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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam. 1931-2015

Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen (APJ) Abdul Kalam. 1931-2015. Blue jeans. Grey trousers. Long hair. Unkempt hair. Ever smiling. Bright eyes. Impossible dreams. Eternal hope. Devout Muslim with Hindy values. Missile man. Rocket scientist. Project director. Eminent scientist. People's president. An extraordinary Indian. Eternal teacher. Ignited minds. Long silver hair. Tamilian accent. Carnatic devotional music lover. Prithvi missile. Agni Missile. Nuclear architect. Buddha smiles. Buddha smiles again. Beloved President. Children's President. Make in India. Vision 2020. Inspiring speaker. Nationalist. Pokran architect. Marg Darshak. Ideal scientist. Bharat Ratna. A Teacher forever.

10 leadership lessons you can learn from Dr. Abdul Kalam!

Ten leadership lessons you can learn from Dr. Abdul Kalam!

  1. He was an early riser: Staff at his office and Rastrapathi Bhavan later had to change their timings to match his schedule. As an early riser, he had extra hours for thinking, planning and relaxing.
  2. He was meticulous: His planning was perfect. He was always ahead of his schedule and finished his tasks to perfection. He also had small breaks to ensure there is enough space if there needs to have overflow.
  3. He was a leader: In thought, ideas, plans and execution. He was always ready to shoulder responsibility. It is rumored that Atalji wanted to speed up the nuclear programme that PV Narasimharao started and despite being low on resources, Kalam accepted it as a challenge and fulfilled it.
  4. He could see ahead of his time: This was essential to set goals. Dr. Kalam could see much ahead of his time. While all the new world and Asian countries were looking to send satellites to the moon, Dr. Kalam looked beyond and set his eyes on Mars - Hence Mangalyaan.
  5. He helped solve simple problems: While this is a famous story about Abdul Kalam and his team made lightweight crutches, he was ready to spend time in solving simple, everyday problems to common people. Being extremely busy with his work at the Nuclear research and working on rockets, he was able to take time and motivate his team to come up with a cost effective, easy, usable solution to many people.
  6. He was a voracious reader: Tea and books were his companions till the end. He read a lot of books. I was told that he spent most of his free time at Rastrapathi Bhavan at the huge library or in the park reading and thinking. At 84 years of age, he was far more smarter and knowledgeable than many youngsters.
  7. He loved youth: He was always thinking and working with young men and women to help them achieve their goals. Most of the people who spoke to him had the privilege to cherish his ideas and his thoughts all their life. He believed in coaching, motivating and setting goals and achieving them.
  8. He was humble: One of the most important factors we could see about him was that he was very humble and down to earth. He always had simple tastes and choices and lived frugally. I was told that the first day at Rastrapathi Bhavan, he chided the people not to waste so much food and wait on him as he would love to have two idlies and one wada in the confines of his room. Simple man, simple choices, humble lifestyle and extraordinary vision.
  9. He skipped protocol: Many a times, he broke protocol and mingled with children, youth and common people. He was more of a people's man than to follow the rules. He always had a jig in his step and was very spontaneous.
  10. He was a great communicator: He conversed mostly in small sentences carefully worded with simple easily understood words. Though he has an amazing arsenal of languages, he was true to his diction of Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi and could quote many verses easily. He told so many stories and anecdotes in his speech that people would remember what he said clearly.
  11. He was a great teacher: As his twitter handle says, he is a teacher forever. Once you learn something, make sure you teach that and add value to many people. He was a great man and could just relax in his retirement years. He chose to teach and as you saw, he was teaching even a second before his death.
May his soul rest in peace. No. May he make more shooting stars and send them to many unknown planets.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

10 tips to improve your lifestyle

Here are ten tested tips to improve your lifestyle.

  1. Skip the negative feeling: Stop being negative. Whenever you have a negative thought beaming in your head, postpone it and say, " I will not let you spoil my mood!" Let the thought disappear and see how you would be relieved.
  2. Move, physically: Whenever you feel down, just get up and move. Take a stroll, to the water cooler, to the window, to the dashboard... Just get up and move. It will help you realign your body and mind. Make this a good habit.
  3. Have a juice: Include some juice in your daily routine. While it is easy to say that you should have 6-8 meals spread through out the day, it is tough to maintain. So just have a juice in your diet and keep sipping slowly and re-hydrate your body and brain and relax when you do that. You would get your positive energy from the juice and relaxation to your brain.
  4. Be honest: As difficult as it sounds this would set you free. You would be more honest, serious and committed. Once you start being truthful, you would also be more fruitful and efficient. Though this cannot happen in a day, you should try and start today. As The Bible says, the truth will set you free!
  5. Talk to your friends, build a good community. Your friends, family and community are the fortress around you. Build a good fortress of people who would improve your life and efficiency. I would strongly encourage you to look at hanging around your community that would bring the best in you.
  6. Laugh more: Do you know that the average 4 year old laughs 300 times a day while the average 40 year old only 4? I don't know what you think, but it is scary! We lost our sense to appreciate small little things and enjoy life. We are turning into robots! Stop it. Right now. Laugh!
  7. Appreciate enough: Say 'Thank you', 'Sorry', 'Appreciate that' more often in your day. Add those little words in your communication and see how people change around you. When you are thankful for what you have, the world is a better place. Appreciate your family - your partner, your children, parents and everyone who loves you.
  8. Pick your Mojo: Have a mojo. Something that drives you. Plan to run in a marathon. Train to be fitter. Go for a run. Play an instrument. Cook a wonderful dinner. Do something that matters to you other than what you do for work. Have a mojo. It will change your life.
  9. Travel: I love traveling, even if it is a small short trip. Travel to new locations. Explore people, places, food, music, life, culture. As you travel more, you look and appreciate life more. As you learn more, you will be better. Travel. Get out!
  10. Face your fear: Do things that you are not comfortable about. Like diving, swimming, losing weight, whatever you are afraid of. Facing your fear will give you the best push you would need ever. Some of my clients have confessed that taking the roller coaster with their kids had given them the boost and thrill they never experienced in their life. However small, face your fear.
  11. Bonus! Do extra, be awesome: Do more than required. Put your personal touch into it and deliver more than you promised. Viola! You are the super hero. Do extra, the extra is what gives you more satisfaction. Both to you and the one who receives it.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Book Review: The Faceless Saldirgan

Simply put, it is not your regular story of two people falling in love and the killer trying to avenge some long gone mishap that happened in his life and all this for the sadistic pleasure he gets out of killing and hurting people. That is what you expect out of a murder mystery. Not when you are talking about the new book on the shelves - The Faceless Saldirgan.

Written by a cool kid in glasses who looks like Vishwanathan Anand and you might think has a cool brain that is worried about maths and science or his next exam, this psychological thriller is quite manipulative, layered and a puzzle that lures you in and makes you helpless. The style is contemporary and pleasant. Quite a fast read and the events in the book hurl at amazing speeds though the story unravels itself over the official timeline at Greenwich.

The Faceless Saldirgan is a breath of fresh air in the growing stories about murder, rape, pain and abnormality as it doesn't just focus on the murder but is quite a lot about the psychology of the killer or the killer instinct, if I must put it that way. The ease with which the Saldirgan executes his meticulous plans and reaches his goal is amazing. While you would be intrigued by what happens in the end and are clueless in the puzzle about who the killer might be, very few could actually guess who the killer is and understand the grand finish the plot is reaching out for. I could :)

I usually get bored if the details are more and are not related to the story or, how do I put it pleasantly, not actively contributing to the story, but this was an exception. I actually read through the passages where biology, chemistry, psychology, quotes of religious texts were mentioned verbatim. This was because these small trinket of information was more to do with the story than to show off the knowledge the author had about the topic or pointed out how lazy you were for not checking that on Google. The Faceless Saldirgan could comfortably bring out the beauty in the characters and build the plot effectively.

The characters are lovable and reasonably delightful and are good in what they do. You are given a good detail about how they go about in their day and don't waste any time to become friendly with the characters. Jack, Ralph and John live an interesting life to say the least and Jack has the best of everything happening to him along with the beautiful Danielle who adds the jing to the story. Danielle is unfortunately killed off in a horrific manner right in the beginning and the Saldirgan makes a grand appearance albeit being faceless. From then on the story picks up pace and is a good read till you get to know who the killer is and how and why he was hell bent upon ruining Jack's life. Alec, Lucy and all the other characters play their roles pretty well in the shadow of the killer while you search for some clue that the author might have left in there somewhere.

Towards the end, I wished it was faster but you can never get a perfect pause to the explosive end. While the deaths were dealt clinically, I would have preferred slightly more effect to the process. Overall a good read, especially if you like murder mysteries and love a quick read. Sahil Loomba has a winner for his first book.

Rating: 2.5/5

Monday Blues: Delegate

Have a plan today and delegate some of your work if you have a team or outsource what you can get done from others. A good leader is one who can delegate and get it done. Some of the best things in life are things that happen when you are not doing them and hence it is important to loose control sometimes and get things done by others. 

Some problems we have with delegation are that we don't trust others to produce the results like you expect the to do in a way that you want them to do. Not necessary I guess. While it is important that the result is the same or close to what you want, it is important to let the other person add some personal touch to what they are doing. I mean allow them to function in their own style and way that they want to so it adds more fun for them to complete the task. If you control too much and demand too similar then it takes the fun out of the job.

Let them have their fun and get them do their work in their own way but focus on getting things done. DELEGATE.

Pic is from here.