Saturday, February 25, 2017

Blast from the past

Our generation, brought up and constantly fed with the staple diet of Doordarshan and borne in an era of license raj who did not have the luxury of the Internet, cable TV, Netflix or X box or video games are a species to be marvelled at by the present generation... So how did we entertain ourselves, what is the things that kept us occupied or to use the latest in thing, what kept our mojo flowing...

So here goes the list of things that kept us occupied and made our childhood a memorable one to yearn for a lifetime...

1. Going to School:

While we did not have fancy air conditioned school buses to pick/drop us and neither took rickshaw to school (that was a really 'girlish' way to do things), we went to school like our heroes from 'Jo Jeeta wohi Sikandar" - JJWS (which become sort of a cult movie during our days for school going kids where everyone pretended to be from Model School and the others from Rajput school) in Streetcat and BSA SLR bicycles...

Image result for jo jeeta wohi sikandar boys in cycle


2. The friends that eat together stays together:

While the popular phrase is " The family that eats together, stays together" we kind of replaced 'family' with 'friends' and it was to a large extent true... While all of us were classmates, but among us also there were groups which stayed together due to shared sports, subject or other interests (now do I need to list down all interest areas ;) and sometimes even common tuition teacher ! The best part about this grouping was that they stuck together during lunch time, small breaks and other leisure times and met up over weekends/holidays... The best part of it was the lunch break or also known as tiffin break where everyone shared their tiffin with others...For some, actually it was the case of entire tiffin being transferred (as they really hated their home food and shared it with others who had mutual likings for the others' food).

Image result for indian school kid of 90s sharing their lunch with each other


3. The seeds for IPL T 20 was sown in our era:

 It must be hard to believe and it will be so for today's kid... But to be very honest, the concept for the shorter version of cricket actually was sown in our era... After school, we had only 2 hours to play before the evening study time and all of us wanted to play as many game as possible... Hence came the concept of 5 overs per game or the corresponding concept of even lesser number of overs... It also allows us to play individually (by 'numbering' method) if number of players were very less (less than 5)... As since we played 'gully' cricket, it allowed us to refine our shots in a way which no international coach or net practice can teach...The option of getting out was so much that in order to survive and also to make runs, we played like pro...And caution was necessary & required as the rule was whosoever loses the ball will have to buy a new one!

Image result for playing gully cricket by numbering in india

Image result for gully cricket

4. Bollywood - The ultimate panacea:

For us watching a Bollywood movie in the theatre was an Utopian dream... The only close brush with Bollywood which we had was with the Binaca/Cibaca Geet Mala or the 9 a.m. songs on Vividh Bharati... The closest we came to seeing a new movie was during Chitrahaar when few selected songs would be shown as promo for the upcoming movies.. And there will be counting  done on how many times the hero or heroine changed costumes...

Image result for chitrahaar doordarshan

The only time we were able to see new movies were during festivities when VCR/VCP will be rented along with colour TV to watch new movies over VHS along with the entire family. That too there used to be an 'ordinary print' (no guarantee on picture quality) or 'master print' (full guarantee with high clarity of picture) VHS tape. With the VCR/VCP came along with an operator who was accorded maximum prestige in the house especially by the kids...

Image result for watching movie on vcr in india in the 90's


5. The national Entertainer - Doordarshan:

What Doordarshan meant to our generation can never be appreciated by any other generation, for in Doordarshan, we found our ultimate escape to the world of Nukkad, Buiyaad, Ye jo Hai zindagi, Byomkesh Bakshi not to forget of epics like Ramayana & Mahabharat (I still remember, a crowd gathering outside our window each time when ramayan were being telecasted  to watch the serial)... The good things about Doordarshan serials were that it came once a week and actually had some good subject and storyline and not like today's Saas-Bahu drama which is artifical and manufactured; not to speak of the concept which is done to death in umpteenth daily soaps...


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Later we were introduced to the world of animation.. We still fondly remember He Man, Spider Man, Tale Spin, Jungle Books etc. We also remember the days when Shaktimaan was a crazy hit and kids started copying Shaktimaan and jumping off roof tops! Poor Mukesh Khanna actually had to oame on TV to demystify how these stunts were "engineered" with special effects which might have finally proven to be the cause of the serial's decline in popularity leading to it being finally taken off air...


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So see, our genration had their share of fond childhood memories which, how one might say, is very ' organic' and actually meant real human interaction with friends who are friends for a life time... Still...



Friday, June 24, 2016

Who Knows...

Sometimes I think that the reason why I am so creative or risk taking in my professional work in discovering new ways and innovations may be because I am deeply insecure and non-risk taking in my personal front…

So what could be the reason for such deep insecurity and risk averse nature? Reading Paulo Coelho and getting inspired from his oft quoted lines where he exhorts you to take risk and not get in to the comfort zone, I have taken life’s lesson from these writing and have got exhilarated and suffered too… am I not being  very carreristic… too entrenched in my comfort zone… well I believe not… I have left jobs at the zenith of my work in the previous organisations to the point that one old super boss was forced to comment that” a rolling stone gathers no moss”…

Am I like the rolling stone which gets impatient after a ascertain period of journey in life and look forwards to explore newer territory? Well, l supposes I could be called that but for the fear of being left in the cold now that I am responsible for a family and have responsibilities…

So what does all this translate for me as a professional…?

May be I would keep exploring and trying till I find what is perfect for me… may be I may get in to academics which would open avenue for me to “officially” explore and satiate the adventure in me… may be I would just keep fixed physically at the same place and explore and create novel things… who knows…

Sometime I think that life is not fair… is it only birth, contacts, false utopian images one build about themselves etc. which gets people ahead in life… or is it the constant critique in people who love to criticise and take all other things as inferior and not unbecoming them is what causes them not to get ahead in life… who knows…

Wanting… no no… yearning dearly for things which will never come to you and yet pushing away things which are well within your grasp, is this what is called the irony of life… then will the irony help solve the riddle when the thing well within your grasp turns out to be a nightmare or vice versa… who knows…

In the older days it was very simple… invade a region/state/province/country and enslave their people… now a days Pension funds, house loans EMIs, education loans are the modern day tools for enslaving a man and his intellect with assurance of a better and secure life style when he retires… it all starts from birth… the theory of effort and reward… study hard for your 10th and you will never have to work hard in your life… then comes 12th ....entrance, more entrance, professional course, more entrance, interviews and jobs… and then the ultimate way of ensuring a man lands in his graves are the above said modern tools for enslavement… there is also other tools for enslavement post death but again that is the purview of religion and philosophy…. Is there any breakage from these bonds in life… who knows…?

Freedom in professional life is more of a mirage than a reality… “You are free to do whatever you want to do”… But then “do not do this, don’t do that, do not cross swords with these, do not talk to them like that, that is not our purview, we are only the managers and not the core product etc. etc.” If this is freedom then what is slavery…. Who knows…?


Why managing conflict in work place is so hard… haven’t we done it at various places – among friends, relatives, cousins etc.… why do people run away from resolving conflict and in situation when their own team needs their support the most… If leadership can be defined by one critical factor on which it will depend solely for its future efefctiveness, it is the ability to resolve conflict and divert the energy for positive organisational changes… But who will bell the cat and who will make people see… who knows…

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Welcome Back !

Namaskar Sir”  (Greetings Sir) The feeble voice on the other end of the line crackled even as I strained to  figure out as to who could be calling me on a Sunday afternoon…





Kaun bol raha hey” (who is speaking?) I asked even as I was trying to guess the person on the other side as recently all my numbers got deleted due to a technical glitch…

Hum Anil bol rahein hein Sahab” Came the reply… (This is Anil here Sir - Name changed)“ aaj bahut accha camp hua Sir… Ek camp se 521 patient hospital surgery ke liye jaa rahein hein aur ek camp se 200 patients… (We had very good camp today sir, from one camp we got 521 patient and from another camp 200 patients taken to the hospital for surgery)

As the voice crackled on, I was transported to about 1 and a half years back when a medium built, heavily accented and someone who wore his attitude on his sleeves was brought to my office and introduced as the team leader for Outreach in one of the newly opened hospital in the northern part of the country…

For the uninitiated, we are the largest community eye care provider globally and 80% of our services are provided free of cost to the rural poor who otherwise would have become blind in the absence of provision of basic eye care surgery. More of that later.

Anil came to us with substantial experience in community eye care having worked for 15 years with a local eye hospital carrying out community outreach. We had interacted with him through video conferencing and our hospital head also had interacted with him and we thought given the years of experience and the context, he was a suitable fit.

He came to Coimbatore for his training along with his team and that is where we first met each other.
We put him and his team through the standard training program which we have where the team is put in the field and gets exposed to all aspects of community outreach as conducted by us… Few days in the training and we received complaints about him from our team and later by his own team about addiction to tobacco and liquor which he has which he indulged in during his official hours also…

This was infuriating for us and I called him in to my office and along with the hospital head gave him a strict warning that if he is found to indulge in such practices in future then he would be asked to leave… He duly apologised and promised not to repeat it again…

The training was over in due course of time and Anil and team departed to our hospital in the north to start the activities of community Outreach…

Even as work started at our new hospital, I would often get to hear about Anil taking to his old practices not only in terms of addictions but also dishonest practices which he was used to from his earlier job… He also started throwing temper tantrums to increase the salary or otherwise threatened to leave the job…

We finally decided that enough is enough and decided to ask him to leave if he did not mend his way soon… This, it was decided, would happen during one of my visit during May/June when I was due to visit the hospital…

I reached our northern hospital in the blistering heat of peak summer and as soon as I landed up I had a brief meeting with the hospital head on various matters one of which was regarding Anil… surprisingly the unit head was now all in favour of Anil and said that he has reformed completely and there is no need for us to expel him now…. I was not convinced and wanted to meet the man and decide for myself….

The meeting was arranged between me and Anil in one of the afternoons in our conference room…. Anil walked in at exactly the appointed time and greeted me in a very humble way and stood there till I asked him to seat…. I was surprised to see the vast change in the body language but thought it may be some theatrics which he has adopted to beguile us…

I straight came to the point of discussion and told him that if he is not happy with the salary and working with us then he should start looking for other opportunities… Anil looked up painfully as if hurt and with folded hand asked me to give him some time to explain himself… Thus he started his story, one which was not only transformative but one which completely changed him as a person that he was….

 “Sir I know, I have not been a good employee and despite what the organisation has done, I have not been able to reciprocate in the same manner” Began Anil in a meek voice…

I agree that the incentive for leaving my old job was the thought the working with a larger chain of hospitals would give me more money and comfort… I will not lie but when I started work here I also started all the old corrupted practices of taking money from our local supporters and patients… I also indulged in addiction and got in to the habit of receiving favours from local camp supporters for unsavoury things… Given this practice, you are within your right to expel me and I will also not object… But before that please hear my story and how it has transformed me…”  Anil paused to take a sip of water from the glass put infornt of him and then continued…

2 months ago I went to a village to follow up patients who have not come for review… This is a village where I have also worked in my previous job and those people knew me well…whenever I used to come earlier in my previous job, they would insult me and hurl abuses at me for being corrupted and indulging in bad practices.. I used to let it roll of my back and ignore them for what they were saying was the truth and there was no point arguing them…”

“So I walked in to the village and I could see the village elders, young man and some of the panchayat members standing near the village pan shop…With thumping heart and with lots of apprehension I slowly approached them all ready to face the abuse that was going to start”

“As soon as they saw me a noise and commotion arose and I just clenched my teeth and closed my eyes for the 1st roll of abuse to hit me… But then nothing happened and when I opened my eyes I could see all of the village elders and panchayat member encircling me and falling over each other in inviting me to come and sit while some young fellows were rushing to get me a charpoy… Some others were asking me whether I needed tea or lassi!...I could also hear some elder shouting to the young fellows to make it quick as Doctor sahib has come”….

“initially I though it to be one big joke where they were setting me up for some sarcastic leg pulling which will end up with abuses hurled at me… as one village elder tugged my sleeves other made way for me to occupy the charpoy…”

“I sat down, took a deep breath and asked them that is it some kind of joke that they want to play with me” surprised and hurtful they had this thing to say” aap aise kaise soch sakte ho doctor sahib… humein aapke naye hospital ke bare mein pata nahin tha par jab log wahan se operation karake aaye toh pata chal kaisa swarg hey woh” (how could you even think thus doctor sahib? We did not know about your new hospital but came to know of it when people had their surgery and came told us what a heavenly place that is”)

At that point of time, one frail looking old man with dark eye glasses like the one which people use after eye surgery, broke the protocol and jumped in to the conversation….

Kya hospital hey aapka doctor sahib, itna saaf, safai ke saath aap log rakhte ho.. Humein toh camp se itne pyaar se sab log hospital le gaye aur wahan par aapka sab staff itne aadar satkaar se humara kahyal rakha… Khana, pina aur rehna itne acchhe tarike se diya… Hum aapko kya bolein, saare staff hum logon ko dada aur daadi ke name se pukarte the… Itna samman toh kabhi humko apne bacchon ne nahin diya… (What a hospital you have doctor sahib, so neat and clean it is maintained… we were taken from the campsite with much respect and at the hospital your staff took so good care of us with dignity, food was served with so much love as well as the stay…. I even feel choked now emotionally as I tell you this: your staff called us grandpa and grandma for all the duration of our stay… such love and respect we have never ever received even from our own children) at this point he choked and started crying…

“A feeling on guilt on time wasted and a self-loathing about the opportunity which I was just frittering out at Sankara overtook me at that point of time… unknowingly tears of gratitude on a second chance and also the respect of the poor and needy for me started to roll down heavily from my eyes as I unabashedly cried that day in that village which had forever scorned me but was now welcoming me with an open arm as one would to their own child”

I could see Anil wiping tears from the corner of his eyes and I was just overwhelmed to see this cocky and a man so sure of himself can also cry….

That day Sir” Anil continued “I vowed to change myself and dedicate my life to Sankara and the noble work it is doing…. I do not need any salary hike nor any money for doing this work… I just need the organisation’s permission for me to do this work… For 15 years I did the same work but was always met with abuse and expletives thrown at me but never broke down under those feelings of hatred… This one moment of love and respect which the villagers showed me that day changed me totally as a person… Now, whether you decide to keep me or throw me out, does not matter to me… Even outside Sankara I would continue to work and help the hospital in its noble work…”

 I asked Anil to wait outside and give me some time to think before I can arrive at a decision…. I just sat back and contemplated on what transpired between the two of us in last half an hour… What Anil realised and received 1st hand is something none of our training manual, field exposure or theoretical framework can give him… This is the gem which one can only discover when one has really given that care and love to the countless masses selflessly which gets returned back manifold and becomes so transformative that it can change the total perspective of community work and can prove to be life changing…. This ultimately is for me is the real fortune at the bottom of the pyramid!

I conferred with the hospital head who is also a good friend and who listened to my tale of Anil with a smile on his face and asked me to take the final decision…

I called in Anil and asked him to sit down….

Slowly with emotion choked voice I said  “Ab tak aap kahan the Anil…. Welcome back



Epilogue:
Since then Anil has gone to work like a man possessed and has broken many earlier records in the state of reaching out and serving many poor patients through surgery and provision of quality eye care.

He also has enrolled himself in a de addiction program and is slowly limping back to normalcy even as we speak. Though his doctor has advised him complete bed rest, he could not resist to come to today’s mega camp which was one of his dreams which he had promised to me as we departed each other’s way on that blistering hot day of summer...





Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Rage, Enrage and Outrage - A collage in the day of a common man

  1. Other species of the animal kingdom on the "Holy Cow Approach":  
 photo chicken.jpg https://23thorns.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/man-and-his-goat.jpg



1 2. Bangladesh entering the semi-finals of World Cup:

 

33. Amir Khan’s opinion about AIB Roast:

http://static.dnaindia.com/sites/default/files/2014/12/07/290513-aamir-alien-in-pk.jpg 


     4. Pappu going AWOL:
http://gyana.exoticbrains.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/sonia-gandhi.jpg 


   5. Congress spokesperson before going to Newshour on the above topic:
 

 

    6. Arnab’s reaction to the above:
 






 
    7.  AK after the national election:
http://img.niticentral.com/2014/10/India-Elections_Webf6.jpg



    8. AK after the Delhi election: 

9.
http://i.ndtvimg.com/mt/2014-02/Arvind_Kejriwal_360_smiling_with_Manish_Sisodia_PTI_1Jan14.jpg


 
  
    9. AK after the recent turmoil in AAP:
 http://kejriwalexclusive.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/arvind-kejriwal-tense_650x400_81425454139.jpg
  
 
     10.       Best suited couple of the year:

 http://archives.deccanchronicle.com/sites/default/files/styles/article_node_view/public/rahulgandhi_2_0.jpg
1
    11.       Why did Sonam Kapoor get Swine Flu?

 


    12.       And finally… Aranb’s reaction to all the madness going around:

https://i1.wp.com/www.outlookindia.com/images/arnab_goswami_20090112.jpg