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Friday, August 28, 2015

The inherent goodness of mankind - 2

The huge outpouring of emotions on my last day in the service of the heart of incredible India took its toll. Yes, despite the huge anticipation of an impending challenge that I always looked forward to,  I was drowned in the sea of love and emotions. And why not, the love and affection put on open display by almost everyone in my circle is enough to give pangs of pain to anyone, and I have always been by nature, a very emotional person.

Madhya Pradesh is a lovely state, inhabited by simple people and MPT, by hardworking and sincere men who lifted the organization from the abyss to everest and I sincerely hope they continue to rise further under bureaucrats whom I always admired and also loved.     

The outpouring of sentiments from men in the air also overwhelms me. Air Indians I am certain are also as good and God willing, perhaps a shade better than the ITDCians, MPTians and Railwaymen. This belief stems from my experience with one such guy who worked with me since the last six months and who is now going to plaster the MP sky with planes, albeit smaller ones. I believe there must be scores like him and that thought alone gives me confidence and courage.

HR is the crux, unfortunately most of us in the sarkari seva pay no heed to it and remain embroiled in the mundane. If everyone is able to realize his or her potential, there is no reason why organizations will not grow by leaps and bounds. The mere thought that all of us, at the core are one with the almighty makes me treat with utter disdain the artificially created divides, for I have often experienced great work being delivered by mortals unfortunately regarded low in the artificial hierarchies.

I often remember with great pride, the rise from abyss of men during the days ITDC was being hived off. The tremendous zeal that my men then displayed to pull the organization out of the red and compete with the best in the private sector often make my eyes swell with tear and pride.

Perhaps I have been lucky, having gotten so much love and respect in the past, and God willing this lucky streak shall continue. This I am absolutely certain will be the greatest test of all my beliefs and convictions, the strongest of which is the belief in the inherent goodness of mankind.


Friday, August 21, 2015

On the move once again!

This time to head the beleaguered Air India, the erstwhile Maharajah of the nation with its trademark logo. The sheen has been lost but not the inner strength is my firm belief and this alone gives me the hope that the skies can be ruled once again. And it shall happen.

My diehard belief in the inherent goodness of men at large who have delivered while I have merely shown them the way is the reason for my optimism. My experience in running commercial enterprises is that leadership by apex management indeed remains the primary issue, while the mundane takes priority and that too in a reactive manner. Providing proactive leadership is the crux and playing on the front foot the easiest way to demonstrate the same is what I believe in.  

Heading Air India had always remained a dream, especially since I was shown the door after turning around Hotel Ashok Delhi and putting on the right track, the India Tourism Development Corporation, for since being turned around myself, the belief that a turnaround is indeed possible had festered inside me.

And now the moment of truth has indeed arrived. All my beliefs, and there are many would now be put to test and I will realize whether I was wrong or right. Yet I have to be right for I cannot afford the ignominy of defeat especially in my last tenure. My firm belief that will power is still the biggest power to overcome any obstacle and impeccable integrity and adherence to value systems the only way to perform miracles would now once again be put to test.

My stint at ITDC helped, for I witnessed a tremendous team-work amongst employees, something that till then was never considered possible. And when the team rises, as I pleasantly witnessed, a turnaround emerges. Yet hard work has to act as the major ingredient of the pie.

And Madhya Pradesh Tourism has been fun. With open support from the powers that be, the men at the corporation rose to the occasion to propel the state to the forefront of tourism in the country and the corporation, a perfect commercial enterprise.

A motorcycle advertisement where the rider blends with his bike and they become one has been one of my greatest inspirations. That is the crux, the CEO has to completely blend with the organization that he heads, almost like sugar in water and then the decisions that he takes would invariably tend to be right. Gut alone provides the right answers in commercial organizations, I have almost always realized.

Like always before I shall not fail this time also, perhaps my last innings in the service of the nation, is a promise that I have made to myself.

May God give me the strength!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Kalam after Gandhi

The nation cried after a very long time. It wept when Gandhi left, tears trickled down when Nehru departed and now an avalanche of tears and emotions flowed when Kalam passed away. That mere religion is not at the root of genuine love, respect and emotion is the true learning from this incident that engulfed the nation into sadness.

Today is Guru Punima, the day of reverence to all our teachers and what can be better than to remember the true teachers that this nation had, Gandhi, Nehru and Kalam. Gandhi gave us our greatest gift, the gift of freedom that he snatched from the jaws of the British, armed only with the greatest power on earth, the power of non violence, the power of non submission to what is inherently wrong. Gandhi was also the most powerful man ever to walk on earth for his power was truly personal, the genuine power that emerges from being truthful and one with humanity and this trait alone ensured the submission of the greatest nation of that time to the rightful demands of a very big section of the humanity. And Nehru led this nation in its most difficult times.

Kalam, I met for the first time properly when along with Arunima, my better half we went to his residence to invite him for the annual function of the railway women’s organization. His simplicity was just amazing for we could never have visualized such a big man to be so simple, so down to earth and so humble. Accustomed to the rough ways of those in power and also out of it, we were simply charmed into submission and at that very moment we fell in love with the greatest of human being we had ever met in our lives. He came for the event and conquered forever the hearts of all the railwaymen present for the grandest yet simplest function of their lives.

Kalam, the truest teacher that this nation has ever had showed us the meaning of words like humbleness, humility, commitment, truth, integrity and being true to oneself, the organization and the nation. That these are not mere words from the english vocabulary but have a great inherent meaning and value for the humankind is the biggest learning imparted by the greatest missile man and the finest president ever born in this republic.

He mingled with the differently abled kids on the day of the function as if he were a kid himself and therefore could feel the pain and the joys of being one whom the allmighty has made not like many others. His beaming face, his voice laced with emotion and love and his direct connect with the people, especially the children who are the future simply transports one to a different environment.

And to the men in power and out of it, his life is a subtle message that authority is vested only for the good of people at large, not for self aggrandizement.

His soul left his body while he was teaching at Shillong, a true teacher he was.

Gandhi once said “My life is my message”. Kalam never had to say it, yet his life shall forever remain the most powerful message for the nation after Gandhi.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Protocol, gifts and bouquets

The recent incident on a railway division where a senior officer was found threatening the subordinate for contributing towards the marriage gift of the daughter of boss of the senior was nauseating to say the least, yet none in the officer community was surprised.

An organization steeped deep in unethical practices cannot be expected to be jolted by such a minor incident that otherwise took the nation by surprise and also pricked the conscience of many who have not yet crossed the line between honesty and theft.  

I am reminded of an order by one of my ex-bosses who subsequently rose, if one calls it rise, to become the head of the nation’s largest monolith. The boss was brazen enough to verbally order for departmental get together dinner and booze parties to be organized at the expense of some hapless contractor every month. And as expected I failed to comply and landed into many subsequent soups at the hands of the boss who rose to the top, in rank, expertise in brazen loot and lowly acts of personal conduct. Yet no eyebrows were raised, when the boss issued his brazen order or when I was busy paying the price for my misconduct of brazen defiance of unethical orders.

Yet the latest incident is indeed beyond justification. How can senior officers be so brazen so as to threaten their juniors into submission merely for collecting an extremely high value marriage gift. That the junior by not succumbing to unethical pressure tactics rose a few notches in my eyes, notwithstanding, the conduct of the bosses is indeed extremely uncalled for, despite reflecting a true picture of the deeply prevalent rot in the society.

Excessive bent towards providing protocol to the senior servants of the government also saddens me. Why this bent towards something so immaterial and that too at the cost of delivery per se hurts me to the core. And that too when all these peripheral trappings are bound to vanish in thin air as soon as one crosses sixty. Yet people do not understand and the rot continues.

And the same with giving bouquets and opening the door of the car, not as a token of respect but just to please superiors for petty personal gains.

Sometime back I had taken a drive against plaques that were installed only to carve in stone for posterity the name of the blokes who did the honors while laying the foundation stone or during the commissioning of the facility that should have been there in normal course. Yet I must give credit to these blokes for so far their names have not appeared on plaques next to taps, cisterns and commodes.  

When is all this going to end, especially in the biggest corporate on the globe and till that happens, all our dreams shall remain in air? Tragic is’nt it and also sad that we are giving up on an organization just to satiate the ego of a few who but for the same could make a difference if only they desired. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The mind plays games and we play along!

The fine line keeps on getting blurred often.

I always believed that good and bad are like black and white, distinct and apart, but life keeps on attempting to teach otherwise. It teaches that good and bad are separated by a fine line that often keeps on getting blurred.

Is all that is on the side of the powerful, superior or the wealthy, good and all that is not, otherwise? Is there not an absolute definition of good or bad? Are we to go by the general perception of the public based on what they follow or practice or is the voice of conscience the better and the ultimate arbiter in the tussle between the good and the bad?

Is the system superior to the objective? Again a question that has no straight answers; a question that all those in the service of the sarkar keep on grappling with almost always. If the system comes in the way of achieving the objective, what are we supposed to do with it, still follow it or give it the go by. What we do, then actually defines what is superior and more often than not, it would be the system not the objective.

Then how the hell the country is expected to make progress in the true sense is what I always wonder. And the very fact that most of us either do not care or do not appreciate this basic premise is what exasperates me.

The tremendous energy that all of us have, gets dissipated without making the contribution it should, to the society at large. And that is tragic.

Remaining busy shuffling papers is not how I view my life should be. Paperwork is meant to merely a mechanism of making things happen, not an end by itself. And therefore it pains me when papers are merely shuffled around and we remain engrossed in a maze of files, meetings and discussions while organizations and the nation stands still.

Injustice and lack of basic concern for humanity is also what pains me. Is life deigned to be like this as ordained by the almighty, or what we generally witness is the aberration? What is the purpose and what is the grand design of the lord in creating the human life, life that appears to me to be the epitome of imperfection.

These and many other questions bother me, more so because there are no real answers to them.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The inherent goodness of humankind!

Despite setbacks, and there have been many, I refuse to dilute my belief in the inherent goodness of men at large. Evil, though it often lurks in the most unlikeliest of places has not yet succeeded in changing this belief despite tremendous environment inspired efforts.

I have always believed that men are inherently good and why not – after all, all of us are a part of the tremendous cosmic energy that we recognize as God. And if God is good, how can his constituents be bad or evil? What we generally witness are acts that are bad or evil and we often make the mistake of treating the act and the actor as one. Difficult it is to differentiate between the two, yet we have to, for therein lies the essence of life.

And therefore those who form their own opinions based on the true understanding (if that is indeed possible) of the infinite cosmic energy, and are not swayed by the opinions of masses are the ones who live life to the fullest, and that is how it is designed to be.

The theory of Karma sounds good and often takes a lot of burden off our heads for our acts of misdemeanor, yet I fail to be firmly convinced.  After all the infinite cosmos is not meant to be like humans – holding us responsible for each and every single act of ours – for by its supposed nature and constitution it has to be forgiving and not revengeful. And there is also no supercomputer at work, logging down each and every single act of over six billion souls and then paying them back in the same coin in this life or thereafter.

Yet goodness by itself is a reward that should enthuse those who indulge in evil to take recourse to course correction. Acts that are good and humane in nature impart a deep sense of satisfaction that is often divine in nature. Yet the intent is what really matters, good acts committed with the intention of appearing good in the eyes of others may not yield desirable results.

And that leads me to think whether there is a level above mere acts of goodness or evil. And if there is, it has to be genuineness and that again would come out of a deep and pure thought process that too over a period of time. Being genuine is maybe what really matters, to and in this world of ours and the great cosmos.