Straight From The Heart

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome 2007!!!

I am back to blogging after a long hiatus of 6 months......dont know what took me off from blogging , nor can i figure out why am i suddenly this shows that i am pretty confused. Anywaz, i am hoping that i will be able to post blogs more often this year. Well, its 2007 & when i look back at the last year, there is not much i can write about at a personal or professional level. I guess my change of job was the only significant event to have happened to me.

Its always a good feeling entering into the new year with a few goals in mind. This year will be seemingly more important at both professional & personal levels. Lets hope that the goals reach their desired end. Most times in life, what appears to be a goal ( an end result) actually is only a means to reach a more important goal with a more important end result that carries a higher price tag. Guess thats life's way to keep us ticking all the time so that we dont become like stones or vegetables.

Will definitely keep coming back with posts with much more consistency & recency. Till then.....Cheers.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Medical Tourism OR One More Outsourcing??

The views expressed in this article are purely mine & any resemblance to any other views expressed any where else is purely coincidental.

The word ‘Outsourcing’ has been one of the most (ab) used word through out the world in the last 5 years or so….it has been one of the most common & recycled topics of discussion, be it in some of the talk shows on TV or be it in some of the panel discussions / group discussions for B-school or job interviews. In fact, I had to face the same topic in my first job interview during the Group Discussion stage, fortunately, being a regular reader of current affairs , I was able to talk something on outsourcing that made some sense to the panelist & I got the job.

Today, in retrospect when I look back & try to think as to why outsourcing made so much business news & in a way created a divide between the countries where people were losing their jobs & the countries where all their jobs were outsourced. In fact, John Kerry made outsourcing as one of his prime selling points in the presidential polls against George Bush. Companies today are outsourcing activities that they believe is not within the domain of their core competence & to an extent non-value adding for its employees & shareholders. The outsourcing activities that are most commonly heard of are pertaining to recruitment , salary processing, inventory management or broadly speaking Vendor management services, maintenance, CRM & many other activities that are being outsourced even at the time of writing this article.

The one form of outsourcing that really fascinated me is ‘Medical Tourism’ which is gaining popularity across the globe & India is again vying to be one of the hot locales for this outsourcing activity which is also becoming an important source of revenue for the players in this industry. Medical Tourism involves the health care industry, where in the patient suffering from a particular disease can take a package tour & spend quality time in a place that is far away from his place, in the surroundings that will be most beneficial for the patient’s quick recovery under the watchful eyes of high caliber medical staff, it surely comes at a premium price. In India , the southern states of Tamil Nadu , Karnataka & Kerala have always been preferred destinations for most of the Indians with respect to medical care , now many foreigners are exploring the medical tourism route which serves two basic purposes ; quality medical care & costs that are a few times cheaper that in the countries of the western world.

India is surely becoming one of the fore runners in the Outsourcing business which in turn is definitely helping to generate employment opportunities & increase the disposable income of the Indian populace at large, but I think there is one class of activity that we might think of outsourcing to some other country - our political & social administration for the same twin reasons….its not our core competence & the main stakeholders i.e. we the people do not find any value addition happening in our daily lives in the current scenario , or… have we already outsourced the Prime Minister’s job ???

Monday, July 03, 2006

Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility !!!

Disclaimer - The views expressed in the article below are purely mine & any similarity with anyone else's views are purely co-incidental.

My last posting on my blog page was more than 100 days back...there is no specific reason for this hibernation...I guess it was due to the theory of diminishing marginal utility....when I started off , I used to post at least one article every week but then started losing interest partly because of the fact that there was nothing much happening around me that was worth writing & partly because of the fact that I was looking out for a job change that took most of my reserve time that I tried to store for some creative activities like writing. But, after such a long gap, there are zillion things that I have got to write , comment & criticize start with, I have left my previous job & joined another reputed company on a better job profile & seemingly better Vitamin- M, am still in Chennai though. Couple of my friends got married to their respective love interests in their hometowns,couldnt visit either of the weddings as they were far flung from Chennai.

The last one month kept me glued to the TV sets watching the build up to the FIFA world cup football & have tried to watch almost every match right from the league stages, I believe the world should sit up & appreciate India in the manner in which its citizens worship this event in spite of the fact that most of us know that India may not even come close to qualifying for the World Cup ever in our lifetime. Also, something interesting that happened in the context of Indian sports during the last one month was that most of the Indian sport lovers were interested in calculating the permutations & combinations as to who qualifies for the last 16 in the football world cup instead of spending time as to what strategy should India adapt to win (rather not lose) the Test series in the West Indies.

Also, I think this year’s FIFA world cup was brilliantly marketed, be it in terms of media coverage or be it exposing us to some of the niche industries in Germany (prostitution has been widely marketed – the sex workers are regular tax payers in Germany) , also the websites, newspapers & television channels have managed to clinch the hottest pictures on display….. the pictures have got nothing to do with the players or goals scored….trust me!!!

I have always tried to limit the lengths of my blog postings, so chances are that I may have missed out on some of the other happening events that took place around me….some of them also involving me… the idea of this posting was to get back to the habit of writing & will surely be back with events that have made me stop & think & of course will put them into words….

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Great movie ...but whats the ROI ??

The comments mentioned in the review below are purely mine & any similarity with any other comments made by anyone else, anywhere is purely co-incidental.

I have gone through a transformation..…no….. I am neither on a spiritual trip nor have I read any self motivation books that have taught me how to deal better with life’s problems or how to make 327 friends within the next 12 months. I have gone through a transformation in the way I have decided to select the movies before I actually spend my money & time on them.

For the first time I have decided to measure Returns on Investment – ROI – ( MBA’s love to use such jargons which to the common man is nothing more than a 3 lettered mis- spelt word) on the money that I spend on my movies. I believe that as a consumer , ROI can be both tangible ( cash returns) as well as intangible ( Experience of using the product/service).

Since I am staying away from home, the easiest source of time pass & entertainment in an otherwise boring weekend is to watch movies that get released during the week. Till about 2-3 months back, I would have virtually watched every single Hindi movie that would have released in the theaters in Chennai. I have watched movies where the total number of people in the theatre watching the movie would be lesser than the number of actors in the movie itself.

But now I am in for a change & this transformation has come due to the fact that Indian Cinema ( by Indian cinema I mean Hindi Cinema or Bollywood ) has come off age & the best way to feel the positive change is by being a part of it. A new term called ‘Multiplex Cinema’ has come in the Film Critic’s dictionary. Frankly speaking, it took me some time to understand the real meaning of this new term which in simple language would probably mean ‘a movie that is made on an ‘optimum’ ( read shoe string) budget with actors who are not seen very often in Mainstream Commercial Hindi cinema & are mainly Tele serial actors or theatre actors’. The scope of this article is not to compare ‘Multiplex Cinema’ & Mainstream Commercial Cinema because as an avid movie buff, I believe that there can be only either good cinema or bad cinema, that makes life simple…right ??

Coming back to measuring ROI on the money spent on movie tickets , ‘ this movie was money’s worth’ are the golden words every human being on earth would love to say to himself after coming out of the movie hall because there is no greater delight in life than to see your hard earned money getting spent on something that has given you joy ( & not damage). The moments when I have said those words to myself were after watching movies like My Brother Nikhil, Black, Rang De Basanti in recent times.

Last Sunday I watched another such movie that I have really enjoyed. The movie was ‘ Mixed Doubles’ starring Ranvir Shorey , Konkona Sen Sharma , Rajat Kapoor , Koel Puri & others.... not very familiar names right ?? perhaps except Konkona Sen Sharma. This movie is an adult sex comedy that deals with somewhat of a mid life crisis faced by the character played by Ranvir Shorey & how he convinces his wife played by the simply brilliant Konkona to try out partner / spouse swapping with another couple as he feels that this would enhance their sex life which was going thru a lean patch then…it’s a simple story ( not a very simple idea though in the context of Indian tradition) with a brilliant screenplay & an awesome sense of humor in the dialogues. Its difficult to single out any one good performance as all the actors are veterans in their own niche acting styles…again the USP of this movie was that I could relate to the mindset & thinking patterns of the characters in the movie as they were like anyone you meet in daily life.

I am sure that if movie buffs like me get to see such movies more than often, then the ROI will certainly be a shot in the arm that will justify the money spent without disturbing the ‘bottomline’…by ‘bottomline’ here, I mean-‘damage to the wallet’…I told you MBA’s love using jargons….

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thoughtful Selection OR Board Politics ??

The comments made in this article are purely of individual nature & any similarity to any other content published anywhere is purely coincidental.

23rd February,06 was just another Thursday for most of us except for Saurav Ganguly as the team for the Ist Test match against England to be played from March 1 at Nagpur was to be announced on that day, as soon as the Indian Team came back from Pakistan early this week,the point of discussion that has been doing the rounds for the last 6-8 months , again took centre stage,that of whether Saurav would make it to the Final 15 or not for the 1st test.Finally,when the news channels flashed the news on Thursday evening that 'Dada' had been dropped from the squad for the 1st test, it was again time for the cricket experts & for the cricket fans on the road to debate whether this is a consequence of only poor batting form of the stylish southpaw who is still hailed as one of the best captains in Indian cricket history or is there more that meets the eye....???

Personally, as a cricket fan i was surprised at the decision of the selectors but what really hit me harder is the treatment that has been veted towards a man who would not be rated as the best in terms of his cricketing techniques ( read 15000+ runs at the highest level) but more for his attitude & other ingredients in his behavior that stood out amongst the rest & possibly for the first time we had a captain, in whom, we all saw the "Aussie Attitude" of do or die. But again, any person cannot be offered privileges based on his past laurels for too long & this is more true in sports where the audience memory is short, even the diehard Saurav Ganguly fan cant deny that his form was far from satisfactory in the last 2 years which is again a long time period to be out of top form. The only case that i would like to build up in favour of Saurav is that if form is the primary criterion for getting selected in the team,then his last two test innings of 34 & 37 should be decent enough to get him thru atleast for the 1st test though these scores were not those big ones that would have surely helped his cause ( Sehwag & Dravid missed out in both the innings of the same test ).

'Bygones are Bygones' is easy to say to others when they are passing thru a bad phase & that is what many sports journalists & ex cricketers are advicing 'Dada' that he should not quit the game at this stage but at the end of the day Saurav should be given the freedom to decide about his cricketing future which seems to be in the middle of nowhere right now. What appears to me is that the selection commitee members were keeping their fingers crossed hoping that Ganguly would fail in the Karachi test which would make their jobs easier & to some extent their prayers were heard by the Aussie gods,i guess, because that would help Greg Chappel to reinforce his decision of keeping Ganguly out of the team for reasons relating to both on & off the field.

Ganguly who was once called "The God of the Off side" seems to be getting no support from either God or from the Off side that can pull him back in to the Indian Team but as a follower of Indian cricket & of the BCCI gimmicks for quite sometime now , i am sure that the moment India lose couple of important matches or series, the selectors would suddenly realise the importance of Ganguly's experience in the side & we could find him in the cricket field smelling & hunting the leather once again.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Dada - 'Asset or Liability'

The comments made in this article are purely of individual nature & any similarity with any other article published any where is purely coincidental.

Team India landed on the Indian soil couple of days back after a 45 day pressure series against arch rivals Pakistan where they lost the test series 0-1, courtesy to the pitch curators of the 1st & 2nd test matches where all the 11 players from each side had every probability of beating their previous batting records & thanks to the irresponsible batting by the Indians on the 4th day of the Karachi Test where it was Asif’s chance to better his bowling records. However, the Indian team fought back, almost surprising most cricket lovers in Pakistan & back home in the way they beat Pakistan 4-1 to win the ODI series.

The players have barely reached home & the sports media & cricket fans have already started to formulate strategies for India’s upcoming series against England at home that includes 3 Test matches & 7 ODI’s. The way the Indian team has performed in the ODI’s in Pakistan has cast serious doubts over the career of the Bengal Tiger-Sourav Ganguly who seems to be in the worst phase of his cricketing career, more emotionally than due to his on-field performance. The main worry for ‘Dada’ would be that he would be lucky to find himself in the playing 11 in the ODI’s against England that has been his forte in the last 10+years because of the tremendous talent that the youngsters have shown against Pak. ‘Dada’ would be possibly chosen in the Test team but again he does not have the best of records in the longer version of the game & the England fast bowlers surely know how to trouble him with the short pitched deliveries.

The fact that India has an upper hand in this home series cant be denied but the Poms cannot be considered as pushovers especially after their Ashes victory last year. They surely are not here to win friends & hearts but they are here to play some tough competitive cricket & am sure that they will use every tool possible to upset the Indian plans of an English whitewash & the Indian team management will be fighting more demons off the field that would include answering bouncers & beamers from the media & also leaving some questions unanswered that might bring out the internal politics out in the public.

So, over to Rahul Dravid who has, over the years proved to be one of the most technically sound cricketers who knows which deliveries to play & which ones to leave alone …so Team India is in safe hands as the skipper is capable of handling the Hoggards & Harmisons of the world as well as the cricket savvy sports media of the Indian subcontinent.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Free PR & Branding for St.Valentine

The comments made by me are purely of individual nature & if found similar to someone else's comments is purely coincidental.

I am sure that St.Valentine would have loved to apply for Indian citizenship because this is the country where he is given the most visibility & fame on the 14th of February every year.The day is celebrated across the world where people spend the day with their loved ones exchanging not ony gifts like roses & chocolates but also promises & precious moments.The person living in any other part of the globe would react by saying"big deal....we all know this"but i would like to request that person to spend 14th Feb next year in India where one can see political parties & some NGO's giving gyan to the media as to how this 'one day' is killing the Indian culture & as to how the youth of this country is taking unfair advantage of this day by encouraging physical intimacy in the name of love.

I would like to identify two characters who are contributing to this melodrama where a simple day is being transformed into a national emergency.The most notorious character is the political parties who use the petty party activists ( who have no other better work anyways) to ransack shops selling Valentine's Day gifts/greeting cards & the other character is the media ( especially TV) who actually invites political activists & NGO activists to get their comments as to why are they against the celebrations of Valentine's Day.

I happened to watch one of those talk shows on a newly launched TV channel ( read TRP hungry) on the eve of Valentine's Day where one political activist & one NGO activist had their own perspectives but both concluded with the same view " Ban Valentine's Day in India & Save the Indian youth & its culture". The reason cited by the political activist was that the only objective of the youth to celebrate this day was to enjoy sex, as if, after 14th Feb the entire youth of the country goes into hibernation from its sexual activities.

As a youth of the country , i would request the political class & the social activists to spend their time,energies & vocal chords to fight issues like poverty,malnutrition of children,unemployment of the deserving youth,safety of women (which is worse in metros...leave alone smaller cities & towns) & millions of such serious issues which are becoming huge obstacles from India emerging as a truly developed nation,both economically & socially.Also the media should definitely sell news for their TRP & profits but what worries me is the amount of time the media spends in selling news that is not helping our country to be a better place to live & work.

As an Indian youth, i would like to see the political fraternity of this country working towards the development of the country with honest intentions & i am sure that this will automatically win the minds & hearts of the youth & gain respect for our politicians. As far as Valentine's Day is concerned, the youth will continue to buy & gift roses & chocolates because we as a youth do not think that displaying love & affection to your loved ones will anyhow hurt the Indian culture because we too carry the responsibility of the strong Indian tradition that is running in our blood, we think that some people should realise !!!