Busted Halo
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Alfred P M :
11 article(s)

Alfred PM writes from Bangalore, India.
January 4th, 2005

How has the tsunami disaster affected your faith in God?…

June 19th, 2004
An Indian Perspective

Outsourcing 101
Why do companies outsource? It’s a valid question, given the controversy. A simple answer is cost-effectiveness. Companies ask themselves, “If someone does it cheaper at almost the same quality, why pay more?”
In Rethinking The Future, Philip Kotler (a professor at Northwestern University) sums it up, “All companies that want to be globally competitive must practice outsourcing. Always buy the supplies you need from the source that can give you the best value for the money.”
It’s key to remember that outsourcing companies are not giving away their core competencies, the things that they excel in. The core competencies, which are the revenue generators,…

April 2nd, 2004
Fasting for Contemporary People

At Thurman’s , in Columbus (Ohio), the meat in the burger is so succulent it almost melts in your mouth. It’s the best (and the biggest) burger I’ve ever eaten.
It’s been four years since I tasted it, and yet my mouth still waters when I think about it.
Ever noticed that when you give up something you like (even for a little while), you appreciate it even more than you used to? That if you’ve skipped a meal, the food at the next meal tastes really good, even it’s a simple meal?
Maybe it’s time to take another look at the practice of fasting.
Fasting and your health
The Catholic Minimum on Fasting
Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 are required to fast on Ash Wednesday and Good…

March 27th, 2004
Everywhere They Are Asking for Money—Do I Give

Give, and you will receive. You will be given much… The way that you give to others is the way that God will give to you.
-Luke 6:38
I remember walking on High Street (in Columbus, Ohio) and seeing a dirty, scraggly-haired man, holding a paper cup in his hand. “Spare change, man,” is all he said and smiled when you gave him a few pennies. He was one of the few people I ever saw begging in the U.S.
It’s different here in India. Beggars sit outside churches, stand at traffic signals and outside restaurants, and some even roam the neighborhoods. They’re everywhere, and some of them are so pushy, it rankles.
Alms from the suckerDuring the Christian season of Lent, one of the things we are asked…

February 9th, 2004
And the Curse of Valentine's Day

Love, me, and the cosmos in FebruaryEvery year when Valentine’s Day rolls around, I become philosophical. Who am I? Why have I been placed on this earth? Why am I always without a date on Valentine’s Day?
Yes, I’ve never had a date or a relationship during Valentine’s Day. Ever. It somehow happens that my relationships end before or begin after Valentine’s Day. So when it comes to February 14, I’ve got a clean slate—no history.
Danger: Single man aheadAnd, as you get older, into the latter part
of your twenties anyway, the (obvious) questions start popping up like sea shells on a beach:

“Oh, he’s still single?” (Incredulous tone) “So, when are…

December 25th, 2003
Midnight Mass at St. Mary's... Hyderabad

In my family, we have a tradition of eating my Mom’s excellent fruitcake after Midnight Mass. It’s a sweet end to the wonderful experience of the evening.
I’m sure Masses in other places around the world are equally spectacular. But, for me, nothing beats Midnight Mass at St. Mary’s Church. If you’re ever in Hyderabad during Christmas time, be sure to check it out.
The night is usually cloudless and stars are visible in the sky. To me, it always seems that on this night, there is one star shining brighter than the rest. And every year it is cold. The men are handsomely dressed in suits and the women in sarees, salwaar kameezes, or dresses, covering themselves with shawls. Everyone wears…

November 29th, 2003
Depression and Its Bleak, Sometimes Even Suicidal Perspectives

During September and October of 2003 three different NYU students committed suicide, all by jumping from upper floors. Here in Bangalore in November, a fifteen year-old girl killed herself.
Most of us probably know someone who’s taken his or her own life. And we’ve all heard of high-profile artists and performers committing suicide, people like the rocker Kurt Cobain or the American poet Sylvia Plath.
Why would anyone want to take their own life? It’s a difficult question to answer. Yet maybe you would too, if you felt compelled to end the unbearable pain and anguish you were suffering. These feelings (pain, anguish, and despair) in unbearable proportions are usually associated with people…

October 18th, 2003
God Hears Us Whererever We Are

I’ve never tried it, but I don’t think I can pray at a rock concert or in a crowded bar. Maybe it’s possible if you have good powers of concentration. For me, it’s tough because there are too many distractions.
In a church or chapel though, the atmosphere and silence is calming and makes me feel peaceful inside. There are no distractions, so it’s easier to pray.
The ironic thing is that this isn’t the case, with most shrines I’ve visited. In my experience, the more famous a shrine, the more difficult it is to pray there. And on the feast days (or special days)—as they say in New York, fuggetaboutit.
Do these things really matter? Does it matter if you’ve not visited…

September 26th, 2003
Finding the Divine Through Loving What We Do

My neighbor owns two tanker trucks and supplies water to houses that don’t get a regular supply. He’s constantly working on the tankers with his helpers, opening up the tanker’s parts, and usually getting his hands dirty.
It’s hard, physical labor and it’s blue-collar work. But you can see that he loves what he does for a living.
Following your bliss or bitterness
If you love what you do, chances are you’ve experienced the sense of goodness and joy when you work. It’s like when you feel close to God, a feeling of peace.
About three years ago, when I was working late, two janitors came in to clean the office. Both of them were so cheerful, it was infectious. I felt that it was…

August 1st, 2003
Resolving Dilemmas of Conscience at Work

My friend Smita (name changed) refuses to write brochures and marketing material for companies because she feels uncomfortable “bending the truth.”
It’s common knowledge that brochures sometimes misrepresent product features, but she won’t write brochures at all, even though it pays well. She’d rather struggle and earn much less writing freelance articles, than go against her value system. To me, she’s a great example of how you can find God in the choices you make at work. Ironically, she’s an atheist.
Integrity in the moment of choiceMost of us spend eight hours a day at work. We deal with people, we make decisions, and we do the tasks that are assigned to us.…

March 30th, 2003
The Beauty of Others' Kindness

More than once the kindness and generosity of strangers has touched and surprised me. But sometimes friends also show the depth of their generosity and affection.
I experienced both of these when my trip to a job interview near Elkhart, Indiana, went seriously awry.
KaboomThe drive from my dorm in Columbus, Ohio to the hotel was supposed to take four and a half-hours. The interview would be the following day. I never made it to my hotel.
One moment, I was looking for something in the passenger’s side of my car, and the next moment, my car was hurtling down the grassy embankment. When I stopped, the air bag had deployed, my seat belt was ripped out of its holder, there was glass everywhere, and I was bleeding. A thin…

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