Friday, September 23, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
We had the honour of hosting this man in our office on Friday. He came across as a person who is extremely radical in not just his views, but in his general approach to life. I mean, where else will you find a man with a regular middle-class background in his growing years (1980s), to have focused just on reading, bunking college, playing basketball twice a day and trying to woo a girl! Seems like this script is taken out of a movie,but that is exactly what this man did in his growing years.
At the same time, those very formative years lent itself to a man who was able to articulate himself on the national stage. He talked at length about the changing India, about his view that the Mahabharata is the greatest book ever written in the history of mankind, his view of a complex India where distortions live in harmony etc.
Obviously, the crowd was hooked on to his every word, when he talked about how he started a journalistic revolution in the form of Tehelka. But, little did all of us realise the impact that, that movement would have on his life i.e. 24 hours security, death threats, 120 of his 124 member staff quitting Tehelka,no bank loans, no funding from anywhere to keep the ship afloat etc. But to the credit of the man, he hung in there and fought his way through. His single message to us was, if he had given up Tehelka, it would have meant that people cannot voice anything in this country. But, the fact that he managed to revive Tehelka is a lesson to everyone that revolutionary systems for a good cause, irrespective of hardships, are a great thing for the country.
The man was extremely jovial, conversational and had a command over the English language (as you would come to expect from a journalist). It was particularly interesting to learn that he uses his network of the rich & famous, for the betterment of Tehelka and investigative journalism i.e. he uses the money from the rich only to expose every single bit of possible mayhem that the high & mighty could potentially be resorting to. I guess that is called courage of conviction! In his own words,' I take money from the rich, but I tell them, that I am not on their side'. For example, he exposed the corruption in the office of the BJP President in 2000 (Bangaru Laxman), but had Mr.L.K. Advani come over to one of his book launches! I guess, that is what is called managing professional expectations well!
Great session...! I also managed to eke out a complimentary copy of his first book as well, The Alchemy of Desire - with his personal autograph!
Keep going, Swift! I have enjoyed your company for the last 2 years and look forward to more memorable times driving you around magical India!
Perhaps, it hits hardest, when you actually want to keep something supremely confidential to yourself. Yet,in the garb of consultative advice, these nosey-parkers get all the information from you and use it to tell the exact folks in the world who need not be informed of such developments in your life. Such nosey-parkers seem to be enthralled by the idea that they were the first to inform everybody else about something that may not yet have even happened in your life.
The big learning from all this is that, one needs to exercise supreme caution while divulging information, even to folks who appear to be the 'regulars' in your life. These nosey-parkers are potentially more dangerous than professional auditors who investigate corporate governance standards or insider-trading in a public company!
At the end of it all, one needs to draw a fine line between sharing information and not letting the 'affectionate party' feel let down. After all, when the 'affectionate party', in the garb of care for you, is out to destroy you with information that should simply not go out, caution is the only thing you can exercise. I am not at all referring to any illegal stuff here, but only talking about regular professional or personal opportunities that appear to be in the offing, but are not yet a reality.
Having had such personal experience from such 'affectionate parties', I am convinced that there are tons of people out there who only want to engage in 'free marketing' for you - especially with regard to information that is not yet a reality in your life. While I am not great believer in bad omens etc, I do believe that one should be wary of such 'free marketers'. It is better to keep quiet about all happenings in your life, rather than believe people who can make a fool of you - in the garb of caring for you.
Like I studied in my Law 101, 'caveat emptor' - which means, let the buyer beware. Similarly, Life 101 has taught me, 'just be beware of free marketers/affectionate parties/reliable ones', in your life. I have begun to appreciate the value of the corporate NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) a lot more in the recent past.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
The medical reports, churned out using great templates and designer software, will make you wonder whether you should believe those reports at all. You almost begin to wonder, what are those white paper reports worth after all? The results of such reports are so seemingly damaging - the doctor will take a look at them, consider your age (if you are in the 20s or 30s, you are lucky), and tell you to reduce consumption of all your favourite dishes.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Pretty normal, one would think. But, when we reached the station and the train arrived, we learnt from my cousin that Mr. N.R.Narayana Murthy had gotten off the same train in the previous station! Now, NRN travelling in the Indian Railways was news enough. But, the fact that he got into the train in the middle of nowhere (Mantralaya) was even bigger news. I mean, the man could easily fly down in a helicopter to Bangalore; or hire a Merc or a BMW and get back home by road.
But, he chose Indian Railways. I guess that talks about the character of the man - the simplicity, the practical way of looking at his life i.e. Indian Railways has the best transport network in the country & he was able to use the time in the train for himself; as against his regular schedule of being perenially busy and surounded by a slew of people. Apparently (according to my cousin), NRN was clad in white kurta-pyjama and was scheduled to leave to London on Monday.
For my own satisfaction, I saw the ticket chart outside the bogie that my cousin & NRN were travelling in. Sure enough, both their names were there. Only that, the famous scion of the Indian IT industry had his name printed as NARAYANA. Nobody would have guessed - by looking at the chart - that it was the name of the face of the Indian IT industry. I guess, it is pleasant to say, Narayana, Narayana, as in the old epics.
Good experience - for my cousin. And great insight into the practicality of the great man.
But 2011 is different. We are not going to get too many long weekends. Worse, we are not going to get too many public holidays as well, given that many holidays this year fall on weekends. Hence, it is going to be tough to club that weekend getaway with a Friday or a Monday and make sure that you cover that many more places than before.
Such scheduling in a calendar year only means that one needs to be extremely well planned in chalking out one's holiday plan. Remember, you plan on the handful of long weekends, are going to be the same periods in which many others would be making similar holiday plans. Hence, you need to be sure that you are smarter in the planning of your holidays, and quicker than the rest.
The other great thing about calendars is that, while one year(like 2011) will make all of us feel miserable at the paucity of public holidays, there will be other years when long weekends will be the norm, rather than the exception. So, bide your time, save money, and plan for those particular years, starting now. After all, inflation and calendars(long weekends) will come and go. But the number of places you want to see is endless. So, plan for the long weekends in maybe 2014, starting now!
But, that success seems to have gone to their heads for sure, albeit in different ways. Some of them are still in India (and hugely successful), while others have ventured abroad and made it big. Fair enough. However, their success has changed them in ways that I had not fathomed or expected. They have become people who find immense thrill in ridiculing India, while others seem to be living the life of a foreigner, living right here in India.
Imagine this - you are invited to somebody's house and you tell them that you will be there after a particular time on a Sunday evening. Now, given the traffic conditions, almost every Indian I know understands a delay. The least you expect is an sms reminder at the designated time, saying that they are expecting us! How ridiculous is that for an Indian living here in India? Maybe, I cannot blame the person, as the expectation in foreign countries is to be on time, even for social visits. However, our host conveniently forgot the travails of getting through tough traffic that make our best attempts to be on time, rudderless. And this person I am referring to, goes abroad every month on projects etc and hardly lives in India. As far back as I can remember, he was NOT like this before he became the big shot that he is today. But, at what price?
Or, take the example of folks abroad who now hold senior executive positions that I know personally. This person has totally forgotten his roots, in the sense, that, he has the audacity to say, 'some bloody Indian stuff', and has changed his very Indian name to a totally anglicised version, speaks in a tone that makes you wonder whether he has even seen India, and even manages to be nasty with other Indians I know who may not be that successful (YET). Again, a person who made it big, but lost all Indian values (and my respect thereof).
I write this blog in wonderment, at the price many Indians I know are ready to pay, for their success. Is it even worth it? I can only compare a person like Tendulkar (who I don't know personally). But, the great man - based on ALL his stupendous achievements on a cricket field - appears to be humane, and grounded. And, in parallel, these folks I know personally who are not even half way to where Sachin is, have so much attitude.
Just not worth it. The biggest takeaway for me in all this, is to never forget my roots. If & when I become successful, I will make sure that I take extra precaution to be humane, approachable and courteous; rather than being, rude, arrogant and a person full of attitude. To hell with such people and their attitude!