Are you lucky?

Follow hanmireddy on Twitter

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


central park picture
There are a host of new and emerging Challenges and Opportunities at the work-place. Obsolescence and change have a significant effect on both the decline of some professions and emergence of others. The new generation of employees has characteristics which are distinct from those of the earlier generation. Many employers attach great importance to Atitude, Emotion and work ethics. In fact they base their decisions of recruitment and promotion on the possession of these skills by job-seekers. There is considerable wisdom and advice, 'of successful professionals available for the benefit of all students or job seekers.

We live in a knowledge society. There is tremendous diversity in the matter of careers covering conventional as well as emerging fields.

The Goals of Education

There are several distinct Goals or Aims of Education:

● Individual Goal: to contribute to the development of the Individual, to make him/her self­-reliant.

● Social Goals: to provide education for: Citizenship, Social Efficiency and Social Service.

● Knowledge Goal: is related to acquisition of relevant knowledge.

● Moral Goal: is related to character formation.

● Vocational Goal: deals with the preparation of individuals for contributing to economic development and national wealth through productive employment.

A reciprocal relationship exists between education and employment - between educational planning and manpower planning. There ought to be a match between the knowledge and skills required by the different employment sectors; and the structure, content and Teaching-Learning processes provided by the education sectors. Any mismatch results in under-or unemployment, and frustrations and social unrest. It is necessary to provide feedback loops, and bridge the gap between education and employment through occupational training.

In the classical tradition, Education was not only for preparation for employment. In the post ­industrial era; formal education is a pre-requisite for employment. Educated and trained manpower is one of the major inputs for economic and social development. The employment sector is where an individual spends most of his adult life. The employment sector consists of different sub-sectors: Agrarian, Manufacturing, Business, Financial, Social and Public Services, etc. An efficient labour market must meet the requirements of both employers and employees. The employment sector must pride both opportunities and incentives to encourage the adaptability of the work force.

The Future of Work

The idea of restricting the concept of work to paid employment started about 200 years ago, and actually took off only after the industrial revolution. All other forms of work, especially housework and family work were looked down upon, and are not covered by statistics as indicators of prosperity and growth. In the long run, it is believed that the foundations of a society will emerge in which people’s work is divided in three ways: paid work, self-work and civic work.

Social scientist Imhoff predicts that in future, paid employment will only take up about 6% of people’s lives; they will be spending more time in education; paid working hours will shorten; and life expectancy will be longer. A 100 years ago, people spent 35% of their lives in gainful employment. Today, this figure has fallen to just under 13% - and is expected to drop to only 6% in future. It is asserted that Education should be regarded as an activity and as educational work.

In summary, society will recognize 5 types of work: paid employment; self-work; citizen to citizen work; community work; and educational work. This “work portfolio” could be linked to an equivalent “income portfolio”, with money-earning and money-saving component.

The number of self-employed people continues to grow; middle management is disappearing; many businesses are folding due to out-sourcing or down-sizing to core activities; opportunities for arbitrage are on the rise; and the international movement of labor and business continues to pick up speed. A consequence of all these will be the unassailability of full employment in the major old industrial countries”.

Job watch for the future

The following advice is given to prospective employees and job seekers, in a recent news report:

Hiring: Potential employers may reject you if you show any of the following qualities:

● You want very clear job descriptions and very clear lines of authority.

● You have experience in only one single function.

● Your work experience has all been in a single industry sector.

● You have worked in big firms; you haven’t experienced turbulent situations.

● You want permanent employment and not a contract.

Compensation: Your employer will be averse your asking for the following:

● A salary where the fixed component is high, the performance-linked part low.

● A package which has the firm taking care of issues like housing.

● The taxable component is low and the tax-free component is high.

● A salary structure with a minimum fixed increment every year.

Redundancy: You could end up losing your job even if you are doing well because:

● Your company is merging with another company.

● Your firm is moving into a new business, and your department doesn’t fit in.

● Your firm has dropped its plans for a new business and doesn’t need you.

● The work your department does can be outsourced.

● Internal restructuring to reduce the duplication in your company.

The right choice: In this report in Mid Day–September 6, 2001, four factors affecting Career Choice have been identified:

Talent: Two questions need to be asked:

● What are my strengths and weaknesses?

● How can I focus on my strengths and manage my weaknesses ?

Most people don’t choose their career, their career chose them. They got into a line of work, because they had to certain job, or somebody told them they’d be good at a certain job. For a fulfilling career, one must make sure that he/she is doing what he/she is good at. That way, one will enjoy doing it.

Purpose: Talents develop best in the context of interest. Choosing one’s work is the chance to do something meaningful and relevant.

Environment: It is necessary to figure out what work environment best suit one’s style, temperament and values.

Vision: Talent, purpose and environment are all about work style and work choice. Vision describes how work fits into the rest of life.

Emerging career options

Options on completion of UG degree: The following options present themselves to a Graduate:

● Job: In private sector, public sector, government (central/state), teaching, R&D.

● Self-employment; as an entrepreneurs.

● Training (Apprentice).

● Further Studies: In India or abroad (external brain drain); In Technology or Management or Business (internal brain drain). For most post-graduate admissions, an entrance examination has to be cleared (GATE, CAT, GRE, GMAT…).

The major measures of success are related to job satisfaction; money, prestige; reputation; image (as perceived by peers, society); leisure activities; ambition and its fulfillment; travel (particularly foreign travel); independence; (success of children).

Job Trends

News magazines undertake surveys and predictions of the hot job trends almost annually. Two such reports are summarized here.

Hot Jobs

The India Today – Millennium Series Vol. 3 – came up with the list of “10 hottest jobs”:

● Tissue Engineers (dealing with man-made skin; artificial cartilage; liver, heart, kidney tissue).

● Gene Programmers (dealing with digital genome maps that will allow technicians to create customized prescriptions; gene therapy; prevention of diseases, including certain cancers).

● ‘Pharmers’ (dealing with therapeutic proteins vaccine-carrying vegetables; drug-laden milk from cows).

● Frankenfood Monitors (dealing with fast-growing fish; freeze-resistant fruits).

● Data Miners (dealing with extraction of useful tidbits from mountains of data, pinpointing behavior patterns for marketers and epidemiologists).

● Hot-line Handymen (providing remote diagnostics to handle home electronics).

● Virtual-reality Actors (allowing these pros to interact with viewers in cyberspace dramas).

● Narrow casters–as compared to Broadcasters (enabling the current broadcasting industry to become increasingly personalized, working with advertisers to create customized contact).

● Turing Testers (enabling computer engineers to measure their efforts to mimic human intelligence, as suggested by Alan Turing).

● Knowledge Engineers (who are essentially AI brokers who will translate your expertise into software – and then downsize you!).

It is interesting to note that the first four relate to Biotechnology, while the rest relate to IT.

The same report also predicted that in the long run the following jobs will disappear:

● Stockbrokers, Auto Dealers, Mail Carriers, and Insurance and Real Estate Agents: The Internet will eradicate middleman by the millions.

The Hot Job Tracks Report of 2001 was based on The Week – TN Sofres Mode Feedback Survey on “Emerging Career Options 2001”. In this Survey, over 70 emerging career tracks were identified.

Some of the conclusions arrived at are:

● New technology is significan-tly affecting our lives.

● There is life beyond IT; and beyond traditional main-stream careers.

● For a creative, hardworking, enthusiastic person, the world is the oyster today.

The Survey identified the following 12 ‘hot job tracks’:

Design: with a scope encompas-sing: strategic corporate identity design; graphics; textiles; fashion design; industrial design; packaging; signage; environment design; media – print: film; internet and other digital interfaces; animation; web design; jewellery design.

Entertainment: animation; cable, satellite; film; FM radio; music; event management. Insurance: both life, and non-life insurance, with the scope including: marketing/sales executives; surveyor, loss assessor.

Healthcare: counseling (stress management, fitness); manager – hospital administration.

Infotech: career options in: network programming; installation management; internet applications; e-commerce; web security; IT-enabled services; CRM; data digitization; GIS; DSP; IT marketing; Technical writing.

Direct Sales – Consumer goods

Law: Modern law grads are joining the corporate sector as legal executives or legal officers, after specializing in corporate and international law.

Leisure: Customer Relations Executive: Travel and Tour Executive; Marketing Executives.

Media: Print, TV, online sources, with career options as: Online Editor, Content Specialist, Web executive; TV journalists.

Public Relations: Public Relations Officer/Guest Relations Officer; PR Executive.

Market Research: Marketing Executive; Research Executive.

Telecom: Marketing/Sales/Franchise Executive.

The new generation of employees

In their book: “Managing by Design”, R. Glaser and C. Glaser in the following characteristics of the ‘New Value of Employees’:

● Better educated, more sophisticated.

● More mobile, less loyal.

● Respect authority and establishing, time-honoured institutions and traditions.

● Choose a balanced life: allot equal time to work, leisure and family (personal relationships).

● Except psychic + monetary rewards from job.

● Assume entitlement to a middle-class life-style and above.

● Seek more open, authentic relationships at work.

● Insist on personal uniqueness.

● Want meaningful, relevant work.

● Strongly desire participation in the decision-making process.

● Understand and will pursue legal rights.

● Prefer not to defer gratification of personal needs.

● Are more autonomous, less dependent.

Job and Career Opportunities for Women

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, says the proverb. But over the last couple of decades, that hand has stretched beyond the cradle to reach out and grab the world. More and more women have not only stepped out of their cradle-rocking roles to slip into the world of work, but have silently made sizeable inroads into the traditional male bastion.

Economic liberalization and the new freedom mantra has thrown open a new world of market opportunities for women. There is virtually no field of enterprise that women cannot enter, and fewer restrictions and pressures. Today like never before women in India can do any job they set their minds to.

Prof. (Dr) P.K. Dutta
richest in the world

Effective Writing tips

In our society, the study of language and literature is the domain of poets, novelists, and literary critics. Language is considered a decorative art, fit for entertainment and culture, but practically useless in comparison to the concrete sciences. Just look at the value of a college degree in English versus one in computer science or accounting.

But is this an accurate assessment of value?

Language is the primary conductor between your brain and the minds of your audience. Ineffective language weakens and distorts ideas.

If you want to be understood, if you want your ideas to spread, using effective language must be your top priority.In the modern world of business and politics this is hardly ever the case. In many instances, imprecise language is used intentionally to avoid taking a position and offending various demographics. No wonder it’s hard to make sense of anything!

This is hardly a recent problem, and as George Orwell wrote in his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, the condition is curable. By following Orwell’s 5 rules for effective writing, you’ll distinguish yourself from competitors and clearly communicate your ideas.

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

This sounds easy, but in practice is incredibly difficult. Phrases such as toe the line, ride roughshod over, stand shoulder to shoulder with, play into the hands of, an axe to grind, Achilles’ heel, swan song, and hotbed come to mind quickly and feel comforting and melodic.

For this exact reason they must be avoided. Common phrases have become so comfortable that they create no emotional response. Take the time to invent fresh, powerful images.

2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.

Long words don’t make you sound intelligent unless used skillfully. In the wrong situation they’ll have the opposite effect, making you sound pretentious and arrogant. They’re also less likely to be understood and more awkward to read.

When Hemingway was criticized by Faulkner for his limited word choice he replied:

Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don’t know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.

3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

Great literature is simply language charged with meaning to the utmost possible degree (Ezra Pound). Accordingly, any words that don’t contribute meaning to a passage dilute its power. Less is always better. Always.

4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.

This one is frequently broken, probably because many people don’t know the difference between active and passive verbs. I didn’t myself until a few months ago. Here is an example that makes it easy to understand:

The man was bitten by the dog. (passive)The dog bit the man. (active).The active is better because it’s shorter and more forceful.

5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

This is tricky because much of the writing published on the internet is highly technical. If possible, remain accessible to the average reader. If your audience is highly specialized this is a judgment call. You don’t want to drag on with unnecessary explanation, but try to help people understand what you’re writing about. You want your ideas to spread right?

6. Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.

This bonus rule is a catch all. Above all, be sure to use common sense.These rules are easy to memorize but difficult to apply. Although I’ve edited this piece a dozen times I’m sure it contains imperfections. But trust me, it’s much better now than it was initially. The key is effort. Good writing matters, probably more than you think.

I hope you find these rules helpful, and through their application we’re able to understand each other a little bit better. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Orwell’s original essay. It contains many helpful examples and is, of course, a pleasure to read.

American investor Warren Buffett has been named by Forbes as the world's richest man with a wealth of $63bn (£31bn)

Mexian telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim Helu took second spot. He's worth $60bn

Bill Gates ($58bn) fell from the No 1 spot to third place

Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal was fourth


Fellow Indians Mukesh (right) and Anil (left) Ambani of Reliance Industries were fifith and sixth

Russia's Oleg Deripaska appears in the top 10 for the first time thanks to mergers creating aluminium giant UC Rusal

Mainland China's richest person is Yang Huiyan (right), just 26 years old

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, 23, is the youngest billionaire on the list

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is one of three black Africans to appear on the list for the first time

The Duke of Westminster (46th) is Britain's richest man. His property portfolio is worth $14bn

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

FHM's Top 20 Hottest Women Alive

Angelina Jolie

Anna Kournikova


Carmen Electra


Megan Fox
FHM's Top 20 Hottest Women Alive
1. Megan Fox
2. Jessica Alba
3. Keeley Hazell
4. Elisha Cuthbert
5. Hayden Panettiere
6. Scarlett Johansson
7. Cheryl Cole
8. Hilary Duff
9. Angelina Jolie
10. Keira Knightley
11. Rihanna
12. Kate Beckinsale
13. Jessica Biel
14. Eva Longoria
15. Alessandra Ambrosio
16. Rachel Bilson
17. Beyonce Knowles
18. Gemma Atkinson
19. Jennifer Love Hewitt
20. Christina Aguilera


How to be happy

daily mantras—keys to contentment—that will change your life.

Happiness, like baking, is something I’ve always been good at. And that puzzles me: I don’t live in a glass house by the sea. I’m not rich or beautiful. I’ve endured grief and battled depression. It’s true that I’ve been lucky in love—I have a great husband. But I came to him happy. Yet some people who seem to have all the raw materials for happiness—looks, money, success, and love—seem perpetually glum. So what is it that really makes us happy?

The answer is not good fortune. Psychologists have known for decades that even winning the lottery won’t make a person happier over the long haul. People simply adapt
Think of what happened when you got your last raise: odds are, you felt great for the first few pay checks but soon adjusted to it, and now you may be back to feeling underpaid. Such observations have led researchers to conclude that each of us has a set point for happiness— a level of contentment that stays constant through changing circumstances, such as the loss of loved ones or winning big bucks.

If this all sounds a bit depressing, take heart. Recent breakthrough research shows we can make ourselves happier—and how to do it.

The science of happiness

Some of the most exciting research in psychology is in a field called positive psychology, a discipline that aims not just to relieve suffering but also to increase happiness. For the past few years, Martin E P Seligman, PhD, and his colleagues, have been working to unlock the secrets of living the good life. Seligman, founding director of the Positive Psychology Centre at the University of Pennsylvania and author of Authentic Happiness, has found that the key to happiness appears to lie in our internal qualities and character strengths, not in external events. What’s more, he says, we can use these qualities—work with them and enhance them—to make ourselves happier over the long run.

Habits that will make us happy

A couple of years ago, Seligman’s group described and classifi ed the 24 character strengths that make people thrive, including creativity, curiosity, bravery, and kindness. But all these traits aren’t equal when it comes to producing satisfaction.

Combing through questionnaire responses from more than 5000 study participants, the researchers found that happiness was most strongly associated with a core subset of the character-trait list that they labelled heart strengths: gratitude, hope, zest, and the ability to love and be loved.

Topping the charts was love, says Nansook Park, PhD, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Rhode Island and a study author. “Relationships with other people are what make us the happiest,” she says. (Learn what your character strengths are at authentichappiness. org)

Seligman’s team made a list of 100 ‘interventions’ that people through the ages have suggested as routes to contentment—culling ideas proposed by Buddha and self-improvement gurus alike—and set out to test them. It was, Seligman says, the most ambitious, controlled study of happiness ever done. The results of the team’s efforts were published in American Psychologist.

Habit 1 Focus on what’s right

As it turned out, all the exercises, including that of the control group, temporarily bumped up happiness levels. But some interventions proved to have a much bigger, more lasting effect than others. For example, the group that spent a few minutes each night writing about what had gone well that day felt happier for the full 6 months of the study.

“Most of us focus on our weaknesses and on what we don’t have,” says Carol Kauffman, PhD, a life coach and an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. “By listing good things, you’re training yourself to reverse your focus from what you did wrong to what you did right. You’re emphasising your strengths,” and that seems to change the way you feel. Kauffman uses the what-went-well-today intervention with her patients—and does it every night herself.

Three roads to happiness

When positive psychologists talk about happiness, what they mean is a sense of deep contentment. There are 3 routes to achieving it, Martin E P Seligman, PhD, has found, and the most satisfi ed people pursue all three.

1. Pleasant life Full of pleasure, joy, and good times.

2. Engaged life In which you lose yourself to some passion or activity, experiencing what psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, PhD, calls flow.

3. Meaningful life It may not have many high moments or blissful immersions, but it is packed with purpose “The notion of three pathways is important,” says psychologist Karen Reivich, PhD. “We all know people who aren’t smiley-faced, so we may say this person isn’t happy. But what Seligman is saying is, ‘Hey, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a great life.’ These broader conceptions of happiness are more liberating.”

Seligman’s team made a list of 100 ‘interventions’ that people through the ages have suggested as routes to contentment—culling ideas proposed by Buddha and self-improvement gurus alike—and set out to test them. It was, Seligman says, the most ambitious, controlled study of happiness ever done. The results of the team’s efforts were published in American Psychologist.

Habit 1 Focus on what’s right

As it turned out, all the exercises, including that of the control group, temporarily bumped up happiness levels. But some interventions proved to have a much bigger, more lasting effect than others. For
Habit 2 Feel grateful, say ‘thank you’

The ‘gratitude visit’, which focussed on building one of the four heart strengths, also produced a lift in happiness scores. In fact, “The exercise decreased depression and increased happiness more than any other intervention,” says Park.

“Gratitude is an affirmation of the goodness in one’s life and the recognition that the sources of this goodness lie at least partly outside the self,” says Robert A Emmons, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California. “It’s a very social experience, and it’s restorative in times of stress.”

Seligman’s study did show, though, that a single gratitude visit went only so far: the happiness boost lasted a month and then dissipated. But some people took the initiative to pay gratitude visits to additional people—and their happiness scores stayed high even after 6 months.

“There’s no quick fix,” says Christopher Peterson, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and Seligman’s frequent collaborator. “The only way to become grateful is to act like a grateful person over and over.”

Habit 3. “What’s in that box?”

Be curious

In the study, one other intervention proved effective—and this one suggests that it’s not essential to have those major heart strengths, so long as you play to one of your character strengths. The last group of participants identifi ed their top 5 strengths and then used one of them in a new way every day for a week.

A person who wanted to exercise her curiosity, for instance, might have read a book on an unfamiliar subject one day, researched her family tree on another, visited a museum on a third, and so on. That, too, lifted spirits for at least 6 months in those who continued the exercise.

For the study, the researchers enlisted more than 500 visitors to Seligman’s website. The adults completed online questionnaires to assess their level of happiness; then each volunteer was assigned to do 1 of 6 exercises for a week.

Some wrote and personally delivered a gratitude letter to an individual who had been particularly kind to them but whom they had never adequately thanked, for instance; others recorded 3 things that had gone well each day.

People in a control group wrote about their early memories every night for a week—an exercise that wasn’t expected to have much of an impact on their moods. Every few weeks for the next 6 months, the volunteers fi lled out questionnaires measuring their happiness and depression
Play on your strengths, get happy

Using your character strengths helps compensate for weaknesses or vulnerabilities that otherwise can interfere with happiness, says Karen Reivich, PhD, a research associate at the University of Pennsylvania and coauthor of The Resilience Factor. She sees herself as a recovering pessimist: “part of my brain is always scanning the horizon for danger.” Instead of telling herself that her concerns are unwarranted, Reivich exercises a strength that comes naturally, drawing on her creativity to counter the dour, gloomy part of her personality. “I’ve created an ‘awe wall’ covered with poems, my children’s photos, a picture of a lavender farm. And every day I work on it a bit.”

“I may add a cartoon that made me laugh and a picture drawn by my young son,” she says. “It’s hard to be basking in all these reminders of wonder and simultaneously be filled with dread.”
Reivich and other researchers say that strategies like these, used consistently over time, lead to long-lasting change.

Her pessimistic habits are starting to atrophy, says Reivich. “At fi rst the change happens at the surface, in a conscious change in behaviour; then it begins to take place more deeply, becoming almost effortless.

That’s because I’m repeating the exercise until it becomes a new habit. If I focus my attention on noticing good and thinking about the things I can control, I’m using my attention and energy to build optimism and happiness rather than to deepen worry and sadness.”

All of this begins to explain my own pleasure in life. I took Seligman’s questionnaire and answered how closely 245 statements described me. I fi nd the world a very interesting place: yes, I certainly do. I always keep my promises: yes—or I feel terrible.

According to my responses, one of my signature strengths is curiosity. That rings true. During even a quick trip to the store, within minutes I’m discussing how to grind wheat with the baker or what the fi shing’s like with the fi sh man.

My husband has learned to get a cup of coffee and wait me out. It’s the exchange that makes me happy, as well as learning something new.

So, by Seligman’s measure, my happiness is less and less surprising. After all, I make my living by asking people questions about themselves and their occupations. I’ve found a way to use my natural strengths in my work.

Even if your job isn’t a perfect match, the research on happiness suggests that you can still find ways to play to your strengths.

For example, if you know that one of them is gratitude, try starting a staff meeting about a troubled project in a new way: instead of discussing what went south, ask everyone to talk about one thing that is going well, and then thank each of them for their contribution. “That’s a very different way to start a meeting,” says Reivich. “And the team’s reaction will feed your own sense of happiness.”

Tone up your happiness muscles

Such conclusions are heartening.

If satisfaction can be learned and practised, if contentment is a muscle anyone can learn to flex, then there’s hope for all of us, even those with unfair burdens or dour dispositions. It doesn’t matter that none of us live fairy-tale lives. We can still live happily ever after.


Vishwanathan Anand is World No. 1 and world cham pion in chess. Many of us know that the Chennai star can move the chess pieces expertly. In an off-beat interview to this newspaper, Anand fields a variety of questions, many of them not related to the mind game.
Earliest sporting memory: The first event I played when I was six. I remember losing my first three games and won the fourth game because my rival didn't turn up!
Other sports he watches on TV: Football and tennis.
Life without chess: Don't know. Would have tried to get good at it, perhaps.
Memorable sporting moment: A game against Tkachiev when around 2,000 people at the Kremlin started applauding. It was a honour for a non-Russian.
Worst sporting moment: Have long forgotten.
Sporting heroes: (Mikhail) Tal and (Boby) Fischer.
Favourite venue: Mainz.
Event he would pay to see: Viswanathan Anand play rapid chess. I have been told that it is the fastest action.
Most frequent question: ‘What is your favourite chess piece?' If they saw all my answers they would be confused.
His choice for one change in chess: Fair rules for all. Do away with privileges for a select few.
Sporting motto: Just play your chess.
Favourite dinner guest, and why: U2. Apart from that, Bono has interesting views about the world.
Best teacher: My mistakes.
Most admired player: Tal.
Favourite holiday spot: Tough to choose one. Current favourite is SA.
Other interests in life: Astronomy, reading and music.
Advice to youngsters: Take all the opportunities and challenges that come your way. You have to enjoy whatever you do.
Pet name:
Should I really answer this? OK, Simba.
Biggest extravaganza: My telescopes.
What he never leaves home without: My laptop.
Craziest thing he has ever done: Once the car I was travelling in broke down a few minutes before my game. As we were in Moscow I had no idea what the driver was saying but he wouldn't allow us to open the door. The driver gesticulated that the car would be repaired.
At some point it became comical as we were right in the middle of traffic. Concerned that I would be late for the game, I flung the door open and started running through the traffic. The poor driver gave me a chase and stopped me by the red light. Thankfully, I reached the venue in time and managed to win.
Best trait: My intuition.
And worst: I think too quickly. Well, that's what makes me a good chess player but at times gets me in trouble.
One bad habit he wishes to get rid of: It always comes back. Sometimes I play too fast and can't control it.
Worst nightmare: Preparing for the wrong opponent and I have already done it!
First game at international level: I remember seeing all the Soviet players and think "Wow, those guys must know everything."
What is the routine for evening games: Usually I wake up just in time to catch breakfast. Then, I do some work for a hour or two. Have lunch by about 2 pm and sleep for an hour. Get ready for the game and go over my notes. Sometimes, I like to listen to music just before a game. In the night, I analyse how I played that evening. Then I may go to the gym. Have a relaxed dinner and then quickly decide what I should play the next day. I really like to watch a movie or some comedy shows before I go to sleep.
His best present, and why: Aruna got me a telescope for my birthday. I remember telling her how cool it would be to have such a nice one. I never realised that she already bought it. We met up in Berlin for my birthday and she had even managed to bake a cake and bring the telescope all the way from Madrid to surprise me. The funny thing was I arrived early and Aruna refused to let me in to keep the present as a surprise.
Favourite author: I like reading a variety of books. I enjoyed the Dan Brown series. William Dalrymple is also very enjoyable. His Last Mughal was a very good read.
Childhood ambitions: To trick my opponent at blitz. Each win meant one comic book and one ice cream. My parents would buy me Tintin and Obelix.
Greatest influence on his life: I don't think anyone has influenced me greatly. I tend to learn from others but do my own thing.
Bottomline: Someone who made playing chess look so easy.