Showing posts from March, 2008

Kolkata's Future

Kolkata invariably features in my tours to India. Not just because it is home, but I am a Kolkata enthusiast - I love the city and its people, and believe in its future. I am, of course, working towards expanding our network there - I remain convinced that any education business in India should have a Kolkata presence. Of course, I face this question often - if I believe in Kolkata so much, why don't I go and stay there? The answer I give is similar to many other compatriots living abroad - lack of work opportunity has made me travel. Undoubtedly, Kolkata has little industry and too few jobs - Rajiv Gandhi famously said it was a dying city - but most importantly, it is yet to wake up to Globalization and take the opportunity. There are people who would jump at the last comment. There has been much ado about the re-industrialization of West Bengal in the recent times. It is undeniable that the world-record making $2500 car, the Tata Nano , is to be produced in the outskirts

The Irrelevant Photograph

The last time, I was passionately involved was 19 th of March 2006. With my camera, I hastened to add! That was the last time I was trying to photograph a deadwood tree in the background of a neighbourhood church - somehow it told me a story that I was trying to capture. It was telling me about the futility and barrenness of life. The church stood tall in a sort of eternal uprightness. I knew that church was closed a few weeks back for financial scandal of some sort, but its structure hardly betrayed the shame. The sky was clear and a tinge greenish, providing the perfect background to the eternal church and a dead tree, embedding the irony that there was little hope for this closed church while the dead tree waited for its spring! But then I gave up taking photos on the 20 th morning. I lost my mother that morning. Since then, I was pre -occupied with life. With goings-on. I tried to take the cameras out of the shelf and shoot, but it seemed that objects stopped talking to me. Irret

The Inevitability of Almost Everything

I am in a rather foul mood. Well, yes, disappointed is the word. Not angry, anger isn't something I am good at. Sad - a bit perhaps - but sadness is tragic, and I am not feeling tragic at this time. It is the sheer overwhelmedness, frustration of living statically, and inability to dream that's getting me. I must admit - this is only cyclical and I get these feelings often, though I don't know when this is going to go away. Easter is anyway a depressing time. A holiday in the middle of nothing - and I had to work and travel most of it anyway. It is an early Easter too - Easter was this early last time in 1913 and won't be till 2160. The weather god blessed London with some snowflakes too - but while I was gearing up for the possibility of an white easter and lecturing someone on Climate Change, the snow melted. March mid-day in London was too much for this, I suppose. The annoying thing is that I am travelling again next week. In fact, next week sounds distant and comfo

What Sticks

A very interesting discussion about stickiness of ideas is uner way. Malcolm Gladwell started this recently in his Tipping Point - he argued that some ideas stick as the people who propogate them are more socially connected than others, and they can spread an idea faster, further. This is indeed the holy grail of Word of Mouth marketing - finding influencers, who can start a trend. Indeed, Keller Edward has also written a book on them - The Influentials . However, there is a contrarian view too, and read more about this on Fast Company, in this brilliant article 'Is Tipping Point Toast' - To summarise, what Duncan Watts is stating here some ideas stick whereas others don't has less to do with people who propagate them, and more to do with society's preparedness to accept the idea. 'No army in the world can stop an idea whose time has come' - as Victor Hugo famously observed. So, we always k

Good to be home

Finally, I am back in London. Another 10 days - in India, Sri Lanka, and Dubai - done. How I wanted to live this life when I was young? How much I wished, during those interminable train journeys I had to take from Calcutta to Bhawani Patna [in the famine-torn parts of Orissa, where I had the uneviable task of selling Computer Training], that, by some magic, I shall move from country to country? That was another time, but. Do I sound smug, as if I have arrived. I am wrong, then. I am just a salesman, and will remain so. I travel with none of the pomp of a civil servant, with obiliging tax-payers paying for my first class. Unlike my colleagues in big-name corporates, I travel in cramped economy classes, with irritable seat mates and to uninviting airport lounges, always reminded of the constraints of the start-up business that I help to run. I allow myself no jetlag, anxiously check my hotel bills and carefully choose public taxis over hotel limousine, wherever possible. How aptly a col

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