Thursday, June 30, 2005

Angels & Demons- Indian Version-Tamil Cinema

· Superstar Rajnikant in and as RAbert Laangdon: Protagonist, symbologist, professor at Indian Institute of Religious Science [IIRS], Pudukkottai

· Jothika as Vellam Vetrammal: Tsunami Specialist at NIO

· Vetra Vel-Murgan: Murder victim, NIO scientist, priest at Mahabalipuram Shore Temple

· Nasser as Maruthamalai Kohlan: Director of NIO

· Kalabhavan Mani as The Hashashim: Killer hired by the IMILATI

· Carlos Vetrivel: Thiru Swamigal -Chamberlain

· A. K. Hangal [Hindi theatre Actor], Shri Shri Mortati Swamigal: Member of the Kama-Kodi Math and participant in the Kama Kodi peetham election

· Comedian Vivek as Guntherpetti CLICK: Sun TV reporter

· Kovai Sarla as Chinita Macri-amma: Click's videographer

Story Line

Rajnikant is a chair professor of symbology at IIRS. He has specialized in early Dravidian, Sangam Architecture and Literature. He is currently working on the influence of Tamil Sangam era in Christianity. He is attributed to unearthing Tamil Symbols named ‘Baasha’[swirl your finger and denote one, means The power of one is equivalent to 100 times] and ‘Baba’[fold the middle and the index finger and keep the forefingers raised, a sign of spiritual enlightment in TamilNadu].

Vetra-Vel Murugan is a 68 year old NIO scientist, but comes from a very religious family. He is the Poojari of the 7th Century Mahabalipuram Shore Temple. Velmurugan is found Murdered at the Temple Sanctum Sanctorium. On his chest is branded the Symbol ‘IMILATI’. After googling and Yahoo Deep searching in the internet , Director of NIO, Dr. Maruthamalai Kohlan contacts Rajnikant, who is an expert in study of ‘IMILATI’.

What Rajni sees is an authentic symbol, IMILATI. He reads it with shock...I-MILAT-I.....MILAT....anagram for TAMIL. He Knows that ‘IMILATI’ is an intellectual group that has been dormant for years. The IMILATI stand for a one tamil world. The origin of IMILATI dates back to First Century B.C in a place called Poompuhar in Tamilnadu, on the banks of cauvery. Thiru-Valluvar, the sage poet who wrote the sacred verses [Thiru-Kural]. Thiru meaning ‘Sacred’, and Kural meaning ‘Voice’. The 3rde Century B.C to the 3rd century A.C was the golden ‘era’ of Tamil-called ‘Sangam’ Era. The Era saw the emergence of a Tamil order in every field of literature, arts, mathematics, geography, and philosophy. The ‘IMILATI’ was a select group of intellectuals who hold the ‘secrets’ to ‘the origins of human language’. They embedded themselves in the corridors of power [ministers, advisors, and Brahmins in the court of Pandya and Chola Kings] and still continue to have considerable influence in Tamil Politics [Dravidian Parties]. It is mandatory for school children in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu to study Thirukkural right from their inception into the curriculum. Their influence has spread far and wide and have considerable support in Sri-Lanka. It is believed that the ‘ELLAM’ movement in Jaffna province is supported and funded by IMILATI- the Tamil Tigers.

Many stalwarts like Avaiyar, Kamban, Valluvar, Periyar, and current Dravidian exponents like Cho, Vaiko are said to be members of the IMILATI [A type of Free Mason Organisation]. It is rumoured that the current members of the IMILATI hold their meetings at Guna caves in kodaikanal, which is closed for public from 2003. IMILATI are not known to be terrorists, but they are passionate about their cause for Tamil world. They believed that all languages owe allegiance to Tamil and hence Tamil is the World Language-The Mother of all Languages. The IMILATI have tried to convey this message through works of art, Literature, and architecture. Come to believe of it, Americans were once Tamilians. The IMILATI have impregnated ‘Silicon Valley’ and ‘Bay’ Area. Many world-class software engineers are members of IMILATI. It is believed that Microsoft Windows is an IMILATI product. Tamil was the first Indian language incorporated into MS products. It is believed that the funds from IMILATI software engineers in US are used to fund their cause. The rise of ELAM state in neighboring srilanka is through IMILATI influence.

Rajni finds that the IMILATI has resurfaced through this murderous act. But what shocks Rajni is the revelation of Director of NIO, Dr. Maruthamalai Kohlan. Dr. Kohlan says that the murdered Poojari of the Temple was also a scientist at NIO. He was working on mineral nuclear physics, a technology that could generate nuclear power equivalent to 1000 Hiroshima Bombs from One atom of Titanium. Titanium deposits are in abundance along the eastern Indian coast, especially mahabalipuram. Experiments have shown that natural titanium becomes very radioactive after it is bombarded with deuterons, emitting mainly positrons and hard gamma rays.

Rajni discovers that the IMILATI have appropriated this Titanium technology. His reasoning is that Titanium is a Tamil Mineral with chemical Symbol Ti, both appearing in Tamil.[Titanium was named Thittam by IMILATI..the last two letters TI stand for Titanium]. Titanium , in latin means Titan, the son of Gia [Mother Earth]...IMILATI believe that TamilNadu is blessed with her son-Ti. Thittam in Tamil also means- ‘Plot’. Rajni alarmingly puts the strings together. Thittam-The plot to IMILATI realizing their ultimate power of earth..bestowed on her son..the titanium laden beaches along the east coast of Tamil Nadu..... using the secret weapon.


Note: The characters in this story line are fictitious. The places and facts are coincidences and at the mercy of my logic and fantasy. It is not meant to further any bias or animosity towards any individual or organisation. This is a work of fiction.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


Yahoo Deep Search: Just what the doctor ordered for me..IEEE search in Yahoo.

Yahoo 360!...All in one solution..My second Orkut! I liked the messenger Integration

Thursday, June 16, 2005

9.77 seconds

There seems to be adrenaline with the name Powell, and Jamaicans. The world 100m record progression throws some interesting observations. 9.95seconds (1968) to 9.77seconds(2005). The progression shows a downtrend from the normal trendline (a Polynomial function is my assumption , based on some research articles). Though records are broken faster, the difference is a hundredth of a second every occassion. According to the trend line, the worldrecord today, should be 9.75seconds (a crude excel calculation). The advent of new technology helps athletes (from 1983 a record is broken every 2-3 years). But, definitely this is not the sunshine period of 100m sprint. The late 1980's and early 1990's was the era of Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell. The fast trend started with Carl Lewis(9.92 in 1987) and by 1996, 0.10 seconds had reduced in the record books. This is the era of African athletes, and their dominance will only increase. I predict by 2010, 90 percent of the American athletics team will comprise of athletes of African origin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

What no Organisation, but a B-school can teach you

Vineet Nayar, President of HCL Technologies has remarked in his guest column in Business Standard, "What No B-school can teach you". It has been a growing trend for business managers (who themselves are what they are partly due to their b-school name tag) to lambast b-school education weaknesses. A trend which started off after the book 'What they dont teach you at Harvard business school". I agree with the quotes borrowed by Mr. Nayar from Vernon Sanders Law about experience being the best teacher. I agree with the premise that the classroom is the most dangerous place from which to view the outside world. What I certainly donot agree is generalising a statement that No b-school can teach anything worth a managers salt. A few questions;
1. Mr. Nayar says 'Pride' is not taught in b-schools. I agree, Pride is a virtue and not a skill. This column on rediff ends thus "
Vineet Nayar is president, HCL Technologies. He graduated from XLRI in 1985." I am sure Mr. Nayar wears his XLRI alumnus tag and takes 'pride' in displaying it. Forget, teaching 'Pride', an MBA aspirant takes great 'pride' when he gets admission into an IIM and passes out with flying colors. He wears his tag proudly to state that he is 'the cream of intellectualism'. Pride is relative Mr. Nayar, it all depends on how you handle it. Life at b-school is tough, and what a student imbibes is his relative ability to excel, take pride with humility, and healthy spirit of teamwork. No organisation or institution can teach these virtues, that are part of a person's upbringing. Remember, these virtues take some time to influence a person's character. A person's experience over a career spanning 10-15 years cannot be compared to his experiences in a 2 year stint at a b-school. But the two years does make a big difference.

2. What are the 'take-aways' from just 2 years of b-school life? The answer is a confident personality. A spring board to ones career that enables a student to dream and push his limits to achieve excellence. I challenge any organisation worth its salt to take up the task of making a manager out of its employee in two years. I bet they will fail. Experience is a teacher, alright, but not always the only perfect teacher. Experience require proper thought, application, and approach. I agree, this theoretical approach is least successful, but I advocate a blend of both. If Mr. Nayar were to say that only experience can teach these virtues, why have graduate education at all? Let us send our sons and daughter's to run businesses right after primary school.

3. Results, b-school students are made to push limits and produce results. Some b-schools require students to show profits on their projects, do shadow consulting, and their performance is graded.

My argument is no institution can teach virtues like values, pride, passion, and result oriented approach. So it is immaterial to pass the buck to b-schools. Show me any organisation that can teach ethics, values, and self-righteousness. Give a student b-school education through out his career, he will make a better manager than one without.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

MBA Systems

Since 2000, MBA Systems has been added to many a b-school specialisation. Glorified technical jargon with a decent spreading of strategy talk is what most b-schools in India dish out in the name of IT and IS Management. Any engineer worth his communication skills gets picked up in the IT sector these days, without much ado. A closer look at what skills are imparted in b-schools in the name of IT management is enough to show the widening gap between IT Industry standards and b-school training standards.

Any Indian b-school curriculum(even the IIM's) look at IT & Systems as another glorified MCA course. Forget the specialisation, many of them donot have a curriculum. For a b-school, IT& Systems starts and ends with a subject and its variants-Management Information Systems [MIS]. All other courses offered are variants of the same. Infact, the concept of MIS has changed over the years and today there is more than transaction processing systems (Intelligent Decision Support Systems, Expert Systems). Many b-schools follow the text book based MIS appraoches (Laudon & Laudon, O'Brien) which are out dated and obsolete. Just like a shop floor manager who cannot manage the shop floor without understanding the process (how the machine, lathes work), an IT manager cannot manage technical people with jargons and powerpoint presentations on what is data-mining (cliche).

The outcome of this "global" -"jargon-based" approach devoid of any fundamental knowledge base doesnot serve any good for IT companies that recruit the students in large numbers. Many b-schools manufacture an "IT specialisation" by offering programming courses, while the students believe that an IT&Systems Job is that of a Software Programmer, who gets paid at a higher scale that his engineer counter part.

MBA Systems is much beyond "coding". The IT Industry in India has outgrown the requirement for developers and solution providers. The Industry requires Domain specialists, Solution Designers, and Skilled Project Managers. High value jobs require specialists, not generalists who come with a mix of marketing, finance and looking to learn technical skills on the job. The Industry requires managers with good technical skills, who understand and manage technology efficiently. The training should revolve around managing life-cycle projects, managing requirements,bridging the technical team and client requirements (requires understanding of design, implementation, financial management, and strategy). Teaching Datamining and e-commerce through power-point slides doesnot create IT Management awareness, neither does discussing a case study about outsourcing and Infosys. The classroom is the most dangerous place to look at the outside world(a chinese proverb). Learning by doing is the key, and every MBA systems manager should know how to select appropriate technology, how to price high -technology products, how to understand and articulate client requirements and liase with the technical team.

So what makes up the ideal MBA systems training?

Peter Balo in his Case Study on IS Curriculum identifies a matrix of Business, Information, and Strategy with Organisation Strategy, Structures, and Operations as a requirement for any IS curriculum. Prof. Bharat Rao's, (IIM-Lucknow) article is the only available online guide on what makes an MBA Systems program (India Infoline, 11 November 2004). There are some relatively niche b-schools like Goa Institute of Management, which have exhaustive curriculum designed based on SEI-CMU training standards. Only, IIM-Bangalore's Post Graduate program in Software Management meets Industry standards.

Animal Farm in Goa

I just chanced upon this book which I had read in school days, Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945). A World War II critique and satire on the communist rule and totalitarian society that prevailed in Russia, Animal Farm appealed to me more as an example of a totalitarian organisation.
Organisations [Mason Farm] with Top Management [Wild Boar named "Napolean"] evolving a totalitarian approach to manipulate every entity [animal] in the Farm through "tactics" of incentives, job security, freedom, and task.

Have we not seen employees like Boxer[the horse] who gives his life working hard for the farm?
Do we not see Boss-men [Napoleans] intimidating employees? Do we not see "Yes men" like animals who always blurt out "Napolean is right"?
Do we not see the hounding "dogs of Napolean" and Squealer pig(propoganda minister of Napolean), growling and thwarting any dissenting, whistle blower in the organisation?
Do we not see Napolean conspiring to hold on to power, and leadership by eliminating noble people [Snow ball]?

Finally, the pigs of the farm walk on two legs, like the men against whom they revolted. As the story ends..Pigs look like Men, and Men look like Pigs, until they both become one and the same. Socialism(Pigs of the farm) and Capitalism (Human Beings) merge at the corridors of power.

Do we see any resemblence to the socialists of our country who cry hoarse about disinvestment and FDI, but go about opening up the farms they rule to the capitalists? They fight as an opposition in other farms (states), but walk on two legs in the North-block and South-Block corridors of power. Citizens of the democracy, like the four legged animals shout slogans during every election "Four legged good, two legged bad". But, they finally know for sure it is the two legs that rule.

On a concluding note, The Animal Farm in Goa is restored after the 13th rebellion in five years. The two legged animals of the farm (old boars) hold on to their portfolio's. The Goan farm is a farm of boars and pigs. Some Boars instigate communal rebellion, while the other Boars buy out the four legged animals of Goa.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Making Technology work for Poor

I attended Dr. R. A. Mashelkar's(Director General-CSIR) Public Lecture on "Making High Technology Work for Indian Poor" at National Institute of Oceanography [NIO], Dona Paula, Goa. The ocassion was the realease of NIO booklet Sagar (11 June 2005).

Here are some ideas and salient points from Dr. Mashelkar's Lecture, which I felt was very similar to what Prof. C. K. Prahlad talks about in his book "Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid". The topic of the lecture was suggested by Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Over 4 billion people living at less than two dollars per day. Dr. Mashelkar emphasised on making high technology work for poor in education, health care, energy, connectivity was the focal point of the lecture. In education, he gave the example of Mr. F.C. Kohli's initiative of Computer based Functional Literacy Program [CBFL], that has succeded in making 40,000 Indians literate with a cost of less than 2 dollars. Dr. Mashelkar later made a point that what India needs is "community based " schemes, and not one-computer for every Indian schemes. He stated that Indian rural folk share village resources. Similarly, high technology can become successful only if it is introduced through village STD-ISD booths, kiosks, chaupals (ITC e-chaupal being another example).

On health care, Dr. Mashelkar gave the example of a Sanitary Napkin developed by CSIR laboratories. Sanitary Napkins are made of super-absorbent material(absorb 200-400 percent fluids), and thus very expensive. One of the CSIR labs took up the challenge of making a super-absorbent with the same performance but at a lesser price. They finally succeded in making an alternative material at a cost of one ruppee. He said it all depends on maintaining the performance. It can make a huge difference to poor women whose personal health and hygiene leads to better living. Price-Performance in high technology is crucial to reach the poor. He went on to give the example of Aravind Eye Hospital eye care and their success in providing quality eye care at low cost. The quality of care is very high(low failures in cataract operations), and at a lower price (refer the case study on Aravind Eye Hospital).

His examples in energy management included using bullock carts to power reverse osmosis plants, and the anti-virus water purifying plant (patent) for villages. In connectivity, he gave examples of Dr. Ashok Jhunjunwalla's WLL technology.
Though the lecture was inspiring, the question answer session were he said more should be done in the field of disaster management in coastal areas. His advice was to increase awareness about remedies available in ancient Indian medicine, science, and ingenious methods that Indians fail to document.
I feel we neglect our ingenuity. We donot document any finding, only to loose it to an American who patents the finding.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Book Tag- MEME

Book Tag Chain..Booker Blogs.
Extending the meme from Pramod (gatecrashing as the Fifth link). The Indian origin of this meme is from Yazad

Total Number of Books I Own:
A modest 56. I am a stinchy personal Librarian. Thanks to coexistense with Institutional libraries, and my predatory skills in Campus Libraries my personal collection is minsicule.

Last Book I Bought: Angels and Demons, and five minutes before that I got House of Blue Mangoes, Life Ahead from Broadway Book House, Goa.

Last Book I Read: A Demon in my View (My Review in the previous post)

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me:
Malgudi Days: The World of Swami in a Penguin paper back was presented to me when I was studying in Ninth standard.

Interpreter of Maladies: Jhumpa Lahiris observation of small things in life that makes a big impact. I liked it for its crisp writing, short story style narration. The Best stories of the book: Temporary Matters, and Interpreter of Maladies.

Saving Big Blue: It came at a time of my MBA, before Jack talked straight from the Gut. Lou Gerstner's guts to stand by his belief that IBM can be made into a lean, fast organisation. Steady leadership insights into strategy.

Khazakinte Ithihasam(The Legends of Khazak): Appukkili, Mash, Mullah...Khazak is real, stark, and vibrant. O. V. Vijayan breathes life into every character of Khazak.

The Fountainhead: Roark! He rocks and rolls over conventional wisdom. Made sense to rebel, to be different, stand out.

Alchemist: Learn to Dream. If you ever dare to dream and pursue it with true intentions, then the whole world conspires to make it come true. It was simple yet profound.

My unfinished book: War and Peace [Unabridged]; Leo Tolstoy

Tag five people and have them do this on their blogs:
If you happen to read this and want to continue the chain, add a comment. However, I invite some of the blogs I stumble upon regularly.

Prachi Singh ; Nikhil Kulkarni ; Girlwith Big Eyes ; Samoj ; Vishnu ; Silverine; Reshma

Extend the meme.It comes circle...Kraz tags me

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Weekend readings

Indulekha (1889), Translated by Anitha Devasia
A historical background into the classic malayalam novel by O. Chandumenon gave me an insight into the dynamics of Kerala Nair society. A matrilineal society, Marumakkathyam law of inheritance, The Malabar Marriage Commission intervention, informal marriage alliances(Sambandams), and conflict of tradition with modernity forms the backdrop to this interesting novel. I liked the dramatic dialogue based narrative (like reading a play) useful in bringing out the nuances and interplay between the characters. Chandumenon himself had mentioned that Indulekha would never be read in English, I felt the Malayalam work is the classic. I felt the same while reading Legends of Khasak (Khazakinte Ithihasam) by O. V. Vijayan. Thanks, to the translator, English literature gets to know that there are better classics. The romance between the protagonists, Indulekha and Madhavan has depth and meaning. I was very disappointed with Namboodiripad's character. An english dialogue just cannot replicate the accents, and thus the humor in the character falls flat.

Now Reading..

A Demon In My View, by Ruth Rendall
I found this preface interesting, but the story very boring. It had an interesting premise. A story of a psychopath who has never know how to talk with women. He stays with a scholar who is doing his PhD in psych analysis. The author fails to bring out any nuances, or suspense. The writing is verbose, but foggy. Bore!
Hope to do some reading before the term starts, and I go back to Software Engineering Research. I have hit the writer's block, so moved to reading.

Watch the ECLIPSE

IBM Eclipsing Microsoft, not the Sun

IBM in efforts to build a Java-based Middle ware wants to 'eclipse' Microsoft and not Sun. The battle of 'middle earth' is to automate life-cycle projects early. Business Analysts will use lego-brick model solutions that move on to generate code. Having acquired Rational in 2003, IBM looks to take out Microsoft .Net strategy[Visual Studio Team System] and not support them in future. Watch out at,1738,1485700,00.asp