I have always been a great admirer of many things Japanese. Last year I remember readings books about “KonMari” and “Ikigai”. While the former made me think about decluttering my world, the latter influenced me deeply about well being and the well lived long life.

In recent times I have heard about one another Japanese word which seems to connect tsundokuwith me and hopefully many of you who are #book #lovers – “tsundoku” – which refers to the act of acquiring reading materials (books) and letting them pile up without being read. As a bibliophile myself and an equally voracious reader, I can tell you honestly that I always buy more books than I can ever finish reading. This ensures that many books remain on the shelf that I wish I could read, but remain unread.

Are you a tsundoku? or Do you tsundoku? — not sure which one is the right usage, but I am sure you get the meaning 🙂

Choose stories wisely

It appears that we are products of the stories we listen and grow with. It is therefore not surprising that narratives form an important source of character, culture and society.ECO_036

This thought is not new. Interestingly Plato had written about it in his ‘The Republic’: “… Then it seems that our first business is to supervise the production of stories, and choose only those we think suitable, and reject the rest.  We shall persuade mothers and nurses to tell our chosen stories to their children, and by means of them to mould their minds and characters which are more important than their bodies.  The greater part of the stories current today we shall have to reject

As we begin our new year, it is therefore critical that we choose our stories wisely, for ourselves, our friends, family and who we influence, for lives will be changed forever based on what we listen, choose, share and tell.

Choose wisely, Live wisely!

Wishes for a wonderful 2019!

God Jul

‘Merry Christmas’ in English or ‘God Jul’ in Norwegian!Christmas 3

I have always visualized Christmas as something snowy, dark and cold with Santa Claus making it rainy (with gifts), bright (with colors) and warm (with love). It is a very family festival with most time spent sharing gifts and having a nice chat over a hot meal. Growing up in a tropical coastal town I never experienced the snow, the darkness or the Christmas 1cold.


But this year life provided an opportunity to experience all three on Christmas. Celebrating Christmas in the Arctic is very different from the Tropics. It is cold, dark, and snowy and feels like what I used to read about in the books. The Santa Claus, of course, remains mythical even so high up North 🙂

Christmas 2

Christmas is a celebration of a human being’s greatest possible act – ‘giving’. The less said about it and more done, the better. Practice it and realize its power for yourself.


Merry Christmas and God Jul (pronounced ‘yool’) once again!

When Nature celebrates Diwali

Happy Diwali to all. May this Diwali bring all prosperity in all our lives. 

Diwali 2018 was celebrated on 6th and 7th November in many parts of India. Diwali is the festival of lights! People wear new and colorful clothes, decorate their homes with lamps and share colorful sweets and savories with friends and family.

This is probably how it is when Nature celebrates Diwali

Doing Business Rankings: India moves up again

The Doing Business 2019 report and rankings are out and India has had yet another spectacular rise in her performance and rankings. Here is the way to read the Doing Business 2019 Report — http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/doingbusiness

It has been a spectacular ride for India over the last two years. For a second year in a row, India remains a top upward mover in the popular “Doing Business Rankings” published by the World Bank. We are also the only country to be on the top 10 improvers for the year, for a second consecutive time. See the move in ranks over the past 3 years:

India’s Rank in 2017 – 130

India’s Rank in 2018 – 100

India’s Rank in 2019 – 77

A brief overview of India’s profile as per the report: http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/data/exploreeconomies/india

While we are doing well on the overall “ease of doing business” ranking and scores, there are places where we need significant changes and improvement, especially for creating a flourishing entrepreneurial ecosystem:

  • We are still ranked 137 in starting a business (not great news for entrepreneurs)
  • We are still ranked 166 in registering a property
  • We are still ranked 121 in paying taxes
  • We are still ranked 163 in enforcing contracts
  • We are still ranked 108 in resolving insolvency (again, not great news for entrepreneurs)

If all of us put our minds and hearts together we can address these specific areas of weakness and move up even further in the rankings. Exciting times, to say the least! With all the complexities and challenges, it is still getting better to be an entrepreneur in India.

Explore India!

A visit to Tromso to discuss Industry-Academia linkages

A couple of weeks ago I participated in a Design Thinking Lab activity at the University of Tromso (high up north in the Arctic), Norway. About 30 of us spent two hours thinking deeply about a challenge that is widely acknowledged — reducing the chasm between research (happening in Universities) and practice (happening within industries). The event was part of a research project to identify how to make this work.

All of us working together at the Design Thinking Lab. Photo Courtesy: Prof Rasmussen

The workshop was fun and facilitated by a pair of young entrepreneurs who run Design Thinking workshops for students and corporations. We sat in what they called, “The DTLab” – a space created for such activities.

The group was wonderful with two-thirds of the participants from industry and the remaining third from academia (of which I was a part). It was fun with a lot of productive outcomes. At the end it seemed to me that both sides (university and industry) were equally interested in closing this gap, and one of the biggest challenges was — lack of regular interactions to build solutions. Both sides agreed to implement at least one idea (of the many ideas we came up with). I am sure this will yield results.

When I first visited Bodo, I thought it was quite up north. But after I traveled further to Tromso, I realized I was pretty wrong! Some of my colleagues in the meeting actually traveled south for it 🙂 So there is a great world left to explore – high north! In any case, it was my first visit to Tromso – a historic city in the Arctic . It has been and also is, an important city to begin exploring the Arctic region.

I understand that it is geographically well suited to view both the “Northern Lights” (Aurora Borealis) and the “Midnight Sun” – two amazing natural phenomena happening in the Arctic.

We walked around the city center a little in the evening and visited some popular bars and restaurants. It was scenic and enjoyable looking at the fjords, the sea and the mountains. I now look forward to my next trip in the “High North”.