A thought for Father’s Day

My wife and I were glad to be able to spend a Sunday together with my Mom and Dad. The day began innocuously enough discussing that it was Father’s day. My Dad had turned 60 a little while ago and it’s been a mixed bag to watch him change over the last few years. More time with his grandson, new patterns of work. So many other little things. The personal uniqueness of being both a Father and a Son puts experiences into a wider perspective. I would not claim to be the best son out there and I wish I try harder to be.

We’re always encouraged to learn to be good parents. When do we start learning to be better sons and daughters?

Where Has Our Respect for Truth and Privacy Gone?

Was it necessary for the Indian media to publish the complete transcript of Jiah Khans’ suicide note?*

Was it necessary to publish Sreesanth’s diary and his thoughts on anger management issues when it has no bearing on the spot-fixing case against him?**

Our respect for the truth and what is private only seems to be diminishing. What on earth justified that this information be revealed? Why should someone’s troubled thoughts about a close one be made public before a court of law has made it’s decision?

Trial by media in India is the new mob ‘lynching‘. Information is the hangman’s noose. It’s troubling to recognize that greed has a greater say in shaping our opinions, over careful thought and respect for the private struggles of an individual. Times of India may have completed 175 years of journalism, but in this respect progress is clearly in the wrong direction.

Ethics and integrity don’t bend at will, but *we* do. We’re all geared to intuitively know when the line has been crossed.

* Times of India, Economic Times, other newspapers – 11th June.
** “Sreesanth the hothead, resolved to keep it cool” – Times of India, 19th May.

Playgroup Days Ahead

My son will be joining his playgroup in another ten days. We’ve never left Megh by himself before. For all of us here at home, this is certainly going to be an interesting turn of events. The folks at the playgroup have designed the first two weeks to be short play sessions. The first couple of days are thirty minute sessions, followed by sessions of forty-five minutes going all the way up to two hours. For the first few days, I’ll be playing the role of parent on duty waiting in ‘hiding’ while Megh settles in with the others.

If you’ve never watched kids getting settled into a playgroup, it can be a harrowing the first time. I’ve watched two little boys of about two, or two and a half wail away for their mothers. At one point, I almost felt as if they were attempting to outdo each other in the intensity of their cries. The mothers were nearby and hiding behind the classrooms with instructions to not get involved. One of the toddlers spotted me, or I guess he spotted the fact that I had car keys on me. He latched on to me and asked me to take him to his mother. Toddlers don’t need to learn, or to socialize. They simply need the love of their parents, family and near ones. Everything else that you think is happening, is really just a byproduct. Once they settle in to the playgroup, they learn because they have the attention of their teachers.

The one sure way to mess things up is to make a big deal of what are really  little things. I think Megh will fare well and adapt to his new environment. I’ve watched him play with other children and work with teachers before this. His behavioral response in an unfamiliar environment, like many other boys, is always a notch above his usual self.

For my wife and I, I hope we will take time off to celebrate this milestone.

Single Minded

Most of these investors-cum-inventors are motivated by personal passion to create companies. Under this model, entrepreneurs often tap their own networks and wallets to finance their ideas.

“I don’t have any hobbies,” said Max Levchin, a co-founder and former chief technology officer of PayPal. “This is what I do.” …

Read the rest of the article – Entrepreneurs help build startups by the batch – NY Times.

Being single minded is one way that things get done. It can also become the reason why everything else starts to lose it’s color. Hang in there. Life will always be bigger. I guess that it is this need to transform what we work on, what we produce, what we’re affected by, to become all of life that keeps things greased.

From what I’ve read – Pixar is great at keeping this thought at the center of it’s creative processes. They know that they can get the best out of their teams if they allow them to seed and work on their own ideas. This is not to say that Pixar does not play a role, they play a huge role in refining these ideas, leveraging what they’ve learned as an institution in order to make these ideas work.

Emotional ownership at Pixar was significant enough for John Lasseter and Steve Jobs, Pixar’s boss at one time, to balk repeatedly at activating a clause that would transfer Toy Story’s characters over to Disney. They made the same call when even when they were nearing broke. When the sale did happen, it appeared almost as if Pixar would be buying Disney, retaining creative control.

Max Levchin, Slide

What’s really going to happen if India falls for Nawaz Sharif again?

Celebrating the Webby – Lifetime Achievement award to the creators of GIF’s, political gifs, the broken attitude of the law towards censorship of the Indian Web and the systemic lack of clarity in the Indian media.

What’s really going to happen if India falls for Nawaz Sharif again?

psyche

How I felt when I first heard former BCCI chief Jaywant Lele’s argument that we should legalize betting to end the cricketer-bookie nexus.

nXd3U

Why the Chinese are still laughing (at us).

274tt1m

Any bloggers first response to being served with a defamation response letter.

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Recently SpicyIP were threatened to be sued by a law firm representing Times of India for an innocuous article commenting on the 19 year old trademark fight between Times of India and Financial Times over trademarks “FT” and Financial Times. We’d expect better from the defenders of “free speech”.

Public response to Sahara groups decision to end it’s Pune Warriors franchise participation in Indian Premier League.

life-goes-on-lebowski

iGate Board of Directors meeting with sacked CEO, Phaneesh Murthy …

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Thank you to political gifs for putting these hilarious gifs together.

The Unmatched Gender

Not so long ago, my wife let me know as to how upset she was that I was still differentiating between our Mothers. She’d asked me to call them both Mom and I’d always sneak off to find a way to make them more addressable in my head. “Could I call them ‘Mom’ and ‘Mum’?”, I came back. “How would I know who’s who when I want to tag a photo?” I said frustrated. With that I’d escaped to the insensitive man-cave of logic. The surprise is that there is indeed a subtle rationality to what she was asking of me. I’ve pondered over and presented my case here.

We’re brought up in a world that values big goals over little ones, performance over uniqueness, scale over nurture, efficiency over engaged. Essentially we’re creating tradeoffs, but for women tradeoffs are absolutely useless. Imagine believing that you’re giving up on time with your child for time at work, or that you’re giving up your home for someone else’s? How would life work if these were indeed rational choices? In fact, how would things work at all without the simple belief that everything changes and the necessary encouragement this belief gives in making the choice presently? It is not that men discriminate more than is necessary. But it is that women are presented with truly difficult choices and they seem to be getting better at making them work. There is that inescapable argument that we’re missing out on developing this certain quality.

I face difficult choices as I go along and I do need to get better at them. Just the other day someone I respect stated with a razor-like clarity that if one were to build and take a product to market, the founders better be 100% committed. This is how the product startup eco-system works and it’s fair if we think about the expectations of those invested. Anyhow what’s right isn’t the point. Let’s look at it another way. The act of choosing could’ve easily dissuaded Zuckerberg, Gates – should I leave Harvard to build Facebook, Microsoft? and the Google founders – finish PhD. or start a Search company? If these choices appear to be straightforward through their eyes, think of the many Gates’, Zuckerbergs, Brins and Pages who did not build a Google, Microsoft, or Facebook in favor of a Harvard, or a Stanford. Reality is that we won’t know a good thing until and unless we see it through.

Women make such choices work out all the time. They’re figuring out how to be themselves and yet be a part of a workforce dominated by men. They’re figuring out how to be good homemakers and yet play a meaningful role in the world outside their homes. They’re figuring out how to be a good Mother and yet grow their career. They’re figuring out how to be a good Daughter and yet found a new family. They’re applying what is universally acknowledged to be a key Business leadership trait*. They’re doing this at the level of an entire gender that accounts for half of everything on this planet. Indeed, what if they were running things?

Dedicated to the Women who’ve helped breath life into this post. Wish you a Happy Woman’s day.

*Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking.

The Eyelids of the World

Legend has it that Bodhidharma after meditating for seven years fell asleep. When he woke up enraged, he cut off his eyelids to prevent it from happening again. Tea plants grew up from where his eyelids fell and monks drink tea to stay awake ever since.

Here’s a tea story of plantations from all over Munnar Kerala.

When driving in to Munnar, the humble tea bushes dominate the landscape together.
When driving in to Munnar, the humble tea bush dominates the landscape together.
Munnar's Tea Estates, Kerala
In conversation with the sky.
Munnar Kerala
Munnar is also a national park.
Eric Francis and his colleagues were the first to introduce tea to the hills of Munnar.
Eric Francis and his colleagues were the first to introduce tea plantations, railway, boilers, motorcycles, other technologies to the hills of Munnar in 1911. Growing tea in Munnar was not a profitable venture for most of the twentieth century. It survived on the passion and entrepreneurial spirit of a few individuals before making it to mainstream.
Munnar's Tea Estates, Kerala
Green Tea.
The Kanan Devan Hills Plantation Company is employee-owned and sponsors a tea museum in Munnar.
The Kanan Devan Hills Plantation Company is employee-owned and sponsors a tea museum in Munnar.
Munnar's Tea Estates, Kerala
Thank you for watching! Photos were taken by Santosh Dawara with a Nikon DX7440, January 2013.

Freedom?

When you label your self,

… a Blogger, don’t lose the freedom to keep it to yourself;

a Visionary, don’t lose the freedom to spot the obvious;

in Love, don’t lose the freedom to be hurt;

a Leader, work hardest to hang on to the freedom to follow;

a Competitor, don’t lose the freedom to be inspired;

a Pragmatist, don’t lose the freedom to imagine;

Well-spoken, don’t lose the freedom to speak with silence;

a Father, always nurture the freedom to play;

a Founder, never lose the freedom to fail;

… Enlightened?

Feel for you. You will indeed miss the freedom that comes with ignorance and change.