Sunday, October 15, 2006

Twenty years and two husbands ago....

Friends laugh when i quote this title of the song by Lee Ann Womack.
They jump quick to the conclusion- it should be a latina song.
I tell them if it is a latina it cannot be just only two...

The lyric and melody of this song has triggered one of my periodic seizures of sadness and melancholy. Blame it on the the double expresso of Barrista on a sunday afternoon after a golfless morning.Saddest thoughts ...threatening to spill over as sweetest songs?. The line that struck me is
"never let somebody that close". The beaten heart is more defensive, more alert and feels safe in solitude.

For a change, i said no to golf today and instead finished reading a book(review in my business blog)on ...what? Latin America..of course.

here is the full lyric.

"Looking in the bathroom mirror
Putting my make-up on
Maybeline can't hide the lines of time that's gone
Weighed 105 soaking wet
I'd knock him dead in that sundress
Had it all but just too young to know
But that was 20 years, 2 husbands ago

I remember when he took my hand and said I do
And the kitchen I was standing in when he said I'm through
I swore I'd never fall back in
Put my heart through that again
Never let somebody get that close
But that was 20 years, 2 husbands ago

Water under the bridge
I guess that's all life really is

Driving the kids to school today it occurred to me
With all the wrong turns that I've made
I'm right where I should be
But I go back there from time to time
Looking for that peace of mind
Find it's always just a dead end road
Yeah that was 20 years, 2 husbands ago

Water under the bridge
I guess that's all life really is

Looking in the bathroom mirror
Putting my make-up on"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

can live without wisdom but not without cafe

On wednesday, the dentist pulled out my wisdom tooth and told me that in any case it was of no use. He assured me that i had not lost anything, except a useless part.

Then he came out with the killer advice. No hot coffee for the next 24 hours. oops.. this was going to be tough. So i had to forego this life saver and stimulant for 24 hours. It was the most miserable 24 hours of my life. Normally i begin the day with coffee first thing in the morning and get into my creative world of reading and writing. This sets the mood and agenda for the day. Without coffee i started the day yesterday totally disoriented and dispirited. Afternoon came and my longing increased. Evening became even more intolerable.

This 24 hours of misery made me introspect. And the truth hit me.

Not only did i not use my wisdom tooth, but I had also spent large part of my life without using wisdom itself. I had drifted foolishly for so many years. I had made so many mistakes big and small. I was unrealistic. I let my head down and let myself be lead by my heart. As Lee Ann Womack sings, " loving might be a mistake ..but it is worth making".

My life had been lead by illusions... stimulated by cafe. After a cup of the stimulant, my imagination soars. Inspiration flows. Creativity gets in. Dreams take wings. I am above the clouds. I travel to latin America. Reality disappears. Magical realism appears.

There is another side to this story. May be i would not have reached where I am, if I was realistic and had used my wisdom. I might have got stuck like a frog in the well of my village, like many of my friends, if i had analysed my situation realistically using my head. I let myself soar with my illusions foolishly and romantically. I remember carrying paddy bags but smiling with the poems of Keats and Wordsworth. Walking along the railtrack to my school and college, I was moved with the love poems of Bharatidasan. I was so full of illusions, romance and magical realism. As Womack sings" when you get a chance to sit it out or dance.. i hope you dance", I danced without knowing dance.

Good bye wisdom tooth. Good day my cafe !

Monday, October 09, 2006

Last holiday - movie

I enjoyed this delightful hollywood film. Queen Latifa, who acts as Georgia Byrd is a sales clerk in a retail outlet for kitchen equipments. Her world comes crashing down when the Indian Dr Gupta diagnoses her with a fatal illness and gives her just three more weeks of life. So what does she do? She collects all her savings in cash and goes to a luxury resort in Europe to enjoy the last few days. She stays in a presidential suite, buys expensive dress, tries skiing and orders expensive food at the restaurant and the chef attends to her personally.

Then comes the fax saying that she was misdiagnosed, coinciding with the arrival of her boyfriend who proposes marriage and there is happy ending.

More of a bollywood story! but done in hollywood format and style. It is a comedy with some depth.

Monday, October 02, 2006

iCon - the book about Steve Jobs

A blurb on the cover of this book says" once you start reading, you wont want to put it down". This happened with me. I bought this at the Bangalore airport on Sunday evening and finished it today morning.

It is an absorbing and inspiring story of Steve Jobs, the rock star of technology and digital age. It is about his conquest of three different worlds" computers, movies and music"
It is an amazing resurrection of the hero who was thrown out of the company he himself founded and was in wilderness for ten long years. He is the come-back kid who defied the pundits and reclaimed his throne and title as an Icon, even after making many mistakes.

Steve, born as an orphan, grew up as a strong-willed rebel in the family of his adopted family and in the school. He dropped out of the college and pursued his fascination with electronics and got his first job in HP.

India has played a role in the life of Steve. The first thing he did after getting his salary was to travel to Himalayas seeking truth and meaning. He did not get the enlightenment like the Buddha under the bodhi tree. But the experience in India including the exposure to poverty and problems had a strong impact. He became a vegetarian and a follower of Zen Buddhism. When Michael Eisner wanted to interact with him at the time of Pixar- Disney rivalry, he invited him for dinner at an Indian restaurant in Bay area. He even went to the extent of imposing his vegetarian dinners on the guests.

Steve created a new cult with his Apple and Mac computers. He made them distinct from the rest by unique design and marketing. He has done the same thing with iPod, which has become a statement and a status symbol. He inspired the designers and creators with his visionary spirit and drive. He wanted to make a "dent in the universe" and he has achieved this already.He was shrewd in his business negotiations and managed to buy Pixar for just 10 million dollars, one third of the price demanded by George Lucas. He made one million dollars when he was 23, got ten million when he was 24 and made 100 million dollars when he became 25.

here is the flip side. Steve was overcome by Hubris at the height of his success. He was cruel and unfair to his closest colleagues. He is not a paragon of virtue. He did all the dirty tricks to get ahead of others and used others as ladders, throwing them out mercilessly after his climb. He made many mistakes in business decisions and was a hardware guy without realising the growing power of software. The joke about him was, " How did Steve do market research? ... by looking at the mirror1 ". But luck came to his rescue and saved him from oblivion. It was Disney which took Pixar to the business of full feature films and the CEO of Apple who bought his sinking NEXT venture and rehablitated him in Apple Computers. He is a changed man now. He values family, friends and respects others.

The moral of his story is " never mind the mistakes and defects... you can fight back and win "

The authors of the book Jeffrey Young and William Simon have been objective in their comments and made it lively like a story book.

This book brought to my mind the biographies( the road ahead) of Bill Gates and the Google guys ( Larry page and Serge Bin), which i hv read earlier. Unlike Steve who is more of a business hustler, these three are real geeks and nerds who have changed our lives.

Infoscion - the New Indian

My visit to the Infosys training centre in Mysore on 30 Sept confirmed the arrival of the New Indian with a new mindset and value system. The company calls their employees as " Infoscions" . I call them as the New Indians. They herald a new era, a new culture and new hope.

The centre is the largest corporate training centre in the world, which has training facilities for about 4000 at the same time. They are building more facilities to expand it for 10,000 trainees by 2008.

Why do i call the Infoscion as the New Indian?
here are the reasons:

-For about 3 months the trainee stays in this 350 acre campus, which is ultramodern, luxurious and world class. The room is like a 5-star hotel room, clean and elegant. He gets to use the laundromat and all the modern gadgets. He can eat in the different food courts. He goes to work by walk or cycle . There are 1500 cycles which can be taken for free and left after use. The walk or cycle ride from the room to office is green and pleasing for the eyes. There are four multiplexes (globe picture on the top) with the state of the art equipments and latest films for entertainment. There is a large gym, sports and games facilities and swimming pool. There is a 24/7 library with the latest and comprehensive resources on the emerging knowledge society. The workplace is worldclass and at the same time provides a university campus style environment. The Infoscion starts with a princely salary of 30000 rupees, which means acquisition of the latest cellfones, gadgets , cars and accessories . More importantly, the materialistic aspiration makes him work harder, earn more money and reach greater heights.

- i have put fotos of the campus in my album

-These facilities do not just give comfort. They make the Infosyan confident and free from the the inferiority complex, which afflicts the average Indian. When he goes to USA he is not going to be overwhelmed. He might even feel that the Mysore campus is much better than many workplaces and residences considered the best in USA.

-The Infosyian imbibes a new work ethic and value system from the motto of the company which is " driven by values and powered by intellect" This is not just a slogan. This is the corporate practice rigorously adopted by the company. The company will not pay bribes and will not violate rules and regulations. It has set the highest benchmark for corporate ethics. The young impressionable employees of Infosys imbibe this new culture and set new benchmarks for themselves and others who come into contact with them. They are going to practise their new ethical values even after they leave infosys and become enterpreneurs and found corporations.

--The Infosyians are working with cutting-edge technologies with varied business models for globally competitive companies. They deal with the biggest banks, manufacturers of aircrafts and cars, retailers,technology providers, insurance companies, research organisations, entertainment companies and such diverse areas. This gives them a global vision and the world becomes their playground. There is an Infosys leadership Institute(bottom picture) in the same campus, where promising managers are mentored by leaders like Narayanamurthy.

- The Infosians emerging after the initial three months training in the campus are emerging as the new indian with confidence, optimism, competitive spirit, highest standard of corporate ethics and worldclass in competence.

My pessimistic friends say " so what? one Infosys is a little drop in the ocean of india. Look at the politics and society which are pathetic and ireddemable". I tell them that Infosys is atleast a start. The new culture and ethics of Infoscions are going to spread and influence others. The Infoscions are going to create new environment in their homes, in their workplaces outside infosys. They are going to create and maintain new levels of hygiene and maintenance. A thousand infosys campuses and thousands of Infoscions are going to bloom!!. These vanguard movement will have a powerful impact on the rest of India.

I myself have come back inspired. for me, the Mysore campus is my "Dream India". It makes me optimistic and upbeat about the new india which is going to be shaped and moved by these new young generation of Infoscions.