I am proud of you my son

October 24th, 2016

I often say that next generation should always achieve beyond than what their forefathers have dreamed. My annotation has always been with respect to wealth.

After reading following piece from my son,  I am changing my view points on achievement. I am very proud that he has intellectually reaching a level beyond my imagination. As a conservative ever worried father, I am skeptical about him marking a career as a writer, but hoping that he would follow foot steps of Chetan Bhagat, John Grisham & Robin Cook and taste success both as a writer and also in another profession.

All the best my dear, I am proud of you

From my novel: A short piece

I am sorry my Son

January 11th, 2016

I often wonder whether the younger siblings have better impressions of their parents than their elder ones? Are the first kids in the family have more scars from their parents than the younger ones. I do not know. Being the youngest one in the family with so much of affection from my sister and two brothers apart from my parents, I am a spoiled brat. I owe them a lot to where I am today.  I do have some scars but they are small stuff, but what about first born? Do they feel the same way? I wonder as a parent whether parents do justice to their first child.

Just like any of our favorites cell phones , video games or OS we all go through upgrades. Our experiences and realizations mold us and upgrade us. While not all experiences would have given us a positive upgrade, we can assume that for most majority who had not been subjected to extremities of life, the upgrade would have been more positive than negative. Extending this argument we can say that parents would have handled their younger kids better. Hence the younger siblings should have better impression of their parents.

Personally, for any given situation, the way I react today will be  very different from how I would have reacted few years ago.  It had taken me a long time to supress the kid in me.  The  outlook of finance, life,  insecurities of life all has changed. I have lots of regrets in life right from  how  I could have done more for family, community and how I could have been more generous in certain situations. However I am more worried about what impact I leave on children due to my own inadequacies.

It was a typical cold winter morning when I drove my 12-13 old son to the near by ski area. We were well prepared all dressed up. He had developed a new interest in skiing and I was excited about it. I personally do not like venturing out in that weather and especially wearing layers and layers of cloth and wearing those heavy ski boots.  I was well prepared with my laptop , wifi connection and bag of snacks to keep me going till the evening. The kid was having fun and I watched him for few minutes and got right back into my cyber world having opinions about everything right from presidential politics to situation in middle east.

It was around 3.30 – 4.00 pm when the kid returned will all energy and joy but I was done for the day and wanted to go home and watch football game. He jumped at me and wanted to show everything , I acted polite. Then he insisted on going out to near by slope to show me something , I protested a little bit but went along. It was cold soggy and there were no easy way to reach the place he wanted to go to. My reluctance to indulge  in this increased exponentially, however the kid was full of energy and was pushing me to find a way. I snapped, I do not exactly remember what I said but I was really rude. I cooled down quickly and tried to go again but the damage was done. I quenched the enthusiasm and energy from the young spirit and he tried for few minutes and then gave up and insisted on going back to the car. I felt sad and sorry but something else was bothering me. It took me couple of days before I realized that all my son was so excited and wanted  to show me what he learnt that day and was finding a way to reach the slope. I was not willing to listen and did not try to have a conversation to understand either. I was being a robot, I got you here my job is done, my next job is to take you safely back home. I was being an ass. We missed the next two years and did not go to the slope, mostly due to my laziness and partly due to his reluctance to insist. Now he is a senior and ready to leave home for the college. Even when I offered to take him to skiing he does not have time now. The innocense and age would not come back again.

I am very careful about how I respond now which benefits the younger one. I am more measured and watch out my emotions and eccentricities. I am sorry my son, I was not a great dad that day but I hope I have made up for that somewhere else. Hoping that I am leaving more positive impressions on you and helping you to upgrade yourself.  To my wife, kids, sister, brothers, mom, dad nieces, nephews, and my friends, if you thought I was  insensitive or did not behave my best at any time, please forgive me. I might not have got the upgrade needed for that moment. If I am still behaving that way then talk to me about your perception and help me to upgrade for this moment or who knows I might help you to upgrade too.



Origins of Quadrobay

August 6th, 2014

I had been skeptical of social entrepreneurism. A typical business tries to maximize return on the capital invested. Isn’t this the premises of capitalism? Where does greater good for the society come into picture? That was then, now I am in middle of the startup saga of Quadrobay and my perspective has changed.

It was another hot summer day in Chennai. I was sitting in the shades of the mango tree at my home and was reading a magazine when I saw a man in his mid to late 50s walking towards my home. He looked lean and tired. There were gray facial hair reminding us of very many battles he has seen his life. I was relieved to see him wearing sandals and my immediate concern about Chennai’s heat subsidized considerably. He came to our home and asked my mom for some work in our garden. My mom sent him away saying that there was no work.

I thought that we should give him some work, just because he took the effort to walk in the scorching sun to get some work. My mom brushed me off and we argued about this for 30 minutes or so. Few days passed by and I could hear my mom complaining about how old she was and she needs help to clean the home and nobody was available to give her a helping hand. I thought of the man from other day who was much younger and fitter than my mom and could have done this easy. I was ready to employ him for a day or so but we had no clue where to find him. My mom was still arguing that she can’t let stranger inside the house. They might kill her and rob the house.

What bothered me was that
• Why should a person walk in the scorching sun looking for some work
• Why should a lady staying alone be so fearful of getting help even though the fear is very much valid
• What is the point in being the leaders in technology and billions and billions of $$ in foreign reserve when we can’t make a fast substantive positive difference in the lives of masses.

I looked at the whole situation as an in efficiency in supply meeting the demand or inefficiency in the supply chain. I soon realized from discussions with my friends that mine was not an outlier and many of them had experienced/observed variations of similar story. There is definitely an opportunity to make a difference without becoming parasite kind of an agent.

When we discussed the idea of helping the situation with technology, the biggest question asked was where would profits come from? These are $10- $30 txn, why would they come to us or use technology. Even if they come where are the margins? It was really frustrating for me.

I really do not care. There is an urge within me to help and I feel a social responsibility for the same. Me along with couple of my friends discussed this and agreed that, “ It does not matter if we do not make money as long as we can cover our costs or in the worst case these loses are bearable for us.” We make enough money between us that we can afford to try and help. The satisfaction of trying to make a difference in the lives of many people is worth the risk we are taking.

Today Quadrobay is attempting to help and make a difference. It is a saga, it a venture. Wait a minute, am I saying that, I am part of a start up that does not really care about maximizing profit but is driven by a higher goal. Yes, I am and you are reading it correctly. If this is not social entrepreneurism then what else is? Please help me to understand

Human Genome , Tamil , Adam and Eve

May 12th, 2014

Two completely unrelated documentaries got me thinking about our roots and ancestors. One was about  Cameroonians Speak Tamil (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWyAYGlFZjk) . The other one is a documentary in netflix ” National Geographic: The Human Family Tree. 

When I watched the you tube video earlier this year, it  did not mean much. The completely unrelated NG video gave a different twist to it. They claimed that people with similar DNA speak similar languages. They rationalized based on genomic studies and the fact that languages are something that we learn from our ancestors. Combine these details with patterns of  human migration from Africa to the rest of the world, it suddenly makes sense. We probably would find more commonality between languages along this route.

It was also interesting on how all our genetic finger print leads to one scientific Adam and Eve. ( it is not exactly the same.. just hit the pause button before you become a believer)

I would recommend both videos to anyone remotely interested in anthropology. It is educational and interesting. We have more in common than what we know.

Elections – 2014

May 12th, 2014

I am pretty excited about the Indian elections this year. Not because this is the biggest democratic exercise in the world. Not because the Election Commission is doing a commendable job and acts of booth capturing are becoming things of the past. But because this election is changing the conversation and what people are voting for.

There is one major underlying theme in this election, ” Administration and Accountability” with two branches. At first it may not be apparent but both Modi and Kejrawal and two side of this theme.

Modi: Represents the choice for good governance and Growth.
Kejrawal : Represents accountability and transparency. ( He has no history to show good governance)

People are asked to vote for someone who promises to create opportunity for people to get better life. Not jobs, not subsidies but opportunities. This election is all about whether to elect Modi as the PM.  If Modi is successful then this election will fundamentally change the election scene in India.

1. In all future elections coalitions and parties would be forced to project their PM candidates

2. The conversation would change towards better governance and opportunities rather than religion and caste

3. If Rahul Gandhi manages to lead congress without being in power for a decade, it would groom him to be a better leader. Will he bring term limits as part of revamping congress?. If congress comes out of the clutches of the Nehru family then it would be even better. But I currently believe that Rahul is a decent guy and a better option when compared to lots of other alternatives. ( Disclaimer: I was a big big fan of Rajiv Gandhi, and I still love him.  )

4. If Aam Admi party wins even 20 seats in major metros, it implies the educated middle class has woken up and would be a warning to parties that they cannot take people for granted.

If Modi wins  then BJP and Modi have a great responsibility to lead the whole country. They need to shun people who want all those who oppose them to goto Pakistan. They need to shun sloagans like ” Bring Modi and chase Muslims”.  Any missteps would break the fabric of India. However a good governance and inclusive government that does not pitch one community against another, but creates opportunity for everyone to have a good life would strengthen this great country and what we all stand for ” Live and let other live”

A good strong democratic India is good for the region and good for the world. I am eager to hear the voice of India..:-)

– 11th May 2014 ( on the eve of the last  phase of Indian Loksabha election)

Ramesh Ji .. Auditor Ramesh

July 24th, 2013

Killing of Auditor Ramesh  was very shocking. A person whom I have not met in last 17 years, but he has left a very positive impact on him. I knew him as Ramesh ji from RSS. When I met him first he had just finished college and was pursuing his CA. A person who was always smiling, always willing to help and was a good role model for lots of kids like me who otherwise would have wasted our evenings away. He was very active in RSS even then. He was a very  soft very likeable gentleman.

Thinking of that old Gang of Lakshmi, Giridhar, Satish, Chandru , Durai, Rajendar, Kumar , Ravi , Uday kumar ji and I am sure that I am missing few other names.  Due to passage of time, relocations ,lack of face book and mobile phones we had drifted apart. However those days and their friendship is still fresh in memory.

 I am sure if Ramesh ji is still around he would not have missed a beat in recognizing us and show the same warmth he showed us when we were teen agers. Ramesh ji let your soul rest in peace.

State of mind & Emotional Intelligence

April 17th, 2013

The concept of emotional intelligence is nothing new to me. I came across this way back in 1996. I always felt that I am on top of my emotions. I had carried that myth for more than a decade. What I did not realize in that time frame was that everything fell in place for me and I never was under valued. My friend Benjamin used to say, ‘ You know the true color of people only when you go to them for help and they do not see any conceivable value from the help’. I never fully comprehended that for a long time.

Everything changed in the winter of 2010. I felt undervalued and felt was not recognized for the value. That lead to some rash decisions. In the coming months I found myself more and more in very uncomfortable and indecisive. I was not reacting to the situations the way I would have reacted normally. I was scared.  I was trying to get out of the rut but was not able to get out . It was like a failed software upgrade.

It all changed again one day, when my son casually remarked that I am a very rash decision maker. On probing further he pointed out my rash decisions especially in the winter of 2010. I was stunned that I was not able to see something that was so obvious for my 11 year old. This led to the introspections of sorts. It all boiled down to my state of mind

1. Clinging on to something that has already passed
2. Trying to rebuild the old reality while  facts and ground rules have changed
3.  Bitter about what was lost instead of grabbing opportunities in the front
4. Not daring to define a path for success instead of struggling to get to old ways.

Once I realized, it was like a switch. Suddenly what needs to be done next became very clear. The frustrations subsidized and productivity increased.

Then I realized the value of emotional intelligence. If I had controlled my emotions my mind would not have wandered. The point upgrade to self would not have failed. I believe I had managed to do a point upgrade to self. When I do a major upgrade and succeed then life would change or may be the life would end. see you later

Presidential Politics

September 22nd, 2012

It takes another presidential election for me to wake up from the sleep. Unlike 2004, I am not confused about my choice this time. McCain was a great man whose presidential campaign was derailed by a wrong choice for VP nomination. I was confident that McCain would have stood against  radical elements in his party. I am not so sure about Governar Romney. While being Rich is not a disqualification, not having clue about life of an ordinary american is. I am worried that Romeny’s prescription of capitalism as an answer for all shortcomings in a society is the right medicine for the American middleclass.

Does it mean that the President has done everything right?  I do not think so. I do not believe so. I believe the presidents politics has not mastered the fundamental rule of engagement that you should negotiate from strength. Just good will alone  is not enought to bring people to table. There needs to be enough politicking, However he was given a very difficult situation and he has done a good job. The same people who created the mess with tax breaks, war and recession now claim that the economy tanked during this term is bogus. The US economy did very well when compared to most of the western world. It is a global recession and we are doing ok when compared to rest of the world. The same people whos’s primary goal was to Deny the president a second term ( remember not improving the economy, helping people etc etc.. just denying the president second term) claiming that we have not made any progress is immoral.

However not everyone of President’s policies make sense. There are lots of great tax reformation ideas that are being over looked. In a series of blogs I would write about my take on various policies. I am sure most of middle america would agree. May be it is time for a ” Amercian Prosperity Party”

Death — Poem by Vyas

May 6th, 2012

Grim and Cloaked it is
Bringing aversion, and
Darkness everywhere.

It destroys any
Any hope anyone has
It is fear itself.

It is plain wicked
It harms you in ways
That turns you insane

It doesn’t have
Soul, only an evil mind
It always corrupts

What is this repulsive
Disgusting piece of Vermin?
It is Death, pure Death

Abyss — Loss of Faith

May 6th, 2012

When I was transported
I hoped God would help us
I waited
I endured

As each day went by
My faith dripped away
I started losing hope
Every day was excruciating

If God existed, we thought
Why wasn’t he rescuing us?
Did we displease him?
We prayed and prayed

No anwer.
I came to a conclusion
If God was real,
Would Auschwitz, and Buna, still run?

I felt an abyss inside me
Yet, I felt stronger than before
I felt power, but that day was when
Hitler took my faith forever

— A poem by Vyas on holocaust