Friday, November 30, 2007

Leadership 101

Are leaders born or are they made? Apart from Hercules and other mythical figures, I have never seen or heard about born leaders. Gandhi, Churchill, Washington and other great leaders of our time, were individuals who were forced to fight. We must exclude leaders of Medieval and Renaissance era, in my view they either wanted to plunder wealth or force their religion on others. Most of them are of noble breed, where leadership is force feed using a silver spoon. And then, there are leaders like Genghis Khan who grew up in a politically unstable and volatile era. It’s their environment which played a crucial role rather than their birth.

Given the argument, that leaders are made. What makes them a great leader? A few good qualities of a good leader are
b.My way or highway attitude
c.Me first everything else next
d.Ability to handle stress with a steady mind
h.Plan and execution

There might be other criteria but I guess this covers the majority. Now the question is how does one develop these qualities? Or do these qualities depend on an individual’s upbringing and hence it is hard to develop during the later half. We all know based on the standard of our life, we can be categorized into Upper, Middle or Lower class. If it so happens that you are from an upper class, then right from the beginning you are forced to look down at others. The feeling is that everyone below, are there to work for you. Thus, the good qualities of a good leader naturally grow with you. So you might score 100 in qualities a to e; and on other you might be in the high 80’s. The next group is the lower class, who got nothing to lose. Life is a struggle everyday. So in a way, the above leadership qualities bonds with them naturally. It’s their survival; it’s them against the world. You have an option, you either use others as ladder to climb up in life or you let others use you as their launching pad. All this leaves is the poor middle class people. Neither there nor here type and all they can do is blog about injustice and inequalities. I guess the same can be applied for countries. We have our Rich, Poor and the developing countries. Rich gets there things done with money, poor don’t dream, it's their survival and then the developing world where the only thing remaining is their infighting.
So can I conclude along with my developing country, my middle class life is doomed from the beginning? Or is my conclusion incorrect?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Internet Addiction –

Nowadays I use the net so much, sometimes fish, comes out of my pocket :(

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Still an Alien

10 year it has been I am still hunting for the all elusive green card. For issuing an immigrant visa (Green Card), US immigration agency, follows a weird procedure. If you are from India or China, getting a green card, is all about luck.
If you are trying to immigrate to US, there are 3 categories
- This category is for an ‘outstanding professor or researcher’
- This category is for a ‘manager or executive’ subject to
international transfer to the U.S.
- This category is for foreign nationals professionals with an
‘advanced degrees’ (masters degree or higher) and with a job offer
from a U.S. company
- This category is for ‘professional workers’ with a U.S. bachelor's
or foreign equivalent degree and with a job offer from a U.S. company

In addition to these categories, Green Card also depends on what is called as “Priority Date”. Each category has its own priority date. For example, if you are in EB3 category, then currently your priority date is in April 2001. What this means is, if you have applied for your green card on April 2001 then the INS will take your application for processing now. EB1 which is of a high category has its priority date current that is if you start your green card on this category now, INS will process your file tomorrow (technically). So far so good, now let’s discuss the issues

Issue A – Since immigration is a hot topic for election in this country politicians play it to their advantage. Now, in US Hispanics are the largest minority, overtaking blacks. As you can imagine, most of them come from south of the border and most of them have voting rights. They are highly loyal to their community thus, if a politician says, I will give green card to your family, the votes goes for him. On the other hand, if you take an action like that you are going aggravate the far right, which is the white majority who do not want any immigrants.
So if there are 100 voters, 60 do not care about immigration, in other words they have no bias while voting based on immigration, we have 40 remaining votes out of which lets assume 20 are Hispanics and 20 are from far right. Now Green card becomes bait, you play the field based on the environment you can either go for the 20 Hispanic votes or the other 20 from the far right. How do they do that, remember the “Priority Date”, during the election time or at a time of distress they will move the date to current. Thus who ever have applied for Green Card with out any consideration for EB1, EB2 or EB3 the INS will process your application. After couple of months, when the voting is done, they will move back the date, so that only your grandfather can apply.
Let’s take my case as example; I applied for green card during 2002, even though I came to this country in 1998. Friend of mine came to this US in 2001 and applied in 2001 itself. During 2001, they did a switch around with the priority date and he got his Green Card in the same year. By the time, I applied the date was moved far back. So it does not matter when you come to this country all it matter is when you applied and how lucky you are.

Issue B – This issue lingers around the technicality of the 3 categories we saw earlier. Remember the priority date is based on category. If you are in a higher category you have better dates. I have a master’s degree, I am certified project manger, and I have 12 years experience, but still I am in a lower category. Why, because the green card is based on your position when the process started. When I started my job I only had a bachelor degree, later I went to school and got my masters and my certification. But all these after my process started thus my category is much lower. Now technically you could have started working much later then me with a master’s degree thus you have a better date.
Now, another thing to add here is the clause that says experience could count as an alternative to your master’s degree. So depending on your bargaining skills, you can argue with your company and your lawyer and ask them to apply at a higher category based on your work experience. This clause has many loopholes. There are hundreds of consulting companies (most of them started by immigrants) who exploit the system using this clause. Green Card for them is a way to hire new employees. They cut a deal with you stating that they will hire you and they will file their green card process at much higher category. It does not matter whether you really have experience or not they just file with one. I even know many cases where these companies processed green card on EB1 category.

Issue C – This is the worst of them all. Companies know that until you get your green card, you are just a bonded labor to them. There is really not much you can do. So the longer the process goes the better they are. Again, I am a prime example for this. I work for a big American firm, my green card was filed in 2000, and I did not bother about the process that much since I didn’t expect My Company to play games with me. After waiting for couple of years, watching all my friends who applied after me getting green card, I asked the law firm what’s happening with my Green Card. I did not get an answer soon, after repeated pestering; the firm told me that my green card process was cancelled. After having a heart attack, I asked them why. The law firm pointed finger at my company and the company told me that there was a misunderstanding between the company and the lawyer and my process was cancelled by error. They promised they will do the best they can, which ended as restarting my process in 2002 and I am still waiting to get the Green Card.

Issue D - Got money? This issue is complete nonsense. For example, lets say company A started Green Card process in the 90's for Employee X. For some reason, if the employee X leaves the company, the company could give that date to Employee Y. Using this, companies now sell these date to a highest bidder. These goes for thousands of dollars. There is no control.

Anyhow, the bottom-line is I am still an alien. I am really frustrated. All these years my wife couldn’t work, I didn’t want to buy a house without a green card, I really couldn’t take any promotions, the list goes on. Sometime, I think whether all this is worth the pain, I really thinking about moving back to India. I talked to my wife, and she is always an easy going person, so she says lets go. I guess I got to make call now, whether to live as an alien or as a human being.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Origin of "Sir" - Indian Style

I wonder where Indians got the habit of adding "Sir" to a sentence.

Yesterday, I was watching Yogi B song in youtube. He goes, "Raja Sir pattu podu". What's wrong in asking "Illyaraja Songs podu".

The worst thing is, when they are not watched or when they are with their friends they would go, "Otha Illyaraja pattu super illa?"

This habit is worst in the government office. If you are not a big shot you have to call the guy who supplies tea, with a "Sir".

Does anyone know the history behind this?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Happy Diwali

Happy Diwali Guys.
Miss the sweets; Miss the fire crackers; Miss all my friends; Miss waking up 4 in the morning; Miss new clothes; Miss the TV Programs; Miss my mom's Idli and Kari Kolzhambhu; Miss my mom's Briyani; Miss sight seeing trips to check all the girls with new clothes; Just miss Diwali...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Instinctive Buyer –

I am an instinctive buyer; I have bought numerous products, only to find out that either the product is not suited for me or there is a better product out there. Following that great tradition, I bought a Nikon D50 SLR Camera. To go with that I bought 2 Lenses, 18-70mm and 70-180mm. They are great lenses but it’s a hassle to change the lenses every time I have to change the view.

I should have bought the Nikon 18-200 mm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Am Sick!!!

The slightest of weather change brings me sinus, blisters and everything associated with it. Suffering.....

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Ranji Season Begins

Go Tamilnadu Go...... Obviously due ICL; this year is going to be without lots of big names, so I am little bit concerned about the team. But we got to live with what we got right? Lots of fringe players got their opportunity this year, hope they use it to its best. Especially Prasanna, Vasudevadas and Ashwin. Yo Mahesh, I heard he is good, but it is hard to judge a fast bowler in Indian condition. I read that Balaji should be back by the third game, so that should be good.
Now, I have to address an issue which has been lingering in my mind for a long time. States like Maharashtra, Gujarat have one state team and a team for their major city. Why it is not done in Tamil Nadu I have no idea. So many good players play for teams like Assam, Goa and other team, so I think we should have Team Chennai and Team Tamilnadu. It will benefit lot of state player.
Sharath, Sadagopan and Suresh are playing for Assam. Good for them, I would like to see them play for Tamilnadu but I guess thats not going to be possible now.
Another issue is with the Coach. W.V. Raman for coach? That makes me throw up. I remember him in a match in my college ground. He was standing in the slip, with his hand on his hip. The ball was flying to his right, he didn't even move his hand from his hip. After the ball reached the boundary, he jogged towards the ball to pick it up. He got all the talent in the world, but I don't think he is a team player.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Tamilselvan Dead –

It has been more than 20 years now, 24 to be exact. The conflict between Srilankan Army and the Tigers seems to be moving in the wrong direction. Today, one of the high figures with the Tigers is dead. Tamilselvan, always had a pacifist look, and I was hoping one day, he along with others might be able to put a peace plan on the table, but it is a war and war does take causalities.

A conflict in the name of religion or race is hard to negotiate. That’s why; I think they lost a golden opportunity when IPKF was there. It was a volatile combination, Indian Army, Srilankan Army and the Tigers. They should have asked UN to foresee the operation. Everyone made mistakes, certainly the latest book by an Indian Army personnel points out lot of blame on the Indian think tank. But in the end, Prabakaran did not do his homework right. He assumed that he will still have the support of the Tamils, after killing India’s Prime Minister. What a grave mistake that was.

Anyhow, it is going to be a tough road ahead. Seems like Prabakaran death could cause a political swift, which intern could cause Srilankan Army gain huge power. This swift, might be bad for the Tamils but might bring a result to the war. I don’t see any other end to it. Given his leadership style, Prabakaran, with no second in command it is hard to see Tigers without their leader. Tigers and Prabakaran has become something like a synonym. Also, the fight for Tamil Ellam is something similar to Kashmir, just like how I would not like to loose Kashmir, the Srilankan would not like to loose Tamil Ellam. So even though my heart goes for the Tamils, common sense tells me that it is a hard bargain. They could work out something similar to Great Britain, but that will not work without economical prosperity in the northern part of Srilanka. Simply put, Srilanka does not have the resources or political power to achieve such a deal.

I have not read many things about Tamilselvan, but another soul is gone giving his life for the benefit of his people not just for his family and friend. That’s ultimate sacrifice, I do believe that he fought for a cause, and I hope the world see him the same way I do. There are many crazy fights going on around the world, in the name of religion and race. I guess History will decide the consequence with time.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Names from my part of the world

The place where I grew up is notorious for naming people. You come to our street within couple of weeks you will have a new name.

These names are so famous that even the parents forget what they named their kids.

Of course, it is censored for its content, but some of them are,

குர்டெர் ரகு;
பூன் பரம்;
பாம்பே பண்ணி;
வெட்டு மணி;