Sep 6, 2009

Tribute to YSR

For reasons unknown to me, I cried inconsolably when the news of YSR death reached me. Worse of it, I was far away in South Korea, having not slept throughout the night when the news of missing chopper has surfaced, till the next day, well over 36 hours from the time I woke up a day before, never losing hope that a miracle was in store.

Why? I've only seen him once more than 12 years ago, never benefited in any manner, nor a sycophant of YSR. 342 shocking deaths following his tragic death testify his immense popularity among the population. Not just congress party supporters, but scores of common people counted him as their own representative. Importantly his burial, and outpouring of grief mesmerized me the importance of losing a true mass leader, son of the soil.

He projected himself pro-poor, genuinely working to uplift the bottom of society. True to the core with a heart of economist, I know none of his schemes would contain poverty. Don't mistake him for pro-poor policies, he is equally long-sighted, with infrastructure improvement, be it scores of PPP (public-private-partnership) projects, including airports, express ways, shipping ports, special economic zones (SEZ), irrigation projects. The last of which would prove beneficial in the long run, because droughts are going to be a common place in near future, due to global warming. Like rest of many congress rulers, he promoted communal harmony, bit of minority appeasement, left-leaning policies (pro-poor), centrist approach with his development agenda, all in all I rate him 7 on a 10 scale.

Now come to the bashing, there are countless allegations against him, there might be a bit of truth to some allegations, he was associated with few bloody hands early in his career, and the amount of constant dissident voice he practiced, so much so that he was branded eternal dissident.

But nothing explains  the overwhelming amount of grief  that followed his sudden death. From the various accounts that I've personally heard, he has few qualities that endear his followers even more loyal to him. He never displays arrogance, even after becoming head of the state, he treats lift boys to IAS officers with equal respect. Several accounts testify he helps even his bitter critics when they seek help.

Is there something to learn from YSR. One that immediately strikes me is his hard work, a single goal to become chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He constantly reinvented himself identifying with the cause of people,  meticulously moved his pawns, never losing sight of his goal. He never lobbied for short term benefits, like minister posts throughout his career. A true, living memory of what hard work would transform a common man to a finer politician fondly remembered.

He is not the only tragedy, India has lost several leaders in accidents and assassinations. I only wish India realizes the importance of protecting it's leaders. Enough is enough, we can't afford to lose yet another.

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Mar 6, 2007

It's earthquake, not a hailstorm

Ever since I missed my first hailstorm while asleep when I was about 8 year old, I'm eternally waiting for one, but it always eluded me. But today, I learnt it's not something I should long for. It all happened about 11:50 a.m, I just returned with a glass full of warm water, sipping in bits to the table, pulled up my legs in typical asian style to sit in the chair while staring at my desktop. My chair slowly drifted in, as if somebody was pushing me into the table, and strangely I was pulled back instantaneously. I was in disbelief, but people around me started running down, I joined them too like on in herd.

I was scared to hell with my first ever earthquake experience. It's not so nice to experience one.

Oct 16, 2006

macro-reward to microcredit

I'm delighted to the fullest to learn that Nobel peace prize has been awarded to Muhammad Yunus, though pretty late, probably after everyone has already heard it.

What is microcredit?
A small loan, few hundred rupees to an impoverished poor man, who has no collateral to bank upon. This small loan goes a long way to lift a family out of poverty, to nurture entrepreneurship at the lowest level, and to bring the lost smile back on poor farmers and alike when nature hits them the hardest.

I'm conspicuous of the most ambitious project being undertaken by UN, millennium development project to make world poverty free in 25 years, but not microcredit. And secretive Nobel committee did prove it right with timely award. Kudos Yunus, great work.

Oct 5, 2006

Can Bhagawati make it?

Fingers crossed, yet there is hope, a little hope that Bagawati can bring us a smile.

My disappointment started with Natasa Suri, Miss India World, who failed to recapture most revered Miss World crown.

Closely followed and widely guessed Tharoor's exit from UN secretary general poll.

A close shave with nobel in medicine for Utpal Bhadra, but missed.

Amidst all, there is a hope, that is catching fire wide and fast, our man, statistician and free trade guru Jagadish Bhagawati is racing ahead for nobel in economics. I'm sure things turn out in favor, and we eagarly await to hear you adorn the coveted title.

Jul 10, 2006

How intelligents are born?

It has been a topic of debate over last one month in international media. I had lot of myths on the subject that what determines the intelligence of a person.

My observations

1. If you are good looking as a kid, there is a high chance that you derive attention at school and home, as the attention increases you try hard to outperform. As you perfrom and stand alert, your confidence grows and hence you become topper in a school and eventually successful in life. If you are still studying, try hard to be in focus, be it from your teacher or fellow students or merely in your relatives and neighbors. It helps you grow with confidence, inside leader tries to take you to unseen heights.

2.Nextly, it is the school or college where you study. Many blindly choose a school that levies huge tution fee or boasts a lot about facilities or has a lot of heritage. The point here to look is at the variance of intelligence of students. If variance of the class /college is less (that means the difference between high and low performers is narrow), high chance that you/your kid perform at least that of others. That means, if you are elevated to a school/college where most are intelligent with low variance, high chance that you catch up with them. Hence now if you are looking for further studies, your choice should not be based on whether you get assistant ship or job, but on where the variance is less.

3. It is really disappointing, the last observation, your intelligence depends a lot on NATURE. If your biological parents are intelligent, highly likely that you are born intelligent.

Nature and Nurture in the Intergenerational Transmission of Socioeconomic Status
What happens when children are randomly assigned to different families?

Apr 3, 2006

4 years of my professional life

Time has taken it's course relentlessly, April 7th marks completion of 4 yrs in my life outside college.

My first day at emuzed is still fresh and vivid in memories, I remember introducing myself going desk to desk. I still recollect my first salary, a sum of Rs.27028, and castles I built in day dreams.

During my first year, I was so excited with the assembly code that I skipped few lunches and stayed long in the evenings. Next 2 years I was totally drawn into money, as if there was no means other than it. Though initially I was not much given to power politics, natural tendency and association with wrong people took it's toll on me, sometimes I had taken other's problems as my own, so stupid I was. Overall, as I started exploring more into internals of emuzed, I somewhere deeply felt we (not I, I was stupid again) were not getting right due, disparities plagued, I felt like I was waging a lost war.

Sooner a never heard offer of 12 lakhs per annum at 2.8 yr experience greeted me from nVidia, a company people dream to work for in USA. Days started rolling at nVidia rather slowly. I felt cheated with the kind of work I've been asked to do. I was again in the middle of ocean. Money was no more inciting my senses, I was worried a lot, pain was so unbearable that I quit it in less than 4 months. I could recollect my last day at nVidia, my friends who came to my house to bid farewell, I took flight on the very night I resigned to join in a less known company ocean away. It was probably shock to people back at home whom I never told my intentions, it was a desperate decision I took in haste after swinging heavily within myself.

I am swarmed by several questions, initially about money, I couldn't digest the unfair advantage people in USA command over pity engineers in India. It has dragged me into understanding economics, and I realized it is this unfair advantage that has got me a job in India and not my masters at IIT.

Now I feel like not working, I'm slowly drifting into world of economics, wonder where I'm heading, time has to take it's own course.

Mar 30, 2006

Sunil Mittal

Mittal has successfully demonstrated what I've been crying loud to follow passion for a while.

When he began his entrepreneurial venture in 1985, he was "ignored" and "laughed at" thereafter, before the "fight" erupted in the telecom sector leading to what he calls "mother of all battles" from which he came out "fairly successful," he said.

"When I came out of college in 1976, I was told by all my friends and people generally older and guiding me in my hometown in Ludhiana that the pole-positions...the grand-stand positions have already been taken up by those who mattered."

"But somehow the heart was not willing to accept. And one had to push on and push forward with every little opportunity that one got in one's life."

"Mahatma Gandhi once said: 'at first, they ignore you'; these were the times when I was being ignored."

"Gandhiji also said: 'then they laugh at you.'

"After three years of fight, we came out fairly successful out of this. As Gandhiji said, those who try hard with lot of passion, eventually win."

Mar 16, 2006

Small things

Assume all average and intelligent guys take to engineering, so who will take the responsibilities of becoming doctors, lawyers, applied sciences, economics etc. Problem here is not money we make being engineer, as the supply of engineers go up, salaries go down. We seriouly lack role models, we hardly hear a story of one becoming rags to riches, our role models are whom we see in ourselves, so when we become engineers, our younger siblings follow suit. now take USA, they all believe in American Dream, result, every 1 out of 100 americans is a millionaire.

Other is passion, we lack it seriously. We do BS followed by MS, we read what many others have read already, no improvement in knowledge levels of a nation (not personal level). So no intellectual knowledge is groomed. So we beg around for radars, figther flights, remember we are 100+ crores population, but can't even produce medicines our nation seriously needs. Without passion, companies and businesses can't be built.

Next is cretivity, this is long forgotten. I don't remember a single event in my life or seen others being creative of the USA grades. Our brains don't think beyond some blah blah C/C++ or hell. We take a solid stereotype life, even after studying at Berkeley univ. of Calif. We work for money and not for passion. We immensely believe that it is money, hence we become risk averse to settle at the lower end of value chain, doing some job, titles still allure us, like R&D engineer or technical lead.

As long as what we do is not addressing the needs of India, we barely depend on other countries because consumers are stationed there. That's a sad thing, but no person bells the cat, we want to be engineers to make some money, not to do some productive work to the development of our nation. We are value destructors and precisely chest thumpers because we fail to add any intellectual value or making headway in economy of the nation. I'm writing this to understand our inherent weakness, a starting point to make a leap if you don't fall prey to a vicious cycle of Indian life.

Feb 27, 2006

World Cloud

Most common words that appear on this page with their strength.

Jan 23, 2006

Beyond India, east or west?

NRI, non-required Indian or non-resident Indian, the word is not foreign. Be it media cacophony or hype surrounding, our hearts rock for USA.

There are no brakes if you want to embrace NRI tag. The easiest way is GRE and TOEFL, both I feel hard to crack and managed GATE to make into IIT, neither my finances would have allowed then. For whatever reasons if you are looking beyond India, note 2 important things, cost of living and purchasing power parity (P3). Well, I can tell you what the impact would be, few months back I was in London, so costly that my purse was set off by 40K Rs in a week time, ofcourse it is the 2nd costliest place in the world.

Well, my equation is simple, I look forward for a savings of 10 lakhs INR p.a post tax with a decent life style. (why 10 lakhs? read MiM). Once again don't scratch the backs of consultants, it works well if you swim on own.

USA hogs the limelight without doubt and should remain first choice. As a saying goes, (pretty)wives of (dumb)engineers in USA make better than (pity) engineers in India. And especially when H1-b are scarce and employers are not coming forward, look for other avenues. A salary of 95K USD in CA is very much equal to 75K USD in NY. You may use Salary calculator.

UK certainly stands second to USA when it comes to salary potential. You can have better life style, much beautiful and lively than USA.

Any other? Huh, Greenland to Newzealand, where in the world a country is spared by Indians!

Why I chose Singapore?
Can you believe there is a place in world where you pay less than 5% of gross towards income tax?? The better, being close to home and my equation holds here, it's another Bangalore. Though I miss weekly visit to Madanapalle that I used to when I was in Bangalore. In the long run, say 10-20 years horizon, economically speaking Asia outperforms Americas, good reason for true economics lover to side with dark horses rather than champion.

And for girls.. ideally close to mom and dad, unfortunately the same mom and dad bind you to an nri, insurmountable pressure, who'll bell them that they can't see their sweet heart once an year at least.

Jan 22, 2006

Changing Company?

At one or other time in your career, you decide to change company. What would lead you to do so? Is your move justified? And other considerations coupled with my experience as both interviewer and interviewee. (To my credit, I've interviewed tens of candidates and got interviewed 5-6 times).

This has been a trend, a recent survey showed that on average Indian IT pros are switching companies every 2.3 years. There could be enough reasons like money, arrogant manager, power politics, marriage etc that prompts you to take the drastic step.

It's time, you have decided to change company. You need an appealing resume. Contrary to our belief, the simpler the better. I had restricted to 1.5 page, no need to write your address or DOB or all the way to B.Tech project or your hobbies. Nobody scans beyond skill set and education.

Boost your confidence before you apply. It takes a week or two, read resume carefully, get familiar with finer details, don't spare a line in resume, interviewers won't go beyond resume. Also discuss with close friends about few projects you had done, learning and reading keeps your confidence levels going up every day.

Don't piggy back on consultants, try on your own. It helps in negotiating a better deal directly and company may be willing to pass the money to you which would otherwise go to consultant. Ask carefully what you are supposed to do in new job, no dreaming, you have to rise again from scratch at new place. Don't settle for anything less than 50% hike, unless for money should you be moving? I managed 85% hike when I first moved in Feb 2005. It involved 6 rounds of interview and 2 rounds of negotiation, I'm firm on my stand, once a company decides to hire you, don't settle for less. (I called something, yeah, I wanted premium, a good word to use). If company is genuinely interested in you, they must be willing to pay premium. For a taste of how much I asked and finally managed, see Smoke signals.

Once you put on papers, don't give into submission. It doesn't go down well in future with management. Unfortuantely many people bring in emotion or relationships they enjoyed before, mind that it is business, even if old employer is willing to match new salary, be sniffy, they would not have done if you had not tendered resignation. For good or bad, pack up and march ahead!

Don't make changing companies a habit, see that you stay at least 1.5 -4 years at every company, otherwise when you apply next time, as an interviewer I look over your shoulders. Remember for a performer, any company keeps it's door wide open.

Don't give into rejection loss if you fail to make it in first attempt. Reassess strengths and ascertain if switching company is right. All in all, if you can't manage in 3 month duration, better stay back and relook after 6-12 months.

Jan 20, 2006

Smoke signals

Inflation is hovering below 5%, at this stage can we expect 15-20% rise in IT salaries every year? If so, for how long does this partying last? A case study involving myself and what prompted me to change country.

PeriodSalaryPercentage HikeRemarks
Apr 2002 - Mar 20034.5 lakhs p.a--1st year, start of career
Apr 2003 - Mar 20045.2 lakhs p.a15.5%2nd year
Apr 2004 - Jan 20056.6 lakhs p.a26.9%3rd year
Feb 2005 - Jun 200512.13 lakhs p.a83.79%3rd year, changed company
Jul 2005 - Presentxxxxx $--4th year, changed country

From the table, it is understood that I got exponential salary hikes. Realistically I would expect industry average hike, say 15% which would have taken my salary to 14 lakhs p.a in FY07, 16 lakhs p.a in FY08 and 18.5 lakhs p.a in FY09. Will this extrapolation holds?

Accepted IT salaries are at their best in India. But still we don't get equivalent salaries to our counterparts in USA. My only concern is our aspirations go up in a rising economy who expect similar hikes every year that may hurt one day. (Don't forget year 2001, when jobs were scarce and salary cuts/layoffs were order of the day).

Admit it or not, the reason why jobs are being outsourced to India is because of cost advantage. At the start of outsourcing, there is 1:10 advantage, that means with one person salary in USA, ten persons can be recruited in India with same skill sets. What a competitive proposition! At what stage USA companies feel the pinch? I don't have any exact value, but I put it at 1:3 ratio, where outsourcing means no advantage, because costs escalate rapidly as there is uneven growth in USA and India.

Surprisingly fresher salaries are south bound for last 2 years. There is significant decrease of 20% at entry levels, contrary movement in an inflationary economy. What does it say? As supply pressure increases inflation doesn't hold and salaries go down. (or stay standstill). I'm closer to 1:3 proposed ratio, my competitive edge is fast eroding. It's matter of time, supply increases with my skill set, and I won't be getting 15% predicted hike in future. So companies will try to recruit and train freshers and experienced guys should be under undue pressure.

What about Dollar fluctuations? If rupee appreciates in the years ahead, this further erodes our competitive edge. In few years down the line, say 3-5 years, we reach the breakeven (1:3) point. That is smoke signal to look west.

The table above holds for MNCs like TI, INTEL, NVIDIA etc.,

Jan 10, 2006

How big is life?

As a child I felt it is studying, the toughest thing in life (every parent wants his child to study, studies is the only world he knows), as I grew up to teens and mastered the art reaching new highs every class, I felt it is making money the toughest(money dominates the real world scene, everything money). And as I started doing it smart, I felt it is living the toughest, whatever it gave me a chance to peek into what life is!

Do we really have a big life?

This would have haunted you before and most probably you have given it a slip. I asked myself instantly, never thought it seriously any time. I'm quite mechanical. I'm so afraid to think that one day I'll die, ahh very tough to absolve the fact, imagine that you also die one day, your heart beats fast.

Until turning 20-23 years, you spend time in studies, movies, dresses, games (no dating!). You study like mad and fight like there is no tomorrow. Energy levels and abilities reach their peaks so much that you dream to crumble mountains on your way. No financial freedom in sight, yet you dream of Billions and Bill Gates.

A job comes your way bringing a new found fortune, pavement from rags to riches, overnight sultan. Go funky in dressing with leather shoes with eyes flashing. No more you speak subjects and research, and speak money, honey. You count every rupee, preach currency, dream big, turn to calculator and go crazy. (Intelligent brains write smart programs to see what they save!). It's pay back time, you start sending money home reluctantly (all the while you received DDs in time for years). After a while, you realize to maintain money, credit cards, filing income tax returns, rushing for infrastructure bonds, LIC. (Few like me who stay a step ahead would have started gambling in stock markets). Some or other day, you dabble stock markets, by now you would have totally forgotten your subjects at college and still speak about research, it is pure stock market analysis, go hilarious at newly learnt skills. Testosterone flows top to bottom until one bad day stock market collapses shattering all dreams like a pack of cards, everything looks messy all of a sudden. Alas you still have job.

Days run like never before, you turn 25. Time is closing in on for the knot. Heart pounds again, new dreams, new hopes, new future, walking with a pretty girl, new found mate. Honeymoon follows, sweet nothings exchanged, spend days and nights cuddling and snuggling together. Another 2 years wiped off, fresh breeze comes as a new baby calling you daddy....

Life is, certainly big and worth living, don't take it easy, the toughest too, cherish every moment to the core. (what's there in a girl's mind? must be different! beyond my imagination).

Jan 9, 2006

Getting away with bad habits

Too much desire or affiliation has always taught me a lesson and shown door. I was spending hours a day to track cricket world over, one fine day during my 2nd BTech I realized it was hell, by then I had lost numerous hours, immediately decided to stop the practice. Initially it was tough, but slowly I transitioned to near zero, now I hardly know who the player and where they play. It's simpler than I ever imagined, it didn't pay a rupee, except occupying a large bandwidth in mind. I certainly needed entertainment, i turned to books, I feel books have given better solace than cricket. My sincere advice goes, first sit back and write down how much time you are spending on useless stuff, be it day dreams or other. Slowly engage in another activity, you feel the difference. There are better ways to enjoy quality time! If you have benefited from my advice, remember to pass the message to another and of course I won't decline a gift.

Nov 23, 2005

Fall of Lalu

It's unexpected for me and Lalu himself, the lesser morons who find it difficult to absolve the news. Lalu was finally down after 15 year unopposed stint in Bihar.

I hope new JD-U government fullfils the promises it made to people and stands a real winner instead of resorting to hate politics.

I'm no fan but share his pain, imagine how difficult it is to cope with the loss something that was his very own for 15 long years!

He puts up a brave face, never say die, kudos Lalu. Enjoy the train ride.