Thursday, November 30, 2006

Metro Cash n Carry opens Hyderabad centre!-Pan India roll out soon!

Yesterday, we were invited to a function when Metro Cash and Carry announced the opening of its distribution center in Hyderabad- the third in India after the first two in Bangalore way back in 2003. The centre opens today.

The short function included an address by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr Y Rajasekhar Reddy and a welcome note by Mr Harsh Bahadur MD of Metro.

Calling it a ‘self service wholesale format’, Mr Bahadur mentioned that they are embarking on a pan India roll out..with the Kolkota and Mumbai centres being ready by April and July 07. They are also at advanced stages in identifying land in Coimbatore, Chennai, Pune –among other cities. He said that the roll out facilitates

-infrastructure setting up the supply chain in place
-employment in large numbers to localites

The Hyderabad centre apparently provides employment to over 600 staff, and the CM handed over appointment orders to 4 of them.

For Team Options, it was a very special day-for we are instrumental in helping hiring more than two-thirds of the Operational staff-at the Floor and Department managers levels at Hyderabad!! The challenges included 'buyer' profiles across food, meat & poultry, fresh vegetables and dairy products...
The function was well attended by corporates like Agrotech, ITC, and Wilmar, apart from other service providers.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

A revolution in India for jobs in Retail and Agriculture...??

I came across Steve Hamms blog -where in he perhaps cant believe Mukesh Ambani’s dream doing “with Indian agriculture what the Indian tech companies have done to the global tech services industry—undercut the market with lower costs and lower prices.”

Steve wonders “That’s going to be one incredible act to follow”

Well, I am of the opinion that Mr Mukesh Ambani's plans for connecting the Indian farmer to the global consumer isnt far fetched-am sure its bound to be the foundation on which the Indian agricultural producers will become worldclass in time!!

1. the agriculturist in India has had to battle the vagaries of the weather and the ‘economies of scale’ in managing the produce of the crops.
2. poor infrastructure – be in transport or storage systems –havent helped the shelf life either.
3. poor returns meant no access or inclination for adoption of best practices. Ironically, because of poor MIS, the farmer even didn’t know which crop to cultivate –and would thereby go by looking at the ‘best prices in the previous season’!! We have seen so many cases of a farmer shifting from one crop to another -little realizing that it was all a case of the supply-demand equation-and each time he wd end up producing more than what was required!!

As a Hyderabadi customer, I can see the retail revolution in fruits and vegetables happening around me in the last few months! ITCs echoupal was the first entrant. Reliance has a bunch –both their own units as well as franchises. Our erstwhile CM Mr Chandrababu Naidu's Heritage group is launching abt 20 outlets in the coming month. The German MNC Metro- though in the B2B business –is launching its Hyderabadi distribution centre later this week (30th)! The prices of vegetables has significantly come down in the recent past. The latest rumour in the market is that Pantaloon groups Mr Biyani would enter the market and insulate us from the fluctuating prices of vegetables-by giving fixed prices for a certain period!!

Why am I bullish?

-Large tracts of agricultural lands have already been leased by large corporates, so that they can achieve best ROI by using the best practices-be it the seeds, the agri inputs, better land management facilities.

-companies like ITCs echoupal inititiatives have helped the rural farmer to have access to computers, internet, keep track of the market prices and be generally aware of the ‘what could be’!

-companies like Mahindra Shublabh have been creating the ecosystem for better management !

-I remember listening to Air Deccans Capt Gopinaths- next dream- start a fleet of cargo planes- that can airlift agricultural produce from across 400 airports ( commercially even one fourth aren’t used today by the passenger flights!)- and hence help reach markets in quick time

-Am sure MNC retails groups are knocking the doors of the government – promising to set up huge refrigerated storage systems across the country to help better shelf life..

-Once the jobs are on offer, its only a matter of time when we can see people flocking to short term in retail or sourcing, or even customer management. Who wouldn’t want to have a well paying job right in the neighbourhood of his home??

It is all happening …and a matter of time.

PS-For those skeptical- here are my thoughts :As a recruiter -who has seen the evolution of the Indian software professional during the last 15yrs, may I just do a quick flashback into what has happened in the last 2 decades:

-would you believe there werent even a handful of colleges that had computer science as an elective in 1985??
-IBM had just left India in late seventies, and Computer Maintenance Corporation (CMC) had a few hundred professionals from the legacy? It is ironical CMC concentrated on hardware and TCS was to build on the boom that happened thanks to the mainframes being replaced by PCs!!
-Liberalisation happened in early nineties and the MNCs came and saw the Indian potential
-late nineties meant that the world started inviting Indian software professionals to combat the Y2K problem.
-the dotcom boom and post 9/11 –the outsourcing boom has made the “India component’ a considerable force.
-Talent wise, there was always a huge population –but the triggers were surely the education system –both mainstream, and the parallel short term courses by NIIT, Aptech-which evangelized the career of a software professional-by throwing open institutes practically in every lane of the major cities. The lure of a foreign posting and a dollar salary in quick time was just the trigger needed to attract the right attention from the supply side!!

And now that we in India aren’t seeing enough engineers to satisfy the appetite of the ever growing IT services company, companies are going the graduate way….

Friday, November 24, 2006

Boom in real estate..and Infrastructure jobs in India!!

The recent months have seen a spurt of action in the infrastructure industry- be it the airports, highways or the sanction of over a 150 SEZ ( special economic zones ) across India. The country is witnessing a boom in all the segments- commercial, residential, retail (malls and multiplexes) and hotels.

There have been a spate of IPOs which have either hit the market or have been planning to raise money thru the public private routes..the prominent of them being DLF, Puravankara , Sobha, Brigade, Omaxe, Ansal Properties, Mahindra Gesco, Peninsula Land! Most builders have been sitting on order book on thousands of crores..and the real estate prices have gone up thru the roof in the last 6 months alone- driving the speculation even more.

And all this means, sooner or later, these projects need to be delivered.

As a search firm, we are ourselves working on 4 mandates for CFOs for different clients- (thankfully across locations!) who would help in the financial structuring of these deals. There is a huge demand for Project Managers and Architects who have handled large scale projects – and so civil engineers with planning , design and execution experience are in shortage.

Increasingly MNC firms are eyeing JVs with Indian firms ( a la Lang O'Rourke with DLF, Emaar with MGF, Capital & Runwal group, Keppel Land & Puravankara), and professionals with exposure to working in PMCs ( project management consultancies ) and an international flavour of experience are in HOT demand!!

Professional Indians in the Middle East, Gulf, Asia Pac,…I hope you are realizing you are WANTED NOW –more than ever :-)!!!

Wanted returning Indians in Oil and Gas sector!!

If one thought only IT professionals from the US/Europe were being given red carpet welcome by the Indian corporates, here is some good news for those in the Middle East and Gulf!! Especially professionals in the Oil and Gas sector would find 2007 a great year to be wooed!!

It is time for the boom in the petrochemicals, petroleum and chemicals investment regions (PCPIRs) for oil companies!!

The government has identified the locations for setting up PCPIRs, mainly for the export market. According to the draft policy, the anchor tenant has to be a refinery or a petrochemical feedstock unit. Companies like Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum (BPCL) and Gail could take a lead in the seven zones identified by the government. Project sizes are rumoured to be as big as 3 billion USD!!

Not just the PSUs, there is an acute shortage of professional talent as private players like Reliance and MNC companies are also on the prowl!!

It is time for all those Indians working in the Chevrons, Exxons, Aramcos, BPs, start sprucing up their resumes and thinking about home!
Should you know of anyone open, please feel free to reach out to me :-)!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mercer HR Consulting names Best Companies to Work For in India

Mercer Human Resource Consulting is the global leader for trusted HR and related financial advice, products, and services-employing more than 15,700 employees serving clients across 190 cities and 41 countries and territories worldwide.

In a recent joint study with an Indian business magazine , some of their observations are that

* meaningful work and rewards, greater control over careers, increased focus on learning and development and individualised attention emerged as the key expectations of employees from organizations.
* The winners of the survey are companies who have made substantial investment in their people, infrastructure, facilities, technology and evolved HR systems. Stock options, flexi-timings, telecommuting, redressal and grievance committees, customized training and development opportunities, career management control and empowerment seem to be standard fare at these organizations.
*The inclusion of medium size organizations in the top ten rankings, reiterating the fact that investment in strong HR policies and employee development are not restricted to the "employee bloomers" -- organizations with more than 5000 employees, alone

*the differential between the top ten employers is clearly narrowing down and others are catching up fast!

* organizations are building an employer brand that goes beyond the four walls of the organization and encompasses the employees' families, alumni and the community at large

* And yes, the Best Companies to Work for in India 2006 are

1. Infosys
2. Mindtree Consulting
3. Satyam Computer Services
4. Dr Reddy's Labs
5. Sapient
6. Agilent Technologies
7. Johnson & Johnson
8. Covansys
9. HCL Comnet

An expatriate's account of "jobs in India"!!

Here are some interesting tidbits from a blog written by an expat! It is essentially in the context of challenges /opportunities for expatriates looking for professional assignments in India-be it short term, NGO , or corporate positions in India.

1.Compensation Rates: Even when a person has a job offer, the salary rates are exceedingly low. A “good” local salary is approximately 25% - 30% of what professionals would earn in the United States or Europe. Many positions pay far less.

2.High Touch in a High Tech Environment: In spite of the technology boom, networking and personal connections are still necessary to locate a satisfactory job.

3.Expatriates Work in Interesting Roles: Expatriates can find interesting, challenging roles, often with daily access to chief executive officers and policy-makers.
4. Buying Power of the Indian Rupee: A comparison of the relative purchasing power of India and the United States reveals that India’s per capita GDP of $523 provides $2,686 in purchasing power. In the US, a GDP of $35,000 purchases $37,000 worth of goods and services. Therefore, a rupee-denominated salary purchases many more local goods and services in India than the dollar equivalent salary buys goods and services in the US.

I shall probably add that while it is truly a validation of the thoughts and expressions made elsewhere in this blog regarding the salary expectations, it is reaffirming the impression..India is increasingly becoming a destination that one can't ignore for too long in future!

Happy hunting!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

BPOs waking up to attrition? Prevention better -no cure!!

BPO companies are beginning to realize that ‘no poach agreements’ really aren’t effective!!

Sudden ramp ups that follow client wins, have often meant attracting aspirants at a higher salary- as well as ignoring proper relieving letter and notice periods-both of which are only postponing the problem...

Earlier today, I was interacting with a hiring manager of one of the largest companies, and what he said was very enlightening. Quote

“How I personally am trying to manage is through showing my team members a strong career path and throwing intellectual challenges to them to keep them going. My company is not the best paymaster in the analytics market, however it caters to numerous businesses. So there is enough opportunity within the organization to pursue interests of an individual.

Thats an exposure that I bank upon to retain people. I tell them that if you stick to a place, it would be like an equity investment which would bear good returns in the long run.

I have been successful so far in keeping a score of 0% attrition in my team over 1.5 yrs. But there is little control that you have over the young mindset and personally I believe the salaries being offered today by organizations to attract people dont match up to the skill set that people bring to the organization. And nobody minds more money in the pocket !! Its a challenge for every manager which would last for another 2-3 yrs I guess.”

Is this just an exception..or the beginning??

Sunday, November 19, 2006

On setting up an Indian presence

I was reading a post on the importance of the recruiters to understand the nuances of the Indian job market and practices and can only reaffirm what Gautam expressed.

As a recruiter working across different industries, across the middle and senior management levels-and at times across different functions, my personal observations are

- the best FIT happens when the candidate fits the culture of the organization.
- the skills required for the start up team –to work in an uncertain environment, transplant and establish a system in place –may be distinctly different from those required to manage, motivate and retain a large pool of talent as the company grows!
- there is an increasing trend in mobility of Indian professionals –both within India, as well as those returning to India.

MNC companies setting up India operations would well be adviced to use international search firms with a strong India focus –or those with partners based in India. Or even pick a few members of the Executive Recruiters Association , representing over a hundred of the top professionally managed selection/search/staffing firms –some of them with pan India presence, and some others who work in niche markets, or with strong regional penetration.

As the war for talent increases, there is an increasing need to hire passive jobseekers who are more likely to be better fits than those who are actively seeking. One needs not just online recruiting tools to reach out, but also a very strong offline presence in India to be able to discern the best from the rest!

One of the most memorable interviews I attended!!

This was way back in 1984 and when we were in the final year of the MBA program –and the campus hiring season had just begun. In those days, there were only a few MNCs and large Indian corporates who did those campus visits (remember it was much before the liberalised India corporate world), and it was still ‘an employers market”. And we were part of the tier II management institutes and so the pick was that much lesser than the premier institutes! Most of us were to subsequently fend for jobs and opportunities on our own-often picking up the first job that came by!

Hindustan Levers, Crompton Greaves, ICICI, IDM, Balsara...were among the companies that visited-and one can still remember some of the chaos the group discussions created, as they filtered candidates- who would make it to the interview shortlist. In the heat of the moment, some arguments would turn ugly-often ending up in personal accusations, and suddenly, the months of friendships would be having the acid test as the ‘survival of the fittest’ happened !!

It is that context that I recall the interview process of Hoechst..the pharmaceutical company.( Sanofi Aventis of today!) –which was a very different experience.

Hoechst India had a dynamic HR head then- Mr George Menezes- who was, after his air-force and diplomatic stints, proud of leading an organization that hadn’t lost a single man-day of production due to labour unrest for 25yrs by then. After a very impressive preplacement talk, they went about the shortlist in a very scientific manner

-No group discussion!! (all MBA students would have gone thru a tough elimination round, and so their communication and analytic skills were taken for granted! )
-only personal interviews- Being a pharma company, the company wanted to consider only Pharma/Chemical Engineering and science graduates who could related to the core business!

That brought the aspirants to a handful –who were then interviewed individually-indepth- over an hour each by a panel of three.

Again, not much focus on fundas or jargons one expected in the interview!! The logic was simple. They weren’t looking for Einsteins! They were looking for bright young professionals, who could relate/interact with the existing team, be a good learner, and grow into positions of responsibility in time!! The management trainee would need to report to X, work along with some peers –and perhaps manage a bunch of people..all of whom were ‘known constants’. So, the accent was on finding a person who could FIT in to the culture of the organization. And would you believe, the questions varied from personal value systems, and beliefs, one’s reaction to reservation/caste systems, personal interests, work life balance, ..all meant to dissect the personality and understand him/her better. It was very foxing- for there were no right or wrong answers! No predetermined 'sales pitches' prepared by us could help. Just a long informal chat that enabled us to unwittingly reveal more than we ever could imagine.

Again, the emphasis was on to zero in to the attitude of the person. Given the right attitude, it is only a matter of time before knowledge and skills could be imparted to the candidate.

It is no wonder that the selected person – who after going thru the right foundation and the management training of Hoechst, has gone one to become a very succesful entrepreneur –now heading the leading Indian group of diagnostic companies- among the highest exporters, and employing over a 1000 employees in the state of Goa!!

To me, one of the rejects- the takeaway ? Help identifying those candidates who would not fit the long term interest of the corporates!! And more importantly, it has led me to my calling, helping over a thousand people find their calling by identifying the best/apt jobs they need to hone their skills on their way to professional and personal success!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

IT Job Market in India- tips by a returned Indian!!

Here is a chronicle by a returned Indian- who made the transition last year. It is a must read for all those prospective returning Indians- as he has tried to document his thoughts & experiences in the transition.

And this is what he has to say

1.The work environment in India-especially IT companies is very similar to that abroad!
2.Pay attention to a work-life balance.
3.Be willing to consider a drop in salary for a better quality of life.
4.The support systems for dual working couples are still arent adequate and it may be area of concern that should be debated even while contemplating the relocation to India.
5.The best option for the relocation is one –that is facilitated by your own employer!

As a recruiter,I would like to add-if you need to look outside your present employer to relocate to India, the best way to look for a job –is to make a 2 week trip to India and have a first hand feel of the Indian job market-especially considering that most would have gone to US for higher studies-without any “Indian “ corporate experience.

It would help in appreciating the realities and also set right some of ones expectations.And yes, what a employer wd evaluate in this case –is the "need to relocate" to India and the passion to make it a succesful career move!!

Happy hunting!!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

American Companies reviewing 'team of twenty one ' India relocation strategy!

I came across an interesting blog by Sramana –written over a year ago Team-of-Twenty-One cautioning that those companies that are building 1000 people operations in one Indian city are making a mistake. Her advice to US companies then – “Try to find five GMs, each from a different city in India, and a core group of twenty somewhat experienced people with leadership qualities that would like to move back, to go with each GM.”

Well, a year and half later, this is happening!! And what better testimonials than the some of the bigger players-who have been investing in new locations recently –while still expanding their large development centres at the place they first landed!!

Some product development companies have presence in two cities (Microsoft, Google, Adobe, Oracle, Computer Associates,…), some three (Amazon, Motorola, recently nvidia…)- the services companies have more! IBM has ventured across the geography of India to cover six cities !! ( Bangalore, Chennai, Gurgaon,Hyderabad, Kolkota , Pune) !!

It is only a matter of time –when companies would encourage large scale telecommuting as a tool for attracting and retaining talent –rather than the low levels today almost doling it out as an exception!!?

Friday, November 10, 2006

US city invites Indian entrepreneurs to invest!!

I was fortunate to attend a meeting yesterday when Mr Roger Cranwell and Mr Girish Godbole evangelised Pittsburg -promoting the region to attract technology & manufacturing investments as the right place to invest in !

It was a place Mr Cranwell had spent 15 yrs (and Mr Godbole 22yrs)-and so it wasn't too difficult for them to list out the history of a city which houses Carnegie Mellon and Univ of Pittsburg, the home to Alcoa, Heinz, Ariba and Google's R&D-the low cost of doing business, better quality of life and a wonderful climate to top it all! It was remarkable to note that this was not being organised by the State or the Government-but purely an initiative of the industry..which has bonded the city after a major meltdown in early 90s of the local economy.

The program was organised by the TiE chapter, and iPort , and was attended by a sprinkling of local Hyderabadi entrepreneurs -the most prominent of them being Mr J A Chowdary (fresh from announcing the acquisition of Portal Player by nvidia! , Mr Jay Pullur of Pramati technologies.

There was also an announcement of a forthcoming meeting next week by the Pennsylvania department of community and economic development-also at Hyderabad-inviting investments to the "gateway of North America"!!

An indication of the rising Indian entrepreneur??

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tips on Career management by Mr R Gopalakrishnan Executive Director, Tata Sons

The Economic times has recently been bring out a series of articles by Mr R Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director , Tata Sons.

An IIT alumnus, and a 31 yr stint with the the Unilever group rising upto the Vice Chairman of Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL), and presently a director on several Tata group companies, it is very interesting to note some of his thoughts from daily life !!It is really enlightening for all those in the corporate race!!

In his latest piece, he tackles the question –is it the aim of a career to go far –or in the right direction?? The analogy of a club golfer's enthusiasm is so apt. They often hit the ball to see it soaring with speed-only to observe where it has either landed in a difficult spot or even got lost! The mature ones take a measured approach of landing the ball on the fairway at a spot where they want it to land. For them, the next stroke is as important as the first tee shot!! If you are very talented, you may learn to do both..take the right direction, distance will follow!!

Some of his words of wisdom from the the earlier articles in the series:

Enjoy what you and do what you enjoy! A career is not a destination, it is the journey

Learn from simple ideas and stories that surround you!

Management is about leadership — of people, of ideas, of markets. It is not merely about how far you go, and definitely not about doing what you are told to do, it is about doing what you are paid to do.

IT product companies paying whopping salaries in India

Compared to the professionals in consulting companies, the hi end techies are laughing all the way to the bank, says an article in today’s Economic times!

The salary differential between US and India is decreasing in some sectors.

The reasons

1.The flocking of large number of research, development and product firms have put a lot of pressure on the engineering talent reserve in the country, therefore the "remuneration factor'' became the only differentiator.

2.Venture capital companies are increasingly willing to fund research and products firms.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Senior level jobs with KPO, software and hospitality

Here are some interesting assignments we are currently working on. If you need any information about them or want to apply for them send your resumes to me at [email protected] or call me at +91-98490-40820 .

We're looking for a Country Manager to head a KPO unit. NRI's who are looking to relocate to India would be a great fit !

We are also looking for a CFO position in the hospitality sector. Check out the posting for details about the client and expectations from the CFO.

A great role that we are also looking at is Sales head of a software firm to be based out of Chennai.

Are you suitable for these senior level jobs with our clients?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

India's highest paid professionals

The latest issue of Business India is on the stands-and presents their annual survey of India’s best paid executives.

The salient points

  • The survey is based on the annual reports of companies for the year 2005-06. A list of over 850 executives –and their employers/designations –have salaries above the cutoff figure of Rs 50lacs pa. The highest is Rs 24crores –Mr Mukesh Ambani!
  • The average pay increase in the last five 5yrs is 11.5% in India (compared to 7.5% in China)
  • Indian companies are increasingly imitating American style pay practices, particularly performance based compensation like bonuses and stock options- to retain their top employees. One can expect more innovativeness and increase on the variable salary side rather than the fixed compensation.
  • Increasing trend of ‘signing bonus’ –especially in the financial sector. The flip side-candidates are misbehaving –backing out at the last minute.
  • CEO compensation is approaching world levels-as India is now seen as a major market and not just as a back office operation.

Interesting to note :

  • Many of India’s largest companies are in the public sector. The salaries of the CEOs are pathetic. In fact, the difference in CEO pay between the private and public sector is as much as 100 times!
  • Many of the Indian companies are privately held and so their annual remuneration is a secret affair. Almost every industry ( commercial banking, investment banking, private equity, insurance, telecom,and media) have hundreds of them hidden in their midst!
  • The survey doesn’t cover MNC salaries, management consultants, advertising agencies…and clearly the cutoff of 50lacs would have had many more numbers.
  • Curiosly, hefty compensation alone cannot guarantee retention and loyalty. Many executives are choosing job content and company culture over big bucks! HR professionals are in a dilemma balancing rapid business growth amidst high attrition levels.
  • Yes, there is a wide chasm between the highest and the lowest paid employees within a company..often the disparity is about 100 times… the super rich are becoming marvelously rich !!!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Peanuts, Cashewnuts and the way ahead!?

On Thursday, I happened to have an interesting chat with a senior doyen of the Indian Industry. Past Chairman of Southern Region of CII ( confederation of Indian Industry), his group has interests across different fields.. banking, finance, education, healthcare, hospitality among others!!

We got around to talking about the new economy, changing perceptions of entrepreneurs, increasing demands of job seekers, and rightly so-the challenges of balancing it all together.

He recalled the adage :’Pay peanuts-and get monkeys”! Are cashew nuts the solution??

What do we do to find the right talent??

I had just made another visit to Gurgaon-and the growing city just baffled me-one sees lot of action in infrastructure all around-roads, huge commercial spaces, equally enormous malls-but where are the people? The young recruiter of a large BPO had just briefed me that his company had hired over 10000 people this year…and their present employee strength was about a thousand lesser!!? The pressure on recruiting targets was just mind boggling-the target for this week alone was close to a 200 joinees!! And all this activity just wasn’t in a bid for expansion…they were just trying to fill up positions that fell vacant due to attrition!!

Is it high time we stopped looking for instant gratification? Is rampant poaching of ready made or even half baked talent really giving the desired results…?

Did the forerunners in the Indian ITES/BPO industry –do the right thing in glamourising the work culture? Is it ingraining that short term gains are the only way out? With employees not seeing any ‘visible value adds’ in their early and young career, see the only way out to ‘jump jobs’ and equate higher salaries –as the indices of growth??

Will the boom that came India’s way, just pass off …as another ‘dotcom ‘fever’?

Can one instead ‘farm talent’?

Ironically among some of the measures the legendary Jack ‘neutron’ Welch did was to institute the Six Sigma program- developed to maximize the efficiency of manufacturing processes through the minimization of production of defective units. When applied at General Electric it became the largest quality-control measure ever adopted in corporate America. Can you imagine, they had hired over 200 engineers (Defence officers with strong people management skills and ZERO commercial exposure) and put them through 2 years of orientation across the different departments of GE that they have the business acumen ? The program required a huge investment in training and tracking but ultimately led to great gains in profit and productivity.

Can we learn..and react before it is too late? Who will bell the cat??

The "cool" Finance Minister

I was away in Delhi and Gurgaon for a few client meetings this week

The biggest take away for me…was a very brief interaction with the one of the architects of the Indian economy…none other than the Finance Minister P Chidambaram!!

Delhi Airport- I had checked in for the 830 pm flight-and most flights were delayed due to the heavy congestion at the airport…when I see a very familiar face walking very measuredly, the traditional mundu –dragging his overnighter-and came and sat a few seats security –no chamchas, no bureaucrats..all alone-just like any other passenger!!

Most of us were awed just staring..not sure if it was real! Couple of people ventured across to seek his permission to talk-but the stern NO, sorry , NO..was enough to indicate he was busy –as he took out a booklet and started studying – a whole lot of tables of economic indicators.

Something was serious..for he then had a long chat –comparing the numbers with some one-for almost half an hour when the airport authorities came and patiently tried for his attention to indicate his flight was ready.

To me..he was one of my heroes. One of the people who has contributed my career and worklife!! I was fortunate to carry the latest issue of the Business World..which had a photograph of the FM launching the Asia Pac edition of the Harvard Business Review recently. I waited for him to put his phone down..and requested him for an autograph!!

GOOD WISHES…he wrote –along with his signature!! And as I almost yanked out my ‘cross’ pen from his hand, he seemed to think I was taking his pen natural for him to glance at his pocket –before letting go –with a look of little reliefJ!

As I got into the AirDeccan flight to Hyderabad –a few minutes later, there he was again. Sitting at the window near the emergency exit- this time he was careful. He has plonked his books on the next seat..a very obvious hint for all for his privacy! We reached Hyd a little past midnight..

Todays Economic times screams…FM Spots Signals of Overheating in economy

Aren't we all responsible? Compulsive/impulsive (?) Job hoppers..HR managers, recruitment consultants, media hype..high attrition rates..increased consumerism, more spending power..all adding to the inflationary trends?? Is the bubble going to bust ?