Monday, March 28, 2011

A little less strong and successful, perhaps!

Kiran was successful. She was a role model to most who knew her. Good looking, charming, lovely voice, endearing demeanour, drove a great car, lived in a magnificent apartment, in a happening locality. She had a beautiful foursome family. Her neighbours and friends were in awe of her success, genuinely. She enjoyed vacations twice a year in the most exquisite locales around the world. She was an outstanding performer at work and also went around assisting and inspiring her co-workers to do more and be strong and courageous. She had risen in the corporate ranks speedily and today headed two of its most prosperous business units that she had managed to turnaround from the brink of certain closure. Despite her busy schedule, she always found time for her family, friends and pursued her passion for singing, golf and teaching vigorously. At the age of 39, Kiran was perhaps very strong and successful, by any standard.


- There had been a murder in her neighbourhood that she alone had inadvertently witnessed. A fact, no one was aware of, except the murderers who had seen her see them at the crime scene, as she got away

- A handsome young fellow from a competing organization had apparently been flirting with her, attracting her attention, despite her conscious attempts to focus on her work and ignore him

- Her annual health check up had reported an abnormal levels of cholesterol and blood pressure, that she had been advised to consult her doctor.

Nothing unusual for Kiran, though. She was a successful person and had managed situations worse than these, in the past. For example, while in school, she had once sustained a nasty injury to her legs and forehead, due to a fall down the stairs, while rushing out in celebration of her outstanding results. She was hospitalized for about a week, underwent a minor surgical procedure, only to emerge stronger from that painful experience. In college she had survived a violent scuffle with a college rowdy during the elections to the university senate, for which she had been nominated and eventually won. Later on in life, she unexpectedly found love in her post graduation management institute campus. This blissful period lasted for about two years, until he left her for his new found love, elsewhere. This heart breaking separation was followed by two other incidents in quick succession in the form of the death of her mother and then her father, all in a span of nine months. She was shattered but did not allow herself to be broken completely. Within, a month, even the best of her friends felt, as if nothing traumatic had happened in this pretty young woman’s life. What strength and courage! In another two years, when she turned twenty-nine, she had got herself engaged to a successful businessman whom she had met during the course of her professional pursuits, got married within a year and gave birth to two lovely little children in the next three years, normally. It turned out to be one happy marriage for this happy couple. Her career graph too continued to soar positively, exponentially.

Kiran was on the brink of a big promotion, coming up in another six months time. She was in a hurry, as usual; to get these three hurdles out of her way quickly, to stay focussed and make this promotion happen. She was intelligent and hence decided to prioritise tackling the health challenge first. A visit to her family physician resulted in a general advice about the need to slow down and taking things a bit easy. She obviously took the advice lightly. She was also advised regular exercise, a visit to the dietician and doing her annual health check-up regularly from here-on, now that she was on the brink of her forties. No real alarming cause for concern, she thought. The visit to the dietician was conveniently forgotten. A month or two of light exercise and self managed diet control regime slowly eased itself back naturally, to her usual hectic corporate routine. She however kept monitoring her blood pressure regularly and also managed to squeeze in her early morning jog on the beach – something she really loved, infrequently. It all seemed healthy and under control.

Kiran had hired a detective agency under strict oath of absolute confidentiality, to get rid of the murderer’s who had been apparently pursuing her. Her mandate to the agency was to get rid of the menace, by hook or by crook, with minimal waves. Aside, she also devised a special ‘play ball’ strategy with the intent of extracting sensitive competition information, from that ‘stupid Romeo’. She thought, this would help her seal the big promotion expected in the coming months. However, it was kept on hold for an opportune moment. Kiran herself was strong enough to make sure that none of her family or professional colleagues got any wind about any of these three hurdles, or her plans to overcome them. She was absolutely sure of tackling all of them independently, as usual.

And then, that fateful day dawned. The alarm rang at 05:30 am, in the midst of a hot summer season. Kiran was quickly up from her bed, turned on her computer and checked her phone. She had a habit of keeping her phone in the silent mode at night, so that she could catch some good quality sleep. The phone had three missed calls from Danny around 0315 hrs and another one from an unfamiliar number at @ 5:00am. Danny was her closest associate and confidant, in her organization; senior to her by about ten years but not in her line of sight up the corporate hierarchy. Danny was close to Kiran, a well wisher who fed her with inside information or validated anything else that she wished to, discretely. She had known Danny now for over ten years and trusted him completely. This was however the first time that Danny had tried to reach her, at such early hours. As she hurried through her early morning routine, she tried to reach both Danny as well as that unfamiliar number a couple of times. Both kept ringing without anyone answering back. She was concerned, and a bit unduly hassled. She finished her cup of tea, browsing through all the eMails and there were just six that fell in the urgent and important category, something she had the entire day to address.

As she jogged along the beach that early morning, her thoughts kept racing ahead of her. Why was Danny calling her in the middle of the night? Who could be that unfamiliar number, belong to? Was there any link between these unusual calls and the murderers or that crazy “Romeo”? It was about five minutes until another jogger discovered her lying on the beach, bleeding. She seemed to have stumbled and hurt herself on a rusty railing, during her fall. However she was soon gasping for breath, frothing in her mouth and lapsed into a state of unconsciousness. It was close to 7am. She was fortunate that strangers got her admitted to a nearby prestigious hospital. She was unconscious, but alive in the last hour at the intensive care unit, before her husband and children got to know from the police and rushed to the hospital.

A couple of tense hours later, her husband warmly hugged the tense children, controlling his tears, and asked them to go back home with their house-maid and not worry about their mother. The children were reluctant but eventually went home with the maid. A day later, Kiran had not yet regained consciousness. Everyone who knew Kiran, was worried and there to assist. The doctors suggested that the next forty-eight hours were crucial and it was important that Kiran regained consciousness; else the chances of her slipping into coma were pretty high.

The police did their usual enquiries with her husband, the maid and people from her apartment, the strangers who had got her to the hospital and her professional colleagues too. None of them seemed to have any information whatsoever that could provide any clue to unravel the events of that fateful morning. They had even checked with Danny about his frantic calls to Kiran early that day. Danny’s wife had been seriously ill that night and being close to Kiran as well as her family, Danny had in desperation called, wanting to seek help from Kiran. However, since Kiran did not answer the phone, he had subsequently been able to contact his niece. His niece, who lived three miles away from Danny, had come over to his house, as a support to Danny and his ill wife. In the best of everyone’s interest, they had all driven down to his niece’s house, where there were more in the family to attend to Danny’s wife. However, in that hurry, Danny had forgotten to carry his hand phone with him.
The other call that Kiran had received was traced to a lady living over twenty miles away. It was concluded that she had dialled Kiran’s number by mistake, realized it and had subsequently called her daily morning milk supplier, whose number differed from Kiran, only in its last digit. Later, she had not bothered to answer back when Kiran had tried reaching her. There was simply nothing else that anyone knew, that could be of any assistance to the investigators.

Forty-eight hours went by, clueless, without any progress. The clock was ticking by and hope seemed to be diminishing with every tick. Now, it could only be Kiran, who could probably throw some light on the mystery, and the light of her life seemed to be dimming away into coma – a situation that could leave everyone in the dark, about what really happened. To her husband, it seemed ironical that her name Kiran meant “a ray of light”; probably now his only hope.

It was now well over seventy hours since Kiran had been unconscious. Desperation seemed to be on the verge of exploding into an anger riot within, in complete contrast to the calm and serenity on Kiran’s fragile face. And then the phone rang. It was Kiran’s phone that rang and her husband answered the phone. The caller at the other end seemed to be a frail old voice, desperately wanting to speak only to Kiran, and no one else; despite being informed about the circumstances of the person being temporarily unavailable. And then the phone disconnected, never to answer again, despite several attempts by Kiran’s husband. The police traced the call to an old-age remand home. It belonged to the supervisor there and he seemed to have approached Kiran for some donation that she had agreed to make, on behalf of her organization, that fateful day. Desperation turned into anger, frustration, despair and depression. It was now well past the seventy-two hours and Kiran was unmoved.

Kiran died after three more days at the hospital, unsuccessful this one time in her life, leaving behind a shattered family and a long list of shocked well-wishers. Most were wondering now as to what happened?

While it was true that Kiran had been a witness to the murder in her neighbourhood, she was not aware of who exactly had been killed. And this had not been a high profile murder to gather any publicity. While the murderer’s were aware of Kiran being a witness to their crime, they had over a period of time also realized that Kiran had not been hurting their cause by reporting anything to the police or making any visible noise about being a witness. While they had been chasing her for a while, they had given up that chase eventually, realizing the futility of pursuing a harmless witness and not wanting to create another situation. The detective agency meanwhile, got to know about this as well, but kept this fact to themselves, in the interest of their continued services being provided to Kiran. And the “Romeo” from competition turned out to be someone who looked up to Kiran as a role model, and hence was more in awe of her, rather than in pursuit of any romantic misdemeanours. Kiran never really executed her plan and strategy of using this “Romeo, to her advantage.

The cloud of success that Kiran had been riding on for all these years seemed to have gathered so much water in them that perhaps, they simply burst that fateful morning. In her several successful pursuits, Kiran perhaps had made a fatal mistake of not prioritizing her health pursuit, adequately. Over the years, something more important and urgent always seemed to come in her way of being able to allocate a little time for her health. It happened in her childhood when she had hurried back to good health, not giving enough time for her body to heal and recovered back from her stitches, quickly. She even hurried through her life without spending much time, either mourning her parent’s death or her broken love. She made a resolve to be strong, so strong physically and mentally, that she would not allow anything to shake her. Over the years, this resolve became a reality – perhaps a deadly habit, as she grew from strength to strength, in her successful journey of success, until that fateful day.

The post-mortem report revealed that the cause of her death had been due to a massive stroke she had suffered that day. Perhaps, she had ignored the excessive sweating, attributing it to her jogging in a hot and humid weather. Perhaps she had been unfair, in trying to be too strong and keeping to herself, the bother of the murderers and the Romeo, as well as the results of her health check-up. Perhaps, her strength had acquired forms of extreme, in-human rigidity. Perhaps, her husband, children and friends could have gleefully given her a shoulder to relax on, had she shared a few more valuable moments of life with them. Perhaps, things would have been different, had she not been rather excessively strong in her childhood, or later in her youth or even as late as recently. Perhaps she could have afforded being a little weak, fragile a little less successful but happier. Perhaps, she had not worn the facade of unreal strength continually. Perhaps she had fallen and failed a few more times and grown a bit wiser. Perhaps she could have lived a more meaningful, complete and worthy life, not only for herself but her family and well-wishers as well. Perhaps, she had been a little less strong and successful. Perhaps!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So what, if you don't, in life!

So what, if you don’t see
So what, if you don’t hear
So what, if you don’t speak
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t walk
So what, if you don’t run
So what, if you don’t turn
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t beg
So what, if you don’t borrow
So what, if you don’t steal
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t read
So what, if you don’t write
So what, if you don’t think
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t cry
So what, if you don’t laugh
So what, if you don’t emote
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t praise
So what, if you don’t applaud
So what, if you don’t clap
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t protest
So what, if you don’t detest
So what, if you don’t tolerate
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t learn
So what, if you don’t teach
So what, if you don’t share
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t sell
So what, if you don’t buy
So what, if you don’t stock
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t rise
So what, if you don’t fall
So what, if you don’t dare
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t sing
So what, if you don’t dance
So what, if you don’t paint
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t earn
So what, if you don’t pay
So what, if you don’t save
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t hate
So what, if you don’t fight
So what, if you don’t love
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t work
So what, if you don’t rest
So what, if you don’t play
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t lead
So what, if you don’t follow
So what, if you don’t choose
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t call
So what, if you don’t travel
So what, if you don’t stay
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t sleep
So what, if you don’t dream
So what, if you don’t wake
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t talk
So what, if you don’t express
So what, if you don’t enjoy
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t come
So what, if you don’t go
So what, if you don’t move
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t act
So what, if you don’t react
So what, if you don’t care
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t give
So what, if you don’t take
So what, if you don’t doubt
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t lose
So what, if you don’t win
So what, if you don’t compare
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t tear
So what, if you don’t smear
So what, if you don’t fear
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t cut
So what, if you don’t join
So what, if you don’t blend
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t agree
So what, if you don’t like
So what, if you don’t mind
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t eat
So what, if you don’t drink
So what, if you don’t cook
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t relate
So what, if you don’t persuade
So what, if you don’t charm
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t lie
So what, if you don’t kill
So what, if you don’t corrupt
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t time
So what, if you don’t place
So what, if you don’t count
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t joke
So what, if you don’t preach
So what, if you don’t practise
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t plead
So what, if you don’t appeal
So what, if you don’t judge
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t grab
So what, if you don’t miss
So what, if you don’t spare
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t push
So what, if you don’t pull
So what, if you don’t rule
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t need
So what, if you don’t want
So what, if you don’t know
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t accept
So what, if you don’t ignore
So what, if you don’t pretend
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t drive
So what, if you don’t fly
So what, if you don’t swim
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t succeed
So what, if you don’t fail
So what, if you don’t gain
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t make
So what, if you don’t break
So what, if you don’t create
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t forgive
So what, if you don’t forget
So what, if you don’t grow
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t sow
So what, if you don’t reap
So what, if you don’t cultivate
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t add
So what, if you don’t divide
So what, if you don’t integrate
So what, if you don’t in life!

So what, if you don’t use
So what, if you don’t reuse
So what, if you don’t abuse
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t trust
So what, if you don’t believe
So what, if you don’t pray
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t inspire
So what, if you don’t value
So what, if you don’t enrich
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t hit
So what, if you don’t miss
So what, if you don’t try
So what, if you don’t, in life!

So what, if you don’t live
So what, if you don’t die
So what, if you don’t be
So what, if you don’t, in life!

Life is just one opportunity, you’ll ever have
To creatively mould into meaningful value
So, whatever you do or you don't,in life
The life is yours, the choice is yours!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Ten Different Perspectives and a Dog

“Raj was caught red handed accepting a bribe by the anti-corruption bureau, in a raid led by its chief Madan. During the investigation, it was revealed that Raj had been driven to the wall in terms of his financial necessities.  He had a mountain of overdue loans for money he had borrowed for his children’s higher education, growing medical expenses essential for the treatment of his ill parent’s failing health and his high flyer lifestyle. Raj was a bright student in school, had a normal upbringing and had been working for over twenty years now, growing well professionally in that time span. Raj had never ever lied in his life, never exhibited any violent tendencies or had any other vices. He was the head of one united and happy family – a wife, a daughter, a son, both his parents and a pet dog. News about Raj’s arrest spread like wild fire amongst the business community and society at large. His arrest and imminent conviction was a foregone conclusion, given the amount of direct evidence and the scale of fraud, besides Raj being the President of his group of companies.”
This case-study was presented by an aged professor Mina to a distinguished audience. Mina was from the university department of social sciences and in the midst of a classroom, filled with about a dozen students. Students, selected from a country-wide contest, which had attracted over ten thousand applicants. The final ten students selected, were from varied sections of society - A Farmer, A Lawyer, A Royal, A Teacher, A Doctor, A Musician, A Painter, A Politician, A Student, and A Soldier. The goal of this case-study was to gain a rich perspective on values existing within the society. Each of the students was required to express his perspective on the case study, within a paragraph of a maximum ten sentences, in thirty minutes.
These are the different perspectives that Mina received after thirty minutes, in random order.
A Soldier’s perspective
I come from a very poor family. Our village of seventy odd families have a tradition of contributing at least one soldier per family to the armed forces. Each family feels very proud to have the best amongst their children join the armed forces of our nation, where armed forces service is entirely voluntary. While our village is self-sufficient, the self-sufficiency is achieved only due to the poverty of basic needs and wants. There is no electric power supply in our village for over twenty hours in a day, there is one primary school and one well that is dry for at least six months in a year. In that context, my life as a soldier is an unaffordable luxury that I was lucky enough to be chosen to live with. In the last ten years, thirty one families have had at least one member from their family who has died in combat and it is something that all of us are proud of. Never once in our village has any family ever been involved in bribing or stealing anyone else’s money. I am not able to comprehend why someone would do such a thing. Isn’t he afraid of God?
A Student’s perspective
It is a pity that Raj had to fall from grace due to this one aberration forced on him due to the circumstances mentioned. I am aware that the amount of money it costs today to complete a good education is fairly high. My own education is now partly funded by the scholarship that I received, and from a student loan I would be required to pay back within three years of getting a job. My father and uncle have both had to sign as guarantors. A similar situation will arise in two years time, when my younger brother too goes to college. Considering the circumstances, I feel that Raj, being a human being, must be spared of punishment, and let off with a warning. At worst, maybe his promotion can be put off by another one or two years!
A Farmers perspective
These white collar people are all just like that. They work in plush offices, drive around in expensive cars, dine and wine in hotels and fly around the world with their families. They should be made to toil in the farm under the sun for just one month and that will bring them all back to their senses. They are all jealous that farmers in this country do not have to pay any tax on income. However, they are insensitive to the magnitude of hardships, uncertainty and risks that farmers have to face, every season. So what if Raj had never lied or done anything illegal ever before. Actually, I find this extremely hard to believe. I am sure he would have done that more than once, but this must be the first time he has been caught. Irrespective, I have no sympathy for him. Justice must apply to all as per rules and let his punishment be a the price that he and his family and generations to come pay for their sins.
A Teachers perspective
Punishment is only as good as the amount of healing it achieves to the body, mind and soul. I empathize with Raj and am inclined to have his situation classified more as a victim, and less as a convict. A teacher comes across hundreds of students and situations where acts of indiscretions, are well qualified to be classified under various sections of the penal code. However, we rarely have a situation where such acts are reported and taken forward in the domain of crime, law and justice. On most occasions, we make sure that we differentiate the crime from the criminal and try to heal the criminal within by making him accept the guilt of his crime and mend his ways using positive and constructive punishments, executed within the campus and in good healthy spirit. Unfortunately,  Raj is a mature adult, and not a student. In spite of all the healthy past, I am afraid that we have to be fair to the rules and regulations of the society at large and not make an exception. I think Raj and his family should have faith in the justice system, face the trial and the punishment bravely and courageously, so that they all emerge stronger and wiser from this experience and learning. I also feel that somewhere in Raj’s upbringing, his values were not nurtured adequately and hence got diluted over a period of time. Hope that this incident will serve as something for him and his parents to reflect upon and make a values course correction, an absolute necessity for Raj.
A Musicians Perspective
Raj’s life and situation seems like that of a guitar with over stretched, over tightened strings. It was just a matter of time before one of the strings snapped! One has to remember that life, like music is not a collection of sound and notes to be played with a bunch of instruments.  Harmony of passion and melody is essential. This can be achieved only through a life time of devotion, dedication, commitment and sheer discipline of regular practise. All “short cuts” that seem attractive and apparently successful, do not reveal the compromise of conscience and values, they effect, leading to a success that is glamorous, but noisy and out of harmony. I feel that Raj must take this incident as something to learn from, release the stretch from his life strings to suitable levels and then play the tunes of his life in harmony with his mind and soul. Raj should look as this incident as a minor hitch in his glorious life tune and take it in his stride. His family should gather strength and support Raj to overcome this hiccup in his life and they emerge from it as a stronger, happier family.
A Lawyers Perspective
Corruption and bribery cases are pretty rampant and increasing year after year. Most that get reported, eventually take a lot of time to reach conviction at the end of a tardy judicial process. The conviction rates too are fairly low. Despite conviction, the penalty and punishment too is not something that serves as a deterrent for others to fear. In the midst of all this, the person who actually commits the offense is often shameless and soulless and manages to find a way around or a way through the system to make a mockery of the complainant and justice as a whole. There have been instances when even supreme judges too have amassed wealth and property using unfair means. Raj’s case is therefore making the news not because of the crime or bribe involved. It is just that Raj happens to be a part of a business group that has been largely seen as supporters of the opposition coalition. His arrest and the accompanying negative publicity will provide the ruling coalition with the much needed ammunition to fight back the relentless opposition assault of corruption and inept governance. In my perspective, this case will just be another pound of flesh traded amidst the give and take barter, amongst the political class.
A Politicians perspective  
It is really very sad that when the nation is facing challenges of poverty, illiteracy, inflation, and terror; we have black sheep like Raj spreading like a cancer of fraud and corruption within our society. In the last couple of years we have had lengthy discussions within our party forum as well as at the government and several of its sub-committees on controlling and eliminating this menace of corruption. I have myself aggressively spear headed several discussions and protests for formulating tough anti-corruption laws and enforcement agencies. Raj’s case will become one more strong argument in favour of stringent legislation against corruption. I also take this opportunity to bring to the notice of our respected members of the opposition coalition that Raj was not a politician and they should stop disrupting governance by accusing us of corruption, all the time. I am sure that law will take its own course and justice will be done. One more thing, despite what Raj has done; I am not too sure why his family, especially his wife should suffer. If there is any assistance that she needs to take care of the children or the elderly within the family, on humanitarian grounds, I will certainly not hesitate to reach out and assist.
 A Doctor’s perspective
I am a part of a noble profession where we take an oath of service for humanity and human health. I am not too sure why one of the reason’s cited as the cause of Raj’s financial need to go this extreme of seeking a bribe, was the enormous expenses towards his parents ill health. Executives like Raj generally have their medical expenses covered under insurance. Alternatively, whatever the perception, good affordable medical care is certainly available in many public hospitals, across the city Raj lives in. The human mind is a piece of divine creation that is little understood even within the medical fraternity. So while what Raj did might legally fall into the category of crime, from a medical perspective, these are things that can happen and be driven by many unseen chemical and biological changes too that get triggered by stress and life styles. Unfortunately, Raj might not be able to get a consideration on these grounds, owing to the archaic laws that exist in our country. If there is anything that I could do for his ailing parents, that is certainly an area where I can assist.
A Royal’s perspective
I am the tenth descendant of the Royal family of Zarwa. My late grandfather used to narrate stories to me about how crime and corruption were punished a couple of centuries ago. Anyone found to be guilty used to be either beheaded or thrown off the mountain cliff, without pardon or exception. It was during my grandfather’s regime as a ruler of Zarwa, that he abolished the death penalty. He faced stiff opposition then, but cajoled and convinced his way through by getting a majority of people’s opinion on his side. However, despite that the punishment for a crime of corruption and bribery was pretty severe and unpardonable. All that changed when my father handed over his kingdom to the nation, during the uprising. Today, as a royal, I have very little say in terms of determining the law of the land. As a member of the Royal family, I strongly deplore Raj for doing what he did and expect him to face a stringent punishment. As for his family, while my sympathy and heart goes out for them, I can only tell them this that tough times do not last, tough people do!
A Painters perspective
There are times when despite your baggage of excellent training, established work experience and efforts, a particular painting just goes awry and does not reflect the picture in your mind, truthfully on the canvas. Raj would probably have imagined and painted a picture where all the dark spots and stresses related to money would get wiped out using the white brush of bribe. Unfortunately, it only ended up spreading the little dark spots into one large one – that has now spoiled his painting of life, entirely. In such times, there is no point in trying to apply a whitener and correct the canvas. You need to let go, dump the damaged canvas and start afresh. Letting go is a very difficult thing, especially given the baggage you carry. However once you let go and start afresh, an array of possibilities open up. They sometimes turn around your life’s voyage into the most beautiful painting that even you would never have imagined could be painted on your new canvas. Raj must let go and start afresh. Hope his family will support Raj.
After having read all these perspectives, Professor Mina thought about it. He noticed that all the ten respondents had shared their perspectives, based on their values and experiences, not only about Raj and corruption, but also his family. However, no one seemed to have commented or spared a thought for the pet dog! From a different perspective - ‘Dog’ spelt the other way round, reads ‘God’. Mina remembered the saying, “every dog has his day” and hoped that people in society would think the other way round, one day, some day in their lives, and look at things from a different perspective, than what was obvious to them.

Friday, March 11, 2011

“Oh God!” - A 3in1 Love Story!

When I started writing this story, it was a 1in1 story. The story was an attempt to interestingly communicate using the universal medium of a love story, how - Trust, Attitude and Relationships play a key role towards achieving Results that create and deliver Value. Thoughts are like waves striking the sand of creative ideas within. In the midst of the writing process, several thought waves hit me. Each wave as strong as the earlier! The simplest way forward would have been choosing one, and killing the rest. This seemed in direct conflict with my values – all colours of nature deserve their place within the bigger universal picture. This led to the thought of why not break the usual rule and have multiple endings to a story that begins as one? I stopped at three endings. I could have written more. However, I have left it at that, with the hope that it will inspire a few amongst you, to add more beautiful endings, and create a rainbow of colourful stories of value. Look forward to your enjoying this experience and your contributions as well..
One ‘little’ point. Have intentionally repeated the exclamation “Oh God!”, in each of the paragraphs here-in. It is to reflect the rainbow of colourful value that can exist, in each of our human emotions, waiting to be expressed. All it takes is that one ‘little’ step forward.
The 3in1 love story begins...
Mira came into this world silently, successfully. Her father Rahul was a simple man. His struggle for a good number of his forty two years had only recently provided him some occasions to pause and experience precious joys, a worthy life had to offer. Mira’s birth was one of those joyous pauses. “Oh God!”, Rahul thanked the Almighty, amidst tears of happy respite. Both mother and child were healthy and recovering, unlike on two previous occasions when only one had survived. It was his tryst with this miracle of sorts, hence the name Mira.
Mira grew up fast and quick, mostly amidst merry and joy. Her parents, especially mother Tanu, made sure that she got the choicest of attention and care, continually though her first decade. Tanu’s faith had cemented into a deep sense of gratitude to the Almighty. There was not a day when she had missed her prayers. So honest and affectionate was her devotion that even the elderly in the household and neighbourhood had nothing but “Oh God” to exclaim in admiration, when asked about Tanu’s spiritual spirit. Rahul too was experiencing a gradual dilution of his life struggles. His faith, in attributing most of this newly attained prosperity to Mira, was shared equally by Tanu.
Mira excelled through her teens. She achieved glory in her academics as well as her other pursuits of music, dance, art and sports. Mira was her parents “happening” world, besides her own! As a family they were now rich, healthy, harmoniously together and happy. “Oh God”! Tanu exclaimed in absolute delight, hearing Rahul’s excited voice on the other end of the phone. Mira’s graduation was expected to happen in flying colours. However, her name figuring amongst the top five rank holders at the national level was the ultimate icing on the family cake. The recognition kept pouring in for almost a quarter! Everything that Mira touched seemed to turn into Gold.
In the midst of these eventful months, Mira found Amir and that changed everything. Well, almost! Oh, God! Amir was a shy little fellow, about a year younger to Mira. Amir had grown up almost unnoticed within Mira’s neighbourhood. It was only in recent times that he had occasionally made his presence felt...
From here-on, this three-in-one story splits into three endings...
The first ending of this 3-in-1 story begins here... 

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Gadget Story..

Willy woke up to the alarm on his old digital clock at 0530 hrs. Willy got up from bed at 0545 hrs to the second alarm that sang his favourite tunes, on a trendy mobile 4D Timosphere. Willy was gifted the Timosphere – a virtual gadget that simulates ambient conditions outside his home, such as temperature, pressure, humidity, amount of sun-shine, cloud cover, wind-velocity. It also contains over 400 more downloaded wish-codes, besides keeping track of world time for him. Willy’s cousin sister had gifted it to Willy, yesterday night, on his twenty-ninth birthday.
This 4D gadget was a popular innovation launched earlier last night world-wide. The 4 principles underlying the 4D Timosphere’s design were:
  • it was virtual and did not have any permanent physical form,
  • it was mobile, available anywhere anytime, for as long as Willy desired, by just having a thought about wanting it,
  • it was customizable and Willy could pick and choose flexibly from over 400+ downloadable wish-codes, from a library of over a billion such codes, and
  • it functioned perpetually - worked and maintained itself on its own.
Willy started his day like any experienced 29 year old. He cleaned himself up at the fully programmable wash-station at home. He recharged his energy levels at the fully automated kitchen-station at home. He reset his fitness levels at the Gym-o-station at home, based on what was required by him in order to optimally carry on his long list of todo’s for the day. All the stations were virtual services that his family had subscribed to, for a 29 week period, to avail the bundled and free, home clean station subscription for 29 days. These services cost Willy’s family of 29 heads, 29 valueuros – the new global currency, for 29 days.
Willy was ready to go to work at 0745 am sharp. At the click of a thought, Willy’s work place virtually transported itself to where his house was. His workstation was equipped with all the gadgets necessary to optimally execute all his day’s todo’s, in their real-time order of changing priorities. That meant he would be able to attend all the three meetings and presentations scheduled at New York, Shanghai and Paris during the day; complete two customer visits at Mumbai and Tokyo; besides the rest of the usual work such as synchronizing sales forecasts with inventory and production capacities, for all 2929 products in their portfolio.
After a hard day’s work, Willy was ready for a dinner meeting fixed at 0730 pm, with the workers unions across their 29 manufacturing plants, to celebrate their record 29 quarters of uninterrupted production. Willy awarded the top 29 people nominated by the workers union with gadgets that made their work easier and efficient by about 29 percent.
Willy’s workday finally ended at 10 pm, just in time to be home with his family of 29, to enjoy some dessert over a couple of chess and fun games, before retiring at 1145 pm. Willy’s dream-bed was fully programmed with a choice of 2929 customizable dreams to choose from, along with their exact time of occurrence and duration. This gadget would ensure that Willy got the most optimum sleep and was ready to wake up the next day to his revised favourite tunes, to live a life fully charged by more innovative gadgets to be launched tonight!

My First Marathon Story (A True Story)

  I believe..
We are enriched with the blessings of our parents, guardians, teachers and our GOD within..

We must enjoy running the marathon of life under the endless shower of love and affection from our family, relations, friends and well wishers..

We can all inspire values, create value and enrich life in our own ways and for our common good..

The excitement of writing and sharing my first marathon experience is drenched amidst waves of happy thoughts and remembrances, sweeping across my mind. It might surprise you, if I told you that my first marathon experience was certainly not all about the marathon itself! The marathon now seems to be only a tiny dot on a much larger canvas of life and the colourful opportunities it provides to everyone – compelling me to write this story. Hope you will enjoy it. Do share it with your family and friends to multiply your joy.
This journey began sometime in April 2010 when I came across the saying that goes, ‘If money is lost, nothing is lost; if health is lost, something is lost; but if character is lost, everything is lost’. Remembered this had been taught in my school days, at an age where it certainly makes some impression, but not enough for us to truly comprehend its applicability (or otherwise) on our lives. Pondered, now that I had 41 glorious years behind me, whether this saying did make any sense at all?
My trained analytical brain quickly rushed to solve the equation and provide answers. ‘Money lost – Nothing lost?’ Did not seem to be a rational desirable event, but it was also not about something that I really cared too much about, anyways. ‘Character lost – everything lost?’ - Had nothing to worry about on this front for sure, which might require any attention/course correction now.  ‘Health lost – something lost?’ -though I had no health issues, it occurred to me that in relative terms, I was much more ‘out of shape’ than I had been in the past.
The next step was to assess (if any) the relative ‘loss’ of my fitness/health levels. Checked some recommended height-weight charts. At my age and height, my ideal weight range recommended was 61 to 65 kg. For a number of years, I had been ‘gleefully’ living in the 76-80 kg range.  This rang an alarm – a little one though. A passing thought reminded me of my historical school days, when I was a champion athlete.  The mind was in resistive denial about the ‘loss’ of health – I mean,  I was enjoying sound health and there had been nothing serious that had required me to visit the doctor in so many years.  Soon found myself one day on the road, ready to reassure myself about my ‘sound’ health. Must have fast jogged for about 300 meters and found myself gasping for breath. “Well”, I thought, “must be since it was my first day”. The next day, the same result. This was my moment of disbelief or rather the discovery of the huge difference between perception and reality. Reflected on the ‘saying’ and my comprehension of it grew multi-fold, almost instantly. ‘Something’ important seemed really lost. This time, the alarm was loud and clear. Decided to focus my attention on recovering that ‘something’ on top priority.

Seeing the Goal
Gathered myself together from the minor tremor I had felt. Decided to be cautious, rather than jumping straight into activity and action. Patiently spared some valued time to reflect and see (visualize) what really was the larger health goal I would love to pursue.Initial thoughts hovered around words such as energy, stamina, endurance, fitness, agility, nutrition. Each of these words then fought a priority tussle amongst themselves about being essential – an absolute must, versus being desirable – the cherries on the cake. Like an artist drawing on a blank canvas, the initial impressions and brush strokes did not make any overall sense. However, the picture had certainly begun evolving gradually. Magically, individual words, all sewed up together into my first ever thought in life of,”Man – to achieve all these wonderful gifts of health, would mean I would have to be running a marathon!!” It seemed nothing more than a joke to me then. Trust me, when the thought of running a marathon occurs the first time, you will find yourself not taking your own self seriously. It seems to be all in the lighter vein.

Moving on, put together my short list of essentials that included amongst other things, a 5-day a week 30 minute walk regime, coupled with controlling (not reducing) and having healthy eating habits, targeting weight reduction of at least 2-3 kgs in a couple of months. Most of the ‘difficult’ things went comfortably into the “cherries on the cake” category and one of last scribble on that list was running the marathon!
It seemed I was ready with my simple and doable list of things. As if, all the colours were visible and the canvas filled with them, I could visualize my future ‘great health’ after a couple of months of doing the essentials. However something seemed amiss, like a picture not in harmony with itself. Thoughts and visuals of me being a marathon finisher started interrupting and growing stronger by the day, like it or not. I could picture myself having achieved, what seemed impossible amidst the grind of daily chores. Was I day dreaming?
The conflict forced me to reassess and see what my real picture of success about my health was. Analytically, the marathon seemed to be an ideal tool/strategy, for me to pursue my health goals. However, it appeared to be such a big mountain! The first thing that you do in such situations is bounce your ‘wild’ thoughts and predicament to your confidant – for me, my wife.  Her feedback was on the lines that, ‘rather that discuss and think about it; the real gain would be in actioning or walking the talk. Marathon or no marathon, I would certainly make progress on my health front’ – a valuable feedback that in one stroke made me turn the doubt corner and see it being an essential ‘word’ in my health goal.  
Setting the Goal
It was time to ‘Set’ in clear measurable terms and time frames; whatever I was visualizing as my health goals. This would evolve into an action plan to pursue and achieve.
Wanted to find a health parameter that was easy to set and measure its progress. Bumped into the body-mass index (BMI) parameter, reviewed all its pros and cons as an effective parameter. After careful research, concluded that while BMI may not be the best or most effective parameter to measure, it seemed something good enough and simple to begin with for me. My BMI around April 2010 was about 27+ and it categorized me into the ‘over-weight/obese’ category. The realization of me being obese was terrible. Obese! Me?
My health goal statement crystallized - I simply set my measurable health goal as to achieve a BMI of less than 23 (ideal normal for my height and weight), before 31st December 2010. Simple. Easy. Easier ‘Set’ than done!
Now that the measurable health goal was set, my next step was to have a plan and execution strategy in place, to action and achieve this set goal. This is what I came up with: 
  • Start walking at least 5 days a week, starting with a kilometre everyday and increasing the walking distance to reach 12kms a day, within two months (May and June 2010)
  • Continue the 12 kilometre walk 5 days a week from July 2010, however start replacing a kilometre from the walk with a run and gradually replace the entire walk with a 12 km run by September 2010
  • Ensure healthy eating habits (This part of the goal plan execution was completely managed by my wife and I shall be ever thankful to her for her silent support and efforts. It is important to highlight here that I was not eating less or dieting in any manner whatsoever).
  • Get at least seven-eight hours of sleep every day
  • Engage my mind totally with my body during every exercise session
  • Overcome hurdles that may come up on the way, think/visualize a positive health image
  • Run 32 kms before Christmas 2010 and then run the marathon in Jan 2011 
Finally, the canvas looked filled with just the right colours and all it required was for me to sign my commitment on my picture perfect health goal journey.  This commitment was a sign-off with my conscience (based on the foundations of my values and beliefs).  From here-on, I was moving forward and this was my point of no return. No turning back!

The Walk of Life

The first walking a kilometre starting May 2010 was easy. It took me fifteen minutes.  The climb from one to five kilometres too was a relative piece of cake and I was completing the five kilometres in just over an hour. And in the first two weeks, I lost some weight as well. What a good start!

It occurred to me then, that at this pace; I might take over two and a half hours to complete the 12 kms walk, which seemed a bit ‘unaffordable’ to me. And it then became a bit strenuous trying to ramp up the walking miles and pace together.  By end of June, had walked 12 kms in two hours. An unforeseen gain from this walking endeavour was that I was now able to control and predict the pace of my walk (10 min per km) much more accurately. I was also jocularly thinking that at this pace, I could walk the marathon distance (42.2km) in 7 hours! My BMI score end of June 2010 was 26.5! Two months of efforts and just about half a point drop. I was disappointed.

Agony and ecstasy

July 2010 required me to replace a kilometre of walk with a run. Seemed, as if I had already climbed a mountain and yet felt like being at the starting base camp, a square one sort of situation. Reviewed my Goal Statement and found myself staring at “Overcome hurdles that may come up on the way, think/visualize a positive health image”! Wrote a day-to-day training schedule on my home calendar. It consisted of walk, run, rest, and cross-train from July through December. This schedule was a self-customized combination worked out from what I had learnt in my early days as an athlete, ‘gyan’ obtained from some of my very valued friends who had run the half marathon’s themselves in the past, open source information related to distance running and sheer common sense. 

The quarter of July-August-September 2010 was a transformational quarter for me. Besides the monsoon rains, many other forms of pains got added to my growing list of hurdles, obstructing my path in following my schedule. Missed some schedules, both due to rains and knee/leg pains, re-scheduled and sometimes continued running on the road with my umbrella open out of passion, ignoring the stares of people (who must have been wondering what this crazy chap was up to) and more. I made many mistakes. Silly ones like, buying canvas shoes only to be bruised badly on my toes, not hydrating myself enough as the run distances got longer.  I had to endure short bouts of fever in August and September, but I made up for the lost training on other ‘rest’ days. There were times when my family used to get really worried and concerned, and rightfully so. I made many mistakes but I certainly learnt from each one of them. When I look back, it was a quarter of sheer madness that had engulfed me. I gave up everything else, determined to recover that ‘something’ I had lost. The passion to overcome hurdles was immense, rain or no rain!

The results achieved in this quarter were nothing short of a miracle from my point of view.
Health Goal Progression 
BMI (end of month)
Average km run (per week)

The first two months had resulted in lowering my BMI by just about half a point. This quarter had resulted in lowering my BMI by close to 2.5 points. I had graduated from the one km run to having now peaked with a 19 km run. Incidentally, during this quarter, two very valued friends, who had experienced a few half marathon runs in the past, made me aware that there was a professional run coming up in New Delhi in November 2010 that I might be interested in participating. I was naive in my first reaction that I would not be prepared by November. Learnt that Delhi was only a half-marathon and therefore could certainly attempt the same. It was to be a blessing in disguise, providing me a preparatory experience before the full marathon and shall be ever thankful to my friends for that.

The joy of SCORING GOALS, that you have SEEN and SET
The OND quarter started on a new high for me. Completed my first half-marathon run on the dawn of 3rd October (the opening day of the Common Wealth Games, 2010), in appreciation of what the CWG athletes must have endured to get this far, and in celebration of their values and spirit of sportsmanship.

21st November, 2010 was pretty chilly in the early hours as we started from our Gurgaon Hotel to the New Delhi Half Marathon Start Venue. I was simply happy to be there and delighted just from the fact that I was participating in this sort of a run for the first time.  I was informed that I had three hours to finish the half marathon distance, but honestly, I couldn’t care less (except for the fact that it met some qualification criteria). In the first kilometre or two, I felt the chill in the air and a sense of breathlessness and choking in my throat. This feeling however went away soon, as the body warmed up. 

The run was thrilling and enjoyable. When you see little kids on the sidelines, braving the cold weather and cheering you on and reaching out to you with their little hands to shake, you experience the joy of life.  21st November turned out to be an exceedingly memorable and enriching day in New Delhi.December 2010 was the month when my BMI goal was set to be achieved. I was pretty close to it. The result of the OND quarter speaks for itself.

Health Goal Progression 
BMI (end of month)
Average km run (per week)

The first measurable Health Goal of BMI < 23 before Dec 31st , 2010 accomplished.

The dot on the canvas – The Marathon!

Mission accomplished! The journey continued...

If you are wondering as to why would I be pursuing the strenuous marathon, despite having met my first health goal, the answer lies in the fact that the health goal was now a joyous journey and the BMI was only its first measurable milestone.

16th Jan, 2011 - The Mumbai Marathon day dawned for me at 0330 hrs preceded by an anxious night, the anxiety being more about getting up this early, than the marathon itself. So there were two alarms set, just to be sure! The weather was nice and cool and the run commenced, as scheduled at 0615 hrs from opposite the grand Mumbai CST.

I have lived in this city for over 40 years now, and have traversed the Marathon route a zillion times in various modes of transport. Never ever had I imagined in my wildest of dreams, that I would be experiencing the city ‘running around’! This was my moment.

This time around, I had a run-plan. Well, I had two – an aggressive plan and a realistic plan.  The thought of planning my run came from the fact that unlike the New Delhi run (where I had already covered the half-marathon distance in my practise sessions), the single longest run I had done in my practise sessions was a 32 km run and that had kind of taken me just over four hours. And I had experienced during the practise session that ‘controlling the pace’ starts getting out of control sometime after the 25th km run and beyond that, things can get a bit unpredictable.  This was my first full marathon run and the official maximum duration for completion being six hours.

The aggressive plan was based on an assumption that I would be able to sustain and endure the same pace in the later part of the second half of the run, as in the first half despite the loss of energy, the weather getting warmer in the sun and the increase in peak distance from my practise session (32km) to the marathon run (42.2 km) being close to 32%. This plan was aggressive!

The realistic plan was based more on my experience during the practise sessions (and this is where being able to control and predict your pace becomes handy).  The following table compares the plan and with what happened during the run:
Aggressive Plan
Realistic Plan
Distance Time
Actual Recorded
Chip Run Time
(Km covered)
(Time elapsed hrs)
(Time elapsed hrs)
(Km covered)
(Time elapsed hrs)

The route looked and felt beautiful in the early morning hours. All went as per plan till about the 30th km distance. Sometime after this distance, I experienced what I had only read and heard until now as ‘the wall’. Your legs just do not seem to be willing to accompany and run where your mind wants them to. My determination to attempt to climb-over or break ‘the wall’ was unflinching.  Walked patiently for a while, consumed a lot of water slowly and enjoyed the beauty of the Sea Link, where pedestrians are not usually allowed. The speed limit sign on the Sea Link was reflecting “Keep Speed Limit of 50 Kmph” (at this pace I would have finished the race within an hour. Ha!) During this ‘walk’ break, got to also see the bunch of marathoners running for prize money (their run had started at 07:40 hrs) at close quarters. Their pounding feet and ability to sustain their athletic pace a thrill to watch.

Gradually my legs seemed to come back to life and willing to run. The joy was immense. Beyond the Haji Ali turn the climb and gradient seemed endless, Yet, I was chatting and laughing with a fellow runner.  We both were joyous, realizing now the certainty of finishing the run. My plan was 05:17 hrs; I finished in 05:10 hrs, with both thumbs up!

Enriching the life in your years
I consider myself by far the commonest amongst the common folks. All common folks have within themselves a gift of ‘uncommon’ abilities. I believe that every individual must put in good efforts (self efforts, guided efforts, whatever it takes) continually, and strive to recognize and discover his/her own unique ‘uncommon’ ability and value. There are countless instances of ‘common’ people doing things beyond their own expectations; sometimes against ‘expert and capable’ advice. For those who think their own capability is an issue, it is more often a self imposed ‘cap’ on their own yet-undiscovered ‘ability’.

Ability to See, Set and Score goals is a definitive advantage. It is this ability that plays a crucial role in terms of achieving your exciting success – built on foundations of values and commitments. Success achieved using this ability stands tall on strong pillars, creates immense value for all to gain, enjoy and share, thus enriching life for one and all. Through this real life story, I have shared my experience of my little exciting success of being able to see, set and score my health goal, which incidentally was not the Marathon!

Do ponder and give me your very valued feedback and suggestions.

Thank you!