Tuesday, December 21, 2010



When we see dates represnted like this, now a days (atleast after 9/11) our mind first thinks what is the worst that happened on this day.

In the last ten years so, along with many other things good things happened in the world, few worsts (wish there were only few!) also happened. 9/11(New York Twin Towers attack), 26/11 (Bombay blasts), 7/7 (London blasts), 26/12 (Tsunami) and earlier this year 13/2 (Pune blasts) - think of the damage to the lives, society, anger, scare, worries and the new risks these events have created, mind boggling!!. But all these have given us new learnings, which the world is practicing to avoid future incidents like these.

You may think, what is this 22/12? - It is my costly holiday ever!

I am writing here about my personal worst which happened on 22-Dec-2007 during our holiday in India (used to live in UK those days). My family (me, my wife, my 7 year old son and 8 months old daugther) decided to spend our Christmas and New Year in India with family and friends.

I have taken my wife to a Doctor for an consultation for herina (consulted few Doc in UK prior to the holiday and the recommendation was to do a surgery and it not an urgency), the Doctor whom we met also said the same thing (surgery), but only thing he said was “get it done the next day” and we could go back to UK as planned. We were sort of “mesmerised” by the sweet talk, did not think too much and trusted him so mcuh, got the surgery done next day and some complications post surgery and she passed away on 22-Dec-2007 leaving behind the children and me – isn’t a very costly holiday (mistake)? (The details on how the things unfolded can be read by an internet search on my name)

Keeping the story short, like the world worsts gave learning; there were quite a few learning from my 22/12; I keep advising many others about the hard learning we had; thought I can give my point of view when it comes to health

a) Do not get carried away by advertisement / TV shows / big buildings

b) Please do not rush

c) Do your own due diligence, particularly when things are not an emergency

d) Try and understand the medical terms, do research prior (use internet well)

e) Please ask questions, at every stage.

f) Don’t say “I can spend anything”

g) Know patient rights

h) Have second, third opinions before taking any critical decisions

Above all, lead a healthy life – and my new principle is “Don’t meet a Doctor, if you want meet, do so as a friend or relative” for that lead a healthy life. Frankly I have few Doctors whom I met as a patient but having good relatiionship as friend – things are not that bad everywhere, but we need to be careful.

Thanks for reading, and finally I wish we get to see more of 25/12s (Jesus Christ birthday) and 2/10s (Mahatma Gandhi's birthday) to the world and not those of 9/11 types.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


When Orange is called as ORANGE, why not Apple is called as RED, …. This is a query by a 4 year old to a Ph.D, the Ph.D was stunned by this question and unable to answer (one of my colleague told me during a dinner conversation).

These kind of questions like this 4 year old are very curious, no assumptions made, boundaryless and no fear to ask any question. I think manytimes, innovation / invention comes out of curious thinking (why, why not, how…).

Does a child like thinking motivate innovation? May be “yes”, a boundaryless thinking without any preconcived notion helps I suppose. Don’t think you and me would have asked this question. What is your view? Do you have examples of this child thinking kind of behaviour at work/business led to innovation?

I also want to take this topic from a parental side of things. I am sure many parents would have faced, curious and sometimes tough questions. As I parent, I have faced these kind of questions many times (like “why railway tracks also coming along with us”, “when Tata can make salt, why not Honda can make sugar”, “why pilots are not called as plane drivers”, …..), I am sure you would have faced questions like this from little ones. How many times we would have attempted to give correct answer to the child.

Keeping a direct and honest approach helps and paying attention to the child’s unique level of understanding and also knowing when the questions have been answered without crossing the fine line of too much information (for questions like “why I did not come out from daddy’s tommy”). At the same time parent should never be afraid to tell a child they don’t know an answer, but should be willing to research and find answers to the questions asked. When you have discovered the answer you have given is incorrect, the child should be informed which will enable the little one to develop the culture of admiting mistakes.

I am curious to know what are the questions your children asked, how tough was it to answer, how interesting was it?

By the way, I did some serach for the Orange question and got two versions; not sure of the real answer though

- Orange derives from Indian, tamil naranthai to Sanskrit nāraṅgaḥ "orange tree", with borrowings through Persian nārang, Arabic nāranj, Spanish naranja, Late Latin arangia, Italian arancia or arancio, and Old French orenge, in chronological order. The first appearance in English dates from the 14th century. The name of the colour is largely derived from the fruit, first appearing in this sense in the 16th century

- ORANGE is split in Tamil as AARU(no 6)and ANJU(no5). When Orange is split half - half you find most of the time 6 pieces on one side and 5 pieces on the other side.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Role reversal?

Few months ago, my father was sick, was treated under ICU and now recovering . Post his hospitalisation, when he was just coming back to normality and I took him a saloon to get this hair trimmed for a bright look. My father and the barber were looking for me for instructions on what to do, I was giving instructions to the barber like, “cut it short”, “trim the mush”, etc,etc

This incident made me to recollect my childhood heads (some 30 years ago), when my father used to take me to hair dressers and give instructions to the barber on how my hair should look (it was always summer cut, which I used to hate!) and on that day I was trying to give instructions for my father’s hair cut. Is this role reversal?

I was thinking about this many times in the last few months in the area of learning, we are always (or mostly) sterotyped that children should learn from parents, students should learn from teachers, junior colleagues should learn from Sernior collagues (Managers), and so on. There is nothing wrong in this, of course these coaching comes from experience, exposure, skills and education. But, when the teaching happens on the reverse (junior to senior) do we generally accept? May be a lot of we can learn from juniors, childrens, students, uneducated, etc

Let me share with your one such thing I learnt from my son. I was taking my children to Mahabalipuram (near Chennai), we took a short break on the East coast road for refreshing tender coconut. My son, inserted the straw in the coconut, sipped a little bit (without water entering his mouth), took the straw out with hand closed on one side and let the coconut water on the ground, he put the straw otherway around and repeated the process. I asked him, “Karthik, why are you wasting the water?”, his response was “I am cleaning the straw, though the coconut water may be good, with dirt in the straw it will make it bad”. I learnt this simple technique from my son. (of course, I read about pressure and surface tension in physics during my school days, but learnt one application that day from my son)

One more comment of one of our Sr colleage comes to my mind. I was in the panel dicussoion during “Inernational Womens’ day celebration” in our office with Sr women collegues talking to other collegues on how they came up in life, specfically around balancing home and work, etc. One of our Sr manager in the panel said, “I am a PM (Proj Manager) at work, I will be PE (Proj Engineer) at home”, in simple terms she said whatever level I am at work, I am flexible to learn from others at home (be it mom-in-law, husband, children, relatives,etc)

I have had many learnings from my junior colleagues at work too – business etittqutte, working on spreadsheets, etc.

Do you think role reversal from the standard (teacher – student) helps in learning? My views is “yes”. What do you think, can you share examples of learning you had from your children, juniors, students, your servant maids, etc

Jumping off from the plane!!

Few weeks ago many would have seen the news flash about Jet Airways 9W2302 (Mumbai – Chennai flight - 27Aug) emergency evacaution.

I was also in the same flight along with two other colleagues of mine, sitting next to emergency exit. I was one of the first passenger to jump out of the plane, had a slide on the wings and had to jump off atleast about 3-4 feet from the wings, landed on my knee and suffered minor injury.

Many who exited through the wings suffered minor to major injury (fractures) and people who have exited through the chute were relatively okay. Some elederly passengers were traumatised.

"All izz not well". This incident is a wake up call for many

a) Passengers – who generally ignore the safety demonstrations, need to pay attention (incidently for the first time I read the safe brouchure completely on this flight as I was in emergency exit… do I know this is coming?). Many passengers got out with their bags and baggages , during emergencies like this life (self and others) are more important than materials!

b) Airlines – not sure how many drills the crew would have gone through to handle situation like this. Still there are questions whether standard operating procedures were followed

c) Airport – can’t imagine in an important airport like Mumbai, it has take more than an hour for first aid. We were on the airside for about 20 mins, on the coach standstill for about 20 mins and on the terminal building for first aid for 20 mins+. The medical room is very small, two wheel chairs can’t make the way. It was a quite time (10pm), the airport and airlines could have used all the space.

On the positive side, the airlines were well prepared when we landed at Chennai at 2am on an alternate aircraft. There were enough staff, doctors, ambulances, care takers, taxis, etc.

DGCA has suspended the pilots and the crew of the flight, in my opinion they have taken a decision of calling emergency based on the situation, what if they ignored and things became worse in mid-air, again people would have blamed the pilot for not taking action. Certainly, airlines and the authorities need to investigate the procedural aspects and the flaws on evacuations, but suspension at this juncture is little too much.

I wish you all a very safe journery whereever you travel.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spill Art !

Recently my three year old daughter spilled milk from the mug, usual hue and cry…

When I looked t the spill, it is like a 4 legged animal (dog?) with a thin neck and a short tail.... sharing this to the bloggers.

Instead of screaming at her, I said to her good art and told her to be careful; she also looked at sometime and ejoyed her art. (She spilled milk again next day - but no art)

looking things at different angle gave me bit of positive energy to deal with this simple situation.
what's your view

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Correct is wrong?

Of late, I keep asking this question to myself “is Correct is wrong?”.

These questions come to me from few day to day activities. Let me quote few examples;- in our office campus, we have a long driveway from the main road to the campus and the speed limit set is 20Km/h in the driveway and parking lots. I normally maintian the speed limit; but I found many overtake me, some get irritated and honk and few even make gestures for my “wrong doing” of driving slow. Me driving slow (on the speed limit), make others to overtake, which is increasing risks to other drivers / road users (for which I am feeling bad), and so is my correct is wrong?

Very recently; I landed in Mumbai airport and went to queue “free phone counter” for taxi booking. There was only person on the phone; I was just giving some private space for him and wating for my turn for the phone. As soon the person kept the phone, a young educated lady barged in and picked up the phone for taxi booking. Here again, me patiently waiting for my turn and also giving private space for the other caller is wrong? – Correct is wrong!

There are many small instances, which I think it is correct, but others think it is not or not very appropirate. Do you also face these kinds of conflicts? What do you think?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Smile - Great asset to "Service"

One morning (3 months ago), I walked in to the Amul tuck shop (at my office cafe) to have some snacks, I was hungry and did not have breakfast that morning. I found the lady at the shop facing otherway around and doing some work, I waited for some time (1 min) and decided to interrupt her; instead of saying “hello” or “excuse me”, I said “Good morning Madam”, she turned around and I could see a shock (expression of why is this person wishing me) in her face and said “what do you want Sir”. It is a simple thing to wish someone Good morning and why it should be a surprise for her, if I think back, are we only interacting with people at same “levels” or it is the feeling of not required of not bothering to wish people like security, auto driver, etc

Whenever I visit the shop later, she started wishing me with a smile. Smile is a great asset for “Customer Service”.
I am sure all your would have many experience like this (as a receipnt of Service or provider of Service)
Do you want to share your comments and experience with the bloggers…

Monday, February 22, 2010

Friday Lunch Box

First, a small introduction about me as a preamble to the topic. I am widowed about two years ago when my wife died leaving behind me and our 8 months old daugther and 7 year old son. From then on I had a play a dual role at home (father and mother). As a conscious fat(mot)her I wanted to give the best to my children and to an large extent they should not miss anything b'cos of loss of their mother.

Now, let me come to my daugher who is 2.5 years now and for the last four-five months she is in a play school, spends about 3 hours everyday. Mostly only moms come in to the playschool, to drop the children, school function, trip, etc and I will be lone dad in those school events. How do I make my daughter feel she is special?

I have started making her lunch box slightly different every Friday, the same food (dosas, chappati, etc) is made in a different look and feel. I started designing dosas on the “tawa” and called it (atleast me and my daugher), areoplane dosa, girl dosa, star dosa, shapes, giraffe dosa, traffic light dosa, etc. This little thing has helped my daughter to eat at school (without getting fed by someone) and at the same time she is felt very special. In fact the school teachers are now looking forward for Jasmitha’s (my daughter) “Friday Lunch Box”

Drawing parallel into the corporate leadership world, do you think we need to make our people special? My view is “yes” and we can do this in a simple way, it need not be weekly, but can be yearly or on some events. One idea is to wish them on their anniversary, not only birthday and marriage, on the anniversary day of joining the organisation. We shoudn’t put a software and make “auto text” these wishes, it should be so special, write personal mails, it will be even great if you handwrite them a card or even in a piece of paper.

Let me give you some examples which I came across on making someone special.
- Last year one day I got a mail which said “three years to go” from an ex-colleague who used be one of my supervisor earlier. The meaning was, it is three years to go for me to complete 20 years in the Company. This leader made me so special that day.

- Few months ago, one of my colleague completed 15 years in Wipro. On that day I and my colleague from HR made a surprise visit to his house at 730am, wished him for his long 15 years in the company and thanked his wife and daughter with sweets and flowers for their support. He and his family felt very special.

- During our recent event in our company, I have noticed a group of ~25 people together chatting and taking a group photograph. It is their leader who clings on every opportunity to connect with his team and he used the event more memorable for his team. It is not a surprise that this leader is one of the Best People Manager last year.

Do you think making somemone special in corporate world helps in bonding to the organisation / person? Can you share with the group on some of simple things you have done to make people around you special and the occassions you have been made special by someone.

Thanks for reading this blog and your comments and now I need to think of what snacks for next “Friday Lunch Box” (any ideas for Friday lunch box are welcome)