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Friday, October 19, 2012

How do you "Take care" ... ?

I recommend a short stint in sales, marketing, business development and of late “demand generation” function as a life skill development.

An event today at work place reminded me of my taken care bit experience some time back. (Read the prelude to it if here interested)

It was very clear after a month of running around that a measly accountant held the power to delay payments. Delays in my line of business and my scale of an organization meant no salary. I had umpteen discussions/talks with our finance head as to the dependence on a single project for salary clearance and the response was the same watered down talk. We are growing, capital requirements are huge, new people are coming in. I guess he forgot to mention the new cell phone my MD was sporting and the audit observations on discrepancy in books.

Anyways, I have long since given up on futility of logic with senior management, at least at my workplace.
Mind you, my “boss” thinks it is very easy, throw money to get money. In fact in one meeting when their some observations on collections review he remarked that my accounts are always delayed, and then I gave it back to him” Sir, I would really request your recommendations on the best way. If possible please come with me the next visit”.

Silence after this sweet “request”. I never adopt a confrontational attitude. 

We all knew the implication of his visit to the customer. With the gentleness of a bull in china shop and the intellect level of a food deprived mad dog, he was categorically refused attendance in one meeting to which my MD was also a party. After that, it was an unwritten rule that he stay away from front end, and yeah he is the sales director.

My MD called me after the meeting and clearly told me that I was not allowed in my seat till payment is processed.

I managed to secure a word with their accountant and told him, to clear and we will manage on subsequent projects. The accountant a wily old man knew all the games, he refused.

So back at office I told I need cash.

The payment value is 1 Cr, 1 % makes it 1 Lakh. This approximately the loss of interest income for I think 2-3 months on a current account with OD facility. Translated, it meant if the payment was delayed by 3 months, we lost a Lakh. Conversely if it was cleared in a day or two we gained a Lakh less the taken care part.

Hence, I asked 50k for taking care. I was of half mind to shave a couple from this, but the darn pundit in me did not allow it.

Anyways it was not approved. 

Defense business was tricky, and once you resort to faster dealings route, it was impossible to go back. 

Domestic businesses did not allow that kind of margins, to take care of the % required in bribes.

Finally after a lot of haggling I got 5k.

The irony of the haggling was not lost on me. Here I was fighting to secure a bribe for a person, who in turn will pay to my company, and all I got was my monthly pay ….huh…

Cash in hand, I called the babu for dinner. He is as old as my father, has a kid my age working in an IT firm in Bangalore, yet he comes and yes he talk to me about his kid’s career plans as well.

 If it is free the mentality is to gorge.

2 beers, one glass of imported wine, a plate of lobsters and panner tikka later the babu showed no signs of tempering down. I on the other hand needed to pee a lot because of the 500 INR a glass of nimbus pani (no fresh lime soda!) which I was having continuously.

I think it was the worst dinner experience and I was tired of putting a cordial face front.

Finally it was time to leave. I was waiting for this moment only. I took the unmarked envelope with cash, and put it near his lap with a knowing smile. It sobered him down faster than black coffee, but thankfully in his alcohol stupor he did not open it.


I called for the attendant, arranged a taxi and put him on it. I waved him bye and refrained from any mention to the file. Since the cash was with him, the ball was now in my court, I could kick it any time.

Next day before 11 Am I got a call from babu that the file was cleared.

Wow :)… now that is called alcohol efficiency.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The P-Word

P is for passion.

Nowadays it seems to be the word to be used in conversations, discussions and articles. 

You can prefix the P-word prior to any action and then somehow the implied perception of the action becomes more refined, acceptable, but sometimes vaguely disconcerting.

But how exactly do you define passion??? What are the parameters that could be used as causal indicators towards judging the passion in any action???

Methinks, that for any action to be classified as passionate it has to be a bit exhibitionist and socially non conformal

The extent of adherence to the above two variables would vary. For instance say you are passionate about your work, it means to say that you really love to do your work and look forward to the output to the extent of neglecting some routine and value-added actions in life. You work late, if you go out of your way to get something done at your workplace and in general seem unnervingly and irritatingly talking about work all the time. Add to the above if you are getting paid slightly less than your counterparts, it further adds credence to the “passion” you have.

If you look at the above situation the P thing is actually somewhat of an excuse,  to compensate for some shortcomings in your action & not in any manner strengthening the veracity or the intent of your action. 

For instance if

  • You’re passionate about your work, then maybe because it pays you less,
  • You’re passionate about your friend that is because maybe you don’t have many and are afraid to be alone.
  • You’re passionate about your idea or new business it means you are blind to the shortcomings or the risks of it.

See passion is a non rational belief; it is a heart action not a head action.

Guaranteed, that heart is required in life but there could be a divine purpose as to why it is not placed at the top, rather someone in the middle of your frame.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

एक बगल मैं चाँद होगा......

Mishra ji is awesome.

I am hooked to this lyrical rendition from GOW... each line slowly to really enjoy it.

एक बगल

एक बगल मैं चाँद होगा......

............ एक बगल मैं रोटियां

एक बगल मैं  नींद........

.......... होगी एक बगल मैं लोरियां

.....हम चाँद पर रोटी की चादर डालकर सो जायेंगे 

.......और नींद से कह देंगे ......लोरी कल सुनाने आयेंगे

एक बगल मैं खनखनाती सीपियाँ  हो जाएँगी ......

...एक बगल मैं कुछ रुलाती सिसिकियाँ हो जाएँगी ......

हम सीपियाँ मैं भरके सारे तारे छूकर आयेंगे......

.......... और सिसकियों को गुदगुदी कर कर के...... यूँही बहलाएँगे 

अम्मा तेरी सिसकियों पर कोई रोने आएगा ......

.........कोई रोने आएगा ....

.........ग़म न कोर जो आएगा......... वो फिर कभी न जायेगा 

......याद रख पर कोई अनहोनी 

.......नहीं तू  लाएगी 

लाएगी तो फिर कहानी ......और कुछ हो जाएगी ...

होनी और अनहोनी की परवाह...... किसे हैं मेरी जान ...

......हद से ज्यादा येही होगा ......... यहीं मर जायेंगे ...

हम मौत को सपना बना कर...... उठ खड़े होंगे यहीं ...

और होनी को ठेंगा दिखाकर .....खिल खिला के जायेंगे.....

PS - Google automatically offers to translate this content into English, I think Shakespeare just died again after reading it :) 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Death of Facebook??

It seems to be the trend these days to be cynical, jealous of anybody else’s’ success, specifically the wildly monetary types. To get a flavor of it, read up a little bit on Facebook IPO and Zuckerberg’s trashing by most of the analysts and puritans. Being a billionaire at the age of 27, does have its travails.

However I am intrigued by some bits and piece of Facebook am not in favor or against FB, however after the Instagram deal, I am a bit skeptical of the utility and not to mention longevity of web applications. I believe my relative lack of success in enchasing out of the web cash machine may also color my thoughts.

The basic premise for success of FB is the primeval emotions of humans - to boast and the opposing sentiment of prying. FB offers by far and large the most subtle and effective way to do so.

Think about it.

When you upload a photograph of you standing by the statue of liberty, you are in the most subtle way boasting “hey guys, I made it to the land of opportunity, what do you say about it”.(The statue of liberty and US is the top of the mind recall I have, but the same would work for a new car, my wedding, honeymoon, new house blah blah blah…) !!).

When I click on that photo of yours and stare at it for a couple of seconds thinking” Hey he made it big, what the heck am I doing” and then you close the window.

But the sentiment lingers.

The primeval human emotion of boasting and demonstrating dominance urges you to reciprocate.You await the opportunity consciously or sub-consciously to demonstrate the same. Hence the next time you go somewhere, buy something or do something that is a bit non-conformal, you immediately want to tell the world about it, but actually it is your way of getting even the person who has gone to post his photograph against the statue of liberty.

If you really look at the above sequence, there are two actions at dynamic play

First is the act of boasting as a method to demonstrate superiority. And the second is the corresponding and the counter act of commenting, liking etc as a method to acknowledge your candidature for superiority.

And why do you need to demonstrate superiority?? A gentle prod to your grey cells will reveal the answer – it is for the purpose of mating, so I guess Freud was right.

Also you would observe there is a dilution in the act of sharing as a modus operand to boast which in turn is kind of aimed at demonstrating superiority. 

The more I try to get even against the statue of liberty photo, the more activities I need to tell the world about. So it comes down to updating status on the go as”in a move hall “ enjoying at ABCD place with XYZ team blah blah"

So you see, deep down inside we are all the same. 

Earlier we used to fight man-to-man to demonstrate superiority, now we do it on FB. 

We have evolved, we have become more civilized but deep down we are all type A as or as the advertisement for some cologne goes” deep down we are all a Bit of Alpha”

But in all this gyaan you would be wondering where is the part of FB dying …… All I see is more reason for it to succeed???!!

Simply because after sometime I actually do not give a damm about you or your life, as I move on with my life, my family, my job, I really do not give a rat’s fart of what the other guy/gal is doing.

As an example, just rewind a couple of years back when you were hunting for livelihood, all you could think of where do I get placed and what is my package and the same was a topic of discussion everywhere within your social circle.

Now after two years of earning your livelihood, you really don’t care of money and where you are working. For people who switch jobs, hike over existing pay is just one reason to mentally convince themselves, for I have seen a majority of cases where people have turned down the same level of hikes offered at their existing organization.

Hence there is no real reason to boast , unless of course you want to tell the world about your kid coming first in dance class(well that is another area of thought …and another post….for another time!!)

Also FB has managed to get a bit of Google pie by creating applications and web-pages for organizations and service providers. So FB will not really die with rigor mortis, but rather end up in a coma state.

PS – I am posting the link here in FB only. So if were to lend credence to my above post, the reason for doing so would be to boast ….about my limited intellectual/literary talents…in the feeble hopes of alluring a like minded female to sit up and take notice….so there is a chance of having Coitus…. :) :) :) 

Alas there are holes in all theories, and there are assumptions in all hypotheses, no statistical test is 100% accurate and the above blog entry is no exception. Sometime the primary reason to share …is to make elicit a smile…to make someone happy….with really no ulterior motive….

Well just sometimes !!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

I Too Had a Dream....

The title is borrowed from an inspiring read by Gouri Salvi, on the life and times of Dr. Verghese Kurian of the milk revolution fame in India.The remaining lines are a mix of reality and some philosophical mish mash.If you are reading this, I am guessing you just woke up and are not really very awake to realize that it is afternoon and hunger time.I however remain true to Maslowian needs of primary desire for food and security...I am off for finding grub...:)

I Too Had a Dream

I too …..Had a dream….
I dreamt of ….doing good….
I dreamt of ……learning nice….
I dreamt of a life….. Not with a lot of strife….

Instead…I end up with conversations of the “quarter”…that no longer remind me of amber…
Hell…just of lot of fire and ember….
There is a lot of smoke…..With no sight of any screen…… or a window…
I stumble around …ending up with lot of body blows….….trying to find edges in a round room…

I too had a dream….
Maybe all this is just a phase….
Maybe I should get some loans…that would ease the pain…
Maybe…EMIs would inspire confidence…and remind of the net gain….
Maybe a weekend with a lot of females….
Might just....give a tiny bit of solace….

Then I realize…it is all just a dream….
And dreams are good to have….
But on a….. weekend mid morning….
Cornflakes and oats…really don’t suffice… :)

One of my friends had taken the trouble to read through the above and fill in her own thoughts in continuation.
I reproduce them below as I find it ...well relevant and nice :) 

""And when you have....... so many dreams.....within your heart...
They will be loud enough........ to be heard from the skies.....
Though you would feel that..... you are waiting...and just dreaming...
Your dreams.... are taking the time to travel from the heavens...
They come .....wrapped in colorful clouds..
With a signature.."Thanks for waiting my my dear son"...
With Love ......Your own GOD ""

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The File Movement Theory

For the past week I had to do a lot of running around to get something’s fixed, specifically for extracting a huge payment for bharat sarkaar. Now this is not really easy, for you have to deal with everybody from the ICS to the IPS. (For the un-informed ICS is Indian Corridor Service, for which there is no formal selection but nonetheless it is as lucrative and in some cases more powerful than the IAS!!).

Now this thing which I am after is still not fixed but the experience has been illuminating.

It is very lucrative to work in an engineering setup dealing with a government R& D organization, the reason being that there is absolutely no downside rather the risk of not getting paid. Once you have an order in hand in paper, you have to complete it and the sarkaar has to pay for it irrespective of whether both want it that way.

Secondly government defense R& D organizations typically don’t know what they want. Scientists often need prototypes for testing their ideas and ideas well they keep on changing. In this particular case the idea changed so many times that the original thought and the final output had not quite in common.

So something that should have been completed in September has been done just now. And once execution is done, operations, engineering & quality are all happy to dump it on sales for the purpose of closure (Read getting paid)

So off I was summoned to move the file between various departments and push it to the final guy. Aha, once I went inside the place I saw that there are links everywhere. I realized that the top guy there and the top guy in my organization have had unofficial dealings. None of my concern, but the top guy can’t do much until the details come to him and if he starts pulling the details for one specific firm his authority within the chain is questionable. Hence you need a fixer at the bottom and mid management level, or someone like me. Now these levels are also not fools and hence the natural justification for the prevalence of the sentiment so if the top guy is getting “taken care” of why not me??

Well I will get to the “taken care” part in a bit.

Ok, so the first day was spent figuring out what needs to be done. Engineering had to clear it to stores and then from stores it has to go to accounts. Simple flow really, but then things go missing. In engineering the senior scientists had no patience for hustlers like me, but they are polite enough to not be up front. Well, I can take a clue so I fixed his PA and day 1 was spent tracing files that needed autographs.

Day 2 was spent in tracing materials delivered to the place. I all 5 feet 10 inches and by no measure un-educated, physically opened all the boxes we had sent and did a one to one verification for the satisfaction of our inspection authority. In short I did their work after requesting them to let me do it. Sweet heavens I event made a spreadsheet for them using their system while they took a tea break (justifiable after all the back breaking work of inspection)

Now while I was making this spread sheet I needed some details from our materials team. Mobiles are not allowed inside so I called from their land line and after some discussion I realized that there is some confusion. Seems some items were delivered and then taken back for re-work. In all there was some 30% of value which could potentially not be cleared.

I could not take a call on this and hence I left it at that. I came back and gave all the details to my team and left them over the weekend to deal with it. (Don’t know what will happen on Monday though!!)

All this running around made me very tired. However in terms of real work I had not actually done much. I thought maybe age was eating up on me but I couldn’t accept this reasoning.

A little bit of thought later I realized one thing; it wasn’t really the work that made me tired. It was rather the motivation of not working made the tiredness very apparent. I worked very hard in my B-School, I did everything possible I could do to learn and I pushed myself hard. I believed if this couldn’t burn me then nothing could. But as I realized now and also an interesting post (Click here) that it is not the work load that makes you tired. It is the absence of motivation to do work that makes it tiring or unapproachable. It is the same thing that makes you learn a lot a day prior to an exam than a month prior to it.

And see how the cookie crumbles from there on.

For all the education learning I have had I was no better than the hustlers outside the passport office or the DDA. They also push files I did the same. But did I really need a master for that?

I found myself questioning the relevance of education in the professional world and the logical outcome was not very encouraging. Yes, you need education, because only after you are educated you realize the futility of all it. Or as they say when you do a doctoral study (P,hD) that the more you learn the more you realize that how less you really know about how stuff works.