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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Business of Better Living

In a remote village, recently I came across a 7 day camp of a well-known cult, who trains people to lead a better living. The venue was an auditorium owned by one of my relatives, who had given this place at no cost to the organizers as a token gesture towards the good will of the organization they represented. My inquisitiveness made me observe the characteristics of the people who attended the programme with utmost dedication and without any absenteeism.  It was an insight to me that regardless of the social backdrops, there was quite a heterogeneous mix of people who attended the programme; that too despite paying a handsome fee for registration! First of all, I was surprised to see the huge number of people turn out, who religiously attended patiently till the end of the programme and also the excitement they carried all the way! I think for most of them who attended, it has been awesome to look at the minute points of life which they had experienced or tried never before in their lives and the very fact that they are able to look at life through somebody else’s populist lenses, which is well crafted or designed to suit the most common person’s lifestyle so that they can easily relate themselves with the programme and its standards.

I have been appreciating such organizations and their efforts to induce the thought process of refinement and the resource pool they generate to further expand their services in order to reach more people. I had personally witnessed transformation of many people, who never had any perspective of depth of life and its values, into a completely different, refined attitude towards life!

While these are the much appreciated works of such cults, the ugly parts are also gradually on the rise…?! The moment these cults become establishments, corruption creeps in and the intoxication of power (on people from every walk of life) makes it more vulnerable to unethical practices!

When I met some of the people who attended the above said programme, I realized the excitement they are undergoing and I sincerely hoped that they will all practice the refinement they had been taught in this programme. My skepticism about this is because I know some of the organizers of these camps of different cults, who are the synonyms of ‘ego’ and ‘negativity’…?! The question is not just about them, but if their long association with such cult does not change their attitude, I doubt how many of these participants would be the real ‘transformed souls’? This is the base of my skepticism about the dilution of values in such establishments and the amount of corruption which in turn lead to the deterioration of quality and class.

I do write about this with pain in the heart as I had been one of the admirers of such neighbourhood groups and cults which had contributed in improving the thought processes and thus the quality of many lives among the middle class, who once had strong values and in the verge of losing it gradually. In fact, it has been very easy to invoke such values among people from the middle class. These organizations had created amazingly excellent models of self – refinement and it had improved spiritual, mental and physical health of many ordinary people and for me, I looked at it as a hope for many millions of followers of such cults! Now, any dilutions in the quality will actually backfire and affect the entire species of cults and hopes of millions!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Chasing DMRC Out – The Undercurrents

In the recent past, the media have been celebrating the controversy regarding Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) by reporting every bit of news and non-news about it – Left, Right and Centre! Being a close observer, I felt that we as a society need to respond to such issues more creatively rather than just political gimmicking and forgetting it forever, once media loses interest in it.

At the outset, let me introduce Mr. E. Sridharan and his background to put the thoughts in right perspective for the readers of this article.

What we Know/ told in the media time and again:

·   Sreedharan is the man who took up the challenge of building Konkan Railway (which was discarded by British and later by international infra firms) and completed it on time, rather before time. To achieve this, as he told many times, he had to build a strong team for execution, who had steel nerves.
      He is the man who built a dream, world – class metro rail (The first of its kind and class in the country) in Delhi, again on time with very minimum hindrance to an already messy Delhi Traffic. I had witnessed this personally during my frequent stays in Delhi during 2005 – 2006.

What many people Miss Out:

·      He was the person behind Bombay Local Train to become operational on the third day after the serial blasts. This was considered impossible by any standards before and after it by Railways’ standards. Way back in an interview published in a daily, Sreedharan thanked the then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav for the free hand he had given for execution, which made all the difference.
      DMRC was the consultant (Like for KMRL) for Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited and the day after finalization of the project concluded, Sreedharan called for a Press Meet and publicly announced his displeasure in continuing with the project as he accused HMRL of favouritism and foul play in nexus with Maytas Infra (A Satyam Group Company). The very next day he was given a defamatory notice by HMRL.

·   However, very soon there was India’s largest corporate fraud exposed through Satyam Chairman Ramalinga Raju’s confession about riding a tiger and not able to climb down and along with that the dubious deals of Maytas also got exposed. Later the whole project was scrapped and as recently as in 2010, it was re-tendered and L & T has taken the contract. Two years down the line, the project is progressing in snail’s pace, thanks to lack of leadership from experts of Sreedharan’s class, with straight forward attitude.
       Recently there was a claim by ‘Namma Metro’ of Bengaluru regarding their learnt expertize and they even claimed that instead of considering DMRC, KMRL should consider Bengaluru Metro for KMRL execution. The DMRC was the consultant there and during execution phase ‘Namma Metro’ had taken the execution job on their own, expelling DMRC citing that ‘Namma Metro’ wanted to build expertize within for future expansion and maintenance (The same reason being told in the case of KMRL, as well!). The fact of the matter is that there have been very vicious interventions and there have been 5000 trees cut for the project, which further dented the climatic equilibrium of Bengaluru (This was against the primary study and recommendations of DMRC) and in the process of building expertize, they could complete only 6.7 Kms (15% only) out of the total 42 Kms proposed. This is against the initial target of 14 Kms set based on the feasibility study for the phase – 1 (Three years).

Though people, who hear this theory of ‘Expertize Building’, would definitely fall in for the genuineness of it and nod their heads for it, they should also be made aware of the above facts. In fact, what makes these groups of unholy nexus to hate Mr. Sreedharan is the very facts mentioned above and there are lot of under currents which are flexing its muscles to drive Sreedharan & DMRC out by hiring few bureaucrats and some political black sheep.

The moment media drops this issue like a hot cake (which they had done on several issues with the interventions of powerful PR lobbies), it will become another Arushi case and another 2G or many such controversies?!  So, it is we who can keep this cause alive and respond continuously till we achieve our right of getting a world – class transport system.

Tail Piece:

The latest development is that the DMRC had agreed to extend its support in technical guidance and supervision and Sreedharan would be part of this team. This seems to be well crafted strategy to eye-wash the public as there’s a suggestion to constitute a body to define, control and operate the roles and duties of Sreedharan and his team! The funniest point is that the constituted body would have people like Sudheer Krishna, Principal Secretary and other bureaucrats, who had taken clearly sabotaging stands on previous occasions.

Final Point:

Sreedharan would not be a part of the suggested controlling body, which decides the roles and duties of his team and this means that Sreedharan would not have any say in the committee. Obviously, if Sreedharan comes across any kind of restrictions in his operations, he would publicly react and drop it like a hot cake (as he had done on previous occasions) and all the conspirers would become happy as thorn in their flesh gets removed on its own! If he sticks on despite controls imposed and a reduced role by the above said committee, it would be suicidal for him, as he will become a scapegoat for any failures and delays due to the unholy alliances. In both the cases, the project would suffer multilevel setbacks.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Inducing Culture in the Young Minds!

I recently bumped into DD Malayalam Channel at 11.30 in the night after I reached home after a brainstorming skype session with the client and got hooked on for a good one hour+, watching an interview with Tanzania’s first Indian Ambassador, respected Shree M.A. Vellodi, who’s living his retired life in Chennai. He is officially invited by the President of Tanzania as state guest for their Golden Jubilee celebrations of their National formation.

At first, it was his pure valluvanad diction, which pulled me in, and with the interviewer Dr. Nedungadi also speaking the same lingo, it was a treat to listen on! As he went on, he was passionately talking about the need for youngsters to understand the culture of our state through its history in the formative years so that it gives a better perspective throughout their life.

One more aspect I had noticed throughout the interview was his positive attitude and refinement. While he was critical about the cynicism of looking down upon the state by many of us who live outside Kerala, he was sad about it rather than being angry. The gracefully old man who travelled across the world was sad about people being cynical of the state rather than acknowledging many good achievements. He reiterated that it’s this lack of knowledge of the history and culture of the state which bereaves the pride of being Malayali from each one of us. He insisted to induct ‘Kerala History’ as a subject in the syllabus of 6th or 7th standard in our curriculum just for one year so that young minds adore it through rest of their lives. In fact, he even suggested  a book for the same, Shree Krishna Iyer’s ‘Kerala Charithram’, which is a very lean book written in simplest of Malayalam.

At this juncture of the interview, it was a reconnect for me with Pallassana and I realized that even though the education system did not induce the culture in us, the village did! Pazhayakavu, Puthan Kavu, Vettakkaruman, Sabhamadam, Shiva – Vishnu temples of east – west villages respectively did the trick of inducing the culture, traditions and values in each one of  us through festivals, when Kanyarkalis, Kathakalis and other folk art forms were performed. Even the remote influence of Iruppakkal, Vaamala, Maariyamma and Chudala Karuppan had a strong influence on all of us, which makes us proud of our small, quiet world within this large, busy World! Even the only mosque near my house was influential to open my eyes towards the sensibilities of other religious practices in a cohesive living environment. During my school days, we have been an integral part of their ‘Ramadan’ month celebrations and I used to get ‘Ramzan Pordridge’ every evening and it was tasty for me with its spicy flavour!

Shree Vellodi was correct in his views and our little Pallassana is a classic example of the his view point. As he said, it’s not just in Kerala, but in every state, there is a need to introduce this system of learning their own culture through their rich history, to re-induce the pride of being Indians.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Corporate Communications and Jargons

I wanted to write this note for some time. My interactions with lot of teams who works with me triggered to take a determined effort to make this note for all those youngsters, who’re seeking jobs and also for those who’ve just landed at their first jobs.
I request all those who work in senior positions at various organizations to add more value through their comments to this collection of vocabulary of jargons used in corporate communications.

Jargons have been part of human culture since ages and of late, it became the order of the day in corporate communications as the conventional and conservative business practices withered away with new thrust of information technology and the work culture built around it. Many a times, in my professional journey, I came across shockers of such acronyms and found myself humiliated for lack of knowing it. Things are different now and anyone can google about anything and in the most likelihood, one will end up with many answers and sometimes, it becomes confusing to choose the right one.

However, there are lot of acronyms used in new era ‘SMS’ and ‘Chat’ communications, which I’m not touching at all, as it is not very important in the corporate communication at this point of time.

So…here we go….







Please Find Attached

Mail Attachments



Expected Time of Arrival

Flight schedules/ Project Scenario



As Soon As Possible

Mails/ Correspondence



For Your Information

Forwarded mails/ Files



For Your Information and Action

Forwarded mails & files



Team Lead




Top Line

Finance projections (Gross Revenues/




Branch Lead

Sales & Marketing



Bottom Line

Finance Projections (Nett Revenues/ Nett Profits)



For Your Perusal

Reporting/ Submissions



For Your Perusal & Action

Reporting/ Submissions



Please Find Below

Mails/ Correspondence



Under Production

IT/ Film Industry (Very context specific)



Unit Test

Education & Software Testing



Union Territory

Geography & Politics



User Acceptability Test

Software Testing/ Quality Assurance



Power Point/ Paper Presentation

Corporate Presentations/ Seminars



Jan – Feb – Mar (Quarter)

Sales & Marketing/ Finance Projections



Apr – May – Jun (Quarter)

Sales & Marketing/ Finance Projections



Jul – Aug – Sep (Quarter)

Sales & Marketing/ Finance Projections



Oct – Nov – Dec (Quarter)

Sales & Marketing/ Finance Projections



Product Life Cycle

Product Management



Total Quality Management

Quality Policy



Quality Assurance

Quality Management



Corrective Action Process/ Programme

Corporate Counseling & Rehabilitation pgm




Programs/ Package etc.


Id/ ID


Identity Card/ Code



Public Relations

Corporate Media Management



Please Revert

Corporate Communications



Key User Group

Project Scenario



Project Manager


Once again, I request all the readers to contribute more into this world of Jargons. If this was useful and interesting,  kindly write your comments.