Monday, August 22, 2011

The Feedback

Although the title of this blog does sound like the name of some movie, its not about any such thing. I had been planning to write this for sometime now, but was not able to organize my thoughts. This topic is quite relevant in the present national scenario, especially when the internet is flooding with the pro Anna Hazare posts.

First of all let me clarify, I am not a great fan of Anna Hazare, the Person, but I do respect Anna Hazare, the Symbol. I might not agree with some or all of Anna, the Person's, view points, but I do support Anna,  the Symbol, which says to the politicians, in general, and to the government, specifically, that you cannot do whatever you like whenever you want in the the manner you choose to. In Democracy, People still do hold the power and it is not just during the election times. Democracy is the Government of the People, by the People, for the People. Government is not the ruler and People are not to be ruled. But its the People who are the actual rulers and Government is a mere caretaker.

But lets shift the focus to the topic of this blog, Feedback. I still can hear the voice of Dr. R.N. Biswas(Highly reputed personality in the field of electronics in India and my Prof. in B.Tech) echoing that the feedback is the critical component of the amplifier. Feedback is the critical component of any healthy system. I work as a Consultant with one of the world's biggest consultancy firms to earn my living. I interact with different organizations at different levels and there is one observation that is common to all those organizations. Organizations that are open to feedback, and not just for namesake, but which genuinely seek, analyse and act on feedback are far better organizations in terms of growth, in terms of work environment and in terms of creating value for the stakeholders than those which lack effective feedback channels. Reason for some of the top Indian IT players not delivering results at par with their peers, to a great extent, is due to lack of focus on the feedback received, both internal and external, and failure to act on the same. In a democratic setup the government has legislative powers. The Laws drafted by the Government are for the people. But how do the government know which Law is required or what amendments have to be made? We all know how much the MPs/MLAs once elected remain in touch with the People they represent. There has to be some feedback from the People to the Government. In fact feedback is the most critical component of the democratic setup without which this system is a failure. And ironically, this is the component which has comfortably been ignored by the democratic governments, not just in India but all round the world.

Present agitation in India against the government is the proof of the handicapped feedback system in the Indian democratic system. This agitation is nothing but an amplified version of the feedback to the government, which is still failing to recognize it. I sincerely believe that there is a strong need to overhaul our democratic system so that the feedback is received, analyzed and acted upon effectively. And I also hope that this government would not take this movement negatively as a revolt against itself but would take it positively as a feedback from the People, as to what they, 'The Ruler', want from their Government.

It might be because I watch too many movies but the rise of Anna Hazare as a Symbol reminds me of Batman Begins where Bruce Wayne says, "People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy and I can't do this as Bruce Wayne. As a man I am flesh and blood and I can be ignored or I can be destroyed. But as a symbol... as a symbol, I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting."
Similarly, the refusal of government to recognize that People are the actual rulers in democracy reminds me of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, where the stewart of the Gondor Lord Denethor refuses to recognize the King, when Gandalf went to warn him and suggested him to ask for help from Rohan.
Well, movies do provide with interesting scenarios that could be related to real life :)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Search for an "Aashiyana"

"Do deewane sehar mein, raat mein dopahar mein, aabodana dhonte hain, ek aashiyana doondte hain"
Its a famous Hindi song, which perfectly captures the state of anyone who is looking out for a house. 'Roti, kapda aur makaan' apart from being the gramophonic slogan of all our politicians and the overly used punch line of Bollywood, is after all, the basic human need. But the path of fulfillment of these basic needs is so not basic that you require an elaborate, extensive mental preparation before juggling around any of these.

Finding a house, is a project in itself. And by God! You can do your entire MBA internship with this one project. It involves requirement analysis, budgeting and financing, sales and marketing, negotiations and what not.... Its an extensive field job and extremely time and energy draining.Once you have taken that mental leap of undertaking this endeavor, your struggle begins. You start with requirement analysis - figuring out what type of accommodation you need and where you want it. It generally has 3 categories: must have, good to have and must not have. These form the basis of your negotiations at later stages. You also need to check your finances, which by the way will be taking a huge hit, even if you are looking for accommodation on rent rather than purchase. After that starts endless hours of research, both primary as well as secondary: primary by knocking door to door, which in today's scenario is knocking every apartment's security guard's door and secondary through realty websites, your company bulletin board and newspaper ads. And even after you have exhausted every possible mean, you find yourself with nothing. It is at this precise moment comes our middlemen, the brokers. Since you are left with no choice, you have to take their services, and once you do that you have to start the whole process again because not only you will find that your "must have, good to have etc." are distant dreams but whatever is being offered is totally out of your budget. In addition to that, you have to pay the brokerage which is so high that you would need a second job to pay that off. Then start endless negotiations at each and every step with virtually everyone involved in the process, including yourself. If you are a bachelor then you have additional work to do. Not only your bachelorhood marks you as 'unwanted' in many societies, but it also takes additional negotiations and at times additional financial resources to counter that. In short, you are screwed big time. In the end, if you find a house to your satisfaction then you definitely have over shot your budget by huge margin else you would be living in a place where at the end of the day you don't feel like going.

I have my criteria, but one thing which I know is, when I step in a house, the house speaks to me and if it is the one, 'the chosen one', I just know it by the feel of it. Till then my quest is ON....

PS: Guys, I am looking for accommodation in a specific locality of Pune..... anyone having any worthy information to share, please get in touch with me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Redefining - 4th Pillar of Democracy

Traditionally, Free Press has been considered the 4th pillar of democracy. This is because free press can keep a check on the legislative, executive as well as judiciary (in some sense) by influencing public opinion and can also help the legislative to remain connected to the people for whom it is forming the 'LAWS'. It is an integral bridge between 'the people' and the government. But let us try to find a logic in this all 'bridging' theory, after all this blog is called Logic :) Why is it the 4th pillar? The key is the bridge it forms. But its not the bridge thats important but its the purpose of the bridge that bestows it this significance. Its a game all about information. Yep, possession of right  information is the foundation stone of anything you can think of. Be it War, Business, Sport.... name anything. If you have the right information, only then you can think of proceeding forward. And that is the primary reason why Press is so important. You and me won't even know whats happening in the next neighborhood of the city if its not in the Newspaper or Television! But times are changing and I believe the time has come to Re-define the 4th pillar.

First of all, let me clarify, I am not talking about cleaning the press system, which like all systems is highly corrupt, biased and profit driven. Mark the last one - profit driven. Journalism as I see today is at its lowest and it has definitely not hit the bottom yet. Some might say, how can I say this? Personal experience. I have seen journalist blackmailing people. And its a very strange type of blackmailing. If you have done something wrong and then somebody blackmails you, its understandable. But if somebody just blackmail you for anything, its like, I have the power and I will write any crap about you and somewhere in the fine prints it would be mentioned that the media has not verified the story.... but the damage would be done. Similar is the present power broking story involving some of the big names in journalism. I am not saying everyone is same but on the whole the standards are falling. But discussing that is not the goal here. As its no surprise to me and I believe it won't be for any of you too.... we have become immune to all these. Nothing is unexpected for me now. Everyone and anyone can be corrupt....

But when I talk about re-defining the 4th pillar, its about the emergence of a new power. Remember, I talked about the importance of the 4th pillar is because of information. Well, its the basis on which the 4th pillar is defined and in the present context and present world scenario, I think Social Network, in the form of facebook, orkut, twitter, myspace etc, is the real 4th pillar. Just think of it. When the story of leading journalists being involved in power brokering surfaced, none of the main stream media even mentioned it. I was checking ToI, I checked ET.... there was nothing there... not even a 1 line mention of this! And my friends tell me that nothing was there on TV news channels! Isn't it strange....but definitely not unexpected, as now nothing is unexpected... But still the news is alive and where is it alive and why is it alive? Its only and only because of social network. And the good thing is, it can not be centrally controlled. Hence, its extremely difficult to stop it or tweak it. With time this pillar will only grow and become stronger. This is the shift in paradigm which is apparent to some but with time as broadband penetration will increase, it will become apparent to all. This is a moment of re-definition, which will re-define the basic human thirst of information and will change the entire social fabric.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Pity You Ms. Roy

I generally avoid commenting on a topic of which I don't have the full knowledge. And more so, I avoid to pass remarks on those whom I don't know and whom I don't understand. But I just can't hold myself this time. I feel disgusted with this lady's comments and her 'do-anything' to get the limelight attitude. Those who have not gotten whom I am speaking of, its Arundhati Roy, and what provoked me is her statement to justify her yesterday's remarks, which can be found at

From the days of Narmada to Maoist to Kashmir... Arundhati Roy has always been a lime light seeker. In the name of greater good, social justice etc etc.... she has always tried to project herself as the 'Defender of Justice'. And what has been her strategy? Pass some controversial remark so that you get media attention. If you don't believe me just do a background research on her and you will come to know how she has always done this. To rise against injustice is essential but to use the same as a propaganda even when there is no clear cut demarcation of justice/injustice, is gross. This is what she has been doing. When you speak against the government, you sell like hot potatoes in media coz they get to run their news channels 24x7 even when there is nothing to report, and you provide them a topic to call on a panel of experts who might themselves be as ignorant as any other person but who will give their comments as the Ph.D who has done complete in and out research on the topic. The media has always projected the weaker side as the sufferer, irrespective of justice and injustice, and in the process you become their Messiah! Be it Narmada, where Ms. Roy took side where majority of the cases were fake, or Maoist where she tried to rebrand them as martyrs or now Kashmir where once again she has outspoken herself, I find her credibility diminishing and raises questions on the sanity of her thoughts.

First of all, when you release a statement a day after your remarks to justify the same, it says something. It shows your desperation to justify yourself. If you believe them then why do you need to justify them?
And what crap do you use for justification! Let me quote directly from the statement,  

"I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore..." 
Dalit soldiers!!! what type of remark is this! Are you a politician now, trying to get the support of the dalit community for your statements? Or are you trying to create rift in our defense forces on the bases of caste and religion... Or there is no other soldier in the valley and the ones who are there have a badge on their chest saying, we are dalit soldiers! 

"Yesterday I traveled to Shopian, the apple-town in South Kashmir which had remained closed for 47 days last year in protest against the brutal rape and murder of Asiya and Nilofer, the young women whose bodies were found in a shallow stream near their homes and whose murderers have still not been brought to justice. I met Shakeel, who is Nilofer's husband and Asiya's brother. We sat in a circle of people crazed with grief and anger who had lost hope that they would ever get 'insaf'—justice—from India, and now believed that Azadi—freedom— was their only hope."
Come to your senses Ms. Roy. Is this problem just restricted to Kashmir? I request you to please visit any nearby police station in any part of India and you will find there will be cases of rape and murder where justice has still not been done. So, should we all stand for 'Azadi'! Every village of India as a separate country. Is it a justifiable reason to give the type of statement you gave yesterday?

"I traveled with a young man who told me how three of his friends, teenagers in Anantnag district, had been taken into custody and had their finger-nails pulled out as punishment for throwing stones."

Have you even checked the credibility of this? Have you tried to find out whether throwing stones was the actual reason, if in any case this punishment has actually been given? I am sure you have not. In fact you it in Narmada or Maoist or Kashmir.... its not your area of interest. You just want the media hype. You talked to separatist and according to you, you talked to 'People of Kashmir', which I seriously doubt... but have you also talked to the soldier there. Have you seen what treatment he is receiving there. Well, I don't know about you but I have talked to some of the soldiers posted in Kashmir and they are the miserable lot, who are the punching bag of everything... who are told to restraint control when they are being open fired upon.... Have you ever... ever in your life.... raised you voice on such issues? 
"Pity the nation that has to silence its writers for speaking their minds. Pity the nation that needs to jail those who ask for justice.."
First of all, the mere fact that you can make such statements in public and then can pass a justification the next day speaks for the freedom we enjoy in this country.... the freedom you enjoys in this country. If it would not have been for this, you would have been deported to some dark corner of the country during Narmada only to be lost and forgotten with time.... So, don't pity my nation. Pity yourself for not appreciating what it has given you. Pity yourself for always complaining.....

Its always easy to point out flaws and believe me you can find flaws even in God if you set upon doing so. But the challenge is to find the solutions. If you want to contribute then contribute by providing solutions, which by the way, you have never done... have you ever come forward to support government in any of the schemes that it runs for the welfare of its people, the very people for whom you claim to fight for? I don't think so. For a change, use your intellect for constructive purpose to resolve the problem not to create another problem. But alas! I am sure you will never do it.... Because I significantly doubt your purpose, which I now believe is to get attention...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Love This Country

Its true. There can never be any land as adaptable and as acceptable as India. For centuries, many civilizations invaded it and each became a part of it. India is a land of opposites. Haven't you noticed it yet? You can find numerous instances of this.... From communal harmony to communal rites... From Forbes Billionaires to the largest poor population.... From excess rain to drought at the same time.... From capitalism to communism.... From tribal to ultra modern... You name it, we will have both versions of it.... But what caught my attention is the Headline in ToI: "SC lays down maintenance rules for live-in relationships". I was surprised to read in the article that government had created a Law in 2005 wrt live-in relationships! Live-in! If you are an Indian reading this, you would share my surprise..... We are talking about India, where even asking for condoms in shops is still awkward, where people still talk about sex as botany with flowers, where every minute some girl is molested somewhere but talking about it is a taboo, where insane people murder in the name of honor. And look what we have over here! We are talking about Live-in relationships. Its totally opposite. But thats what I love about this nation. We might be the only type in the entire universe.

Do read this article and see what exactly the court has said. They are recognizing the need of the hour.... they are embracing the change. I am neither saying anything about it being right or wrong nor I am going into moralities etc.... But what I am fascinated by is the existence of 2 such contradictory ideas in the same society and the ability of it to accept the both!!! On one hand there are law makers who openly endorse honor killing and on the other hand they only made the law which recognize live-in relationship in principle. Contradictory... but true... and both existing simultaneously. Now read the following statement that court has given: "If a man has a 'keep' whom he maintains financially and uses mainly for sexual purpose and or as a servant, it would not in our opinion be a relationship in the nature of marriage,"... and... "The Supreme Court held today while observing that merely spending weekends together or a one night stand would not make it a domestic relationship". Blunt and straightforward.... and again its India! They are even talking about one-night stands in court of Law.... its really amazing considering its India where all such talks had been considered a taboo in the past and if I am not wrong then those were punishable in the court of Law.

But here we are. Changing with time.... but still having both the extremities with us. If you mix hot water and cold water in a glass and still find the 2 existing separately but together.... it would only be possible in India. It will make you love it and hate it at the same time.... Thats my India.