Category Archives: General

Ranbaxy Saga What Happens to the Indian Consumers

The newspapers these days are absolutely filled with negative, depressing followed by more negative and more depressing news. There have been scams, controversies all across India, but there has been one controversy which has been subdued in India, where the focus is currently on the IPL spot fixing, and Phaneesh Murthy controversy. The controversy which I am more worried about is the fact that Ranbaxy pleaded guilty to seven federal criminal counts of selling adulterated drugs that didn’t meet specifications. The US courts have fined Ranbaxy to the tune of $500 Million for duping the American consumers with the adulterated drugs.
I have always felt the healthcare business is one which runs on faith and the people in this business are no lesser than gods when it comes to patients. Imagine you are suffering from a fever, ache or any other ailment and you visit a doctor who looks at your symptoms and prescribes you some small tablets. These tablets work as magic inside your body and in a few days you find yourself cured. When a company which makes these drugs indulges in action like these you tend to question that faith. Personally speaking whenever I play squash or go for a run and there is an ache I use Volini spray which is a product of Ranbaxy and now I question if the product is authentic, does it really works on my ache or is it my body itself recovering? I don’t even know how many times doctor would have prescribed me a Ranbaxy medicine and I am not sure if it worked.
My heart goes out to people who had critical diseases, who lost out people because the medicines they trusted on were adulterated and the company sold them in the market faking specification. The fact that they were are penalized in US for the malpractices; I have my doubts if anything will happen to them in India. The people in our country who suffered by their lack of ethical practices will never get justice or even understand what has been done to them. At times when all the media is talking about other controversies I am wondering is there an enquiry happening on what Ranbaxy has been selling in India. Are there steps being taken so that until things are cleared people don’t use adulterated and drugs made not up to specifications?

It is high time government and the Indian judicial system takes up the task of delivering justice to the common man against corporate greed and unethical practices.

You can read more about the controversy and the case here.

Happier today: 10 Things You Should Stop Doing Right Now

First of all I must put the disclaimer message that this post is not an original creation. It was a forwarded message by a dear friend D, I do not have details of its origin to give appropriate credits. I have been thinking to start writing on this space regularly soon and somehow it doesn’t happen. I have been planning on the post and the idea behind the post was there somewhere inside my subconscious, and when I happened to read this mail I was like this is exactly what I had in my mind. The mail was perfect in reflecting the thoughts of my subconscious mind. So without wasting further time and reinventing the wheel I will share something which I have been feeling a lot lately.

Happiness (Image: Google Images)

1.Wait for a better time. There is never a good time to do anything especially if that’s something you have been putting off for a while. There is never a good time to start exercising or learning a new language… You make the time for these things if they are important to you – make them important enough for the good time to be now.

2.Hate people. It’s such a negative emotion and it really doesn’t lead anywhere. In most cases, hating someone directly affects you and you alone, making your mood and your day that much worse. By talking behind someone’s back and spreading negative energy you’ll just push people you actually care about away. Let go of it and make room for good and positive things.

3.Constantly look back. What has happened in the past is now in the past – you have learned, hopefully, from your mistakes and it’s time to move on. Until you can let go of the past you cannot live in the present, plan for the future and grow as a person. After all, your life from before doesn’t define who you are today, your present actions do.

4.Think about people who make no difference in your life. Whether they are people from your past or your present if they don’t affect you directly why waste your precious time on them? This also applies to spreading and listening to rumors, reading celebrity columns and checking people’s statuses online. You only have one lifetime why should you give people you don’t really care about any of it?

5.Whine about life, the Universe and everything. Yes, there are days that it’s just impossible to smile and take things as they come but what does whining achieve, exactly? What is the point of complaining about the weather, politics or prices – what would that change? Unless you have a clear plan on what to do and how to make things better why spread the misery and the negative vibes? If you see a problem – do something, do anything! The light doesn’t work in your block of flats – fix it or find someone who will. Things that are not under your control and you cannot in any way influence them – learn to live with them and accept them as they are.

6.Play social games. No one really cares about your clothes or your level of intelligence, not really. It’s way better to just be authentic and show people who you really are, with all your flaws and true character rather than waste energy on superficial interactions – they don’t lead to anything but superficial relationships. Be yourself and be real, let others love you and accept you the way you are. Genuine relationships will make you happier, and you’ll only form these relationships once you stop trying to impress everyone you meet and start being yourself.

7.Spend money on things you don’t need. We often mistake the “I want” for “I need” when buying stuff just because it seems cool to own it. Things don’t make you happy for very long – the moment you get it you experience joy but shortly after that joy is gone and the newly acquired item joins the rest in your house. Think very carefully whether you absolutely in need of something or you just want to own it.  Invest in experiences instead – experiences that will stay with you in your memory for the rest of your life.

8.Compare yourself to others. Very often we look around and we see people who are doing a lot better than we are and we don’t really notice those who are doing a lot worse. At times we look around and all we can see is everyone else having it easier and having it better and we feel bad about our own life. The fact is, it’s not easy for anyone and everyone has their own problems. What you see on the outside is what others let you see, always. Someone else is looking at you and thinking just about the same thing: “you are the lucky one” and they have their own reasons to say that. By thinking that having someone else’s life or someone else’s problems will make you happier than you make yourself in the now you rob yourself of the chance to take joy in what you have for yourself already. We can be happy with very little and immensely unhappy with having it all – sometimes, it’s just a matter of perspective.

9.Take no chances. Sometimes we wait for a sure thing to come along for us to follow and then, when it never comes, we wonder why nothing wonderful and exciting ever happens to us. It’s true not just in regard of opportunities but also people. Sometimes people also need to be given a chance to prove you wrong. We often overthink, overanalyze and create possible scenarios in our head – then come up with the most negative outcome, and end up never trying anything at the end of the day. If you are truly afraid of something going wrong, ask yourself: “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and if you can live with that worst case scenario – maybe you should give it a try.

10.Set no goals. If we set no goals how do we expect to get anywhere at all? Life has the tendency to decide for us and take us down routes we never thought we would ever consider for ourselves – don’t let it dictate it all, reclaim some of the control back and influence your future. If you have a plan, a good or a bad one, at least you have one and you can guide yourself to a better tomorrow, want a better tomorrow at any rate. We often give up and just let events take over, but reacting all the time is not the same as acting of your own free will. Take control back, set targets and get a strategy for life because just living the same Groundhog day over and over again just isn’t living. Life only has a meaning when you give it one.

 

So with this post I am back and hopefully if you are still reading this space you will get to hear more of my rants. Till then Adios and Disfrute de la vida.

Writing a Statement of Purpose (SOP)- Do’s & Don’ts

The discussion started when one of my colleagues got an interview call from IIM Bangalore for their prestigious two year full time PGP program and he asked me to help him with his SOP. Since I have been exposed with both sides of the table attending and conducting interviews; the idea floated that I should put some tips or pointers for people writing SOP.

1- Purpose– It is not called the Statement of Purpose for nothing. Decide on a theme which you think is most relevant and in line with the objectives you want to convey to the panel reading your SOP. The purpose should eventually relate to the type of course or job you are going to pursue. This theme is something which should be common and reflect in all your answers, attitude and the statement of purpose. It is always advisable to introspect deeply and find the reason why you’re applying to a course or appearing for a particular exam/job. The answer obtained out of such introspection would form a great theme for binding the entire SOP together.

2- Background, Education and Work Experience– Your family, the environment and places you grew up can be a part of the SOP; but ensure the context such that subtly the backgrounds relate to the underlying theme of the SOP while indicating its contribution towards the person you are and the choices you are making today. Illustrate your education and work experience in a fashion that it looks like a series of events occurring by your choice all with a rationale of underlying theme. Elaborate on some specific aspects of your education or work which will be of value in the course you are trying to pursue.  Don’t mention this for the sake of it, especially if it doesn’t fit the theme they belong in your resume not in the SOP.

3- Future Plans– Delve deeper into the courses, subjects (if you haven’t researched, do it first) how they form the part of your long term and short term goal. This is the most important section of your SOP try to bring as much of facts on the paper and relate them with the theme and purpose. Any panel loves a candidate who knows what he is doing and why.

4- Hobbies-The SOP should include the extra-curricular interests and how they have developed you as a person. Relate these interests or hobbies very subtly if you can with the theme of the SOP.

5- Story– All the SOP in the end should form a small story of your life(past, present and most importantly future) subtly indicating that why the course you are pursuing or the job you are applying to is the most logical step in the story of your life.

6- 3Cs – Always remain Consistent, Clear and Concise while writing SOPs. Never contradict yourself in an SOP it is always a recipe for disaster. Avoid ambiguity of any kind, in a stress interview an ambiguous line might hijack your entire interview in a direction you never envisaged. Be concise, as a candidate you write one SOP and would like to showcase all your achievement.

Things not to do in an SOP-

1- Never use Slangs/SMS Lingo Phrases.

2- Use Quotations to glorify the SOP. It is not only weird to see quotes instead of candidates original words in an SOP but at times there have been instances when the interview  went towards the author of the quote and his other works as he was the favorite author of a member in the panel.

3- Use very flowery vocabulary- If the panel wanted to test your vocabulary they would have done it in the entrance test; think of the plight of the person who has to read 50 SOPs in a day and he has to refer to the dictionary to understand what the candidate is trying to say.

4- No Spelling and Grammatical Mistakes

5- Avoid abbreviations- Apart from the common and well known abbreviations avoid the rest in your SOP. When in doubt prefer the complete word/phrase over the abbreviation

 

Is there anything else you feel should be taken care while writing the SOPs?

Disclaimer: SOPs are a very personal and intense document to write and prepare. The above Do’s  & Don’ts are based on the author’s personal experience. The readers are advised to use their judgment and belief while writing the SOP.

Buying or Selling A Second Hand Car

I sold of my car recently and this was the first experience for selling a second hand car. Instead of the selling the car to one of the second hand car dealers like True Value and First Choice I wanted to sell it to an individual buyer. The advantage of selling to an individual buyer is that you get a higher price for your vehicle while the flipside is you don’t know the person, and there is a need for you to be extra cautious. This is a post which would provide to be of help to both the buyers especially on the documentation required for the transfer of the car.

The seller & buyer needs to sign the following forms for initiating the transfer of vehicle-

Form 29- Notice of Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle

Form 30-Application for Intimation and Transfer of Ownership of a Motor Vehicle

In case the vehicle is under hypothecation then you need following additional documents signed by the seller-

Form 28- Application and Grant of No Objection Certificate

No Objection Certificate- From the Bank which has hypothecated the vehicle

In addition to the above documents the following documents are required-

1- Original Registration Certificate of the Car

2- Copy of the Insurance Cover Note/Policy

3- Pollution Certificate

4- Identity proof of the seller

5- Identity proof of the buyer

6- Address proof of the buyer

In addition to the above documents it is always beneficial to get into a contractual agreement (on a stamp paper) which outlines the deal between the buyer and seller. A very important use of this document is it also ascertains the liability of any unwanted accident or incident specially if the car has not been transferred or the buyer is delaying the transferring of the car. I am attaching such an affidavit which can be used for outlining the contract on Twenty Rupees Stamp Paper which I used. You can access the document here. Like any other contractual agreement this would require two witnesses and it would be better if each buyer and seller have their own witness along with identity proof (but such a situation seldom happens). Also make sure you keep a copy on record for each of the documents above for your reference in case any unfortunate situation arises.

Happy Driving!!!

Disclaimer: This post is based on my understanding of the process and my experience on selling my car. I am not liable in case of any incorrect information above and also might not be updating the same based on changes in the RTO policy. Please visit the RTO office where your car is registered for an up to date procedure and contact lawyer for an accurate contract.

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Life and Other KnickKnacks Like That

It has been a long time since I have posted anything on this blog. There have been a lot of things happening in life, probably too many things that this piece of my soul got ignored for a while. It is weird that when pressed upon we tend to give up things which are really close to us, give us real joy. The lord almighty has ensured that some stupidity is hard wired into the human nature, probably for the kick of it.
As will all the other old friends I think the best way to start a conversation is to answer “Wassup?” And this is what has been up right into my posterior. Needless to say I have been super busy; after my long term assignment was closed I am assigned to a new client which is based out of Hyderabad. This involved a month long stay in Hyderabad couple April-May and a forthcoming stay there for next couple of months; but thankfully I have managed to stay back and enjoy Bangalore for some time. Life is tough when you switch from multinational fortune 500 clients to our own desi family owned business clients. You don’t have luxury of relaxed timelines, 5 days work week and proper processes, that is what I am trying to cope with these days.

Apart from work there are lots of things happening on the personal front too. I bought a new car, so this baby is now old and this is currently my new ride and needless to say that I am loving it.

In other news parents finally decided to visit us after a two year long hiatus, as always spending time with them was a lot of fun. Loads of shopping, eating and sweets happened, all this when I was trying to lose some weight which I am sure I would have lost but only in the negative quantities. It was great to eat sweets from my home town Kanpur. I tend to believe when it comes to sweets there are very few places in India which can match up to the quality, taste and variety available in Kanpur. So overall last couple of months have been eventful and fun. The times to come look promising too and now that I am back to blogging will be writing and sharing things more often.
So to end today’s post I leave you with a hilarious joke I heard sometime back, keep laughing enjoy life.
Santa: Mujhse panga mat lena, main Sher Da Puttar hoon (Don’t mess with me, I am son of a lion)
Banta: Yaar ek baat to bata Sher ghar aaya tha ya fir aunty jungle gayi thi. (Buddy, tell me one thing did lion came to your house or your mother went to the jungle)

Suicide at High Noon

As last time this too is from a team building comptetion we had at our offsite. The rules of the game were that one had to write a suicide note which should include the following-

  • Not more than 80 words
  • It should have one Name
  • It should have two places
  • It should have threee animal (Air, Land and Water)
  • It should have four things

So this what I wrote and it was appreciated generally by the audience and also got the prize-

Hi Helena,

When you saw me naked holding our dog by the rear and I said “Oh Fish”, it wasn’t because I was doing the dog, it would be cuckoo. I wasn’t doing our fish either. I was ironing my trunks for my trip to Los Angeles when the dog pulled it down and the iron fell from the board on my “thing” and I ran to fetch some Ice from the kitchen when you saw me.

But that is not the reason why I am commiting sucide; I am treading this path out of embarrasement. During my interview with the firm from Argentina when they asked me for my testimonials; I probably showed them the wrong thing.

Embarrasingly yours,

Spartan

Ps. This post might be greater than 80 words because I am trying to recreate it from memory. During the contest I had great help in editing by a dear collegaue Aishwarya who ensured this was compressed within a limit of 80 words.

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Love, Friends & A Little Chocolate Cake

I think this commercial totally cuts across the human mindset. I could so much relate to the fact that how we can get so involved with our future aspirations that we always forget to indulge and enjoy the present. The fact that aspirations keep on rising and so does our age; sometimes we find that the time has simply passed and we didn’t even had a glimpse of how it.
Recently I celebrated my 30th birthday, which made me realize that it has been a long time since I have been gracing the mother earth with my esteem presence. I feel that I too have been responsible for trying to run the rat race behind the perfect life. It started from the first position in the class to percentages in the board examinations, lead me to fight for an engineering seat and then an MBA degree. When I thought the fight was over it started all over again for the high paying jobs, better designation, buying a car and a house. And after all that it still continues for a better car, second home, exotic vacations, larger pay checks, and still larger egos. I was wondering is it all that my life has been about? Are these the things which define me, me as an individual as a person? Are these the most significant things in my life?
Surprisingly the answer to all the above questions is a big NO, surprisingly these things are which matter the least. If you have made the right choices and been sincere to what you have done in life, sooner or later all these things fall into the place. What make the life different is how you made the people around you feel, and how the people touched you and your life? The fact that you have felt love and friendship in your life; the feeling where you know with or without the “social perks” you would still be loved and cherished for who you are make all the difference in the world.
I can’t help feeling so blessed and lucky to have felt all of the above in these 30 years. On this birthday, Wifee and my friends planned a surprise where they all will come at 12 in the night to wish me. They meticulously planned almost every detail and people re-arranged their schedule to make it at the right time. Now, being one smart a** that I am, I had already got a whiff and was able to predict almost what was being planned by Wifee & the friends. As soon as they all gathered outside the hall, Wifee had left the door unlatched when everybody dashed in startling me while wishing Happy Birthday. It was such an over whelming moment and a very happy one too. Life is not worth without love & friendship surrounding you to make you feel special.
Though I claimed that it was my instincts and eye for detail that I actually was able to guess they were coming. But one thing which I didn’t confess was that more than the instincts and eye for detail it was my longing and faith in them that helped me do it. I was so sure that neither the Wifee nor my friends would let my birthday go by without making me feel special. I guess it was my anticipation of them as a part of my life and my trust in them, which they not only kept but also pushed it higher than I could have thought, that made me sense their plans.
So there was a bash and a lot of fun, and yes I was not surprised as the Wifee and the friends have expected it. But then sometimes not being surprised can be much more rewarding and comforting than anything else in the world. Having a Wife who would love you beyond you can imagine, having friends who can make a dull evening to a bright sunshine. With pleasures like these life is good and then sometimes we add a little extra chocolate cake to it.

When the Legends Passed Away

It is strange that how some people can impact your lives, minds and philosophy without even meeting you. It has been a sad month for me, two legends, Jagjit Singh and Steve Jobs, who had a great impact on me during my growing years, passed away this month.

I have always looked up to Steve Jobs for inspiration based on whatever I read about him. To be honest I became a fan of Steve Jobs only after listening reading the transcript of his famous commencement address in Stanford, and who wouldn’t after hearing the awe inspiring stories of connecting the dots and staying hungry and staying foolish. I think I have tweeted this before but if you haven’t heard or read this address you are missing something in life. You can read the address here or watch it here.

Some of my favourtie quotes from Steve Jobs which would I have inspired me time and again –

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Inc. Magazine

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

“And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”

“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

“I’m the only person I know that’s lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year…. It’s very character-building.”

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” – Fortune, Nov. 9, 1998

“If I were running Apple, I would milk the Macintosh for all it’s worth — and get busy on the next great thing. The PC wars are over. Done. Microsoft won a long time ago.”

The influence of Jagjit Singhji started very early in my life, I guess I was 13 years old. That was the first time I was introduced to the Ghazal Maestro and the music genre called Ghazal. Since that day Ghazals and Jagjit SInghji’s voice owned a part of my soul. A lot of Ghazals sung by him defined my idea of life, love and sacrifices at a very early stage. They also made me experience extreme emotional situations through his ghazals without actually facing them in life. I truly believe that Jagjit Singh and his songs made me a matured and sensible person which I am.

Signing out with lyrics of my favorite Ghazal by Jagjit Singh-

“Baazeecha-ae-atfaal hai duniyaa mere aage, Hota hai shab-e-roz tamaashaa mere aage

Hotaa hai niha gard mein seharaa mere hote, Ghisataa hai jabi Khaak pe dariyaa mere aage

Mat poochh ki kyaa haal hai meraa tere pichhe, Tu dekh ke kyaa rang hai tera mere aage

Imaan mujhe roke hai jo khinche hai mujhe kufr, Kaabaa mere piichhe hai kalisa mere aage

Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein to dam hai, Rahane do abhi saagar-o-meena mere aage”

RIP Jagjit Singh ji & Steve Jobs, the world will miss both of you legends

It's Time To Tab

I have always wondered that how fast the world has changed around us, a few years ago the words and conversations had an entirely different meaning.  The tablets were something we dreaded when the doctors prescribed them, Galaxy was a collection of Stars, Tab was just a key above caps lock on the keyboard, honeycomb always came from the bees and if anyone told you about Samsung, one might have asked ‘Sam Who ?’

Things have changed now tablets are a form of computers, Samsung is one of the most respected and tech savvy corporations in the world, Galaxy is a series of smart devices, honeycomb is a mobile operating systems now made by the geeks instead of the bees, and Tab has an absolutely new definitions which looks like this-

So as you would be aware that the Galaxy Tab 750 India launch happened yesterday and there is a contest going where one gets to be the Samsung Mobiler. So I am supposed to write a blogpost about the feature that excites me the most, and this is what is the most difficult part. The Tab does has a lot of features all well explained on the Samsung Website here (http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/galaxytab/10.1/feature.html) and to make the matters worse each of them is as exciting as the other. After seeing the launch and viewing the website I was still unable to decide what feature excites me the most. This is when I felt that the feature that excited me about the Tab wasn’t listed anywhere but was in my mind and it was nothing but how well a Tab would seamlessly fit in my normal lifestyle.

I think that is what takes the piece of cake when it comes to Tab, where it effortlessly slips as a part of our lifestyle while adding efficiency and zing to it. So this is how a Galaxy Tab fits in the life of management consultant by the day and a writer by the night.

Day Start-

6:00 AM- Wake up on the Alarm set up in Galaxy Tab, have a look at the time, weather updates right at the home page.
6:30 AM – Mild Cardio with the favorite music playing in the background  on the Galaxy Tab.

7:45 AM- Have breakfast, check the latest news, and updates on twitter, facebook on the Tab. Also keep a track of daily diet and calories taken on the fitness app of Androind on the Galaxy Tab.

8:15 AM- Take the office shuttle/bus while checking emails and reading newspapers on the Galaxy Tab

9:00 AM- Start working while attaching my Galaxy Tab to the keyboard dock.

10:00 AM- Conference call with the client again happening on the Galaxy Tab with the front camera and  a portable high quality 10.1” 149 ppi screen .
 

11:00 AM- Check Emails and update statuses and on various social media platforms on the Galaxy Tab
1:00 PM – Lunch

2:00 PM – Rush for a meeting with the client, carry the final document and presentation in the Tab. Review and give final touches to the presentation using the powerful office features of the Galaxy Tab

5:00 PM- Travel back home, while streaming the highlights of the match or surfing the web on the Galaxy Tab
6:00 PM- Reach home and watch a movie or couple of episodes of FRIENDS on Galaxy Tab in full HD while having a cup of coffee

 

8:00 PM – Dinner

9:00 PM- Retire to bed with your Galaxy Tab with your book in the Readers Hub getting engrossed while you actually turn the pages on the Tab.

10:00 PM- Go to sleep waiting for a brand new day

So for someone like me a gadget like Galaxy Tab fits into my life almost every hour when I am awake and to do that all I need to do is keep this 8.6 mm thick tablet which weighs at 565 grams all the time with me. No wonder for me whatever time of day we talk about “It’ Time To TAB

All Images Sourced from Samsung Galaxy Tab Website

Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Launch

So the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 is getting launched on August 10, and Indiblogger is hosting an awesome contest where they have some awesome give aways and a chance to become Samsung Mobiler which means you get to have a first hand experience of all the new Samsung Mobile products.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 750 Launch

Now that the greedy devil and gadget freak I am, and an awesome technology Samsung produces it is pretty obvious that I am entering this contest. So you would get a live view and feed of the Samsung Galaxy Tab launch right here on Ginger & Cardamom. Also there is a post coming on the “Tab” very soon. Till then pray that I get this free Tab 🙂