Archive for May, 2010

Snake Crossing

Posted: May 31, 2010 in Uncategorized
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I was on the hiking trail randomly clicking pictures of beautiful nature and spring wild-flowers in bloom. I gazed down at the trail stretching before me and saw this lovely Californian Kingsnake who had decided to cross my path. Normally I run for cover when I see one, but this one was mesmerizing and I stood there taking pictures. Of course I didn’t know he was harmless then.

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 I was ruminating with a cup of Joe in hand and couldn’t help existential questions flooding my mind as they usually do when I have nothing else to think about but have a hundred things on hand to do. I figured why fight thoughts when they come knocking on my head. The one that came rendering me baffled was about  ‘experiences and how it molds people into the character that they are’. The old adage is ‘experience makes man wiser’ and that led me to willingly snowball the question answer-session and war of words going in my head.

If experience makes man wiser aren’t all elderly people and octo/septuagenarians the wisest of the lot with halos around their head? Couldn’t they be classified as humans who are highly evolved since they have so many experiences in life- that they must be brimming with answers? Although some very experienced people are as retrogressive in their thinking, reactions and behavior akin to a child learning to walk for the first time and stand out counter-intuitive to that theory but then we know every rule has exceptions.

A child falls, gets up and walks again and again until it perfects the art of walking. Boys slam themselves against the walls until they learn eventually that it does hurt. 

That was until I read this saying by Friedrich Nietzsche

 “Character is determined more by lack of certain experiences than by those one has had.”

 Now this one threw me in a loop but after I got down to the business of rationalizing it I realized he sure has a point. Sometimes our reactions without experience are the purest and momentous, without any prior Pavlovian concepts buried in our head that surface to elicit a response as ordained.

Although I must confess I prefer the saying by some anonymous person:

Experience is what you got by not having it when you need it. 

Having been through several interesting experiences in the real world that could potentially be classified basing on their level of impact on my psyche right from my childhood I find this whole subject interesting. Strangely, I am at peace with every one of them be it good or bad and has not made me bitter about anything. On the contrary I have found that experiences  have heightened my sensitivity to  issues and an understanding of its dissections. So I sit back watching when a flurry of activity unfurls in front of me. The outcome sometimes turning tragic or sometimes escalating or sometimes … just plain amusing, keeping me enthralled in the journey of life.

Experiences are an amalgamation of disparate situations connected in a chain-link of memories bookmarked for future references. A feeling of ‘been there, done that’ that gives a degree of comfort and a sixth sense that propels one forward while making decisions or observing life, people, incidents, also providing an insight into another person’s plight and empathizing for good measure. A person’s character comes through not with ease but through experiences that strengthen the soul and clears the vision to lead us in the direction of achievements. A quiet strength that gets added on like a layer over a person, a RAM card that can be dug into for future references, as and when needed. 

Then there is this aspect about how we go on testing our limits and pushing the envelope as much as possible. May be most of us are not above absolvation to this phenomenon with regard to man and his achievements. An innate desire to see how tensile can elastic get before it snaps or how long can we run before we drop dead, or how high can we climb before the oxygen gets so rarefied that we are left out of breath. A constant need to prove our worth in the world which leads me to the question of why the need to display our innate capacities and achievements always?  The need to showcase and then feel duly acknowledged of our presence in the real world is quite intriguing to me. Of course virtual world is a whole different story and I am not venturing to dissect it since it is a vast unknown, that which I know very little about.

When one is contented with oneself and has already carved a niche in the world, in mankind, with respect to career, achievements, place in society the ever saturating need one has, to fulfill another dream, another wish, another mountain to climb, another bling-bling to add to our mantelpiece – egging one on, finally culminating in some kind of rat race with one self more than with the rest of the world is another interesting observation oftentimes leading me to conclude that we humans are a funny lot indeed!

But of course, whatever ticks the clock of life for each one of us.

I would think that self-competition is good as it brings the better, the faster, and the stronger in us and make a better self of us, constantly seeking a measuring stick and berating oneself for falling short of one’s own capacities. On second thoughts it could be a self-realization that there might be untapped hidden potentials that could be drilled into, to assure oneself that nothing need go wasted in this life with regard to our abilities and who best to realize it than ourselves.

These are all wild flowers that come to life here in the spring specially when there is plentiful rains and this year we had a good spate of rains bringing everything to life. Took my camera and strolled over to the mountainside close to home.

 The scene reminded me of Wordsworth poem ‘Daffodils’.

‘Ten thousand saw I at a glance…,

Nodding their heads in sprightly dance…’

    

Nature’s Song

Posted: May 19, 2010 in Poetry

 

 

Breath-taking views and rapturous thoughts

Reflecting ponds and cumulus skies

Shady boughs and sonorous sighs

Serene vistas and peaceful glens

 

Melting moments and floating thoughts

Heavenly beings and drowning silence

Passionate minds and liquid hearts

Newborn suns and floating moons

 

Surrounding me and swallowing me

Hugging me and entrapping me

Beguiling me and silencing me

Pacifying me and cajoling me

 

Enraptured in her nurture

Surrendering to nature

Counting on her forever

To bring me back

Together.

 

 

Streets With No Name

Posted: May 11, 2010 in Poetry
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Passing cars, spewing smoke

Skidding tires and signal lights

Traffic jams and vacuous stares

Pale lights and neon signs

Skyscrapers and falling shacks

Grimy façade seeming heartless

Potholed streets with gaping eyes

Lose a step and totter down

Stench of death and muddied thoughts

Selling a dream to anyone around

Shadows of the night beckon

Raw, untamed the human spirit

Looking up for benefaction

Rounds of gunfire and lost lives
 Walking on with sole less shoes
Hole in the heart and grimy too
Pinch me now, shake me up

Here today, gone tomorrow

All that’s left of a yesterday

Just a few more nameless streets

 ——

(For the Homeless)

 

  (August8, 1941-April 16, 2010)

Coimbatore Krishnarao Prahalad  was globally known as the ‘Management Guru’ world-wide.  His research mainly focused on ‘Corporate Strategy’ and the role of management in corporations.

 On April 16, 2010, Prahalad died of a previously undiagnosed lung illness in San Diego.

 I had the pleasure of meeting him several times and informally at the Diwali festival here with his wife Gayathrie. He was pleasant and very civil in his talks. Previously I had met him at the Felicitation ceremony they had for the ‘movers and shakers’ in society where Krishnammal was a visiting guest. Prahalad was the guest speaker and talked extensively about the progress in India and how management philosophies could be applied there effectively as well as globally.

 In the evening after the felicitation he gave a very interesting talk on the advent of Mobile Phones in India and how it had effectively let to a communication revolution in India. It was a very engrossing talk indeed and the highlight of the evening.

 At Harvard Business School, Prahalad wrote a doctoral thesis on multinational management in just two and a half years, graduating with a D.B.A. degree in 1975. After graduating from Harvard, Prahalad returned to India. He taught at his alma-mater the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, but soon returned to the United States. He was appointed to position of the Paul and Ruth McCracken Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business in the University of Michigan.

 

 I managed to corner him and asked a few questions regarding India, development and his opinions. ( I misplaced the notes  (2008) so unable to put up the excerpts here). His answers were usually cryptic and to the point. Unlike the others I interviewed I was unable to break the ice with him for more information.

I met him and his lovely wife Gayathrie again at the Diwali festival for the formal inauguration of the festival with the Counsel General Sushmitha. They are residents of San Diego.

 C. K. Prahalad is the co-author of a number of well known works in corporate strategy including The Core Competence of the Corporation (with Gary Hamel, Harvard Business Review, May–June, 1990). He authored several international bestsellers, including: Competing for the Future (with Gary Hamel), 1994; The Future of Competition (with Venkat Ramaswamy), 2004; and The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty through Profits Wharton School Publishing, 2004. His new book with co-author M. S. Krishnan is called The New Age of Innovation.

A brilliant teacher and influential thinker, his students and the management world will definitely miss his presence after the niche he had carved out for himself. He was widely respected by the community and the faculty.

 

  • In 2009, he was awarded Pravasi Bharatiya Sammaan

In 2009 he was named the world’s most influential business thinker on the [Thinkers50.com] list, published by The Times

 Photos: Personal Collection

Sources: Wiki

 

Grandeur Called Life

Posted: May 1, 2010 in Poetry, Uncategorized

 

 Is it all just a

Summation of grandeur

Or a graveyard for all

Shadow of superstitions

That is let to lie down

Puny among the rising world

Perils that stun a traveler

Defying man’s passion

Capture and communicate

 

Neither brush nor palette

Nor words that capture

No time stops here

Chronicles of passing

Millennia & endless cycles

Mere breath at the edge

Of eternity

 

Some live and some die

Some disappear, some live on

Forever

Speaking in muted silence from dust

Inanimate, burning the waters

At the edge of time

Sharing its magnificence

Hidden secrets, deepest questions

Unanswered

 

Facing moments in eternity

Fundamental and rudimentary

A wondrous place yet struggles

Discovering consciousness

Immortality, vague and distant

A sense of divine

With peace of the infinite

Layering us through

 

Silent reveries and endless dreams

A shadow, a thought, a mere glance

Palpable, sonorous and alive

Elusive at times …

Out of my grasp…

What is that I fail to see?

What escapes and stands still?