Something to do with financial hubs and the Sea?

Over the last 2 years, I've been fortunate to spend time in Bombay,Singapore,Hong Kong and London. All these cities are reasonable nerve centres of financial activity and are along the sea. I see that each of these cities have a similar character in the sense that, the services are excellent for the common man in infrastructure, a relatively advanced society, a cosmopolitan culture and cities where people rise up in life the hard way. I dont know if any of what I point is connected, but this was just a thought. I seem to have developed a great deal of affinity with each of these cities. Throw me in these cities, and I would probably enjoy my way around the city and with people from the city.

Any similar thoughts?


Virtual Cricket

Cricket has been so central to my life, that I need to play some sort of virtual cricket to keep my mind active and buzzing. Its a fantasy world that I need to be in, away from the real world, albeit for a short time. I guess, over time, my dependence has reduced, due to the 'law of diminishing marginal utility'. It used to be Book Cricket or Cricket 2007, which used to be my staple diet. Book Cricket, was probably the crudest way to get occupied with the fantasy world, but playing it from my childhood days, has made me very fast with adding numbers. I did not realise this, until someone pointed out to me that I was adding up the flipped pages really fast.

But, One needs variety and better simulations to match the game, and Cricket 2007, has been a lovely companion for the last 4 years. My wife's gifted me an Ashes 2009 DVD, but my computer and laptop's processing power has been struggling to load the game. I've also used the virtual cricketing games to share commentary space with Richie Benaud, Mark Nicholas, Tony Greig and Jonathan Agnew. Its interesting to make sense of what to speak, and is a great platform to make mistakes, and learn the art of entertaining from behind the scenes through your voice.  

But over the next one year, I should look to either add Ashes 2009, or add PSP, if it can provide better simulation for the mind, but Cricket will be the winner!


Pyaar Ka Punchnaama

Sometimes, when you watch a trailer, you just know what to expect in a movie. I was sold on the movie, from the trailer that plays on youtube. I was expecting it to be a laugh riot, and it turned to be a awesome flick, simply because of the ease with which you can relate to the movie. I loved the script and the dialogue, which struck a perfect chord, as none of the humor was manufactured, it just came out so naturally. 

Every guy goes through a phase in life, where his life changes, once a woman enters his life, and that is what PKP comically presents. The women were rightly chosen, right amount of clothing to keep the audience plugged in :-), and I must say the same of the guys too. Recreating a guy's room is no mean task, with so much attention to details. Underwear's strewn about, books lying all over, beer bottles all over, clothes lying on the floor....looking at that, it felt so much in connection with the halcyon days of college life, where a guy is yet to wake up to the realities of life.


The case of the Overheated and Overcooled Wood

When I look at a piece of wood, that makes my door, I wonder how temperature makes it grow and dwarf in size across summer and winter. The process of growth and reduction is gradual and slow, such that the door can retain its character and adapt as per the temperature outside. But for a moment, think how would it be, if it were subjected to intense heat one week, and intense chillness the next in alternating fashion. Will the wood in the door be able to maintain its character? Would the wood be as strong as its supposed to be and can it last the distance of time? My guess on that would be an obvious NO, and I am sure your guess would not deviate too much from my answer.
If we apply the same yardstick to the way the various formats of the game are scheduled, we see that switching between 20 overs, 50 overs and Test cricket at an alarming pace, is only going to harm the quality and shelf life of our players. 20 over cricket has transformed cricket into a consumer centric game, which unites the family when it comes to evening television. Is it 20 over cricket or league cricket that’s been able to hit the consumer jackpot? My gut feel is that league cricket has evoked higher TRP’s and with India’s latest World Cup victory this year, the feeling of watching India compete in a global completion could well be the flavor of what the consumers may want for the next few years, and its understandable that they also want to watch their favorite players in action, in a combination that has all the best cricketers across the world, on a single stage.
Keeping the above point, I am wondering, if ICC should shift the T20 cricket to a model, where its played as part of the domestic league (IPL,SPL,Big Bash and the likes) and the ICC World 2020. This is where the 20 over cricket can get the maximum bang for buck. 20 over bilateral cricket should be scrapped for the time being, so as to allow players to concentrate on the bigger formats of the 50 over cricket and Test Cricket. The difference of adjusting between test cricket and 50 over cricket is still not huge, as the average run rate is 4 an over in test cricket, and 5.5 runs an over in One day cricket, while T20 cricket hovers in the 7+ range. This is where the wear and tear to the subjects playing the game is witnessed more. The advantage of not having bilateral T20 series is that, it increases focus on tours to the traditional formats of cricket, and lessens the mental strains that players need to undergo while playing between these formats.
In the ongoing 50 over ODI series between India and West Indies, one can see the youngsters in both the teams, batting aggressively and mindlessly slogging against quality bowling. The problem with this approach is, youngsters having problems in their technique against quality bowling, will try to hit their way out of it, rather than correcting their technique. This approach to the game makes the game terribly one-sided, with either the batsmen winning a temporary short battle, or the bowlers winning it against batsmen who are risk prone. Cricket was supposed to be a war, which had a series of battles. The beauty of the war was to see the see-saw swings, between the battles to translate into a script that made the war beautiful to watch. If we have an overkill of the battles, then the game loses its character, players lose their natural abilities by shielding chinks with brute brawny abilities, and finally the TRP’s succumb to gravity.
So, should the ICC take a decision against bilateral ODI series, and save the wood from extinction? Or Maybe PETA can do a campaign against saving Leather and Wood, with a nice model, doing a brain dead nude photo shoot, since the ICC has tons of money.
What do you think about not having Bi-lateral T20 series?


50 First Dates

50 First Dates!

The concept of Adam Sandler, trying to woo Drew Barrymoore, every single day for 50 days, to me reflected a sense of achievement, as it was against the tide of Drew Barrymore’s short term memory loss. Every day was a new day, where Adam Sandler had to start from scratch to woo her, and all his hard work would be negated at the end of the day, as Drew Barrymore would have forgotten what happened earlier in the day.

I am applying the same concept to leading to cricket and more specifically T20 sides. Every game gives both the teams an equal opportunity to go one up on the opponent. The skills on display are for a very short period, so flashes of brilliance doesn’t need to go through the test of sustenance across 50 overs. Teams that are used to waiting for things to happen, before going for the kill, would find that the format of T20 is sometimes unforgiving. M.S.Dhoni found that out one summer evening at Mohali, when an unknown youngster’s (Paul Valthaty)carnage helped Kings 11 Punjab, down the Chennai Super Kings, after a spectacular 180+ chase. MSD, has been one of the better captains, who has managed to win 4 major T20 titles, and if you notice, in each of the tournaments, MSD never looked completely in command, but managed to work hard every single time, when he was in a problem, by wearing a smile, and trying out different things to woo the lady called Victory.

Most teams, when they reach the mature phase of the winning curve tend to go off the boil, as they stop focusing on experimentation and start looking for a template to win. While it may be a nice methodology to study the DNA behind successful T20 sides, what works on most occasions is the fact that the single biggest factor is the ability to start from scratch to carve out victories every single time. Taking things for granted, is where you distance yourself from victory, as you believe that you don’t need to earn it, as it is already in your lap. The fact is the victory that is in your lap, is a memoir of the good times, you had as a team, and just that. To retain the victory in your lap, you need to fight doubly harder with sides, who keep throwing newer challenges at the champions.

The Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers, both had excellent runs of form, but it was not quite divided between all the members of the side, and secondly these teams opted for a lot of familiar tactics to keep the points graph go northward. The lack of focused experimentation, and the nerve to succeed when not placed in a comfort zone, proved to be their undoing.

The Chennai Super Kings have done well to keep their date with wooing the goddess of victory, time and again. It is very visible in their work ethic, with players like Hussey and Badrinath, who have been examples of sustained excellence over a longer time period. It was probably the creation of a new hunger every day, that made them chase success, resembling Adam Sandler’s enthusiasm and patience in the movie ’50 First dates’.

So, the 2 questions to ask yourself, to bask in the shade of the silverware would be to ask, how much have you done to woo your date? If you can manage to woo the goddess of victory that way, the silverware should be one of the many destinations on your road trip to the peak of Success!


God In Town, and I am not!

With God in Town, and not being able to go, is a yucky feeling. Not having any reporting work for the IPL(as in having stadium entrance passes) is also making it tough. Buying tickets for matches, does not seem to work out, as the tickets are either priced too high, or are never available. Cricket is slowly moving towards a phase, where they are alienating themselves away from the millions of fans who give away their time, to watch their GODS. The Parthasarathy temple, the Kapaleeshwarar temple and the likes around that area of Mylapore and Triplicane are going to lose a few of their devotees to Sony Max and Chidambaram stadium, especially when GOD is here.


Kartik Kannan on a Talk Show

I was invited by the student of Asian College of Journalism, a guest on their morning Video Show " Hello Chennai" on the 17th of March, 2011 to speak my thoughts on the World Cup. Do let me know, your feedback on the conversation.


Social Web-In your Locality

With the advent of technology, the cost of owning a handset and cost of accessing the internet through a mobile device has come down. Given that each of these mobiles subscribe to a platform(Symbian/iPhone/Blackberry/Android), its not too difficult in concentrating apps for social connectivity. There exists a huge Indian market, waiting to be tapped. The market, that I am mentioning is your vegetable vendor, the auto-driver who plies between the crooked lanes, the hospital nurse who is attending to your grandmother. These people, are never in the consumer map, of the folks who design applications for the mobile. Todays applications have prices that are affordable, but are aimed at the tech savvy people. If, one of us can take the lead to find out what connects the community around our area, we can eliminate a lot of friction and spring in some efficiency into the way things run.

The vegetable vendor can take his orders through a simple application, that supports local language, and serve more people. He can guage consumer demand, and invest in the right amount of inventory. He can customise plans for his audience of buyers. The money to be made, is on the volume. It needs a goverment interefernce in announcing that people with a mobile, can order an auto through a neighberhood application, and can complain to the police, incase any malpractise is committed.

All this is just a figment of my imagination, but it does call for a system, that the common man can use to his daily benefit. This is a way, of solving a common man’s problem, by investing a little time in understanding a simple application. Applications, once made can be made a medium of instructions via school to teach students, who then ask their parents.

Change can be measured by the smile on the face of the common man, rather than look at the revenue potential of an idea. If change can happen, revenue will follow a like a dog follows the bone.


Life's Stages-Like a T20 Game.

When I look at the various stages of life, it has a close resemblance to the T20 cricket being dished out in IPL4. The message I get is that, each stage of life is a new match, with new highs and lows not quite related to the previous performance. Though the scars of the previous bad performance, may seep into the next stage of life, it's upto the individual to selectively filter, what he wants. I was looking at my life and a few of my friend's lives and dividing it into stages, and I found that life is certainly no race, but it makes us feel that way, in order to see if we are in the lead. Why is it so? Is it inherently because, a large component of our life is measured that way, in numerical landmarks from education to work? I think so. We look at marks but not learning, we look at average salaries but not satisfaction, and look at filling our lives with digging insurances for the worst-while we just miss out on life.

I thought, as a kid, I should have focussed more on my education at school, but I later realised that there are certain things you would love to go back and tinker, but thats not the message life is giving. The message is loud and clear. You have a bunch of Life-stages, each a T20 match, which gives an equal .50 probability of winning or losing. As is the case with life, only a creamy layer makes it to the finale. While this may look like a race to the top, people can decide, if they want to enjoy the journey, or get consumed by the pressure. 

ENJOY- Does it mean that I will always be happy and smiling, without bothering about the consequences?

Thats where the differentiator to life is. How do you keep smiling, when we all know that we are like a boat in an ocean, and waves come in various sizes to take my smile away? 

The key to ENJOYING is, wanting to make a difference. 

a) Never play for a result, with the end goal in mind. It starts sending you pressure in bouts of an compounded equated monthly installment. Starting with the end result, you need to break it down in what you consider, accomplishable chunks.

b) ENJOYING is also about caring. You need to invest your time carefully so that you dont keep creating things from scratch, failing to recognise or subside a destructive element. The time needs to be divided between a process and allowing free time, to make decisions on gut feel.

c) Once you start to care about the task at hand, you will slowly realise that you are able to see all its relationships and entities, like a tantric would. Once you are transported to that sublime world, where you see its past, current and future, keeping placeholders help, so that when you come back the next day, after breaking for time in the real world, only a little time is invested getting back into the sublime state. A sublime state and ideal relaxation are must-have investments for excellence to be fostered.

d) Getting back to the Boat-in-the-Ocean Anology, there will be times, the waves will topple you over. No shame about that. The wave is powerful than us. Sometimes, we see our friend or colleague in that wave, and thats what hits us hard, that they managed to topple us. This makes you even more angry, and you decide to fight, or wait for time to heal. Both are completely sane reactions, that will shape, the vibes we will have with similar waves in the future. If we decide to fight, we must clearly identify the problem, its root cause, possible ways of the problem occurring before deciding on a solution, that may be one time, or permanent.

e) If you are done with exhausting all the problems, the permanent way, then welcome to the next level, where life will throw at you problems, where your involvement needs to be for longer periods, and has more complex unknown threads. To get through these levels, one needs to understand basic laws of using politics to win wars and not focus on battles. If politics has not found way into your life, you've probably not worked at an IT company, studied at a B-School or got married :-) ! 

f) T20 Cricket- has its highs and lows, and like every game is different each stage in life is different. Make an effort to have a happy ending, but life comes with no guarantees, like your products, or if they do.. there are a million conditonal clauses, which takes a 'life stage' to understand and manipulate(and the rules of the game have changed by then).


So Little Time, So Much To Do

I've always got the feeling that, I have a lot to do, but dont find the time. How true is it? To an extent it is, but its also true, that by scheduling it, one can achieve it. But its a Monday morning, and with the excuse theme, I'd like to say that a lot of activities are mood based, and only when done in the mood, can you actually enjoy and do it, as opposed to doing it like a task. It could be reading Lonely Planet's travellogues, or researching a place on the Internet, or reliving some old cricket scorecards, but it requires the right mood to really enjoy the activity. When I have time, I am looking to complete some task that has a defined completion time, as that wishlist backlog is huge. I then need to start prioritising my hobbies, which is bad, as hobbies are not meant to be slotted and calculated in time spent. Its about meandering aimlessly and enjoying the journey as opposed to running to reach a destination. Yet another week, starts. Lets hope I am able to balance sanity and insanity.


Pursuit of Excellence

I've been reading a bit on the pursuit of excellence in sport. I came across Rasmus Ankersen(The High Performance Coach), and thats when I connected the dots with, Malcom Gladwell's 10,000 hour rule and high performance. I was enthusiastic about learning, what it takes to be succesful. Was it about the system or was it about the individual? It must be about un-knowingly creating a framework within which an individual's activities brings about success.

Today I glanced upon "IPL-An Inside Story" and the chapter on Shane Warne and How the Rajasthan Royals won, just makes for some lovely insights, that when you have nothing to lose, all your energy is spent at executing the goal, but the more you complicate matters with egos and hype, one does tend to lose out on the negative energy. But to win, despite all the flaws in the system is also something that needs to isloate the environment, and see where is it that simplicity, occupied a significant place.

I am wondering if Case Studies of extra-ordinary achievments in sports can be used for success in corporate life. Corporate life, needs energy and patience, to unravel subtly through the maze of layers/hierarchy/office politics to emerge out and then fight the battle. The latter helps you stay at a place, more than travelling to a different orbit. Some of these stories about chasing success is gut wrenching, and makes me feel, that its never shameful to be who you are and focus on what you want.

I guess I should tune some of my cricket writing along these lines, and look at examples of strategy and focus on the right statistics. Maybe maintaining an excel of all IPL related happenings can be start to sift the data, the way I want.


Feeling One With the Road

I was pleasantly happy, at my first Road Trip with my new car. I plan to do more of these trips around Chennai. There are so many beautiful sights to see in the roadside villages, the mountains, the lakes and the lovely greenery all around. I've earlier done a road trip to Mahabalipuram twice, but this trip to Tirupati was nice. Mahabalipuram, feels like an extension of Chennai, so it doesnt really add to a Road-Trip experience. I have a few holidays coming around April. May plan for another road trip. It also helps, that my wife can drive on the highway, so I dont feel too tired also.


Sleeping Secrets!

With the amount of mosquitoes in my part of Chennai, my sleep cycle is largely determined by the amount of mosquitoes choosing to visit that night. I had the whole house netted, and the rats ended up, biting the net and create a gaping hole. I close all the doors and still the mosquitoes have found their way inside. I have a few devices(Good Night) that claim to kill mosquitoes, but I see the law of "survival of the fittest" and the mosquitoues are still around.

The only thing that temporarily works, is switching the AC on 16 degrees for the night. Not the right cost to pay, just to battle the damn mosquitoes.

Ok. I wanted to type more, but between this post, I have hit 7 mosquitoes, and there is enough work for my maid, to clear the mess on the floor.


Financial Planning

I am beginning to get interested in finance, and options where I can create more wealth by planning an investment. I dont think the money is the motivating factor, but the possibilities of using it to travel somewhere that makes me feel good. In the last 6 months, I have ended up buying quite a few things, which I would have otherwise not bothered in investing. A new phone, A new email device, A new Sedan, A new house .....errrr.... and I am now contemplating buying a Club Mahindra Membership(The Red Membership). I might delay the Club Mahindra purchase, as the EMI's committed right now comprise more than 80% of my salary, so I'd better wait for some of the EMI's to ease out.

I am thinking of starting to understand the basics of investing in funds. I dont I'd be able to spend too much time analysing growth numbers, but nevertherless I wont be shy to wet my feet.

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