Wednesday, August 27, 2014

CHITTOREGARH - LARGEST FORT IN INDIA

Chittoregarh is a small town close to Udaipur and the drive from Udaipur is just over two hours.  When you reach the town you cannot miss to look at the Aravali Hills.  When you look at the stretch of the hills ahead of you this magnificent fort will amaze you by the sheer size.  This is one of the largest fort in Asia.
The Fort is built over an area of 8 square kilometers on a 700 Acres plot and is as old as 5th Century, i.e., more than 1500 years old.  The drive around the hills through the various gates and a walk through the palace is truly a stunning experience and it needs to be personally physically felt.  I was fortunate to have that first hand personal and physical experience of going to this fort on 20th August 2014 with my wife.
The two commemoration pillars that are standing in the hill are architectural marvels.  These are called the Victory Tower (Vijay Stambh) and Jain Deedful Tower (Jain Keerti Stambh).  Vijay Stambh is 122 feet tall and is a nine storey structure and was completed in 1448.  Keerti Stambh which stands at 75 feet and was built in 12th Century.

I was wonder struck to see the Palaces, the swimming pools, the underground tunnels, huge walls and the various structures.  It is bewildering to see this magnificent fort at a hill top that too built more than 1500 years ago at an age and time when there were no cranes, vehicles, equipment and tools.

The highlight was the Padmini Palace where you see the huge mirrors.  You can see the image of a person standing in the palace built in the middle of the tank through the large mirror.  Allauddin Khilji could see Padmini in the mirror.  The architecture of these palaces actually induced doubts about its actual times of construction.  It was truly amazing and mind boggling to stand there and witness this marvel on earth.
The Palace for the King, Palace for Queen, Summer Palace, Winter Palace, Accommodation for the Ministers, Defence Headquarters, Accommodation for the soldiers and other employees of the Royal Family, Temples, Swimming Pool, Deer Sanctuary, Victory and Keerti Towers, Compound Walls, internal passages, secret rooms, secret underground passage, Stunning views of the town at the foothill makes this entire Fort a comprehensive and complete place.



Preserving this marvelous Fort by itself is a huge task and I sincerely hope the Government of India is able to preserve this Fort (or whatever remains of the Fort) for another few centuries.  People who get to see this Fort, in my opinion, are truly fortunate.  The visit to this Fort with my wife only reinforced my thinking that there is so much to explore and see in India.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
27th August 2014

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ABBA


ABBA is the first ever english album that I heard in my life more than three decades ago.  After a very long time I heard the songs while driving from Salalah in July 2014.  The songs brought back lot of memories of the good old days.  National Tape Recorder, Seenu, Ramesh, Suresh, Thandavarayan Street, Cassette, English Songs, Unknown lyrics, known tune, happy singing along without knowing the words and its meaning, etc., etc.  We used to listen to these songs as a group without understanding most part of the song and were still able to enjoy.

Anni, Benny, Bjorn and Agnetha  are the four musicians who came together and formed the Group ABBA.  ABBA the album was recorded from August 1974 to March 1975.  I just cannot believe that this album was recorded 40 years ago as the songs are still very fresh and very enjoyable.  They topped the music charts worldwide for seven years in a row from 1975 to 1982.

Two couples got together and through their pop music they captivated the whole world and it is a pity that they were together as a Pop Music Group just for 10 years from 1972 to 1982.  It is so sad that they split in 1982 and their lovely music was all over in just 10 years.

I sat and listed the songs that I liked the most and here is the list of top 12 songs that I enjoyed the most:

  1. SOS
  2. Mamma Mia
  3. I do I do I do
  4. Waterloo
  5. Fernando
  6. Chiquitita
  7. Money Money Money
  8. The Winner takes it all
  9. Thank you for the music
  10. Take a chance on me
  11. Dancing Queen
  12. Eagle


ABBA music will live on and on as long as we hear music in this world.  Long Live ABBA.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
19th August 2014

Sunday, August 17, 2014

100th YEAR OF COMMERCIAL FLIGHTS


1914 is the year in which we had the first commercial flight in this world.  The flight was for just 23 minutes in Tampa Bay.  
2014 is the 100th year of Commercial Flights in this world.  What an achievement.  We have come a very very long way in the Aviation Industry and today roughly 8 million people are taking commercial flights every day in this world.  Imagine 8 million each day being carried from one place to other by the Aviation Industry and if each aircraft is carrying about 100 people that translates to about 80,000 commercial flights in a day (24 hour cycle).  Roughly 55 flights are taking off every minute from different airports across the globe.

I remember way back in 1984 we were having a conversation and my friend Renganathan said his brother is working on a project on Transportation and they will find solution for carrying 500 passenger in an aircraft by the year 2000.  We were all laughing and told him that if 500 people can get in then it can only be Ship which sails in the Ocean, it cannot be an aircraft.  When the A 380 was launched I was reminded of this incident and today we have aircrafts carrying more than 500 people.


The figures and facts about the number of passengers, growth rate, plans of the Aircraft Manufacturers like Boeing and Airbus are all very encouraging.  In reality most of the Airlines are only incurring losses and over the years we have seen so many of them close shop.  When the skies were opened to the private airlines in India there were too many players and there is only one who is still in business, Jet Airways.  I do not understand why these Airlines incur such huge losses?  If most of them are only incurring losses then how can there be a consistent flow of new entrants in this business?

The technological advancement in the aviation industry is really mind boggling and stunning.  We have so much of advancement and still there have been mysteries like the MH 370 which went completely missing and there is no clue as to what happened to the aircraft.  We also had an incident a few days back when a Jet Airways flight from Mumbai to Brussels slipped more than 5000 ft and they found that the Pilot was sleeping and the co-pilot was busy on his iPad.

Aviation Industry has completed 100 glorious years of service and while the advancement is stunning it has been a bit of turbulent ride for the Airline Industry.



Let us hope the next 100 years to be less turbulent and far more smoother.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
17th August 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WORLD ELEPHANT DAY

We have a popular saying in Tamil "Yaanai irundhalum aayiram pon irandhalum aayiram pon".  This means an Elephant is worth a thousand whether he lives or dies.  It is an amazing creation of God and truly a Magnificent creature.  The size, form, features and the Majesty about this animal is really mind boggling.  Ther is an Elephant is almost every temple in South India and it is amazing to watch these elephants.  You can stand and keep watching them in bewilderment for hours together.
I have a friend Shridhar who is very fond of elephants and has been maintaining a collection of pictures, stories and news about elephants.  I saw his collection of photos about 25 years ago and was really stunned by his interest in learning about elephants and following the same with passion.  He sent me a mail this morning about World Elephant Day and immediately I was thinking of my visit to the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawala in Sri Lanka last year in August.  It was a breathtaking experience to see the elephants in that Orphanage and we followed the herd when they went across the road to the river.


These elephants are being killed for the Ivory Tusk they have and they are also being tortured and misused in some places.  We should let them lead a peaceful life of their own in the forests and not disturb them.

This phenominal creation of God can actually destroy anything and everything that is confronts.  A large african tusker can weigh upto 5 tonnes.   The Elephant can live upto 70 years and prefers to always be part of a herd.  They love to be with their family all the time.  There is a period called "Musth" and during this time the Male Elephants can really go on a rampage.  This is a period during which the "testosterone" levels are very high.  The Male Elephants are very aggressive during the period of "Musth".  Watch this live footage of what they can do:



We need to leave them in peace and watch them from far.  While we have a right to live in this world we need to allow the others to enjoy a similar right.


We have used this unique animal in the olden days for building massive structures like Temples.  They have been used for carrying heavy and huge boulders and trees.  Elephants are known as the "working animals" and they enjoy working.  Being a pure vegetarian these majestic animals are very polite and nice.  They are also playful at times.

Elephants are really adorable, peaceful and gigantic animals and we need to respect their privacy and way of living.  Long Live Elephants and lets allow them a very comfortable co-existence in this world.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
12th August 2014

Sunday, August 10, 2014

THE OCEAN CLEANUP

Boyan Slat is only 19 years old but could be the youngest employer to have more than 100 employees in the world.  He has a revolutionary plan to scoop up several thousand tonnes of plastic waste that is lying in the oceans.  There are some estimates that there could be 100 million tonnes of plastic waste in the oceans.  This is actually causing a huge damage to the fishing and tourism sectors each year.  This plastic waste is known as the "Plastic Soup".

The Plastic Soup is swirling around in the five main Gyres or rotating oceanic currents in the world.  Boyan Slat has come up with an innovative idea to trap the plastic soup by harnessing the power of sea currents.  He is an engineering student in Netherlands.  He raised a simple question "Why go after plastic if it can come to you?  He went for scuba diving in Greece and saw more plastics than fish under the water.

He presented his idea in 2012 and once his method was acclaimed as an innovative method he kept his engineering studies at bay and jumped into the Ocean Cleanup drive.  His design calls for two vast floating arms, 50 kilometers long each in the form of V anchored to the ocean floor.  The ocean currents will force the waste into the "V" and to a cylindrical platform 11 metres in diameter floating at the end which can store upto 3000 cubit meters of plastic for eventual collection by a ship.  A solar powered conveyor belt will take the largest chunks of plastic to and from a shredder so that it will fit in the cylinder.  He has gone ahead with this method and today employs more than 100 people in his "Ocean Cleanup" project.

Boyan Slat wants to set up a pilot project and run for the next four to five years before installing the first "Operational Cleanup Array" in the north Pacific Ocean.  He has given a wonderful short speech on his project and watch this video:



Boyan Slat has set up a crowdfunding website to collect $ 2 Million and within the first 30 days he has reached close to $ 1 Million.  The feasibility study for this Ocean Cleanup Project has been done with the involvement of nearly 70 people including Engineers, Lawyers, Oceanographers and other professionals.

This youngster deserves all the support and encouragement and I really admire his foresight, clarity in thinking and the conviction with which he has gone ahead with this noble cause.  We are seeing the surface of the Ocean and enjoying the vast, quiet, blue surface.  Boyan Slat has actually lifted the top layer and seen below and what is lying below the ocean is really something very harmful.
I wish Boyan Slat all the very best and I am sure he will succeed in his mission to Cleanup the Oceans.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
10th August 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

DIGITAL ADDICTION


Are you addicted to the Digital devices?  If you do not know the answer to this question try to answer the following questions:

  1. Are you sleeping with the mobile phone or iPAD next to your pillow?
  2. Are you checking the phone in the night whenever you wake up?  
  3. Are you checking your emails and messages first thing in the morning?  
  4. Are you checking your facebook page once in every 15 or 20 minutes?
  5. After posting a picture in facebook are you anxious to see how many likes have come?
If your answer to any of the above questions is Yes then you are addicted to Digital Devices.  Is there a specific age at which you can get addicted to facebook?  My research shows that there is no age group for digital addiction.
 
I saw a family of four - husband, wife, daughter and son in the Airport recently and we were waiting for the flight.  During the two hours of waiting time all the four were busy with their respective digital device and there was absolutely no conversation between them.  If at all they wanted to converse, I think they would have sent a message to each other on WhatsApp.  I find almost everyone glued on to the digital device whether it is on the road or in the mall or in the coffee shop - wherever and everywhere.  There are people who even carry the digital device to the toilet and use it there.  I saw a man use his digital device in the swimming pool recently.

The convenience of digital device is unquestionable.  You can converse with family and friends who are in a far off location.  You can have a video chat and send pictures and exchange notes.  It is really very convenient when your near and dear are at far off places.  You feel that you are with your near and dear if you are connected through facebook, WhatsApp or Skype.


While children are addicted to playing games on the digital devices adults are addicted to social media sites like facebook, twitter, etc.  Earlier the games were available in tapes or cassettes or memory cards and could be played only on specific device like Gameboy or Playstation.  With the games now being available online and with the convergence with the social media the addiction to gaming is actually growing by leaps and bounds.  Gaming has reached its own levels over the years and now there are virtual communities and virutal identity which makes it easier for the gamer to adopt different personas.  Gaming was initially seen as a good exercise for the brain as it helped in developing quick reflex.  Now it has gone into completely different proportions and is actually causing more problems to the brain than improving only the reflex. 

The availability of wifi connection wherever we go and the luxury of the 3G or 4G connection makes it even more easier for the access to whatever we need and whenever we need.  The worst thing is each of us have more than two or three different devices with us.  We have a mobile phone, laptop and a tablet.  More and more people are found to be using the digital device even while driving on the road.  This is the most dangerous part of the whole addiction.  My younger son Akshay told me couple of days back that I am addicted to Facebook.  After pondering over that comment I slowly realised that yes I am addicted to Facebook.  

When I was a child I use to see people who were extremely confident and comfortable dealing with human beings and were extremely uncomfortable with digital and electrical devices.  I have seen people get very nervous on the phone and unable to speak clearly but were extremely confident and comfortable in personal interaction - face to face.  Now after a few decades I find the reverse situation wherein people are very comfortable with digital devices and fumble when they are face to face.

The Digital Devices were invented for our convenience and use.  We should know how to take advantage of these devices.  We should not surrender ourselves and become slaves of these devices.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
30th July 2014

Monday, July 7, 2014

MOTOROLA V3

V 3 was launched by Motorola in the third quarter of 2004 and by March 2007 this model sold more than 100 million sets making it the best-selling clamshell phone in the world and continues to maintain that record.

When Motorola launched the V3 in the third quarter of 2004 it was the thinnest phone in the world.  Yesterday my elder son Ashwath wrote to me that V 3 is  now 10 years old.  Time flies and so soon we have spent 10 years from the time this wonderful device was launched.  It changed several things across the globe and more importantly it changed my life.

Though I am a finance man, I moved into Dealer Sales and later into Trading in Mobile Phones because of the phenomenal success of this device V 3.  I have personally sold thousands of V 3 Phones during 2006 and early 2007.  The entire range of phones in the Motorola line up crashed in the second quarter of 2007 due to wrong pricing decisions.  What seemed a long run of success was very short lived due to one bad decision on pricing.

I have used the V3 and V3i for a long long time and it was an amzing phone.  The feel of holding the phone and the ease of using the phone made it an incredible success.  V3 is the most comfortable phone that I have ever used in my life.

Motorola then launched the V3 Gold with co-branding with Dolce and Gabana and that was again a huge hit in the market particularly in Middle East and Europe.

The colour variants in the V3 and V3i continued with black, blue, silver, pink and so on.  When the pink was launched I thought it will not sell well but my gut feel was proved wrong by the market.  V3 Pink used to be a most soft after model and we had to run around Motorola for the allocation of stocks in those days.

V3 became the lifeline for several traders around the world and calls kept pouring into my end for deals.

The software, language pack, charger pin, manual though were all standards features in any box containing a mobile became crucial factors.  Depending the region to which the phones were shipped one had to be clear about these details and carefully conclude the deals.

I learnt a lot on trading, deal making, stock management, pricing, logistics, cash rotation, and the the list would go on.  It was an amazing once-in-lifetime experience dealing with the huge success of V3 particularly during 2005 and 2006.  I sincerely thank Mr.Rajkumar, Neal Barros, Bahjat Mirza for all the experiences, knowledge, challenges, learnings and the wonderful memories.

I am wonder struck at how the fortunes of the company changed dramatically due to one successful model V3.  I am equally wonder struck as to how the company lost that golden opportunity and slipped from a high pedestal overnight due to one bad pricing decision.  It calls for a Case Study for the Management Schools and I shall write the case study some day in the future.


V3 is not a phone it is phenomenon.  Long Live V 3 and its Success Story.

T.P.Anand
Dubai, U.A.E.
7th July 2014