March 31, 2009

Don't sweat the small stuff at work!

It's true loathing and sick feeling you get when those small things at work get to you, which in now way directly related to work, but you can't avoid them due to the people (their actions) around you, the work relationships and the work context... Well, they'll never cease pestering you for those small things - it's their job.

Don't bother those pestering non-issues. Focus on issues. You gotta do your job, so get thick skinned. Don't sweat the small stuff at work.

March 16, 2009

I finished Shantaram, finally!

Finally, I finished reading Shantaram today :) As soon as I posted that update on facebook, friends started commenting, 'good', 'good book', ‘suggest’ etc., Well, to me, finishing the book seemed quite an achievement just as another friend commented. I’ll tell you why.. I’d bought the book on Jan 18, 2008 while on a travel, and after I was some 200 pages through safely put it down and never bothered to pick it up.. finally picked it up after almost a year later in mid-Feb, 2009 and here it is – Finished on afternoon of March 16, 2009. Achievement, ha?

Well, here's what I thought about the book-- "Slow.. not gripping.. It's elaborately descriptive on features of people, things, places.. to quantify it - I'd say - 30% Description, expressions; 30% - anecdotes, insights, philosophy, 40% - Story.."

The book is excessively (my perception) descriptive, and of course a mix of philosophy, insights, anecdotes.. However, the book does present various contrasts of good and bad in the behavior of a person even a criminal. It'll make one surely realize that 'we're all a bundle of contrast', and in the volume and magnitude of expression painted across in various chapters perhaps would give a description of your own thought patterns (maybe) - a little here and a little there.

Well, for all the reasons I know why many people wouldn't pick up this nice fat book, it's sure there are so many daily lessons given out in the book they'll miss out on. I'll try and post a few good quotes from the book in a few days time.

Towards the end of course, the story gathers pace, and there's the attention-grabbing part. Like most books, this too closes open-ended. Did Shantaram go ahead with his next assignment? Who it was finally - Karla Saranen? Lisa Carter? How and when then did the decision to leave Bombay happen? There's the catch! Even I got misguided into thinking that this was some sorta autobiography, even real events, but, it's a work of fiction, though based on personal experiences.

Once finished reading, I couldn't help researching about Shantaram on the web. It was nice to get a look at the author, and to know that there's more books coming up as a sequel. I really don't know if I'd pick up one when it's out in the market.. Depends on the size, may be :)

March 11, 2009

Pitiable Pakistan

Staying at home on a 'Holi'-day, I was watching the news about Pakistan where Zardari, the country's President is warned by the Army Chief of another coup given the deteriorating state of affairs in the country. It made me wonder if any government in Pakistan ever had, or has the guts to normalize its nation? I recalled the various analysis by many senior journalists I'd read. Through all that, here's what I'd grasped of what the Pakistan administration has been like since it was born.

21 Prime Ministers, 11 Presidents of which 4 Presidents were Military Chiefs. A 'so called' democratic rule of 25 years, and about 35 years of various other rules including Martial Law, Coups, Dictatorship. Only one prime minister to have completed a full term in office, under a dictatorship. Average vintage of prime mister in the Prime Minister's office being .57 years. Ladies & Gentlemen, that's a rough sketch of Pakistan. Details of individual PM's & President's rule given below in the end.

Apart from Administrative instability, during this time, Pakistan has had such restlessness when confronted with war with India thrice - 1948, 1965, 1999; civil war and the separati0n of Bangladesh in 1971; involvement with Soviet Union - Afghan war in 1980..

Not only this, but the factionists, fascism, differences in indoctrination, Shia-Sunni divide, clashes between communities, the pressure to Talibianize, the fire of jihad breeding pockets and new ideas of terror, the state sponsored terrorism breaking out of control, administration's failure to provide immunity to its citizens against US attacks, the hate spawning in all of these acts, and the possession of nuclear weapons make Pakistan a significant power to reckon with but incapable leadership to contain it.

U.S. was silent when Pakistan Govt. was making truce with Taliban within boundaries. There's no hard-liner from US even as Pakistan government plays Yes-No with India over 26/11 Mumbai terror attack with no decisive action, nor intent. Now, there is also news of a new terror-plot on US being planned in Pakistan, let's see how things shape up.

Such is the history of Pakistan (I hope I had a better style of presentation)
  • 1947 - Jinnah leads Pakistan post-India's independence
  • Sep 11, 1948 - Jinnah passes away
  • Mar 7, 1949 - Liaquat Ali Khan becomes Prime Minister; With Liaquat, Objectives resolution of the constitution declared the sovereignty of Pakistan lay with Allah, it had democracy, an independent judiciary, freedom, equality, and minority rights as key elements. Not one of them got implemented
  • Oct 16, 1951 - Said Khan (an Afgan) assassinates Liaquat Ali Khan; marks the beginning of power struggle in Pakistan
  • 1952 - Khwaja Nazimuddin, (Governal General after Jinnah) becomes Prime Minister
  • April 1953 - Nazimuddin government dismissed as Ghulam Muhammad steps up as Head of State
  • 1953 - Muhammad Ali Bogra appointed Prime minister by Ghulam Muhammad to please Americans & Bengalis
  • Oct 24, 1954 - Emergency declared by Ghulam as Bogra tries to change certain statutes; Borgra government dissolved.
  • 1955 - Iskander Mirza becomes Governor General with Army support; Chaudhri Muhammad Ali appointed prime minister
  • Feb 29, 1956 - Pakistan declared Islamic republic, title of Governor General renamed as President
  • Sep 12, 1956 - Heseyn Suhrawardy becomes Prime Minister
  • Oct 17, 1957 - Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar becomes Prime Minister
  • Dec 16, 1957 - Sir Feroz Khan Noon becomes Prime Minister
  • Oct 7, 1958 - Mirza declares Martial law, suspends constitution; Muhammad Ayyub Khan takes over as Chief Martial Law & Administrator
  • March, 1969 - Yahya Khan, another general takes over Ayyub Khan due to protests. Yahya Khan ensured free and fair elections
  • Dec 7, 1971 - Appointed Prime Minister Nurul Amin lasted only for 13 days in office; Martial law continues; Martial law imposed
  • 1971 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto takes on President & Army Chief's office
  • Aug 14, 1973 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto becomes first elected Prime Minister
  • July 1977 - Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto overthrown in a coup by General Zia Ul Haq, imposes Martial law
  • Mar 24, 1985 - Muhammad Khan Junejo appointed as Prime Minister by General Zia
  • Dec 2, 1988 - Benazir Bhutto, daughter of Zuliqar Ali Bhutto elected Prime Minister after winning general elections
  • 1990 - Benazir dismissed as Prime Minister by the then President Gulshan Ishaq Khan for corruption
  • Aug 6, 1990 - Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi becomes interim Prime Minister
  • Nov 6, 1990 - Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif becomes Prime Minister
  • Apr 18, 1993 - General Ishaq Khan dismisses Nawaz Sharif, makes Blakh Sher Mazari caretaker Prime Minister till Nawaz returns on May 26, 1993
  • July 18, 1993 - Wasim Sajjad takes on as Acting President
  • July 18, 1993 - Moeenuddin Ahmad Qureshi appointed caretaker Prime Minster
  • Oct 19, 1993 - Benazir Bhutto reelected to Prime Minister's office
  • Nov 5, 1996 - Malik Meraj Khalid appointed caretaker Prime Minister after Bhutto's dismissed yet again on corruption charges
  • Feb 17, 1997 - Nawaz Sharif returns to Prime Minister's office
  • Jan 1, 1998 - Muhammad Rafiq Tarar becomes President, remodels the president's office in the true spirit of the constitution of Pakistan
  • Oct 12, 1999 - Nawaz Sharif ousted, General Pervez Musharraf does a military coup. Allows President Tarar to continue in President's office
  • June 20, 2001 - General Pervez Musharraf appoints himself President
  • Nov 21, 2002 - Zafarullah Khan Jamali elected Prime Minister
  • Jun 26, 2004 - Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain replaces Khan Jamali as Prime Minister
  • Aug 20, 2004 - Shaukat Aziz elected Prime Minister, becomes first to complete term in Prime Minister's office
  • Nov 16, 2007 - Muhammad Mian Soomro becomes acting PM & later acting President on expiry of term of Aziz & on resignation of President Musharraf respectively
  • Mar 25, 2008 - Yousaf Raza Gillani elected Prime Minister
  • Aug 18, 2008 - President Musharraf resigns under pressure
  • Sep 8, 2008 - Asif Ali Zardari (husband of Late Benazir Bhutto) of takes on as President
(The timeline was composed out of multiple secondary sources)

March 9, 2009

Bengali Babu

Who, or what, is the Bengali babu?

It's more than 2 years I'd read that statement and the historic 'devastating' response to that as the author of 'The Shade of Swords', M.J. Akbar quoted in his book, it's devastating indeed. It's copyrighted material, so I can't put it up here, but go ahead, read it - click here! What's even more interesting is that the answer to that question was given by a Bengali Babu - Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, author of Vande matharam.

The views expressed in there are only as cited. No endorsing of views by the author of this blog.

March 8, 2009

The Devil's beatitudes

So the devil says:

Blessed are those who are too busy to spend an hour once a week with their fellow Christians in church, for they are my best workers.

Blessed are those who wait to be asked and expect to be thanked, for I can use them.

Blessed are the touchy, for they may stop going to church. They are my missionaries.
Blessed are those who are very religious and get on everyone's nerves, for they are mine forever.

Blessed are the troublemakers, for they shall be called my children.
Blessed are those who have no time to pray, for they are easy prey for me.

Blessed are the gossipers, for they are my secret agents.

Blessed are those critical of the leadership, for they shall inherit a place with me in my fate.
Blessed are the complainers, for I'm all ears for them.

Blessed are you when you read this and think it's about others, for I've got you.

(I don't know the author, if you do please drop in a line. Thanks in advance)

Some days are diamonds, some days are stones..

Was just listening to this beautiful country song (by John Denver), and it set the mood for the day..

When you ask how I've been here without you
I like to say I've been fine and I do
But we both know the truth is hard to come by
And if I told the truth, that's not quite true

Some days are diamonds, some days are stone
Some time the hard times won't leave you alone
Some times the cold wind blows a chill in my bones
Some days are diamonds, some days are stone..

Finally, a blog-look I wanted!

Since the day I'd created my blog, I'd wanted to reform the look of it. I did twice, but was limited to the very few templates on blogger. I must admit that I haven't been aggressively looking either, nevertheless, I finally did a little experiment with this cool 'Illacrimo' found on, a 3-columned template, just what I was looking for.. and bingo, here it is! Howzzat? Some cool templates o'er there.. check 'em out..

Version control for People

Whoever is involved in close interaction with the Quality teams, ISO practices, Six Sigma among others would certainly know what version control is. Else, even the net savvy would know what versions are - every new update of windows is a new version, we have many other software and now Web 2.0 as well.

I imagine that soon people will be called by their versions at work or in corporate at large by their terms in an office / role / experience in an organization. O yes, and a unique reference code to identify each :) And there follows the Version history.. 1.0 was this, approved by so so..

Manohar Lazarus 8.2.0 referring XYZ 10.3.1, ABC 1.0.. LoL
Would certainly be fun to see this coming up..

March 5, 2009


Let me today do something that shall take,
A little sadness from the world's vast store,
And, may I be so favoured as to make,
Of joys too scanty sum a little more,
Let me not hurt by any selfish deed,
Of thoughtless word, the heart of a foe or friend,
Nor would I pass, unseeing, worthy need,
Or sin by silence where I should defend,
However meagre be my world of wealth,
Let me give something that shall aid my kind,
A word of courage, or a thought of health,
Dropped as I pass for troubled hearts to find,
Let me tonight look back across the span,
Twixt dawn and dark to my conscious say:

"B'coz of some good act to beast or man, the world is better that I live TODAY."

~ Ella Wheeler Wilson

March 1, 2009

Theory X, Y & Z

Theory X & Y by Douglas Mc Gregory

Theory X & Y lay out two different attitudes different individuals might have, which can be understood proactively by managers in dealing with them and adopting managerial styles that are appropriate to get the best and desired outcome. The assumptions of X and Y types are given below.

Theory X Assumptions
  • The average human being has an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if he can.
  • Because of their dislike for work, most people must be controlled and threatened before they will work hard enough.
  • The average human prefers to be directed, dislikes responsibility, is unambiguous, and desires security above everything.
These assumptions lie behind most organizational principles today, and give rise both to "tough" management with punishments and tight controls, and "soft" management which aims at harmony at work.Both these are "wrong" because man needs more than financial rewards at work, he also needs some deeper higher order motivation - the opportunity to fulfill himself. Theory X managers do not give their staff this opportunity so that the employees behave in the expected fashion.

Theory Y Assumptions
  • The expenditure of physical and mental effort in work is as natural as play or rest.
  • Control and punishment are not the only ways to make people work, man will direct himself if he is committed to the aims of the organization.
  • If a job is satisfying, then the result will be commitment to the organization.
  • The average man learns, under proper conditions, not only to accept but to seek responsibility.
  • Imagination, creativity, and ingenuity can be used to solve work problems by a large number of employees.
  • Under the conditions of modern industrial life, the intellectual potentialities of the average man are only partially utilized.

Theory Z by William Ouchi
This is a common misconception held by many that Theory Z is another motivational theory. But, Theory Z is propounded by Ouchi based on the Japanese management styles and gives a new dimension of decision making which is consensus oriented in a team environment. This theory assumes the interest and loyalty of the team workers towards the objectives to be achieved by the team.