June 25, 2009

The India-Brasil love saga

While I was in Brasil last year, I kept hearing about a new novella (soap opera) that was going to start - Caminho das Indias (The Passage to India). Even strangers would tell me about it and break into fun conversations about India and its culture. It was heartening and fun sharing my perspectives.

Just today, I got reminded of this, in an article on Rediff by B S Prakash - the Indian Ambassador to Brasil. Do check it out - all that he says is true. The novella has indeed become a huge phenomenon there, and all my friends back there keep talking to me about it.

Its definitely a wonderful portrayal of India (most of it at least, unlike Slumdog Millionaire which did quite the opposite) and Brasilians just love ropas indianas (Indian clothes!), music (my friends love Salaam Namaste), incense sticks (I bought and gifted some myself, in Rio de Janeiro) and the colorful culture.

Like B S Prakash mentions jokingly in this article, it would indeed be fun to have a soap opera about Brasil made in India! ;) Interestingly, there's also another novella running in Brasil currently, about China - called Negocios Com China (Business with China) - Cheers to BRIC nations! :)

Search for Caminho das Indias on YouTube for some videos!

June 04, 2009

Action and Results

Stemming from a Twitter discussion I was having today with @rashmid I began to think about all the buzz around global warming, hunger, insert_global_or_local_problem here and the massive amounts of action surrounding these and other issues.

I’ve seen this action in person, volunteering my time with projects with kids, the poor and even during the horrifying tsunami incident – and believe me, its heart gratifying. Touching, inspiring, moving to say the least.

As an entrepreneur / business person or even on a basal level, as a logical person – it still poses a stark question in my face – action, yes – happening at the local and global level yes. But what about the results? Where’s the universal scoreboard?

Couple of years back after leaving Microsoft, I picked up a copy of ‘Leaving Microsoft to Change The World’ by John Wood. It caught my fancy because of the title of course, but it had me gripped once I started browsing through it. John Wood quit a lucrative, enviable position at Microsoft Australia – reporting at times, directly into CEO Steve Ballmer – to start an NGO, initially based out of Nepal. Their charter was to create a ‘room to read’ for young children who didn’t have the means to study. They created libraries and schools.

What fascinated me most, was the way their model worked – they would map individual / corporate donations against action, or rather results. That model is widely used these days by a lot of NGOs – I don’t care who pioneered it.

Bottomline – I’d love to see local efforts reflecting in a global scoreboard or check sheet which maps donations/actions taken to make positive change happen, with the actual results. Now wouldn’t that be wonderful?!