Friday, July 24, 2009

Austin Stevens - Snakeman

For all nature lovers it is but natural to follow channels like Discovery, Animal Planet and NGC. I remember a couple of years ago (probably in 2005) i came across a program on Animal Planet on reptiles. There was a section on snakes featuring herpetologist Austin Stevens. I was not aware of his background but watching the program i found a new respect for Austin. He was extremely passionate about his study of snakes and went to great lengths in explaining the behavior of sand boa's. A few days letter i did a Google on Austin and found that he had been catching snakes since a young age. In fact while his stint in the South African Army he had got a nickname of 'Snakeman' for his ability to catch snakes. Austin has great abilities as a herpetologist - passionate about his subject, he travels all over the world tracking practically all types of snakes and reptiles. He is extremely fit and a good tree climber as well which makes him the right guy to track snakes. He literally runs after snakes and catches them for a few good photos.
But my appreciation for Austin grew when i saw the series 'Austin Stevens - Most Dangerous'. This featured Austin on assignment of tracking down the top poisonous snakes on planet Earth. He even came to India in search of the reclusive King Cobra. There were a lot of myths about this big poisonous snake that lives in the evergreen rain forests of Western Ghats. Austin traced his journey from Kerala Wayanad into Karnataka in search of the big snake. He finally found one and photographed it. It was an amazing video to see him handle a 15 foot King Cobra. The snake was initially extremely aggresive giving me some serious goose bumps sitting in my sofa far away from a rain forest. I was wondering what it would feel to actually handle such a large snake.
He managed to touch the snake on its head. This video is available on you tube and i recommend nature lovers to watch. But i assure you its not for the faint hearted !!
While there have been lot of films on the King Cobra featuring Rom Whitaker (founder of the Chennai Snake farm) and Gerry Martin. There is nothing that will make your hair stand up so much !! There is another video of Gerry catching a King Cobra in a village in Kerala with Brady Brar. Dr. Brar looked seriously scared after seeing the size of the snake. This would give you an idea of how difficult it is to catch a King. Sadly the Western Ghats forest cover is under constant threat from human habitations..a day may come when these wonderful jungles and creatures may be lost for ever..
I guess then the work of Austin Stevens and others would be our only memories of times gone by..

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Consulting Space in India

While a lot has been written on the IT and ITES sector in India not much has been written on the consulting space in India. Most major Indian IT firms like Infosys, Wipro, TCS, Cognizant, HCL have their own consulting arms. But if you observe in the last 5 years a lot of activity has happened on the domestic consulting market with Big 4 Firms as well as lot of boutique firms coming into the fray.
What does this mean for Indian corporate houses is a great array of consulting capabilities available in the domestic market. This augurs well for Indian companies wanting to adapt global best practices as well learning from other success stories. From a consultants standpoint in means an opportunity to work in a very different environment where every rupee spend needs to be justified with a strong business case. The market has its own challenges in a longer sales cycle as well as margins being lower which are further compunded with slowdown in the economy as well as presence of a large numbers of consulting firms. But given the impetus of a growing economy and enterprises looking at transformational changes it is but natural that consulting opportunities would be there. With the adoption of more automation of business processes and usage of IT applications in ERP,CRM,SCM and BI there would be significant IT consulting opportunities in India.