Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Big Bazaar

On my way back from office i was struck with this very weird thought.

There is a place....where market is the producer and producer is the same as the customer.Same person does the advertisement and the same guy takes care of the Operations. 
Market,producer,customer,advertiser and the operations guy are all the same.

I know it's weird....but in a while it will start making sense.
I am talking about myself.

I am the market....I can get each and everything within me.

I am the producer who is creating different products .I can produce happiness,sadness,courage,integrity.
I am the creator of my future ..i'll create my successes and failures.

I have several consumers inside me..One is an optimist..other a pessimist.One is a go getter ..other is a lazy fellow.
One wants me to be the change...Other asks me to relax and enjoy the status quo.

I am the advertiser...I can advertise motivating stuff,depressing stuff,happy stuff or sad stuff....
Whatever i advertise it feeds to the strengths of any one particular customer.
Suppose i am advertising depressing stuff...the pessimistic customer will become dominant in the market. 
Equally true for the motivating stuff as well.

Whichever customer relates to the advertisement...you feed his strengths and the other customers start getting weak.
Only thing to remember is that advertisements have to be consistent.The moment you relax on the advertising front..demand starts to drop and customer loses on its excitement and the urge to buy that product.

Similarly i am the operations manager...advertiser got me excited for a particular product but without proper operations i may not be able to buy that product.It has to reach me when i ask for it.I have to manage all the logistics of the product to reach me at the right time at the right place.

Just like any well run company...if all these guys can work in perfect synchronization.. i'll get a amazing Product.

..and yes... the Product will again be me.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy Hours

I was in NIT H  last week..and it was exciting and nostalgic to be back in a place to which i owe a lot.
Luckily Bhowmick Sir was also in college and he was staying right next to my room in the guest house. In one of our interactions i asked him that
"What should be the role of a teacher in contemporary times?"
Sir thought for  a while and answered after a brief pause...
"I think the only role of a teacher is to keep his students excited."

That's it...the simplicity of the answer baffled me...Just to keep the students excited and nothing else.
I thought a lot over that answer and i think he was absolutely correct.

We have attended 1000's of lectures in our education till now..can you remember a few lectures at the end of which you were left in a higher excited state?
My answer is very very few and these few lectures were taken by teachers whom i respect till now.

Excitement and enthusiasm are the basis to learning,without them the learning won't be effective and moreover it won't be fun.
So if a teacher can keep us in an excited state i think we can do wonders....

but with majority of our formal education done ...there is a little chance that we'll find some teacher who'll excite us for something.
but informal education will go on for life...so we can either get some mentor or may be we can be our own teachers?
Can we tell ourselves a few things which might keep us excited and hence feel the joy of learning and keep teaching ourselves to be a better person everyday.

I think we can...a major issue that i have come across with my own behavior is that... most of the times i don't find myself excited enough towards the things that i am doing.

Can i make my day so exciting that i love what i am doing and at the same time i am excited about the next thing that i am going to do.
There is no cribbing,no frustration ....just loving what i am doing and i am dying to do the next thing.

I tried to keep my self excited for one full day....

I got up early at 5:30am because i was excited to do cycling afterall it's a cool bike and i am the only one who has that helmet.
I enjoyed cycling because i was excited to do swimming at 6:00am plus i want to be like Lance Armstrong.
I enjoyed swimming because it is a very good exercise and it will make me fitter.
After swimming i had to get back to my flat but what will motivate me to enjoy cycling on the way back.
While coming it was swimming but now what...??

I asked my maid to prepare some delicious Aloo Puris...I know its high calories but if it's the yumminess of Alloo Poori that will get me excited..so be it. :P

I enjoyed the Aloo Poori and it was around 8:30 in the morning...i had loved the hours till that time.They were just so happy.

After Aloo Poori i had to read the autobiography of Michael Phelps.After all... that'll give me a new hero and a completely different angle to how i view Swimming....

Next inline was office. I tried to do my work well and tried to do it fast because it gave me a sense of professional satisfaction plus the leverage to leave early and again enjoy my cycling back home.

The day was in a highly excited and energetic state...I loved the regimen and was excited to discuss it with you...so that's why i wrote this blog,excited to see how you find this funda. I had to write it fast because it was already 11:30pm and i should have been slept by that time.
After all i had to repeat all this tomorrow.

Phewww....A day full of happy hours...how i wish to make each of my days similar.

Thanks a lot Bhowmick Sir....I'll definitely try to keep myself excited about anything that i do,after all these Happy hours are the building blocks to a Happy life.

Needless to say you are one of the best teachers as just like the thousands of your students you have got me Excited as well.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Lemon , Chillies and Baisakhi


I  was on my way to the school after my Physics tuition in the morning.It was around 7:30 in the morning.Suddenely i crossed a lemon tied to a green chilli and surrounded by haldi.All this stuff was kept on a chauraha (crossroads).This is a black magic trick and harms the person who crosses it.
My Friend -"hey gaurav see what you crossed just now."
Being a science student i ignored it and moved on.I had a normal day at school and i got back at 3:30pm.Usually my parents used to get home at 4:30 pm but that day they were both at home.

I didn't notice their being early but i did notice my mom's tears .I asked papa as to what happened.He didn't tell anything but instead pointed towards my mother to get my answers.

I asked her as to what had happened..
She kept crying and asked "Did you cross over some black magic today?"

I was absolutely shocked as i had crossed it in the morning but how could she know it? She was nowhere near to see me crossing it.
I answered in affirmation and her tears increased many folds.

With great persuasion she started telling me what had happened with her throughout the day.
She is a teacher and some baba(GodMan) had come to her school.

Baba told her that my grandfather is ill from last 13 years(which was true),he also told that there were blood drops surrounding our house a few years ago(again true).
He said that her son(me) sometimes gets up from sleep totally shocked(again true).

These things were enough to get my mother in confidence.

He asked her to take him home as something bad was about to happen with me.My mom got scared and immediately signed off for the day.She and baba left for home.The moment baba reached outside my room he started doing a tandav kind of dance.He was dancing awkwardly and shouting "Ghor Sankat ,Ghor Sankat".

My mother was petrified and shocked...she didn't know what to do and how to handle this.She called papa and asked him to come home at once.He refused at first but my mother pleaded and asked him to come for me.
"Please come for Gaurav and please swear of gaurav that you won't say anything to the baba."

Papa reached but he doesn't buy these baba-isms. Baba gave him a black thread and asked him to close the thread in his fist.Then he asked him to move that fist over my belongings,my bed,my books etc.He declared that if i was in danger ,the thread would shorten in length else the length would remain the same.

After doing what baba had asked, papa opened his fist and to his astonishment, thread was 3/4th of what it actually was.

My mother was almost stoned..she was absolutely still and had no clue whatsoever as to how she could save me from that danger.

In all these scenes Baba made an announcement

"Your son has crossed some black magic today.It ws not meant for him but as he has crossed it ,he has to pay the price.In 3 days from now ,on the day of baisakhi...he would DIE. He cannot be saved."

Hearing this ...my Papa lost his cool,he asked the baba to pick his stuff and get lost.However my mother wanted some solution and somehow beleived that the baba could save me.

She asked for some antidote...Baba just concluded by saying

"I'll not take any money as it is useless,i just came to inform you.He can not be saved..but if he does survive the baisakhi he is going to be hugely succecsful.
Survival although is really tough,he is going to die this baisakhi."


This was 10th of april and baisakhi was on 13th.

After hearing the day's proceedings ,i was making a mockery of the baba and my mother's superstitious nature.I asked her to prepare good food for me as i was left with just 3 more days.It was fun for some time but after an hour or so i also felt the intensity of the prediction.

I started thinking as to what if this comes true.
Just three more days and over.....

I had recently been selected for the school cricket team and i had to play my debut match in the next three days...I wanted to play that match but somwhere deep inside i was fearing the leather ball as it could become the reason for my demise.

My mother wanted me to opt out of the team,my father dared me to play the match .(agar mera beta hai to khelega) :(

It was getting scary...i was not allowed to play football in school...my friends asked me to cover my nose in the chemistry lab as we were never sure which fume could have taken away my life.

Baba had made the next three days some sort of a suspense thriller for me,....my mother kept crying and worshipping.My father tried to be very positive and practical but deep down he was also afraid. I also was praying to all my gods above to save me.


As if One baba was not enough ,my mother took me to another one.She said that the second one would tell us if the first one was right or not.

The second baba took out a huge magnifying glass and started analysing my palm.He zoomed in,zoomed out...suddenely he made a cross on my palm and shook his head side ways as we often do while refusing some thing.

I interpreted the movement as to everything is wrong(cross on my palm) and nothing can be done now but second baba had someting else to say...


second baba "everything is fine,there is no issue.These people(first baba) can tell about the past but none can tell about the future you are absoulutely safe beta."

"...but still if you feel afraid,take ganga jal ,chant hanuman chalisa while stirring the ganga jal.after the hanuman chalisa sprinkle the ganga jal in a circle around yourself before you sleep."


I did what he told but that made it even more scary....it felt as if all the spirits and the ghosts would be dancing just outside that ganga jal circle but they cannot enter the circle. They will be electrocuted if they try to enter the circle.

This feeling made it even more spooky and haunting...

However i spent the next two and a half days(10th to 11:40pm on 12 th night) like this only.....
It was 11:45 pm and in 15 minutes from now..baisakhi would start.I was imagining myself getting breathless and choking to death,or may be  heartattack and blood from the nose.Basically all the aahat shows were coming again and again to me....
Hanuman chalisa was on...ganga jal was all around me...


Clock struck 12:00..noithing happened.
12:05 ..still nothing.

1:05am nothing happened...i was not dead...baba was wrong.Black Magic was ineffective.

Next day i was on a leave and my mother sat right besides me the whole day.She thought that she could save me if something bad happened.
The day was over...infact 5 baisakhis have been over from that date and i am doing quite fine.

But whenever this festival comes ,it sends a chill down my spine ....
As i pay tribute to those three days....i wish you all a very joyous and a happy baisakhi.




Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fan Of Kalam

A hot sunday afternoon,mercury around 40 degerees.I am lying on my bed reading Wings of Fire by APJ Kalam.
Ceiling fan is blowing at full speed but the heat is such that the fan literally seems to have Wings of Fire.

Kalam ji shares a really interesting story in which he defines leadership really beautifully.

Kalam ji was working under the leadership of Dr. Satish Dhawan and they were working on a very ambitious project.It had been almost 3 years of efforts and it had to be launched in a weeks time.Whole of india was excited about this project but somehow on the day of the launch,something went wrong and the rocket plunged into water.

Whole of india wanted answers as to why did this happen? Whose fault was it?
The young team of Kalam and other scientists was petrified and nervous at the failure. Dr. Dhawan told the team to be calm and take it easy.He himself handled the press conference. Kalam was struck with this incident and after the conference he was called by Dr .Dhawan for the explanations.

Dhawan had immense confidence in Kalam ji and hence he gave him another year to get the fault fixed.

Kalam and his team slogged in for the next year and as expected rocket launch was successful the next year.Again a press conference was waiting,this time Dr.Dhawan asked Kalam ji and his team to address the conference.

Kalam ji says that this type of lesson can never be learn't in some business school or class.
He was humbled by the actions of Dr. Dhawan who taught Kalam that...

"Failure is for the leader and success is for the team".

I was also deeply touched by this story and i immediately rolled back to remember if anytime i had been in such a situation and what did i do as a leader?

Laying on the bed and thinking of a similar incident the fan above did take me to one such event.
It was i think 1996-97 ,summer afternoon.I was sitting under the fan and tossing a coin.I had been doing this for quite some time now...i gave the coin a toss and to my amusement it went straight through the fan and came down without touching the blades of the fan.

I caught the coin and looked at the fan above.It was almost impossible...fan blowing at full speed and still the coin manages to come untouched.

I got a bit excited at this and called my sister to see this miracle.She comes and i again toss the coin..it goes up ..but this time it strikes one of the blades and bang...the coin blasts the light tube in the room.It was a small blast sort of thing...white powder scattered in the room.

My excitement turned to shivering ,i was absolutely stunned and was already feeling the pain of the destined beating .

One of my neighbor came rushing after hearing that blast and cleared up all the mess.
When she was gone i immediately opened my books and started studying.My sister also thought that it was really a good idea  to get down to studies.

I wasn't able to concentrate ,the books were open but mind was elsewhere. Why didn't the coin go through? Why did it have to strike the blades?

At 3:30 my mother came from school and asked how come both of us were studying at this hour?We didn't reply.She sensed the unusualness around and may be  my ealrier trackrecord made it a a bit easy for her to guess.

She asked "Kya toda?"
I pointed towards the non existent tube.She looked above and was taken aback at the missing tube.

She pulled me by my ear and asked about the modus operandi of this operation.All this while my sister seemed to have got more involved in her studies.She was not even looking at me getting thrashed.My mother smacked me on my face and the smack triggered the following explanation....

"Mumma I was sitting on the chair and tossing this coin. I was just tossing it and nothing else. I don't even know when Kitu came and turned on the fan.She didn't tell me that the fan is on and suddenely one of my tosses hit the fan and hence blasted the tube."

That called for a series of slaps but thank god this time they were divided.slaaaaap me slaaaaap Kitu slap me slap her.

I was the leader and i did exactly opposite to what Kalam would have wanted me to do.For me,Failure was for the team.All this while my sister remained quite and kept on dividing my share of beating. May be my team loved me but the leader was an outright _____________.(fill in the blank with whatever you like.I'll fill @33hole.)

I have improved over the years but i would certainly like to say sorry to my sister and thanks to Mr Kalam for such a beautiful lesson.

Today the Fan has made me a even bigger Fan Of Dr. Kalam.