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Archive for January, 2007

Tata eats Corus

First of all my apologies for not putting new content on the blog. I had just taken a few days off to my sleepy hometown where i forget all the problems I create for myself here in Bangalore. I just returned yesterday. Oh how lethargic I feel and how uninteresting it is to come out of the deep slumber and peace I felt in God’s own country. OK Life is like that and I accept it like that.

What all of us in India had been looking forward to (except the fact that Ms. Shetty bagged £ 100,000 from Celebrity Big Brother and possibly a series victory for the Men in Blue)
is finally announced . The suspense is over and Corus has found a suitor in Tata Steel. The Tata’s are thrilled to become the 5th largest Steel producer and the Indian public is thrilled and rightly so. India is not only an investment destination for Big MNC’s, It also produces powerhouses like Tata, Subex, ABG etc that have the guts to make big time acquisitions the world over. As an ordinary citizen of this country I am fortunate to be born here and I am proud of India and its people. While we continue to bask in the glory there are concerns in different quarters. Employees of Corus would be feeling the heat of possible job cuts(which the Tatas have denied) and the price of Tata Steel shares fell by over 8% in the BSE. Shareholders are sceptical about the pressure on Operating Margins of Tata Steel in the face of the expensive valuation of Corus. But I think these are knee- jerk reactions, lets give some more time to the management of Tata Steel and see what course of action they adopt.

Thank you Tata Steel for doing us proud. There is no doubt that India’s time has arrived and so lets not stop celebrating.

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Spanish Kick Off…

We began with the Spanish alphabets today. I learnt that there are 29 alphabets in Spanish and that the sounds of most of the alphabets are no what they are like in English. Our teacher is very sensitive about the pronunciation and the phonetics of the Spanish letters. You either pronounce it correct or you don’t, there is nothing in between. From the first feeling I will not have an easy time in the initial phases at-least. I have to work hard even if I have to read small words, but that is the small challenge that will make the entire experience thrilling.

My dictionary – My companion during the course and afterwards

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PS: Most of the crowd coming to the class is Hep (to say the least).

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So, my birthday went on good this year. Was it a coincidence that my promotion was announced on my birthday ? May be or may not be. May be it part of the larger scheme of things that He has in store for me. I have to say, “Thank you God for everything”.(more about my promotion in a later blog entry). Coming back to my birthday , I enjoyed the close warmth of my family and the delicious ‘payasam’(pudding) made specially for me by my wife.

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I wanted to share today a long time frustration of mine. Yes, as the title says the farce of the Do Not Call Registry. The uncontrolled proliferation of my personal cell phone number has caused many an irritation to me…irritation sometimes going on to harassment. So when the Central Bank of this country came up the idea of the the DNC I was ecstatic to no small extent. In the span of 1 hour I registered my cell phone number with the leading providers of telemarketing pleasure. Top in my list were ICICI Bank, Citibank, HDFC Bank, HSBC and giants of the like. Each one allowed me to quickly enter my personal not be called numbers and yours truly took the opportunity with great enthusiasm . In the end the banks thanked me and told me to wait for 15 days, some 30 days and so on. I was ready to wait even though i did not understand why it takes 30 days to update electronic records. You would imagine from my excitement how much i would have been harassed that I was eagerly waiting for something like the DNC to debut, but my happiness would not last too long. 15days passed and 30 days passed and so did a few months. there was a sudden increase in the calls made to my cell phone. There were calls asking for personal loans, credit cards, club memberships, life insurance, non-life insurance, vehicle insurance. There were days when I used to switch off my mobile for 6-8 hours to escape these calls. Unsolicited calls when I was in meetings, while driving, during afternoon siestas on weekends – all of these have driven me nuts. The cellular phone had become a synonym of invasion of privacy.

But I have not given up hope, I kept a record of these numbers and complained again to the banks one by one. Citibank responded and now wants 30 more days to take action. So I wait once again hoping against hope that this time at least Citibank will not disappoint me. I have also complained against ICICI bank but even after 1 week they have not acknowledged my complaint. I was unpleasantly surprised and angry when i saw a full colour ad in the TOI Bangalore edition from ICICI bank boasting of their pledge to honour the DNC and how much they cared for their esteemed customers. How I hate the tactics of deceit and dishonesty employed by these big corporates.

But in-spite of the odds i have promised myself that I will keep on fighting till I rid myself of this harassment.

I strongly feel that giving the DNC control to these unscrupulous banks was a mistake and that it is high time we have stiff legislation in place in this country to put and end to customer hounding by tele-marketers.

My cell is ringing…thank God that’s a good old friend, off i am to chat with him.see you readers later.

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Happy Birthday

Stumble upon led me to a site today [Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age] which tells you what great people have achieved by your age. I curiously entered the two digits of my achievement today and waited with baited breath to see what come. They reported the first short story of Mark Twain, Bill Gates becoming a Billionaire, invention of the Morse code and so on. but that is not the question here, I asked myself “What did I achieve ? “. A difficult question to answer and some work to be done before I can construct an answer that I can write here. Let me not worry about all these parameters of the material life, for today let me enjoy and be at peace with my own self.

Today someone reminded me what APJ said, “Life without aim is like a boat without a rudder. Keep Aim. Dream Big”

OK I have an aim and I also dream, but beyond all that I have decided that this year what is most important for me is to try and become a better human being . Rest all after that.

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Shilpa Shetty and TRP’s

Dear Ms Shetty,
I know how bad you would have felt when X, Y and Z came and bitched about you in front of you during your stay at Celebrity Big Brother .We all saw it on prime time tv and we also saw you cry. I know you have the support of a lot of Indians from the world over. If you are thinking that I am dedicating todays blog entry to extend my unconditional support to your tears – for once : you are wrong.
I feel bad that an Indian is suffering like this but I just wanted to tell you “Welcome to the world of real people and real problems” and in the words of Tom Brokaw ,”Welcome to a world of unintended consequences and unexpected realities”. The fake world of Bollywood and Cable TV denies you celebs like you, the opportunity to understand and comprehend real world problems. Problems like discrimination based on caste, color, creed and race are rampant in our society even when we boast of rapid transformation into the digital age. We say India is Shining and India is Poised but we tend to forget that 10% growth YOY will only make sense when we identify and weed out fundamental problems like poverty, unemployment and illiteracy. Only knowledge can set us free of the shackles of discrimination, religious and regional chauvinism etc. I am reminded of Tagore’s lines :

WHERE the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

PS: Actually i wanted to avoid this topic but I was disappointed at the way National TV was avoiding the fundamental issues and was only discussing Shilpa Shetty and her exploits in the UK. I am waiting for the day when TRP’s will be driven by content and not by sensationalism. Perhaps there will be never such a day ..Alas.

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Long Inspired

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As a young boy in school, I was particularly inspired by these lines from the poem ‘The Golden Journey to Samarkand’ composed by James Flecker.

We are the Pilgrims, Master
We shall go always a little further,
It may be beyond the last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or glimmering sea …

At times I become complacent and retire within the limits of my own self, only to realize later that I have lost a lot of precious time that could otherwise have been committed to a better purpose. Whenever I remember these lines , I feel the need to wake up and start walking again because my goals are too far away and I have to keep moving.

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My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
His Grace Lord Suresh the Lachrymose of Fritterton on the Marshes
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

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Learning Español…

spanish.gifSo what’s new in life and what’s interesting. A little birdie just told me that the time is now with the New Year to implement one of my NY resolution – I will learn a new language this year. So off I am to Centro Latino, to learn Spanish. I went for the first session last weekend and yo i think the instructor is good. Mimi (our instructor’s name) hates the Internet and Internet based translators. (she knows the horrible translation sometimes produced by freetranslate . Anyway, my expectation from the course is simple, i want to be able to read simple passages by this April. Let’s see how much I succeed. for now

Adios,

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Tuesdays with Morrie

Tuesdays with Morrie One of those books that makes a profound impact on your life and the way you think. An invitation to introspect more into what life actually means by looking at the most dreaded aspect of life for most of us – Death.

The Book is a memoir of the “Tuesday Classes” Mitch Albom attended with his old professor, Morrie Schwartz. The central theme of the book is perhaps as effort to study and understand human relationships. That’s what touched me the most. In particular I appreciate the manner in which the most significant teachings in life have been brought out to the fore. I always like books that force me to think and the teachings from this one just linger on in my mind and force me to recalculate the parameters that drive my life.

I reproduce here some lines from the book that are most thought provoking.

1. “Once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”

2. “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when i wake up , I am reborn” (Mahatma Gandhi)

3.”I’ve learned this much about marriage,” he said now.”You get tested . You find out who you are, who the other person is , and how you accommodate or don’t”

I think each one of us must read this book at least once. Try it. I can guarantee that you will experience a positive shift in your attitude towards others and life in general. Before I sign off, Thanks R for recommending the book to me.

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Hello Blogtown !

Finally i have succumbed to the idea of starting my own blog. I have a minority interest in writing and a majority interest in thinking. But to bring about a little bit of balance to the whole drama of life i thought i will also write something that catches my attention and is worth sharing with all of you readers.

In my blogs I will abide by some simple rules:

1) Be truthful.

2) Be amusing: never tell unkind stories; above all, never tell long ones.(inspired by Disraeli)

3) Never hurt anyone.

and I will ensure that “Sunshine Days” is most regular.

Note: a) Please use RSS feeds to feel the pulse of my bloglife.

b) My blogs are open to comments, please do scribble your views

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