Hail Tata!

11 01 2008

On the day of the launch of most awaited 1-lakh car “Nano“, the people’s car, Ratan Tata speaks with Times of India:

most people are fixated on the Rs 1 lakh figure?
Tata: That’s for India.

On critics:
we are looking at congestion in the top major cities. Have we got affordable family transport in the two tier and three tier cities? Is it their lot not to have a vehicle? The huge potential lies when India gets connected in the rural areas.

On the idea to build Nano:
In this particular case, you could not help but notice there were three-four family members on a scooter with a kid standing in the front, the guy driving and his wife sitting side saddle holding a little kid. When you are driving a car, you say to yourself to be careful, you know they may slip and fall.

On loneliness:
Right now, I am in a very lonely phase. It’s attracting a lot of attention, positive and negative. Everybody is taking potshots at this. They started to leave me alone, they begged me to distance myself from the project. If things get ok, then of course everybody is your friend again. But it gets, just as you said, fairly lonely.

Source: Times of India
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The Annual Autobiography: The Essence

6 01 2008

Hence, continuing the tradition, some posts will exclusively be dedicated to the author and his endeavors in year 2007. Actually, there is a hidden strategy behind this tradition which I started few years before. These all annual audits will serve as authorized references to recall all the important things and events related to me in a particular year. And all of these will be flashbacked whenever I start writing the complete autobiography of mine (grin). Well, that’s another dimension, which is quite weird as it seems right away.

The baseline and the theme of last year was about being a true wanderer and being full of joy, happiness, celebration, and sense of satisfaction. The almost 24 years of life had given me too many regrets and the last year was quite destined to equate the imbalance. And I did it, enthusiastically and completely. It was indeed an awesome year, and I kept celebrating my silver jubilee year. The celebration went on and on. I enjoyed this. The endeavors, at first sight, seemed irrational but I found it quite rational, having its own reasons on its own terms. For the first time in my life, materialistic happiness helped me to get spiritual happiness. Or, the attainment of spiritual happiness led me to enjoy material happiness. Whatever! It was fun anyways. The beautiful thing was that I did what I wanted to do at that time. Every miniscule event occurred because I wanted to enjoy them. Random, unpredicted, and romantic. I liked that, beside the fact that it was no way concerned with any of the visionary thing. I liked it more because it was quite earthy and it made me close to myself. And of course, it is a year which I’ll always cherish.

Just like the coin which never exists with only one side, the year had the experiences from the other side also. This other side is not the wrong side, rather it can be correctly identified as a darker side where your quest to enlighten only grows. Mostly came in picture during the start of the year which ended soon, then there were occasionally occurrences of soar moments, and lastly some randomly generated celestial feelings. Though none of them could engulf me or overrule the realm of my mood. Something, nevertheless, kept hunting me. Throughout the year, I also continued feeling a void which, at the end, came out in a different form – a sense of restlessness. Sometimes, it was also like skepticism towards the essence of all the activities. As I make it out now, this is the point which was the child of the materialistic happiness and the mother of a spiritual journey. The journey of happiness and celebrating life. The signature tune of the realness. Something that keeps me going, learning, and finding, which further reverberates the tales of a true wanderer. At the end of each moment, I feel content yet thirsty. Knowingness or the understanding of unknowingness? Not sure. I come to learn more yet come to understand that I need to learn much more. A string of enchanting moments which further adjoin with each other to form a finely tuned rhythm, whereas unsure about the next moment and unknown to the preceding one. Being joyous in uncovering an answer which is a collection of several other questions yet the quest of wisdom never dies. Having pride being a traveler who halts at each milestone to take rest yet doesn’t consider it a wrongdoing or violation of the values of journey. A musician who can hum the beats anywhere be it a maternity home, love dale, or a deathbed yet wins over every foot which can catch the rhythm, reciprocate, and dance. A journey which is full of scattered, intertwined, zigzagged, endless, and landscaped paths and all of them are sacred and sanctimonious. A bookshelf which is full of fables and poetries. A quench which nurture the quest and a life which lives itself.

Quite an enlightening experience I had, indeed! And this was the year which taught me all this. There are few more things that I would like to uncover here. All of these are by-products of the experiments and experiences I went through last year. First, desires, whatever they are, can’t be fulfilled until they are not completely explored. Fulfillment of desires means you get or receive or accomplish them. These desires can be anything and so do the process of getting them. Fulfillment or attainment of them doesn’t mean that it ended the thirst to attain them. It means you got what you wanted to get but you haven’t yet enjoyed this. Until you don’t utilize or enjoy this attainment, derivatives or process, the thirst will still be on. It’s something like you desired for a palace and you bought it, but you haven’t been able to live inside it. A bud of rose is not beautiful till it grows up as a flower. Exploration is a step next to discovery. The same happened to me and my convictions helped me. Not only I explored my desires but also I nurtured the craving. The attaining process was amazing and the accomplishment made me content. I was no more longing for the same thing after that. It was also about understanding that the craving and desires had no vice, whatever desire it was. If you truly want something, that desire has to be sacred and the craving has to be a virtue. Yet the attainment can be a mirage where you had to take a bit rest and then continue the journey. It can also be a beautiful barrier which looks like a miracle in a desert and gives a feeling of being at the destination. This is a point where you could either enjoy and move on or be delighted and stay. Either none-ness to oneness or there will be synonymous moments appearing like continued forever. And what is needed here is the thorough exploration.

Another important thing was that I enjoyed almost everything. The process and involvement were not singular, it was rather multi-dimensional. Not related or intertwined to each other, sometimes even opposite. But when you are in the mood, nothing does matter. I also explored everything and never proceeded with the formulas and theories. I made my own recipe, cooked, and tasted the cuisines first-handed. The suspicion and heterodoxy was over. At the same time, it also broke the convention and ideas.

Further, the quest and the passion only increased with this celebration. I even found myself too closed to them with joy and greater involvement and suchlike. It won’t be surprising if someday I feel oneness with them, being a part of them or making them a part of mine. Or rather showcasing a different, unique entity formed by them and me.

There are few more things but I am quite unable to pen them down. You know, there are some thoughts which can make you thought-less. You know what it is but you can’t tell or describe. Sometimes, you can only feel but can’t know what it is. And besides, the essences can also have a quintessence. Who knows, next year the quintessence itself will write its own stories. The mirage might be beautiful yet a cliché whereas the desert might have buried more amazing figurines and captivating fables underneath. There might also be a truth behind all the truths. Who knows! Who knows where the quintessence lies.

Hence, I wish the exploration gets continued and the quest and thirst only increases with each discovery and attainment. I wish the celebrations celebrate themselves and the joy enjoys itself. I wish the life continues living itself and the essences continues uncovering their quintessence themselves. I wish the journey never ends with the roads and the milestone comes after each mile of walking yet doesn’t appear as a destination. I wish that, during the journey, I take the path which I think is right and be able to choose the road which I want to. And I hope the wishes come true. I hope.





Autobiographical Notes :: The Year 2006

15 01 2007

It is the early morning, probably the dawn; however I can’t see the sun hidden behind the dense fog and shivering cold. Suddenly, I realized that the 23rd year of my life has been finished without giving any trail for the coming days. Another year ended and I found myself standing beside the same corner where I had started this year. Nothing seems to be uplifted, except some realizations and sour experiences. It wasn’t a good year after all. I can’t even say that it was a year with mixed experiences and achievements. I think I lost the moments for vague desires and derailed goals. I had started this year with many dreams, several goals, numerous plans, and a soul full of energy though. At the end of the year, I declined their presence.

I heard the old man saying, “No stranger to me is this wanderer: many years ago passed he by. Zarathustra he was called; but he hath altered.” All of my senses cried in unison but it made no effects on the old man. He asked me that what I got as a whole. I answered. “The mankind.” He murmured but his sound was as clear as the water and it was letting my senses to be ruined in a thunderstorm of the words and the sounds. He roared like clouds, “I love God: men, I do not love. Man is a thing too imperfect for me. Love to man would be fatal to me. Go not to men, but stay in the forest! Go rather to the animals! Why not be like me–a bear amongst bears, a bird amongst birds? I make hymns and sing them; and in making hymns I laugh and weep and mumble: thus do I praise God.” I was abused by my own acts, but I stand firm on my feet because I was worshipping the existence of the greatest creature of the universe, the Man. Though, the mankind itself was trying to refute the existence. It was becoming more subjective to me. But the beginning and emotions of the dawn were giving me one another inkling. I told the old man to go away. This time, I didn’t like him. And I decided. I decided that I’ll be worshipping the mankind, but…I’ll deny the existence of a man, the desires and emotions of a man, coz the man seems to be too useless and uncool to me. What is the man for, if he can’t struggle for its existence, he can’t accept the existence of each entity of the same class with the liberty and the dignity? Man is something that is to be surpassed. I remembered Nietzsche saying, “What is the ape to man? A laughing-stock, a thing of shame. And just the same shall man be to the Superman: a laughing-stock, a thing of shame. Ye have made your way from the worm to man, and much within you is still worm. Once were ye apes, and even yet man is more of an ape than any of the apes. Verily, a polluted stream is man. One must be a sea, to receive a polluted stream without becoming impure.” Why to love a man when his senses are wandering in a mud like a worm? Why to worship a man when he doesn’t understand the meaning of love, life, heart, soul, liberty, tears, mind, and everything that prove the existence of evolution of a man from the ape and the worm? A man will have to prove its individuality and show the primitive attributes to be loved and worshipped. A man will not be accepted if he is himself meager, ghastly, and famished, and if the cruelty is the delight of his soul. I worshipped the mankind but I hated the man. Thus, I decided to go to the forest and alas, I saw few supermen waiting for me in the deep forest. Their arms are opened, however I can’t see the faces, to embrace me with the humanity and strengthen my belief for the mankind.

It was a year of many failures. After all, I was the reason behind all this, but I got contributions from everyone around me. I remember few sentences said by an internet friend of mine a year before. I was told that I was among those few people who were using most of the time and I was supposed to get greater heights as an incredible human being. Recalling those words were like the bricks hitting my head and my stomach. I felt like dying and letting down everything shamelessly. I don’t want to look back, however things should be pondered before I start the greatest journey, called life, again.

The biggest drawback came in my professional career. It all started in the beginning of the first month of the year 2006. I needed funds to start my dream project formally. There were no sign of any kind of source from where I could have grabbed the funds. So, I decided to try with some other ventures. I started with Medical Transcription. It seemed like a venture with better possibilities coz it needed only two prerequisites– first, a well-established setup for MTs and quality MT people and second, few sources in US to get outsourcing accounts from doctors and medical organizations. I was confident about the first prerequisite because my sister organization had been working for MT services since 2 years and they had a good setup. Besides, I collaborated with few freelancer MTs and they were ready to work for my clients. Now, I had to try for the second requirement. I was pretty sure about this because 75% members of my family and several other relatives were the citizens of US. Almost half dozen of them are doctors and several friends of the family were medical professionals. It was not a big deal to get accounts. I made a plan and started making contacts with them. I talked to almost every member in my family who has been living in US. This talk went on for two weeks and I made sure that I was communicating the correct things to them. I even asked them to work with me rather than helping me. I offered them to share the profits. Some of them promised to help me then. And then, I waited, I reminded them, I made them aware of everything about my plans….but ultimately they became hostile and refused to help me. I tried for one more month and when I felt that they are not going to do anything, I gave it. It was a debacle for me. Then, I decided not to take any kind of help from my family, at any cost. Moral of the lesson: nothing in the world can be taken for granted, even your family.

During the time I was working on the MT venture, I met two people. One was Punit Rao, a BPO consultant based in Gurgaon and I had found him in Yahoo Chat room. It was amazing and we continued to talk for next few weeks. He offered me to take some outsourcing processes and start a BPO or sell them to some other call centers. I talked to our former BDO, Amit Grover, and we started working on it. I met Punit and after the meeting, we decided to work together. It was the start of my BPO venture. Amit introduced me with his another friend and an owner of a call center. After some more talks, that call center became agree to work on the process. Then, I organized a meeting with Punit, his partner Bhanu, Amit, his friend, and me. We met in Gurgaon and we modified the process payouts, distributed the profits between all of 5, and made a plan to start the project ASAP. I worked day and night. We met again and the next step was to take the call center in confidence. It was the job of Amit to synchronize us with the CC. It seemed okay and we were about to start the process from next week. I made the contract documents for the US client, Karl and the documents and payout plans for the CC. I talked to Karl and all required documents arrived within two days. Within next 3 days, I have had all the documents and guidelines and we exchanged the contracts later on. On the other side, the CEO of the CC was calling me all the time to start the project. I gave him the best possible offer and he seemed to be satisfied with everything. I was busy like hell during those days. I told Amit and his friend to visit the CC and be sure abt them. Only one thing was required to start the project that was the contract between me and the CC. Next week, I got to know that the project is over and there was no reason behind it at all. I asked Amit and he told me that he’s still working on it. I talked to Karl and told him that the project has been postponed for few days. I remember that my cell phone was working almost 16 hours a day. I tried communicating everyone and after 1-2 days I found that the CC, Amit, and his friend had become hostile. I tried to bring everything on track, but it didn’t work. It was over and I found another failure standing outside my door. I wrote Karl that the president and the CEO of the call center have met an accident and they died in that car accident. Later, I lost the contract. Morals of the lesson: Monitor and keep track of everyone in the business even it is your friend or closest ally. In start-ups, everyone has the capability to ruin the venture. 2nd, you can do business everywhere; just keep your eyes open. 3rd, don’t be indulged in the projects where you can’t maintain stability after everyone in the project leaves you. You must have the capability and expertise to drive the project alone (atleast for some time).

During the month of April, I talked to Punit again. Until then, Punit had acquired Brainwave for BPO-HR consultancy. He had opened the office in Gurgaon and we of openning a branch in Delhi. This branch was supposed to communicate people having desires to work for BPOs. It seemed worthwhile to me and later, I talked to my boss in my current organization. My boss told me to provide the office space in Laxminagar at no cost for first 3 months. We decided that I’d work in my Naraina office in the daytime and run the consultancy office 5-10pm during weekdays and 10-6 during weekends. But, I was afraid of the failures and seemed to become wiser after the two failures in the start of the year. I made a questionnaire of 10 questions and gave it to Punit. I told him that I won’t start the venture until I get the answers from him. He asked for some more time and I gave him. Well, he’s not replied me yet. Since I didn’t get any reply, I didn’t start this venture as well. It was not a failure, but this was the third thing that didn’t work.

Then, I decided to get rid of these freaky business ventures and concentrate on my job. I made lots of conversations with my boss, Rajiv Agarwal and then, we decided to start an entrepreneurial venture together. In June, we modified the creative division from the existing software company and started a new venture “iCreate Services” and I became the Manager (Operations). It was incredible to me and I decided to accept that challenge. Since June, we didn’t get the incredible growth, but we grew from $0 profit to $3000 profit in 7 months. It didn’t turn up as sort of financial milestone for me and I didn’t earn too much money, but it was a great experience. I became too mature as a manager. I got to know several things and most I importantly, it gave me implausible confidence. I learned to build an organization from scratch, get customers, communicate people, market from several fronts, work on international business, grab projects from a crowd of competitors, manage the operation, troubleshoot, explore several business opportunities, manage people, convert strategies into reality, and several other things as an entrepreneur, manager, and technologist. This was a relief, or may be a start. But, there were several things yet to come along my way.

In the second half of last year, I experienced several other things from my professional life and corresponding reactive actions. Things became more adventurous and somehow some situations arrived and led me to the stagnancy. Looking back to the things I did in the past, it seems quite obvious, but the irony was that I couldn’t get rid of it. Later on, it became inherent in my daily life and I’m still trembling and trying to find a way out of it. Well, the second part of the year gave me a chance to explore more strange facets.

I got the first paid client for Dreamworkers, Prof Carlos R Faria from Venezuela, a famous professor and laureate. I designed a website for him. He was very pathetic in terms of professionalism but I enjoyed the time whenever I visited Embassy of Venezuela. Though we were meeting to discuss stuffs about the website, every time we ended in a discussion about the issues like world politics, clash of civilizations, economy and globalization, existentialism and analytic philosophy, and so on. He lended me his new book, The Downsizing of America”, to read. The meetings were pretty cool after all. And then, I finished www.worldhistoryplus.com. After this, I lost one project and then, I didn’t try for other personal projects. I concentrated on my job as Manager, Operations. During this time, I interacted with several people while working on their projects, V Rao from RPF, Abid Azam (NYC), Rafael Capucci, and lots of others from US. It was cool. I learnt, or say I got a sort of expertise, that how to tackle those people who give you money to run your organization. You get to compromise over several things and at the same time, you consistently try to save yourself from all those related creepy stuffs having adequate potential to make you a crook. The industry makes you a man with multiple faces and you never know the time of transition, it just becomes a habit. Well, I didn’t turn up as a crook but I tried to make business and save our venture. However, maintaining my individualism and purity was very crucial and I somehow managed to remain the same. Well, the money was scarce throughout the year and sometimes it put me in trouble, but things went on. Sometimes, several thoughts came in my mind that I should leave the present job or start BPO business again or join another job or stuffs like that. But, I survived and things seem to be changed in the coming year.

Concluding all the events and consequences from last year, though the year can be well referred as a year of failures, it seems like a journey that was full of struggles and throughout the time I strived for my survival, and I was like “keep busy living or keep busy dying”.

Besides all those stuffs related to my professional life, the year had stored so many other things to add in my living experiences. The personal life was pretty more adventurous and I had been struggling with and searching for something quite unknown throughout the year. The people were the best part of it and the worst part of it as well. The people, well, played all possible kinda roles in 2006. They were inspirations, friends, and allies…but, at the last, I wanted to get rid of them. How ironic, isn’t it? Maybe, I had lost my ability to scan and go through the layers. Maybe, it was a way of the nature to let me know some strange facets of the life. And yes, I learnt, though after several experiments which were so expensive. It took a whole year after all. Well, people are so unpredictable… the more you dig, the more your hands become dirty..and finally, you’ll see them laughing at you in unison. This is so embarassing and you feel kinda hapless. Errr..I wont write anything more here coz it can possibly expose several faces.

The search is still on and I hope that I will find a solution very soon. One thing I know for sure is that I’m not going to stop experimenting things, doesnt matter whatever has happened in the past. Well, I wont be applying the same chemicals and catalysts in my next experiments. Its truely adventurous, however uncool sometimes. So, if its uncool then what is good in this? Well, experiments are the only thing that can enable you to rip apart the multiple layers of your life. Take the case of onion. Every time you rip its layers, you find that you are doing the same thing all the time. Whenever you feel it, look at the size and diameter of the previous layer and compare it with the current one. The size has been decreased. Then, removing the layers let your tears run beneath your eyes and it looks like so unworthy. Let me tell you what happens when you continue removing the layers….the size reduces, the number of layers reduces, the tears flows smoothly, and finally, when you are done with it, you can count all the layers and you find that every obstacle had a reason. The same is with the life. The experiments are so tough and looks very unworthy, but, its very crucial to know the core. Removing layers is the only way to become simple, and so, being alive.

Second thing, you can divert from your plans and goals if you want your quest to be strengthened. Sometimes, you find a hint of success in the failures and that is vital when you commit mistakes. As they say, everything happens for a reason, similarily, every event has a clue to let you proceed with the next step. The important point is to find the clue as soon as you can. Nature gives you a chance to choose and being a living human, you ought to choose the best out of it. If you fail to pick the best, the nature repeat the lesson to let you go through the experiment again. Third, don’t distrust anything or anybody until it has a strong reason to do so. Faith and persistence make everything possible. So, never lose faith. Forth, don’t leave or forget your original part, that means the purity and freshness that can be provided by you only. Be natural, it’s gonna pay you a lot in return. All other philosphies are good, but, they come only after you keep your instincts and originality alive. This is the only dynamic thing within you that has the capability to keep you lively and happy. Trust me, I’ve paid a lot in past and now, I regret for the same. Fifth, learn to be silent. The silence has so many things stored for you. Get some time to explore them. Sixth, learn the meaning of joy and happiness. Experience everything and every moment of joy and give it a thought after the moment passes. You’ll get to know the reality and the meaning. This is one thing that you can’t follow or copy. Its so original, as original as you are. There is a great possibility that you find a reason even in the joy and the happiness; and that’s something very original and unique. Seventh, though money has the power to control your actions, you can stay unruled by it. Money never stops you and your inner space to grow and flourish. Yes, it can make effects on your external appearances and consecutive reflections. But, it shouldn’t bother you at all. Eighth, everyone dreams of something, besides several other dreams, that seems impossible. Well, even when you know that you can never realize it, don’t kill it. Keep it alive. Who know that the life has stored it for you.