorff of Yale University. A gist of it is given below:

(Please note that the views are personal of the professor as mentioned above)

There are a few prerequisites to be at peace, which are:
  • Absence of Conflict
  • Justice needs to prevail
  • Absence of Poverty
To be at peace includes being at peace with few including:
  • Being at peace with our Fellowmen: One needs to be at peace with his fellowmen, with absolutely no conflict among each other, and having just and equitable relations
  • Being at peace with the Nature: Absence of conflict also applies to nature, that we co-exist, and not that we abuse the natural resources and deplete them. This only will cause devastation at large, which we today see as global warming, and related threats.
  • Being at peace with God: YES. Be at peace with God. Do not go against him.
  • Being at peace with Oneself: Sounds absurd, but people do need to be at peace with oneself. One needs to be forgiving oneself and be at peace with their self.

A reason to smile in every situation!

This picture was taken in Jan 2007, in a train down in South-India. It was a passenger train which was crowded and I hated getting in that train. My mind was preoccupied with many thoughts and negative emotions as my granny had passed away few days before that, and this travel was getting to me. It was at such time when I was standing near the door of the train, that this little child was smiling at me.

She had no shoes on her feet, her mother made a living out of begging, wonder if she's got a father. She may not have friends as she is on the train most of the day, everyday.. yet, the smile. I didn't frown after I saw that smile. It was exactly on Jan 28 2007 that I met this kid. It's not easy to forget that innocent smile of a child. Yes, certainly, there's a reason to smile in every situation!

Satyamites, are you on a higher ground to condem Raju?

I'd received this email on Jan 17 from an old friend from college which says it was supposed to have been written by a female employee of Satyam. Don't know whether it's true or not, the mail has few truths which reflect facts about the IT & ITeS industry in India. I keep hearing similar such stories happening even at TCS (mostly).. I'm sure there' are many others! Please do read through.

It gives a nice perspective on gratitude, and how pathetic our own mindsets can become for once when we are seemingly condemning someone as if we stand on a higher ground! As the title speaks, the question it brings us to is: Satyamites, are you on a higher ground to condemn Raju? To generalize it further, the question facing you and me is this: "Employee, are you sincere enough to condemn your organizational practices?"

Written by a woman employee of Satyam..

At a time when almost 90% of my Satyam friends are cribbing about the fraud and betrayal by Ramalinga Raju, I have a slightly different opinion. It's bold of me to write this in black and white, but this comes straight from my heart and experience.

Let me start by quoting an example of 2006. Most of my friends were unemployed with 50-60% plus marks in B.Tech, with a degree from an average university and hunting madly for a job. Whether people accept it today or not, but the truth remains that Satyam was the ONLY saviour and the only mass recruiter who was ready to accept students who had back logs but had cleared them and also it did not put a very strict minimum marks criterion. And this was true not only for my small college at Lucknow, but also those across India. Satyam is the fourth largest in IT company in India. Looking at India's population, I really want to thank Raju for giving some 54000 Indians jobs atleast for all these years. He was the reason for the revival of confidence and the reason for the bread and butter for many a families.

Satyam training was renowned all over India. Their STC training centre created numerous love stories and unexpected rekindling of a youthful environment where girls and boys were more indepenent than their college days. I remember most of my Satyam friends felt that they made better friends at Satyam's three to six months training than those in the four years of B.Tech.

Unfortunately, people forget to thank God in sad times. I understand that what Raju did is deplorable and unpardonable. He should have treated business more formally and not dealt with it like a family affair. He should have been strict a couple of months or years before itself. Why did he hire so many non-potential candidates and keep them on bench? When were the managers and the team mates last told that if they don't work hard, they will lose their job? Business cannot be run lousily.

I have been staying with some 200 odd girls for the last 2 years and many of them are from Satyam. Moreover I network a lot and I have lots of male friends at Satyam. I have seen how people tail gate to Satyam, how they give their swipe cards to others to swipe it on their behalf , how female employees have gone home sharp at 6 am irrespective of when they landed at office, how employees sit at home for months at a stretch, prepare for all kind of post graduate entrance exams and still enjoy a full month's pay, how often they went for movies at local theatres at office hours, how often employees went to office just to sign on registers in the morning and at evening, how often they faked their certificates , how often they put unlimited fake medical and house rental bills.

How can we blame just one man when EACH AND EVERY person was disloyal ? How can we exclude auditors like PWC ? How can we exclude the Board of Directors who have washed their hands off so clean? How can we exclude banks who gave hefty loans without true verification? How can we exclude the Chief Minister of AP who allowed leniency for Raju's fellow businessman? How can we exclude managers who were never able to trace which bench employee under him had been away from office for how long ?

Yet how can people forget this is the same man whose ideas and potentials gave them an identity for the past several years? How many couples found the right match at an IT industry , courtesy Satyam and how many Andhra farmers benefited from their crores of investments in Satyam shares. How can people forget that Satyam launched its offices right at the doorsteps of a residential colony, where people can simply walk to work ?

The most gruesome experience that I can recollect was when a Satyam tag wearing person was waiting to attend an interview and I overheard him saying that he was in a business meeting at the My Home Satyam (Madhapur) officem when he was sitting right in front of me at a totally different company. When employees themselves show such a lousy attitude and don't care a damn for the brand that they carry around their neck, how can they expect others to care?

I am not saying that all Satyam employees are bad. I have known very dedicated people too, but my point is very clear, before pointing fingers at others, introspect .There are thousands of people who have completed certifications at the cost of Satyam, got trained at Satyam. Satyam made several freshers stand on their feet to get better jobs elsewhere across the globe and attain onsite exposure through Satyam.

What Raju did was to keep the business of Satyam going at any cost. I see a very smart man in him when he understood that he should rather accept his mistake than be caught by the USA laws . I see a selfish father in him too that he put a lot at stake for Maytas. However, he resigned with a lot of dignity and his letter of resignation shows humility. It takes a mammoth amount of courage to accept your mistake in public at a time when the media is ready to blow everything out of proportion. If humans dont make mistakes who else would ?

My last salute to this man is for creating such mass employment in India for 57k employees and 57k families when even opening a beetle (pan) shop in a lane in India is a challenge !! Thanks to him for creating income for all the thousands of families who benefited through food chains, the tiffin wallahs, the transport people and all those who made money by renting their houses.

I read he donated Rs 12,000 crores from his personal pocket to give the January salary of his Satyam employees. Today, Satyamites call Raju a FRAUD. The true and loyal Satyamites surely have all the reasons to say this word. But all the rest who sucked every rupee out of Satyam without doing any value addition need to understand - who was a bigger fraud?

Any Opinions, friends?

January 9, 2009

Did Jugaad kill the brand Satyam?

A lot's been said and still being said about the Satyam's 'Untruth'.. but, here, I refer to my earlier post on how 'Jugaad' can kill India, and in my opinion it is Jugaad that has killed the brand 'Satyam' now.

Many have been opposing 'Chalta hai' attitude, which to some extent has found support in the Indian minds to come out of, but we're now stuck on 'Jugaad', which even the top executives of world-class organizations are finding hard to get out of, and the current Satyam crisis, I guess is a direct result of it and a basic human instinct called greed. Well, in the management lingo and theories we may talk about ethics, governance, democracy in decision-making etc., but at the very individual level, starting from the top, unless we get this 'jugaadbaazi' out of our heads and sanitize the way of our functioning and management styles, many such 'satyams' will keep popping up.

For now, maybe Ramalinga Raju is only the tip of the iceberg. Investigation into the case may unfold many other entities which are a party to it. However, given the ties government agencies and the corporate business organizations have, especially to cover up such high-level corruption, there's a great possibility of top government officials and politicians' involvement in the same. All such individuals, agencies with vested interest in the corruption of Satyam will certainly put in their full force to hide the truth..

In the process, let's just hope people involved in investigating and uncovering the truth behind the Satyam scandal will not be jugaadoo (jugaad-minded). I really wish good and best at this point in time for Satyam's employees who may not have any role in the corruption. Now that we've seen the assassination of the brand 'Satyam' by jugaad minds and the dent it has left on the brand image of Indian IT Services, we for sure know Jugaad can kill India. However, I hope I ain't expecting too much in someone not being jugadoo.. Let's STOP Jugaad.

January 4, 2009

The clicking bug bite

"What do I do this Saturday afternoon?" That's been one question I've been put to spontaneously deal with every week since I've joined Infosys. Thankfully, I've been taking time to go to Youth fellowships, go for a run, take time for family among others..

This Saturday late afternoon (Jan 4, 2009), I was suddenly remembered of the Karyashala on Photography (as a part of our employee engagement initiatives) we'd organized at Infosys, Gurgaon where Amitabh Bhattacharya, a photographer who conducts workshops for Canon customers took a session with us, and there was revealed a photography technique to me, which I'd waited and wasted so many clicks for - the 'macro' mode in our digital cameras. Huh.. After so much of wondering how do those guys click the best of close-ups, here I was with the knowledge now, with the instruments, and I knew exactly where to go to check out my skill at it. I've been seeing this mustard field since a month everyday while going to work in Dwarka towards Kapashera... and here it is.. check out the photographs.. all of 'em with a digital retouch on 'The Beauty of a Mustard Field'. Oh, before that I'd also landed up at the IGI airport runway to shoot flights landing as well, but no luck, however, here's three clicks I got! And, later in the evening, caught up with Daem o'er a cup of coffe and a muffin at CCD Malviya Nagar.. Here's more clicking at coffee.

Crisis of Confidence!

It seldom happened that this guy spoke in fear.. He was a student-friend from IIPM who I'd met over a cup of coffee late evening today. Two years back he had got placed on campus he sounded so upbeat and very happy. He's had switched jobs about 5 months back for a better package and he was even more proud of his abilities, it was as if an air of arrogance surrounded him. But that was then, today his voice had an unknown fear.. fear of the unknown rather. His company's not doing any good business these days, his managers have less work, executives much lesser.

Bigger accounts have vanished in thin air, with his colleagues he was on the look out for smaller fish, lesser amount of business. Someone who would boast of acquiring accounts worth tens of lakhs is today talking of acquiring references of few thousands of rupees. Even zero rupees, but some potential customer reference... Recession is out there.. It's wild. It's got the minds of entrepreneurs warped, and fear of loss is everywhere.. My friend's confidence was at its worst crisis. It was not just the fear of losing the current job... It was beyond that.. The fear was of not even finding one if he lost it. His abilities, passion, confidence was of no use!