Thursday, 31 December 2015

Happy New Year 2016

To all the friends of Ghumakkad,

Who inspire us to keep going. Thanks much.

All the best for 2016 and beyond!

Ghumakkad will soon bring you closer to the Nature!

   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 31st Dec 2015

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Walls and Bridges

This Picturesque Quote in PQ series, is inspired by the recent debate in India about intolerance. Be it the return of awards by writers, artists or scientists or flood of articles in the media-- it signified the feelings of common man. Ghumakkad had to convey the same feeling.

Looking for an apt quotation, I chanced upon Isaac Newton's famous quote "We build too many walls and not enough bridges". I thought it amply conveyed the sentiments of scores of people in India. A search through my picture archives led me to a picture of Bhongir Fort built in 10th Century AD. Though partially restored, the walls of the fort echo Newton's words on building harmony. Here is the PQ for you.
Let us together build bridges of harmony.
Season's Greetings for the approaching festive days ahead.

Thanks for browsing,
   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 20th Dec 2015

On 21st Dec, Ram K Pillai wrote: "Walls of hatred sculpted with domes & aesthetics versus fragile dull bridges losing to those walls...

The most dangerous walls are those built around one's mind; a bye-product of self-dependence"

Friday, 18 December 2015

Can a college teach you Leadership

"Can a college teach you Leadership?"-- was the title of a workshop conducted recently by Ghumakkad at a B-school in Hyderabad India . 
Workshop timing: 6.30 pm to 8 pm after full day MBA classes ending at 6 pm. Very conducive slot for a workshop, isn't it? 
How to make it interesting at such a late hour? Make it experiential. And that is what I did. We first played a game about which you read in the previous post. Click here if you haven't browsed it so far.

Next challenge was to answer the question "Can a college teach you Leadership?" 

We engaged the participants through pictures shot on the campus earlier, which depicted some aspect of leadership. One picture after the other-- they had to guess which aspect of leadership it conveyed. It became a contest by itself. And being experiential, even at 8 pm the participants showed no signs of boredom.

Pictures with the answers are given below for you. You can click on a picture to full screen mode and then view it like a slide show minus the animation. Go on and answer yourself whether a College teaches you leadership or not! It doesn't matter whether it is an MBA college or an engineering college. Because leadership is learnt more by practice than theory. And it is best learnt outside the class room!

Some of my former students at IBS and VVSB Hyderabad will relish the pictures of their time.

Don't miss the huge python in students' arms below!

Mahatma Gandhi's quotation below symbolises the changing times. Your leadership at work does not come from your position or power but from your empathy, knowledge, skills and attitude.

Do I take your answer to the question 'Can a college teach you Leadership'-- to be an emphatic YES?

Thanks for browsing. Your feedback is welcome.

    Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/18th Dec 2015

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Back to college

The mere thought of going back to our alma-mater-- school or college, thrills us. As an old student, the thrill is understandable. Because it triggers nostalgia of times gone past, of college activities, friends, competitions, exams, placement and so on!

But when a teacher goes back to his/her former college, the thrill is of a different kind. You are not likely to meet former students as all have graduated long time ago. Few faculty colleagues may still be there. But more importantly the college campus, buildings, class rooms, library, laboratories, cafeteria, play grounds bring you a flashback. A flashback as if nothing has changed. Time has stood still. Memories do not fade, pictures do. 

This is precisely what happened when I went back to IBS (The Icfai Business School)  Hyderabad yesterday. Thanks to Sankalp-- the Leadership Club-- which had invited me to conduct a Team Building workshop for them, I could re-visit the campus. Having taught ten successive MBA batches at IBS, it has been an interesting journey. Ghumakkad had written about it in a story titled "Harsh@IBS- A Journey of a different kind" (click the link here).

Here are some pictures taken yesterday. Those who have been to the campus, will recall their own days. And those who have not been there, may like to visit the lush-green campus though not captured in these images shot at night. Full of life-- thanks to two thousand plus students residing on campus-- it is a happening place. I enjoyed every minute of being with the students-- the future leaders of India.

The 50-kms drive at dusk illuminated the sky with pink hue.

Going past the dried up Gandipet lake was a sorry sight. Hope Hyderabad gets some rains before the monsoon so that the lake starts to fill up again.

Before the workshop, I met Dr SV Seshaiah Director, Dr Vijaylakshmi and Prof Ramakrishna Dean (Accreditation) in the foyer. Even though meeting after years, our faces lit up with ready smiles.

It was time to commence the workshop for Team Sankalp. These action shots show a team game 'Ball with a Name'. A soft ball needs to be passed to every team member by calling his/her name in turn. Aim is to minimise the tame taken to reach all the team players. Of course, the ball should not fall down. If it does, you start all over again.

The team did pretty well. Having taken more than two minutes in round-1, they could do it in 8 seconds before the time was up! The game also exposed the participants to creative problem solving.

"Does IBS teach you leadership?"-- was the next part of the workshop. Click here to browse the next story on this topic.

Team Sankalp presented me with a sapling of a plant as a memento. Very thoughtful of them. Thanks Aishwarya, Class of 2016-- the outgoing President of the club.
Before adjourning, time for photo-op. With Team Sankalp and few members from Team Prakriti as well. Thanks guys.
While at the campus, I also interacted with members of Prakriti-- the Environment Club of IBS Hyderabad. It was so heartening to see that the club founded by me in 2004 is still active and ticking! A picture with some of the team members with whom I may go on a hike later this month.

Once again, thanks guys for a wonderful evening at IBS campus. Learning never ends.
May God bless you all.

Thanks for browsing

   Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 16th December 2015 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Silence nourishes wisdom

After the Chennai floods and associated media saturation, Ghumakkad experienced a period of silence. While I was sorting the pictures for the next story on a fort near Hyderabad, this picture of centuries-old cannon caught my attention.

A cannon long abandoned lying flat on the ground. High up in the precincts of Bhongir fort (details in the next story). Weathered but unbeaten. Full of history. The cannon that fell silent many centuries ago. But its silence seemed stronger than its booming cannonballs.

Looking for an apt quote on 'Silence', I came across Francis Bacon's line "Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom". So here is the next picturesque quote for you in the PQ series. Don't you agree that silence does nourish wisdom in every one of us- at some point of our life or the other? Do you want to add to the quotation? Please shoot.
Some of the related PQs in earlier blog posts are:

Life - a reflection of our mind

Flowers and hope

Rose petals and life

Thanks for browsing.
Do suggest a quotation or two for finding a matching picture for the next PQ.

     - Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 13th Dec 2015

Friday, 4 December 2015

Chennai floods man made

It was just three days ago, when we said "Be like water, always find a way." But what happens when mankind blocks the way of water? Water rises and rises to teach mankind a lesson! This is precisely what happened in Chennai.
Chennai- like most cities in India, has rivers, river banks with flood plains, number of lakes and ponds which together form a system of flood balancing. This is nature's own creation over centuries and collectively called 'water bodies'. Should a river overflow or an area receive excessive rain water, water will fill the river bank, flood plains and water bodies and normal life will not be disturbed. But what happens when lakes, ponds and river banks are encroached upon to build multistoryed complexes? The overflowing river has no space to breathe and excess water enters the roads and colonies and remains there. More rain means more flooding with no relief for the excess water to drain off. 
Chennai floods in first week of December 2015 are a testimony to faulty urban planning and blatant misuse of water bodies for the construction of buildings over many years.
Water bodies which act as a 'sponge' not only help in flood control but also recharge the ground water. Readers may browse the following stories which give further details of this logic.

Swati Thiyagarajan Environment Editor's story on NDTV

Disappearing Lakes by Nidhi Jamwal in Deccan Herald 

 Threats on urban lakes across India- A study by CSE

Sadly, this story is not limited only to Chennai. Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad floods are waiting to happen! Floods and disaster in Jaipur in 1986 have not taught us a lesson even after 30 years.  Destruction  of water bodies continues unabated. A city wise summary of water bodies which have been lost is given below:

No. of water bodies in 1960s
Surviving No. of water bodies

Previously we had highlighted the encroachment of Kolleru Lake in Andhra Pradesh which is the flood balancing system between Godavari and Krishna rivers. The lake has lost more than 70% of its water body. You can read the full story on Kolleru lake here.

Chennai floods have given all Indians a wake-up call. Let us not blame it on global warming and climate change. This disaster and loss of hundreds of lives is man-made as we have shown above. Hope the governments in each state wake up and prevent further destruction of water bodies.

We close with Swati Thiyagarajan's words "We have to learn that economy will not work without a strong foundation of ecology".

Thanks for browsing.
  Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 4th Dec 2015

PS: As Ghumakkad was writing this story, his son and family in Chennai had to be evacuated by boat to a safer place. They went without power, water, cell phone and internet for 4 days with their cars submerged in flood water. Such was the devastation in Chennai.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Be like water always find a way

In the previous post we had highlighted that rivers which seem to flow past us actually flow through us! Provided you are willing to pause and feel it that way. Just in case you missed browsing the previous story, click here.

We now bring another perspective on flowing water. Like a stream, rivulet or a river flowing in the mountains-- we have seen how it makes a path for itself. How it finds a way-- even when some boulders try to block its way! Is there a lesson in life here? Yes, as Jana Kingsford said " Be like water, always find a way".

Using Jana's quotation superimposed on a picture of a stream in Bhutan, here is a picturesque quote (PQ) for you.

We all encounter problems and difficulties in our life. If we are steadfast like flowing water, we will surely find a way out.

For more pictures of Haa river and valley in Bhutan at a height of 10,000 feet above MSL, click here.

May you overcome all your problems with steady resolve and persistence.

Thanks for browsing

    Harsh-the-Ghumakkad/ 1st Dec 2015