Mar 062016
Some basic maths.
most Indians finish their 10th at the age of 16-17 ; their 12th at 18/19 (depending on which part of the year they were born)
They finish graduation at 21/22.
they finish their masters at 23/24
If they then enroll for a PhD – it can take between 3 and 7 years. That would make them 26/31 when they get their degree. I don’t know anyone who has finished their Phd in 3 years. I know people across the world, who after a decade or so, are yet to finish their Phds. 
And, post a Phd there is a post doctoral research – which makes you even older.
Also, if you come from rural, rurban India, add a year or two – sometimes lack of teachers, schools, floods etal increases the finishing your education by a year or two.
Also, if you take a gap year to work between your degree and your Masters, you may be older when you enroll for a PhD. And, sometimes, people do a second Masters’ before enrolling for a Phd. 
So, while i may understand one’s opposition to Kanhaiya’s views, i don’t understand the issue with  age. 28 and a Phd student is not a bad number. Had he been 35, i would have raised eyebrows (slightly). I know 35 year Phd students (who didn’t take a gap year, who haven’t got a second masters – who enrolled for their Phd straight after their masters, and are yet to finish)
Academia has traditionally been funded by Government – be it a Monarchy or a Republic. And, that means tax payers’ money. So have been art, music and science. So have been wars, and monuments to a regime’s greatness. So have been roads and schools, and hospitals.  None of us is consulted on what it is spent on. I am not sure we can selectively decide which of the Government’s schemes we fund.
So, i am just as cool with Kanhaiya’s Phd, as i am with some person doing their Phd in the links between ancient astrology and astrology. It is a given that i am going to pay for their curiosity/research/ future. It is also a given that there is probably no practical output from either thesis.
Mar 032016

The FT, eviscerates Donald Trump

It would be a global disaster if Mr Trump were to become president. Even if he fails, he has rendered the unthinkable sayable.

Mr Trump is a promoter of paranoid fantasies, a xenophobe and an ignoramus. His business consists of the erection of ugly monuments to his own vanity. He has no experience of political office. Some compare him to Latin American populists. He might also be considered an American Silvio Berlusconi, albeit without the charm or business acumen. But Mr Berlusconi, unlike Mr Trump, never threatened to round up and expel millions of people. Mr Trump is grossly unqualified for the world’s most important political office.

But, cautions that it is less about Trump, than the Republican Party’s mutant chickens coming home to roost. Even if he doesnt’ win, he has made bigotry acceptable.
Here is John Oliver on Donald Trump


Feb 272016

I have been consuming a lot of youtube content. A lot of it is work based research. Some of it is pleasure – primarily classical music on youtube. Others have just landed up on one of my multiple social media time lines.

I thought i will curate three of the best things i have watched (i will spare you the classical music on this).

How To Help Every Child Fulfil Their Potential – I love well designed Whiteboard Animation, and i love it when complex ideas are broken down into easy to understand animation. This is a slightly older video (about 6 months ago) but, i just had time to see it now. if you have the time, savour the entire series by RSA Animates, some great videos


The No Smoking Campaign which stars Sunny Leone, Alok Nath and Deepak Dobriyal

story telling in 3 minutes, at its’ very best. There is a good strong story, great casting fabulous performances, a great screenplay dialogue, fantastic audio effects and music. And it is under 5 minutes.

Go watch


P Sainath at JNU

Sainath at his acerbic best. I don’t agree with some of what he is saying, but he says it so well. His command over the audience, over his communication, over data points. Also, he has these great one liners that has the audience smiling (if not downright laughing).

One sample. He is talking about how the advent of the Indian billionaire has changed the very nature of the political game. He compares us with other economies including BRICS nations. He has this line about Russia and her billionaires “every 5 years the Russians send their billionaires to prison, we send them to Parliament”

Watch it. if only to understand students and how they respond.




Feb 242016

I am hoping to make this a weekly affair, curate and links to content that i have enjoyed consuming. I am going to try and have themes – entrepreneurs, development, education, movies, and the rest.  It also means a certain kind of discipline to write (and to read) 😀

Warning : IT will be random. But, so are my interests 🙂 Also, some of this may be older content, and i have just come across it.


This week, in my travels and trawls through the digital space, these are the most interesting things i read on businesses, entrepreneurship and start ups.

  • The 30 Best Pieces of Advice for Entrepreneurs in 2015 – a fabulously well researched and insightful piece from First Round. Each of the 30 pieces of advice is worth its’ weight in gold. The one’s that stood out for me :
    • Practice radical candor. or how to be blunt, at times brutal, without being an obnoxious piece of shit. I have seen a lot of the latter. I have tried, always, to practice the former.  It also works best when you are adept at giving praise when praise is due. The stand out line : “”I would argue that criticizing your employees when Let go of efficiency to accelerate your company.they screw up is not just your job, it’s actually your moral obligation.””
    • Give Away your Legos : you always need to be able to give up control of parts of what you are doing, to other people. And, remember all the time, they are not your clones. They are going to do things differently. You need to look at it being freed up to do new(er) things.
    • Replace Policies with Principles : Again, so required. There is a fundamental glue that binds organisations. That glue is trust. If you don’t trust people, you set your self up for failure. You can’t deliver, if you have created systems to cope with distrust. Plus, you are going to spend valuable time doing the most idiotic paperwork.
    • Let go of efficiency to accelerate your company. This is a scary one. And, the key here is, when efficiency tanks, don’t panic 🙂
    • Keep your company small while still scaling your product. I see so many new companies burn money on wasteful, and bloated hires. The laws of physics hold in business too – the greater the mass, the greater the intertia.
    • Land your “Tent Pole People.”- who are the people who will attract other talent, and stakeholders. Vital. Yup, and look at point two again, while you are at it.
  • Should you look for funding, and what will it cost you – good article to read. Most of start up because we want to work for ourselves. Investors will come in with strings attached (lots of strings). Do not expect a fairy god mother to give you money, and disappear from your life, while you grow your business, your way.
  • Who should get what share of the business – most of the time we all go with, let us see later, or how does it matter. HBR has a good piece on why this must be crystal clear upfront. You shouldn’t fall out with friends and co-founders, on something as basic as this. in both my first set of ventures, and the current ones – this is clarified right upfront. You discuss, debate and close this. Don’t let this come and bite you when you least expect it.


(small trader, #Mumbai, Vileparle. More of my photographs here.)

Feb 212016
My dad used to do the laundry, and the ironing. He could cook up a divine meal. he adored his kids, and was adept at changing  diapers. He treated women as equals, and brought me up as an equal 🙂He got me a lego set, dolls too. He got all of us books to read – on adventure and science, on far away places and history. Told us stories of ghosts, and heroes, of treasures in far away places; of the adventures from the epics; on advanced
All three siblings (two are brothers)  learned to cook, and to fix plugs, and to change fuses, and we played with cars and dolls – and saw no difference in it. We learned to clean the loo, and wash up plates on which we have eaten food. We learned, there was no difference between boys and girls, in the chores we did, in the books we read, in the paths we choose for life.
There was only one condition – ‘don’t lie to me or your mother’. We didn’t. An open, open honest relationship at home, translated to all our relationships in life. We fought. we made up. We laughed. And, when i look back on our lives together, despite the many crisis and tears, the overwhelming memories are all of us laughing together.
Btw – he taught me to swear in multiple languages (with the right inflection) and to fight (if you are hitting a man attacking you, hit him with a closed fist and your thumb inside) ; he taught me to appreciate art, music and good alcohol. My love for photography comes from him, as does my passion for music.
It is another Sunday, and there isn’t a day when i don’t think of him, or miss his counsel or his humour in dealing the world, on a Sunday the missing seems more acute.
Fathers of daughters do end up changing the world. Not out of anger or fear. But, because they want a better, safer, kinder world for their daughters.
This ad made me tear up, it is true in most houses. It made me tear up because my dad was like that when he was young, and we were kids. 


(Buddha, Angkor Thom, Cambodia when i was visiting Cambodia, it was part of his unfulfilled dream i was living. He always wanted to visit. )