Tuesday, March 30, 2010

One summer evening!

I noticed the walls of the buildings turn orange! and yes, it was the sunset time. I was standing at the bus stop for a long time and there was absolutely no sign of me getting the bus. I was standing under the tree which was as still as I was and perhaps, the tree looked as dull as I was because of the summer heat. No more cool breeze and no more fresh air that could smear my face to wipe of all the sweat. Instead, making me completely wet and sticky until I go back into the air-conditioned building or I rather wait for some more time to get into the air-cooled motor that would take me home comfortably. I waited.

I got into the bus and was feeling refreshed. Just like how you feel when you get to eat your favorite food when you are hungry to the core.  I seated comfortably, like a bird sitting on the branch of a beautiful green tree.  I turned around to see if any eyes were in contact with my presence. None I thought and I went into the absentminded state. I was feeling very uncomfortable for something that I did not have. And I was waiting for someone to take me out of that state. Within no time, I opened my eyes. I had to. I had no options but to miss that beautiful sight. As I stared at the beauty, I noticed that it was something that I was waiting for to come in front of me. And that was my opportunity. Like an eagle spotting its prey. I decided to go for it thinking that it’s my good time.

But, how do I go ahead? I was feeling very uncomfortable as I kept looking at an opportunity right in front of me.  My inner voice told me, “Why don’t you open your mouth and talk? Unless you do it, how can you even think of obtaining it? Go for it; nothing will happen”.

I took two deep breaths; third one and the fourth as well. I was as scared as a rat cornered by a cat. Taking the fifth breath, I said to myself, I cannot wait longer. My eyes then met with the eyes that were just opposite to me. Beautiful eyes, like eyes of a juvenile kitten. Eyes were rolling up and down, restless. For a moment, it just closed itself like a snail in the shell. And then again came out spreading the fragrance of its beauty to the world giving its sight. Looking at the restless state, I said to myself, is it the time to give it up? Or hold on, don’t give up?

As I looked at her, she knew what I wanted. Atleast I guessed as much. But I did not get any signs of her being positive to it. Or perhaps! I thought she was waiting for me to initiate the conversation first. That was more likely a possibility can be. I nodded to myself reassuring that I still have the chance. And finally, I made the first move. I signed to her. She did not understand. I tried the second time, she did not get it. She was dumbstruck and remained the same for some time. Like a lonely elephant self protecting from tourists. I did not give up. But I changed my approach. I signed using my hands and eyes both. Her eyes turned from red to blue. Her beautiful pink lips started making movements. I thought, perhaps it is time for her to speak up.  I felt relieved. But she didn’t. However, she understood what I was trying to tell her. But I could not open my mouth; I could not speak. My throat was as dry as the dry river in the summer. And perhaps, that was the whole point.

A few minutes later, she got convinced with what my intention was and I finally succeeded in my effort. I was happy and full of life within no time. Bliss! Looking at me, even her eyes signed some relief. There were no other expectations. Even I had no expectations other than that. She was a kind of person I was waiting for to share my expectations and come out of the problem where I was in. Luckily she had the solution for the problem I had. She took me out of that uncomfortable state I was in.

After getting what I wanted and till the time I felt happy about it, I looked at her and then thanked her for giving me the bottle of drinking water that took off my thirst on a summer evening!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

always more…

the more I think,
there is more to think
the more I wonder,
there is more to be in awe

like, sleeping a journey,
experiencing absence,
missing the nearest,
failing over the easy,
confusing over the clear,
messing up a neat!

it isn’t really me
or it isn’t for me
to let go or hold
to the time I’m good

life ain’t the same,
all the time I see
there is more to it,
that I cannot sight
that I do not know…

to the too much of
too little I know,
there is always more…


Saturday, March 20, 2010

To get-UP-and-go!

through the start, to the end I see
you are in me, invisible…
I survive by you, and that I feel
you are in me, enticing…

moving me your way, off my way…
taking me to the infinity,
to everything new, beyond sight…
and letting me lonely, with you!

speaking my heart, my mind
all at once, making me heal
the hurt of what is love,
that was then, and not now…

I would sink, if not… you
in my world of belief
that wasn’t my dream
to let me see the past…

not to let go love, from me
you got me voice, to life
aloud in my way, all alone
but, with a intrepid ‘you’ within!


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Maverick’s Way!

Maverick is a book authored by Ricardo Semler. It is the success story behind the world’s most unusual workplace.

First thing I said to myself after reading this book is – “Better late than never”. This book was first published in 1993. Thanks to my friend Ravee for introducing this mind blowing book to me.

All these years, I was attracted to only one company to work with. That is Google. I am sure many people would dream about working with Google (I know some of you aren’t) for its employee friendly policies, work place practices, culture, and outstanding campus and also in terms of its highly paid compensation.  

After reading Maverick, it is all past. Now I would die to join this world’s most unusual company –SEMCO headed by Ricardo Semler. Maverick is a story of how Ricardo Semler led his family business, Semco, through the change from an autocratic/authoritarian structure to a participative structure.  Semco is a Brazilian manufacturing business. Their products include: pumps to empty oil tankers, high volume dishwashers, cooling units for air conditioners, and mixers among other products. It isn’t a small company. Semco has many factories.

Ricardo Semler, when he was 21, took over the business from his father in the year 1980 as the CEO. On his first day as the CEO of the company, he fired sixty percent of the top managers. Obviously, he did not like the way the business was run and he wanted to change all of it. He started working on a diversification program for the company to survive during the tough times. When he was 25, he was suffering from physical and emotional exhaustion from trying to run the entire show himself, his doctors told him if he didn’t make a change, he was headed for an early grave. That moment was an inspiration for him to think of creating a work-life balance for himself and his employees.

He decides to try on a series of experiments that can bring the healthy change at Semco. Starting with the implementation of matrix organizational structure; there by decentralizing many of the operational tasks and to the extent of removing all the unnecessary corporate staff. Many of the initial experiments failed due to the lack of support from the employees and factory workers. Eventually, he decides on bringing in the participative management into his operations.

I had studied about participative management during my course and had even read a few case studies of the same. But, those case studies were not the ideal examples for participative management. What I had thought difficult to implement, Semler has done it beautifully. Semler believes in democracy and he created the clear case of the corporate democracy at Semco. He managed to transform the whole company in to a participative structure where every decision by the people. Semler has assembled an outstanding management team. But, more importantly, the workers run the company.

If I start describing about all the points that I liked in the book, I will end up writing more than the book itself. Here are some of the points that I can highlight to project how Semco was transformed: 
  • Semco has reduced its layers of management from 12 to three.
  • It has reduced the corporate staff by more than 75%.
  • The workers have a labor union that works in cooperation with the management of the company.
  • Workers evaluate, hire and fire their fellow workers.
  • Any supervisor, who is getting into Semco, will be interviewed and hired by his/her future subordinates.
  • Workers evaluate performance of their bosses. Bosses with poor performance are fired! (I know what you are thinking!)
  • Workers set their own production quotas.
  • Factory Workers set their own wages and corporate staff set their own salaries.
  • Profit sharing is collectively divided and it is decided by all the employees together.
  • Workers are taught on how to read the balance sheets. All the financial information is posted on the information boards and is easily available to anyone anytime.
  • All of the workers vote on major decisions, such as buying another company or moving a factory.
  • Workers are responsible for their own quality control, eliminating the quality control department.
  • There are no receptionists, secretaries or personal assistants. Semler says, you are the receptionist for your customer. 

Employees can work from any place and decide on their working hours on their own. Working from home is a right and it is not a request anymore. And employees are asked to take leave and go on a vacation for 30 days a year. Semler works mostly from home and travels for 2 months on vacation, he does not give his contact details to anyone in the company during his vacation. He believes in complete independence. No one should be dependent on him. I remember a statement made by Ricardo Semler which is my favorite in the book – “If you know how to respond to official mails/calls during the weekend, you should also know how to watch a movie during the working hours”.

There are no designations at Semco. All the employees are classified into four categories: Counsellors, Partners, Associates and coordinators. Ricardo Semler is just one among the counsellors. He calls this structure as a round structure and he does not believe in pyramid structure. He says it gets narrower as it rises, rewarding the few who keep climbing but demoralizing a far greater number who reach a plateau or fall by the way-side.

There is no rule book in this company. No written policies. Anyone who gets into the company will get a survival manual. They also get training on how to read financial reports.

Worker can file a case against the company while he is still an employee of this company. There is a case of one worker filing a case against Semco for some issue; but, the Judge gets surprised after knowing that he was still an employee. He will eventually praise Semco for its outstanding practice and the trust that they have in their employees.

There are no limitations on any business trip expenses. At Semco, if an employee is travelling on a business trip or a sales trip, he is free to spend any amount as per his wish. They say, after all, employee is going to get us business, so why should we set limitations on his spending during the travel.

Employees can become entrepreneurs at any point of time. Semco will support the same. And there is no restriction on them selling products to Semco’s competitors as well.

Semco has crossed many of the economic downturns without any problems. It has survived many difficult times. None of the employee would leave Semco and there were times at Semco, without any attrition rate for 14 months. In the process of making change, Semco has grown from annual revenue of $4 million in 1982 to more than $240 million in 2007.

I know, it all looks overwhelming comparing it to the way most of the other companies are run. That is the reason Semco has created a history. It has proved what true Corporate Democracy is. It has dealt with the basics of corporate philosophy. It is like why do we need to have rules when we can work fine without it? 

I do not know what to talk about Ricardo Semler after reading all about his strategies and corporate philosophies. That he has transformed the work place which is an example for most of the companies around the world. Read about Ricardo Semler here. Visit the unique looking website of Semco here

I strongly recommend this book to employees of all the companies. Actually I have shared very less about it. I do not know what you would do after reading, but I am sure you will say ‘Better late than never’.

Am now going to read his second book titled interestingly as “The Seven day weekend”.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dreaming the possible Indian Dream

Hold on! Before you even think that I am writing about my dream, let me stop you. I am not dreaming; instead I am just thinking on what could be the possible Indian Dream.

The reason I am thinking about is because I read an excellent article about the dream for the most happening country in the world. Yes! The United States! And to add to the curiosity of yours, let me say, the dream was on the Innovation by two Indian Americans.

I frequently read articles on NYTimes and I follow the articles of columnists Thomas L. Friedman and Paul Krugman regularly. While I was reading recent columns by them, I came across this article by Friedman titled “Dreaming the possible Dream”. In this article, Friedman talks about the two people who are of Indian origin and settled in America. Vinod Khosla and K R Sridhar are the two people talked about in the article; about their latest innovations and their capacity in utilizing the recession mantra to discover better and cheaper way of doing things.

One has produced a fuel that can turn natural gas or natural grass into electricity; the other has a technology that might make coal the cleanest, cheapest energy source by turning its carbon-dioxide emissions into bricks to build your next house. I know what you are thinking… Yes! Both the new innovations are indeed very timely and very much required for both the developed and developing nations like US and India.

My point of concern is not these innovations. I could not agree more with Friedman on praising these two brilliant innovators who can keep the world greener with such creations. Infact we are in need of many more people like these two, who can create wonders to keep the earth safe. This is the need of the hour. And countries like India and China being strong in many areas, should come up with more of such technological innovation to rule the world. My concern is how equipped are we? Or why is it that Indians are not making India as the home base for such innovations? Why do we always look forward to go out of India to do something significant? Why is it that people who go out to other countries for their higher studies never return back to India? To add to my humiliation, I read the following statement by Sridhar in the article – “We came to America for the American dream — to do good and to make good.”I feel proud to see such people and at the same time feel disheartened because they are not with us doing things in India. Or perhaps, returning back to their home base.

Well, the reason for that could be many and genuine too.  I am not saying it is wrong to go out and work. But still, the point is we are becoming more and more dependent on laboratories outside India. Any person whom I talk to, whether it may be in office or with friends, they say they want to go out and do some good work. It is like, if I need to create something significant, it is not possible if I am in India. And I do agree that the knowledge hubs and the eco system that other developed countries provide may be unimaginably good compared to what we have; and they have the potential to produce many such people with the kind of education they give in their outstanding universities. But, the question is why can it not be created in India? Why is it that there is no Pranav Mistry coming right out of the IIT/IISc Lab? What is it that we lack in us to make IIT or IISc as the experiment lab for Pranav Mistry? And I think India has lost so many talents like this just because it cannot handle such brains here anymore. It is not only in the field of Information Technology; but also in other areas too. It is the same status and the same story. But we will never let them go off our hands easily when we see them on TV or news papers. “Oh, the guy in the Obama Administration is our Indian” and we feel very happy about it.

Friedman says that America still has the best innovation culture in the world. But still they are not satisfied with that. They are craving for more. Are we aiming at it? Are we in the process of creating that eco system here in India that can possibly attract talent around the world to do their work here? Imagine what will be the status of India, if all our Indian folks who are leading some of the cutting edge projects across the world, returned to India, invest their time and efforts to nurture the talents in India and produce more innovations in India. (May be I am now dreaming!) But still, think of that as a possibility; can we not lead the world?

Think about it!


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Of what is new…

like the flowing river, 'tis set in motion
of what is to be driven to the dreams of me
far away from the nearer hearts, in to the ocean…

looking through the eyes in the toughest sun,
listening to the heart of a silent wall,
bouncing back the no-right-or-wrong way,
letting me into the risky lot of beautiful minds…

forget the now and get to the future
with empty hands but a baggage of mind
of the hard work and a bowl to beg
I aint giving up on it, nor will let go me,
all I need is hands on me, for me…

am looking there, where I can’t reach now
and to see it, is what I do all the time
but I was stopped, to think, now, here,
as moon only looks near, than a place on earth
walk over the place, place after place
reach the destiny, that I walked in my mind…

mine is a tagged voice and that is unheard of
or perhaps the only ignored out of the lot;
but voices of ‘go-get-it’, to push me forward,
and of a compromise for the status, thyself;
piercing the wind into a clear face-of-mind
gave me strength like a huge tall tree…

believing the destiny, and moving along…
to check the present, of the past and the future,
and the life of everything around here, around me;
alone in my move, expecting it right, to see the end
in spite of the ground realities, different and dare…

'tis all new, and on the move now
ambiguous journey into the defined path of mind
where I see an action set, and animated voices
I aint going to give up, for sure and beware
I aint giving up…


Saturday, March 6, 2010


ಆಹಾ! ಅದು ನಾನೇ!
ಎಂದು ಅದೆಷ್ಟು ಬಾರಿ 
ಆದರೂ, ನನಗೆ ನನ್ನ, 
ನನ್ನ ನನ್ನೊಳಗಿನ 
'ನಾನು', ಅರ್ಥವಾಗದ ಕಪಟ...
ಕಪಟದ ಅರ್ಥವ ಹುಡುಕಲು
ಕಪಟದ ಸೂತ್ರವ ಹಿಡಿಯುತ 
ಕಪಟವಾದೆ... ಅದು ನಾನೇ...
ಸರಿ, ಆದರೆ ಅದರ ಹಿಂದಿರುವ 
ಅರ್ಥವಾದರೂ ಏನು? ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯ 
ಕೇಳುತಾ, ಉತ್ತರವ ಹುಡುಕಿದೆ...
ಅದು ಅಷ್ಟು ಸುಲಭವೇ? 
ಎಂದಿತು ನನ್ನೆದೆಯ ಬಡಿತ   
ಕೇಳುತಾ ಆ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯ!
ಹೀಗೆ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗೆ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯಾಗಿರುವ,
ಮುಗಿಯದಿರುವ ಮಾತುಗಳ, 
ಸಾಲು ಸಾಲಿನಲ್ಲಿದೆ, ಆ ಒಂದು ಉತ್ತರ! 

ನನ್ನಲ್ಲಿಯೇ ಇದೆ... ಆ ಉತ್ತರ...
ಆದರೂ, ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಯ ಗುಡುಗಿಗೆ 
ಗಾಳಿಯಂತೆ ಮೌನವಾಗಿದೆ....
ನನಗೆ ಅಸಾದ್ಯವೆಂದು ತಿಳಿದು, 
ಮರೆಯಲು ನಿರ್ಧರಿಸಿದೆ, ಸೋತು,
ನನಗರ್ಥವಾಗದ ವಿಷಯವ...
ದಿನಗಳುರುಳಿ, ಕಾಲ ಬದಲಾಗಿ,
ಕ್ಷಣಗಳು ಕಣ್ಣಿನಲ್ಲಿ  ಬತ್ತುಹೋಗಿ, 
ನಾನೇ ಬದಲಾದೆ ನನಗರಿಯದೆ... 
ಹೊಸದಾದ  ಬೆಳಕನ್ನು ನೋಡಿ,
ಕತ್ತಲಿನ ಹಿಂದಿನ ಕ್ಷಣಗಳ ಮರೆತೆ
ಮರೆತೇ, ಅರಿಯಲು ಹೊಸತನವ...
ಹೊಸ ಮಿಲನಗಳು, ಹೊಸ ಪರಿಚಯಗಳಾಗಿ 
ಕೆಲವೇ ಕ್ಷಣಗಳನ್ನು ದಾಟಿ ಬಂದಿರುವೆ,
ಅಗೋ... ಮತ್ತೆ... ಕಾಡಿತು ಇನ್ನೊಂದು ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆ....
ಏನದು?... ಓಹೋ... ಮತ್ತದೇ ಕಪಟ
ಬೆನ್ನತ್ತಿದ ಭೂತದಂತೆ , ಅದು ಮತ್ತೆ ನಾನೇ!
ನನ್ನೊಳಗಿರುವ ಪ್ರಶ್ನೆಗಳು, ಎಂದೆಂದೂ ನನ್ನೊಳಗೇ....



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Turahalli hillock truly 'Rocks'

It was a much awaited event for all the climbers in and around Bengaluru. I think people even travelled from other cities to attend the Rock Climbing fest organised at Turahalli on February21st, 2010. I had visited Turahalli couple of times before along with my climber friends, but I had not tried much of the climbing at Turahalli.

Please read my experience and more details on the Rock Climbing Fest at Turahalli published in Citizen Matters at the following link: http://bangalore.citizenmatters.in/articles/view/1814-rock-climbing-fest-turahalli