The Ant Corporate Story

The Ant Corporate Story

Every day, an Ant arrived at work, was productive and was happy.
The Chief, a lion, was surprised to see that the Ant was working without supervision.
He thought if the Ant could produce so much without supervision, wouldn’t she produce even more if he had a supervisor!
So he recruited a Cockroach who had extensive experience as supervisor and who was famous for writing excellent reports.
The Cockroach’s first decision was to set up a clocking in attendance system.
He also needed a secretary to help him write and type his reports and he recruited a Spider, who managed the archives and monitored all phone calls.
The Lion was delighted by the Cockroach’s reports and asked him to produce graphs to describe production rates and to analyze trends, so that he could use them for presentations at Board meetings.

The Ant Corporate Story
So the Cockroach had to buy a new computer and a laser printer and recruited a fly to manage the IT department.

The Ant, who had once been so productive and relaxed, hated this new plethora of paperwork and meetings which used up most of his time.!

The lion came to the conclusion that it was high time to nominate a person in charge of the department where the Ant worked.

The position was given to the Cicada, whose first decision was to buy a carpet and an ergonomic chair for his office.
The new in-charge, the Cicada, also needed a computer and a personal assistant ,who he brought from his previous department, to help him prepare a Work and Budget Control Strategic Optimization Plan.
The Department where the Ant works is now became a sad place, where nobody laughs anymore and everybody is always upset.
It was at that time that the Cicada convinced the boss, the Lion, of the absolute necessity to start a climatic study of the environment.
Having reviewed the charges for running the Ant’s department, the lion found out that the production was much less than before.
So he recruited the Owl, a renowned consultant to carry out an audit and suggest solutions.
The owl spent months in the department and came up with an enormous report, in several volumes, that concluded: The department is over staffed..

Any guesses who’s fired?
Obviously the Ant. Because he exhibited lack of motivation and negative attitude.!


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Happy Madras Day – 375th Year Anniversary of Chennai

August 22 is celebrated as Madras Day. On this 375th Anniversary of Madras (Chennai) here are some old (nostalgic) photos of yesteryear Madras.

Happy Madras Day

All photos from public domain.

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Let Go To Hold

To Hold, You must first open your hand. Let Go - Lao Tzu

It is paradoxical but true that the ties that bind are the ties that loosen the bonds of human relationship. It happens in so many relationships that we try our utmost to hold onto the object of our affections and succeed in losing it. It is most often seen in parents ʻimprisoningʼ their children.

I know of a young lecturer who seldom goes to his parents. He says, “I love my parents all right, but I am really afraid of visiting them as they are very possessive and treat me not as a being but as a piece of their property.”

Another common manifestation of it is seen in the overpossessive wife. She becomes a virtual jailor and would not allow her husband to move out alone even if his business and prestige suffer.

This occurs in intimate friendships too. I know of one such friendship where one friend crippled the otherʼs independence of action by laying excessive claims on his time and attention.

Its acutest form is seen in two people in love. The more insecure of the two gets fits of jealousy, the purpose of which is to ʻimprisonʼ the beloved one to retain a monopoly of his or her affection.

In our desperate attempts to hold on, we grip too tightly or pull the strings too tightly, thus damaging the delicate relationships.To Hold, You must first open your hand. Let Go - Lao Tzu

Take the metaphor of a child trying to hold a pet bird in his hands. If he keeps his palm open, the bird stays, the moment he tries to close his fingers, the bird feels uneasy, flutters and flies away. This is the case with human relationships. The more we try to clutch too tightly, the object of our love tries to move away from us as his or her sense of security and independence are threatened.

In other words, the object resents our imposition of emotional and mental slavery. No one likes to be a pale and ineffectual copy of anotherʼs will.

In our desire to hold anotherʼs affection we tend to overlook the lesson that the closest relationship is sustained and nurtured by loose bonds.

The head of one of the closest and happiest families I know told me, “I never believed in holding my children by tying them too closely to me. I let them feel free. I have watched them making mistakes knowing a difficult experience was the best for them. Had I protected them, it would have pained me all the more to see them blundering in adult life.”

How different from another another situation where the son is neither allowed a free hand in the money he earns nor in the time he has. His parents look upon him as a son par excellence, a model of filial duty obedience.

But the son laments along with his wife, “We have no life our own. We are mere extensions of our fathers and mothers.”

They do not have the courage to overthrow the ʻimperialistsʼ as years of emotional and mental slavery have drained all independence from them. The stronger we want our relationships to be the greater the necessity of allowing blank spaces which can act as shock absorbers.

We forget that mighty oaks cannot grow in tiny flower pots.

ʻOpening our palmsʼ requires some mental readjustments. We have to put aside our rights, our inflated egos, our easily-hurt feelings. Life would become easier and free from emotional stabs if we were not to expect much from others. Then, when something pleasant happens, we are agreeably surprised.

This attitude brings relief, reassurance, and serenity. By loosening our bonds, we never lose a relationship.

The loosening allows more room for enabling the ʻrootsʼ to go deeper. It strengthens our relationships.

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Luxe – A New Dimension to Entertainment in Chennai

Luxe by SPI Cinemas is a cinema destination that breaks all conventions to deliver a bold, contemporary and chic cinema experience. Stylish, individualistic, creative and unapologetically fashionable, Luxe is where you want to be!

Luxe is home to 11 state-of-the-art screens equipped with the brilliance of RDX-4K to keep your eyes at ease and the latest in sound technology. This is supported by the incredibly comfortable seats which you won’t feel like getting out of. Amongst a host of features are a mezzanine restaurant that will leave your mouth watering and a view of the grand lobby with a larger than life video pillar, a cafe, a gaming zone where you can spend hours together and an elegant & relaxing spa to pamper you.

Carefully designed to give you a visually stimulating experience that is nothing short of spectacular, Luxe is the perfect harmony of creativity, style and comfort combined with the ultimate in cinema technology, guaranteed to escalate your movie-viewing experience to a place you never thought existed! This is the unique beauty of Luxe.

Lobby
As Luxe opens its door to guests, they will be greeted by a breath taking space – truly fashionable, ritzy and extravagant. The mix of Italian Marble, Velvet Padded Walls, Crystal Chandeliers and Etched Glass assure a visually stunning experience. It is enriched with rich drapery that frames different elements within the spread.

Triple height ceilings sported with a mezzanine restaurant overlooking the grand lobby is unique to Luxe. The central lobby is home to a larger than life video pillar, consisting of 72 LCDs lodged together on four sides of a column, bringing content to life. This is the first of its kind in India.

The lobby gets its final touch of class & style with a Grand Piano housed on an elevated stage in the right hand corner, hooked to an automated iPod, adding to the ambience by playing music composed by the all-time greats!

To spoil our women customers, we have gone an extra mile. Seven exclusive washrooms, constantly serviced by a concierge engages, you to experience top of the line products from across the world.

Screens
Luxe is home to 11 state-of-the-art screens, a total of 2,688 seats. Each screen has been specially designed with stylishly comfortable seats, decor and lighting. Each screen though has its own unique design, theme and identity with a mix of different imported fabrics.

The combination of designer vinyl seats, and the mélange of colour make for a sensational ambience.

The screens are equipped with top of the line entertainment technology; including RDX-4K and RDX-3D technology, 2.4 gain Silver Screens and digital audio that delivers a stunning cinematic experience.

Technology
RDX-4K and RDX 3D
As with all our cinemas, Luxe also provides Real Digital Experience in 4K (RDX-4K). Watching movies in digital format means enhanced clarity, color, contrast and brightness by incorporating all DCI – screen management system standards. The movie looks and sounds exactly the way the filmmaker intended it every time it is projected.

All the screens come replete with Barco digital projectors with 4K resolution, the latest in digital technology. Hence the projection brings stunning images in enhanced 4K resolution (4,096 x 2,160), combined with ultimate brightness capable of delivering 33,000 lumens and vibrant colour-accuracy time after time.

All the cinemas are equipped with 3D and IMB (Integrated Media Block). IMB is a new technology, which comprises all the DCI specifications on improved security to prevent piracy and image processing.

Sound
The screens are equipped with 4 way QSC speakers with the world’s leading QSC DCP 300 processor to give high precision in all frequency ranges with parametric equalisation. These high quality equipment are tuned with standards of SMPTE to give maximum voice clarity, ultimately leaving you with an unparalleled audio experience.

Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos, the latest in cinema sound is currently installed in one screen. The other screens are equipped for Dolby Atmos installation and will be updated shortly.

Design Details
The overall interior design of Luxe was conceptualised by designer Giovanni Castor of Los Angeles design firm Castor Design. In the United States, Giovanni worked for many years with well-known design firms such as Remedios Siembieda formally known as Chhada Siembieda. He was also involved with various projects which include the prestigious Four Seasons, New York (1993) where he worked in collaboration with the noted Architect IM Pei.

Other projects include the Hacienda de San Antonio in Mexico, Guam Hilton; Hotel Rafael in Munich, Germany; Kobe Bay Sheraton, Japan; Hotel Bora Bora, French Polynesia for Adrian Zecha’s Arman Resorts.

He was also responsible for the interior design and project management of the L’Ermitage Beverly Hills, California with three Architecture, Inc; the Park Hyatt Taichung with Pei Cobb Freed, Grand Hyatt Mumbai with Lohan Associates and the Rangali Island Resort in Maldives.

SPI Cinemas has worked closely with Castor on a number of its projects, and his ability to conceptualise and design is nonpareil. He has a particular strength in these period designs—in particular, those that feature elaborate classical themes. Standing proof of his immense global exposure is Escape Cinemas.

Lighting is a huge part of Luxe’s theme. Los Angeles based lighting designer Babu Shankar of Integrated Lighting Design worked on the intricate lighting design. Shankar and ILD were primarily responsible for all of the decorative and thematic lighting within the project.

Service Concepts
The key services offered over and above the standard cinema services are:

 

  • Automated Ticketing kiosks – An entire wall at the grand lobby is dedicated to providing not only access to ticket purchase and retrieval, but also to screens that provide information about films, sessions and even about what Luxe has to offer.
  • Retail Store – There is space located for a retail store in the main lobby. This concept store will be launched shortly.
  • Spa – The spa at Luxe, Bliss, will be operated by the experts at Oryza, encouraging customers to indulge themselves in reflexology or other wonderful treatments in a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Restaurant – Cafe de Luxe – Cafe de Luxe, is a beautiful space situated on the mezzanine of the grand lobby which features both dining and casual lounge seating. The space is designed, on one hand as a lounge to catch up with your friends and on the other hand to have a delicious full-service meal.
    The menu has a variation of Indian, Italian and Chinese cuisine that can be accompanied with a whole range of our signature mocktails.
  • 18 Below – SPI’s 18 Below will provide ice cream lovers a completely new experience with a range of out-of-the-world home made flavours, lip smacking toppings, and a Cold Stone. The products, right from the ice creams themselves to the toppings, are pure vegetarian. And here’s the best part: customers can create their own mix of flavours and toppings! Or if it strikes their fancy, they can even choose from a pre-defined list of mixes. All delicious, of course.
  • Gaming Café – Luxe also features a casual café where guests can get great food and drink while enjoying time spent with their close ones. This space is located at the end of the Cinema lobby and is laid back – perfect for a lazy Sunday evening.
  • Gaming – Adjacent to the café is a gaming space, set up for gamers of all ages to enjoy some time playing on the new-age gaming consoles while they wait to see their movie, or while parents enjoy a cup of tea or coffee.

LUXE
2nd Floor, Phoenix Market City
Velachery Main Road
Chennai 600 042

Click to see full size pictures

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Forgiveness – The Loftiest Human Attribute

Forgiveness comes spontaneously. It’s a quality an individual is born with. Agreed, any quality can be cultivated with the passage of time, but humane qualities cannot be developed in a vacuous heart. It needs oceanic compassion to forgive someone for his transgression. Only by forgiving do we give a person yet another opportunity to redeem him or herself.

forgiveness

It’s very easy to send a man behind bars, but correspondingly difficult to forgive him. Why shouldn’t he get a proper punishment? After all, he deserves it. It’s what we lesser mortals think. But punishment leaves a permanent scar. An act of forgiveness alters the heart. You embarrass an offender more by forgiving him than by punishing.

Punishment has a sadistic and sardonic streak. It degrades the culprit and also demeans all those, involved in punishing him. Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr became great because they could forgive.

Gandhi bore no ill-will against the English and said that once they left, they must leave like friends and not as enemies. “So long enmity rankles in heart to grow / the fountain of love will not start to flow.”

Remember, no offence is so great that it cannot be pardoned. Almost every human being in his limited span of life lives and keeps nurturing those perceived wounds and scars he thinks he’s got from the people around him. Do we ever pause and think that we too have hurt many a person? Yet, if we deserve to be pardoned, why can’t others have the same privilege?

When we forgive, we not only free the wrongdoer but also emancipate ourselves from the unbearable pressure of nagging and niggling ill feeling. Forgiveness is the greatest act of spirituality – its all-encompassing compassion. Follow it, though I myself have not been able to imbibe its spirit comprehensively.

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Quote of the Day

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment – Buddha

buddha wisdom

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Google Adsense introduces NEFT for Indian Publishers

Earlier today, i got an email from Adsense saying my account has been upgraded to a new payments system.

payments upgrade

Clicking on the settings took me to a new page to add the bank account details that you can see below. Since there is not much of a chatter about this yet i am hoping this does not turn out to be an April Fool joke.

neft bank account

At the same time Google also sent an email with the following

You may have noticed some new changes to the “Payments” and “Account
Settings” pages in your account. We’ve made some changes to improve our
payments system, and we’d like to let you know about the added benefits
of the new payments processes.

After this upgrade, we will issue payments by international wire
transfer. Wire transfer is a fast, secure, and reliable alternative to
receiving payments by check, and you will typically receive your
payment much faster with this payment method. Google pays most fees
involved with sending wire transfer payments and does not charge a fee
for this service. We recommend that you ask your bank about any fees or
commissions they may charge for receiving wire transfers. Visit our
Help Center for full details about receiving payments by wire transfer
(https://support.google.com/adsense/answer/3372975).

With this change, we will no longer offer payments by check. Please
continue with receiving and depositing any outstanding checks as we
make this transition. The normal 60-day waiting period from the check
issue date will apply to check cancellations, and additional time may
be necessary to incorporate the canceled amount into the next scheduled
payment.

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The Decreasing Value of Money

rupees

Inflation is defined as the “general increase in prices and fall in the purchasing power of money.”

rupeesThis is more easy to understand when explained with a simple example.

50 years ago, Rs.75000 would have been sufficient to buy a big house with lots of open space, jewels and everything.

In the 70’s and 80’s,  the same Rs.75000 would have been sufficient to fund 2 people’s education from kindergarden to a college degree and possibly get a decent sized house somewhere outside the city.

In the 90’s, Rs.75000 was just about enough to fund 1 person’s higher secondary school education.

Mid 90’s, you would have been able to buy a good, state of the art bike plus have some extra as well.

In the early 2000’s, Rs.75000 would have got you a state of the art, most updated and powerful desktop computer system.

Around the same time, Rs.75000 would have got you an excellent vacation outside India for 2 people for 10 days.

Mid 2000’s, it would have been sufficient for 1 year of college degree.

Between 2007 to 2009, Rs.75000 would have got you the latest bike available on the market.

Between 2010 to 2013, Rs.75000 was a good salary to start off with. You would have also been able to go on a holiday within India.

And now at 2014, Rs.75000 is just about enough to get your kid a Nursery school admission!!!

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One Quality That Makes People More Likely to Succeed

Success

In the 1960s, a Stanford professor named Walter Mischel began conducting a series of important psychological studies.

During his experiments, Mischel and his team tested hundreds of children — most of them around the ages of 4 and 5 years old — and revealed what is now believed to be one of the most important characteristics for success in health, work, and life.

Let’s talk about what happened and, more importantly, how you can use it.

The Marshmallow Experiment

The experiment began by bringing each child into a private room, sitting them down in a chair, and placing a marshmallow on the table in front of them.

At this point, the researcher offered a deal to the child.

The researcher told the child that he was going to leave the room and that if the child did not eat the marshmallow while he was away, then they would be rewarded with a second marshmallow. However, if the child decided to eat the first one before the researcher came back, then they would not get a second marshmallow.

So the choice was simple: one treat right now or two treats later.

The researcher left the room for 15 minutes.

As you can imagine, the footage of the children waiting alone in the room was rather entertaining. Some kids jumped up and ate the first marshmallow as soon as the researcher closed the door. Others wiggled and bounced and scooted in their chairs as they tried to restrain themselves, but eventually gave in to temptation a few minutes later. And finally, a few of the children did manage to wait the entire time.

Published in 1972, this popular study became known as The Marshmallow Experiment, but it wasn’t the treat that made it famous. The interesting part came years later.

The Power of Delayed Gratification

As the years rolled on and the children grew up, the researchers conducted follow up studies and tracked each child’s progress in a number of areas. What they found was surprising.

The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. (You can see the follow-up studies here, here, and here.)

The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years and over and over again, the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeed in whatever capacity they were measuring. In other words, this series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life.

And if you look around, you’ll see this playing out everywhere…

  • If you delay the gratification of watching television and get your homework done now, then you’ll learn more and get better grades.
  • If you delay the gratification of buying desserts and chips at the store, then you’ll eat healthier when you get home.
  • If you delay the gratification of finishing your workout early and put in a few more reps, then you’ll be stronger.

… and countless other examples.

Success usually comes down to choosing the pain of discipline over the ease of distraction. And that’s exactly what delayed gratification is all about.

This brings us to an interesting question: Did some children naturally have more self-control, and thus were destined for success? Or can you learn to develop this important trait?

What Determines Your Ability to Delay Gratification?

Researchers at the University of Rochester decided to replicate the marshmallow experiment, but with an important twist. (You can read the study here.)

Before offering the child the marshmallow, the researchers split the children into two groups.

The first group was exposed to a series of unreliable experiences. For example, the researcher gave the child a small box of crayons and promised to bring a bigger one, but never did. Then the researcher gave the child a small sticker and promised to bring a better selection of stickers, but never did.

Meanwhile, the second group had very reliable experiences. They were promised better crayons and got them. They were told about the better stickers and then they received them.

You can imagine the impact these experiences had on the marshmallow test. The children in the unreliable group had no reason to trust that the researchers would bring a second marshmallow and thus they didn’t wait very long to eat the first one.

Meanwhile, the children in the second group were training their brains to see delayed gratification as a positive. Every time the researcher made a promise and then delivered on it, the child’s brain registered two things: 1) waiting for gratification is worth it and 2) I have the capability to wait. As a result, the second group waited an average of four times longer than the first group.

In other words, the child’s ability to delay gratification and display self-control was not a predetermined trait, but rather was impacted by the experiences and environment that surrounded them. In fact, the effects of the environment were almost instantaneous. Just a few minutes of reliable or unreliable experiences were enough to push the actions of each child in one direction or another.

What can you and I learn from all of this?

How to Become Better at Delaying Gratification

Before we go further, let’s clear one thing up: for one reason or another, the Marshmallow Experiment has become particularly popular. You’ll find it mentioned in nearly every major media outlet. But these studies are just one piece of data, a small insight into the story of success. Human behavior (and life in general) is a lot more complex than that, so let’s not pretend that one choice a four-year-old makes will determine the rest of his or her life.

But…

The studies above do make one thing clear: if you want to succeed at something, at some point you will need to find the ability to be disciplined and take action instead of becoming distracted and doing what’s easy. Success in nearly every field requires you to ignore doing something easier (delaying gratification) in favor of doing something harder (doing the work and putting in your reps).

But the key takeaway here is that even if you don’t feel like you’re good at delaying gratification now, you can train yourself to become better simply by making a few small improvements. In the case of the children in the study, this meant being exposed to a reliable environment where the researcher promised something and then delivered it.

You and I can do the same thing. We can train our ability to delay gratification, just like we can train our muscles in the gym. And you can do it in the same way as the child and the researcher: by promising something small and then delivering. Over and over again until your brain says, 1) yes, it’s worth it to wait and 2) yes, I have the capability to do this.

Here are 4 simple ways to do exactly that:

  1. Start incredibly small. Make your new habit “so easy you can’t say no.” (Hat tip to Leo Babauta.)
  2. Improve one thing, by one percent. Do it again tomorrow.
  3. Use the “Seinfeld Strategy” to maintain consistency.
  4. Find a way to get started in less than 2 minutes.
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