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Happy New Year 2012 !

On this new year eve
I give myself these words
Words that remind of memories
Words that mean a lot

The year gone by was eventful
of actions good and bad
memories that make me proud
few that make me sad

out in this wild jungle called world
I started wrestling my way
won some battles, lost out few
took some decisions, thought they were right

A new me was created
a layer of experience added
with adventures that were unknown
dimensions that were dreams

Now I stand waving goodbye
to an year that’s gone by
welcoming with all arms
a new year full of charms

I gift these words not just for past
but for future bright and warm
with promise of joy and love
and success by leaps and bounds.

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Blogadda Book Review : A Flawed God

Title : A Flawed God

Author: Arjun Shekhar

ISBN: 9789350090572

“A Flawed God” is the first book of Arjun Shekhar, an HR professional and now running a consulting firm Vyaktitva from where the experiences inspire him to write this book.

The book an be described as a thriller for most of the part where Sachit, the protagonist assumes the role of a Hero rising from his lackadaisical corporate life. The book adds value through the concept of using the employees as owners of the company which is on opposite ends of concept of shareholder ownership. While employee ownership of company has been considered a moral hazard in corporate world, the author is successful in convincing the reader’s of its validity by implementing it through a all employee decision making authority called the Front Line Parliament. Though the concept and its implementation looks like bookish theory, the author is successful in keeping the reader’s hooked on to the book through inbuilt action/drama of HR director being kidnapped and Sanchit’s heroic deed of freeing his boss. While the element of romance could have been done away with, you do find the cute romance developing between Sanchit and Pause, another main character who plays a main role in development of Sanchit’s character. The author adds a unique flavor to each of its characters and you will end up loving each and every one of it.

While part 2 of the book is all about drama, action, love and heroism, Part 1 is more of a mystery journey which Sanchit undertakes after receiving a mysterious invitation from the “Progress in Work Collectives” a mysterious organization which runs an invisible initiative to put the organization’s staff at the center of its strategy. Sanchit who has been dragged into the corporate world after ending his cricketing career due to a max fixing scam, finds himself utterly demotivated in his job. This invitation brings to him the much needed excitement and he proceeds to Turkey for Lazuli Playshop for induction in the guild. Just when the journey becomes exciting with all the suspense & hype it leaves the readers hanging in the middle by saying  that there is a separate report published as a booklet which contains the description of the Workshop. The second part of the book though exciting is for most parts disconnected from part 1. These two are probably the only faults in the book.

The book ends with an exciting thriller climax where things happen super fast. HR Director rising to the occasion and taking the leadership role to make Frontline Parliament a success is as fast as the disclosure that the “Collectives” was all a hoax played by Pause on Sanchit. But the pace is good for the adrenalin rush you get by the moment you reach the climax anticipating what all can happen next.

Finally, The book is a good read for its unique subject & for the fact that it talks about corporate culture in an intelligent & entertaining manner.

This book review is part of the “Book Review” program by Blogadda. More such reviews can be found here. I would like to thank Blogadda and its team for providing this opportunity to read and review this book.

A Knotted Rope

The composition is a work of fiction based on writer’s understanding of the emotions a guy/girl would feel when his/her lover tries to return back into their life after a bitter breakup. Any resemblance to any person or situation is purely coincidental.

Knotted Rope

You wake me up, only to say
that I should have been the one to make it all go away
The lies, the fakes, the senseless fights
all coming back to give you sleepless nights

You want me to break the silence and make you understand
the good and the bad, while holding your hand
I don't have the strength to do it all again
and though I still care for you, its time to turn away

You say you want to bridge the gap
forget the acrimony that lasted the nap
I give you that for it doesn't matters anymore
A knotted rope will never be perfect like before.

Day before yesterday I was part of an unfortunate accident in Delhi. Fortunately there wasn’t any injuries and car took only a few damages what was most disheartening to see was the insensitivity of the Delhi Police officers present there and the indifferent attitude of the public there.

Being a Friday, it was heavy rush and four of us from office were trying to make our way to a party in Saket. Just while we are trying to inch forward near the Police Training School on Press Enclave Road, a Police Bus rammed into our car. Shocked as we were only to realize that the Bus was still accelerating dragging the car. I was on the impact side hence unable to get out, but a few of us got out and stopped the bus driver from doing further damage. No major injuries done we took stock of the car and the bus driver.

The Bus Driver was drunk ! Driver in a Police Training School where they teach don’t drink and drive – Irony !. While the driver admitted being drunk he made no attempts to come out of the bus. Meanwhile a police jeep came and we tried explaining them the entire thing. Here is where the drama of highly insensitive police starts

Police Officer: I get your situation. Your best bet is to call 100

Me: <A little surprised> Sir, You are 100

Police Officer: I am off duty. I just came to submit my jeep. You have to call 100.

Bewildered, confused and annoyed at this behavior we heard commotion of people asking the bus to get out of the way. We had already parked our car on a service lane to enable traffic to pass through.

Police Officer to Bus Driver: Park this bus on the side.

Me: Sir, The Driver is dead drunk. He cannot even start the bus leave alone driving it to the side before hitting something else.

Police Officer: Hmmm…But I cannot do anything. He has to remove the bus first.

After this we didn’t expect any help from police.

Meanwhile a person whose car was behind the bus and hence unable to go forward came to us and started shouting that why are we blocking the bus. We told him the bus driver is drunk, has hit our car and unable to drive the bus further. He wasn’t ready to listen with his only concern of getting further from the traffic. The indifference made me realize how we just react to situations if it affects us. People would care if the accident happens to there known ones else they don’t mind checking. I’ve been to Delhi for almost 2 years now, and I have seen people blocking the road for minor scratches on their car received from another vehicle while they couldn’t wait for 10 mins for the subject in accident to resolve the matter. I did wonder if I was also like that; maybe from now I will make an effort to be more sensitive because what if I was the one in the accident like in this case.

Frustrated as were from being stuck in traffic for 2 hours, being hit by a bus and disappointed form the police we decided not to waste time further and move on. We were just thankful that everybody was OK.

“There are some moments in history that will be milestones recognized by future generations. This is one such milestone. Today, we see the beginning of a dream realized, a dream in which every student in every corner of this country will have access to technology that defines the 21st Century.”

These were the words of Mr. Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development at the launch of Aakash tablet. The tablet whose commercial name is Ubislate7 is a dream come true for many. The power of technology within reach.

I just pre-ordered my Tablet today to be part of the dream, the change that is going to cause a revolution in digital media and education. And for those who are interested in doing the same, the same can be pre-ordered using the Toll Free No. 1800-180-2180. I was told that the tablet will arrive in Market in mid-December but I guess as per news information floating on the market its expected to arrive anytime end of this month. So I guess mid-December is when waitlist would move to my order number.

The Tablet is priced at INR 3000 for the commercial version. Good news is that it is also available for INR 1750 for students but for that the school/college principal/dean has to approach the company Datawind.

For those who want to know why you should be impressed with the Aakash Tablet here is what you get for INR 3000

  • 7-inch resistive touchscreen display
  • Screen Resolution of 800 x 480 pixels
  • Android 2.2 Froyo Operating System
  • 366 MHz processor
  • Lightweight – 350 gms weight
  • 256MB RAM and 2GB Flash Memory
  • PDF Viewer and Text Editor with support for various formats of documents
  • Connectivity – GPRS, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g
  • 1 USB 2.0 Standard Port
  • 3.5mm headset jack for Audio output

 The difference between the student version and commercial version is that the student version would have only wifi, no sim card slot option and no access to android market. The commercial version would have  wifi, sim card slot and also access to android market.

So go ahead and be part of the Indian Revolution.

Are you aged 25-26 ?

25-26 is certainly not a nice age for a man….

Your ex-gfs are getting married , Your career has just started, Elders treat you as unproven theorems, College guys feel that you are too old to have in there group.

You seem to enjoy both cartoon and news. You can no longer eat whatever you wish without putting on weight. You look like an ape if you don’t shave daily. You are not invited for weekend cricket matches.

Every Aunt you meet asks ‘Shaadi kab kar rahe ho beta!!’ while uncle asks ‘Career ka kya socha hai beta…?’. When the reality is that you are just riding the wave and going with the flow. You have all the confidence in the world but little achievements to show, You already have the first hand experience of the life, You know that whatever you have been taught about the world in schools has been sheer waste of time. You can be denied a job even after passing the test and you could be given a job if you know someone placed high enough. Politics till now was a dirty word but now you feel it everywhere.

You know now love is not that blind and that friendship has its terms and conditions. You know there is nothing for granted and free lunches are not free. Your overconfidence is now making way for a humble conscience. You now know it is not exactly what you thought it would be.

No, don’t think I am being pessimistic. It’s just a phase of life where luckily reality has stricken me. And as one of my friends said, be optimistic ! you never know if you might remember this period as a golden era when you turn 30, have a wife, a kid and a decent job but loose the freedom you used to have. Is this optimism or even more pessimism, it amuses me.

Recently I bought a deal from mydala.com where based on a lucky draw they were giving away McD coupons worth Rs. 500 for Rs.10. I found the idea most amusing as a website publicized to be a deal website was doing lucky draws and speculative gambling on deals. The catch was that in case you don’t win you would be refunded through mydala point which can be used later.

Just to try the concept, I spent Rs. 10 to get the deal. Here is the snapshot of the voucher which I got

So why I think mydala is totally trying to screw up with customers

1. The model of deals on base of lucky draw is like gambling where chances of loosing are more than of winning. So effectively mydala is making you deposit money in form of points which either end up lying there just like that (since you don’t bother about a small sum of Rs. 10 spent on a deal) or ultimately you will make a deal just to get out these points and in the process giving revenue to the website.

2. The voucher itself is highly confusing and prepared to fool the customer. The expiry date mentioned is 1 day before the date of purchase. Further when I called up customer care to clarify this, she said only if the mail says “Congratulations” should I think that I have won the voucher. I dutifully told her that the mail says “Congratulations” to which she said did some verification and came to conclusion that the Congratulations is for getting the mydala voucher safe and sound in my inbox but not the McD voucher. I really don’t feel the need to be getting congratulated for a voucher which is of value zero.

I am sure there are couple of other such websites which try to fool around people with such tactics. Luckily the customer care of mydala was polite which calmed me and allowed me a chuckle as I let Rs. 10 go into the kitty of the website and registered as my points (which I don’t know when I would use).

I am most certainly curious if any of the reader’s have won any deal through such draws on any website. let me know your views too.

The views expressed in this post are personal to that of the author. 

मेरी प्रिये !

तेरी याद में एक नशा है

यह सच है दुनिया गवाह है !

अगर तुम पर..ओ सनम..वक़्त जाया करना है गुनाह

तो लटका  दो मुझे नहीं है परवाह !

मैं रहूँगा हमेशा  दिल में तेरे

बोल बनेगी क्या मेरी प्रिये !

Due credits to my friend Varun for the English version which was reproduced in hindi.

A unique discussion came up with a fellow customer while buying my weekly groceries. It caught my attention for the uniqueness, simplicity and yet the potential dangers in it. It’s a way which is used(quite frequently to my surprise) by local people belonging to lower middle class societies to fulfill their debt needs and investment aspirations. It’s something they call the Committee System.

Now the traditional means of getting debt at a local level involves either dealing with a bank (which grants loans based on lots of financial criteria) or borrowing from a friend (lot of trust involved if you ask for a big amount) or the local money lenders (which charge huge interest). These are all difficult avenues for lower middle income class and lower income class people. Similarly investment options are very limited to PPF and Post Office Savings. It is probably these reasons which led to the development of this unique methodology of investment and debt raising. How legal is it I am unable to comment but I thought it would be interesting to share and get views.

The Committee System involves a group of people (can range from 5-20) coming together to form a “Committee” where each person contributes certain amount of money towards a corpus of funds. Typically the person initiating the committee is the cashier and is responsible for each transaction and servicing of everything that goes for that particular committee.  So for example lets assume that Mr. X is the cashier of a committee floated by him having 10 members and each member contributes Rs. 10,000 towards the corpus which amounts to Rs. 1,00,000. Now the committee holds an auction among the 10 members for granting this corpus as a debt. The auction amount is basically the interest portion on the corpus. So in our committee of Mr. X with a corpus of Rs. 1,00,000 the auction starts at lets say Rs. 5000. What is means is that the person bidding Rs. 5000 will, if he wins the auction at that bid, take the Rs. 1,00,000 corpus for a cost of Rs. 5000 so effectively he will get Rs. 95,000. The start amount is declared by the cashier because in case their is no higher bid he has to take on the debt. So each member is given a chance to bid. Let’s assume that Mr. Z is the winner of the auction at Rs. 10,000. So Mr. Z will get and Rs. 90,000 (Corpus of Rs. 1,00,000 at a loss of Rs. 10,000). The Rs. 10,000 bid amount is divided among the 10 people forming the committee. So at a investment of Rs. 10,000 each member get profit of Rs. 1,000 upfront. The principal amount has to be paid by Mr. Z in a time-frame (lets assume 12 months) on 15th of each month.

For Investor

Upfront investment = 10,000

Upfront interest = 1,000

Principal per month for 12 months = 833

(Effective Rate of Return) IRR = 20.2% per annum

Similary,

For Borrower

Loan Taken = 1,00,000

Upfront interest paid = 10,000

Principal Installments for 12 months = 8330

Effective interest Rate (IRR) = 20.2% per annum

Innovative and effective ! And most importantly useful for those who can’t get debt from banks. Now obviously there are risks here. The biggest is the credit risk that the person does not pays the principal payments. In that case the burden falls on the cashier to pay the members of committee. For the same reason committee are often formed between close members of society where trust level is high. As I said before, I cannot comment on the legality of this system although my fellow buddy did tell me that they do paperwork (enforceability of which is again doubtful to me).

Have you heard or know such a system in place ? Are there other such unique models out there among the local masses. Let me know 🙂 !