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Thank You – India Railways and Mysore Police

18 Jan

I have heard great things about the Indian Railways and its improved efficiency ever since Suresh Prabhu has taken over. The trains are cleaner, the platforms and the bathrooms are sparkling clean (At least in South India), Trains are punctual.

A few days back I had a great experience – in the Chennai Mysore Shatabadi. On Sun 15th Jan we boarded the Chennai – Mysore Shatabdi at 6 AM headed to Bangalore. We were a group of 6 with 5 suitcases and many small bags and accessories.

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After a very comfortable journey in a very neat coach we got off at Bangalore Majestic. I always take count of the suitcases before we leave – but this day there was some miscommunication , and I was not as alert as usual. We came back home and realised that we had left a suitcase in the Train. It was my dad’s suitcase and had his medicines and a few other important items.

I had no clue what to do and there was a sense of panic at home. Searched the web for the station numbers at Majestic and Mysore – but the numbers that popped up were obsolete and not out of service. I then tried contacting some business associates at Mysore who could send someone to the station and pick up the Suitcase from Coach C5. But being a Sunday at 12 Noon – nobody was reachable.

At my wits end I called my friend seeking advice. He asked me to call 139 Railway Enquiry. After a few options I finally reached a friendly call centre advocate who politely told me that she could not help and I would need to contact the Railway Police Mysore for Lost & Found – she was not able to help with the number.

After multiple Google attempts I finally reached this site http://202.138.101.165/railwaypolice/Railway%20Police%20Contact.html. 

Fortunately it had a Mobile Number listed for Mysore (9480802122) – which I immediately dialled. And thats when the efficient miracle started.

The phone was picked up on the second ring and a confident no nonsense efficient voice answered me. I explained the situation – he responded by saying that Shatabadi was just entering the platform and he would send one of his team to C5 to locate the suitcase and call me back.

I waited patiently invoking the universal energy – my mother was very confident that we would get the suitcase back. Expecting a call back from a Govt official was rare. But this man was different – within 10 minutes I got a call back saying he had traced the Suitcase and he would be sending it back with Pappu Khan the pantry boy in C5 Coach and I could pick it up at 420 PM when the train reached Bangalore Majestic.  He gave me Pappu Khan’s number – I called him and established contact.

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We were there at the station at 4 PM and promptly at 4.20 the train chugged in Platform no 7. As we waited anxiously Pappu Khan was at the gate with our suitcase. We thanked him profusely.

For me a miracle had happened – I had never expected a lost suitcase in the train would be got back so easily. And it all happened because of  Mr S Krishnamoorthy – Sup Inspector Police at Mysore Railway Station.  Thanks a lot Mr Krishnamoorthy – people like you instil confidence that in todays world there are still good people. It was your attitude and efficient approach that made things happen. You are a role model. Thank You Sir – May God Bless you and your Family. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://202.138.101.165/railwaypolice/Railway%20Police%20Contact.html

 

Soft Skills Training – An investment with ROI or a Robbery ?

27 Jun

I recently read an article by Rajeev Peshwaria in Forbes titled  ” The Great Training Robbery: Why the $60 Billion Investment In Leadership Development Is Not Working” .

The timing was right – we had just completed a bunch of training for our team and while everyone enjoyed the sessions the verdict on what its efficacy would be over the long run was debatable.

Clearly Corporate HR managers see dwindling value from Training investment. When I joined my first job in the early 90’s Induction Training was a 30 day residential affair. Today most companies say learn on the job after a 1/2 day induction. You can’t blame the HR folks – there is a linkage to this with attrition – and the CFO questions the ROI on the investment. In the 90’s of a batch of 30 inductees every year you probably lost 1 at the end of the year, today you may lose the whole batch in 6 months . So why be a Training academy is the question.  If you look at it from this aspect yes investment in Training does feel like a Training Robbery.

ROI

Lets look at the millions spent on Training mid and Sr management. People entrenched in the company in the mid 30’s or early 40’s. Most come with strong mindsets and getting them out of their mould itself is a big job. Many more come thinking this is my 6 monthly off day to get a break that HR has officially planned. There are hundreds of companies  evangelising content around Communication, Creative Thinking, Presentation Skills, Emotional Intelligence, Outbound Workshops on Team Building …….. and many many more. Most of these companies do a  good job. The content is brilliant, the Trainers do a great job and if you see the feedback form at the end of the session it almost always a WOW – but the Q is how long does this effect retain, is it practised, is there a change in habit – you need all this to show that the impact and ROI has happened.

Learning Pyramid

The standard learning pyramid says that training stickiness improves when the participant not just listens , but practises what he learns in real life. But the Q is how do you make that happen ?

In the last 6 months we have conducted two different set of programs by the same company and faculty (BlueChakra Talent – http://www.bluechakratalent.com, Faculty – Papiya Sarkar). The first program was for our team of Trainers – a motley group of  highly stressed out trainers who needed direction , advanced skills and tools to energise themselves.  The second program was for the sales team  on Communication tools to be effective in Negotiation & Objection handling. The content was customised and prepared after months of close discussions with Business and after talking to all the stakeholders. The delivery in both cases were by the same faculty and their facilitation skills were excellent – however one program was a HIT and is now on a journey that has changed the lives of the Trainers. On the second program for the sales team the verdict is still not out – but my feeling is that the halo effect will slowly diminish in a few months and all will be forgotten.

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There are 3 Things that made the 1st program for the Trainers successful

1. There was a NEED. The content was customised to that NEED. The team size was small and the approach was consultative and warm. It felt homely and comfortable to ask Q, clarify, reach out both during the program and after.

2. There was CONTINUITY. The first session had mixed feedback. Participant feedback ranged from this may not work  –  to I know it all. There was a sense of concern – on why this program, are we not good enough. But once we started doing this on a  quarterly basis the rhythm set in and people started seeing the value.

3. The COACH helped a lot and the lead Trainer was always there. The amazing content and tools would have gone down the drain if the coach from the company (Mentor Trainer) had not worked with each individual in the  3 months post the session to inculcate all the learnings. His patience and commitment made all the difference in making the learnings practicable and relevant. Once the participants practised and saw the improvements – it stuck, gave them the confidence to to do it more often till it became a HABIT.

The second program lacked a COACH. the sales managers were busy with their job and just worried about the targets. They could not spend time with the 25 + reportees they had on a  regular basis. HR was not involved – and even if involved could not have made an impact as this is a job of the line mangers to inculcate the learnings.

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In summary – I don’t agree with the article in FORBES which says that Training is a Robbery. But if the organisation and the manager do not invest in making the Training Investment a Habit – then yes it will definitely be a investment down the drain. So to deliver value lets Train our managers to be good Coaches – because there are so many skills to be learnt and improved if we want our teams to succeed and grow and be relevant in the fast changing economy.

 

IIM (Intrusive, Irritating, Marketing)

28 Feb

Even in the Internet era when you pick up the morning newspaper the 1st thing you want to see is the Headline.  Unfortunately you don’t get to see it.  As you lift the newspaper from the floor you see a bunch of flyers falling down , the 1st page is normally a full page ad for a premium Villa or a Smart Phone. Or its some flyer that is pasted on the cover page. It just irritates me. This is not Brand Building – this is Intrusive, Irritating , Marketing (IIM)

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Its the same story online. Try reading TOI or ET online. When you reach the site you first encounter a Interstitial that hangs in there for 10 seconds and when you reach the home page its like walking across mines. Suddenly the ads pop up and you have to carefully navigate between the blocks , and even the lines to ensure that the hundreds of Ads hidden in a  page don’t explode in your face.  Almost 50% of the real-estate  on the home page of TOI /ET is used up by Ads. The Hindu & Business Standard were better – but as they are getting popular the share of Ads in the home page is continuing to increase.

The situation in TV is no better. Between 9 & 10 PM – you can actually watch TV for 10 Min , if you are on Times Now. 25 Min is dedicated to Ads and another  25 for Arnab – that leaves only 10 Min for the program speakers and news.

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When you watch an IPL match or a 1 day – count the ads you see . There was a time that an ad used to come after every over , but in the last IPL it came after every ball. And it was the same ad in most cases being repeated again and again all through the program. Assuming the innovative Product has 100 features – why would someone harp on the same message again and again , why not showcase all the great things of the product in each messaging.

Marketing is strategic it works at building the message for long term , it creates aspiration , it builds value & Premium .Well at least its supposed to . Thats what Dr Philip Kotler talked about in  5 P’s of Marketing. 

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But what do you see today ? there is only 1 P that is visible – PRICE. Look at what gets advertised – EMI , Buy Back , Tables showing how much you pay now and how much in your instalments . When was the last time you saw an Ad that talked about Features, Advantages & Benefits. Maybe 15 years back.

I wonder what they teach at MBA schools in their Marketing Course. Or is is that the sales guys have taken over and everything is tactical. A sales guy thinks of this week , this month this quarter. And how much did I overachieve ! If we see the type of advertising that is happening its clear that the war for communication and branding is now being run by Sales and all that Marketing can do is negotiate the rates and choose the media mix. SAD – Marketing was such a great function.

This at a time when our products are bursting with exciting new features and users sadly don’t use 90% of these features, Shouldn’t we be educating them on these rather than selling price as the one and only value proposition ?

Well I guess the world is changing and the mad rush for numbers has killed one more function. Would it be fair to say that Marketing is dead ?  I Think so. Marketing is strategic it works at building the message for long term , it creates aspiration , it builds value & Premium . Its sad to see it being buried.

marketing-is-dead

 

To all the companies that come out with IIM ( Intrusive , Irritating , Marketing) techniques and the big 1 page Ads that scream price I have just one thing to say – look back in history. Remember PCL , Shiva Computers and recently Sahara – these were companies that came out with big 1 page Ads in their heyday. Look where they are today.

Gaining Momentum, Losing Altitude

22 Sep

When my niece was graduating from REC (NIT) Surathkal I urged her to join Wipro or Infosys. Explaining that it was a great place to learn in your formative years Vs joining a MNC. Her response was that MRC (Mass Recruitment Companies) are the last option in  campus and only those who do not get any jobs land up in these companies.

Things have changed a lot for these companies. I recollect in the 1985 – 95 era Wipro & Infosys used to attract  the brightest talent from India’s best institutions. Students preferred these companies to leading Banks, FMCG and at times even Global Consulting brands. Having worked in one of these companies for nearly 14 years I have fond memories of their golden years.

As I drove past Salt Lake at Cal last week and saw a dull, faded, torn signboard of the bright & radiant Rainbow Flower I was reminded of a quote that Scott McNealy made of DIGITAL (DEC) in the height of the dot com boom. We were lucky to have Scott in our induction program at Santa Clara and  Scott is the epitome of  a sharp, intelligent, aggressive CEO –   on being questioned about the future of DEC he said ” DEC was a great company but its now gaining momentum and losing altitude” .  I just hope this is not true of Bangalore’s leading companies.

There are many thousands who owe their first salary, first car, first trip abroad, first house, kids US citizenship, and many more fond memories to Wipro & Infosys. A whole generation has benefited. But sadly the sense of loyalty and passion that was exhibited by employees a few decades back is grossly missing. When you visit any online TOI / ET article about these companies  almost all the comments are negative and downright nasty – and I ask myself what went wrong ? How could the Bangalore Tiger & modern Indias global picture boy take such a beating  and plunge from its global high’s?

Yes the market has slowed and there is global recession, but these are companies that are still growing 15% + YoY and delivering margins in excessive of 20% – both of which when compared to the manufacturing industry or global IT consulting companies are still very very creditable. They employ over 150,000 people each and are juggernauts who even in recession hire in excess of 10,000 employees every year. So what is the possible reason for this negativity both internally & externally ? Is  the 20 year wave  getting over or is there more to it ? I spoke to many old friends in both companies , some who had just left and a few interesting observations emerged. These companies still have amazing leaders and people like TK Kurien are razor sharp, hard working , analytical wizards who are doing all that they can to turnaround, but I hope that some of these constructive suggestions help them in accelerating.

1. Where do you want to go, what do you want to be ?    

20 years back this question had a clear answer, Vision was to be a leading player , get to 1B then 5B and be a global player to be reckoned with.  The thrust was on Quality & Value for Money – Six Sigma , SEI CMM all of this made the mantra work. The dream was realized. What next ?  Most people don’t see the dream for the next 5 – 10 years. Is it just chugging along with Growth , is there a radical change , how do we move from one plateau to the next high ?  This question needs to be answered – not as poster across the company but a clear direction on where you want to be and what you want to be in the future. One needs to look beyond the quarter results, the 1% dip in EBIDTA,  and the fear of losing the 2nd or 3rd position.

2. Applying Thought & Powered by Intellect – is it a ground reality ?

Thanks to amazing visionaries Narayan Murthy & Azim Premji the companies did practise what they preached for many many years. Applying Thought & Powered by Intelllect on the foundation of Integrity & Values was deep rooted. Every employee inculcated it & personified it. At a young age responsibilities were demanding  and the sense of ownership was high. People worked 6 days, long hours and were thrilled and excited. Managers were fair, worthy were rewarded and competition  amongst peers was healthy, attrition was rare.

Somewhere down the line the whole equation broke down – as quality of hires started going down , future managers were weaker, not all decisions were fair , growth slowed down  – while expectations continued to rise , 15% + annual hikes and a promotion every 2 years was demanded. The fear of attrition resulting in many unworthy employees getting pampered and the work culture changed from brilliant hard working to arrogant mediocrity.

Add to this press reports on  misuse of B1 Visas & financial irregularities  have all cast a shadow on the impregnable fortress of integrity & principles which was the hallmark of these companies.            

3. Managing scale – too fast growth a dangerous thing.

When you have 10,000 employees and a 30 % bench its manageable, but when you have 150,000 employees and a 30% bench you are paying salaries to 45,000 people for doing nothing. Thats killing. Thats exactly what is happening to these companies. The scale and size they have reached is unprecedented in India. Only the Indian Railways or SAIL probably have the experience of managing so many employees. Systems have struggled to scale, the personal touch is missing and the juggernaut is indeed huffing & puffing and like my niece pointed out – a MRC that no smart kid wants to join. Whats the solution ? Maybe its time to create smaller companies of 25 – 30 K employees each and allow them the roadmap of growing to 50K employees in the next 3 – 4 years. Restrict the size of each business with a CEO to a max of 50K and create scalable units.

4. Grooming managers with values

This is tough if you have high attrition. But what stops these companies from starting their own colleges in their own campus. Focused on CS & EC – a 4 year program that is geared to get them productive on day 1 , no finishing school training needed. Inculcate not just competency & skills but also embed values. If you do it right people will stick to you for long stints with no bond. I am happy to see that at least Wipro has started a University and I hope that in the near future they embark on a venture to backward integrate and start a graduate school for engineers.

5.The role of Finance Managers

In both companies the role of Finance Managers has far exceeded their scope. The whole purpose of functioning appears to be to squeeze that extra % of profit by cost cutting or innovative accounting. This is hurting and the core business team seems to be quietly resentful but helpless. Partly this is linked to the obsession with the Stock Market & the quarterly results – that obsession needs to wane down.

When Hema Ravichander the successful HR head of Infosys moved on and was replaced by the finance director it started to spell the beginning of the end of good robust people practices. A decline that accelerated over the years.

6. Are you a true blue Global MNC ? 

Or just another Indian company with offices abroad. The desire to hire & integrate people of other nationalities has been attempted again & again but not worked. At a top level the core team of 20 people who on an average have spent 20+ years each in both these companies do not allow outsiders to integrate. Of the total 150K employees how many are Non Indian , if  90% of work comes from outside Indias shores should there not be at least 30% employees who are Non Indians ?

Are you an equal opportunity employer? Or do you have different travel limits, hotel limits, food limits for different levels of employees.

Many Sr Executives from Wipro & Infosys have left and joined Indian IT Companies or Startups –  will say a company like Accenture look at hiring the top talent from these companies at C level jobs ? I doubt – or at least there is no history of the same.

Its time these companies stepped back and took a real hard look on the way forward. For the sake of  Bangalore , for the sake of India lets hope they Gain Momentum & Gain Altitude. Here is wishing them all the best in the years to come as they traverse this challenging journey.

50 Shades of Grey !

3 Aug

Its Appraisal time (My Company follows a Oct – Sep cycle). I am getting ready for a discussion that always comes up as an ” area of improvement” –  consistently in the last 20 years.

Here are some lines that I picked up verbatim from my Appraisal reports. “You  are too DIRECT”. “Life is not Black or White, its  GREY”. ” As you grow in a corporation you need to be comfortable with Shades of Grey” . ” Give the other person some space to maneuver”.

My answers have always been the same. I thought that was my strength! Isn’t it  good to be straightforward and take the no nonsense, no BS approach? (Apparently Not)  I am not a diplomat or a politician. After some years I gave up and told myself that I would never make it to a CEO / Country Manager unless I change my DNA and incorporate some shades of Grey. (I am happy doing a planning & execution job , being one level below a CEO – Less headaches , more peace of mind , better work life balance)

Way back in the early 1990’s a young and passionate Azim Premji (AHP) used to conduct a two hr session for all new Wipro recruits at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall. He used to talk of Wipro Beliefs and later touch upon the importance of looking at all things in life as Black & White.

His famous quote was “There is nothing Grey – If its Gray its Black ” . To me AHP is the epitome of Integrity and his words on looking at life in Black & White has stuck over the years.

On a slight deviation – was discussing this topic with my old Wipro colleagues a few weeks back. (A lot of old Wiproites have moved on to MNC sales organizations). A quick back of the envelope analysis revealed that 90% of MNC Country Managers in India originate from areas that are N of the Narmada. While 90% of the Top Management in IT Companies like Wipro , Infosys , TCS   etc originate from S of the Narmada. So the question that begs to be asked is there something about the culture of different states  & territories that influences the art of “Grey” in an individual.

Lets move to Circa 2012 – Aug 1st. I was at the airport  and had a few minutes to spend at the Crossword store. A book with the name ” Fifty Shades of Grey” beckoned me  – It was a bestseller too. The cover had the picture of a Tie – A corporate Look – and I thought here is the answer to my woes – maybe there is scope to ingrain some concepts of “Grey” into my personality – with a long flight to Delhi ahead of me , I intuitively picked up the book without even reading the back page summary.

This is what happens when you do something impulsively. The title & the cover had no correlation to the problem I was trying to address. How could an author & a publisher do this ? The first 100 pages of the book is  Mills & Boon and the last 200 is Hard Porn.

Who in his wildest dreams would have thought that a book with the name 50 Shades of Grey and a nice Corporate cover would turn up like this. (If you are still interested in the book grab it fast before someone from the moral police brigade in Managlore reads it. Be rest assured that it will get banned after that)

Maybe its a good idea for the IIM’s & other leading MBA schools to have a subject on ” Incorporating Shades of Grey in your personality for a successful career path ” – not much research has happened in this field  – so its virgin territory and a few Phd papers could get written on this. Because Shades of Grey (Or crudely put elements of JUGAD) are  today not just the core competency of Politicians and CEO’s , but qualities that you see even with representatives in your building association management committee.

20 Years of Corporate Life

20 Jun

This month I complete 20 years of Corporate Life.

I started working in 1992. That was the year Narsimha Rao rolled out the reforms in India ( I specify Narasimha Rao –  he was the man who did the job with Manmohan & Chidambaram – but all credit today for India’s reforms goes only to Manmohan Singh). People who have worked since 1992 belong to the lucky generation – we were the luckiest since we did not miss even a year.

We spend l7 years in school ( If I include the 1 year in Nursery) and I have already spent 20 years working –  but it feels like it all started yesterday. As I look at my First Pay slip dated June 1992 – nostalgia creeps in. Here are a 7  things that have changed drastically in the last 20 years – as I look back on how it was in the early days of my career.

1. Salaries 

As an engineering Grad from REC, I started my first job at a salary of Rs 3,200/Month. (At HCL Ahmedabad). We used to line up in front of Bank of India to withdraw Rs 2000 on the salary day. No Debit / Credit Cards . Annual increments were 8 – 10% and those with CTC of > 1 Lac / Annum belonged to Sr Management ( They could afford to own a Maruti 800).

A few years later I remember a colleague with 6 yrs. of work ex ( IIT – IIM) who was working as a Product manager at Wipro – he decided to join Compaq for a 6 Lac Package – 3 reasons for leaving 1. He could now buy a car  2. The company was giving him a landline 3. His PF Savings at Compaq would be 5K / Month.

Circa 2012 – A fresh Grad from REC ( NIT Now) earns upwards of 8 Lac’s / Annum. An IIT IIM Grad with 6 + Years of Experience would be grossing upwards of 25 Lacs. And Sr Execs with 20+ Years of Exp earn in excess of 1 Cr . So our Generation and the current generation should look back and be happy because even with a 9% + Inflation our salaries have grown faster.

2. Communication 

Telex was the most common  mode of communication. IOM (Inter Off Memo) – folloed by Fax. Paper courier was a prevalent mode of communication. Most offices had just 1 PC AT with Mail connection ,  no Mouse , B&W Monitors, 1.2MB FDD , Epson DMP Printers.  The STD Phone with the Manager was locked. STD Rates were exorbitant – and all long distance calls had to be made after 6 PM or even better 9 PM

In 1998 when I got a JTM Cell Phone at Bangalore – it cost 16 Rs / Min . I had to get it because we had no land line at home ( 10 + Years of wait) – and companies did not allow you to reimburse your cell phone expenses.

3. Travel 

Air Travel was exceptional – Train & Bus were the most common modes of transport. Even if the journey was Baroda – Bangalore , you travelled by train from Baroda – Bombay – Bangalore. No problem if it took 3 days to travel back and forth.  Indian Airlines was the  market leader Damania & East West were just making a beginning . With a splash as they had announced free beer inflight – and they had set high standards with their Air Hostesses. ( Jet , KF , Spicejet , Indigo – did not exist). BLR – BBY 1 way fare was just above Rs 1000/- .

In City travel was always by Auto – a Taxi travel required special approval. Hotel rooms were affordable Rama Hotel and Nahar Heritage at Bangalore were Rs 450/ night. Luxury 5 Star Hotels were 3K / Night. Food allowance was Rs 50 / Meal – which was great since a Thali was Rs 12/- .

4. Leading  IT Companies & Technology 

Wipro & HCL were the dominant IT Players . Hardware dominated – software exports were less than 10% of total revenues. ( They seem to be the only survivors from that era with TCS ).  ICIM , ORG , Shiva , PCL …. the other key players have all vanished. IBM , HP, Digital dominated the Servers and Compaq, DELL , Gateway , dominated the PC. Apple was  almost vanishing from the industry. What does Nokia make was a quiz question.

People used to demand premium on PC’s  based on features like Single Motherboard , ZIF Socket and the fact that company A had lesser Chipsets on the MB and hence was more reliable. 80% of the market was dominated by Gray / Unorganized sector. Customs duty was upwards of 50%. The cost of  an entry level PC AT 1MB / 40MB with B&W Monitor   was 40 K ( That price is now 25K).  I remember a program that Wipro launched in 1994 called perfect 10 – to sell 10K PC’s a quarter and achieve 10% MS – they scraped thru on the last day ( Total PC Sales / year in country was less than 500Ku – Thats 12M + in 2012)

The war for servers was between CISC & RISC. Common Operating systems were Novell & Unixware. Bids were won on the value proposition of Arcnet Vs Ethernet networks. Most servers operated with VT 100 Dumb terminals connected on RS 232 cables. Every company had a spur hero sales man in a city / region – who was the scorer for all large deals ( Large deals were a few Cr). Wipro & HCL were like India Pakistan – rarely would there be transfer of people between the companies – the culture was so different ( After 20 years HCL Has become less aggressive and Wipro has lost its old charisma – not much of a difference between the two today)

5. Work Culture 

Work was demanding. Commitment & passion was high. Sense of loyalty to an organization was very high. Resignations were rare. HR was functional – people were taken care of. Finance was still bossy – but not a “Controller” running your business Discipline & rules were firm. Exceptions were rare rather than the norm. If off started at 9 AM – everyone was there before 9AM. Work hrs were long . Sat was 1/2 day working – but people worked till 4PM. Managers were trusted and respected – they in turn added tremendous value to their team and helped craft their early careers. There was a strong sense of team bonding. Induction trainings were long programs stretching to a month. …. I could go on and on, its rare to find these in the best of organizations today.

6. Travel Abroad 

This was a rare perk. Reserved for the HQ people. It was the talk of the town if someone travelled abroad. Credit Cards did not exist – so companies gave you Forex Currency as advance. (1USD = Rs 30). In a foreign city you always used public transport and hunted for the highest exchange rate. Before traveling the Travel Department used to give you tips on where to exchange your currency. Most people took their first flight after a few years at work.

Getting a US Visa was a nightmare – long waits extending 12 – 18 hrs in the US Consulate at Chennai – standing in a Q in sun & rain. Thankfully that has changed

7.Brands 

There was a lot of pride in creating Brands. Ad agencies had great people – every company had a large Marketing Team. There was pride in trading punches – being smart & witty When TISL launched in India – they ran a campaign ” Think TISL Think IBM” – next day Wipro came back with a rejoinder ” Don’t Think – Act , Buy a Wipro PC Now”

I could write a book on how life has changed – but what hits you is the speed at which things have changed in two decades and how adaptable and flexible individuals and companies need to be to survive. Those who could not adopt change have sadly perished.