Naam me kya rakha he? Jeet!

The doorbell of my house rang at 12 pm. I opened the door, the dhobi smiled, flashed his milky white teeth and asked me,

” Bhaiya kese ho?”

With my usually calm demeanor, I replied,

“Bas bhai sab thik.”

He began unfolding the sack of our clothes; as he was cross-checking the actual count of clothes with the entry made by him in his book, I asked him,

” Hero, tujhe 1-2 pen chahiye hisaab likhne ke liye?”

His face brightened up. With satisfying looks he said,

“Haan bhaiya, bahut kaam aayegi pen. Hain to dedo.”

I felt happy that I could hit the right area for helping someone. Suddenly I realized, he is coming to my place for more than 2 years now and I don’t remember his name.

Oh God, not again! I am terrible at remembering names and it haunts me every single day. I love talking to people. If I see someone from a distance whom I have interacted with before, I make it a point to exchange pleasantries. However no sooner the other person calls me by my name that I start panicking, “What on earth is this person’s name? How long can I speak without calling him by his name?” I feel dejected. Same thing happened today. I couldn’t recollect my dhobi’s name. I asked him in a charming but callous way,

“Arey hero wese log tujhe kis naam se bulaate he ghar pe?”

He stared at me, grinned, offended by my question. His smile suddenly turned into a frown. He replied trying to hide the offense he felt,

“Jeetendra! Kya bhaiya itne saal se aa raha hu aur naam bhi bhul gaye?”

I wanted to kill myself for being such a jerk. But, somehow I tried to cheer him up,

” Arey, bhula kaun he. Mujhe to sirf puchna thaa log pyaar se kya bulaate he re pagle. Aur wese bhi, naam me kya rakha he!”

His 180 degree smile flashed once again illuminated by his spotless white teeth.

He continued, “Jeetu bulate he bhaiya pyaar se. Mere bhai ka naam Jeet laal he.”

I asked him cajolingly, “Lagta he tumhaare pitaji ko jitendra bahut pasand he”.

He laughed out loud and began narrating like an over excited kid:

“Nai bhaiya. Hua yu ke mere pitaji ka gaav ke court me case chal raha tha apne bhai ke saath. Jis din court case mere pitaji jeet gaye ussi din amma ne mere bade bhai ko janam diya. Pitaji ne court case jeetne ki khushi me mere bhai ka naam Jeet-laal rakh diya. Aur kuch saal baad jab me aaya, to mere naam jitendra.”

His eyes sparkled more than his teeth. With a non-fading, joyful expression, he left, thanking me without literally saying anything. Someone listened to his story after a long time I felt. He won my heart (and my memory).

Sometimes a mere name makes you a winner!

Lessons from a game of badminton

I am not a sports aficionado. Sports have always been the weakest area in my life. I tried my level best to enjoy with all the grit and passion a game of cricket, football or motorsports but in vain. My friends still laugh when I try to play a game of cricket with them since they know I am a huge no!

Yet, of late I have developed a keen interest in badminton. Unlike other games, I could establish a connection with this game easily. I don’t play this game as a pure leisure activity but try to incorporate some seriousness by way of trying new shots, playing in different conditions and against different opposition.

Throughout I realized some interesting caveats of badminton which I could incorporate in day to day life. While the lessons might sound trivial to a professional who might have learned them at a very young age, for a novice like me, it cheers me up and helps me associate with this sport. I can pen down the five most important lessons this game has so far taught me.

FOCUS IS EVERYTHING

This is not something new for us. Yet we don’t realize the importance of focus. This mere trait has the power to change your game and take it to a new level. You lose sight and BAM! Do not underestimate the power of focus.

TOUGH OPPOSITION IS ACTUALLY BENEFICIAL FOR SELF

We have a tendency to crib about tough, harsh, insurmountable situations. Badminton made me realize that playing against tough players ends up improving my game. What seems implausible as a spectator is actually plausible as a player. The tougher the opposition is, the better you will play your game. In the end, it’s a WIN-WIN for everyone.

STEP ON THE FIELD

That’s the ultimatum! You have to step out and work. Hold the racket, focus on the shuttle, analyze the conditions and execute your thoughts into action. Sweat it out, embrace the pain/loss/win by yourself. Merely watching the game from a distance and analyzing the player or his shots won’t really work. You may never understand the reality unless you do it yourself.

YOU OWN THE OUTCOME OF THE GAME

You win or lose because of the way you play your game. Whether the opposition is shrewd, cunning, smart, outstanding or a tough nut, you decided to play against him and hence you take the ownership of the outcome. Blaming your mentor, audience, supporters, external conditions, your health issues cannot change the outcome. Focus on making your play better and better every time you step on the field.

THIS IS NOT THE END

Whether you succeed or fail, it is not the end. Learn to streamline your thoughts and save it for the next game. The outcome of this one game is temporary and would soon be overshadowed by future games. Do not carry the baggage of emotions for a long time. Because games will change, and so will be the emotions!

So, this is what a 30-minute game ends up teaching me. Many more learnings would be hidden in this game. Identify them and make your life tad better than before. Let it be a GOING CONCERN!

The Difficulty of Being Sorry

A colleague of mine recently got married. To celebrate this joyous occasion, a bunch of us along with the newly wedded couple went on lunch; the intention behind was to get to know each other better (and judge each other about the extent to which we all can get along with each other). Fifteen minutes after the usual cajoling and giggling, the real discussion started. My colleague supposedly was found guilty of not really accepting her mistakes and saying, “SORRY” by her husband. I just laughed during the whole conversation since I could not really risk speaking something blasphemous which would mar the new relation.

 

I might have discounted this quality of my colleague. We all do it; we never accept in the first instance that our thinking is really not correct and we should be sorry; more so when we are dealing with our closed ones. At times, we do have the veracity to raise some issues we are really uncomfortable with, but we end up just living with it.

I have figured out the following occasions for which we (Yes Dear! Please read WE!) Just do not feel sorry for what we are doing:

Jealousy

 

Wouldn’t you agree that jealousy is the sorriest state of mind we are in? If someone thinks in a better way than you, if someone earns more than you, if someone is being liked by the society and is talked about more frequently (minus the hypocrisy), or if someone is performing better than you, what do we earn by being jealous?

It is more appalling when we realize that we are wrong but we are just not sorry for it. It’s more than the pride or ego which can explain this. We end up a loser if we are not sorry for being jealous; because this isn’t really a talent or God’s gift we have. It is how we keep reinforcing this behaviour frequently which hardwires this quality.

Elderly wisdom

 

“We are elders. We have seen the world better than you. We know what we are doing. All you have to do is follow us. Elders need not explain the younger ones their actions; you have to believe that’s it!”

  • Not allowing your children to marry the person of his/her choice even when you know that there is nothing wrong with the choice;
  • Following religious practices without really explaining the reason, and reprimanding them when they ask for it;
  • Following the practice of not eating in front of maid or workers;
  • Not agreeing to a career choice just because elders have not heard about it

They know their kids are thinking right and they are not. They might also accept that their kids will succeed in what they were pursuing (even after going against them). And yet, they might not be sorry for what they were thinking. They will certainly feel proud of their kids’ achievements and success; but they might not feel sorry for their thinking.

Inter-society acrimony

 

Let’s keep all the politics aside for a moment. Do you really believe that people from any single segment of society are a perfect representative of the entire community? We might argue that we have come across many such individuals from a particular community who has shown the same traits. I am not focusing on terrorism (There’s too much discussion on this already being done). It’s about being a North Indian or South Indian; a Gujarati or a Maharashtrian; a Hindu or a Muslim. We keep pointing out to few communities who for showing off their success; for being arrogant or recluse; for not having that acumen which you have.

We know all human beings are different. And we also know that it’s the upbringing of that individual in that family in a particular situation which makes him think or behave in a particular way. We spend our times which are not always in our control. All we do is generalize the behaviour of the entire community and – without being sorry for what we are doing!

 

What do we make out of it? What can we do to overcome this flaw? One word solution for this would be, “EMPATHY”! Think how the other person thinks, and feel how the other person feels. Forget for sometime how you have always been correct and how people have always benefitted from your advice. Free your mind and give your ego a break. Let your arrogance rest for a while. Be sorry for your wrong thinking and not just for your wrong actions.

As we say, “Everything resides in our mind”!

Be IN TOUCH

in touch“Be in Touch!!” is all I heard in the past few weeks from my colleagues back in my MBA school. After spending wholesome two years with them under the same roof, when time came to bid adieu, the clouds of emotions began hovering in our minds and hearts. The phenomenon is very common across the society. Whether it is attending any family function; a trip where you end up making new friends or when you are leaving your workplace or your old residence after spending considerable time period; the least we all expect from each other is – “Be in Touch”.

I have experienced this phenomenon in all the situations I mentioned above. And I try very hard to be in touch with the people I meet. And believe me, it is wonderful. There is plethora of satisfaction you get when you communicate with them (e-mail, ping, phone call or skype). This is something which management school also taught us to do once we step out in the real world.

I figured out that while we all know the importance of being in touch with family, friends and colleagues, there are also few other intangible things which requires us to be in touch with. For instance, I wrote blogs frequently till last year. Suddenly, I stopped doing it due to so called other commitments. What I couldn’t decipher was the fact that there were a few set of readers who appreciated this activity I was doing. They made a point to read all my articles. And they expected me to keep doing it. But I ended up disappointing them. (This was until yesterday when my fiancé urged me to resume this activity)

This instance and few others helped me to come up with three things I believe we should “Be In Touch”:

Hobby

When we develop a hobby, we must ensure that we are in touch with it. Be it blogging, reading, sport activities or cooking, allow yourself to spare some time for it on a regular basis. It will add meaning to your life since you are doing something different; it gives you immense satisfaction and lets you develop some purpose in life. Moreover, it allows you come out of the cocoon of routine lifestyle. And while you may not realize this, there are people who look up to you when you do something which inspires them and enable them to learn from you.

Knock Knock Old People

We all talk freely with our parents, friends, children and relatives. Very few of us spare some time for our oldies. Be it talking to them in person or over a phone call (even if you might have to raise your voice due to old age related hearing disability or repeating one thing 2-3 time due to memory issues)listening to you and talking to you adds meaning to their not so delightful geriatric phase. They are eager to know about you, your life and your work. While they may not comprehend everything you do, they would still feel good about the fact that you are there around. When you see the child in them, you realize how beautiful their minds are!

Mother Nature

While technology has ensured that we get all the material comforts in our lives, yet there are many things which no amount of technology can give us. The beauty of the rising sun in early morning, the chirping of birds amidst the silence of the dawn, the cool breeze emanating from the sea, the healing touch provided by the grass wet with the dew; the list can go endless. These gifts from Mother Nature need to be endorsed by us since they are priceless. It takes efforts to wake up early morning or travel to the sea shore, the end results are exhilarating.

Next time you pick up a phone, try dialing a number which is not in frequently contacted list. Next time you want to kill time, do it by living your hobby. And next time you have a choice to hit gym or hug Mother Nature, do the latter. All you have to do is, “Be in Touch”!

How can I do right career planning?

How can I do right career planning? by Rijal Kadakia

Answer by Rijal Kadakia:

My opinion is philosophical as there is no right method to do career planning. This is because life is so unpredictable that you always receive surprises. Lets say your life is a tree. The best way to plan your career is to make your roots strong. The roots denote a field (arts, science, commerce). Then comes the growth in the form of stems. The stems represents growth and opportunities. How long you want to grow and how broad you want to grow depends on various factors, primarily on the strength of the roots. These stems can be specialisations. It is important to keenly observe how your stems are growing. Then comes the leaves. Leaves represent beauty of your career. If your roots are strong enough with well maintained and protected stems, the leaves would grow and beautify your career. Finally comes flowers and fruits. This is what I call, “End result of your career”. Their smell and/or taste depends on what what means you adopted to feed your tree.

To conclude, nourish the land (read mind) to develop strong roots. Make them so strong that even if a storm comes (read difficult phases in career), you will at least stay upright with external damages (build internal strength).

Hope, you like my unconventional answer!!

How can I do right career planning?

Zor ka Jhatkaa (is it too much?)

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-making-it-mandatory-for-doctors-to-write-generic-government-2239071

This is what I call “Dharamsankat“. You want to save someone by putting a gun on someone else’s shoulder. The article in the link mentions about the steps government are taking to help bring down the healthcare costs for Indian patients by promoting generic drugs albeit forcefully. While the patients wont really mind this initiative since they would end up saving bucks a big time and also this was something they wanted from government sometime or the other, the pharma sector  would definitely feel the heat more than ever.

The government wants to make prescription of generic medicines mandatory for physicians. This would be a blow to physicians who have benefitted immensely from the plethora of gifts in various forms which they receive from the BIG DADDY’S of pharma world (Anyways, they are frustrated with reservations and long amount of time investments in making a career). However, even the government would not be spared from facing the heat. India is a pharma hub in the world after China. Also, India sees itself as a leader in pharma in the next decade surpassing China. The main reason this is possible is because of low investments and high ROI compared to other countries. This was possible in two ways:

  1. Increased FDI
  2. More investments from domestic firms

compulsion

But if under the ambit of the government, policies keep becoming more stringent on a daily basis, wouldn’t it deter their ambitions of running business successfully? How would you expect a businessmen to set up an industry wherein all he sees is myriad of government regulations, some of them bit unrealistic?

The problem with India is any government tries to take things in its own hands almost exclusively. This has following repercussions:

  1. There is an issue with so called ‘faith’ in the government from the citizens due to disastrous past events of corruption and bad policies. Due to this, people don’t believe in the government intentions most of the times (You may take an opinion on Swacch Bharat cess)!
  2. People are not given power to effectively handle situations of corruption. Due to the fear of harassment by government officials, we Indians fear to take matter in our own hands.

 

If we look in the context of healthcare, people would be very much willing to demand generic medications. All they need to do is ask for generic prescriptions without any backfiring from the God (read doctors). All they need is the strength and assurance of their safety. This is what the government should aim for. Instead of facing the heat from all fronts, they should make a provision for people to take certain responsibilities. And this will happen if and only if there is safety and assurance and unhindered medical services. That’s what a good leader is supposed to do right?

 

Its high time government changes its lookout!

Are Indian parents ready to accept Ka as Ki and Ki as Ka?

I loved Ki & Ka movie. The concept needed a big boost. And the timing couldn’t be better than today! India is on a transition stage along many dimensions. Economy, socio-political, education, health sector, globalization and many many more. We are all aware of the fact that today every country wants to make progress. And we measure progress by comparing ourselves with a standard developed country. India always looked west to measure their progress. And western world is known to adore this dual handling concept. So when I saw this movie, the first question which popped in my mind is – “Can this become a mass phenomenon in India?”

The concept of movie appealed to me for several reasons:

  1. I love cooking. Given a chance, I would love to explore every facet of kitchen management.
  2. I am averse about women sitting within four walls of house. Especially the very talented ones who have burnt midnight oil to succeed and who are needed by this world to progress more and more.
  3. I believe that in today’s world, men and women share equal responsibility of managing work and house.
  4. Home science is one of the best fields to explore for men. They can learn many management lessons for free and practical.

So what is the issue? Is your partner uncomfortable with this thinking? Probably not. Thanks to the kind of exposure we are getting due to education, internet penetration and global exposure, in today’s world both men and women want to manage things equally. It’s not difficult to create a level playing field on these cryptic thoughts. Will our kids dislike it? That cannot be the case since kids learn what we teach and their learning is progressive; which means their thoughts are ahead of their parents. Will our parents be easy going? Aaaaah!!! Difficult? Impossible? I consider it a herculean task. All my married Indian readers would agree with me. (pun intended!!)

What is the main reason of altercation between any two human beings? Mismatch between thoughts and principles. While our generation wants to bury umpteen age old practices which are endured half heartedly even by our parents (example- a grand marriage feast to please people), we find it difficult to accomplish thanks to our minority status. Even today, our parents are not comfortable watching their boy(s), son(s) or son-in-law(s) working in kitchen. “This is not your work. Let women handle this.” Why? Brand image issue in society. While we Indians love this feeling of togetherness, it comes with its own set of regulations. Regulations generate fear. Fear leads to change resistance.

It is the fear of tongue and hence the fear of image distortion which stops us from doing right things. Arjun Kapoor turned out to be a good speaker, a good thinker and a good executioner. He had the power the convince people albeit with support from his wife and mother-in-law. But would his mother (if shown alive in the movie) have accepted his ideologies? While he ignored his father since he detested him, had his mother stopped him from pursuing his experiments, would he have gone for it, since he loved his mother to the core? This is what we call “dharamsankat” in India, meaning, “In a fix”. While many of us would love to explore this concept, are we ready to stand against our own blood?

Beta, will you play dry holi with me?

I was returning today from my jog in the evening. As I entered my colony, I was fuming to see entire area wet. I was following the news of the drought issues faced by Marathwada people in the interiors of Maharashtra. The horrible conditions they are facing without water is tougher than probably the times of British Raj. I am too inclined towards the cause of saving water and hence I along with a group of my friends have decided to keep our holi absolutely dry and use only organic color so that it can be easily removed with minimum quantity of water. So, it enraged me even more to see the callous attitude of people celebrating holi. Moving further, I saw group of toddlers, barely 5-6 years old playing holi with water balloons and water guns. I stood just still!

How do I stop these kids from wasting water? These young nimble minds are too small to even gauge the meaning of drought and pain. While kids are too quick to grasp things, I wonder how quick are they in grasping the emotions and social causes, I am sure its difficult. While the axe falls on their parents to look after their kids and explain to them the repercussions of water misuse, is it really their fault if they falter while explaining to them the motive behind preventing them from using water?

On one hand, we are struggling to keep our rich heritage of festivals alive by involving kids in all kinds of cultural events, festivals being the prima facie. The increasing threat to our Indian culture perceived by many as the result of Western influence can be diverted by keeping the young generation attached to our traditions. The best way to influence our kids is by telling them the stories of their earlier generations and their ways of celebrating the festivals. So holi was all about splashing pichkari water and balloons and colors and bhang and thandaai.

But times have changed. And unfortunately the times are tougher. While the younger lot are way too ahead when it comes to technology and pace, they are laggards in terms of accessing basic amenities, primarily water. The kids have all facilities with them. They have all latest gadgets to play with. And yet, the seed of Indian which is sprouting in them makes them rooted to their heritage. But then, there are barriers in doing so. The question which arises is, “It is not at all justified to waste something as precious as water for which people are dying. But we want to make sure that our rich heritage is intact” Unfortunately, at this juncture, it’s acting like a double edged sword which is getting sharper day by day.

So my only challenging question for this holi and all upcoming holis is and will be, “Beta, will you play dry holi with me?”

holi

MR. PAST – WILL U LEARN TO KNOCK?

I was doing my daily notifications check on Facebook which included personal messages from one or two people. As I was going through it, I got a glimpse of messages dated as far as 2009. There are some people who you are still there with, and reading their messages is just so pleasurable. And there are some messages from people who have disowned you or you have forgotten them; you read their stuff and your heart sinks. And this sunken feeling is more pathetic than the obnoxious smell emanating from decomposing rot. While you may cover your nose with something or walk fast to avoid the smell, your past won’t let you go so easily. Even if you run away or choose to ignore him, you still will be haunted by it. It is something like, “I HATE YOU LIKE I LOVE YOU”!

So here I am talking to past, a shameless fellow who just doesn’t have any etiquette to deal with us. You have built your own set of rules; you behave in your own way, you don’t give a damn whether we are ready to meet you. You are so brazen it doesn’t even care to look at the age or gender or physical and mental fitness of a person. You are the most democratic, most secular, most fearless and most independent entity which exists in this world. Do you even care to give us any prior intimation before striking us?

There are several occasions when we leave all your tensions aside, make headway to rejuvenate our mind and soul, escape from our daily wear and tear of life. We are in the middle of fun and frolic; and BOOOOM!!!!! There comes Mr. PAST, hovering around us. The dreadful part is you can take any form. You can be a human; you can be words; you can be feelings, music, appearance, etc. etc. And you are so sudden that we don’t even know what is the next thing we are ought to do. We stand there, watching you, feeling you, realizing your presence; whether we want to laugh or cry, remain calm or hyper, smile or get sad, we just don’t know and you just don’t care.

There are books available to guide us how to overcome our past. There are counselors who can help us to deal with you Mr. Past. There is God whose belief will make us think, “WHATEVER HAPPENS HAPPEN FOR GOOD”. But there is no such thing who can teach us when to expect shall we be meeting Mr. Past. You are a detrimental force for the weak hearted, a mirage for dreamers, and a reality for the strong willed. While we humans cannot really do anything about you since you are bygone hypothetically, Mr. Past you can have some courtesy to show some professionalism and imbibe discipline within yourself. Don’t be so ruthless or merciless in striking us (that’s something which terrorists are supposed to do). Develop some humanity if you are dealing with humans day-in day-out. ARE YOU LISTENING?

 

 

 

Why I love to be a bookworm

“You are such a bookworm!”

“Why do you need to read so much to learn and understand? It’s just common sense! ”

 

These are some of the notifications I get from my friends and family. The eyes roll as soon as I start talking about it. They turn a deaf ear to my opinions citing them as unreasonable and unrealistic. The acceptance is clearly at nadir from both the sides. I give it a thought. “Is it really not worth to read so much? Does it really help to invest so much time in the books? Is it doing me any good?”

 

I go back a few years. I was working for a healthcare IT firm. It had some of the best engineers and consultants from elite colleges. Umpteen occasions propped up where I was standing with them whose scholastic discussions  drifted eloquently from one topic to another. And there I  was, staring and listening foolishly, not knowing what is going around me . Economics, politics, world affairs, business, finance, book releases, authors, international music all came one after the other. I got few glances from them; their looks so dismal that I almost cursed myself for behaving so naive. There appeared a demarcation between me and them invisible to the world, but piercingly enough to me. It clearly whispered where I stood and what my stature was, and how much I lagged. Every time it happened, I was resolute enough to rectify it. But as human nature goes, I was back to square one every time. And the same phenomena repeated again and again.

 

 

I knew the solution. I knew the time line to succeed. I knew the kind of change which will come as soon as I take the first step. I just had to convince myself that my efforts wont go in vain. Finally, I took up reading. It started with few minutes with a slow pace. The habit slowly gained ground and reading was becoming more frequent. Thanks to my GRE preparations, vocabulary was not really an issue. (Too cryptic articles acts as a deterrent for many novice and it turns them off). Newspapers, magazines, internet surfing, blogs, books became regular companions. I could manage to keep a slot for them. Train travel, morning ablutions, bedtime reading were some of the highly explored slots. The roots were becoming stronger, knowingly and unknowingly.

 

MBA preparations added fuel to the fire. I improvised on my choice and source of reading. Initially, reading was more mechanical, like a robot who is reciting everything without absorbing any knowledge. But, this changed by learning new techniques, by pondering more over what I am reading and why I am reading. The change became more visible when I started giving healthy inputs to the ongoing discussions with friends, family, colleagues. I became a regular at workplace discussions. Many a times, I got an opportunity to initiate discussion on many topics. And it felt good. At least I started knowing something. That stupid look was waning away. I began to form opinions and give judgements on the articles written by the journalists and authors.

 

Reading has now become a passion. It is almost a necessity. When I see any news show or listen to any panel discussion, I realize the power of the speakers who diligently present their facts. This can be attributed equally to their voracious reading apart from their good elocution skills. And not all of them carry literature or journalism degree with them. It clearly shows the kind of efforts they put in to gain superiority over their opinions and why people love to follow them, listen to them and believe in them.

 

My reading at times goes against me . I am quite frequently tagged as pompous who carry bookish knowledge with no real applications. I am seen as person who doesn’t understand the real world which is miles apart and different from the world of words and pages. I am tagged a person whose knowledge is restricted to the books. And it hurts. So how do I deal with their opinions?

  1. Do I get angry and lash out at them for being so demeaning and demoralizing?
  2. Do I ignore them and live a life of an ascetic who is not really concerned what the world thinks about me?
  3. Do I work out with them with diplomacy and explain to them how much they are wrong and I am right?

 

I would have definitely taken either of these 3 routes had I not come across Stephen Covey’s all time hit, “The 7 habits of highly effective people“. Mr. Covey, a highly respected management guru who is looked upon as a messiah by corporate, cogently convinced the readers that a person is defined by his character. To change the world’s opinion, he has to first change himself from within. He must look from others perspectives by stepping into their shoes and see why the other person feels that way. It might take you a while to walk on this path, but success rates are high. It’s a mature way to handle the differences.

 

And I am trying to follow him. Unless I change myself and present myself in a more acceptable manner, the allegations are bound to crop up time and again. But at the same time, the very same habit of reading has increased my stature and knowledge and it continues to do so every single day. So while I would continue to remain a bookworm for the rest of my life, doing so without bothering others is a challenge which needs to be made surmountable!

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