Thursday, 24 September 2015

The Invisible people : Blog # 240

The Invisible people

This is that time of the year where I travel a lot for work. Today evening, I was travelling from a University guest house to a hotel. I was busy on my phone. Twenty minutes or so later, I looked up and saw a vast field rich with fertile brown soil bordered with green waving plants to the backdrop of a majestic mountain. Realizing what I have been missing, I locked my phone and stared out of the car’s window.

A while later, I asked the driver where he lives. He said he lives quite close to the university. I asked him if his family also stays with him. He said yes. I told him that he didn’t seem like much of a talker. He said he is but then he is not used to his passengers talking to him much. He went on to add that people of my age will be busy with the phone. Those who are older will keep staring in to a newspaper or a magazine. No one talks to us. That last sentence made me feel strange. Was it sadness, was it realization or was it shame? I do not know. I continued listening to him realizing that having people to listen to what you have to say is indeed a privilege.

Earlier in the day, I remember a staff in the university who helps with the chores serving us tea and snacks. I was busy signing off certain documents. The second time when she came, my colleague looked up and said thank you. She had a puzzled expression. The person sitting next to me told the lady that he was thanking her. She smiled and said that she understood what my colleague said. It is just that she isn’t used to being thanked.

Due to the continual travel for work, I try to stay in the same hotel at the cities that I visit. It is my way of holding on to whatever little certainty I can find in the madness of being a wanderer. The bag that I was carrying was quite heavy. The person who carried it was lifting the bag and bringing it. I asked him to roll it so that it will be easier for him. He said at times when he rolls it, people feel bad.  I said if he continued lifting bags instead of rolling them, he will get back pain. He looked at me and said that people aren’t really concerned.

At times, my friends and I go for late night dinner. When we come back, most of our apartment would have gone to bed. There is one group of people who gets most affected by our odd timings – the security guards. On one such night, we were getting in and my friend said “Senthil Anna, we are sorry we made you wait.” He smiled and said that I will stay awake for all the days that you come late just to hear my name being called and not just “Security!”

            It doesn’t take much to make people feel relevant. However busy we are, let us show them, the invisible people around us that they matter to us.

Special thanks to my friend Vivek, for putting this thought in my head.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

To Smile or not to... : Blog #239

To Smile or not to...

I woke up to the nasal sound of alarm clock lady. I wonder why all the alarm sounds have nasal voices. I almost tripped over the small bedside table. Sam, my younger brother must have entered my room again. I like my things in order. How many times does one tell! I am tired of fighting with him over this.

The cab driver was more cheerful than usual. He is finally going to get married. In his own words, he has found his rear view mirror. For him, a life partner is a rear view mirror who tells him what he shouldn’t forget when he is busy getting ahead in life – the people he should care for, the values he shouldn’t lose and the path he should go back to once in a while. Trust my cab driver to give life lessons!

The security person who otherwise opens the door for me should have been lost in thought. I paused and asked him about his ailing father startling him. He said that his father is breathing his last. I told him to take a leave and that I will talk to his manager. He said no one saw his plight except me. I liked the words he used.

It was the third file in the drawer that I had to process today. I took it out and calls my dear friend, Veena. Chirpy as ever, she wanted to check if I will be able to make it to her place in the evening. She was having a party. I said “Of course! Party  and me not attending, are you kidding me?” She commented on my skills on being sarcastic getting better with age. “Come on, be a sport! See some new people, have some good food, it hasn’t killed anyone”, says she. I told her that I am more of a listener . After a momentary pause, she hinted at her very pretty friend, Avantika being there. I must admit, that bit of information did make me book a cab to her place for the night.

There was a meeting in the afternoon where I had to do a presentation on fighting racism. My colleague was kind enough to put up a deck for me. I worked on the theme that black and white exist only in one’s eyes. One shouldn’t let it enter one’s mind. The Vice President applauded me saying that if he can do it so wonderfully well, what’s your excuse guys? It was one of those moments where I did not know to smile at the compliment or not. Since I am being told I have a very endearing smile that reaches my eyes, I flaunted one. After all, it is one of those rare things that reach my eyes 

#Letsgiftvision #Letsdonateeyes 

Arun Babu

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The months that were - 2015 : Blog # 238

The months that were - 2015

            Just to reinforce the thought that there is room for improvement in everything in this world, Google just restructured itself giving rise to ‘Alphabet’. Like is the case with most of the world corporate affairs, an Indian had a key role in it and was designated as the CEO of Google part of it, Mr. Sundar Pichai. As much as we all were in agreement to that change, I am not sure how many of us like the new logo apparently based on the philosophy of minimalist design.

This year started off with Charlie Hebdo which reminds us of the loss of tolerance in the world around us. Is that why the gifted cartoonist, Shri.R.K Laxman who gave us the ‘Common Man’ decided to bid adieu from this world?

            Adding more power to women in the board room, Accenture appointed Rekha Menon as Chairperson of Accenture India’s operations. Speaking of women power, Tamil nadu Global Investors Meet saw a proposed investment plan of over 1 lakh crores with TN’s only-man-in-the-cabinet returning.

            The civil war in Syria is wreaking havoc making one wonder if it is leading to one of modern world’s largest refugee crises. Images of little children washing ashore from capsized boats of hoards of refugees seeking solace must prick at the conscience of mankind. Oil rich Arab nations are being asked as to why they are not opening their doors wider. About that, will shale gas emergence challenge the supremacy of OPEC nations in energy sector? If one were to believe Goldman Sachs, oil prices can hit a rock bottom of 20$ a barrel. But Al Saud family and cousins aren’t blinking.

            Global markets went in to a tizzy for fear of Grexit (Greek exit from Eurozone and reintroduction of its own earlier currency, drachma). Amid fears of default and shutting down the banks across the nation, Grexit was averted. Just when my Gujarati friends were about to say Jai Shri Krishna in relief, the stock markets crashed again, this time thanks to China. The dragon missed its factory output forecast and comes tumbling along, the capital markets world over.

For all the talk that e-commerce firms are burning cash in advertising and freebies, comes some good news. Flipkart has introduced some refreshingly new pro-employee HR policies. 6 months of career break? Now that’s unheard of in Indian corporate world. Chief People Officer, Mekin Maheshwari looks like he knows what he is doing when he talks about Employee Assistance program where in any Flipkart employee can get free guidance from professional experts in regards of personal life, career development, work-life stress, legal and financial issues.

It looks like Nestle is committed to bringing Maggi back. What was surprising was that Maggi was or should I say is such a strong brand that when it went down, it took the whole category along with it. People stopped consuming noodles altogether. Such is the power of a brand

It did not come as a surprise when Modi met Mark given the fact that how social media savvy our PM is. I wonder if Mark is planning to take up Swachh Bharat mission in Menlo Park, California too. Meanwhile, Apple has launched iPad Pro and Apple Pencil! Should faber-castell be worried; or closer home, Nataraj?

Recently read about the ongoing tussle between Indigo airlines and Tata Indigo w.r.t brand name. It has more to it when one thinks about the competing - less than an year old - Vistara airlines which also belongs to the Tata group.

The recent past took away from us, the great teacher, Dr. Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Kalam who inspired the world much more than most of India’s past presidents have managed to do collectively.

More blogs on Business : A blog on Coke Advertisment: 

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Grief of homelessness : Blog # 237

Grief of homelessness

                These days, travel has become quite sexy. The reason why I use the word ‘sexy’ is not because there aren’t enough better words or adjectives. I could have used aspirational or appealing. But ‘sexy’ best describes how travel is being portrayed these days. All the posts on social media or little write ups with exotic pictures just show the short-lived positive aspects of a travel.  I understand romanticizing travel and that is acceptable. But now, it is getting a bit too much to the extent that people have started taking those articles with much seriousness than what they deserve. That reasons the use of the adjective ‘sexy’ which lacks depth and vastness.

            Travelling is indeed fun. The process of being on the move is like exercising ones imagination. One is constantly exposed to different things. There is less of certainty which usually brings along a tad bit of boredom. There is an assault of newness on our sensations. Our eyes perceive a new sight with every passing moment, the windows of memory which open with every new smell springs a surprise, our skin feels a new air every other mile we move. We somehow feel that we are being one with time. It is no longer us being on a pause and time on a fast forward.

            My contention here is how travel is being portrayed in a positive light by dumping down the value of certainty. Many a time, familiarity and certainty is shown in a poor light by use of one word – ‘boring’ ! How often have you heard some advertisement or the other speaking of same old boring work, boring car, boring spouse and such? It is fashionable to say that one needs new things. What we are forgetting is that those constants in Life are what add meaning to our existence. It is acceptable if you need newness in your life once in a while. But one cannot expect newness in every living moment!

            Certainty in life is like Home. Wherever you go, all of us need one place which we can call our own. One place, to come back to. One place where there are people whom we love. One place where there are things we have got used to. One place where we have grown up in. One place which smells of childhood.

As is with other things in life, so long as we have it, we do not realize its value. Home is certainty. To know what a home means to one’s existence, ask a wanderer. He/she will tell you that as much as they have enjoyed walking around the world, it would have been great to have had a place in the world to anchor their mind on to for the moment your mind starts wandering, it becomes difficult to hold oneself together.

            The picture listed here, of Aylan Kurdi which all of us have seen is one of the most moving ones in the history of mankind. It embodies the grief of homelessness. In the journey which his parents undertook to find a home cost that little baby, his destiny. Let the tears which roll down our souls for this little kid and his family help us see the immense value of the serene nest that is certainty.