November 25th, 2011

The Cabinet decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retailing may have caused dismay among many across the country. There is no dearth of people who are critical of the central government’s move.

An HR head, who’s a good friend, from an organised Indian retail player was all happy and gay today. I thought she would be feeling a little anxious now that there may be too many players trying to take away her human resources who she spent so much training and that she may have to find freshers who will again have to be trained at a great cost of time and money.

No, she was not pretending to be delighted over the decision of the central government. She was happy that now there would be many more jobs offering big fat salaries in the retail sector. She’s also not worried about retaining her staff.

“Yessssss daarllinnnggg. It means big…, big fat salaries are on their way. I have to bide my time to make the most of it. I wonder how long I may need to wait,” was her rhetoric to my query: “Are you not worried?”

I was sure she must be losing sleep over losing people at the stores who are well-trained. She probably would have to recruit people, and train them. And, this I believed, should be worrying her. Alas!

Perhaps I need to change the way I think. I must train myself to look at the tumbler being half full or rather three quarters full rather than look at it as three quarters empty when it may be half empty.

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20 Years Hence

November 23rd, 2011

It’s been over 20 years since Professor HRR conducted his last class for the academic year when I was in the first year of my college life. The Physics professor had the ability to draw students’ interest so much that he was like the Pied Piper of Hamlin.  He had the knack of drawing the students into the subject.

For me his classes were no less than a concert that enthralled me for the whole one hour, even if it was a class at 2 pm, just after lunch. It was immersion for me, in the software parlance. Many of us would sit there in the concert hall (classroom), watching him, listening to him and trying to grab each note… rather each word he uttered.

I had never had a science teacher like him all through school. I was probably blessed to have Prof. HRR who taught what he loved to teach and always hoped his students will turn out to be those who will remain curious and have questions in their minds, always.
Ah, but if you asked him too many questions, you would get a whole list of journals and books to read so that the scientific temper is awakened. So, many who had questions, felt it was better to keep quiet and forget the questions if any in their minds. After all, studies are for just the marks, and not for gaining knowledge through ‘Scientific American’ or any other journal he could suggest. The guides were a strict ‘no-no’. “They do not allow you to think.”
The condition of most science teachers and students reminds me of the Hero Honda ad: ‘Fill it, shut it and forget it’. In case of the professor it was definitely ‘hear it, digest it and think (over) it’. Or, you get lost in the race to becoming the richest man in the world (in money terms!) with curiosity being laid to rest at the altar of mammon and the baton of the race being passed on from generation to generation.

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Chuk, chuk, chuk…!

November 4th, 2011

It was not the Toofan Express of the yesteryears. But, it fascinated me. Having been hearing about such systems running in Kolkata, Delhi, and in 158 other cities and how they make travel convenient, I decided to test out the not so useful line (don’t want to offend sensibilities calling it useless, at least for me).

The aluminum seats were functional. Hey, but for a traveller who would sometimes take 25 minutes to go from point A to B, now takes not more than 2 minutes perhaps!? That’s all the distance I travelled the first time I tested it out.
Namma Metro, which means Our Metro in Kannada (they forgot to figure out a word for Metro in Kannada!), is now 6.7 km long and is a major tourist attraction for those from the parts of the city that may never get a metro line. I am no exception.

The project first conceived sometime in the early ’80s, has been a victim of dilly-dallying on the part of the democratically elected leaders and all those who wanted to profit from the backwash effect of the metro, with places that have been bypassed losing out. The rich and the influential initially not wanting the construction in their backyard saw the line taking some sharp curves at a few places.

But, these very people have parked their money in the localities that will see the multiplier effect of the metro once the trains begin thundering down the overground tracks (yes, we Bangaloreans want to be in the Garden City where the metro lines will look like concrete paths from far above, adding to the new-age look of being a true concrete jungle).
One group that’s been attracted to it are the children. Instead of riding the toy train in Cubbon Park amidst the greenery, it’s Namma Metro they want to ride now.

We don’t want to compete with Beijing anyway. Beijing will have 561 kms of undertround lines by 2020. We will work democratically. Go slow and as unsteady as possible. Not like the Chinese, who have been so brash in building the high-speed rail networks.

Yes, we have arrived. Go Bangalore. Watch out Beijing.. we will catch up,… in a 100 years, come 2112.

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