Cerebral Shangrila

Monday, April 24, 2006

Chennai - Here I come

I would be in Chennai,India for the next 3 weeks.For most part, my blog has been strictly impersonal and I have enjoyed the pleasure of anonymity that it offered (Although most of my friends and relatives know me both by my real and reel(cyber) name).

The next week promises a lot of action on the personal front. I would be entering a new phase in my life . Life will go on and so will my blogging.

However, in the next couple of weeks I shall be unable to blog much .
I will be back by mid-may with a new found zest for life ! So long !

Friday, April 21, 2006

Lokparitran Party -- The political party with a difference

I knew it as the political outfit formed by "IIT-ans" . A fwded mail from a friend woke me up from my slumber to know more about them. The Lokparitran party founded by five IIT-ans is contesting in the upcoming assembly elections in Tamil Nadu,Kerala,Pondicherry.

For those of us who crib about lack of choice while voting, here is something to think about. Please visit their website to know more about these educated young men who want to make a difference. I wish them all the best !

Here is a list of the contesting candidates :

The contestants of Lok Paritran in Chennai:

Mylapore - Santhanagopal Vasdev (28), M.A Economics from New York University

Chepauk - P. Elanthirumaran (38), Project Manager/Software Consultant

Thousand Lights - Ishrayel Maheswar (32), MBA, M.Phil

Egmore - Prashant Sharma (48), Marketing Professional

T. Nagar - Arvind Tiruvaiyar (32) - Marketing/Social Worker

Annanagar - Rajamani (56), A senior consulting engineer, worked abroad for 25 years

Saidapet - Hariharan (28), Software Engineer

Park Town - Rabindara Ganesh (61), Social worker

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Malaysian man hit with $218 trillion phone bill

Strange things happen in the world. AP(Associated Press) reports that, "A Malaysian man said he nearly fainted when he received a $218 trillion phone bill and was ordered to pay up within 10 days or face prosecution, a newspaper reported.Yahaya Wahab said he disconnected his late father's phone line in January after he died and settled the 84 ringgit ($23) bill, the New Straits Times reported.

But Telekom Malaysia later sent him a 806,400,000,000,000.01 ringgit ($218 trillion) bill for recent telephone calls along with orders to settle within 10 days or face legal proceedings, the newspaper reported.It wasn't clear whether the bill was a mistake, or if Yahaya's father's phone line was used illegally after his death."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Made in India

The International Herald Tribune has an article on the emergence of "made in India" (the advent of India as a manufacturing hub).The article especially traces the major global manufacturing firms in Madras (Tamil Nadu,India) and hails the vision of the state of TN.

Btw, the likes of IHT,BusinessWeek still refer to Chennai as Madras ( Do they do the same for Mumbai and Kolkata ?)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Direct from Dell - Book review

Direct from Dell is a wonderful book for many reasons. First, its a business book devoid of all business jargins and told in a direct,simple style . Second, Michael Dell's lays out the mantras that has made Dell such a successful company today with a cogent flow and in-depth analysis. He is candid to admit the mistakes they made early and stresses its three golden rules -- Sell Direct, Disdain inventory and always focus on the customer.

The early part of the book describing Dell's childhood and his dorm days at Austin and his eventual drop-out from the college reveal the personal side in an otherwise professional business book. If you want to pick-up a non-nonsense good business book, then look no beyond this one. Its direct from Dell's heart and definitely focussed on the customer (Like his business !).

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Amartya Sen for President ?

I am currently reading Amartya Sen's " Argumentative Indian" (Will post a detailed review of the book once I finish reading it) . It is an amazing book and makes one admire the multi-faceted genius that Sen is and his cogent analysis founded by deep research.

Ramachandra Guha writes an opinion piece in The Telegraph on why Amartya Sen should become the next president of India. He cites 5 reasons and none can dispute the argument except for the fifth one !

Guha writes, " he would bring to this post a gravitas that it has not had for some forty years. The first two presidents were men of real distinction. Rajendra Prasad was one of the great figures of the nationalist movement, and president of the Constituent Assembly before he became president of the republic. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a world-renowned philosopher, who held a prestigious chair at Oxford, served as vice chancellor of the Andhra and Banaras Hindu Universities, and wrote some very influential works of popular scholarship. Although some honourable men have been president since — I think especially of the current holder of the office and of K.R. Narayanan — none has matched Rajen babu or Radhakrishnan for sheer, solid achievement. And that Amartya Sen will certainly do."

I have the highest respect for Bengalis . Their contribution to the field of arts,music,cinema,economics is unparalleled and the bengali "intellectual" prowess has contributed a lot to the nation. Being a hard-core quizzer,wildlife lover and music/movies fan most of my closest friends are Bengalis and I normally establish a very easy rapport and close friendship with them everywhere.Having said all this, I couldn't agree with the parochial fifth point that Guha raises .

Guha states, " The fifth reason why Amartya Sen should become president is that it would be good for Bengal. The province and its peoples have a history of more-or-less legitimate laments against the rest of India. In 1905, Bengal was partitioned, thus to divide Hindus and Muslims and make the province itself less important to India as a whole. Six years later, the partition was annulled, but then the capital was shifted from bustling, sparkling Calcutta to that decrepit old place, Delhi. In the Twenties, a scheming bania from Gujarat conspired to oust the great C.R. Das from the leadership of the national movement. In the Thirties, the bania promoted, as his successor, an aristocratic Allahabadi above the equally talented Subhas Chandra Bose.

After Independence the discrimination has continued. Through the long period of Congress rule, West Bengal was denied its fair share of Central funds, while the policies of ‘freight equalization’ sought to undermine its industrial pre-eminence. After the communists came to power in Calcutta, the Centre tried repeatedly to destabilize them. They failed, but when in 1996, Jyoti Basu should have become prime minister, it was a Delhi cabal (this time a communist one) which thwarted his chances. Finally, in 2004, India’s most successful cricket captain, a Bengali, was replaced by a less qualified man from Karnataka.

In the past, the heroes of modern Bengal have all had victory cruelly snatched from them. Snatched, as it were, at the finishing line. Subhas Bose should have been the first prime minister of India. Jyoti Basu should have become the first communist prime minister of India. Sourav Ganguly should really still be cricket captain of India. but if Amartya Sen does become president, all those failures and humiliations will be forgotten. Bengal and the Bengalis will have what they have long hoped for and, indeed, deserved — a man who was a winner at the end."

Guha, let us not the play the regional/caste game again . There is no doubt about Amartya's qualification to become a Prez but please let us not put being a bengali as one of them !

Saturday, April 15, 2006

The Double Standards -- DNA

I was reading the online edition of DNA ( Owned by Dainik Bhaskar Group & Zee group ) and could not help noticing the double standards in the journalism.

While Aamir Khan who visited the NBA activists has been portrayed in a poor light , the eternal bad boy Salman Khan has been shown as a generous man by the newspaper.

DNA says about Aamir , " Aamir Khan’s real-life Rang De Basanti proved to be a flop.In the capital on Friday to support the Narmada Bachao Andolan, Khan stirred a hornet’s nest. NBA activists, while politely thanking Khan for his support, flummoxed the actor by asking him to quit endorsing Coca-Cola" .

DNA about Salman , " If Khan’s cell mate for 71 hours, Nambardar Mahesh, is to be believed, Khan did not kill the chinkara and is innocent.Talking to DNA on Friday, he said that contrary to Khan’s screen image of a spoilt brat, the actor is polite and humble. According to Mahesh, Khan told him that an individual from Mumbai along with some locals killed the animal, and he was wrongly implicated.Mahesh recollected that Khan often talked about his mother.But Mahesh isn’t worried about doing time in jail. His only wish is that the courts do justice to Khan."

Come on give me a break ! I am tired of the Indian media .

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mob madness

One man dies. Instead of mourning for his death, the mob causes the death of six more people apart from burning buses,vehicles and bringing India's tech capital to a standstill. The riots have caused $160m loss to the IT industry. This is not the first time we are doing this madness ( Remember the Indira Gandhi assasination, MGR's death,NTR's death and so on......) and am sure it won't be the last time either.

And the joke is we call mankind a "rational animal" . It only reminds me of the Oscar Wilde quote, " Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper when he is called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason" .

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy new year

Happy new year everyone - Tamizh Puthandu / Baisakhi / Vishu / Gudi Padwa ! Work has been really hectic for me the last few days and hence didn't get time to update the blog.

Wishing you all a very bright year ahead .

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Salilda gem in Tamil

My new phone has FM capability and hence I have become a regular listener of the "Oli 96.8" - The local tamil FM Channel in Singapore. Yesterday afternoon, they were playing a wonderful song " Poovannam Pola nenjam" sung Jayachandran & Susheela. The song seemed to be set in the Shivaranjani raaga.

I thought this song would be one of the many Illayaraja's gems of the 80's ( I have heard this song a few times before and had been amazed by its melody and orchestration). Was surprised when it was announced that the music for the song was by Salil Chaudhury ( The famous Bengali-Hindi composer of immortal hits such as Madhumathi,Anand,Chemeen). I am a big fan of Salilda, and hence was surprised to learn that he had composed a tamil song !

On googling, learnt that this song is from the movie "Azhiyadha Kolangal (*ing KamalHaasan,Prathap,Shoba) " , which was the tamil directorial debut of Balu Mahendra. Here is this wonderful Song ( The audio quality is a bit average ).

Saturday, April 08, 2006

OBC Quotas at IIM,IIT's

What is it with the HRD ministers and the IIT/IIM's ? After M.M.Joshi, Arjun Singh joins the farcical act with the proposal of 27% reservation for OBC's. In which planet do these ministers live? Heck, is this another pre-election stunt?

Here is the report from Rediff.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

M&A's galore

Its just tuesday and its already raining M&A's ( Mergers & acquisitions) this week. Alcatel & Lucent finalized their merger plan. Mphasis has welcomed EDS' bid for the co. Microsoft is acquiring BI vendor Proclarity. SAP buys compliance firm Virsa Systems.

Last but not least , my previous employer CSC, the Outsourcing giant, puts itself up for sale .

Monday, April 03, 2006

China - Wonderful Pics

There lies a beautiful land behind the Iron Curtain. A stunning photo gallery of landscapes in China.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Chennai most attractive city for offshoring services

Chennai which has always been known for its work ethic and low attrition rate tops the A.T.Kearney Indian city services attractiveness index 2005.Chennai is also the cheapest metro to live in India.

Hindu Businessline reports that , "Chennai is the most attractive Indian city for offshoring services beating traditional top cities such as Bangalore, Mumbai and the National Capital Region (Gurgaon, Faridabad and Noida), according to A.T. Kearney's Indian City Services Attractiveness Index 2005, a report by the US-based A.T. Kearney, a management consulting firm.

The cities were benchmarked as attractive based on three major categories - financial costs, people skills and business environment."