Monday, 31 December 2012

New years’ : Blog # 72

New years’

      Almost all of us love the New years’ eve.  It has wrapped around it, a lot of Hope- the greatest gift to mankind.

The celebrations have an endearing charm to it; fresh from the pleasant tiredness of the month long Christmas festivity. It is one of those few celebrations which have a universal appeal – the whole of mankind takes part in it!

yeaNew years' , Celebration , Resolution            The part I like the most is resolutions. We are fully aware that one week later, the resolve would have gone through the window. Still we try and make an effort to be a better person ;). It is a time to let bygones be bygones and have a fresh start – be it with regard to relationships, work or Life at large.

            Whatever one does or does not in the bygone year, this is a time which gives us a second chance, again and again- year after yearJ.

            Here’s to second chance to happiness, second chance at Life, the greatest do over of all - Happy Newyear!!! J
                                                                                                                Arun Babu

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Wisdom of the Crowd? : Blog # 71

Wisdom of the Crowd?

Blame it on our country’s governance system of democracy; we have a penchant for everything that is popular. Quite often, we end up measuring merit with popularity. That is why there is a collective despair when a popular film loses out to an art film or a widely read book is trashed by the critics.

Wisdom of the crowd, Popularity, Mediocrity
Is it that the most popular college is the best one? Aren’t the theatre artists supremely talented than most of the movie actors? All these point towards the supremacy of popularity over merit. The sad part is at times, mediocrity has appeal and that becomes the norm. The few who understand this play to the gallery becomes outcasts. It is all about the appeal.

Even our opinions are dictated by its mass following. Not many has the temerity to go against the crowd, be it the career choices they make or the choice of their drink!

And about the collective intellect, there were times when Earth was thought to be at the centre of the universe and all the world endorsed it branding whoever thought otherwise, a Lunatic.So much for the wisdom of the crowd!   

                                                                                                            Arun Babu

Thursday, 20 December 2012

A much loved Republic : Blog # 70

A much loved Republic

  A year before, nothing would have brought a smile to your face when you thought of South Korea and happened, Psy and Gangnam Style! Agreed, this might have been a serendipity.

     But there are some beautifully choreographed efforts too. Case in point being, Australia. The ‘Master Chef’ series aired on Star World may be a privately owned format. But getting it sponsored by Australian Tourism is a master stroke. An extension of that is the new sitcom ’Packed to the rafters’, an Australian family drama. So now, we Indians are no more looking at Australia through the tinted glass of violent racist attacks!

            The fact that India and its culture is loved and admired around the world owes a lot to the Indian film industry. Cinema has taken India to those nooks and corners of the world which six decades of diplomacy couldn’t. Hollywood does the same to USA. Then there are also the sitcoms which made people as familiar with the whims and ways of American families more than their own subcultures.

       One constant that depicts Britain on the minds of people around the world still remains to be the royal family. It was princess D earlier. Remember how the establishment went in to an overdrive when there was the slightest hint of racism against Shilpa Shetty in a UK reality show? She was invited for a dinner with the Queen. Smart!

            If it is the high end perfection of the gleaming automobiles that makes the world love the Germans, it is the food which makes Italians so dear. Amo La Pizza J Grazie!

            In this day and age,it is of paramount importance for a country to be liked and looked up on favourably. It influences the world’s perception for the better which invariably affects the decision makers leaving a lasting impact on the Nation's future.
                                                                                                                  Arun Babu.         

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Of Vices & Virtues : Blog # 69

Of Vices & Virtues

            Many a time, we identify with a person not through their virtues but through their vices. Strange as it sounds, it’s true.

A vice is akin to that unexpected dash of spice that comes along in an otherwise bland dish. This vice brings in an interest quotient.

            I am not glorifying the vices .Nor am I advocating the pop culture slogan of Good guys finish last. All I am saying is that it is ok to have some vices. It makes one appear more humane. It helps people relate to you.

There is this risk of being taken for granted if you are an eternal goody two shoes. People always expect you to be good natured and they get offended even if you are having a bad day!          .

            Even acknowledging your vices gets people to accept you for who you are. Let them know that you are aware of your misgivings and you are trying to overcome it. This will  help others empathise with you.

However, it is important that whatever vices you have, you try and pick up some  virtues so that people don’t find you repulsive. It is important that we find the right balance.

                                                                                                 Arun Babu.    

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Vision in White : Blog # 68

 Vision in White

       I was on a visit to a premier engineering institution as part of my work. It was past 7 o clock in the evening. The path which led us in to the campus looked enchanting with the dimly lit up street lights and lush greenery bordering it.

            As we were moving forward, I saw a deer at a distance. I was not surprised given the size of the campus and its expansive vegetation. As we went nearer, we noticed that it was no ordinary deer. It was a black buck and it’s skin was pristine white! It resembled a full moon in a pitch black sky. The sight was magical, the faint street lights adding to the aura.

            What caught my attention beyond the stunning beauty of the magnificent creature was the fearlessness in its eyes. As the car drew nearer, it looked at us with its head raised. Neither was there any sense of urgency about its movement nor to the way it looked away from us. Then it started walking-slowly and elegantly in to the darkness. The driver stopped the car till it passed by. What a sight to behold!

            The next day early morning, on my way to the campus, I saw there were many deer inside the campus and all of them mirrored the same fearlessness. For a minute, I wished; if only there was such harmony among the beings on our planet. The trust and the lack of fear filled the air with a silent symphony.

            I was leaving the campus by twilight. Bidding farewell to Jackson and Athira who very sweetly obliged to our requests during the process, I secretly wished to see the albino black buck once more. Lending a half ear to the driver’s monologue on the vastness of the campus, my eyes went far and wide in search of the ‘deer friend’.

             It was a  long winding inroad and I asked the driver to go slow. At the last quarter mile, was grazing, the white beauty on the vast expanse of a green lawn. Just about when our car was to go out of its sight, it looked up. The same elegant look with an understated pride. It brought on a smile which reached my eyes :) .
                                                                                                                        Arun Babu.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Life’s not all that bad: Blog # 67

Life’s not all that bad

      I was out for a tea break with one of my friends from work. We walked towards the parking lot and he pointed at a 1982 Enfield Bullet and told that it is his office ride whenever he is in Chennai. I asked him as to why does he do that given the terrible morning traffic and add to it, the not so pleasant weather! He replied “It is something that I have always wanted to do”.

            At times, we get too caught up with the day to day things in our lives that we unknowingly take away the life out of it. We forget that there is more to life than just sailing through.  It is small deeds like this which reminds us to enjoy Life rather than making it an exercise of endurance.

It could be anything from taking your little cousin to a super market and telling her “you can buy anything you want” (I did J )or giving your younger sibling some extra bucks for pocket money or gifting yourselves something you always wanted.

It is important that we do little things that make us feel good – be it for others or for oneself which ever works for you because later on when we look back, it is these simple things which will bring a smile on our face.

When we get in to such small indulgences, we are reassuring ourselves that in spite of all the quagmires that the world spreads out in front of us, we are leading our  lives in our own terms;however small way it may be.

In a nutshell, it is a small sweet way of telling ourselves that after all, Life is not all that bad! J.
                                                           Arun Babu                   

Friday, 7 December 2012

A message to my future self: Blog # 66

A message to my future self

The child in me yearned to be you...
The youth in me strived to be you...
You are the person I looked forward to be,
Or I thought I will turn out to be.

I hope you still have the child in you,
Un corrupted by the frivolous ways of life.

I hope you make someone so happy,
That the smile reaches her eyes.

I hope you make someone so proud,
That they are at a loss of words for you.

I hope you are so fond of someone,
That you let go of your ego.

I hope you are so loved,
That you become so sure about yourself.

I hope you haven’t committed a sin so grave,
That you turn away from yourself.

I hope you haven’t lost yourself.
I hope I haven’t lost Myself.
                                                                                                       Arun Babu                                                                                                                                                               

Monday, 3 December 2012

The month that was - November 2012: Blog # 65

The month that was - November 2012

*A monthly column on Business & Rest

                The month of November witnessed two leadership changes of prime importance in the world – US chose Barack Obama for a second term and Xi Jinping (President) and Li Keqiang (Premier) chose China for the next decade.

            Meanwhile, we as a country went back in time, at least a couple of decades when two girls were arrested for innocuous comments on the backdrop of Maharashtrian leader, Bal Thackeray’s death. But thankfully, action was taken against the police officers and amendments are being suggested on the InfoTech act.

A national daily aptly reported Ajmal Amir Kasab’s hanging as “A puppet’s life ends on a string”!

In a rarity, the Government seems to be resolute about ‘Cash transfer’ project which transfers cash in lieu of subsidized food, fertilizer and fuel for BPL families. Also the much delayed PSU disinvestment has been kicked off with Hindustan copper stake sell off.

Although the King of Good times, Vijay Mallya sold a controlling stake in United Spirits Ltd to the Global Spirit major Diageo there appears no respite for the employees of his stalling airline. At the same time, Middle East airline, Etihad has expressed interest in Jet airways and Spice jet is being courted by Qatar airways.         

The ugly face of corruption in the higher echelons came to the fore when Bharti Walmart initiated an enquiry in to the bribery involving their top notch executives.

The Impasse being cleared over the FDI bill brought cheer in the secondary market. The fact that Goldman Sachs projected an optimistic outlook (from ‘market-weight’ to ‘overweight’) helped too.

The diversified conglomerate, Mahindra & Mahindra has made an ambitious bid for stake in the iconic British car maker, Aston Martin.

The multiplex chain, PVR has bought out a 69% stake in Cinemax for Rs. 395Crores.

In yet another international acquisition by an Indian group, Sahara bought Newyork plaza and Dream Newyork hotels for Rs.4400Cr amidst Indian hotel group’s failed bid for Orient Express hotels Ltd.

Azim Premji headed Wipro demerged itself in to IT and Non –IT entities as part of their strategic management plan.

Magzter, an application developed by Indians has featured as the top grosser of Apple ipads app across Asia.

            In a market of gloom and uncertainty, IKEA’s investment proposals being cleared and Unilever CEO , Paul Polman’s opening an R&D centre in B’lore are indeed welcome respite.
                                                                                                                                                                Arun Babu.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Spur of the Moment: Blog # 64

Spur of the Moment

       I have absolutely no idea why I bought a lottery ticket that day. I was out for some errands and this lottery agent came up to me. In that moment, I paid the money swiftly and took the ticket. I was not preoccupied with any other thoughts. Neither was I in a rush. Moreover I don’t qualify to be called a spendthrift by any standards.

         I guess this is what they call impulse decisions – an action one takes on the spur of the moment.

        Have you seen people taking decisions? They will have an initial instinct. Whatever decision one makes will be an extension of  this instinct. In spite of all the research and analysis one does, the final decision will not deviate much from this initial thought.
              Predictability is the close cousin of boredom. That is why people like surprises. Be it having a cup of coffee instead of the usual tea or taking a different route to office or watching a film which is not your usual genre, doing something impulsive will be fun.

        Impulsiveness has a certain sense of liberation to it. Whenever someone does something on impulse, it will be out of routine – out of the norm one generally follows. This induces a feel good effect as one does something unplanned – bordering on being adventurous. That is exactly why you like it when you do something impulsive.

            However, it would be wise to not make a habit out of impulsiveness as then, it will no more be ‘impulsive’ J.
                                                                                             Arun Babu