Sunday, February 10, 2008

My sons' sport meet

It has been ages since I blogged , but yesterday's sports meet of my son school gave me the little nudge (rather inspiration ) to get back to blogging . My son goes to an IB school at Vashi about 9 kms from our home at Nerul. Yesterday was the annual sports day for the Sr KG section of the school. The theme of the event was the struggle and the not the victory that counts . The principal spoke about the theme eloquently and told all the parents not to be anxious about the performance of their wards . I understood the context well and told myself that I will hug my little baby and encourage him , whatever his performance maybe . True to the theme little Neelabjo finished last in the heats of all the 3 races that he participated (well almost , he beat one peer to the finishing line in the 25 mts run..) . I was never the sporting kind , and dont expect my son to be one either , however his performance left me a bit sad .....well I laughed it off with him ...but next year he has promised his dad that he will do a tad better ....I live in that hope ....

Friday, November 2, 2007

In search

I sleep very well , but tonight is different I am restless ,staring out of the third floor of my modest home at the dark sky , i wonder what I am searching ...maybe


Zest for life

This search continues , I thought I knew the answers to be reminded of my folly ......

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Search.....

The Search continues...

For life
For peace
For joy
For love
For meaning

At times I wonder , is it worth it at all , or its just that I complicate matters for myself , or is it a deep hurt....a feeling of being used by one and all ..........

Kashi Khanda

The Trinity -Ganges , Shiva and Kashi stand mute spectators to a tradition forgotten by many , but not by the following people who are doing their bit to protect the traditions of the great Hindu faith and an amazing city :

  • The Young priests who every evening unfailingly do the Ganga Arti at Rajendra Prasad Ghat

  • The poor Bramhin who has devoted his life to the service of Shiva

  • The sentry in front of Vizzy's once palatial mansion , whose wrinkles tell us that he continues to fight the failed attempts of urbanization of the city

  • The gallis that are home to the Sastry's who came years ago from Andhra and lead by one Gopinath Sastry still run institutions which evangelise the scriptures

  • The beggar who dresses up like Shiva and chants "Bom Bhole" to attract the foreigners for alms

  • The generations of waiters at Baba Thandai who has been serving thandai and bhang for more than a century now

  • The children of the gallis , who have no place to play , so they make the ghats their playground and swim in the Ganges for entertainment

  • The sadhus at Dasasamedh , Ashi , Manikarnika et al , who smoke the ganja ......

Go visit Benares and experience your roots , I have done it , why dont you !!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Radical Islam now reflected in Sports

I am a bit late writing this post , but nevertheless thought that the topic was too important to let it pass . All of us are well aware of the ridiculous comments that the losing Pakistani captain Shoaib Malik made in the post match press conference of the T20 finals at South Africa . His comments attracted some attention of the media , who in no uncertain terms denounced Malik's comments of support to the Pakistani side by all the Muslims of the world . His comments had some responses of sections of Indian Muslims who felt offended by Malik's remarks and for once seem to reject the concept of universal Islamic brotherhood . However Malik's comments need to be understood in a wider context . Today people like Malik unfortunately represent a larger radicalization of civic society in the sub-continent .

Pakistani society has undergone rapid Islamisation in recent years. Malik's comments were well thought through and was intended to assuage feelings of the ultra conservative galleries back home and telling them that though they had lost the finals, they were still good believing Muslims. The need for such public affirmation of faith is a trend which links to the rapid increase in the ranks of "24-hour Muslims" in Pakistan. I have been watching Pakistani cricket from the late seventees and never before has there been a need of players like Imran,Zaheer , Rameez etc to reiterate their religiosity because that constituency wasn't big enough then. Ultra conservative Muslims were still a insignificant portion of the civic society . Malik's comments prove that things have changed and changed very rapidly ......I am sure there has been a deep radicalization of Pakistani society for Malik to make the kind of comment that he did

The Islamization of the Pakistani team was lead by Inzamam ul Haque . Inzy made it a point to thank Allah after every match and his poor command of English was masqueraded by a few common sentences which he parroted out and which invariably used words like "Bismillah" , 'Insallah" and phrases like "By the grace of Almighty Allah..." and so on . Inzy was seen lead his men to great success (not on the playing field ..) to prayer meetings , ...this could have lead to the conversion of Yosuf Yohanna to Islam and the new look Mohd Yusuf sported a Maluvi beard to show his allegience to his newly adopted relegion. In Inzamam's team, where the captain was seen as a religious talisman, Shoaib Malik was part of the group which had joined the Tablighi Jamaat, a sect that preaches a bare-boned, conservative version of global Islam.

Sportsmen and cricket teams are resonable microcausms of the larger civic society and public affirmation of faith by the Pakistani team shows that ultra conservatives have taken over Pakistan . While this is indeed an internal issue , the implications on India which has more Muslims than Pakistan and also coupled by the fact that educated Indian Muslims are now participating in international terrorism (ex-Bangalore doctors case) is non trivial . Its high time that the UPA stop designing sop schemes to woo the Muslims anticipating a mid term poll and do some concerete work in defanging the threat of radical Islam in our own doorstep

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Talent Management -Bollywood Style

The HR guru's amongst my readers would agree that Talent Identification and Assessment are two critical pillars of Talent management . Simply put Talent Management facilities a process and culture which ensures that the best and brightest automatically bubble to the top . If we were to believe that an organization is a microcosm of a larger society then what we are witnessing today in most Indian organizations is also indeed true for Bollywood .

Many years ago Anu Kapoor ran a show called "Meri Awaaz Suno" - to me it was a Talent Management intervention .A little girl from Bhilai won the hearts and imagination of India. That little girl was Sunidhi Chauhan , the program was a process and a platform which allowed a top talent like her to get pan India exposure . Programs such as Meri Awaaz Suno heralded the beginning of Talent Management revolution in playback singing @ Bollywood . Along the journey were many such shows , and the latest one is the Sangeet Ka Vishwa Yudh . We are now in the final stages of the program with Amanat , Raja and Aneek . These three singing sensations have come a long way displacing people like Poonam Yadav, Sumdeha and my heartthrob Mouli. While all the singers were undoubtedly brilliant , but without a process like the Vishwa Yudh , these people would not have got an opportunity or an exposure that they well deserve . To put this in context , in the good old days at Bollywood incumbency was a big factor , Lata Mangeshkar remained the playback Queen for decades without any noticeable threat to her position . Was there a talent shortage in the country...???? , were there no Mouli's, Poonam's or Sumedha's during her time ....I don't think so , what was probably lacking was platforms like the ones that we are discussing . The power of these platforms are immense and the outcomes that they can create for an industry is what we are experiencing first hand now.

I would like to highlight two key learning's from Bollywood which could be of use to HR professionals who engage in the process of Talent Management .

Let the Soul of the Process Flourish

What happens in the name of Talent Management are generally elaborate paper exercises and assessments which kill the soul of the process . By killing the soul of the process I am hinting at the complex psychometric tools often used to identify talent (however valid the consultants who peddle them claim to be ) are fraught with errors and to put undue emphasis on the tools only is disastrous .

Use Professional Talent Spotters and Talent Managers

Spotting Talent is not necessarily a function of competency frameworks or psycometry . The Aussie Cricket Board has talent scouts who scan the country and select young players with promise. A similar process happens thought he regional and city rounds of these Bollywood programs . In India however I have not heard of Talent Scouts in organizations . An individuals potential is often assessed in the context of his current and future roles . While I do not have a conceptual quarrel with this process , however happens that the potential assessment is left a bit too late for any meaningful development to happen , which leads to a situation wherein either the top talent is frustrated and leaves the organization or even worse stays back and becomes a cynic. While timing of assessment is important , the other critical issues is that potential assessment happens in the context of a set of Role Based Competencies and rarely on well grounded Generic Competencies . The challenge is of course to maintain a balance between the competencies required to deliver the current role and or future roles as also the ability to manage organizations and add stakeholder value . Often the second objective take a backseat

To conclude , I believe that Indian organizations and HR processes should be capable of identifying the Poonam Yadav's , Sunidhi Chauhan's , Shreya Ghosal's and Mouli's of the world so that there is some real competition to incumbements like Lata or Asha . "Lata tai , Asha tai no disrespect meant probably had it a bit easy , but Sunidhi will face far more competition as the Talent Processes of Bollywood and getting stronger and stronger ..."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Google vs. Microsoft: A Rivalry Is Created

Microsoft must really hate Google. This has become an online rivalry…almost officially. Even though Google is ahead of the market in search and many other aspects of the world online (by far the worlds largest online company), well Microsoft is well…Microsoft…Windows…Bill Gates…

read more digg story

Friday, September 21, 2007

Google Wants You To Share Stuff

Google has entered the social bookmarking market with a new product called Shared Stuff.Shared Stuff is simple enough; users drag a “email/ share” button into their browser, and click it when they want to add pages to their Shared Stuff profile. Links can include an image, text extract, and/ or a user comment.

read more digg story

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Monday, September 10, 2007

Coaching ......Child's play ...Isnt it

Well the latest buzz word in the Indian HR scene is Executive Coaching . As far as Indian managers are concerned executive coaching is not a new concept . I have heard of managers who have had coaches at least five years ago . However , the concept of coaching as a business proposition is gaining rapid currency amongst us in the last year or so. I know of friends and colleagues who are already or aspire to be Executive Coaches . There are some who call themselves Performance coaches and some who just coach ...(performance or otherwise) . When I first heard of real coaches , I was much younger and I dismissed them as personal shrinks to some CEO or wannabe CEO...., but the trend is rapidly changing , almost everybody either wants to be a coach or be coached , which has created this demand for "Your Friendly Neighbourhood Coach" and their USP is ...I don't need to know anything about your business ,or your pressures , I can just coach ....fantastic isn't it . I witnessed a similar phenomena in the US in 2001 . I was looking for a Training Manager , and I had shortlisted some 40 people for a face to face discussion . At least 7 of them (who had no training experience before) told me , that " Of course I can train...., whats the big deal...." . Drawing parallels from the training example , of course any human being can coach anybody else , bring to bear life's perspectives and add value....does it not sound simple enough.

I am sure Marshal Goldsmith (the God of Executive Coaching ) would dismiss me as a cynic and a non believer of people process ...but my disconnect is for the following reasons :

a) To be able to coach others , the coach should not be insecure .....unfortunately most of the coaches that I know are really insecure ( my data is based on a minuscule set of the world of coaches and hence I am aware that I make a sweeping generalization here , but my world view is limited to my experiences ...sorry about that ) and for all the good reasons want to prove to their coachee how smart they are .....and their notion of adding value is to leave you with a feeling that I am actually better than you

b) Coaching as a service will be potent only when the coach is truly interested in the development of the coachee . The kind of money that a good coach commands in the US market ( I am told that a certain Indian CEO Coach charges USD 20K ) for a day' s session makes me feel that it is a very very good business , so to be honest , I also want to be a coach and start making that kind of money ,who cares if I am really interested in the development of my coachee. I can fake it , and if I am Indian , I can add some spiritual masala to a Westerner and help him in his self isn't it ....I like this guy Dr Deepak Chopra , heard him once he was a good speaker ....did he add value ....certainly not !!!

c) I am fundamentally against this notion that a coach can be a person who has no clue of the context of the coachee . Most of my coach pals tell me that you have to be able to ask the right questions ...this paradigm beats the hell out of me do I even ask reasonable questions (forget right ones) if I dont know business and its intricacies . Well a lot of our Indian coaches are probably not the best business managers who graduate into this profession for motives best known to them

I was talking to a friend about enabling people a couple of hrs before I penned down this post . And in my discussion with this person , I told her that the ability to enable people comes only when one is deeply connected at all levels with the individual and has mastered an unknown equation wherein he can reach the individual at the cognitive and affective level . By this notion , I cannot be and should not be a coach, I cannot engage with all and sundry at a level which is required to unlock people's potential . As I sign off , with deep regret , let me confess that I am very simple human being and can't be a Coach

Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Journey

The Journey has

break away from my dogma's
trust and embrace love
get in touch with myself
experience my anger and anguish and deal with it
unlocking my potential
come closer with people who value me
be in peace with the inherent contradictions of life

This journey is to change my life , and make a difference......

Friday, September 7, 2007


I have heard a very gripping tale of an individual who has been abandoned .....not abandoned in the physical sense of the term , but abandoned emotionally from the time he can remember

  • Abandoned by people whom he considered his loved ones
  • Abandoned by society , cheated and used (for as long as he can remember)

He is at a very critical phase of his life , he believes that being abandoned and remaining in the state is a permanent phenomena of his life , he has killed the child within him , the little things that would give him pleasure , over time he has learnt to cope with the feeling (of being abandoned), and build a wall around him , a wall which drives away true well wishers , ....he is incapable to deal with emotions like love and caring ......

What does he do ....

My advise to him is to give life another chance ,despite his experiences , try it out and get in touch with yourself my friend .....the way you lead your life is not worth it...I say this because I care

Tribute to Saurav Ganguly (DADA)