Thursday, 5 September 2019

Captivating Lines from Here and There- 30

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  • The four myths of feedback are (1) My reality is the reality, and my job is to get you to see it (2) Defensiveness is bad and should be avoided at all costs (3) This performance problem has nothing to do with me (4) Mistakes are crimes to be covered up, punished or both- From article by Jamie Higgins and Diana Smith
  •  Define the problem as a person and you 're in trouble;define it as a behaviour and you can do something- From article of Ken Cloke and Joan Goldsmith
  • I am not a nationalist. That does not make me anti national. Rather, it makes me more human; it makes me a person who is open to other cultures and languages, religions and lifestyles- Tomichan Matheikal, author of the book "Autumn Shadows: Memoir".
  •  The emotion of anger is certainly no stranger to the American workplace. But a number of factors- downsizing, changing technology and the charge to "do more with less"- are contributing to heightened anxiety and in turn, raw anger. Moreover anger is increasing in society.Just turn on the TV to see anger and violence presented as regular entertainment. Get into heavy traffic to experience road rage, or pick up the papers to read about violence visited on school children by other children- R.Brayton Bowen, writer, consultant on " Anger in the Workplace".
  • ·Even seasoned managers can sometimes inadvertently cause difficult behaviour in others. How?  (1) choosing to avoid a conflict with a difficult person, thus unintentionally escalating it (2) Manager does not know when it's time to walk away from a "fight" and let the individuals resolve the situation on their own (3) Manager makes inaccurate assumptions about feedback in terms such as "Mistakes are crimes to be covered up" that prevent people from learning from their problem behaviours and correcting them- From article of Monci J.williams 
  •  Emotions are currents of energy with different frequencies. Negative emotions (Hatred,envy,disdain,fear) have a lower frequency and less energy than positive emotions (Affection, joy, love, compassion).
  •  Where there is trust, great things can be accomplished. Pervasive anger has created a norm of non- commitment between employers and employees. The motto for both seem to be: “I will use you but I won't be abused." Business has brought this upon itself; the increased use of short term, contingent, project related employees has underscored the throw-away society in which we live.Employees are seen as disposable commodities in practice,rather than the cherished resources CEOs insincerely speak of.- From the article "Today's Angry workplace included in the book " Dealing with Difficult people" published by Harward Business School Press. 

Friday, 30 August 2019

Reliable Trustworthy Companion

From birth to death,
it's she who sustains
come rain, come sun,
always by your side
her symbols- the swallow and the tulip
reassures you to not despair

To expect with confidence
to cherish with anticipation
be open to new creative possibilities
providing that tiny smile amidst disaster

No crisis can harm you long term
when she's around, right by your side
she is matchless, a friend of all seasons
your good old companion, "Hope" !
Yes, "Hope", isn't she everything? 

Tuesday, 27 August 2019

Back to When "Rains were a Delight"

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Something you love, need and crave
Yet, when in excess you dread
People in "God's own country"
Hoped they had seen the last
Of nature's fury in 2018

Yet in the very next year, she returned
To scare and cause havoc to many lives
Particularly in 7 districts that include
Wayanad and Malappuram.

Is this to be an annual affair?
Oh if only, one could take clock back
Get back to the mood, character and
Form of rains erstwhile
Times when man respected nature
Did not manipulate her at will...

Listen powers that be
Act before it's too late!
Stop encroachment of water bodies
Rivers, forests, ecologically fragile lands
Arrest mindless mining, construction sprees
Be realistic, accept reality
Stop listening to lobby of "Climate change denial" !

Else, forget about future generations not forgiving you
There wouldn't even be the 'present generation'
who would have long died along with you! 

Friday, 16 August 2019

Madras Day Celebration- Memoirs on the City of Dreams

This year is the 380th anniversary of Madras/ Chennai. India Poetry Circle (IPC) decided to participate in the celebrations of Madras Day by bringing out an anthology titled "Madras Hues, Myriad Views" of poems and short articles written by its members.  I wrote an article that was a little longer than the 500-word cap fixed by the editors. Therefore, I contributed an abridged version. to the booklet which was released on 11th August 2019. Here, I am sharing the article in full as was initially envisaged. 

Madras, as the city of Chennai was known then was the city of dreams for the people of the whole of south India. It was the only metro in the south at that time, Bombay being more accessible to the west, Calcutta to the east and the capital city of Delhi closer to north of India. Although the Hindi agitation in the sixties commenced from  Madras, the headquarters of the Dakshina Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha founded by Mahatma Gandhi in June 1917 was and still is in the grand old city of Madras/ Chennai.  In the early years of independence, People from other parts of the country had less awareness about the geography and the culture of the people of the south.  However they knew the famous city of Madras and therefore referred to the people from the south as “Madrasis’   

For many years, Madras was home to the Southern film industry with films in all the four languages of Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam being filmed in the studios of Madras. It was much later, around the eighties that Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam industries shifted to Hyderabad, Bangalore and Trivandrum/Kochi respectively. However, a lot of work pertaining to music continues to be done in Chennai as Chennai is home to some of the best musicians in the country.Prior to independence and reorganization of states, the Malabar region of Kerala and the Dakshina Kannada districts of present day Karnataka were under the Madras Presidency. Hence the natural choice for higher education for students in these regions was Madras. Thus from very early times; Madras had a cosmopolitan character with intermingling of various cultures.   

I had come to Madras for studies when the option was offered  in May 1975 , as  Kerala was notorious those days for violent student politics in college campuses. I always felt that a student’s job is to study and not get involved in activities that primarily benefit political leaders.  I was aware that politics derails the basic objective of the student. It turned out though that my moving was actually not necessary as the Indira Government declared emergency in the country soon after and political activities were severely curtailed in  college campuses. I did my graduation in Economics at  A.M. Jain College Madras and subsequently my post-graduation at  the Madras School of social work

The gateway for most people to the city of Madras was and perhaps still is, the iconic central railway station. In a movie, you only have to show a screen shot of the station from the front and the audience would immediately know that the hero/heroine/ traveler has landed up in the city.  Those days, we had the advantage of being saved from the boredom of waiting at the station for long hours. The famous Moore market, a flea market built in the year 1900, selling all kinds of second hand goods was available just next door. The only danger was that one could become so mesmerized by the activities in the Moore market and end up forgetting the departure time of the train. Sadly, the historical monument made way for construction of the suburban railway terminus in 1985

When I first landed in the city, there was the excitement of coming from a town to a big city. There was also some apprehensions of the unknown.Well-meaning people advised me to be very careful in buses and public places as pick pocketing was a big menace in  big cities. I would like to relate an interesting incident, which in those days could be associated only with big cities. 

I was standing at a bus stop near Central railway station. Not many people were around at that time. Apart from me (a student in his teens), there was only one other person of middle age waiting for the bus. Suddenly, a person appeared from nowhere and started soliciting clients for spending time with college students. He started reeling details of the regions, ages and complexion of girls on offer.  I was surprised and taken aback as I had never come across something like this in my life. The middle-aged person was furious. He started verbally attacking the fellow for daring to make such propositions. He said he would hand him over to the police. As the row became loud and verbal, a small crowd gathered. They pacified the gentleman and advised him to ignore the proposal if he does not approve of it.  I wonder whether anyone would have cared or dared to speak out on such occasions if it were to happen today.

As students living in a hostel 13 Kms away from the city (doesn’t seem so far today), it was like being in a rural area with no source of entertainment. Therefore, for us hostelers, just being on the Mount road in the weekend with many eat out options and plenty of movie theatres was the best place to be. The Safire theatre complex, India’s first large Multi theatre complex had three movies running at Safire. Blue diamond and Emerald. Blue diamond had the same movie running from 9AM to 9 PM with a brief interval after end of film each time. If the seat was available, one could walk in at the middle of the movie, and  subsequently watch the full movie several times at the price of a single ticket. It was a boon for the lovebirds who spend lot of time together away from prying eyes. 

Other attractions that people coming from smaller towns or villages marveled at were the 15-storied LIC building standing tall on Mount Road and the Anna / Gemini Flyover at the Mount Road-Nungambakkam High Road junction. Built in 1973, the Gemini Flyover is not just Chennai’s first flyover but also India’s third and Asia’s first Grade Separator.

I came back to Chennai in 2009  to serve as AGM (Learning and development) in Hyundai Motor India Limited for over five years. However, it is  for me, the student days of graduation and post-graduation  that bring back fond memories of the city. A lot has changed since those early days. The city has become bolder, less conservative and lot more expensive to live in. However, the significance of central railway station and mount road  as key landmarks of the city, remain steady as ever!  
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Monday, 12 August 2019

City of Hope

This poem has been included in the unique anthology " Madras Hues- Myriad Views" brought out by the Indian poetry circle to commemorate the 380th birthday of Madras city. The members of Indian Poetry Circle contributed to this unique collection of poetry, prose, sketches and photographs. I recited the poem at the book launch function at Chennai on 11th August 2019.

The city of hope
if you prefer, the city of dreams
welcomed  generations of people
with open arms-embraced them
and changed their lives for ever!

The first metro of the south
has come a long way
starting out,  a sleepy village
transforming, to the alluring Madras
and then to the mega city of Chennai!

As I sit at the foot of an imposing statue
I beseech "Tell me dear statue, the tales of yore"
of young romantic couples, perhaps desolate clinging ones
of the weary old people who stopped awhile to rest
of the unemployed, frustrated youth
who stood up rejuvenated, breathing the city's air!

Then, Madras Nalla (Good) Madras
now Chennai, the protective old Chennai
set the kites in humans soar
the discouraged, marginalized, the weak
all stand up  strong,
rise  with confidence and optimism
in this city of Hope!  (Can listen to the recitation here)

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Friday, 9 August 2019

Random thoughts on an Indian Wedding

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Traveled miles
to physically bless
couple at an Indian wedding
could not witness groom tying the knot  (Thali)

Only saw posteriors of camera persons
both professional and the self proclaimed
the saving grace was the CCTvs on either side
to which all our eyes were glued...

If the picture of the event is meant to be watched on TV
why not watch video in the comfort of one's living room
sans cumbersome travel, saving both money and time... ?

Short Note: Perhaps it is high time that we organise queue for camera  persons on either side as done in Hindu temples to arrest obstruction to viewing deity. This way the ones who come in person get priority to witness the wedding.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Captivating Lines from Here and There- 29

  • If you want to say something, if it is not kind, don't say it- Dr Edith Eva Eger, Auschwitz survivor and Author of the book "The Choice" 
  • When you are listening to another, in that still moment of listening you are  aware of  not only what the other person is saying. In that stillness you can also feel deeper essence in the other human being, beyond the words that he or she is speaking- Eckhart Tolle, Author "Good Earth" 
  • Your state of consciousness at this moment is Primary. It determines the form future will take. What happens to you is much less important to how you respond to what happens. 
  • To expand your reality to match the expansiveness of the all-creating field of intention, you have to peel away your old habits of thought- Wayne Dyer, Author 
  • For aligning with spiritual energy,be an appreciator of life, and refuse to have thoughts of hatred, anxiety, anger, and judgment 
  • Everything can be taken away from you except what you put in your own mind. So be very careful and very selective about the words you choose to put there- Dr Edith Eva Eager, Author of  the book"The Choice" 
  • Every organization needs to have recognized protocols and processes for managing all levels of anger in the work place. These include "No tolerance policies for addressing threats of violence, models for assertive communication that encourage employees to confront situations immediately and constructively before they go out of hand; and employee assistance programs (EAPs) for those conditions that are beyond the scope of managerial responsibilities-R.Brayton Bowen, Author of the book  "Recognizing and rewarding employees" 
  • Education is the manifestation of the perfection which is already in man - Swami Vivekananda 
  • See the gift in every situation.Everything has a gift in it.- Dr Edith Eger Auschwitz survivor and Author of the book "The Choice" 
  • What is a healthy mind?- Enthusiasm to work and enthusiasm to be compassionate.- Dr B.M .Hegde, Cardiologist and Professor.