Tuesday, September 25, 2007

We are the Champions!!!

I've paid my dues
Time after time
I've done my sentence
But committed no crime
And bad mistakes
I've made a few
I've had my share of sand kicked in my face
But I've come through

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions - of the world

I've taken my bows
And my curtain calls
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it
I thank you all

But it's been no bed of roses
No pleasure cruise
I consider it a challenge before the whole human race
And I ain't gonna lose

We are the champions - my friends
And we'll keep on fighting - till the end
We are the champions
We are the champions
No time for losers
'Cause we are the champions - of the world
- Queen

A tribute to the men in blue and all those who stood by them through the tough times

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

एक दिन मेरी जिन्दगी और लंबी हो गई

एक दिन मेरी जिन्दगी और लंबी हो गई,
जाने क्या थी चाहत जो जिन्दगी भी अदनी हो गई,
शुरुआत तो नेक थी, पर जाने कब नियत खोटी हो गई,
कुछ और, कुछ और कि चाहत में इंसानियत छोटी हो गई,
एक दिन मेरी जिन्दगी और लंबी हो गयी!

जाने यह मन क्यों हर मोड़ पर भटकता है,
बंद, टूटे जर्जर रास्तों पे भी दिल मचलता है,
क्या पता था कि जिन्दगी का एक स्याह रुप है,
सफ़र में धुंधली छांह है तो आगे कड़ी धुप है,
जाने किसकी तलाश में यह सफ़र आज और लंबी हो गई!

शायद यह प्रियजनों कि दुआओं का असर था,
या शायद, इस जिन्दगी कि खूबसूरती से मैं बेसब्र था,
कभी थे रंग, आरजू, तमन्नाएँ हमारी आंखों से जिंदा,
पर क्यों आज हर खुशियों को यह आँखें करती हैं शर्मिंदा,
शायद, आज इस सन्नाटे कि उमर उन खुशियों से लंबी हो गई!

एक दिन मेरी जिन्दगी और लंबी हो गयी!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Human Resource Management - Professionals or Parasites

The good part of being a MBA from a premier institute is that you always have decent and multiple options to change jobs, the bad part is we tend to avail it more often that probably we like to, and the worst part is that you have to deal with people who “specialise” in this field called Human Resource Management.

I for one have always been at a loss of reason to justify professionals in these field, except for those doing clerical jobs like payroll processing, getting joining formalities done and typing out appointment, termination letter etc. The more organizations I change and the more organizations I meet, I get more and more convinced of redundancy senior personnel in HR. The best HR person is someone who keeps his focus on systems and systems alone, and keeps away from so-called core HR jobs. I guess its time for some objective reasoning:

Reason 1 – Who does HR in a b-school? Invariably the people taking up HR in a b-school are those, who are not smart enough to understand Finance or IT and are too laidback to meet the challenges that Marketing (Read Sales) poses. They want a cushy comfortable time in the b-school, to generally have a ball of a time in the b-school and cushy comfortable no-nonsense job thereafter. So basically the very pool that HR draws from is full of lazy incompetent people.

Reason 2 – What exactly do they do? They possess absolutely no skill, no specialisation, from entry level to senior most, what they do is just talk, and talk nonsense. Let’s look at their sub-functions and what exactly they are supposed to do:
  • Recruitment – How would they interview or screen a candidate, when they anyway don’t understand the requirements of the business and skill sets.
  • Training – this is the funniest, they don’t know jackshit themselves, and what will they train you on. If someone else has to come to train someone else, your role to the best of my knowledge is limited to admin and logistics work. And when you are not meeting resources on a regular basis, don’t understand business, how do high sounding things like “assessment of skill gaps” and stuff happens. Beats me. Completely
  • Compensation Management – What happens, if you give less competent people, who are supposedly “as educated” as other resources, the responsibility to decide compensation and career growth of other resources who are in the line function and obviously HR people are totally incompetent to judge that. As a result they tend to consider Human resource as a commodity, try to short-change their own prospective and incumbent employees, create discomfort and in many cases force good resources to leave. And what they do show to the management for their efforts, the pennies they save on salary, and what does go unaccounted is pounds they loose on training and creating another resource. Quiet a sorry state of affairs it is.
  • HR Systems – I think this is the only area they can really contribute, but unfortunately most lack competency to correct and set that up. ICICI is one exception, where they have managed to put up brilliant systems in place, so that inspite of lower salaries compared to multinational banks, high attrition rates and general talent crunch, they have been able to meet their recruitment targets, retain people at higher levels and grow at a heady rate. Unfortunately, most other organisations have failed there. Anyways a systems guy is better equipped to take care of that.

Reason 3 – What habits they inculcate – When line people slog and work to build their skills competencies and network which are critical to their performance, HR people are a pampered lot, who are pampered by various institutes, who are pampered by prospective candidates, and also candidates who finally get recruited. Then they get to arrange fancy training programmes at fancy locations and party when there when line people are getting trained. Man am I jealous… I guess a wee bit, but would still prefer not being there.

Reason 4 – Empty mind is a devil’s workshop – What happens to people who do not have anything productive to do and are supposed to sit on a chair all day long. Well mind doesn’t stop. So their innovative mind starts working overtime to find ways and means to make their presence felt in the organization. So then they start generating a slew of useless policies like, people who lunch for more than half an hour will be penalised, attendance should be monitored through bio-metrics. Lets start having training sessions on Saturdays to spoil people’s weekends, all off-sites and other activities should be on weekends to maximise the working hours. Bonuses should be delayed and be paid in instalments, so that the Company can save the bonus when people leave, the notice period should be increased to 3 months to make the relieving painful, the list could be endless. The problem is, all this creates a bad brand value for the organization, and employers start becoming vary of organizations like these. Result – over a period of time the Companies have to pay more to attract talent, and then they struggle to give the required growth, people quit, then same cycle repeats. This is probably the single most reason why I would never have a HR “professional” in my Company when I start one. Only HR clerks would be good enough for me. Anyways HR is too serious a business to be left to HR “professionals”.

I could have taken this opportunity to share my trysts with HR, and had initially thought so, but then realised that the pandemic is of much larger proportion and I would be doing criminal injustice to this Herculean problem, if I limited it to my own experiences. But would surely love to listen to yours…

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Then life begins again….

When hatred takes over and devours peace,
When the specter, is bombed and human flesh strewn into pieces,
When robbed are the cadaver, and the saint fleeces,
But when heart feels the unbearable wrenching pain, then life begins again

When the present is infested and the ghosts of past exorcise,
When tools wear off and your dreams for the future are met with despise,
When efforts go wasted and demons of self-doubt rise,
But when, still in the heart, Hope doth remain, then life begins again

When the fear of tomorrow possesses you and the night is longer than day,
When naysayers surround you but no one shows the way,
When for every omission, every commission, life asks for a hefty pay,
But when, you muster courage to build sand castles in rain, then life begins again.

When the sinews are tired, and the muscles refuse to obey,
When old age takes away the joie de vivre,
When you see your own offsprings in the shades of grey,
When you die, still pining to live again, that is when, that is when life begins again

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Destiny – Thou art not destined

Destiny thou art not destined, I shall conjure thee in my mind, with my heart.

There is something about destiny which is like women, It likes to be challenged, but the moment you start running after it, It plays hard to get. It wants you to be sincere, it wants you to be devoted, it wants you to be yours, but yet it wants you to be patient chasing it. The day you start monkeying around about your dreams, become impatient, the more elusive it gets. Destiny has a time for everything. But, when destiny wants you to be strong and patient with it, yet nonchalance is not acceptable, you have to keep flirting it from a distance till it actually caves in.

It asks not only for your heart and soul but also for your mind. But the most important thing is to make decisions of heart through heart and decisions of mind through mind. That is where education comes in the way. So often we dream, and make our dreams out master, so often we think, and make thoughts our aim (somewhat borrowed from “if”) that we stop feeling what we feel. That is what education does to you.

Something here reminds me of the Tsunami which struck our shores not too long, inflicting heart wrenching damage and pain to the inhabitants. But post facto it surprised quiet a few of us that there was hardly any loss of life for animals and livestock in the area. People told stories, of their dogs barking all day long, livestock walking up to places of height and standing and staring at all the damage that happened before it. The truth is they saw what the most intelligent creation of god did not. They saw future, they saw travesty, they saw the wave before any of us did, or before any sophisticated satellite cameras of the world captured it to issue a warning. I guess, in times like these, u feel the woeful inadequacy of the great human mind even compared to the so called ‘lesser’ creations of God.

I guess, when they say, destiny comes to those who don’t loose heart, they mean it in more ways than one. Destiny I court thee, I court thee with all my heart, with all my love.

Destiny thou art not destined, I shall conjure thee in my mind, with my heart.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

IF - Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to,
broken,And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

- Rudyard Kipling

My all time favourite since school.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not that I need you

There is something that my heart may feel,
Something, that mind is afraid to reveal,
Is it someone seeing though me, that makes me squeal,
I may be down, but then not that I need you.

Once, I lied for seconds and slept for hours,
Worked to death, aimed for the stars,
Today, the dreams are empty and my soul jars,
Will someone hold me, but then not that I need you.

I see not the pain of the poor; I see not the king’s coronation,
I see not the meaning; I see not the intention,
I see not the way; I see not the destination,
Will someone show the way, but then not that I need you.

I died in her arms, but before, I died in her mind,
She showed me the love, but it was me who was blind,
Never spoke my mind, my tongue was tied,
Today, I know not who to speak to, but then not that I need you.

Have got all the matter, but lost all that mattered,
Stood upright, showed fight, when spirits were battered,
Showed Courage, showed care, yet was left shattered,
Sometimes my heart asks why? Was it “Not that I need you”?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Life Less Ordinary

They say “good is the enemy of the great”, when u have quotes like that, ordinary seems outright unacceptable. Then what is it that you do, if after a point in time, everything seems ordinary. Any job loses its challenge and sheen, once the learning curve starts to taper down.

But then that is ordinary, and how does one get away from ordinariness of life, and even worse the ordeal of ordinariness, day after day, weeks together, months together, and with the threat of becoming years together.

In spite of the discontent there is some security in inertia. Some security of it shall not get worse. But the truth is it often gets worse, but the pace of worsening is slow that we often don’t realize. Scientists say that if you put a frog in hot water, is jumps out of it, but if u put a frog in water at room temperature, and start heating the water to boiling point, the frog does not jump out but dies in the water. This happens, because the slow pace of adverse change (though life threatening) is more acceptable, than a sudden change. The frog might have still survived in the hot water, but the change was sudden, so it leapt out of it.

I guess this is what the slow monotone of life does to us. A slow death of the spirit. I refuse to be a frog, I refuse to die a slow death of inaction, a death of inertia. I refuse, I refuse. I know, I shall leap out, before it gets too hot.

I can survive anything, but for successive ordinary days

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The future beckons…

Probably this is one of the most beautiful words for an ambitious person. The journey to the future is often much more beautiful than destination itself. And the scariest thing in life could be not having a destination to look forward to. It’s not for nothing that they say it’s lonely at the top. But with silos in the world increasing, and the division of work becoming paramount, there are people who are reaching the ‘top’ way too early in life and the loneliness does breed discontent. Once you don’t have anything to look up to, then the only way to look towards is downwards.

It is at this juncture of life, that the one’s true character emerges. The rats in the rat race are differentiated from real men. It is this when, people with real character find challenges which others cant see, milestones that no one has explored before, destinations that don’t exist. It is this where, your loneliness becomes your strength, your completeness of character, your ability to search for meaning in solitude and yet be common with commoners, regal with loyalty noble with nobility that shall set you apart. A chameleon with many colors who shall not rest with being at top of his work, but wants to go beyond to be a complete human being.

But surprisingly, to achieve all this ambition is not the only thing one requires. One needs humility and strength of character. People often ask me that I often talk about strength of character but what does character really mean to me. To me character is ‘ability to resist temptations’. There are temptations of immediate gratification, becoming rewards, love, lust, money, which we all desire and often take short cuts for. But those who have had the courage to rise above these, say no to them when it meant compromising on one’s own values are often rewarded with all this and much more.

I close with one of my favorite lines from a very respected man:

“Teri Zindagi ek aisa safar ho, manzil pe pahunche to manzil hata diya”

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Politics of Manipulation, and incompetence of (hardly) “revered” politicians

They say a country deserves the politicians it gets. Not too long ago, I agreed that the problem with the country is because we as people of the country don’t shoulder our responsibility enough, and expect our politicians to do so. We are corrupt and act corruptly in our daily lives, but expect the politicians and governing bodies to be above such frailties. We are a praise hungry nation, we would always go an extra mile to be popular, and hence it is not surprising that our politicians also choose to be populists, even if it is detriment to the country’s interest. Not to forget it serves their vested interest just fine.

But last 3-4 years, I have met people in various spheres of life who are not prone to such frailties and have been doing only too well in their chosen field in spite of that. In fact I am tempted to say because of that. Honesty and strength of character are being rewarded duly in this country in all spheres except our polity and governing agencies.

Another thing, which I have never doubted is the competency and abilities of the people of India, their entrepreneurial spirit, their ability to find ways to get things done, their ingenious thinking, ready made fix up solutions et al. But unfortunately, even if we yield to their populist inclination as political compulsion, yet the lack of imagination and competence in design of policies, regulations has been truly disappointing. Lets take a few contentious political issues with populist overtures:

Subsidies – in various forms are given to various sections of the society, some commodity linked, some income linked, some employment linked and unfortunately all of them are misused and money siphoned in the process, which in effect costs the exchequer much more than what it actually should.

Power is subsidized for agricultural usage (even to the extent of being free) and domestic usage. The free power for agriculture has no relation to the needs of the farmer, and can be drawn for any amount, leading to its misuse in a power deficient country, and also costing the exchequer much more than it should. Further, there are diversions, where power meant for agricultural usage is used up for domestic and also commercial purposes.

Domestic power is often diverted for commercial usage without any real control on them. The linemen can often be bribed to get away with that.

To be honest, it is not difficult to do away with such problem, give away direct subsidy coupons to farmers, equivalent to their estimated power requirement, and let them pay up at the normal rate for the power consumed. This alleviates their problem, and caters to the misuse issue as well. Or no needs for the coupon either, just exempt the amount equivalent to the need from the bill. Yes, this shall involve metering requirement for the government, which is the least we can take care of.

Such misuse of power, has led to many SEBs and state government going under serious financial strain and affecting their credit worthiness, further hampering the investment in the sector in the region, making matters worse for the states. The lackadaisical approach towards containing T&D (Theft & dacoity) losses is another case in point.

Reservations – Reservations for all. For Scheduled Castes, for Scheduled tribes, for Other backward castes for handicapped. And reservations everywhere, government jobs, government aided educational institutions, private educational institutions, seats of higher education and if they have their way even private sector jobs. Meritocracy is dead! Long live meritocracy. Mediocre politicians promoting mediocrity is no surprise. There are ways to take affirmative actions, which is more effective, more pragmatic, promotes meritocracy and surprisingly even more populists. However, not surprisingly our politicians being mediocre people with mediocre intelligence, focused on short term goals (read next assembly election) fail to see the right way of doing things.

Whom do we benefit, with reservations in seats of higher education? I recently heard (though I admit is unconfirmed) that our hon’ble ex-president’s daughter is applying into one of these esteemed institutes in reserved category. I must say that their family deserves this chance after the oppression of becoming the president of the country been thrust upon these poor hapless souls. Well I guess, enough of this has already been said everywhere, but what has not been said is the alternative to reservations as affirmative action and its implementation.

How about tracking the enrolment and drop out rates of various communities, gender and religion at primary school level? How about free education or financial incentives to those who drop out of school because of financial problem? How about actually using the education cess levied on the hon’ble taxpayers of the country to provide better infrastructure and providing cheap credit or even interest free credit to deserving students in this category? How about social awareness schemes and fomentation of mentoring programmes for their children? Trust me all this can be done. But this needs a little more imagination and willingness to put heads and hands together. Not something one expects of our mediocre politicians.

Coming back from where we started, I may admit (I am not saying I do admit) that we may be frail in character, weak in disposition, or on the face of adversity, we may be suckers for popularity and personal gains, but can never believe that we as a nation are incompetent. So if a nation deserves the politicians it gets, we atleast deserves much more competent politicians, if not more honest.

I guess long before quota became a controversy, we have had quotas for idiots in the parliament. Irony, thy name is democracy! (Oops! Am extremely sorry Mr. Shakespeare for the last real bad one).

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Life isn’t fair to anyone, that’s what makes life fair

We all have had occasions, where we feel let down by the rigmaroles of life. When we see less deserving people get the better of us or at times when we loose something that is really dear to us. Often, we end up complaining that life hasn’t been fair to us. But then, there are always others who have been deprived off its fairness.

I don’t think I have ever met a person who can say that life has always been fair to him/her. There are people who say, that life has turned out fairly OK for them over a period of time, but fair on all occasions, NONE.

But then I guess it is this impetuosity, with which life doles out its unfairness to everyone is what makes it really fair. It can be partial to some people at some point of time, but over a longer period, u always get what you deserve.

I for one believe that I have got most things in life fairly easily, without being too bothered, without stooping too low and without compromising on my general well being over an extended period of time. But then, at the same time I don’t have everything I could have asked for. I have lost things on the bye-way; I have paid prices which I had not bargained for, for things which I don’t value as much as the price I paid for.

Sometimes, these things do bother me, but then I shrug off, taking solace in Shaharyar’s famous words:

kabhi kisi ko mukammal jahaa nahin milta
kahin zamin to kahin aasmaan nahin milta

jise bhi dekhiye woh apne aap main gum hai
zubaan mili hai magar hamzubaan nahin milta

bujhaa sakaa hai bhalaa kaun vaqt ke sholay
ye aisi aag hai jis main dhuaan nahin milta

tere jahaan main aisaa nahin ki pyaar na ho
jahaan ummeed ho is ki vahaan nahin milta