Failure – It is a LURE for Success

Failure – It’s a LURE for Success.
Not everyone can say that they always meet with success. Every one must have tasted failure, and the consequences that follow – disappointment, loss of confidence, losing interest, the fear that grips ‘what would happen, if I fail again’, the mental block, leading them sometimes not to try their hand at the task again. This happens to writers, actors, musicians, players of various games, people holding jobs in various positions, researchers, politicians, and so on. Michael Jordan, the famous basket ball player who won the Most Valuable Player Award five times, in his biography, ‘Driven from Within’ talks about failure thus: ‘I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.’ The message is clear.


Today’s world is a world of competition, where every one is forced to compete with each other to survive,to sustain their job, to succeed in life. . The internet technology has opened up
a huge basket of technological aids in the hands of people and to remain constantly updated itself is a job, full of strain – what with the plethora of appliances that come day after day – the mobile, the computer, the iPad, tablets, iPhones, and so on and so forth. It is a whole new digital world that we all live in.
Why we fail

People fail because of various reasons. The following are the general causes:
Fear, Inadequate preparation, mental block, lack of confidence, failure to gauge the opponent’s strength etc.

How to Combat Failure


Fear to face up to the situation is the most important cause for failure. People should analyze why should one fear, because whether you fear or not, the result of your attempt could
still be what it has to be. The good part of failure: failure makes you think as to why you failed.
According to Henry Ford, (The Autobiography of Henry Ford – My Life and Work) ‘one who fears the future, who fears failure, limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again. There is no disgrace in honest failure, there is disgrace in fearing to fail. What is past is useful only as it suggests ways and means for progress.’

Inadequate preparation:

Think of an interview. If you fail here, you feel frustrated and demoralized. But rather than feeling so, you should try to analyze the causes. It could mainly be due to inadequate preparation. Full preparation is essential in such cases. Remember also that your competitors are also equally, if not more, qualified and prepared for the situation. Remember, if you fail to prepare, you are preparing for failure.

Mental block
This is a situation where one finds oneself suddenly stuck up, a kind of ‘fall off the wagon’, not knowing how to move forward, totally in dark, confused and bewildered. This happens very often in a long project or program without any clue as to what really happened. It is like a red traffic signal where the only thing you can do is to stop for some time and ponder over. Getting ‘re-started’ is often not possible easily. Some solutions to this kind of failure is to keep your mind free for some time, think afresh, change the ‘track’ and try to catch up. It is said that Thomas Edison succeeded where others failed or never tried because it was his nature to dare. So think of cultivating such a habit; and try to emerge like the sun, after passing through a track of dark cloud.

History is replete with stories of many failures which ultimately turned to achievements. Time, luck, right opportunity all these play an important part. You should comfort yourself by the thought that you have only failed this time and never forget to try again. Cultivate this habit of never giving up, until you reach your goal.

Building confidence

Confidence, rather self-confidence is a must in all of us. Believe in yourself, your capabilities. your strengths, all the positives that could work in favor of you. As Paulo Coelho says in his book Alchemist, ‘when you want to get something done, the universe will conspire to make you achieve that.’ In some other book, I had read that nature provides us everything we want. We have only to ask, believe and you will receive what you want. Belief and confidence have to go hand in hand.
‘The truth is that failure is not a rarity experienced by the unlucky few; if we’re honest, it is a constant – albeit rarely lethal – state of affairs. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve already failed, or will soon (article by Dory Clark, titled ‘Stop Believing that You Have to be Perfect, HBR, October 2014). . Another quote by Swamy Parthasarathy is also very relevant in this context, ‘Living is an art, a skill, a technique. You need to learn and practice it as you would a game or musical instrument.’ And, finally, I would say, embrace failure and the warmth of the embrace will empower you to improve – and succeed.

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A short presentation on my book ‘Seeing Opportunities Through Your Mind(!107&authkey=!APDvpUuvdV2W-nk

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Henry Ford

There are two kinds of fools in this world.One is the millionaire who thinks that by hoarding money he can somehow accumulate real power, and the other is the penniless reformer who thinks that if only he can take the money from one class and give it to another, all the ills will be cured. They are both on the wrong track. – Henry Ford.

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About my book ‘Seeing Opportunities Through Your a Mind (

‘Opportunities are to be seen with your mind, and not with your eyes’ – Robert Kiyosaki

My Book ‘Seeing Opportunities Through Your Mind, (


An ordinary (well, actually an excellent) Stenographer

Turning point in career

Picked by Prof.M.G.K. Menon as his P.A. when he was director at TIFR

Opportunity offered by Prof. Menon, to work as Private Secretary to Secretary to GOI
This involved shifting to Delhi from Mumbai

Staff Offer to Secretary, Department of Science & Technology, GOI

Later worked as Staff Officer to Member, Science, Planning Commission, GOI

Under Secretary to GOI, Department of Electronics

#Officer on Special Duty, Science Advisory Council to Minister under
Chairmanship of Prof.C.N.R. Rao (recent recipient of Bharat Ratna)

Joint Director, Department of Electronics, GOI

#Chief Personnel Officer & Corporate Coordinator, CDAC

Director, Personnel, Department of Electronics

#Centre Coordinator, CDAC, Delhi Centre

# indicates by special invitation,

Some appreciations and comments received during his career

I was delighted to go through your attempt at analysing me in your note ‘Vittalism -An analysis’ I thank you for all nice things you have said about me, but the real problem is how to bring in action orientation in the entire Department of Electronics, so that even if I am transferred, the Department would continue to be action minded. I will keep on trying new technologies to achieve this goal.

N. Vittal, Secretary, Department of Electronics

I was delighted to go through your article on personnel management. You should try to get this published in any of the magazines which have management columns….

N. Vittal, Secretary, Department of Electronics

I was delighted to read your poem ‘An Elegy on DOE’ and ‘Awaken DOE (Rebirth of DOE….. I am happy that in spite of being tied to the Personnel Department, you have retained your poetic talent.

N. Vittal, Secretary, Department of Electronics

I was delighted to read your article on ‘How to tame your time’. It is elegantly written, thought provoking and absolutely essential for all of us.

N. Vittal, Secretary, Department of Electronics

Your suggestions regarding bringing out a booklet on the Government of India’s orders concerning the Scientific Departments as well as your compilation have been appreciated by many officers in this Department and we would actively consider to bring out a booklet as suggested by you.

D, Shankar, Director (Admn)’ Department of Science and Technology.

It was really delightful to have you with us. We would certainly miss you in the Council., but we hope to continue our personal interaction in future.

Prof. P.N. Tandon, Professor & Head of Neurosurgery, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Member, Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister.

It was a pleasure working with you in the SAC-PM and I was always impressed by your efficiency in handling the various jobs.

Prof. J.V. Narlikar, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Member, SAC-PM

I can assure you that the pleasure of the SAC-PM Members, specially me, in working with you has been more enjoyable than the satisfaction that you have derived from your efficient working. I hope fondly that our association will not end on your moving to the Department of Electronics

Prof. V.L. Chopra, Professor of Eminence and Head, Biotechnology Centre, Indian Agricultural Research Institute and Member, Science Advisor Council to Prime Minister

I am delighted to inform you that your sense of dedication and outstanding performance has been recognized and appreciated by your immediate supervisor, Shri S, Murali, who is just completing his tenure and returning to his parent cadre, I am very happy to enclose a copy of the note he has recorded about your performance.

Having watched you for more than two and a half years, I share in toto the sentiments and appreciations expressed by Shri Murali. I commend you in your sense of dedication and I hope you will continue to work with the same zeal and make useful contributions to public service.

N. Vittal, Secretary, Department of Electronics

The Personnel Division of the Department of Electronics is streamlining it’s working much to the satisfaction of its employees,……………the Department terms this approach as a SMART approach. The acronym SMART stands for Simplify, Methodical, Adapt to
Requirements, Review, Think. Other Ministries and Departments could well get SMART and try the same recipe.

Published under title ‘A SMART Approach’ in Civil Service News, published by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, GOI

I have seen the article you have sent me, and also your book on Human Resource Management, which you had sent earlier. I am glad that you continue to put your thoughts down on paper, which is far more than what I manage to do.

Prof. M.G,K. Menon, former Minister of state for Science & Technology.

I was very happy to get your letter., but was both surprised and distressed to find that you have now moved to Mumbai. I will miss your advice and assistance here. I have read the reprint of your article ‘Management in Government’ with much interest. As expected, it is very good article. I will give it some circulation here among scientific departments.

Ashok Parthasarathi, Secretary to Government of India, National Commission for Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes.

Shri C.V. subramaniam’s association with SAC-PM has been of tremendous help to us and he has fully justified his selection for the assignment given to him. During the period he worked with us he has devoted himself totally to the work of SAC-PM and without his help, it would have been difficult for us to have achieved all that we could. The wide experience of Shri Subramaniam and his excellent capabilities in handling both administrative and scientific matters dealt with by SAC-PM have proved to be a great asset to our work. On behalf of Prof. C.N.R. Rao and other members, I would like to place on record the excellent work carried out by Shri Subramaniam.

Dr. P.J. Lavakare, Secretary to Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister and Advisor, Department of Science & Technology, GOI

I take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks for the excellent support we have received from you as OSD of the SAC-PM Secretariat at a critical time in its short history.

Prof. R. Narasimha, Director, National Aeronautical Laboratory and Member, SAC-PM

Mr. Subramaniam has been most useful to us and has helped us to get organized better, we have now taken up several major projects and initiated several activities and it is very important to have the assistance of Shri Subramaniam at this stage…..

Prof. C.N.R. Rao, Chairman, Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister


An autobiography of my career full of opportunities and challenges

Twenty articles on various aspects concerned with HR


Raving reviews and comments on the book’Seeing Opportunities Through Your Mind'( book by C.V, Subramaniam
Reviews and comments

BOOK REVIEW in People and Management magazine (published by
LB Associates), May-June 2013 issue

A Stenographer who dabbled in Binary Codes

‘Seeing Opportunities through Your Mind’ is an autobiographical account of Shri C.V.
Subramaniam’s life, both personal and professional. The author shares his experiences and anecdotes of a long and successful career spanning 40 years, and takes readers through the milestones he achieved and opportunities he leveraged. The book has been divided into two parts, the first talks of his life, the second discusses some thoughts on Human Resources. In the first part, the author shares his life as a school and college student, his growing interest in academics and how this eventually lead to an interesting career with the Indian Government.

Subramaniam fondly recalls his association with Prof. Menon at TIFR and the many things he learnt under his patronage. It was he who gave Subramaniam the career push by encouraging him to look for bigger horizons, which he did as he progressed to the position of Under Secretary to the Government of India. His journey can be summed up as a “tryst with destiny” where excellence at what he did set a standard for his career. It was his sheer attempt at perfection which saw him fill a top position as the Director in the Department of Information Technology and as OSD in the Science Advisory Council to Prime Minister of India.

The second part of his book ‘Some Thoughts on HR’ contains a set of articles covering various topics on HR. Some articles like ‘How I could excel in work’, ‘Does Appreciation matter in Workplace?’, ‘Opportunities – Grab them’, ‘Success in Career – Some Tips’, and ‘The Right Attitude to Win’ are highly motivational for those who are engaged in HR profession as well as for youngsters poised at the threshold of their career. in addition, the author provides the support information for HR to become an integral part of the strategic planning of the organization.

Ivan Balondemu, Bank of Uganda, Uganda

Thank you for this book. It is simple to understand and the paraphrases you thought i of namely TRIUMPH and COMPUTER supplement one’s memory in bright way. I also appreciate the logic in the way you make the discussion/flow through the chapters.

M. Siddiqui, Registrar, NIelit, New Delhi

I feel myself very small commenting on CVS new adventure in the form of a book entitled ‘Seeing Opportunities Through Your Mind’. He had proved again that age is not a barrier, if you have a strong will you can climb the Mt. Everest. at 74+, what a thought-provoking piece he has penned down.though ti is based on his career success stories, yet motivating for every one, particularly those
who fell small and shy being in lower position in their office.

Persons functioning as Adm. Officer, Executive Assistant/Secretary, PA/PS etc. and those practicing HR must read it to have themselves rejuvenated, energized and to add new feather in their cap.



It is a great book, guys…….please do read it.

OTHER PUBLICATIiONS: Book ‘Human Resource Management’ (S. Chand & Co.)
Over 100 articles on HR, Management, S&T, general topics – all in reputed
Newspapers and Magazines.

WHO ALL SHOULD READ: all administrative personnel right from clerk onwards and HR students and professionals.

READ, READ, READ This success story of a Stenographer (who typed with six fingers only) to EXCEL IN YOUR CAREER.


If you are ready to accept challenges, have an urge in you to excel and have self confidence, opportunities will continue to chase you.


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After coming into power, the Modi Government has unleashed a set of reforms, however small that may be so far, making clear its intention to make India grow fast. The few programs which have caught the attention of the people are: the Jan Dhan Yojana, towards financial inclusion and, at the same time, empowering families with a bank account; the Swachh Bharat, or Clean India initiative, which takes care of hygiene also; ‘Toilet for All’; ‘Skill India (a program already initiated by UPA – to bridge the gap between educational institutions and labour market – with some modification and covering more people than targeted by UPA; the ‘Digital India’ program to integrate government departments and the people; the ‘Make in India’ inviting other countries to invest in India.

There have also been reforms push in the insurance and Defense sectors allowing increased limit of foreign direct investment. The revamped Planning Commission, christened NITI Ayog also focusses on transforming India.

One important thing to be appreciated is the speed with which these new initiatives have been announced and the seriousness to pursue these programs.

While all these are excellent programs and, if pursued with genuine interest, are bound to produce amazing results, the ultimate question is whether we could make ‘EXCEL INDIA, where excellence (viz. Superiority, being the best, eminence, admirable, outstanding, incomparable) will be the hall mark of all our activities – be it our services, be it our products, be it our attitude and behavior and so on which could then make people of other countries to think India as their preferred destination for tourism, trade, business partnerships, setting up manufacturing units and thereby creating more and more jobs which will spur growth. After all, when it comes to growth of the economy, creation of more jobs and more money in the hands of people should be our aim. Such an India, which we could certainly dream of, while making us all proud, should be the envy of other nations.


A few thoughts towards achieving this are:

Every Ministry/Department should draw up for each of their programs KRAs (Key Result Areas) to ensure that these are achieved. Very often so many programs and projects are included in the annual plans of the Ministries and Departments and funds are also released for the same, but due to slackness, many a time a huge chunk of the unspent money is surrendered.

2. Every Ministry/ Department could also consider constituting their own ‘Think Tanks’ to come
out with innovative ideas and speed up action.

3. The word bureaucracy should henceforth mean ‘business crazy’! implying that we mean business, we mean action and we would not tolerate delays. For this people at all levels in Government should adopt a ‘SMART approach. The SMART approach is explained below.

S stands for Simplify. There is abundant scope in all Ministries/Departments for simplification of various rules and procedures. A constant attempt needs to be made in this direction.

M stands for (Be Methodical). This means following the correct step-by-step approach.

A stands for Adapt (to requirements). Since everything changes day by day, adapting to requirements means looking at things from the particular point of time.

R stands for Review. Again, this is very necessary to be in tune with current needs, so that modification, if any, needed could be considered.

T stands for Thinking (continuous thinking). Continuous thinking can produce many new ideas, which is the basis for innovation.

SMART should be a continuous, regular and ongoing exercise.

4. NEED FOR A SAFE-India program – which addresses the concern of women’s safety and freedom of movement without fear, the freedom of movement of people in general freeing themselves of threats of terrorism, and instilling a fool-proof security. Adequate measures in this regard need to be taken urgently.


To make this program a big success, and for people from abroad to invest in India, business-friendly procedures need to be evolved. It is heartening to note that Government is also seriously addressing the question of ease of doing business in India.

According to Dr. Vijay Bhatkar, ( his.address at the recent recent Indian Science Congress), it is necessary for S&T and manufacturing to continuously work together, to manufacture innovative products. Apple boasts of their products as endowed with ‘incredible technology, legendary ease of use and awesome design’. Our products should be able to competent with such manufacturing giants. For the India Brand to shine, however, continuous innovation is essential which should result in superb execution, which, according to Louis Gerstner (talking about IBM), is about doing the right things faster, better, more often and more productively than your competitors do,’


Poverty, malnutrition, child mortality, affordable health care, affordable housing, quality education, urbanizing the rural India, availability of drinking water, strengthening the entire infrastructure, extra precautions to face natural calamities like tsunami, floods, earthquakes and systems to predict these in advance and a host of similar problems, will all continue to haunt us for a long time to come and the success and resulting benefits of all our efforts should percolate down to each and every individual, to ensure everyone a decent lifestyle.

These are but a few and simple thoughts that occurred to me while I was myself dreaming of an EXCEL INDIA.


As Paulo Coelho says, in his book The Alchemist, when you want to get something done, the entire universe will conspire in making you achieve this. In that book the shepherd boy, named Santiago, could realize his dream by believing in this deeply. Each one of us should get motivated to believe that nothing is impossible and each one can realize his or her dreams. Dreams make us think, thinking makes us to act and actions result in our achievement.

So, let us dream that the day is not far when we can realize our dream of Excel India, when we can wake up every day, enjoying the ‘breezy call of incense breathing morn and the swallow tw’ttering from the straw-built shed’ – as a prelude to the ‘achhe din’ (good days).

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2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 250 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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My Musical Venture!

Music: who doesn’t enjoy music. Music is divine, music is the Goddess, Saraswathi, music is soothing, pleasant, enjoyable, and an elixir for your mind. Remember the song ‘Sangeethame Amara Sallapame, Manninu vinninte varadaaname? What does this mean? Music is an everlasting conversation which is a heavenly gift to this earth.

My love for music:

Even at the age of 5 I used to love music – mainly film music. Those days, in my native place, Calicut, we used to go to Tamil and Malayalam movies almost regularly. There were catchy songs which people used to hum. At the theatre campus, there used to be boys selling small, printed song books of the movies. These used to attract me and very often I used to buy them. The price used to be very low. At schools, boys in the class generally discuss about movies, and particularly about the songs too.

Earlier attempts

I used to learn movie songs since I loved them. Since I was also able to sing , with a somewhat likeable voice, I used to some time sing from the veranda outside my house
and the neighbors would also hear this. I designed a loud speaker out of a LG asafoetida box made of tin of which I removed the cover. Then, on the three-sided box, I cut a round whole, a little larger than a rupee coin, on the bottom side. The hole was then covered with a thin paper. Holding the fully open side close to my mouth I began singing, and to some extent, it acted as a loud speaker. Some times when every one in the village would have finished their dinner, and people formed gossiping groups, just to entertain them, I used to sing with the loud speaker. Gradually, the people in the opposite village, some distance away, also felt attracted by my singing, may be because of the speaker! Often I used to get claps which kept my enthusiasm in tact.

At school

At school also, classmates encouraged me to sing during lunch time etc.; we used to have citizenship training classes where also my classmates very often would prod me to sing. Once, for the first time, I sang a film song, with a mike, during the interval of a film show at the school. I was short-listed to be in a group of boys and girls selected for singing over the radio. But somehow, the final list did not include my name,


At the age of 24 I came to Mumbai in search of job. Those days I used to travel daily to VT station, go to my brother-in-law’s small general stores, write shorthand lessons there and returned to Bhandup (home) by train, along with my brother-in-law around 8.00’p.m. During the journey, brother-in-law used to give lectures on thiruppugazh bhajans. He knew many thiruppugazh songs and some how I too developed some interest and learnt many songs.

After fourteen years in Bombay, because of work, I shifted to Delhi. There during the initial few years I attended shastha pooja where also I could learn and sing a few devotional songs. Later during a trip to Sabarimala, I was really impressed by the bhajan group singing in terms of the quality and variety of songs, full of devotion. This created a strong impact on me in terms of devotion towards Lord Ayyappa and an eagerness to learn Ayyappa bhajans. The group also used to invite me for regular bhajans and I too used to get chance to sing. So attached to Ayyappa bhajans and devotion to the Lord, very often, I used to go into trance during bhajans.

Having shifted to Mumbai, after retirement, there was less activity. But some how my interest in music continued in a different way. I used to compose songs – all devotional, mostly about Devi, the goddess. The following are the songs composed by me:

Vendum varam née alithiduvai….

Ambaal, arul thara vendum née

Vanee varadhayinee

Iniyum shodhanai eno, Devi (as in Malayalam iniyum paribhavam aruthe…)

Saravana poikayil udithavane (simhendra madhyamam)

Kanavilum ninaivilum née thaane (hindolam)

Kannanin thirumugham kandu makizhnden (simhendra madhyamam)

I could also sing classical songs, by Yesudas’s, Unnikrishnan etc. once I sang at the office annual day cultural program of DOE. . On another occasion I sang at CDAC annual day cultural program. These were well appreciated.

There are now several reality shows on T.V. Like Idea Star Singer program, (Malayalam), Super Singer programs in Tamil T,V, channels and so on which I like very much and am often amazed at the singing talent of the participants.

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