Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We Will See

Legend has it that a rich merchant once bought a horse for his son on his sixteenth birthday. All the townspeople came to the wise old man and said- “Oh, how lucky that boy is!”

“We will see”- was the wise man’s reply.

A few days later the boy fell off from his horse and broke his leg. All the townspeople came to the wise man and said- “oh, how unfortunate!”

“We will see”- was the wise man’s reply.

A few days later war was announced. All boys of eligible age had to conscript for the army by royal decree. The young boy escaped because of his broken leg. All the townspeople came to the wise man and said- “Oh, how fortunate!”

“We will see”- was the reply.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Connecting the dots… A Tribute to Mr Jobs.

I’ve never owned an Apple product in my life. I’ve never been able to afford one. I don’t hold any grudge against anyone for that… it’s just how it is. So I don’t know how beautiful the products are, what the features & specs are etc. I’ve come across a few of their products in my life and I’ve always been fascinated by them. That’s maybe because everyone keeps raving about them.

My fascination for Mr. Jobs is therefore not because of the beautiful products he created. No, my fascination with Mr. Jobs is because of the ideals for which he stood for.

I read Mr. Jobs’ speech that was given in the Stanford convocation a long time ago. The speech was titled ‘Connecting the dots’. A friend of mine had forwarded it to me. I read it during a particularly difficult part of my life. I’ve starred the mail in my inbox and I read it whenever I’m in need of some zest. I was able to connect to what was said in a way that nothing else has. For many people Steve Jobs was a tech-guru, an innovator, an entrepreneur, the greatest CEO ever, etc, etc. But, what came through to me in that speech was that above all else -Steve Jobs was an artist! An artist is constantly trying to make sense of his life. An artist is constantly trying to find his place in the world. An artist always wants to contribute something. An artist creates something in his mind, executes it and changes society forever through his creation.

I believe in my heart that I am an artist. No religious sermon or text, no motivational speaker, nobody has made as much sense to me as Steve Jobs did in that small address. Like he says in that speech, you will never be able to connect the dots now but going forward everything will make sense, everything will fall in place. You just have to believe in that. I do.

When you connect the dots of Steve Jobs’ life you get one really beautiful picture and that will be his most lasting legacy. I know that one of the important dots in my life is reading that speech and let’s see where that will take me. Thank you Mr. Jobs for being an inspiration. I promise to Stay Hungry! and Stay Foolish! as long as I live.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The first rule of 'Making Money'

I once came across this real wealthy guy. I walked up to him and asked him- "Sir, how does one make money?".

He smiled and said- "How much will I get if I tell you?"

I smiled. I'd just learned rule No 1- 'Nothing comes free!".

Monday, May 2, 2011

The end of a terrorist and what we must do with it

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the US on eliminating Osama Bin Laden. Unless you have completely missed the day, you must be aware that Bin Laden met his end early this morning in a surgical strike by US special- forces. For a man who preached violence and hatred, it was a fitting end.

And with the lack of imagination that is peculiar to our Government, especially when it comes to seizing moments, our PM and Home Minister chose to attack Pakistan ‘in the wrong way’.

“The 26/11 terrorists are still in Pakistan”- Mr Chidambaram was quoted to have said. “Pakistan must do more to rein in terrorism”- was Mr Singh’s quip.

Diplomacy is often putting your enemy in a tight spot. Anyone can see that the covert operation conducted by the US in Pakistani territory was without the knowledge of the Pakistani authorities. Even if there was some kind of cooperation, both the US and Pakistan seem to want to down-play that. The Pakistani authorities have so far been silent or reserved in their statements. Only ex- President Musharraf has come out openly and criticized the operation as “an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty”.

The truth is in Musharraf’s quip. Any self-respecting Pakistani should be enraged that the US has continuously treated Pakistan without any respect. The blame for this sorry state of affairs has to fall on Pakistan. But that is a long story… that which every person on the planet knows(including the Pakistani’s!). Pakistan’s rulers are sure to find it difficult to maneuver the public outrage that this event will bring about. India should have seized this chance.

A simple statement from India would have done the trick. Imagine a statement thus- “We congratulate both the people of the US and the people of Pakistan on the elimination of this most dangerous of terrorists. It’s an important day in the fight against terrorism. This could have only come about with the active cooperation between the ‘Pakistani and US authorities’. While admiring the feat, it is important to not forget that larger issues pertaining to terrorism still remain. Islamabad must repeat the cooperation that it showed with the US and extend the same to countries such as India, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UK, Israel, Spain, Australia and Indonesia, which have been victims of terrorism emanating from Pakistan."

Both the US and Pakistan will find it difficult to outwardly find fault with that statement, although internally they will be seething. Pakistan will have to come out with a diplomatic retort (they always have to whenever India says something). They can say something to the extent that there is no terrorism happening India or some bull like that. No one will take it seriously… but what will really set the cat amongst the pigeons is the focus on the ‘cooperation’ between the US and Pakistan. This cooperation is a political hot-potato for both countries. By tactfully making both parties uncomfortable India would have done exceedingly well.

Some of you maybe fazed as to why we need to make the US uncomfortable. Simple… even in Mrs Clinton’s address this evening she mentioned the bombings in Kenya, Africa, Yemen, UK and Spain as proof that terrorism and in particular Al Qaeda needed to be dealt with firmly. But when it comes to the most outrageous of terrorist attacks- the 26/11 attacks, it preaches that India must practice ‘restraint’.

It is also high-time that India covertly plans to get rid of the notorious terrorists that are harming her. I admire what the US and the Israeli’s do. In fact, most nation-states do the same. They make it extremely difficult and dangerous for their enemies to function. It shouldn’t be that bastards like Dawood Ibrahim are allowed to have a high-profile wedding for their children, or jokers like Syed Sallaudhin should be allowed to address rallies in public. The enemies of India should live in a constant state of fear. India’s hands-off strategy in trying to do justice is at odds with what is required of a strong and resilient nation-state.

A hard-line and hawkish approach is what is required. I hope the PM and Home Minister will get the message.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ind vs SA, WC-2011, Qualifiying round

In another tantalizingly close finish, South Africa beat India with just 3 balls to spare.  It was a thoroughly professional show by the Proteas and they richly deserved the win. As opposed to the Indians, who thoroughly deserved to lose last night’s game.
One may argue in the merits of choosing Nehra over Bhajji in that last over. It might have made a difference… we will never know. But, to me, the game was not won/lost there. Dhoni’s captaincy was good generally. He shuffled his bowlers well, was aggressive, and always ahead of things. SA batted very sensibly and everyone who came out to bat made a contribution. I think AB’s little innings was special in that it created the momentum for them to carry on. AB, by the way, is probably my favorite international cricketer now. No, the game was lost elsewhere. The Indians lost the plot while they were batting.
You cannot lose 9 wickets for 29 runs in an ODI! Not unless you are an ‘associate’ team playing against the big boys (or you are B’ldesh!).  Sachin, Sehwag and Gambhir had set the match beautifully for the Indians, only for the others to throw it all away. It was shameful. Among all the super-stars, there was not one sane head to raise his hand to be counted. No one could keep cool and work the way through the end. There is a word in English for this kind of performance- pathetic!
So who’s to blame for the batting debacle? The top 3 did their job splendidly, and are therefore out of contention for this dubious distinction. Virat Kohli is young, and has performed well in the previous games. We can excuse him for the one-off game. Yuvi similarly can be discounted on past performances in this tournament. Mr Pathan knows only one way hit the cricket ball and that is to hit it hard. There are limits to what that sort of belligerence will deliver. So that leaves only our captain dearest- Mr MSD!
Coming to think of it… when was the last time MSD finished a match for us? I can’t recollect even one from recent memory. I can’t remember a decent batting contribution from him, in all forms of the game, for a long time.  So is Mr MSD in a form slump? It appears so… and it’s badly affecting Team India’s batting.
Dhoni is the calm and serene head in the middle of the order. He handles pressure well and can be depended on to hold anchor when the storm arrives. He’s done this job with distinction but it’s been some time now since he’s delivered. India should not slump like it did that day with Dhoni around. He’s the guy who gets us out of those dreadful periods of play. But, he failed!
It’s been reported that he’s very unhappy with the batting performance from the last game. I hope he said that in a very expansive tone- to include himself. Mr. MSD needs to remove his sword from its sheath and get going.
So what’s to say of India’s bowling? The less said the better! Yes, I know I blamed India’s batting for the loss… but that’s because I have very little confidence, if at all, in India’s bowling to believe that it has the goods to win us a game by itself. Yes ZAK and Bhajji can be brilliant in periods… but Nehra and Munaf… really?
Among the top teams, India has probably the weakest bowling line up. So how do we correct it? It might be worth to give Sreesanth a try. I’m not saying that he’s better than Nehra or Munaf. But there’s a small chance that he might be in some sort of form. The other two are obviously doing nothing.
And I might be tempted to bring the extra spinner. Play only 6 batsmen even. I’m not very clear on this though… I’m just shooting off my head here.
India doesn’t look like a world cup winning squad at the moment. It’s lacking that killer instinct. It needs to deliver that knockout punch when it gets the chance. Pray that they find it soon!