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    ‘Hungry and passionate’

    We have a team. Just that it is not a ‘winning’ team. The challenge is to have a ‘winning’ team. A team wanting to win at any cost. That is what we need. People who do not base their decisions on money. Who are not saleable items to be bought at a high price. Kahan milte hain? Every feeling,every emotion, every person today has a price tag. And that is the poverty. The worst kind of poverty. The poverty of thought.

    Groupism, Unionbazi galore. Even in a small team such as ours. kar lo yaar. Kaam important nahin hai. Non issue ko issue bana lo. And let us keep fighting. Till we all die and persih. And then we can blame it on me or the country or the lack of opportunity or the weather or the food or the timing. What a waste of talent and intelligence. Just when we need to stand together and face the crisis the company is in, we are choosing to fight. Good work. let us keep it up. Let us use our fists and legs and punch each other. Why just prepare a demand charter. Let us go all out and show the stuff we are made of.

    Will Gandhigiri work in such an environment? Simple living and high thinking. You bet.

    ‘Hamen bade log nahin chhahiye. hamen chhote log chahiye jinki soch badi ho’. Give us men and women who are alive. Give us men and women are are trained to do a job well to perfection. Who do not need to be trained to perform effortlessly and gracefully. Whose life and work is a perfect dance in harmony. Who do not need to be told to do an errorfree quality job. We can then talk about the package. We could then perhaps talk about the timings.

    The problem is that we are all looking for an wasy way out. The shortest route to success. And a job. Just a job. We are not really committed to being successful or in winning the match. Just being on the field is enough for us. But it should not be enough. We have to be hungry and passionate about the match.

    Hungry and passionate.


    A long journey

    Time takes time. Anything worthwhile takes time. Thats the whole deal. To let time take time. To let the important settle and to let the unimportant flow away.

    Everything is fairly under control. Chandan is comfortable with the online shop. Ashok and Hariom are moving forward with the software development using open source GIS. Chandrakant is trying to get a grip on the projects and Balmiki is balancing too many hats. Suraj is now exclusively on the job of requesting the clients to release our pending payments (It is the beginning of the month you see and the bills are flowing in!).

    The clients came and we had a good meeting yesterday .The bad news is that we cannot do much for their site technically in terms of enhanced height. The good news is that they were happy to at least get their facts straight. So the dependence on liasioning agents can be reduced.

    I am very fortunate that Appu is not keen on a very lavish lifestyle. She is happy with the way we live, the bare necessities, a roof, three meals a day and a majorly absent mom. Thank you bebzer.

    There is emptiness. ‘Emptiness’ is a good ‘state of being’. I guess.

    Then we can choose what to fill it with.
    From emptiness to fullnesss.

    A long journey. The longest.


    License to survive

    I need to thank Appu for the lovely theme of the blog. Simple and Elegant. Thank you bebzer.

    There was a time when we had just entered the portals of IIT when the first question we would ask each other was ‘ hawa kya hai?’, meaning what is your AIR (All India Rank)? That was the most important bit of information. Similarly the first question we ask now is ‘what the hell is your lat-long’?, meaning what is your position on the surface of the earth (latitude-longitude kya hai bhai). So, over the years we have moved from ‘rank’ to ‘location’.

    There is a roof over our heads as of today. There is an office to go to. It is a miracle for us. Maybe it is a pack of cards. Maybe all of it can or will fall easily. Everything is on rent. On lease so to say. But our life itself is on an extended lease. We do not know when the lease will expire. So what is this huge hue and cry about ‘ownership’? Of ‘land’ or ‘life’?

    Another day. Just need to do what is manageable. What is possible. Nothing more.Nothing less.

    Appu is in college. Amma has gone to get some milk. The guard has opened the office on time. There is no dispute with the landlord(s) as of now. The bank is not knocking our doors. The e-mails may just start working.

    The normal normal. The daily stuff. Boring and mundane.
    And yet it has taken us so long to create this.

    This safe, boring, mundane routine.

    This license to survive.



    ‘Jai Hind’

    A visit to AAI, vegetables in the house, letter for limit renewal to the bank, petrol re-fill for the car and ad infinitum. Amongst all of these, the only ” Aaj ki dhyadi” wala work has been the visit to AAI. I was able to clarify one doubt and that is a huge achievement. Not that we are very welcome there. But what needs to be done, has to be done. One of our clients in Mumbai has filed numerous RTI’s asking for information and AAI thinks that we are behind it. It is untrue but in their heads, it will be true until proven false. So we have to live with their resentments. It is difficult for people to change.

    Architects are finally waking up to the reality that just CAD drawings are not sufficient. That it is important to link them to the surface of the earth for realistic outputs. So we may have them working with us as a team rather than against. Finally, we have a small (really tiny) project in Mumbai. Like an icebreaker. A they say, something is better than nothing.
    At least some of the bills (the age old story) will get paid.

    Many invitations for all kinds of conferences all over. Have no wish to attend. Fake it to make it all the time. Paste a smile, look and act successful and keep exchanging cards. Any robot could do that. There should be better ways to market one’s work and connect (if shaking hands and eating together can be called connecting).

    Appu has been experiencing mood swings and is not going to college today. I wish I knew how to support her better emotionally. Life and living. Entirely different realms.
    We are on an even keel now. The accounts are getting under control. PHBAAS and the online shop are in process. Hopefully, the payment gateway issue should be closed by next week.
    I have to believe that what we are being able to do on a daily basis is sufficient. If it is the best we can do on a given day, it is alright. There is no need to push ourselves to do harder. We just need to keep doing what we can on an everyday basis. Easier said than done.

    We have two boys for housekeeping in the evening shift. They have worked in the Air Force and whenever we pack up in the night, they always sign off by saying ‘Jai Hind’. It feels good. It is strange. There is always a sense of pride in saying and hearing this salutation.

    ‘Jai Hind’


    The big vs The small

    Ho gaya? company chalayenge? chala lo bhaiyya. It is a very glamourous concept but the back breaking work it takes is not amusing at all. And the long hours. And the insecurity. And the instability. And the ‘galis’ you have to give and receive, specially in a place like Delhi. My father always says,’kya pagalpan hai?’ Why don’t you just take up a good job and settle down? I guess I am just not made that way. Kuch chemical imbalance hai.

    One enquiry for PHBAAS. Good. very good. Of course the query was about why it was so expensive. Bhai dimag lagaya hai. Technology hai. It is not just another map. All this was explained to the potential customer. So it is time now for wait and watch. Meanwhile, Narendra is designing the packaging for the product. He has become our designer apart from being the GIS team leader.

    Amma has left for the village. Her husband is not well so she is going there to look after him. Shakuntala has taken her place for cooking lunch in the office. Today it was Narendra’s turn to cook dinner and he made a lovely pulao for all of us. It has also been decided that next week, it will be an Assamese dish with steamed rice and black coffee. It is good to know that our technical team consists of great cooks too.

    Water and electricty have been a problem. It has been raining incessantly and the drainage of Delhi is very ill equipped to deal with this quantum of rain. So the transport logistics have been badly affected and everyone reached the office quite late (but at least they reached and did not declare it a rainy day holiday!).

    There are the bills. Some of them have been paid. We placed an Advertisement for the position of an accountant and there are countless CV’s pouring in. A written test for the attitude and accounting capability has been designed and each applicant is being asked to give the test. Hopefully, this will give prove beneficial to both the candidate and the company.

    There is pain and there is loneliness. And there is this path to walk. To walk the walk.

    And the oven needs repair. And a gas cylinder had to bought in black. And the office rations have to be bought over the weekend.

    Tangentially opposite directions. The small things and the big things.
    Could never really figure out which one is more important. The big stuff or the small stuff.

    The big vs The small.



    A moment of quietness

    The online shop has been launched, despite and inspite of. Also most of the flaws have been removed. PayPal is working successfully but apparently it cannot be used by the domestic users so we will need to get a payment gateway integrated. OK, so far so good. The launch was celebrated by a small get together of the team with Rajesh and his wife. It had been planned for a long time and everyone looked relieved and peaceful. A lot was shared about the turbulent times we shared to make it happen, the people who quit, the fear, the pressure and then finally the launch. None of the current team members wish to leave despite the deadlines, pressure and my anger and constant pushing. Beginnings are important I guess, but closures/completion of a project, relationship or life is even more important. Well done team!

    Whenever I leave for the office, I check the needle of the petrol tank. If it is above the reserve mark, I feel grateful that I can switch on the AC in the car. Small things. I feel grateful for the car itself. ‘surrender’, I am learning is the most powerful way of being. Let us add ‘complete’ to it. ‘Complete surrender’ would be better. To the powers of the universe. Trying to control people, things and events causes more unmanageability than going with the flow. But ‘letting’ go is even more tougher than ‘trying to control’. Still in the process of learning.

    This is a long weekend. After a very long time. The office is closed for three days. A welcome break for all in the team as well as for Appu. Still figuring out the list of ‘to do’ tasks over the weekend. Have brought all the accounts related files to the house. The filing needs to be done properly since most of the bills are lying haphazardly and have not even been punched. That is going to be a herculean task. Apart from which the rations will need to be bought for the house and the office. The rest is still unclear and hopefully clarity will dawn before the weekend disappears.

    Project chahiye. Sabko chahiye bhaiya. What’s new. Kuch aur baat karo. Payment chahiye. Again, what’s new? kabhie to koi aur bhasha bolo.
    Bank instalments, please not again. The salaries have been released. Thank God. At least something is positive.

    Today is Rakhi and no one from my family has called. It is for the best. There never has been any relationship for the past so many years. Now the facade is also gone. At least everything is real. There is no fakeness. They do not want me in their life. Its easier to deal with reality than with faked fakeness.

    I hope to spend some tme with Appu. It has been quite a while.
    The rest is the daily humdrum of life and living. The noise, the drama, the ‘being busy’ part.

    To get a moment of quietness in the madness of everyday life would be a great acheievement.

    ‘ Just a moment of quietness’.


    Leave it or take it

    The interface for the online shop is ready and apart from the integration with the payment gateway, we are ready for the launch. Kamakhya is exploring the possible options apart from paypal and Bhagat is working on laying a grid on the finished maps to reflect their latitude-longitude. Lat-Long being the most important identity for any map worth its while.
    The CA is visiting the office today with his team and hopefully the mess will begin to clear up. ‘The mess’, it is everywhere.

    The software development is on hold as of now. However Narendra and Kamakhya are working on a product for Mumbai which will depict the maximum permissible heights for various areas of the city on a map. This will be available in hard and soft copy for the real estate clients and their architects. It could be very useful in taking decisions before buying the land. The clients would be able to plan the building and the number of possible floors before, rather than later when it is too late and the advertisements for selling the built floors have been sent out.

    The rest is the same. Time for salaries,bills, payments and looking for a project. The experience of college is a little better than school for Appu. The house is manageable. There is water. What is elusive is ‘peace’. Feeling drained of energy today. No idea as to what is going on below the surface. There must be some emotional upheaval that I am not willing to face. But I guess life just takes you along in its flow, like it or not, with willingness or without it.

    Trace it or face it.

    Leave it or take it.


    ‘We shall overcome’

    A pressure cooker needs to be bought for the house. The one my father gave me has become twisted from years of use and does not function properly. The office also feels like being in a pressure vessel. There is a lot of stress currently for reaching the first level targets for all the on-going projects. The online shop is far from being completely operational. A lot of components are yet to be finalized in the interface as well as in the product category. Ankit has learnt how to be able to upload the finished maps and that is a positive development. One step at a time. One day at a time. We have to just keep moving. The ‘blog’ on the inteface of the online shop is functional and the team has just begun to share on it. This is a powerful beginning. We have wanted this for a long time now. For the team to be able to share its experience, struggle and hope.

    The birds have built another nest in the plant in our courtyard. It is a very good feeling. If despite all the insecurities, we have been able to create a sense of safety for the birds, it must be counted as an achievement. Amma is travelling by auto to the office since she refuses to commute by bus (its quite a cost but our choices are limited, no Amma in the office means no lunch). Appu has been promoted in her dance class and there is a sense of elation and celebration. We have been waiting for this moment for ages now. Well done Appu.

    In the swirl of activities going around, it is very easy to forget what is truly important. In the race for getting bigger and better turnovers, more electronic gizmos, a more lavish lifestyle, it is easy to let go of what feels right. It gets easier to not listen to what the gut is saying. And then it becomes just a mad frenzy to get, to possess, to look good, to make money however.

    We have decided to take the plunge and use technology to prove a point in AAI. We are going to be using stereo pairs of satellite images to extract building height for one of our clients in Mumbai. AAI has never used this technology as they mostly work in 2D in hard copy maps. However, we are convinced and have enrolled our client to take a chance. To show them with proof what we are trying to say. We have no idea whether it will work. But we have never had an idea. We have always just chosen a path regradless of where it will take us. We have always believed in the path, trusting it and HP to take us wherever. We do our part and let the result rest with HP.
    Ashok is still struggling with the first module of the software. ‘Patience’, is such a difficult state of being.

    And so we begin another day. With hope, with courage, with a little tiredness of body and spirit.

    We shall overcome.
    Deep in our heart, we do believe.

    ‘We shall overcome someday’.


    All the time

    The Chennai site has been put on hold. The data collected on the ground a few years ago appears to be inconsistent. And GIS is equivalent to GIGO (Garbage in = Garbage out). So if garbage is fed as an input, garbage is what we will get as an output. We have requested the client to give us fresh data.
    The online shop is on its way. I mean we have been trying for a long time now but I guess we are now in the final stages of its launch. The software being developed by Ashok has still a long way to go. But we are in the right direction and that means a lot. Being in the right direction is more important than the total distance covered.

    The rations are due for the pantry in the office. The gas cylinder is over in the house. Appu’s system is still not working. Thanks to Dell. The plants are surviving. And the scanner of my mind is working overtime.

    The mundane vs the ‘worth achieving’. Very thin line. But that is what makes all the difference. In the attitude. In choosing to be a loser or a winner. In choosing ‘to be’ or to just keep ‘doing’, ‘keep running’.

    I have been getting a lot of invites to seminars and meetings. A sure sign that I am ageing. That I am good only for deliberating in seminars and talking, not for walking or fighting the actual battle on ground. After all seminars are only for the show, for proving a point, for faking it.

    The team is strong. Kamakhya has been re-inducted after a strict warning and cancellation of his impending appraisal. Tough job. To manage a winning team.

    And keep it on the winning side.
    All the time.



    All said and done

    ‘Water’ is an ‘online’ issue. I discovered this when we barely got any water for four days. And when I went to the officer in charge of the colony for water supply, I was told that I needed to install an online pump with a higher horse power as all the neighbouring pumps were of a higher H.P and hence with greater suction ability. The resulting pressure drop in the line ensured that we did not get any water supply. The other option was to remove all the online pumps (which of course is unrealistic). So, we need an online pump with a power of at least 1 H.P and we need a plumber to do the replacement. Great! ‘Roof’ was an issue. Now ‘water’ is also an issue. I wonder what is next. maybe ‘air’.

    The ‘great’ family get together was today. I went in the morning to attend a small ‘satsang’ at my parents’ house (despite misgivings of an impending disaster). The ‘satsang’ was a video cassette of the ‘Gurus’ speech being played on a large LCD TV ( bought and gifted by my multi crore brother). It could not do full justice to the fake hallowed environment of covered heads and muted talk and a ‘pretense of being there’. I got up after a while and made myself a cup of tea and sat silently in a corner in another room. That truly felt like some kind of ‘satsang’.
    The ‘satsang’ over, there was an exchange of gifts (like jewellery of gold,emeralds and pearls and money(huge)). I was quite a misfit in the entire scenario and to cover up the embarassment of having a ‘poor’ daughter, they decided to gift me an envelope with Rs. 500=00. I was also offered one of my own sarees (sold to my mother in bad times) to wear in the evening and some artificial jewellery to look good (for them of course!)My brother also offered to have me dropped to my house in an old dilapidated spare car which was also being used to transport one of their maids. So the maid and I could be clubbed together to get a ride back. I mean truly, somethings never change. my ‘Family of origin’ is one of them.
    Of course, I did not attend the function in the evening in a glamourous hotel with a glamourous gathering. I had had enough glamour in the morning and enough dis-respect from my own family for a lifetime. If there is no respect where one is born and brought up, how can one expect any respect from the world outside.

    Mr. Silakari of Aakar Consultants called up and was rude and loud. I disconnected the line as I have no wish to be shouted and screamed at anymore. We are doing very good work for Nagaur and Uniyara and beyond that it does not really matter. Who has written to whom and what and when is a non-issue. The politics of a government department never ceases to amaze me. More than the work the most important question is ‘who is closer to whom’ and ‘who has written to whom’ and ‘why’. Beyond me.

    The new office space is being worked upon. It is what we call ‘ a work in progress’. Hopefully it will be a ‘complete work’ very soon (before we are thrown out of this office).

    Work, money, self respect. The more self respect we are willing to give up on, the more money we can make. And if we wish to keep our self respect intact, forget about making huge money buddy.

    Self respect and money. Inversely proportional relationship.
    I guess the fight for us is more about maintaining our self respect and less about making money.

    Nevertheless, a fight is a fight.

    All said and done.


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