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Wednesday, November 21, 2007


The impact of having been through the experience of “City of Joy” tempted me to pick up one more Dominique Lappiere classic, and this book turned out to be one of the most amazing books, I have ever read. “A Thousand Suns” is one of those books, which I will love to preserve in my personal collection forever. It’s a collection of separate documentaries, which Dominique has collected as a result of his experience as a journalist. But Dominique is no ordinary journalist and he captures no ordinary situation and no ordinary people. The real life characters that adorn this magnificent book are as varied as the intense socio-economic and political situations that they live in.

This book is distinct from other journalistic representations. This can be attributed to Dominique’s articulate and soulful exploration of the individual, silhouetted against the complicacy of the situation.

A pirate who dared to topple the dictatorial regime in Portugal by hijacking a cruise liner…. a matador whose reputation rose to elevate him to the status of the most popular Spaniard ever…. a Japanese assassin who used to think about butterflies in his free time…the architects of Israel who crafted immeasurable achievements…a passionate elephant lover who later sacrificed his life for the cause of elephants against poachers in Africa…. the accomplices of Nathuram Godse…a criminal sentenced to capital punishment…and many other heartrending accounts ornate the intensity of this book.

Dominique has also pictured some personal accounts including his love for cars and long excursions all over the globe and his experience when he was suspected of cancer…. the first depicted one of his passions while the second aroused his worst trepidations. Also, his association with Larry Collins is presented time and again, with systematic accounts of the phenomenal books they have written together.

Will try to get hold of some more of such phenomenal DL books…. about History cum Journalism cum inspiration.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Four hours reserved for traveling to and fro everyday seems to be pretty interesting these days. Weekend readings are thus easily transferred to weekday readings… in the trains of Mumbai.

Read a book, which I have always wanted to read earlier… "The City of Joy” by Dominique Lapierre…a book depicting the slums of Calcutta… about people like Stephan Kovalski and Max Loeb…about lives of characters like Hasari Pal and Aloka…about diseases…about the human horses…about floods and droughts…
This book is a tragedy its entire course, yet the element of hope and selflessness is very strong. But I guess Lapierre likes to move in one dimension…I mean when he elevates characters, he elevates them completely to sainthood…. maybe its true as this book is based on real life picture…. but I cannot imagine that someone can be as selfless as Kovalski or Max.
However this book has left an impression…I read this 500-pager in the local trains of Mumbai…and every time I look outside the window of a train…when I see the slums, this storyline of this book gets so easily reflected.

Also read Zig…the autobiography of Zig Ziglar, the successful marketer and public speaker…its always a different feeling to read an autobiography…its as if the person is sitting close to you and speaking his glorious life out. In this book, Zig describes his childhood, each of his family members and their impact on his career and life, about the Redhead, about the early financial constraints, failures and finally super success. But the distinguishing feature is his transformation into a devoted Christian during the journey of his life. At times, the later half of his book sounds slightly Biblical, but his approach to life is different and this book is definitely worth a read.

Autobiographies are like case studies…. they keep on reminding one philosophy and that is
“Isn’t hindsight marvelous for honing wisdom?”

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Options are often associated with confusion. After MBA, this has been a regular feature in life. The scope of my expectations of my career is getting redefined.
May be a more diplomatically correct way of putting it is “widening of scope”.

I started my career in shipbuilding, in various yards, working with steel and machines. I loved it. But somehow I thought that if I continue doing the same thing, I might not get the real flavor of the corporate…. the very word “corporate” was almost synonymous with seduction (even today, it is…)

Decided to pursue MBA with the idea of entering the strategic and financial aspects of shipping…MBA followed…. During MBA also, confusion was rampant …I considered it more sensible to look beyond shipping (expanding the scope), but then decided to fix a limit based on my past experience and aspirations…. My ambitions expanded from shipping sector to the energy sector…mostly into construction business…thought that way it will much more diverse…. Earlier had a decent idea of how ships were constructed…. wanted to explore the nuances of construction in power lines, oil pipelines, oceanic offshore structures. However decided to restrict myself only to the planning and strategic roles…. idea was to work for a few years, witness business closely and then plan for a doctorate….

But, more I stay in the industry, more is this element of confusion…. learning in job is decent…but what I have realized is that learning in one job or in one designation is slow and at times monotonous. Of course one can learn a lot of things…. but working for a huge organization has its own disadvantages. There are lot of advantages as well, but somehow I feel that the disadvantages are getting more pronounced now. A huge organization is very different culturally (especially in India)…. hierarchy levels…. power bases…complicated methods of promotions…. etc. One way to deal with this is to restrict to one huge organization and keep growing within…slowly and steadily…. may be an SBU head by early 40s…. There is more security in life this way…. but then the excitement level gets diminished…the excitement level that is easily available in a small and flat organization…

Somehow feel that the security of being in a huge organization is detrimental to my aspirations…. need more excitement and more challenges in life…

What is the optimum period I should stay in my present organization? What should be the nature of the next organization? Will I be happier in industry or consultancy? When do I apply for univs? Is it a great idea to pursue doctorate after a couple of years, or later in life once I get saturated with the seduction of the corporate? What do I compromise if I choose one option over another? Time to get myself answers to so many questions…need to plan out the next stage of career….