Tuesday, 30 October 2012

To Err is human...: Blog # 57

To Err is human : Blog on Rajat Gupta

The only respite in the hour long morning commute to office is the reams of world news that I buy for Rs.3/-. In the recent past, many world leaders fell from grace - Dominique strauss kahn , Lance Armstrong and more recently, the epitome of Indian leadership and business acumen, Mr.Rajat Gupta.

Why do wise men of the world act insanely naive at times? Is it a momentary lapse or the inevitability of a nadir following a pinnacle!

Having scaled the heights they did, I would say writing them off for one misdeed is brutal.   I am not justifying their present with their glorious past. All I am saying is that there are lessons to be learned. I am not sure if this holds true for the two people I mentioned earlier, bur for Mr.Rajat Gupta, it definitely does.

Mr.Gupta lost his parents as a teenager. What bigger turmoil can a person face in one’s lifetime! From there, he reached Harvard. That shows the person’s will and grit.

In spite of his occupying the poll positions in the board rooms of the largest and most respected firms in the world, he ensured his family remained his priority –not only the immediate family, but the extended one as well.         

The philanthropic activities he was involved in and the magnitude of funds he mobilised is astounding.

His brilliance transcended many a field so much so that at one point, he was an adviser to the United Nations.

Indian School of Business forms a small part of the elaborate testimonial of his contribution towards his mother land.

Above all, his humility and warmth is something people from all walks of life remembered in spite of all his high flying achievements.

Mr. Gupta’s ordeal also stands a staunch reminder of how careful one need to be about the company one keeps.
                                                                                                Arun Babu

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Old times' sake: Blog # 56

Old times' sake

            Having met my dear old friend, Lakshmi from engineering days, I was driving home by around 9.Half of my town were already home and getting ready for supper. Coming from a place where traffic wouldn’t have eased one bit by this time, the wide - thinly occupied roads were a welcome surprise.

            I have always cherished friendships – be it old, new and yet to come. Yes I admit it takes some effort on the part of my friends to reach me (at timesJ ). But I make it a point to get back in touch with them.

There is something about old friendships. I read somewhere that old friends are the most priced antiques. So true!

 Lakshmi and I were sharing our college stories to her husband, Shine. Then I realized I haven’t forgotten even one bit of those fun days. It was literally a walk down the memory lane. They remind us of a time which many of us think we have forgotten until we meet them.

            The good thing about old friends is that you don’t need to take an effort. They already know you. There are no pretentions, there are no formal pleasantries. That’s why Lakshmi made it a point to call up Swetha (our partner in all the crimes ;) ) and remind her that I didn’t go and meet her when she came on leave. J. And yes, Swetha blasted me in a way only an Old friend can J.

And good old friends, remember. When I was about to leave, Lakshmi came with a packet of Mars chocolates, my favourite. I used to pester her for this when she used to go to Dubai during vacations. That was so sweet of her.

            It is important that we keep in touch. It reminds us of who we were and what we are now. If there is much of a difference (unless for the better), we should indulge in some serious soul searching. So if your friends smile and say “you haven’t changed at all!!”, it’s a good sign. You haven’t lost yourself completely.
                                                                                                                         Arun Babu. 

Friday, 19 October 2012

Being 'Sill'y...: Blog # 55

Being 'Sill'y : Of Window sills & more

                                When was the last time you sat on a window sill and looked outward? It is one place at home where we sit without nothing much to look out for but always leaves us with this feeling of wishing for something to look forward to.

It has a mind of its own. Or rather it reflects the persona of the person to whom it belongs.

A house with kids can be easily identified as the toys will take up the window sills.

If there is a teenager in the house, the wallet and/or a watch will take up the place.

For a college goer, here is where the text books and the ‘to-be-read’ fictions get piled on. And bits and pieces of mid night snacks too.

It will mostly be the office tags and the laptops which will be covering the place for a working couple. If it is by the bedside, there will be the omnipresent cell phone and its charger leading to the nearest plug point.

The elderly keep their medicines and spectacles here. May be, a couple of photographs too.

It also varies with cities. In Bombay, I have seen window sills masquerading as mini gardens. Many a time in Bangalore too, but mostly on the outer sill where as in Bombay, it’s in the inner sill. The weather might be the explanation.

For a person of aesthetics and taste, the window sill can be a courtyard of creativity. It is a pretty special place which lends so much character to a room while taking up so little space.

                                                                                                            Arun Babu 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Going the extra mile: Blog # 54

Going the extra mile

* My first write up as an HR Professional for a University's Magazine

            Next time you visit a public transport terminus, look around. Invariably there will be one rundown, dusty public telephone booth. It was in the not so distant past that telephone booths were a thriving source of employment for many people. The emergence of the cellular phones forced these booths to shut down in a time period of just under two years. All those people had to seek an alternate source of employment. If the need to have an open mind towards new challenges is prevalent in those strata of employment, the importance of it in the higher echelons of corporate scenario is never over emphasized.
Graduation, Degree, Beyond class rooms,Going the extra mile
  In this day and age of intense competition, having a degree can take you only as far. Gone are the days where having a degree ensured a job. Today, a degree is just a qualifier, not a differentiator.

Today’s students are expected to explore various horizons of learning. The objective of learning shouldn’t be confined to the academic curriculum alone. A student should extend his/her mind map to include the ever evolving demands of macro environment too. They should traverse the extra mile. Only then shall one become ‘employable’ in today’s world.

            The term employability in its literal sense describes those competencies which equips a person to secure a job with an organization. But it doesn’t stop there. In a broader sense, it is about constantly evolving and updating oneself. It is about being competitive and remaining in the race. The core of it lies in learnability which is one of the key skills any organization looks for in an employee. Learnability depicts the urge to keep oneself informed and move ahead.

            Let us look at the ways to attain Employability. Keeping oneself abreast with the happenings in the macro environment can be the flag off for the long looping lap ahead. Being aware of the ongoing events in one’s immediate social environment enables a person to obtain a holistic perspective. This translates to a clear understanding of where to focus one’s energy on and in which direction should ones dedicated efforts be expended.

            Being employable requires prioritising. One needs to understand what skills are sought after in the current situation. Again, it is not a stagnant process. The requirements keep on evolving and changing. A person seeking employment should acquire skills as per the situation demands.

            Equipping oneself with employability also means inculcating the ability to unlearn. To deconstruct the older methodologies either by incorporating newer ones or by adopting a newer process altogether.

            To keep up with the changing times and its demands, it is important to look and think ahead. The best way to do this is to push oneself in to attaining better than what is expected. Always take up tougher assignments which push one out of the comfort zone. That is the closest which one can reach to tomorrow’s needs.

            In a nutshell, making oneself employable is to not resist change and allow oneself to get moulded by the forces of evolution – be it of technology, skills or life at large.

Arun Babu


Saturday, 13 October 2012

Resilience turns 70: Blog # 53

Resilience turns 70 : Blog on Amitabh Bachchan

            The world is celebrating Seven decades of the phenomenon that is Amitabh Bachchan. A television channel played the immortalised dialogues of ‘Agneepath’ and ‘Kabhi Kabhi’ one after the other in the unmistakable baritone. I think that should define the benchmark of versatility.

            In my generation at least, there has been no other actor who has achieved as much cinematic excellence and histrionic brilliance. But, I am not here to comment on those. Rather, I would like to look at the path he treaded all the while – more often than not, the less traversed.

To begin with ,‘KBC’!. It seems he has a penchant for all that which is against the conventional wisdom of the time .Main stream actors being on the small screen is fashionable only now. I believe he was among the early birds when it came to endorsements too.

            There is this ongoing debate about visibility affecting the enigma of an actor. Again, Mr.Bachchan took to social media like a fish to water. And if the hits that he receives on his Face book page and the following that he has on twitter is anything to go by, the enigma has only got more elusive.       

           The kind of roles he adorns on screen at this stage of his career adds to the testimony. Be it the uber cool widower in a multi starrer or the chef who falls for a much younger lady, he has always explored newer horizons. It will be a crime if I do not pause and admire his seminal work in the film, Black.

         It’s often said one shouldn't spread oneself too thin. One should focus on ones core competency. Enter, Mr. Bachchan. By his own admission, his blogs alone can constitute a stack of books without much effort.

The root of all this lies in one single quality that Mr.Bachchan has epitomised by now - Resilience. The urge to rise from the dust. The hunger to keep oneself going. The passion to be at it. I know I speak for a million minds when I say through all this, he has kept the Indian cinema also resilient.
                                                                                                            Arun Babu.

Keywords: Indian Cinema,Bollywood,Hindi Films, Indian films, Indian movies, Indian film industry, Indian actors, Indian actresses,100 years of Indian Cinema,Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Zanjeer, KBC, Kaun Banega Crorepati,Agneepath, Deewar

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

I Know you will like it!!!: Blog # 52

I Know you will like it!!!

I know you will like it,Friendship,Closeness

This is one phrase in the English language which oozes a lot of warmth. Count yourselves blessed if you have a handful of people in your life who tells you this.

When someone tells you “I know you will like it”, it shows that the person have known you for long and for good. She/he has an idea as to what ticks you.

In a way, it is the basic premise for any relationship to work. For instance when you gift something to someone , you expect that person to like it. So this phrase conveys a lot of mutual understanding too.

Also, it tells you that the other person accepts you with all your preferences and prejudices.

It conveys a lot of intimacy too. That person knows that when he/she recommends something to you – be it a book, a film or some music, you will give it a thought.

So next time when someone says this sunny phrase to you, understand they are telling you that you are someone they count in; in their circle of trust J.

Arun Babu

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Three’s company: Blog # 51

Three’s company

            The city of Coimbatore is home away from home. Much to my glee, I get to travel to Cbe on work , a lot.

I came out of the hotel room to the long corridor with a steaming cup of tea. It overlooks a pool surrounded by palm trees and a couple of pine trees bordering a beautiful lawn. There are cane chairs lined up with a small side table. Add to this, the enticing evening weather of Coimbatore with a slight breeze. Who wouldn't want to write! J.

            It has always amazed me how much camaraderie a third person can add to a group of two. It’s like this. When only two people are there, things get boring pretty fast. The moment a third person enters, there is a lot of room for chemistry.

There is no need to be concerned about the flow of conversation. Since there are three people, it will happen organically. In the case of two, they will be conscious as to whether one is speaking too much or too less.

When there are only two people, they get mindful of space too – of self and of the other person. The moment a third person walks in, this guard is let down.

In our society, one to one interaction is not as easy as a group conversation. There is only as much that two people can talk about where as a third person can add a lot of flavor.

Add to that, the ego factor. If something goes wrong between two people, even though they are friends, communication gets clogged. The presence of a third person opens up an easy channel of communication.

            Having said all that, in the most intimate of relationships, three is not company but a crowd. J
                                                                                                                        Arun Babu.