Friday, August 23, 2013

Are we Minion-izing ?

After watching Despicable me and while reading so many books on Leadership and Self development; a self awareness occured.

Do we in our actions become lazy about making decisions ? We are in knowledge economy one where we not only do things, but need to know what to do. Often times we find ourselves stuck and easiest way seems to be being told what to do. Almost like Minions !!
YEs part of it is also being stupid; it shows up like we are beings of lower mental prowess ( 5 arivu jeevangal). Worse yet we blame others when things go wrong.

How do we un-minionize ?
Awareness is the key; every moment ! Does it mean becoming a man ? Doesnt matter how you want to label it or call it. But yes it is about calling the shots.

Is this easy ?
Bad habits are hard to lose, nevertheless like in meditation where mind wanders and we keep bringing it back, we need to constantly try. It needs patience; it needs interest/passion; it needs expertise of the matter; sincerity & commitnment get there.

Do you feel this ?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Post it addiction

Back in my childhood days, I have come across sextageneranians who could not classify there dialect between work and personel life. For instance, my dad would assign me a to-do list and last item was 'Report Compliance'. Appa I see you smiling ! Another example men asking for deadlines on pending items or saying some task at home is highest priority.
It is not bad, except I now annoy B the exact same way. I ask him to agree upon 'action items' to tackle a decision. I think of him as my team in dealing certain siutations. I "allocate resources" to projects at home :)..It is fun to be a Manager at certain things ;-)..
One implication of this condition which we can term 'post-it-ism' or having a thing for post it notes ! I have a task dairy planner for weekly goals. For daily goals, post its are cool. Sahar, my friend suggested pink for personal and yellow for official. When i leave work, I stick 'tonight to do' non brain consuming mundane work on my office laptop. At home there are things to do and things to buy on separate post it notes each, color coded. I leave notes to B - task notes as he wouls confess :-P..
Ok yeah, I ll agree it is sometimes a post it explosion. It is like pens to me, the more the merrier. But will you agree with me, when I say trashing these notes on 'task completion' is a wonderful experience ? - A little victory in time !

Monday, August 30, 2010

Digital Image Processing - FA 2010

I took this course not with much idea of things done on images, but I am starting to be amused by the course and thoroughly enjoying it, given that it's offered by one of the best professors in my school.
Today's class on 'human vision' was a very good learning experience. Can you believe that our eye has been so carefully designed that emulating just the vision (leaving the higher level processing) has taken so much research? Adding senses to it for Ariifical Intelligence purposes has still a long way to go. Makes me feel who can be a better engineer than god. We have been trying to copy from his design and that's when we realize how much thought has gone into our existence, which we take for granted.

Here are list of little things your eye can do for you
1. The curvature of the lens is adjusted either to be curved to see nearby objects or made flat in order to see far objects.
2. The refractive index is denser than air in order to take in the photons from visible spectrum, instead of reflecting the useful information.
3. The pupil is like an aperture to shut when there is too much light and open when it's dark in order for you to see clearly.
4. The retina is the photosensitive receptor/sensor from where the gathered information is sent to the brain. There is a 5 degree tilt on optical axis to let the lines meet in order for us to focus and let the two lines meet. Fovea has denser collection of photoreceptors for acute vision.
5. The cornea which is the hard transparent layer of eye contributes to power. It also acts like a filter to protect harmful UV rays as they can damage the tissue beneath.

There is so much more than this that the eye does. One of the hardest things to emulate on robots was to catch objects, predicting the future trajectory of ball/object.
It amazes how easily you can identify exactly what you look for, analyze depth in the image.
I am also learning how our vision is relative and even tends to be fooled sometimes, but it is so perfect that 2/3 rd of our brain processes visual inputs and is so vital to our existence.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Some more notes from the elephant and the dragon

- C.K.Prahalad says that businesses will gain by supplying to the lowest bottom of the pyramid, the middle class and lower.

- Your shirt or car would have traveled more countries than you did or will ever do. Thanks to the global supply chain and interwoven economies.

- If US were to continue it's dominance, people may have to re-train for jobs, get into nano, green tech sectors, improve infrastructure ( China's is better according some observations), start spending consciously ( Collectively Americans are in nagative savings mode as opposed to 30% odd savings in India and China. They spend more than they earn. Reason - in my view it is abundance of goods and luxuries all around and seamless ways of payments, plastic cards I mean..Cannot blame americans completely if they hoard their garage with goods from China), invest in education ( I was startled to see that American 15 year olds are 15 th or 8 th in their maths and science skills compared to rest of the world. This is not okay given that thye will have people all over the world competing with them unlike their parent's times), invest in reasearch and hence foster creativity and innovation.

- Why is all not reversible ? 'Buy America' is unlikely - Poeple have chosen Toyotas to Ford in past, they may not buy expensive goods from America and choose against low priced walmart made in china goods, they do not care who does the back office work like tax filing or mortgages or insurances - as long as it's done.
Protectionism - Does not work either, Europe suffered as a result with stagnant growth rates due to protectionism. Protecting jobs here would mean missing out on 'low wage' options and hence when the same person who lost job becomes a consumer, will have to pay heavy prices for all his expenses, which leaves less cash in his hands. Americans are net gainers on long run. $1 tn is the gain in 2006 and more in years that followed.

- Meredith even predicts from her observations that China and India will have a share of the Superpower pie in coming years. Indians will throw the government if the growth is not sustained and similarly there might be a public roar if they go without jobs. Hence their governments will make sure that they have a double digit growth.

- Ms.Meredith also talks about challenges both countries face in coming years..Like I already said it's a must read for many of us.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Elephant and Dragon - East meets West

For me holidays mean resting, relaxing, reading and learning. I recently borrowed an audio book( audio books work best with me these days, given my 10 month old who would tear books to pieces. At our home the digital version of anything is more invincible than paper.) by Robyn Meredith called 'The elephant and the dragon. This was long overdue given that the book came out in 2006. It has been by far a very popular book in "China India Economy" domain.

I have just read 3 chapters amounting to 2 CDs in a set of 8 and loved it completely.
Ms.Meredith is a foreign correspondent for Forbes in China and India. She has managed to paint a realistic ( in my view) picture of what's happening to China and India and what it means to the world. This book is an absolute read for all Asians, Indians and Americans as well.

Since she is a news correspondent, through an audio book, she has taken us to the roads, airports and cities in India and I could also completely visualize her descriptions about Beijing, Shanghai and many other Chinese towns. You can relate the audio book to NPR broadcasts if you ever heard the public broadcasting station at 87.7 FM.

The verbiage excellently captures the actual feelings of post-globalization citizens and benefactors. Interestingly you do not get bogged down by statistics and appreciate what's happening in the East comprehensively and clearly. As a 20 or 30 something you may not have witnessed the reforms that were executed in both the countries ( 1978 - China 1991 - India) and how it changed the way things were done forever.

As a Easterner living in the West, this book led me to imagine the amount of opportunities these countries have in future and to sustain a 8% plus GDP growth given the enormous investments, labor and other resources going into the system.

A part of book tells why it has been easier in China to implement the infrastructure and not in India. Politician Kamalnath has attributed this to the Authoritarian rule in China where things happen at snap of the finger, as opposed to India where the government is decided by the people (Democracy) and thrown out of control if reforms are seen as some threat. Additionally corruption and red tapism slows down the process, making India an Elephant and not a tiger. Atleast it's progressing steadily like a druken man as the book quotes. China is ahead of the two and the Infrastructure is extremely modernand fast growing with newer technologies. A trip to China from India is like a trip to Singapore - a treat to eyes as I can conceive from Meredith's viewpoint.

Also this book is in sync with "my dreams for my country". Better roads, better facilities, better planning, less waiting and an Internet based living. Sitting in 2010 one can imagine more realistically about how India is going to change. A change that is inevitable, given that people are starting to believe in open competition, hence making voting decisions and older generations that are bein g replaced by better salaried young people who are receptive to new ways of living, giving rise to a less conservative and more modern culture.

A farmer's son is no more a farmer, he is sitting in air conditioned rooms with coffee machines and other amenities beside him at work. This boy wants to build a bigger life for his parents, wants to buy a microwave, AC or Flat screen TV, things unimaginable in his father's days.
Or take a girl, who if she was out of college ( provided she even made it to college) looking for jobs before 1990 would have landed on a clerical post, irrespective of her skills, but now is capable of supporting a whole family because she is a part of 2010 India. This has happened within my family.

Elephants and dragons were created when the east opened it's doors to the prosperous westerners. Suddenly East is a fertile land for young, energetic entrepreneurs.

Undoubtedly there is more to happen, newer challenges with free market, but it's all exciting and promising ! !

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A post accident blog - Women and Driving

When you have been on roads too frequently and too long, you trust your instincts more than you should. A recent accident is a testimony to the fact. With my then 8 month old baby I tried making it to the signal followed by a sharp turn at the shoulder of a highway hitting the curb.
For a second I lost it all. Dhrithi started crying out of the impact and I was panicking thinking that it's all out of control. It was 2 30 Pm and B had to return from work to assess the damages and take the car to mechanic. The rim was broken and alignment was gone. I stood in the middle of shoulder with Dhrithi crying loud. Since this was my first accident, I didn't know who to call or what it meant to us.

I went BECAR. Like many others I am now a victim of luxury. The car also means much more to me when I have the baby along. For next few weeks, I had to commute by bus with Dhrithi in a baby carrier, with a stroller that I carried into the bus and an umbrella since it rained then. I take pride in being someone who can do adapt to circumstances extraordinarily and fortunately I even did, but an accident had it's impacts.

The cop didn't give me any ticket, my brain did. My self esteem as a decent driver plummeted, My carelessness costed us several thousand dollars., which the insurance had to pay. I am less confortable taking out the car with confidence. Today when I had to drive back from the mechanic, I was scared all through the way for 15 miles.

The bill contained repairs for parts I hardly knew they existed. I have cared less to know about mechanism inside a car just like any other woman. That's a part of being a woman. If you are reading this post and deny this because you drive well and also are familiar with the parts, just pat yourself on the back because you are a rare find according to me.

Women and Driving - Still a paradox.

Good news is that this could have been worse, also I learned my lesson by paying a heavy price.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Confessions...Clock Ticking..A mommy's blog

As I start to write, I can see the only few minutes left before my little one gets back home. My husband has been sweet enough to give me some ME-time. Dhrithi will be back after a small grocery shopping trip after which she needs me every moment literally.

April 10th 2009 this irreversible change happened. B and me had hardly any idea what it was like having or raising a baby till we had this little angel in our lives. When she was born she was a total stranger to me. Like all new mothers, I was not used to the whole thing. Frankly I did not know that it will be followed by sleepless nights or frequent diaper changes or having a constant background noise at home.Whoosh ! Today this little girl turns 8 months old.

Now - I call her my BOSS. I can sleep when she sleeps and go out with friends when she is not cranky, play when she wants to, sing a poem even if I sound like a donkey and I am yelling inside 'I don't want to sing now'. Not to scare the to-be parents, but it is quite a project to have and bring up a baby. For every waking hour that I spend there are thousand things 'to be done' waiting on the line. A clumsy time-manager and truckloads of chores to run - Perfectly explains me.... Rewind 2 years, I was quite a princess a sleepy, spoiled and a lazy one. Rewind 4 years, I used to throw tantrums at my parent's. Further back, I didn't know how to make coffee or cook rice at age of 17. Now within last few months, I can do literally anything. Arms made of steel, stronger heart and Increased Confidence - this has been a wonderful phase of my life. Yes the kitchen remains unclean sometimes , my books are all over the house, reports to be finished..but I continue to exist ..:-)

You will not have grown up for several years in life and suddenly in one year, you see so many changes all at once. It is one of those significant times, when you surprise yourself.

So what's the incentive. I call it the Magic..Parents can relate to it. When I get back from classes stone tired, one smile on D's face energizes me, lights me up and motivates me. My husband is a great co-parent. He understands Dhrithi's nuances even better sometimes and she is his little baby doll who he dresses up. He totally wants to spoil her. He is a natural unlike me.

I have been everywhere - classes, potluck parties, long phone calls and web conferences, outings, shopping, study groups, temples, cooking exotic snacks, throwing dinner socials, lap sit times for Dhrithi, support group for new mommies, watching parenting shows, doctor visits, project meetings, public libraries, visiting friends..

Looking back it has been wonderful 8 months of my life. As for baby rearing, only good memories stay. I am a standing testimony to the fact.

Thanks to the Balajees !