To do that ... I happen to write!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Where we begin, Where we End

This has been on my mind since a really long time...

Generally when any new thing is started, it is started with a vision. A vision to radically transform something, or to take new strides in some direction. A lot of enthusiasm is build around it and most of the people find that this is really the answer to all the woes.

Then gradually over the years the 'thing' expand. New members are added, old members leave; some new cultural wave hits the ground in the meanwhile, but nevertheless the 'thing' continues to expand and grow battling all the teething and non-teething troubles.

After some decades the 'thing' has really grown into a huge proportion and it does a lot of work and has lot of people working for it. And then one day the original founder who has long gone away, died perhaps gets to see the entire 'thing' and he looks at all the glitter and vast expanses of land, people and geographies his vision has been able to cover; his heart is glad except for one stabbing pain...

The vision is lost...

IIT, TCS, UN, Toyota: I leave you to guess which 'things' fit into this example, and which are contrary to it...

The quote of the weekend was stated by Harshit whistle gossiping away on my roof on a drizzly night:

If you can't measure it you can't improve it

Monday, 23 August 2010

Obscuring the Truth: Good or Bad? (Environmental Courses @ IIT Delhi)

Even as I remember the times of July-November 2009, I cannot forget the course RDL340

I did this course as a part of compulsory Environmental Course which we had to do, and even though a recent RTI filed at IIT has revealed that it was NOT compulsory, I am not regretting.

Among all the talks about sustainable living, Gaia theory (shown in AVATAR!), bamboo housing - there was an intangible element of the course which has left a deep imprint in my heart: In every class the first 5 mins were reserved for meditation. Yes. At the start of the class everyone would close their eyes and meditate for 5 mins. Despite some nonsensical giggle it felt wonderful.

At the start of meditation, my mind would suddenly begin racing in all directions, all sorts of thoughts about life, death and universe would come up in rapid succession - reach a pinnacle and start to fade away. By the end of 5 minutes my mind would become blank like a sea after storm, fresh to concentrate on what I was going to hear next. Felt like being back in Gurkul days!

However, finding out the fact that we were duped into doing environmental courses (for 06, and 07 entry students -enviro courses were NOT COMPULSORY!) felt bad and the first question which came to my mind was: why the world is so busy in obscuring the truth?

Interestingly enough, as I gather from the mail forwarded to me: even the AIC confirmed that it was compulsory doing such courses.

My guess is that we don't have courage to fight for the truth so we find it more convenient to hide it, or twist it ~ it might do more good than bad in select cases, but definitely obscuring truth does not help society achieve utopia!

And accordingly the quote of the weekend is:

"He that would keep a secret, must keep it secret that he has a secret to keep"
- Sir Humphrey, Yes Minister

Monday, 16 August 2010

When the Week Ends...

...and you are still working, is something which draws the maximum number of sighs, especially from your own heart.

So I reached home on Friday night working till 8 in the morning (and unprofessionally sleeping for 2 hours in b/w when the sleep just took over w/o any warning signals!)

But by and by the next day had welcoming rains in store, dancing in which made me wonder if Sony and Cos are designing some walkman which can be plugged in during rain; and if Penguin Publishers are coming out soon with their titles in paper which doesn't get wet in rain (I just didn't feel like saying plastic!). Imagine sitting on the roof of your house, or balcony for that sake; or better even in the nearby garden among the sweet smelling grass, listening to your favorite music, reading a novel which has totally gripped you; and it raining like cats and dogs all around you - and the best part: over you!

Eventually I gathered some sleep and hopped on to play football with kids in the garden, soon realizing how important was winning in games when I was a child: and how important was to fight for every foul, every rule, every thing which was debatable under the roof and which was not; and that to some extent winning and doing all those things is still important, but I chose to instead let the bunch of kids do their job!

Peepli Live could have been more impactful, but nevertheless it was good; however, I found a more intriguing subject: in my reading of Gita! And it starts with the question: is the war depicted in it for real, or allegorical?

However the quote of the weekend goes out and out to Nehru:

"The future beckons to us. Whither do we go and what shall be our endeavour? To bring freedom and opportunity to the common man, to the peasants and workers of India; to fight and end poverty and ignorance and disease; to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation, and to create social, economic and political institutions which will ensure justice and fullness of life to every man and woman.
We have hard work ahead. There is no resting for any one of us till we redeem our pledge in full, till we make all the people of India what destiny intended them to be."

- Tryst with Destiny: Midnight of 14th August 1947

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The Emperors of Chocolate

Candy is not a necessity. It’s a treat. A delight. A frivolous indulgence.So intoxicating, so intense, so opulent, it penetrates the taste buds and heads straight for the brain.

Read Joel Brenner's The Emprors of Chocolate. Not only it is a fantastic, and never been told before account of 2 chocolate gians: Mars and Hersheys, it is also a mouth watering delight.

The contrast drawn between the Hersheys and Mars is visible at every point, except for how long they took to become successful. Milton Hershey: 17 years, Forest Mars: 21 years.

The book is studded with core management pricipals of Hershey's and Mars, and the style of working on their top management. And I am sure that many of these pricipals will remain etched in your memory a long time after you've read the book; I list a few here:

  • Both Hersheys and Mars started their day at 4:30 in the morning. Most of the new product ideas were born then.
  • Being first is the key: if you ain't first, why bother?
  • Product should be sole focus: that is what customers buy
  • You can't shoot where the duck is: you've to shoot where the duck is going to be
  • To do a business: you need to know how to make a product

‘Chemically speaking, what makes chocolate so unique and irresistible is that its melting point it slightly below body temperature’ ‘ Cocoa butter dissolves first and distributes the rest of the chocolate ingredients over the taste buds in quick succession starting with sugar’

Must Read!