Saturday, April 12, 2008

Street Cricket

I wrote this sometime back in some other blog of mine. Read on....

I chanced upon an article in wikipedia on Street Cricket. (Its very funny, do read it.) Almost all of us would have played Street cricket . It reminded me of my childhood days when Street Cricket was an integral part of my life. I will share some of the incidents in my life that are associated with street cricket.

Incident 1 - Summer Vacation, Sixth grade: One day while playing in our street, my friend hit the ball straight down the road, and it went quite far. It was my friend's turn to pick the ball. Since it went quite far, my friend got a lift in a two-wheeler, ridden by a Sardarji, which was passing by that road. When the spot came he asked the Sardarji to stop. Apparently, the Sardarji did not understand Tamil and he didn't stop. My friend feared that Sardarji was kidnapping him, and screamed "KIDNAP, KIDNAP, KAPATHUNGO…” and he jumped from the vehicle. Next day I saw him with a plaster around his left arm. His bone got fractured. :D

Incident 2 - First Encounter with Cricket Ball: This happened when I was in ninth grade. We found an half-torn cricket ball on the road, and were thrilled at the prospect of playing with the cricket ball for the first time. We didn’t have any kit with us at that time. Being a brave guy that I am, I asked my friend to bowl and took the crease to bat. He was the fastest bowler that I had seen until that day, and I had no inhibition in facing him because I didn’t know the adverse effects of being hit by a cricket ball. The ball was bowled, I took the front foot, raised my bat, and before I realized that I have wrongly placed my foot the ball hit my front foot & bang…. the next second I was on the ground, shouting at the top of my voice.
Incident 3 - My first ever bet match: I was in fifth grade when I first played a bet match. It was a ten rupee bet match between 5-A and 5-B. :D Even before the match started we started thinking how to spend the twenty rupees we will have after the match. All of us unanimously decided to have Rasna. (It was the most expensive stuff we could think of at that time. It cost around Rs. 1.50. :) ) I had a tough time convincing my parents that I was only going to buy a pencil with that rupee. Bet matches are strict no-no with parents. After receiving the usual scolding, warnings and reprimands, I was handed a rupee. Somehow our team collected ten rupees and we played the match. After a tough battle, we lost the match & our hopes of having rasna crashed with that. :(

Those were the days. We played cricket with anything we could lay our hands on. Whoever brought a bat was the captain, and whatever he said were the rules of the game. I still play cricket, but somehow its just not the same as how it used to be. Today we don't fear to play with cricket ball, have enough money to play bet matches, & of course, we don't fear that someone would kidnap us. May be that's what is spoiling the fun.

Up Next: The Philosophers of My Life. Coming soooon..

Lee, The Chrysler Man

Lee Iacocca is well known for bringing Chrysler back from the brink. People thought Chrysler was a dead company & revival of Chrysler was only next to impossible. It had a debt of more than a billon dollar. That’s when the management of Chrysler approached Lee, who was just fired from Ford, for asking him to take over as CEO of Chrysler. The rest is history.

Ford Days: Lee completed his masters from Lehigh University and began his career in Ford. He started his career as an engineer and after a brief stint he shifted to sales and marketing. "Sales is where the real action is," Lee felt. He quickly moved up the ladder and eventually became the president of Ford when he turned forty. Some of the notable achievements of Lee during his tenure in Ford are "Ford Mustang", "Ford Fiesta", and ”56 for 56" campaign which brought him national recognition. Henry Ford II grew apprehensive over his quick success & fired him fearing that Lee would overtake him someday, although Lee had no intentions of becoming CEO of Ford. He was more than happy to be the President of Ford. The way he was sent out of Ford (esp., his last day at Ford) was all the more humiliating for Lee. (You should read that book to know it)

Aboard a Sinking Ship: When Lee took over Chrysler, it was on the verge of bankruptcy. He quickly did a management and financial restructuring. He laid off some employees, sold some part of the company, slashed down his salary to $1 per Annam (Perfect example of putting the company's objectives ahead of personal objectives). Some of Lee's intimate and competent friends were also fired from Ford before Lee was fired, only because they were friends of Lee. After Lee joined Chrysler, he brought some of them to Chrysler. Finally, Lee turned towards Federal government and asked for a loan. His line of argument was that if Chrysler licks the dust, thousand of employees would lose their jobs, which wasn't good for the country. And government bailing-out companies wasn't unprecedented. It has happened umpteen time in the US. The controversial decision was finally taken, and Chrysler got a loan of 1.2 billion, in two installments. Later, Chrysler successfully rolled out a few cars and repaid the debts. Lee's contribution was instrumental in turning the company around.

Learnings from the book: This book has something for everybody to learn. Spawned below are the few things that i learned from this book. In fact, this book teaches a lot of lessons, but i remember only very few.

Three Axioms of Public speaking: Here is lee's tip on public speaking:” Tell the audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them, and finish by telling what you told them."

Always speak in other man's interests: When Lee approached Federal govt for a loan, he never spoke how granting loan would bring Chrysler out of bankruptcy. He spoke how it would save the jobs of thousand of employees of Chrysler.

Importance of Appraisal: In his book, Lee extensively speaks about the appraisal system, setting short-term and long-term goals. He also suggests that we should write our goals on a paper, because otherwise we get away with the vagueness in the goals. Moreover, writing our goals on paper makes it all the more clear.

P.S: I read his autobiography a few months back. Whatever I could recollect, I've written here. If I have furnished any wrong details, do let me know so that I can correct it.