Friday, 15 November 2013

Ghummakkar: A bike Ride To The Farthest Indian Town in HP | Delhi – Shimla – Chitkul – Delhi (4 Days and 1600 KMs)

Right then. So it was just me and my friend Amit and our enthusiasm when we began our journey to the farthest town in India (Himachal Side) on Friday, 8th November 2013. We started in the evening at about 4PM from Noida (Near Delhi) and drove for about 5 hours on our respective bikes before taking our first halt at Chandigarh – The gateway to some of the most heavenly places in Himachal. After having a filling (and much deserved) dinner, we headed out to Shimla. The drive to our next destination was about 4.5 hours and needless to mention, it was a chilly experience. To make matters worse, just about 10 KMs before our guest house in Shimla (booked for INR 100 per night) a german shepherd halted us and from what it looked like, he did not want us to be around!!! My friend thankfully used his – Sickle to shoo the dogggggggg away and we moved ahead. We checked in to the guest house at about 2 AM in the morning and fainted to glory, only to wake up early in the morning as we had even better plans.
Day 2: The plan was to move to Chail first, we did not stay there though, but the town was scenic and the views were serene. We decided to hit the world’s highest polo ground which is located in Chail and said hello to the Maharaja of Chail at his Palace (Ofcourse I am kidding, we just visited the palace). It took us about 3 hours from Shimla to Chail and after about 4 hours and a lunch we decided to head back to Shimla and camped for the night (in the same guest house) since Day 3 was the most important day for us.
Day 3: The day! We had plans to move to Chitkul – About 250 KMs from Shimla and 3450 feet above the sea level. This is the last town in India and is near Sangla. The population of Sangla is about 650-700 and the nearest river is Baspa. Coming back to our travel, we started in the morning at around 8 AM after having a decent breakfast and drove on the Sutlej river-side for not less than 150 KMs before hitting the tough terrain. We reached Chitkul at about 6 PM in the evening and no points for guessing, the town was already asleep. We decided to knock some doors and ask for an accommodation or hotel but just before we took a step ahead the wanabe models in us instructed us to click a few pictures and we had to obey. An old pahadi man came to us and asked if we had a place to stay. Trust me, in the given circumstances, he was nothing less than a god’s gift to us, especially when he offered us to stay in the PWD guest house in Chitkul.
The guest house however had its own share of problems to offer to us. There was extremely low voltage (hence really dim lights), the water pipelines were frozen – did I mention the temperature was -3 degree celcius? If this wasn’t all, there was no key to lock the rooms and we were expected to get our on own water for bath (and other important things) from the river Baspa (flowing right across). Last but not the least, we were the only people staying in the property – quite a situation to watch this horror movie, Amityville huh?  
Day 4: We decided to explore the local area and riversise, some photography and our lunch before we headed out to Shimla again through the adventurous yet extremely scenic roads. We took a halt at Shimla (in the same guest house) and next morning we returned back to our home (never felt bad than this though).
We drove for about 1600 KMs during these 5 days and halted at 5 cities. Some of the stuff that we packed with us were, lots of dry-fruits, sickles, first aid kits, sprouts, milks and fruits (we kept buying them on the way), electric kettle, mats.
What this trip made me feel was simply hungry for more – on that note, signing off J


Thursday, 15 September 2011

8 Reasons Your Employees Don’t Care

Pay only goes so far. Higher salaries are like the bigger house syndrome: Move into a bigger house and initially it feels roomier, but the new normal.
Employees don’t automatically perform at higher levels if wages are higher because commitment, dedication, and motivation are not based on pay. No matter how high the salary, if you treat employees poorly they won’t care — about their jobs or your business.
Here are eight reasons employees don’t care:
  1. No freedom. Best practices are definitely important, but not every task deserves a best practice or micro-managed approach. Autonomy breeds engagement and satisfaction. Autonomy also breeds innovation. Even manufacturing and heavily process-oriented positions have room for different approaches or paths. Decide which process battles are worth fighting; otherwise, let employees have some amount of freedom to work they way they work best.
  2. No targets. Goals are fun. (I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t at least a little bit competitive.) Targets create a sense of purpose and add meaning to even the most repetitive tasks. Without a goal to shoot for, work is just work.
  3. No sense of mission. We all like to feel a part of something bigger. Striving to be worthy of words like “best” or “largest” or “fastest” or “highest quality” provides a sense of purpose. Let employees know what you want the business to achieve; how can they care about your dreams if they don’t know your dreams?
  4. No clear expectations. While every job should include decision-making latitude, every job also has basic expectations regarding the way certain situations should be handled. Criticize an employee for providing a refund today even though last week refunds were standard procedure and you’ve lost the employee.  (How can I do a good job when I don’t know what doing a good job means?) When standards change, always communicate those changes first — then stick with them. And when you don’t, explain why this particular situation is different.
  5. No input. Everyone wants to be smart. How do I show I’m smart? By offering suggestions and ideas. (Otherwise no matter how hard I work I just feel like a robot.) Deny me the opportunity to make suggestions, or shoot my suggestions down without consideration, and I’m just a robot — and robots don’t care. Make it easy for employees to present ideas and when an idea doesn’t have merit take the time to explain why. You can’t implement every idea, but you can make employees feel good every time they make a suggestion.
  6. No connection. The company provides the paycheck, but employees work for people. A kind word, a short discussion about family, a brief check-in to see if they need anything… person-to-person moments are much more important than meetings or formal evaluations. Employees want to be seen as people, not numbers. Numbers don’t care. People care — especially when you care about them first.
  7. No consistency. Most employees can deal with a boss who is demanding and quick to criticize… as long as she treats every employee the same way. (Think of it as the Vince Lombardi effect.) While it’s okay — in fact necessary — to treat employees differently, all employees must be treated fairly. Similar achievements should result in similar praise and rewards. Similar offenses should result in similar disciplinary actions. The key to maintaining consistency is to communicate; the more employees understand why a decision was made, the less likely they are to assume favoritism or unfair treatment.
  8. No future. Every job should have the potential to lead to something better, either within or outside the company. I worked my way through college at a manufacturing plant. I had no future with the  company because everyone understood I would only stay until I graduated. One day my boss said, “Hey, let me show you how we set up the job scheduling board.” I looked at him oddly; why show me instead of someone else? In response he said, “Some day, somewhere, you’ll be in charge of production. Might as well start learning now.” Take the time to develop employees for jobs they hope to fill — even if those positions are outside your company. They will care about your business because they know you care about them.                                                                                       By  Jeff Haden

Friday, 22 July 2011


Managing can be a little difficult at first. A recent poll found that more than 50% of managers received NO training before starting the job. Here is a list of the most common mistakes new managers make so you can avoid making them too. (If you think I missed one, use the "Readers Respond" link at the bottom to add a new one.)

1. Think you know everything.
If you were just promoted to Production Manager, you may feel you know everything about production. Even if that were true, and it isn't, you sure don't know everything about the most important part of your new job, managing people. Listen to the people around you. Ask for their input when appropriate. Keep an open mind.

2. Show everyone who's in charge.
Trust me, everyone in your group knows who the new manager is. You don't have to make a big show about being "the boss". You do, however, have to demonstrate that, as the boss, you are making a positive difference.

3. Change everything.
Don't re-invent the wheel. Just because the way something is done isn't the way you would do it, it isn't necessarily wrong. Learn the difference between "different" and "wrong".

4. Be afraid to do anything.
Maybe you didn't ask for the promotion. Maybe you are not sure you can do the job. Don't let that keep you from doing the job the best you can. Upper management wouldn't have put you into the job if they didn't have confidence that you could handle it.

5. Don't take time to get to know your people.
Maybe you worked alongside these people for years. That doesn't mean you know them. Learn what makes them excited, how to motivate them, what they fear or worry about. Get to know them as individuals, because that's the only way you can effectively manage them. Your people are what will make or break you in your quest to be a good manager. Give them your attention and time.

6. Don't waste time with your boss.
Since he/she just promoted you, surely he/she understands how busy you are and won't need any of your time, right? Wrong. Your job, just like it was before you became a manager, is to help your boss. Make sure to budget time to meet with him/her to both give information and to receive guidance and training.

7. Don't worry about problems or problem employees.
You can no longer avoid problems or hope they will work themselves out. When something comes up, it is your job to figure out the best solution and get it done. That doesn't mean you can't ask for other's input or assistance, but it does mean you are the person who has to see it gets taken care of.

8. Don't let yourself be human.
Just because you are the boss doesn't mean you can't be human, that you can't laugh, or show emotion, or make an occassional mistake.

9. Don't protect your people.
The people in your group will be under pressure from every direction. Other departments may want to blame you for failed interfaces. Your boss may want to dump all the unpleasant jobs on your department. HR may decide the job classifications in your area are overpaid. It's your job to stand up for your people and make sure they are treated as fairly as possible. They will return the loyalty.

10. Avoid responsibility for anything.
Like it or not, as the manager you are responsible for everything that happens in your group, whether you did it, or knew about it, or not. Anything anyone in your group does, or doesn't do, reflects on you. You have to build the communications so there are no surprises, but also be prepared to shoulder the responsibility. It goes hand-in-hand with the authority.

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