For want of a nail, the war was lost!

Many of us would have heard this story and the above statement. In similar lines, I believe, India is getting very vulnerable with increasing dependence on foreign countries (US, UK, France, Israel, Russia…I don’t know how many more) for its defense needs – big or small nails (aircrafts to carriers to sensors to engines to blades to nuclear reactors) – and in the process we may not have winning edge!

I read an article in Hindu, “Threat to innovative fix-dependent system” [URL]. Reading this, I was appalled that for anything and everything we are dependent on other countries. To retrofit, for accessories, and for many other things & over and above that, we have contractual obligations with these foreign countries, which makes us completely dependent on foreign OEMs to send parts or fly down their personnel – as long as that purchased item is in service!

Earlier I was happy that there was something called defense offset policy, where foreign OEMs are mandated to source components (I don’t know if services are also included) worth 30% of the cost of deal (a very high level pointer, for more info click here). In case of nuclear reactors, if we need to source from US, we need to absolve US vendors from all liabilities, if an accident occurs because of their equipment.

You might have read about delays in manufacture of Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) by India. One of the main reasons for the delay was the sanction imposed on India (post nuclear test). During this period, we did not get access to aircraft engines and you know the rest of story. And there could be many instances and fields (medicine, IT, agriculture etc) where India faces challenges. In all these cases we might have got want we wanted but with a catch.

So, the question in my mind is, ‘Why cannot India be self sufficient when it comes to critical areas like Defense?’

Precedence where we had solution to similar problem(s):

Indian visionaries sensed this need and set up IITs, NITs, IISC etc and other educational institutions. Now, over a period of time we are reaping the benefit of having steady stream of graduates from all fields (bear with me for the factory approach but our society and corporate are like that).

Another instance which we can relate to is the ecosystem we have for automobile industry. Early foundation put in place by Government and big companies have paved the way for this industry to be less dependent to a great extent (we are still dependent on foreign partners for design, for safety testing etc).

Questions: Who has the solution to make India independent for defense related technologies and other critical technologies? What is required to be done? Why we are unable to replicate the solutions we had earlier for similar challenges? (India built its own Super Computer when it was pushed to the corner by the so the called developed world).


Another interesting article: It pays to increase R&D spend [Click here to read]


Piracy, Mafia & Terrorism

I was having a casual conversation with my colleagues on ‘Piracy’. Interesting twist to that conversation was: piracy is linked to mafia (organised crime) & terrorism!

So, if one is buying a pirated movie CD/DVD or sofware or books, they might be contributing to TERRORISM!

A scenario: If as a local bootlegger, if one tries to sell drugs to a person, he or she might hesitate (the person who is being approached), knowing it would spoil health etc, etc. There is bit of guilty conscious as well here.

However, if one is selling the latest Bollywood or Hollywood movie for Rs 20 or Rs 30, would one not buy that? Definitely, yes. Infact many parents lead the way here for children, as they feel there is nothing wrong in their action (not paying taxes is a different story!). Bingo for Mafia! With less headache, they are getting funded by innocent (not 100% though) civilians, for their business (Terrorism, smuggling…or whatever)!

So, please avoid buying any pirates software or movies or books. Just a humble request.

Indian Express article on the same:

How to align your day-to-day activities towards what you want to achieve in life?

How to align your day-to-day activities towards what you want to achieve in life?

Answer: Using a tool called ‘Management by objectives (MBO) or Management for Objectives (MFO)’!

Oh! WoW! Such a short answer?! So, what is this about?

MFO / MBO, a concept from Total Quality Management (TQM), aligns ‘Vision’ of a company to its daily tasks, across various departments & its personnel. This is a very crude and lay man explanation. [TQM gurus please bear with me!].

If this tool can align the individual employee’s tasks with that of the entire company’s vision; few years back, when I was in a tight spot, I was thinking if this tool can align my daily tasks (personal) with that of what I want to achieve in life. The answer that I got was a splendid, ‘YES’. So, it would help you too*.

[*conditions apply J]

Now that I have asked the question, given the one line answer & its background, let me dwell on the following three things: 1) Situation, 2) Impact and, 3) Resolution / solution. [Thanks to Gartner analysts for this framework].

What is the situation?

As a student (college or school) or as an fresher just out of college working for a company or as a fresh post-graduate searching for a job or working, or it could be anybody (even CEOs); for most part, we might not know what we are doing & how it is going to impact our life (whether personal or professional).

Is this true? Yes. Think about this:

–           How many of your friends, have done under graduation in Mechanical & landed in an IT company as an engineer and crib. Man…I did Mechanical for four years & now I am writing code. Why? If only I had known that I would enter IT field, I would have done Computer Science!

–          Did under graduation ( Engineering), then worked for few years, did MBA and joined an Investment Bank in US. Why? [I know this question was asked in the Hindi movie 3idiots].

–          Did UG, then my PG, moved to academics, then jumped into industry and from there jumped to take up a different profile. 5 to 10 years have gone by, till now I have not seen ‘Manager’ designation or I have not monetarily achieved anything. God, what should I do!

The above are just few situations or scenarios that we come across in our day to day life. So what is the pattern here?

No one is sure of what they want to do in life. In other words, no one is sure of ‘What they want to stand for?’.

What is the excuse we have for the above questions? The minute I was born, my training to fit into this world started. Pre-school, school, college, join a top company…etc. In all these years, I did not have time to think of where all these activities were leading me to. Some people will say, I thought about this problem, but did not know what to do about this…so I am continuing to do what I have been doing!

What is the impact of the above situation?

The impact, to be precise, the negative impact(s) this creates for an individual:

–          Lack of job satisfaction.

–          My peers, college buddies are getting twice my salary (this doesn’t mean they have happy either).

–          Post my UG, it’s been four or five years in corporate life, I am not sure what I want to do or how to charter from career growth.

–          I am doing 10 different things, but, I do not have a collective picture as to how these are going to impact my personal or professional well being.

–          I am bogged down by day-to-day transactions but have not done anything impactful.

–          I am working twenty hours a day, completely drained and not satisfied either personal or professional life.

–          I am totally confused!

In the first part, I had outlined the situation & the negative impact it has on life. In this section (final), I have presented the solution. [I am not claiming this is my thought. Due credit goes to TQM Gurus].

Management For Objectives (MFO)

As you can see from the diagram, there are four components to understand and implement. The four components are: Vision, Mission, Objectives and Action Items.

Why do you need these four components? These components would help one bring focus in what his daily activities are and how it will fit into the bigger picture.

High level explanation:


Things that fall under Vision category should necessarily be long term (10+ years or more).

Have two to four vision items. Like…

1)      What you want to be known for? (Ex: The best marketing person)

2)      Things related to Financial Independence, health, character, spiritual etc


Time frame: 5 years [Less than the number years in Vision category]

List down 10 things that are linked to your Vision and choose  5 from them.

For example:

If my vision statement is ‘I want to become the best Marketing professional’, then, the mission category to have two or three items linked to Marketing. Like, ‘become an expert in B2B marketing’, ‘Become an expert in B2C marketing’, ‘Become a certified Social Media Marketing professional’

Map these items with the appropriate vision statement.


Time frame: 2 years

Repeat the process. Identify 5 areas which are linked to the listed mission statements.

For example:

Mission statement: ‘Become an expert in B2B marketing’.

Objective 1: ‘Gain work experience in B2B services marketing’.

Objective 2: ‘Gain work experience in B2B product marketing’.

Action Items:

Time frame: 6 months to 1 year.

For you to achieve the identified objectives, you need to have a short-term plan. ‘Action items’ are for the same.


Objective statement: ‘Become an expert in B2B marketing’.

Action Item: ‘Crack GMAT and gain admission in a top B-School’.

[One can split the above into two action items as well].

Once the chart is filled up:

The above exercise (only to fill the chart) is tough and as we think of filling up this chart, we will understand the amount of ‘clarity’ we have about our life!

But once the chart is filled up, 50% of the work is over! Rest is just execution J

Here I am using ‘execution’ in a very low tone. Management Guru, Ram Charan, has written an entire book on ‘Execution’. I hope you got the drift…execution is not easy. It takes discipline. [I am lagging big time here…need to work on it].

Good news is, you can execute 100% just by focusing all your efforts / activities as identified by you in the chart.

From an earlier state of ‘No clarity’, ‘No plan of action’, ‘I am shooting in the dark state’ etc…now we are better placed. We are equipped with a game plan and we know what to do…

Post this follow, do PDCA. Plan (chart), Do (execute what you had taken as activities), Check (Plan vs Actual goal), and Act (course correction).

Just a thought in ‘House of Thoughts’.

If you find this interesting or useful or feel otherwise…feel free to drop a comment.

Lessons from my experience* – Part 1 of n

1) Being content in life gives happiness. [Make the most of what you have / get]

2) When you pray, don’t ask anything. Just pray. Things will be taken care off for you.

3) Whether it is your friend or relative, trying to see yourself in them, will only result in a troubled relationship. Understand that each and every person is unique.

4) Newton’s third law – for every action, there is an, equal and opposite reaction – holds good for life too.

5) Baranyasam in Vaishnavism is a good thing to follow. Makes you focus on one God and attain salvation.

6) Extending point 5 to real life / day-to-day living, focus on priorities in hand, would help you attain a better position in life.

7) Do not lie unnecessarily (preferable, not to lie at all!). By following this point, you will face lot of challenges & tension but one can stay away from lot of mega troubles, trust me when I say this!

8 ) Being a cynosure, may work for some but may not work for all. Answer this question before you want attention: What are you going to achieve by being a cynosure? If you do not get a convincing answer, move on.

9) One can be happy with life, if the person, treats it like a portfolio. Overall, is everything ok for you? Then, be happy! Do not expect ‘Return on Investment (ROI)’ from every page of your life.

10) Invest, yes invest time, to understand your religion, custom or belief. There would be lessons which one can pick up and use.

11) Humility, empathy and a smile, would win you loads of hearts.

12) Formula to reign Power and Influence among your group (relatives, friends, colleagues or anybody): Help them unconditionally.

13) Smouldering is not a good thing to follow – vent it out, pleasantly.

14) Do not wound anyone by being acrimonious (acid like words). The person whom you hurted would not forget it ever. I mean, EVER!

15) You become, what you think you are!

16) Selffulfiling prophecy works!

17) Each and every person has his/her own sphere of superiority. So, respect everyone. [Can you beg as proficiently as a begger? Can you show perseverance as shown by a begger?]

18) As a dad or mom, you can wish your son to be an Einstein or Sachin in their field / studies, but, understand that your kid has his / her own sphere of superiority. If one is not good in studies, he/she might be good in something else. Instead of putting undue pressure on them, sit with them and understand their needs and work with them to satisfy those – if they are reasonable enough.

19) One who doesn’t respect his wife, carries no respect for himself, vice-versa.

20) Parenting is second childhood.

21) Read Dalie Carnegie’s book on ‘How to win friends and influence people’ once

22) More you suppress once feelings and interest, the more rebellious they become

23) Be respectful and keep parents happy. You are here because of them

24) At 30 you can be arrogant, egoistic and rude to others & make others life miserable, you will not feel the heat at that time. At 60, you will go to the same people or depend completely on them for your day-to-day living, I have seen this happen!

25) If you are selffish with your kids, no doubt, they will not even wink their eyes, when you suffer. What you sow, is what you get.

26) To sustain a good relationship, whether it is with your dad, mom, wife, brother or with relatives / friends, be open to accept feedback & be open with your feedback. Your feedback will hurt them for a while, but you will be rewarded with a good relationship.

27) Beauty might help till 30. Education might help till retirement. Good IQ / EQ / SQ might help a little further. But Attitude (good), can help all the way in your life.

More to come…

[*For all of the above to work – conditions apply 🙂 ]

Yeh dosti! Karunanidhi & Prabhakaran:

Karunanidhi & Prabhakaran:

I saw in NDTV, Karunanidhi calling himself a friend of Prabhakaran. Head of State associating himself with a terrorist outfit head! Hmm…what an attitude!

Certainly, this kind of statements by a responsible and experienced politician, who is also the head of state, is troubling to me and would keep the morale of military, police and other security forces high! At one end, these forces are trying to save people’s life from this terrorist outfit and at the other end, their own head of state, openly embracing (at least orally) the leader of LTTE.

Good state to be in!

[To whomsoever it may concern – I only saw it in TV, so I don’t know if it was edited or Computer Graphics was used to distrote the truth, I am just going by what was shown. If they have telecasted something wrong and Karunanidhi did not make such comments, I would like to apoligize before hand]

Tamilnadu bandh 23 Apr 09

I appreciate that politicians are showing great interest on what is happening in Srilanka. However, I don’t know, whether it is a genuine interest or the usual nature of politicians to draw political mileage (especially during election period!), I don’t know!

However due to their recent action ‘Bandh in TN’, I am inclined to believe that they are trying to draw political mileage only or rather their selfish nature is coming out clearly.

If they are selfless, then those politican parties, which run their own media houses (TV, print and Radio channels) should have gone off air for that one day. Instead, using this bandh, they tweaked their TV programs – instead of showing mega serials, they started telecasting movies!

These political parties will not black-out their channels and bear losses, however, they would want to make the innocent citizens suffer. FYI – 23rd Apr 09, is a Muhurtha Naal (auspicious day) and many people who had their son’s or daugher’s marriage struggled to get things done on time and there was unnecessary tension (safety, relatives could not come on time, taxi & auto walas charging high prices  etc).

Will not ruling parties take into consideration before announcing bandh or anything? 24 hours of notice is not sufficient for civilians to plan & get things in place. Instead of poking their nose into another country’s internal issue, politicians should start to show more empathy towards their own people.

I guess they have lot of free time and that’s why this is happening. Guys, if you are free, I will give you 1000s of ideas and issues to be sorted out.

I am happy about one thing, though there was bandh, there was no major incident in TN. I should sincerely appreciate the police forces and ruling party to have kept an eye on that part, at least!

What we eat is what we are!

Hi all: A close friend of mine has contributed this article on food and the quality it imbibes into us, as we consume them.

I thank the person for bringing this new dimension on food. You may post your comments / thoughts / questions and I would get it answered by my friend.


Foods are classified into three categories – Saatvic, Rajasic and Tamasic by Ayurveda, the oldest medical science .Saatvic foods include easy-to-digest foods such as fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs, light dairy products, grains and legumes, whole foods that are not altered by processing. Foods that are processed, canned, transported long distances, frozen or packaged are harder to digest and create imbalances in the body. Organically and locally grown foods are best because they are fresh and free of harsh chemicals. Easy digestion is the fundamental requirement for good immunity in the body. In general vegetarian diet promotes more Saatvic eating although freshness, processing and certain ingredients do not promote Saatvic qualities. Milk, butter, ghee (clarified butter), fresh ripe fruits, most nuts, vegetables, grains, beans and legumes are Saatvic.

Rajasic foods are foods that make one act in mode of passion. They are hot, spicy and salty foods bitter, sour, pungent and dry.. These foods create sensuality, sexuality, greed, jealousy, anger, irritability, delusion, fantasies, egotism and irreligious feelings. Fried foods, pungent condiments, fresh meat, sweets, fermented foods, brinjal (egg plant), carrots, urad (black gram), onions, garlic, lemon, masur (red gram), tea, coffee, chocolate/any stimulant, betel leaves, tobacco are rajasic foods.

Tamasic foods are foods that make one act in mode of ignorance. They are food are over cooked, impure, more than three hours old, stale, dry, bad smelling, burnt, distasteful, processed, canned frozen etc. It increases pessimism, ignorance, lack of common sense, greed, laziness, depression, criminal tendencies and doubt. Meat, eggs, alcohol, mushrooms are tamasic foodstuffs. Meat tops the list of Tamasic foods. Physiologically, Carnivores have biological features that differ from herbivores. Their intestines are short and digestive acids very strong. The length of the human intestine is three to four times that of a typical carnivore, and digestive acids weaker. Meat therefore takes a long time to process, sometimes exceeding several days and making it more tamasic and accumulating toxins. Onions and garlic, and the other Alliums are classified as Rajasic and to some extent Tamasic, which means that they increase passion and to some degree ignorance.

Rajasic and tamasic foods are not to be used often because they are detrimental to general health, spiritual progress and are also avoided due to their adverse effects on the consciousness of the eater. Saatvic people are focused on the purpose, rajasic people are focused on the result and tamasic people just go through the motions. Even Saatvic foods needs to be eaten in the right quantity and at right intervals as specified by Ayurveda for the foods to be absorbed well and remain Saatvic. For eg over eating, snacking at odd times etc contribute to more Tamasic quality. A popular saying in tamil captures the ill effects of overeating by describing that even nectar can be poisonous to the living entity, when had in excess of quantity.

From a spiritual angle, Krishna describes in Bhagavat Gita that there are three modes of material nature. Every creature is born with an inclination to either saatva, rajas, or tamas. Every living entity has a certain percentage of these qualities. Those who are more Saatvic worship the forms of God, those who are more Rajasic worship power and wealth, those who are more tamasic worship spirits and ghosts. Saatvic foods are foods that make one act in the modes of goodness, promotes the right kind of intelligence – the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and helps stay calm stress free and make the right decisions in life.

Few Bright Sparks

I came to know of these great intellectuals from Marginal Revolution by

I have been reading / researching on contributions by Indian thinkers – from vedic period to current period. Once I make some progress, I will post it.

Until then, you may read about these great people!

1. Tjalling Koopmans.  He is a father of operations research and certainly worthy of a Nobel Prize, although perhaps in mathematics (if they had one).  His work on optimal routing theory remains central to transportation management and he also laid some foundations for quantum chemistry.  True, he doesn’t really appeal to my inner Austrian but he was an awesome intellectual figure and he also helped us win WWII.  We should all bow down and pay homage to Tjalling Koopmans.

2. Kenneth J. Arrow.  His reputation now far surpasses that of Samuelson’s and he was more philosophical to boot.  Where to start?   He understood his own impossibility theorem better than did the commentators plus he is the father of modern health care economics and that is maybe 1/10th of his total contribution!  People who know him also claim he is the greatest polymath they ever met.

3. Gerard Debreu.  He is the father of general equilibrium theory and also, as a philosopher of time, the real successor to Proust, as he once explained in an interview.  His extremely minimalistic approach to economics is better when it comes from the star than from the second-tier imitators but of course a real star he was.  I think of him as the father of economic science fiction and no I don’t mean that as a snub.

4. James Tobin.  About fifteen years ago I realized he was in fact one of the deepest Keynesian thinkers.  He also proposed the Tobit model and laid the foundations for modern portfolio theory.  He lives in an intellectual world different from my own but he is clearly deserving of his Nobel Prize several times over.

5. Franco Modigliani.  He is one of the guys who could have won more than one Nobel Prize.  That’s one for the Modigliani-Miller theorem (the implications of being able to chop up and carve up assets), one for the lifecycle hypothesis, and perhaps even another for his 1944 article on liquidity preference, which showed the concept was probably not enough to drive the Keynesian model except for the unusual case where liquidity preference was infinitely strong.  Sadly this piece remains neglected by modern purveyors of the liquidity trap idea.

6. Herbert Simon.  Bounded rationality and behavioral economics have already taken the profession by storm; his insights on computation, neurology, and artificial intelligence have not yet been incorporated into the mainstream in an effective manner, so his long-run influence will only increase.

7. Lawrence Klein.  I can’t say I am a fan of his macro modelling approach, but I’ll admit I haven’t spent much time with his work.

8. Trygve Haavelmo.  He pioneered how to attack identification problems in econometrics; among other things without him there would be no Steve Levitt and no Freakonomics.  He didn’t just get the Nobel Prize because he was a Scandinavian.

9. Harry Markowitz.  The father of modern portfolio theory, enough said.

Amazing, isn’t it?  I still think the profession as a whole overdoes theory (even today) and undervalues breadth and real world experience, but these are nonetheless thinkers to be revered.  Arrow and Simon are, by far, the two who have influenced me the most.  It’s also fair to say that GMU economics often extends in other directions, but except perhaps for Herbert Simon these are well-mined thinkers by the rest of the mainstream so not every economist need run in their direction.

By srivaths Posted in HOT

Kimi & Ferrari World Champions

Hello world!

Kimi & Ferrari World Champions!!! What a great race it was!!! People a nail biting finish! Until the last few laps how many permutations & combinations  were put into motion. For Ferrari fans a sigh of relief when Kubica overtook Alonso for P3 and Hamilton went down the positions (unfortunately). But tension was back again when Alonso regained his third position and Hamilton was moving up the position. As and when Hamilton upped his position, my heart beat was going up, started sweating….sheesh…..

Atlast with his team’s support and Felippe’s magnanimity and last but the most important one – a near perfect drive by ICE MAN KIMI! What a drive, what an attitude and what a team! Kudos Team Ferrari! Kudos Felippe!

The first person Kimi congratulated was Felippe – that’s what is team spirit. [Other top drivers should learn from this team what team spirit is! Especially one person…. A…SO]

Hello…Hamilton! Are you a rookie?! I don’t think so! He shows maturity in every sense – be it driving or sportive spirit or loyalty to team….! I am learning a lot from you Hamilton!

Keep it up! And looking forward a great season starting in another 145 days!