Consulting, Just another day

Important… But Not Urgent

Though famous, I was completely ignorant of “The Eisenhower Decision Matrix” which is popularized by Stephen Covey in his best-seller “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People“. A friend of mine, gave a very beautiful perspective of this matrix to me a few days back, which he in turn had received from his manager. I would like to discuss the same perspective here.

Urgent-Important

The matrix consists of a square divided into four boxes, or quadrants, and labelled as: 1) Q1 – Urgent & Important, 2) Q2 – Not Urgent But Important, 3) Q3 – Urgent But Not Important, and 4) Q4 – Not Urgent & Not Important

Now we always find time to work on something that is Urgent as well as Important (Q1). And, similarly, whether we have time or not, we need to find time and work for something that is Urgent though Not Important (Q3). Most of the time, we don’t even bother to work on Q4, something that is Not Urgent and Not Important.

What remains, and is sidelined is work that is Important But Not Urgent (Q2). We never find time for it as it is not urgent, and when our boss asks for the same, we don’t have it. But this is the work that is really important and can get you in a soup.

So, takeaway from this article is always make a list of activities that are IMPORTANT but NOT URGENT.

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Book Review

The Fortunate Pilgrim – A Book Review

A Fortunate Pilgrim

I had read somewhere that Mario Puzo himself considered this as his best work. Similarly, he used to be deeply hurt when people said that Godfather was his best work. He said that the seeds of Godfather was sown in this novel of his, “The Fortunate Pilgrim”.

So, with this background, I started reading this book. Having read and loved Godfather, my expectations from this book were very high.

I could relate and see why the author saw the seeds of Godfather were in this book. The decisions that Lucia Santa had to take in order to ensure that the Family is saved from all troubles, the way she pulled the plug on Frank Carbo in order to ensure that Family remains intact & the reason for a cold war between her and Gino make us remind of instances in Godfather. What more than the similarity between the transformation of Gino and that of Michael Corleone.

It is a pleasure to read this book, and a must read for lovers of Mario Puzo’s work.

Book Details

Title: The Fortunate Pilgrim
AuthorMario Puzo
My Rating: 4 Stars
Buy the book: Amazon | Flipkart

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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Book Review

Can You Teach A Zebra Some Algebra?

Can You Teach A Zebra Some Algebra

I received a copy of “Can You Teach A Zebra Some Algebra?” for free through Goodreads First Reads.

After finishing the intense “Mrityunjaya“, I wanted a small & easy book to read, and this book, or the title of this book caught my attention.

A very catchy title, and equally good book.

The author “Debashis Chatterjee” discusses our current education system and makes the reader think. Through his various examples, stories & anecdotes, and his great knowledge & experience he makes the reader realise where we as a society are moving. He not only reminds us our (system’s) faults, but gives the reader small implementable suggestions to improve and enrich his (reader’s) life, and the lives of others around him. The writing style is very lucid and small examples given by the author help in understanding the concept.

While reading the book, I was able to visualize a few of my teachers; some good, some bad, some orthodox and some unconventional, some boring and some radical.

This book has developed my love towards teaching; and in future, if I start teaching, the seeds would had surely been sown while I read this book.

This is a type of book that one should read once in a couple of years and then one should try to practice the things mentioned.

Overall a very good read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Some of the small stories will remain with me for a long long time.

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Book Review

Mrityunjaya (मृत्यंजय) – A Book Review

Mrityunjay

It is by far the best book that I have read. The author has done a wonderful job of depicting the whole story thoroughly and to the point. A great story told in a beautiful fashion and entertaining way.

When I started reading the book, I was not really a fan of “Karna”. Being the son of “Sun” and having the gift of impenetrable “Kavach Kundala”, I thought it was easy for him to win every battle. The stand that he took during Draupadi’s “Vastra Haran” also made me dislike him.

Well, this dislike for “Karna” changed in just one moment. The moment when he took a stance to remain with “Kauravas” and not join the “Pandavas”. The way he explains his stance to “Shri Krishna”, made me realize what “Karna” is. Even the great “Shri Krishna”, who with his wit and knowledge made “Arjuna” ready for war to kill his relatives, was unable to persuade “Karna” from fighting from the “Kaurava” side against his own brothers.

Even when “Karna” was on his death bed, he made sure that an old man “a Yachaka” who wanted some money for the final rituals of his son, didn’t go empty handed. “Karna” justified by his behaviour that he was the best son of his birth mother “Kunti” and far better than the remaining five “Pandavas” put together.

The book is a tribute to a great person “Karna”.

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Sports

Part 2: How the journey started?

Previously, we had seen an introduction to a small gifted boy from Mumbai with aspirations to play the game they call “Cricket”:

https://justanardentfan.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/a-marvel-that-i-loved-the-most-hate-the-most-respect-the-most/

A lovely tribute by BBC Sports:

Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives. 

But how did his international journey start?

Chairman of selectors Raj Singh Dungarpur, along with members Ramesh Saxena, Akash Lal, Gundappa Viswanath and Naren Tamhane were the Five Wise Men who had a decision to make. It was Raj Singh Dungarpur who proposed Sachin’s name to be included for the upcoming Pakistan series, but they all felt that he was too young to take on Imran Khan, Wasim Akram & Waqar Younis. Also, though Sachin had scored a maiden century against Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy (1988-89) and was consistently scoring 75 odd runs in the Ranji Trophy matches & averaging over 60, he hadn’t scored a first class hundred against a good bowling side.

In the end it was decided, if Sachin scores a hundred for Rest of India in the upcoming Irani Trophy match against the Ranji Trophy Champions Delhi, then his name will be considered. After getting out cheaply for 39 in the 1st innings, the hope of getting an India call (though Sachin wasn’t knowing this) dwindled upon his performance in the second innings. Sachin played with confidence & belief, and produced a superb knock. The 9th wicket for Rest of India fell for the score of 209. Sachin was unbeaten on 83 and Gursharan Singh was not going to play as his hand was fractured. Raj Singh Dungarpur asked Gursharan Singh to put on pads and play with one hand. Gursharan Singh stayed on the pitch as Sachin went after the bowlers and scored one of the most important hundred in his career.

The rest, as they say, is “History.”

http://cricketarchive.com/Archive/Scorecards/52/52008.html
http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/engine/match/369641.html

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Cricket

Kudos to Maharashtra Ranji Trophy side

Back in June 2012, BCCI’s technical committee headed by former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly recommended a host of structural changes to the  Ranji Trophy, India’s premier first-class tournament, by doing away with the existing Elite and Plate divisions and rearranging the 27 teams into three groups of nine each.

 The key changes that were a part of a new revised format included

  1. 27 teams contesting in 3 equal groups (A, B & C)
  2. Each team will get to play at least 8 league games before the axe falls
  3. All Knock-out games including the Quarters & Semis be a 5 day affair
  4. Outright wins to get 6 instead of 5 points to motivate teams to get that extra point
  5. Major emphasis on producing good quality pitches
  6. 3 teams from Group A & B (better groups) each and 2 teams from Group C (group of low ranking teams) to advance to Quarter Finals
  7. Bottom placed team from Group A & B each to be relegated to Group C & similarly, two Top teams from Group C to be promoted to Group A & B 

This was a major revamp after 2002-03 season when the Zonal System was replaced by Elite and Plate divisions.

In the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy season, a young Maharashtra team was placed in the Plate Division, and after topping the Plate Group B, and defeating Himachal Pradesh in the Knock-out stage, reached the Quarter Finals, where it bowed out to a formidable Tamil Nadu side. The average age of the side that lost to Tamil Nadu then, was 23.5 years. As Maharashtra had topped the group & had gone on to win the Knock-out playoff, they received a berth in the Group B (a better group as explained above) for the 2012-13 season.

In the 2011-12 Ranji Trophy season, all the teams that Maharashtra defeated were Plate Division teams, so the teams in Group B were better than Maharashtra, resulting in Maharashtra becoming the bottom most team in 2012-13 season and eventually relegating to Group C for the 2013-14 season.

History repeated itself in 2013-14 season, and just like couple of years before, Maharashtra again topped the Group C to enter Quarter Finals. This time around, in the Quarters against a formidable Mumbai side captained by Zaheer Khan with experienced cricketers like Wasim Jaffer, Maharashtra overturned the first innings deficit of 122 runs, & after bundling out Mumbai for a paltry 129 went on to win the tie by scoring the required 250 odd runs at the loss of just 2 wickets with a brilliant unbeaten partnership of 215 runs by Vijay Zol (91*) and Kedar Jadhav (120*). In the Semi Finals, Maharashtra defeated Bengal thanks to brilliant bowling by Samad Fallah (7/58 in 1st innings & 10 wickets haul in the match) and equally awesome batting by Sangram Atitkar (168 in 1st innings) to reach the finals after 21 long years. In the Finals, Maharashtra was unlucky to have encountered a very good Karnataka side which included talented players like Robin Uthappa, Lokesh Rahul, Manish Pandey, Abhimanyu Mithun & Vinay Kumar which made the tie a one sided affair by their brilliant performances.

So from Group C, Maharashtra was once again placed in a higher group, Group B for 2014-15 season. It was again expected by many, that Maharashtra will once again be the bottom most team in Group B and be relegated to Group C, wherein they will again top the group of lower ranked teams in 2015-16 season and challenge for the Quarter Finals.

But this time around, Maharashtra played good cricket in their group phase & went on to qualify for the Quarters from Group B itself. They were pitched against Andhra team, and the place in Semi Finals seemed a certainty.

On the first day itself, when I started to write this blog, Maharashtra won the toss, elected to bat on a green top & and were bundled out for a paltry 91 runs. At the end of first day, Andhra managed to make 87 runs for loss of just 3 wickets, and it meant an uphill task for Maharashtra with things not looking very good. Andhra had an upper hand in the encounter & a comeback was required from Maharashtra players. And Maharashtra’s pace attack of Samad Fallah, Anupam Sanklecha & Domnic Joseph delivered & did the trick on 2nd day and polished the remaining 7 wickets for a meagre 51 runs & restricted the lead to 47 runs. In the second innings, Harshad Khadiwale (47), Kedar Jadhav (81) & Rahul Tripathi (43) ensured that they get a few runs on board (223 to be exact) & have a respectable total to defend for the bowlers. Siva Kumar from Andhra excelled as he took six wickets in both the innings restricting Maharashtra’s score in second innings as well. Requiring 177 runs to win in the second innings, Andhra’s batting didn’t click, and after loosing wickets at regular intervals, their innings folded for 101 runs. Maharashtra’s pace attack of Samad Fallah, Anupam Sanklecha, Domnic Joseph & Shrikant Mundhe ensured that Maharashtra won the match by 75 runs.

Mah Vs Andhra

Maharashtra’s team after winning the Quarter Final game against Andhra

Maharashtra will most probably meeting Tamil Nadu in the Semi Finals which will be played from 25th February to 1st March 2015.

So Kudos to Maharashtra team for securing yet another Semi Final berth.

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Sports

A marvel that I loved the most, hate the most & respect the most

A marvel that I loved the most, hate the most & respect the most

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain – Christopher & Jonathan Nolan in The Dark Knight 2008

Once there was a young boy from Mumbai. Even at a tender age of sixteen, he had shown the world, the glimpses of what was about to come. The way he used to play the game (considered a birthright by every Indian), was class apart. He had everything at his disposal. The elegance, the timing, the hand-eye coordination, the footwork, the temperament, the willpower, the heart and most importantly the four things required to succeed at that early age: the brain (not just cricketing), the shoulders (to carry the weight of the entire team), the ability to keep his feet on ground (and ego at bay) and the everlasting thirst of acquiring knowledge.

Every time India played cricket, and this person was on the pitch, the country came to a standstill.

He was a perfect example to define what the word stature meant. He had a short stature (a person’s natural height), and yet was a sportsman of international stature (importance or reputation gained by ability or achievement).

He went by the name of Sachin Tendulkar or was famous by another affectionate names like Sachya, Tendlya, Little Master & Master Blaster. He was known to reside earlier in Sahitya Sahawas Cooperative Housing Society, Bandra and later in the nightmares of Shane Warne.

He was a student of Sir Ramakant Achrekar (a Padma Shri & Dronacharya Award winner), an eminent coach imparting knowledge to young cricketers at Shivaji Park in Dadar, Mumbai. Other famous cricketers who have been under his tutelage include Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Ajit Agarkar, Sanjay Bangar, Balvinder Singh Sandhu & Chandrakant Pandit. My parents are from Mumbai, and I from Pune; so there was always a healthy Mumbai Vs Pune competition in the house. Once I had a good fortune of meeting Achrekar Sir, when my father had taken me to Shivaji Park Ground, to get a feel of the cricketing atmosphere of Mumbai, to get immersed in the renowned cradle of Indian cricket.

Sachin’s first series for India was the tour to Pakistan.

What happened there will be a part of the next blog. Stay tuned.

Update:

https://justanardentfan.wordpress.com/2015/03/29/part-2-how-the-journey-started/

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Just another day

A Fair Play Sports Award to Alejandro Rodríguez – a 6 year boy

Sometimes, on the internet you come across a news that makes your day.

I came across a similar news today about Alejandro Rodríguez, a six year old boy who received a Fair Play Award from Princess Elena at a function that was attended by King Felipe VI of Spain and Queen Letizia of Spain at Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid, Spain on 04 December 2014.

He received the award because he stepped in to break up a heated quarrel/discussion between the referee and his coach during a children’s soccer match. The reason for breaking up the argument was simple for young Alejandro Rodríguez.

“He wanted to Play”

He received the award alongside Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone.

Watch the video here

A great moment of joy for a young boy. Kudos also to the authorities that gave him the award. This is indeed a proud moment for sports fans.

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Book Review

Ten Days – A Book Review

Ten Days

I received a copy of Ten Days for free through Goodreads First Reads.

This book is a desi-crime-thriller that tells us a story of Tina, a young executive working in 24×365, a Call Centre.

The first flaw in the book is that many things happen and many characters are introduced in the first 50 pages. It is very difficult to keep link & understand who’s who & what’s what.

After the first 50 pages though, you get used to the authors’ style and then the next 150 odd pages become quite interesting.

Another thing that I thought that was unnecessarily put was moving the story from Delhi to Mumbai and back again, because nothing much happens in Mumbai (not even 4 pages are allocated to Mumbai). The same story could have been continued at an area close to Delhi.

Though the book suggests that this is a story of Tina, her character in the book is not developed to make her a protagonist. Not just Tina, but no other character is developed that way.

With all its shortcomings, it remains a good read. My only concern remains that it had a potential of being much better.

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Manchester United

The whole world is red

Manchester United

Well I am not an expert on football game and, let’s get this very straight, will never be. Still I am going ahead with this idea of writing something about the game that I love, and the team that I love, football and Manchester United respectively. So please bear with me, if you find me not only wearing my red tainted glasses but also seeing everything red (only for team from Old Trafford that is).

With this view in mind, I hereby get on my journey to Old Trafford, to “The Theatre of Dreams”

 

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