Friday, December 31, 2021

Canteen Fundas - Values and Culture

E-Canteen Fundas: Learning to chalk out team values to achieve #LeadershipGoals

As a leader, ensure that your team values are not only well established, clearly stated, communicated, but also demonstrated through the actions of every member of the team


‘We looked at the Why of leadership last week, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘We set our team’s vision and have a common purpose. But our team’s behaviour is scattered and not the most efficient in terms of achieving our purpose. I don’t know what to do.’
‘True,’ said Rahul. ‘Everyone has their own ideas and it's getting in each other’s way.’
‘It’s time to discuss the How of leadership,’ said Rakesh. ‘How to get our team members aligned so they behave in a manner that’s best for the team, that shows what the team stands for.’
‘How do we do that, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘First, we must establish team values,’ said Rakesh. ‘These are simply what the team values most. For example, some teams value winning at any cost, while some teams value fair play more than winning. You, as the leader, must carefully facilitate establishing team values that become the rules of engagement for the team. Every member of the team must abide by these team values. For example, if your team values punctuality and your star player arrives late, you can drop her as its behaviour that is violating what the team values.’
‘How do we establish team values, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku excitedly.
‘Take us as an example,’ said Rakesh. ‘As a group of three, we can form our own set of values and our rules of engagement. Instead of pushing one’s values onto others, in which case they may not follow them, it’s best to discuss and arrive at our team values together. So, let’s discuss, what values mean the most to you? What values should our group adopt to grow to our full potential and achieve our purpose of learning and growing?’
‘Pursuit of excellence, growth mindset, openness, helping one another, trust…,’ said Rahul.
‘Honesty, fun, respect, discipline, teamwork, communication…’ said Rinku.
‘Great,’ said Rakesh. ‘For ease of remembering and practicing, let’s whittle our list of values to four. First, merge values that are similar. For example, helping one another, trust, openness and teamwork can be merged into teamwork. Then, let’s rank our values in order of importance and arrive at our top four values as a group.’
After discussion, Rinku declared, ‘The four values we as a group value are — 1. Growth mindset behaviour, 2. Pursuit of excellence, 3. Fun and 4. Trust.’
‘How do these values help us lead our team better, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul. ‘They’re just words.’
‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘Most teams stop after stating their values in words, which is only the starting point. But having decided what we value most, we must demonstrate our values through our behaviour. Any ideas on how we can demonstrate our values through our behaviours?’

READ ALSO : E-Canteen Fundas: Exploring the Why, How, What and Who of effective leadership

‘Hmm,’ said Rinku. ‘A Learning Mindset can be demonstrated by asking for help, asking questions, listening to others and engaging in discussions. Pursuit of Excellence can be shown by setting high standards in all that we do, small or big, and not compromising easily.’
‘Trust can be demonstrated via openness, initiating tough discussions, being vulnerable and sharing openly,’ said Rahul. ‘And we can demonstrate fun by being creative, making our processes more engaging and finding ways to enjoy and do better work.’
‘But bhaiyya, there’s a chance that these values can be interpreted differently by each person, right?’ asked Rinku. ‘How can we convey them correctly?’
‘True,’ said Rakesh. ‘Because we know what they mean, we can practice them. But let’s say we are a five hundred strong organisation, then our values become meaningless words to others. One way to convey the correct interpretation of our values is to collect and share stories when the right behaviours have been demonstrated. Most times, the right values are subtle but impactful — a smile, a word or a quiet act — that may not be seen or recognised, as opposed to acts with zero or negative impact. For example, if giving honest feedback is a value, it can be used sensitively and thoughtfully to get the right outcome or it can be used brutally to destroy the opportunity, individual or the team. So, build and share stories so that the entire team can practice the right values and move forward purposefully.’
‘That’s wonderful, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘Lots to take away.’
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘That’s how teams build cultures. Once a culture is built, it strengthens the team through behaviours that are aligned and in sync. It saves a lot of time and energy and achieves outcomes efficiently. Our values become the foundation, the common ground we share from where the team can grow. That’s how good leaders take care and establish the team values.’

Pro Tip: As a leader, ensure that your team values are not only well established, clearly stated, communicated, but also demonstrated through the actions of every member of the team. Good values lead to solid cultures.

Canteen Fundas - Unleashing a Vision, the Why

E-Canteen Fundas: Unleashing a vision that will help the team aim high and score high

Your vision for your team should help everyone grow to their full potential, give them something big enough to aim for and in the process, help them grow as individuals and as a team

That's your vision | (Pic: Edexlive)

‘I’m excited about setting the vision for our group this coming year,’ said Rinku. ‘The Why. Our purpose.’
‘You’ve already set your vision, right?’ said Rahul. ‘You said you wanted your Red group to win.’
‘I did,’ said Rinku. ‘But should a vision have something more?’
‘Good question,’ said Rakesh. ‘Your vision should explore the full potential of what your group can achieve, the biggest version of what the group can be. Something long-lasting, big enough to excite everyone.’
‘But if my vision is too big would it not appear impractical and demotivating?’ asked Rinku.
‘Our vision is something to aspire for, that helps us grow to our greatest possibilities,’ said Rakesh. ‘Most of us have great potential but we don’t explore it because we do not challenge ourselves enough. Consequently, we end up working well within our potential, as individuals and groups. A big vision forces everyone to dig deeper and use all resources. The aim of your vision should be to bring every individual and the group to their full potential. As they say, the hero is only as good as the challenges he is given.’

‘You mean we operate well within our potential and grow only when pushed?’ asked Rahul.
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘Normal human tendency is to do only as much as we’re challenged, the minimum required to survive. But as a leader, your vision can challenge and help everyone grow in ways they cannot imagine by themselves. You must think ahead and come up with something that takes your team to the next level. Think about the resources you have and whether you can achieve more.’
‘Well,’ said Rinku. ‘We have a bunch of committed students capable of doing various things, who will do their best to win. Now that you say it, I do believe we have more potential than merely competing in this competition and winning.’
‘Think,’ said Rakesh. ‘What’s the best vision for your group? Something everyone will be proud of? Big enough to get scared and excited.’
‘Scared?’ said Rahul. ‘Won’t that be counter-productive?’
‘Ah, that’s what a vision is,’ said Rakesh. ‘Something like landing on the Moon. At that time, it looks impossible. We don’t know if we can achieve it but it is something that makes you feel you’re doing something worthwhile, something meaningful.’
‘But how will others buy into such a vision, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.
‘That’s your job as a leader,’ said Rakesh. ‘First, you, as the leader, must believe in it, feel enthused about it. Then, you must communicate your vision in a fashion that everyone feels drawn into it and owns it. You must enroll them to the cause, show them possibilities and the impact you can create. Like Gandhiji enrolled people to achieve freedom through non-violence. That’s how a vision works.’

‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘We can aim to be the group that sets and raises standards. We can set a vision beyond the scope of this competition. As a group, we can take up activities that involve the college, society around us, get into other causes and activities like increasing awareness about pollution, animal cruelty and so on. We can make everyone feel involved and proud of being part of our group. I can see a lot more possibilities suddenly.’
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘When you lead a group of people, you have access to tremendous possibilities. If you can direct their energies well with a grand vision and get everyone to contribute, the sky's the limit. Push, coax and cajole them to stretch to limits, provide them the right motives. As a leader that’s your job, give a vision that is clear, that excites and grows.’
‘I see a vision where two hundred students of our Red group are creating a deeper impact on our environment and our society, positively,’ said Rinku. ‘This is my general idea for the vision, bhaiyya. Is it too vague? And big?’
‘That’s a start,’ said Rakesh. ‘Work on it some more until it’s clear in your mind. Write it down clearly, concisely, something people can connect to. Unleash that vision. And watch everyone grow. It need not be achieved immediately, but it must be aspired for. Your vision will guide you and give you strength when you’re in doubt and distress.’
‘Wow,’ said Rinku. ‘It’s exciting. And it’s perfect timing now that the New Year is coming. It will be a good vision for our new year.’
‘I’ll set a vision for myself too,’ said Rahul.

Pro Tip: Your vision for your team should help everyone grow to their full potential, give them something big enough to aim for and in the process, help them grow as individuals and as a team.

Canteen Fundas - Why, What, How and Who

E-Canteen Fundas: Exploring the Why, How, What and Who of effective leadership

To get started on leadership — which includes leading your own life — ask yourself what the Why, How, What and Who are in your life and start working on them to achieve good results

Here's what it is all about | (Pic: Edexlive)

‘I’ve been made the group captain at college and I have no clue what to do,’ said Rinku. ‘I need a crash course in leadership. Please help.’
‘You’re the boss,’ said Rahul. ‘So do whatever.’
‘Not like that,’ said Rinku. ‘I want to do a good job. And I need some pointers on where to start.’
‘It’s true,’ said Rakesh. ‘Though leadership is such a critical and important aspect, one that can make or break a team, it’s still a nebulous area. Most times we are thrust into leadership positions without any training, which can harm the team. So, let’s take a look at a basic version of leadership to get you started. I call it my leadership black box.’
‘What’s in it, bhaiyya?’ said Rahul.
‘Four basic things you need to have some clarity about to lead well,’ said Rakesh.
‘What are they?’ asked Rinku, ready with her pen and paper.
‘Why, How, What and Who,’ said Rakesh. ‘If you have some clarity on these four aspects, you’ll be in a good place as a leader.’
‘Can you explain some more, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘As a leader, you must start with ‘Why’. Why are you leading? What’s your vision for your team? What’s the purpose? Your ‘Why’ will give your team the strength to power through with conviction and give it direction. For example, your ‘Why’ could be about winning the championship, showing excellence, displaying values, giving a message — whatever — something big and tangible to aim for your team. A larger purpose for its existence. To start with, I suggest you write a few lines about your vision for your team.’
‘Okay,’ said Rinku. ‘That’s a good start. I feel energised already. I was thinking of following the earlier leader’s vision which was to participate, but now I realise I can set my own ‘Why’. We’ll go for being number one.’
‘Next, look at the ‘How’,’ said Rakesh. ‘It has two parts. The first ‘How’ is about how you do things — the ‘values’ your team practices. The other ‘How’ is the process, how efficient your processes are. Values are what you value — honesty, fairness, diligence, playing hard and so on. The values your team practices bind it together. The second ‘How’ is about how efficiently work is done in your team. Look at how things are done in your team and improve any processes to do things more efficiently. Meetings, updates, progress, practices or whatever.’

READ ALSO : E-Canteen Fundas: How to distinguish between a true blue leader and someone who is all fluff and puff

‘That’s a good one,’ said Rinku. ‘I can change a few things both in terms of values and processes for sure. I’d like to focus on ‘teamwork’ as a value and bring in informal team meetings where we all share honestly as a process.’
‘Great,’ said Rakesh. ‘Next, look at the ‘What’. What concrete, specific, goals are you achieving in the short and medium-term that lead up to your big vision? Set process and performance goals and figure out how to achieve your ‘What’.’
‘Hmm,’ said Rinku. ‘I can see that my ‘What’ gives me a map with milestones to achieve in the short and medium-term. It helps me plan and see my progress clearly.’
‘What else, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul. ‘You’ve covered everything.’
‘The most important thing is left — the ‘Who’,’ said Rakesh. ‘All that you planned cannot be achieved alone. You need people to do it. Every leader achieves what she does only because of those who have supported her. So, you need to understand how to deal with people and get them excited, inspired and motivated to do their best work. You need to know how to pick the right people and put them in the right place so you get the best from them. That way, your team will achieve its goals easily.’
‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘You’ve got me thinking. I have to be precise here.’
‘Wow,’ said Rahul. ‘I can use these parameters for myself to check how I am doing as a leader.’
‘Yes,’ said Rinku. ‘And I have enough homework to do before I meet my team tomorrow. It looks like a lot.’
‘These are basic guidelines,’ said Rakesh. ‘Don’t get overwhelmed. Write down three points each under each of these — Why, How, What and Who — and address them for a start. Then discuss with your team and finalise so that everyone is involved.’
‘Yes, bhaiyya,’ said Rinku. ‘I see now that as a leader, it helps to know my Why, How, What and Who.’

Pro Tip: To get started on leadership — which includes leading your own life — ask yourself what the Why, How, What and Who are in your life and start working on them to achieve good results.


Canteen Fundas - Leaders are Made Not Born

E-Canteen Fundas: No one's born a leader. So here's how you can become one

Pro Tip: Leadership in its most basic form is leading your life in a way that it influences your life and that of others around you for the better

Be the leader | (Pic: Edexlive)

‘I feel we need good leaders if we have to prosper as a society,’ said Rahul. ‘We have very few.’
‘Why don’t you become one then?’ asked Rakesh.
‘Is it that simple?’ asked Rinku. ‘I believe leaders are born and not made. They have certain innate qualities that make them born leaders. Charisma, oratory skills and initiative.’
‘You mean one cannot develop those qualities even if one wanted to?’ asked Rahul. ‘Should we always be followers? Never leaders?’
‘How can we suddenly become charismatic leaders?’ asked Rinku. ‘I cannot see myself as a leader.’
‘We definitely can be good leaders,’ said Rakesh. ‘Like Rahul said we need good leaders, not just charismatic leaders. Leadership, like any other skill, can be learned. Becoming a good leader is simply a matter of practice. Anyone of us can become a good leader if we want to.’
‘How, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku. ‘I’d like to be a good leader and change society for the better. But, how long will it take for me to become a good leader? Where do I start?’
‘Let’s simplify the issue first,’ said Rakesh. ‘Leadership is not a complicated skill that only a few are bestowed with. It’s not grabbing a position of power and using it to benefit oneself. It’s about doing what is right and benefiting others. So let’s get this misconception that leadership is about a position out of our minds, shall we?’
‘How can we lead if we don’t have a position?’ asked Rahul.
‘Rahul,’ said Rakesh. ‘A person can have the highest position and be a bad leader and a person can be in the lowest position and be a good leader. We are all born leaders whatever our position. The question is, are we leading now?’
‘What do you mean, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul.
‘In its simplest form, leadership is how we lead our lives and how we influence people by the way we lead our lives. I think that’s where we must begin if we want to learn leadership.’
‘What does “the way we lead our lives” mean?’ said Rinku. ‘How can I lead my life any differently?’
‘To be good leaders we must first practice being good role models,’ said Rakesh. ‘We must be aware of what we are thinking, saying, doing and being, because how we are influences all those around us. People get influenced by our words and actions and that’s what leadership is about — influencing others. You are a good leader if the way you lead influences people in a good way and a poor leader if you influence your team in a bad way.’

READ ALSO : Study finds that a leader's effectiveness may depend on emotions expressed

‘How do we know how we are influencing the team?’ asked Rahul.
‘By the way they act or behave,’ said Rakesh. ‘If your team or people around you are doing a good job, being responsible, being diligent, hardworking, honest, inclusive, somewhere you are leading well. If they aren’t, you need to examine how you are leading your life and where the problem is in your life. What you see out there reflects you. To us, it simply comes down to, how are you leading your life and how is it influencing others?’
‘I never thought of it like that,’ said Rinku. ‘I think I am leading my life well but I know there are ways I can improve. I am certain I am not influencing anyone — not even my friends, not my watchman or anyone. I am not even making a difference to my life, forget others.’
‘Me too,’ said Rahul. ‘I’d like to make a difference to myself first by leading my life differently. And then influence others. But how do we do it?’
‘Well, we can start to live our lives more passionately, for a cause. With discipline and compassion, we can promote equality, justice, fairness and peace… live in a way that we want the world to be. Once you start living your life that way, you begin to influence others. A good leader practices what she preaches, so let’s begin there. Leadership is about showing our thoughts in action. Let’s lead our lives in a way that we see what we want to see in the world around us.’
‘Wonderful,’ said Rinku. ‘So instead of trying to learn leadership like a course, we can start by ‘leading’ our lives in a way that influences our life and those of others.’
‘I know where to start my leadership practice right away,’ said Rahul. ‘There are many things I do that are not influencing my younger brother right. I’ll start with making my bed and keeping my room clean.’
‘Brilliant,’ said Rakesh. ‘Let’s discuss more about leadership next time. Until then, practice leadership by leading your life well.’

Pro Tip: Leadership in its most basic form is leading your life in a way that it influences your life and that of others around you for the better.

Canteen Fundas - Leadership Series - Actions and Not Words

E-Canteen Fundas: Why it is your actions, not your words, that will always count more

People follow actions and not words. Your thoughts, words and actions must be in alignment. If they are not, people see through your lack of integrity and lose trust in you

Actions, always | (Pic: Edexlive)

‘Rahul, you were talking on your phone while riding your bike,’ said Rinku. ‘That was irresponsible and dangerous.’
‘It was an urgent call,’ said Rahul. ‘I don’t otherwise. I just spoke for a minute. You know I don’t break rules. I am a good citizen.’
‘You set a wrong example even if it’s for a minute,’ said Rinku. ‘And you’re our class secretary and captain of the basketball team. You have to be more aware as a leader.’
‘These small things don’t matter, Rinku,’ said Rahul. ‘Everyone knows I mean well and am not careless like others. I only do it when necessary. So there’s nothing to worry about. I can explain and they will understand.’
‘I have to disagree, Rahul,’ said Rakesh. ‘Good leadership is about having your thoughts and words and actions in alignment. You cannot say, ‘I follow rules’, on one hand, and break rules on the other when it is convenient to you. Everyone who is out there talking on their phone while riding their bike thinks exactly like you do — that they do it only when necessary and that they can handle it.’
‘What do you mean, bhaiyya?’ asked Rahul loudly. ‘Are you saying I am dishonest? That I am breaking rules?’
‘Rahul, how much ever you shout out loud, the proof is in your actions,’ said Rakesh. ‘People who look up to you and believe in you will follow your actions, however small. If your classmates or teammates or your younger brother breaks rules you have yourself to blame’
‘But I tell them a hundred times and organise events on how they should follow rules,’ said Rahul. ‘And 90 per cent of the time I follow rules too. But they still follow what I do once? Why?’
‘Yes,’ said Rakesh. ‘That’s the way it works. People follow actions, not words. You can say the most beautiful things, but when you break a rule, they think it’s okay if they break the rule too. If a boss, parent, teacher or leader can break it once, 'I can do it twice', they think. 'And despite that, if the boss calls himself a good citizen, I am one too.' So you have a hundred people following you, breaking the rules 200 times, thinking they are good citizens and a new behavior, a new culture begins — of rule-breaking — of which you are the leader. That is why you must be aware that your every act of commission and omission sends a message and changes behaviour and culture.’

‘What are these, bhaiyya?’ asked Rinku.
‘Acts of commission are like what Rahul did,’ said Rakesh. ‘He committed an act which others will copy. Acts of omission are those where Rahul ignores something he should call out as a leader. Like if his friend breaks a rule and Rahul ignores it or if Rahul has information about something wrong, but does nothing about it — it’s an act of omission. People follow that too. They stop doing what they should because the leader is not doing the same. For example, if people stop helping others or look away when someone’s breaking the law, it means they are following the leader’s example.’
‘Arre, people follow everything blindly or what?’ asked Rahul. ‘Don’t they think for themselves?’
‘They do,’ laughed Rakesh. ‘Initially, people trust you and your intent and elect you as their leader. But as they see the inconsistency between your words and actions, they stop believing and trusting you. In the short run, they might follow your actions because they believed in you, but over time, they begin to do what is good for them and either hold you accountable or choose another leader.’
‘Bhaiyya, how can we catch ourselves when we are not doing what we are preaching?’ asked Rinku. ‘It’s difficult to know.’
‘The best feedback is the behaviour of people around you,’ said Rakesh. ‘If your classmates or teammates are lying, cheating, breaking rules, not putting in enough effort, not being transparent or honest or are inconsistent — look where you are doing that. If your teammate is breaking a team rule, look at where you broke the rules. What you do in a small way as a leader or role model, they do ten times more. What begins as a small spark catches on and becomes a wildfire that will be difficult to put out once it sets in. One dishonest action can lead to a dishonest culture that will be hard to change.’
‘Wow,’ said Rahul. ‘That's a big insight, bhaiyya. I will watch out for my actions a lot more carefully from now on.’

Pro Tip: People follow actions and not words. Your thoughts, words and actions must be in alignment. If they are not, people see through your lack of integrity and lose trust in you.

The Year in Movies

 The list! It 104 it is still in lockdown mode. I don't remember the plots or anything from quite a few. I liked 'Jai Bhim', 'Firebrand', 'The Trial of Chicag 7', 'Father', 'Rajnigandha', 'Sherni', 'The African Doctor', 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind', 'Switzerland', 'Shershaah', 'The Great Indian Kitchen', Sudani from Nigeria', 'Helen', 'Axone', 'Judas and the Black Messiah', 'Jeevan Sandhya', 'Sarpatta Pambarai' among others.

1. The Willoughby's

2. AK vs AK

3. Another Year

4. Cook Up a Storm

5. Sir

6. Putham Pudhi Karalai

7. Unpaused

8. Firebrand

9. Jaoon Kaha Bata Ae Dil

10. Enola Holmes

11. Home again

12. Malcolm and Marie

13. Kundan

14. Widows

15. Kapella

16. Julie and Julia

17. The White Tiger

18. Drishyam 2

19. Maara

20. Sara Akash

21. Rajnigandha

22. In Family We Trust

23. North County

24. Pimpal

25. The Spectacular Now

26. Jathi Ratnalu

27. Khatta Meetha

28. Khubsoorat

29. Joji

30. The Priest

31. Uyare

32. The Trial of Chicago 7

33. The Disciple

34. Shatranj ke Khilari

35. Kadambari

36. Landline

37. When Harry Met Sally

38. Joseph

39. Minari

40. Golmaal

41. Karnan

42. Wonder Woman

43. Without Remorse

44. Anandam

45. Wonder Woman 1984

46. The Last Paradiso

47. Sudani from Nigeria

48. Borat

49. Oka Mini Katha

50. One

51. The Mauritanian

52. Helen

53. Picasso

54. Sandeep and Pinky Faraar

55. Priyatama

56. Photo Prem

57. No Country for Old Men

58. Sherni

59. Johnny English Reborn

60. Nothing to Hide

61. Johnny English

62. The African Doctor

63. Ray

64. Taj Mahal

65.  Today's Special

66. Avishkaar

67. Aanum Pennum

68. I Care a Lot

69. Allied

70. Sarajevo

71. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

72. Judas and the Black Messiah

73. Thatrom Thookram

74. Mallik

75. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

76. The Guide to the Perfect Family

77. Switzerland

78. Navarasa

79. Chernobyl

80. Shershaah

81. Kuruthi

82. Home

83. Chaar

84. Squared Love

85. Vikrithi

86. Book Club 

87. Gunshot

88. Pinky Memsaab

89. Security

90. The Assistant

91. Bell Bottom

92. Chehre

93. Sunny

94. Serendipity

95. Sardar Udham

96. Axone

97. Jai Bhim

98. Father

99. Ghost Writer

100. Hope Springs

101. Me Shivaji Paark

102. A Simple Fvour

103. Jeevan Sandhya

104. Sarpattu Pambarai

The Year in Books

 55 books - down a bit from last year. I wonder why. Perhaps Atlas Shrugged took up a lot of time! I enjoyed reading 'Rebel Sultans', 'The Art of Dramatic Writing', 'Atomic Habits', 'The Compound Effect', 'Butter Chicken in Ludhiana', 'Plague',  'Games People Play', 'Original Wisdom', 'In Cold Blood', 'Moonwalking with Einstein', 'Vedas and Upanishads', 'A Simple Book of Living', 'The Artist's Way', 'Persepolis'. 

I got Atlas Shrugged out of the way finally!

1. Rebel Sultans - Manu Pillai

2. The Goal II - Eliyahu M Goldratt

3. Lost in Time - Namita Gokhale

4. Earth Wisdom - Glennie Kindred

5. To Win Your Battles Stay live - Anita Peter

6. The Art of Dramatic Writing - Lagos Egri

7. Atomic Habits - James Clear

8. Two to Tango - Mary Jo Territo

9. Shyam Benegal - Sangeeta Dutta

10. The Psychology of Money - Morgal Hosel

11. We Should All be Feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche

12. Auroville - Dream and Reality

13. The Compound Effect - Darren Hardy

14. The Book of Life - Andrew Jackson

15. The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom

16. Let me Lie - Claire McIntosh

17. The Five Dysfucntions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni

18. Shyamchi Aai - Sane Guruji

19. God Save the Child - Robert B Parker

20. Butter Chicken in Ludhiana - Pankaj Mishra

21. Open Secrets - Alice Munro

22. Moonwalking with Einstein - Joshua Foer

23. Original Wisdom -Robert Wolff

24. The Vedas and the Upanishads for Children - Roopa Pai

25. The Plague -Albert Camus

26. Games People Play -Eric Berne

27. You Cannot Miss This Flight - Capt GR Gopinath

28. Mashi and the Other Stories - Rabindranath Tgaore

29. The Home and the World - Rabindranath Tagore

30. Managing My Life - Alex Ferguson

31. Jack Welch and the GE Way - Robert Slater

32. Nowhere to Run - Shwetambari Reddy

33. Life Lessons for Mastering the Law of Attraction 

34. Get Out of Your Own Way - Mark Goulston and Philip Goldberg

35. Egonomics - david marcum and steve smith

36. Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

37. The Slow Down Diet - Marc David

38. Sensitive is the new Strong - Anita Moorjani

39. The Artist's  Way - Julia Cameron

40. Lean In - Sheryl Sandberg

41.  I Adore Jai - Jayanthi Jaisimha

42. Not Just Bollywood - Tula Goenka

43. Rumi's Little Book of Wisdom - Maryam Mafi

44. The Parable of the Pipeline -Burke Hedges

45. Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand

46. Secrets of the Millionaire Mind - T Harc Eker

47. My Rides with Sahib - Chattanathan D

48. A  Simple Book of Living - Ruskin Bond

49. Remember Be Here and Now - Baba Ram Dass

50. The Listening Path - Julia Cameron

51. The Zurich Axioms - Max Gunther

52. The Archer - Paulo Coelho

53. Shuttler's Flick - Priya Kumar

54. In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

55. The Word and the Bomb - Hanif Kureishi



The Grand Reunion of the 1982 All Saints Team

1982 was a life changing year for me. I was selected to represent the school cricket team and everything changed. Had it not been for that year my life and my perspective to life would have been so different. 

The school team was led by Ehtesham, and had stars like D Suresh, Masood and Srinivas Chakravarthy, all state players. Ehtesham and Suresh were playing Under 19, while Masood and Chakravarthy were Under 15 state players. All Saints High School had a huge cricketing legacy and had produced Azhar and a number of first class cricketers so I felt lucky to be part of the team. I was just happy to be wearing whites and playing proper cricket for the school - my dream of 'Tom Brown's School Days' achieved. I don't think I had any bigger ambitions than that.

Meeting before the game - Denzil, me, Rajesh, Suresh, Ehtu, Joel, Brother Joseph, Noel, Rub
Toss - Rosary Convent in the background, always an inspiration for us

My classmate from XC, Abdul Rub was a regular opener and wicket keeper for the school, the handsome and strapping Farrukh Ali Khan bowled medium pace and Rajesh Chetty, who had joined in the tenth from Nagpur, was a medium pacer and batsman. Ehtesham was from the A section and so was Srinivas Chakravarthy, who had joined from HPS, Ramanthapur that year. Suresh and Joel and Rahi were from B section. Subodh and Michael were from D section if I remember right. Masood, Ifti, Noel, Yuvraj and Ashwin were junior to us.
The team - Standing - Milton (not part of 1982 team), Masood, Denzil (not part of 1982), Noel, Rajesh, Iftekhar
Sitting - Me, Joel, Farrukh, Suresh, Brother Joseph, Ehtu, Abdul Rub, Michael

Rahi came late so a standing pic -Rahi at left corner

We had a pretty imbalanced side - five medium pacers, four off spinners, a rather suspect middle order, but we managed to shock HPS Begumpet that year in a league match. HPS B had a Ranji player in Hari Prasad and state players like Swaroop, D Srinivas, Mohan Natraj, Rajeshwar as far as I remember. Team to team we were much weaker. 

On the day we were to play the league match against them at the HPS, B grounds, quite dramatically our Rector Brother Vincent called us in before we left school, and told us that if we win against HPS, he would give us whatever we asked for. We did not believe we could win, but I believe the seed was sown.

Brother Joseph in action

Openers Rub and Noel

While we gazed awestruck at the confident HPS boys, they bundled us out for 126 before lunch and in the three overs before lunch they got to 30 for no loss in an authoritative fashion prompting their other team members to tell their skipper they would like to go home while the openers finished the match. But in the first over after lunch I got Srinivas out LBW, and a couple of overs later I got two more wickets - Swaroop and Mohan Natraj. When Chakkar got Hari Prasad caught brilliantly at short mid wicket by Subodh, the tide had turned and they collapsed to 70 all out. I got 5-25 and Chakkar got 4-19. Woohoo!

We were jubilant. It was a Ganpathi Visarjan day if I remember right and we could hardly wait to get back to school and report our great achievement to our Rector. Brother Vincent was visibly proud of us. We asked to see a movie 'Jaws' (wonder why, because it was scary) and walked all the way to Parameshwari theatre from school the week after. After the movie we went out for dinner at Mohini restaurant and ate biryani and two ice creams each.

After the game

Suresh was the umpire

Later that year, the same team was also the winner of the Montfort tournament held in Nalgonda. We got Little Flower out for 12 and then got St Alphonso out for 25. If I remember right we all went and watched 'Ek Duje Ke Liye' after the final and got immensely sad. It was a sad ending to the movie and we were also coming to the end of our schooldays.

I have all the paper cuttings and am glad I saved them. It was great growing up and being part of winning teams as fourteen and fifteen year olds and we cherished those moments. 

On quite a few Saturday afternoons we would play 25 over games against Little Flower Junior College. On Sundays we would play league matches. Every time we won a match Brother Joseph would give us money - enough to go to Taj Mahal in Abids and eat a dosa or buy doughnuts at John's Bakery. During the Sunday games we would go to Bombay Cafe and eat Tandoor roti and mutton curry (never had anything that quite tasted like that before). Abdul Rub was our lunch captain and he would order 'Tandoor Mutton' - in style. And on matches during school days, we would go and eat at the highly subsidised State Bank of Hyderabad canteen at Gunfoundry. Green Stores and the beautiful Rosary girls were definitely inspiring and we scored many runs for girls we imagined behind those windows. If only they knew how much we wanted to impress them and do for them - pure love! 

Runners up

There was one league match we won in the last over. They needed two runs to get and the last pair was batting. I tried hard to avoid Ehtu's look but he called me to bowl. I did not want to bowl the crucial over until I heard Ifti coming over to me full of faith in my abilities - 'Get him Hari. You can get him. I know you will get him.' I think Ifti's faith in me gave me a lot of confidence and off my second ball that batsman played on and we won the game by one run. A few other such games we pulled off. Ifti was also the guy who revealed what a supporter was - not the fans and supporters types - but the athletic ones. Ifti that way was my early guru!

I remember Masood's powerful pulls and flicks and his bowling - he was my skipper at the Under 15s and we shared many tours. He was instrumental in getting me to play in the state Under 15 team and I repaid him a bit by getting us the first innings lead in the final! Abdul Rub's mischief and his hook shot. Ehtesham's huge six over Fine leg off a quick Rajeshwar in HPS, B and his trademark flicks and pulls. And his cool, phlegmatic captaincy under pressure. Suresh's impeccable straight drives, his joy when I got selected for South Zone Under 15 - I remember where we met - in the shade beside the church just as I exited the tunnel and Suresh was ahead of me. Sheer joy. He was most helpful - I used Suresh's kit through those years when I didn't have one at the Under 19, 22 tours. Chakkar, always helpful and my friend, confidant and advisor for all those years. Chakkar gave me ball by ball advise against HPS, B, and helped me get my admission in engineering college. Subodh, wiry and combative as ever. I remember the catches he took in HPS to get rid of Hari and Rajeshwar. Michael's slingshot action and outswinger and his flat batted shots. Joel's classical off spin and fun loving, genial ways. Rajesh running through the opposition at the Montfort tournament and his affinity for Mithun Chakraborty which got him the sobriquet - G9. Farrukh, always smiling and around - he did not play much that year owing to a serious injury he had suffered the previous year. Rahi and his trademark bustling action which has not changed a bit and his genial persona. Noel, small, tiny, scurrying around after the ball diligently. Yuvi's pulls to fine leg even as a youngster which impressed me.

Many more memories..cannot forget Jani Miya (they'd call him Handball...hopeless). Brother Joseph's presence and vision and love stood by and pervaded all that we did and continue to do so. What he believed in - that sports teaches you self-esteem and all of life's lessons - stands validated in what we all did thanks to cricket. Huge thanks Brother.


Anyway our team never had a group pic that year so when Rub came to town from Saudi after years (I last met him thirty five years ago) I got the idea that maybe we could all meet. Joel and Rajesh hopped on, Ehtu was fine. Brother Joseph was aboard and said he would play too. We reached out to everyone - Masood and Subodh were in the US, Suresh in Chandigarh, Michael in Vizag. Brother Joseph himself was away in Kerala till the 28th so 29th was fixed. Rub was already in town. Locals - Ehtu, Rajesh, Joel, Farrukh, Rahi, Noel, Yuvraj, Chakkar were contacted. Subodh said he could not make it and so did Chakkar. Yuvi had some official engagement and could not make it. 

But the rest of us landed up at the school on the 29th at 3 pm in our whites - most had to buy new pairs. Denzil, the ASHS cricket coach kindly made all cricketing arrangements. It was good to have our cricketing legend Milton Balm along with us.

Michael and Milton
Rub and Michael
Joel and Michael

Tea at St Paul's

A group pic was taken and then we made teams - one led by Ehtu and one by me - and played a seven over game. Masood was in monstrous touch and got 22 and they finally made 73.We started with Rub and Noel and then Ifti scored 24 in 8 balls with a few huge sixes. I finished off the game with two balls to spare and we won. Unfortunately Farrukh slipped and fell and hurt his shoulder and had to retire early. A small timepass ceremony with cups etc and then we headed to St Paul's High school to change and have tea. Brother Joseph hosted us there. Some delicious tea and cake and we were off to the Sailing Club where Rajesh sponsored the evening - very generous of him.

Ehtu speaking 

Suresh and Brother Joseph

Brother Joseph and Rub

Sailing Club was full of fun and stories. It turned out that six of us from that team played first class cricket - Ehtesham, Suresh, Me, Srinivas Chakravarthy, Noel and Yuvraj in that order (amazing how Masood didn't), three of us from that batch - Ehtu, Suresh and me - were part of the Ranji Trophy winning team from 1987 (there were six from All Saints in that team - Azeem. Khalid, Venkatapathi were the others and seven if we counted Azhar who was on national duty). There was one International in Noel and a junior International in Masood. Quite an achievement for one team.

A final pic outside Sailing Club

Forty years since then, we have all come together, having journeyed all over and having survived life. Ehtesham went on to play many Ranji matches, was in Dubai, is now a businessman and part of the HCA - as a selector or Director of junior cricket which was his last post. Masood, narrowly missed playing first class cricket but represented the USA in cricket, and is now Director IT at the University of Maryland, USA. Suresh, played for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy in the season it won the Ranji Trophy, and is now an IAS Officer and Principal secretary with the Government of Haryana. Abdul Rub gave up cricket after a while, and is a successful businessman settled in Medina in Saudi Arabia. Subodh Bhatnagar (USA, could not make it to the reunion) is a successful IT professional based in New York. Srinivas Chakravarthy also played for Hyderabad in the Ranji Trophy, and is a successful businessman who ran a popular bakery. Rajesh played league cricket for a while and is now a successful businessman who has a paint manufacturing unit. Joel played varsity cricket for Kakatiya University, and is now in the insurance business and has a finger in many pies. Farrukh has a successful interiors business called Task Force and some manufacturing units. Michael is in an administrative position at Oakridge School, Vizag. Iftekhar is an Officer with the SBI and was playing league cricket until three years ago. Rahi Prakash worked with the Microsoft and is now on his own - a successful IT professional. Noel played for India and was Chairman of Senor Selection committee and Coach and is with cricket administration. Yuvraj played many first class games for Hyderabad, was a selector, and is now an Officer with the AG Office. I write, teach, blog, coach.

Milton said he took voluntary retirement from the Railways. Denzil is the coach at All Saints and has produced many cricketers. Brother Joseph is the soul behind the Montfort Institutions.

What a story! Forty years. It felt like I was just there yesterday. They all seemed like how they were then. I don't know if I am stuck in a time warp, but its beautiful.

Much fun through the day. An idea to start a Trust proposed by Suresh to help needy All Saints alumni was discussed. More details soon but I'll end this here. Thanks everyone. This one was special. And for Abdul Rub, our class hero, for sparking it off, a special mention.         

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Talk to Osmosys - Lessons from Cricket

 Dinesh Madireddy and I have been in touch for a long time and he follows cricket and has been a player too. Though we thought of engaging with one another professionally before, we never had the opportunity. Turns out pleasantly that the Chairman of the company is Srinivas Medida, my junior from OUCE so we all had a good time catching up.

The theme was Lessons on Cricket. I decided to stress on three ponts.

1. The Importance of Being Part of a Winning Team

I made a case for why Hyderabad won the Ranji Trophy saying that the number of players there in the team, us juniors specially, had been part of winning teams from Under 15, 19, 22, 25, ubbiah Pillai, Buchi Babu and then even the Ranji Trophy. Despite performances that may not be earth shattering we all got to play higher cricket because we were part of winning teams.

When we commit to make our team win our performances also improve - like they did when i became highest wicket taker for the University in an Inter University tournament when all I did was only to help my team win without thinking of my performance. Another time I was selected to the South Zone team despite not getting any wickets because I had bowled an unselfish spell to help my team.

Tip - Think on how to make your team a winning team, how you can help, and see your performance improve.

2.  How to 10x Your Performance

I cited the example of how I had scored 156 against VST as an opener after telling my captain I would score the number of runs I had given away - 128. I realised that day I was underutilising my capabilities. If I was capable of scoring 156 on call, I can do it again and again by applying my resources well.

Tip - Set yourself a 10x goal and figure how to achieve it. You'll find a way.

3. How to Grow and Not Stagnate

I spoke of how I stopped at Ranji Trophy level after making it to the top 20 fast bowlers in the country because I had the wrong mindset. I had a fixed mindset which was not keen on working hard, was keen on blaming or finding excuses, and had given up believing I was not capable of more. If I had adopted the learning mindset I would have found a good mentor, asked for help, worked harder and come back stronger after being dropped.

Tip - If you feel you are not good, work harder, get help, find the right process and you will move ahead.

There were some good questions before we ended. Thanks Srinivas for the kind words and thank you Dinesh for the opportunity to interact with your team.  

Talk for NMIMS Students on December 18 - Lessons from Cricket

 I gave an online talk for NMIMS students on 'Lessons on Cricket and Writing' on the 18th evening. Since I had a similar talk coming up soon, I decided to focus on three main points.

  • The Importance of Being Part of a Winning Team
  • How to 10x Your Performance
  • How to Grow and not Stagnate

  I gave examples from my cricketing life and my writing life. It was a one hour talk and there were some questions in the end. As with most talks you don't know how it went because there are few questions (the ones that came were good) and no interest in the students to continue the conversation.

As with so many other things one notices many niceties disappearing in these events. 

Srivardhan - Trip to the Western Coast

 Once a year, Shobha's band of cousins gang up and head towards this beach called Srivardhan on the west coast. 

Enroute to Srivardhan from Pune

Mama dhaba

The group varies from 12-24 I guess and ages range from 2 to 80 (not all cousins). I have been there three or four times and it had been quite some time since I last went, so it was interesting for me.

Sane Guruji ashram

We drove from Pune, me not driving for I was feeling a little woolly headed. 

Beach at Srivardhan

The resort is behind the trees

Gauri's car and driver, Rakesh, were with us and we went quietly on our way - Gauri, Jyo, Shobhs, Anjali and me in this car. 

Sunset at the beach 

Ghoda gaadi

Parth, Maria, Mangala tai in theirs. We met up at Ambrosia and some places shifted. 


Next stop at Quick Bite, a lovely place at Mulshi where one must spend a day and night on the banks of the lake. Ate some breakfast and off we went to Mangaon where we stopped at Sane Guruji's place and wandered around. Finally landed up at Srivardhan by 3 pm.

Cricket on beach

Boats going on land

Bakul, Sudhindra, Anuraag and Avani landed up from Mumbai. Games, jokes, stories, beach and fun. Nice meals. Some rum and stuff. 

Promenade - a 3 km walk I enjoyed

Helipad at the end

I slept early. It wasn't as cold as I thought and I got up early next morning but didn't dare walk on the beach. 

Promenade from the end

Nivant Sagar resort

I got up late, had breakfast and walked to the end of the beach. In the evening I went for a dip in the sea. Milind and Neelima came the second day so it was fun with the bonfire and all.

Rooms behind

Nivant Sagar from behind

Mulshi lake

Overall, good fun On the way back we stopped at Quick Bite again and came back home.       

Cricket match - serious stuff