Sunday, April 13, 2014

Summer Camps at Chrompet and Kodambakkam...

Summer Camp starts at end of April or first week of May. Read the doc here to know more about the program. We are looking for sponsors and volunteers. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Visit to Shirdi wale Sai Baba

I was in Mumbai last month for an office conference. I was swamped at work the entire week, but I had some time off on the weekend and a friend of mine suggested that I take a trip to Shirdi. When it comes to travelling I am always ready. So, I chalked out a schedule and switched on my computer to book my bus tickets to ShirdiOnline bus ticket bookings are the easiest thing I have come across, where your pass to travel, is just a click away.  I booked my ticket from “My Bus Tickets” and luckily I found a window seat.

I was leaving on a Friday evening and it so happened, that there was a rally that evening too. Mumbai traffic becomes nerve wracking as it is, and with the rally in full swing, it was nothing short of mayhem. I finally reached my pick up point for the bus and was all set to visit Shirdi. It takes about four and a half hours to reach Shirdi from Mumbai and it was a pleasant ride because of the magnificent sights through the Konkan region. Shirdi is not just about the Sai Baba temple but about the city itself. The sombreness of the place is its biggest attraction.

Shirdi Sai Baba Temple

A cup of coffee at sunrise, in my room, overlooking the sea made the trip all the more worthwhile. My exploration started with two local beaches in town, followed by the sacred Sai Baba temple. I also payed my respects at Baba Chavadi, Dwarkamai Musjid, Khandoba Mandir and other small temples in and around the city. During all of this, what caught my attention was a beautiful little museum called Dixit Wada, located within the Shri Sai Baba Sansthan Trust Comp which houses the belongings used by Sai Baba during his lifetime. Apart from the city’s sacred spirit, the biggest plus point about Shirdi is its authentic Marathi cuisine. With all the local flavours, my taste buds just went on a joyride.

Khandoba Temple

Shirdi Beach 

All I can say is that my trip was worth every penny. I felt refreshed and rejuvenated with the austerity of the place, the vintage Marathi cuisine and the sheer magnificence of the city. Shirdi truly cleanses ones soul with all its purity.

- Guest Post 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Make More Money - Be at the Right Place at the Right Time

This is the story of an extraordinary cucumber. Once upon a time in a small village, there lived a number of cucumbers. There was one among them that was the brightest and the smartest. Every day, all the other cucumbers gathered to listen to his wisdom. One day he taught them the wisdom of value addition and pricing. 

If the cucumber is in the farm, people just pluck them for free. The cucumber starts moving up the value chain when it goes into the market and is then sold by the kilos. Now, the pricing is Re.1/- in the market. A vendor purchases this cucumber, slices it, adds salt and spices and then it is sold in the train for Rs. 3/ -.

Now an hotelier purchases the cucumber for his hotel. The cucumber comes out as a salad beautifully dressed. The price of a cucumber changes to Rd. 20 /- in a small hotel to Rs.200/- in a five-star hotel where it is served on a silver platter.

These insights on the transition and moving up the value chain amazed all the other cucumbers. If a simple cucumber can increase its price, why can't you with your vast resources. 

-- Excerpts from "I Love Money" book by Suresh Padmanabhan 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How to Make Crab Curry or Masala? A Recipe for U...

The best time for buying crab is before new moon (amavasai). A week before new moon the crab has flesh. Even if you make crab fry occasionally, make it tasty. Let us look at a nice crab recipe to make crab curry or crab masala.


Cleaned crab - 1 Kg
4 medium-sized Onions - finely chopped
2 finely Chopped Tomatoes
2 teaspoons of Ginger Garlic Paste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
3 teaspoons chilli powder
3 teaspoons of coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon of pepper powder
1/2 teaspoon of cumin seed powder
2 Strips - Curry Leaves
1 tablespoon of coriander leaves
3 tablespoons of cooking oil
1 tablespoon of coconut paste (optional)

10 Steps to Prepare Crab Masala:

 1. Heat oil in a pan
 2. Add chopped onions and fry till golden brown
 3. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the fragrance subsides
 4. Add chopped tomatoes and fry
 5. Add coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric powder and fry
 6.  Add pepper powder, and cumin seed powder  and fry.                             

 7. Add curry leaves , coriander leaves, and coconut paste.
 8. Add salt.
 9. Add crab pieces and fry.
10. Pour water to just cover the crabs and wait till it is cooked.

Delicious crab fry is ready now!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

House of Cards by Sudha Murthy - Book Review

House of Cards is a story about a simple village girl Mridula, who migrates to Bangalore city along with her husband Sanjay. Actually, Mridula and Sanjay fall in love during a wedding and Mridula marries him despite a deformity in one of his hands. 

Both Mridula and Sanjay enjoy their government jobs. Mridula is a school teacher and Sanjay is a doctor (gynecologist). They are happy to lead a simple life. But, Sanjay faces a lot of problems in the government hospital setup. Even though he is well qualified, he is refused a trip abroad  Some of his seniors play politics. When Sanjay is disillusioned, his friend Alex shows him an alternate path.

Alex convinces Sanjay to leave his government job and start a private hospital along with him. Sanjay's behaviour and attitude changes when money flows from the nursing home. Sanjay took all decisions in the family unlike the early days when both Sanjay and Mridula would discuss and take a decision. Their son Sishir was a spendthrift and Sanjay and Sishir always formed a team against Mridula. Sishir never listened to Mridula.

Their marriage goes on well till one day Mridula finds out that Sanjay was siphoning more than 50 lakhs to his sister and mother. Mridula was kept in the dark about these transactions. Mridula is very disappointed. She gets very depressed and meets a famous psychiatrist. Sanjay refuses to accompany Mridula during her visits to the psychiatrist. He keeps dodging her. 

On their 25th wedding anniversary, when a big party is planned, Mridula leaves Sanjay and goes to her village. What happens in the end is for you to read and know.

Sudha Murthy sticks to her favorite theme - the clashes between the husband and wife when the husband becomes highly successful and rich.  The story starts with a dedication "To all the Mridulas who suffer silently." The character portrayal of Sanjay's mother Ratnamma who lives in her own world of money lending is really good. Sudha Murthy shares her wisdom about marriages and what men and women expect in a marriage. These themes are brought out well when Sishir tries to date a girl named Neha. There are many supporting characters in the story. Sometimes you feel that too much of information is given about minor or insignificant characters who appear just once or twice in the story. Sudha Murthy excels in her portrayal of various travails in government hospitals.

The book runs to 232 pages and is published by Penguin Books. The prize of the book is Rs. 250. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Slow Down Culture --- Tortoise or Hare ?

An interesting reflection: 'Slow Down Culture...'....Good one..Please read.

It's been 18 years since I joined Volvo, a Swedish company. Working for them has proven to be an interesting experience. Any project here takes 2 years to be finalized, even if the idea is simple and brilliant. It's a rule.

Globalize processes have caused in us (all over the world) a general sense of searching for immediate results. Therefore, we have come to possess a need to see immediate results. This contrasts greatly with the slow movements of the Swedish. They, on the other hand, debate, debate, debate, hold x quantity of meetings and work with a slowdown scheme. At the end, this always yields better results.

Said in another words:
1. Sweden is about the size of San Pablo , a state in Brazil .
2. Sweden has 2 million inhabitants.
3. Stockholm has 500,000 people.
4. Volvo, Escania, Ericsson, Electrolux, Nokia are some of its renowned companies. Volvo supplies the NASA.

The first time I was in Sweden , one of my colleagues picked me up at the hotel every morning. It was September, bit cold and snowy. We would arrive early at the company and he would park far away from the entrance (2000 employees drive their car to work). The first day, I didn't say anything, either the second or third. One morning I asked, "Do you have a fixed parking space? I've noticed we park far from the entrance even when there are no other cars in the lot." To which he replied, "Since we're here early we'll have time to walk, and whoever gets in late will be late and need a place closer to the door. Don't you think so?" Imagine my face.

Nowadays, there's a movement in Europe named Slow Food. This movement establishes that people should eat and drink slowly, with enough time to taste their food, spend time with the family, friends, without rushing. Slow Food is against its counterpart: the spirit of Fast Food and what it stands for as a lifestyle. Slow Food is the basis for a bigger movement called Slow Europe, as mentioned by Business Week. Basically, the movement questions the sense of "hurry" and "craziness" generated by globalization, fuelled by the desire of "having in quantity" (life status) versus "having with quality", "life quality" or the quality of being".

French people, even though they work only 35 hours per week, are more productive than Americans or British. Germans have established 29 hour workweeks and have seen their productivity been driven up by 20%. This slow attitude has brought forth the US's attention, pupils of the fast and the "do it now!". This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, perfection, with more attention to detail and less stress. It means reducing rejects and wastage. It means re-establishing family values, friends. This no-rush attitude doesn't represent doing less or having a lower productivity. It means working and doing things with greater quality, perfection, with more attention to detail and less stress. It, free and leisure time. Taking the "now", present and concrete, versus the "global", undefined and anonymous future. It means taking humans' essential values, the simplicity of living. It stands for a less coercive work environment, more happy, lighter and more productive where humans enjoy doing what they know best how to do.

It's time to stop and think on how companies need to develop serious quality with no-rush that will increase productivity and the quality of products and services, without losing the essence of spirit.

In the movie, Scent of a Woman, there's a scene where Al Pacino asks a girl to dance and she replies, "I can't, my boyfriend will be here any minute now". To which Al responds, "A life is lived in an instant". Then they dance to a tango.

Many of us live our lives running behind time, but we only reach it when we die of a heart attack or in a car accident rushing to be on time. Others are so anxious of living the future that they forget to live the present, which is the only time that truly exists. We all have equal time throughout the world. No one has more or less. The difference lies in how each one of us does with our time. We need to live each moment. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans".

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Message from Tapas Das Mohapatra - Life Coach and Corporate Trainer

I had the opportunity to attend a seminar by Tapas (Thanks to Lions Clubs in Chennai). Tapas spoke only for an hour, without a break, but the talk was interesting and you cannot afford to bat an eyelid as you may miss a good thought. 

"Connect before you Correct" was a nice message by Tapas. He gave an analogy of how we cannot apply soap directly to our body, but must first apply water and then soap. Here water is "connect" and soap is "correct." Similarly, we need to establish a rapport with a person before we can correct them. 

Tapas also talked about the difference between "Nature" and "Design". If we just went by nature, people will label us as mad. Instead, we need to design our life - just like how you design your curriculum vitae for a better job or higher salary. 

When we are in a good mood our mind switch is "ON." So, we behave positively and act wisely. But when we are in a bad mood, our switch is "OFF."  So, we behave negatively and act otherwise. It is good to keep our mental switch ON.

Tapas asked us not to take our relationships for granted and to design our relationships. He asks us also to stay away from people who behave like a virus. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Know the Way - 81 Fun Ways to Live the Tao - A New Book for Kids

My friend and classmate Nilanjana Krishnan has penned a book for children. For each of the 81 ways of the Tao, Nilanjana has included experiential learning methods to teach love, equality, empathy, and more. The book comes with illustrations by Nilanjana's sister-in-law Dhivya Kaliaapan. Bob Umlas is the co-author. 

So, look forward to a dose of Eesop Fables, analogies, proverbs, activities, questions, affirmations and WoW stories for each of the 81 verses/chapters of the Tao. Happy Reading. Click here to buy the book online.

Check out Anjoo's article "My Child, my First Spiritual Teacher," that she wrote as guest post few years back.