Friday, December 17, 2010

The Mirror

I look in the mirror
And what do I see?
A strange looking person
That cannot be me.

For I am much younger
And not nearly so fat
As that face in the mirror
I am looking at.

Oh, where are the mirrors
That I used to know
Like the ones which were
Made thirty years ago?

Now all things have changed
And I’m sure you’ll agree
Mirrors are not as good
As they used to be.

So never be concerned,
If wrinkles appear
For one thing I’ve learned
Which is very clear,

Should your complexion
Be less than perfection,
It is really the mirror
That needs correction!!

Edmund Burke
1729 – 1797, Irish Philosopher.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Four Years It Is!!

Phew!! And what a journey it has been! Got up this morning and spent a few minutes on the edge of the bed recollecting the last 4 years. It almost felt like, wow, I incubated a baby. (I am sure a lesser feeling, but felt good).

We've been through tough times, easy times, fun times, sorry times. A plethora of emotions; and not one emotion that I would have wanted to miss. The possibilities of conjecturing are manifold; so have always refrained from giving comparisons; "oh, this would have been better or that might have been." But will take this one exception today. I don't think I would have been able to have such a self-evolving experience had I been anywhere, anyplace else.

Not only does it feel good to be able to "create employment" and see; in however infitessimally small manner it may be; the direct impact of value creation; and all those big things. The bottom line is; that Phonon has been with me and me with Phonon these last four years; and what more we've stuck it through. And we've stuck it through a lot.

Wishes to everyone who has been associated with Phonon; well-wishers, vendors, present and past employees, customers, seniors, friends and all those who have ever associated themselves with Phonon.

Soak in the moment, touch wood and move on now. There's a long road ahead and its back to objectivity.
i don't wanna close my eyes,
i don't wanna fall asleep...

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Goodbye Blue Sky...oops, Yellow Racquet

My five year old Dunlop squash racquet finally gave way at the court yesterday. Well, it did go through a lot of wear and tear over the last five years.

Made me learn to respect the racquet (no violations on racquet abuse on this one). Though it probably stayed with me through countless heat the ball sessions on court. Time that would help me block myself of from everything else and just keep hitting along the wall drives; warming the ball; a wonderful outlet for all the built up energies.

Which reminds me of the times in the last few years where I played sport; then took a break and then got back to sport etc. Its a wise activity to pursue a sport. Not only does all work and no play make Jack a dull boy, but the need for a physically fit body is baser in the hierarchy to a fit and agile mind.

Scientific studies might abound on the benefit of sports but this is what I gain from sport:
  • Gives me time-off from the normal worries and block thoughts out. It's better than sleep; or rather I would say it is essential for a good night's sleep. Sleeping after having played at any time during the day feels very different from a normal-non-sport-workday's sleep.
  • Removes toxins and all the other non-essential material from my body through sweat. Yes, just as our outer body shines through various beautifying methods that we so frequently abuse; an easier way is to let perspiration do its magic. It's also a wonderful air-conditioner.
  • Gives me a good appetite and ensures that a little lesser of the lard builds up around the midriff.
So anyway, mid-way through the game when the Dunlop racquet broke; I switched to my alternate Prince racquet. Good racquet no doubt. Wonderful control; but nothing like the feel and back given by my Dunlop. Call it Pavlovian Adaption for all I care; or getting way too used to something that's been a part of life; but nothing like the feel of a Dunlop Graphite. RIP, buddy.

Reminds me of Dr. Evil from Austin Powers. Minnie Me, what would I do if you died? Oh, I would just get another one. But in those ten minutes I'll be inconsolable. :)

Now, here's the problem. No sports shop in Baroda stocks Dunlop squash racquets. So begins the search....

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Excerpt from Kipling

Land of out birth we pledge to thee
Our love and toil for years to be;
When we are grown and take our place
As men and women with our race.

'Land of Our Birth'
Rudyard Kipling

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What is it with Dreams these days?

A Dream within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep - while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

-Edgar Allen Poe

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A book on poetry...

...thats what I need (or dream of it).

A Dream

In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream - that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro' storm and night,
So trembled from afar
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth's day-star?

-Edgar Allen Poe

Friday, September 03, 2010

Bothering Thought

So much to read,
and so much more to write
Where do I find the time?
For such a deed
The time always gets right!

Never for the Verse!

On this nice fateful day, I quote a poem (Eliot's) sent across by a dear friend.
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, "Do I dare?" and, "Do I dare?"
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair--
(They will say: 'How his hair is growing thin!")
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin--
(They will say: "But how his arms and legs are thin!")
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume?

"The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by TS ELiot
Poignant, truthful, hurtful at places and yet in such light vein. What would mankind have been without verse. Which reminds me of Dead Poets' Society and voila, I have a name for this post!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Response to Mr. Vir Sanghvi's Comments on NDNC

Dear Mr. Sanghvi,

Since you have not responded to my tweets or bothered to provide any further inputs, I write this open letter in response to:
  1. Your blog post regarding TUCC:
  2. Your Aritcle in the Hindustan Times regarding TUCC:
  3. My questions sent on Twitter to @virsanghvi:

While I lack your eloquence in the written word, I will try to put my point across as succintly as my skills permit. My two simple questions (that I have also asked you on Twitter) are:

  • How long has it been that you have been registered on NDNC registry?
  • What's been the response post the 45 day period of registering on the NDNC registry?
I am not against your inputs or providing constructive criticism on wide ranging issues. These questions I ask since it is this very reason of mis-information and that too often by reputed personalities such as yourself cause this. Plus in our country with much lower than average awareness levels these create difficult public perceptions than what the reality holds.

The answer to my queries is, that it is less than 45 days since you registered on the NDNC. While there are breaches on the NDNC registry; I have experimented on multiple networks, Tata, Reliance, Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL. These together form about 80% of the operator traffic; and the number of non-compliances after 45 days of registration is negligible, if not zero.

Based on the above self-answer to my questions, it definitely is evident that you are either not aware of the NDNC Registry process or have decided to turn a blind eye to those to write what in normal journalism consumer parlance would be called a sensational and hard-hitting article or you really have a problem. But considering my empirical tests; the probability of the third option is very low. Also, that brings me to a separate question; when you received TUCC, how many times have you taken the effort to complain to your telecom operator regarding this (that is after the normal 45 day stipulated period of NDNC registration)?

I would have much appreciated that along with the articles that you published; which, though a little self-gratifying are fine and acceptable in the normal course of freedom of speech. However, it would have been much more constructive had you participated in the Consultative Paper process and the Open House kept thereafter by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. As did another gentleman from the fourth estate, who did give very pertinent inputs. Unfortunately, he is probably not as senior as yourself.


Ujwal Makhija.

p.s. I still await your feedback on when you regsitered on the NDNC Registry and the outcome (after 45 days).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

And How We Grow....

...Just a little. :-)

A few months to four years of having started Phonon, we go for our first international sales call tomorrow. Lessons that I learnt:
  • One happy customer is better than ten sales people.
  • Stick to the basics, operational excellence, product differentiation and cost leadership.
  • Stick to the other basic, hang on; its rosier than you thought.
  • Focus! Focus! Focus!
  • Love what you do. Your passion reflects in your work.
  • Know what you do and say. Stand by your words.
  • Rolling your sleeves and getting to the job is the best way of solving the problem.
  • Solve your customers' problems like they were your own. If the customer makes money, so do you.
  • Focus on your tasks at hand!
  • Bite just a little more than what you can chew, not a lot more.
  • Build a team and delegate. People want to take ownership; make them grow with you!
  • Opportunity knocks...very gently. Got to be alert; got to be wise.
  • Be cool!! A calm mind always makes better decisions.
  • Serve with a smile; even if on the phone.
  • Last but not the least, did I say, Focus?
To growth!

Good luck, Phonon!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

On an Idyllic Sunday Afternoon

Propped against the wall I sit
With thoughts that keep fluttering
Momentarily now, looking at the grey clouds
Fluttering in a jiffy to yesterday
of the bright blue sky (yes, GNR)
And then in a trance thinking of tomorrow
How fickle life is; and how strong the character.

Days of the yore that come
With the swat of the PT teacher's whistle string
Turning red the back of our thighs
To the English prose classes; about Kipling and spice
Friends and the tease
Days when we dreamed
of going to college or making it big

College days and ones spent
wooing and occasionally, oh ever so, being
The idealism and fire, the want to be the best
And yet, not miss a moment of fun
Slumbering away those hot summer afternoons
In the library stacks; and being woken up by the Librarian
And aspiring, each day to be healthy, wealthy and gay (sic!)

Toiling the midnight oil
Trying to make our dreams come true
Working each day as if it would never end
And making the most in what Rand
would agree be productive achievement
Never failing sight of the vision
Growing by the day, adding dimensions to life
Getting caught in an abyss becoming
Another Brick In the Wall (the video)
But that's where God comes in and gives me a kick
Says, son, you aren't fit to be mashed to sausage.

So go on, dream, smile, work and enjoy.
But remember, don't let those dreams become your master.
That's when I remember that the constants through our lives remain
Our dreams and our guides.

Thoughts go out to my parents, teachers, gurus, well-wishers, elders, friends, authors, books, poets on this auspicious day of Guru Poornima. Thank you for all the light you shed on my path.

Thursday, July 01, 2010


Just realised that the last four blog entries are all verses or literature received from others.

Am I the romantic-coming-out-of-the-closet? Gosh!! Worse still, a plagiarising-romantic-coming-out-of-the-closet!!

Nah, but there's so much to read out there, so much to digest, so much to do. A quiet week in a Buddhist monaestry reading would be the best anti-dote.

But then the thought of the woods being lovely, dark and deep and miles to go before I sleep, a legacy to leave before I retire and pounds to lose before I holiday, all bring me back to reality!!

Go work, Makhija!!

O Me, O Life?

O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring;
Of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities fill'd with the foolish;
Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)
Of eyes that vainly crave the light--of the objects mean--of the struggle ever renew'd;
Of the poor results of all--of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;
Of the empty and useless years of the rest--with the rest me intertwined;
The question, O me! so sad, recurring--What good amid these, O me, O life?


That you are here--that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.

-Walt Whitman

How pessimistic it sounds right in the beginning. And then till one gets to the answer and suddenly the thought changes.

So the verse and so life. It keeps getting tough, weary, frustrating and what not. But persistence and self-belief are the keys.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Not the One to Forward Emails or Use them...

...but here's one that I really liked.
  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
  3. Don't believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.
  4. When you say, 'I love you,' mean it.
  5. When you say, 'I'm sorry,' look the person in the eye.
  6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
  7. Believe in love at first sight.
  8. Never laugh at anyone's dreams. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
  9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it's the only way to live life completely.
  10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
  11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
  12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
  13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, 'Why do you want to know?'
  14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  15. Say 'bless you' when you hear someone sneeze.
  16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  17. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
  18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  19. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice
  21. Spend some time alone.
Good luck!!

Friday, May 28, 2010

After a Long Long Time....

On blogger, after ages. Here's one from Nash.

Some people shave before bathing.
And about people who bathe before shaving they are scathing.
While those who bathe before shaving,
Well, they imply that those who shave before bathing are misbehaving.
Suppose you shave before bathing,
well the advantage is that you don't have to make a special job of washing the lather afterwards,
it just floats off with the rest of your accumulations in the tub.
But the disadvantage is that before bathing you skin is hard
and dry and your beard confronts the razor like a grizzly bear defending its cub.
Well then, suppose you bathe before shaving,
well the advantage is that after bathing your skin is soft
and moist and your beard positively begs for the blade.
But the disadvantage is that to get the lather off you have to wash your face all over again at the basin almost immediately after washing in the tub,
which is a duplication of effort that leaves me spotless but dismayed.
The referee reports, gentlemen, that Fate has loaded the dice,
Since your only choice is between walking around all day with a sore chin
or washing your face twice.
So I will now go and get a shave from a smug man in a crisp white coat,
And I will disrupt his smugness by asking him about his private life,
does he bathe before shaving or shave before bathing,
and then I will die either of laughing or of a clean cut throat.

Selected Poems of Ogden Nash - I Wouldn't Have Missed It