Friday, December 31

Undermine right to be ashamed?

There is no place slated dreaded for politics to come up.

And this time again, no different. When US offered to work with India, Japan and Australia to coordinate relief operations, many of us were happy. And was a bit proud of seeing India out there too. What we need is help. Period. There is a limit of what kind of help. Food, water, clothes, shelter, money that can buy some of these. And there are many which no one can help. Lost love. Hope. Moms and Dads. Sons and daughters. Still, whatever we can do, let us do. And let us coordinate that right things flow to right place in right quantity.

Kerala is no place to compare in this vast wrath of God. Still, at the micro-level what Dr.Fuad told me echos why we need coordination upto macro level
we had visited the camps here. a lot can be done immediately. relief efforts are well coordinated and very active now. food no problem.manpower no problem. what they really need is bedsheets towels soap paste etc.NOT clothes,they have plenty of clothes we are not allowed to physically distribute materials.we can go there and hand over the materials to camp organizers.they are really doing a good job under the most trying circumstances.

The same is true across India. Enough food, enough clothes and enough people. Let the aid go to other nations who are in real need. This is out our PM also told other nations. And we have also allocated around $25M to other affected nations.

Coordination is a real tough job. World wide, people are pouring in money. Good souls across the continents are moved seeing footage of crying moms handing over their dead children. Of daughters moving in between piled bodies searching for their dear ones faces. They are all sending money, whatever they have. Families are offering adoption of orphaned children. What we need now is the distribution mechanism. I took the US offer as the one in the right direction. Very humanitarian.

Well, thats why we have the UN and the numerous organisation under its umbrella. But to read something like this is irritating, that too in the same year they started a Platform for the Promotion of Early Warning

..U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Jan Egeland, who is also the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, said he did not know the region didn't have a warning system....

Again I understand, fully agree that its not time for criticism. UN has probably failed here too. It fails to avoid wars. It failed to avoid other calamities too. It will continue hosting World Conferences of Disaster Reduction every year in great places. Let it. But I really dont think a criticism of "undermining UN role" is a timely one. Remember, one can undermine your powers. But never never your responsibility. As long as you deliver that. No mom will ever complain someone undermined her motherhood!

I really worry what would happen to UN now. Will it become another League of Nations?

Anyway lets all make sure no one else would undermine our responsibility. If anyone does, it simply means, we were not doing our job. I would hope that UN would find out places where it can take some responsiblity and deliver too. Anyway I am overwhelmed by new initiative on the UN website for setting up the early warning system within a year. And I guess UN is not left out in coordination too. Lets hope.

Thursday, December 30

Yes, it is shame on mankind

Cherian put me a note seeing the picture in my blog -
….. What I found most interesting in your blog was the comment under the picture on Tsunami. You said “shame on you mankind”. There was no note elaborating as to why you think mankind should be blamed for something that can be categorized as an act of God and one about which Man could do nothing to prevent or reduce the devastation…at least that is how every one treats it in the news media.

Whatever you mean when you say shame on mankind, I would like to echo those remarks and also tell you why I say so. For one, if we spend a fraction of the money that is spend on defense funding (which is basically money used to deliberately kill people) I am sure science could come up with solutions to provide warning about such calamities or even do things to reduce the impact on people and their lively hoods.

In addition I have a question or a comment about another aspect of how the impact could have been reduced. It is said that it took almost 2 and a half hours for the (first?) Tsunami to hit the cost of Sri Lanka and India. It is apparently common knowledge among meteorologists that an earth quake 7.0 and higher on the ritcher scale (in the ocean?) is capable of creating tsunami. If that was the case, as soon as the quake was recorded, why were there no warnings to evacuate people from the costs in India at least….we have a good system in place for disaster warnings, any such evacuation would have reduced the cost of lives drastically. Do I not understand something about this phenomenon? Am I missing something? Or do you think what I am saying makes sense…….

I am yet to write that. I am deeply disturbed after seeing some pics. Of flesh and blood. Of real emotions and faces. Of the true pain. In full real colours.

We have been behind WMD for around 10 years now. What are we trying to escape from? Whom are we trying to protect? From whom? We have forgotten God. Understand that He holds the power of nature. Nature the nice guy, when you are nice to him. Or you take sword, sure it will. In 2004, we have had hurricanes in the US, a series of typhoons and quakes that caused Japan tremble with fear and now the tsunamis that hit every nation in between.

And this is not new. We have a system working in Pacific already. For 40 years. True that we are not yet there in predicting earthquake. Even after a deep sea quake, they say it is difficult and costly to determine the tsunami and directions. But again, we had developed this 40 years back for the Pacific.

We had great celeberations for the new millenium. A lot of promises. Of a world of better ozone layer. Of no landmines (shame on us Indians, we are one of the top exporter of landmines). Of no WMD and with a global police and truly global economy. But leaving half of the world with half a century old technology.

US was busy designing SDI (aka Star Wars) last decade. Seconds after the satellites detect a fire on the ground, a patriot (or the ilike) will go and destroy an ICBM. Trillions of dollars is what they talked.

Then we have the UN. Whatever it means. As we all know it has failed to be a broker of peace, if war is the opposite of peace. But war is not necessarily the only opposite. A natural calamity is. Now the UN is saying it did not know Indian Ocean do not have a warning system. For 40 years we have one in pacific and we dont have one in Indian Ocean!!!! Shame, what else. Shame on you, Shame on me, Shame on all of us. God, forgive us. We talk about global economy. My salary comes from a global market. And here we say, no country in Indian Ocean has the money to install these costly equipments. I dont know what is big money and what is small money. What I read is that the finance required is just $3M. 100,000 people not worth for $3M?

If we can leave Siachen to be protected by nature, we would save $365 Million in a year? Why even talk about defense? If every new mobile phone buyer in India can pay Rs 100 extra, we have 10 million dollar in one year.

Zarqawi and Osama has united. If we have people like them with passion, with the charisma, with money and with followers that are ready to die, and alas, if the passion was for mankind, if the charisma is based on good faith on God, Asia becomes the richest continent on planet. O Osama, you could hit only two towers. See the sample of the wrath of God, it can wash off entire communities across continents. O LTTE, what you are trying to get as a homeland, can vanish off in a matter of hours. You could be begging to your neighbour.

People of Global Economy, it is time to unite. People of technology, get solutions working for humanity. Our kids should not be listening to such shameful stories in the future. I fully agree we cannot totally prevent these calamities. Unless we are as power as God. (God forgive). With all the systems in place, Japan had a lot of calamities. There were warnings of typhoon one full week, still there were casualties. But if we tried, our job is done.

Death is certain, so don’t you take your kin to hospital when he is sick? If someone says he did not, because hospital is costly, what will you feel like? Shame? Then this is 100,000 times that shame. And more

Tuesday, December 28

Shame on Mankind

WMD? Terrorist attack? This is tsunami. That killed more than a hundred thousand people.. Shame mankind, shame on you.

Petals I Picked

So I have set up a separate house for my friends today. Same neighborhood. Petals I Picked. I just moved all the posts. I did have some more nice posts. Google mail in feature should save from losing more posts. Anyway this is my email feed test! Let me see if this comes up there!!!


Monday, July 12

Nammooru Bangalooru

"Good morning! This is Radio City 91 on a cloudy chilly Friday morning"

Not in the US. This is Bangalore. I am tuned to the "Bangalore's best music station", a private FM channel, in my car.

Apun ka naam hai Sunaina
Apun ka show ka naam hai Josh 91
Apun ka station ka naam hai Radio City
Radio City 91 FM.

Bangalore has changed in the past 10 years. It has grown wider, taller and deeper too. Not just the Airtel ER Ad. Ring roads tell us Airport is now inside the city. The flyovers symbolise a leap forward. The underpasses thurst how deep is the passion.

It is not just three aspects that has grown. Just for example, it is tougher to drive now. Thankfully the ring roads are good. At a few places it looks like a freeway. With exits and entries. I don’t know if we can ever afford to have a complete freeway ever in India. But for what we have, I am sure we could do something to use them better. A little bit of care in driving. Tell people driving is not just a skill, but a knowledge. That helps. All cars come with power steering now. Why still go for a diagonal turn when you have to turn right? The amount of time I would spend, yielding to a through traffic, is only a small percentage of the total journey with all the jams. Why not yield? And enjoy Sunaina's Josh, Dorrius' Route 91 and the Mattinee with Sindhu on Radio City?

Todays Times of India talks about what it costs when Ambulances get stuck in jams. You will realise only when you are involved. But it need not be. You don’t have to burn your fingers to know fire means heat. And to realise heat can mean burn.

Then again, on a the beautiful ring roads, a bit more care in putting signboards. BDA knows they can make money using signboards by ads. Why not have them in plenty? With all the exits and junctions marked properly it would be just good. Driving could be a fun if we could route all the slow trucks on one lane. Now they span the entire road and people zip in between these trucks. Don’t blame the truck drivers. They are not privileged to have a good education, a good pay and still overlook all rules. Good that, I can see many people believing that lane changing is aided by indicators. And why on earth these bike riders feel they should be on the extreme right of the extreme right lane? Good or bad thing is that they don’t do a rash driving. They keep steady 40s!!!

BTS has changed name. Now called BMTC. They have changes colours. Now many flavours. Janapriya Vahini to Parisara Vahini - a lot of them. ( I can understand what a Janapriya vahini is. But what about a Parisara vahini? Someone said they take Parisara for a ride!!) Kutti vandis for small areas. Double length buses for some other. Theorotically. The road toward my apartment is narrow. But they have the normal buses running in these roads.

Lots and lots of money flowing into Bangalore day by day. The most dangerous if the BPO wave. Teens are getting 5 digit salaries. With money in Bangalore, easy to spoil yourself.

Mobile is nothing luxury here. If you want to show off, have those latest models with colour screens and multimedia stuff, odd (call innovative?) shapes and like that. My first haircut was interrupted twice .The barber's mobile rang twice. (Did it ring or sing?)

People here don’t bother there is a silent mode. In Japan it is a single button manner mode. Here in meetings, people get calls and they even asnwer sitting where they sit. Cool. A decade back, I remember our CDOT tea table talk - "People now assume everyone has a phone at home. They don’t ask you if you have a phone, they just ask your number". This is now true about mobile. That time 90% around that tea table did not have a phone where they lived. "Well, whats your cell number btw?"

Moving in to Bangalore was easier done. Got furniture from home. Arranged with the apartment watchman for a few people to get things moved up. All done. They happy with 200 bucks. Thankfully this is not Trivandrum. The relocation from Japan was pretty too. Door to door was executed with me getting involved in a few telephone calls. Very neat and clean till unpacking. Great job Interem. Phone, application form downloaded from the web and then the handed over to the concierge service at TI (outsourced by TI). Second day the instrument was in place and the third day it started ringing. I am talking about BSNL, the erstwhile DoT. If you don’t want them, there are other landlines like TATA, Reliance, Bharati. Or you can go for fixed wireless again from all these people.

(Ever thought wires will be thought of as hassles in India? Before we could realise a wired society, we have a better wireless society grooming. See all the reports. Instat or whatever. World is watching India on wireless.)

Gas - Just went and told them. They gave an application. Filled it up. The next day morning the guy was there installing the LPG.

Life is good too. Malloos have taken over Bangalore with the super market concept everywhere. Now things are all a phone call away. Groceries, Vegetables, Fish, Meat, anything you can order on phone and get them delivered free of charge. I am not referring to brands like These are local shops around.

Rents? I pay a rent of Rs.7600. I have not met anyone paying less than 6500. I have a colleague who pays 22000. Well, he has booked an apartment. He will get that in the late 2006. Good he says. He agreed to pay around 42 lakhs.

For car also it is actually quick. But thanks to TI car lease scheme, it took me more than a month to get it done. Anyway I never visited any car showrooms. At home evaluations. Home delivery. Thanks to Anoop who did this unbelievable service to happen in the non-service capital of India called Trivandrum. I followed it in the consumer city called Bangalore.

Talking about cars again, people are "driven" nowadays. They don’t drive. They have drivers. Someone was surprised last week "So you don’t have a driver?" A big problem for the new TI office location was that - the drivers have no space now. These are all personal drivers. Not for any directors or anyone. Just a man in the cubicle.

So much about the new Bangalore. But the old Bangalore is chugging along too. You can still spot many bullock carts in service. Something which you cannot see in Kerala. Garbages are the same old way. And they are handled in the same old way too. (I met a person, a driver for the garbage removal vehicle of the city, who has "outsourced" that job and he working as personal driver for someone else)

Well, this is my 90 days story in Bangalore. To start with. Now I am on the lookout to own or build a house. Many people are there to give me company. One difference - they are on the lookout for the second houses. The first for many are apartments. I am thinking of skipping that step. Second cars and second houses are not unusual here. Except for the guys who missed a part of the journey enjoying life in calm and cool places like Kerala and Japan!

Monday, June 14

The City of Joy

My first visit to Calcutta. Read it Kolkotta. The ride from Airport to Saltlake city itself raised up my curiosity. The new bypass is just the Kolkota image of the huge infrastucture investment in the rest of India. At least the cities. But everything else here makes Kolkotta look like a rural village!

The red flags in front of offices are not that high as expected. Well, they are in power here for ever - have been for ever. So no reason to. Probably. And there is virtually no organised opposition.

The buses are interesting too. The old big like buses - fully wooden, with small seats - again wooden. Will think twice for sure before getting into!

The worst part is the driving habits. Almost no rules - go the wrong way on a one way. Take reverse where you want, the guy behind you will just wait for you. Now park your car right on the intersection.. god, it was a scary ride all the way up and down. No wonder they still treat Ambys as the best cars available. Where else on earth you can have a discussion on the latest Amby - price, features etc?

Thursday, April 8

I bagged it!

A notebook, a pad, coffee mug and spoon, and then pencil, sharpener, eraser, stapler, staples, 3M pads and all that would fit in the mug. Not more. Not less.

And the bag? With the shades of red and orange, with a logo of TI and the slogan of the year - The No.1 place to work for. Above it, in bigger letters, written, I BAGGED IT!

This is 05 Apr 2004, just two months past the completion of 11 years of career, on the first day of my third job - at Texas Instruments India. Back to Bangalore after a gap of 7.5 years.

As I walked in to the Golf View Homes building, there is no smiling girl under bright lights behind an exotic desk. There were two Group4 guys. I told my name, they took up a list, tick marked and asked me to take a seat. 30 minutes later, I realised there were around 25 people like me, when they called us again to their desk to give us the temporary ID cards. All were then hearded to a conference hall in the upper level, led by the HR Admin manager. He gave us a long presentation - mostly stating that his responsibility is in telling us that everything is our responsibility. The message was clear - there is no spoon feeding. There is not going to be a NeST like royal life over here. You have to live. This is your eco system. The intranet provides information regarding all species around. No one would come to you with a spoon. (But they do pay us for a sliver one)

It took two days for me to set up with space, machine and mail. Everything is web enabled. Follow up expected for a job to be done quick. But then the follow ups are greeted well and responded very well. That part is really good. Phone requests are enough for many things. No need of mail even.

The roles and responsibilities are not well defined. Its all mixed up. But its not messed up. Just wonder how many long meetings we did at NeST for the role and responsibility division for PL and PM? These people do not bother about the lack of borders even. But the difference is on goals. Everyone is clear on the goals. What use is Rules of the Road with no map, when I am to drive to my kids school?

On day 1 itself I was shown the goal for the team and an approximate idea on my personal goals and work. The first statement was interesting. "We have to do a lot to keep --- and --- (bosses) happy" Then he explained what we need to do for business purpose. Very important in management. World is like this since many are pleased by many others.

I am back to school. Need to learn many many things. A lot of technical things. Getting into practice many of the hard learned management lessons at NeST and Japan. God help me!

Monday, March 22

Transitioning out of NeST

Adeiu and Well Wishes

I also wrote so to my colleagues

It is indeed very delighting to see NeST coming back to the good old days. The market is now vibrant and the vibrant workforce is just making it resonate. So happy to see that we have an all time high number of people onsite, which is just indicative. Probably even percentage wise, this is really good. More than 10% are onsite, for a company where 99% of work done on project basis. Great.

The Japanese market is getting back on feet and would be leaping forward in the coming years. We have generated the most valuable asset in the market - trust. We need to build this up, keeping in mind that honesty is the best policy. Trust is the best certificate. Trusted vendors are not looked in for CMM level or ISO or Quality Policy.

I had been with NeST for the past 7 plus years. The head and tail I spent in Japan. I am glad that I could get involved in many things. The early days of QEG, its transformation from QAD, a set of PR measures, the Intranest homepage and newsletters, all those are certainly mementos for me to cherish. DDG days also had been very interesting, thanks to the good, proactive and technically sound guys with great dedication, Anoop to be named. These days in Japan, alongwith the rising market penetration is a thing of pride, though I am not sure how much of these I am involved. Though Planex is seen as a success of mine, the real champions are Arun and the earlier people worked on the project day and night out. They disabled the door locks for me. I could easily open it. Though looks tough, I am sure that very soon we will be able to get a grand entry.

When I joined, near 100% revenue was from Japan. We have become 10 times in size, have introduced more labels and structures, still the NeST spirit remains the same. And we do have a great dependency on Japanese market now.

We now have a proven CEO, determined and dedicated to bring out the real success and I am sure the days are not too far for us to reach the heights which we all dreamt of one day.

It is, however, time for me to say adeiu and well wishes to you. I will not be physically with you, when you march ahead to future, winning laurels. I have decided to accept a challenging new oppurtunity, and would be leaving, God Willing, in a few weeks. Moments back, I submitted my formal resignation.

Once again wishing you all a grand success, and requesting that your prayers should be with me.

Sincere as always

Muhammad Riyaz
Nihon NeST Corp

Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2004


I decided to quit my job and switch back to India, on 17 Feb. The second such move in life so far. I wrote a long, friendly formal letter.

February 17, 2004

Mr. N. Jehangir
Managing Director,
NeST Group of Companies,
Plot No. 2, CSEZ, Cochin,

Mr. Yoshiharu Ogi, President, Nihon NeST Corporation, Japan
Mr. S.K.Pillai, President, Network Systems and Technologies (P) Ltd., Trivandrum

Dear Sir

It is with great reluctance I submit this letter of resignation, effective March 16, 2004. I am to pursue another opportunity, God Willing, to further my career goals and achieve growth through a senior role in one of the enchanting technology domains.

It has been my genuine pleasure to work for NeST during these seven plus years. I have enjoyed working with the finest of professionals and colleagues at NeST, and will miss my associations here. I wish you continued success in all your endeavors.

I will try my best to make sure that my leaving does not affect any of the current activities, and if there is anything special that I can do, I will gladly make myself available to this effort during the next four weeks.

Thank you for allowing me to serve NeST and would always cherish the sweetest memories I have. Once again, I wish NeST continued success and I would support you in all the capacities I would have, in future also.


Muhammad Riyaz
Nihon NeST Corporation

Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2004

My Codes for Work

  1. All the rules are laid out by The Almighty, we understand parts of some, we strive to learn more. Know that the best knowledge is to know the lack of knowledge
  2. Revenue cannot be created. Create market, create well wishers, create benefactors. Rest would come as per the rules.
  3. Customer comes first. People come next. Process to keep it to be built. Profits would follow.
  4. Keep honesty at all times. Never ratify them with financials.
  5. Keep commitments. They could mean commercial blunders. But would build an asset money can never buy - trust. Among own people, among customers.
  6. Personal values are to be kept. They dont like talking money. Yet, need to be flexible to absorb the environment. Understand that a gyro keeps direction, not just because the inner wheel is stable, but because the outer wheels are flexible enough.
Posted Thursday, February 12, 2004