Wednesday, 15 August 2018


Wearing collar tabs at a young age of fourteen? Like senior officers of the Army/Navy/Air Force! Is that possible?
Our 14-year old grandson Ansh has done it quietly.
He has been selected by his school to be a 'Director' of a volunteering program for community work. Four students, one each from 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades have been chosen for this task. He is the youngest of the directors!

This morning while he was getting ready to go to the school, from my yoga mat I noticed a lapel pin on his shirt collar. On questioning, he explained it's significance. Unlike most teenagers of his age he is so humble that he reluctantly agreed to let me take a picture. Not too sharp as you can see below.

What struck me is the spin-offs of such volunteering programs for teenagers. As a 14-year old 'Director' he is responsible for the following:

  • Fund raising for different programs/activities
  • Organise the events
  • Mobilise other volunteers
  • Participate in community work
You will agree that in doing so, these young 'directors' will imbibe many qualities and values listed below which will help them in their life after school:
  • Self-confidence
  • Leadership
  • Communication
  • Event management
  • Team work
  • Sensitisation towards societal needs
  • Social equity
  • Power of volunteering
  • Empowerment and its true meaning
I felt very happy that schools are making an endeavour to shape the young minds into responsible citizens of India. Hat tip to Ansh's school and his teachers. Future of India is bright with such teenagers. I couldn't have found a better theme for Ghumakkad's Independence Day message. 

Keep going Ansh! We have a star in you.

Thanks for browsing.
Happy Independence Day to all.

   -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 15th Aug 2018

#Values #leadership #responsiblecitizens #volunteering #teamwork #teenagers #ghumakkadhb #ghumakkadharsh

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Startups- Identifying an Opportunity

Want to set up a Startup?
Have an idea?
Does it address any 'need'? Whose need?
How to take the first steps?
How to identify the opportunity?

Everybody knows that startups are all about an opportunity, mobilising resources and creating and sustaining value. So, the start point is identifying the opportunity.

I   I teach a  core course titled 'Entrepreneurship and Startup Management' (ESM) to PGDM students at VVISM Hyderabad. One of the Learning Outcomes of the course is "To be able to identify the opportunity for creating a new business venture or social venture". The course focuses on learning-by-doing. After initial introduction to Entrepreneurship and Startups, the students were given few inputs on identifying the opportunity. See the excerpts of lecture slides below.

    And just after four sessions, they were asked to identify a business or social opportunity for a new venture. The students had to submit their idea in one page and make a one-minute elevator pitch

    Even though most students in the graduating Class of 2019 are freshers i.e. without work experience, they did a brilliant job. A summary of some of the startup ideas is given below.

   Did you notice any common thread in these ideas? Those familiar with the subject of ESM, may have observed the following:
  1.     Most of the ideas were innovative though some ventures may already be existing addressing similar needs.
  2.     The students could think of new ventures across industry sectors
  3.     The sample includes ideas for social ventures also
  4.     The students could identify new venture ideas that are needed for the rural population as well
  5.     Healthcare/eldercare seems to be a concern of the younger generation
    For a teacher like me it is satisfying to see when the students apply what we learn in the class. The next phase of developing these ideas into a Business Plan will follow. These individual ideas will now be debated, discussed and shortlisted for further team work. More on that later.

    A glimpse of the learnings and venture plans of the graduating class of 2018 can be browsed in the story 'Can Startup Management be Taught?'

   We close with a quote from Thomas Friedman, author of global bestseller 'The World is Flat'.

    If you are part of a startup or a teacher or a student, do share your experiences to further refine our learning-by-doing!  

   Thanks for browsing

      - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 8th Aug 2018
     #Startups #entrepreneurship #identifyingopportunity #learningoutcomes #learningbydoing #experientiallearning #MBA #PGDM #VVISM #ghumakkadharsh #ghumakkadhb

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Virupaksha- The Living Temple in Hampi

Hampi is a saga in stone. Hampi is history coming alive. Hampi is ruins with a charm.
The only 'living' structure in Hampi- meaning where puja (worship) is performed everyday- is the Virupaksha TempleThe temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva, known in Hampi as Virupaksha, as the consort of the local goddess Pampadevi who is associated with the Tungabhadra River. The temple is also called Pampapathi temple and dates back to 7th Century AD. 
Rising high up in the sky, it can be seen from adjoining hills.

A guide sketch below shows the location of main monuments/sites for tourists.

Ghumakkad had shared a set of ten stories on Hampi, a UNESCO World Heritage SiteYou may browse it by clicking the following links:
Daroji Sloth Bear Sanctuary

One of the most striking features of Virupaksha temple is the usage of mathematical concepts to build and decorate it. The temple has repeated patterns that demonstrate the concept of Fractals. The main shape of the temple is triangular. As you look up the temple top, the patterns divide and repeat themselves, just like you would see in a snowflake or some other natural wonders. See the picture below.

This story takes you around Virupaksha Temple. Photography is not allowed in the sanctum sanctorum. But you can see the remaining pictures and get a feel of life inside the temple including Lakshmi- the temple elephant ! Let the pictures speak.

Gopuram or gopura (Sanskrit: गोपुरम्, gopuram) is a monumental gatehouse tower, usually ornate, at the entrance of a Hindu temple, in southern states of India.
Lakshmi- the temple elephant who resides inside the temple.

Inside the sanctum sanctorum- no photography please!
The Vijayanagara Dynasty- as painted on one of the temple walls.

Please pardon the typo! Shoes to be removed before entering the temple.

This story concludes Ghumakkad's set of ten stories on our visit to Hampi, a World Heritage Site in Karnataka India. It is indeed a saga in stone.

Hope you enjoyed browsing through. Your feedback or experience of earlier visits is always welcome.

     -   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 7th Aug 2018 <>
#hampi #worldheritagesite #virupakshatemple #7thcentury #pampapathitemple #fractals #gopuram #natgeo #lonelyplanet #ghumakkadharsh #ghumakkadHB #indiatourism #karnatakatourism

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Coyote Gulch- Hiking in a Stream

We all hike in the mountains.
In forests.
In river valleys.
In the desert and so on.
Have you ever hiked in a flowing stream in a canyon?
And camped for two nights?

Ghumakkad's ten-year old grandson did that. Of course with his parents and friends. But it is creditable for the two families to go on a hike in water. Complete with hiking poles, loaded back pack and their three-year old  toddler too! This is a guest story written by Nikhil, my grandson. Pictures courtesy Ankur Bhargava and Abha Maheshwari. Used with permission. 

What is Coyote GulchCoyote Gulch is a slot canyon in the middle of Utah’s massive red rock country. See the two maps below.

There are numerous blogs about the trail which give further details.
Here is Nikhil, the author who wrote this story when he was ten years old!

Nikhil's story follows:

Hike nameCoyote Gulch in the Grand Staircase Escalante Area, Utah, USA

Duration - 3 days and 2 nights

Team – Abha, Soumitra, Ankur, Akanksha, Nikhil (10), Arushi (9), Rohan (7), Naman (3)

Day 1

Drove on a dirt road named BLM255 for about 2 hours to reach the trail head.

Our trail was called the Hurricane Wash via Chimney Rock. This way we would cut down our hiking time by half, not knowing what lay ahead for us.

We reached chimney rock in time, - 11:30 - but we lost all the time that we made, to find our way to Hurricane Wash. We wasted about a mile in navigating our way to the wash over the rocky terrain. I was carrying about 17 pounds, dad was carrying about 27 pounds, and mom was carrying Naman.

We had lunch on a tall rock since everyone was exhausted and then started walking again to find the entrance into the trail. We finally found the drop to the trail around 2:30 pm. The trail was very sandy and made it more difficult to walk even though it was all flat. Gradually the ground started getting wet and gave way to visible water which led to the river.

We changed from our hiking shoes into our water shoes and neoprene socks – special socks that do get wet in the water but keep you warm once you are out of the water.

We followed the river for the next 2-3 miles to Jacob Hamblin Arch which was our destination to camp.

It was a sight to behold. One because it was so impressive and huge and secondly because we were all tired and couldn’t walk anymore :-). We all got to our respective jobs – pitching tents, filtering water, preparing to cook dinner and playing (kids).

We had Maggie for dinner and mom made mac and cheese for the picky eater Naman.

We all went to bed instantly after dinner since fires are not allowed in the park. Once inside the tent, I was bored, because I was not so sleepy. Mom and I did some stretching because my legs were hurting. That relaxed my muscles and I fell asleep. It was really warm that night. But the wind was howling – hoo whooo . It woke me up four times.

Day 2

We woke up. Enjoyed some packaged mini waffles and ate oats for breakfast.

Mom – dad and Soumitra chachu (Dad's brother in Hindi)– Abha mausi (Mom's sister in Hindi), took some pictures against the arch while we kids were busy making a castle.

We then all changed into our water gear and headed out for the day. We hiked for about 4 miles and saw two water falls, the Coyote Natural Bridge and a little gateway.

Took some pictures along the way and our precious cargo – Naman – changed shoulders couple times..

At about 4pm it was time to head back to our campsite. It had started to get cold. It was a windy day, compared to the previous day. I was leader for most part of the hike and had to set a pace.

Parents made Chole and Rice for dinner. We had to hide our bowls under our jackets because the wind was so strong that it was blowing sand all over. There was sand everywhere – on the ground, in our eyes, in our mouth, inside the tents, and in food.

We kids, were in one tent, while the grown ups and Naman were in another. We slept and called it a day. It was windier than the previous night.

Day 3

There was this one time when Abha mausi and Soumitra chachu got a little separated and I and my parents and Rohan and Arushi were all together. We kept hiking thinking that A and S are right around the corner. We hiked on the trail to keep away from the water and then again stepped into the water when there was no trail/land.

It was at one such instance that we lost our way. Mom and Dad turned around and said, “We should wait for A and S. Its been a while since we saw them” – not knowing that we were the ones who were actually lost!!! Dad said “ let me look at the map, if we are on the right track “ And guess what??? WE WERE OFF THE TRAIL. We kind of panicked a bit, because we had thought that they were the ones lost, so it would be pretty hard to retrace our steps. We had decided on a distress call codehuku huku “ and would keep repeating it until the rest of the party replies to it. Luckily, Soumitra chachu heard us and ran to where we were - shouting “Ankur.” We followed Soumitra chachu to where we were supposed to go and got back on the trail.

We hiked through a different path once we found the rocky terrain, which had new obstacles we didn’t know about. Once within view of Chimney Rock, Naman got down from his carrier and started to scale the steep rock walls, making everyone ashamed of themselves. See the video clip below.

Naman was climbing the rocks like a spider.

We got off the path by a lot, but found our way back to Chimney Rock. Everyone was so happy when we reached the car. We (as in the whole party) hadn’t eaten anything besides an energy bar, so everyone opened all packages and started hogging.


That was the end of Nikhil's story. Amazing, isn't it?

Nikhil and I had hiked together earlier. The story of one such hike in India can be browsed by clicking "Father's Day Hike".

Another outing where Nikhil and Ansh our eldest grandson in India, co-authored a story was 'Why Kodaikanal'. We can see two of them together in the picture below.

So, this story was special. Not because it featured an off-beat trail in USA, but because it had been written by a ten-year old hiker himself. Thanks Nikhil. And thanks Abha and Ankur for incredible pictures and the videos. May you all keep hiking!

Thanks for browsing

   -  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad with Nikhil Bhargava/ 31st July 2018

#coyotegulch #Hamblinarch #hiking #canyon #chimneyrock #naturalbridge #camping #ghumakkadharsh #ghumakkadhb #hurricanewash