Nobody Appreciates my Music ☹

It’s the World Music Day today ! It comes suddenly. It’s not on my list of holidays, even at my home studio; nor have I ever celebrated it by going for a concert, or even listen to my favorite playlists. I get to read it in magazine section of the newspaper, where our favorite musicians world over are ruing over their trysts and struggles than celebrating their success. This is how my heart bleeds too and I feel for once, I am part of who’s who, whatsoever I may be seen as, by the world around me.

But am I qualified? This is an unasked question by music fraternity of whom, over the years alongside of my long corporate and professional engineering career, I have been faced with.

Why am I happy? Because at 60+ now, I started learning nuances of music at age 52 when I gave up a full time job to record a music album. As it stands, the album is still in making as the race between capital that goes into doing one independently and what I might use to run my life and family is endless. But sure, it has allowed me fantastic improvements, to master songwriting, composing, playing many instruments, programming music digitally, mixing and mastering it – all by myself as I carry a briefcase studio to my core jobsites! It does not guarantee keeping up with the massive technological and marketing transformations that the music industry goes through.

Ten years ago, I was recording one of my compositions in voice of the well known singer from south N. Srinavas himself an engineer by profession before he gave it up to be amongst the top playback singers, singing Bollywood hits from ‘Dil Chahta Hai’, ‘Yuvraj’, etc. He said that even sitting in office in initial stages of his career, he had made up his mind where his heart is. Story of Shankar Mahadevan and many others is similar. So in my case, this 50-50 life between my 50s and 60s was fraught with ‘ugliness’ to say the least!

Taking my daughter to A. R. Rahman’s K.M School of Music when I was living in Chennai; the lady in charge said that here we encourage our students to have an alternate profession and not give up their studies until they are sure they have made ‘the mark’; she was voicing Mr. Rahman’s belief, as one who has collaborated with genius he saw in musicians from diverse sectors, countries and genres. There it was, I came in touch with Ustad Ghulam Mustafa Khan through his sons and his words ring in my ears too “if we have not learnt how to live our life, we are wasting our time doing music”.

Today, that I am wiser, I think this is what musicians and singers are ruing, ‘cribbing’, mourning in their fate as musicians “does the public even understand what they are doing?” Even a successful composer like Amit Trivedi says that constantly dealing with rejection is part and parcel of being even popular and successful. With aspiring classical musicians around me in Delhi, who despite best of training have stories that can often even be grim and saddening.

I occasionally sing and record myself to Bollywood tracks, experimentally most of the times. I post them on YouTube if a particular track has some ‘special quality’ mainly for closer friends, family and seeking critique of professionals. I sang “Moh Moh ke Dhaage” recently after seeing videos of how difficult it was for composer Anu Malik to put this song together and repeated trials with singers Papon and Monali Thakur who took time to do it ‘perfect’, but have made a name with this song. I wanted to see why was it so difficult. Recording myself, with nobody directing; then mixing it on my own was very challenging even technically, as resonance-frequency conflicts tend to make tracks sound out of tune in places. But it was too much work so I kept perfection asides. But an associate classical musician calling the whole of me “besura” (tuneless) as a singer itself followed by the advice that I should give up music – was height of critique. It does of course energize me to leave no stone unturned in finishing my “Main” productions, whenever that shall be!

So all I can request is “bear with us please”, understand our specific circumstances. To make a song like Bollywood costs lakhs and lakhs of rupees to get heard and a video of cinema quality must accompany it for a now impatient world entangled in euphoria to make it worth even listening. But that cannot stop a man for whatever age and mettle – as life has the journey as its subset and my kinds enjoy the journey!

We are on the path just to that, but we work for no guarantees just like the infrastructure and power projects I have done in my life, that took more than ten years of follow-up as a business development professional and then to come for tendering; then we competed with the best in the world to see profits, or losses and yes, even many careers rolling downhill! Let’s face the RISKS of a blessed life with dignity; for people like us, who toil towards their own respective state of “perfection” and combined perfection of equally talented and dynamic teams. And yes, I was and am, a very special man….and music is just another “business” to me!

Advertisements

Intolerance Upturn 2018

Climate Change has been around for a while.  As corporates, we made ourselves “change management” innovators not so long ago to think global and find our profits amidst growing chaos. At some point, cinema even in India got “real”. Then they added “swag” to melody, spunk to neo-futuristic art forms and before we could grasp where this world is headed towards, even harmless pokemon video games turned suicidal. We keep having this daily dose of news and even at times, gory video clips of atrocities on underprivileged and minors, gang rapes, kidnappings and heists by educated youth, kids on murder trials and even shut our minds to within our own cocoons far away from all that.

“Change” is an adjective gaining such incrementing momentum, to which our mindsets are getting tuned not to pause, but to act on impulse and we tend to blindly “forward” whatsapp posts that impact us in any way. It is like man has gone back to his basic instincts and impulse, damn educative thinking, godliness or common sense for that matter.

It seems natural that Artificial Intelligence (AI) must no longer be just a scientific idea but a domesticated contributor to track and solve myriad futuristic riddles as man’s basic instincts take him back to what we now believe is animalistic. Factually, animals evolve naturally and man was meant to ‘hold his horses’ and do everything sane. So, will Robots do the needful? Myself, a heady pro-technology engineer, I find myself questioning if society’s overall ‘change management’ is too dull to matter after what it has already done to itself and have started sighing at sci-fi future updates.

I fear if I too, after all those efforts to stay ‘today’, will attain grandfatherly and old fatherly intolerance, as depicted in cinema and TV serials in US of ’70s, as grumpy old couch-potatoes who sat in front of the ‘idiot box’, scowled and had only negativity to perception of the young, who in turn just left the room in dismay to just go on ‘do their stuff’. Maybe writing this blog might absolve me (lol!).

But now as we herald dawn of 2018, it is the youth to middle age and past fifties who have found equal rationalism to brandash swords of newage progressive change in manner that was not befitting even until recent decades. While some are insinuating that any old history needs revisiting to find faults under ‘today’s spectrum’ of perceptions and re-written to bring back old glory, there are increasing sects of belief that freedom is about having the uppermost hand in everything and that they must cross all lines of modest human self control to achieve, just that. 

While I feel that chat sites and status bombarding have more ‘postmen’ who forward sweetly alarming oddities of the times while urging “please forward to as many” (why??); the world seems to have found its “platform of Socrates” at large, although ‘originality’ that builds on ‘pausing to think’, analyse, formulate and (then) write is evaporating. Less said about quality of education would make this blog shorter for your kind patience to read it to its climax.

Admittedly, it is my daily dose of social media, newspapers and bombastic news-queens and newsmen on heavily commercialised news channels, who have given me my very own, perhaps unique subject line; this very serious issue of “Intolerance Upturn”(should I patent it?). While I shall stay away from distinguishing between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ intolerance, this blog limits itself to what we generally witness via-media and here are some examples :

  • Only yesterday, a high school Delhi boy reportedly shot his principal because he pestered him into showing bettered results for his board examinations, in fact the trigger to this post as I was alarmed enough to drink 3 cups of morning tea.
  • Criminal minds is no more a term that might be used for those who have attained legal adulthood. Kids murdering kids, their parents or whomsoever is no more the tale of accidental firing of dad’s revolver; there are fast increasing records of cold blooded, planned murders styled on popular cinema and TV crime shows. Horrendous rapes and frivolous suicidal yearnings not just limited to any one or few countries often make me hide in shame for having done little in life, for a better society not created!
  • In the ’70s, a Bollywood movie characteristically depicted “my father is a thief” written on forearm of a kid whose adult role played by the great Amitabh Bachhan turns him into a Robin Hood character later in life, for rationalization in favour of the “gray hero” born then. But, Mr. Anurag Kashyap, love your movies sans statutory warnings now mandatory and with hopes for betterment of society!
  • But what’s this with stylish drivers in swanky cars nowadays who drive at 60 through residential colonies and could cut you off on the road, even bring out revolvers and shoot, if you overtake their car. The phrase gaining popularity on Delhi and NCR roadsis,”do you know who my dad is?”. The Don, hey?!
  • And yes it all started and is now perpetually ending with “who killed Jessica?”. The police mostly doesn’t and the frequency and period of a court verdict is doing little to throw any serious fear.
  • The reasons for power and crime may be Shakespearean, but the bizarre lies in the fact that these are no more stories of one-off cases now and then. From the poorest of poor to richest of rich they have permeated into a docile middle class that now wants more and more, more than ever and “right now”. The process from fame to riches is no more limited to a Haji Mastan or Dawood, nay, Amitabh Bachhan kind of mass optimism; it is now mandatory middle class educated too, from the rapidly falling grace when India, once ‘land of educated and wise’ claimed to be shining. 
  • Sabyasachi and Versace are typical words attached with minor twists on branding and fetish of all and sundry to be always up to date with fashion in India’s awkward middle class that is somewhere along nowhere to find themselves in the crowd of “India shining”. Add million dollar Indian weddings, the qualification of those who sold land to multinationals, are all now added exponentially to India’s wealth (??). Is our wealth truly ‘make in India’ and tax-paid?
  • Technology, international branding of salesmanship and mass-producing power is not only giving us abundance and best looks for less, but also dangerous yearnings to have it all today. The rat race has taken such dimensions that it will only enrich health providers, for stressed people dying to demonstrate their existence. Health providers too, are those who will cut corners to maim society in a competitive world. Add to this, doctors who create medical tourism out of killing people for body parts – all from a country whose doctors have excelled as respected emigrants  the world over.
  • Suddenly, we are a dangerously vulnerable society with early heart problems, depression, feelings of detachment leading to unstable mindsets in every class of society , which seems to have little recourse. Professionals too have become shameless. Courtrooms already overcrowded in utter disarray and relationships are on ‘take-my-way or leave’ basis. At times some would pray for old family traditions and joint family systems to reappear, just out of their frustrations.

But all said, to most of us this is now a way of life and any grudges ought to be dismissed if we wish to be “in” with social peers. There seems to be a natural urge to ‘put a show’ of how happy you are, just because you posted daily smilies and received those well intended ‘good mornings’ from friends. Let’s work to find deeper meanings as educated people have responsibilities and do possess capabilities to cross umpteen perils; so no need for short-cuts. My only problem per se, with way social media and self-positioning ways today’s society in general is, that we work hard where we were asked to (the office!), but not in shaping where we ourselves are headed!

Oh yes, we are tolerant too, in the way we allow our children their freedom and find to amazement that they do find the righteous paths after customary blimps and bumps here and there. ‘Google’ does what we would have done probably worse as elders to somebody, for Google does not ask to be repaid probably. It’s fo free and on punch of few buttons after all!

There will be parents who keep a continuous eye on their children and there will be those who choose to be internationally liberal; yet nothing is guaranteed. Let’s try harder to be tolerant without being inert, stupid, dumb, deaf and voiceless, if we can help it. Stop forwarding and start creating so you find the bumpy roads to get better rather than to be one of the crowd that will inundate you with false self-perceptions of having the world under your control too.

Ironically, we will continue to get intolerant even for being casual or not consulting social media world-view, viz. google maps, bookmyshow, zomato et al. Some fast-buck contractor might just let the roof down on us or a flyover sinking for poor workmanship strand us on road for hours, fire in unregulated buildings cause a fatal impact as we casually celebrate a new car purchase with friends and family at a popular resto-bar (last week’s news, Mumbai!). I believe that somewhere, business profitability, success and ‘instability of mind’ too needs to be redefined for sake of my own brilliant career too to find better meaning hereon.

Author: Yogesh Bahadur Mathur is a business consultant specializing in international business, power & energy infrastructure and marine engineering and architecture. He is also a musician, lyricist and non-compulsive blogger who likes to explore the world with enthusiasm for learning. Music from my on-the-run studio available on YoutTube and Soundcloud. Please see other blogs on this site as well.

Videos on subject:

Impact of cinema:https://youtu.be/Hld557JJVzU

 

Thank you!!

 

 

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)!

***************

 

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”

****************

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

 

*****************************

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.