Category Archives: Culture

How our Maghi Ganesh Utsav binds us together

I only have one planned vacation each year – a trip to my native place Murud-Janjira. It is a coastal town in the Raigad district of Maharashtra, about 160km from Mumbai. My grandfather left Murud to attend law school in Mumbai. 3 generations later, there is still one thing that keeps the extended family together and coming back to our native place – our temple.

Janjira Fort, Murud-Janjira
Janjira Fort, Murud-Janjira

A couple of centuries back, one Mr.Joshi had a dream about an idol of Lord Ganesha under a tree. They dug it up and indeed found a stone resembling in shape with a Ganesha idol. It was then handed over to our family to be worshiped. What must’ve started as a small shade in Nandgaon (10 kms short of Murud), is today a popular destination for devotees & tourists alike.

SiddhiVinayak Temple, Nandgaon
SiddhiVinayak Temple, Nandgaon

The Ganesh Chathurthi festival in the month of Bhaadrapada was  popularized by Lokmanya Tilak as a social event. But Ganesh Jayanti, Ganesha’s birthday if you will, is actually celebrated in the lunar month of Maagh Continue reading How our Maghi Ganesh Utsav binds us together

Engage in one-on-ones & motivate your team with this Trello board

After a lot of reading & thinking, I came up with the idea of a simple Trello board to help me conduct effective one-on-one meetings with my team, and to plan each team member’s growth. This is the boilerplate that I could quickly replicate for each team member using  Trello’s “Copy Board…” feature. My team has been using it since last October and they’ve found it really helpful to communicate their achievements, issues and most importantly, to plan their growth.

Thanks to them, its now mature enough to help other managers better engage with their teams.  The boilerplate board is now public so you can easily copy & build on top of it. Here is a sample board showing real-world use. Get started by copying the boilerplate, and let me know how it works or how we can improve it.

Boilerplate (Get started by copying) | Real-world example

Motivation/Idea

My one-on-one pattern has greatly evolved over the last 4 years that I’ve managed teams. Starting naively by tracking work,  it now leaves the daily stuff out and instead focuses on the individual itself. When my travel increased, I felt the need for something online to retain the connect. I believe in transparency and I hate secret dossiers; I wanted a platform where we both have the same view of the relationship, which becomes the single version of truth for all discussion. Also, since it was their plan, I wanted my team to have access even when they decide to move on.

I’ve got inspiration from a lot of sources: blogs, surveys & talks I’ve participated in, etc. Thanks to all!

Board Structure

There’s enough on the board for either of you to take interest. It helps drive strategy, but still track tactical stuff; stuff that’s important for the individual’s growth, and the manager’s. Continue reading Engage in one-on-ones & motivate your team with this Trello board

Everything has an expiry date – except software?

I was having a discussion with my friend/colleague Amit Shinde about the quality of things, and he brought up this topic of expiry dates. Fortunately for us, here in India, we now – at least – have an expiry date for most food stuff sold on the primary economy. The underground economy – or System D as it is known – is so vast and so uncontrolled that the government cannot even dream of regulating it.

But Amit’s concern was much beyond perishables. He mentioned his iPlugs for example (I’m not a Apple guy and don’t know if they call the iPhone earplugs that). He said that although there was no visual damage, they weren’t performing as they did. After all, everything has a shelf life – which may or may not be straight-forward to predict.

Take vessels for example. The old copper & brass vessels – now costly souveniers – have served families for years. There even exists a maintence process to extend its life. But the non-stick we use today in our fast lives is not built for centuries. Who knows how the coating disintegrates or how the lower layers react with oil/soap. I’m sure there is a point at which it has to be discarded – which is left to the consumer’s discretion. And when it comes to Indians, experimenting overage tolerances on expiry dates

Continue reading Everything has an expiry date – except software?

From the Horse’s Mouth: Aruna Gupte speaks on International Women’s Day

Aruna Gupte

Prasad: I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all the ladies a very happy Women’s day. Like last year, we’ve opened up the stage for a woman to pen down her thoughts and this time its the most beautiful & respected woman in my life: my mom! Yes, busy Mrs. A P Gupte has taken time out to write for iTelescope. I’ve always appreciated previous generation for the brevity in their communication – this one’s a fine example.

Courtesy: buzzg.com
We're flying high!

Women have made commendable progress over the years in spite of living in  a male dominated society. Yet, as we stand today, we have managed to find identity for ourselves in every known field. This universal representation is the outcome of some great struggles which by itself is a great accomplishment on the part of women. What fascinates me most is that women from all backgrounds have risen: ones from lesser known towns, lower middle class families and even some that were deprived of education. Whether out of necessity to support the family or sheer interest, we’ve scuffled our way to be where we are, what we are today: more independent than yesterday.

Not massages, but is peace of mind too much to ask?
Not massages, but is peace of mind too much to ask?

It’s worth nothing that all these achievements and the resulting independence has come along with great difficulty. Most of the achievers have managed this while balancing both, the home & work fronts, with equal responsibility. And except for some lucky ones, a larger faction has struggled amidst lack of support from family. In this struggle, it is very important that women find positive support and encouragement at home: from their husband, kids & everyone at home. The spouse should voluntarily assist in day-to-day responsibilities wherever possible and take some load off the lady. And if not for that, the least they can guarantee is peace of mind. The same goes with children; Continue reading From the Horse’s Mouth: Aruna Gupte speaks on International Women’s Day

The frigidity of online networks

Last Saturday, we ran a wedding marathon. You could take the ‘running’ literally as we moved between 3 corners of the city (traveling 75kms) in 8 hours. No doubt it was fun, meeting all the people you otherwise don’t see between their & their kids’ marriages. There is very little left to be written about weddings – each one sets a higher benchmark for the next. When one of my colleagues woke up to the fact that a marriage could cost anywhere between 8-12 lakhs, I choose to sleep again – alone! But there was something different about that day I want to share.

We were munching snacks at one of the venues when my mother pointed to a lady she thought she knew. It was a short, fair lady with curly hair; none that we had seen before. My mom insisted that she was almost sure, and ignoring our plea to rethink, went on to ask her. My brother escorted her as if she would’ve been executed for a wrong guess. As I watched from a distance, ma asked her a few questions that confirmed her suspicion, but it was little help for the lady. The moment she heard ma’s maiden name, she was struck awestruck! Continue reading The frigidity of online networks