Tuesday, 20 December 2016

He who lost Babylon: Blog # 283

He who lost Babylon

He was busy at his office. Having returned from abroad armed with a master’s degree, he was asked to oversee two of the smaller companies of the business empire that his family owned. He knew that the companies were not going anywhere in spite of his best efforts. It was on a cold evening that he received a phone call asking him to helm the entire business group. He wondered as to why he was chosen.

Corporate, work, Corporate house, Corporate war, Boardroom battleTo be the Chairman of a world renowned business group was not a small responsibility. It weighed down on him considerably. He found it difficult to convince veterans during board meetings. He felt that he was not being taken seriously. He tried his best to reason with the seasoned leaders. They refused to budge. One fine day, he changed the rules of the game. He slowly started bypassing them. They were not told about important decisions. They were made to feel irrelevant. Those who couldn’t understand the language of subtlety was told in loud and clear terms to leave. He knew there would be backlash and he was ready for it.

Years went by. He strived hard. He managed to turn around some businesses. He made some smart investments. He was leading the business empire in to the future. Soon he realized how newspapers and public relations worked.  Newspapers wanted Ads to stay afloat. When he could control about half the revenue of the entire private enterprise of a nation, he knew how to rein in the newsprint. He also realized that people care more about stories than numbers. He created a very smart story around his business empire. They told the story of ethics, corporate social responsibility and governance around the business group. They told similar stories for all the group companies. They told them repeatedly. Soon it was as if no one could question the credibility of his business house.

            He had friends in all the right places – ministries, newsrooms, corporate circles and everyone that mattered. The government felicitated him with the highest civilian honors. His business empire grew by leaps and bounds. Along the way, he made some bad decisions. For fear of upsetting him, not even one newspaper criticized him. His corporate circle heaped praises on him for the failed endeavors too. Many knew that the group was bleeding money. Everyone kept quiet.

            It was time for him to retire. He found a replacement, quiet and conscientious – more importantly not charismatic and hence less threatening. He expected the new chairman to toe the line. The newbie did just that in the beginning. And then, the winter set in the board room and the relationship. He tried all the tricks in the trade. But nothing helped. The newbie conquered the boardroom like an old king captured Babylon. That would mean his legacy would be threatened. His foibles would be revealed. He asked the newbie to step down. The newbie reminded him of his younger days; how he had pushed aside the veterans thereby implying that now he was the veteran who needs to be removed.

            He had to make a decision. It is either his legacy or his business group’s that was at stake. He knew the group would eventually recover from the bad press. But it was upon him to guard his legacy. He underestimated the clout of newbie. He expected everyone to sing his praises. Alas! That was not to be.

            He and his group, both stood tainted. And he became a fallen hero.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

For the love of family : Blog # 282

For the love of family

I do not know how one can comprehend not having a family. To not have someone whom you can call one’s own, To not have someone around with whom you have grown up with, To not have someone who will forgive all your sins without batting an eyelid is a tremendous void.

Family, Bear, Bear cubs, Forest, Cute family, CuteThere is something strange about family. They are your worst critics. They are the ones who holds grudges for the longest of times. They are the ones who drive you up the wall. But they are also the ones whose approval you seek the most. They are the ones with whom you want to mend your fences with.  They are the ones whose absence can make you feel empty.

All of us know that living in this world is not a walk in the park. As one grows older, one realizes how difficult it is to navigate the vagaries of life. Having a family by the side gives one the notion that one is not alone in this journey.

Later on, one does realize that the challenges in life really are one’s own. One has to walk through one’s own troubles. There is a great deal of loneliness in crisis. It is not that the family does not want to support you. They try their level best. But then, there is only as much a family can do. Still, the realization that there are people around you who are concerned for you does make the journey easier. Imagine not having anyone around you to offer a word of solace. What an abyss of grief will that be?

I have always felt that what keeps us going in life is memories. For a while, I thought memories are made of places and experiences. But I continue to realize that it is people who make memories. It is always people. Places and experiences are just the props on the stage. It is the people who brings the stage to life. It is up on us that we collect good people who make good memories. Friends are a blessing. But a large part of our life memories beginning from childhood are made up of people from our family.

My friend Jeeva and I were talking today about the demise of Jayalalitha, We felt may be one of reasons why people were so moved by the passing of one of the strongest political leaders of our times was the lack of a family around her. To lie there waiting for her final journey, lonely without having someone nearby whom she could call her own was indeed heartbreaking to say the least.

Blessed are those who can claim to have a family around them!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Pictories #2 ~ Of pictures and their stories ~ Blog # 281

Pictories #2 ~ Of pictures and their stories 

These days, we all click pictures. I think, of the many things which social media managed to do was to take away the elitism from photography. Anyone with a cell phone is a photographer these days. Of course, this does not mean that all of us take good pictures. But we all try. What I request all the shutter bugs though is to use a line or two to describe your thoughts while you took the picture. This would add more gravitas to the picture than reducing them to mere hashtags, don’t you think? Here are a few clicks of mine and what I think of them.

boat, ocean, sea, beach

While trying to capture these two people on a boat in the middle of the sea, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking about the beauty of solitude and friendship. If there were only one person on that boat, it would have been only about solitude and how it helps one to reflect on thoughts and life in general. The presence of second person there makes it to be about friendship too. How blessed one should be to find someone in the journey of life with whom one can share one’s silences too.

Murugan Idli, Chennai, Food, banana leave, Vada

That my friends, is a spread from Murugan Idli at Besant nagar beach in Chennai. I literally had to stop myself from diving right in to that banana leaf before clicking this picture. Those of you who haven’t had Murugan Idlis have no clue how delicious a humble food like Idli and those chutneys can get. Don’t even get me started about the sweet pongal. There are very few things as therapeutic as good food, isn’t it?

Gold, Necklace, Kerala, Kerala Wedding, Wedding, Indian wedding

My little sister is getting married. We were at the jewelry store to buy gold and this is something which we all liked. Look at the intricate work that has gone in to the pendant. What adds to the glory is the little red, green and pink stones around the pendant. It speaks volumes about its creator. How swiftly time passes by. One moment before, we were kids fighting for the larger bar of chocolate and now, she is getting married!

How beautiful this house is! The little corridor which is ideal to read a book or to just wile away time chit chatting with your friends, the thatched roof, and most importantly the sun and the sand. I have failed to understand as to why people like mountain and mist and snow so much. I have always been an admirer of a bright sunny day. This picture somehow reminds me of my summer vacations spend in Palakkad, my mother’s place. Somehow I feel these houses have a soul to them unlike the concrete blocks that surrounds us these days.

Lone tree, Swimming pool, tree by the pool, ocean

There is something oddly intriguing about a lone tree, isn’t there? It rises high above everything else around it. Yet there is a sense of loneliness to it. In this particular one, it is by the side of a pool overlooking a sea. I wonder what the tree might be thinking. Is it looking only at the pool admiring its own reflection? Is it aware of the vast ocean ahead of it? Is it trying to decide as to which side it should grow towards? Only the tree can tell.

Like the above pics? Want to be bombarded with such images on a regular basis? ;). Please follow me on Instagram. My Insta handle is roamdworld .

Check out other Pictories:

Find Pictory #1 here
Find Pictory#3 here

Find Pictory#4 here