Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014 - Welcome 2015

It is that time of the year when most of us would sit and analyze how good or bad the year has been. I am also in that reflective mode today.

How did 2014 treat me?

On personal front year 2014 did not start off well. All efforts to hold on to a close relationship turned out to be a futile exercise. I learnt that no matter how good your intent is; if people are hell bent on misunderstanding you, things will fall apart. Not just the beginning of the year but almost the entire year personal relationship was put to test. In second half of the year, it was a close friendship that did not stand the test of time. I realized that for relationships or friendship to be successful, the most important factor is trust. 2014 did punch some severe blows but it could not manage to knock me out. I was down but not out. I only hope that someday better sense would prevail and things will improve.

All the emotional turmoil did affect me but my faith in the Almighty is what kept me going. A spiritual journey that I had been putting off for so many years worked out like a charm this year. I am glad that I could embark on this journey. It was a welcome break which really helped me to put everything in perspective. The way it worked out also strengthened my belief in divine grace.

On the professional front things were mostly steady. I was successful in ensuring that personal issues had no influence on my work. For most part, it was routine stuff on the work front. Towards the end of the year though something unexpected happened. I got an opportunity to contribute by writing a blog for the corporate website. I also got appreciated and rewarded for it. It was nice to realize that an article I wrote was good enough to find space on corporate website.

What about 2015?

I will be stepping into 2015 with renewed hope both on personal and professional front.

On personal front I will ensure that emotions do not get the better of me. Lessons learnt in 2014 will help me achieve that. Peace of mind will have precedence over anything else in life. Daily meditation is already helping me in that regard. I will continue practicing it in 2015 to advance spiritually. I will take up the challenge to devote more time for reading and learning new stuff. Cooking is also on my to-do-list. My wife will definitely have a sarcastic smile on her face after reading this. :-)

Professionally, it would be great to try something different to stimulate the creative mind. More opportunities to showcase my skills is something I hope for. I also aim to get out of my comfort zone by learning some new skills that will widen the scope in my career. Prime goal professionally is to break the routine and get into acceleration mode. 

My gut feeling is that 2015 will turn out to be a very positive year for me both personally and professionally. I hope the same holds true for everyone. I wish everyone a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Life is precious - cherish it

This blog post is about an incident that I witnessed and one which made me value life dearly.

Tonight on my way back home from office as usual I reached Kanjurmarg station. I was on the foot over bridge when I saw a man running down the steps towards the platform to catch a train to Titwala that was about to leave. By the time I reached the platform I could hear people shouting but didn't know the reason. At some distance I could see a man lying on the floor and people gathered around him. I moved closer to the crowd and realized that the same person whom I saw earlier on the foot over bridge had met with an accident and was lying on the floor. This person tried to catch the running train but slipped and fell on the platform. He was very lucky to have not been dragged by the train else the accident could have been fatal. He did injure his head and his body got bruised too. However, he was able to walk when couple of guys lifted him up. They made him sit on a nearby bench. One gentleman offered some water to the petrified accident victim. Few people gathered around were yelling at him, when they were supposed to calm him down. One person asked him as to why he was in such a mad rush to catch the train that had already started moving. He replied stating that he wanted to be with his kids at home. Possibly there was some urgency involved but I think reaching home safely was more important than not reaching at all. After a while couple of cops arrived and they were tending to him. My train arrived by then and while I was boarding the train, I saw couple of guys accompanying him possibly to a nearby hospital for first-aid.

This was not the first time that I have witnessed such foolish acts at Kanjurmarg railway station. In the past I have seen similar accidents on two occasions. Luckily on each occasion the accident did not prove fatal or cause major injuries to the individuals who were involved.

We all have just one life and I think we should cherish it not only for our own self but also for our near and dear ones who are dependent on us.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My blogpost on corporate website

It gives me immense pleasure in sharing my blog post on corporate website. Role of Technical Support in Software Development is the title of the post. This blog post is actually a summary of what I have learnt in my job role for the past 11+ years. Please spare some time to read it and let me know your feedback.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Undue Criticism

This blog post is in a way, a summary of what I have experienced in last 2 years. The title of the post indicates the focus of the post.

Criticism is something you get when you need it the least. I have written about it in the past as well. This time though without divulging too many details of my personal experience I will try to give my perspective.

Two years back I was forced to take a difficult decision which I knew would have a negative impact on me but still I took that decision with the best of intent. Balancing my personal life and professional life was one of the aspect but primary aim was to safe guard others interests. To my surprise, I ended up being criticized the most by the folks whose peace of mind was my goal when deciding my action. Even a friend who was fully aware about the turn of events and my rationale behind the decision, recently had some harsh words for me. Strangely not one of my critics had a solution to offer. Everyone was convinced that I was wrong but surprisingly no one could tell me what was the right thing to do. This is what irritated me the most. To rub salt to injury one of the critics had empathy for me in a one on one communication but in a group discussion had a diameterically opposite view point. That feeling of being betrayed cannot be summed up here in words. Compromising on self respect was definitely not on my mind because my heart felt intent was always good even when others wanted to label it otherwise.

I had to take some decisions to protect my self esteem. One of them was to stop absorbing all the negativity coming my way. I always believe that no matter what, if your intent is good, it doesn't really matter who stands with you and who doesn't. If your conscience is clear then eventually you will come out victorious in the most adverse of situations. One just has to wait patiently and let time play its part. 

Time is the best healer and an even better teacher.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

My Gov – Inclusive governance

This blog post is about PM Narendra Modi’s initiative to involve the common man in governance. Such initiatives do not get enough limelight, despite the fact that there haven’t been such initiatives in the past. There may be reasons to hate Narendra Modi but I think we got to be objective about our criticism. Criticize him where he is wrong and appreciate him where he is right. I think this approach to criticism should be practiced by everyone.

My Gov is a welcome initiative that is going to revolutionize governance.  We people earlier did not have a say in governance. Now with this initiative we have a forum to give our ideas and suggestions for shaping government policies. Isn’t that true democracy? Government of the people, for the people and by the people is how democracy is defined. Theoretically this has been true but it is off late in Modi’s rule that we are seeing that being put into practice. These are early days but well begun is half done, isn’t it?

A brief overview of how it works. When we go to , you will find “Discuss” and “Do” mentioned on the home page. “Discuss” is the option to go for if you wish to give suggestions and ideas. “Do” is the option for someone who can actually contribute more actively by doing some tasks. You can be part of up to 5 groups. Following are the list of groups available as of now:

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao

Caring for the specially abled

Clean Ganga

Digital India

Expenditure Management Commission

Girl Child Education

Green India

Incredible India!

Job Creation

Manual Scavenging – Free India

Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana

Skill Development

Swachh Bharat (Clean India)

Watershed Management

I think one can easily identify groups to which they can contribute.

Creative Corner is another nice initiative for the creative types. You can help in designing logos or suggest taglines. 

Basically all those who are critical of the government for not giving ears to citizen's suggestions and ideas, should give a try. How successful this initiative will be is something that only time will tell. For now we need to be positive and appreciate the fact that there is a forum available for citizens of India to contribute towards good governance.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

To be of service till the last breath

This post is dedicated to a doctor whom I consulted just once but who left a lasting impression on me.

About a month back I visited this doctor for a health issue. When reading this post one may think what is so great about this doctor that I chose to write about him after visiting him just once. The primary reason being that he decided to meet and treat me despite the fact that  he himself was advised bed rest by a doctor, as he was getting treated for broken ribs after having a fall.

How and why this meeting happened? My sister-in-law was his patient and was her go to man mostly when she suffers any health issue right since her childhood days. She had his mobile number and one Sunday about a month back she called to check whether he is available in his clinic so that I could also consult him for an ailment. He responded saying that he is not fully fit but can get the checkup done at home. We both visited his house. His wife opened the door for us and lead us right to the doctor's bedroom. He asked us to sit and told us that he cannot sit or stand as he has been advised bed rest. He had a fall at the steps leading to his house and got his ribs broken. He was undergoing treatment for that. Looking at him I could make out that he was either in his late 60s or possibly in the 70s. He told us that he had fallen multiple times in the past and those were more dangerous but still he never had been in a situation like this. He then started getting details of my health issue and instructed his daughter-in-law to get the medicines that he was prescribing. He prescibed medicines for a month and advised how to take them and also suggested some restrictions related to food. While all this was happening I noticed that his house was not the luxurious types that you would typically associate with a doctor. Making money did not seem to be his primary goal as is the case with vast majority of the new generation of doctors. I paid his fees and then headed for home. 

A month passed by and I was planning to consult him again for a followup. Last Sunday we called to check his availability. A lady, possibly his wife or daughter-in-law picked up the phone and informed that he will never be available. Upon probing further for a reason, we were told that about 20 days back he passed away. It was a shocking news for us because even though he was advised bed rest, he was not bed-ridden. He was talking and gesturing like any normal person.

I wish I could also be of service to society till my last breath in whatever small way I possibly could.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Narendra Modi - The PM India always wanted

You may love him, you may hate him but you just cannot ignore him. Narendra Modi is a force to reckon with. The last decade we were used to a lack lustre Prime Minister (PM). Come 2014 and you have a very dynamic PM who speaks with confidence and is spontaneous. When you have a leader who speaks like Modi, you got to listen. Hundred days in governance is too early to judge how successful he is. However, what strikes me the most is that he has brought life into the post of PM. This is reminiscent of the times when Dr. Abdul Kalam was the President of India. He too was such an inspiring leader. The ideal situation would be to have Narendra Modi as PM and Dr. Abdul Kalam as President. Wishful think you might say.

In India, the Prime minister's post is the most powerful post. During UPA, it was the Congress President Sonia Gandhi who was the most powerful personality instead of the PM. This was the case both within the party and even when it came to the government. Manmohan Singh was always sidelined or not given the due respect his position deserved. It showed in his body language and when the leader is weak, the whole country will automatically be perceived to be weak. Narendra Modi on the other hand is confidence personified. For the swearing in ceremony he invited leaders from all the SAARC nations. It was such a nice move and out of the box thinking too. Making the bureaucracy work was one of the first initiative taken by him after becoming PM. Creating an interactive website and using social media tools like Facebook and twitter is another important initiative of his. The common man who voted for him now is updated of almost every thing that he is doing as PM. There is also  a forum for people to contribute towards development of the nation. He is incorporating the common man's ideas for tackling the various challenges that the country is facing. He is also motivating people to contribute both with ideas and actions in nation building. How successful he would be in improving India's prospects is something that we are not in a position to predict now. What matters to me is that the things he is doing right now is something which has never happened before in this nation. After being voted to power, the general trend has been to ignore the masses. This is not the case right now. 

Pakistan's ceasefire violations are being tackled boldly by this new government under Narendra Modi's leadership. The Indian army is now giving a fitting reply to ceasefire violations by Pakistan. There is a limit to enduring Pakistan's nonsense and there comes a point when one has to pay back. I feel great pride when I see the news channels and find our army personnel's with their morale boosted. Earlier we were not retaliating strongly to the misadventures of Pakistan army. Now things have changed. Yes, there is a risk of a war like situation but what is the use of losing our soldiers by not retaliating. 
In his bilateral visit to Japan Narendra Modi was at his dynamic best. I liked how he came across as genuine and warm towards the people of Japan.

Today on occasion of teacher's day, he interacted with school kids. Again such a novel idea. I know there are some voices condemning his initiative as school managements and state machineries had to face some hardships due to this. However, the whole idea for me was inspirational. He reached out to the future of the nation on Teacher's day. Has any Prime Minister every done this? In the age of technology he is using technology to connect with the masses. Reaching out to school kids was a really great initiative on his part. Inspiring kids and being open to take their questions is definitely a  welcome act on his part. 

Kudos to Narendra Modi! Again I know it is very early days for his government but based on what I have seen so far, he is saying and doing things which is refreshing and unprecedented. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Fight for Rs.5

Today at one of the railway station stalls in Mumbai I went to buy a bottle of packaged drinking water. My wife and daughter were also accompanying me but they were seated on a bench at some distance from the stall. I asked the price when the bottle was handed over to me by the salesman. I was told that it will cost me Rs.20. I checked on the bottle and the maximum retail price (m.r.p.) printed was Rs.15. I handed the bottle back to the salesman who unlike other salesmen was not wearing a uniform and told him that the printed price is only Rs.15. He ignored my comments, took the bottle back from me and put it back in the refrigerator. 

I thought I should do something about it. I stepped back and took the photograph of the banner at the top of the stall which had the name of the contractor of the stall and while doing this also ensured that the salesmen inside noticed what I was doing. In the banner above it was also indicated that all items will be charged as per the m.r.p. printed on the items. I then made my move and came and stood besides the bench where my wife and daughter were sitting.

I know you guys would be curious to know what happened next. Isn't it?

This is what happened. One of the salesman who was wearing a uniform came to me and told that you can take the bottle and pay only Rs.15. I asked this person why was the price higher earlier. He replied stating that the other person is new and he didn't know the correct price. I replied when I file a complaint and the contractor gets booked then that salesman will know the price of everything. This salesman who came to me apologized and said that please do not complain as he will lose his job. I then went along with this salesman to the stall and bought the bottle of water at the correct price of Rs.15 and came back to the same place where my wife and daughter were seated. However, the salesman who had come to me earlier followed me again. I asked him what happened. He requested me to delete the photograph I had taken. I said do not worry as I was not going to use it. He was not satisfied with my response and again pleaded that I get that photograph deleted because if I do something with that he will lose his job. I then showed him the photograph and got it deleted in his presence. I saw a big relief on his face and he went back to the stall with a smile on his face.

There may be some who think it was stupid of me to fight for Rs. 5. On the other hand some of you may feel that I should have taken the fight further by filing a complaint about it. My justification is that a salesman will only sell stuff at a higher price if people are willing to buy. So the onus is on people like you and me to buy stuff at the right price. Also for those who think Rs.5 is not worth fighting for will be having a decent salary. I am also in that category. However, what about the large majority for whom Rs.5 will have a higher value. Also if we get used to ignoring such unjust acts even if they seem trivial, tomorrow we would not be able to fight bigger acts of injustice as the perpetrators will know that there won't be any opposition.

Friday, August 8, 2014

He-Man - I have the power

Out of the blue today, I recollected He-Man, one of my favorite super heroes from my childhood days. I remember waiting desperately for the episodes of He-Man. I used to love it. I remember how Prince Adam raising the sword would proclaim, "By the power of Gray skull.......... I have the power!" and get transformed into He-Man. Prince Adam was depicted as lazy and cowardly; however, He-Man to the contrast was shown as courageous and all powerful.  

During my childhood days, I was just excited to see all the action and drama in the cartoon series. Today when I try to look at He-Man, a totally different perspective emerges. Were Adam and He-Man two different individuals? Was the power of He-Man coming from Gray skull or the magic sword? The answer to both these questions is, No. All power came from the belief in the following words, “I have the power!”  All power actually lies within us. The day we realize this nothing is difficult and nothing is impossible to achieve. He-Man was simply Prince Adam who realized that all power lies within him. Each one of us is a potential He-Man or She-Woman (just to ensure gender neutrality).

Even before the comic He-Man was created, there was a real life He-Man born in our own motherland, India. He had realized that all power lies within us. He was none other than Swami Vivekananda. I will put forth one of his quotes here:

The day we realize our true potential which lies within us, we will be truly powerful. We need not look for it in the external world. Just need to connect to your inner voice for guidance and you will soon realize that the source of all power is in your own heart.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Rahul Gandhi - the confused leader

Rahul Gandhi seems to be one of the most confused leader ever in the Congress Party. His lack of leadership is so obvious and yet the Congress party continues to back him just because of his last name. This is not right at all for a democracy. From being too passive in the Parliament to the point that he was found sleeping during a debate on escalating food prices, to being overtly active in criticizing the Speaker of being partial, is proof of his immaturity and lack of leadership qualities.

The Congress party is struggling to maintain its reputation of a national party after winning just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha elections and it still hasn't learned any lesson from the worst performance ever in the history of this 128 year old party. They are struggling to hold their ground and instead of working to strengthen their party they are continuing to tarnish their reputation with their negative approach in the Parliament. I think it is high time that this party makes way for an able leader, someone outside of the Gandhi family or else they will just not be able to stop the party from falling apart.

While campaigning for the election also it was very evident that Rahul Gandhi was not cut to lead the party to victory and hence Priyanka Gandhi had to chip in. There were many within Congress who felt that Priyanka would do a much better job than Rahul. When the leader of a party is confused, the party will definitely lack vision and direction. This is exactly what is happening with the Congress party right now. Nobody seems to be sure. Both Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party needs to wake up or else they will soon be victims of their own misadventure.

There are many able leaders in the Congress party outside of the Gandhi family. However, the obsession for the Gandhi family has sidelined everyone else. Manmohan Singh is a classic example of how a knowledgeable and able leader becomes handicapped due to lack of support and backing from the party. Though Rahul Gandhi had all the backing he never showed the courage to take charge. The Gandhi family used Manmohan Singh as a shield to protect themselves. Though the decisions were taken at 10 Janpath, the negative impact of the decisions were attributed to Manmohan Singh. The nation realized this and hence they decided to go in for a decisive and confident leader of Narendra Modi's stature for PM. 

It is high time that Congress figures out a better leader than Rahul Gandhi to take charge or else this party would soon be a rudderless ship.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Monsoon and Mumbai

Monsoon was playing hide and seek with Mumbai until yesterday. Everyone was desperately waiting for it to rain. It was late by over 15 days but when it rained it poured. First real monsoon showers of this season had a big impact on Mumbai. Traffic jams, Trains were stopped dead on the tracks, people inconvenienced and yet Mumbai did not stop. It seems Metro trains first tryst with monsoon was not good. It had water leaking through the roof through the air conditioning duct. Despite all the adversities, the show must go on attitude of the people of Mumbai is commendable. Yes, everyone cribs about the inconvenience but still they do not give up. Trains may not be running but I did not see many people leaving the railway stations. Everyone was eagerly waiting for train services to resume. Mumbai has a love-hate relationship with rains. We beg for rains and when it rains we complain about all the hassles that we have to go through. Yet I feel that we still are a better lot in dealing with all the troubles and come out smiling.

Yesterday the day began as any normal day. Though light showers were happening it wasn’t raining that heavily until about 11-11:30 am. After that it started to rain non-stop. I reached the railway station and realized that due to some technical snag in the signaling system near Kurla railway station, trains were not plying. Luckily one train arrived after about 30-45 minutes of waiting which allowed me to reach Thane station from Ulhasnagar. However, I had to go beyond that and my only hope was that trains would start running by the time I reached Thane. This did not happen. I had to wait for about 30 minutes and when a train for Mumbai-CST arrived, it was packed to the point that you could not find space to even place your toe. I had to let go that train. I thought there would be few more trains to follow. Being optimistic doesn’t help always. Though there were many trains going in the opposite direction there wasn’t any heading towards Mumbai CST for quite some time since I decided to not board the earlier train that was packed to full capacity. Soon I learnt that patience does help. After a long wait, a train starting from Thane station, heading to Dadar arrived and I boarded it. Since it was starting from Thane, the situation was not as bad as the earlier train.

I managed to reach office yesterday and felt as if I had won a battle.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shaarika goes to school

Yesterday was Shaarika's first day at nursery school. I along with my wife accompanied her. For initial few minutes she was fine. After a while though she started getting uncomfortable seeing so many new faces. All the pre-conditioning done by her mother didn't work. Almost daily for the last few days every effort was made to help her realize that neither her mom nor her dad would be there to give her company. It was also told that there would be many kids like her to  play with. However, when she had first hand experience she could not handle it. She started crying asking us to take her home. Being the first day, parents were allowed to be there throughout the one hour in the class. Most of the kids there were crying. Understandably so, as it was a new place. It is the first time that they are out of the confines of their home. Earlier interactions were limited to family and close relatives or possibly with children from the same building complex at the most. Suddently they are finding too many new faces.

I do not recollect my initial days at school but I am sure I would have troubled my parents lot more. My wife it seems had tried to run away on her first day at school. I think the vast majority of us would have cried on the first day.

It was Shaarika's second day today and it was decided that only I will be accompanying her today. There was a vast change in her reaction to the same atmosphere from yesterday. She did not cry at all right from the time that I reached there and till the time that I bid her good bye. Though she was not talking much with me nor reacting to my questions, the fact that she was not crying was assuring enough. After an hour I went back to pick her up and found her to be seated nicely and comfortably and with no tears in her eyes. The moment she looked at me she was all smile and eager to go home and see her mother. The teacher and care taker informed me that she did not cry at all. It was a great relief to know that my little girl adapted herself to the new environment pretty quickly. 

Hoping that she will continue being a good girl going forward and become smarter with each passing day.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ab ki baar Modi Sarkar

Today Lok Sabha election results were declared and NDA with 300+ seats are the clear winners and will be forming the government. There is no Modi wave was what you heard from many non NDA party leaders. I agree with them because wave is an understatement. It really is a tsunami. From 2 Lok Sabha seats in 1984 to 272+ in 2014, BJP has made great progress. Modi did play a big role and even the biggest Modi rival will have to acknowledge that. 

BJP should be given full credit for using latest technology and social media to their full advantage. I think other political parties need to learn the tricks from them. This is one reason I feel that Modi is the right person to be PM. He is so comfortable with use of technology and derived maximum benefit from it this election.

For Congress it cannot get worse than this. They bagged less than 50 seats and that is too low for a national party. I am sure that dynasty politics combined with corruption made them suffer the worst ever defeat this election. They need to understand that the legacy of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi won't help them for long. Rahul Gandhi just doesn't have it in him to lead the party or the nation. 

The slogan Ab ki baar Modi Sarkaar was everywhere. I think this one line played a major role in creating awareness about Modi. Another point that worked in his favor was that he was declared PM candidate right from the onset. Congress on the other hand did not have the courage to announce Rahul Gandhi as their PM candidate. 

Once the euphoria settles down both Modi and BJP have lot of work to do. The next 5 years will play a major role in defining the future of BJP. They have to perform really well if they wish to repeat this feat in future. I have high hopes from Modi as PM. Let us see whether he delivers or not.