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Monday, October 10, 2016

Public Sector Blues

Handling a public sector and that too remaining confined within the cloak of archaic rules and processes is no mean task. And when the corporate in question is in the business of flying planes, a business that can easily be termed as the mother of all businesses, the job assumes the pinnacle of complexity.

The mother term is coined by me, now for the second time, the first being for the lifeline of the nation that also qualifies to fall in a similar category as the mother of all bureaucracies. 

While the essential difference between the public and the private lies in the ownership pattern, one being owned by the public at large and other by a private body, it is not a gospel mandate to have differences in the way they operate. Why the public sector cannot be allowed to operate and also prosper like the private may perhaps always remain unanswered.

Unless and until we all and that includes the mighty government machinery, start believing in the supremacy of deliverance over everything else, such dilemmas would always continue. Why process has started taking overriding precedence over deliverance in a nation like ours that still has miles and miles to go is indeed beyond my comprehension. A system that judges merit based on considerations that are often poles apart from sheer deliverance can never lead a nation to glory shall always remain my firm belief. But yes, the India of today is witnessing change of an order never experienced in the past and that alone is the silver lining in the dark skies.

Often my airline is questioned on its inability to match the private sector on various operating parameters, and this is unfortunately always done without due appreciation of the fundamental reality that there is no level playing field. The decision making processes, the contractual mechanisms, the checks and balances, the focus on process at the cost of deliverance and lack of clarity on the purpose or the objective are all widely different. The complex process oriented world of the public sector is no match in front of the simple output oriented universe of the private. And above all, “hindsight” is much less at work in the private as opposed to the public sector.

Does it imply that the public sector should slowly be allowed to fade away simply because of our inability to change the ground rules and provide an almost level playing field to it? A course correction is the need of the hour for contrary to the general perception, the public sector has still not lost its relevance in entirety. A mixed economy is what a developing nation deserves for it keeps both sectors in check to the advantage of the public.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Life is all about being human

The meaning of life itself puzzles me. Is it about sweating it out and making a difference even though the difference may be inconsequential when one looks at the bigger picture beyond the organization, the nation, the globe, the universe or the humanity itself, or about merely looking after the self and the family? Obviously sacrifices have to be made somewhere for there are no free lunches.

In all my postings I have been privy to tremendous love and affection from my men, yet have been unable to fathom the reason behind the same for what I did was not only normal but also natural and by no stretch of imagination can be regarded as going much beyond the way. It is also true that I have been working hard, harder than conventional norms and have also been paying the price, much more than often along the way, yet merely putting in more hours of work cannot be the lone rationale for more than the fair quota of human affection that one has been receiving.  Perhaps there is something more that one is unable to put his finger upon and the inability to do so finds solace in the reality that if it was really possible to do so, one of the biggest mysteries of life would have stood resolved.

Perhaps it is all about being human, but maybe there is something more to it like destiny or past life “karma”.

My belief in the goodness of men therefore continues unabated, despite the efforts of almost everyone who surround me to believe in the contrary. At all places my experience has been that failures of the management are rubbed upon the staff as their follies and the staff being much lower in the hierarchial ladder have no option other than accepting the blame and silently wondering where he actually went wrong.  It is also unfortunate that aspirational issues of the men are often brushed aside as being of no consequence even though it leads to low staff morale and therefore the outcome, yet the focus invariably remains confined to satisfying the often irrational requirements of the higher echelons.

Such divergent views often have to potential of upsetting the apple cart with collateral damage, yet one is then reminded of what Gandhi once said that a man of purpose would trod his way regardless of what many would otherwise consider not the right path. It is all about belief, believing in what one thinks is right and being prepared to face the consequences of the action that emanates from the belief that many may consider misplaced.

Perhaps life is also about living in an environment with many contradictions. Perhaps grey is the name of the game as it may not be always possible to place issues clearly in white or black compartments. Perhaps the voice of conscience that often knocks but is left unheard is the best course to pursue despite the consequences that a materialistic world may impose.

There are no clear answers yet life is to be lived to its fullest.