Monday, October 26, 2009

Motivation - The last stretch always seems too long!

When you don't even have time to think,
And time flies by in a blink,
Where do you look for the drive?
To keep ignited in you that fire.

Passion has always pushed me on and on,
But now I wonder whether I'm falling down.
I need a sign to keep me standing strong,
The last stretch always seems too long.

But, yes I do know that I have to finish this race... and then go on to finish all the other races... For of course, however, we try to hide from it, we are in this Rat Race called "Life"! I wonder when I'll be out of it... and look down at the race and smile!

A.R.Rahman - The Mozart of Chennai

A friend of mine sent me a link ( to a new Hollywood film called Couples Retreat starring Vince Vaughn amongst others produced by Universal Pictures. To my surprise, the soundtrack is totally composed and produced by none other than our very own A.R.Rahman ( For those ignorant of the name, A.R.Rahman is most known around the globe for his Oscar award for Slumdog Millionaire - he's the one who composed "Jai Ho".

The movie even has a Tamil song that is awesome! Well, now if that's not taking Tamil and India to the world, what is? We truly have a global Indian now! I've just been listening to the music and the songs seem to have a Jamaican beat to it apart from the Indian tablas gracing a few of the tracks!

For those who have been following A.R.Rahman from "Roja" - his first entry into mainstream films, this is seen as an accomplishment of sorts. I was very young when Roja released. I think I was eight years old at that time and till date I still do believe that the soundtrack for that movie was almost his best! I still listen to the songs from that movie 16 years later! I have been following every single movie of his and have never been disappointed with the music! And now I can't wait to watch the movie, Couple's Retreat to see how the music blends with the movie. Now whether this movie is a hit or a flop, this heralds a new dimension to Hollywood -entry of Indian music into mainstream Hollywood films... I do wonder though, if there would be more dance sequences like in Indian films! Ha ha ha!!! That would be funny! To watch Hollywood stars break out into  colourful dance sequences!!

Way to go A.R.Rahman! We are truly proud of you!  Jai Ho!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

One night at the Police Station

I had never been to a police station in the Philippines (Touch wood) and I thank god for keeping me clear of those lovely gentlemen whose responsibility is to guard and protect us. However, I landed up having to go there for no fault of mine. A colleague of mine from work called me frantically to help her out with an issue at about 4 in the morning. Her room-mate and friend was apparently in jail! Both of them are Austrians and haven't been in the country for more than 2 weeks. So she had no clue what to do and I couldn't decline to help a "damsel in distress"!

I diligently carry my PRESS ID (I work with Management Systems Asia - An Asian business magazine and so of course that makes me part of the PRESS) not really knowing what I would do with it at a Police station. I go along with her to the station which took me almost an hour to find and see that this guy has been into a brawl with a few of the bouncers at Tabu. They brought him to the station and filed charges against the guy. When I asked the bouncers (security guards) to tell me what happened - The guy tells me that this Austrian guy was fooling around with the girls at the bar and when he was questioned he hit the bouncer. The security guy also showed me his jeans which were torn and said that it tore because he was kicked there!

When I asked my colleague more about the guy (let's call him Tony for now), she said that the story was highly unlikely because Tony was gay and moreover he was not a violent person and couldn't really harm a fly! Anyway, it didn't really make sense to me to try to fight it out.

I however did make it very clear to the cops and the bouncers that I was a member of the PRESS and they couldn't get away with trying to scare me with all of their big talk. I saw that this stand of mine did wonders to quicken things. I understood that the cops and these two bouncers were working together to try to extort as money as they could from us. I didn't want to have a long and fruitless argument with those guys and that too so early in the morning. I just wanted to finish the issue and get home to my cozy bed! We landed up paying about 2000 pesos to that guy to get his jeans replaced and also for his "medical check-up"!

A funny thing that happened to me during this whole incident was that the cop was being over friendly to me once he knew I was with the PRESS and he even asked me for my business card so that we could stay in touch! Most of the cops there at the station asked for my number and so did the security guards. So much for being a part of the media.

So that was my first experience of being to a police station here in Manila and as I thought of the experience much later, I do realize that apart from the numerous other things that I have learnt from AIM, I have learnt to fine tune my negotiation skills as I feel I did a pretty good job of sorting things out at the Police Station. Well, that was most of my "One night (Ok... Just a few hours) at the Police Station"

Diwali Party at AIM

Last evening was super awesome on many counts! We celebrated Diwali at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). There were a number of cultural shows - participation was from various parts of the world. And the best part of it was that we actually had a dance for a Tamil Song - "Appadi Podu". Am sure the videos of the event will soon start surfacing on youtube and I will link it to this post as soon as I do see one.

My friends at AIM actually managed to convince me to do a small 30 second Cameo in their dance program since I really am passionate about "Dapanguthu" - A south Indian form of folk dance ( . Well, it was well worth it as it gave me the energy to go on for the rest of the night! It was a night of sorts as I actually tired myself out dancing, spoke to so many people, found myself at so many places..... I even visited the Police Station! More on the Police Station in my next post!

All of this just makes me wonder how life would be just a month away from now when I will be done with my MBA at AIM! Most of my friends would leave and go back to India while I'm gonna be staying back here. How different would life be? I wonder if it would become boring and make "Philippines" look not that attractive anymore? My circle of friends in the Philippines would go down by about 70% as most of the close friends I have right now are from school.

But I'm sure that would open me up to even bigger challenges and that would make me speak to more people around the country and forge new relationships and bonds with the people of this country. My quest to understand the Filipino culture would be accelerated by the change in my environment.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Diversity and Cultural Harmony at AIM

Just got back from school - The Asian Institute of Management... and this evening actually further reassured me that I never did make a mistake to come out of India to do my Masters in Business Administration! I saw unity amidst such cultural diversity once again! There were a bunch of Juniors studying quietly at one end of the Zen garden for some exam they have tomorrow... At another end there were a bunch of exchange students from France, Belgium, Germany and Austria dancing to a Punjabi song! And at yet another end... a bunch of Indians dancing for a Tamil song! All of this for the Diwali celebrations at AIM tomorrow! Now this has got to be an eye opener of sorts for anyone watching... to see the kind of harmony between people from all across the globe! The Europeans were so interested in learning why Indians celebrate Diwali and they actually are closely involved with all of the activities for next evening.....

All of this again makes me wonder how life is going to be exactly one and a half months from now! I finish my MBA and get back to working.... Will for sure miss the school life... I guess this is going to be the last bit of formal schooling or education in my life (Famous last words... some people may say)! I also wonder at times whether I am making a mistake to choose not to go the huge corporate life way and instead take a different part with a smaller start-up firm to steer the company to where it rightfully belongs... And as always I have more questions than answers and every answer I come up with leads to a number of other questions.... But one thing remains clear to me.... I have come to the right place at the right time,..... and am with the right set of friends..... Thank you god.... For showing me the way.....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Infosys - Always a company I will respect and love

It is now close to 3 years since I left Infosys Technologies where I worked at earlier and the memories of the company (Note: I said company and not the job) still linger on strongly in my mind. It is all the more stronger now as I during our case discussions, Infy keeps coming into the discussion - The good thing being is that the name comes up for all the right things. Be it Corporate Governance, being transparent, be it Brand Personality, be it Values, or be it Character of an organization - we hear Infosys in the discussion. I've done a couple of cases on Infosys in school already.

Thinking back - I feel that the company today (Infosys) has taken on the character and personality of Shri. Narayana Murthy or NRN (That's what we called him in Infy). He has successfully transferred his personality into the values of the brand name - Infosys. Below is a small excerpt from a speech he made at Infosys 25 (Celebrating Infy's 25th Birthday). I was at the ceremony at Mysore and I still remember the goose-bumps I had all over my hand when I heard him say this... felt proud to be a part of the company.

"When, in 1992, the young librarian asked by the then Head of Education & Research Dr. Vishwanathan about a library book, referred to me the borrower as that gentleman who sits in the corner, it was then that I knew that our jobs had been done in demolishing hierarchy in the organization. When the first telephone was established at the house of P. Bala who was in-charge of our computer center and not in the house of the CEO, I knew we had created a customer-focused organization. When we spent 1.5 times our revenue in 1992 to build India’s first campus, I knew we had started on a journey of worthy dreams. When we politely refused General Electric’s unreasonable conditions in 1995 and walked away from their business when they formed 25% of our revenues and 8% of our profits, I knew we had built a courageous and principled organization. When Mr. Ramachandrappa, an attendant at Infosys told me recently and invited me to the fabulous house that he had built, I knew our experiment in democratization of wealth had achieved success and indeed had served a great purpose. When Infosys Foundation financed and fulfilled the dream of higher education of a bright but poor Hanumantappa belonging to a disadvantaged community in Karnataka, I knew our hearts were in the right place. When I stood up in front of 1500 investors and accepted that we had indeed erred in investing some of our free cash flows in the secondary market and lost it, I knew we had fulfilled our pledge to be transparent with our investors. Friends, I can go on and on and on, but what is important is to remember that we have bigger challenges and rewards ahead of us. I will not be there when all of this is achieved, but I know that we have a wonderful set of people led by Nandan, Kris and others. But we all have to remember one thing and that is aspirations, courage, principles, and innovation and relentless focus on execution will carry you all to that great success that you all want to achieve." - Shri Narayana Murthy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Management Systems Asia - Asia's upcoming Business Magazine

Well, I've recently been helping out with Management Systems Asia (MSA) which is a new business magazine with a special focus on Asia. MSA is clearly designed to be a 'Magazine for Managers" with its articles designed to help Managers do their daily tasks better and also help their organization/company perform better. The magazine helps them to update their skills/ capabilities without having to go to school. Even the "lifestyle" section if I may call it that focusses on helping managers understand the finer aspects required in doing business - such as Business networking, etiquette, cultural differences and the likes.

I have always had an inclination towards working with Creative products (a testimony to which is my blog title) but I never did think I would end up with the media after doing my Bachelors in Industrial Engineering and then now almost on the verge of completing my Masters in Business Administration.

You can view more details of this fast growing magazine at or even read the eMagazine for free at .

Overall, I would feel that this magazine is going to be a powerful force to reckon with over the next few years. I am able to see the growth patterns and there is a powerful brand that is being built from scratch. Lucky are those advertisers, partners, writers who associate themselves with the brand at this stage.