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Sunday, July 29, 2007


A couple of years back I was in Shanghai. The towers and buildings and flyovers of Shanghai looked great…even more glamorous than those of many other top cities of the world. An as if it was not enough, there were construction sites all over the place. New towers in half constructed stages, new flyovers over the existing ones…..the whole city was the symbol of construction activities. I kept on wondering how Shanghai would be like five years down the line. Will it be able to beat NewYork???

Now in Mumbai…I feel something of that sort happening, though at a much smaller level…especially Navi Mumbai ( the satellite city planned originally to relieve Mumbai of its stress) seems to be abounding with multi billion dollar projects. Just to give an idea, I have collected some of the prestigious projects which will have adorned Navi Mumbai within the next 5-10 years.

Reliance SEZ
Second international airport
New World Trade Centre
Panvel-Karjat railway line
Dhapoli amusement park
Sewri-Nhava Seva sea link
Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust
Goa express highway (reducing the distance to Goa by 215 km).
Mumbai transharbour sea-link
Dozens of huge shopping complexes, malls, towering luxury apartments and seven star hotels
Central Park
Panvel Railway platform – around 20 platforms

And these are just a few of the mega-projects (each of them running into billions) lined up in Navi Mumbai….I keep on wondering how Navi Mumbai will be ten years down the line. Will Navi Mumbai turn out to be the 21st century megapolis of India…can this place look like Hongkong or Singapore or Shanghai ten years down the line….i don’t see any reason why it will not.

Friday, July 27, 2007


Professional life seems to have picked up well. Lots and lots of responsibilities have been added to my job profile over the last couple of weeks…. that’s the advantage of a general management profile…its easy to get a grasp of the complete picture of the organization. And especially when this helps to learn about the international markets as well, it is even more interesting. Easy accessibility to top management has been very encouraging.

Power and the energy sector seem to be booming throughout the world.It’s booming in India due to numerous rural electrification projects, railway electrification projects as well as distribution and mega power generation plans. It’s booming in Africa as power is being introduced to numerous African locations. It’s booming in the developed world, as the existing infrastructure is now old and its time for new and modern replacements. A very interesting sector indeed.

Monday, July 23, 2007


I don’t think it’s easy to clearly interpret the thoughts of Gao Xingjian in the book “Ling Shan” or “Soul Mountain”. I am not still clear (or rather not smart enough to understand) on what the book is exactly about. With a certain level of haziness in my interpretation of this work, let me try my bit to explain what the book is about. I am not sure if I am correct.

It is presented through the author’s journey to the mountains and in this process, it deals with the multiplicity, divinity and beauty of Chinese culture. It is a story of a man’s quest for inner peace and freedom. And he derives all these through his magnificent journey. He tries to understand the individual’s place in nature. The Buddhist and Daoist institutions, he comes across, helps him to understand all these things better. He admires a myriad range of people whom he visits during the course of his soulful journey – a recluse forest ranger, solitary Buddhist monk and a doctor and others, but still he realizes that he is not meant to be one of those.

While one part of the story is exploring the Chinese culture, a parallel context is drawn to understand the various forms of human relationships and the impact it has on an individual. There is a tone of acute loneliness and intense retrospection. The author engages in intimate conversations with anonymous people who are introduced to the reader as “she”. Perhaps he wants to give a picture of the nature of women as well. And at times, the tone of the novel gets quite bold with very intimate relationship and soulful discussions with “she”. And “she” is not unique. (I am still not very clear on this part)

The tone of the novel is influenced by the fact that the author had a close tryst with death. He was once wrongly diagnosed with lung cancer and had already resigned himself to death. When he realized that it was not his end, he decided to move to Sichuan province and wandered along Yangtze River. (Although there was some political angle, which had influenced his decision to flee Beijing). By the time he returned to Beijing he had already traveled for 10 months over 15000 kilometers of China. Thus the novel also bears a kind of autobiographical approach, painted with the brushes of an archeologist and an historian.
This book is extremely rich and pictures Chinese history and culture through the eyes of a traveler. But it takes time to read this book and derive the interpretations. Don’t miss it if you love China

Friday, July 20, 2007


Collecting data is tough…. even more than interpreting conclusions from available data. One important change in my post-MBA career is the fact that I have to get information (collect data) from various sources, various people and various countries.

During ISB, we always had the luxury of possessing readily available sources of data. Situation looks different now. Collecting information or data from other people is not that easy. Some people don’t like to share their information; some others are too lazy to have any information (when they are supposed to collect reasonable good amount of information); some others just don’t believe in using the past data and information for the betterment of future projects.

Now, in the profile I am in, the first step is to have sufficient information about the past projects, details of future projects as well as the progress of current projects. The role was created for the first time in the company and hence no existing process is there for a systematic data collection process. Its good in the sense that, its exciting to help create a process. But the tough part is that…it’s not easy…hopefully it will turn out to be a great self-learning experience.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I tried reading a few more pages of the “Soul Mountain”, but finally I spent my last evening with the idyllic charm of the thinnest book, which I had ever read – Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A very sweet book (or short-story)…must have inspired many…

At times I wonder about the practicality of books like JLS, but what I like about these books is that they take you to a different realm at least for the time you spend reading the book. Themes like perfection, forgiveness, love, unlimited freedom, dreams, and higher plane of existence etc. etc. are always fascinating….at least to read.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Since the last few days, I have been researching on the Mumbai real estate market…was amazed at what had happened in the past…. and even more amazed at what the predictions are…. people in Mumbai can make millions if they are smart and are aware of the market, provided they have that “risk-taking ability”…. lets say the real estate business…. people, who have hardly gone beyond their graduation or even lower than that (and that too because they just had to) are literally carving out fortunes here…. earning higher than the highest packages offered in the leading B Schools….

Now someone like me… studies hard for IIT JEE…gets through…works for a few years…. manages to get a place in ISB…. manages an around-average package…comes to office every morning and leaves every evening…. in formals…with so-called suave business attire and attitude…. trying hard to understand the business….

…Now I meet this person…. who was often rebuked at his tender age by his parents for not studying hard…. came to Mumbai…joined a real estate consultant (not the typical MBA consultant)…. learned fast…used every opportunity that the market offered…and the market of Mumbai offers rewards to those who can use the opportunities… from a real estate consultant he starts his career as a real estate builder…and today he is a relatively well-known builder in this part of Mumbai…. and this guy is hardly a few years older to me….

At times, it is a nice feeling to realise the ground realities of the only understands those, who understand market....and those who pay respect to the market.

Monday, July 16, 2007


“One”. That’s the name of the latest book, which I read. Richard Bach has presented an amazing theme that stretches beyond the levels of simple imaginations. In this psychological thriller (Well, I can definitely call it a thriller), he deals with themes like “alternate self” and “alternate times”.

The story revolves around the metaphysical experience of Richard and his wife Leslie as they board a seaplane and move from one place to another…rather from one experience to another. At times they find their alternate selves in the same time in a different planet…and at other times, they discover their alternate selves in the same planet but in an alternate time period. They also meet their alternate selves in the same time period and in the same planet, but under different alternate situations.

The story talks about the experience of the couple as they discover one mental illumination after another…. an awesome read to supplement your weekend rejuvenation.
Also at the verge of completing “Soul Mountain” by Gao Xingjian…. Incidentally, this will be my first attempt at spinning my head on a Nobel Prize winning creation…. will write about it in one of the subsequent posts.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


My recent experiences are not inconclusive….

At times, we have to admit that some people are born great…. They may be great for various reasons, but the primary reason why they are great is because of their identity. In a way… I believe... it is this identity that paves the path of further glory for these people.

It is painful to hear a NO from someone…But it is much more difficult to say a NO to someone…

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


You see your batch mates changing jobs even before settling down at one place…. you realize that every change is associated with a decent hike in package…you know it is quite easy to do this…at times it is quite tempting as well…with the alum contacts and HR details of various companies, you even know whom to forward your CVs.

At the same time, you remind yourself of the assignment you accepted when you signed the acceptance letter…The role you are in …is good…. pays decent…. but then as they say “for every good, there is a better…”

You finally decide to stick to what you had decided earlier…you decide to give yourself some time…you realize that your presence has to bring some value to the organization…. and in case you are successful in what you are hired for…its you who will fix your price…but not now…only after proving yourself…and hopefully early enough.

I hope I have made the correct decision…will revisit this post after a couple of years…its only in hindsight, that a decision is good or bad…

Friday, July 06, 2007


Its a great feeling when you grow with your alma mater....and thats the pleasure... when you are an alum of ISB. I was going through the "alma matters" (the e-magazine) that gives an update about the school to the alums. The initial years are over....minimum requirements are almost fulfilled and ISB is all set to participate in next year's influential Financial Times (FT) rankings....Optimism is high and hopefully an Indian school will earn a distinguished place in the rankings.....
Class of 2004 will be kickstarting a new process (that will give an idea of alum perception and progression three years after graduation) these global rankings consider the views of alumni as an important element of ranking.
Its great feeling as an alum of the I see the school achieve one laurel after an amazing pace...

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Those who have been following my blog since its inception may recollect the name “TAS” which I have mentioned a couple of times in my earlier posts. Well…from being a senior in IIT Madras to a senior colleague in my past job…from being a great friend to a great counselor…he has always been an inspiring person.

I remember writing about “Thalir” ….the book, which he compiled out of the stories he inspired amateur authors to write and got published. This book was a great hit is S.Korea, where we were posted those days.

TAS just completed his MBA from INSEAD and will be returning to India shortly, to start his shipyard and design consultancy. During his stay at INSEAD, he decided to come up with an idea to start a kind of website which in its full shape will be a huge collection of art and dance forms, from different parts of the world. So…those who have interest in rare dance and art forms can bookmark the following website. The database is not yet uploaded…but the process is about to start.

Monday, July 02, 2007


Weekends are not easy to spend…especially when the rain Gods are busy during this time. I spent the Saturday completely indoors with Chinua Achebe’s “Things Fall Apart”. Sunday was a tough day….no reserve books to read….no nearby trips…no internet surfing (the broadband connection I took at my place is out of order). Spent the whole day gazing outside the balcony….while the eyes reflexively admired the swaying rain…the mind refused to deviate from the African words and phrases which I had just came across a day ago.

“Things Fall Apart” is the first African novel which I read in recent times. Perhaps the close link which my job shares with Africa enticed me to choose this book from the ground floor office library. This book reflects the mental turmoil, hatred and fear which an African named Okonkwo faced during his lifetime….first due to the shadow of his past….and later due to the destruction of the social fabric by the missionaries from Europe. The book ends with a sad note…and am yet unable to figure out why Achebe gave such an ending to the life of Okonkwo. He raised him from rags to riches….from the unfortunate child of a dull villager to a brave warrior….and finally from the stature of one of the greatest clansmen to a timid death.

The theme is based in the background of Christian missionaries entering Nigeria….and the novel very vividly and colorfully describes the customs, traditions and beliefs of various clans, intertwined with the simple emotions of day to day life. Achebe brings into his novel the faith of the tribes….chi…eneke-nti-oba, isa-ifi, iyi-uwa and ogbanje children, nso-ani, nza, tufia, ozo…..and many such words…each of which is associated with some tradition, which might seem really wild and mysterious to us. From the world of spirits to the sources of conventional wisdom, Achebe has covered them all….

An interesting book to read….liked it overall….and this paves way for other popular African novels. May be, during my visits to Africa, I can have a better understanding of the subtlety of the African culture.