Day 93/ 365 – Two Weeks Notice

So I get an email at work yesterday announcing Mr. X has put in his papers and is serving 2 weeks notice and I think to myself – just two weeks? Are two weeks sufficient to handover to everything that you have been working on to someone else? First of all can you even identify a resource for handover in two weeks? I was very amazed to know that most companies in the US have only two weeks of notice period, while here in India most companies have 3 months of notice period. The difference in notice period duration is very drastic. I have often had HR managers say that the reason for such high notice is to restrict talent for leaving the organization, but I am not sure if there has been any research done to prove this. I believe if an employee finds a better opportunity, he or she is simply going to move on. In some cases he would buy out the notice period and in some case the prospective employer would buy out the notice period and in some cases the notice period would be waived off. So the question is why have such a long notice period?

The other reason that is often cited is that we need to hire someone as your replacement or you need to train your replacement and it takes time. Quite frankly, I find this reason to be not valid at all. Expecting someone who is on notice period to train someone may not be the best way to go out training the replacement as there is no motivation for someone who is leaving the organization to provide any value addition. More often than not, a person serving notice period is hardly assigned any work which is important in nature. Most of the times, it has been observed that person serving notice comes to work, marks his attendance, spends most of the time surfing the internet and then logs off and heads for the day. Most handover is normally completed within 3 weeks of the employee submitting his resignation and the rest of the time he is not being optimally utilized. However, he does get paid for the entire time. So this leads me to the question how do companies afford to have such a long notice period?

It has been observed that notice periods at CXO levels are relatively shorter compared to middle management.Wondering why isnt it the same across organization. I find this to be an interesting problem. May be I will reach out to people in HR and try and understand from them why such long notice periods in India? Is it because we cant identify resources? We dont have resources? Do we really have so much work that we cant handover whatever it is we are working on in 2 weeks? Or has recovering notice period from the employees become a new way to generate additional revenue for the organization? It is especially strange considering that organizations in developed nations, where is a shortage of resources, are able to find resources, get the hand over done in less than 2 weeks. Whereas organizations in resource rich country like ours resort to something like this.

Day 92/365 – No return policy

Getting used to a new technology can sometimes be a very challenging task. We are used to operating our phones in our own unique manner and if we have been using the same handset for a very long time, getting used to a new handset can be quite a challenge. We encountered this challenge yesterday, when we upgraded my wife’s phone from Nokia to Samsung Grand 2.  My wife is one of the very few people who does not like using qwerty keyboard and prefers a 4×3 keyboard. The new phone does not have the option of 4×3 keyboard, while there may be some apps available to address this issue, but most of such apps do send out data to their servers and she is not comfortable sharing that information. We went to the Samsung store today and asked them if we could return the phone. They told us that while they can buy it back, we would only get 75% of what we originally paid. So what do we do? In India – nothing. If this was US or UK, the clear answer would have been to return the phone and get the phone which gives you the required feature. The return policy in US for electronic items is very clear – the items can be returned within 30 days of buying, of course, the items need to be working condition. This not only allows the user to test the product and determine if he is comfortable using the product and all features work as expected. One thing to definitely keep in mind though is the markets in the US/ UK are much more matured and the process of dealing with returns is also well defined. However, in India there is no such return policy and once you have purchased an electronic item, there is no way for you to return it unless the product stops working within the guarantee period – and there is no guarantee that the item would be replaced.

There is clearly a need to introduce some sort of the return policy in India too – however, the probability of the policy getting misused is very high and thus companies have been avoiding it. But until those policies do come into existence, consumers like my wife are stuck with products which we are not comfortable using. 




Day 91/ 365 – Riding Bullet Classic 350

I finally had an opportunity to ride the Bullet Classic 350 to work today. My brother recently got himself a Bullet motorcycle and since then I have been itching to ride the beast. The Classic Bullet is famous for its “thump” and with my brother modifying the silencers within 2 weeks of delivery, it certainly lived up to the name. Since the bike was new, I was asked not to ride at more than 60 kmph. I have been riding the Yamaha R15 since the last 3+ years and difference between the 150 cc bike and a 350 cc bike was instantly obvious. The power of the bike while climbing the slopes was clearly awesome and there were no signs of any drag. While there is no drag observed in R15 also, but the entire ride feeling was completely different. I knew there was enough power in the bike without me pushing it to the limits. Also the new Bullet seats are very comfortable as compared with R15. The feeling of riding the cruiser as compared to riding the sports bike was also completely different. Normally I would feel very hesitant riding the R15 at 60 kmph, because that bike deserves to be driven at faster speeds. But here I was very comfortable riding at 60 kmph or less.   The entire ride was extremely pleasurable and unhurried. Also initially, I was a little worried about being able to adjust from a sports bike to cruiser with wider handles, however, it turned out to be much easier and extremely comfortable for the back while riding the bike. I rode for about 22 kms in the afternoon and now will be riding back an equal distance in the middle of the night. It would be just me, the road and the famous Bullet thump!!! Looking forward to it.


Day 90/ 365 – Blogging has taken a back seat again!!!

The last 10 days have been extremely hectic for me work wise and there has been absolutely no chance for me to blog.  I have been heavily involved in the planning activity for 2014 for my organization and thus have been extremely tied up. However, the activity is now over and thus I am back. Hopefully I should be able to continue with my project and be able to cover up for the days that have been missed out.

Day 89/ 365 – Visit to Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

Last weekend, me and wife, visited the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival. The Kala Ghoda festival takes place once a year during Feb 1st week and is considered to be one of the premier art festivals in India. The sub-festivals feature the visual arts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops, heritage walks, special events for children, and a vibrant street festival. While my wife has been visiting this festival since quite a few years, I have only started attending since last couple of years. The festival lasts for 10 days and every time we plan to attend the festival early but end up attending only on the last or second last day when the crowd is at its peak. This year also it was no different. We attended on the second last day and being Saturday, the place was full of people. My purpose of attending the festival was to take pictures of the arts installation which are put up. I did manage to take a few pictures but considering the number of people who were attending, it was really difficult to get clean pictures. Also this year, I found the number of installations to be less as compared to the previous years. However, the number of stalls selling “art” stuff had increased. There were a lot of stalls who were selling clothes, shoes, accessories, and home decor making me wonder if it was really an arts festival or some shopping festival. Normally we spend considerable time going through the descriptions of the installations and visiting the different stalls. However, this year looking at the number of people, we kept our visit to just 4 hours. The overall experience wasn’t that great for me because of the sheer number of people. Being from Mumbai, I am used to crowds but this was just way too much for me. Probably next year, we will visit the festival early enough or probably on a weekday to enjoy to the fullest.

IMG_8778 IMG_8780

Bubble boy
Bubble boy
Artist rendition of Super Cat
Artist rendition of Super Cat

Day 88/ 365 – Chelsea rule the EPL

What an awesome week it has been for the Chelsea Football Club.. first we beat Manchester City on their turf and now we are on the top of the English Premier League. It wasn’t entirely unexpected as they were always keeping pace with Arsenal and Manchester City and anytime those two teams lost points, Chelsea had a very good chance to be on the top. Ideally, they should have been on top last week, however, better late than never. The team is playing the best since the season has started and I am hoping they close out the season as champions!! The game against Manchester City was billed as the clash of the champions, a free goal scoring team vs. the team which has arguably the best defense in the Premier League. It was widely expected that Chelsea will “park the bus”. However, what everyone saw was an entirely different Chelsea who after withstanding onslaught from City in the first 20 mins, took the game to the opposition. The Chelsea midfield of Hazard, Ramires and Willian was just too much for City to handle. Chelsea were a bit unfortunate to not score more than 1 goal as they hit the goal post thrice. City simply had no chance. It was a championship performance.

The following game against Newcastle, Hazard showed why he is one of the best players in the world. His strikes were simply amazing and Newcastle had no response to Chelsea. He has been tremendous form and is well supported by Willian, Matic and Eto’o. I just hope that Chelsea continue with this rich vein of form and end the seasons as Champions.


Day 87/ 365 – Railway Lantern

My wife took a picture of this lantern at Valsad Railway station. This lantern reminded me of some of the movies of the old era where the train guards would use the lantern to signal the engine driver up front. I guess with the advent of powerful torches, these lanterns are now of no use and thus lying waste.

Lantern used on trains

Day 86/ 365 – Freebies

The general elections are just around the corner and with it the offers for freebies have started flowing from the political parties. The other day I was watching TV and saw an advertisement paid by the Indian National Congress on legalizing slums under some scheme (I don’t remember the name). I was looking at the advertisement and realized that this is the very reason hard working middle class parents want their children to settle abroad. The whole idea of legalizing something which is illegal in the first place is just atrocious. Not only have these people been living on illegally occupied place and instead of penalizing them, the government, which in most cases is hand-in-glove when these slums come up, is now awarding this behaviour by making those slums legal. By making them legal, those slums can be demolished and the dwellers can be rehabilitated in proper apartments/ houses all at not cost to the dwellers, all at the expense of the middle class income tax payers.

When I look at such schemes, what bothers me is the most is what wrong have common people like me done? Here, I am trying to buy an apartment since last one year and have not been able to buy it due to high costs and government is doling out freebies to the people who have illegally occupied the land in the first place. I think I should have just got some shanty in some slum and wait for it to be legalized to get my own apartment – that too at free of cost. It just makes middle class people, who are trying to earn their daily living in a honest manner, look like fools.

What I would also like to say is that, I am not against government helping the people moving up the social ladder. But what I am against is government turning a blind eye to such illegal activities in the first place and then legalizing it.  No political party is willing to take hard steps. It just makes me wonder if there is any hope for middle class people in this country.