It’s been sometime

Maula maula maula mere maula 🙂

So, I have been fairly occupied outside work. Given the amount of personal time that I get, I got involved in many things – that said, I still bore myself at times. And before I head off to Kerala for the long weekend, a few notes.

First things, one of the best conversations/debates I had – at the most unlikey place with the most unsuspecting people at the least expected moment – outside Bandra station on our (Dharmesh and myself) way to Mazgaon Dockyard. Muslims, on the occassion of Muharram were distributing booklets on Islam and making people aware about the concept of Jihad, the causes for all the trouble, spread peace and condemn terrorism. Ok, so one of the guys, from our age grp, comes up and starts a talk and before we realize, we end up discussing world issues for 2 hrs right there, outside the railway station – the two us and around 15 of those guys!! Ofcourse, we solved all the troubles that plague this world 🙂 The good thing was the awareness levels and the understanding of the conflict, the information shared, the mutual trust and respect and the realization that the change begins from you & I. Its the wrong that defines the right, technically there is nothing true or right or correct – it only comes as a reaction to something false or wrong or evil.

Next, On a lighter side – there are 35 girls, studying at the International school of management excellence residing at the floor(in 5 apts) below my apt. The long loud conversations they have with, I guess their boyfriends or potential ones in their balconies (which is right below mine), the discussions they have on the presentations/ case studies across the balconies and the birthday parties they have reminds me of IIT hostel days… girls are loud and not the best neighbours, especially at 7 AM on Sunday mornings when you so want to sleep.. Boys – they complain when they have none around and when there are too many as well, its hard to please people – my friends are so willing to swap their apt with mine 🙂

Hmm.. and then – the semi conscious state of mind on the weekend, a consequence of a sleepless night and the subsequent travel to Nandi Hills at 4 AM. Good trip – the drive, violation of HSE driving rules, the sunrise, the trek & the woods 🙂

I was looking forward to my trip to Bombay – had to visit home for personal reasons and managed to time it with the final leg of the Dutch ladies’ India tour – Claske and Jose. They were eager to play Holi and so they did. It was one of the best holis I played – relatively neat, with gulaal and lots of water, literally. The baloon fight, the light bollywood dance, salsa with Jose, Claske’s green and blonde hair after six washes in as many hours – it freaked her out, the friendly neighbours, the multi coloured goras at Mocha and their 20 L beer pitcher, again the converstaions, the spicy Indian meal, the local train travel between Bandra and Churchgate – with the ladies in the gents compartment (Well, it didn’t end up being a big deal as they had the gumption to travel Bom-Ahd with unreserved tickets in the general compartment of Karnavati express for 8 hrs – I have not done it and neither will),  more conversations/ hanging out with more friends, the football with the kids, reliving Paris/Etretat in Bombay with Tissky over a gelatino – all in all a wonderful week with Bombay meri Jaan 🙂 

Thought of the day:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light and not our darknes that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world, there is nothing enlightened about shrinking yourself so that others do not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It is not in just some of us but in all of us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same as we are liberated from our own fear. Our presence automatically liberates others.

One of the equations that this translates into is – The change begins from you & I.

Of late I have come close and in a few cases even experienced the above.. You surprise yourselves with the energy levels and it’s so infectious. You feel content.

The KISS principle

Keep is Simple Stupid 🙂

Shamelessly plagiarised from here.

Case # 1 : When NASA began the launch of astronauts into space, they found out that the pens would not work at zero gravity (ink will not flow down to the writing surface).

Solution # 1 : To solve this problem, it took them one decade and $12 million. They developed a pen that worked at zero gravity, upside down, underwater, in practically any surface including crystal and in a temperature range from below freezing to over 300 degrees

Solution # 2 : And what did the Russians do…?? They used a pencil.

Case # 2 : One of the most memorable case studies on Japanese management was the case of the empty soapbox, which happened in one of Japan ’s biggest cosmetics companies. The company received a complaint that a consumer had bought a soapbox that was empty.

Immediately the authorities isolated the problem to the assembly Line, which transported all the packaged boxes of soap to the delivery department. For some reason, one soapbox went through the assembly line empty.

Management asked its engineers to solve the problem.

Solution # 1 : Post-haste, the engineers worked hard to devise an X-ray machine with high-resolution monitors manned by two people to watch all the soapboxes that passed through the line to make sure they were not empty. No doubt, they worked hard and they worked fast but they spent a whoopee amount to do so.

Solution # 2 : But when a rank-and-file employee in a small company was posed with the same problem, he did not get into complications of X-rays, etc., but instead came out with another solution.

He bought a strong industrial electric fan and pointed it at the assembly line. He switched the fan on, and as each soapbox passed the fan, it simply blew the empty boxes out of the line.

Nit Khair manga

I really believe you can make things happen, no matter what. Keep pushing.. and if you are convinced that you are doing it for the right reasons and are clear in your head, you will not regret it one bit if does go against what you desired 🙂 There is more clarity and That is some drive.

I loved Den Haag, the people it introduced me to, the soccer, the ease with which I could travel around western Europe, the falafal and the long walks, the woods, the snow and the variety of things to keep oneself busy. I was a bit apprehensive about Bangalore – most of my peers struggle to keep themselves busy outside work. I would say that I am gradually working my way through..

For the last five weeks, I have watched a movie every mid week – Slumdog Millionaire, Luck by Chance, Dev D, Billu and Delhi 6. And they have all been interesting. Dev D for its bold view & brilliant picturization, Billu for painting a larger than life picture of SRK – how can someone glamorize and self aggrandize himself to such an extent and finally Delhi 6 for its real cinematic touch. The metaphors used my Mehra are very creative and I found it a very intelligent movie – the viewer’s reaction justifies that because many fail to understand the concept behind it.

Am happy to get to play soccer twice weekly and I love the fact that I manage to do it on weekdays. Tennis kicks off this Thursday too – I still have weekends to book myself 🙂 Lets see where I can fit in Squash.

 And finally, meeting new people. Nothing gives me more pleasure than striking a conversation with a stranger and building on it.

It was incidental that I got to know of the week long Kabir fest. Quick decisions lead to a visit to IIM B on Tuesday for Hadh Anhad – a documentary and it hit me hard enough to get me up and going at 7 in the morning on the Saturday. I stayed the full day till 11 in the night. Well, even the confusion with the return route (I ended up on the route to Mysore) didn’t deter me from making an early start the next morning. ..and it paid off when Kabir Khada bazar mein really cheered me up 🙂 The discourse, the q&a and Chalo hamar des lifted my energy levels. Absolutey love it when ideas germinate .. a brilliant piece.

It made my weekend just splendid. Beautiful insights about his poems, his philosophies and mindblowing sufi music.. the concerts had folk singers from MP and Rajasthan, sufi singers from Pakistan and when they started off with Nit khair manga, deewani deewani and mast kalander it was absolute mystical 🙂 Made some good friends, had interesting conversations and took me over an hr to say byes. Its funny – I tell someone I am making a move, take his leave and 15 mins later he finds me on the staircase talking to some one else.To add to that there were a few design exhibits on display and the creativity was sublime.

That said, the demography of the audience was not the best, mostly grey haired. Those in the my age group were primarily from the Shrishti School of art and design – the organizing institute. And only a handful otherwise. Also, it hits me that most people here get stuck in socio-religious issues. Economic development, commerce, money seem to be treated independently and issues arising from there do not get linked to societal change. I made an observation with an intention to start a dialogue with the people present in the auditorium, which is what I mostly prefer and I all got was nodding heads. And these were again mostly grey haired people there.. pissed off an IIM B prof as well. But zilch ..

Still humming Nit khair manga, nit khair manga soniya main teri, duwa na koi aur mangadi ..

Umm…hmmm

It is a shame that I did not blog before..just lost it. Today, there is a urge to talk and nothing better than to the blog. I have had a wonderful last 15 months or so – I have experienced a lot, ups, downs and sideways as well and loved every bit of it. The biggest plus had been the diverse people whom I met. I miss my friends from NL, some great relationships, interesting conversations, the energy levels and the diversity around!! Though I truly am happy to be in India and seeking to meet new people and try different things.  The change is goed 🙂

Ideas, thoughts, concepts have been building up in my mind and contiune too. More I read, listen and converse, they get refined. Often it happens that when there is a very radical idea in your mind, it takes time to shape up and be put in a tangible form – be it words or a figure. That is where it becomes important to be able to express it simply and clearly and on time. 

One of the most powerful concepts is storytelling – how do you narrate your thoughts/ideas, information/knowledge(priceless) and share your passion. And its true for any emotion, any subject, any place and time, with any individual(s) and at all levels. And it so shapes how you think and approach life.. You learn this one thing even more while meeting people with different backgrounds – the way people communicate and think.

I have started to appreciate history, religion and culture a lot, have got to observe and understand the impact they have on our life and the society – the driving force in people’s lives, their approach to any and everything in life, conversations, priorities for different people, struggle and men,women and children.

I have questioned whether people are plain stupid, not because they are but they are programmed by a few to become stupid. Gradually they dont realize that they have been wired to think in a particular way – often the later is given the name of culture. (Read this just mins back – Hofstede: “In the first session of a new student class, I used to write big: CULTURE DOESN’T EXIST. In the same way values don’t exist, dimensions don’t exist. They are constructs, which have to prove their usefulness by their ability to explain and predict behavior. The moment they stop doing that we should be prepared to drop them, or trade them for something better. I never claim that culture is the only thing we should pay attention to. In many practical cases it is redundant, and economic, political or institutional factors provide better explanations. But sometimes they don’t, and then we need the construct of culture”)  There is so much power in people – if only they wish to bring about change and it always starts from oneself.

Another thing that I find very intriguing is  – we behave in a certain way or as I would put it, we are programmed to behave in a certain way – people come up with reasons for it and predict our behaviours which in other ways reinforces what we have been doing or assuming that as our base predicts how it would get worse over generations. Given this information, you plan your stratgies at every level -sadly though not everything being under your control and the fact that people are stupid you get conflicts. With due respect, all management & psychology concepts seem interesting & fascinating but in the end so dumb – brilliant will be one that comes up with a strategy for change which is more robust & sustainable. This would for sure require empowering people. Can the 80-20 rule – 20% of the people around do 80% of the work, the results of which are thrust on the remainder 80% of the junta – be made dynamic or can the ratio be changed significantly?

Thought of the day: It is difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends on him not understanding it – professional Wisdom 🙂

Bombay Meri Jaan

Just done watching the movie Mumbai meri jaan. The movie ends with song from the 80s “Zara hatke zara bachke yeh hai Bombay meri jaan”. Got nostalgic!! The movie is a must watch – a very good story which is equally well narrated 🙂 It has for sure got me thinking 🙂

A good end to an otherwise freakingly cold day. We chose a wrong day to visit a pipeline construction site in North east Netherlands – the light snowfall, heavy hail showers and the high winds literally froze us to death. Though was good to catch up with a couple of friends over a quick cup of Assam Tea 🙂

Zara hatke zara bachke yeh hai Bombay meri jaan 🙂

Weekend in France

Blogging to me is capturing my thoughts. The pieces or the links build up and when they get consolidated, the only thing left is to compose the story.Hmm… I think I have made a mention of this before too.

Since long I have been trying to the understand the importance of language, articulating your thoughts well and convey the message. How do poeple express themselves, relate to people , the concept of sharing and not just sharing knowledge and information, why do poeple talk so much and why can’t some people at times just be precise or keep quiet. I decided to write on storytelling, just had to find time and the patience.

And what better place to compose one when you are travelling through the countryside of Northern France, Belgium and Holland:). After a wonderful weekend in Western France and Paris I am headed back to Den Haag and and just for these 4 hours of journey I carried my laptop 🙂 Need to make the most of my travel time. Else I sleep. Last week I was not happy when a friend of mine drove me to EIndhoven. I landed up at the Den Haag central station with my laptop only for him to call and later pick me up from there. The 3 hours I would have spent in the train would have given me the perfect ambience to compose my blog.

So here I am, in Thalys trying to pen my thoughts. However, after a wonderful weekend I so want to write on Fontainbleau and Etretat rather than on storytelling – a subject worth 20 marks for a third grade student of the Maharashtra board.

The weekend plan to Paris was chalked out only a week back. I booked the tix and called Bhatia to tell him that I shall visit him from Saturday early morning to Monday late afternoon. He flew to India early Monday morning.

To sum up: Saturday morning arrival at Paris, catching up with Bhatia,Aditi,Abhinav (Nick = Motu Doc)and Sanchita (Nick = Tissky kyunki woh “TISS ki” hai), Bhatia, Tissky and myself head to Fontainbleu, The Chateau, the trees/gardens in Autumn – its so soothing to the eyes , the walk around the gardens, the canal, the short refreshing nap on the grass besides the canal, Barbizon, the walk through the woods, the rock climbing, Autumn all over, the discussion on philiosophy-Marxism,feminism – lesbian feminsim (the subject being Tissky’s roomie), back to Paris, the 2 cups of post dinner masala chai, Tissky and myself head off to Le havre early morning, the walk across the breadth of the town searching for the toursim office, beautiful beach, the run – Chak De – to catch the bus to Etretat, Etretat – paradise on earth – we were speechless – I have no words to describe the exotic view from the cliffs, hungry & tired a moment back and so energized at the sight – leading to the trek up the cliffs, the clear water at the beach, the lunch at the top of the cliff – the best location to have a meal, the golf course on the top of the cliff, the village town between cliffs, the clear skies and the sunshine, more cliffs, the bus ride back to Le Havre – the bus was scheduled to arrive at the station a minute later than the last train to Paris, the plan to do a DDLJ with the only glitch being atleast one of us had to be inside the train, the train was late by 4 mins and we were late by 3 mins,the sprint to the platform, Jab We met – the train left the platform just as we arrived, the info from the Indian family, alternate route – bus to Caen and train to  Paris, catching up with Bhatia at Gare du Nord to wish him good bye as he left for the airport for a flight to India, the post dinner masala chai, Bhatia – bhatia bashing till 4 in the morning, Eiffel and the gardens at Eiffel, Mont Marte – the view of Paris and finally back to Den Haag 🙂

Etretat is a must visit. I rate Etretat as the best place I have ever been to – better than Switzerland and Italy. I so wish to go there again and for a longer stay 🙂

Its also strangely weird at times how people meet and make friends so soon. Tissky and myself introduced ourselves to each other on Saturday morning and the two of us were headed to Etretat the next morning. And we had a really good time.

Experiences

Completed One year in Shell 🙂 Must say working in the oil and gas industry or rather the Energy industry has been a learning experience. Its reach is global, so many players involved, the scale is huge, the impact is far reaching and the investments/profits are mind boggling.

Customer service is something an Indian misses when he visits Europe and more so Holland. So when a personnel of the supermarket offers his help “Are you looking for something?”, you wonder. He is a nice guy.

I was looking for Makkai/buttha and asked him if there is any corn on the cob in the stocks. With some enthusiasm he asks his colleague and then rushes off to fetch a pack. He returns in a hurry and I thank me. He has a question on his face. I pause and he asks, “are you from Pakistan”. “Sorry , I am from India. And why”. This is what intrigues me. He says,”If you would have been from Pakistan, I would have thanked you for helping us against Armenia” (He was Turkish. I google and read about the past tensions between the two nations). I thank him for helping me and take his leave.

I enjoy cultural exchanges. I like the frankness and the honesty.

Experienced the thrill of a free fall from 60 m over the north sea. Thats Bungee jumping at Scheveningen. You smile, look around then look down, spread your arms and let go yourself.