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.

Individuality in a Relationship….

“I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” ― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth.
This is the first meaningful and practical definition of love I came across more than 20 years back and I have tried hard to live by it.
This has also given me clarity in my thinking while deciding during the conflicts about my own individual preferences/choices as well as personality, with respect to the preferences/choices and personality of WE and US.
A person’s “Individuality” should be in harmony with the “togetherness” of his/her relationships. And it takes different shapes depending on relationship – the Individuality is very different in Parent-Child relationship, Individuality is very different in Friendship relationship, Individuality is very different in Teacher-Student relationship, Individuality is very different in Office-Colleague relationship, Individuality is very different in a love relationship and Individuality is very different in a Marriage relationship.
The question is – do you understand these relationships? Do you know how you manage your “Individuality” in these contexts? Are you matured enough to see “Interdependence” is more divine than “Independence”.
Human beings have evolved far more because we have the understanding of this interdependence. We have the emotional strength for “being together” against all odds. If we had focussed on being “individualistic”, we wouldn’t have been here as a race.
“The Will to extend…” cannot be demanded. One can give his/her will to other person voluntarily to provide complete support to nourish other person’s growth but unfortunately cannot demand for the same in tern from the other person.  In a true relationship, there are on negotiations.
In a relationship, both people extending complete support to each other OR not extending their will to support each other are just the same. One is completely harmonious and other is not, but both parties are in sync. The painful relationships are those where one person completely extends his/her will to support the other person and carries on daily life in a truly “interdependence” mode. But the second person confines self-will to cover just his/her individual interests in a ‘independence’ mode.
Those people, who live in “Interdependence” mode in a “independent” relationship, are completely miserable.
And remember – nobody is judging anybody. Everybody is right from where they stand and how they see things. That’s where what Dr. Scott Peck says is more meaningful. “The will to extend one’s self to nurture …”.

Indian Smart City Efforts…..

Narayana Murthy had given an interview on Smart cities effort in India and criticized the lack of visible progress, and compated Mysuru Infosys Campus as a model –

Below is my comments on the whole thing –

There is a Tyagaraja keertana which goes like “ఎందరో మహనుబావులు, అందరికి వందనములు”.. (there are so many great people, to all, my wishes/greetings).

This is the natural truth you learn as you move from an arrogant youth/adult into a matured and learned person. Knowing ‘I am great’ is being confident but thinking ‘I am the only one who is great’ is arrogance.

And there are many different ways of communicating the problems that plague the society, but expressing them in a condescending manner take the focus away from the problem and do injustice to all the value a person like Murthy has created in a country like India.

Building a new campus in Mysore with modern facilities on an open land is very different, and very easy than converting an existing habited city into a smart city. People have been living in Varanasi for 7,000+ years with narrow lanes and open drains. There is no way anybody going to demolish the houses, expand the roads/lanes, etc unless we want to behave like China.

Infosys-Mysore Infosys-Mysore1

Infosys Campus in Mysuru (above) and Varanasi (below).

Varanasi-2 Varanasi-1

A solution should be provided in context of space, time, society and culture.

I really miss 90’s Murthy. He was truly inspirational for all of us.

What’s happening in Indology?


There was an article published in The Diplomat on Aryan Invasion Theory and comments on the latest developments –

This is no different than the age old arguments that are being put forth for the last 6-7 decades by the so called ‘left liberal historians’. The modern arguments are not propagated by ‘Nationalists’ (they are common people, you see!), but eminent Mathematicians, Astronomers (NOT Astrologer), Linguistic experts, Archeologists and even the recent Genome studies – all are pointing in the different direction that what everybody believed for the last 150+ years of arguments that are standing on Max Mueller’s interpretation.

The Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) is run out its steam as nobody believes in it any more (even Romila Thapar has accepted it!). The next version – Aryan Migration Theory (AMT) is standing on a few unanswered questions from AIT like Indus script, lack of Horse depictions without any new arguments or proofs.

induscript indus-4

The new arguments about the whole new sequence of prehistoric events and ancient civilization started to come out in 90’s from Western world and the Indian experts (more so enthusiasts and experts in fields other than ‘History’) started exploring only after that. Officially declared History experts in India who have made their life and careers teaching and propagating one set of theory have not come to terms with the changing truth.

And can you imagine what will happen to the entire TN political and social fabric if it is true that Dravidians were never driven out (and no atrocities were committed either by invading warriors or native population) from Indus and Saraswathi banks, but they always have been the natives of South peninsula from the beginning. 🙂

What’s so surprising is that out of say 100 assumptions and postulates made by Max Mueller and his followers since then, more than 85 have been proved wrong in the last 25 years or so. Instead of looking at new theories, the so called reputed History experts still hold on to the illogical and unsubstantiated theory.

It will be good to get some debate (of course not getting personal) going on this topic.. I will dig up my research and can share here.

This is one topic – Indology – that is going to be attracting many more scholars globally than any other field in the next 100+ years.


Israeli Tourists in India…

Growing up in Hosapete, I was no stranger to the foreign travelers – with tons of them coming there to visit Hampi. The police quarters where we stayed was right next to the bus stand and everybody used to reach there. As kids of ’80s, we used to always hang around the bus stand to stare at these white skinned weirdly dressed untidy people get down from the buses and wait around. We use to run to those who would look at us and smile just to shake hands and say “Hello” and “Thank you” (the only two English words probably all us knew then apart from Yes and No) and giggling for every thing they asked/told us.

Its been a while since I went back there, close to 28 years. We went back there in 2011 to complete my father’s death rituals, and it was a great feeling to walk around in Hampi where I was the official guide to every relative who visited us.

But there was something very strange that attracted me/J – the signboards. Between two of us , we could not understand the script. I asked the owner and the lady said it was written in Hebrew, and we could not figure out why. She said that lot of Israelis visit Hampi every year and they are the best ones to provide hospitality to. She said they had remodeled their small house into multiple rooms and were renting them out specifically to Israelis. There was not even a regular bathroom in that place and she said they live with them the way her family lives with whatever facilities they have.

That remained in my head as a very interesting and unthinkable possibility and I kept running into news snippets here and there about how Israeli soldiers, after they finish their War duty visit India and spend months/years touring the country. It always fascinated me.

Now I read this and couldn’t help share it.

Moment of Happiness!

“When should one feel happy?

when you put the corn in the oven or when they start popping or when u get them in a bowl or actually when you put the first of them in your mouth?

Or, is it when someone somewhere sowed the corn seed many days before?”


This is what I had written 5 years back on my wall, and this was on my mind yesterday. And I realized that this question made a lot more sense now in my life.

Both happiness or sadness are result of series of connected events. We live a cumulative life, and not a discrete or disconnected life.

One who understands this connectedness of life – understands it better and creates a harmonious ecosystem for oneself, beloved ones and everybody.

Without this, one will just be a rebel with no existential or contributory value.

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  people’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?

Work, Society and Why am I an Entrepreneur?

“ಕಾಯಕವೇ ಕೈಲಾಸ” – ಶ್ರೀ ಬಸವೇಶ್ವರ

(“Doing one’s work honestly is like being in Shiva’s abode” – Shri Basaveshwara)

Every kid in Karnataka will hear/read/is thought the above single line philosophy from very early. Growing up in parts of North Karnataka this was engrained in my head even before I could understand what WORK was. Teachers, Parents and their friends, elderly visitors to the house, neighbourhood uncles/aunts – everybody quotes this to make the kids do things that they don’t want to do – particularly homework and housework. This philosophical foundation of Basaveshwara created a social revolutions in the 12th century by giving a religious connection/understanding to the hardships of one’s Work and Duty.

What I learnt in my childhood has stayed with me and assured me that I was not wasting my time when I put in those long long hours in my pre-college/college days and at work after that.  Particularly when I was running from 2nd Ave to 3rd Ave on Union Street at 10:55pm to catch the last bus to Bellevue in those cold rainy nights in Seattle after 14-15hours of work. There have been many more tough phases of life with respect to work, but I have sailed through them well.

Somewhere along the way, I put my hands on Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet”. These were pre-cell phone and internet days and most of my Sunday mornings in the US were spent in Barnes & Nobel or Borders.  The Prophet is phenomenal and monumental and the simplicity and the contextual expressions were just awesome. Along with everything else in that book, I loved what he says about Work.

Refer to a few gems from his words (you can refer here for his complete writing on Work) –

“You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.”

“When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.”

“And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.”

“And what is it to work with love?
It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart,
even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.”

And the best is – “Work is love made visible.”

This is so true and completely complements what I was brainwashed (in a good way of course) in the childhood that “Work is Worship”.

At the same time I heard one more context to work. And this was from Narayana Murthy of Infosys and this was before 2000’s. I don’t remember the specific context or the exact phrase, but what I remember goes something like this – adults spend most of their time in offices and with their colleagues. Its Organisation’s responsibility to make this entire experience better for the Employees so that when they go back home to their family and loved ones, they do not carry the stress and tension with them. Otherwise, they are not nice to their loved ones – they are moody, snappy or unsympathetic. This creates unhappy families and in-tern builds unhappy societies.

Murthy of 90’s was really awesome and very inspirational. I still remember the 20+ min speech he gave when 13 of us joined Infosys on 10-May-1993 and it still guides me in most of my decisions. He single handedly motivated the entire generation to work hard and make a difference to the society in building the “India” brand different from “land of snake charmers and elephant riders” along with his entire team.

He made us believe that we could change the world and build the future of India by making a difference to the Customers world wide.  He had a dream and vision, and we had energy and enthusiasm, and the combination created ripple effects and heavily influenced India narrative from that point onwards. Its a different matter that Infosys fell into the ‘predictability’ trap after 2000, and walked away from those basic qualities of risk taking which made it different in the first place.

And most recent reference to work came a couple of days back. I downloaded fresh episodes of HBR Podcasts and happened to listen to Gerath Jones’ “Simple Rules for Creating Great Places to Work”  (Episode# 494) promoting his new book Why Should Anyone Work Here?.  Listening to him talk about authenticity, trust and summarising at the end – “without good work, we can not have good society” – connected all the dots in my mind and provided the answer to the “WHY” (from Simon Sinek’s “Golden Circle” theory) of Employee Experts.

I have worked in large Organisations across the globe and very well understand how hard it is to be an Employee – to manage all the processes, escalations, updates, emails, status reports, people, politics, tasks, Customers, vendors, partners and few other things using as many different technology tools. Apart from Infosys in late 1990’s and Dell in early 2000’s, its been quite a challenge for me to find a Good Work Place. More often, we find the Technology and Processes significantly contribute to the not-so-good work place.

Technological limitations during early days of automation in 1980’s and the lack of innovation thereafter, are the reasons for the difficult work place environment. Traditional/legacy ERPs are focused on Departmental/Functional automation and their technical, functional and process architectures are centred around the Admin user as they were the only users of the automation efforts early on. This has driven the entire Enterprise Technology and Process architecture inward looking – focused on each process owner.

This results in a regular Employee using 10-15 different systems to get his/her work done in the Organisation creating a lot of frustration and headache for Employee as a user.  (a quick read on the beginnings and relevance of legacy technology and process architecture to current enterprise context).

This is the context in which I turned an Entrepreneur 4.5 years back and co-founded Employee Experts along with Maragathavalli Inbamuthiah. We reimagined Enterprise operations centred on an Employee and built all of Unified Talent Management, Employee Operations, Employee Service, Employee Engagement of an Enterprise on the same Singular platform.

We want to create better Experiences for Employees in all their Enterprise touch points.

No 10+ Systems. No Interfaces. No Different UIs. No Data Latencies. No Frustration. Its a single touch work tool inter-connecting Employees, Managers, HR team – all within the Organisation, with Candidates, Placement Agencies, Background Verification Agencies, Travel Agents, Customers and whoever else may be part of the Enterprise eco-system. This is our vision of Future Work Place tool.

We want to create HAPPY EMPLOYEES.

We want to enable our Customers build Good Work Places using Technology.

As an extension, we want to partner with our Customers to create Happier Families and Societies.

We have a very huge goal in front of us – to change the way Organizations function. To look at operations from end-user, Employee, perspective and not from Departments/Functions point-of-view. To shift the focus from process adherence to service quality and outcome measurements.

Its early days for us and the excitement so far among our Customers and the end-users, their Employees, is very motivating for us. They prove to us that we are on the right track in creating a Digital Workplace for the Future of Work.











ಜಾರಿಬಿದ್ದ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ

ಜಾರಿ ಬಿದ್ದ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರ
ವಿಶ್ವ ಬ್ರಹ್ಮಾಂಡದನಂತ ತಿರುಗಣೆಯೊಳಗಿನಿಂದ
ಜಾರುತುರುಳಿದೆ; ಪಥಬಿಟ್ಟು,
ಪ್ರಭೆ ತೊರೆದು, ಅದಾವುದೋ
ಮಾಯೆಯೊಳಗೆ ಸಿಲುಕಿ.

ಸಂಖ್ಯಾಸಂಖ್ಯ ಗ್ರಹತಾರೆಗಳ ಗುಚ್ಛದಲೊಂದು
ಮಿಂಚಂತೆ ಸುತೇಜದಿ ನಗುತ
ತಿರುಗುತಿತ್ತು, ತನ್ನದೇ ಕಕ್ಷೆಯಲ್ಲಿದು.
ಯಾವ ಗುರುತ್ವಾಕರ್ಷಣೆ ಬಲವೆಳೆಯಿತೋ
ತಳವರಿಯದ ಕಂದಕದೆಡೆಗೆ.

ತಪ್ಪಿದ್ದೀತೆಲ್ಲಿ ವಿಶ್ವ ನಿಯಮದಿ?
ಗಂಟಲೊಡೆದುದೇಕೋ ಲೋಕದ
ಯಾರಿಗುಂಟಷ್ಟೊಂದೊಲುಮೆ, ಈ ವಿಶಾಲ
ಬಯಲಿನಲಿ. ತನ್ನದೇ ಕಕ್ಷೆ, ತನ್ನದೇ
ಪರಿಧಿ, ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ. ಓಡುತಿವೆ. ತಿರುಗುತಿವೆ.
ಮಿನುಗುತಿವೆಯಲ್ಲ ಬಿದ್ದ ನಕ್ಷತ್ರದರಿವಿರದೆ.

– ಎಂಶ್ರೀ  17-Mar-1992

(remembering a great friend who was brilliant but fell off the trajectory as the years rolled by in the college)