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Showing posts from 2017

The Power of Smile

It has been a quarter of a century since I learned the power of smile in business. 25 years back was when my dad started Adens, an ice cream parlour in our small home town named Changanacherry in Kerala, the southernmost state of India. For the kids in the town ice cream only meant a cup, a cone, a stick or in its fanciest form, a ball! Nothing more, nothing less.
It was something in lines of a revolution at that time to introduce various flavours in different shapes and sizes and more importantly ice cream sundaes that tickled the taste buds with a never before experience. The freezer that displayed different flavours neatly placed in square shaped boxes became an instant hit among the customers. It was a sight worth framing to see people flocking around the freezer to decide which flavour they’ll try that day.
Dad loved travelling and he did it extensively right from his young age. The greatest thing he got back from these travel were the experiences and uniqueness from each destina…

Business of Analysis

Quite often I come across people who have no clue about what a Business Analyst does. I try to tell them in simple language about understanding business requirements and solving business problems by providing them with right solutions. Each time I explain these fundamental concepts to these people, my mind keeps telling me that there are more to this Business of Analysis than what a traditional definition tells you about this role. Here are a few quick thoughts from my experience as a BA.
Beyond the tools: As an analyst you invariably end up using quite a few tools to do your job. The techniques for gathering requirements, methods of analysis and documentation tools to name a few. Do these really matter for your customer? The primary question she’ll have in her mind is does this person understand what I need? Can he figure out the pain I go through so that he provides me with a solution to get rid of it. The business does not really care if you use Tool X or Y, all what they need from…

So near, yet so far

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Sep 2017
I still remember the letter box on our gate back home, as one of the most cherished sights during my school days. The walk to the box to find if there was a letter in it was always been filled with mixed emotions. It was a heart wrenching feeling to see an empty letter box. On the other hand, the feeling was unexplainable when the box was not empty and the happiness multiplied if there were letters from dear ones.
Many of the letters may have been posted weeks before with updates about events that happened even months back. All these may probably sound strange today to a new generation of kids who may find it difficult to relate to the depth of emotions attached to a piece of paper found or missing in a metal box filled with details of something that happened sometime in the past!
Years went by and we now have technology that enables us to know and see events as and when they unfold. Anything less than a live update is considered stale news …

Neeleshwaram Effect

A cousin's wedding took us to Neeleshwaram, a small town in the Northernmost district of Kasargod in Kerala. We reached on the wedding eve and the next day was quite a happening one. 
By evening, after the wedding, we got back to the lodge where we stayed and I went out to buy some water. Also wanted to see if I could get some tea for all of us. Found a bakery where I got the water bottles. Since there were more than six of us at the hotel I checked with them if I could get tea as a take away item. 
All what I was expecting was to get tea in disposable cups with lids. Then came the twist. 
The shop was run by an elderly lady and her daughter. The lady asked me where I stayed. When she learned about our stay at the nearby lodge she filled a flask and another vessel with tea and also packed half a dozen glass tumblers along with it! There was more to this surprising customer service. 
When I suggested disposable cups, her response was that, tea won't taste good in plastic cups a…

Kitchen Adventures

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Aug 2017
It is that time of the year again. The time when your home becomes a house. The usual noises and sounds disappear. No dropping of your kid to school, no one to say bye to when you leave to office and no one comes running to you with cries of joy when you return home. It is that time of the year for all those expats who are lucky enough to have their family with them to empathize with the vast majority who do not get to be around their family for a considerable part of their life.
School holidays in Middle East forces many like me to be a ‘bachelor’ when the family heads back to their home countries. I know a few who consider this as regaining the long-lost-freedom. There are others like me who live these days like a zombie. All of a sudden, life seems to lose its charm. Somehow the energy levels become all-time low.
I do try to catch-up a bit on certain aspects for which I don’t get time otherwise. I get to open our library and say hi to all…

The Martyrs

It must’ve been brutal. There were slashes all over their body. Three of them, all recent recruits. Their white colored skin were all covered red now, with the obvious. A quite promising career ended in the hands of seasoned criminals. Two of them were identified as key suspects, though yet to zero in on the actual murderer.
Their cries must’ve gone unheard with the machinery in operation. It was quite evident that the victims went through extreme torture that’s unwarranted. They were literally holed up in a cylindrical shaped room and were tossed violently all around before they breathed the last.
Everything stopped with the siren going off indicating that its time. Rest of them in the room were quite safe except for minor cuts and bruises. Soon the body of these three were found completely drenched in deep red. They were like withered flowers.  Droopy and dead.
The investigation is still on to figure out the killer. Who will it be? Who will be so heartless to make a pure white kerch…

The Bridge of Happiness

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Jul 2017

It has been a few years since Alex and Nisha got married. They distinctly remember the big day when they got into a car right after the wedding ceremony which had a board that said ‘Just Married’. The journey had a smooth start but soon they hit some bumpy roads. Nevertheless they decided to continue their travel. Soon enough they got into better roads and as it progressed, they could see some sort of a construction far ahead which was closer to the beach.
It didn’t take too long before they reached the construction site. It was a pretty long bridge that was getting constructed across the sea and was named, ‘Bridge of Happiness’. The most interesting fact about the bridge was that they were allowed to get on to it even when the construction was not complete!
Nisha and Alex went ahead and progressed quite well on the bridge. It was quite a long one indeed and seemed to be never ending. While they progressed on the bridge, they were joined by tw…

Hot & Spicy!

A few months after I started with my Post Graduation course outside Kerala we got our first holidays. It was my first experience of staying away from my family and I was super excited to head back home! Nothing during that age was better than having the lovely food prepared by my mom. Needless to say, she had prepared those stuff which I loved the most.
Quite a few dishes awaited me at the dining table and was anticipating an attack any moment. The saliva was creating Mexican waves in my mouth and soon enough I started with my most favourite dish. As soon as I took the first bite I could sense something wrong! My taste buds were on fire and the entire food pipe experienced an intense burning sensation. That’s when I truly realized how spicy the food back home was!
The few months I was away being deprived of mom’s food and my taste buds experiencing an almost bland food from the college hostel, the spices back home became unbearable. That’s when my dad told me this story about one of th…

Two minutes of silence!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - June 2017
A while ago in one of the articles, I’d mentioned about an advice my boss gave me about life after marriage. When I shared my apprehensions about getting married, he said, “Jerry, getting married is nothing! The moment you become a dad or mom; that is what I’ll call a game changer! Rest everything is pretty simple!”
His advice definitely took shape when we became parents for the first time. It didn’t stop there. We hardly knew what we were signing up for when we became parents again! If having a child was a game changer, having two kids is a whole different game altogether!
The two little brats, a five year old boy and a little girl who is yet to turn two, make our home buzzing with activities that seem to be going on for almost 24/7. There is something or other happening around us all the time. The house is filled with the noises of their fights, their cries, their toys and what not. It is a war zone daily out there and many of the days, my …

Thank You!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - May 2017
Alex and Nisha were on the last day of their beautiful vacation. They prepared to vacate the resort and reached the reception to settle the bill. It was quite a hefty amount, but were more than happy to part with it since they were quite delighted with the service provided by the resort folks. The rooms were always neat and tidy. The food was delicious. Laundry was done on time and had an alluring fragrance always. Overall the stay was absolutely a beautiful experience that they both felt pretty much at home!
On their way to airport to catch their return flight, the couple recollected the warmth of service provided by the team at the resort. That’s when it struck them! Everything what they experienced at the resort came with a price tag. Whereas when the same things happen back home without even having to pay a single penny, they never even bothered to acknowledge each other.
Alex and Nisha had taken a decision not to hire a maid at their hom…

Where’s my budget?

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Apr 2017
Imagine this. You are nearing the end of a month. Suddenly you need a sizable amount of money for something which you didn’t anticipate. What condition will you be in, considering your current way of life? Will you be able to manage the additional funds required or will you be totally at a loss on how to manage this need for extra amount?
Most well-known companies and governments across the world, plan for their expenses a year in advance in the form of a budgeting exercise. Needless to say how effective this activity is for them to manage their finances better. Families around the world do a similar activity though usually not that systematic as established companies.
It is extremely important to have a plan put in place both for short term and long term. Short term includes planning for a month and up to a year whereas long term plans are usually for many years into the future. The former is where we usually plan for daily expenses, equal …

Yes! It is my business!

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Mar 2017

A few years back during my higher studies in a city outside Kerala, a bunch of friends including a few boys and girls, paid a visit to a classmate’s home. We all had a good time there and soon it was time for lunch. Needless to say it was a sumptuous treat and at the end of it we got up and was about to take the plates to the kitchen. The host was literally shocked to see us do that and asked us boys not to do that whereas there was no objection for the girls to take the plates to the kitchen. I for a moment thought about my home where my mom ensured that, my brother and I were given the tasks to do everything possible at home to the extent that we almost had a roster for doing the chores!
We see a lot of families around us sharing responsibilities. Some even have a practice of dividing the responsibilities between the husband and wife. While this definitely helps in getting the work done there is a bit of risk with this approach. The divisio…

Troll Model

Article for Bethlehem Matrimonial - Feb 2017
One of the distinct memories I’ve from my past is that our family had membership in at least three different international clubs, the branches of which existed in our hometown. The evenings and celebrations we had with the club activities were quite eventful. Being an international club, social drinking was considered a norm at these clubs.
As a little kid, I very clearly remember majority of the men there drinking with the exception of my dad and a few other elders. I recollect my mom telling my brother and me that dad very particularly followed the principle of not drinking in public and also in front of us, with the primary intention that he wanted us to grow up as responsible adults. Looking back, I really want to thank him for instilling that value and being a strong role model for me!
Fast forward a couple of decades and the actions from some people I see around makes me feel painful. I want you to picture this. Imagine you are a fifte…

Mesmerizing Mauritius!

Couple of decades back whenever there was a need to get anything done related to passports or flight tickets, I remember visiting one of the travel agency offices in my hometown. One of the most interesting attractions in the office was the wall that was beautifully adorned with posters of quite a few destinations across the world. Among everything on the wall, one poster always caught my attention. A lovely white sand beach with beautiful emerald green waters with pine trees lining the borders of the beach! It was a scene right out of a fairy tale.
Twenty years down the line, I now stand with the emerald green waters kissing my feet bringing along with it the lovely white sand blanketing my ankles and right behind me I can see the pine trees still lining the borders of the beach. Yes! I am in Mauritius!
It was a family vacation my wife, Ruby and I planned along with our son and daughter, Ryan and Mia, five and one year old each. We had our reservations about travelling with kids; yet …