Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Disaster Management at Uttarakhand


Disaster Management at Uttarakhand

 The present Uttarakhand flood has again shown the failure of national disaster plan in the country. Tens of thousands of people have disappeared from the area. At the moment, people are only counting loss of tourists, the local inhabitants; nobody knows how many of them have died.
 In the last two weeks, I have been approached by several members of NGOs and agencies to donate fund, food and clothes. This happens every time there is a catastrophe. This again indicates Government system failure.
 At such a scale, individuals or unorganized sectors cannot help. Disaster management is always a hierarchy-based crisis management with a leader at the apex. For any catastrophe such as this, the leader invariably should be the government, who should direct everybody in the country to pool resources and ensure that they reach the needy people.
 Yesterday, a couple of media people asked me why we were not sending a team of medical doctors to Uttarakhand. My answer was very simple. Most of us have already offered and are still offering their services to the government, it is the duty of the government to take help from private sector and assign them work in areas where it is needed the most. Otherwise what will happen is that 90% of the benefits would be given to the people who need it the least because they are at the periphery of the disaster.
 The people who are in real need are all either in the centre of the disaster or placed faraway where the help will never reach by non-governmental efforts.
 People on the periphery may end up taking the same help again and again from different NGOs and may get food, clothes, some of which they would never be able to consume.
· DGHS should hold a meeting of presidents of all medical associations in the country and work out a strategy.
· Identify an area in Uttarakhand, which is safe and future disaster (flood) free, where base health camps can be created and medical help can be flown there.
· The job of government should be to lift patients to the base camps, where a coordinated team of medical services can look after the victims.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Infosys gains in price, surrenders its values - The Honest Truth by Ajit Dayal - EquityMaster

4th June 2013
The news broke that N. R. Narayana Murthy is back as Executive Chairman of Infosys. 

Infosys also announced that Rohan Murthy, the 30-year old son of the main co-founder, will be the Executive Assistant to the newly appointed Executive Chairman. 

Deflecting any fears that the Infosys founders were going back on a promise they made many years ago that none of their children would have a role in Infosys, Murthy reportedly told a press conference, "He has no leadership role." 

Infosys has long claimed it is "driven by values". 

Narayan Murthy has been crowned as the king of corporate governance. True, he did not ask for that crown but we, the people, gave it to him. And he chose to wear it. 

In a country that is sick and tired of dynastic rule in political parties (the Nehru clan in the Congress, the Pawar clan in NCP, the Karunanidhi clan in DMK) and in businesses (Ambani, Birla, and Tata to name a few), Infosys was a breath of fresh air. 

Infosys was an experiment of 4 individuals, not backed by any politician, not supported by any bribe, not built on any illegal transfer of a natural and national resource to a private party at a cheap price. 

In a world of the opaque and the corrupt, Infosys was a beacon: It stood for transparency and doing the right thing. What a joy to see something of such tremendous value created during our lifetimes! 

But the cracks had begun to appear in the past few years. As I noted in "The GHIT has hit the fan", each of the CEOs of Infosys have been founders. The last two CEO's (Kris Gopalakrishnan and S D Shibulal) may not have been as "qualified" as the first two (Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani) were. This method of succession planning raised a red flag: was it some clear entitlement that every founder must be a CEO? That in a company with 140,000 employees, there was no one else to take over? Or did Infosys never reach out to hire the best and the brightest at senior management levels - because they knew (and the candidates guessed) that the tops lots were reserv ed for the founders. 

"Market cap" wins over "Torch bearer"? 

At one level, the decision of Narayana Murthy at the age of 66 years, to head back to the chair can be explained as pure wealth protection. His family owns own about 5% in Infosys. That is worth some Rs 7,000 crore today. The April announcement of lower visibility saw a 20% knock in the share price - a loss of some Rs 1,500 crore for the Murthy family in that one day. That is a lot of erosion of wealth for any family. 
Maybe, Murthy and Son are back in there to fix Infosys, to ensure that it is back on the growth trajectory, that it regains its standing as the darling IT stock of the markets. If the one-day price movement of June 3 is anything to go by, then the Murthy and Son act has worked: TCS was down -4% and Infosys was up +4%. Of course, there is still a long way to go to narrow the gap in performance of the businesses and the share price between TCS and Infosys. 

Seen from this angle, there is nothing wrong with the Murthy Version 2.0 evolution. But, if this is the case, then the press statement should honestly state this: "Infosys is in trouble, my family wealth is at stake, and my son and I have come to fix it. We will all benefit as shareholders. Meanwhile, I recognise that it violates many of the principles of Infosys, but think of us as benevolent dictators. We have suspended democracy and corporate governance for a while. The two wrongs (of having only founders as CEOs and now having us come in to fix the problems) will make a right." 

As the Father-Son duo move into action, the family wealth may be restored. 

But at what cost? 

Torch bearers have a responsibility, they can never stumble. 

They may not have asked to be the mantle of virtuousness but - when placed on such a pedestal - they should deny it. By accepting the crown - even if not asked - they carry with it a responsibility. 

Over the past few decades, Infosys - and Murthy in particular - have carried the torch. 

On June 1, the runner stumbled. 

Big time. 

Every political party will now justify nepotism. 

Every corporate chieftain will continue to rule their company in a "baap ka raaj hai" attitude. 

And their justification will be: "woh Murthy ne bhi kiya hai". 

The proponents of dynastic rule must be celebrating and laughing all the way to their family coffers. 

Maybe there was no other choice and Murthy was the only Great White Hope; maybe Rohan Murthy will be confined to being a stenographer, travel agent, and appointment scheduler for a bargain salary of Rs 1 per annum. 

Yes, Infosys may gain in share price and market cap. 

But this has cost India a tremendous loss of value. 

Comment: I have valued Ajit's interesting columns that are a breath of fresh air regarding corporate governance in India. Being a doctor I do not have any professional knowledge regarding the same, yet these help me understand something regarding finance from a perspective that I can align with. I hope that Infosys saga may become like the Apple one - wherein Steve Jobs coming back lead to a surge in Apple business and creation of better products, but somehow reading this article, I am not very sure this will happen. At least the elevation of the 'prodigal son' of Narayanmurthy Sir could have been avoided at this juncture, IMO.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Men & the Mid Life Crisis

Many men go through a phase when they take a hard look at the life they're living. They think they could be happier, and if they need to make a big change, they feel the urge to do it soon.
These thoughts can trigger a midlife crisis. By realizing you're in this phase, then making wise choices, you can steer yourself out of a midlife crisis and into a happier life. 

How to Spot a Midlife Crisis

A true midlife crisis usually involves changing your entire life in a hurry, says Calvin Colarusso, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California San Diego. An example is a man he counseled who wrote a note to his wife, withdrew his money from the bank, and moved to another city without warning.
This type of midlife crisis is rare, Colarusso says. More often, men go through a midlife process in which they make smaller changes over time.
"You might tell your wife, 'I’ve got to get out of this job,' and you do. Or you say to your wife, 'I’m done. The marriage isn’t working for me.' You don’t change everything and you don’t do it frantically," he says. "And for many people, after this agonizing reappraisal, they decide to stay with what they’ve got."
Signs that you're going through this midlife phase, or that you may soon, include:
You've hit your 40th birthday. Colarusso, who has a special interest in issues that affect adults as they age, most often sees men struggling with these midlife questions in their 40s and early 50s.
You're uneasy about major elements in your life. Colarusso says this may include not being satisfied with your career, your marriage, or your health, and feeling the urge to take action to make them better.
You feel that your time for taking a new direction is running short. Many men feel a pressing need to make changes, Colarusso says, when:
  • They notice that their appearance is changing or their stamina isn't as high as it used to be.
  • They become a grandfather.
  • A friend or parent dies.
However, it's not inevitable to go through a midlife crisis when those things happen. 
You're making unusual choices. Men may go through a "teenage-like rebellion" at this point in their lives, says Boston psychologist Lynn Margolies, PhD. "A sure sign you may be in a midlife crisis is if you are feeling trapped and very tempted to act out in ways that will blow up your life," she says. These may include:
  • Drinking more.
  • Having an affair.
  • Leaving your family.
  • Feeling that your life no longer fits you.
  • You're more concerned about your appearance.
  • You feel more desire for excitement and thrills.

Navigating Your Midlife Issues

A midlife crisis can lead to "growth or destruction" for men, Margolies says. You can look for the causes of the unhappiness you feel, then make thoughtful decisions to address them. That's growth.
On the other hand, making impulsive decisions, like trading in your familiar life for a relationship with a younger partner that quickly ends or buying a car you can't afford, leads to destruction.
During this season of your life, be sure to:
  • Remember that your feelings aren't commands. Just because you feel like you have to escape your home, job, or marriage doesn't mean you have to actually do it, Margolies says. These feelings may indeed point to problems that need solving. But they may also fade or change over time.
  • Be thankful for the good things. Take time to be grateful for the parts of your life that make you happy, Margolies says. Ask yourself how you'd feel if you took an action that caused you to lose them.
  • Talk it over. Before you make major decisions, discuss them with someone whose advice you'll trust, Colarusso says. A friend, pastor, or mental health professional can give you another opinion on whether you're making wise choices.  
  • Ask whether your wishes are realistic. Men make plenty of successful changes in their 40s and beyond: Going back to college, traveling the world, or starting their own business. Just make sure your new goals are practical and within your grasp.    
  • Avoid jolting your loved ones. "Realize that you may not need to blow up your life to be happy," Margolies says. "But if it needs to be dismantled, then doing so thoughtfully will be less destructive to the people around you."

Comment: Since I have just turned 40, & going through some major upheavals in my life, my sister felt that it was a good idea for me to go through it :) and I found it useful, so sharing it here ...
Appreciate it sis !

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

COULDA, WOULDA, SHOULDA - My daddy passes away, reflections, and a question for you

APRIL 6, 2013

An article that I found quite introspective. Even though the last part is a plug for a specific form of healing therapy called EFT, but I found the language persuasive, and relevant to me. 

“If you could live your life over, what person or event would you prefer to skip?” is a question we use in EFT to find core issues.
Most of the time, the answers and how they relate to current emotional problems are obvious. It’s truly amazing how much many of us have learned to cleverly (or not so much) use will power to ‘avoid’ feeling. We will ourselves to ‘forget’ an event, or the wrong doing of another, thinking that the high emotions we felt will just ‘disappear’ too.
We discount the need to learn about nutrition and self-care because we’re doing ‘just fine’ or ‘natural is not for everyone’… Then, we start having back aches, migraines,’weird’ anxiety attacks, or even out-of-the-blue diagnosis.


Speaking of out-of-the-blue diagnosis, my dad’s fast and furious journey with cancer was exactly that. Being SO sick all of a sudden is clearly a sign of how much he ‘put up with’ – discomfort, pain, you name it – as his normal way of being.  Sadly, my father passed away this week :( .  The tribute I wrote for him on Facebook included the following:
“So many coulda, woulda, shouldas ‘can’ make us think things would have been better IF…but in that, we forget to relish in all life’s beauty, no matter what. Dad’s simplicity of acceptance brings me peace.”
Yes, I try to always look for the bright side of life even if it’s sometimes really hard to find it. If you’ve lost a parent, then I’m positive you received many lessons and gifts during the process. I’m definitelyIN IT NOW, feeling all sorts of emotions and rejecting to feel too (like maybe now). I’m trusting that this is taking me to a greater depth in my own heart and with others, and I have more than enough tools, family members and friends to support me when I need it. I’m actually humbled and very grateful for the abundance of love I feel right now.


As time passes, I’m sure I’ll tell you more about my dad and his unique personality. What I may share too are some of the emotional hooks I saw in myself since I had the opportunity to be closer to him. This closeness began just after the New Year, when I received his Skype call from Nicaragua, during which he agreed to do tapping with me about the terrible back pain he was experiencing. As we hung up, I had a very bad feeling. I could feel into him. This was much more than a bad back…
Perhaps you will relate to some of what I share, for “child – parent” patterns can be so ingrained, it’s sometimes hard to see them.
Certainly, family personality traits are accentuated during times of crises. Sometimes it takes them coming out in their worse forms to really notice them. As unpleasant as it can be, I’d rather see them clearly, address them when ready, and go on living my life more freely instead of having them potentially cause havoc subconsciously.
With EFT, and lots of LOVE, I know I’ll be able to see more and more beauty in his death, instead of dwelling on the woulda, coulda, shoulda wishes I still feel (between him and me, family members, his loved one, and his decisions about protocol etc.) While part of me is still numb by all the events, I also feel greater peace for he is finally out of pain. His last few days were filled with so much suffering, and knowing him and his very high pain tolerance, it had to be really bad :(


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Inspiration:A couple’s heartbreak

A boy was born to a couple after eleven years of marriage. They were a loving couple and the boy was the apple of their eyes.
One morning, when the boy was around two years old, the husband saw a medicine bottle open. He was late for work so he asked the wife to cap the bottle and put it in the cupboard. The mother, preoccupied in the kitchen, totally forgot the matter.
The boy saw the bottle and playfully went to it and, fascinated with its color, drank it all. It happened to be a poisonous medicine meant for adults in small dosages. When the child collapsed, the mother hurried him to the hospital, where he died. The mother was stunned; she was terrified. How would she face her husband?
 When the distraught father came to the hospital and saw the dead child, he looked at his wife and uttered just four words. “I Love You Darling.”
 The husband’s totally unexpected reaction is proactive behavior. The child is dead. He can never be brought back to life. There is no point in finding fault with the mother. Besides, if only he have taken time to put the bottle away, this would not have happened.
 No point in attaching blame. She had also lost her only child. What she needed at that moment was consolation and sympathy from the husband. That is what he gave her. Sometimes we spend time asking who is responsible or who’s to blame, whether in a relationship, in a job or with the people we know and miss out on the warmth in human relationships we could receive by giving each other support.
 After all, shouldn’t forgiving someone we love be the easiest thing in the world to do? Treasure what you have. Don’t multiply pain, anguish and suffering by holding onto forgiveness. Let go of all your envies, jealousies, unwillingness to forgive, selfishness, and fears and you will find things are actually not as difficult as you think.
 If everyone could look at life with this kind of perspective, there would be fewer problems in the world.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Funny 'research' quote

"It has recently been discovered that research causes cancer in rats."