Employability? You must be a HR sleuth :)

PS: A Modern mindset makes long emails and reading viewpoints, stories, reports a big BORE unless there’s spice. My challenge is for you….to judge if you are employable…really!

Yes, that’s the title pertaining to job scenario and this huge “Human Resource” magnum opus on websites, the world over coming to scams. The newspapers are howling, PM Mr. Modi’s own promise of jobs is making experienced people redundant and it becomes duty of “experience” to reign in some sense. Politics will only do what it is supposed to do. The youth are jobless for reasons in the papers, but what about the ‘experienced’ who too are becoming marginalised for reasons of bizarre corporate calculations arising out of constant uncertainties in core sectors.

If you have not lately followed the unimaginably growing number of websites for jobs please see for yourself, like I have in past few weeks – the deep interlinks to each other, even via more popular ones like Linkedin and Naukri.com, especially for “senior appointments” that are grossly misleading – a dangerous trend! Those unable to hold their chairs or those in modest enterprise who have in their employed status been paying everything ‘highest’ from taxes to family dividends in overwork, disdain of ownerships at times  – now actually have to pay for their next job too. This is like highway robbery, with vultures on the prowl; where an experienced eye can easily spot the “scam”; from Africa to India…the ham outfits are out to get you.

On the other side, “Excellence” is being quashed at least in Indian corporate world as egoistic and heavily moneyed ownerships from “India shining’ are finding their right in being ‘choosy’ and to ‘do what they can be content with’ and would anyday hire 20 zombies in preference to one with experience and vision as egos are just not matching anywhere with anybody and whatever they may say, interviews nowadays are to spot that vulnerable streak in you AND your aptitude to work ‘with others’ as a flock. No leaders are needed.

Modiji, if you are listening, please be warned that the “jobs for all” wagon is going off-track like our trains on British era railway tracks because it’s not about the poor and the farmers only; the country’s intellectual property is in deep distress “enclosed in the box” though the job advert said “out-of-the-box” (Lol!). There are sleuths everywhere determined to make us dinosaurs, especially the many of us who will drop in from overseas with international jobs world over in a turmoil….those you see as your HOPE, will be no use once all their money to invest under your plans, too is gone!

Yes, that’s what today’s ownerships, most of them without a clue to any trajectory to follow, except the critical path or through fire fighting just for the reason “oh wow, we still exist!” are looking for – vulnerability as against superiority!

No sir, I am not against them, no bag-loads of grouses, but I am still searching a middle path of reconciliation between the ownerships and experienced, intellectuals, globally wide thinking ex-blue eyed boys of your corporate honchos whose sons and head honchos now probably sit on the dias nowadays at seminars and conferences as we are made to listen to them in audience. For applauding they get loads of trainees and students, just like politicians bring crowds from villages!

So if you are looking for a ‘good job’, then the Q’s are – are you vulnerable, manipulative, will fight your colleagues to sit in your chair, swear even in your sleep that your boss and owner are the brightest stars that shine – chances are you are not employable! And yes, as I have become a perpetual R&D genius after my multinational, international and multi-sectoral career, just to keep updated for a next assignment, I am an entrepreneur just to catch the ownerships and their HR sleuths weak at their game and the time is now! Else that ‘job’ will never come again; such is the need to get this point across for everybody’s sake.

Last few days, even Naukri.com expressed concern at the small issue of my showing some interest in their ‘paid’ services for whatsoever, which I believe, only ‘inept’ people automatically fall for. And I am not paying them to make a resume just with key-words they are used to! Well, the job sites need to earn to make money too. The world wants to listen to music free, jokes are free on whatsapp each day and your creativity and videos for bizarre and the ugly is what’s in vogue, damn talent and forget ‘striving for excellence’ – you can’t be ‘holier than the king’ mate! Yes even your best employees, for the ego I sadly see many young corporate leaders imbibing at large (though I cannot generalize); sadly you want to club them all as a ‘service providers’ so even respect for experts, consultants, advisors, special change effectors has become redundant.

But yes, you can taunt me – am I getting old? I am of the Hippie age, world travelled and a rocking musician on sides who does my own digi-design stuff; really pal, my gen can only go ‘haywire’ but not old. Then why do the job adverts for highly experienced people like us put age 45 and 99% jobs do NOT want experience more than 20-25 years? Erectile disfunction is now a movie with a young actor, man!

Does Sylvestor Stallone get old? Does our own Rajnikant get old and do you have the social support to tell Mr. Amitabh Bachchan he is old or Dhoni to sit out of ODIs? And hey, is SRK too old to romance or is the Sultan of Bollywood ever getting old? Yes, you can make great singers and composers of music and some filmmakers go old because crappy music videos are in vogue – solid justification of times for crappy businesses in certain core sectors to be in vogue too! But all this does not mean that the good guys evaporated. No, there will be competition always and one great cinema or piece of music is enough to highlight the differential. This is my motivation in fact, for writing such Blogs.

All kinds of SLEUTHS are everywhere making the best of India’s corporate world, music and arts get old at will and with enormous wealth, Indian corporates have accumulated in ‘India Shining’ and ‘Make in India’ times of last decade, they could now hire 100 colorful youngsters (defined as those who have a nice looking CV and can also feign vulnerability and/or resource colorful cover-ups with glee), as against maybe just a few with knowledge and experience to add to India’s cause in these challenging times. But in 2017 even this formula of hiring en masse just to excite banks has gone kaput as the Balance Sheets even out one day; that’s what’s happening. But with overcrowding now in even HRM and Finance circles, ‘good jobs’ are hard to find; desperation and fast money is what’s causing bank employees to take commissions, HR guys to affect some enterprise in prepaid mode (even commissions). Fact that, it was the corporates who nurtured the art of ‘colorful coverups’ to everything in last decade or so – who are to blame!

 

This Blog may be motivated from Narayan Murthy of Infosys telling off his own appointee that he is “only suitable as a CTO not a CEO” only now – after just his exit will lose thousands of millions on bourses. I have heard all kinds of sermons from my employers said through the mouths of this breed of HRM that has been groomed in MBA institutes in recent decades, who have inculcated an unseen science in everything, but will not see any ‘differentials’ in actual human endeavor. The fact that Excellence can only be FELT, not proven; was never a chapter in MBA grooming today’s HRM experts. So many have openly admitted, “what can I do ‘sir’; only what my boss will tell me!” Then young man, why do an MBA or your legal degree for that?

In a career of 35 years in India and overseas, one will get to see everything if he just has his eyes open, keeps his silence when his own onslaught is ON (Lol!). If I had been a zombie, I will not be writing this because I would have noticed nothing. I have seen this whole process of excellence bashing everywhere. I think it’s human mind that has done it since Gods themselves lived to do similarly.

Mahabharata has said it, Ramayana has said it; but it was always up to our own interpretation on what’s right or wrong. Bhishma Pitamhas of this world always got their bed of arrows. In my experience, present status and actually what my most recent interactions with the young and the old are showing, whom we respect is whom we tread to find victory in demonstrating our own prowess to the world.

This is also the reason why I call all this “SKILL development initiatives” of our government, humbug that probably even the PM is unaware of. Some of the people active in these are past associates who have they won their seats from the experience in keeping the “chair”. And yes, the government departments are supporting just these kinds who can use their “experience” to sell humbug to unsuspecting youngsters who will pay to get educated in skill-set development and after gloomy old government offices now they have color in the office, pretty receptionists and a young gungho force who will gradually get smarter and then wearier of the job….sad, as that’s the feedback I get from the young turks everywhere.

It is anybody’s guess that with NO REGULATION JOB related websites, businesses and even redundancy of CII and Chambers of Commerce in social media age; how much harm they are doing in name of SKILL DEVELOPMENT and overseas jobs that have major potential to land you in the heartland of terrorist and cult outfits who are on look out for the ‘exceptionally smart’ people – a parallel industry gone amok!

A young lady yesterday told me through “LinkedIn”, she is on a sabbatical; so did many ex-CEOs told me in recent years. It’s through websites I am meeting other glorified CEOs of Indian corporate world, like me who are invited now only to fill halls of our “Chambers of Commerce” conferences and seminars as “corporate think-tanks” of India, whereas the few employer head honchos will sit on the dais for sponsoring these shows, as they praise the PM and government leaders who are chairing the events – a Indian story ready to bubble out, it seems.

In earlier days, the word “corruption” and “making money” in the corporate board rooms was never actually used; definitely not in my core field of infrastructure and energy. Now with 99.99% of them who seem to believe there is no other way to do above board business in India, have hitherto opted to go overseas, since dollar earnings are never ever questioned, or making KRAs to actually show “individual profit at any cost”. You may ask, so how do these guys create this capital of “cost”. Well, I tried by holding “FINGER” of some bigger corporate houses; like one wise politician of earlier regime advised my kind of soft-pocket seniors utilizing just ‘experience’ for enterprise more than a decade ago – deceit is logical fallback and cuckoos will fly the coop.

A huge renaissance is possible only through people of experience realizing their foolishness because what the corporate leaders and ownerships are sure of is, that the ‘intellectual’ and knowledge guys can never work together with mutual appreciation and willingness to work together; for it was ‘them’ that groomed us to FIGHT for the chair. Da da di da…..tu tara rara rara 😦 Nobody listens to good music anymore!

This is it for PART 1 of this series. Jai Hind (since I did not write a Blog for Independence Day, which I did last year)!

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Crowded on ‘World Population Day’?

 

Today is world population day, wow!

The ‘wow’ is of course satirical because, “well, which day is not?”

As I am growing older and older I am feeling I am getting crowded more and more by the day and that’s even during periods when I have literally locked myself in to my work place.

The population speaks to me through the pings and birdy tunes of social media punishment I face each day through messages streaming into my cell phone and I bear for you who is reading me….”sir / madam…apologies for the strain” but I like it when you do, so thanks!

Everybody has a view on everything nowadays, be it Good Mornings and there was yesterday even a ‘Close Friend’s Day’ and the saddest part was that only ‘one’ person wished me and who knew about that…or was he lying? Yes I do feel blessed for the good things, but take this one I received from one fine gentleman this morning……“Relation is like glass. A scratch on one side will reflect on the other side too because a scratch can never be removed. Good Morning!”

My eyes popped out as it comes from a 5% friend, 10% business associate and 85% ‘daily-juice’ of awkward interaction, which has actually gone on for a year somehow. A mole or a hole in my professional enterprise; a man whom some day, some time I inadvertently punched on wrong side…so many things that I am wondering as I reply “Man…was that a threat or a wish?”

Then there are “groups”. I signed off some more intimate ones for I was afraid an error could ‘scratch’ a relationship. But there are groups like my local resident groups where I am just curious to know what’s going on, but they will crowd on me if I say something against somebody’s local policies and MCAs or MLA’s scouts would crowd up on me.

I post informal music ‘scratches’ of my in-process works at times to certain circles whom I imagine respect or enjoy musical endeavor from a man within whom so many careers and passions. I don’t mind worst of critique unless it tells a story of grudge or frustration of somebody else’s in their individual quest and so I never walk out of an argument or a discussion. Like today I finally took to tell this learned musician friend who persistently tells me I am out-of-tune for mere ‘scratches’ and keeps mum on others. I remind him that it was me who approached him for friendship because he is trained, learned and it was my desire to meet him more often as a source of improvement. The basic trust in anybody’s good intentions is gone truly gone and I have made my upper limits of patience too on my acceptance like others as to when I crowd them, so arguments may not be endless.

The ‘phenomenal diversity’ translates to my expressions through Blogs and Music on social media, leaving it to the WWW to take it to whosoever it matters. Even this has become highly technical and I am told there are paid ways to get a ‘million likes’ and that I should subscribe through the right channels, but that research takes away my time from the path so I haven’t so far ventured in that direction.

Then I turn the clock back to childhood dreams and realize that I am actually doing what I always wanted to do by this age and by that period in life – hurray! The whole problem here is that it is not only a more crowded world, it is also a lot more connected world. Not everybody likes a happy old man carrying on with kiddy stuff called aspirations and that I actually fight to better my own self and it’s not that my posts are ‘bragging’ some achievement. This is called mid-age crisis coming late or perhaps I am still younger than I ought to be –  is a query, better without further analytics.

A guy posting ‘stupidity’ or some oblique trick of photo-shopping designed to create an impact has more of a chance to get the ‘views’ and ‘likes’ than a God gifted writer or singer who is not yet known – that also depends on multitude of factors and a degree of luck or fate. Yet, I also realize that there is an available benchmark to how good is good and today, I can honestly claim through a regular tryst with social media, I have found that vision and target that I can aspire to, so I am not searching for compliments nor would I stand affected by that hint of ridicule.

Yet, the days go by, as fast as they do ,when we are not following which day it is, but that dream or a target; we wake up to realize, that an entire phase has passed us by and new trends have developed, the race around us for our objectives is again being lost.

Frankly I am enjoying the ‘race’ than dreams of the destination and the visible enjoyment in my quests would seem quite unrealistic otherwise. Of course, many are certain I have gone mad, must be!

I have even come to terms that there is no destination like ‘today’. So many who condemn my musical or other entrepreneurial efforts silently or vocally are seemingly quite perplexed even as I know there are so many well wishers in my life who are also praying for me to excel and succeed in these constant endeavors through social media to actually crowd an already crowded worldscape!

The point is this…that even in a crowded world we need to spot our own trajectory and the onus to crowd the crowd with our enthusiasm, glee and interest in life, the world and all that happens around us becomes a lot more attainable in these times of utmost chaos.

And this is to sum up what I have to say for the booming Indian and world population in times when as many are getting killed for frivolous reasons; it is astounding that we are no more hidden. So might as well be be open and inhumanly transparent with what we do and how we think. Uncle Google has us in tight grip anyway!

I don’t mind baring my weak sides for I believe that strong sides can always be dressed up to catch likes, but everybody cannot resort to being part of “the blooper’ gang. An established celebrity of any kind has every right to get his due but as people befriending people directly or through social media it is mutual encouragement of our progress and paths to success that makes a better and wonderful world.

No I am not an idealist. So I will carry this work, fight, or whatever and more of those benchmarks of ‘greatness’ in today’s world – the petty thumbsup called “Likes” will have to be somebody’s natural gut feel for recognizing g.o.o.d. people do which of course, is like finding THE hairpin from a cowshed full of hay….. Cheers!!

 

Smart Neighborhoods

I am certain that since the time Modi-wave swept past a ‘aam aadmi’ movement to sideline a government that had held reins of power in India for most part since independence, our common man buoyed upon a social media world is getting smarter, more involved, more aware than ever before to choose, elect, praise and critique leaderships but do we all act with propriety when faced with day to day challenges around our own homes?

Satellite cities around our metros are giving way to smart cities. Environment and Climate Change is now a name of a  Ministry, Renewable Energy is a sector where India actually dominates in some areas, ‘cleanliness’ is a national campaign and men doing house work as wives go to work is an acceptable situation. But the unmanageable increase in motor vehicles, inadequacy of infrastructure to hold the boom times is pitiful and we come home or reach our office with anger, abuses and what not more times than ever before.

My colony was to have RWA elections recently and what I present are some lessons from this otherwise annual exercise which till now, I just let pass. In case you don’t know, it stands for your local ‘welfare association’ but if you are a modern household you might say “man, if I meet my wife and kids adequately I am lucky”. So you might have missed out on your RWA.

But to think what you could contribute to your locality’s welfare might be a sensible idea if you wish to be safe and healthy in daily living too. RWA’s were for supposed to be for retired old people, which I almost am; except that our generations now do not retire at 55 or 60 and if ‘senior citizen should be 60 or 65 has also become debatable as more Indian people are catching the Volvo buses to see overseas cities as the white people who used to throng India gate and Chandni Chowk and the local gyms are running overtime.

But seriously, what do we have in stake with our immediate neighborhood that never was before? So this is what I am learning from this RWA election time. Posters, door-to-door is passe. For the first time, a ‘whatsapp group’ was started. But in the very first hour majority of comments came like “How dare you put me in this group without my permission” and somebody pressed the button and “left”. One of the ‘teams’ contesting the election put up a poster and more left, “This is politics, cheating and self-advertising” said many and they left. Whoever was the administrator he added more; then more left. Finally all teams were allowed to put up ads, so more added and more left.

Anyway, with the IPL going on; this was more exciting and as the language turned crass and gross, I thought I must join; the age old competitive corporate honcho in me did my diplomatic best not to side with any team. But hey, I was learning how masses think and then watching the fantastic levelling of ideas to  the “left” people reducing and administrator adding many now and then – it is coming as a revelation how much we can achieve if we dare to just get into the ‘system’ of having a say in our surroundings. I was seeing this process of debate and development go on and I have seen (‘heard’ is better) both in past – people doing good for the colony and then the system’s own goons of self-fulfilment.

So, with this logic; now as a infrastructure consultant I had been following some seminars and reading about “smart cities”, clean water & sanitation and having spent much time in Africa even for issues of gender disparities. But here I suddenly see a whole new opportunity in disparities that are more immediate to warrant a new age of “smart neighborhoods”. Well, this is a fairly elite colony beyond the choicest of words for opposing teams that I am seeing on ‘whatsapp’; so there lies a logic in its economics too.

But to cut across the story, what is it that we can contribute to the neighborhood and the neighborhood to us? Here are some points that I can see emerging from the 24×7 comments coming now that they seem to have let all have a say and mind you the young, women and intellectuals are in good numbers.

AWARENESS: You may be receiving RWA newsletters and information along with your rolled newspaper in morning. Even if you do not read it normally, keep at least a leaflet with contacts of RWA active members stuck to your refrigerator notice board. If you notice things that bother you – suspect movements, choked drains, water issues, etc. note it on Android notepad or send it to your specific area or lane representative as a paper note on way to office.

SMART RWAs: A social media group like “whatsapp” is a modern necessity but take care that jokes, lame forwards, business adverts and anything abusive or derogatory should be strictly banned and the person, after a warning, should be removed. Keep the good old register of complaints and files; but sir, times are that you ought to boost it with digital diaries with categorized logs which an IT youngster in neighborhood can easily design as contribution and a team member can maintain; all these at a dedicated office with timings of physical presence of attendant.

SMART HOMEOWNERS: Install CCTVs and inform RWAs, who must keep log of who has installed where. A GPRS plot can easily be created on webapp or procurable software to map location of the CCTVs of government and homeowners. This will help in solving criminal and other activities. Plotting troubled areas will be an advantage. Make sure servant details are kept and shared with RWA if not the police. Keep a hired security if you can or smarten up your main door operation at least to whatever is affordable technology and check weekly. You can store info on ‘cloudspace’ as well.

SMART POLICING: Each individual is police, but do not do that to extent of being a peeping Tommy. There is no point cursing abuses when you cannot take car past point where double or triple parking, like around general stores, paan shops, etc.; if it is really repetitive, log it with RWA digitally and take a walk on Sunday to verify if your messages actually get logged.

RWA’s SMARTOFFICE: Initially people will flood you with odd complaints and you might go nuts, there is very good chance that if you actually send a few replies and solve a few the deluge will trickle to something reasonable – so importantly HAVE FAITH in your neighbors, all are not worst enemies you think they might be. Also, you need not address each issue immediately. Instead categorise, prioritize, put through for weekly or monthly meetings depending on level of urgency. Hence I mooted for digital logging that is indexed as a decision making tool. Now, these are not expensive set-ups; but like any office these are a standard, need regular attention and some passion ‘to serve’ – so just wake up to this reality of times!

SMART LEADERSHIP: A colony where everybody is muscle and don will be a non-starter to be risk and damage-free. So treat this like another office of trust but remember that since all are volunteers, you cannot shout and throw out anybody from his job; so your big daddying will be for nothing. Humour, a few tea parties with biscuits by RWA brass here and there are fine but refrain from big time parties where barbecue smell goes beyond your house as again – people will point fingers and you lose face for just your large heartedness. Instead visit the aged, intellectuals, professionals within locality than professionals out of your business or workplace for advice, record keeping, etc. This is the art and ability of good leaders to make their own locality see you as humble servicing individuals and please….you are not a politician or civil servant; but truly passionate and concerned for safe & happy living around your responsibility.

This is not an exhaustive essay on the subject and there is a lot more that each one of us has and we all, with our freedom with social media, familiarity with technology and social networking around our place of abode can make our lives safer, simpler, less accusative, less abusive, less controversial and it will be this HABIT that will make us better in our professions too and as human beings, citizens of our country.

So, all the best for your “smart neighborhood”

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A Wonderful World – New Delhi Diary Part 3

It’s a Wonderful world after a winter of discontent as summer breaks in and we encapsulate a huge turnaround of world events in 2016-17 and should it be a lesson that it is the times that dictate how we, the people of the world elect anybody to any office of importance. But the song never changes!

There used to be this dream where all hell seemed to be happening, nothing seemed to be as I would wish it to be and I was where I just did not want to be. Yet it went on and on. Then there would come a point where I was just wanting for the dream to end and I would find myself half awake saying “oh, the morning is not so far away; it’s just a dream and it will all be over”. Thereafter truly, it was like God intervened and “snap”, presto – I was awake! The bed was still the one that was mine and world order too was mine, very much the way I would ever want it to be.

The other day I met this man and just as he was leaving he said the customary “let’s meet again” gesture where my own response was automatic and habitual “inshallah” which had no religion in it really.

But I immediately felt an odd wave surge within me saying that suddenly the world had changed and so by habits I ought to be careful. Then just today the “Navratras” got over and after week of veggies and half-fasts we went out at as a family to splurge on Naan, paneer and soya chops as we ‘feared’ having tandoori chicken tikkas may be too sudden and harsh. I could almost see my late father rise from ashes with a questioning look “what hey, we used to run for tandoori chicken this day!” and I found myself saying in defense “oh, it was a Tuesday”.

There is no question that the world has changed and so, the way we are thinking is leaving us generally clear thinking educated folks perplexed. Whether it happened from a Trumpy US, a chaotic middle east or closer home to saffron rising in another bread basket of unexpected modernity, I don’t know. All I know is I am first of a generation of Indians born after independence so must think as that! We have led our lives on the cusp of everything from West to East, border to across, house to house, person to person, day to day, period to period and found no need at all to be on ‘one’ side of it all.

My childhood was spent on the edge of the walled city now famous as “Delhi 6”. We took everything as privileged. Example, my folks never considered our locality Daryaganj on Shah Jahaan’s walled zone as ‘old’ Delhi and it was certainly not “New” Delhi because it was at the point of separation called “Delhi Gate”. My uncles wrote and spoke Urdu mixed with Hindi and vice versa and could write some of each, even as they would swear in both English and Hindi, whereas the Urdu was for tehzeeb, meaning courtesy.

My generation added slang and punch to every punchline and courteous abuse, just as every next generation would for sure – to make life colorful but never abusive. We had the Jaini, the Sikh, the muslim and the odd Parsi who lived in seclusion (Delhi still is never Mumbai!). We could hear neighbors fight and we fought them at will. The next day things would patch up. My parents never approved the way others lived and we silently accepted even virtual the enemy. No one ‘told’ us who to meet and who to befriend and so we did that too openly and brashly – romancing the enemy with tehzeeb than with bad blood. The movies too had a well defined hero, heroine and villain but always happy endings.

Honestly rivalries too are part and parcel of ‘acceptance’ of a world order I have happily lived, or outlived I will know much later;  but I find it unfair to hear now some people say that past was wrong and ought to be changed. You mean sir, that to make a better today and tomorrow, we need to revisit past and change ‘history’? Was I a bloody fool to sit in a boring History class in school and now I must rationalize that I have truly lived a life in manner that was actually unacceptable. Honestly, would changing a story of a freedom fighter in school text books make our next of kin smarter and more ready to face the world order that shall be hereon?

Suddenly a world order seems to change and future looms like the streets and walls in “Inception”, the movie as a bad dream I must reverse somehow. A young friend gone saffron finds need to find the Hindu within and suggests my Ram is different from his (I love to sing bhajans, devotional music and pray when I feel like). An old Kashmiri friend is never the same for lack of the colorful musalmaniyat and tehzeeb that added to the flavor. I hate suggestions coming of a day when habitual Moghlai foodies and international travelers of my country will look dumbstruck as good old chicken and mutton platters may need license to be served.  Okay, if it’s just about clean-up of abattoirs, then I am fine!

I walk past bylanes of Lajpat Nagar in New Delhi to familiar ‘pathani’ faces but it’s just that I am noticing things I have never needed to notice until now. Now I am looking for a Iraqi, Irani, Kashmiri, Indian or North East from a new world order that will never restore, just like my dream. Back in college days we just ate Tibetian, but never questioned why they colonized out there on outskirts of DU or the Bangladeshis who got the now elite Chittranjan Park for ownerships as gift from our government.

Yehudi Menuhin was a musician and suddenly I can relate myself to what he said in “the ethos of a country is reflected in the kind of music it listens to”. Similarly I think, bad dreams are a reflection of our worst fears and when what we once feared has already happened and gone past, all mornings shall be beautiful.

So I say, “aahh” – all miseries of this world are the result of the electronica and melodyne auto-tuner music. So I get away from the unending dream to my morning of digital keypads, virtual drummers and symphony, microphone and lyrics, to make a song, record an idea, post some farce that has potential to be a fact provided it gets heard amidst the din of a ‘today’ that is not Delhi 6 – midway between what ‘ought to be’ and what we honestly love. Isn’t future a product of our present and don’t they know “Back to the Future” was only a Hollywood idea?

John Lennon sits by the roadside as I drive past Delhi roads which are seemingly still unchanged where the old Beatle is singing with a guitar in hand, no more the band around him, as he sings – “I’m just watching the wheels go round and round….I just love to watch them roll…no longer riding on the merry-go-round….aaanhh!”

Doing this, I don’t need belonging to any political party, group or cult or being imposed to any one or the other idea of a world order that ‘ought to be’. All the same I agree with my parents to just accept them for their co-existence ‘like neighbors’ and I will twirl all kinds of flags like I did as a boy; simply for their diversity of colors, tones and lyrics within. Somewhere too, it is now the ‘history’ and ‘literature’ classes that I seemed to remember more than the science and it was all of these together that give me my ‘current assets’ – enough for a wonderful world.

Mysite : please visit my new website https://yogeshbahadur.wordpress.com  and other related reads on wordpress.com :

Waiting to be Trumped ?

The story of TECH retrograde in India

New Delhi Diary – 2

New Delhi Diary – 1

 

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The story of TECH retrograde in India

Pardon me fellas, but even I would like to believe that the heading is only for impact so some people will read this. But that said, I am speaking about us ‘engineer breed’ of independent India of course and context is the Indian Budget 2017 and what Mr. Trump is doing to H1B in the US for our IT brigade meaning Indians and Chinese in particular, to what is now established as “Technology” and forever I find myself asking “then for God’s sake what are us – the electrical, mechanical, chemical, civil, marine kind of engineers who have grown up to be technologists and know a bit about businessmen too?”

So now that you have the introductory and if you are a non-IT technologist of any kind, let’s feel for ourselves and find that role which has been eluding us this last decade specially where the CFOs and all kinds of financial-legal specialists have taken over the IITians and other engineers to head companies, make deals and keep all kinds of divisions and heads under their wings, who will punch time cards to prove their utilization, once they are hired as ‘out-of-the-box’ thinkers by the HRM of modern world (yes, those typical KPAs on Naukri.com et al). That building up of Nehruvian India post independence from the British in 1947 is now passé and engineering techies have become second or third row of priority for India, the global power of the future as the world looks at us.

There is no doubt that Indian engineering and IT alumni are the most sought after professionals and preferred teachers and trainers all round the world. But in India, we are suddenly retrograde. I know for sure that our infrastructure and energy, once a success story of engineers with BHEL, EIL, ISRO et al in prime contention are there but the definition of ‘Tech’ is the people who deal with any kind of CPU, intelligent electronics and software analytics.

Again back to the Trump election, it was always the American people who did not mind the accented Indians in first place as long as we could be a fair blend-in, stayed in background when we should, come as saviors when a project deadline needed as did the ‘job-shoppers’ back in the ’50s from here, just like the Korean and Chinese crews completed those ship-builds and other hardware which made America what it is; in parallel to what Nehru and the trailing generations of leaders were doing in India.

Now we are in Modi’s India, unfortunately way too late for this separation to be less stark than I am now feeling insides of me. Everybody was listening before this to the CFO and shareholders with young ownerships learning no better about ‘creating’ than to make highest profit as being the only real KRA sans the shareholder rhetoric on year closings. The task of building from scratch, taking risks had gone unless someone could stockpile big time out of advances on large size infrastructure immediately to make room for the ‘rainy day’ which has always looked a certainty in the cut-throat competition of tariff based and speed tendering to make political parties keep promises and the Indian engineers ‘on their feet’!

So worked up and stressed out had become our engineers and technicians along with labor, workforce and all kinds of contractors and sub contractors as CEOs with their HR hangmen created all kinds of regulations to turn them into machines with ‘hour on hour’ monitoring and then came the electronics of spy cameras and recorders for loyalty to be thrown out of our system as opportunities opened up everywhere; and even as  younger and smarter techie ranks learnt to hop in and out for highest bidders, putting the stress back on ownerships.

So now we have simpler equations where the IT guys are creating software to ensure ‘loyalty’ in companies and continued communication within teams in age when we do not like to speak, write or even read elaborate emails but ‘forward’ quotes and postulates; so that now the engineers slipped one more step down after owners, accountant, HR and IT man.

What’s going on here? When PM Modi started taking ‘class’ on values going out from the young and school kids, I felt a ray of hope but realized later that he should be looking at their parents – my generation. What have we done under pressure of these last 2 to 3 decades of ‘hard work’ where office timings became open ended after 2nd half, but our sense of professional ethics and inherent team and fellow feelings amongst tripped downhill in the blame-game we called competition.

As it happens, we are still buying technology from Germany, China and now even from South Africa, Israel and middle-east whom our forefathers had taught! The government put so much on shoulders of BHEL and PSUs once they found a floundering private sector enterprise from India, who are happier to be ‘consultants’ for services and downstream project EPC and manufacturing companies than to be the big time manufacturing as tax policies never quite worked to ‘make-in-India’ ever; even as the ownerships found ways to be fund surplus after these 2 decades of privatization through mix of trading and using countless heads to accomplish far less than what our country is truly capable of. Yet “Jobs” is a huge abyss for so many talented people.

If you visit technology fairs like ‘Green Summit(s)’, ‘Indian Infrastructure’ or on Electricity you will see that still the core machinery in the technology intensive fields of power & energy at large are still coming all from overseas with yes, spectacular value addition from Indian engineers. But to say, we are yet independent in general for all our technical supremacy, we are not; else why is China Option #1 for most even today?

The Risk taking ability has consequently come down in the MSME and SME sector which is an indicator on government policies and what Budget 2017 was expected to correct with some innovation to create capacity and jobs with the surplus money from demonetization. Boosting the rural, farming, etc. are basic obligation of a nation to give healthy food and medicine to the people all the time and in no way an achievement. The lacunas in enabling the rest of Indian entrepreneurship are still there and is evident when 60% of our Indian wealth lies with 1% people and the ratio incrementing with each budget, quite alarmingly. Now that’s a lot of money to live with and whether a CSR whip, nay obligation, enable growth is still not established.

In the constant drive to empower youth, create jobs for educated, it is the institutes running to the banks as Vice Presidents and CEOs at 35 or 40 has become a norm, even as corporates find too many unemployable. However, it has been observed that even young leaderships do not need the experience and vision to correct the backlog which is saturated with malpractice and indecision or poor decision in times when a certain kind of old adamance has perpetrated ownerships who have seen unimagined prosperity in these last decades of privatization and development. In many places there is little passion left to grow further and so many whose next of kin do not show that same will and mettle for all that lies already on the table.

This is what is ‘Backlog’ and where we see projects unfinished, mismanagement, selling on premiums, land and asset purchases on basis on who we know and where lie the loopholes.

It’s not just me, I find umpteen superb professionals, young companies, deficit for funding which is still asset based for whatever skills one may possess and enterprise an entrepreneur might carry. The irony is there are so many who fail simply for want of funds and the stoppages for any number of reasons. Forget businessmen, nobody nowadays has patience or faith in anybody nowadays and venture capitalism is only a catch-word for ‘use and throw’ as money has to be made at any cost everywhere and that’s so tough with policies, environmental and simple political issues adding to complexities. In fact, nowadays to show the way-out of a corrupt deal anyhow, is a KRA without any inhibitions and employees or aspirants take this as way of life and what is to be expected!

So if getting past clean earnings reaching dangerous proportions was why our visionary PM took such a drastic step as DE-MONITIZATION; then I am optimistic. Well the spurt in ‘legal’ appointments from mid-management onwards over last 5 years to answer all those ‘buried’ cases of unfinished projects; this has never been seen to my memory in Indian businesses since a law firm used to be hired in past. So it kind of jives, isn’t it?

Now, coming back to Budget 2017, let’s analyse what have we gained post demonetization and cornering of corrupt people in these recent months with companies of today and yes, the government; what do we expect to gain now to revive those acceptable values and habits so much so that now have to remind each other on ‘WhatsApp’ forwards with each morning or they will just go down as mythology one fine day!

The Finance Minister started his speech listing how many companies do not file taxes and who haven’t even started their balance sheet. Sir, just look at us; I recall the speeches on ‘capacity building’ and talent deficit which has today made umpteen crass technical and management training institutes to mushroom along with some very good ones too. But they find relevance only when their products become VPs of E&Y or PWC, while here are some of us looking on “hey, what’s wrong with me….I was made in USA and EU too not too long ago and am an international, a professional”.

Honestly, I started my company over this last decade just because to my query “what will those professionals amongst us who have not accumulated capital do in these efforts to enhance entrepreneurship and capacity?”, the minister’s reply at a forum on ‘manufacturing & project resources’ as of 2006 was “hold on to fingers of the bigger players”. And look what that did to us (sure these people are there smiling, right?).

Well now that I have created the separation on TECH terminology, let’s look at what President Trump is actually saying in the same breath as he loves ‘Hindus’ and the H1B rise in minimum wage to US$ 130,000.

Aha, so I think President Trump wants us stalwarts back in action, those who have seen all sides of the world, taken our darn risks and all and throw out our accent when it matters too. We even know that language of excellence for they took it away from us here in India far too early for we spoke ‘global’ amidst ‘make-in-India’ and how stupid it was that at one time, right? So I am hoping our PM will likewise bring back enough wealth to split to higher than the 1% every year hereon backing up with policies so some of us can truly see the glitter of ‘good times’ or ‘achhe din’ in entrepreneurship, after waging wars to get to ‘India shining’ earlier on; no politics here though.

There is still one confusion in my mind and that is  this – “are we moving forward or back to ‘Building-Up’ days?” of course, with a ‘RE-building’ tag where IT and Engineers of all kind work in tandem as visionaries on our own to create a better world and definitely, without punching time cards and swords drawn all the time. Well, only time will tell and my strong recommendation – “Techies is Us 2” with a ‘V’ sign for ‘peace’ (LOl is Lolll).

Cover Image: Brochure of Pentacle Energy & Infra Projects Pvt. Ltd.

 

Waiting to be Trumped ?

(A Perspective on India and Africa with emphasis on future of initiatives in ENERGY privatization)

This may be the first time that a US presidential oath taking, on noon of January 20, 2017 by IST, is being followed as if it were D-day here in New Delhi. I cannot believe that cafes in Hauz Khas (per newspapers) are inspired to prepare for a celebration with big screens and all the pomp once reserved for big cricket matches only. I guess it has to do with the tourist season and time when NRI’s find best season to visit Delhi at its coldest.

In December it seemed like global warming was on when we said it is a weak winter, but snow like always in Simla since the New Year rang in, has changed all that and all of the woolen that remained inside until now, are finally out. So global warming sans the photography and videos from the melting Arctic seems to take backseat whenever here in Delhi the winter chill shows it’s delayed spurts.

We know for one that Merryl Streep and some of the glitterati may even boycott the grand presidential ball and invites to other festivities but as for those with eye on global energy investments from the USA, they are ones debating on Trump ideology, as it has been widely mentioned that he will go gung-ho back to fossil oil/coal and nuclear that have hitherto made USA the power to reckon. As world would have it, it is the intellectuals, the philosophizers, the sympathizers, the artisans, the educated elite who see the world in a certain perspective who normally crusade for ‘climate change’, environment and future of society.

With Obamacare health already on the chopping block, what will be the fate of Obama’s Lighting Africa and other initiatives for Africa and the developing world at large, none of which have instilled much inspiration anyway, even as Renewable Energy is considered more a democratic idea, less macho, more idealistic than practical by many who have held any kind of important ‘Energy’ portfolio in past decades. The capitalists can afford to keep changing stance the direction winds blow and corporate professionals shall keep falling like Humpty Dumpty to any such ideology, soon as the words ‘profit’ and ‘KRA’ come in during year endings and budget sessions.

With every elected government in developing world in recent years was enforced to give proof of combating corruption, fueling of economy with tax retrievals, the US had a very different agenda this presidential transformation. The whole differential strongly rests on the Payee and Payer division with regards to balance of payments, vis-à-vis, world bank and donor funding where African countries especially, owe billions of dollars to China, US, EU and Japan (donor countries) in particular. The sword of taxation hangs on private sector, which was already looking at their respective governments with feeble trust to enter infrastructure, energy et al to put their own money at stake.

Also no country has had a brave PM like we in India do; that’s the popular view in India at large it seems. Like USA, we too find our people with mixed emotions of late but there are positives and negatives to perspectives in context of Energy and renewables per se.

In India the retrieval on taxes and money out of circulation may have been challenged in part by demonetization; but the PM has taken huge strides to solar-power the nation and this is what I want to leave you as the reader with on the possibility of renewable energy (as against fossils) being trumped (with some comparisons for African countries):

  1. Funding of Renewables under Obama’s programs, especially Lighting Africa has raised more eyebrows and seeing a dismal growth and even worse, the interest of private sector; the oil-rich African countries might just welcome a reversal. It might even create a revival in oil exploration now on hold on east coast, but that is a long shot until the oil pricing shows a definitive trend. So push for renewables will still need a push from governments and regional treaties, with growth ensured.
  2. The private sector renewal business in India particularly will rest with the big fifteen or so who have gained from power projects in thermal coal and are already way ahead with mega solar; even as rural electrification from solar is widely dismal but in mega solar there is optimism from the new guidelines for the (just tendered) 250MW Rewa in Madhya Pradesh have made 3 big attractions for investors – i) lowest tariff of 5.9 Cents (Rs. 4) per unit (ii) state government guarantees with inter-state open access with 25% to Delhi metro rail (iii) deemed generation for grid availability
  3. “Pay-as-you-go” models by mobile companies in Africa, with Kenya showing the way; as also in far east (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, etc.) are gaining success and India too has started with ADB $6 million support as over 60,000 rural households are in process to be electrified by off-grid solar by a company “Simpa Networks” and others like Reliance will be in fray whereas Adanis have put up the largest of solar mega farms already. However, still much remains to happen in the urban (rooftop) context as electricity woes are diminishing per reports.

In summary, a ‘Trumping’ of Renewables is highly unlikely as the pie for USA dependency is way too small to interest the man who shall build a wall around Mexico. Also, the African & developing country support has sustained Congressional blessings for more important reasons; China for one which practically leads in Africa by miles.

Yet, it would be unwise to say that India will be inert to whatever changes do take place in USA will not impact world population at large. So we can once again sharpen our business instincts and world vision by re-evaluating global equations that will impact business, profession and our general well being, since this is how the world is slowly becoming.

So the better thing will be to question “whether Modiji would find an ally in Trump for real to counter China or will Pakistan (which voices it’s nuclear muscle whenever under threat), offer reasons for a shift even as Hindu temples lighted ‘hawan’ piers in prayers for US to have Donald Trump win the election”.

For sure, the euphoria itself will be exciting for globalized professionals and I am looking forward to get ‘in there’ yet again and with more vigor, but with fingers crossed as the “change” scenario is getting way too dynamic and regular – but sure as hell, we have learnt and that’s what we as professionals must keep believing and keep contributing.

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Where Love has gone

Now this is the first time where I have put a title and really just starting to write on basis of, just a feeling that I have woken up with. But right away, I must warn you that the context may not be the most obvious.

2017 has begun and we seem to be in a world where from the moment we get up to time we go to bed, we must have a peep into our social media – the ‘WhatsApp’ or Facebook, Twitter and what have you. I have tried not to, many a time. But it fails to work. In fact whenever I decide not to err….peep; I am doing it more!

Why have we got so fixed to what somebody else has to say or what somebody has to say to what we said and if we are ‘liked’ then ‘how many’ are these people and who all?

It is very sad. No, not this act or the habit, but the very existence, adaptation and governance factor of such perception per se and social media by itself.

Gone are the days when I will sing a song, all in my house (whenever together with some and that’s how houses used to be back then), they would say ‘wah, wah’ pat me on the back and someone will give the kiddo a 100 in cash right away for whatever it might have been worth. That 100 or even the 50 and 10 would matter a whole lot and yes, fond memories are around still. They egged me to go on, feel on center of a stage; small as the achievements were at that time. They were my halo of being a part of my little world where rest of the world never mattered. It also made me to make my mistakes in life when I perhaps stopped working the passion.

Now I have travelled the world. More and many have joined in the ‘togetherness’ and it is wonderful to see them all, someone in USA, someone in Ethiopia, Tanzania, a European I met a decade ago, a relative of relative who became now more of a friend than the primary relative over time; even an old ‘enemy’ who is appearing suddenly on Facebook page seems like lost love now.

But all along the way, the closeness, the oneness, the ‘My-ness” if I may say, seems to be waning.

If we remember somebody across decades, or across distances or across wider relationships of official colleagues and business associates with whom we have shared our deepest feelings at times without even knowing them enough; there has to be something more to it if we ‘just remembered’ it one fine day again, in midst of ennui.

And the year ends (2016 just did) and a year beginning (2017) are as good a time as any and so it is that I am writing, expressing it the way it is.

At the same time, there is too much music, too much art, too much writing across the websites to make us be heard nowadays. And then…who doesn’t want to be heard? Our friend Rahul Ram, the bassist from ‘Indian Ocean’ even said of those like me “now Indian music is democratic; people from bedroom studios can post music” with HT Times heading calling it “clutter” (hey, my kinds cluttering on the biggies – wow!)

In times when I was a nobody and could do precious little I had friends who loved me to sing, relatives who sent messages wide and far of what a lovely little boy was the ‘son of my parents x & y’. Now it takes so much out of me to draw a ‘you did good’ from my own close ones; when I have really worked hard, invested so much and fought against so many odds to actually learn and master some across the whole 9 yards down the decades.

Maybe it is not so. Maybe they feel me destined to do even more, reach even higher. I am not old and I am certain there is no age peaking on excellence.

But do they want my ‘Excellence’ or is it, that ‘Love has gone’ and replaced with a YouTube comparative for the ‘seen’, ‘liked’ and there is even the ‘thumbs down’ to declare somebody worthy of a ‘glance’ and ‘peep’.

Where Love has Gone, we learn to re-evaluate ourselves.

I get up in morning or to sleep to find ‘who did not Like’ and if there was even a ‘thumbs down’!

These are my indications of “path, yet to traverse”or should I say, the path to where love still exists and be it our work for profits, music for creativity we carry or writing for vision that we carry; the “manzil” or the destination – is the SONG itself, and path is the quest for that love that exists…but needs to be extracted and brought out again and again, better and better.

At least this is what I would like my children and the youngsters I may mentor to believe and that’s all I wanted to say in this ‘first post 2017’. Those who had gone will come again….just do your thing to the best you can!

Coming soon on through http://talentrack.in/yogimusic and on YouTube:

  1. The YogiB Orchestral
  2. The Ghazal – a genre of ‘feelings’ and classical music