So much India in Guyana

Guyana is one of the 15 countries which form the Carribean Community. Guyana is on the mainland of the South American continent. Guyana has strong links to India. It appears that Indians landed here more than a 150 years ago (brought by the British) as indentured labourers. It is therefore not too surprising that a major part of the population is of Indian origin.

Some of the things that caught my attention and made me feel that there is so much India in Guyana are:

  • So many common Indian names pronounced the Indian way – ‘Ramesh’ (guy who sold lunch to us everyday); ‘Darmender’ (who drove us around); Preya (a colleague who participated in the training) and many more…
  • Three Indian Restaurants in Georgetown – ‘Taste of India’; ‘Maharaja’; and ‘Aagman’ (been to the first two; third scheduled for this week)
  • Two listed spoken languages: Carribean Hindustani and Tamil (spoken around here); At the above mentioned restaurants there were many who could speak Hindi.
  • I saw a poster of ‘Hanuman-ji’ and a few temples too
  • I saw some women wearing ‘saree’ the tRath Yatra Guyanaraditional Indian women wear. One of our participants in the training also told us that earlier this year the Indian High Commission had held a ‘Saree Draping Event’ to allow everyone to soak in the Indian culture. The local Guyanese seemed to like it so much.
  • The best thing I noticed while being driven to work – A notice saying that there is going to be a ‘Rath Yatra’ (check the picture in this blog).

So as an Indian from India, visiting Guyana makes you feel more at home than many other places, because you have so much of India here.

The country is so beautiful and that deserves to be written up too. I did a bit of seeing Georgetown (Capital of Guyana) and a little around the city. Hope to write some experiences in a separate blog.

But the fact remains – ‘there is so much India in Guyana’.

 

My First Visit to the Carribean

I have always been a big fan of the West Indies cricket team. Right from the days of Viv Richards to Chris Gayle – they entertain and keep us glued to the sport. With the onset of the ‘T-20’ format of the game, they have only shown how inherent a part of the game, they are! But never did I dream or wish to go there – but it all happened at short notice and kind of suddenly.

Here I am, writing this, sitting in the land of the West Indies – ‘The Carribean’ specifically in Georgetown, Guyana. My hotel room opens into the Atlantic Ocean. The country is green and the people are so fun loving. It has all signs of a country filled with aspirations to grow.

While I was on the flight from New York to Georgetown, I had two old women sitting on the same row. One was 89 and the the other was 70, both of Guyanese origin. They had so much life in them, so much aspiration, especially the older lady. I was so inspired by her energy and enthusiasm. She was engaged in some really small business (by global standards), but she never made it sound so. I liked the way she told me that she was building it. They gave me some tips on places to visit while I’m in Guyana and wished me well. I’m not ‘selfie’ crazy, else I would have posted one here with them.

My experience at the Airport amazed me. We got out of the plane, walked to a small hall where immigration, customs and baggage belt was present. Just outside the hall there were people waiting to pick their guests and of course some taxi drivers trying their luck. No order in parking, but no confusion either. It appeared to me the equivalent of a railway station in a small Indian town / village.

Our driver picked us up and we were on our way to the hotel. He drove quite fast along one of the three rivers in Guyana. It rained pretty heavily while we were enroute to the hotel and I got a couple of nice pictures. Here is one of them!First Look - Guyana

He stopped us to treat us to some ‘coconut water along the country side. There was a man who came out of his home and served us fresh coconut water. Indians comprise a large part of Guyana’s population. Georgetown itself has three popular Indian restaurants – ‘Taste of India’, ‘Maharaja’ and ‘Aagman’. In the last few days I’ve already had food at two of them. They are tasty and the people running the restaurants speak Hindi.

It is my first visit to the Carribean and it is my first time in South America. It has been awesome so far and I really look forward to knowing Guyana (and the Carribean) through its people and places. My work here also offers me this wonderful opportunity to know about the entire Carribean Community in one place!

Startup Schemes to watch

In India the biggest challenge for startups today is not ‘starting up’ but knowing how to keep themselves abreast of whats happening in the ecosystem. There is so much happening all over the place that we tend to get lost. With the government launching a number of schemes to help startups and entrepreneurs, it only gets even more difficult. Hence any compilation of such lists is useful. I found here: Here is a list to 50 such schemes.

Policy initiatives and resulting schemes are useful for startups. They help during the tough early days of a startup. So don’t miss reading this and make maximum use of whichever you can.

Happy Reading and Happy Using!!

Will Microsoft ‘Academic’ get the better of Google ‘Scholar’?

I am a research scholar in the area of ‘Entrepreneurship’. Considering the continuing difficulty of finding the right papers, I have found Google Scholar a real boon. Though recently many other academic social networks (sources of articles) have sprung up (Research Gate), most scholars still create Google Scholar Profiles. Here is mine.

Microsoft which had really lost out in the ‘search’ battle has come with a new product – ‘Academic’ to compete with ‘Scholar’, ‘Scopus’ and the like. But I think the real battle is only with Scholar. Scopus is paid, so unless ‘Academic’ dishes out the validity that ‘Scopus’ users complain about ‘Scholar’, they may not shift. But who knows what the future holds! It appears that almost everyone defaults to Scholar for scholarly search – even if they have other databases. So ‘Academic’ can probably give some exemplary services and attract even paid users to shift out. Here are some initial reviews about ‘Academic’. Though ‘Academic’ is still in its ‘Preview’ stage, it appears to have got some good things going for itself.

I am just about exploring it! Searching for myself I found that ‘Academic’ identified a new citation to one of my papers that still does not show up in ‘Scholar’ and ‘ResearchGate’!!

Sharing it with the readers (especially academics) here too – have a look, explore and see if it really serves you better than ‘Scholar’ and the likes!

Happy Exploring.

Searching for books to read?

I am sure many of us listen to TED Talks very often and struggle to note down the titles that the speakers refer to. Here is an amazing list put together based on various talks and speaker recommendations. I loved the variety in the list – it lives up to the statement: ‘there is something for every one here’.

I picked a few which I liked and then realised that they would be the ones I would have anyways picked. So went back to the list and picked a couple that I normally would have never picked up to read. I think its a way of opening up your mind to new possibilities.

Try it! Happy Searching and Happy Reading too!!

 

A huge list of TED speaker-recommended books, with all the diversity of titles and topics you might expect — we’ve got you covered for every mood, preference and occasion. When you’re lying in the sun Any book by Isaac Asimov I have stacks of collections of science-fiction short stories. I grab these before getting on…

via 101 books to dive into this summer: a massive reading list — ideas.ted.com

Book Reviews in Academic Journals

I always get asked why I read so many books!

I always get asked what I get by reviewing so many books!

Most people think I waste a lot of time writing book reviews for academic journals – since it does not really add up to my ‘academic currency’.

As with most other aspects of life, I felt I got an answer last week. A fellow doctoral student of mine walked up to me and said – ‘Thanks for your review of this title in The Journal of Entrepreneurship‘. It helped me with my questionnaire construction.’

Most people told me very few read reviews and most of them never get cited. So thats reason enough why one should not waste time writing them. But the above statement from a friend gave me some argument against all those voices who are against wasting time writing reviews. I am beginning to feel that this is a kind of commitment to the profession. I am sure ‘reviews’ themselves will be of different levels – some letting others know that a books exists to the other end of the spectrum where a review places the book in a continuum of existing knowledge.

Whatever be it, as a bibliophile, avid reader, and lover of everything books, I am delighted that my book reviewing efforts have borne fruit (tangibly). Though I have reduced the frenzy with which I was writing reviews, I still do a few every year. I now want to raise the level of the reviews I write. It will help me and my fellow explorers with some compasses to tread the ground.

My 2nd Babson Conference

It was great being there at the 37th Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC) hosted at the Michael F Price School of Business, University of Oklahoma, Norman. This was my second Babson (as people there refer to it). While the last time I was a doctoral consortium participant (competitively selected), this time I presented my first paper based on the thesis work.BCERC2017_Raj

I enjoyed my first paper presentation (Corporate Accelerators: A grounded study of its motives, manifestations and measures) at this prestigious conference. It was also my first paper co-authored with my mentor. I met a few of my fellow doctoral consortium participants – Mona, Jerone, Moyra, Beldina, Ida, Wei (hope I’m not missing anyone) and it was heartening to see their achievements and progress. You guys inspire!

I met many stars (Aldrich, Busenitz, Lumpkin, Landstorm, Patzelt, and others) in entrepreneurship research including Prof Robert Baron who won the Lifetime Achievement Award this year. His book ‘Enhancing Entrepreneurial Excellence’ was one of the first academic texts I read as a doctoral student. It was exciting to see his energy and enthusiasm.

I made new friends from across the world. All of them are scholars (some budding) with a keen interest in the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. We spent a lot of time laughing and chatting over trivia between sessions and during the social events.

The BCERC is a cool conference where you get to hear emerging ideas which will probably appear in journals a year or two down the line. It is also highly developmental with people giving each other feedback for improvement. Senior scholars are willing to give time and listen to our ideas and questions without any criticism.

As I told Georgia who is the most important person behind the conference – ‘I’m now a BCERC fan’ and hope to keep coming back to the conference every year (of course to present my research papers) and return ‘recharged and inspired’.

Thanks to the organising team of BCERC and Price School, Oklahoma for making this conference yet another memorable experience.