Thursday, December 26, 2013

Brahma: Why dont we workship him?

An interesting aspect of trinity of the Hindu religion -Brahma (Generator), Vishnu (Observer), Maheshwara (Destroyer); is that of the three Brahma or the creator is not worshiped unlike the other two of the trinity. This question got me thinking and here is a documentation of my thought on this issue.

The Mythological Explanation:
The mythological explanation as to why Brahma is not worshiped could be found even in the story of the famous Indian temple of Tirupathi (read here). As legend as it, it was the curse of Rishi Bhrigu - Brahma shall have no idols or temples of worship in Bhooloka (read earth)!

Rationalizing beyond the Boon:
I however feel this is more symbolic and has developed over multiple generations into its current interpretation. Following is how I see attempt rationalizing this behavior of not worshiping Brahma (the creator) amongst Hindu:

  1. Brahma who is the creator is accompanies by his consort - Goddess Saraswathy. She is also considered the Goddess of learning. I have mentioned about the symbolic relationship the way the Trinity and their consorts are related in an earlier blog. Brahma being the creator is one who could also be considered an experimentalist - some one who keeps trying out many different things - so as to be able to create new things. With every new experiment there is some insight and understanding that is obtained leading us to the creation of new knowledge. This knowledge could be accumulated and preserved as the distillation of all know-how thus far. In the Hindu mythology, my guess is these are represented as the "Vedas". Sarasvathy who is Brahma's consort holds these Vedas in her hands. Clearly, the value is for the learning that is derived from the experiment and we often find Saravathy who holds Vedas (read compiled Knowledge) in her hands. Brahma however being the experimentalist is generally forgotten. 
  2. Another possible reason could be gained from the observation of the development of technology and its capability. Technological improvement across generations could have made it extremely easy to create newer things - in the start up world today, we find so many tools available that the need of an expert engineer is constantly declining - we few tweaks here and there or search on the internet for help could really make the whole thing easier! It is always possible that in the whole process the engineer (Brahma) who created these tools and kits for others to use is easily forgotten.
  3. Frequency of occurrence of failures in the process of experimentation and learning, could potentially be another source. In fact, failures are more common than successes in the process of experimentation - recollect Thomas Alva Edison saying that he knows a thousand ways the bulb couldn't be create before he finally built the bulb! The sustained effort in experimenting, failures and learning new things could easily dissuade one to continue the efforts further. All these make it harder to appreciate the role of some one who makes failure common place - this could be another reason why Brahma isn't worshiped as much as the others in the trinity.
  4. Another aspect that I could co-relate is the experience when one attempts to start off. One often starts off with an idea, and the various challenges that come in the way of executing what was initially conceptualized could guide the idea into a completely different domain. The challenges of survival of a firm (or may be human) weigh so heavily beyond the ordinary that just the joy of creation is often lost or modified multiple times that is doesn't bear any significance.
This was a parting observation about the pattern of how many  mythological stories have the asuras (generally understood as daemons) do a penance so as to receive a boon from the Creator. The general belief in most cases is that it is relatively easy to please Brahma, the Creator, than Vishnu, the Manager. May be this is possibly because of the fewer people worshiping Brahma. It could also be that he is the one who is most open to seeing how addition of newer ability and skills (obtained through penance) could add in so as to enable new experiments and lead to the process of creation!

What did I really take away?
Looking back at this rationalization attempt, could this explain why we don't really worship Brahma? I am not sure if this explains the whole aspect of why we fail to worshiping Brahma, but this is definitely is an attempt to get the attention of the readers on to the importance of appreciating experimentation, and being able to take in failures in the process of experimentation as a natural process.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch

For those of you who haven't heard "The Last Lecture" by Prof Randy Pausch, do watch the above video before reading my review here. That would almost be akin to reading most of the book. Here is his page on Carnegie Mellon Website.

While most of the points disccussed in the lecture are extended into deeper discussion in the book, but it goes beyond these points in the presentation to give us a closer look into his life. 

In addition to the philosophical aspect what is mentioned in the book, there are many practical take away that an individual reader like me could take. Quite a few points if I wear my teacher's hat - could be how he used peer feedback to give hard individual feedback or the excitement and thrill of being able to help many realize their dreams. 

The emphasis of team in learning is an interesting dimension in the complete learning process. This is an important aspect to look into in the field of education. I loved the concept of "headfakes", and was thinking of using a few in my sessions going ahead. I feel it is extremely handy!Another point I loved was the emphasis he gave on failures - "the first penguin" which helped get the motivation going. 

My take: Read the book! Its worth it.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Prioritize Stakeholder Acquisition

I wrote this blog to highlight a best practice approach in starting off and tried rationalizing it. It also answers the question as to why dealing with the customer as stakeholders of business before any other stakeholder would be a good idea.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kannada Naadina kathe - Punyakotiya Kate

People of Karnataka are generally accommodating and peace-loving, was wondering why this might have been the case and eventually seem to have made a connection. Do look at the following video.

For those who haven't got the jist of the video, here is a short summary:
"A cow on its way returning home is stopped by a tiger. It negotiates its exit with the promise that it would return to be eaten by the tiger  - once it feeds its calf. It indeed does as promised. The tiger feels guilty of having though of killing such a truthful being and spares the cow."
This song was one which lingered pretty early in my ears - made part of the curriculum under the syllabus recommended by the Karnataka State. I think this was part of the syllabus in 3rd Standard or so... and had been so for over 25 years I guess!

The message of belief in truth, being non-violent, doing your duty with atmost faith etc are all embedded in it.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Education - We inherently know what to learn!

I found this floating in the Facebook world and this sparked off a thought! - Could we make education really personal. I guess there are multiple dimensions of this, and it would be worth exploring these in a series.

Albert Einstein possibly put this statement out of his own experience! Especially his early childhood when he was considered a good for nothing kid! But today we consider him as one of the many geniuses who walked on the planet.

As humans, we all possess an inherent urge to "learn something". This "something" could range from the standard courses taught in college to just what we find around - could be art or just a simple skill too.
Most likely, we donot know the source of this inspiration that comes to us - exciting us about the "thing" we intend to learn... The question then is - "If we inherently know what excites us to learn a specific thing, why shouldn't we think of personalizing the learning process?" 

Recognizing that individuals are all different, like different things, learn different things at different paces should be the bedrock on which we should develop our learning systems. Education though broad-based, should be flexible to give the necessary space for students. 

An interesting perspective it to allow the diversity itself to be a guiding factor in the process of educating oneself. Constraining and creating a rigid mindset could be detrimental to the education's cause of broadening one's horizon.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Looking at an enterepeneur as a farmer! - An interpreation of entreprenurship

Entrepreneurship is really a hot topic of discussion. There are various forums that discuss about it. I tried super-simplifying this by equating it to farming! But in reality there are many analogies that we could think of when this comparison of start-ups as plants...

Beginning with this blog, I attempt to try drawing parallels between plants/farming/ etc and the world of entrepreneurship.

Friday, November 22, 2013

GOD and the notion of Uncertainty...

The nothing of GOD is extremely intriguing. All of us have different notions of the Generator, Observer and Destroyers (GOD) based on our own experiences. Yes I said Experiences - read on to see why I make this claim. 

One of the comments on my last blog on the trinity of Hindu Mythology and the possible purpose behind the design mentioned - 
"Wonderful Article :-)
Reading this, I could not help myself but think these gods are man-made; they represent what our ancestors thought a wise idea worth sharing. However, the mystery is not solved yet. I just wanted to point out, I personally feel there is nothing divine and supernatural about gods as they have been portrayed for millenia!"
- Anonymous
The comment got me thinking about why the notion of divinity and supernatural ability might have been attributed to GODs. I think I possibly got the answer! or may be not! However this is definitely an interesting thought - worth sharing. 

Scientific Thinking which found its feet has been built on the concept of reasoning. The ability to question and associate a cause and affect relationship has definitely served the human society well. The near exponential growth in the number of invention, and its commercialization that has quickened the pace of economic growth and gotten more CERTAINTY into our lives. 

Extending this, the possible origin of the notion of God, then has to be on the other extreme - when one feels or experiences UNCERTAINTY. These two observations sort of reinforce my interpretation.
  1. The first one is definitely from my own personal experience of facing uncertainty which is so much a part of the entreprenuerial journey.
  2. The existence of a high belief rate in God in the lower economic strata of society!
 Let me try explain this observation a bit elaborately:

As an entrepreneur and you will realize the complexity of the issues that (s)he faces from various directions and the limited cognitive ability wouldn't be completely enough to handle this. Even effectuation strategy, which through its principles provides a very very effective way to handle this entrepreneurial uncertainty, acknowledges the role of surprises (Lemonade Principle). In handling such a high uncertain situation where the distrution is unknown and hence a risk cannot be associated requires one to be positive and optimistic all through - and also believe in the strength of miracles. Miracles that just emerge when you least expect it - while some could attribute it to luck, it could also be attributed to the ability of God to influence things in one's favor. An extension of the above claim where this relation of uncertainly in business and a religious bent of mind can be seen in most businessmen being devout to a specific deity.

I also extend this uncertainty to the economically weaker sections of the society, where people have no idea where their next day's meal would come from! The physical strength, minimum skill and the effort of these people is all that they would need to rely on in being able to sustain themselves on a day to day basis. This is possibly one of the reasons why this section of the society is highly susceptible to religious conversions - when there is a slightly better quality of life could be expected!

PS: The above is just a thought that I put across and would appreciate your  feedback on the same.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

"Remote Culture" - Get up and change it...

A short while after I woke up today morning I checked my facebook page for some inspirational quote, and lo! I found this.

I have been thinking of the declining willingness in today's generation to bend their back! and feel this quote kind of helps me put these thoughts together. 

All through my childhood, growing up as the only child to my parents it seems to me that my parents should have logically pampered me. I thanks them today for the emphasis they put on hardwork and patience. I increasingly find this emphasis on hard-work becoming a rarity thesedays. 

Most of the students I interact with have grown up in with a lot more attention from their parents (unlike the old Indian kids where the parental attention was divided between almost half a dozen kids!). The higher attention typically translates to parental attempts in ensuring the kid almost everything (s)he wants! Beginning to rely completely on the "remote culture" as I call it. An extremely easy way to get things done - almost at the click of a button!

While this parental attention is great, the repercussions begin impacting nearly a decade and half later, when they are either doing their graduation or are in their work environments. The certainty that was so much a part of the growth years, all of a sudden seems to disappear and the harder realities of life which require one to stretch and get the better of oneself takes over. 

The reactions of the individual in these situations is to either accept the new norm and retain the current pace of activity, or to try and push and may be eventually give up. The major issue is when one stops experimenting and exploring and eventually morphing to be ready for the challenges of everyday life.

If there is someone who can change what we want to change it is us alone.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Lord Ganesha - Deepawali'13 sketch

The long Deepawali holidays gave me some time to sketch a Ganesha. Feeling happy having done it after more than 5 years! Here is a low resolution scanned image of the same:

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Know-how: Realize its a team game, not an individual show anyways!

It is never a one man show! Just that the team effort is evident in some, while in others it gets hidden or camouflaged.

Most tasks that we do, is repetitive! We rarely find exploratory problems - i.e. problems which requires one to test various scenarios out, not as a survey or an assumption analysis, but actually exploring to see if something works.  The first time one starts of on any activity, the learning curve is exponential, almost everything is uncertain, one never knows what to expect next!

This first exploratory learning experience is very crucial to build on... its possible that many brave-hearts who attempted this exploration could resist or resign or repent as a response to multitude of challenges that the situation presented. Team members plays a crucial role in these situations; while the experience could  demotivate the individual, the team members have to play a supporting role - assist and/or appreciate the brave-heart's effort. Reinforcing confidence is important, else the fear of loosing the brave-heart is very real!

The second attempt could build on the learning of the first attempt and it would benefit if the brave-heart guides the next volunteer attempting the task. Failing the guidance, the lessons could repeat and is not beneficial overall. If the follower attempting it, is innovative enough, possesses presence of mind and is creative enough and comes in with a knowledge of various technologies, it is would definitely create a leapfrog improvement and not really be a snail-paced progress!

It is essential to build the team and constantly communicate what is learnt to really be able to leapfrog.

To help get the abstract into a concrete, let me illustrate using an experience of mine (interested guys read on further... others could skip this):
We recently organized a cultural event after a gap of 5 years, I still recollect the very first attempt when there was chaos with participants coming in with their request of songs and getting them in CDs (to be played on a music player! - yes not a lap-top) and confusing the person in-charge of the tasks of playing the song to the right dance/drama! The program did go on well, but there were a lot of hic-ups and the person who had volunteered for the task still to this day feel bad about not handling this well.

Truth be told, it takes great courage for someone to volunteer in an uncertain situation, and the results shouldn't be taken extremely personal. This was the bed-rock on which I was allowed to try my hand out this year.

A crucial learning was to prempt the possibility of confusion, but getting all the songs in place, however given the voluntary nature and the spontenity that could arise, it would be difficult to program through the entire event... I alternatively, my understading of technology to be able to reduce the effort and at the same time be able to manage the spontenity that the event gets along with it.

At the event, I had to only wait for the right indication from the that was anchoring, and leverage surprises taking note of the time gaps/durations to prepare for uncertainties even beyond the plan. The saving grace was that, you can still visualize some amount of surprises and prepare for them.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

God - Beyond the apparant...

There are debates all over that try to talk about GOD - where there exists a single GOD, or is there a plurality...
I don't take any stance here, but thought this interesting thought on GOD is worth a note...

Most of us would have heard the acronym for GOD - Generator, Observer, Destroyer, and in the Hindu Mythology, we call these roles performed as being performed by Tridev - Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva. Brahma takes the role of the Creator; Vishnu that of the Manager of happening of life, and Shiva the Destroyer who closes life as such!

These gods are generally accompanied by their consorts - Saraswthy, Lakshmi and Parvathy respectively. Saraswathi is considered the Goddess of Knowledge, Lakshmi the Goddess of Wealth, and Parvathy the Goddess of Power. 

Combining the Gods with their consorts, we have Brahma who is married to Sarawathy, Lakshmi who is the wife of Vishnu and Parvathy who is with Shiva. If we are to abstract this a bit - would could take the action performed and the corresponding representations we have- Brahma the creator is with Saraswathy who represents knowledge - the underlying implication being that - "to create something new, you got to possess the knowledge. Similarly,for one to sustain and manage an existing set up, finance place a primarily role and that seems to be logic highlighted in Vishnu-Lakshmi as a pair.Also, to get to close aspects or issue that have grown beyond the point of control, use of power become mandatory - possibly represented by the pairing of Shiva and Parvathy.

Why have these three Gods: Why not have them all in one?

It is but usual for one to ask, cant all these be handled by a single GOD? Why have three or them and what advantage would it actually get to the table? 

Very often we find that people who create things fall in love with their creation, they would like tobe so closely associated with their creation that they would no more realize the direction in which the creation is is best done with by someone else who get in an expertise on taking care of things and has the decision of taking the creation in the right direction. In the process of creation, its is always possible that the manager could be so enticed into maintaining that he/she could possibly not realize that the creation has outlived the utility.

Where one's responsibility ends the other begins. This however is not to state that they don't discuss or realize that at places there is a need to collaborate. 

In fact, Shiva who generally comes in the phase of destruction is also considered an expert on knowledge and learning - from what gets closed or destroyed, it is important to realize that learning are crucial and an means to improve the next cycle...So in some form, even Shiva is seen as an epitome of knowledge accrued over ages and generations.

Why do the pictures generally show them meditating?

The tasks these GODs do is very sensitive, if not delicate; and it is important to create a balance between action and involvement at the mental and physical level.  Less said the better - these are extremely high pressure roles!.

Meditation enable self-reflection, which allows these high pressure jobs be analyzed in a perspective that disassociate the problem from the individual and focus on solving the problem and lesser of blaming it on the individual.

Start-up Nation - Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Israel - the name resonates with a country that is today synonymous with Innovation, Technology,  a Start-up culture that could be the awe of any country!

Definitely, Israel is unique... is there something that one could learn from this small country that is located in the midst of a hostile neighbors. For a community of people who were displaced from their origins over 2000 years ago, to come back and create an innovation powerhouse, it is nothing less than a miracle! 

The authors - Dan Senor and Saul Singer have just written a fitting biography of this nation that has rebuilt in the last 6 decades a story of a culture that had to start from scratch and script its prowess as a leading start-up ecosystem. 

As one who has an interest in entrepreneurship, this book has an interesting combination of history, societal aspects, the economic conditions etc very well written. Right from the genesis of the country to how they seeded each of the industries - the need for innovation, the role played by military, a comparison with startup clusters, and last but not the least the challenges ahead... all so well put across that the reader is just glued to the story.

I just love this book and would urge every guy interested in entrepreneurship read this book.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lazy!!! - well relaxing is for rejevination I thought... Doing something new does...

"All work and no play make..." 
So goes the adage...but is it only relevant to young kids? It is that only kids get dull? The large populace of IT professionals (well this doesn't really stop at those working only for IT) working around me too have a similar problem...they dont seem to give me an inspired feeling! I don't see "life" filled with energy in them.

I really don't see many of them getting to new things - they call the time that they do not do anything other than watch movies or sit in front of the television - relaxing! We is this relaxing! The mind of this duration is entrapped into the television or the movie and gives the sense of a temporary relief, but over a longer duration one would have really lost out on hours that could have been employed elsewhere and into something more engaging and enriching.

Everyone has a unique way of spending time in a manner that rejuvenates themselves - but what I feel people really do not do is get out of their comfort zone!... try something new!... Our mind loves to do what is likes.. it pulls us into the direction... it loves wandering... You could make better  use of it if you define or confine the mind a bit too... It could help if you add in a little bit extra in every thing you... and before you know ... you have really beaten what you thought you would ever reach!

Yes, the point I am trying to make is the lack of effort we put in exploring and then improving and if possible excelling at what we attempt to do. Its is time that we as people begin realizing that exploring an alternate side is very useful... I have heard many people say - I never knew I could really do this!

It is time, we move away from being lazy and engage ourselves in going beyond what we immediately know. A constant attempt to improve, is something that we never consciously engage with... and even if we engage with we behave as if its a competitive advantage and attempt to safeguard it to an extent that it doesn't transmit beyond the brain that has created it. 

I never thought I could actually do some digital media marketing... to took up a community event marketing and realized it is no great science and over the weekend I was able to get a lot more knowledge and experience from what I did. I was extremely thrilled at what I was able to learn... I think this has to become a sustained practice by everyone.

It is also in sharing that knowledge gets fertile... The experience of everybody and the interpretation of the scenario at hand help our knowledge grow and mature. 

It is time all of us attempt to move away from the usual, try something new, improve steadily, share what we learn... you never know what legacy we leave until we have left.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Why dont students challenge the exisiting norms?

We really don't find students challenge their teachers today? This is so much an Indian phenomenon...

This is how one of the conversation started today with Rishi... yes, Rishi and I keep discussing quite a few topics relating to the education in India. 

In this case it was interesting - I for one have not seen many of my students challenge me on the concept, I have seen some students who did try to put me out of the comfort zone due to attitude issues, but not on the subject matter. This too synched with what Rishi had observed, however I differed on his overall assessment that this was an Indian Phenomenon. 

We have heard about Gargi or Maitreyi who had been in a detailed discussion with the renowned saints of Janaka's period on various topics which required tremendous expertise. So it is not possible that discussion or even dissenting with the opinion of one's teacher is completely unheard of. In fact most of the early scriptures from here are in the from of a discussion and highlighting the nuances of the knowledge/philosophy. The drawback however was that not many were exposed to the knowledge as it was transmitted orally as the primary means and the written scripts were accessible only to a select few. 

I would rather blame the reason for suppression of the questioning mindset to the period when the system of knowledge transfer was broken thanks to the fear! Yes, the history of India has had enormous challenge to the survival of the religion of the masses at least a couple of times during the Mughal Period and later on during the British Rule. People being closely attached towards religion, feared the influence of the new beliefs and tried to avoid their religion being taken away! They possibly tried to prevent questioning of the fundamentals of their own religion under the influence of the new thoughts and began suppressing the thought of a creative discussion. 

Coupled with this, the system of generating mass scale clerks through the education system that was introduced during the British Era only worsened the problem. You needed people who could follow instructions while not really applying their minds!

The effect we see of this - is today in the form of people who dont think independently or question the foundation and belief!

The way forward I see is to encourage discussion as part of the knowledge discovery and dissemination. It is only through effective dialogue and discussion that one develops Independently thinking individuals who could fearlessly voice their opinions.

Monday, August 19, 2013

An exciting journey of starting a society - extremely satisfying

My life has been a summation of various experiments that I have been venturing on - many of the decision I have taken and followed have really no rationale description that even I could give - forget a prescription. Experimenting with uncertainty is now a part of me... and when some of these experiments make way to something that is extremely tangible there is no bound for the satisfaction and happiness I experience.

A recent such venture that sprouted into an organization has been setting up our own - Amba Bhavani Vividoddesha Souharda Sahakari. A cooperative which today almost every one from my community says there has been a felt need - their argument goes saying - "every other community in the region has one and we are late - none the less - better late than never". 

I possibly wouldn't have ventured onto this one if it was not for a dear friend of mine - Murali who was helping me explore the possibility of owning a house in my home town - Udupi. It was he who really was the guy who sowed the seed into my head... 

Frankly, I didn't know much about Cooperative Society to begin with - it was entirely a new field. I just waited on for Murali to repeat his idea so that I am really sure he was interested in it - and yes he was... I kept hearing the enthusiastic idea again and again. 

Being in Bangalore, I knew it would be relatively difficult for me to really venture out to Udupi and attempt setting up the society - I instead thought it would be best if I could focus on getting people involved into this venture. I realized that banking would be a crucial part of this venture and so, the first person whom I got on board was Manjunath Uncle...

I discussed the idea with him and then connected Murali and uncle to chalk out the list of people we could get on board... the first of this was my father and then we went on to add in a lot more experienced people onto the list of directors and slowly we could see the action begining.

There was still some doubt and skepticism, but these were put to rest as the team began to speak with each other. There was then the phase were people would keep meeting to chalk out the plan of action, but it wouldnt take a kick start and begin moving... I had my doubts of this begining to take off really, but thanks to the energy of uncle the engine slowly began moving....

We got a provisional approval for the process of making shareholder... this was possibly the toughest task of the whole process thus far. We were given 15 days and were asked to make 500 members and raise a certain capital to show that the people on whose behalf we were really attempting this were also seeing the need for it. 

Several several full-days and evening hours of pursuing finally bore results - reached the target well within the time and submitted our application... but then... the assembly elections were announced. 

We were this close to finishing the process of registration and now we had to wait for two reasons - there was a change in the act that would define how we were to proceed next, and the second when the new act would really come into effect.... even bigger wait was... when would the time come for us to start after the elections...

All we could do was just wait... after nearly 4 months of waiting finally we got the go ahead from the department and it was time we came out....

The society was inaugurated after a long delay but yes.. it gives me great pleasure to see it live on the ground. I know our task is just beginning - there is a tougher challenge ahead - that of really executing the plan ahead.... lets hope by God's grace we build on this start...

Wishing all the best to the team and seeking the continued support of all involved...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Poor Little Rich Slum - Rashmi Bansal & Deepak Gandhi

Traveling is a really interesting learning period. 

Yes, it really is - that is why the old adage in Kannada Says - "Desha Nodu, Kosha Odu" (Roam around your country, Read books) yes that's the best way to acquire knowledge. 

Pretty much that's is what happened this time when I was traveling to  Tirupati. I picked up one of the books from my shelf - still unread yet small in size. It was - Poor Little Rich Slum. 

Yes... its another of the books by Rashmi Bansal. The book is about Asia's Largest Slum - Dharavi, lying in the heartland of Mumbai. I had heard quite a bit of the entrepreneurial activity that happens in Dharavi and thought it would be a quick read. 

Just 2 minutes into the read and I was completely engrossed into it. Loved the stories of the entreprenuers there and also the change makers. These were the two major sections of the book and just loved knowing about these entrepreneurs. 

I suggest this be an essential read for those people who want to know about the entrepreneur scene in India. 

Go ahead... Its worth a buy. Read it and enjoy the Journey through Dharavi.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Big Bets, Big Rewards - Sushil Mantri

This book accidentally landed up in my kitty of reading. While working at NSRCEL, there are numerous books on entrepreneurs that you would get to lay your hands on and this was one such. I borrowed the book to read and its simple narrative style caught my attention.

Illustrating not his complete life story, but some interesting events that happened and how he negotiated them - Sushil Matri scripts his journey up the ladder. There are interesting nuances he gets out about how he leveraged the various things at his disposal to really build the Mantri story. I loved these narrations.

This book is an interesting read - and I suggest this book to any one who is looking to get into entrepreneurship. Having said this and known the little I know from the book, I think this book is also a precursor to something that might be coming up soon - a Mantri IPO? the guess stays...

Friday, May 31, 2013

The Lean Startup - Eric Ries

It had been a long time since I read a book this quickly!

Yes, there are some subjects that interest me and definitely entrepreneurship is amongst the top. I have been reading many books on start-up and entrepreneurship, and with the ability to relate to the problems/issues of the entrepreneurs whom I meet day in and day out as part of my role as incubation I connect pretty quickly with them. 

I got hold of this book around a week and half back and I was able to manage my time to finish this book quickly! I didnt have to spend too much time doing context switches. The five principles that mentioned in the book struck a good chord with me. These principles are:
  1. Entrepreneurs are Everywhere
  2. Entrepreneurship is Management
  3. Validated Learning
  4. Innovation Accounting 
  5. Build-Measure-Learn Loop 
all touch a simple chord with entrepreneurs. The style of writing is pretty much simple which makes it rather simple for entrepreneur to actually use these techniques in their business.

My vote goes with this book for any one who wants to know about starting off - especially in a B2C and IT heavy companies. For others there might be some tweaking of the insights developed to suit their domain.

Check the website:

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Anadka Falls - 3 (KadamaGundi Falls)

God has his own plans.... Man is just an instrument to his game... 
What began with just an over enthusiastic attempt to go on a trek; turned out to be full of surprises. 

I had not been on a trek for over an year now - I was craving for one since the last trek to kudremukh around Sept 2011, the one to Chuchi falls was less of a trek and more of a family trip. This time I was determined to climb up the "Ettinabhuja", which we missed the last time after our team had climbed the Amedikal. 

After a few calls and facebook chats, our team of 5 - Vasudendra, Arun, Shweta and Sahana was ready to get to Ettinabhuja. Though the team was formed more than a month ago, my repeated attempts to reach our guide turned futile - our first attempt to get the guide wasnt successful due to some personal problems, the second guide wasnt reachable given that the landline connections near Shishila are unreliable.  

After a brief consultation with the team - a couple of days before the trek, it was decided that we would go ahead with the trek and take our chance once we reach Shishila. The tickets to Dharmastala were booked - the plan was to freshen up here, and then possibly take a jeep drive from here to Shishila directly. 

It was around 5:45 AM when we reached Dharmastala, and we wasted no time in getting freshened up in the bus-stand. We then moved to the Hotel there to finish our breakfast and got our food packed for the trek. We next ventured on to find our vehicle to reach the base-camp of Shishila. 

The first plan was to hire a jeep/auto from Dharmastala to Shishila - this would be a bit costly and would be around Rs 600 /- We then decided to go to Kokkada and take a jeep from there (this we thought at least, would be a bit more affordable) We hired a service jeep for around Rs 350/- to Shishila. 

When we reached our guide's home, we were in for a rude shock! The trekking from Shishila to Ettinabhuja was closed for over an year! There was a naxal problem and the forest guards were very reluctant to let anyone to climb from here. There was no way we would be allowed to reach the peak from here. 

We got into a deliberation immediately to decide on the next trek point, none of us wanted to return without a trek. After some time we decided to quickly move on to reaching Dedupe and go to the Hanadka Falls. We did ask some of the localites at Shishila if they had information about the feasibility of getting to Dedupe and likelihood of being permitted to go to the falls. We were able to get an affirmative on the permission and decided to move on towards the Dedupe.

Though I did think philosophically that - "Man Proposes, God Disposes", there is really nothing that we realize what God has actually disposed until we try the next option. This means, one has to apply oneself to the situation and think about what to do next - what is the next best situation that I could go in for?

I was going to Dedupe the third time and so to some extent I wasn't very willing to go on this, but I knew it would be the first for the others excepting Arun. I decide it would be nice to see the falls again and if time permits be able to explore anything new.

We returned in the same jeep (just that we had some more people along this time) to Kokkada, and were luck enough to quickly get the bus to Dharmastala. This was like reaching back to square one and a couple of hours spent without any real use. A short wait at Dharmastala and we got our bus to Ujire.

At Ujire, we checked with the ticket counter to see if we would be able get any bus immediately, being a day earlier to the elections we werent very convinced of having a bus to our destination (it is relatively remote here). We stood waiting on the road towards Kotigehara - where we could climb the bus to Dedupe. Seeing a jeeps about there, we thought of trying the option of reaching Dedupe via the jeep. We found one in no time we found one that had initially planned to have its last stop as Kajoor; however having seen five of us in the team he decided to move ahead to Dedupe.We were lucky here and went along.

I spoke with the driver on the way and he also mentioned about the Ermayee falls close by - I was immediately enthused by the possibility of exploring another falls and so let Arun know about it. We decided to first finish Dedupe and then if time permits (which I felt we would definitely be able to manage) we would return to visit Ermayee.

A 45 minutes journey with the Jeep, we reached Dedupe from where we had to begin our trek to Anadka Falls. At Dedupe, there is also a Panchayat Office, besides which there is a board that points to the direction of "Kadamagundi Falls". This is the other name for Anadka Falls. We checked with the Panchayat office about the permission to reach the falls. One of the person in the Panchayat office was kind enough to call the person (Mr Raju) in charge of collecting the names etc of the trekkers who go to visit the falls - he wasn't in the Forest Guard office and so asked us to write down the names at a small shop on the route to the falls. 

Thanking the individual for the help, we decided to move ahead and register our names at the shop. The shop owner is Mr Vasantha with whom we wrote down the names and deposited the entry fees before moving further. He also asked us to call the Forest officer(whose number he gave) to ensure that he know we have actually got the permission. He asked us to return before 6 PM in the evening. Thanking him, we continued our journey head.

The hot sun and the humid climate was making it tough for us to get going smoothly. The dusty Jeep Track only made me feel worse. The perspiration levels were pretty high - I feel the sweat drip from my cheek and my T-shirt completely wet, and with the sun right above our heads our energy was draining pretty quickly. I remember having seen a bit more forest on my earlier treks to the falls - this time I could see few plantations coming up. The forest department too was looking to get its area fenced. 

After trekking for a little more than an hour we reached the house of Mrs Savitri Marathe. On my earlier trek, Thyagraja Marathe had got me here - so with a brief introduction she allowed us to move through her plantations to the falls. Another 15 minutes trek, we spotted the falls - this enthused the team and we quickly reached the base of the falls. 

Arun and Vasu were quick to get to having a bath at the falls. I in my usual style decided to rest on one of the rocks and take a short nap. Sahana and Shweta too were busy trying to enjoy the shallow pond that the falls had created. 

In the earlier trek, my team and I had explored a couple of cascades of the falls above the visible one, this time I wasn't very enthused about trying it again an so just waited for the others to return to the stone for lunch. In my minds window, I waded through the memories of earlier trek and was comparing it. I had visited the falls three times and at all different points of the day - the first one was very early, while the second one was late in the evening - this time it was mid noon. The falls looked so different each time - the kind of birds that sun varies so did the intensity of leaf colors! Nature - you are just a beautiful director, painter composer - simply an all-rounder. 

After spending over an hour and half at the falls and having our lunch, decided to trek back. We filled in our water bottles and some how Sahana wasn't convinced that the water was good enough so she put the water back. We decided to fill the water bottles at the Marathe Home. 

The local community of around 10 houses uses the water from this falls for their drinking and irrigation purpose. They have pipe that detours some water a bit drown-stream from the falls to their home. This is the primary source of drinking and most of other water requirements of this community.

As we resumed the journey back, Sahana who was leading the trek was very happy to move through the plantations and would have almost lead us to another home if not for some route correction. We returned to the Marathe home - spoke with Mrs Savithir, filled water in our bottles and after a break of 30 minutes decided to trek to Dedupe.

By this time, I could sense that the team had lost most of the steam and asking for a trek to Ermayee might be futile. We just walked our way back towards Dedupe - the hot sun had just gotten hotter. We reached Mr Vasanth's store after an hour of trek and when we did come there he was off for lunch. A bit further from there was some shade and a bridge where we all sat down drinking some water. We knew for sure that some soda would have helped and so patiently waited till he returned. 

Around 10 minutes of waiting and we found him walk back into the store, we ran in to check if there was something that could quench our thirst - we gobbled up a few Mango juices and felt a bit relieved as his stock of Soda was all over. We thanked him and continued our journey to the main street where we could catch the bus from. 

We could see a public bus that carried the election duty officials to the village school for the election duty the next day. The Chief Election Officer (CEO) was extremely active this year and we had not just read about crores of Rupees being caught at various check posts - a week earlier when we were driving back from our hometown of Udupi to Bangalore we had multiple points where checking was in progress. The CEO seems to have really done a good work this year.

Once we reached the main street, we found another shop that was opened and we asked if we could get some soda/soft drink that could make us feel better. The hot sun had almost dehydrated us completely. We were lucky to find the soft drinks and were more than pleased to gulp them. We then asked about the next bus to Ujire. This was to be at around 4PM. We still had an hour of time to spend sitting - we looked around and found a bus-stand and also another shop which was closed. We decided to rest in the verandah of the shop while Vasu decided to sleep peacefully in the Bus-stop. Around 3:40 we found the bus coming into Dedupe and thats when we decided to get up and get ready for return.We had a few glasses of packed Brinda Juice which was just too good for us and also helped satisfy the thirst.

We got into the bus to Ujire and before we could realize all of us were fast asleep. We woke up just in time for the Ujire Stop and got down. A short discussion about what next and we decided to go to Kottegehara for the famous "Neerdose". We waited for around 15 minutes when we got a bus to Bellary - an hour and half of journey we reached Kottigehara. 

Vasu and Arun were in a great hurry to rush to the hotel and before we knew what was happening - they were making their choice of hotel. We went into Hotel Anil and ordered Neerdose - I am not sure how many plates of these did we really eat, but it was worth a memory :).

An enquirer on the bus timing got us to know that there was a bus at 10:30 PM from Moodigere, it was just around 6:30 PM now and we had to keep ourselves occupied till such time.

Vasu being a well known author in Kannada had fans all over the state - we asked him what we could do next. He knew Mrs Rajeshwari Tejaswi - wife of Late Poorna Chandra Tejaswi (He is son of the renowned Kannada literate KuVemPu), and suggested we could have a visit to their home. We all were gun-go with the plan and immediately jumped it to move on.

We caught the next bus to Moodigere and after a short walk in the completely dark roads of Moodigere with a single torch! we reached the home of Mr Tejaswi. The next hour and half that we spent at the home was amazing - Mrs Tejaswi detailed out her experiences, the time at Moodigere, we saw the various prizes conferred on Mr Tejaswi and to top it some of the amazing collection of flora that was there in their garden.

We thanked Mrs Tejaswi for the hospitality and decided to walk back to the handpost. The bus-stand was around couple of Kilometers from the hand post and we hired an auto to the town. After a wait of around an hour discussing various issues from politics to literature to cricket to music and many more, we were extremely happy to see the bus arrive in time. 

We quickly jumped into the bus, blocked our seat and silently waited for the return journey to begin to Bangalore. As I closed my eyes, the days happenings unfolded in my minds eye. The amazing change of plans, the almost serendipity of getting to visit a great author's home, but with one sadness of not having been able to check on the new falls I got to know off. 

It was an awesome trek, and I loved the company of my mates - Arun, Vasu, Sahana and Shweta for this trek - thank you all for making it so wonderful.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Entrepedia-Nandini Vaidyanathan

I just completed reading this book too - Entrepedia just hours after having completed the earlier book - Sea of Poppies.

A book I could easily ignore... really! I have been engaged with NSRCEL for quite some time now and have seen a lot more intense interactions.. guess this is one of the reasons why I feel so. I feel the content of the book is just superficial. The intensity of mentoring start-ups is much much intense and this just doesn't give any significant value for the reader.

Note all this is my personal opinion, guess there might be people with different opinion... but my reco is please ignore the book.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sea of Poppies - Amitav Ghosh

It has be a long time since I have blogged anything here. I just completed reading a book and thought this would be a good starting point for this year's blog posting.

I had begun reading Sea of Poppies quite some time ago... donot remember when exactly. However given the pressing demands I put on my time, reading this had taken a back seat. I finally completed it yesterday night!

While I began reading the first two sections of the book which were named - Land and River, the pace was pretty slow. Starting with different themes, and moving pretty slow, but as Amitav Ghosh builds it up to the end in the "Sea" section, I found the book most engaging. It was also a reflection of the distances between the stories during the initial phase that probably didnt get me that pushy into completing the reading in one sitting, but as I began the Third section, I just couldnt wait to finish and see what next. 

Another aspect of the book was the use of Hidustani to highlight the conversations between the people. I was really interesting to know the usage of this language and how it relates to various dialects that were found during the time...

A wonderful read, and definitely this book has made me a fan of Amitav Ghosh and his righting. A very good read.... pick your copy and get to reading...