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Archive for June, 2014

Here is a thought provoking post on the subject of ethics. In my own career, I have come across several kinds of persons with different approaches to the issue of following ethics. There are the Pragmatic ones who would do whatever it takes to ride up in the company hierarchy. At the other end of the spectrum, we have the Idealists who would chuck a lucrative career at the first sign of deviant corporate behaviour. Midway, we run into the Negotiators who would not give up on the system but would try and attempt to make it more compliant from the inside. Yet another category is that of The Conformists, who would simply go along with the flow.

Leadership plays a vital role in setting up the standards down the organization.
This post is based on the media, but has lessons which are relevant for all sectors of the economy.

Broadside

By Caitlin Kelly

Do you trust what you read, hear or see in the mass media?

THINK LIKE A REPORTER

Even blogs?

A Gallup poll of 1,000 Americans a few months back says no:

Their findings: just 21 percent of the people surveyed ranked newspaper reporters with high or very high honesty and ethical standards. Next came lawyers, tying with 21 percent, followed by TV reporters at 20 percent, then advertisers at a miserable 14 percent.

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We, the Miracle

One of the remarkable things about Blogsville is the magic of coming across a post which resonates with one of your own!

I just came across this clever post on the issue of sustainability: lovehappynotes.com/2014/06/21/as-i-peek-between-the-trees-i-see

It prompted me to re-blog this one of my own:https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/02/18/we-the-miracle/

Hope you enjoy going through it!

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Those of you who are fond of cats would perhaps be able to draw a parallel between the behavioral traits of the bosses they deal with at their place of work and the feline creatures whose company they cherish at home.

Here are some of the roles which appear to be common between the two species.cat 4

Actors

Both expect to be treated like royalty. The way they conduct themselves is nothing short of regal. They lord over whatever they survey. They can show off annoyance at being interrupted – while devouring a slice of fish as well as while delivering a sermon on office manners.

Never would they show appreciation for what you do. The only time you find them cuddling up close and purring is when they need a tacit assurance of your support towards an assured delivery against a juicy target set by the top dog.

Try and meet them to complain about a missed promotion. They are apt to put on a deadpan expression and look at you with glassy eyes. When presented with a request which they have decided to decline, they could simply mumble a ´let us see´and walk off to attend an all too important meeting with a top government honcho.

Like cats, bosses are also acrobats, athletes and entertainers – all rolled into one. Great artists to learn from any day.

Companions

They are silent but steadfast companions. They are wont to growl at any other member of the tribe that dare threaten any of the team members.

In tough times, they rally around with a warmth and gentleness which would make you want to get back at resolving the crisis with renewed vigor and zeal.

They often provide a work environment which offers the perfect balance between solitude and companionship – two of the many features loved by cats.

Detached Souls

You may enjoy an excellent rapport with them. You might have even got used to hanging on to their coat tails or skirts as they clawed, purred and hissed their way up in the hierarchy. Beware. Do not take them for granted. One fine morning, they could spring a surprise and announce their plans to switch over to another family/company.

As a species, they have perfected the art of remaining detached.

Detectives

Just as all new items being brought into a home must undergo a mandatory sniff test, all those joining the company must undergo a compulsory briefing by those who claim to be effective managers.

All lazy, uncooperative and under-performing rats who hide in their comfort zones must be hunted down and asked to either shape up or be ready to get shipped out (read devoured).

Any cat-and-mouse game being played within the team must be brought to their notice. Romantic escapades of all kinds must be investigated in full and acted upon firmly without fear or favor.

All movements of the top dog and his cabinet of puppies must be monitored at all times.

Healers

They lower your blood pressure while keeping you on your toes. Come to them depressed and they would fuss over you so charmingly that you could waltz out of their cabin doing a samba.

All those applying for sick leave have to necessarily listen to the simple home remedies the manager has on offer.

Need advice on the joys of procreation? They have a simple solution to share. A bunch of kids sick at home? Learn from them the art of tele-medicine. You can always lick your cubs if and when you eventually get home.

Lone Crusaders

They are quite lonely at times.

Their sense of insecurity is invariably higher at the start as also at the tail end of the day. Getting back to them in advance on all pending critical assignments for the day reduces their blood pressure. It brings some cheer into their lives which are often full of struggles to survive in the corporate jungle.

If you stroke their backs first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, they come to admire and respect you.

Private Birds

Their need for privacy is paramount.

You would often find them vanishing from the public spaces. The feline ones would do so either when they wish to relieve themselves or when bringing a fresh bevy of beauties into this world. The office ones would either be discussing strategic matters with their own bosses or simply working on a top-secret but otherwise widely known downsizing plan.

Handling Catty Bosses

How do you handle bosses who are excessively catty?

If you are a simpleton, you could choose to behave like a devoted dog. This works out fine as long as you have a unique skill which the boss does not possess. So, you avoid getting treated like a doormat.

If you happen to be a born diplomat, you could develop an underground channel of communication to the boss´ boss.

You could also consider switching over to another rat hole. However, there is never a guarantee you would not have to deal with a cattier boss in the new outfit!

Do you think there are other common traits between bosses and cats? Or, would you like to share your own recipe for handling a catty boss? Go ahead. Post a comment.

(Image courtesy Tumblr)

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My dear Heart…..

heart care

Seven years back, when you protested, the plumbing had to be set right;
I became aware that you existed, now you continue working with all your might.

I feel your throb throughout my body, in my feet, in my arms, in my ears;
I hear the pulse even in my head, realize you have been there all these years.

Never have you asked for a vacation, relentlessly you go on thumping;
Supplying blood to all corners of the body, you always keep pumping.

A skip on your part and I go crazy, a flutter and things around me go hazy;
You may label me a couch potato, I always try not to be too lazy.

The soothing music of your pulse, sometime slow, sometime fast;
Like the strains of a vibrant drum filling up my being´s theater vast.

I walk and I exercise, keeping both of us fit with positive stress;
I drive away mundane woes, playing music, sharing my thoughts on WordPress.

I know hobbies make you relax, so do good company, laughter and joy;
Routine visits to the doctor and attention bestowed you do enjoy.

You are the seat of my consciousness, having intelligence of your own,
Silently whispering to my mind what to enjoy and what to disown.

You continue to exhort me to shun anger, jealousy, contempt and greed,
Leading a life of detachment, excitement of many “likes” I may no longer need.

With yoga, meditation and music, I try to gravitate towards a balanced life,
Living with poise and equanimity, feeling likewise in times of joy and strife.

I am grateful for the support you provide, so reassuring is your rhythmic beat,
Life´s harsh slings and arrows I can face, breathing in the air pure and sweet.

(Inspired by http://ginzandtonic.com/2014/06/04/know-your-pulse; Image courtesy: http://www.fotosearch.com)

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Can a fictional character assume a life and will power of its own? Can he scale heights of popularity and importance greater than those of his author and creator? That is precisely what appears to have happened in the case of Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional detective.May 2014 379

The Final Problem was intended to be Sir Arthur Conan Doyle´s last work portraying Sherlock Holmes. He entertained a belief that the Sherlock Holmes stories were distracting him from more serious literary efforts. An option available to the author was that of “killing” Holmes and undertake other literary endeavors.May 2014 380

In order to keep the fans of the detective in good humor, the author came up with a plot which involved Holmes saying good-bye with a flourish, ridding the world of a criminal so powerful and dangerous that any further task would be trivial in comparison (Holmes says as much in the story).May 2014 381

All authors walk a thin line between imagination and reality. In 1893, Conan Doyle and his wife toured Switzerland and discovered the village of Meiringen in the Bernese Alps. It was here that the idea of killing Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls took shape.May 2014 382

However, Doyle let the detective die in circumstances shrouded in mystery. No revolvers. No air guns. No African powders which emit deadly vapors. No eyewitnesses. No physical remains. No deceptive burials. Simply, a natural setting. Just the footprints in a muddy dead-end path. Signs of a violent struggle which make Dr. Watson come to the conclusion that Holmes is no more.May 2014 383

When one picks up a Sherlock Holmes story, one is assured of good value for one`s time and effort. Backed by hard-nosed judgement, insightful observations and above-par analytical skills, he delivers. He is utterly reliable. These are the very attributes which go on to build up a brand.

Eventually, the brand called Sherlock Holmes proved to be stronger. Pressure from fans persuaded Doyle to bring Holmes back, first writing The Hound of the Baskervilles and then resurrecting him in The Adventure of the Empty House.May 2014 384

Finally, it transpired that Sherlock Holmes had actually won the struggle at Reichenbach Falls and sent Moriarty to his death though nearly meeting his own at the hands of Moriarty’s henchmen. Conan Doyle could plausibly resurrect Holmes, much to the eternal delight and gratitude of the detective`s fans!May 2014 385

Have you come across any other characters in literature which survived their creatorエs attempt to vanquish them?!

For management experts, herein lies a potential case study: How to make a brand assume a higher stature than the corporate entity which creates it!

(Illustrations from the Sherlock Holmes Museum at Meiringen, Switzerland)

(Related post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/sherlock-holmes-the-honorary-citizen-of-meiringen-switzerland)

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With its scenic promenade, picturesque locations, an old world French ambience, Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville, Puducherry offers the lay visitor a curious combination of hedonistic as well as spiritual opportunities. One could go on a spirited binge and simply freak out. Otherwise, one could soak in its spiritual glow and get mentally uplifted.

True to the innate character of Puducherry, most of the films shot in the town also reflect a somewhat similar bipolar tendency. Amorous endeavors get captured on celluloid. Themes with a spiritual strain also find Puducherry attractive. Occasionally, one would find the town getting mentioned in a block buster!

Here is a quick recap of the Hindi and English movies which have had a Puducherry connection.pondy movie Jism

Jism (2003, Amit Saxena) was an erotic thriller. Obsession with the pleasures of the flesh and greed for wealth eventually drive the main protagonists towards a tragic end.

pondy movie black 1

Black (2005, Sanjay Leela Bhansali) was based on the life and struggles of Helen Keller. Ayesha Kapur from Auroville played the childhood role of the main protagonist and went on to win several awards and critical acclaim for her performance.

pondy movie 3_idiots

3 Idiots (2009, Rajkumar Hirani) argued in favor of innovative thinking and showed us the perils of learning by rote. It also exhorted us to follow our hearts when choosing a vocation. No part of the movie was shot in Puducherry. However, one of the main characters, Chatur Ramalingam, declares having gone to school at Puducherry.

pondy movie Aashayein-

Aashayein (2010, Nagesh Kukunoor) was about a compulsive gambler learning to live to the hilt within the limited life time available to him. It captured life within a rehabilitation center for those with an incurable disease in a poignant manner.

pondy movie 7 Khoon Maaf_poster_ver1

7 Khoon Maaf (2011, Vishal Bhardwaj) belonged to the black comedy genre. It also had a couple of steamy scenes. Having killed six of her husbands, the heroine finds redemption, solace and true love in Jesus – at Puducherry.

pondy movie Talaash_poster

Talaash (2012, Reema Kagti) touched upon various ills plaguing our society. A mystery thriller, it also described the state of happiness one reaches upon overcoming one´s guilt.

pondy movie Life_of_Pi_2012

Life of Pi (2012, Ang Lee) put Puducherry on the international map. The hero was shown to be a Hindu who also goes on to embrace Christianity and Islam. The film spoke of the need to remain connected with oneエs inner self so as to be a winner in the vast ocean of life. Truth, perception and belief were brought into focus, thereby putting the theme on to a spiritual plane.

There are several Tamil movies which have also been shot at Puducherry. To movie makers, the town offers a smart choice as a location. The place is small. It is not very pricey. With a friendly government, it is easier to get all the permissions to shoot. Parks, heritage churches, water bodies and French cuisine simply add value to the quaint place.

A unique feature of the town is its rich architectural heritage. Organizations like INTACH do try to salvage a part of the same. Sadly, much more needs to be done.

Puducherry is also known as “The French Riviera of the East”. For someone who lives in the real place, it is delightful to connect with the reel place as well.

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In our lives, you played the role of a dynamic and bustling airport,
From which we soared in life´s azure skies, enjoying our flights of high import;
Some took to exploring various corners of our Mother Earth,
Of diplomats, businessmen and bankers amongst us there is no dearth.

May 2014 049

Some flew literally high while others specialized in foretelling weather,
Some rose to positions of eminence in industries as diverse as IT and leather;
The allure of entrepreneurship and private sector careers proved irresistible to some,
Many found academics, social entrepreneurship and public services less worrisome.

May 2014 038

Probability theories taught us to manage uncertainty at life´s myriad stations,
Laws of motion led us to motivate people and have positive interpersonal relations;
Differential calculus taught us to analyze situations without tears,
Integral exhorted us to take an overall strategic view in all spheres.

0002 (86)

Structure of elementary particles made us discover forces of spirituality in life,
Principles of magnetism and radiation helped shape our career and family life;
Theory of relativity taught us the art of empathy and understanding others better,
Bending of light forewarned us of the perils of loose talk, gossip and a wrong letter.

May 2014 037

While in your hallowed portals, we enjoyed bunking classes,
The brainy ones worked on assignments which were copied by the masses;
Cornering important books from the Central Library was a critical vocation,
For poking fun at our teachers, Coffee House was the prime location.

May 2014 033

Improptu musical sessions led to greater bonding on the open green lawn,
Studious ones sneaked upto the hostel terrace to study till the next dawn;
Evening visits to Kamla Market after feasting on goodies sent by devoted mothers,
Bird-watching for some, an act of revolt against the listless hostel meals for others.

May 2014 044

Life offered transient infatuations to some, others found their long term soul mates,
Cupid was never failing in its duties when it came to fixing platonic dates;
Evening shadows led to the Lovers´ Lane where future plans were drawn,
Many of these – struck by life`s harsh slings and arrows – were eventually withdrawn.

The Class of 1974, Department of Physics and Astrophysics, Delhi University, Delhi, India

The Class of 1974, Department of Physics and Astrophysics, Delhi University, Delhi, India

Four decades on, the influence of Alma Mater continues to be deep and vast,
Its passion for academic excellence and superiority in research remains steadfast;

Technology and social attitudes have changed but policies continue to be awesome,
Do continue to nurture young minds in a culture of excellence for all times to come.

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