Wednesday, March 12, 2008

IF by Rudyard Kipling

another one of my favourite poems


IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

The Charge of the Light Brigade

One of my favourite poems from the school days, more so because it was rendered so passionately by one of my school mates in elocution competitions. So here’s to the old times.

Background reading

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

All in the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!

"Charge for the guns!" he said:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.


"Forward, the Light Brigade!"

Was there a man dismay'd?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Someone had blunder'd:

Their's not to make reply,

Their's not to reason why,

Their's but to do and die:

Into the valley of Death

Rode the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon in front of them

Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

Boldly they rode and well,

Into the jaws of Death,

Into the mouth of Hell

Rode the six hundred.


Flash'd all their sabres bare,

Flash'd as they turn'd in air,

Sabring the gunners there,

Charging an army, while

All the world wonder'd:

Plunged in the battery-smoke

Right thro' the line they broke;

Cossack and Russian

Reel'd from the sabre stroke

Shatter'd and sunder'd.

Then they rode back, but not

Not the six hundred.


Cannon to right of them,

Cannon to left of them,

Cannon behind them

Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with shot and shell,

While horse and hero fell,

They that had fought so well

Came thro' the jaws of Death

Back from the mouth of Hell,

All that was left of them,

Left of six hundred.


When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!

All the world wondered.

Honor the charge they made,

Honor the Light Brigade,

Noble six hundred.

Copied from Poems of Alfred Tennyson,

J. E. Tilton and Company, Boston, 1870

Indian Classical Music vs Western Classical Music

From an article written by Anil Dharkar ..............

In past interviews, (Zubin) Mehta has gone into the question of why Western classical music hasn’t struck roots in India. ‘That’s because we have our very own and very strong music traditions – Hindustani and Carnatic – so Western classical music hasn’t been able to take off. This is in contrast to China and Japan, because in these countries there has been a discontinuity from their old classical traditions. They have literature and painting that’s very advanced, but not music of the same caliber. That’s why they have expoused the music of Western cultures’

In the western tradition, a large group of individuals come together to form a cohesive whole….Here individual brilliance….submerges itself in collective excellence……every piece of music is written down, with the composer defining the size of the orchestra, the tempo of movements, even sometimes the emphasis within a section of the piece…….each (brilliant) musician playing a pre-assigned part of an overall design. Most of all, both conductor and orchestra are following a written-down musical score, which for all the flurry of rehearsals and the passion of the conductor from his podium, defines in some strictness what they are going to do

Contrast this to the Indian tradition. When Beethoven wrote a symphony, it wasn’t for a particular time of day: a raga, on the other hand, is for morning and evening… echoes the mood and environment. The Indian tradition – Hindustani or Carnatic – lays complete emphasis on individuality. There is no concept of ensemble, of different instruments playing together: instead there’s the soloist alone, with a cast of supporting players. Then there is the huge importance given to improvisation, central to the Indian tradition, but virtually unkown in the western tradition. ……there is no concept of a written score for Indian music (how do you write down an improvisation?)…….the idea of harmony, so essential to western music, is completely unknown in Indian music.


  • Education is not the amount of information that is put into your brain and runs riot there, undigested all your life. We must have life-building, man-making, character-making assimilation of ideas. If you have assimilated five ideas and made them your life and character, you have more education than any man who has got by heart the whole library – Swami Vivekanda

  • Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive,
    But to be young was very Heaven
    - William Wordsworth

  • There are two ways to lose oneself: by a walled segregation in the particular or by a dilution in the “universal”. Aimé Cesaire

  • In the Prison Notebooks Gramsci says: “The starting-point of critical elaboration is the consciousness of what one really is, and is ‘knowing thyself’ as a product of the historical process to date, which has deposited in you an infinity of traces, without leaving an inventory.” The only available English translation inexplicably leaves Gramsci’s comment at that, whereas Gramsci’s Italian text concludes by adding, “therefore it is imperative at the outset to compile such an inventory.” – Edward Said

  • I do not want my house to be walled on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any of them – Gandhi

  • A clear conscience is the softest pillow. It is better to forgo a billion dollars than a good night’s rest – N.R.Narayanamurthy

  • N.R.Narayanamurthy’s vision for Infosys Technologies Limited: A place where people of different nationalities, races and religious beliefs work together in an environment of intense competition but utmost harmony, courtesy and dignity, to add more and more value to our customers day after day. I want it to be a place that practises Voltaire’s much-celebrated statement: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend till death your right to say it.” I would like more women leaders to shape our company. Finally, I would urge Infosys to choose a worthy dream, to go after it confidently, and to play a role that will make all of us proud

  • A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke – Kipling

Say It With Numbers: #6-2008

  • 50% of world population is living in cities today. 70% are projected to live in cities in 2050
  • ½ of the earths 7000 languages are stated to disappear this century
  • Thailand: Over 90% of its 62 million people are Buddhist. 5 million are Muslims
  • Russia
    • Population is 141 million (down from 146 million in 1999)
    • Poverty rate is 18% (down from 29% in 1999)
    • Divorce rate is 83% (up from 58% in 1999)
    • Abortions per 100 live births is 139 (down from 235 in 1993)
    • 31% of income goes to richest 10% of population (up from 22% in 1999)
    • Foreign reserves at $407.5 billion (up from $8.5 billion in 1999)
    • 64% of export revenues are from Oil (up from 17% in 1999)
  • India’s first truly world-class airport opens at Hyderabad in March-08 at a cost of Rs 2,478 crores
  • In India, airports derive 30% of their revenues from non-aeronautical activities while international trends are just the opposite
  • Tatas
    • Market capitalization of group companies is $65 billion
    • 79% of Tata Sons is owned by public trusts and group companies
  • Market cap
    • of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance is $106 billion
    • of Anil Ambani’s Reliance is $85 billion
    • of Bharti Airtel is is $40 billion
    • of Kumar Mangalam Birla companies is $32 billion
    • of DLF India is $24.5 billion
    • of Vijay Mallya companies is Rs 36,000 crores
    • of Rahul Bajaj companies is Rs 30,000 crores
    • of Anand Mahindra listed companies is Rs 40,000 crores
  • …..a 100 rupee share bought in the 1993 IPO (of Infosys) was worth Rs 200,852 in March 2006
  • India has 13 judges per million population…..for Brazil the figure is 77 while China has 159 judges per million population. (A developed country like the US has 110)
  • Services sector accounts for 55% of GDP in India, compared to 35% in China
  • Americans actually waste about 40% of food produced for consumption. That amounts to an annual cost of over $100 billion

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Say It With Numbers: #5-2008

  • Homicides


(per 100,000 people )


Netherlands and Belgium


Germany and Switzerland


13th and 14th c.






15th c.






16th c.






17th c.






18th c.






19th c.


















  • Indian IT industry
    • Expected to reach $64 billion by end of fiscal. Of these exports would be $40.8 billion
    • IT industry constitutes 5.5% of GDP
  • Bollywood vs Hollywood




Films produced


3.6 billion

Tickets sold

2.6 billion

$1.3 billion

Worldwide revenues

$51 billion


Annual growth rate


$1.5 million

Average production cost per film

$47.7 million


Average marketing cost per film

$27.3 million