Wednesday, 18 December 2013

BITS of Success

_________________ BITS of Success: Our next Book _____________________

In a world besieged with Facebook, LinkedIn, smartphones, WhatsApp, Kindle, iPad and the like—who reads a book? Even the cranky toddlers of today are given an iPad by their mothers to remain busy! Then, why write a book when print media is threatened with oblivion? We still chose to do it—for two reasons. Firstly our alma mater BITS Pilani celebrates its Golden Jubilee this year (1964-2014) and secondly we wanted to showcase BITS alumni achievers of this period. Further brainstorming led us to ‘BITS50@50’ signifying 50 achievers from BITS during last 50 years. Setting the target was the simpler part.

The real challenge was to identify and select 50 achievers to be included in the book. Read the book to know how was the selection done. But as it turned out, majority of the achievers took the challenging path of entrepreneurship. They all had the proverbial ‘fire in their belly’ and toiled to realise their dreams.

This book is about passion, about dreaming and about the ability to realise the dreams. It is about building teams and succeeding against all odds. It is about falling down and bouncing back. It is about humility. It is also about making a difference in the lives of others. It chronicles the inspiring stories of 50 achievers. It includes the frustrations encountered by the individuals. The achievers also share how they achieved or could not achieve the balance between their work and personal lives. But one thing which was common in all the stories—all the achievers credited BITS for being where they are. 

We were pained to exclude many other achievers for want of timely information and/or space. Few other achievers did not want to be in print/limelight. Besides the 50 achievers who are featured in this book, there are countless other BITS alumni who deserve to be showcased. 
Perhaps, the authors of the next volume during Diamond Jubilee of BITS (1964-2024) can include many more of such achievers.

We chose the social media/crowd sourcing seeking suggestions for title of the book and for selecting the best title. Within just three days of posting, more than 50 suggestions were made which were assessed on-line by more than 500 BITSians. The title ‘BITS of Success’ was an outright winner. It was suggested by Jatin Chuglani an alumnus of BITS Hyderabad campus. We thank Jatin for his creativity and spontaneity.

We are grateful to Dr Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chancellor BITS Pilani and Chairman Aditya Birla Group of Industries and Dr K Kasturirangan Former Chairman ISRO and Member Planning Commission for writing the Forewords.

A project of this magnitude could not have been completed without active support of so many people. We have acknowledged them in the book. Omissions if any, may please be excused.

Here is the back cover:


The book will be of interest to Entrepreneurs, Business professionals, Students, Faculty, Educational Institutions, Researchers, Start-ups and anybody having a question 'How do I succeed?' Of course for BITSian readers, the book will result in reactions like 'Look he was my wingie at BITS!'

The book has been published by the Universities Press Hyderabad and has an ISBN Number: 978-81-7371-914-1. It is an initiative of BITSAA Hyderabad.
If you are coming to BITSAA Global Meet (BGM-14), you will get a free copy. If not then you may order it on-line using the link 

We wish to thank our families for believing us every time when we said ‘just coming’ and took another two hours thereafter! Here is the team in action:

Who are these crazy authors-cum-editors? 
Well, all three are BITS alumni and all of them live in Hyderabad.
Anu- an IT professional, Agile Computing expert; 
Kinnera- former Dean ASCI Hyderabad and a social activist and lastly 
Harsh- former Commodore Indian Navy, Adjunct Professor in a B-school, volunteer wellness coach and a learning-lensman! His previous books include 'Virtual Leadership'.

We would like to mention that we have pledged the royalty from this book to BITS Alumni Association Hyderabad.

Hope you enjoy reading the book as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

Postscript: Those who would like a sneak-peak at the book may like to browse the next part of this picture story at 

We would welcome your feedback at

   - Ghumakkad Harsh with Kinnera and Anu 

December 2013 

____________________ End of BITS of Success ______________________                                                                                                                   

Monday, 5 August 2013

An Air Warrior Flies Away

_______________ Air Cmde Jasjit Singh (Retd) 1934-2013 _____________

I never thought I would write an obit in this blog meant for picture stories! But time and turn of events has necessitated it.

Air Cmde Jasjit Singh (Retd) one of India's foremost strategic thinkers passed away yesterday after a brief illness. Media has carried obituaries on him. Few links are given below: bu Uday Bhaska

Why this piece? Because I had the privilege of interacting with him on numerous occasions. He always made an impression on the audience not only with his style of speaking but also thorough preparation which went with it!

'Fauji' readers of this blog would recall his 'surgical' analyses during invited talks which he regularly delivered at NDC, CDM, War Colleges of A/N/AF, DSSC, and other Universities/Institutes in India and abroad. He inherited the stewardship of famed Institute of Strategic Studies and Analyses (IDSA) from his mentor Mr K Subrahmanyam. He was invited again and again for batches after batches.

He elevated the intellectual status of men in uniform. That I think was his biggest contribution.

As the old saying goes, 'Old soldiers never die, they just fade away'. In the case of Jasjit he never died, he just 'flew' away!

May God rest his soul in peace.

- Harsh the Ghumakkad/ 5th Aug 2013/ Hyderabad
______________________________ Jasjit Singh RIP _______________________________

Monday, 22 July 2013

Convocation A Day to Rejoice

____________________ Convocation: A Day to Rejoice ____________________

My alma-mater BITS Pilani held the 2nd Convocation of its Hyderabad campus on 21st July 2013. Hyderabad is a campus in the making. Spread over 220 acres off Shamirpet, it is nature lovers paradise. The drive takes you through tree-lined avenues though I haven't captured it on lens.

Convocation marks end of an era. An era of carefree and bindas life in a University.
It also marks the beginning of another era.
The real life. Life outside the class room.
No classes. No teachers. You are your own teacher.
For rest of your life.

That became serious. Let us get back to some pictures.

At the convocation, met some old buddies after 40 years like Jayant Sogani from Kolkata who works with BK Birla group.

Here are some glimpses of the Convocation with embedded captions.

BITS Alumni Association's Global Meet (BGM) will be held at the same venue from 3rd-5th Jan 2014.
Watch this space for more coverage then.

Hope fellow BITSians were hit with nostalgia seeing campus pictures. As some of you know the 1968-73 batch is revisiting the Pilani campus from 8th to 10th Nov to commemorate 40 years of graduation and bonding! Want to join? Mail us at

Best regards
  Harsh the Gumakkad

_____________________________ End of Convocation ___________________________

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

World Environment Day 2013

_____________ World Environment Day 5th June 2013 ____________________

Dear Fellow Earthling,

Another Environment Day has come.
Let us not plan anything big. Let us just keep the environment in our neighbourhood clean and green!
That would suffice.

And remember, every person counts.

Only then can we hope to sustain the ecological balance. And enjoy Nature's bounty-- like the picture below:

Spread the message.

Happy preservation!

  Ghumakkad Harsh
  5th June 2013

Friday, 24 May 2013

Life is a Switch

_________________________ Life is a Switch ___________________________

Life is all about Switches.
Also called ‘buttons’ in the internet era.
You only need to know which button to use and when! (See picture below courtesy Johnny Sajem)

Many of you from the Industry, NGOs as well as my former MBA students would remember. We had said leadership is all about the ability to shift gears. That is another variant of a switch. 

Take your iPad or Laptop. You need to know the ‘Start’ and ‘Power on’ buttons. Thereafter there are many soft buttons to be used.

Your camera, mobile, TV, AC, car, bike or any other gizmo. You got to know its buttons (switches).
Even human being—we ourselves, friends, family, boss—all of us get switched on! Sometimes the outcome of that switch is happiness and some other times anger or sadness. Once again, we need to know which switch to use and when. This ability comes with learning and experience. 

These switches in life take many shapes and forms. It could be a physical device as in a gadget. A software controlled button. Or a mere touch like when your pet dog needs you on return from school or work. He just needs your touch. 

Or, watching a sunset together switches the emotional state of a couple

Now before you look for a switch to abort this story, one last point. Our ability to take control of our lives lies in knowing which switch to use and when! Like switching a railway track. 

Select your own path in life.

And yes, God has the ultimate switch for everybody. But we don't have to worry for His actions.
Let us be happy switching our lives..

   - Ghumakkad Harsh
      24th May 2013

___________________________ Life is a Switch ____________________________

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Golf Umbrella for Plant Protection

___________________ Golf Umbrella for Plant Protection ___________________

Ever seen a golfer using his golf umbrella to protect a flowering plant? Read on.

With temperatures soaring to 44 degrees Celsius and more in Hyderabad thus summer, it was a challenge to keep the garden green. Potted plants are easy to protect from intense heat. Shift them to a shaded area and water it twice. Simple.

But what about plants in flower beds? We have to erect a temporary structure to provide sun shade. That requires fabrication. Needs some 'bandobust' as we call it in the Fauz! In the meanwhile, the plants were wilting in the Sun. See the pictures below:

Heat was increasing and time was running out. Eureka!
I dashed for my golf umbrella and covered the plant! See the picture below.

Now don't get ideas! This is not another poster for the recent Hindi film 'Aashiqui-2'!

And the beauty of this arrangement is-- once the Sun goes down, fold the umbrella and let the plant be bathed in a water spray. Next day, put the umbrella back!

Jugaad-- what they say! Necessity is the mother of ....!

Take care of your plants in the summer as much as we take care of ourselves!
Happy gardening!

   - Ghumakkad Harsh
      23rd May 2013

_____________________ Golf Umbrella and Plant Protection _____________________ 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Facing the Enemy

_________________________ Facing the Enemy ___________________________

A mother is a mother. Whether human or animal. Here are few pictures of a cat and her litter of three kittens. How she cares for them and how she protects them.
Captured in our garage doorway in Secunderabad, India.

Despite an unequal opponent and being on the other side of a metal gate, the cat did not run away! She crouched like a tiger and gave such menacing looks to the dog as if  warning it "How dare you?" See the picture above.

Of course, after a stand off the dog walked away. And the kittens emerged back from the garage. As if nothing had happened.

And the mother cat obliged the hungry kittens!

Thanks for viewing nature's many lessons. Like facing the enemy steadfastly.

Bye till the next.
  Ghumakkad Harsh

20th May 2013

_________________________ Facing the Enemy ____________________________

Monday, 22 April 2013

World Earth Day 2013

_________________________ World Earth Day 2013 __________________________

Today is 22nd April, World Earth Day. To generate awareness about our environment and the need to preserve it.

My take is that environment is an asset which we have borrowed from our children. We have no right to degrade it. We should hand it over back to them in a better shape than what we inherited. Are we doing so? The answer is an emphatic no! We have denuded forests, polluted the rivers/lakes, discharged poison into the soil, killed tigers/ other animals and caused global warming!

What can we do? Many many small things like:

  • Avoid use of plastics
  • Recycle paper and kitchen waste (gives you vermi compost at home)
  • Let rain water re-charge soil around your house/apartment.
  • Use solar energy for water heating and emergency lighting
These measures do not require big investment. Just do it!
Take a pledge.

Remember, every person counts. So, get going.

We can count on you!

  Ghumakkad Harsh/ 22nd April 2013

__________________ Let us preserve the environment _______________________

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Ranthambor 6 The Fort and around Sawai Madhopur

________________ Fort and around Sawai Madhopur _____________________

As mentioned earlier, the National Park covers a core zone of 330 Sq km. This includes Ranthambor Fort and Ganesh Temple built in 10th century AD.

Overlooking the Aravali ranges, the fort is indefatigable. See for yourself.
Sadly, we could not trek up the hill for more views from inside the Fort. May be next time.


We now take you around Sawai Madhopur town which houses various Hotels and Resorts for the tourists.
It offers packages for every budget. The town thrives on tourism. Summer/monsoon months of July-Sep are lean season as the Park is closed.


Thus ended three days of excitement at Ranthambor and Sawai Madhopur.
Your experiences/pictures are welcome.

Till next
   Ghumakkad Harsh/ 10th Apr 2013

Postscript: Links to all our stories on Ranthambor are given below:

Prelude and Fac File
The Journey- Secunderabad to Sawai Madhopur
Tiger at last
Tiger's Cohabitants
Birds of Ranthambor
Ranthambor Fort and around Sawai Madhopur

Happy browsing.

#Tiger #Ranthambor #T24 #Sambhar #Cheetal #Aravalis #Zone6 #BirdsOfRanthambor #Fort #PugMarks #SawaiMadhopur #GhumakkadHarsh #GhumakkadHB

____________________ End of Ranthambor Part-6 _______________________________