Monday, July 28, 2008

India shaken but not stirred

Posted by Varun | Monday, July 28, 2008 | Category: , , | 6 comments

The title of the post appears like a James Bond's drink but no, it's got nothing to do with the Vodka Martini. I am talking about the bomb blasts that rocked India last weekend. The serial bomb blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad have definitely shaken India to the core. Life is always unpredictable but these guys have made it worse. If accidents weren't enough, one now has to make sure he or she is not driving or walking around a place that can be bombed any second. Life has become a mine sweeper game. One wrong step and kaboom. Major difference between a game and life is you can always restart a game but not everyone's lucky when it comes to life.

Media has definitely played its part in hyping the issue but I believe it has become a boon in this case. The government rose to the occasion and tightened up all the screws and prevented blasts of high intensity in Surat. Coming to government, why are only the states ruled by BJP targeted!!? Does one see any reason for it? I go with co-incidence till I find something concrete to blame someone.

The blasts might have created fear in people's minds and hearts but for how long ? The last blast in Bangalore took place in the afternoon and the life was back to normal by evening. There was definitely a little fear somewhere in some corner of the mind but then you cannot sit idle waiting for some maniac to blast something. The people who plant bombs are losers. What are they trying to achieve? If they think they can imbibe fear into people's minds by blasting few bombs, their thought process needs an overhaul. They think they've won a war by killing few people but the truth is they've won nothing. Nobody fears a person they've never seen. You'll not be able to even convince a kid to get to bed by telling him 'soja beta warna bomb uncle aajayenge'. In matter of weeks, the whole bombing episode is going to become a laughing stock in shows like laughter challenge.

I take this opportunity to condemn the attacks and pray for the people who've succumbed to such hideous acts of crime.

The statements above looks like a statement cut from a politician’s speech but trust me; I don't have a spokesperson to make such bold and beautiful statements

A few crude bombs can never stir a country of the stature like India. The life in Bangalore returned to normalcy the day after and the news channels told us that the life was normal in Ahmedabad by Sunday evening. We even worked full time here on Friday which goes to show the effect t hat the bombs had on us.

It’s quite evident that India's shaken but it’s all the more evident that it’s not stirred. Yenna Rascala... Mind it... :D

Thursday, July 17, 2008

An interesting reflection: Slow Down Culture

Posted by Varun | Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Category: | 4 comments

This is one of the email forwards I received yesterday. I wanted to share it with you all the moment I read it. I am not sure who authored it but would like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for writing such a lovely piece.

Read on...

It’s been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to posses a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo, a state in Brazil.
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm, has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden, one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think? Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe name Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week.

Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fueled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the "quality of being". French people, even though they work 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 28.8 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!”

This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, productivity, perfection, with attention to detail and less stress. It means reestablishing family values, friends, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living.

It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do. It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Congratulations for reading till the end of this message. There are many who will have stopped in the middle so as not to waste time in this globalize world.

Monday, July 7, 2008

An upsetting weekend

Posted by Varun | Monday, July 7, 2008 | Category: , | 5 comments

Before you get into any sort of conclusion, I am perfectly fit, fine and doing great. I am just talking about the upsets that we witnessed during the course of the weekend. There were 3 major upsets in the world of sports;

Upsets from my point of view only because none of the teams or individuals that I supported won.

1. Formula 1 - Ferrari not managing a podium finish in the British Grand Prix (Hamilton Won)
2. Cricket - Srilanka beating India in the Asia Cup Final
3. Tennis - Nadal beating Federer for the Wimbledon Crown

The biggest upset of them all will no doubt be the third one in my list. Nadal managing to win the longest final in Wimbledon History. I was reading an article on 'Brand Fatigue' in Bangalore times the other day. This was an interesting article that talked about people getting bored of seeing the same person win again and again. Nadal has now managed to give people something to cheer about. We have a new winner, a new hero.

It was a sodden Silverstone grand prix that Hamiltion managed to win. It was without any doubt the young lad's (I am growing old) best race ever. A race that was hard on drivers and more so on the race engineers. The race required perfect strategy but it’s a touch disappointing to see that the Ferrari team clearly lacked it. Hamilton's victory has opened up the championship wide. It's now a 4 way or could even be a 5 way battle for the championship with 9 races to go. This is what every F1 fan dreams of. We have a battle on our cards. A battle at 300 kmph :)

Coming to cricket, I am disappointed to say the least. When will Indian cricket team win a final!!?? I know Srilanka had a magician named Mendes in their side who demolished India but why does it always happen to this team? Is it something to do with the team selection? Is it something to do with the players’ fitness? There are lots of questions like these that the team management needs to find an answer for and if they don't do it quickly, I am afraid we'll have to settle for India's remarkable victories in the league stages.

I do not want to speak about what went wrong or what could have been right because there are experts in every field who are better equipped and better qualified than me to talk about it. I am just expressing my disappointment as a spectator who loves watching these sports.

Every cloud has a silver lining and so does every upsetting weekend. The silver lining was 'Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na'. It's a very fresh, feel good movie. You come out of the theatre or a multiplex with a smile on your face. The movie has no sci-fi story or a time machine or a dard-e-disco but it still manages to capture the heart of audience with its simple and well narrated story. The music is wonderful. AR Rehman is truly a genius. You cannot refrain yourself from humming 'Pappu can't dance saala' or 'Aditi Hans de Tu Zara' whenever you listen to it. The cast of the movie is the main reason behind its freshness. Genelia is cute and Imran can act. I give it four stars (****) out of five. One more movie released over the weekend. Love Story 2050. Couldn't muster enough courage to watch it after reading all the great reviews it had got.

From movies to motor sport, from cricket to tennis, the greatest have their bad days. It's just a matter of waiting for another weekend, another match, another race and getting back to winning ways.

All the Best!!