Sunday, September 17, 2017

Chandra love Monday mornings!

Chandra love Monday mornings!

Got up early, as always. There was nothing in the calendar, early in the morning. So did meditation, etc leisurely. 

Son had come over last evening. Saw him off early morning, before Bangalore traffic reaches its notorious peak-hour levels. (Peak hour is only an excuse. Other wise traffic is pretty much a bad experience, 24X7, 365 days) Son had an extra baggage, through the new gadget bought last evening!

Took dog out late, after shower & breakfast. By then multiple school buses have come and gone. Their parents have started rushing off for work too. At 930 AM, slightly warm, dog enjoyed a leisurely stroll too. (Wonder if it was a good idea to have one local, community schools where all kids go to, have to commute minimum and as such lesser vehicles on road! We got to do something for our kids education, to restore childhood...)

Chandra used to have another Monday morning ritual - to wash his car. Not any more since one of the car cleaning boys in the apartment takes care! (though Chandra is not happy with the quality!)

Monday need not be madness?! 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

A stand up comedian with a bunch of B School alumni

Being Alumnus is about giving - not getting not networking. At least just being there! Being available. That is not difficult for me 

Evening.... 

A light drizzle... we took out the university umbrella ☔️, rarely used! 

Chandra went back to a campus in his forties. He had taken a semi-sabbatical during the same time and pursued some other certifications and short-term assignments.  


Ever since he has started telling everyone, who would care listen to him, gyaan:
'There are 3 things you should do when you hit the forties.  
  1. Take a sabbatical and do something very different
  2. Go back to campus and learn something that interests you, deep within. Not for ROI or to enhance your career prospects ('career is the worst maya')
  3. It is very unlikely you go back or remain in the same job, industry or place. Follow your dream, live your #LifePurpose

Quickly it was bright & sunny. And clean, after the light showers! What would Bangalore do without this natural jaadu-pocha by Nature, with frequent rains?


Skipped Onam celebrations in the apartment to meet old & some new friends. It was less about the celebration, more about the Onam Sadya he missed!

Uber driver was not moving, on the app. He said, he stepped out for his late lunch and was now waiting for rains to stop, to get back into his car. Liked his 'authenticity' & confidence! He had no qualms about being late, Uber rating et al. He was courteous with me, though responded aggressively to drivers who were even mildly challenging him on the road. On a Saturday evening, going into the city, he got enough opportunities to tap into the 'angry young man' within. Chandra rated him 5/5. 'Wonder if I am at times too lenient when it comes to these taxi ratings. I want them all to get their incentives unless there is a violation or threat'! (The comedian said something similar later...!)

Late Evening.... 

The venue was right inside the stadium. Good place for the campus group! Always playful, in a world, chasing madness. 

Made some new friends, all connected by the common badge and some dream to make a difference. That is common among the middle-aged going back to campus. To re-discover ourselves. 

Introductions were made, with a new twist. There was a new twist to the program too. 

A Stand-up comedian.... 


His assistant came in first, like a proverbial bakra! He struggled to tackle a bunch of professionals, with his jokes and 'presence'! He will learn and get better, surely...

Then the main guy came. He started off asking an 'intelligent' question. 
Now stand-up comedians can be serious and ask intelligent questions too! Let's spare them from stereotyping :) 

Quickly he found what could work for the audience. That is a gift for anyone who takes the stage. Quickly identify what would work with the audience, and make the connect. 

Not sure if it was an intelligent analysis and decision, or just played safe! For the next 20 minutes or so the jokes were all on married men! Everyone in the audience was married (deliberately avoiding the adjective, 'happily'.... as I don't know!)

What transpired is beyong this blog post. Not what you think, but trade-mark, et al. It is his bread and butter afterall. 

Suffice to say some of us would get back and fire from the comedian's shoulders. What we could not handle as part of 'Crucial Conversations' with spouses, the comedian's shoulder would be a convenient artillery :)

Marriages are made in Heaven... Period!








Thursday, June 8, 2017

Does (our) democracy encourage criminal politicians? Knowledge@Wharton Podcast

Does (our) democracy encourage criminal politicians?
- A couple of books are coming out on our political leadership! By Indians in US universities. Thankfully their interests are beyond cricket, movies and 'politics'!!
"In India, the world’s largest democracy, 34% of parliamentary members are involved in criminal cases. Does democracy fuel crooked politicians?"
- And the numbers are only going up!!! In spite of 2003 Supreme Court ruling 
- do we want these modern 'Robinhood', taking care of their self-interests or their little 'vote bank'?
- we are a young democracy, but with a rich heritage
- black money, weak judiciary & institutions are the main problems.
The buck stops with us, every Indian, who vote for these leaders. As educated Indians, we got to strengthen these pillars of democracy & institutions

Friday, April 7, 2017

Shared office - An Entrepreneur's Struggles

Chandra left for the office, 'on time'. "What's the big deal?", you may ask...




Today is Saturday and "on-time" for Chandra is to be able to do stuff in the morning in an unhurried way 
- Few moments in prayer, when it is quite and peaceful, just before Sunrise
- Take the dog out, with no hurry to get back 
- Flip through newspaper headlines (ET: Ola founder complaining about capital dumping, World travel & tourism body 'advising' us how to handle the new SC order on alcohol outlets to SRK's team winning in IPL... no good news!)
- Not rush through morning 'rituals', though nothing ritualistic about it!
- Break the fast (even if not healthy and/or delicious by own preference and obsession)
- Drive slowly... he drove so 'slowly', he almost banged another car parked on the left, the "blind spot". The car belonged to his apartment complex!!
- Grateful for '50% less ads' in FM 95 and also better music. RJ Naved's prank call was on a young lady who had just taken up her 'dream job'. The prank was initiated by her own boyfriend! Kaisa 'boyfriend' hai yeh :)
- He drove in no hurry. The traffic was smooth. At 9 AM on a Saturday morning, 'light traffic on Bangalore roads' is a news!

- Being a Saturday, he does not need to get the Universe to conspire for a parking space. The parking is outside, in the open. To park inside, there was additional cost. As an entrepreneur, he was cost-conscious. It was always head vs heart when it came to it. He wanted his car to be in basement parking. But reluctant to spend. Are all entrepreneurs so stingy?!
- When he parked the car, the new security came out and took a circumambulation of his car. 'where is the sticker?' he asked. Chandra pointed to it. He nodded in approval and went away. These boys have a good knack of picking up the nuances of their jobs, "security", pretty quickly!

- Once inside, the place was about to get a major week-end clean-up. It was all mess, in the common area, just before the mega-clean up. 
Chandra always wondered why do we have to make it messier or messiest, before making it spick & span?! Why can't it be a continuous process? Many people do this at home too?!
- Naturally, the place was smelly! AC was not on. The office boy, the boss on a weekend, when others are away, said, "No AC on weekend and holidays"!
- Chandra was struggling to control. While the shared office makes a big pitch to come in and work 24X7, 365 days, how can one spend time there without basic ventilation and acceptable room temperature! Chandra would not take a no for an answer. Without losing cool, in an assertive way, he dropped a line to the real boss there. 
- As he was about to settle down, the AC went on, with a big noise. Even the AC unit was objecting to be called for service on a Saturday morning...

Chandra switched on the computer. The first mail was from the shared-office accounts team. 
- It was from someone, who had the name of a Philipino dictator
- It said, "Urgent action required. Your services may be terminated"
- Chandra could not write back to the dictator, equally dictatorial in his language, 'sirji, payment ho gaya hai! last month's and next month's. No dues. Check your records....etc'
- But the smart dictator has sent an automated mail, with no option to reply or write back. Quite unprofessional for an international shared office, Chandra felt. 

He had come to office to do a lot off pending stuff. He needed all the concentration and focus. He is off to a bad start. But has no option to fight it out and get cracking! 

Reader, how has been your Saturday morning? 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

M&M-Ford pact to focus on joint tech - ET

Coming close on the heels of Tata-VW/Skoda, India's automobile sector is in interesting space.

M&M with Ford seem to be better, for both TML (PV) and Skoda have not lived up to potential in the Indian market.

Skoda Service: I was pleasantly surprised to see a big shift in the quality of service when I was at Skoda dealer early this week. Skoda suffered on after sales, whereas TML product quality. M&M has shown more tuned to the market and customer, though Ford is making strides in Indian market.

Big opportunities to collaborate and deliver safety, quality and delight to car owners in India.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Yoga

Chandra has started his yoga classes.

It has been on his bucket-list for a long, long time. Finally, after a couple of bad-starts (cricket jargon!), he has settled down to a routine. Yet to become a "habit"!

As part of Yoga Nidra, the trainer took him to a beach. He could only visualize Marina beach, Chennai. And he was distracted by recent news items related to Marina! He struggled to concentrate. He allowed thoughts to come & go, with a resolve to work on it in future sessions.

'Chitta vritti nirodhah' is still few sessions away!

And this appears on his mail! ('nothing is a coincidence')
TripAdvisor Top 25 Beaches — World
#Marina is not one of them!
#8 Radhanagar Beach, Havelock Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands

https://www.tripadvisor.in/TravelersChoice-Beaches-a_Mode.expanded

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

PIXAR - a metaphor for the Middle Way

Just finished the book: "To Pixar and Beyond: My Unlikely Journey with Steve Jobs to Make Entertainment History"  by Lawrence Levy

I heard about this book on Knowledge@Wharton Podcast with the author. Felt connected immediately. 


- It was about Pixar, one & only...

- Naturally, it was also about Steve Jobs & author's own 'unlikely journey with Steve'

- The author was a lawyer by education (Harvard). He was recruited to the role of the CFO at Pixar. He was now an author. 


- He has a beautiful (Pixar) story to tell. 

- A CFO's perspective of everything would be an interesting one. 


Some of these really touched me, Lawrence:

  • For a CFO, the author is a master story-teller. Not that CFO's can not be story tellers. We all are story-tellers. Some just does it better!
  • Author's relationship with Steve was so professional & deep, minus all drama that is generally associated with the Genius. I am a fan of Steve Jobs. The fact he was very sensitive, temperamental, actually makes him special. 
  • It was great to hear how the author moved into Pixar (reminded me of how Steve reached out to John Scully...Pepsi to Apple)
  • It touched how the author went about professionally handling diverse challenges within & outside. 
  • Handling DIsney part was great stuff, as it was about the creative thrust.
  • The decision as to how to handle the creative element at Pixar & how to retain the unique DNA of Pixar even at Disney, most inspiring.
  • Author's effort to get credit for the supporting staff showed the emotional quotient of himself, and all others who found a way of doing it. 
  • I always maintain a supporting spouse is critical to professional success. Hillary was a beautiful example (It is valentine's day today!) 
  •  A lot of lessons for corporate leaders. Also a lot of inspiration about building a unique brand. 
While Steve is associated with brand-apple, Pixar is as much a part of his brilliant legacy. 
  • The changing geography is brought out very well. We have moved away so much from Nature. 
  • The experience of going through two accidents, second almost fatal. 
  • It was a beautiful journey. And somewhere it made sense to let go. No better way than to move to spirituality? Isn't that is the ultimate goal, purpose of life?

Pixar is indeed a metaphor for the Buddhist concept..The  Middle Way


BIG Thanks, Lawrence for this beautiful book. 

Link to the Audible book: