Sunday, January 13, 2008

The conqueror of Mt.Everest

12th Jan

The conqueror of Mt.Everest is no more. I remember reading in General Knowledge while in school about Edmund Hillary’s feat. Over the years I had not bothered much about Ed but today he had made the headlines and I read about him in the morning Newspaper. Beyond his achievements and the work done by him in Nepal to set up clinics and schools, which the article mentioned, there were 2 points that brought out Ed's humility which really impressed me.

Though he was the one who started the expedition and Tenzing Norgay was only his guide, it seems he refused to accept till Tenzing passed away that he was the first man atop Mt.Everest. In spite of being one of the greatest adventurers of the century, he preferred calling himself an “ordinary person with ordinary qualities”.

Ed did not have a picture of himself taken on top of the Mt.Everest. The only photo taken was that of Tenzing at the summit, which was taken by Ed himself. It seems Ed remarked later that “As far as I knew, he [Tenzing] had never taken a photograph before, and the summit of Everest was hardly the place to show him how.”

Sometimes winning is not enough

After the second test which was marred with bad Umpiring decisions and the nasty Symonds - Harbhajan incident, the Australlian team is facing a lot of criticism from their home crowd. The Australlian media has been conducting a lot of opinion polls related to this and the captain Ricky Ponting in particular is getting some nasty comments and rave reviews about the way he has led the team. Majority of the people want Ponting to go!

All this criticism is inspite of their record 16 wins in tests and an equivalent winning streak in one dayers! Well sometimes being on the winning side alone does not matter, how you win also matters!

Ponting claims that he plays cricket hard but fair but in my opinion accusing an Indian of making racist remarks is slightly overboard and this seems to have been made an issue specifically to divert attention from the bad umpiring that changed the result. This is definitely not in the spirit of the game.

The Australlian team is solely responsible for having changed the way the game is played today. Their focus in the recent past has only been on winning whatever happens. Infact they have even majorly influenced the way some of the other teams play including India. Australlia is a very good cricketing side and there are lot of good things to be taken from them but I think it is high time they changed their approach and started playing in the true spirit of the game. Sledging and indulging in nasty politics outside the field has alienated them from their home crowd. After all Teams play for recognition and this kind of public outrage takes away the joy of winning :-)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Sound of Music

I have been listening to a lot of music over the last few weekends. There is a saying in Tamil which goes something like “When there is not enough food for the ears, you think of giving some food for the stomach”. A very true statement indeed! This very well summarises my experience over the last few weekends.

I have been listening to the doyens of the Carnatic world. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Iyengar, Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer, M.S.Subbulakshmi and M.L.Vasanthakumari. Thanks to the internet and the world of mp3s. I am too small and I know very little of carnatic music to comment on these great people but I must say I am in a totally different world free of tension and I feel so calm and energetic over the last few weekends.

I think all this started because of the Margazhi music season and the talks happening around me related to that. I had been to only one concert myself but then I think it drew me towards music after a gap.

I don’t need to write much about music. So much has been written over ages. Music is acknowledged to be something which cuts across all barriers and pleases anyone and everyone right from a child to an animal.

I don’t know why but I feel so close to these doyens now. Maybe it is because I have listened to their voices for hours together. Perhaps it is this music which has made write 4 posts in the last 30 minutes! After all music is not only supposed to have healing powers, it also is supposed to bring out one’s creativity. This is definitely for my good but I don’t really know how good it is for you as a reader :-)

Dada you are simply terrific!

I have been thinking of writing about Dada (Sourav Ganguly) for quite sometime. One can only marvel at this man’s grit and determination. What an amazing comeback Dada has made after being dropped from the Indian cricket team and left totally in isolation!

If you ask me who my favourite cricketer is, I would say Sachin any day but then I have always admired Dada. Sachin is a genius and there is no cricketer as talented as him but Dada is still special and loveable. How can one forget Dada’s reply to Flintoff when India won the One day at Lords? A cricketer with limitations but with great determination. That is what took Dada through a successful stint as the captain of the Indian team and that is what has made him stage such an excellent comeback after the Chappell issue.

The way Saurav is playing he simply seems unstoppable even for Australlia in Australlia. Hope Dada’s excellent form continues and India does well in the remaining matches. After all this umpiring and racism controversies, it is time for some good cricket.

A Promise is a Promise

“A Promise is a Promise”, said Ratan Tata with pride after he unveiled the Nano or “The People’s car” as it is fondly called. I was really impressed by the man and his words. I don’t know why but I felt proud that I was working for the Tata group. The group which has given a lot to Indian society, with a wide range of products and services touching almost all walks of life and by way of which has become an integral part of this country.

Read Tata’s interview and more about the car here.

I have read a lot of articles on the Nano over the past few days in various places. It is definitely a great piece of innovation. I was surprised to read that Engineers who designed this have spent so much time on coming up with innovative designs to reduce cost , even for reducing $10. After all it is no mean feat, coming up with a car for $2500.

An interesting article from NY times

Nano is the talk of my workplace now whether it is within the office or the coffee shops or in the cafeteria. Everyone met I over the last few days seems to be toying the idea of buying the Nano even if it is a second car and after all the Nano is just a little more costlier than a bike and emission wise a lot better. This car is definitely going to create a new market and in the long run might force other car manufacturers to innovate and even bring down their prices, not only in India but across the world.

On a lighter note, Nano is definitely going to make driving within the city tough some time down the line simply because of its reach. I had a dream few days back where I saw Nanos all over the place, on platforms in parking lots and on the roads.

Well the Nano was Tata’s dream for the past 4 years and today it is a reality. Tata has kept his promise. This innovation he is definitely going to impact our lives majorly and definitely result in betterment of the society.

The Kingfisher experience

03rd January 2008

I had mentioned in my earlier post that I am a Frequent flyer with Jet and I travel very often by Jet. I recently travelled by Kingfisher to Bangalore only because the morning Jet flight was fully booked and I had an amazing experience. Kingfisher made a real impact on me, someone so used to Jet, with their excellent service. What a competitive world we live in!

While checking in I was told that only middle seats were left. I said I preferred an Aisle seat. After some double checking the attendant got back with a smile saying that there was only one Aisle seat which he would give me. At this point I was not very surprised because almost all Airlines do this. Only thing a bit different was that the seat number was in single digits and I had an economy class ticket. I told myself that it might be an ATR flight. However when I entered the flight I was really surprised. I had been given a business class seat. This was too good to be true and that too early in the New Year. Jet had never done this even once inspite of my frequent flying.

As a customer it feels great when you are treated best and the Chairman tells you that he has personally chosen the flight attendants and that you can write to him directly. However as a vendor you expect the customer to follow protocols and come to you instead of going to someone senior directly! But then life is full of paradoxes.

I just sat back and enjoyed my flight without worrying about my customer whom I was going to meet.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Another year gone by

Another year has gone by. Year 2007 had my hair starting to change from black to grey and has brought me almost into middle age. However it has left me pretty much the same person
at the core, maybe a bit polished and better but definitely not dented. I still have the same beliefs and walk in with the same energy into work everyday.

2007 was a mixed year for me on the professional front. Things did not go as well as I wanted them to. However looking back I learnt a lot of hard lessons in 2007. Though I managed to put up a decent show finally, there were some flaws in my approach to Professional life that were exposed to myself (not to the whole world hopefully!). I would say I got the maturity to reflect upon my behaviour and criticize myself in 2007.

I started blogging in 2007. Though I have not been able to do it actively in the recent past, it was a great stress reliever for me. I don’t know how it feels to read my blogs but it feels great to write whatever I feel like.

I became a frequent flier in 2007. Jet Airways acknowledged this recently and upgraded me to Gold tier. This frequent flying has given me scope to read more, listen to good music and watch some good movies. Above all I have started appreciating various international cuisines and I have a wide range of choice now when I go abroad. Sometime back my stand on food was “I like only South Indian food because I get fed up with other cuisines soon!”

Thanks to my daughter, I was introduced to the Bhagavad Gita this year. I was lucky to come across a good translation in Tamil by Subramanya Bharathy. I was really impressed by the Gita’s call for action. Karma Yoga is a beautiful concept and it gels to some extent with my approach to life. I would say reading the Gita has definitely left me a better person, though I am still a queer mixture of the east and the west.

Wonder what 2008 has in store for me.

Wish you a very Happy new year!