Saturday, January 21, 2017

Self or A Whole Institution!

Past few days had seen quite some activity from Armed forces' and Paramilitary forces' Jawans. And action this time was not against the enemy, but very much within the border limits and against their own system. It was painful to see the way they are treated. And the fact that soldiers had to resort to social media to express, highlights a much severe issue. Hopelessness of justice from the system.

The first video was shared by BSF’s Tej Bahadur Yadav, mentioning scarcity of food supplies and quality of food served. Though Home Ministry ordered an internal enquiry, but BSF seniors were quick to deny the accusation. Even border areas civilians accept, buying supplies from BSF at half the market price. Encouraged by dare of Yadav, Army’s Yagya Pratap Singh shared a video, showing exploitation at the hands of seniors, in getting their chores done. And importantly these are soldiers in uniform.

15th Jan is celebrated as Army Day and Chief of Army Staff heads the occasion. The newly appointed Gen Bipin Rawat used the stage well to nip the rising wave in the bud. He said sharing such videos on social media would invite punishment, as it directly affect the morale of other soldiers. Had the General been actually concerned about the matter, he would have surely, atleast desisted, THREATNING his own men and looked into the matter with grave seriousness. But the whole idea seemed to set the things in place, first time itself before it became a trend, rather than resolving.

He also felt the Sahayak System is a very friendly one.   It’s no mystery that senior army officers actually exploit lower ranked soldiers. To the extent of making them do menial stuff like gardening, shoe polishing, taking pets for walk, cabbing their kids to schools and spouses to malls. Jawans are actually used like servants by own seniors. This practice is a norm in Army. Such exploitation is a very sorry figure for an institution, synonym with patriotism and sacrifice.         I should not discredit the General by not mentioning his instructions to follow the official grievances channel, meanwhile assuring the staff can approach the chief himself if unsatisfied. This appeared nothing but a rulebook protocol, than a sincere effort. Had the system been honest and transparent, would soldiers had to resort to such an option? However, Gen Rawat could not see through this common than common sensical understanding. Or maybe, he chose not to. There was a golden chance for the Chief to pacify his critics and establish credibility among his staff, but unfortunately it didn’t happen.

That age has gone, when likes of Field Marshal Karriapa existed, who refused the release of his captured son when offered by Pakistani army during 1971 war. He insisted either all or none be released. For him all soldiers were his sons. We live in an era when self is above all. In an era, where power and authority score above ethics and humanity.

Sir, nothing demotivates soldiers more than the apathy and arrogance of their own system. Let the army men have the due they deserve, of being a soldier.

Piyush Gupta

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TGI Gold...

First of all, I would congratulate Abhinav Bindra, his family, the sport loving fraternity and the entire nation (barring the Sports Federation, IOA, and the Government of course, for the obvious reasons) for the historical achievement at Olympics. Abhinav has gifted the entire nation with something this nation has been badly craving for, since the inception of this event. What a historic moment it would have been, when Bindra banged right in the Bulls eye, emerging the undisputed winner. What a moment it would have been when our National Anthem had been played at the world’s highest performing platform. What a moment it would have been when the tricolor stood half level above the rest two. And being THE reason for it, what a pride it would have been. Abhinav has done the entire nation and the city beautiful, Chandigarh proud.

While winning Gold is something, which still is an integral part of the entire game. Its like one among ten or twenty, would definitely be fetching, making it quite predictable. But earning a title of ‘Being the First Indian of something’, is something very few are able to. Abhinav has done it and that’s a life time achievement.

While watching the opening ceremony, when Indian contingent being led by Rajvardhan Singh Rathore, carried the tricolor, I shared my fear with a friend that this is probably the last time Indian flag could be seen hoisting in this Olympic. I wished to see more such opportunities during the event. But I was wrong. Abhinav has given all of us this privilege. We are proud of you.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Book Review: The 3 Mistakes of my life

‘The 3 Mistakes of my life’ is the third fiction from the well known Chetan Bhagat’s stable. Much alike it’s predecessors, this one is again based on friendship. It’s a story of 3 friends (Govind, Ish and Omi) from the industrial town of Ahmedabad.

Any writing could be evaluated on two broad parameters. First the content and second the writing style.

Starting off with the content, the script is a normal sort of. It’s certainly not an outstanding one, if we rate it with the debut one; Five point someone. Actually Chetan had set extremely high standards for himself in his first fiction. Thereby raising the expectations from the readers. As well setting the floor high enough, making it harder to outperform the previous ones. Besides this the depiction of incidents like Bhuj earthquake, Godhra riots, 9/11 attack on twin towers have dramatized the story a lot. Someone may counter argue here that, Chetan has used these as props for the story. I won’t disagree with that. However, I do feel that it’s an overdose of such real life incidents for a fiction.

Moving to the writing style, I would give 10 of 10. Much alike the previous two, it’s an easy going and casual reading stuff. Infact that’s one of the USPs that the writing is for the masses, not for a niche segment of intellectuals. Chetan describes the story in an easily understandable expressions. Besides this he uses a waterfall model in telling the story, wherein the events follow a freely flowing chronological sequence. Thereby not stressing your mind. Also I found the prologue too catchy and beautifully composed. It creates a solid foundation for the story, enclosing it in a fixed time frame, adding a curiosity factor, as in what would have happened.

And I liked the way, character Vidya has been portrayed. It has been so well explicitly described, that I could effortlessly craft a real picture of her in my mind.

Overall it’s a good reading for youth and people in age bracket of 15-30. I would say one should read this book, you will enjoy the overall package. Also it won’t burden your pocket, being nominally priced at 95 bucks, as always.

Rating: 3.5 stars
Goof Ups: Mobile phones were not so prevalent in early 2002, incoming calls were paid and the concept of SMSing caught somewhere in 2003. However, Chetan has shown extensive usage of SMS between Vidya and Govind.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Book Review: The McKinsey Way by Ethan M. Rasiel

‘The McKinsey Way’, a book written by Ethan Rasiel a former consultant at McKinsey, makes an easy going and a casual reading. Infact it could even make an overnight readable stuff for avid readers. The book talks about the problem solving approach at McKinsey, along with some tools that go handy throughout the assignment. I would be talking of some of the key concepts talked of in this book, meanwhile adding my own judgment.

Every McKinsite has to dig in loads of data and has to substantiate his argument with these facts and figures. They say “Facts bridge the credibility gap”. Quite well said. Then they rely a lot on Hypothesis, which is merely a statement or a theory that needs to be approved or disapproved based on facts, again. By negating a given hypothesis we can move closer to the possibly right solution or atleast it shows a right direction to proceed. It’s just like saying Delhi lies towards South of Chandigarh with a possibility of 45 degrees error from N-S axis on both sides. This essentially means that by using hypothesis we have zeroed upon this 90 degree arc and negated the rest of 270 degrees, thereby moving closer to the solution.

Then it talks a lot about 80-20 rule, brainstorming, interviewing the client, importance of team building, developing rapport among team associates and with the client as well. Now, these doesn’t seem something like out of the world to me. These are pretty much direct, easily understandable and have been widely exploited in the consultancy world.

There are however some new concepts like Elevator Test, MECE (Mutually Exclusive and Collectively Exhaustive, a very nicely thought of and well structured tool) and Prewiring. (I can’t talk about them in details here). These are very simple, yet extremely effective tools employed in McKinsey. If we try to analyze these tools (premise: after reading the book), they are quite common sensical, but the way such a simple thought has been given a tangible shape, is extremely good. McKinsites follow a simple rule of 1 message per chart, without any 3D animation, to convey the message through a shortest path.

Overall it’s a good reading that reframes your problem solving technique and can act as a ready reckoner while actually being on a project. For those in the consulting world, it’s surely a onetime readable book.

One interesting thing about the author I could make out is that, he seems to be a feminist, enamored by the feminine gender. Whenever he is quoting a loosely defined example of an associate or even someone senior in the hierarchy, he intends to fit the fairer sex in the skin of these roles. Anyways that makes it all the more an interesting reading.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Rediscovering a Forgotten Canvas

It’s exactly after 7 months and 19 days, that I have picked up my pen and paper and trying to pen down my thoughts. A lot had happened in this long period. India won the Twenty 20 World Cup, Sanjay Dutt got convicted, Salman got into trouble once again, Chak De rocked the box office, my life too witnessed lot many changes. I shouldn’t say nothing happened exciting enough, in and around to motivate me to write for my blog. Infact many interesting events happened, that I wanted to share, but somehow couldn’t materialize. I shouldn’t even be complaining of having no time, as I actually had a lot of it.

Not writing though, I had been constantly tracking blogs of my known twos. I wonder how could some of them manage to write, upload the same, beautify the writing with pictures, insert links, add friends. But the point is ‘quite so often’. Hats off to such writers. Wish I too do that.

Well now that I have composed a couple of lines, I would need a password to logon to my home page. I am sure, I don’t remember it. I am not sure, if I maintained a backup for it. Don’t really know if I alone would be writing and reading it too. But if you are reading what I am writing, means something worked out. But if you are not reading it, then anyways you are not. Hopefully, I get the password.

Now a logical question here is how come I start it again after so long or what exactly pushed me. Now there are more than single reasons to it. Firstly, I had read a lot of stuff on blogging, illustrating how fast the concept is picking up in the Indian context. Every week there is a cover story on increasing popularity of blogs in various magazines and other news dailies. Even celebrities like Amir Khan are today exploiting this form of media. Then at last week end’s D party my MBA friends reminded me that I had been writing well, so far. So I should stop this break.

Now that almost a page is over, I attempt infusing life to my long forgotten “my-canvas”. May God bless my blog.

P.S. 1) Partial credit for this goes to Abhishek and Hemant.
2) Thank God, I got the password.

Monday, January 29, 2007

SRKs "KKK.....KBC"

I rarely remember dates, infact I have to push hard enough to do that. But sometimes it occurs just naturally, without that extra effort, as some of these create a space in my sub conscious mind. Perhaps 22nd Jan, 2007 was one such entry. Just like million other SRK fans, I too had been waiting for it, may be coz I too have been a die hard King Khan fan or may be coz I have been also been a KBC fan or may be both.

Sharukh has returned to the small screen after almost two decades. (As a kid his amongst debuts ‘Fauji’ in late 80's impacted me a lot). He delivered major blockbusters like Bazigaar, DDLJ, KKHH, KHNH, the (in)famous DON, just to name a few. However, this time the challenge is tougher, perhaps his career’s biggest (at least I feel so). Because it’s a one-to-one fight with the invincible and charismatic Big Bachchan. Undoubtedly both have been the icons of the industry, both have redefined acting their own ways, both do posses that irresistible X-factor. Infact the duo had proven that, in past in the likes of Mohabbtein, K3G. However, KBC is a different game altogether. It’s not just another prime time soap, rather a perception in the minds of a billion. A perception whose contours were defined by Amitabh Bachchan. It’s not just the brand that Big B carried along (infact both enjoy a decent brand value and according to a marketing saying ‘only SEX and SRK sells in today’s world), I believe it’s the sheer elegance, a manner overloaded with sophistication, which acts as icing on the cake. He did posses the talent of hitting the right balance of humor and modesty. I feel this is where Sharukh couldn’t deliver as good. He had been quite a lot explicit in entertaining his audience, while crossing that very thin line between modesty and ridicule, at times. And that ‘massage’ & ‘give me five’ stuff were some of such instances, where Sharukh pushed himself real hard and actually diluted the flavor.

One disadvantage Sharukh definitely had right from the very beginning is that he would always have been juxtaposed against Mr. Bachchan for KBC. And that created a lot pressure on him. Fans in this regard are quite a lot unkind and even Abhishek had been haunted by the same in the past. If Sharukh attempts another Mr. Bachchan, he would unanimously be accused of imitation and if he doesn’t he would be tagged for not being dynamic enough. Either way he is going to be punished. But yes, imitation is definitely not ‘THE KEY’. One thing that could help him is ‘Being Yourself’. At least he would have to stop giving the Munna inspired ‘Jaddo ki Jappi’ every now and then. Of course it would take some time for viewers to digest the fact ‘Yes, this is Sharukh and not Big B’. Till then journey could be not so kind for SRK.

Till then, All the Best

P.S. Don’t forget you are Sharukh, Sharukh Khan……

Friday, November 24, 2006

Truly US

The landmark Indo US civilian nuclear deal has finally matured and it has its own undisputed benefits. India would now be getting an instantaneous access to more than 3000 tons of spent fuel to feed its nuclear power plants. This could otherwise have taken, India more than 30 years to accumulate the raw material on its own. However, I believe US is still the most self centric, self driven nation which has an obvious strategy of ‘Use and Throw’. In response to Pakistan’s contention of having a similar pact, US termed the Indo US deal as a unique deal with a unique country. This exhibits the thanklessness of US, as Pakistan was ‘the nation’ which enabled the invasion of Afghanistan, by letting it use its Air Base. A few years back US had been patting General’s back for the much needed help.

Without contending the importance of deal here, for India, I simply try to highlight the commitment and loyalty US has displayed with its so called ally. Today US has left Islamabad like a parentless orphan, which is now forced to pin its hope from China, exclaiming it to be a historical and true friend. I extend my true hearted sympathies to the General, who had till recently been deluding himself and the nation, perceiving Bush as their Godfather. Infact Islamabad’s foreign policy towards its neighboring countries too, to a large extent had been governed by the same perceived mirage.

That’s just a drop in the ocean. A few days back General disclosed that Islamabad had been warned to be bombed back to stone age, by the then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in case it opted to stay away from the Bush’s quest (still a coveted quest) of Osama. To this President Bush expressed his unawareness and offered his apologies to the General. To me this highlights an innocent Mr. Bush, who can dare to invade any nation (that too without UN permission), be responsible for thousands of lives and who can also be unaware of what his own right hand is doing. I can understand that.

One thing I definitely couldn’t convince myself is, how come America be so liberal, that it could afford to change the rules of game for India, how come it could sign the pact with a nation which has earlier refused to budge to international pressure for signing the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. Well my concern here is that, even though India might be gaining today from US policy, but the same may not hold tomorrow. US is a non reliable ally which uses the nations, solely to serve his own means. Since India is on the receiving end it has to be very much cautious while dealing with it and it should maintain diplomatic relations with it. It should not let it’s foreign policies be affected by it’s relations with any other nation, US in particular. It must have an independent opinion of every nation, not biased by a third party.