Sunday, April 7, 2019

Who to vote in the next general election?

As election draws closer, you get to hear a lot that if Congress wins it will make Maoists and terrorists happy and if BJP wins India will become a Hindu Rashtra. Both are very dangerous arguments. India will remain India and it will remain a democracy irrespective who forms the next government. Many thinkers and politicians said the same after we got our independence that India will be fragmented into pieces, but we have come this far despite all our problems and issues, and we are doing good if not the best.

Your job as an electorate is and should be to vote and vote for the right candidate. Candidate who can take care of the people in her or his constituency. There are many local issues like water, electricity, need of schools, hospitals, roads, sanitation, agriculture. Someone who can provide a better life to her or his people and not someone who will just make empty promises. Someone who will not divide based on religion, caste but will try to unite people.

Election should not be one-man vs the other or one-party vs the other. Our political system is different and there are many choices. As a voter you cannot be and should not be devoted to one party if there are better alternatives. As Dr Ambedkar said “in politics, Bhakti or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.” One should always be mindful of that otherwise you forget what is right and what is wrong.

What we want is a nation where everyone is free to wear, eat, speak whatever they want within the freedom provided by the constitution. There is misuse of this power at times but then law should take care of that.

Many a times we happily share negative or damaging videos of someone you don’t like. We are served what sells the most. We should try to refrain from that as denigrating someone is not going to make your case stronger. Nobody is going to be helped by pointing fingers at each other. It will only generate hatred towards each other.

At the end you should do your bit to help in nation building. Do not drive on red signal, do not throw garbage on the door, switch off the electricity when you leave home, help someone who is in need, smile often, and more importantly ask questions when you feel something is not right.   

Whoever wins or loses, India will win!

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Recognize good people

We got up early morning to watch 26th January republic day parade at India gate after securing our passes.  We drove till Lodhi Garden and parked our car there and then walked down till India gate. There was huge rush to get inside as lakhs of people came to celebrate the festival of democracy. Parade starts at 10 AM but people started queueing up from 7 in the morning in Delhi’s winter to get front row seats. Generally, security is beefed up ahead of republic day and it was no different this time too. As we were getting inside from our respective gate for which we had passes, we were checked thoroughly if we have any prohibited items except mobile phones. My two friends got in and I was just behind them. As my turn came I was asked to empty the pockets and keep everything in hand. As soon as they saw car key in my hand and asked if it is a remote enabled one and they got affirmative answer from me, I was told in stern voice that I cannot be allowed to get in and alerted all the official around not to allow this person. I didn’t know that remote enabled items are not allowed otherwise we would have taken cab to reach at the venue. I was dejected that I can not see my first parade at the grandest stage. I tried to persuade the security official, but they didn’t budge, and their concern was quite legitimate.
I came out but did not want to miss the parade. My friend who was inside called me to pass the key inside, but I did not want to breach the security. I thought to hide the key somewhere or dig it but there were so many people and it could have been lost.
I asked police personal cordoning outside the gate if he can keep the key. He told that we keep moving around and I may not be here after the parade is over and, they put on the jammer once prime minister arrives, so phone network will not be there. I told him you please take it now and I will get it from you wherever you are and if not today may be tomorrow because I just wanted to get in. He finally agreed and that allowed me to get inside but by the time I reached, we lost the front row seats. He could have simply refused but he understood and helped me witness one of the greatest events of the largest democracy.
I watched full parade with lot of pride and took so many photos and videos. It indeed is a different experience all together. Watching women march in unison, seeing jhakis of some of the states beautifully embellished by live act and music, catching firefighter jets high in the sky.
Once the parade got over, I was thinking about my key. I tried to call him as I had got his number, but his phone was unreachable as jammer was still on. As soon as I came out I saw the gentleman standing exactly at the same place where I handed him the key. I was delighted not just to get my keys back but by the thought of it that he took it upon himself not to bother me. It was a true class act.
His name is Mohit and he works for Delhi Police. I have his picture as well but not posting as I do not know whether I am allowed or not. Give him a big shout out if you happen to meet him.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Paanch kahaniyan – five stories

Women understand women better:
I travelled a lot using public transport when I was in Toronto for 2 years. There generally bus does not stop once it leaves the stand even if you are late just by a second or two. But I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a lady bus driver stopping for a lady who was carrying two heavy bags and it was quite cold and windy outside. I was thinking why we don’t have more women professionals, we would have been better off. They understand each other better.

Appearance does matter:
Generally, I take office cab to commute for work but one day I had to come early so I took metro on my way home after office. As usual metro was crowded so I was standing by a pillar. Three stations passed by and I still couldn’t get a seat. One guy who seemed younger than me got off from his seat and offered me his seat. Despite telling him that I am OK and asked him to stay put but he still got up and insisted me to sit instead. I couldn’t understand why he would offer me a seat. I wasn’t looking tired or sick. I thought he might have to alight at the next stop, but he continued for at least 3-4 more stops. It got me thinking. After much deliberation in my head, it struck me that it could have been the case that I was wearing suit and talking in English. Is this the only criteria? I was happy to get the seat, but it dichotomized me that how people get influenced just by appearance.

Balloon seller at the signal:
While coming back from office, we were waiting at the signal at AIMMS flyover when a ten something years old girl came to our car to sell her balloons. We were not interested to buy balloons, but the girl was relentless. She dropped the balloon inside the car and immediately after, signal turned green and our car started moving. We tried everything from persuading to threatening her so that she can take her balloon back, but she didn’t budge. We finally had to throw the balloon out. Yes, they are living a tough life but what if some mishap happens and there are so many vehicles on the road? Also, I don’t encourage young kids to be wandering in the streets selling things for partly sum.

Encounter with another balloon seller at midnight:
Like any other night we were out for coffee at midnight. After finishing coffee at Galleria market, while our way back we were accosted by a balloon seller. He was pleading so that we could buy a balloon from him. Then suddenly, he started saying, Sir you spend so much in party and food and this balloon costs less than that of a beer price. That kind of infuriated me. We also work hard to get what we get, may not be in as tough conditions as they do but it doesn’t come easy for us as well. I was so put off and decided not to buy his balloons. Should I have bought his balloons?

Kindness goes a long way:
Once I had to go to Mexico Embassy to get my Visa. I entered into office leaving my bag at the gate, but I had to come out to get my office ID card. I opened the gate and asked the gatekeeper if I can take out my ID card. He agreed and said "Sir,aapne jis tareeke se poocha, mai aapke liye kitni bhi baar permission de sakta hoon" (The way you asked me, I can permit you as many times as you want). After taking out my ID card, I closed the door gently and did all the Visa formality.

When I was leaving, the guy comes and says, "Sir, yahan to chaprasi bhi pair se darwaja kholta hai, aap toh bahut gentle hain (Sir, here even peon opens the door by pushing his legs, you are too gentle)”. I smiled, and he reciprocated. Kindness goes a long way

Ending with a smile because it is contagious.
These are true stories. Comment below if you have any interesting story to share.
Tis the season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


वैसे तो फ़ूल सारे पसंद हैं इस बग़ीचे के
लेकिन महकूँ तो महकूँ मैं गुलाब की तरह ।
कहा वो मेरे आँगन मे खेल कर बड़ा हुआ
आज वो धूप भी मुझे देता है पैमाने की तरह ।
यहाँ कोई हिंदू कोई मुसलमान कोई सिक्ख कोई ईसाई
जियूँ तो जियूँ मैं यहाँ इंसान की तरह ।
वैसे तो सब एक दूसरे के रंग में रंगे हैं
गर बुलाया जाऊँ मैं तो रहूँ उनके तौर तरीक़ों की तरह।
अब बस एक यही ख़्वाहिश हैं की हर तरफ़ उजाला हो
क्यूँ हीं ना जलना पड़े मुझे जुगनु की तरह । - अनिल

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Perils Of Social Media And Free Internet In India

While I am down with cold and cough and enjoying this sedentary life for past 2 days, I thought of livening up my blog after a long hiatus. 

As we are living in a free world and in a free society and are always surrounded by gadgets and internet we often fail to understand that we are missing more than we are thinking we are gaining.

We are earning and working extra hard to upgrade our mobile phones but not to upgrade our education or food or to insure health. We pretend to be a having lot of information but when it comes to knowledge it is scant.

Our priorities are changing. We are making new friends whom we may never meet and losing people whom we have known since childhood. We seem to have forgotten the word repair – if phone is damaged we get a new one, jeans is torn we order a new one, shirt button has come off, we buy a new shirt. Gone are the days when one cycle was used for 2 generations. Internet is taking away our life and we are not able to notice it. Everything is available at the touch of few buttons. We are losing our patience and it has a broader repercussions. If friendship is not working or there is issue in relationship we don’t come together to amend it but try to find ways to get away with it.

People go to places to take photos and not to enjoy the beauty of it. By the time they are back home they only have snaps and can’t remember how the place like was. They will record the fight between two parties and also broadcast it live but wouldn’t come forward to rescue them. Word fear has come to our life and empathy has gone from our dictionary.

Internet has almost taken our most beloved possession – bargaining skills. It indeed is a skill. We order everything online now, even groceries. I feel sense of pride if I can bargain even if it is a few bucks. J

Internet is full of fake news, biased information and preconceived thoughts and we are so credulous to believe whatever is served by internet that we don’t even check the veracity of the truth. We have to check from so many different sources to understand the truth and sometimes that also is not enough.

Use internet and social media wisely. Let us not become servitude to the technology. It is not bad but if not used wisely, it can get worse.

Take care and Happy Diwali!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Masters Sunday

The 82nd masters is already a memorable one with so many stories. Starting from Jack Nicklaus grandson holing in one in par-3 contest on Wednesday, Tiger Woods returning to masters after 3 years, Vandini Sharma putting up stories about her brother in the associated press, Tony Finau shooting 4 under in his very first round in the masters after having to go through MRI scan in the morning, Phil Mickelson hovering around the cut line and the defending champion Sergio Garcia shooting 8 over on par-5 15th.

It has been amazing week in Augusta. The champion will be crowned tomorrow. Who will slip into the green jacket? We will know that tomorrow but by looking at the leaderboard it looks like whoever wins it, it will be his first masters win as two times masters champion Bubba Watson is 8 shots off the lead.

Patrick Reed and Rory Mcliroy are at the top of the leaderboard with Reed going into the final round having 3 shots leads. Will we be witnessing another Ryder Cup duel? Will Rory be able to avenge his Ryder Cup loss? After these two at the top, there is Rickie Fowler who had a great outing on Saturday shooting bogey free 7 under and currently sitting at solo third and then one shot off the lead is John Rahm. Can John Ram give back to back masters title to Spain?

Everyone eyes will be on Reed and Mcliroy. They have a great rivalry and patrons love to watch these two whenever they play each other. Reed hasn’t been this close in the masters while Rory can understand the feeling as he was in a similar situation in 2011 but blew it up on Sunday. The pressure will be on both. It will be a matter of nerves. They cannot afford to get carried away or look too far ahead. It will be a great spectacle of golf tomorrow.

Rooting for Rory!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

First of many masters for Shubhankar

I haven’t waited this anxiously for a Thursday morning before. The excitement is over the roof as the young Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma will be teeing off for the first time at the coveted masters alongside two local boys Rusell Henrey and Larry Mize.

After great 4 months and terrific play at world golf championship in Mexico last month where he led through 54 holes, Sharma got the invitation to play in the masters, the first of four majors. He is only the fourth Indian player to play in the masters. It is a dream of any golfer to play in this tournament and then getting to play this early in life is indeed a special moment for him and for the entire nation.

While all the attention will be on resurgent Tiger woods, Phil Mickelson who is vying to become the oldest masters champion at the age of 47, Rory Mcilroy who will have an opportunity to complete the career grand slam or Sergio Garcia who will try to defend his title after Tiger Woods did 16 years back. Each one of them is chasing greatness.

The field consists of some great past champions and some exciting young guns, but there is man who can inspire billion people back home if he does well. It will help increase games popularity in Asia like Tiger was able to do for US and for rest of the world.

Sharma is playing well and he is high on confidence. He is calm and composed and is not stupefied by grandeur of the occasion or is overawed by seeing his childhood hero Tiger Woods.

I hope he starts well on Thursday and carries on the momentum. He has got the great caddy in Mitch Knox who has experience of caddying a major winner and have walked on the greens umpteen times which will help him making better and informed decision while hitting the shots or rolling the putts.

Asian golf is in good hands but we need more players and role models to draw more people into this sport. A masters winner here can open the doors for this change.

Hoping for a strong finish from Shubhankar Sharma on his first masters tournament. All the best!
Go Shubhankar!

He tees off at 12:32 EST or 22:02 IST on Thursday.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Three events that changed Indian cricket

I am going to list down three events in chronological order which in my option changed Indian cricket: -

1.       Eden gardens – India vs Australia, 2001

2.       Sourav Ganguly taking off his jersey at Lord’s – Netwest trophy final, 2002

3.       Inception of IPL - 2008

Rahul Dravid in the book titled “Rahul Dravid: Timeless steel” says, we could both sense that we had done something unique, something that would define our careers from then on, irrespective of what we achieved or didn't achieve after that. Indeed, they did something which can never be forgotten.

Australian team arrived in Kolkata riding high on 16 consecutive test matches victories. Indian team was up against a mighty opposition again, having lost the first test match in Mumbai within 3 days. 2nd test match also going the same way, even worse as India were following on after being bowled out for 171 against 445. There was no hope, only a miracle could rescue India. And miracle did come in the form of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman who stood firm against all odds. They batted whole day taking India from 254/4 at the start of day 4 to 589/4 at the end of day 4 adding 335 runs without losing a wicket with Laxman unbeaten on 275 and Dravid on 155. India declared on 657/7 midway in morning session on fifth day. Indian fans started to sense something. Victory was not easy from here on too but they knew that they had surely averted the defeat. Australia were none for 12 at lunch and 161 for 3 at tea. India needed 7 wickets in last session. Thanks to Sachin and Harbhajan’s great bowling that Australia were bowled out for 212. India won the match by 171 runs.

It was a great team victory. This win provided a self-belief that no team is unbeatable if everyone stood up to their task. Prior to that, there were individual brilliances but mostly as a team we ended up losing.  

The second event came a year later at Lord’s when India was asked to chase a mighty total of 326 against home team at the mecca of cricket. England captain Nasser Hussain and Opener Marcus Trescothick scored centuries. India started well reaching 100 under 15th over without losing a wicket. Ganguly and Sehwag took advantage of power play and toyed the English bowlers. But some poor shot selection found them wobbling at 146/5 losing five wickets in just 40 runs. And because of flurry of wickets in no time, asking run rate was also going up. In came two young lads Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif and played the match of their lives taking India home. Need to mention here that Kaif debuted in the same year in January and it would have taken a lot to remain calm and to take calculated risk in this undisclosed territory he was in. I still remember the overthrow which sealed the win for India with 3 balls to spare. It was India’s one of the greatest ODI victory.

What happened after that at Lord’s balcony was a statement by Ganguly, and it infused aggression into young Indian side. I do not think anyone would have had audacity to take off his shirt and swirl at Lord’s balcony. This win also made Indian fans believe that there is world beyond Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid. Coincidentally Ganguly was the captain in both the occasions at Eden Gardens and at Lord’s.

Nasser Hussain at SAP Labs leadership talk in 2011 in Bangalore said, “Indian team used to get bullied by class fifth students whenever they used to tour England”. It was Sourav Ganguly who changed that. He infused passion, aggression and new energy in Indian team. World started looking at Indian team differently not just from within 22 yards but beyond it. It indeed was Ganguly who built the new team and provided them a platform to express themselves.

In this series, I think inception of IPL in 2008 changed the game. BCCI started getting more money, youngsters from all over India started to dream to play with best of the best in the world and learn from them. Many purists would argue that IPL ruined the real cricket and they may well be right but I think it changed the cricket in India for good. Good facilities started reaching to remote places. It became the game for masses now which was only for select few big metropolitans before 2008. Now you can see players from all over India playing IPL and getting noticed. It united India in a way. It also gave a good quality life to cricketers. You play well for 2 months and then you can enjoy the whole year. Most players still aspire to represent India but if they don’t make it to the highest level they can still feel satisfied and lead a good life.

No one would have imagined that the entire tournament can be shifted to a different country because of general election in India in 2009. South Africa hosted 2009 edition of IPL which was won by the then Deccan Chargers Hyderabad. Game changed dramatically after the advent of IPL. Players attitude changed too. Now the match is not over till the last ball is bowled or last run is scored.

I remember Harsha Bhogle in one of the Ted Talk mentioning that Dwayne bravo was called in to play one match for Mumbai Indian against Deccan Chargers Hyderabad in Hyderabad and then use Private corporate jet to send him back to represent West Indies. Never would we have imagined that we will get a player for one match all the way from Jamaica and send him back via private jet. We have arrived somewhere.

In my opinion, these are three events that largely changed Indian cricket. India was destined to be no 1 test team after the hard work put in by Ganguly in shaping the team. 2011 world cup victory was also the result of the preparation done in last decade under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly. But I would concede that 2011 world cup victory was the most special moment for the Indian team and the fans.

I hope to see India reaching new heights in world cricket and bring more joys to everyone’s life.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Logic Vs Compassion

In this age of rapid technological advancement and cut-throat competition there is no time for looking back. Everyone wants to outrace others in this never-ending race.
In our personal and professional life, we are largely driven by logic. We want to appear the most logical in front of our peers and sometimes that is a very dangerous thing. We want to assimilate everything in that tiny logic of ours. If the logic doesn’t fit into our scheme of things we start feeling stressed. However, if we work together towards a common goal and help each other in that process, we not only achieve it but also have fun doing it.
Not everyone is same. Some people are talented, some are hardworking, some are technically sound and some are not so good also and they just need a little push to get going. If we take everyone along, things get done easily.
Logic is important too otherwise there will not be any set standards and there will be chaos all over. If logic separates us, compassion brings us together. If compassion shows a blurry path, logic gives a decisive direction. Logic makes you arrogant, compassion makes you empathetic. It is easy to get bogged down when you fail but it is hard to stand up again if there is no support.
So, let us be little more compassionate towards each other in our professional and personal life. We can make this world more beautiful.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Meeting a CEO

Generally, I web check in advance to get a seat of my preference in a long flight but this time I forgot to web check-in and was sandwiched between two passengers on my flight from Delhi to Toronto.

As my connecting flight took off from Amsterdam to Toronto, I started chatting with an elderly gentleman sitting to my left to stay awake and to avoid jet lag as I had to be in the office next day.

The conversation grew from general to more specific. He was so attentive whenever I spoke, occasionally composing emails in between. We spoke about variety of topics including how US is different in Trump era, how India is changing in 21st century, harsh winters in Canada, Niagara Falls, The Taj Mahal, how some countries are averse to English and which is the best country to live in right now. We settled in for our home countries to be the best in the world and why wouldn’t it be as India is the most beautiful country and Belgium sells best waffles and chocolates.

We joked about how India is different from entire Europe put together as in India everything changes in about 200 KMs from food to language to custom to dressing sense.

When it was time for the meal, I even asked him to opt for Indian meal and told him the benefit of serving yogurt in Indian meals as we eat spicy food and it helps digest the food faster.

After a long flight of 11 hours which took more than the expected, when it was time to say good bye I asked him for his email and instead he game me his business card which read ‘Patrick Gerard, CEO, Rompa Group’.

I was amazed to see how a CEO of more than 100 years old company is flying in economy and talks like a simple man, is always eager to know more and to learn something new.

I understood a couple of things after that conversation that as you go up in the ladder, more than anything else it is your humility that matters the most and listening matters more than talking. He gave me lessons that always speak with humility, spend wisely and help others in need.