Sunday, December 21, 2014

Playing it my way - Sachin Tendulkar's Autobiography Review

I had pre-ordered for Hard Bound copy of this book on flipkart before it was released. Was very happy to receive it and started reading immediately. Finished first 100 pages in my first sitting itself. There should have been Reading Comprehension test on topics like cricket, I would have done way better than I would otherwise do.

It is among the most anticipated cricket book ever because his playing days coincided with my watching days. He was a hero, role model for performance and god. Nation's cricketing fortunes depended on him. He was the symbol of developing India, a man from middle class background going on to achieve unimaginable things. His statistics are among the most memorable and unsurmountable figures but his impact goes beyond the numbers.

It is one book where as a reader, I knew 80% of the facts before reading. Reading therefore was a happy revision of his cricketing performance. That's why the high reading speed and comprehension. Still reading enabled me to understand the human side of Tendulkar. How he aspired to live in his own house. I felt whats the big deal, many ordinary people like us have a own house and somebody who made so many revered cricketing stadiums like his home is aspiring to have his own house? That shows like many people he is after all a human being. Similarly he always wanted to sit at home, do nothing, just spend time with family, doing ordinary things like shopping, watching movies, going on long drive, listening to music, have fancy cars, please his mother, coach or neighbors. How much he wanted to win the world cup, how happy he was to get a call from Prime Minister on getting Bharat Ratna or getting his stamp released.

He always says numbers don't matter to him but team results do. But on reading between the lines, I felt numbers matter to him a lot. But there is nothing wrong in obsession with numbers because those numbers add up to team's cause. Some instances where numbers were chased were
1. When was left stranded on 194* in Multan Test and how angry he got with captain Rahul Dravid.
2. How the monkey of 100 international 100s was affecting his performance for over a year since World Cup. How many times he came agonisingly close to it only to be disappointed.
3. How Sri Lankans deprived his ODI 100 through negative tactics and Suraj Randiv noball to Sehwag on 99 with only a winning run remaining.
4. Idea of playing the 200th test and playing it on home ground Wankhede Stadium
5. His book itself is full of match details and career records and statistics.

For a great individual performer in a team sport, he always wants to team also to do well and best way to enable it is by being a leader/captain. Unfortunately for him, he wasn't successful as captain. It again goes to show the human side of the great man. As a great performer, you set very high standards, but you also expect others to match those standards, but others don't and you get frustrated. Instead of accepting it as it is and trying best to work with it, you futilely try to bring others to those high standards. This is where Tendulkar failed. After 25 Tests he realised this and resigned from captaincy. Sometimes a hero like Tendulkar is beyond BCCI and Selection committee. He cannot be dropped as player or stripped off captaincy when is a captain or cannot be forced/eased into retirement until he takes these decisions himself.

The book though is not very well written, it is not entirely Tendulkar's fault. He is a cricket player and not a book author, but he must be congratulated for keeping up the time and releasing exactly 1 year after his retirement. His farewell speech was greatly composed, he just wrote down the names of the people whom he wanted to remember in a slip of paper and the speech came out of his mouth brilliantly despite all emotions surrounding. It had no filler words like basically, you know, actually etc. It came out as if it was prepared and rehearsed multiple times.

I also have a similar autobiography from Steve Waugh, it was pretty boring with just accounts of each match and series which we can easily find in scoreboards. I expect books from someone like Rahul Dravid to be very well written.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How I got married to Suprabha

It was mid 2010 and I was 28 years old, that my parents decided it was time for me to get married. Search was mainly through references of relatives and friends in the community. We thought it would be a fairly easy task, as I was well qualified (BE & MBA from premier institutes), father is an established businessman, heading a respected middle-class family, father and brother are well connected in the local community. Everyone assured that they will work on getting me married.

Response was not very good to our liking. Many drawbacks of mine were cited as reasons for not considering me. Not smart, not handsome, bald head, not tall, don't speak well were all acceptable to me. But the following 3 reasons were very difficult to accept -
  • Living in Puttur. It is perceived that if someone is living in a smaller town in native place, he hasn't had a choice of working somewhere else and hence not successful. If the girl has studied (mostly Engineering), then she won't have an option to take up a job in big software companies, limiting her career prospects. While I think, if the girl is smart enough, she can work on our business. Our business provides an individual with any talent an opportunity to apply it. Or in this highly connected world, she can create her own opportunities. Unfortunately, most weren't as smart as they thought they were.
  • Not having a Job. Few may say it is cool/hard/great to be an entrepreneur. But very few actually support it, those who say it, don't let their daughters marry an entrepreneur. I have read/heard/knew about many hurdles an entrepreneur faces, but this was one hurdle, I was not aware off and prepared for, that my decision to be an entrepreneur would make it difficult for me to get married. My mother had warned me before, she even regrets that her husband is an entrepreneur as they had to face difficult times initially. But out of my entrepreneurial spirit, I totally ignored her. Sadly, everyone wants easy certain life, nobody is willing to sacrifice todays luxury in order to fulfill tomorrow's dreams. I really can't accept that somebody ordinary who has studied Engineering from an unknown college, ends up in Bangalore, in a known company (say Infosys) after a few job hops is considered to be successful and better than me. That's how unfair the world is
  • Being with Parents. We all want Parents to give birth to us, raise us, give us money and their property. But we don't want to spend time with them, take care of them in their later days. It is considered a burden to live with parents, and will hamper the couple's freedom
As days went ahead, all our self confidence came rushing down. Parents were worried, if they find it so difficult to get me married, they will have to start the process and endure all this for my younger brother too. My mother particularly used to curse, "during our times when I was a girl, boys used to chose girls. Now, when it is time to get my sons married, girls are choosing boys." I used online matrimonial sites like,, used to attend a few events that help people get married in our community. It was mostly my profile getting rejected before they even saw me or spoke to me. Oddly for 2 profiles, where I got to see the girl and talk to her, I rejected them because for one was too timid and our interests/lifestyle didn't match, for other was applying conditions that were too many for me.

Finally (I didn't know at that time that this would be final), I got to see Suprabha on 6th February 2011 at Shree Bharathi College, Nanthoor, Mangalore. I generally go to meet any girl with full preparation just like we prepare ourselves for an interview. Here preparation isn't to be looked down upon. It is an exercise where we understand about ourselves better, think through the kind of match we want. What I have to offer her in my life, what I expect from her, how we plan to lead life together. What are the points that I need to note about her when we meet. What are the questions to be asked to open herself and get to know more about her. Also, get to know more about her before I even meet her, through references and facebooks. At the same time, open myself to her and let her find out about me, let her evaluate if I am her suitable match.

While I came with so much of preparation, she also came with full preparation, not to see me but for her close friends' engagement that afternoon. I greeted her and her mother with smile and hello, while she gave me a grin face for having come in between her and her friends' engagement. We spoke for some time as a family, father, mother and I from my side, her mother and she from her side. Then I got to talk to her personally not too far away from our parents. They couldn't hear us talk but they could see our body language and lip movement fully. It bothered me initially but once I started talking to her, I completely forgot the environment.

I started off talking about the college campus that was full of trees to get to know her taste, whether she likes movies, malls, glitz and glamour or nature, greenery, peace and tranquility. I found that she likes both. With respect to education and career, she had done her MCA and planned to do her Pd.D and get into teaching profession. So, I asked about her academic project she is presently doing in her final semister MCA. As I asked a couple of questions, I could sense that it was not her cup of tea. She later (after getting engaged) told me that she had done her MCA just for the sake of a masters degree and thereby get a better husband :-). Her real aim in life is to be a great mother for her kids, supporting and caring wife and a family member. Though she didn't take academics seriously, she wanted her husband to be dedicated towards his work. I told her (really meant when I told) she is free to take up any career she wants, either get into teaching, be a housewife or work on our business. I believe, one will be happy and successful when one does what he wants. There is no profession that is better than all others. I do the same, let it be the same with my wife and children too.

I told her about the constraints I live with (the 3 mentioned above). She didn't feel they were constraints to her, in fact that was what she liked. She was clear that she wanted to live a life of luxury with own land, house, cars, jewelry and assets. She wanted to travel the world, eat and experience everything. Many would say I would like to lead a simple middle class life without really meaning it.

Before getting to meet her, we tried to match each others' horoscopes and they didn't match enough. I asked her opinion about those horoscopes, she gave an ambiguous reply saying it doesn't matter to her but her grand mother is concerned about it and she has to respect her grand mothers opinion. I don't like my partner to be dumb, just be a Yes Yes kind, without having her own opinion about anything. Until here, I thought she was Yes Yes kind of a girl, but then she made me realize she has her own opinions. I observed that she had good emotional quotient (EQ) that was a must have for my wife. I trained myself on the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) part but not enough on the EQ part.

While I asked so many things about her, I told her about me before even she could ask me explicitly as I thought girls would be shy in their first interaction. I told about my strengths and weakness, interests and hobbies, likes and dislikes, what my dreams and aspirations were, what my way of life was going to be, what kind of a girl I like to partner with. Also, separated the points into must have, negotiable and don't mind category. Thanks to my preparation, I could deliver these points in a little time without boring her. I wasn't nervous because all the time I was thinking about her and our match, not about me, how I appeared/appealed.

After talking to her for say 15 minutes, I stopped as I sensed it may get repetitive. I saw that she went back to her mother happy and sensed that she was narrating the whole conversation word to word. I as usual was emotionless. After 8 months of struggle, I took nothing for granted, allowed luck/horoscope/her decision to take its own course. I sensed that she was a lovely lady and wished I could marry her. Very next day went to a Jyothishya and sorted out the mismatches in the horoscope and asked us to perform a few pujas to set it right. She thought long and hard, was extremely confused and then accepted subject to a couple of conditions. I didn't think they were very serious conditions for me and accepted them. I had to reiterate some of the points I mentioned during our first meeting as she was not sure whether I really meant what I said.

And now here we have celebrated out 2nd wedding anniversary on June 10th. Been trying and will continue to try to take the marriage process further ?:-)

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Is customer the king?

In marketing classes, we generally hear “customer is the king”. He is the one who chooses which brand to buy among so many choices and pays money that brands are after. So, brand should do everything to satisfy the customer. Wish every brand in this world followed this belief and world would have been a happy place to live in. In this post I like to challenge this belief and show that "customer is at the mercy of brand."
This thought came to my mind last month when I visited an Airtel Relationship Centre after I lost my mobile. I saw so many angry consumers who were trying to blast off the customer care executives.

Competition or Monopoly
First myth for why customer is the king is because the customer is said to have choices from many offerings from competing brands. But in reality the various constraints brings the consumer choices down to a few, one or none. A few examples, I faced with choosing brands

  • My factory is located in a village where only Airtel network is available. BSNL is the only wired broadband service available at our town.
  • I need to get a uniform stitched for the employees and all the tailors are busy and have order books that will keep them occupied for next 2 months. The same can be said about any service including civil construction, steel fabrication, electrical wiring, plumbing, chartered accountancy, graphics designing, printing and so on.
  • I needed a seemingly common item i.e. a stainless steel ball valve and there was only one hardware retailer stocking it in Dakshina Kannada District.
  • There is nobody willing to do erection and commissioning of 400 kg/hr small industrial steam boiler as per IBR rules.

Just like we chose which brand to buy, even brands choose which consumer to sell. For example, I make an enquiry for a packing materials, immediate question the sales man asks me is how much quantity do I want. If it is not big enough, he will reject me and move on.

Money or Value
Brands offer value to consumers for which they pay money. Consumers want value that brands offer much more than the money they are paying. It is lot easier to pay money than to create value. Example, it is much easier for a passenger to fly from Mumbai to Delhi paying Rs. 5,000 than it is to arrange for that flight by a Jet Airways. So, it is wrong to assume that having money to spend is a big deal.

Bonded forever
Once you go with a brand, you have to live with him for a long time. Not so with a brand, he can ditch you anytime. I was casually talking to a machine manufacturer. He was talking about a customer who didn’t pay on time and how he can avenge against him by charging a high price for an add-on feature that he would definitely require in future.

People ultimately manage brands and they have different motivations than what the brand promises. Brand might want to give the best product or service or experience to the consumer and earn maximum profit in return. But the person acting on behalf of the brand wants to put in minimum work and earn maximum money for himself. Those people working at the Airtel Relationship centre have no sympathy for the troubles you are facing with Airtel Service. Meaning his goals are not aligned with that of the consumer. They don’t care whether you will stick with Airtel service. Meaning his goals are not even aligned with the company he is working.

Different faces during different phases
Initially when a brand is selling its offering, it is his salesman who is representing the brand. Salesmen are very nice people to its prospects because they want to pocket your money. Once the money goes into the pocket, the consumer requires product or service and then the salesman goes out of picture and support and servicemen come into picture, who are not so nice people because then the customer needs them and makes them work hard.

Consumer Protection
It is again a myth that the consumer is well protected by Law through consumer protection acts. Always businesses are more legal savvy than an average consumer. They will always have a lawyer with them, government officials are close to them. Before getting into any sort of relation with a consumer they will always get tons of signatures on agreement papers. On those papers the terms are written in a way that are only favour the brand. Consumers out of desperation of getting the service, blindly sign on them, without reading, questioning and negotiating the terms. Even in case of disputes where the brand is wrong, the consumer rarely finds time, energy and know-how to fight the brand in the court of law that mostly delays and denies justice.

How can consumers cope with this reality?
The consumer must understand his weakness, understand what motivates brands and people who work for brands, lower his expectations, not get too attached, exhibit patience while dealing and do adequate research before choosing.

Good news for consumers though is that brands are getting more friendly out of their own interest for their own good and technology is enabling them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The 3 times I have seen Rahul Dravid

This topic came to my mind as my hero Rahul Dravid just announced his retirement from Test cricket and First class cricket. Plenty of wonderfully written tributes have already been poured on him by Harsha Bhogle, Mukul Kesavan, Jason Gillespie, Sidharth Vaidhyanathan, Sambit Bal, Samir Chopra and most insightful of all by his wife Vijeetha. I am not going to write anything on those lines. But I like to share my observations when I had personally seen him 3 times in Bangalore.

1. St. Joseph College in 2002
I was going for CAT coaching classes from TIME at his alma mater St. Joseph College. He was being taken for an interview with NDTV at the college ground by the journalist. It didn't strike to me at first. But another person who came for the classes recognized. He couldn't hold back and immediately shouted Rahul, Rahul. Rahul immediately turned back, he waved and said Hi, Rahul too waved back at him respectfully. This gesture of responding to every fan showed how humble and normal he was. He was already a celebrity by then. A cursory glance at him revealed what a smart and handsome man he was. His maroon check shirt with Black formal trouser made him look elegant the man he was.

2. India vs Australia 1st Test in 2004
Those were the times Rahul Dravid was in Sublime form and India's fortunes depended heavily on him. Australia had come to India to conquer the final frontier that couldn't for 35 years. Bangalore, though his home ground isn't a very happy hunting ground for him. I went to watch the match on stadium on day 4 and 5 with India chasing an improbable target in 4th innings. So though the match was all but lost, it was an opportunity to feel how it is to watch a match at the stadium. What happens in the middle is seen much better in the stadium but what happens before and after the match is to be seen only at stadium.
I had come early at 6.30 on day 5, Dravid was the last recognized batsmen left. He was practicing at nets to some net bowler. The seriousness with which he faced the bowler left me deeply impressed about the man. He may do well in an innings or not, but it is the effort and preparation that he puts in is what I admire him the most. He didn't do much in that innings, just scored a 60, hit Shane Warne for back to back boundaries. India lost the match heavily and eventually the series. It is the last series India lost a home (8 years ago).

3. India vs Australia 2nd Test in 2010
6 years hence the fortunes have reversed, Rahul Dravid was past his best, India were the best ranked Test side. India didn't depend much on him. India had just pulled off a thriller in the 1st Test at Mohali thanks to VVS Laxman. He was just holding on to his place due to his records and statistics and not his form and future potential. He had certain weakness of poking outside off-stump off left arm seamers bowling around the wicket.
I went to stadium on day 1 and 2, it was boring as Australia batted 1st and put up a big score. I came to stadium early on 2nd day. Got to see Rahul Dravid practicing with Jaydev Unadkat bowling at the other end. No matter what efforts he put, he looked uncomfortable and got beaten a couple of times. His fortunes didn't change in the middle either, he nicked Mitchell Johnson to the wicket keeper. Here is the photo I had captured moment before he poked at it.
Since then he might have had a brilliant series in England or been the architect of the last Indian overseas win at West Indies. Those were exceptions than rule, he was clearly past his prime and should have duly retired. Overall, I am happy for the person that he is and what he has achieved in India cricket. Still I am now happy that he has retired too. Hopes he comes back to Indian cricket and serves as an administrator to change the way things function.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Why is it difficult to blog consistently?

I have been rather inconsistent in coming up with new blog posts in this blog. But I admire people who are consistent more than those you exhibit flash of brilliance once in a while. I am just trying to analyse why this is happening to me.

Creative Activity - It requires one to be in best of moods, fresh mind, good amount of energy to keep the creative juices flowing. To think about something deeply enough to come out with a sizable rather meaningful post.

Micro-blogging - Advent of Micro blogging services like Twitter allows us to have half baked/shallow thoughts and yet share it within 140 characters. Then why think deep enough to come out with a full fledged blog post. To argue other way, blogs have been on a rise because of twitter as it allows people to share and converse on those blog posts better.

Changing Interests - My interest in cricket has been constant throughout, that is why majority of my blog posts have been on cricket. Though I am fundamentally passionate in business, my interest about various aspects of business have been changing. Varying from Stock Markets, Software, Marketing, Branding to now Manufacturing. Now I am setting up a factory for manufacturing coconut oil, once it is done my interest will change towards Trading (Copra Purchase and Coconut Oil Sales) and HR (hiring and managing people). One does not develop expertise in anything while his interests keep changing. To have original thoughts and write on a subject, one must be an expert in it.

Discipline - This is by far the biggest reason, why writing is so difficult.
Discipline is doing what we decided to do and not what we feel like doing. (Source).
We often feel like blogging about it when we think about something, but when we sit to organize our thoughts and write about it, we face writer's block. Then it takes discipline to write without quiting.
Writing is a work that matters, and it is our tendency to work on easy things that don't matter.
The first rule of doing work that matters. Go to work on a regular basis. - Seth Godin
Stage Fear - Though we write on the computer alone, there eventually is a large audience that will read it later. That causes fear in us as to what the reader will think about us. Will he spot our mistakes, deficiencies? We doubt our authority on the subject. Actually, what happens is the reader rarely gets into the details and he  mostly believes what is written :-)

Now, should I announce that I would like to write consistently i.e. once a fortnight.

Monday, April 04, 2011

India wins the Cricket World Cup 2011

Sachin Tendulkar kissing the Wold Cup India won

This post is to celebrate India's victory in The ICC Cricket World Cup, 2011. I can't control my emotions as I write this, with tears coming out all over my eyes. Though I am an ardent Test Cricket lover, this world cup victory (though in limited overs format) is my proudest moment as an Indian cricket fan.

Its my 50th post
Writing 50 posts has been a achievement for me as I have been writing blogs rather consistently for last 5 years on various aspects of cricket, business, my personal life and technology. All the posts have been about expressing my original thoughts and opinions. It was never meant to be a source of news/information about any subject. It will always be about me and that it why it is my 'personal blog'.

Dhoni - The Leader/Hero
I would like to single out Dhoni's captaincy and Kirsten's coaching as the most important factors for Team's success. While most of us try to achieve coolness in not preparing before an event. They did all the hard, dirty, uncool things like planning, preparation and practice.
Dhoni, a middle class boy from poorest state of Jharkhand, not known to have produced any cricketers before, no role model to look up to. Having ordinary aspirations like riding bikes, drinking buckets of milk, hanging out with friends. He has come a long way to be remembered as among the best sports leaders of all time.
Whatever Dhoni has been touching have been turning gold. He has taken India to No.1 in Tests for last year and half, World T20 Cup in 2007, now The World Cup, IPL 2010 and Champions League 2010. His midas touch is not just about luck, it is about his hard work, leadership, ability to deal with pressure situation with a cool head and it is basically his personality.
After this World Cup triumph, I would rate him as a bigger match winner for India even bigger than Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble. As in a team game, I believe the biggest contribution a person can make is as a leader than as a batsman, bowler or a wicket keeper. A leader who gets the best out of the team is always more valuable than a specialist who does his job well.

Dedicated to Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin, we know has achieved everything a batsmen can do in Tests and ODIs. 15000 runs and 51 tons in Tests, 18000 runs and 48 tons in ODIs at a batting average and strike rate well above par. And yeah, he hasn't scored his 100th International hundred which he will definitely score sometime. But what was missing from his cup-board was a World Cup.
Virat Kohli's famous words after the match - "Sachin has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It's only fair we carry him now".
He has done everything Team India had asked over the years and now the team has won him the World Cup, rather he has himself contributed by scoring 482 runs with 2 hundreds and 2 fifties all against Test playing nations in important games. Waited for 22 years and he knows its value better than anyone else. Ask an Australian player of 2000s, he will tell it very casually “Yeah, I was part of the World Cup winning team”. But to Sachin it is everything, despite having so many other things with him that nobody else have.

How we reached here
Not long ago, just 11 years back, Indian cricket had reached its nadir. Whitewashed by Australia 3-0, whitewashed by South Africa 2-0 at home, never won a Test Series abroad for 14 years and crippled by match fixing controversy. But we did have a bunch of supremely talented players.
Then came Ganguly Wright era when things started turning around. That match in Kolkata and The Series against Australia in 2001 set the tone and laid the foundation for future that we are seeing now. The players in Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Virender Sehwag and Zaheer Khan brought the team into a steep ascent. Now Gautham Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni form the core of this Champion Indian Team.

What this world cup will do for the team
Being good, talented, gifted, excellent, exceptional are all lesser when compared to being “Champions”. We have always known Indians as former, but with great leadership we have transcended to become latter i.e. Champions. Before the CB series win in Australia 2008, India has always been the best team in the tournament only to end up being runners up.
From now they get into any match as favourites, as world champions, no push overs in any conditions. They have the pressure to perform well and win games and series. More than the pressure it gives them enormous self-confidence and belief that they can win anything. Winning they say is a habit and the team will be carrying that habit.

What next?
India has some important tours coming up this year with the 4 Test series in England and a 4 Test series in Australia. India haven't won a series in Australia and South Africa but they have come close by drawing in the recent years. From a point 10 years ago where India would be happy to not get whitewashed, now they go there expecting to whitewash the opponents at their home. They won't be satisfied with just a series win with a 1 test margin.
Gary Kirsten tenure as Indian Coach is over. Ganguly and Kumble have retired. Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman may retire any time soon. Sehwag, Zaheer, Harbhajan have reached 30s. We may face a similar situation like Australians are finding now. The next generation cricketers who grow up playing limited overs cricket may find it difficult to cope with the rigours of Test cricket.

Leadership Lessons
  • Leader takes decisions, which may be against the popular logic, but ultimately he is responsible for his decisions. The buck stops with him. So, he should be free to take decisions based on his gut feel.
  • Great Leaders in Alan Border, Steve Waugh and now MS Dhoni have been the practitioners of the saying Tough times don't last but tough men do.
  • Don't try to avoid/escape pressure, deal with it. Indian chase had reached a point where they had things under control after a 100 run partnership between Gambhir and Dhoni, but there was still pressure with required run rate still over 6. Gambhir wanted to release pressure by completing his century quickly and also bring the required run-rate down. So, he went for a rash shot and perished. But Dhoni was willing to take the pressure and slowly pushed the game forward just 25 runs at a time. He showed his heroism of completing the game with a six only when it was absolutely sure that India would win, when they were only one hit away from glory and the ball was in the slot for that shot.
  • It is not about skills and power, it is about the ability to handle pressure. Sachin and Dhoni have been handling pressure of 1.21 billion people. But Sachin has loads of talent too. Dhoni, except that he can hit those helicopter shots has no special talent as such.
  • As a leader of my organization, whenever I am under trouble, I will always visualise Dhoni for the cool head he keeps under pressure.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Apple's Macbook Air - 13 inch - 128 GB

My present HP laptop is 3.5 years old and is pretty slow with Windows Vista ;-( So, it is ripe time to buy a new laptop. Now that I am setting up a new coconut oil factory, I am planning to include the purchase as part of that project itself. For industry purpose I have 2 Dell business desktops. For me as a C-Level executive, I need a laptop that is light and travel friendly, so a Netbook is better than a Notebook.

Here are a few reasons why the Macbook Air's 13 inch, 128 GB model is appropriate to me

  • Adequate - Presently I use 15" monitor, I am not sacrificing by coming down to 13" as the screen resolution is better. I use this mainly for business, so no movies, videos, music and pictures that occupy most space. If required I can always store them in external hard drive. I mostly browse, email, social network, use spreadsheets and do word precessing. I only need basic softwares and Office tools. So the processor speed of 1.86 GHz, 2 GB RAM and 128 GB Flash Drive is adequate for my needs.
  • Travel friendly - The whole device weighs only 1.3 kg or just 1.5 times the 1 litre coconut oil pouch. Present laptop is about 3 kg, carrying it with the charger was severe on my back. High battery back up of up to 5 hours means I can be more productive while travelling.
  • Data is safe - MAC OS X is UNIX based and very secure. Also the fact that it enjoys much lesser OS market share, not many bother to write viruses for them. So, one need not buy a separate Antivirus software. Mechanical Hard Disk drive and Optical drives are absent, so that drastically reduces the noise levels, cooling requirements, power consumption and space. Hard disk is replaced by NAND Flash that has no moving parts and is less prone to failure. That means there is no need to constantly format the drives.
  • Fast - Reviews say they boot in 10 seconds and shutdown in 5 seconds. My present laptop just takes 30 times longer! Use of flash drive for secondary storage makes a major impact with speed. Reading from Flash memory is almost as fast as that from RAM. Majority of the work involves reading like loading of softwares or data files.
  • Experience - Based on what my friends have told me, Apple gives an ultimate user experience with simple and intuitive interface. It may take some time to get used to the system but once you get used to it, you end up being an Apple fan or an addict.
  • Image - Owning an Apple products takes me to a different league, the group that is different from ordinary Windows users. Apple computers start from $ 1000 onwards only, and its competitors claim that to own an apple computer one needs to pay $ 500 Apple tax, i.e. for a similar hardware configuration in Wintel (Windows on Intel) will cost $ 500 lesser than that of Apple. Apple products are considered to be innovative, simple, intuitive, classy and user friendly. It will be a great feel good factor for me to use this product and to show it off to others ;-)
  • Price - The price is close to Rs. 80,000 and is on the higher side. I spend a majority of my day with my computer. When I am spending so much on buying the best quality machines for the manufacturing process. Why not buy the best personal computing machine?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Significance of the number 1089

Every number has something fascinating and a unique property about it. One such number that came to my mind was 1089 when I was about to write (tweet) my 1089th status message on twitter.
The message reads (The tweet has been elaborated here as there is no 140 character constraint)
Take any 3 digit number, difference between first digit and last digit should be greater than 1. Reverse the digits. Find the difference. Reverse the digits in this number (difference). Add them to get 1089 always.
For example, let the number as 109, reversing the digits gives 901, difference between them 901 - 109 = 792, reversing the digits in the difference gives 297, adding them gives 792 + 297 = 1089.

This is not something that I discovered, I just know about this property through some source long time back. But I will attempt to show why this happens.

Let the random 3 digit number be abc. Its value is 100a + 10b + c
Reversing the digits gives cba. Its value 100c + 10b + a.
Difference between them assuming that a > c (for sake of simplicity of analysis)
|abc - cba| = abc - cba = 100a + 10b + c - (100c +10b + a) = 99 x (a-c)

Let, |abc - cba| = xyz (another 3 digit number)
xyz, then is a multiple of 99 i.e. of both 11 and 9.

Properties of multiples

  • In multiples of 9, the sum of digits is divisible by 9
  • In multiples of 11, the difference between sum of all odd and even digits is divisible by 11

In this case,
Since xyz is divisible by 9, x + y + z is divisible by 9 or x + y + z = 9 or 18. It can't be 27 or more.
Since xyz is divisible by 11, x + z - y = 0 or 11. It can't be 22 or more.
If x + z - y = 0, then x + z = y, then x + y + z = 2y
2y cannot be 9, it can be 18, so 2y = 18 or y = 9
If x + z - y = 0, then x + z = y or x + z = 9, this is possible
If x + z - y = 11, then x + z = 11 + y or x + z = 20, this is not possible
So, we can conclude that, y = 9 and x + z = 9.

Reversing the digits in xyz, we get zyx.
Adding the 2 numbers, xyz + zyx = 100x + 10y + z + 100z + 10y + x
Total = 101(x + z) + 20y
Substituting for x + z = 9 and y = 9, we get,
Total = 101 x 9 + 20 x 9 = 909 + 180 = 1089!

By the way, 33 square is 1089. 99 x 11 is 1089 and 121 x 9 is 1089.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Should I change my name to 'C'eshava?

While working at Tata Elxsi, we had a client manager whose name is now Chris Malakapalli. He is basically an Indian who went to US for his higher studies and settled down there. His name was Krishnakanth which was later Americanized to Chris.
Now my reason for changing (just thinking ;-) from Keshava to Ceshava is somewhat different. My uncle (@gmsbhat) in one of our twitter conversations suggested this because I have a liking for things that start with letter ‘C’.

Cricket/Cricinfo – I am a diehard fan of cricket which for me is Test Cricket and First Class Cricket. I now read and comprehend all the articles written in cricinfo. I always used to start reading the newspaper from last page where the sports section is covered, unlike others who read the 1st page headlines, political news, Page 3 etc. I wouldn’t just read all the words, I would also read between the lines, analyse, interpret and think about them. I pride myself in remembering the various statistics, records and results. During my school days, I used to play underarm tennis ball cricket from dawn to dusk. In my bid to learn overarm leg spin bowling I developed a unique Paul Adams style of delivery.

Coconut/Cocoguru – The business that I am into is about Coconuts.  The brand and company name is Cocoguru. I entered this sector because of the value Coconut offers. Also it is made easy by the fact that my father has already started coconut oil manufacturing more than 30 years ago. Every part of Coconut tree is valuable and is called ‘Kalpavriksha’. Coconut oil is the most complete oil, edible, cosmetic, medicinal and industrial. In short it is simply nectar.

Computer/’C’ – I am a Computer Engineer by qualification. I used to enjoy the course because my creative juices found good opportunity while programming in it. I used to write simple game programmes, simply browse through linux source code appreciating its beauty. I used to program them in ‘C’ language though I had learnt a bit of C++, JAVA, PERL, Shell script, html etc. Somebody used to call me K&R (K&R stands for Kerninghan and Ritchie, the founders of ‘C’ language), my name being Keshava Ram also has K & R in it. People who were jealous of my programming skills used to criticise saying I was only good at ‘C’. They think it is just about knowing the language, but I think more about understanding the computer hardware, proficiency in mathematics and logic, efficient use of Data Structures and Algorithms and writing clean code using the principles of Software Engineering.

Cycling – I love cycling even if we ignore the fact that it is a good exercise, environment friendly and economical. I had written about it earlier in my blog post.

Chess – I also like Chess and I claim to be an above average chess player. It is a simple game (64 black and white squares, 6 types of pieces with simple movements) with infinite possibilities. It is a game that tests a players’ strategy, tactics and competitive/combative spirit. I pride myself at having those strengths. Game has no dependence on little externalities like weather, location, time of the day, toss etc. Luck has no role, it is all up to how one plays in the given game. My biggest moment in this game is winning the VTU championship for college in 2002 at Ranebennur. I couldn’t pursue this game deeply because of lack of partners, as it was perceived as a boring game. Now I keep getting addicted and withdraw from

CAT – Getting into business has been my dream career. Being from a Science/Engineering background, I wanted a formal education in business i.e. MBA. I always believed in studying at the best colleges hence wanted to have a shot at IIMs by appearing for CAT (Common Admission Test). CAT has 3 sections – Quantitative, Logic and English. I was very good at first two but equally poor at English. I used to prepare for 80% of the time on English, yet achieve poor results. This was because of my lack of aptitude for the subject. I had made 4 attempts at cracking CAT and failed each time. Though my score kept improving from 88 percentile in 2002 to 97.5 percentile in 2006, my below par score in English would prevent me from getting elusive IIM calls. Each year I used to prepare sincerely despite my day job. I had made a lot of sacrifices in those 4 years for this purpose. In the final year I decided that I am definitely going to do an MBA even if it is not from an IIM. Now, I have no regrets about the choices I made.

There will be many more 'C' words that I have been associated with, but the above mentioned words are the ones with which I have deepest association.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

India is really the No.1 Test team

Just before the final Test of the India Sri Lanka series, I had written in my facebook status that India won at least one Test in every series India played since the Pakistan tour in Jan 2006. This includes even the series we lost in South Africa (1-2), Australia (1-2) and Sri Lanka (1-2). We have shown this consistency over a sufficiently long period of 4.5 years.
Even Australia doesn't hold this record as they failed to win a test in India  when they lost the series 0-2 in 2008. In the same period Australia has lost same number of series i.e. 3 to South Africa (1-2), Ashes 2009 (1-2) and India (0-2). Ashes 2005 loss though doesn't belong to the period under consideration.

India's next series is against Australia for Border-Gavaskar trophy in October. India will start the series as favorites, does it ever happen that Australia start a series as an underdog? Such has been India's form and dominance in Border Gavaskar trophy in which India won 10 and lost 10 in 26 matches, more importantly won the trophy 5 times out of 7.

Team composition-vise India has the best batting lineup that can only be imagined in dreams. Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman are those players who complete the lineup. Need I say more about batting? Cool headed, smart, charismatic leader in Dhoni to add to his reliable wicket keeping and batting. Highest wicket taker (355 wickets) among the bowlers still playing in Harbhajan. Mature, accurate, dead wicket bowler in Zaheer Khan. Promising spinners like Prahgyan Ojha. Still bowling needs to improve to consistently get 20 wickets. But great bowlers are rare with any team in the world not just India.

I strongly believe success in Test Cricket is not about having players with great skill, India always had them. It is about how players react to pressure, their patience, concentration, intensity in the contest over 5 days, how team handles situations. India showed enough fighting qualities over the last few years.
Taking example of the last test at Colombo.
  • Arguably the weakest bowling lineup created enough chances at took 20 wickets not by bowling the best deliveries but by forcing errors in batsmen due to sustained pressure.
  • New ball spins and bounces more, but once the ball gets old it is easier to play. Indian batsmen smartly used this fact to their advantage in the run chase.
  • Indian batsmen have this propensity to hit boundaries to score runs but when Sangakkara spread his field, batsmen curbed their natural instincts and collected singles.
  • While chasing a tricky target like 250 and having lost 3 wickets, batsmen generally get into their shell, look to defend and survive, forget about scoring runs. But Tendulkar and Laxman batted positively, scored runs briskly to ease pressure.
This Indian team grabs most opportunities and doesn't snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Earlier we have lost to West Indies chasing 120, lost Sydney Test with 5 minutes remaining and lost Chennai Test to Pakistan by 12 runs. Instead now, we have saved Napier test by batting for 7 sessions after following on, won Chennai Test against England chasing 387, just won Colombo Test chasing 256, drew the Lord's test with 1 wicket remaining. But we haven't been able to finish matches that should have been won - against Pakistan at Bangalore, against England at Oval and against New Zealand at Wellington.

Earlier India used to start a series as favorites, win the 1st test with ease, draw another test and somehow lose the final test to share the series that we should have won. Like at home against Pakistan in 2005 and England in 2006. Instead now reverse is true like in England in 2007, in Sri Lanka in 2010.

India does not have the best Win count or percentage as Australia does because India mostly plays in placid pitches or during rainy season when matches usually end in a draw.

Critics can say India reached the top by fluke (after winning home series against Sri Lanka) but India has stayed there for 9 months now maintaining a larger margin from the next best team.