Tuesday, June 22, 2010


It is easy to outsource.

It is easy these days to find a company or a consultancy who will come and do what you want them to do, but for a price. But when for larger projects it makes sense to get a dedicated, temporary pool of people to work on it, does it make sense to insource the work.

Insourcing, is much more difficult.

However, insourcing is a surefire way to build more engagement.

May be your best Software Programmer works in your finance department. May be your best UX Designer works in engineering. People take up jobs for many reasons, and develop different skills although their life. Their jobs, however may not really reflect that.

So the next time you are tempted to use pay money to external companies to come and build whatever you want them to build for you, ask around if you can get someone in your company to do that for you.

And if they do a fast and good job of it, reward and recognize them with a fraction of the money that you may have spent on an external solution.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A House and a Home

When I was a child, keeping your home impeccably clean was expected. We swept our house every day, mopped it every other day and made sure that every thing had a place and every thing was found in it's place. There was no excuse for clutter or chaos, and the house was always ready for unannounced visitors, as it is the norm in Kerala.

However, since having my own place, I found that I was not happy with a perpetually impeccable house. I wanted chaos, proof that people are invited and welcomed in. As I live by myself, I invite my friends over to help create clutter, re-branding the process of chaos as parties.

I have had friends of mine, who have never had the chance to break a plate deliberately do that in my place. I have had friends who made new friends, friends who met their soul mates and strangers who became friends during the parties. I have got good advice over a spicy dinner, listened to hopes, dreams and fears over plenty of beer and confided my hopes and insecurities over glasses of white. I have had after-parties and after-after-parties in my apartment. I have had us all drunk and all sober. I have had just one another person and thirty people in these get-togethers at various times.

The logistics of throwing a party notwithstanding, I am very grateful to all my guests whom I was lucky to entertain at home. I learnt about people, places and ideas and used them as sounding boards. But mostly, I just enjoy my time with them as they are lovely human beings.

So if you have ever came to my place for a party/dinner/lunch/game or movie evening; thank you for helping to make my house a home.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


Since I was old enough to learn English - which was three years - I have been told that English is my ticket to freedom and opportunities. Apparently, nobody ever reached anywhere just learning my mother tongue. So once I moved to Europe, I did not expect the Indian languages to help me out.

I was so wrong.

I was in Berlin, and one wrong turn meant I was in the wrong street. In my search for the perfect food, I was suddenly in the middle of a residential neighborhood, most of the apartments looking deserted for the holidays. I was not too worried about the dark buildings, as much as I was about the hunger pangs in my stomach. I wanted to eat something good, and I wanted to eat fast.

I walked towards the one source of light, a restaurant which is open at this twilight time, looking like the only place in earth which is open. I went inside, only to stare at someone who only knew German.

Looking around, taking the decorations of the restaurant in, and discounting the nice Europeans who were peacefully dining, I bellowed into the kitchen - "Aare Bhaisaab!" (Hello Brother) - a girl's gotta eat.

Which brought out the owner pretty fast, much to the shock of his German customers and employees. I continued chatting with him in Hindi. A first generation Pakistani from Lahore, he has been in Berlin for the last forty years, his kids married to 'white women'. He questions me on my province, the number of siblings I have, about my parents and grandparents and if I am traveling alone; just like a polite first time conversation in Hindi ought to me.

One sublime chicken biriyani and a free, unasked mango lassi later, I am pointed out my way on the map; and one of the employees is volunteered by the hotel manager to drop me to where I live.