Thursday, July 31, 2008

The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don't count

Monday, July 28, 2008


There’s this game (or let’s call it an application, an activity) on Facebook, where you rank various parameters on one of the topics from most favorable to least favorable, and you are matched to all those friends of yours who run that application as well. The name of the application is LIKENESS (or is it LIKENESS UnRATED, I am not too sure).

I was killing my time a few days back, when a request from one of my friends came (on facebook), which said that my friend has run the activity “Superpowers” in Facebook, and wanted me to take the same as well. Workless as I was, I clicked on the link and started the app. Before I knew, I was fantasizing all the powers one-by-one, in order to select which one I will cherish most.

Anyhow, I finished my rankings and got a match score with my friends (to see the scores, one can go to facebook and check my scores there).

Well, this has happened about two weeks back, and I had almost forgotten about this. But just a few days back, I realized that having such powers (or even the faintest hint of some/any of them), might take you for a toss!

No, I am not talking about any superpower here – I am talking about real life. If you look at the image above, you’ll see that one of the powers mentioned there is “Mind Reading” – when I was visualizing this power two weeks back, I thought it should make life really cool, because you get to know what the other person might be thinking in front of you, and accordingly you can manipulate the person – manipulate is not the right word; it is better to say that you can do proper conditioning of the circumstances at hand, so that things are for the best. (Remember, Mel Gibson in ‘What Women Want”?)

So now, again, let me reinstate that I am not talking about superpowers in real life. The “Superpowers” app of facebook merely gave me an insight that I would not change a thing in me-self, because I just can not say what all baggage it will come with.

I have to my credit (or has it been that credit of anxiety, of worries, of tension) the knowledge of something that I would have never liked to know. We live in such an artistic world, that we have acclimatized ourselves to the rights and wrongs of our society, our culture, our acquaintances, our near and dear ones. But when one gets to know something which is a little bit more than what he/she ought to know, it disturbs the equilibrium of knowledge, and creates instability - at least in a human mind. It leads one to think what should not be thought, and question every act – which is quite misleading. If it’s about a person/s, this makes it difficult to look him/her in the eye.

Don’t think I’ll be able to elaborate on that – so net net, superpowers are a big no no.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

...the 'water'ful journey continued..

After we reached our destination, we had a guided tour of the largest rice mill of the country (with no comparison to Indian ones though). It has always fascinated me - I have always wondered that whatever we eat, we use - how is it created, how is it prepared, how has it reached the state it is in?

Hence, it was an inspiring tour.

After the tour comes the hard part - the one of explaining to the owners of the industry (who, by the way, know as much English or Hindi, as I know Bengali). So most of the communication was done by nods and signals - we took the easy way out - I nodded affirmative to whatever they said, and they reciprocated in the a similar fashion.

As I understand (or I choose to believe), they understood our proposition, and we, in principle, agreed to work together. Timelines to be still decided.

After the meeting, had nothing to do in that countryside place, so we were just killing time when someone mentioned that Rabindranath Tagore's house was nearby, just a 10 mins drive. Having nothing better to do, we went over.

It was a country house that Tagore used in his spare time, when he wanted some time out from his Shanti Niketan affairs.

One interesting point - I just observed that I have always believed that Einstein's era was a long long time ago - but when I saw a pic of Tagore & Einstein together in former's countryhouse, I got some credit in my knowledge bank.

Water Water everywhere..

Astalavista Baby!

Thus came the field trips, in thy countryside.

The day comes with a trip - had to visit the largest agro-industry in B'desh, because they were interested in making use of our services (true it is, that our line of business has lots of takers, and I have hardly met anyone who hasn't been interested in the kind of work I do!) - t'was a 200 mile journey, and I enjoyed every bit of it (including the time I dozed off for).

I have never really been a morning person (wow, that's news!) - but still, I am bang on time when it comes to urgency. Early morn it was when we had to start (yes, 0700 hrs is too early for me), and first one hour was slept off - in this time, we only managed to come outside Dhaka, so nothing was really lost (I have already traveled the city a lot in last few days, and hence can recognize places/roads). Once we were in the outskirts, scenes of the havoc created by floods started showing (it was shocking for me, but for those who stay here (e.g., our driver, our client), it was business-as-usual [wow, additionality factor {only those who work in the field that I do, will understand this, so don't break your head thinking about this 'additionality'}]).

Anyways, I saw hundreds of brick kilns submerged! Could only see their chimneys above the water - its difficult for me to digest that people plan their business around floods, and are OK if their bread & butter goes down in floods, albeit only for a few months.

We go forward, and cometh another exciting thing - crossing an over-flooded river by a ferry. This has been the most adventurous thing of my trip so far (all right, I won't compare my flight with this one - both are different genre). These huge ferries take as many as 20 trucks across the river - very streamlined process, and very interesting. It reminds me of the ferry ride Tommy Lee & Ashley Judd take in the movie "Double Jeopardy" (yes, I liked the movie, and what was nice to see was how Judd escapes from there).

Our ferry ride took about an hour to cross the river (it was long).

And here's what happened - while we were crossing the river, we saw a boat (with fisherman in it) going down in the midst of the river - obviously, the attention of all (300+) people on-board shifted to the scene - though I had no part to play in this whole exercise of saving them, I felt very content after this journey. (Pic of the saved boat/fisherman below [notice where everyone is focused]).

Well, the day was eventful enough, and we reached the destination in another few hours. Totally exhausted at the end of it though. Understandable.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Easy way to lose $$$

Day 2:

Day starts fine with the breakfast in the hotel. First meeting of the day is with the one of the ministries of this place, and it came as no surprise that there are no regulations at all! Over and above that, WE are asked to prepare a draft policy (taking some cues from Indian policies), that we want to be implemented in Bangladesh - "what an idea sirji".

Next meeting is with a honcho - the person who supplies people (as labour) to Japan & Mid-East - awesome and flourishing business he has - apparently he also wants to jump the bandwagon and invest in renewable space.

Then we meet those who manage Grameen Shakti, the NGO arm of Nobel Laureate Muhamad Yunus' Grameen Bank - there, we get the flavor of where actually all the funds coming in Bangladesh are going.

Its all about PR, at the end of the day, is what I have realized.

Talking about the city, its amazing to note that this place runs on gas - not on gasoline. Bangladesh is almost self-sufficient in its fuel requirements! More than 90% of the vehicles here are Toyotas (with a majority of them reconditioned and shipped from Japan).

Points to note: never ask for veg food; never ask for liquor; always wear a neck-tie if you want to impress the one in front of you; never leave your bag in your cab [if you leave it, don't leave any cash in it; stupid me - I did, and lost $$$ :( ]

Poor me.

Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bangla Diaries

As a matter of fact, yes, I am. I am here. Not Kolkata - its Bangadesh.

When the opportunity to visit B'desh was building up a few months ago (mind you, for purely business purposes), I thought the country wouldn't be very different from India - anyhow, the country was an offshoot of India, and shouldn't be very different. Though many advised me not to visit this place for numerous reasons (many reasons being social, many developmental, many others, only a few reasonable) - I chose my work to take priority, and went ahead planning for the visit.

So, the plan finalized; Visa received; hence cometh the date to travel.

We get to know that Friday and Saturday are the weekends in B'desh, so we had to be in the country before Sunday morning, so that we may start our meetings Sunday first thing (like Monday first thing in India). Hence we had to take a Biman Bangladesh (BB) flight (this is the official airline of B'desh). My travel agent double checked with me before finalizing the ticket, suggesting that I should travel a day later, so that I can take a Jet Airways flight, which would reach B'desh Sunday mid-day. In order to save that half day, I overruled and asked him to get the tickets.

So here we were, at Delhi IGI Airport, at 12 noon on Saturday (flight scheduled to take off at 1500 hrs, to reach Dhaka at 1730 hrs). Reached airport, and we don't see at BB counter - on inquiring, we are told that the flight is delayed by a whopping 5 hours. Striving to catch hold of any BB official, we waited for an hour, and then lost hope - went back home, to again come back at 1700 hrs. So, we come back at 1700 hrs, and see a mob standing near BB counter - there are two helpless ladies standing at the counter, trying to help people get their boarding passes. I was amazed to notice that after Raipur airport in India, this was the second place where manual entry was done (imagine, no computers at the counter of BB, to check records!).

So back to the boarding pass queue - a flight of a capacity of 200, and out of them 100+ were Surds! I thought it wasn't to Dhaka, but to Ludhiana. Anyways, 2 hours hence, we get our passes, and we are off to the lounge, and subsequently for the aircraft.

In the aircraft at 2030 hrs, and surprizzze - no air-hostesses! No stewards as well. Wait 30 mins, and we see two stewards coming in,asking everyone to keep quiet. Another amazing thing - person sitting next to me - takes his shoes off - brings out his radio - and we all a part of the melodious thumping Punjabi songs courtesy Jaggy-D and Mika! True, Music has no boundaries!

So the stewards trying to tell everyone to fasten their seat belts, but alas - they don't speak in Punjabi, which most of the junta in the plane understand - so the steward goes out of the place, and calls security to help people with tying their seat belts! Amazing.

Cometh 2200 hrs, and the pilot come in - we fly, at last! (Should I expect any soft drinks to start with, or a 3 course meal? A wine bottle please? Joking?)

The course of the journey refreshed my memories that date back ten years - to the days when Blue line and Red line buses used to ply in Delhi. If I were to say that those buses were better than this journey, THAT would be an understatement as well!

Another key observation - everyone has his own bottle of Scotch handy - flight takes off and the glasses come out. People start drinking as well as hiding. I have never tried to hide as much while cheating/copying in my college exams, as these guys were trying to, from each other. Wonder if people thought drinks will be taken away from them, if caught??

And food in flight - well, don't even talk about it - I couldn't even have half a bite. Thankfully, I had a sandwich at the airport, that kept me alive.

Finally, we land at the airport (how many airports have I seen like this - ufff!), and head for immigration - 0200 hrs, day 2. Another 90 minutes at the immigration/luggage collection, and we are off to our hotel (thankfully the airport pickup by the hotel was patient enough to wait for us all the while).

And at the hotel, when at the reception we told that we came in BB, they were awe-struck! I am not surprised why!

So a journey that started 1200 hrs day 1 from Delhi, ended at 0200 hrs day 2 - time taken from Delhi to NY non-stop 14 hours. Time we took - 14 hours. Cool, not very far. Just yet!

PS: I am here for a few days - so more action awaited!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Run Lola Run

As the name suggests, the movie's all about running (no, not like Tom Hanks in Forrest Gump) - The beauty of the movie is in the details - there are 1581 transitions (edits, dissolves, fades, wipes, etc) in 71 minutes of action (i.e. excluding the credits, and pre-credits sequence). This equates to an Average Shot Length of about 2.7 seconds. Interestingly, if you observe, the editing is relatively slower towards the end of the film. For most contemporary films, the opposite is the norm. This is what makes this movie so unique.

No wonder this one is quoted (arguably) as the best from German cinema till date.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Itsy bitsy

With time passing by, it becomes all the more difficult to stay away from this..

True, it's been a long time now that I was here. Been held up in so many things - a glorified version would say that I have been "making a difference to the society" ;)

Yes, I'm working these days. And working good. Be it arranging Carbon Finance for sustainable technologies, or deal structuring for renewable energy projects - it's all happening. On top of it, talk about making companies and events "Carbon Neutral" - Neutral means offsetting the emissions made by the activity.

The space sure is exciting, and with every passing day, it gives me enough and more evidence that this is where I would want to be!