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What a pleasure it gives me to write about the books I’ve read in the past few weeks. Adding 5 more titles to the ‘fiftyfifty challenge’ list – and what a journey it was to read these fantastic books. Technically, all the books are on the same line, lives of entrepreneurs, their highs and lows […]

That book on the 100th Page

Reading a book is like getting to know a person. Before you meet the person, you find out more about her. Her name, where she is from, her background, her likes and dislikes and so on.  

Gradually, you start talking to that person, the more you be with her, you know better of her. Sometimes you get direct messages from what she has to say about herself, but sometimes, you gotta read between the lines. Days after days, you discover new things about her, what she likes, what she doesn’t. You get familiar with the characters in her life and get to know more about her as a person.

You then come to a point, where you think you know a lot or maybe almost everything about her. You look back to the day you first met and think “God, I know her so well”. But then, she surprises you with something new and you discover something you’d never known about her.

Doesn’t that happen the same way while reading a book? I mean, before you pick up a book to read, you find out more about it, its contents, the plot, the story line, etc. You read reviews on the internet and speak to people who have already read it before. Some like it, some doesn’t – but you make the final decision of whether or not to go for a ride with it. You buy it, start reading it, introduction, foreword, first chapter, second and chapters after chapters, until. 

Until you reach a point, where you think, “Oh, I guess I know what the chapters ahead would be like”. Then you turn pages, you continue reading, pages after pages, chapters after chapters and you realize – The more you read it, the more you understand it, or the more you want to understand about it. 

It happens to me most of the times while reading a book. I take time out and read the first 100 pages of the book as quickly as I can. Once I am on the 100th page of that book, I browse through those 100 pages as fast as I can and try to remember what I have read. I try to remember the starting plot, try to remember the characters, their appearance, try to remember the plots, situations and all that stuff. At the 100th page, i make assumptions, or atleast try to make some – that I know what the rest of the book is all about. Then, I read through some more chapters and realise there lot more to learn about it!

Books and people have a lot in common. The more you know (read) about them (it), the better you know. The better you know, the more you want to find out. The more you find out, the more you realise you know nothing about them (it).

So, if you wan to know it (her) better, read it till the back jacket! 😉

 

Random – literally!

Is it something that all bloggers battle with or is it just me? 

Its just been 3 weeks since I have started blogging and I can’t manage to come up with topics and content for my next post!! Earlier I thought that this is a great place to pour my thoughts and share it with the world, but I’m finding it difficult and challenging to find inspiration/idea for my next blog! It looks like ‘everyday’ story!

If you look at my previous blogs, you will not find anything in common! Is that because I haven’t yet found an interesting topic to write about frequently? Or is it that I still consider blogging as a place to pour my (random) thoughts – the reason, unknown.

Look at this blog I’m writing right now! It has got nothing to do with what I experience today or what I learnt last week. Its just a random thought – a thought that seeks answers – answers that might lead to a constructive solution and help me get in track with this recently found love of blogging. 

Hope to see two consecutive blogs someday – with something in common 😉

Adios!

 

 

Innovations @ 35 55 55 55

This afternoon, I was discussing my friend’s college project on a local search engine in Mumbai City. The discussion then built up in a healthy exchange of ideas and resulted in pouring my thoughts on this blog post.

Earlier, my hunt for  local restaurants, bars and movie theaters lead me to Just Dial’s website or its customer care number, but not anymore. I once called Askme, a new local search engine – same model as Online Yellow Pages, Sulekha.Com and Just Dial.Com – but with that ‘little extra’ to delight you. I was so happy with their services, that I no longer call up Just Dial for my searches. When in doubt, i call up 35555555!

Infomedia's Askme delivers that 'little extra' at 35555555

Askme –  launched in June 2011 has really followed the thumb rule of ‘Walking that extra mile for customer delight’. I’m sure Askme must have put a lot of extra efforts to turn ‘Customer Satisfaction’ into ‘Customer Delight’ – the hot cake to keep your customers glued to your service. The results are obvious, when I called up Askme to check for numbers for movie theaters in my locations, I was not only given the contact numbers, but was also asked if I would like to know the movie timings! “Yes, Why not?” was my obvious answer. The information that I wasn’t looking for was offered to me and this helped me make better arrangements and booking the right show at the right time!

Just Dial or any other local search service providers never asked me if I would like to know the show timings. As if their only job is to provide contact numbers through SMS and Email! But at Askme, I was ‘delighted’ by the extra helped offered.

Companies like Infomedia18 (Askme is their baby) are striving hard to not only  satisfy their customers but to delight them through value add service. I guess their motive is simple – they want to offer their customers something different and get them to use their services again and again. There are many companies in the market, who strives to satisfy their customer requirements, but the one who delights them is the one that survives in the longer run.

Thank You Sagar for bringing this discussion on the table.

Adios!

 

Whats common between Devendra Kumar, Marketing Head – Nokia, India, Paul Taylor, President of Environmental Solutions and Services, Ilkka Raiskinen, Sr. VP, Nokia and Nandan Nilekani, Co-Founder of Infosys?

Inspite of their sky high success scores, they all have made mistakes in their professional lives! Mistake of not understanding the market trends, mistake of combining two products and even mistake of not understanding other’s views have lead these leaders to worse situations.

But their learnings out of these situations have been beneficial, not only for them but for all those who follow and learn from them!

Kiruba Shankar has collected few such stories and have shared it with the world at  www.kiruba.com/mistake. Visit this link to read full text.

A big thank you to Kiruba Shankar for collecting these stories and share learnings!

Adios!

My first day at Podar college for WE School's (Welingkar Institute's) Marketing Management Program.

It was hardly 20 minutes past 9 in the morning today that a late, but happy realization struck me.

I was seated in the first row of class full of ‘fresh graduates’ and aspiring students who came to attend a lecture at Podar College, Mumbai – as a part of Welingkar’s 1 year Diploma Program. I was one of those who reached 10-15 minutes earlier than the professor. Sitting on the first bench (my memories with sitting below the nose of teachers and professors can be dated back to my kindergarten days), one by one, I was looking at my fellow classmates walking inside the class, making sure they are in the right classroom and then looking for the best spot to sit in.

The class, which was getting filled with slow chirping sound between students, flashing Id Cards, Sounds of unfamiliar footsteps falling in the class for the first time – was all disturbed by the honking vehicles and traffic on the road adjacent to the institute. The class and its classmates were nothing like what I expected or hoped of. It was a Sunday batch for working professionals and I couldn’t find  anyone who looked like ‘working’ and not at all ‘professional’. I sighed and told myself – “this is what you got into and this is what you will spend your entire year with”. My thought was broken by a gentleman whom I saw entering the class wearing a look of confidence and pride. “Oh Thank God”, I said, releasing a breath of relief, “atleast someone!” “Someone who looked like a ‘working professional”. As if it was a ‘day of breaking dreams’, my expectation after looking at this man broke too when he stopped right in front of the podium, starred at the class and unzipped his bag to remove his laptop. “He’s the professor!!”, the demons inside me shouted.

Prof. PM Rao, the lecturer of that session started introducing himself in a typical South Indian accent and  I was very sure by the end of his introduction that this man is ‘well learned’.  With an optimistic view, I took a deep breath to fill myself up with positive energy required to start a new journey, while Prof. Rao was demonstrating his excellent skills at setting up his laptop and projector.

A click of mouse doesn’t do any harm (or good) to anyone. But for me, it was a click of ‘stupidity’, ‘ignorance’, and lack of ‘awareness’. Prof. Rao entered his USB device in the laptop, swiftly browsed through his folders and quickly located a powerpoint presentation on ‘Purchasing and Material Management’ while my fellow classmates removed the textbook ‘Principles of Management’ from their bags. “Wait a minute”, I said to myself, “There’s something wrong here”. Neither my online schedule on the institute’s website said anything about ‘Principles of Management’ NOR have I taken admission for a course in ‘Purchasing’ or ‘Materials Management’.

It was 9.20 in the morning, when this ‘wise’ thought struck me – “Dude, I’m in the wrong class!”. It took me approximate 20 seconds to gather my guts and tell Prof. Rao that I’m in the wrong place! “Ummm, Prof Rao”, I said, interrupting his conversation with another student, “I Guess, I’m in the wrong class”. A feeling of embarrassment struck me, which was very quickly soothed by Prof. Rao. “Its OK”, he said with a smile of wisdom on his face. “Please see the schedule on the notice board to find the correct lecture room” he said, while escorting me till the exit door. I replied gently with a “Thank You” and left for a journey to hunt for the ‘correct’ class.

My journey to find the next class was indeed a long one. It took me precisely 4 seconds to reach the next classroom, marked as ‘T2’. The feeling of embarrassment was seeping through me and was building yet another feeling of being ‘fooled’ by T2 classmates for coming in late.  “T2, Oh Yes! That’s what I saw on the online schedule last night, Stupid Me” I said to myself. There I was, standing on the threshold of T2 with a stupid look on my face and mumbling, “Professor, Sapt..ar..shi” looking around the class to see if I can find yet another gentleman who looks like a Professor – I found none.

“Aaja yaar andar” (come inside, my friend) came a loud voice from the back benches of the class. My attention was drawn towards this round faced guy, wearing a light blue full sleeve T-Shirt and an even lighter pair of denims. My mind confirm, “yes, he is the one who invited me inside in an unconventional way”. While I was settling myself on the first bench of the second row (first bench again :), a guy continued with his speech, which somehow sounded like an introduction, as he was saying, “I have done my graduation from ….” ” and I am currently working with…” I seldom remember what he said, as I was struggling to fit myself in the narrow bench – wondering if I am growing fat, or is the bench really narrow? After he completed with his speech, the same gentleman in blue clothes requested the next person to introduce himself – I could remember the next was a ‘He’, as by that time, I was all settled.

It took another 15 minutes of laughter and fun before my turn came to introduce myself. As I was sitting on the first bench, I had to rotate a complete 360 degree to look at the class and….

…To be continued in my next blog, soon…

 

One down … 49 more to go!

I know, I know, I know – other fiftyfifty subscribers must have already finished their second or third book and here I am – writing about my first read of the year!!

Well, the satisfaction I am getting while writing this blog and announcing completion of the first book in fiftyfifty challenge – is the same satisfaction I got while I was reading this book.

My first read in the list of fiftyfifty was a mythological fiction by Amisht T (India) – ‘The Immortals of Meluha‘ or (‘Meluha’ as it is famously known).

Book Cover of 'The Immortals of Meluha' by Amish T

Meluha is the first of the 3-book Shiva Trilogy – a story so fascinating to be accommodated in one book. Next one in the trilogy is ‘The Secret of Nagas’, followed by the last installment ‘The Oath of the Vayuputras’. Although I haven’t started reading the second book, still optimistic that it will be as good (or better) than ‘Meluha’ and waiting impatiently for the third one.

A story based in ancient India, some 4,000 years back beautifully canvases a journey of a Shiva from being an amazing warrior to a legend and finally being known as ‘Mahadev’ (God of Gods). The author has beautifully narrated the story, its events and most importantly – its characters. An applause for the author for describing each and every character with minutest details. While reading through his book, you can actually draw the character in front of you, with utmost clarity!

If you like to wander in ancient India, love Indian mythology, want to sketch a war scene as per your imagination, if you can remember (and recollect) names like ‘Ayurvati’, ‘Parvateshwar’, ‘Veerini’, I am sure this book will be a treat for you.

A national bestseller, beautiful depiction and a treat for those who like a pinch of mythology in their life.

Check out some trailers of this book on youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMZmEyDU0xA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYLkv53tHf4&feature=related

Adios till I write next!