Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It's all in the mind...

I am in the midst of reading a book called "The Secret" which essentially talks about positive thinking and the law of attraction. While I agree and have personally experienced that positive thinking sure helps one feel happy and relieved for the least if not resolves issues, I wonder how one can be positive 24X7(is that the pessimist me)? It sounds like what Osho recommends: Live in the present like there was no yesterday and there is no tomorrow, think and live for today(that's to sum it up and not the exact phrase). Beats me, how can you not think of tomorrow?(Let me not digress any further)!

It sure makes sense to say that what one emits(thoughts) to the Universe is what one gets back and attracts. 'It's all in the mind', be it - attitude, mindset, beliefs, morals, perspectives, etc. One must feel gratitude to what one has in one's life and visualization(what I call day dreaming) gives the person temporary happiness to believe that you already possess a certain something that you always wanted. Wonder if it is something to do with the psyche? A psychological aspect of the mind that is being tapped?

Nothing could be as apt as this quote from 'The Alchemist': "When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream."

What I fail to understand and am unable to draw a parrallel between is: The Secret and the Science of Astrology. If applying The Secret can enable a person to determine his/her life exactly the way he/she wants, then what role does Astrology and planetary positions during the time of one's birth and entire lifetime have to play in determining the good's, bad's and not so good/bad turn of events in an individual's lifetime?

Can a life subscribe to both concepts simultaneously?

The crux is all about belief and faith which amounts to the thought process in one's mind. Let me read on(the book - 'The Secret') and see if I can try figure out what I have in store for the rest of my life from here on......

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Jaunty Albatross

Do you like Traveling and reading Travelogues? If yes, then you must visit The Jaunty Albatross

Yes, you guessed right! The Jaunty Albatross is the other side to me - my travelogue. I like to travel, though I haven't managed to do much so far. I am trying to explore planet earth!

Take a peek....

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The IRCTC Website

Cross posted here.

What with the world wide web enabling e-commerce, we'd love to book tickets and plan our travel at the comfort of our homes but invariably the Indian Railways website(IRCTC) is always down. The IRCTC site is meant to be of convienence to the public while it acts otherwise, more often than not. Patience(an understatement) and perseverance are the keys to using this site. There is no denying that I have used the site umpteen times to plan my travel yet often feel that travelling physically to the ticket booking counter will produce a faster result than using the railway website.

Why can't we use this boon(the internet) to it's optimum with better planning and no resource crunches?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Stain Glass Painting

I am rather thrilled with my first attempt at glass painting though it is not so special yet for someone like me who does not possess drawing skills at all, it is an achievement(though small) of sorts. I am known to leave stuff incomplete. :P :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Corporate Citizen’s Voice - Communication and Knowledge Sharing in Global Organizations

Introduction: Organizational dynamics and management thinking are rapidly changing in the globalized environment. Large globally distributed teams are fast becoming the norm and communication patterns have to change to accommodate this trend. Human capital or employee knowledge is becoming one of the greatest organizational assets. The global and mobile knowledge professional requires multiple channels of expression. Studies indicate that learning, innovation and a growth oriented environment are amongst the highest motivators. Open communication where ideas and not position matter are perceived as performance enablers. It is therefore important to understand what motivates people to share knowledge? Which technologies act as enablers? How best to harness these technologies? This paper discusses some of the people, process and technology related issues that need to be considered while planning a communication and knowledge sharing strategy.

The evolution of the internet and web2.0 technologies has facilitated open communication channels and knowledge sharing. These technologies if used well can create transparent flow of information and globalized communities of interest. The corporate world has started utilizing some of these technologies behind the firewall and is meeting with varying degrees of success. The intranet often houses discussion boards, knowledge portals, weblogs etc. It is important to understand internet sharing behaviors in order to build effective organizational processes.

What Drives People to Contribute Content in the Corporate Space? According to a recent McKinsey research study conducted in Germany the top reasons people contribute to intranet forums are:
- Hunger for fame and identity
- Desire to have fun
- Desire to share experiences with friends
- Compensation for contributing(people studied weren't paid for contributions)

The study also found that a few users posted the most popular content - 5 to 10 percent of the users added 75 percent of the content. These findings suggest that executives pursuing such projects should start by identifying and nurturing the small percentage of users who post quality content. At one Cable Company studied, for example, more than half of the installers who contributed to an internal wiki said that social factors such as reputation building, team spirit and community identification were the main factors motivating them to contribute. Only 20 percent cited the possibility of a financial bonus as their main driver. To encourage well-connected employees to post ideas to the wiki, managers at the company examined its internal e-mail system to identify key staffers with wide social networks. They then encouraged these employees to post suggestions about improving the company's processes. Identifying thought leaders and promoting their participation boosted the number of contributions and improved the quality of the postings. Other companies strive to make collaboration fun: at Google, for instance, employees place online bets on the likelihood that particular ideas will be adopted. Intuit uses a rotation program that invites selected staffers to contribute to the company's internal online dialogues. Managers should also consider taking a page from video sites by tapping the power of tools that let users share relevant content easily. Likewise, companies should make sure that their employees can access collaborative tools with a minimum of bureaucratic hassle. These intranet based tools also work as glue that binds a geographically distributed team.

What processes can the organization use to enable effective use of knowledge sharing technologies? Corporate wikis and content sites (such as Wikipedia) gain popularity when new visitors discover and contribute high-quality content, which in turn makes the sites worthwhile for other newcomers. In order to improve the quality of internal wikis, organizations could follow quality assurance practices of open-source coding projects and appoint quality auditors. Organizations should also create transparent and enforceable guidelines to prohibit unethical or illegal behavior, such as the posting of copyrighted material or proprietary secrets. They can learn from the examples of YouTube (which attempts to review content for obscenity before posting) or Wikipedia (which has committees that review entries for quality) and adopt similar review procedures for their corporate content.Incentivizing contributions and usage is another important aspect to success. Organizations need to tap the right incentives to encourage sharing behaviors. As demonstrated by the Mckinsey study financial incentives are not the greatest motivators. Peer recognition, status and learning should also be built into the incentive program.

What are the technologies available today?
There are several methods to encourage and gather the voice of employees, while providing them with an incentive. The employees of an organization form a “society’. The growth of web.20 technology enables this “society” to express, share, agree, disagree, and suggest using web based mediums such as:

- Discussion Boards on MS SharePoint
- Blogs(web logs), Wikis
- KM libraries
- Online learning systems
- An online forum to contribute ideas that will help the organization benefit and in turn reward the employee with a prize as an incentive and recognition
- Podcasts, Video-sharing sites
- Corporate Social Networks (CSN) on the lines of Facebook, Myspace behind the corporate firewall.

While all of the above listed Web2.0 tools have their set of advantages in bringing people together, they have their disadvantages as well.

For instance a CSN like Facebook may help reveal basic information about employees of an organization while at the same time not many employees will be open to revealing a lot of their personal data on a professional network (CSN). This will lead to a dry interaction and thus limited knowledge sharing. According to a recent McKinsey research study, organizations are planning to invest 37% in CSN.
Unilever was exploring the idea of setting up a CSN in October, 2007 alongside their existing people directory.

On the other hand the discussion board on a MS Sharepoint site. Since MicroSoft Applications are built in a manner that enables them to interact with each other the MS Sharepoint discussion board can be set to alert an user by email in his/her MSOutlook inbox. This will let the user know that a certain action has taken place on the discussion board, which will then enable the user to take the necessary action.

Weblogs: are personal journals published on the world wide web or an intranet. Every post is assigned an individual URL that can be archived. Each post can contain text and images. Weblogs can be used as a knowledge journal, personal knowledge inventory, collaborative sharing forum that sparks off a discussion which is searchable. They are written by specifically identified members of the organization - senior management or employees with large social networks and can be used to generate interest and institutionalize the process. According to a recent McKinsey research study, organizations are planning to invest 32% in weblogs.

Wiki: refer to collaborative knowledge sharing platforms. They can be used to create and share knowledge. They are a very effective way to bring new members in as members can contribute to a topic. Important to have a reviewing committee that approves contributions and checks for validity of information posted. According to a recent McKinsey research study, organizations are planning to invest 33% in wikis.

A McKinsey research study on corporate investments in web2.0 indicates that the interest in India towards investment in Web2.0 technologies across various verticals like Retail, High Tech, Telecommunications, Financial Services and Pharmaceuticals over the next three years is high.

SharePoint: an online collaborative tool that is used mainly as a repository and for collaborative document creation. It has discussion boards that are searchable but not as effective as a wiki or a weblog, as it is designed like a repository and does not provide a personal feel.

Video blogs: messages could be posted once a fortnight or once a month featuring an employee of the month (some one who has contributed value or has an idea to share). This is a powerful tool for employee voice but will require huge infrastructure and processes which could be different from the other forums.

Conclusion: Thus choosing a Web2.0 technology tool to enable employee voice will depend on several factors, such as: People, Process, the ROI, Value Add, Need, Incentive and Motive, that will vary from business to business.


Martin Roll. Distributed KM – Improving Knowledge Workers’ Productivity and Organization Knowledge Sharing with Weblog-based Personal Publishing

A McKinsey Global Survey: How businesses are using Web2.0

Jacques R. Bughin, Mckinsey Research, 2007

ROI of face book – Toby Ward, intranet global forum

Note: This was an assignment that I worked on as a part of an interview process in February 2008 and hence data provided may be obsolete. I intended to get it published but got too lazy(to update the data and to persue publishers) and hence decided if not anywhere else, at least my blog.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dhriti Bhatia - The Wonder Kid

I don't usually spend a lot of time in front of the idiot box but try not to miss Jai Shri Krishna on Colors not for the story of lord Krishna but purely to watch the child star Dhriti Bhatia. This toddler is not just cute, adorable and a bundle of joy but a splendid actress at the age of three(she started acting when she was 2yrs and 10months old).

I do hope the kid is not over worked and has enough time to play and be her normal self. Watch the small wonder in action on YouTube. Here she is all set for the shoot!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

My First Meme

I have seen the concept of a 'Meme' do the rounds on the blogosphere and hope that I have got it right. I copied this meme from Terra Shield's blog, who in turn found it on Sunday Stealing.

So, here I go....

1. How did you come up with your blog title OR what does it mean?
I blog about almost everything and anything under the sun in this
blog and also welcome comments from my readers. Thus I felt 'Chit
Chat', would be the apt title for my blog.

2. What are your general goals for blogging?
Helps vent, express my opinions, understand and learn others views on
various subjects.

3. Do people “in your real life” know that you blog and do they
comment on your blog OR is it largely anonymous? How often do
you post (x per week)?

Yes, people in my real life know that I blog and do comment as well.
Infact, I pain them till they leave a comment, most often. :P

I used to blog often in the past but not anymore. Anywhere between
1-5 posts a month is all I manage now. Once a week is a little too often,
don't manage to maintain such frequency any more.

4. How often do you read other blogs (x per week)?
Almost everytime they update it as the same reflects on my blogroll
unless offcourse I am pressed for time or if the blog post is lenghty.

5. How do you select blogs to read (do you prefer blogs that focus on certain topics or do you choose by tone or…?)
I go by the content, tone, style, look and feel of the blog.

6. Do you have any plans to copy your blog entries in any other format, 0r do you think that one day, you’ll just delete it all?

I do wonder at times if I should move my blog to a different application
but I don't think I will do so. I do change the template from time to
time and have hidden my blog but will never delete my blog.

7. What are the things you like best about blogging?
Freedom of expression with no constraints or rules.

8. What are the things you don’t like about blogging?
Nothing that I can think of at present.

9. How do you handle comments?
I try respond to most comments, though not always and try not get personal.

10. Do you have any burning thoughts to share on blog etiquette?
Avoid usage of the blogger's real name and preferably use the blogger name while posting comments.

11. Any desired blog features?
Umm... thinking.

12. Have you suffered blog addiction?
Absolutely, when I first started out. I thourughly enjoyed blogging and still do (though many people think I can't write for nuts). The number of blogposts would prove my blog addiction but they are not visible anymore as I thought many of them deserved to be archived.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Are we humans selfish? In a sense 'yes' and in a sense 'no', is how I see it. We constantly think of what we want. Work, career and thus money that leads to material comforts. We shop, eat for ourselves and feel good. In the process we satisfy ourselves, so we are selfish? At the same time we tie ourselves down by society and relatives. We live for parents, spouse, children and extended family, making sacrifices and doing things we don't like. Are we compelled to or do we give in? Some of us do return to the society, from time to time in our own small way.Do I still label ourselves as selfish?

What is wrong if one says one wants to go 'incognito'? To be in disguise or a false identity does not sound right or nice but what if one wants to be away from all those who one knows and is tuned to be responsible and answerable to? It is not about escapism. As for right and wrong, there is no such thing, it is all grey and again it is society(us humans) that decides and defines the 'right' and the 'wrong'.

Why can't we think beyond the self and yet do things for the self the way one wants to without being bound by ties and society?

At this point, I can only quote Robert Frost:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Life is Purposeless and Meaningless

We humans eat, sleep, breathe and excrete because our system requires the same from us in order to function well, these things are not completely in our control and but natural. That is how our biological clock and system works. In addition we re-produce. We crave for material assets that give us some kinda weird pleasure but this can't be the purpose of life or does life have a purpose at all?

To do things that one likes, appreciates and enjoys is an experience not a purpose. Life in itself is an experience.

Like mentioned in an earlier post, life undoubtedly is a path that leads to the unknown.

A friend of mine says that it is when one feels joy and happiness from within,can connect with the cosmic energy and feels secure and protected by this cosmic energy is then that one has attained the purpose of life or is that Nirvana? Life's purpose is also to help others attain or come some where close to feeling this happiness from within, one step at a time, she says.

I can't quite comprehend and relate to this while another friend says, our mind is tuned to and can only understand logic and not irrational stuff. This is the reason why many of us tend to provide some kind of an answer as the purpose and meaning of life or existence. No matter what answer one provides, the next question that will arise is 'Why'. Why is xyz, the purpose of life, if that is answered it will be followed by another question 'Why so'. Hence there is no final answer for this question.

Why do people who have attained peace with themselves still need to earn and possess those material comforts? May be, this inner peace is a state of mind that exists only for a period of time(from one time to another) and does not last forever or is that not the case? What on earth is this peace from within? Again this friend, says that according to him it is about doing things you like, enjoy and are passionate about and enjoying every bit of what you do, sitting back and appreciating the world around you and not just being part of the rat race. This is not the definition but could possibly be somewhere close.

To me life, is abstract, bizarre and so is it's purpose and meaning. Guess it lacks both!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Chit Chat's Second Birthday!

Happy Second Birthday, Chit-Chat!

In the year that went by not much had been said nor done. Chit Chat was re-vamped and given a new look.

Hopefully the third year witnesses more meaningful n fun blog posts.

You've always helped me vent, irrespective of whether I published the post or not.

Thank you!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Borrow/Lend = Return/Not Return?

To Borrow or lend implies that the commodity is supposed to be returned, right? So when people borrow stuff, especially money(irrespective of the amount - big or small) why do they conviniently forget to return, more often than not?

As a principle I beleive in returning every pie I borrow, if at all I do ever happen to borrow. I try avoid such transactions, unless inevitable and hence expect the same incase I lend. I believe money can mar a relationship irrespective of how close you are with the other person. It's not about how much(I have had people telling me "it is such a small amount, why do you care?") but about the principle.

Nature only knows whether such people have a conscience!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Culture or Chauvanism?

What is the Ram Sena upto? What Indian culture are they refering to? Do they even realise what "culture" means? No individual has the right to intervene in another individual's life. How one dresses, socialises, etc is not any other individual or groups business. As long as the legal framework is adhered to, who is the Ram Sena to tell any life bearing body in this country what to do or what not to do? Whether one apes the west or not, is one's personal prerogative.

It is sad and unfortunate to see such anti-social elements and their acts in this land of Khajuraho and KamaSutra. These are merely a group of ill-informed(half-baked knowledge) people who stoop to any extent for mere poltical gain. To remain in power, you use the public? How sad is the state of this democracy?

I like the approach(ahimsa) that the Pink Chaddi campaign adopted to. :)

Lil does the Ram Sena realize that there are youngsters out there who took advantage of their announcement about getting couples seen in public on Valentine's day married off. Who knows, how very mature, sure were these individuals about their decision or themselves? What right, authority did the Ram Sena have to decide their future?

Gandhiji sure must be turning in his grave.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Public Display of Respect

In a land like ours(India), respecting your elders, goes without saying. It is grilled into us from childhood but how important is it to display the same?

Is it true that you value your elders only if you address them with phrases such as "bhaiya/anna","didi/akka", suffixed to their names or by falling at their feet every time you meet them? I am not saying that one MUST NOT do such stuff. Infact I have observed over time that most(not all) elders find a certain pleasure when you ask for their blessings and fall at their feet(I don't lose anything by giving them that happiness and so I do so, when required i.e. on occassions). Yet, I feel that respect is something one must feel from within towards the other irrespective of age, relationship and displaying respect is NOT MANDATORY. In other words, if you don't fall at your elder's feet or address them in a certain manner it does not mean that you DISRESPECT them or that you are ILL MANNERED(some people strongly think otherwise).

I think the same applies to PDA!

Follow your heart and do what you believe in. Simply suit yourself!

Non-related Stuff: I finally visited the Race Course and it was a beautiful sight to see those majestic, handsome horses run the last lap in reality as against watching the same on the idiot box. But for the bad crowd and sadly maintained Turf Club, I'd sure love to visit the place more often!

Monday, January 26, 2009


Is it convinient or cool to be a Stereotype?

Who decides/decided the below(Society)?

- The kind of clothes a man should wear and the way he should
carry himself.
- The kind of clothes a woman should wear and how she should
carry herself.
- Women are meant to be well groomed.
- Women take care of the household and family(yes that is implicit
even in the 21st Century).
- The man must be older than a woman in a relationship(married or
- The man is the head of the family.
- The man should be taller than the woman.
- The man must possess a higher qualification than the woman.
- The woman must look beautiful no matter how ugly the man is.
- The list continues.....

The list is lengthy and exhaustive.

What is it that influences this mindset? How difficult is it to break away from this stereotypical mindset and yet be part of such a society? I am sure it is easier said than done!

What is your take on this?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year and A Ritual?

The most common questions that do the rounds as new year's eve approaches and until a few days after we are in to the next year are: "What are you doing for New Year's Eve?" or "How did you welcome the new year?"

When a certain action is repeated, does it not become a ritual(not in the sense of a religious ritual)? Aren't rituals boring and meaningless?

While every weekday repeats itself, once every seven days, every month repeats itself once every year, so does every year repeat itself once every 365 days. What's so special about a New Year? It is just another day, another year that will soon roll by. A calender whose leaf is turned. Does it not become a ritual to celebrate and welcome the new year, year after year? It is a mere excuse to party, let your hair down and spend time with loved ones while Clubs make their profits(that is perfectly fine, warranted and acceptable). Then why so much ado about nothing? It is a ritual at the end of the day, ain't it?