Monday, August 20, 2012


The most precious commodity and unfortunately the least respected in most quarters by most people. Today I was reading an article on punctuality and it struck that how very few consider it a value to live by. The notion of "IST" - Indian Standard Time - is so very ingrained in us. Being on time means acceptable delay of 15-30 mins. Its normal and forgiven if you ask people. Some organizations do try to build their culture around being on time for everything but then it is looked as an aspect of being professional and not personal belief so much. Personally I strongly feel that punctuality reflects character.  We do not have the right to waste someone else's time as I would waste mine.     

In our day to day existence, we are so casual about time as if it is an inexhaustible resource. In reality it is in "limited edition". In our growing up years we were guided by importance of finishing the task at hand 'right now' and not wait for the 'waking moment' to commence our work. Being punctual is considered 'oh-so-not-happening'. You give the impression of having nothing better to do than to come on time if you are punctual for an appointment. It has permeated into all aspects of our life. Poignant but true.

If we know that we are 'habitual late comers', then effort should be to rectify it and not gloat about it. You can never gain respect of self made individuals when you don't respect time. Being on time means that you know the value of time. Every possible value creation is based on its shelf life. In other words till what time it will last. Similarly punctuality is a virtue to be lived and not an accessory. 'On time' means being 5 minutes early. The known variables that can affect your punctuality are limited. Hence planning ahead and keeping plan B in place is not an unnecessary effort. When you start being punctual you will realize how strong you are. You are able to manage a resource which is not only scarce but also non-renewable. Even if no one appreciates it, it will give you a sense of accomplishment and being responsible. Your first responsibility for practicing any personal value is with yourself. Start keeping appointments with yourself before expecting from others. 

So be on time and don't try because there is nothing like "I will try to...". Either you do it or you don't do it.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Value your support system

Your formal education will equip you with all the knowledge, skills and traits required to lead a successful professional life. Living a fulfilling life is possible only through learning to value your support system. Attitude to learning to respect these pillars of strength will give you an advantage which cannot be quantified. It will show in your output and your general way of being. In times of our parents or before that, we had the joint family system which is perhaps the strongest support system that one can have. We take our parents for granted in many such cases without realizing how important they are for our being able to build lives outside home. That's a separate philosophy which I will discuss some other time. 

However in today's times when we have to step out and move away from our homes to create our future in new cities, this support system has acquired names like Mukta mausi, Seema tai, Noor, Pinky, maharajji, driver saab etc. They are real and are here to stay if you treat them properly. You know I have always employed management theories and learning from workplace to running my household. It seems to work beautifully. To share a few - build trust and show respect; not everyone performs at same levels on all days; people are working with you and not for you; everyone has both good days and bad days; 'me time' is not the privilege of educated and rich alone, everyone needs that for rejuvenating themselves; all helps today have options and its their choice that they are with you, so learn to value them; its a transaction - you have money power, they have physical power; reward behaviors you want to strengthen and have regular review/feedback discussions; take out time and have informal discussions about their family; show you care; take their inputs when planning things in the house or kitchen - build ownership and engagement; be cognizant of their existence as humans, not just employees and so on. 

In any relationship, the person who is more educated and matured is expected to work things out instead of being petty and reactive. In this case it would be you. If things don't seem to work out even after repeated attempts, shake hands and part ways. Like in business world there are no permanent friends or enemies. Its all matter of time. As Gandhiji said "do unto others as you want them to do to you".

When you have a household of your own, implement these...and experience for yourself how it works. 


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What Independence means to me

Freedom without responsibility is anarchy (not said by me). I have always treated my independence as my birth right, a privilege accorded to me without any effort from my side. It’s as natural as breathing, walking, talking, sleeping etc. Every year we celebrate this day with a lot of pageantry and show of emotions anywhere and everywhere. 

However this is perhaps the first year when I really got down to thinking as to what independence really means to me as an individual. Is it just a date, a journey, a holiday, an emotion, a privilege, right et al? All these words have importance in context to Independence Day but they don’t resonate with my being. Am I really free? I am afraid of helping an accident victim on road, I am afraid to report abuse if I come across one, I am afraid to step out of the house at night, I am afraid of refusing a bribe for getting work done, I am afraid to help a stranger in need, I am afraid of saying no to things which have social importance attached to them, I am afraid to yearn for things beyond my means, I am afraid to walk out of discussions which are hollow but obligatory. The list is unending. With so many fears in my heart and mind, how can I claim to be independent? Then what does independence mean to me? I am still struggling to come up with answers that would enthuse me to celebrate this feeling as a person.

So what does independence mean to you? Start thinking now before its too late.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Right ys Wrong

The two simple words which define all our actions – Right or Wrong. For most of us we are always striving to be on only one side – right! All others are on the wrong side. More importantly our entire life is spent on just deciding which the right side is and proving others to be perpetually on the wrong one. Normal when you come to think of it.

There are as many definitions of right and wrong as different people who have lived, are living and will be born to live on this earth (may be elsewhere in the galaxy too). However many a times I sense uneasiness about the whole thing. Why are we struggling with thoughts as to where will our acts place us in the two halves of life? Doesn’t it stifle our natural style of being? We are always holding back from giving the “me” in everything and coming up with what is expected. The casualty is true self. It is lost in all this translation and normalization.  

Today I want to share a secret with you. There’s nothing called right or wrong. Never ever get into this trap. It’s a whirlpool. The more you struggle, the deeper it pulls you. You will not be able to bring out the best in you if there is already a preconceived notion of right or wrong defining all your deeds. Never try to compartmentalize your life. But as social beings we have certain norms to live by. My right to freedom of thinking/speaking/doing etc. should not impinge on someone else’s right to freedom of thinking/speaking/doing etc. Our limits end where others’ begin. If you are able to understand this distinction I am sure you will never have to think twice before living your life, the way you want.

Always keep in mind that there are different shades of grey in between black and white. Life is in these shades and many a times outside it. Don’t restrict yourself with “I can do this”, “I cannot do this”. Free yourself from these boxes and then you will experience the true meaning of living. Living is not about breathing. It’s about being one with the universe and yourself. Always remember everyone’s truth is true for them. Respect them and move on.      

I often question myself as to whether I have been able to seed this thought into your mind or not. Let’s see how you shape up.