Life as a 13yr old sees it

Yesterday I let Anjali read one of half written short stories and wanted her to comment on it.

She commented on the structure of the story, narration style, character portrayal and language… which were all very impressively accurate.

In the end she said that the doesn’t like the main character – The Girl.

I asked why she doesn’t like her.

Her reply was that nobody in real life is so free. Everybody’s life has a framework, definition and constraints. The Girl in my story was completely free of all these things and that’s not real/possible in the practical world.

I was quite for some time. This was the essence of my story and she was right on the spot.

I asked her after a few minutes – what would happen if The Girl decides to not acknowledge those frameworks, definitions and constraints in her life, and decides to live the way she wants. Because my Girl could do that.

She thought for a few seconds and replied.

“If The Girl decides to ignore the realities of life and live the way she wants to live, she may be happy, but she would definitely hurt people who are close to her and love her”.

I was actually speechless. And this is 13year old talking.

I have not seen many 40year olds having such an understanding of life. Most of them get stuck at ‘Independent’ phase during their growth from childhood to adolescence, and never cross over to the harmonious ‘Inter-Dependent’ phase of life.

Being Independent is being carelessness, suits well at adulthood. As you grow beyond those years, you take responsibility for your life and your loved ones. If the same thing happens from others in your life, you have harmony.

If The Girl is stuck in the “Independent” phase, and her loved ones are in the ‘Inter-Dependent’ phase, and take responsibility for her, she would definitely feel suffocation and in the end she is completely filled with complaints without even realizing how to manage life. And if she has decided that she would not even acknowledge life in its entirety, and bulldoze her way through it (figurative speech – the bulldozing is normally expressed through passive aggressiveness) the life is very difficult for people who truly love her.

Difficult relations are those, where two people are standing on the two sides of this chasm – one is trying to “independent” and “free”, and the other is trying to be “inter-dependent” and “responsible”.

I am so proud of my little Girl.

Architecture, Poems, Dance and Coding….

A must watch for all those who seek/see design patters in every aspect of life.

Architecture, from very early days of human civilization, has been one of the most prominent method of expression our dreams and aspirations.

Like in any field, a great architect can create a beautiful structure – just like a great poet writing a beautiful poem, just like a great painter making a beautiful painting and even a great programmer producing a beautiful code.

I got connected to architecture during our 2000 Thanksgiving visit to Armstrongs (Susan/Rex) at Phoenix, AZ. I was mesmerised by Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and I started to observe/learn the patters that exist across all fields. That realization has helped me a lot to learn over the years and grow. I talk about it all the time to my team (though the example I often give them is Hrithik Roshan’s dance sequences in Hindi movies!)

Enjoy the Ted talk. This is one of the good examples of Design Thinking.

Technology in Indian Government and What Entreprises can learn from it?

For those who are following what’s happening in India for the last 15+ months in terms of Government using Social Technology tools to simply collapse bureaucracy and escalation layers to connect to common people is amazing.

Its not just the Prime Minister who keeps tweeting about his meetings, discussions and selfies with global leaders, but also it is spreading to others as well. His use of technology to reach out people, seek their opinion about the Govt policies, addressing issues and complaints – particularly in the areas of pension payments for widows have brought a fresh air to the governance in India where apathy is plenty everywhere.

One particular incident a couple of months back comes to my mind. A women traveller in a train was being harassed by a rude co-passenger and she tweeted about it tagging the Railway Minister tweeter account. Within seconds apparently she got a reply asking for train/seat details and the next station. In the next 15 minutes when the train reached the station, Police came into the compartment, sorted out the issues and moved the male passenger to a different section. Things like this are unheard of and its amazing how technology, and more so the political leaders are adopting it to provide basic services and security to the students.

Examples of Indians stuck in foreign land with stolen passports and in countries during troubled times, reaching out to the External Minister and she providing specific instructions and complete solution to their problems are many. I think no other country is providing such speedy resolutions to their citizens in foreign land so much alacrity.

This is not just the ruling party of BJP. Yesterday I was reading about how the young Deputy CM of Bihar is responding to the common citizen’s requests. Apparently a girl tagged him on a complaint that her scholarship money was not being released by the relevant State Govt agency for many days and how she was tired of following up. After she posted that, she got her scholarship amount released in just two days. Not just that, it was reported that the Deputy CM reviewed all the pending Scholarship payments across the State and specifically instructed his officers to clear everything in the next 2 weeks or so.

Apart form this, Prime Minister, CMs, Ministers having real time Video Conferences with multiple stakeholders to review a specific situation and taking collaborative decision is common in Indian administration.

All the credit should go to Chandrababu Naidu for this technology revolution in Government sector in India. It was almost 15-16 years back he took the initiate for e-Governance across Andra Pradesh and brought in gadgets, video conference, Internet and hi-tech bus.

In spite of all the problems, Indian is at cutting edge technology when it comes to Consumers and Services. As a Country we have always been a mix of opposites co-existing. I still remember the a couple of photos we used in all our PPTs while I was at Infosys – (i) a villager on a bullock cart opposite Indian National Parliament and talking on the cell phone, and (ii) Security forces carrying electronic voting machines on Elephants to remote villages that did not have basic road and electricity services.

Having your Prime Minister, Railway Minister, HRD Minister, Foreign Minister, Deputy CM accessible almost real time on the other side of Twitter or Facebook – is an awesome Citizen Empowerment, Engagement and Service. The impact to society is real and fast. As I mentioned, for a Country like India its manyfold – it creates a positive emotion and purpose in ┬ápeople’s minds, gives them confidence that some local gunda or a government clerk cannot hold him/her for ransome – which has been the story for decades.

Now the question is what are the lessons Entreprises can get out of this? Are they even listening? Collaboration is not just posting pictures of picnics or pet animals. If the Collaboration is not Context sensitive, like it is in Government, then it is of no use. Can the Leadership team engage with Employees using technology the way the Indian Government is doing? And in doing so build a completely Engaged eco-system of Happy Employees?