Tag Archives: namma Chennai

Broken devices, long drive  and a blast from the past!~a Swamusings post

1 Aug

Broken devices, long drive  and a blast from the past!
~a Swamusings post 樂✍

What happens when multiple devices break down at or around the same time? That too when the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown situation doesn’t seem to change, at all, in Chennai (ஏனுங்க, இந்த Unlock3 எல்லாம் நம்ம ஊருல மட்டும் 2021லதான் வரும்ங்களா!)… One is forced to step out of the ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ mode and look for places where laptops, phones, etc. can be serviced.

As far as the RO water purifier and washing machine are concerned, the service personnel from both companies have finally visited our home & performed the necessary service activities and brought the devices back to life. From the previous Swamusings post, you may know that Mrs. Swamy’s laptop power adapter breathed its last a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, the service centers and spare parts sellers have not yet opened the shutters and Amazon still refuses to deliver non-essentials (like power adapters – ummm, isn’t that actually an ‘essential’ item, in the digital era’s predominantly online existence). Now, Jr’s laptop (a critical device) has gone comatose and cellphone too is acting up (Mrs’ cellphone was replaced with a new one only recently). The only person whose devices are all still fully functional in the household is apparently just Swamy!

So, Swamy ended up doing a reasonably long drive yesterday, with Jr in tow, for gadget service / replacement Purpose. The drive itself was a reasonably smooth affair, especially for Chennai that’s notorious for its workday traffic snarls, since traffic density wasn’t like a sumo wrestler, but more like a recovering Covid-19 patient. The laptop sales/service centre Aski Computers at Ashok Nagar is a well-known outlet. It was a busy place, unsurprisingly considering both employees of many kinds and students of all kinds are in dire need of laptops – new & used – and accessories (webcam being a top need) and of course service. This popular computer outlet has implemented all COVID-19 related safety features and also implements them diligently. That’s really good for everyone.

Having gone that far, we’ve inevitably ventured out to a few other outlets nearby. Pretty much all branded stores have implemented the COVID-19 related business requirements laid down by the government and try to follow them, within their premises. Reliance Digital, Shri Gupta Bhavan aka Loiee, Sri Krishna Sweets… Foot operated or manual hand sanitiser at the entrance, temperature check, restrictions on entry of number of people, staff with face masks were in place in all the stores. At Loiee, they’ve even implemented the social distancing between the counters and the shoppers. And air-conditioning has been replaced by ceiling or pedestal fans everywhere. So, in a way, it’s quite safe to shop at popular brand outlets. But the number of customers seems limited, which is reflected in the desolate faces of the in-store personnel, who forcibly plaster a wry smile on their faces, whenever a new customer steps in. As far as ‘social distancing’ norms being followed by such customers, it’s better for every individual to remain vigilant and cautious, as once inside the shop, there’s no stopping a curious – and in many cases, somewhat anxious as well – customer from criss-crossing the entire shop floor(s)!

Mr & Mrs Swamy before a drive, in pre-Covid times…

Ashok Pillar area has a very special place in Mr. & Mrs. Swamy’s hearts, since Jr. was born there. His திருஅவதாரத் தலம் was the ‘Orthopaedics & Specialities Hospital’ located at the pillar junction, which used to have a ‘Saravanas’ fast food outlet (part of the Hotel Saravana Bhavan restaurant chain) near the entrance. In fact, Mrs. Swamy quite enjoyed the brief hospitalisation there for the delivery, since three times a day she got delectable HSB food served in her ward itself. The chief doctor there was a popular person & a vivacious personality as well, resembling SPB in size. However, the ObGyn for pregnancy & delivery was a senior Dr. Saraswathi and Paediatrician was Dr. Jaishankar. Now the hospital is gone and the entire place is a multi-story Hotel Saravana Bhavan restaurant. Of course, due to COVID-19, only the ground floor is operational now, with only take-away and some quick bites & coffee/tea being served to customers. Probably lunch with limited seating as well. As a gentle bow to the sweet memories this place holds, Swamy had a customary cup of coffee there, which surprisingly didn’t live up to its usually ‘strong’ expectation. Swamy’s father, an avid filter kaapi lover, used to walk up to this outlet, all the way from west Mambalam, during his morning brisk walk ritual, and used to reminisce meeting celebrities such as character actor Delhi Ganesh. He would’ve certainly not be pleased with the quality of kaapi served there now. Or, maybe it’s just an one-off case, when the coffee maker was distracted or disenchanted about the present state of affairs, enforced upon everyone by the wily SARS-CoV-2 virus. Oh, and HSB sells vegetables as well now, which doesn’t make any sense, in terms of business expansion or extension. Then again, nothing makes normal sense anymore in these times, isn’t it.

Unlock3 MHA guidelines are obviously not getting implemented as-is in Tamilnadu. Most certainly not in Chennai, where the situation in August is expected to remain pretty much exactly as it was in July. One can ponder and debate maintaining the status quo, especially when everybody and their aunt + uncle are getting frustrated with the prolonging lockdown. But it’s the government’s prerogative to enforce or relax lockdown restrictions. So, all we can do is to continue to play it safe and hope for some semblance of normalcy to return soon.

Stay home. Stay safe. Follow all preventive guidelines, as long as they’re necessary. Stay healthy. Stay alive.

~Swamy | @PrakashSwamy

STOP to Start!

19 Sep

Swamy got a request to motivate students in a college recently. Swamy being what he is, a little bit of preliminary excavation happened, to understand the situation (not problem or challenge – always) better. What was supposed to be an hour or two long lecture on motivation (which, at least in Swamy’s view, is a sheer waste of time and energy on everyone’s part because motivating someone is near the top of the BAUHumbug list), may eventually blossom into a long-term intervention that will help the students get equipped to face the survival war zone called corporate career. But this post isn’t about that (though you’re welcome to avail Swamy’s Human Potential DISCovery + NURTURE offerings, for yourself or your organisation or institution). 

This kind of pointless flurry of activities happen all around us – especially so in the corporate training or learning & development space. 

80% of the training that’s offered to employees of corporates will remain ineffective because they don’t STOP before they start. 

Blinking..? Read on to know the Ws!

Anything a being – including silly humans – does in Life will be done better, if that being or the organization that the being is part of learns to STOP before they Start, well, anything in Life.

“S”trategy – What are you doing / going to do. To get to where you want to be. By when. 

Most people confuse Strategy with Why or How, but it is essentially the big What.

What do I / we want to be 10 years from now?

What will be the growth in our market cap 5 years from now?

What will our customers need 3 years from now?

What changes I / we must make to raise the bar of output / outcome by x% an year from now?

Consultants (yep, those suited, booted folks speaking jargolingo non-stop for hours to make you believe that your well-run business is doomed if you don’t adopt some vague cutting edge model with the tailored framework they’ll offer specifically to you for a pro fee of $300 / hour – oh, that’s a conservative estimate 😨) will vehemently raise their hands and voice that the last one isn’t strategy. Who gives a damn anyway, for it’s their business to survive on such hazy minutae .

In essense, if you don’t know what you want to be that’ll get you where you want to be in a certain amount of time – in future, obviously – whatever you’re about to start (or already doing) is going to sputter someway along like an automobile that ran out of fuel on a deserted road where your fancy mobile costing a bomb couldn’t find VoLTE signal to call for help!

Pic: The starting line-up for the 10km run, Chennai Marathon 2015 – Mrs & Jr Swamy are seen alongside the head of Isha Vidhya – a rural education initiative by Isha Foundation, to support which thousands of Isha Yoga meditators participate in the annual event. 


“T”acticsHow are you going to do what you want to do to get where you want to be, by whenever (years or months or weeks or days or hours…).

Leaders (genuine ISI certified or generic ISO certified) spend tremendous amounts of time, effort & energy in Strategy, instead of Tactics, which is neither smart nor wise.

Contrary to popular belief, this is what leaders need to focus on and invest their energy, thoughts and action in, not the former one (though that’s important – to begin with), nor the latter (which we’ll get to know shortly anyway, won’t we). In fact, those who get immersed in the latter aren’t leaders at all, because they inadvertently cause more harm to realising their own vision. 

How will we become the No.2 player in our chosen space? (leave the No.1 to those who love high BP & excessive cholestrol & be joyful

How will we differentiate our product / service from the umpteen pretenders?

How can we navigate around the known roadblocks to get to where we want to go?

In a nutshell, this is the pacing of the marathon (Swamy’s long-distance runner bro & s-i-l will be delighted ;), without which, your chances of finishing the marathon (far more important than winning – ask any Olympian, if in doubt) are as slim as those models on the ramp with ridiculous waists that can’t hold that barely there clothing!

Pic: Swamy Jr Akash PC Iyer setting the pace in a segment of the 10km run, in the Chennai Marathon 2015. This was his first Marathon. 


Operations – Ops is the Oops part of whatever you want to do, to get to wherever you want to be, by whenever.  

This is the breakdown of your S, i.e. What, based on the T, i.e. How, into actionable bits and pieces that can be comprehended, owned and acted upon by individuals and/or teams. Usually misunderstood as the plan, since Managers love to have as many plans as they can (isn’t that why they’re aka Damagers :O).

The crux of Oops, ahem, Ops is action, not the plan. 

In the IT services space (just as an example – other spaces aren’t that different), customers got so pissed off by the quantum of planning, which is grossly disproportionate to the quantum of action, they embraced a new model called Agile, almost en masse’ a few years ago. Reason is, Agile is all action – daily and hourly. Accountable action. That’s what Ops should be, not reviewing based on a plan what didn’t happen and why, a week or month or half-an-year later. But Agile is just an example. Ops is action. Period.

Pic: A sea of runners in action, in support of Isha Vidhya, at the Chennai Marathon 2015.


So, what the heck is the P then? Before that, let’s do a quick rewind to see if you’re ready to STO-P!

S(trategy) – What do you want to do / be, by when. S is envisioning (& articulating – for the benefit of believers / followers / doers to comprehend) the entire marathon, not just the start or stop.

  • Top-10 best-selling book in 3 years 
  • Medal at world championships 
  • 50% market share 
  • 100% placement for students

<fill your S here>

T(actics) – How do you go about where you want to be. T is comprehending (& detailing – for the rest of non-suit types to know) how to compete & complete the marathon.

  • Define the reader demography for the Top-10 bestselling book.
  • Will the style be third-person storytelling or first-person narration of events and facts. 
  • Ebooks or paperback or both. 
  • First of a trilogy or stand-alone. 

<detail your T here>

O(perations) – What are all the things that need to be done by when to get to where you want to be to be whatever you want to be. Oops, that’s how detailed Ops has to be, but not necessarily that confusing. 😀

  • What is the daily fitness routine? Each for how long? At what time?
  • What’s the change in daily diet? How many times to eat? What? When?
  • Which are the tournaments / competitions that are useful for progress? How to register? What’s the fee? Where will the registration fee come from? Who’ll do the travel & accommodation booking?
  • When do the reviews of progress happen? What will be reviewed? How to get instant feedback on changes to be made to the routine?

<list down your O here>

Pic: Wow, we’ve done it. Swamily, all 3 of them (their 2 charming 4-legged daughters couldn’t register to run along) have completed the 10km run in the Chennai Marathon 2015. Swamy & Mrs can’t run, due to major surgery in their left legs, so they walked the distance. Jr ran & walked the distance, for the first time in this lifetime. 

You’re ready for P, only after filling the <your> segments of STO. No kidding! ✋

All right, you’ve now got the (aha, finally, something truly valuable, in this lifetime) Strategy, Tactics & Operations of something you want to accomplish. Is it time to start? Not so fast, dear reader.🙋

Do you know Why you want to do whatever you want to do to be wherever you want to be?

P is the Why. Big Why, i.e. Purpose.

Without clarity of Purpose, however fantastic your vision is, whatever level of insight your detailing has, whichever depth of detail your action plan has.. won’t still get you to wherever you want to be by when you want. 

Gandhi had clarity of Purpose. He got India freedom from the brits, once and for all.

Bolt had clarity of Purpose. He will remain a living legend, the greatest sprinter ever, for a long time.

Sadhguru had clarity of Purpose. His creation – the only Dhyanalinga on this planet – will sow the seed of liberation in all seekers who set foot in his space, for a very long time.

Pic: Swamily’s Purpose for participating in the Chennai Marathon – raise awareness about & support Isha Vidhya. 


What’s your Purpose! Why do you want to do whatever you want to do?

That’s the P of STOP. The last but the most important piece of the puzzle. 

That’s Why you need to focus on the P first.👍

<fill your P here>.

That’s how you STOP before you Start – the Life Marathon!

Note: Isha Vidhya is an official Charity partner of the Chennai Marathon in 2016. Swamily will be participating to support Isha Vidhya, naturally. You too can!

Be joyful & spread the cheer 😃




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