A bouquet of flowers picked along the way ….

The Bus Driver March 20, 2009

Filed under: Ethics and Values,Inspiration,life — gurdas @ :

Just like every other day today I took Wolfline Southeast Loop to campus. But as we were driving down Morrill Drive, an ordinary event told me how extraordinary the driver was. Here we are cruising smoothly, when suddenly the driver slams the breaks, sending almost everybody lunging forward. The reason – the vehicle ahead of us had swerved sharply without warning to grab a parking spot. So, what is so special here? The very first words uttered by the driver were “Sorry about that”, addressed to the passengers who had been inconvenienced by the sudden change of velocity.

I could not but help wonder about this. I put myself into the shoes of the driver and try imagining what my first words would have been. I would have probably sworn and only then followed up with an apology (which in any case was not due because the driver was not at fault).

To narrowly escape an accident, not be at fault, and have a sorry come out of your lips in the first second, to me, is nothing but extraordinary.


Butterflies from Dad March 1, 2009

Filed under: family,Inspiration,life,love,Me — gurdas @ :

Dad opened an email account and sent me our first one-to-one electronic communication. I enquired and found out he has been (secretly) attending “Internet classes”.

When I saw that first email, I felt butterflies in my stomach. In that moment, I could feel the love of my father from thousands of miles away. Because only love can make a 70 year old, who has never used a keyboard in his life, to go learn email communication.

I may be more educated than my father, but in matters of Life, he is still my teacher.


Oye Bill! Bill Oye! January 26, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration — gurdas @ :
Ticket to Bill Clinton talk at NCSU

Ticket to Bill Clinton talk at NCSU


Former President Bill Clinton was at NCSU today to speak about the growing inter-dependence in a globalised world, the need for each of us to think about “How to”, and then acting upon it. And he made a strong case for his views. I came back impressed with his earnest for solving the problems of poverty and hunger, words which echo in millions of homes in India and numerous other places on our planet. President Clinton had his numbers all set, he hardly glanced at any paper during his 30+ minute speech.

This was also an opportunity to see how Americans conduct themselves in the presence of a President and how the (former) President conducts himself. And what did I see? I saw informality mingling with intent in a most wonderful way. There was no space for needlessly long introductions or subservience. The event started 15 odd minutes behind the scheduled hour of 10:30 am, but when it did, President Clinton was on the podium and talking within 5 minutes.

I have a grudge about not being able to take pictures because of conflicting answers on whether cameras will be allowed. I wanted to risk it and take my camera, but did not because of the security concerns. I would have done fine had I done otherwise. Not just me, even my American friend was surprised by the “absence” of security. Tickets were checked most casually. No body checks, no metal detectors. In the words of my friend: “There is more security at a hockey game!”. And those who had more experience of attending Presidential speeches than I, happily brought their cameras and clicked away until I burnt my seat with envy.

Video 1

Video 2


Amazing Amazon September 17, 2008

Filed under: Inspiration — gurdas @ :

I have purchased from on sufficient occassions to comment that they are exceptionally good. They are the best I have seen. Their prices are more often than not better than anyone else in the market. But that is not what I wanted to talk about.

It is their customer service that bowls me out. How can this super store manage to reply to your emails in time? And deliver on time. And take such complete responsibility that it embarasses you.

Some years ago my order had got stuck at the Indian customs. Amazon sent a replacement without blinking an eye. I have repeatedly ordered for books to be delivered in India. Oh boy! the books come neatly packaged and on time.

At the core of Amazon is their software. I would go so far as say that they have probably the greatest software implementation on Earth. The software is intuitive, and gives you such delicious choices that without moderation you could go bankrupt!

And it is not just software. They are a truly high-tech organisation. Jeff Bezos, the founder, was Time’s Person of the Year in 1999. I read that issue and was awed by the technology they were using.

If you have shopped at you would know what I am talking about. They have third party sellers who are tightly integrated into the system. They usually have the highest number of reviews for the products that they sell. They also have nice lists titled “So you would like to..” and “listmania”. All by customers. And it says how active the customer community on Amazon is.

Their links work. Their help works. If you search for something, you usualy find it. Product details are good (though they can be better). You can peek inside books. You can buy suff from other sellers, both new and used. You have free delivery on most items above $25. Your items arrive on time and in good shape. And the shopping experience is exceptional. The software gives you suggestions that are intelligent. You have wishlists. You can place orders easily, you can track orders, and if you changed your mind before it got shipped, you can also cancel your order.

I simply cannot find a flaw with these folks.

That is why I call them Amazing Amazon.


Wimbledon 2008 Mens Final – Extraordinary! July 7, 2008

Filed under: Inspiration,Sports — gurdas @ :
Tags: , , , ,

The Wimbledon 2008 mens final was nothing but extraordinary. Words simply cannot capture the absolute cliffhanger it was. I can only say thank you to Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal for superlative tennis and sportsmanship. What amazing atheletes these two guys are!

Shifting fortunes, phoenix like resurrections, ralleys, serve-volleys, slices, drop shots, top-spins, deep forehands, and impossible backhands. The battle at Centre Court kept me on tentrehooks for over 4 hours.

For some time (after the match) I was sad since I wanted Federer to win. For me, he is the greatest tennis player of our time and arguably the greatest grass court player ever (sorry, Mr. Borg). Many would say, he is the greatest tennis player ever.

Watching Federer play is like watching a ballet dancer. In the same vein, Rafael Nadal is like a gymnast.

Yesterday, the ballet dancer was defeated by the gymnast. World number 2, Rafael Nadal, truly earned his claim on the most coveted of Grand Slams.

I am sure, Federer will give us the pleasure of watching him lift that trophy next year.