Saturday, August 31, 2013

Story Idea - The Three Men Who Forget

Three death row criminals are given a choice of three states of mind in a scientific experiment that knocks out that part. One chooses not to think of the past, one about the future and the third about the present.

Three criminals on the death row. One way to get out (ala Clockwork Orange) is to participate in the scientific experiment. What happens when they lose memory of the past, the  capacity to think of the future and the inability to live in the present. The story goes around what the three men undergo when they choose not to think about their past, future and the present. It should be an interesting bunch of events that occur.

Ah, delicious plot.

Thought For The Day - Moult The Past Away Like A Snake

What if we could get up each day without the baggage of yesterday? What if we can suddenly start afresh, slate clean, smiles in place, people not judged? What if we could shed it all like snakes do and move on?
Nice inviting road

Sounds heavenly. Life anew.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Is India A Safe Place For Women?

I keep seeing these polls on websites and tv channels? Is India safe? What do you think?

I don't know how the poll is supposed to change anything but I suppose the answer is quite obvious in view of the latest happenings. It's not.

I recently saw a CNN report based on an American student's report of her three month stay in India and the report was quite shattering and hard hitting. It points at all the things we take for granted with our so called 'freedom' - leching at women openly, making passes at them passing lewd comments, taking pictures and videos on mobiles without their permission and a great deal of physical abuse that is condoned openly in some parts of our societies. I have seen it all happen and life went on normally - it's all normal.

Now it has gone to the next level of abuse against women. There are increasing cases of gang rape, of harassment of a high order both sexually, mentally and physically (and this includes people at the highest levels). What is worse is the increasing number of rapes against infants, children as young as two years, school children molested or impregnated by those who are supposed to teach them or guard and protect them. Anything is fair game now and somehow there are parts of the society which feel they can get away with anything. The police, the political connections, they are all there or can be bought.

The Delhi rape case shook everyone but not enough. Now the Mumbai rape case comes to fore. What is it that we can do? We can all collectively hang our heads in shame. To start with, the ones in the highest office, for not being able to provide protection to its citizens, to its infants, by not enforcing stricter governance. You can pass all the bills you want but if you cannot get the government machinery working you have no business sitting there. We can all kick ourselves as well for having brought things to this, for failing to see signs of moral decay and for putting up with the small abuse in our households, in our neighbourhoods. If society had acted in time and enforced its moral code on how our women should be treated, no juvenile, no man would have harboured such thoughts. But we, the hypocrites that we are, get upset at pictures of goddesses drawn by artists, do dharnas at how women are being shown in bad light on film posters or in books that no one reads, but allow all sorts of abuse to go on in and around us. We love the way women are gently abused in our films by the leading men, the way they are gradually degraded. Oh, you should see some of our blockbuster Telugu movies to see how much we respect our women.

It's time that we realised that women in India cannot rely on men to protect them or respect them. Which is why India is not a safe place anymore. Because the men have ceased being men in the true sense of the word. Get a few men together and one can be assured about the kind of talk goes on - it is not about respecting women for sure. The mobiles are whipped out, the sniggers some on. In an age where we have seen MLAs watching porn in the assembly, we need not be shocked at what kind of stuff must be going on in the minds of kids - be it from a slum or the high rise. Despite all that we claim about how much we respect women, the truth is that we do not. We do not respect anything, anyone really

It is not funny anymore. It makes sense I suppose for women to take care of themselves. Pepper sprays, body guards, martial arts, licensed guns - whatever. If some man does step up to help - be thankful. There may be exceptions to the rule yet. That's as far as society goes. It's beyond redemption..

The other part is our leaders, who unfortunately reflect us. Governance has certainly fallen to its lowest. Almost everywhere we see open an collusion between criminals and politicians and police. Hardly do we hear a responsible leader speaking up on such occasions. We need thought leadership on these issues. We need something done quickly that screams out loud and says - man, this is horrible, whatever you are thinking and doing. We cannot condone this and you will suffer for doing this to a woman, a girl.

But instead we hear everyone say on tv - but they should wear these kind of clothes, they should address the rapists as brothers and find a way to dampen their lust, they should not go out at night, they should not drink, they should not have boy friends...

Where is the hope in this kind of madness? This kind of hypocricy? None. And all the anger about castration, hanging, quick penalties. Yes, ten rapists will die, twenty, thirty or a hundred that way. How do you kill the mindset. How do you stop the minister from sodomising his servant, the old man leching at his daughter or grand daughter, the next door uncle raping the two year old, the teacher impregnating his student? How do you tell them that you have other ways to satisfy your lust? How do you get them to respect another human, another life? I have no clue really. Somewhere we have gone horribly wrong.

I will not be surprised if more and more women choose to wear something like the burkha in future to save themselves from the men. It may be their best protection yet. 

Story idea - Cancer Ward

Hook: How a bunch of terminally ill guys decide to take one last shot at redemption.
A couple

Story: Six guys in a cancer ward for terminally ill get talking. They all know they have not more than a month to live. While talking at night they think of the one big regret they had all their lives. If there was one way to set it right how would they do it? As they share their stories the six come up with different plans, different attitudes, to their last hurrah. In that one act lies their journey to leave peacefully - so they have to choose that act well.

I can get in a couple of others to add some masala and provide the action as well. Okay, okay story I feel but should not be too boring to watch. Certainly six different stories so I can get drama, humor, emotion and even action in. Hmmm.

Story variant:
The six guys decide to throw all goodness out of the window and just indulge in what they want to. No good no bad, no social sanction anymore. So fill in the day with enough stuff that breaks all social rules but gives you a high. Cuts out all the hypocricy in the world.

Got inspired by another idea but that's another line. Another day then.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Our Big Problem - We Condone Easily

I agree with Ramaraju on this. While walking and discussing the other day as we normally do over weekends, Ram pointed out how we take our hypocricy to a new level. On one hand we all condemn and crib about all that is wrong and on the other hand we condone the same criminals and hobnob with them in our personal capacities. It is not about forgiving a crime - it is about giving social sanction to it and saying that this is okay. Fine by me. Hypocrite!

Pic. Prarthana Nargundkar
Once there is social sanction, whether it is by being seen in public functions, Page 3 parties, sports events, daises with important VIPs, the wrong doers are automatically elevated above normal. Not only is someone who ought to be in jail suddenly on par, he becomes above par. No wonder people try so hard to get some vague post and give themselves some credibility. After a while they start giving themselves titles, get into bigger circles and finally become our law makers. And then we not only condone, we fall at their feet. With the slightest amount of credibility or name, people will overlook everything and team up openly. Look at all the unholy alliances that are around - where silence reigns from all the big guns. Sitting as the Kaurava elders did in Mahabharatha when Drapadi was being disrobed.

The art of saying it like it is where it is deserved has gone. In the Mahabharatha one Kaurava prince Vikarna goes against his brothers and roundly denounces their atrocities against Draupadi. Such voices are gone. All we have is our hypocritical selves clapping at the Emperor's new clothes. Is anyone complaining now why we are where we are?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Best Kept Secret - Jeffrey Archer

It is a well kept secret till the end. This book follows a couple of books in this series called the Clifton Chronicles which made it difficult for me to figure out why certain events were being discussed as if the others had already seen the movie. But it did not matter because the book never rose above the kind of a bar that I would normally reserve for Mr. Archer. It looked like bored writing. A job had to be done and was done. Ho hum. Same here.

For one, the characters were all flat for me speaking like two dimensional caricatures. Maybe the boy Sebastian comes alive a bit and certainly Virginia showed promise but the rest are all super flat. The complex relationships shared by Emma and her brother Giles Barrington, and Harry Clifton, are too complex and best left not understood. They are brothers, half-brothers, half-sisters and so on and so forth. The old lady and her will, the son Sebastian and his aunt Jessica,  their birth and their relationships are all even more complex to be interesting. Come Virginia into Giles life and she adds some drama but Archer gets rid of his best villain rather early. She had promise. Alex Fisher is a hopeless loser and everyone knows he is going to lose. I knew at least. And then the ease with which these people win everything is just too boring. Mr. Martinez appears like a Bollywood villain and had "villain" written all over him. He comes up with the most harebrained schemes to get his money into England. How the seemingly smart Sebastian shows a propensity to get into all sorts of trouble for no reason and shows serious error in judging people like Martinez is rather bizarre. But he is the son of Harry Clifton who dresses like a pilot and goes across the globe to meet his son but does not tell him a word of the danger he is in, so that sort of fits in too. Generally it appears that there is little thinking going on all over. Even the end is too Bollywoody and badly thought of - why such a hammy end Mr. Martinez when you know that many possibilities exist? But obviously someone who devises that kind of a scheme can only think of this kind of a method to kill someone. A first time killer would have thought of a better idea surely. In the end, I figured someone dies - who? Its a well kept secret and I don't intend to find out. It does not matter really.

A couple of days went into reading this book and I consider it not well utilised. The most interesting part was that we get to know the mechanics of publishing and the royalty that Clifton gets. And the American book tour and its mechanics as opposed to the British book tour. There's some research that comes in about Hitler and stuff for some reason but why? Save that publishing bit, it seemed to me bored writing as I said and was not worth the time. I will now return to 'Kane and Abel' to get over this. I suppose every writer gets one like this once in a while. Let's hope the next one gets better. 

Office Space - Movie Review

Watched this movie after I read a post on the internet on the top 10 office movies to watch. It's a 1999 movie about an IT company in the US. They already had an Indian as a main character even then! Anyway its satirical and very true in its depiction of how dumb organised behavior can get especially in offices. And its light hearted and funny.

Three friends, Gibbons, Samir and  Michael Bolton, working in an IT company are struggling with the same problems everyone has in an office - bad bosses, low motivation, bad colleagues and bad everything. They are regular cribbers who crib about all else and do nothing. To top things the company has hired consultants to downsize and improve efficiency. All three are good cases to be sacked, more so Gibbons who does nothing and actually dreams of doing nothing. In a hypnotherapy session (sponsored by his girlfriend) gone off track due to. the sudden demise of the therapist mid-session, Gibbons finds a releasing high. He stops bothering about putting up a front, ignores his boss, does what he likes in office - an attitude that the consultants love. They promote him, the worst offender of the lot, and remove the other two - a classic everyday situation in offices. Anyway the three plan a getaway plan by stealing some fractions off the rounding offs from a software and well, it all ends up happily for all of them. Of course it ends even more happily for the moronic, semi-gone character who has been fired many years ago but who still comes to work and still gets a pay check and no one knows what he is constantly mumbling and complaining about - he gets all the money in the end. Is life fair? Yes - but only to those who are honest to dishonesty. Gibbons also gets Jennifer Aniston as a reward for his hypno high behavior.

Watching a 1999 movie was like watching something out of the far past. Their clothes, their hairstyles, the computers, the offices - man its not so long ago was it? Anyway, its a fine breezy comedy and a fun watch. Also a case for not giving a damn about anything - which is when you get everything on a platter. The principle of non-attachment one way or another. Why is being easy so hard? Or why is being hard so easy? Or why do we think so much?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Demise of Another Irani Cafe - Industrial Cafe, Sanathnagar

Industrial Cafe Sanatnagar was bang opposite the Allwyn factory. A spacious, high ceilinged, big-hearted affair, Industrial cafe lived up to its name and catered to the chai and time pass requirements of the workers and passersby in the industrial area of Sanatnagar. Being close to a number of large sized industries including some of the units of Allwyn, the Hyderabad Industries, Bakelite Hylam and a host of smaller units around it was always bustling with people, especially after 5 in the evening.
Industrial Cafe, Sanatnagar - Gone!

After most of the industries their closed shop namely the Allwyn units and Bakelite Hylam in the nineties, the cafe fell in bad times. But it was a fantastic location because it offered lots of parking space, green trees around, a clear view of the skies, a road that was not too populated and a cafe that was as unhurried as any Irani cafe ought to be. I liked the location though I never was a huge fan of its chai. Many an evening we spent there, sipping chai and yakking, through the eighties and nineties. When Madhav worked in Allwyn before he left for the US, I'd pick him up at Industrial cafe on pay day and we'd go off to down a few at Rajesh bar. Those were the days when men were known to hold their drinks and were expected to find their way home without bumping into people - so we managed our lives well without breathalyzers and stuff like that.

Dug deep under
But over the years we could see that the cafe was slowly going to seed.

I never knew this but apparently it was a hot place for film shoots that required an Irani cafe scene. So when they had to shoot the Irani cafe scene for 'Golconda High School' they picked Industrial cafe. Quite a few scenes were shot there. The one when Mikey is found and brought back to Sampath sir, the scene between Sampath sir and the Irani cafe owner Liaquat, Mikey's fight scene in the cafe and a celebratory scene after the first match. I was around at the shoot for a couple of days. One day we even had my friend Ashok Yadav of Gokul, a fine batsman in our day, also visit us at the sets.

It was not too long ago that I visited Industrial Cafe, a few months ago perhaps, and it was limping along still. But yesterday when I went with Ranjan and Sanjay to have a cup of tea we found a gaping hole where the cafe had been. I know for sure Madhav will feel a tad sad. So this post is specially for you Madhav.

Adieu Industrial cafe. You now join a long list of old landmarks from our lives that have vanished.

Story Idea - The Secret Weapon

Chap has a wonderful talent to charm people but he feels guilty about using his charm to get the woman he loves because he feel he has an unfair advantage.
Pic courtesy: Prarthana Nargundkar

Chap has the gift of charming people off their feet, specially the fairer sex. But he has never really found the love of his life. After many many dalliances he finally finds the one he has been yearning for. She shows signs of liking him too and is balanced on the verge of falling desperately in love with him.

But he does not know if she is in love with him or the charm he oozes. Is it me, he asks, or is it my charm - which wears off after sometime in any relationship. He is torn between using his charm which will easily fetch him his love, and not using it because he will never know if she fell for him because of his charm. Can I use my secret weapon against which she has no defence? What are the repercussions? Much drama is forecast in this tale of human dilemma at its highest. I love the angles and the promise of it. Another one that will go down in my things to write.

I can see the end too in this. A nice touch.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thought for the Day - Intensity of Forever, In the Now

How to do a job well? Simple. Put the intensity of forever into whatever you are doing now.

More simply, if there was one way you'd do a thing before it went out from you into the world, do it now in the seemingly mundane things you are doing. If I am writing this blog, I am to write it as if it's the last communication from me. I put the 'forever' element into this now.

Bring the 'forever' intensity of your big potential, the energy you save for your big masterpieces, into the small things you are doing now. The intensity of the biggest masterpiece into the small jobs you are doing now.

That's how you do a job well.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Anjali - We Didn't Discover The Zero, They Did

While playing cricket with Anjali the other day, the topic went to 'zero'. In a bout of mischief she started yelling that her score was now zero or something like that. After a couple of her trademark jigs, she turned to me and impishly said - 'We Indians only discovered the zero na nanna!' and went on in that we-are-the-greatest vein for a while. We'd read about this 'zero' business in a book last week.
Not me!

After playing a couple of balls though, she stopped abruptly.
'But actually we did not discover the zero. Those people in the olden times discovered it. You didn't discover it na? I didn't either. So why are we jumping around?'

Ah, so true my child. I cannot tell you how much I agree with you on this. When I see people jumping around, taking credit for the zero, for the vedas, for yoga, for our culture, for everything in this world, I always think the same thoughts that Anjali got. Fine, someone did their job well then. What are you doing? What have you done? Why are you taking credit for it?

In our country, we see all these credit-hoggers, taking credit for things they never did. We have political parties digging up old graves to get at their vote banks - let the people fight and kill themselves - it's fine as long as we get there. We have those parties who protect a culture they never understand nor contributed to, and in ways that are totally against any culture. We have people who will beat their chest about the zero without knowing the significance of it nor anything remotely concerned with it. We have those who beat up writers and artists and actors for 'hurting' their sentiments - without revealing what these sentiments are really. They beat up fellow Indians for 'hurting' the sentiments of 'their' land. And so on and on. We somehow also have fallen into a space where we listen helplessly to all these enthusiasts who are always taking credit for something, someone else has done. Ask the demonstrators what he or she knows about the cause for which they are protesting and in most cases, especially when the causes are not genuine, we will find no answer. ask them what they have done and we will find no answer either.

So, I am glad that Anjali quickly realised that we did not really discover the zero. Someone else did. What are we doing? What are we discovering? What are we creating? What are  we contributing?
Brilliant job Anjali. Way to go girl.

Friday, August 23, 2013

P. Kalyanasundaram, Man of the Millennium - Heartwarming and Inspirational Story

I first saw a post on facebook and then I dug a bit deeper into the anonymous life of P. Kalyanasundarma of Tiruneveli who was awarded the 'Man of the Millenium' award of Rs. 30 crore by a US organization. What did he do? Paalam Kalyanasundaram did what he does best with money - he donated the entire amount to the service of the needy. That's not all. He also was named as one of the 'Outstanding People of the 20th Century' by the United Nations Organization and was recognized as one of the 'noblest of the world' by The International Biographical Centre, Cambridge. Rajnikanth has adopted him as his father.

Born in a rich agricultural family according to some reports on the net, Kalyanasundaram studied Library Sciences (and was a gold medallist) and is an MA in Literature and History. He showed signs of his resilience when he insisted on doing the course he chose, library sciences, despite the authorities trying to convince him to take another course as he was the only one. But they had to relent. Kalyanasundaram put his knowledge to good use - he was awarded the Best Librarian in India by the Union Government and was chosen as one of the top 10 librabrians in the world.

It's quite clear now that he is resilient, focussed and wants to be the best in whatever he does. Kalyanasundaram, as a student, got inspired by Nehru's speech to contribute to the war during the Indo-China war and gave away his gold chain to the then CM Kamaraj. The CM gave him and award for his contribution. The event got some press. But somewhere then an incident happened that changed his life forever.

Kalyanasundaram went to a popular Tamil Journal 'Ananda Vikatan' with the news, hoping that more youngsters would get inspired to donate. But he got a rather caustic response from the editor of that publication to come back after having proved his sincerity over a longer period of five years. Stung, he resolved to do his bit. Here I must insist on mentioning that perhaps the unpleasant work that the editor S. Balasubramanian did was probably one of the greatest motivators on this long and arduous journey of Kalyanasundaram. Many times, it is such incidents that pod us to our own good.

While in college he started the International Children's Welfare Organization to help slum children. When he got a job as a librarian at the Kumarakurupara Arts College, Srivaiguntam, Thoothukdi district, he started by putting away Rs. 40 for personal expenses and Rs. 100 for children's welfare. Soon he decided to donate his entire salary to the the needy and did some odd jobs such as working in a hotel or a laundry to sustain himself. For the next 27 years, he donated his entire salary to the cause of the children. When he got arrears, he donated the one lakh rupees to the Collector's Fund. That event got him much publicity thanks to the Collector and Kalyanasundaram surfaced from his anonymity. He donated his entire retirement benefits and what he got from the sale of his ancestral property to the social cause. He owns nothing. He has slept on pavements and railway platforms to understand what it feels to be homeless. His life is devoted to children, poor and the needy.

Kalyanasundaram, a bachelor all his life, runs 'Paalam' an organization that helps bridge the gap between donors and the weaker sections. His famous quote - "We cannot sustain ourselves, unless we contribute to the society in someway or the other. I strongly feel if even one person does his bit towards social good, there will be some change.' Paalam can be reached at 044 - 24402524.

In a world where we are constantly wringing our hands at how hopeless the situation has become here is a message from a man who proves that you need nothing to help others and that you can be the best in your chosen area of work. It is an astounding commitment to what one believes in. P. Kalyanasundaram is a shining example of someone who has walked the path and has shown the path to several others. You don't need to wait till you make excess money to donate - you can do it now. It's a hard path but even if we all walk a bit of the way with him, we would have paid our tribute to the great man, his acts and his thoughts. In a small way then, we can begin our journey as well with the torchbearer.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Best of O. Henry - O. Henry

37 of O. Henry's short stories collected from over 600 of his stories. A real treat to read. This was one of those many classic collections that I picked from my publisher Indialog's office in Delhi last year - they do have a fine collection of classics. It was with great anticipation that I started reading this book and I really enjoyed reading all those stories that impacted me in my schooldays, again.

I most remember 'The Last Leaf' which is one of the best ever short stories I'd ever read - of a painter who paints his life's masterpiece and while doing so saves a life. Then I remember of course 'After Twenty Years' - about two friends who meet after twenty years and its so visual - and the 'Gift of the Magi' - about a couple so in love that they sacrifice their most valuable possessions to buy a Christmas gift for the other. As I read it, I remembered 'The Furnished Room' as well.

In this collection I met the great detective Shamrock Jolnes who stars in more than one story and is a most interesting character and another of his ilk, detective Toctocq. But each story comes with well etched characters and a fine twist in the tale. Most of them I suspect, will remain with me for much longer now.

When I analyse the short stories of these great writers and some of the other much hyped ones, I can detect a clear difference. The stories stick in O. Henry's - the characters and situations appear credible and real and they come alive and what happens in the end is a real jolt. You are involved in their story, in the twists that live deals them. In some of the stories I have read of other hyped writers, there's much pretty prose and not much of a story you can take away. Most times I am wondering what the story was all about. With O. Henry you can tell your friends all about those stories just like you tell them movie stories. That then is the hallmark of a great story - they cry out to be told and you feel good sharing them.

O. Henry is the pseudonym of William Sydney Porter, North Carolina born in 1862. He gave up formal education at fifteen, worked as an apprentice under a pharmacist, as a bookkeeper and as a teller in a bank. He served a five year sentence for embezzling funds from the bank, and it was in prison that he started writing short stories under his pseudonym. O. Henry died in 1910, almost a pauper, due to excessive alcoholism.

Anjali - The Art of Handling Money

Two instances in the recent past got me thinking about the art of handling money. My concept of money as opposed to an almost-six year olds.

Contribute - However Small
In the first instance Anjali she decided to give a handsome contribution of Rs. Seven to her aunt on her wedding anniversary. This was Anjali's money of course, that she saved up, but she decided to give what she could to her aunt. 'She told me she has no money,' she said as she packed in the money in a hand made card for her aunt. As simple as that. Someone needs something and I will contribute my bit.

I remember this same quality being exhibited by my my - she would always think of what she could do and what was necessary in any moment of crises and help quietly. When someone got married, lost a dear one, had an operation, excelled at something - she quietly gave a contribution - small or big, but perfectly appropriate, unasked. Its a wonderful quality and one I would like to imbibe. By myself I feel too much reluctance to part with whatever little I have. Perhaps, if the philosophers of prosperity are to be believed, it is that very attitude that stops the energy of money from flowing.

Don't Think So Much - If You Have to Buy It, Go Ahead
In instance number two, I went to a shoe store with Shobhs and Anjali. They bought some footwear. Anjali was as usual trying out stuff, strutting about and generally being very excited with the whole process, infusing energy into an otherwise soporific store.  I was quietly checking out some shoes, thinking how I would come back and buy later. Anjali spotted me at the job, came over and urged me - Buy nanna, what is there? Don't worry about the money. Just buy.

Somehow children sense that reluctance faster and spell it out for us. We probably rationalise it. And postpone it.

Ah, all that I learned in that Prosperity Workshop I did many years ago came flashing by to me. It is a consciousness thing I am aware and I can only deal with it with greater awareness.

Reminded me of a program that a Telugu channel did on the occasion of Diwali. In a crowded market, the anchor walked by, asking the traders what they would ask Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, if she appeared before them and granted them a boon. Without exception all the adult businessmen became highly uncomfortable and after much coaxing the highest amount any one asked was for Rs. 50000. Of course some wanted nothing except her blessings! The anchor was as shocked as I was - here was the Goddess of Wealth granting you a boon and you ask for Rs. 50000. Even for a joke!! And then she asked a six year old kid and she spread her arms wide open and said with great feeling 'I will ask for sooooooo much money!' That opened my eyes a bit.

But it's nice to see a child's consciousness, get inspired, and be reminded of the journey ahead.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Story Idea - The Supporter

Chap spends all his life passionately supporting people and teams and whatever he is part of. Will he get support back in return when he has to finally turn into the leader?

Pic courtesy: Prarthana Nargundkar

An earnest chap learns early in life that to support others is a great thing. He puts it into practice and fully supports everyone and everything, with all his might. He turns out to be the unseen bond behind every success story, something not many can recognise. Of course as his fame grows as the one to count on for support his issues with supporting certain causes also comes up and adds to his growth.  He does believe that everyone needs support. But the crux is this - when the moment comes for him to step out of the sidelines and be the leader, will he be able to adjust to his new role? Will he get support from all those whom he helped?

Guaranteed to be a tear jerker and throat choker in the end with supporters flowing in after a seeming loss. Ah, what you give out, you get back. Lovely heartwarming story. I will write this too.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Talk at Advanta - Transferring Ownership

The one question that we started with but never got down to answering by the end of it all was this - how does the owner transfer / inculcate a spirit of ownership among his group?

This is easier said than done. But it can be done.

A Secure Leader
Firstly of course we must start with the owner. The owner must truly believe in the concept of sharing ownership. Which means that he must feel secure enough to share the ownership. Most owners feel threatened about this part - of sharing ownership. Since they are insecure themselves, they end up dictating terms of cribbing about how the employees or team members are not taking ownership.

The first job is to actually get secure about your own ownership issues. Do you really want growth or do you want control? Answer your basic questions first. If it is growth, then do you want to share this ownership with the others and make it a truly collaborative venture? If the answer is yes, then ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice for this. Your ego fur sure. Admit that you need their help, that some of them could be better than you. But finally be secure that after all you are the owner and no one can take that away from you.

Find your conviction about where you see this venture going and why. Your clarity about what every single member is going to receive out of this joint venture and what is required of them. Your security as the leader who is still learning but who will learn if that is the last thing he will do.
Only after that much is clear must you move further.

Understanding Team Members' Aspirations and Expectations
Team members who are not the owners normally have little stake or commitment. They are not sure what they are getting in return for what they are giving. Should they give their best ideas here or hoard them up and work on them later? Should they hoard their effort for later too?

In this phase it is critical to understand that all team members who are not owners are here for their personal stake. They want to grow but they are not sure this is the right place where they will get rewarded. But they all want happy and secure lives, enriching and empowering careers and are willing to give everything once they are convinced that they will get their due and just reward in a transparent and well-thought of system of reward.
It is critical to understand their drivers and to know this, it might not be a bad idea to invest time to understand what their long term goals and aspirations are, their fears and anxieties.

Present Future Scenarios Honestly
Most importantly, present the 'why' you are doing what you are doing. What you think is the greater significance of it. How it can impact the world and how you see it making a difference to people around you. Let them connect at the thought level - at something bigger. This must be straight from the heart stuff.

Present likely scenarios of what would happen if the team works with commitment towards the goal. Present also the reward schemes and the incentives. Present to them the honest thought of how they can meet their career and personal aspirations through their stay here at the company. Present the intention first and then a clear method of how each one's effort and contribution will be recognised and rewarded. Present it to them and let them discuss and ponder over it.
Present them only the possibilities and not the actual way to achieve it.

Transfer The Ownership When Everyone Is Ready
When you are convinced that the story is well and truly bought by the team, and that the team is now willing to give it a good, long shot, transfer the ownership. Let them come up with the overall structure, the plan, the mechanics of it. they normally do a better job of it. But be around to guide and share, to nudge and prod.

Grow your resources and empower them
Use your creativity to see how their energies are flowing, to grow them and make them even better as people and professionals by constantly challenging them and providing them with opportunities. As they understand and trust this difficult process, as they cross this chasm, they will slowly start to trust and believe, both in themselves and  in others.

A great way to seal each bit of growth is to celebrate so e sure to celebrate every single milestone.

Ownership requires commitment to go the whole path. There is no going back, no giving up. This comes only when there is a purpose that gives meaning to one and all. It needs conviction, honesty and a cause that is bigger than themselves.

Primarily it is a trust issue and can be addressed with honesty and transparency. Once the issue is bridged, ownership comes in. Once it is set in motion, large amounts of creative energies are available to the group that can be used for their own good.

Chennai Express - Movie Review

Been a long time since a movie was seen at the 10 a.m. show. But I saw the huge hit that Rohit Shetty made with Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone in a theatre that had about 20 people including Shobhs and me. Not many takers for the early morning shows I guess.

I saw some reviews ripping this movie to shreds. Ratings of 1 star on 5 and so on. Then I heard rave reviews from those who found it extremely funny - I did not - there are jokes but not one that made me want to laugh out loud. The movie actually falls somewhere in between. It's a 2.5 from me. I think I also tend to enjoy movies a bit more when the reviewers tear them up to pieces - the expectations are nil.

First up, it's a Rohit Shetty film, so one better gear up for that. One can see his trademark stuff. The script is not great but I don't think you go to his films to watch great scripts. You go to get some song, some dance, some laughs, some fights and some big action sequences - the whole package as they call it. You are also prepared for some big cinematic leaps and do not question some gaps because it's not supposed to be serious cinema. It's entertainment. Not necessarily intelligent.

So we have YY Mithaiwala's 40 year old grandson Rahul, a simple idiot to start with but one who grows into a bad guy with a golden heart or a good guy with a stone heart or something like that, going to Rameswaram to immerse his grandfather's ashes. But Rahul is a 40 year old with a 20 year old heart, maturity and sense of responsibility, and instead decides to go to Goa and immerse the ashes there so they land up at Rameswaram anyway. Situations so conspire that he has to get on the Chennai Express to fool his grandmother, who is not fooled anyway, with the plan of getting off at Kalyan and meeting his friends to drive on to Goa.

But Rahul is rather a dimwit and lends a helping hand to five people who are trying to board the running train - four of them who weigh upwards of 100 kilos certainly and one dainty Deepika. With no platform left to alight after his philanthropic deeds Rahul finds out soon enough that the girl is being kidnapped by her cousin brothers, cohorts of her mafia don father. They are currently taking her to Komban, her village to get her married to another mafia don's son. Get the picture? Rahul cannot speak or understand Tamil, Meena can speak and understand both Hindi, Tamil, Marathi though in her own weird manner and most of the Tamil crew cannot speak nor understand Hindi. So the two talk to one another in Hindi through songs. Why songs? The others cannot understand Hindi anyway right? But that's how dimwitted it can get at one level. Anyway girl tells everyone that she and Rahul love one another which is why she cannot marry the gigantic son that her father has chosen for her. After much running around and many more corny jokes, the movie gets to its logical end.

The pluses first. It's not as bad as it's made out to be. The locations are brilliant. Deepika is superb and makes Meena's character stand out with her accent and all. There is one scene when she tells Rahul that she is going to Rameswaram with him to save him from her people, where she brings in a touch of genuine cinematic magic - you actually feel like leaning over and giving her a hug. Way to go girl! Shahrukh is fine though he is a confused character - he is more like himself when he hosts those film functions - full of juvenile humour, self-deprecating at times, though he is funnier in the film functions. The big plus is that there are no real parts where you want to get up and move, which is what many movies can do to you. Rohit ends the movie well in a predictable ending.

The minuses then. Shahrukh's character could have been a lot more defined. It's almost as if someone thoguht that by just walking on to the set and mouthing his funny dialogues, the character would stick. Rahul's character is weak and is a caricature of all of Shahrukh's old characters - from DDLJ to My Name is Khan to Dil Se to whatever, he is having a private joke. But what is he really, this halwai, this supposed common man with a slightly misplaced sense of humour ?What are his convictions, what are his dreams, what does he think of himself? Left with no real spine in the character, Shahrukh does a bit of everything, jokes through scenes even when there is no need and gets serious in scenes where he need not. Finally it looks almost as if a caricature is out there in the middle of some real characters. Some work on his character could have improved the main hero's credibility so much more and added greater depth and connect to the story. Could the Tamils have been shown in a slightly better light, with some sense of humour too or even as people with some more dimensions? Perhaps. I did not really find the jokes awfully funny and just sat through them - my laugh-o-meter was at half. I cowered a few times in sheer embarrassment which is a new (a couple of them I should mention - one when Shahrukh nods his head in an embarrassed admittance of his love to Deepika in the end, just as a naughty schoolboy would do, please SRK shed that sir, and another when the gigantic chap starts singing in addition to their awful singing.).

But Chennai Express zooms on with all its faults and foibles and entertains non-stop in a rather odd manner where you are left feeling rather inadequate, that something is not fully right, that something better could have been done with a little bit of application, a little bit of better storytelling. You wonder why the jokes are rather juvenile and why an intelligent man like Shahrukh wishes to portray himself in such a half-baked role. You wait for it to rise above the ordinary, for something to happen and it does not. Then you fear a bit for the sense of humour of our audiences, for the intelligence of our audiences. Why are our 100 crore films like this?

The last scene when Shahrukh finally wins over his girl was best left without any dialogue to take it to another level, so intense was it all, but then we had to have several corny jokes in those dialogues again. It's a bit like that but then we are not looking at perfection. Like I said, a 2.5 from me on a scale of 5.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Story Idea - The Laughing Man

Man in search of happiness and the travails he undergoes to find it.

Pic courtesy: Prarthana Nargundkar
Young man in a frustrated state decides that he needs to find a purpose in his life. He eliminates all other purposes and zeroes down on finding happiness.

Probing further he decides to follow laughter - which he thinks is a natural ally of happiness. He quickly realises that as he follows laughter, many dynamics in his life are changing. People, circumstances and his own attitude to life. But he is persistent even in the face of some not-so-funny circumstances and finds his goal.

But will he laugh even the most important thing in his life away - his love? Read on to find out!

I'd treat this story lightly where the protagonist is serious only about one thing - pursuit of laughter (happiness). Which means he has to exclude all else where he does not feel the need to laugh.

I think there is much one can do with this story in terms of adding situations and twists and ironies and turns. I like it and I will certainly work on this.

Who knows - I could find happiness myself!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

If - By Rudyard Kipling

One of the very best. It sets up everything that one can aspire to. I normally don't understand poetry but I love this one by Kipling.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Smurfs 2 - Movie Review

I love the Smurfs. Ever since I read King Smurf, a copy of which I am still seeking and which I will one day acquire, I have been in love with the Smurfs. But I like the comic book better than the movie for obvious reasons. But still, I will not let go a chance to see the Smurfs in action in delightful 3D stuff. So promises were made to Anjali and honoured and we landed up at Inox, Banjara Hills.

Gargomel has created a Smurfette and sent her to steal the Smurf magic formula. But Smurfette is a changed little girl and she becomes a full Smurf, living happily in Smurf land. Now Gargomel wants to send two more Naughties, a smart young girl Vexy and a dull little boy Hackus,  to get the betrayer Smurfette back so he can get his formula (and through it the Smurf Essence that is so necessary to increase his power). Gargomel is already a celebrity. Anyway the two Naughties capture Smurfette and bring her back to human land. The Smurfs have to rescue her. They come to their human friends, the Winslops, now with a son and a grandfather in this story. At the other end there is much sentiment flowing about family between Naughties and Smurfette. Finally Gargomel's evil designs are foiled. Smurfette returns with the two new Smurfs to Smurf land.

Now a Smurfette in Smurf land is like a woman in an Irani cafe. What is she doing there? She ought not to be there. Upsets the equations and what not. But she is and not just she, she gets her sister as well. I fear now for Smurf land.

It's a common sight in children's movies in theatres these days to see fathers and young daughters, fathers and young sons, bonding over these movies. Mostly I find one parent comes - the father - and I find it nice. All the kids, Anjali included laughed uproariously when Gargomel takes off like a rocket in the last scene and the laughter continued for a long long time. For that one moment of unadulterated joy, the movie was worth it.

Thought for the Day - Life Is Here

Life is not something that will happen at some faraway place in time.
Pic courtesy Prarthana Nargundkar

Life could be happening to you right now.

Session at Advanta India - 2 Questions

In a 2-hour session at Advanta India's supply chain conference last week, I shared a few of my thoughts. The buzz words for the conference were excellence, team work, ownership, speed in action and quality consciousness. It was a large group of 130 executives and they did a fine job of being involved through most of a highly soporific environment - post-lunch, dimly lit rooms, well air-conditioned and a distant speaker droning on, is not the best recipe I can understand. However,  I found a highly receptive audience that was quite proactive and pretty interactive as well.

The thoughts flowed in the following direction:

Is it possible to achieve our potential? 
The answer is possibly yes I suppose. Considering that  our potential hangs loose around us like elastic, we need to first inflate ourselves with enough value, work towards fulfilling our potential. This value only means work. Work with a purpose.

Take this visual of you with an inflatable limit. Right now it hangs loose because we are well within the limits we are capable of. our high points of achievement have since fallen and hence the loose elastic flopping around us.

To be on the growth path, we need to constantly challenge these limits of ours. What it means is this - 12 hours to 13 hours, 100 units to 120 units, 50 runs to 60 runs, 4 wickets to 5 wickets. Grow consciously so you are aware of pushing the limits. Then your current limit becomes apparent, becomes clearer and you soon challenge it.

At this moment, the loosely inflatable limit (visualise clothes) fits you well. You are also happy because you have now pushed a limit. Happiness meets growth. Wonderful.

In other words, the limit you have now is your 100%. When you push the limit, you have grown beyond your own preset limit. (Now this old limit could be mediocre compared to what others are achieving but crossing it means a lot to you so take it seriously.) Eg. You have previously achieved x target which is about a 10th of what everyone else is doing. But if you push your limit consciously and end up with x+4, you are good. You are on the way.

The good news with this 100% business, this growth and potential business is that the limit keeps stretching. As you push you grow, you strain until it fits perfectly. You are Superman, Supergirl, the hero, the diva. And the fit remains perfect as long as you keep pushing at it.
In other words constant and purposeful growth is the answer.

When will I know I have reached the limit?
Going past the smallest limit is a source of great happiness. Of personal joy. Of an achievement to share. That is the first sign. But after that, you need to constantly challenge yourself to grow, bit by bit. It is easy to find your own metrics of growth. Measure it by effort first. And then by results later.

There will come a time when you are constantly in a state of challenge, of awareness and aliveness,of feeling empowered and energised. That is the time when you are truly alive and at 100%. All the words will fall into place then - ownership, excellence,quality, speed in action, team work. It is not about us versus them - it suddenly becomes a collaborative venture where everyone is on win-win.

More in the next blog. There were several interesting questions that were put to me and I will share my thoughts on those.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Koni Adventures - Some Unexplored Sights Near Shamshabad

As always Koni discovered some new places of interest and took us to visit these places. At Shamshabad as one turns into the town, the road leads to some rice research institutes and an engineering college.

On the way, we see a temple, 300 year old, he says, fully functional. It is a fine old, piece of work and exudes an old world charm.

Probably a dried-up water body with steps all around
There is something like an amphitheatre, probably a water body that dried up, with steps all around it.
Large spaces, trees and a relaxed atmosphere make it an ideal stop. We saw a group of youngsters playing cricket, a middle aged bunch of ladies and gentlemen playing some old games, running along gaily and the atmosphere was one of relaxed enjoyment, not stained with heavy commercialism and focus on 'somehow' getting a 'special darshan'. For some reason we did not go into the temple but I will one of these days.

Further along the way, well hidden by trees and full grown bushes, is an old unmarked tomb of exquisite workmanship, certainly 300-400 years old.

Abandoned tomb
This tomb (and another half done one)  are lying unknown, unmarked and abandoned as are many small temples of those times.

Its small, but I am sure it has some meaning, some history. Surprising that it is left to fend for itself.
Half-done tomb next to it, exquisite work on the main door

On the return we saw an old dargah on a hill top and the old building of a nawab of the erstwhile era from which we saw great views of Himayatsagar and the airport.

It is a fine building too but obviously there are many claimants who are fighting over the property as one can see by their names and the way its been divided.
Old building on hilltop near dargah

Another day well spent. Thanks to Koni and his spirit of adventure that keeps expanding our horizons.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Love In The Time of Cholera - Movie Review

I read the novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It is a fascinating love story of a young man who waits fifty odd years for his love. The novel was very visual and its a great compliment to Garcia's writing that I remembered much of what happened in the story. Only great stories, well told, retain that impact.

Florentino Ariza, an average looking boy coming from a modest home where he lives with his mother, falls in love with Fermina Daza, the beautiful daughter of a mule trader who wants to climb the social ladder and quickly. The two young people exchange letters, meet secretly and so on and so on. Florentino is a romantic and a passionate one at that who has immense love for Fermina. He pours his heart out in each of his acts. Young Fermina reciprocates his love. But her father catches on and forbids their meetings. He takes Fermina away, leaving Florentino broken hearted.

When Fermina comes back she suddenly finds that she does not love the ordinary looking Florentino anymore. She settles for a marriage with the perfect and eligible doctor, Juvenal Urbino, who comes from a family of higher ground and of more money. Certainly her future is secure.

Florentino Ariza is not to be denied so easily. Despite a growing chronicle of women that he beds, he waits for Fermina. He becomes rich, having inherited his uncle's river boat company where he works. And the day Dr. Juvenal Urbino dies, Florentino lands up and professes his love for Fermina again. She asks him to get out but she cannot keep him out for long and the love story culminates finally in a most romantic ride along the river in Florentino's boats. The two are in their seventies then.

This is a love story that does not die. Florentino's love for Fermina outshines everything in this story and comes across well in the movie. His prowess with women, his charm, despite his average looks are possibly a diversion from the pain he feels at the separation from Fermina. She has a fairly stable relationship with her husband but nothing close to the explosive nature of Florentino Ariza's. But Fermina does set the record right in the end. All's well and that ends well.

One of the greatest love stories I have read. Or watched. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Thought for the Day - Seize Control In Your Mind

There are two ways to react to a situation. One as the victim - the helpless one. The other as the one who has a choice - who can exercise some control over the situation.
Pic courtesy. Anjali

The first way is one where you will always be at a disadvantage, at somebody else's mercy. They will decide and you will follow. It is a sure way of feeling unhappy, taken granted for and feeling unfulfilled.

The second line of thought is recommended - to think as if you are in control. Whatever your position, think from that angle and you will have an advantage. You will find that most times your initiative has paid off. You are happier and even if your thoughts are vetoed, you have spoken your mind.

It is all about seizing control in your mind. Don't give up there and wait. Take control. It's your route to happiness.

Leela - Leela Naidu and Jerry Pinto

Leela Naidu is a larger than life personality and this book that she co-authored with Jerry Pinto, does no injustice to her and what she must have been as a person. She does belong to a rare breed of personalities. If the book captures half of what she was, its still brought to life a personality so interesting and multi-hued, one with such diverse experiences, of great beauty and high intelligence, of courage and integrity, compassion and mischief. And more.

I am so glad that Raja bought this book and left it with us to read and even gladder that Miskil decided to leave it behind for us to read. In her own candid style Leela skims through a life - born to a famous scientist of Telugu origin and a French mother, growing up in Bombay, Delhi, Paris, chosen by Vogue as one of the five most beautiful women of the world, hobnobbing with the likes of Goddard, Renoir, Truffaut, Ingrid Bergman, refusing a four film deal with Raj Kapoor, meeting and interacting with the elite of the literati, actors, poets, was married to one, Dom Moraes, and a hotelier, Tikki Oberoi of the Oberoi chain, met the Mahatma, Mother Theresa, acted, wrote, composed, produced and did so many other things at a hectic pace. Related to Sarojini Naidu on her father's side, to an affluent family in Paris on her mother's side, Leela had access to all the celebrities in the world. And not to forget that she was poignantly influenced by a sympathetic Jiddu Krishnamurthi in her years of loneliness.

All this and never losing sight of humanity as she saw it - described so well in the incidents of the mafia grabbing land from her maid, the decapitated body on the railway tracks, the spot boy with a broken leg and on and on - Leela insisted on setting things right then and there, going on a strike until the spot boy issue was addressed, insisting that the head of the decapitated body be found, joined and the family informed and threatening gun toting mafia men with dire action in a desolate land all alone. It takes the kind of courage and conviction that one can only aspire to.

Leela lets us into the world where she sees Balraj Sahni and Raj Kapoor from a different lens, Arundhati Roy receives a bit of flak and would mostly regret casting Leela in 'Electric Moon', and the sheen comes off so many of these icons. The strike by the British on the sets of 'Electric Moon' was hilarious to read. The muse for a Salvador Dali sketch, the dinners with Ingrid Bergman, Truffaut, Goddard and Renoir and other friends in Paris, her 'Anuradha' with Hrishikesh Mukherjee and on and on and on. She speaks of the movie 'Trikaal' and her costumes and I can never forget her quoting Clare Booth Luce - no good deed ever goes unpunished. But Leela kept doing her good stuff regardless anyway. Wonderful stuff.

But she was a misfit as is clearly evident in her story. Going after her heart and not her mind, Leela remained true to who she was and thus earned that quote from Ranjit Hoskote that she has "...never been able to fulfil her potential..." and that she belongs to a "...rapidly disappearing class of people, of whom words like birth and upbringing can be used without irony. They recognised the role they were meant to play in a civilisation than a society..' But Leela I am sure, after reading her book, would not have had it any other way as she juggled her time between Dom Moraes and her ailing father and mother and her job, never backing off from doing what she thought was right even if it meant great danger and never hesitating to poke fun of herself. Truly Hoskote says that people like her do not happen to societies, they happen to civilizations. And is the world saw less of her in her many shades, the world has been the loser for it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Talk at Wilfin Technologies, Chennai

A short talk at Wilfin Technologies, Chennai, for their employees last week.

"On the issue of our lives and how they can turn out to be. On the issue of effort and why we do not put in enough. On the question of whether we give our 100%. And if we do not, why.

No hands went up when I asked if anyone was sure they were giving their 100%. Which is good, because one of the participants said that if he was, there was really no further space too grow. But that's one way of looking at it. The other way is this - is it really the best you can do at your job?

Normally it is not. 
Because it is a job really, and not our own business concern. Apna baap ki jaagir. We are getting paid to do our work. We don't need to kill ourselves for it. 

But here's the catch.

If you're working with this attitude, you're likely to work at a discounted capacity of your capabilities. What you show is what is seen and that could well be judged as your potential. No point hiding your potential if you wish to grow. The way ahead is to give your 100% and then see how well it compares in the world. That's the way to growth.

But what we need to understand before we head out further is why we do not give our 100%. One is the well known fear of failure. (But if we are already well aware and acquainted with failure or mediocrity, it should not scare us right?) So there is another angle to it, which is called the fear of success. Now if success is a bigger fear in our minds we will do everything to stop ourselves from getting success. The best way is not to work to our potential. Not give our 100%.
For this moment, its good enough to know that we are better off if we give our 100%. Being a success is probably not such a bad thing at all If you really want it.)

But what if my 100% does not get instant rewards? 
100% effort may not always get instant rewards but  the effort will not go unnoticed. Your rewards will accrue over period of time. That is from the external. 
What about your internal? If you give your 100%, chances are that you will grow better at skill, learn more things, grow more confident and perform far better than what you are.

So its really rather silly to hold your self back unless pushed. 100% as expected from the boss is different from the 100% you know. Figure out the 100% as you know and give that your best shot.

Now where would you put your energies into?
The metrics involved in measurement for progress would be skill and attitude (or the mental aspect). One is expected to know the basic skills well and how to apply them. If not, one can sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and ask oneself what skills one needs to bring to the job, identify the ones that are critical and focus on them. A little effort normally gets you updated on skills. But that's what everyone else has, so you have just reached level zero.

Yo go ahead from level zero, one needs to understand the mental aspect. Now this is the grey area because we need to ask ourselves what it is that we really want. An honest introspection on one's real goals and why one wants them can save everyone a lot of time. How best to get to the goals is next. How one actually achieves the goals is another. There is a process to it and one which we all have employed many times in our lives.

The process then - goal clarity (because it is the main driver and the key to preparation), detailed planning, implementation, monitoring, belief, achievement and celebration of the achievement. Each of these is well known but each has a story of its own. The process is the easiest thing. The mental aspect of it, the toughest.

On must also realise that all this entails taking 100% ownership of all you do in your life. Its your life after all. 

In the quest to reach your potential you can never discount the team or organisation you are with. You cannot scale those peaks alone. Its best to use your energies to push your team ahead, which also means that you are being pushed ahead as an individual too. Its much easier to get much more with the team - including - your own best. It does sound paradoxical but its the truth. Your success comes faster when your team goes forward.

Do not forget then to integrate the key areas in your life - your personal aspirations, your career aspirations and that of the team you are currently with. You must realise that they are all interconnected and you cannot make one separate from another. When you connect them all together you will find the perfect balance - what they call success."

Or something like that. Wilfin Tech audience was extremely receptive and I was thoroughly energised by the one hour interaction. i also received a fine memento - an angry bird MP3. Thanks Rags and team.