Cerebral Shangrila

Monday, May 30, 2005

Atom / RSS readers

For the past few weeks, I have been using the RSS Reader software to read the blogs. Though the software saves a lot of my time, it hogs a huge amount of memory and frequently fetches duplicate posts.

Any suggestions for a better Atom / RSS reader software ?

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Beyond the Metros ..

The metros have saturated. Delhi,Mumbai,Chennai & Kolkata (Add Bangalore too) are struggling to keep pace with the tremendous industrial growth,population migration and traffic (not to forget the basic infrastructure issues like power,water). Corporate India has already started looking beyond the Metros. So how do the other cities fare ?

The Week has a story on the USP's of other cities. Having lived in a few of these ( Pune,Ahmedabad) and having been a regular visitor to a few others ( Chandigarh,Pondicherry,Coimbatore,Mysore) , I defintely appreciate the promise these cities hold.

In my opinion Pune,Chandigarh,Coimbatore stand out . They have some of the best educational institutes in the country, highly talented workforce, entrepreneurial culture (Though Ahmedabad scores very highly on this ! ) and very good basic infrastructure.

With the accelerated growth India has been witnessing in the recent years, its very important that the growth is balanced -- both geographcally and sector wise.

Let a dozen metros bloom ........

Thursday, May 26, 2005

In search of a Job ........

It just seems like yesterday when I made the transition to a student after 6 years of work. But I am back to my (least) favorite hobby -- Job hunting. Though I have another semester to complete in my MBA, the last semester isn't that heavy and hence the decision to work as an Intern / Full-time job.

With the summer break ahead of me , I will have enough time for the job search. I am currently looking for jobs only in Singapore since I need to attend classes ( evening classes) till October . Would be glad, if fellow Singaporeans can circulate my resume in their companies / to friends. Just drop me a note with your email address in comments section or email me. Thanks !

I have 6+ years of work experience in IT Consulting , Security & Infrastructure support . I am looking for a career in Consulting / Business development / Information systems Assurance .I am primarily targetting internships since full-time jobs might require travel (Which I can't do at least I finish my MBA) and also internships are quite light and give me enough time to complete my MBA !

So who wants to hire an MBA student who has an opinion on everything and knows nothing ? :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

TIME - 100 Best Films

The Time magazine's movie critics Richard Corliss & Richard Schickel have come up with the 100 best films of all time. While the list contains the usual favorites like Godfather,Citizen Kane,Schindler's list,Casablanca,Ikiru,Lawerence of Arabia,Psycho ( and so on & on & on....................) , it has also has some surprises like Finding Nemo,The purple rose of cairo .

Three Indian movies feature in the list. Satyajit Ray's "Apu Trilogy" , Guru Dutt's immortal " Pyaasa" & Maniratnam's " Nayagan" .

"Pyaasa" is a classic with deep philosophical meaning and is a slap on the double standards of the society. "Nayagan" was a wonderfully crafted indian version of Godfather. Great acting and excellent screenplay and direction. Both movies had great music and by a sheer coincidence , the music for these films have been scored by my favorite music directors S.D.Burman & Illayaraja respectively.

Btw, I wrote a post long ago on my favorite ten movies ( Pyaasa was there in that list but I had Mouna Raagam instead of Nayagan ! ).

P.S : Not sure why Apu trilogy got listed as one movie. Pather Panchali (the best among the three in the trilogy) should have been there .

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Indra Nooyi's speech & the controversy

The Madras born, CFO of Pepsico , Indra Nooyi 's speech at Columbia Business School has landed her into controversy . The "middle finger" reference to the North America (the US ) wasn't taken lightly . While most of us might find the speech to be quite innocous , the blogosphere was quick to criticize her , demanding an apology.

Businessweek calls it the power of Blogosphere .

Friday, May 20, 2005

The exams are back !

My third trimester exams are next week. Thankfully this time only two out of the five subjects have an exam ( Yeah, the rest three courses are non-examinable ! ) . Both the exams are case based exams which makes the preparation a bit easier.

One Case is on a IT Services company ( Whoa ..having spent donkey years in the industry , I better crack this case) and the other case is on Offshore Oil drilling Industry ( ??). Waiting for the exams to get over !!

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Hail ingenuity ! You might have heard of IT offshoring,onshoring and nearshoring. Ever heard of coding on the sea ?Why send software work to India when you can have it done on a cruise ship 3.1 miles off California?

Two San Diego entrepreneurs have come up with a very literal twist on offshoring software development jobs. This pair wants to get their hands on a 600-cabin cruise ship and park it off the coast of El Segundo, Calif., just over the 3-mile border that marks international waters ( To avoid US Payroll taxes).

They'll pack the boat with engineers who will write code day and night.Programmers--sorry, seamen--hired from places like India and Russia would have their own cabins, work eight- or ten-hour stretches on either a day or night shift.
SeaCode's pitch is that it will still charge the same rates as developing-world firms while offering clients freedom from killer flights to India, Israel and other faraway destinations to check in on projects. Work will also get done faster with two shifts. ( News Courtesy : Forbes)

The firm has already secured considerable VC funding towards the purchase of the ship.

So wanna code on a ship ?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Tatas -- Gutsy Crossover

No firm better represents the global aspirations of India than the Tatas. Be it the Tata tea acquisition of Tetley or Tata Motors acquisition of the Daewoo Motors (The Truck division), Tata Steel's acquisition of Natsteel or the global footprints of TCS -- the Tatas stand at the forefront of the great Indian Globalization dream .

Here is a nice article from The Week on the Tata Group. Can they cross that deep chasm of Globalization ? Can Indian firms grow beyond India ? In the answers to these questions lie the aspirations of a growing nation with unlimited dreams ....

P.S : Why is it that we see the most important emails a day later and the junk mails almost instantaneously ? perhaps Murphy's law was at work. I missed an oppurtunity to have a " Breakfast - Discussion" session with Ratan Tata , a few weeks ago . NUS had hosted the session and had mailed select students . I saw the email a day later but by then all the seats had been taken ... Que Sera Sera !

Monday, May 16, 2005

Taj Mahal -- Music Review

Its like a breath of fresh air. The music of Taj mahal just wafts gently , sweeps you and lingers in the ears forever. To start , thanks for choosing , Naushad as the music director for this movie. The " Ustad" known for his Classics like Baiju Bawra,Mughal-e-Azam has done a terrific job.

The music is completely Classical, laced with ghazals & qawwalis that have been rendered excellently by Hariharan ( An awesome singer who has never been utilized properly by bollywood),Kavita Krishnamurthy,Preeti uttam. The best songs are Apni Zulfein ( Hariharan) , Dilruba Dilruba ( Hariharan,Preeti Uttam) & Yeh Kaun ( Ajoy Chakraborty) .

The music is haunting and one cannot avoid noting a tinge of elegy in the melodies (Resonant with Shah Jahan's pensive love). With such great music , the movie better be good.

P.S : FYI : Here is the Official website of the movie and if you want to listen to the songs , here is the link from Musicindiaonline.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Frenchman buys 25,000 Indian songs

A Frenchman (Mr. Forler) has bought the rights to 25,000 Indian songs - partly to make sure the composers and lyricists get royalties.The 54-year-old former French embassy employee paid $3m to buy or administer rights to compositions which include some by leading Bollywood composers and lyricists like KL Saigal, RD Burman, Javed Akhtar and Anu Malik. Mr Forler says the problem with most Indian music writers and lyricists is that they sign contracts accepting a one-off payment from recording companies or film producers without "realising the long term royalty potential"."The Indian music industry has huge potential. But if it wants to go global in a big way, it should adopt international practices of accounting and payments," he says ( Courtesy : BBC).

Here is the complete report.

Friday, May 13, 2005


Don't remember the last time I received a proper postal wedding invitation (ha, but then I have been changing my residences so frequently that I wouldn't advise anyone to send one too !). Its been the age of email invitations. And it seems to be evolving.

A few days back , was surprised to see an offline message on my yahoo messenger from one of my ex-colleagues inviting me to his wedding. so is it SMS next time ?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Mystic India

It was an amazing IMAX movie. I was lucky to see the IMAX movie titled " Mystic India " a few months ago in the Singapore Science Museum. India is an incredible nation. This short film captures the spirituality and the geographical diversity of our nation through the spiritual quest of a boy named Neelkanth ( Who later became known as Lord Swaminarayan).

Here is a trailer of the movie and some amazing photos. The film features some of the best technical brains,musicians and voices . The Film is currently playing in Singapore,London and Houston (US). Don't miss it !

P.S : I think since the film is aimed at foreigners and tourists its being showcased outside India. Now that we have IMAX theatres in most Indian cities , they should screen the film in India too .

Monday, May 09, 2005

India's next cricket coach ?

Watch out. There are millions of eyes watching you . The BCCI has narrowed down the contenders to 4. Meet the contenders .

I personally prefer Greg Chappell ( He is an awesome cricketer,shrewd cricketing brain and will also bring the aussie toughness) or "Jimmy" Amarnath ( Strict disciplinarian,fitness freak,match winner in the '83 WC, one of the best players against pace bowling,doesn't mince words ) .

What do you say ?

Friday, May 06, 2005

One book leads to another

Books are sometimes like hyperlinks. Reading one leads to another and so on............

I became very interested in the story behind the greed in Wall Street in the 80's . It was the age of LBO's , Junk Bond Craze and M&A's. It all started with Liar's Poker.

Liar's Poker by Michael Lewis : A fascinating and entertaining book about the life of a trader at Saloman Brothers. Very well written and takes you behind the high stakes world of traders on the Wall street . A must read if you are looking for a career in Wall street .This book also got me hooked to the LBO's and my prof suggested that I should read the " Barbarians at the Gate".

Barbarians at the Gate by Burroughs and Helyar : Corporate Jets,greedy CEO's ,bloated egos -- its the story of US$ 25 Billion Leveraged Buyout (LBO) of RJR Nabisco . An amazing tale which would leave you wondering about the limits to greed . This book led me to read another fascinating book -- Den of Thieves.

Den of Thieves by James Stewart : Its the best of the lot. Takes you behind the Junk Bond craze of the 80's and into the world of Investment banks,traders,arbitrageurs,SEC,Attorney's office and investors. The main players in this tale are Michael Milken , Ivan Boesky,Martin Siegel & Dennis Levine. An unbelievable story of greed , charisma and risk & punishment. This book is a must read !

Chainsaw - The notorious career of Al Dunlap in the era of profit at any price by John Byrne :
The only way this CEO (Al Dunlap) knows, how to cut costs, is by laying off people. Al mercilessly laid off people in his career to turnaround firms and the book talks about how law finally caught up with him when he was implicated in an Accounting scandal in the 90's. There is more to Strategy than cutting costs by laying off people .

Another interesting book in this series is the Predator's Ball. This book supposedly gives a much more balanced view of Milken & Co. I am searching for that book now !

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Flight has Landed

Indians are flying high. Thanks to a proactive civil Aviation Minister (Praful Patel) , the airline sector has finally woken up from the slumber. Last week witnessed AI buying 50 planes worth US$ 7 Billion from Boeing. BusinessWeek reports about the dogfight between Airbus and Boeing to cater to the Indian market. They are giving huge discounts , using official diplomacy, promising to provide ground support,maintanance and training -- you name it and you get it. Boeing is already contemplating about setting up a maintanance and pilot training centre in India.

The Open Skies agreement signed between India and US,UK,Singapore (plus a few more set to follow) in recent weeks promises more flights,low fares and increased consumer power.

Long live low cost airlines. After the phenomenal success of Air Deccan, this month would witness the launch of Kingfisher airlines and spicejet. Air Deccan has already fired the first salvo by offering air tickets for as less as Rs.1 (Limited number of tickets . plus taxes which is apparently Rs.221 !).

But amidst all this good news is a sense of pessimism. The number of airports and the airport conditions in general continue to be a cause of concern. But with bold privatisation reforms in the offing, the Mumbai and Delhi airports followed by the other metros are likely to become world class in the future.

Only sky is our limit !

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Main Hoon Na and the Bengal Tigers

I am normally very skeptical about the "popular" bollywood movies. I normally prefer to watch the Ram Gopal Verma types than the maudlin,artifical SRK/Karan Johar / Aditya Chopra ones. However, at the urging of a friend I agreed to see "Main Hoon Na" , which was telecast on Central TV Channel on Sunday night. Even with infinite patience I couldn't sit through the movie for more than an hour. SRK's Cycle rickshaw chase of a Jeep and the college where everyone is a "walking fashion parade" was too much to take. There is a fine line between "no logic" and "absurdity" ..... Its a shame that this movie was a super-hit last year .

Thankfully I switched channels. Animal Planet Channel had a very interesting program on the "Royal Bengal Tigers". The Bengal tigers are very unique because they share their ecosystem with a variety of animals like Crocs,dolphins,turtles,sharks and fishes. The Tigers swim between the islands in search of prey. Also the Sunderban tigers have been accused of being man eaters. It showed how the humans have forced these wonderful animals to become man-eaters.

Also of great interest was how the humans protect themselves from tigers . They often wear masks with human face on their back side (since the tiger attacks from rear) and how human dummies fitted with electric wires from car batteries are rampant (they administer a shock when touched by a tiger, training tigers not to attack humans).

I have never been to the Sunderbans. Got to plan a trip to Sunderbans and Chilka(in Orissa) to see the Bengal Tigers and the rare Olive Ridley turtles.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Thiruvachagam -- Illayaraja's musical mission

To say that Illayaraja is a genius , would be stating the obvious. He is now back with a musical mission. Raja has been busy composing music for " Thiruvachagam" ( Tiruvachagam is the collection of songs composed by Saivite saint Manikkavachagar) . Raja has used the Budapest Symphony Orchestra and he has sung most of the hymns himself ( I guess the albums would be Chorus than solos since there are around 200 singers ).

" Tamils should not die without knowing the sweetness of Tiruvachagam." Any idea if the CD has been released ?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Atom / XML Feeds

Thanks to the gemini, I enabled Atom / XML feed in my blog ( You can now see that in the right pane below Google Adsense).Its a simple but powerful format which I encourage every blogger to try out. Now blog readers can read my Blog posts using Atom / RSS Reading tools such as RSS Reader , News Gator ( The reader tools are like MS Outlook and the blog posts of the blogs to which you have subscribed arrive like emails -- Its as simple as that ! ).

Go to Blogger Help - Syndication - How do I change my Site feed settings ? to enable Atom / XML feed for your Blog. You can google to read more on RSS / Atom.