Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Of traveling alone and many more

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving", said someone not so long ago. I add my views to it, he needs no company either. There could be no two views on the fact that a likable company is a boon but having none is certainly not a bane. I realized it couple of days back.

This blog is not a travelogue and hence would be devoid of phrases like "It is definitely worth a visit", "I dreamed of coming here when I was still in knickers" and other usual bromides. It is more about the pleasure of traveling and unmistakeably superior pleasure of traveling alone. Sounds philosophical? It is, may be.

"Traveling alone" is such a misnomer, coz the whole world is out there to offer you company. There are more people than you would expect eager to click a snap for you, sit by your side on a wayside restaurant and offer his/her views on how crowded the city has become or make travel plans for you. Few would fill you with suggestions on how to deal with the hawkers and the pickpockets. And of course your "self" is more awake when you are alone.

Traveling alone gives you the freedom to choose your spots of interest. You are free to dump a plan in the mid if you find it less interesting. You can forgo the valleys and reach the hills rather! You are more observant to things happening around. You suddenly feel wiser, stronger and smarter. If you find this idea difficult to digest, let me clarify that it is governed by the rule which equates golf, love and traveling alone - unless you do it yourself, you think it is the most boring way of spending time!

If you are lucky, you can develop conversation with a local girl under the pretext of asking directions. She would explain it to you in her native. You stare at her in obvious ignorance. She asks you to follow her rather. Mind you,this would not happen if you travel with a boisterous group. You find her English broken, accented and beautiful. You get very slow replies for your questions but you are not interested in answers, are you? "A thing of beauty is joy forever", Keats says, I quote.

Friday, February 27, 2009

A lazy Saturday morning

Getting lost in thoughts has lately become my favorite way to kill time - sometimes nostalgic; sometimes futuristic and the best of all, sometimes completely blank. Take my personal experience as a proof; getting lost in thoughts is a definite way to know the depths of your personality. You get to know lot of things about yourself hitherto left unnoticed. That I am an extremely private person with lot of secrets hidden deep inside is the latest actualization that I experienced on this lazy Saturday morning. Perhaps the previous night's late, long hours that were spent in reconnecting with people from my past might have triggered it.

What otherwise would have become a lazy and relaxing weekend is suddenly filled with this urge to get back in time and recollect other treasures that have been undercover for a lifetime. Those black and white photographs, old text books and notes shoved up in closets, inland letters and post cards received from friends and relatives - all these have suddenly become objects of desire. Each little finding reveals more about the past and thereby more about me. I call them little almanacs of personal history!!

Now comes the darkest of all of them. The old Hero Pen! This actually belongs to my friend and accidentally came in to my possession. Later I forgot to return it to him and during the exams I found it extremely useful and hence deliberately retained it. Later he came to know about it and the price I paid was very heavy. Immense personal humiliation and a complete cut in our relationship for about two years (We later settled it on our own terms). Those two years however were remorseful with this heinous crime of mine returning to torture me every time when I either see him or the pen. I also recollect that it turned out be a very important incident that went on to put me on the path of becoming genuine and honest.

When I wanted to restart my blogging, I thought of doing it with a book review; or perhaps with my musings for a muse; however it has happened a bit unconventionally though, with a confession.

Friday, April 20, 2007


As the cliche goes, Life is full of risk. But what I am about to do has paramount proportions in my career and future. Quitting a comfortable and secure job is something that has caused unrest in my mind recently and hope things do take a positive turnaround. The world did look positive and optimistic just after I was able to convert the only B School call that I got..but every time when I face the question "Are you quitting IBM to study? " asked by some colleague or a relative or a friend, causes jitters and I ask my inner self "Well mate,is the decision gonna backfire?" Only time can answer the question though.

I have confidence in myself and hope and pray to come out successfully in this MBA venture, if not with flying colours. I've always fancied studying management and only self and God know how I craved for getting an admission into some decent B School. I know I am going to take the risk of my life but I also understand that I am doing it driven by the deep hatred that I've developed towards this so called CODING, which I prefer to call as software coolie job.

That dependable friend of the desperate people, God , has helped me out of predicaments before and am once again at the mercy of that merciful. "Time would add glory to you son...." That is my inner self to me...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Back doar entry ??

What America was a couple of decades ago India is now with unbelievable economic growth and abundance of opportunities. India has a plethora of fields to attract FDI and FII with almost all the sectors promising returns manifolds. Retailing is one such sector and one of the very few sectors with little Indian participation. Barring Future Group (Pantaloon and Big Bazar) and Tata, there is no much competition in the organized Retail sector and the Indian government rightly denied FDI in the retail sector to protect the local interests.

However there is still a lot left in, to tap on, in this $340 bn market which I feel, would benefit the Country, the Corporate and the Consumer if there is proper management. No doubt that India Inc would soon be in a milieu, which I call as the “Retail Revolution” which would benefit all the three aforesaid but that to happen, a bit more planning is needed. Here is where Wal-Mart figures in the scheme of things with its invaluable experience in the field and impregnable infrastructure. Mind you it is not crossing any norms

As per the dictionary definition, Wal-Mart is certainly not investing as a foreign player and instead has made a smart move in joining hands with Bharti groups. As per the JV pact the front end would be managed by the Indian giant and the back end viz, logistics and supply chain would be managed the international giant. The land for the retail stores will be acquired, leased or rented by Bharti group and the registration would be under the Bharti label, according to Mittal.

In this JV, Bharti is doing the Retailing job and Wal-Mart is just playing the role of the wholesaler and the protest staged by the Leftists is hollow and meaningless. As far as Wal-Mart stays away from opening a store under its direct control in India, everything is safe and sound. So what promises to be a symbiotic relationship should not be sabotaged
by political plays and the government should show a green signal for this venture.

Monday, October 02, 2006

India scales a new height

A joyous ‘whoa’ would have been uttered by the economists and the people who look after the economic activities, when the news that India ha scaled a new height in the GDP growth hit the stands. A whopping 8.9% in the immediate past quarter is the highest ever and it is better than the previous quarter by a considerable 0.4%. Isn’t the picture looking very pretty? Well truly it may not be that rosy.

The unprecedented increase in the service sector (13.2%, which interestingly accounts for more than half of the GDP growth) and manufacturing sector (11.3%) has bolstered the GDP growth and every Indian has a reason to feel happy. However a meager increase of 3.4% in the agriculture and poor turnout in electricity and construction should raise qualms in the minds of people. The robust GDP growth in the first quarter is also largely due to a 31 percent rise in bank credit, 36.2 percent growth in commercial vehicles, 32.2 percent rise in passenger traffic by the aviation industry and 48.9 percent spurt in telephone connections

Agriculture, which held the “Numero Uno” position in contributing to GDP growth, before India emerging as an IT hub, has seen dramatic decrease in the recent past and this quarter results also follow the pattern. A heavy dependency on monsoon, poor irrigation and failure in adapting modern farming techniques have all collectively let agriculture down and it shows negatively in the growth rate.

The following key points should be noted before any conclusion can be drawn
1) The GDP growth, instead of receiving equal contribution is leaning heavily on the service sector alone
2) Agriculture growth has kindled only little interest in the mindset of the bureaucrats
3) The increase in GDP has also resulted in the increase of inflation rate

Of all these points the most disturbing one is the alarming raise in the increase of the inflation rate, which has resulted due to the considerable raise in the salary of the middle class people. Well it is needless to say that it doesn’t augur well for the economy. In the early 1990’s Japan faced similar problems and India would only do well if she copies a leaf out of Japan’s book in tackling inflation.

The surge in the global oil prices has also joined hands with the local problems in fuelling inflation rates and though India cannot control the global factor, she can certainly control the local factor. The fact that RBI has already slashed tax rates for goods spurts positive hopes

Ostensibly the GDP growth may look very optimistic. Still there are issues, which the RBI and the financial ministry should address to. Controlling inflation and promoting other sector activities, especially agriculture are two of the easiest ways to trigger further growth and only that can help India beat China, which continues to be the Asian supreme with a Herculean 10% GDP growth.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Dunn is gunned

Its only a fine line that separates success and failure: hero and zero: everywhere and nowhere and Patricia Dunn would only have understood that concept too well and in the process paying a very big price. Not so long ago she was voted as one of the most powerful women in the world and today she finds herself in a very miserable position, being ousted not only as the Chairperson of the Directors, but also from the Hewlett-Packard Board itself.

Everything started with the bold (few may call it arrogant) step taken by Dunn to tap the phone calls of all the directors following a leak of confidential boardroom discussions to the media. But the repercussions were very severe, with the Directors feeling agitated (may be rightly) at their private life being no longer private! One of the Directors, Tom Perkins, an associate of one Mr Hewlett and one Mr Packard, resigned in protest last week and these scandals have affected the HP shares very badly.

The $100 bn Silicon Valley corporate giant has had nothing but problems since June last year following the quitting of the then CEO Carly Fiorina. However Dunn did a grand job during the CEO transition but she too would realize in a future day that butting in the personal life of fellow employees is a grievous offence. Now that she has been asked to leave the Board of Directors, HP would only lose the services of a woman who belong to that rare breed that posses intelligence, authority and alacrity.

Quitting of Patricia Dunn from the Board of HP directors will have its impact in
1) The face value of the HP shares in the market
2) Management of HP affairs
3) Future growth of HP

The market is prone to the sentiments of the people for a company and it would be adversely affected if the company’s Chairperson is quitting after a scandalous affair. The share prices fell by 5% immediately and despite the resurgence after Mark Hurd, the "Dunn-protege" CEO taking over the incumbency, it would take at least a while for HP to reach the heights of the previous months.

Even the directors who voted in favour of ousting Dunn would accept the fact that she did a fantastic job for long as one of the Board Directors in her former years and then as its Chairperson in her later years. HP grew leaps and bounds under her tenure and her quitting would surely leave a big void, which I bet would be very hard to fill.

Of all the jobs in hands that Hurd should address to, the most important one would be maintaining the momentum of the growth of the company. He certainly has a very challenging job in his hands and it would be very interesting to watch whether he can weather the storm and reach the dizzy heights achieved by his “celebrated and yet ditched” predecessor. As they say, Time is a great Judge and we have to wait for its verdict

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Power of Screams??!!

Gurgaon industrial belt, the very heart of the Indian manufacturing market has seen unrest and turmoil in the recent past and it has hit the news once again for the same. Exactly an year ago there was “much ado about everything” with employees of Toyota and Honda indulging in strikes for the obvious fiscal reasons. Well, now the sequel of the action has happened and there has been no change in the protagonists too, the Honda employees. To be more precise, the Honda casual employees

The national scooter market was in an all-time low five years back. However it saw its revival being scripted by the Japanese auto-major, that has the power of dreams before bearing the brunt of the Honda- labour strike staged last year. A 15 % dip in the overall scooter sales allover the country catches the picture perfectly. However the wages issue was then settled after a bitter row between the management and the labour union. Now the dispute has raised its ugly head again. The casual employees who claim for an increase in wages on par with that of the permanent employees have hit back at the management, only to meet it’s reluctance.

The concept of strike was very popular in the early nineties. However it lost its importance in due course and nowadays both the management and the labour union look at peaceful measures and co-operative solutions for their problems. There has been far less number of strikes in the recent years and hence the Honda-labour strike (2005) was considered as a melodrama. The economy of the country largely lies in the hands of the foreign investors and it would see a major set-back if more such strikes are staged against the multinationals. HMSI, which suffered loss of production in the past few months, saw its June sales drop 22.4 per cent to 25,530 units. According to an industry analyst, the growth revival seen in the scooter market over the past couple of years was largely driven by HMSI. For example, in the last fiscal while the scooter market grew by 4.2 per cent to 923,566 units, HMSI and TVS Motor were the only two companies to see a positive growth, with the remaining five scooter-manufacturing firms seeing a decline in growth in the year

The Honda employees declared a strike against the management and refused to indulge in productive activities on Tuesday 19/9/2006 after the contractors refused to improve their pay scale.There has been a dichotomy however, over the proliferation issue with the management claiming that the production has not been affected and the employees saying that more 50% of the production has been stopped due to the strike. The management goes on to say that the strike is a matter of concern between the contractors and the casual employees and it has got no part to play in the ongoing strike.

Strikes like these can have profound impact on
1) The companies’ revenue and more importantly their public image
2) The welfare of the employees
3) To a certain extent, the country’s image in the world market

It doesn’t require rocket science to describe the impact of strikes in a company’s turnout. It certainly is bound to have adverse effects. The more serious problem is the negative impact that it develops on the mindset of the people. In a country like India, where the market is bound to emotional and sentimental issues, if a company is entertaining many strikes, then it is a villain affecting the welfare of its employees. Two strikes in a span of thirteen months is certainly “many”

Most of the employees who work in multinationals, as ad-hocs would earn a maximum of Rs 7000 per month and strikes certainly would cause a regress in their economic status. The conditions might improve if the strike turns successful but that is a big if.

Indian economy has been beefed-up largely by the FDI and FII of the foreign investors. If the country shows a record of two-strikes-in-thirteen-months to its investors, how encouraged they would feel!! So the country too has a part to play in curbing strikes and help in maintaining equanimity in the companies.

In short, strikes don’t augur well for developing economies like India and they should be played down at all cost. With scrupulous planning it can be achieved. The investing companies too should realize that the welfare of the employees should be their prima-facie and an optimist would only expect the other companies to learn from the unfortunate yet inevitable, ongoing dispute between the HMSI management and its casual employees.