‘Blog’ Tops Dictionary’s Words of the Year

A four-letter term that came to symbolize the difference between old and new media during this year’s presidential campaign tops U.S. dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster’s list of the 10 words of the year.

Merriam-Webster Inc. said on Tuesday that blog, defined as “a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks,” was one of the most looked-up words on its Internet sites this year.

Eight entries on the publisher’s top-10 list related to major news events, from the presidential election — represented by words such as incumbent and partisan — to natural phenomena such as hurricane and cicada.

Click here to read the whole news …

Keep Blogging !

Thanksgiving – Movie Marathon

I shall have some wonderful memories of this year’s Thanksgiving holiday. This was one of the rare times when we had a lonnngggg vacation and we didn’t go and visit a place. We stayed at home, relaxed, caught up with friends and studied a bit too :). A related thing which happened as a result of all this was that we ended up seeing quite a few movies and luckily all of them were very good. Here is the list:

(1). The Incredibles – What do I say about this movie ? – it is, well, INCREDIBLE. The makers of Finding Nemo, Pixar (and Disney) are back with their latest offering. Pixar has raised the bar on animation movies – in this movie, they have displayed all possible emotions of a human, car chases, press conferences etc and etc. Sometimes, it was difficult to imagine that it was all animation. Truly, a superbly made film and of course, it has a poignant story line.

(2). National Treasure – I am not a very big fan of Nicholas Cage : so, I wasn’t too enthusiastic on seeing this movie. But it turned out to be surprisingly good. It belongs to the same genre as an Indiana Jones movie – hunt for treasure, adventure, puzzles, clues, romance etc. It is a racy movie and the director maintains the pace all throughout the movie. It is definitely a one-time must-see.

(3). Veer Zaara – Another classic from the master of romance, Yash Chopra. I always believed that Shahrukh Khan was a bigger star than an actor and that his biggest strength was that he carred his star status in movies quite well. But in this movie, his acting as an aged army officer was what surprised me. Also, the story line was good and powerful. The songs, composed out of some of the unpublished tunes of the late Madan Mohan and penned to Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are just wonderfully pleasant. It is a touching movie and of course, very romantic.
[Caution : you might come out of the theatre a little wet-eyed :)]

I shall end with an excerpt from a song in Veer Zaara:

Tum chhupa na sakogi main woh raaz hoon
Tum bhoola na sakogi woh andaaz hoon
Goonjta hoon jo dil mein toh hairaan ho kyun
Main tumhaare hi dil ki toh awaaz hoon
Sun sako, toh suno, dhadkanon ki zabaan
Main yahaan hoon, yahaan hoon, yahaan hoon, yahaan
Kaisi, sarhadein, kaisi majbooriyaan
Main yahaan hoon, yahaan hoon, yahaan hoon, yahaan

Happy movie watching !


Changes Needed

The 2nd test match between India and South Africa starts tomorrow at the halo gounds of Eden Gardens, Kolkata. I want to take this moment and reflect at some of the actions of the ICC during the last couple of weeks:

(1). After the India-Pakistan 1-day match at Kolkata, the ICC slapped a 2 match-ban on Saurav Ganguly for not being to force a faster over-rate. What is surprising is that the match refree (Clive Lloyd) was present at the venue and he could clearly see that this was caused as a result of the sogginess in the field, which was making the ball wet and so constant replacements were called for (7 in all). All this just caused the time to extend well beyond the normal hours.

(2). Talking of penalizing for slow over-rate for fielding, what can’t ICC issue a similar rule for batting? During the Kanpur test match, the South Africans batted slowly (reminding us of the 80s) and bored us to death. The game of Test Cricket has changed so much over the years and it is no longer considered healthy to score below 3 runs an over (2.2 was totally unacceptable). This carries even more significance because of the growing popularity of Pajama cricket and also the newer 20-20 and the decreasing popularity of the classical Test match cricket. Scoring at 2.2 runs an over only pushes test cricket in a backward direction. It is time for ICC to have a rule to penalize teams scoring less than say 3 runs an over (give/take some other covenant).

(3). ICC released new rules and laws for Chucking and under the new laws, even great bowlers such as Wasim Akram, Glenn Mcgrath are all chukcers. No wonder, this has created so much of ridicule all around the world. This is what Akram had to say about this about the whole controversy. I thought that the ICC handled this issue really sluggishly.

(4). Another instance of bad management was the ICC’s handling of the England-Zimababwe tour, which has been so mired with controversy. Just before the English journalists could enter the land, they were disallowed VISAs. If this was going to happen, then the ICC should have made prior arrangements to tackle this situation. The only statement ICC released was that the English team could withdraw if they wanted to. The English journalists have since been granted VISAs into Zimbabwe.

ICC really has to tighten it’s socks and get is act together, at least for the benefit of the game of the cricket, if not for its own benefit.

Leavey Leadership Leacture – Bob Corcoran

Last week, I attended the Leavey Leadership Lecture by Bob Corcoran, the Chief Learning Officer of GE. The lecture was quite short and it was followed by a brief questionaire round with the audience. What is normally good about these types of lectures is that one gets an insight into the lives of industry leaders and people, who have grown up in close proximity of other great leaders (in this case, Jack Welch). As it turned out, the evening was indeed quite fruitful. I have otted down some of the salient points from the lecture:

(1). Growth versus Time is a S-curve, the same as performance versus Time. As time goes by, we need to Grow and Learn more to Perform more. To perform better and better, one needs to keep raising the bar on the performance.

(2). One should always look at what value he/she is creating for the company. In the long run, that is what matters. Creating value for the company can be any of “More”, “Better”, “Faster” and “Cheaper”. Similarly, in the personal life, creating value can be in terms of “Profession”,”Family” and “Community”.

(3). In the general case, Real Leaders actually look for the best person to promote and the best person is normally the one who can create the maximum value for the company.

(4). Rewards can be in terms of Promotion, more of the same work (most common) or making the person head of another division or startup of the company.

(5). If you get more work, always Priotize the work. A good executive always : (a). Prioritizes, (b) Decides what he or she is NOT going to do, (c). Focuses ONLY on the issue at hand and (d) Disciplines not to get wayward

(6). (Office) Politics is all about Power – the bigger the job, the authority actually goes down. You don’t have much power on laterally and upward. So, you have to use influence. The best way to GET POWER is to GIVE AWAY POWER.

(7). Never go for a Job Interview in a half-hearted manner. If you do not want the Job, then DON’T GO for it If you have already interviewed, then withdraw your name before the manager makes the offer. This is especially true if you are interviewing internally within the same company in another group.

(8). Going higher up in the corporate ladder requires sacrifice. (Bob gave up his volleyball and friends and concentrated solely on his career and FAMILY).

(9). Always know the bigger picture of your organization. It is definitely important to be very good at your work, but it is equally important to know your company’s technology and business.

(10). In general, you should not stop a person leaving the organization by offering more money. A person who stays for money will definitely leave again for money.

(11). When you reward a person, please make sure that unequal people are not equally rewarded.

(12). Before you start leading a team, make sure you evaulate your team, understand your team and that the team understands you. Make sure you sit on 1-on-1 with each of the team members to know them a bit more personally too.

Cheers !


Diwali Party – 2004

Last Sunday, on the 14th of November, we had organized a Diwali Party. This was a Potluck Diwali Party and there was a significant number of people invited. Hence, we decided to host the party at our Aparment Complex’s Card and Clipper room. These rooms were well furnished with sofas, couches, tables, chairs, TV, fridge, Oven, a Bar and even a piano for the musically inclined.
The dress code for the party was traditional Indian attire and so, it was promising to be fun.

Although the party was supposed to start at 4:00 pm, people started showing up (excepting Sujata, Roopam and Surelia, who had come over early to help in the preparations) around 6:00 pm and by 6:45 pm, the rooms were full of people. It was great meeting so many people and more importantly, seeing some of my always_jeans_clad friends dressed in traditional Indian clothes. It was indeed quite a sight.

We had organized prizes for the best dressed male (Shyam Mundhra) and best dressed female (Ritika – the outright winner). We played Bingo, had a fashion parade for males and females. One quick word about the food though. This time the bachelors were thrust a lot of cooking responsibilities and they came out with flying colors ! – Kudos to them.

Once the party ended in the Card/Clipper Rooms, the scene shifted to our Apartment. We played Passing the Parcel (Sujata was the winner) and then had some wonderful tea made by Shyam Mundhra. In the end, it was time to call it a day and we were left with some wonderful moments to cherish. You can enjoy some of those moments here.

Till then !