Sunday, 31 August 2014

#163 - 24 Virtues we learn in National Cadet Corps Training

It was much later we came to know the real rank and the difference between a JCO (Junior Commissioned Officers) and a NCO (Non-Commissioned Officers) who were simply called 'Ustad Ji' or 'Sir Jee' by the Cadets all across the country, but that did not diminish the value of the 'Slog' they made us go thru while doing our compulsory NCC training ( wasn't ever named as compulsory Military training) and the feeling of Patriotism they would generate. They were deputed from Army, Air Force or Indian Navy to different Divisions of NCC in different states. We saw three Wars in School, Colleges in 1962, 1965 and 1971 and while they would teach us Combat, Leadership, Small Arms and Medium Arms training and the several tough drills including the Skills like mountaineering - they'd always tell us 'WAR IS BAD !'. Tough Minded Positive Thinkers were these Mentors. I'd any day salute them for what they taught us.
We learnt to Salute and the First Salute was to the Flag they'd say ! They explained to us the meaning and what each color of the Tri-Color Flag and the best and toughest lessons were when they would speak with almost Religious Fervour about the Ashoka Chakra within the Flag and the 24 Virtues each of the Spoke represented. Remembering them by rote and telling the meaning with an example was their pastime we learnt later - but the drill was extremely tough, the punishment severe ( Like holding Rifle or LMG above our head and doing 10 rounds of the ground 'On the Double' - which they would 'lovingly' watch from the corner of the eye while teaching the other Cadets. They were awesome !
Those small gifts of 'Brasso' or 'Blanko ( canvas belt polish) from the 'Ustaad Ji' on winning the Best Marksman Awards were most pleasurable moments.
Reflecting back - NCC laid the foundation course for our Leadership and the 24 Virtues that we learn are well imbibed by the serious Cadets who show their Leadership abilities in not just Services but also in the Corporate world - right upto the C Suite .
The Flag Day is celebrated on 7th of December and reminds us nostalgically about the hard 'grinding' we got ably supported by the mentors which is not easy to wipe away.

December 7Armed Forces Flag Day honours the soldiers, airmen and sailors of India.The Armed Forces Flag Day or the Flag Day of India is a day dedicated towards collection of funds from people of India for the welfare of the Indian Armed Forces personnel. It has been observed annually in India on December 7 since 1949. Over the years, it has become a tradition to commemorate this day as an honour to the soldiers, airmen and sailors of India.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

#162 - Time We Spend on Trivia And Parkinson's Law.

I like to learn new laws. No Not the Legal legal Laws.
The Laws mostly Unwritten, yet everyone knows them OR Laws of the workplace which are Good to Know to MUST KNOW for Productivity or for Simple Survival :P.
I mostly find them on Wikipedia. Like the one I found below which is called Parkinson's Law of Triviality.

Parkinson's law of triviality,
  • It is also known as bikeshedding or the bicycle-shed example.
  • This law is about C. Northcote Parkinson's 1957 argument that organizations give disproportionate weight to trivial issues.
  • Parkinson illustrated this by suggesting that a committee would spend more time on a proposal to build a bike shed than on a proposal to build an "atomic reactor".
  • The law has been applied to software development and other activities these days.

For most such laws Wikipedia also provides the Argument contributed by readers.
  • The concept was first presented as a corollary of his broader "Parkinson's law" spoof of management.
  • He dramatized this "law of triviality" with the example of a committee's deliberations on an atomic reactor, contrasting it to deliberations on a bicycle shed.
As he put it: "The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum [of money] involved."
  • A reactor is used because it is so vastly expensive and complicated that an average person cannot understand it, so one assumes that those that work on it understand it.
  • On the other hand, everyone can visualize a cheap, simple bicycle shed, so planning one can result in endless discussions because everyone involved wants to add a touch and show personal contribution.
  • When governance meetings devolve into two cent's worth
In the third chapter, "High Finance, or the Point of Vanishing Interest",Parkinson writes about a finance committee meeting with a three-item agenda.
  • The first is the signing of a £10 million contract to build a reactor, the second a proposal to build a £350 bicycle shed for the clerical staff, and the third proposes £21 a year to supply refreshments for the Joint Welfare Committee.
  • The £10 million number is too big and too technical, and it passes in two and a half minutes.
  • The bicycle shed is a subject understood by the board, and the amount within their life experience, so committee member Mr. Softleigh says that an aluminium roof is too expensive and they should use asbestos.
  • Mr. Holdfast wants galvanized iron. Mr. Daring questions the need for the shed at all.
  • Mr. Holdfast disagrees.
Parkinson then writes:
  • "The debate is fairly launched.
  • A sum of £350 is well within everybody's comprehension.
  • Everyone can visualize a bicycle shed.
  • Discussion goes on, therefore, for forty-five minutes, with the possible result of saving some £50. Members at length sit back with a feeling of accomplishment."
Parkinson then described the third agenda item, writing:
  • "There may be members of the committee who might fail to distinguish between asbestos and galvanized iron, but every man there knows about coffee – what it is, how it should be made, where it should be bought – and whether indeed it should be bought at all.
  • This item on the agenda will occupy the members for an hour and a quarter, and they will end by asking the Secretary to procure further information, leaving the matter to be decided at the next meeting."

Friday, 29 August 2014

#161- 48 Mother's Murphy's Laws - Weekend Humor !

Murphy's mothers laws
  1. Mothers only offer advice on two occasions: when you want it and when you don't..
  2. A mother's love is a better cure than chicken soup, but chicken soup is cheaper.
  3. Your mother is the only person that knows more about you than you know about yourself.
  4. Any time you are unable to solve a problem, ask your mother. She probably won't know either, but she will fake it.
  5. Maternal instinct is stronger than any force known except an IRS collection agent.
  6. The more you try to stay on your mother's good side the harder it will be to figure out which side this is.
  7. The nicer a mother is, the greater the probability that her kids are rotten.
  8. If you can't remember whether or not you called your mother, you didn't.
  9. The motherly advice you ignore will always turn out to be the best advice she ever gave you.
  10. If you forget, mom will remind you of all your mistakes so you don't repeat them.
  11. Anything you do can be criticized by your mother - even doing nothing.
  12. Never criticize your mother's cooking if you expect to get any more of it.
  13. If you think you have any secrets from your mother, remember who has changed your diapers.
  14. You can't "out mother" your mother. Don't even try.
  15. Never lie to your mother. And if you do, never think you got away with it.
  16. The harder you try to hide something from your mother, the more she resembles a webcam.
  17. The older you are, the more you feel like a child around your mother.
  18. All mother's have a "How To" manual. That's because they wrote the book.
  19. Mother's way is best. If you don't believe it, ask her.
  20. Everything is a good idea till you mother finds out and tells you why it isn't.
  21. One mother is company, two is a psychic reading, three is a hen party, four is a bridge club.
  22. If you don't have time to study the drivers' manual, drive your mother somewhere and get a quick refresher course.
  23. When you are broke, ask mom for a loan. She will help you remember what you wasted all your money on.
  24. The more expensive the gift you give your mother, the longer she will "save" it before she uses it.
  25. No matter how wrong you are, your mother will not hold it against you. She may remind you a number of times, but she will not hold it against you.
  26. No matter how much you eat, you can never get so fat that mother will not offer you more food.
  27. If a mother does not have an item, she will have the recipe or the directions.
  28. The more times mother reminds you to take an umbrella, the greater the probability of rain.
  29. Accomplishments are made possible by your mother - failures are your own fault.
  30. Never forget who rocked you as a baby. That's something else you will never be able to repay her for.
  31. Mother can always tell you a better way to do something after you've already done it.
  32. The longer it's been since you cleaned house, the more likely it is that mother will visit.
  33. No matter how small your mom is, she will always be bigger than you are.
  34. The more you detest an item that belongs to your mother, the more likely it is that she will try to give it to you.
  35. If you do it yourself, mom could have done it better. If mom does it, you should have done it yourself.
  36. You never are as good as other people's children. You are never as bad as mom imagines.
  37. The only thing more accurate than a mother's advice is her memory of the times you didn't take it.
  38. The funnier the joke is, the more likely mom will think it is dirty.
  39. Never tell your mother you have nothing to do. She can always find something.
  40. If the job of a mother is going smoothly, she thinks she isn't doing it well.
  41. There are always two sides to a story - the way it really happened and the way mother remembers it.
  42. Mothers always "know." We don't know how - they just do. Murphy's mother told him so.
  43. A child will never ask Mom to get something until she sits down.
  44. Corollary - a child will only ask for a glass of milk after you put the milk carton back in the refrigerator.
  45. If your kid grows up to be like you its an insult, not to you, to the kid
  46. You can fool some people all of the time, and all the people some of the time, but you can't fool Mum
  47. Small, teething children will chew on the most valuable thing within reach. The same goes for puppies and juvenile tigers, bears, or crocodiles.
  48. If it's not one thing, it's your mother.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

#160 -100 Days and Does India Needs a Shadow Cabinet?

Democracy is the Best thing to have happened to India. It has its own issues, Merits and Demerits, its own charm and its own fun. Most of the times, the Electorate is not 'Captive' and its free-will makes its Voters Taste and Test various ideologies, Manifestos and Plans as well as its own 'idiosyncrasies' and 'Inconsistencies'. Sometimes, like in India a Family runs the Government for years and is blamed for its poor governance, cronyism and Corruption. A New Government then takes shape and people vote for it with Hope and Expectations. Sometimes the period lasts full term of 60 months - sometimes, with Coalition becoming 'Dharma' of Democracy - the Governments fall in as low as 13 days - leading to New Elections. Yet, that's the Fun in living in a Democracy. A Voter gets to Choose !
As the Modi Government of NDA in India completes its 100 days 'HoneyMoon Period' many in Media are conducting Polls, publishing Achievements and where the Government failed to fulfill or came slow or did nothing about the Public aspirations - TV, Newspapers, Websites are full of articles and Social Media is abuzz about the Good or Bad 100 days that we have seen of a New Government.
That is not the topic I would discuss today. One of the things strong on my mind for past 10 years has been the Need of a Shadow Cabinet in India.
  • What is The Shadow Cabinet: Shadow Cabinet is a feature of the Westminster system of government.
  • It comprises a senior group of opposition spokespeople who, under the leadership of the Leader of of the Opposition, form an alternative cabinet to that of the government, and whose members shadow or mark each individual member of the Cabinet.
  • Unfortunately, for the Congress Party in India, The Lok Sabha Speaker has not granted LOP status ( Leader of Opposition) to the 2nd largest party quoting precedent. This poses several problems including in very senior appointments like LokPal which requires the LOP consent.
  • With the Ruling Party not being in majority in the Upper House 'Rajya Sabha' - this can complicate things for the Ruling party in getting crucial Bills passed and slow down its plans of Minimum Government and Maximum Governance' thereby not allowing it to fulfill its poll promise of "Good Days Ahead" or 'Achche Din".
During the Elections, this writer had written comments about the need for a Shadow Cabinet idea and not just Election Manifesto but Concrete Plans by the Opposing parties being kept ready once they Win and assume power.
Coalition 'Dharma' makes things complicated. It makes you adopt willy-nilly the 'CMP or Common Minimum Programs' and give way to your populist/ better thought plans and ideas.
Members of a shadow cabinet are often but not always appointed to a Cabinet post if and when their party gets into government.
  • It is the Shadow Cabinet's responsibility to criticize the policies and actions of the government, as well as offering an alternative program.
  • In most countries, a member of the shadow cabinet is referred to as a Shadow Minister
Many of the Actions which BJP / NDA Government took for example the Departure of 'Unwanted Governors' - the Closure of the Planning Commission et al appeared to be done out of whim and not as per a Plan.
The appointment of the Prime Minister's Advisor who was ex-Chairman of TRAI had to be done with an Ordinance and debated in the Parliament. None of the above steps were in the public domain or expected. While they may have been on the fond wish list of the supporters.
Probity in public life can be enhanced with a strong opposition. Voice of Dissent within the party can also be heard and not muffled. A strong Shadow Cabinet can give the Government a feeling of getting to play a 'Kho-Kho' game in which tables can turn. This can work as a deterrent for complacent governments and also positively for Good Governance.
Do Let me know what you think?

Mentoring isn't a Sweetener, it is Brutally Honest, Bitter Truth Pill and KickAss, Stickler Mentor . Many Crack. Few WIN!

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