World Class!

Become World Class! It is doable!

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One keeps on hearing the word World Class, these days! What is World Class anyway? World Class means (an activity, a thing or a person of or among) the best in the world! The world is full of people, with thought processes or activities where someone is trying to do something or to produce something even better than its quality level at that time. This thought process came in my mind when my friend Shyam visited another friend Vijay’s manufacturing unit. Shyam said that Vijay has created a World Class facility. 

How does one become world class? How does one create World Class facility or products? Simply by being world class. To become world class, one needs to be open to the idea that there is someone always better than you! There is always something better than what you produce. You need design, product or service, consistency, ability to convince people to buy ideas or products at the price such that the organization remains continuously and highly profitable. The reason for this is that world class companies reinvest large % of their profits into R&D! This indicates continued resolve to improve on quality. Apple and Nvidia are such companies which are relentlessly going for better and improved products. They reinvest huge amounts in R&D. Another thing such companies do is to change their thought process 180 degrees, if required. Classic example is Microsoft. Once they realized that they will not be able to compete with Android and IOS, in cell phone arena, they changed their policies in such a way that they call themselves company making software products which are support systems for other Software companies. 

Talking of Vijay’s organization Connectwell, he was always thinking big and bold for more than 20 years. 20 years back the company was much smaller, but they were bold and could see eye to eye with large world class players. How did they do it? They have been taking part in Hannover Messe, exhibition of industrial products since 1997. This has been a huge investment. This shows that they have been profitable, bold and confident! I am sure initially they must have felt a bit down, looking at international competitor’s products. But they continued to take part with better products; I am sure the competitors must now be getting weary. Vijay’s continued and relentless drive to become and remain world class makes his company work harder, smarter and sharper!  

As against these, companies like TCS & Infosys have chosen to follow a different a path. I am not blaming anyone but it is a path that they wanted to choose. Recently, they used their cash kitty of 2 to 3 billion US dollars to buy back shares from public. If there were a threat of some other company buying them out, then it would be a smart strategy. But I feel that they don’t know what to do with the stock pile of dollars, they did not probably know how to profitably invest this kind of money to reinvent themselves. They probably want remain followers, instead of becoming leaders. There are Indian companies who have shown the hunger to become world class. Tally and Quick heal names come to the fore. They have relentlessly done things and kept their flag flying high with quality of their products!  

You don’t become World Class just like that. It is the people who make companies and societies World Class. Taking example from cricket, in the early 70’s Sunil Gavaskar, World Class diminutive Indian cricketer looked into the eyes of the opponents. He created a culture that Indians can become World Class. He was bold in his game but was a gentleman too! In early 80’s, after India won three consecutive major tournaments in three years, an Australian reporter asked him in an interview the secret of India’s success. Gavaskar asked the reporter, ” Have you seen the movies Jaws 1 and Jaws 2 and so on? ” Reporter was confused and said, ” I have not understood what you are saying.” Gavaskar said tongue in cheek, ” India’s success was same like Jaws, Luck 1, Luck 2 and Luck 3″. Gavaskar had in him to take on the world. Normally he showed it with his bat. 

Sachin Tendulkar story is even better known as he became a World Class act from the age of 16. He again was diminutive but his motto was practice, practice, and practice. He was never afraid to attack deadly bowlers looking into their face! He gave nightmares to the world class spinner Shane Warne! Sachin simply wanted to be world class. From these small islands of Gavaskars, and Tendulars India is becoming a super power in cricket and has created an assembly line of World Class players and the team! This is how nations become World Class. 

Whenever I travel internationally using Delhi or Mumbai airport, I can see that we have World Class infrastructure. Getting into other airports, I feel that India is getting better and better, in islands of supremacy. But this drive has to start in people, should percolate to more and more people. With success, we get confidence and confidence leads you to become World Class.  

What has people got to do becoming a World Class nation? Everything! If people are World Class, the nation can become World Class. To become World Class not everybody has to be World Class, but everybody in the system must be disciplined, knowledgeable in what they do. They should be passionate about what they do. It could be a policeman, it could be a pedestrian crossing the road. If you don’t cross roads by following basic discipline, the system gets chaotic. A construction site worker should be proud of his method of pouring concrete, the planner should be proud of the way he has planned. A grocer should be proud that he is not cheating his customers, profits will come automatically if he gets more and more customers because of quality of products he sells and quality of service he offers. His quality of service will improve only when all people in the shop are proud of the work they are doing.  

I will share with you how confidence about ones own quality helps. A team from India was to travel to Japan to visit an organization. They asked the hosts how much buffer time they should keep after traveling by Shinkansen before catching a flight. They got a reply that they need not keep any buffer because Shinkansen never gets late. It gets late only if  there is a major earthquake.

The system becomes World Class when the lowest denominator in the system becomes World Class, when the lowest denominator is proud of what he or she is doing! I see this attitude in many places world over, people will go out of their way to please the customer. Do we see this in India? Yes,  but only in islands. But for this to become a way of life, attitude of everybody towards public discipline, public cleanliness must change. This is because these are the most visible things in any society. We do see islands of such places in India but these islands must get connected and become a society of World Class things, services and products. It is Vijay’s of our society who have done it. Connectwell  (http://www.connectwell.com/global/home.aspx?lang=en&reg=IN) is doing it and I am sure this is passed on to the next generation. If all of us try to make an attempt, to make the small eco system around you, world class, it is doable. You can have surroundings around your home clean and neat; you can make your personal service providers like milkman, newspaper vendor, car cleaner, home support servants do things in a better way. Once they understand that it is doable, they in turn will tell their own eco system how to do things better. How to be relentless in improving quality of what we do, how we do. The chain has to continue.

It is pretty simple. When you wake up every day, tidy up your own bed….. yes, it starts with you. Make it tidy as if your work is going to be inspected every day! And yes, you yourself inspect it. It better be World Class!  

Confluence of Goodness!

Make this world a happy world with Goodness!

अगर धीरे चलो
वह तुम्हे छू लेगी
दौड़ो तो छूट जाएगी नदी
अगर ले लो साथ
वह चलती चली जाएगी कहीं भी
यहाँ तक- कि कबाड़ी की दुकान तक भी
छोड़ दो 

These are a few lines from the Poet Kedarnath Singhji’s poem नदी. नदी means a river. The poet has used the river as a metaphor for background support that we get from different people in our life’s journey. Our life’s journey begins with our coming into this world in the mother’s womb. Beginning of our existence is not known even to our parents for some time! In normal course, no couple is thinking of a child being created, when they are in an intimate embrace. It is the nature that supports you during this phase of anonymity. This is our first river in the form of Amniotic fluid in the mothers womb! How can someone support you, help you, when they don’t even know that you exist?  

In the lines above, the poet says that you go with the river, you meander with its flow and it will let you go where you want to go, it will follow you, where ever you go. Her support will be unstinting, with no returns expected. You need to understand it’s rhythm. The poet has explained it beautifully and says that if you take the river to a scrap collector, it will go with you. If you go to flea market, it will follow you. A flea market (or swap meet) is a type of bazaar that rents or provides space to people who want to sell or barter merchandise. Used goods, cheap items, collectibles, and antiques are commonly sold. This is how unstinting the river support is! But you take up wrong way of  life and the river may break its umbilical cord with you.  

In many cultures the river is like one’s mother, caring, supporting, she is always there in the background. A child is tethered to the mother. This is world’s closest relationship and mother always wants to keep on supporting the child irrespective of situation, age. This is the everlasting or evergreen relationship. In this relationship virtual umbilical cord always remains in place, at least from mother’s side.  

In our life, we have many people supporting us, they are there in the background. They will go with you even on the rough path of your journey! How does this happen? How are such relationships formed? Mother child relationship is the most natural relationship, it just exists like the universe. Bearing and giving birth to a child is nature for female species; this closeness creates such a close relationship between the two. In this relationship nothing needs to be done to attain the level of closeness, it just happens. But for other relationships this is to be nurtured over a period.   

As our journey starts from childhood to adulthood we meet different people. We meet them in different situations, under different circumstances. We live with siblings in our home but as we grow older, each develops into a different person and has own personality, own thought process. Do siblings always have very close relationship? They grow up in the same house, they grow up with the same background. But are they behind each other to support? Not necessarily. Except for parents all other relationships need to be cultivated, nurtured. One cannot assume that others will be there in the background to support you like the river. 

Why is river important in life? The river encompasses our lives, it absorbs whatever we throw at it. Its water body is big and fluid all the time; so, it has a great absorbing capacity. Its flow purifies all bad things dumped into it. Similarly, our mind should also have fluid thought process, it should be able to absorb new things, it should be able to absorb changes in the way situation demands. It should be able to throw out bad things from our life. Our mind, like river, has incredible capacity to take good or bad things. Our mind should learn the process of turning bad into good, like the river.  

In our life, we have many sets of rivers in the form of different persons like friends, acquaintances, relatives. To absorb good from these people, is in our hands. There is a saying that birds with the same feathers flock together. Similarly, good will always prefer to be with good; the good have power to absorb bad! In Varanasi, there is a tradition to dump dead bodies in the river in the river Ganga; we dump drainage water in the river without treating it. But the flow of the river, and the volume of water (which is the goodness) takes care of these things and water remains pure!  

Friends, life is full of things which are good, bad and ugly. But if we as a society, get the humans together like confluence of rivers, bad and ugly things will get defeated. The society, a group of people, a colony, people in a building should come together and form river of goodness, there will be confluence of these rivers and we will be able to create a quietly flowing big river of goodness.  

 

 

Work Life Balance!

Enjoy Life with correct Work Life balance!

When I was in school, I used to come to Pune during holidays to my grandfather’s house. He had perfect Work-Life balance in those days. He retired before I was born. But from what I have heard, he used to go to office around 9 and be back home by 4.30. He was one of the luckier persons who had a steady job. When I started going to Pune, he had just started his retired life and would go to sleep by 7 in the evening and wake up at 4! Before going to sleep he used to listen to local news on radio, which would start at 7 pm. All others at home would have dinner by 8 pm and simply go to sleep by 8.30 pm. Cozy life, lovely life; there was nothing to do anyway. There was no TV, going for movies was rarity.  

This reminds me of Gulzarji’s lines 

अब दिन रातपे ही आके रुकता है 

मुझे याद है… 

पहले एक शाम भी हुआ करती थी 

Lifestyle has taken a tumble of 180 degrees since those days. Things have reached the other extreme, discussions have started on Work-life balance, which is a concept that supports the efforts of employees to split their time and energy between work and the other important aspects of their lives. Why has this imbalance come in our life? Who is responsible? Do managements expect too much from employees? Is work being done with the help of less number of people? On home front, families have become nuclear, both husband and wife are working, and it has become a norm. There is less support system available from elderly. We have too many commitments on social front, too much time is “productively” spent on social media.    

Times have changed, work pressure on individuals has gone up. Pressure to perform is nothing new, it was always there and it will be always there. Why does the imbalance take place? It is simply because we have 24 hours in a day to do so many things. It is how productively we use that time which is important.  

First and foremost is the travel time. Home to workplace travel time is the most unproductive and tiring time. People these days travel anything between one to 2 ½ hours one way, to work. Traffic is going to become more complex and heavy, so there may not be respite from traffic. But yes, there is a solution. When people take up a new job in a different city, they rent a house as near to work place as possible. But in your own city you probably own a house or have been living in an area from childhood. So, you don’t want to change the house.  Solution, cut the emotion, be a little open minded about shifting to stay near the work place, be pragmatic. I was talking about this issue with my young friend Abhay.

Abhay rues that his generation has all the material stuff but no time to enjoy it. He said that if he moves to stay near his work place, he will save two hours every day! Multiply by 250 days. 500 hrs a year. It is as good as getting 50 days of additional leave to be with the family, maybe hit the gym, which today is not possible today. I told Abhay, after shifting near office, don’t spend additional two hours at office. Deepti wanted to take a new office. I suggested to her that it should not be more than 3 kms from her home, she had that option. Now her total travel time is 15 minutes. Hours gained, anxiety reduced? I don’t think you need any consultant to evaluate value addition done by making these changes. If you have financial need, rent out the “owned” flat. 

Now about the most unproductive thing! Social media. FB and WA are the biggest culprits causing the imbalance. Everybody wants to look at the cell phone at every opportunity available. Waiting for the red signal to turn green, open the device. You are doing serious work in office, you get a ding or a dong, ting or a tong! You stop the work to at least send a message, “I will come back to you”! Heavens are not going to fall if you don’t reply. Of course, friends may think that you have died since you did not respond in 30 seconds.  

Social Media has changed the society in such a way that there is fear in the minds of mafia that they may lose out to Social Media cartel. Take a back-seat Heroin’s, and ganjas of this world. You cannot compete with us! Smoking? What is that? I can have my new drug on my person all the time, police are not going to arrest me for that, parents are not bothered (they themselves are busy with addiction), lovers tiff no way. Why are you not talking to me? You don’t love me anymore. Did you see my new necklace? These words are passé! Both are busy looking at their own screens, looking into each other’s eyes? No way. Looking into his or her screen, yes of course. Did you see this video? Did you read this quote? Recently I saw photo of a group of friends, who met for chit chat! All were looking at their cell phone! Chatting? No way!  

To manage the Work Life balance, another thing we should analyze is how much time we are spending on social media. 2 hours, four hours? How many free hours do we have after deducting time for work, travel, sleep, and day to day chores? Do you want most of the waking time to be spent on social media? In fact, we are cutting into family time, sleeping time, causing sleep deprivation, or even  going out time. Your mind is never into what you are actually doing!  

Not in the distant past, a cranky child was given a pacifier in his mouth. Now the child is given a cell phone or a tablet to pacify the child. When the child crosses a certain age, the parents start cribbing, “Oh, my child cannot spend a single minute without cell phone”. I have seen mothers looking at WA while feeding a child, not breast feed but regular meal. A child needs a bit of attention and diversion. A song, or a story used to be the name of the game while feeding kids! When the mothers themselves indulge so much in WA/FB what do you expect the child to do?  

When we attempt something differently, it should start with you! Will you remain, away from social media for some time? Will you remain away from kitty parties? I am not saying that you shun these things. Anything in moderation is always good. A Mac Burger once in six months, a glass of wine, a cup of your favourite tea or coffee, for that matter any drink in moderation will always give you joy! Please think in a positive way! If we don’t use social media for some time, is it really going to affect your life?

Work pressures will be there, but can these be 24/7 and 365, no there are never such pressures. I have known of a person who went to US for work for a month, then 2 months and then continued his stay for three months. From there he was told to go to Germany for another three months. There were many problems at his home including illnesses; he should have told his boss that he will travel back after a quick visit back home, at least a couple of times. I don’t think his boss would have said no! But our friend just wanted to shun his home responsibilities. I am so busy syndrome!

Firstly, one has to decide if you really want work life balance! If you want it, there are always ways, you can find your own different methods too! Will will find a way! I forgot to tell you; I have promised Abhay that I will have a cup of tea with him one day, after his son has gone to school and before Abhay goes to office! Five minutes is all Abhay needs to go to office. The other day we went in the area where Deepti lives, we barged in to see her mother. Her mother called Deepti, she came home from office to have coffee with us. Utopia?  

                                                                                                                       

 

 

Why, why, why why?

Take last mile efforts to make cities clean and tidy!

I know that every why, has no reply, but this question still comes to mind! Some years back, my grandson Suyash had come to Pune, he lives in Seattle. We were chatting in our balcony. He asked me, “Aba, why many of the buildings around us are not painted? Are these very old buildings?” Well, the buildings around us were not very old, these were definitely not dilapidated buildings! They were not more than 15 years old! For fixed assets like condos, or bungalows care has to be taken to maintain them properly. Each property has its own design, the exteriors get spoiled due to rains and heat combination. If you visit these condos from inside, the homes are generally well kept and some are really fancy. People are just not bothered how the outer walls look.  

These are mostly middle class and upper middle-class properties. The income levels are decent, these folks work in offices which are reasonably well maintained. They have their vehicles which are maintained in a reasonably good condition. Then why the apathy towards the exterior? To me this is the last mile concept. We as a society are least bothered about the last mile of everything.  

You look at the roads, the bridges, the infrastructure in general. These are always poorly maintained, at least in some areas. Every year we read the stories of corporations missing their deadlines for cleaning gutters before monsoons! Rains in India are seasonal and generally fall during a specific period. Gutters get filled with muck, leaves and what not, all through the year. In Maharashtra, end of the first week of June is the time for the rains to start. So, our friends should be ready with cleaning by end of May. It is not rocket science. But are we ready? Never. Same story is published every year. First rains in any city causes havoc! There is water logging, flooding, power outages, trees falling! The things which are in our control should be done but they are completed only 95%! Last mile concept? Or who cares concept? Why do we not challenge the authorities as a society? Simple, because we never do these things in our own lives, we are poor in implementing last mile solution.  

We strongly talk about our heritage, our history; we sing songs like मेरे देश की धरती! My great country where streets were paved with Gold, where we saw diamonds and pearls spread on road sides! I have shown above pictures of “Gold, Diamonds and Pearls” spread on our roads. In olden days when everybody lived in villages, there was no concrete, we had plain soil everywhere. Cleaning homes was very simple. You clean your home and push all the dust into adjoining soil. In those days there were no plastics, there was no biodegradable stuff! Dust to dust to Soil! But we are so proud of our heritage that we continue to follow the same practice even today.  

We clean our homes and throw things out of balconies! We water our pots in the balcony and water falls on the cleaned cars every day, as some idiots park them below the balcony. Area below the balcony is the official trash can to throw stuff, pour water indiscriminately. In fact, I come to know every day what my friends staying above us, feed their dog on that day! It can be bread or rice and of course meat once in a while. The pieces fall on my car every day. The title of the blog shows my frustration! Mind you, the condos where I live are high rise modern apartments and are very expensive.  

But money has nothing to do with this last mile concept. Forty years back we lived in an apartment where we had a watchman who lived with his family. They were financially poor. We used to give them, besides the salary, all seconds from our home. Curtains, bed sheets and sometimes food which we could not consume fully. In fact, Jaya used make additional food many times, just to give to them. I still remember their small dwelling. It was a replica of our home as all the things were handed over to them by us. (It is not the story about what we did for them in those days.) Their home used to be spic and span, well-kept and properly maintained. When once asked, the lady said when we have an example in front of us, how can we not follow it?

Just a side story! This family was of two brothers. One child of each of them has become an engineer and currently working in IT industry! It is the will to do well, excel in whatever you do, to keep your surroundings clean, it is will to be part of solution and not a part of the problem, that endures you through the tough times of the last mile. In the game of cricket, it is the ability of crossing the invisible line to score a century, that differentiates the best from the good. It is the strong will to do well, that takes you forward.  

In Mumbai, when many flyovers were built, the situation was bad. Diversion road quality was poor. Let me assure you all these things are doable. When flyovers and Metro were under construction in Delhi, the diversions created were as smooth as the original roads.  In Mumbai there are low lying areas; when it rains, the water logging is bad due to topography. But corporation has installed high capacity pumps, permanently.      

How can one like to live in shabby buildings? There a couple of reasons for this. When there is a group of people living together, there will always be someone who will bother only about money or it is possible that some of them will have financial difficulties. But both these obstacles need to be overcome and can be overcome. It is the will to do it! It is your home after all!  When we water the plants in balcony, we don’t bother if water is carrying the mud with it, on the outside walls of the balcony. Expense for painting a building from outside every 7/ 8 years is not prohibitive.

Similarly, about city infrastructure, it is your own city. We elect representatives to handle the administration. Do they treat it as their own city? Or they are interested only in plundering the resources? Are they proud of their home? I have seen these representatives providing benches for people to rest. These are stainless steel benches, very nicely made. There are bus stops which are nicely designed but do we have buses to match quality of the bus stops? Do we have the discipline in keeping the fleet running? Last mile for the bus system is maintenance of buses and cleanliness of buses. The quality is terrible. 

Friends, in the Hindi Film “Munnabhai MBBS”, the hero sees a sweeper in a hospital sweeping the floor. Hero tells him, “Sir, you are doing an excellent job and you are making all of us proud, please keep doing it”. There are tears of joy in the eyes of the sweeper! Nobody had ever told him this. But when it is our own home, our own city, is there a need to be told by someone? Every day, we bathe and comb to make ourselves presentable, every day we have someone to clean our homes from inside. But how can we forget outside? How can roads, bridges remain in poor state in our own city? Let’s all join hands make it happen! Cheers!  

 

 

Brave Art!

If you are passionate, follow your passion!

Sometime back I read an article, in two parts, by Manasi Sagar of Nasik. She is a trained painter and took passion to paint nudes. We have generally read about nudes being painted by male painters, with females as models. Society treats nudity in a different angle. Human body, especially female body, is an art work which only He could create. The way Manasi had explained the path she took and how she managed to follow her passion, is something to be read to be believed. From the articles she had written, I felt that she came from a normal Maharashtrian middle class family. Such families have certain ethos of bringing up children in which girl child is always told to take care of her modesty. This probably starts at the age of around five and the child would always listen to statements from her mother, “Don’t do this, don’t do that! Sit “properly”! Be careful when men are around and so on!” There are historical reasons for this, some justified but when a Manasi blooms like a Lotus amidst such orthodoxy, it’s a pleasant surprise! To her family it must have been a shock, at least in the beginning!

I had discussed about the article by Manasi, with my friend Sudhakar, from Nasik. Sudhakar is a painter by heart but a builder by profession. Yesterday he met Manasi. I had told Sudhakar to tell Manasi, when he meets her, that I am honoured to know about such a brave artist. Incidentally, I came across a poem by Kedarnath Singhji, when I received a message from Sudhakar today, that he met Manasi! Various thoughts came to my mind which I am sharing with you.

Why is female nudity so beautiful? What pleasures can you get by looking at such paintings? Kedarnath Singhji  poem बारिश में स्त्री in Hindi, A Woman in the Rains, is par excellence. I know that I will never be able to come close to the way he has written the poem, the lyrics, the expressions and the refinement. Nowhere in the poem we feel that he is talking of something vulgar! (Yes, in our society nudity is talked about in hushed tones) It’s sheer poetry, pun intended!

The poet says that he saw a woman who was getting drenched in the rains! It was as if a new book was being opened where the existing written words were getting washed away and were lost in the mist! Rain drops were dripping on her breasts, her shoulders and her chin! It felt as if a new script was getting created, a poem was being written! It was as if her body was giving birth to new Alphabet! It was as if the body was creating its own ink and printing the words, rat, tat, tat. The whole body was slowly getting converted into an Epic! The poet felt that the frog in him, forgot to utter its famous “ribit ribit”, when it enjoys the rains! The frog was simply dumb struck looking at this smooth transition into work of art!

What a way to look at the beauty created by nature, by Him! Concept of vulgarity, exposure, are recent phenomena, in the history of human race. I always feel that the threshold for certain good and bad things started when the concept of “ownership” started in human history. Till this phase in the history, humans lived in flocks like other species. Like in other species, males and females were created by nature for procreation, to take the race forward. The concept of nudity hardly existed as everybody was nude! With concept of ownership, the ownership of females started and with that started the first known modern dress, fig leaf, from Adam and Eve’s times!

Manasi went against this trend in her paintings. She wanted to paint nudes but who would be the model? It is not so common in India to be a female nude model and in a city like Nasik it was almost impossible. Solution? Simple. She decided that she will be her own model. She started sitting in front of a mirror at home, late in the night, when everybody went to sleep. The concept itself was taboo! She would have a tough time “hiding” these paintings during creation phase. What if my parents see? How will I explain? She somehow managed to complete a few paintings, and entered an art competition! When she won the coveted prize, she got a communication from the organizers. She was thrilled about it, at the same time she was worried about her parent’s reactions. Ultimately art won over orthodoxy! She could come out in open! She still had some problems initially, even after this event, as she could not get models! But she convinced some women and hopefully now she will also be able to paint nudes along with her other paintings!

What is it that Manasi’s of the world have in them? Do they eat differently? Where do they get the strength from? Where does the passion come from? When you are doing something unconventional, when your path is not so well trodden, things can be tough. In olden days, such people were castrated by society, some were even killed. When people are ahead of times, they face various difficulties. We know what happened to Aristotle for talking against flat earth concept. Manasi has done something similar in the field of art! Will she succeed commercially? Will she become an international name? Will she be known as one of the better artists? Only time can tell. Kudos to you Manasi! Way to go!

Nurture!

Mumma see no hands !

Nurture

The other day my friend Sudhakar had come for a chat and we spent some quality time together. In our home, we have a plaque given by the organization called “Nurture” to Jaya.  Sudhakar saw this plaque and asked about the same. Jaya helps through this organization, startups in Pune, nurtures them, hand holds them. Like the child is let go while learning to ride a bike, at some stage she lets them go. Some organizations sore high in the sky, some fall and try to rise again. It is the nurturing done that is important.  

The word just lingered in my mind and I kept on thinking about it, its meaning, its origin and got a feeling how appropriate this word is! English is an interesting language, sometimes the English words, define or explain the meaning perfectly whereas sometimes they are vague.     

The origin of this word Nurture is from old French noureture, “nourishment”; based on Latin nutrire “feed or cherish”.  

As a verb it means to take care of, feed, and protect someone or something, especially young children or plants, and help him, her, or it to develop,  to help a plan to be successful. Modern dictionary may add the new meaning about helping of modern day startups, to grow from their babyhood to a successful organization. As a noun, it means the way in which children are treated as they are growing, especially as compared with the characteristics they are born with. This can apply equally to young startups to young professional.   

Jaya has helped many startups,  as technical social work;  there is success story  about a person with PhD in Chemical engineering. He had developed many products to improve agriculture productivity. As normally happens, he was very proud of the products he had developed. When he met Jaya, he was struggling with business. When Jaya told him to concentrate initially, on one product, he was not very happy; he wanted to dabble in all the products together, those were his creations. But after sometime, he realized the meaning of what Jaya told him. He came up with his best product and started concentrating on the same. He was a brilliant scientist and a hard worker. He needed nurturing, he needed hand holding. Rest as they say is history. Recently UNESCO has given him a large grant to spread the use of his products in technologically extremely backward African countries. I think his role will also be to nurture their farmers! The baton has passed on!  

This keeps on happening in the world. The goodness keeps on spreading. The baton keeps on passing. This also keeps on happening about good deeds that everybody keeps on doing. When you help someone, you should never expect anything in return. The good Samaritans of this world never do it. What I have seen is that the good deeds pass around in an open circle. The person who has been helped, always remembers the good deed, he may not return the gesture to the same person who helped him but he will do it to the next person, as soon as he gets the opportunity. 

I am sure the same is true with Nurture. I am now talking about the verb. If a person is nurtured, in later stage of the career he or she will nurture some persons and the chain will continue. We humans have been nurturing our children, our trees since long. It is natural for a person to nurture someone who needs it. In humans, the need for nurturing is much more compared to animals or trees. Babies in humans need nurturing for maybe up to 20 years. But in case of other species or fauna, this period is much smaller. Is this because we humans think, talk and have a much smarter brain? It is also because other species need to develop skills only to gather food and survive in the world. Many skill sets that humans learn, are not needed by them.  

There is always a debate going on about nature versus nurture. How a plant looks or how a human behaves, how the human develops, depends on the genes. A rose plant and its flowers are beautiful as per genes but they really bloom when they are nurtured. An Alphonso Mango is the king of fruits but to develop and grow Mango orchards is the long process of many years. We see the result of the long efforts taken by someone. That person has nurtured them, has given them water at the right time, has taken care their health. In some cases, business may be involved and, in some cases, it may be personal. Similarly, when we nurture humans it could be sometimes at a fee but then I would not call it nurture, I would call it consulting fees!  

At the end of the day, what do you expect when you nurture something. You want to see beautiful flowers blooming, lovely fruits hanging on the trees, a confident, smart and successful person handling his or her profession smartly. When we are happy with well nurtured plants, we say, “Hey why not come and see my Roses? Why not see my Bonsai?” Similarly, you feel happy, elated when the person nurtured by you looks good, successful, competent and confident. That is time when you know that time has come to let go and enjoy  them shout, “Mumma, see no hands!” The person you have nurtured is now riding the bicycle or the destiny,  on own!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marriages are made in heaven!

Treat female species as equals for better world!

I have been hoping to write about this for some time but during my morning walk today, I saw some couples. I felt that I must take photos of two of them. Of course, I took the photos discretely. When we look at couples, when we meet couples, we hardly know anything about the details about relationships between the couples. Their secrets, good or bad, their likes and dislikes, their compatibility is only known to them. My judgement is that if a couple is really close to you and your spouse, you may not know more than 30% about them, about their thoughts, their demons, their love. Everyone else is hidden far, far away from others, like the closeness or lack of it between them. What we see are shallow things about them. In some cases, everything looks hunky dory but in reality? Honestly, I don’t know. 

Now about the two couples I saw today. They had come out of their homes for their morning walk or outing! In one case, I saw that husband was walking in front of his wife. I thought this was because there was some water and muck due to overnight rain. I was far behind them, initially. Later on, too, they continued to walk in the same fashion. Another couple was sitting on a bench, husband was talking on the cell phone and the wife was sitting there nonchalantly observing life passing by. I waited, at a distance, to see the spectacle but there was no change. What must have been the relationships between these pairs? What must have been their relationships when they were young? While going for morning walk why would husband walk a couple of meters ahead of wife? Why would a husband be talking away on phone in such a beautiful weather? Only they would know. 

Years back, Jaya used to go to office, in their office bus. A couple, who were her colleagues, would also join her at the same bus stop. They would walk from their home every day. Husband in front, wife in tow about ten feet behind. Wife would carry his office bag and food container along with her own things. Jaya was curious. Once she asked her colleague why did they not walk together? Why did they not carry their own stuff? The colleague said, ” I will let you know later.” Later during the day, the colleague came and met Jaya. Jaya asked her why they did not walk together and why was her husband not carrying his own things? The colleague said, ” How can male carry these things? It is to give him respect that I walk behind him.” Jaya could feel that it’s a veiled statement!  Both husband and wife had same technical qualifications and were holding the same post. Later, only the lady got promoted but the charade at the bus stop continued!  

Recently, I heard a story of doctor couple. They would invite outside expert surgeons  for performing surgeries. One consultant faced an embarrassing problem. He treated the husband’s patient but during surgery he used a new equipment at the clinic. Since the patient “belonged” to the husband, the bill was raised by the husband. The wife called this consultant and asked him why the bill was raised by the husband? She said that the investment for new costly equipment was done by her so the bill should have been raised in her name! Now, now! This was an internal issue of husband and wife, but the issue was raised with the consultant. This indicated the relationship between the couple!  

What is marriage? Marriage is the process by which two people make their relationship public, official, and permanent. It is the joining of two people in a bond that putatively lasts until death, but in practice is increasingly cut short by divorce. Over the course of a relationship that can last as many as six or seven decades, a lot happens. Personalities change, bodies age, and romantic love waxes and wanes. And no marriage is free of conflict. What enables a couple to endure is how they handle that conflict. So how do you manage the problems that inevitably arise? And how can you keep the spark alive? 

In patriarchal society in which we live, narcissism is prevalent big time. Since time immemorial, male species has been given a lot of undue importance. They have been encouraged to behave the way they want and the way they could. The obvious “drawback” in the mind of female species has been of getting pregnant, only female kids were always trained to behave in a docile way, always listening to male species and agreeing to their opinions, allowing them to behave any which way they wanted.    

Though in last 50 years things are changing a bit and getting improved in treatment meted out to female species, some things may take a real long time to change. Walking behind one’s husband is part of that docile behavior. Allowing husbands to do what they want continues. There are noted changes especially in western world and major cities in India, giving more freedom to females, giving respect to women as humans, considering them as equals professionally. Even with these changes, a lady professional still is required to work hard, maybe 10 times more than men, to achieve the same professional success.  

Marriages are now, at least in many cases that I know of, are showing improvement in male female interaction. Both partners, now share big dreams and work hard to achieve the same. They work hard to achieve it, they sacrifice for each other, even career wise, which in olden times was unheard of. In, many marriages I have seen the marriage as coming together of two families and not marrying a girl only for dowry and procreation! Women power is really seen in many areas and in a good sense. Of course, there are a few ladies who go to the other extreme! But over a period ladies have learnt that they are made different physically, bra burning becomes only symbolic! It is matter of wearing a convenient inner ware to suit the shape of their body. That women have menstrual cycle is an accepted fact and they are supported by colleagues, male and female when required, silently. People accept that it’s no big deal and take it in stride. Their pregnancies are respected and supported in professional life.  

Has utopia arrived in this bad, bad world? No, not all but proverbial silver lining is seen on the dark clouds. In fact, sometimes we see Silver Clouds instead of dark clouds. Will there be no dark clouds in the year 2118? No way, there will be dark clouds but they will be much less; in many families I see male and female births are received with equal joy. I know you must have smiled about Pramod, the optimist! But I have seen this happening in many families and Yes, this trend will hopefully continue! Now when a husband says today, ” Let me ask my wife, before I confirm to you”, people ever so pragmatic don’t laugh but accept it as a practical requirement. While writing this piece, I had taken Jaya’s permission to do so! But I am not called Hen Pecked! Do I dream that one day, a husband will walk behind the wife, carrying her office bag and tiffin? No, never! I want them to proudly and lovingly walk together! After all both are humans only made physically different by Him! Without this difference how could human race have continued to multiply? Only a male child born cannot be Lighthouse showing light beacon to families, you need females in equal numbers, is it not?